Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dear O'Abby: Are prologues good or bad?

Dear O'Abby,

I write fantasy, and my book has a prologue.  It's a very needed prologue as it sets up the entire system of magic and politics for the world my story takes place in. 

But I've heard a lot of agents hate prologues and that it is a bad idea to include one as pages with a query.  So now I'm wondering if having a prologue is going to spoil my chances of ever getting published.

Can you help?

Yours,

Fantastic

Dear Fantastic,

Prologues are tricky wee things.  Personally, I'm not a fan and often skip them when reading because I'm interested in reading the story, not whatever backstory the writer has chosen to tell me in the prologue.

I certainly would suggest not including a prologue with your query package unless your protagonist is a part of the prologue and it is an essential part of your story.  It sounds like in your case, the prologue is there to create context for the story and do some of the heavy lifting for your world-building, so I would not include that with your query package.

In terms of the bigger picture, think about whether or not you can weave those world-building elements into the actual story.  Do they need to be in a prologue people may or may not read before the story starts?  If people skip the prologue, will they still understand the story?

It's always better to show how the magic systems and politics work in practice than to tell a reader all about them in advance, so if you can weave the detail in with the action, I think you'll find the prologue becomes redundant.  Plus the way these systems affect your characters becomes clear within the context of the story.

So my advice is to think hard about what your prologue is actually doing and whether or not that work can be done within the main body of your story.

Hope that helps!

X O'Abby

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Balaka Basu's Debut Author Spotlight Operation Awesome on the #AtoZChallenge Book Tour

#AtoZChallenge 2019 First Book Tour badge Debut Author Spotlight from @JLenniDorner on @OpAwesome6


Golden Rainbow by Balaka Basu


1- What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial Cystitis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the bladder. The symptoms are almost similar to urinary tract infections.

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Write from the heart, always do proper editing, be careful with grammar.

3- What ignited your passion for writing?

I have always been fond of writing. I used to write a diary and later on switched to write that diary through my blog and gradually writing became my primary passion.

4- Why did you take part in the A to Z Challenge the year that your book was "given life"?

I just wanted to blog regularly and write.

5- What do you love most about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge?

The discipline to write daily makes sense. It literally helps us to push the threshold and keep writing our best.

6- You contribute at Momspresso, BuzzingBubs, and Babychakra. What's your favorite parenting tip?

Don't try to raise a perfect kid rather raise a happy kid. Always respect and listen to your child.

7- Please provide a quote from your book that is shared EXCLUSIVELY to this tour:

‘I was a golden bird inside a golden cage, now I have wings to fly’

8- What most motivates you to read a new book?

The blurb

9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: Haruki Murakami @_harukimurakami
Title: Norwegian Wood
Love because: I almost felt he wrote this story on my life. The character Midori is so similar to me in real life.


10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?

I am not sure who is the biggest but there is a good amount of fan following 😊 Readers loved the real-life stories and many could relate to the characters. They loved the lucidity and emotions expressed in the stories.

11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?

Readers would get nostalgic, sad, happy and in few stories may even roll out on the floor laughing. There are many scenes difficult to pint out one. As these are real-life stories they should resonate with the readers.

12- What is your favorite place to travel to?

Prague, Czech Republic

13- Why did you start blogging?

To give words to my emotions

14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?

The hunch in a character called Nani.

15- diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks What's your favorite book with a diverse main character?

Okonkwo from Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe


16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

Shalini Baisiwala shalzmojo.in/category/bookview/

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

Self-published

18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?

It helps the writer improve, it helps the writer understand his/her good and bad points, additionally, it helps other readers to know about the book.

19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?

How they liked my style of writing.

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

Golden Rainbow is an interesting collection of 26 memoirs written as short stories. These are not heroic tales but ordinary stories of ordinary people; nevertheless, they are thought-provoking. Some of them will make you laugh out loud while others may make you cry. The stories are rich in emotion, empathy and compassion.They are deeply profound. Reading the short stories is like a visit to Kolkata and typical Bengali life. You will connect with so many characters from your own real life but with different names. The anecdotes are not just stories but also a smart commentary on the various aspects of society. Easy to read, they will directly appeal to anyone fond of short stories. This book is not just a one-time read. It gets better with each reading.

Amazon.in
https://trinalooksback.com/

Golden Rainbow Balaka Basu's Debut Author Spotlight Operation Awesome on the #AtoZChallenge Book Tour



Golden Rainbow by Balaka Basu

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

#FirstPageImpressions 02/19/19



It's time for...



#FirstPageImpressions is here again! That first page is so important, and I hope this event will provide some solid feedback. I'm so excited to see your first pages!

Here's how to participate:

1. Comment on this post and at least one other post from this week by Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm EST.

2. Leave your email address in the comment or have it available on your Blogger profile. (Or else I can't find you to give you your critique!)


For a rules refresher, please visit this post.

The winner will be announced in the comment section of this post on Thursday evening. Best of luck!

Friday, February 15, 2019

#QueryFriday


It's that time again, everybody! Enter here for a chance to win a query critique by yours truly! Here's how to participate:

1. Comment on this post and at least one other post from this week by *SUNDAY 2/17 at 12 pm*.

2. Leave your email address in the comment or have it available on your Blogger profile. (Or else I can't find you!)

The winner will be announced in the comment section of this post on Sunday.

See this post for additional rules. Good luck!

-Nathaniel

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Dear O'Abby: I hate revising. Do I have to?

Dear O'Abby,

I love writing.  I've written more than seven novels now, and I just adore the flow of ideas onto the page and following my characters where they want to go.  But I hate revising.  Which is why I've written seven novels.  Instead of revising the one I just wrote, I freeze up at the thought of it and then abandon it to go and chase the next shiny idea.

When I've gone back and re-read my older novels, they're actually pretty good.  I like them, anyway.  Do I really need to revise?

Thanks!

Non-Editor

Dear Non-Editor,

At the end of the day, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do.  No one is sitting there with a gun to your head telling you you have to revise those manuscripts (if there is, please call the police).

But if you want any of those manuscripts to ever be published, you're going to need to revise.  I don't think any writer ever gets everything 100% right on their first pass.  If you've re-read and you think the story works, and the characters are lively and realistic, that's awesome.

But has anyone else taken a look?  And have you checked for things like inconsistencies in time and place and names?  I re-read a manuscript about three times before I realized for an entire chapter I called a character Harry when his name throughout the rest of the book was Henry.

And then there's grammar and tenses and all kinds of other niggly things that sometimes slip in and need to be weeded out before you send a manuscript out.

Revising is an important part of writing, even if you don't cut whole scenes and rewrite the beginning to fit better with the ending.  Or merge two characters into one because neither of the original ones really pulled their weight.  Or changed the POV because it didn't really work in first person...

And that's only your first few rounds of revision.  After your critique partners and beta readers get through with it, you will probably need to do a couple more rounds to fix things they noticed and you didn't.  If you get an agent, it's likely she will ask for another round or two of revisions too, before she feels the MS is ready to go on submission.

So the answer is yes and no.  If you are writing to be published, revision is imperative.  If you're writing for yourself and don't have any ambition to be published, feel free to skip any part of the process you don't enjoy.

But I used to be just like you.  Revision bored me.  Now I love it.  It's actually almost my favorite part of the writing process.  I love shaping something wonderful out of the word-vomit I spew when writing a first draft.

So maybe give it a shot.  You might just surprise yourself.

XX O'Abby

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Nidhi GS's Debut Author Spotlight Operation Awesome on the #AtoZChallenge Book Tour

#AtoZChallenge 2019 First Book Tour badge Debut Author Spotlight from @JLenniDorner on @OpAwesome6

WHEELS OF TIME by Nidhi GS


1- Where did the idea for this book come from, other than the alphabet and the challenge?

meditation

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

write from your heart

3- What ignited your passion for writing?

good stories ignited my passion for writing. I read a lot and whenever I read a good book, it inspires express my thoughts and emotions through writing.

4- Why did you take part in the A to Z Challenge the year that your book was "given life"?

to learn new ways of writing by reading experienced as well as new writers

5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

@nidgratefulsoul

6- Do you have any other books coming out soon? What other books do you have available?

short stories on Buddhism

7- What is your favorite month?

All months are my favourite, i have a special corner for Jan as it's my b'day month.

8- What most motivates you to read a new book?

heart touching content

9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: David Michie @DavidMichieOm
Title: The Dalai Lama's cat
Love because: it has changed my life forever.


10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?

my mentor Natasha Sinha. You have to ask her about it. @NatsCosmicrain

11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?

love and gratitude towards life. Every story will resonate with the readers

12- What do you love most about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge?

Discipline for writing.

13- Why did you start blogging?

to explore my passion of writing

14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?

their courage and heart filled with love.

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks

they are common people yet diverse in their perception about life.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

All of them who took time to read and review my book.

17- What writing goal do you hope to accomplish this year?

finishing one more short story book
Wheels of Time is a #MustRead on the #AtoZChallenge Book Reviews, Tour, and Blog Hop!
18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?

because we are writing for them.

19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?

be honest

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

These are 12 people, 12 tales and 12 months. Which says "When The Unexpected Leads to Expected."

https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/wheels-of-time-nidhi-garg/

https://gratitude2wardslife.blog
Twitter @nidgratefulsoul
https://www.facebook.com/buddhistoryteller
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18112173.GS_Nidhi



WHEELS OF TIME by Nidhi GS

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Writing a Reverse Outline

Hello friends! I don't know about the rest of you, but it seems that every time I do NaNoWriMo, I burn out for a while afterwards. And this year/cycle/whatever you want to call it, I burned out for a solid two and a half months. I stopped querying my manuscript, I stopped reading for my critique partners even though I'd just taken on a new one, and in general I stayed in bed about 18 hours of the day and didn't really leave the house.

Yeah. It was bad.

Recently, though, my partner nagged me into being vertical for an extended period of time. I needed something to do, and I'd played way too many hours of video games. So I came to terms with the fact that it was Time.

It was Time to Revise My NaNoWriMo Manuscript.

Ughhhhh.

I started by dragging myself to my laptop rereading what I'd written. It wasn't terrible, and I was pretty pleased with some parts of it that I had thought were dumpster fires while I was writing them. But I just...didn't know where to go from there. I vented to one of my writing buddies that I knew what I wanted to change, but not how to change it. And, like the gorgeous font of amazing ideas and perfect advice that she is, she suggested I make a reverse outline.

A reverse outline?

What is this mysterious creature, you ask? Yeah, I hadn't heard of reverse outlines, either. The idea is that some people make outlines before they write their manuscripts with the major plot points or what needs to be revealed at what point, etc. With a reverse outline, you make an outline after the manuscript is completed. That way, you can get a better sense of where to insert the changes you want to make, and you don't have to be searching through the whole document for that one scene where I think the main character says this to her friend but then her friend is ambivalent, yeah, where'd that go?

Yes thank you I am very organized.

Anyway, if you're stuck in the revision trenches like I was, give this a shot. It might give you a better sense of the timing of your manuscript and just where you should be making edits. Make sure to get down not only the major plot points but also the things they influence, like character reactions that will be important later or information this plot point brings out. Then you can go through and note where you want to make revisions. It's also a good idea to note where you did a good job! It's like encouragement from your past self :)

And because I'd be remiss if I didn't include an example, here's an excerpt from my own reverse outline:

Excerpt from my reverse outline for my manuscript, tentatively titled GIRLS BREAK THINGS. The main bullet points are the major plot points, and the secondary ones are reactions to that plot point. I've also commented on the outline to make notes to myself about other things to consider that didn't appear in the manuscript.

Check out the Dear O'Abby post this Thursday for more information about revising!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Dear O'Abby - I think my publisher is going under

Dear O'Abby,

I've been with a small press for three books now, with my fourth supposed to be published last month.  They have always been really responsive, but recently my emails have not been answered, my release date has come and gone without my book showing up on any vendor sites and I didn't receive any royalty statements for the last quarter.

I've heard about other small presses going under, and these seem like alarm bells to me.What is your advice?

Regards,

Frightened


Dear Frightened,

You're right to feel nervous.  Those things set the alarm bells off in my head too.  It upsets me when I hear stories like this.  My first publisher closed its doors a few years back, but it was very civilized and within a couple of days of the announcement, I had a letter stating my rights had reverted and all final royalties were paid within a month or two.

Are you in touch with any other authors who are with this press?  If so, I suggest you contact them and ask if they are getting the same treatment.  One missed royalty statement could be a mistake, or it could have disappeared into your spam and been deleted by accident.  If lots of authors are missing statements it points to there being a problem.  Especially when added to the missed release day.  Although there could be a good reason for this too.

If other authors are unhappy and frustrated too, and no one is receiving replies to communication, I would suggest all is not well with your publisher.

You should also read over your contract.  There should be a clause in there about what happens if the company becomes insolvent.  There should also be a clause regarding termination and how to go about it if you decide you wish to cancel your contracts with this publisher and get the rights to your work back.

Unfortunately, your publisher needs to respond for you to be able to exercise this.

It may be that this is just a bump in the road.  Some small presses work with a skeleton team behind the scenes and it only takes one person to be out with the flu for a couple of weeks to throw everything off kilter for a while.  But if the pattern continues and new books aren't releasing on time or at all, emails continue to be ignored and royalties are not being reported or paid, you may need to get legal advice.

Even if you never manage to recover the missing royalties, you will want to get the rights to your work back so you can find new homes for your books.

I have my fingers crossed that this works out for you.  Do let us know...

X O'Abby

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Deborah A Stansil's Debut Author Spotlight Operation Awesome on the #AtoZChallenge Book Tour

#AtoZChallenge 2019 First Book Tour badge Debut Author Spotlight from @JLenniDorner on @OpAwesome6

Twisted Tales by Deborah A Stansil


1- Where did the idea for this book come from, other than the alphabet and the challenge?

Partly from observation of human nature, partly from my own twisted imagination ;)

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Just write. A first draft is just that. Let your words flow and go where your mind takes you without focusing on perfection. Perfection comes much later.

3- What ignited your passion for writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing creatively and from being a child I always had this idea in the back of my head that one day, I’d love to write a book. I think it came from reading a lot as a young child (and that’s never changed).

4- Why did you take part in the A to Z Challenge the year that your book was "given life"?

I did it for the first time the year before and I loved it and I really wanted to get my fiction out there. Twisted Tales was my first book!

5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

My Twitter handle is @randommusings29 Writer friends are @JH_Moncrieff and @plynne_writes Both are great writers and really supportive.

6- Do you have any other books coming out soon? What other books do you have available?

I have a new novel coming out this year hopefully.
Twisted Tales 2, Twisted Tales 3, The Joker, The Mirror, The Asylum Tour, Lacey Patrick and the Wizard of Darkness, eBook Like a Boss, Start Your Blog Like a Boss, Optimise Your Blog Posts Like a Boss, Parodies and Piss Takes.


7- Please provide something from your book that is EXCLUSIVE to this tour:

Excerpt:
That piece of writing caused more trouble for me than I could ever imagine. It cost me my friends, most of my family and of course my freedom. They feed me the platitudes – “it’s for my own good” “they want to help me”. None of them make up for my freedom. I’m not in prison, at least not in the traditional sense. I’m in an institution for the criminally insane. It’s no different. How can it not be prison when I’m not allowed to leave? I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me take you back to how it all happened. After all, it’s not like I’m short on time.

8- What most motivates you to read a new book?

The cover

9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

This is such a hard question to answer because I have so many favourite books. I’m going to go with a new one to my favourites list.
Author name:Adele Parks @adeleparks
Title: I Invited Her In
Love because: The characters feel so real, and they draw you into their lives effortlessly. The story is full of twists and turns and it will have you laughing one minute and raging the next.


10- What writing goal do you hope to accomplish this year?

I want to finish up the novel I'm currently working on and write a new short story collection. I'd also like to write at least one more non-fiction book and get started on another novel.

11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?

I hope my book does two things; send a shiver down a reader’s spine, and makes them question what they would do in some of the situations. I hope all of the stories resonate with readers in their own ways.

12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

No, not really. I’m not that into Instagram.

13- Why did you start blogging?

I wanted to get back into writing for an audience. It was only ever going to be a short term thing, but I fell in love with it, and here I am, four years later.

14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?

The characters in the stories all share a twisted nature; one that causes them to do bad things. Maybe sometimes for good reasons, or maybe not. I’ll let my readers be the judges of that.

I think one of the more memorable characters is Karen, who is a mixture of cynical sarcasm, and yet is strangely naïve at the same time. I think this combination of personality traits make her pretty memorable.

15- diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks What's your favorite book with a diverse main character?

I think the Gone series by Michael Grant has such a good range of diverse characters. In particular, I loved Dekka.


16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I always enjoy the reviews by Jenni from Odd Socks and Lollipops. Her reviews never fail to make me want to read the books she is reviewing.

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I chose to self-publish initially because I didn’t want to have to wait for a year or more to get my book in print through a traditional publisher. I enjoyed being in control of all of the elements of my book which is why I have stuck with self-publishing so far, but who knows what the future holds?

18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?

I think writing a review is an excellent way to show support to writers whose work you enjoy. Such a simple thing can make such a difference to writers, especially newer writers who are hoping people will take a chance on their work.

19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?

What, as a reader, most sends a shiver down your spine?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

Twisted Tales is a collection of twenty-seven short horror stories. Ranging from crazed stalkers, killers, dealing with the Devil and everything in between, this collection shows the darker side of human nature in all its black glory.
Journey through the twisted minds of the central characters as they make their choices, and watch their lives spiral out of control.
Hate them, empathise with them, and stay on your guard. There’s a dark streak in all of us just waiting to come out.


https://goo.gl/FrXC4V
https://www.myrandommusings.co.uk
@randommusings29 Twitter
@myrandommusingsblog Facebook
@debrandommusingsblog29 Instagram
@randommusings29 Pinterest
https://goo.gl/FrXC4V Amazon Author Page- UK
https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewritersdengroup



Twisted Tales by Deborah A Stansil
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H94D1MS

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

#FirstPageImpressions 02/05/19


It's time for the very first...



#FirstPageImpressions has officially arrived! That first page is so important, and I hope this event will provide some solid feedback. I'm so excited to get this event off the ground, and I can't wait to see your first pages!

Rules reminder:

1) You must comment on the #FirstPageImpressions post in order to enter, as well as comment on one other Operation Awesome blog post from that week. This will be checked, and failure to comment on another blog post will result in your entry being invalidated.

2) If you are the winner, please make it easy to contact you. If you are not comfortable with leaving your email in your comment, then please make sure that your blogging profile has your contact information listed.

3) Entry comments will be accepted until Thursday, 12 Noon, EST. The winner will be selected by a random number generator and announced Thursday evening in the comments section.

4) Your critiqued first page will be returned to you via email in an attached document with notes in the margins within 7 days.

5) If you have won a first page critique, you will not be eligible to win another until 3 months have passed. Critiques will not be done multiple times on the same first page. If you enter again, it must be with a new story. (If you have won a query critique from #QueryFriday, you are still eligible to win a first page critique.)

6) First page means first 250 words, regardless of spacing. If this cuts off a sentence, use the last sentence that will put you below 250 words. We use the word count checker in Microsoft Word to verify this. If your entry is over 250 words, you will not receive feedback.

Friday, February 1, 2019

#QueryFriday


It's that time again, everybody! Enter here for a chance to win a query critique by yours truly! Here's how to participate:

1. Comment on this post and at least one other post from this week by *SUNDAY 2/3 at 12 pm*.

2. Leave your email address in the comment or have it available on your Blogger profile. (Or else I can't find you!)

The winner will be announced in the comment section of this post on Sunday.

See this post for additional rules. Good luck!

-Nathaniel

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dear O'Abby, I Hate My Cover...

Dear O'Abby,

My debut novel is about to be published and I've been super excited about it.  Then today, I got sent my cover art from my publisher and I hate it.  It's nothing like the way I imagined the book would look, and makes it look like it's something totally different to the book I wrote.

What do I do?  I don't want to ruin my relationship with the publisher, but I also really don't want my book going out in the world with that cover.

Best wishes,

Uncovered


Dear Uncovered,

I feel your pain.  I recently had exactly the same experience with my new book.

How you deal with this depends very much on who your publisher is.  If you're with a 'big-five' publisher, you will probably have less say in what the cover looks like than if you're with a small press.  But it's important you speak up.  Don't just roll with something you hate because you feel like it's rude to complain.

If you have an agent, speak to her in the first instance.  She is there to advocate for you and have those tricky conversations with the publisher on your behalf.  Outline your concerns and explain the reasons why you feel the cover is wrong.  It may even be helpful to send a few images of covers from books like yours that you do like as examples of the kind of look and feel you wanted for the cover.

If you are unagented, you will have to do this for yourself.  Reply to the publisher thanking them for sharing the artwork.  Then outline the problems you see with it, and again, maybe send some examples of covers you like that are on books similar to yours.

If you're lucky, the publisher will take this on board and try something different.  The first cover my publisher sent for my new book made it look like a historical novel, possible with some supernatural elements.  It was very pretty, but pretty wasn't right for my dark, dirty sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll novel.  So I did exactly the above, including examples, and ended up with a cover that I love and perfectly suits the novel.

So it's worth having that conversation.  Even if it is difficult.  Publishers don't always get things right.

Good luck!

And please share your cover when you get one you're happy with.  We'd love to see it.

X O'Abby


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Abhishek Behera's Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook #20Questions at Operation Awesome

Debut Author Spotlight from @JLenniDorner on @OpAwesome6

Pulitzer at 16 by Abhishek Behera


1- Any resolutions for the New Year?

To be a better person than I was in comparison to the last year & be more patient in each and every situation that I am faced with in the coming years.

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

In my point of view I think writing is something that allows you to connect with yourself in the best possible manner because the process of writing is unique in itself as it lets you to give a shape to your process of imagination in the form of words.I think that is what a writer should realise while writing something because according to me each and every piece of writing is a masterpiece in its own terms and unique at the same time. I published my first book at the age of 16 and during my period of writing a book what I realised was that you need to realise your expressions & the motive of writing something because it adds a touch of liveliness into it which makes it more lively & inspiring and yes I'd like to quote a line from my book which I think is worth sharing, "An experience should always be well experienced."

3- What ignited your passion for writing?

Literature has been an integral part of my life in these many years. I always wanted to give a shape to my imaginary expressions and I think that feeling of extreme interest in giving a shape to my imagination is the thing that ignited the passion for writing in me.

4- What are your writing plans and goals for the next ten years?

Well, I'm working on my next book which I've planned to be sequel to my debut book and I think I'll work towards learning more new experiences in the years to come and I'll definitely try my best to achieve what I've planned of doing in the years to come.

5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

Yes, I do. Actually after I launched my first book I was introduced to a number of supportive twitter friends who would be ready to share valuable experiences when I require and I'm sure they would do the same also for #writerwednesday

6- Would you share a picture with us of your book at the Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens?

Yes, I'd love to do that.
Abhishek Behera's Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook #20Questions at Operation Awesome


7- What's your dream for the #CreativeAuthors website?

I had created the website #CreativeAuthors for the purpose of providing many young authors out there in the world who struggle to make their writing masterpieces be read by the people. I dream to take it further into the next stage of allowing the writer share & write blogspots in my website.

8- What most motivates you to read a new book?

As I quoted earlier that "Every experience should always be well experienced", I make sure that I keep having new experiences because I believe if you are able to read some 1000 pieces of writings then you'll be able to write a single piece of literature that there's no doubt that one piece of literature would be equal to the power of somewhat 100,000 pieces of literature and even more!

9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name:Ravinder Singh @_RavinderSingh_
Love because:I really admire the writings of Author Ravinder Singh who is a renowned & bestselling books which are mainly works on love. I admire him because he depicts a honest image of love which are really inspiring and heart-touching.
(Amazon Author Page)

10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?

Well at this stage, to be honest I'm actually the biggest fan of myself because everytime I read my book I struggle with accepting the fact that the writings are mine.

11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?

I think my book will evoke the emotion of realising our real identity which we all knowingly keep under the dark shadows of fear & self-doubt. I think after reading my book ,my esteemed readers will believe that there's no word called "Impossible" because impossible itself stands for "I'm Possible."

12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

Actually I don't think I am active on that platform.

13- What is the best and worst part of living in India?

The best of living in India is I'd say there's no country like my country because irrespective of the cons of staying in India, i consider it to be a home of 1.3 billion creative minds who have something or else to share and learn from.

14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?

Trembling while infront of his secret crush!!

15- diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks What's your favorite book with a diverse main character?

I don't remember any of those.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

Leonard Tillerman http://leonardtillerman.com/book-reviews/

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

Self-published

18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?

I think readers should write book reviews because these review really mean a lot to the people whose writings are being read. Irrespective of the reviews whether they are good or bad, they open a scope of getting better for the best.

19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?

Yes I'd like to have a discussion of which kind of writings are more appreciated by the readers irrespective of the age of the readers and what valuable suggestion would the readers would like to give to young teenage debut authors like me.

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

I'd like say one thing that ....... "Dream a lot... there is no service tax in it." That is the official tagline of my book #PulitzerAt16😃


Pulitzer at 16 by Abhishek Behera

Friday, January 25, 2019

#QueryFriday


It's that time again, everybody! Enter here for a chance to win a query critique by yours truly! Here's how to participate:

1. Comment on this post and at least one other post from this week by *SUNDAY 1/27 at 12 pm*.

2. Leave your email address in the comment or have it available on your Blogger profile. (Or else I can't find you!)

The winner will be announced in the comment section of this post on Sunday.

See this post for additional rules. Good luck!

-Nathaniel

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Dear O'Abby: I don't have time to write. Am I a writer?

Dear O'Abby,

I have always written.  Since I was a kid, and old enough to know how to hold a pencil and make it work.  But since finishing college, starting work and the demands of a young family, I just can't seem to find the time to write.  And it's driving me crazy.  I have so many story ideas squirreling around my head, but the most I can do is scribble them down in my notebook and hope they still sound good when - if - I ever have time to sit down in front of my computer and write.

Can I call myself a writer if I don't write anymore?

Yours,

Time-Challenged.

Dear Time-Challenged,

You are not alone.  I think most writers are in much the same boat.  I know I am!

I think the biggest thing to take on board is to be realistic.  Maybe before you had kids and a job you could knock out 3000 words a day without thinking too much about it.  Maybe you were even one of those people who could write an entire novel in a weekend.

Forget that.

If your time is limited, you need to make the most of what you do have.  Work out when you are at your most creative and see if you can carve out a few minutes at that time of day.  Or if that time doesn't suit, you may need to just force yourself to write at some other time.  Personally, I'm a night-owl naturally, but for many years I worked nights so I wasn't able to write at night.  I trained myself to get up at 5:30am so I could get an hour and a half of writing time in before my kids got up at 7.

And I still do that, even though I don't work nearly as many nights now.  It works for me because my day job is so crazy, I often don't have the energy or creative drive to write in the evening.  If I do, great.  I can do more.  But if I don't, I know I've had that time in the morning.
 
Maybe you're in a different situation and writing at night, after the kids go to bed, will work better for you.  Or you may be able to steal an hour or so while they're napping in the afternoon.

The point is to write.  I know writers who write on their phones while their kids are in swimming lessons.  Or who scribble in a notebook during their lunch breaks or on their commute.

You don't need a clear two hour block to write.  If you can steal a quarter hour here and a half hour there and use them productively, you will be able to write those stories.  It may take longer than before, but at least you can still call yourself a writer.

Good luck!

O'Abby.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Laura Gia West's Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook #20Questions

Debut Author Spotlight from @JLenniDorner on @OpAwesome6

Dead School by Laura Gia West


The first author in the spotlight this year has a live tour stop near my neck of the woods! Check out question four for details.



1- Your cover is amazing. What's your favorite part about it?

Laura Gia West's Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook Dead School #mustread #20Questions
Thank you so much! My publisher/designer gave me the freedom to design my own cover. I mostly enjoyed playing with the fonts to evoke the mood of the book: fun, young, whimsical, yet dark. Fonts go a long way when complimenting an image (in this case, not making it so serious and keeping it bold/edgy)!

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

#WriteTip : There is always time to write, forget "the time just isn't right". 1 hour a day = success. More? Winning! Keep the fire burning, and your mental muscles on a treadmill.

3- What ignited your passion for writing?

My father ignited my passion for writing. He forced me to write my first feature screenplay when I was thirteen years old. He taught me to play the piano, utilize the quick-wit of improvisation- creativity is all intertwined. I love imagining my own worlds, and haven’t stopped writing since then.

4- You're going to the B&N in Bethlehem, PA on Feb 9. Any plans to stop at Just Born for Valentine's Peep hearts, see the "PEDRO MEYER: TRUTH FROM FICTION" exhibit, or visit the Museum of Indian Culture?

Peeps are my husband’s favorite! Thanks for sharing! Will definitely be exploring Bethlehem after. If you’re around Easton, PA - come on by to B&N and say hello!
Bethlehem Easton map of B&N


5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

Yes! My twitter handle is: @LauraGWest For #WriterWednesday fellow authors of @brwpublisher : @RobertEKearns @KayMerkelBoruff @inktostone Hi guys! Check them out!

6- Would you share a picture with us of your book in an interesting setting?

Actually, I had my book launch for Dead School in a very old church, surrounded by an eerie cemetery …
Laura Gia West's Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook Dead School #20Questions cemetary graveyard Laura Gia West's Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook Dead School #20Questions cemetary graveyard


7- What's your favorite jazz song?

My father, Vlad West (Vladimir Sermakashev) is a well-known jazz musician in Russia. Naturally, I will say all of his songs are my favorite. In particular: “Never Too Late For Roses”. Also, I’m a fan of Thelonious Monk: “Round Midnight”.


8- What most motivates you to read a new book?

The desire to see what other authors are currently writing motivates me to read new books. Especially when I’m in a “break period” between projects. Grabbing a book then is like licking wasabi between sushi bites. It’s refreshing, cleanses the palate, and makes the flavors of my next project even tastier.

9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

I have so many favorite books, it’s nearly impossible to just pick one! But, if I have to choose an author with a twitter handle... I adore and idolize Author name:R.L. Stine @RL_Stine
Title: #FridayReads any Goosebumps books. Love because:He knows it! A brilliant, quirky mind. A kind and honest man, who gives back to upcoming writers.


10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?

My biggest fan is my mother, Linda. Hands down. She has been the first to read all of my work since I was six years old and writing poetry about “ants in my pants”. Yes, she has read hundreds of those. She particularly loves my imagination in all of my writing, especially in Dead School. We enjoy similar stories. Fantasy, magic, and an escape to unique places... My father-in-law, Bob, might make the runner-up cut, since he must've been a heartfelt cheerleader in a past life. I should double check his "Blueprint" in the Dead School Hall of Records.

11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?

I hope that readers laugh when they read Dead School. I hope that they can connect and see themselves in a cynical Tina Crocker. I also hope that readers take away a sense of wonder and have fun on this whimsical journey. On a more deeper note, it may inspire someone with a desire to say “I Love You” to those who matter most, because you never know when that last time will be.

12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

I love all #bookstagram images. Anything with coffee, baking, and the obvious: books. Fancy Harry Potter collections with gold lettering, don't mind if I do... It's great because it inspires you to want to read something new. What's better than that?

13- Have you ever been to, or performed in, a talent show like your MC Tina Crocker?

Oh, yes! I went to "The Fame School", otherwise known as LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. We were always surrounded by concerts, talent shows, theatrical performances... As a Dramatic Writing college student in NYU Tisch School of the Arts, we constantly had classes where we had to perform in front of each other. Basically, I was performing on stage ever since I was a little girl. Growing up, my parents and I had one of those musical family acts. I would sing and dance with my mom, while my father accompanied us. We played in nursing homes, public libraries, and street festivals all over New York. I started young, and I know those nerves all too well!

14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?

I would say there are quite a few memorable oddities in the characters of Dead School. After all, we are talking about these students retaining their grisly appearance after their demise (a waddling torso on its way to the elevator, while the other half struggles to catch up, etc.) Tina Crocker, though, has a big fat mole slapped onto her face, haunting her through her life, and through death. The memory of imperfection just doesn't go away.

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks

I was blessed to have an upbringing in such an openly artistic community at LaGuardia High School. Everybody accepted each other's differences, and there really wasn't much of a hierarchy. It was really quite beautiful. In Tina Crocker's high school, before entering Dead School, she sees lesbians walking together hand-in-hand, just like any other male/female couple. The LGBT community is normal in her world, just like it was in mine growing up. Tina, herself, is very different from the others, and is on a journey to accept herself for the way she is, as well as help Anna's mission against bullying.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

The Goodreads Blog is a favorite of mine. I also like The Book Smugglers and Looking Glass Review, to name a few.

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I knew I didn't want to self-publish my work, merely for the desire to experience the traditional route, as well as have the satisfaction of somebody else championing and believing in my writing. It's a great feeling to know Dead School resonates with somebody enough to put their time, effort, and resources into publishing it. Shout-out to Black Rose Writing! @brwpublisher

18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?

It's a chance to share your opinion with other like-minded readers, to help navigate the world of stories. There's nothing better than finding your next favorite adventure. If the reader is also an aspiring writer, then that's even more important! It grows the skill set to understand what works and doesn't work about another writer's story, and it also helps the author by spreading the word!

19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?

If you were to die tomorrow and had to revisit your life, what would be the one thing you would change about it?

Laura Gia West's Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook Dead School #20Questions cemetary graveyard

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

I love to hear from my readers! I welcome all questions, comments, conversations and emoticons! Feel free to check out my website lauragiawest.com and connect with me here:
Facebook.com/lauragiawest
Twitter.com/lauragwest

You can find Dead School on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
If you're in the PA area, swing by the Barnes and Noble Bethlehem in Easton on February 9th, 12-2pm, would love to meet you!
Address: Southmont Center, 4445 Southmont Way, Easton, PA 18045


Dead School by Laura Gia West

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Introducing #FirstPageImpressions!


Please extend a big welcome to...



#FirstPageImpressions is a brand-new Operation Awesome event! It is a sister event to #QueryFriday, in that winners will get a critique of - you guessed it - their first page.

The first page of your manuscript is the first sample of your writing that an agent receives, so you want to make sure that it's the best, most polished version of your work. #FirstPageImpressions will provide fresh eyes on your first page so you know just what that first impression is, because as we all know, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Our critique will focus on identifying ways to make your writing pop, as well as cleaning up any loose ends. And if we don't have anything to fix, we'll let you know!

#FirstPageImpressions will take place every other Tuesday. If it gets popular enough, we might increase the frequency, but that's up to you!

Rules:

1.) You must comment on the #FirstPageImpressions post in order to enter, as well as comment on one other Operation Awesome blog post from that week. This will be checked, and failure to comment on another blog post will result in your entry being invalidated.

2.) If you are the winner, please make it easy to contact you. If you are not comfortable with leaving your email in your comment, then please make sure that your blogging profile has your contact information listed.

3.) Entry comments will be accepted until Thursday, 12 Noon, EST. The winner will be selected by a random number generator and announced Thursday evening in the comments section.

4.) Your critiqued first page will be returned to you via email in an attached document with notes in the margins within 7 days.

5.) If you have won a first page critique, you will not be eligible to win another until 3 months have passed. Critiques will not be done multiple times on the same first page. If you enter again, it must be with a new story. (If you have won a query critique from #QueryFriday, you are still eligible to win a first page critique.)

6.) First page means first 250 words, regardless of spacing. If this cuts off a sentence, use the last sentence that will put you below 250 words. We use the word count checker in Microsoft Word to verify this. If your entry is over 250 words, you will not receive feedback.


We're very excited to get this event started, and we hope you are too! If you have any questions or comments, please let us know, either in the comments of this post or on Twitter @OpAwesome6.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Resetting the Goal Clock: 100 Rejections Again

My mother and I recently had a very eye-opening conversation. It involved my lifelong tendency to set gloriously unachievable goals for myself as well my recent mental health diagnosis from the doctor (bipolar II).

Phew. I haven't really shared that diagnosis with anyone before online — not officially, that is. But there it is. I wasn't keeping it a secret so much as waiting to see if it was true, because I've had so many diagnoses and the only ones I trust are depressed and anxious. I've been bipolar, I've been borderline, I've been OCD, I've been it all, and nothing has stuck. This new one felt real, though, but I wasn't about to go announcing it to the masses until I knew.

So this conversation with my mother, it was in mid-December, and it was about New Years' Resolutions, and it was about Bipolar II, which includes episodes of hypomania, which involves feeling invincible. Feeling like you can take on the world, no problem, easy peasy. Write a book a month? No freaking problem, buddy. Cause you're the king of the world. Conqueror. Hero. Borderline almighty.

Until all that energy fizzles out. You hit a roadblock. Someone says no. Your bottle of prescription meds is empty and the pharmacy is closed and the weather is cold so instead of getting a refill you crawl into bed and you sleep and it's been 24 hours since you took your meds and, well, shit. 

A whole nasty cycle begins, and now you're not on top of the world but being buried alive in the center of the Earth, and it takes every ounce of strength to claw your way out. Fingernails broken and covered in dirt and you can taste blood in your mouth but at least you're not buried anymore, right?

Until next time.

So what does that have to do with writing? What does that have to with getting 100 rejections in 2018? What does that have to do with anything related to Operation Awesome?

The thing is, so much of last year was coming in and out of Bipolar II cycles. From depression to slight hypomanic states to deep, incredibly deep depressive episodes. At the beginning of the year I set these lofty goals for myself and I was so disturbingly confident I would meet them all.

This did not happen. I met not a single one of them.

I wrote no new novels. I did not read 52 books. I did not meet any more of my literary heroes. I did go to book conferences. 

Finally, I had made a goal here on this blog that I'd seek 100 Rejections by Dec. 31, 2018.

I'm pretty sure I got to 10? Maybe. If that.

And not because people said yes. Because I didn't ask. I didn't write. I hardly could, it seemed.

But the thing that I did in 2018 is that I survived.

I don't know why last year was so hard for me. I've managed to work full-time, even longer hours, while writing and having a social life and watching TV/reading books. But for some reason, 2018 was the year where all I could do was work and maybe watch TV and read and then be depressed. And the watching TV and reading (I mean, except for the four months when I literally didn't crack the spine, electronic or physical, of a book) was the only way to not be depressed.

Y'all, I promise this is relevant. 

Here it is: sometimes you have to reset the clock. You make a goal. You surge forward. And you just...you don't make it. For whatever reason. Maybe it's your fault — maybe you have been dropping the ball lately. Or maybe it's not even your fault. 

Life hits us with unexpected circumstances sometimes. It's out of our control. The thing that I remind my friends, even those who don't have mental illnesses, is that there's always going to be things that hit them out of the blue and, for periods whose length I truly cannot predict, and it'll knock the wind out of their sails.

And that. Is. Okay.

Life is unpredictable. Sometimes it's possible to speed along and do it all. And sometimes it's just about surviving. Putting one foot in front of the other and making do.

I've been in such a long, long, long extended period of making do. To be honest, I don't know when (or if, really), I'll snap back into vibrancy. 

All I know is that...I'm gonna keep trying. One foot in front of the other, yes, but also, goals.

When I fall, when I fail, I'll just reset.

Therefore, for 2019, one of my goals is as follows:

Score 100 Rejections Across All Writing Submissions 

Fingers crossed. Check in soon.

What are some of your goals you're working on in 2019 that you've had to reset, maybe even multiple times?

Friday, January 18, 2019

#QueryFriday


It's that time again, everybody! Enter here for a chance to win a query critique by yours truly! Here's how to participate:

1. Comment on this post and at least one other post from this week by *SUNDAY 1/20 at 12 pm*.

2. Leave your email address in the comment or have it available on your Blogger profile. (Or else I can't find you!)

The winner will be announced in the comment section of this post on Sunday.

See this post for additional rules. Good luck!

-Nathaniel

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dear O'Abby: How do I Format My Manuscript?


Dear O’Abby,

I’m about to start sending my manuscript out to agents, but I’m not sure how it should be formatted. And Google-fu has not been of much help... Some articles say 3 inch margins on the left, others say 1 inch on both sides, some say to start each chapter halfway down the page.  Is there a standard manuscript format I ought to be following to give my book the best chance at being picked up?

Yours,

Stumped


Dear Stumped,

Agents are looking for great stories and great voices and if you have those things, how you present your manuscript is secondary. That said, presenting your MS well shows the agent receiving it that you’re careful, professional and thorough. And first impressions really do count.

Some agents ask for manuscripts to be formatted a specific way and failing to do this shows you are not great at following directions. So before sending anything, check that the requesting agent doesn’t have a preference in how she receives the pages.

If not, here are a few very simple guidelines for making your MS look professional.
  • Keep your margins standard – usually around 1-inch
  • Use a standard font like Times New Roman and keep it no smaller than 12pt
  • Start each chapter on a new page
  • Indicate breaks within chapters using either **** or ####
  • Number your pages starting from the first page of actual text (your title page should not be numbered)
  • Put the name of the novel and your name in the footer
Title Page
Your title page should be a separate page, unnumbered, with the title in a large font. Your name or pen-name goes under this, and in either the upper or lower right corner, the wordcount for the MS (rounded to the nearest 1,000 words) and your contact details (address, phone number, email).

Good luck with your submissions!

XX O'Abby