You’ve finished your first draft — then what?

You’ve finished your first draft — then what?

I share my work with a writing critique group, but no matter how much I value their input and the help they’ve given me to improve the piece I’ve shared, they don’t see the entire manuscript.

This is when I turn to Elizabeth Lyon’s — Manuscript Makeover that sets out the process under different headings so you don’t have to read the book from start to finish, but go to the sections where you need the most help. For me it was the chapters on characterization. Continue reading “You’ve finished your first draft — then what?”

Jane Harper’s — The lost man *****

Jane Harper’s — The lost man *****

Here’s one for those who love mysteries. When Cam is discovered dead from dehydration near a stockman’s grave in outback Queensland, his brothers, Nathan and Bud are suspicious. Cam’s well stocked car is parked nine kilometres away, but he had no water with him. Cam was well aware of the dangers in the forty plus degree Australian semi-desert. Something doesn’t add up. But when the police arrive on the scene and take his body for an autopsy, they find nothing to suggest murder. But Cam is not convinced and his son, Xander is also asking questions. What he discovers is not only exactly what happened, but a whole other life his brother lived that he was unaware of.

Hannah Kent’s — The good people *****

Hannah Kent’s — The good people *****

In the 1800s an Irish village, Nora loses her daughter, then her husband before she hires Mary to help take care of her grandson. Because her grandson neither speaks nor walks at age four, she pleads with the priest for help, but he turns his back on her. The women of the village blame the boy for their troubles, so Nora seeks help from Nance who has the “knowledge.”

This books starts a little slow, but is as captivating as Kent’s Burial Rites. We are taken into the minds of the villagers, from their family woes to their superstitions where they readily blame their misfortune on anyone but themselves.

Jen Sookfong Lee’s — The conjoined *****

Jen Sookfong Lee’s — The conjoined *****

After Jessica’s mother dies, she discovers two dead girls in her mother’s basement freezer. Jessica cannot believe her mother is responsible because of the number of children she had helped foster over the years.

I liked how this tale, Lee’s best to date, leaves you pondering. This cleverly woven tale cannot help but impress on the reader the problem with the system. This is not the only profession where the most capable people are constantly given the most challenging to deal with.

Are you contemplating joining a writing group?

Are you contemplating joining a writing group?

I’ve been working with writing groups for many years after struggling on my own for over a decade. My critique group consist of authors at the beginning stages right up to those who have published a long list of books, and facilitators with impressive writing credentials. Continue reading “Are you contemplating joining a writing group?”

Rohinton Mistry’s — Family matters *****

Rohinton Mistry’s — Family matters *****

Nariman, the aging patriarch of a Parsi family, is shuffled from one family household to another as his ability to care for himself deteriorates. Mistry takes us on a journey through the lives of this Bombay family that is both sad and often funny.

In his classic style, this is probably my favourite of his novels to date, though not the only one I’ve enjoyed.