Writing

Combining Fact and Fiction- a Children’s Journey to Knowledge

The following are the words of Laura Wiener, Archway Publishing author of “The Mysterious Dripping Drops”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Why Did I Write My Book?

I began writing my book, The Mysterious Dripping Drops, with four basic goals in mind. I wanted to educate children about the beauty, intricacy, and delicate balance of life in the rainforest and neighboring areas. I wanted the children to become a part of an Amazon adventure where new facts, explanations, and events were page turners. I wanted the children to identify with the characters and journey along with them sharing their happiness, fears, and hopes. I wanted the children to become aware of the threat of the rainforest destruction leading to the extinction of plants and animals due to deforestation, arson and climate change.

About My Book

Having a doctorate in biology and a degree in education, I combined my knowledge and skills to write a story about two ants. One, a red army ant from a deciduous forest loses his home to clear-cutting, fires, and floods. She is swept down the Amazon River and finds herself in the rainforest. The leafcutter ants find her unconscious by the banks of the river and bring her back to their colony. One of the chief worker ants befriends her, and the two ants journey through the rainforest looking for the wise sloth that can help the red ant find her way back home. On the journey, the ants encounter many challenges and also comical events which help explain the ecology of the Amazon.

To write this book, I planned six basic steps.

Research:
I became an expert and tried to research all and everything about the Amazon rainforest and including the deforestation. I read articles online, went to libraries, spoke with Brazilians who had lived near the rainforest and collected as much data as deemed necessary. I also visited the rainforest.

Major Scientific/Environmental Topics:
I decided which scientific/ environmental topics I wanted to address in the story.

Character Development:
I chose which animals would be the best candidates for the story. The ants are creatures that are key to the environment but often overlooked when children are researching the rainforest. The ants with their small size could journey through the rainforest and witness many events undetected.

Plot Development:
I wove the plot around the topics and characters I chose in the previous steps.

Illustrator:
For the illustrations, I chose an illustrator from South America who was familiar with the landscape of the rainforest.

Publisher:
Archway has been a wonderful choice for my publishing needs. From the onset to end, their expertise, friendly manner, quick responses to any questions and quality work have been true assets. I couldn’t be happier with the end product; the illustrations, text and overall layout are professional and highly attractive. The Author Learning Center has also offered invaluable webinars and made the marketing aspects a lot more understandable.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

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Writing

Character and Topic Development

The following are the words of Gabrielle F. Culmer, Archway Publishing author of “Where Lives Lead”, “Glenely Bay and Nostalgia from Paris”, and “Arrive by Dusk.” For more on the author, visit her website, Facebook, and Twitter. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Write What You Know

I was once told when studying for my “O” levels in high school to write about what I knew because it was my strong point. Since my early years consisted of scenic marine views, they usually have been a topic in my novels. I always concentrate on the aquamarine colors, the temperature of the water, its texture, the sensation of diving into the water and how it motivates my characters. My characters have a focal point where the topics arise from the scenery.

Turning Reality into Fiction

 I use this practice now for much that I write about and can extract topics from everyday life. If I am in a particular city to which I am accustomed, naturally it would present some element in my stories. It takes technique to turn this reality into fiction and have it removed to the third person of my character. How a character may feel would not necessarily be my point of view. It is important to both disassociate from myself to appreciate the character and delve into the imagination of how that character would react in reality. It is about their perspective and a different point of view.

The character’s point of view may be distinct from the writer and may not be a normal reaction; it should be respected. The character may be disliked because their life may appear too perfect or they may be unpopular. Whatever the situation, I try to make them more coherent to the reader and describe how they perceive their situation. The characters are usually complex and have some underlying issues beneath a perfect surface that may cause friction. Often, my characters can inspire others who may be facing a particular issue, or be overcoming a loss. The character’s personality nuances may be a subtle point which may go unnoticed to the reader at first, and then evolves, and is revisited.

I relish visiting parts of a town where a character may inhabit, or a theme in the novel, or a place I appreciate. I may imagine how a character may react in a very uncomfortable and unknown environment, or in a familiar setting.

“Where Lives Lead”, emphasizes family and career and is the continuation of the story-line of “Arrive by Dusk.” The story was still untold and I wanted to delve into the character’s new lifestyle as a married couple as well as add new characters and interests.

A Little About My Characters

The new character of the writer, Genevieve, shows a writer’s point of view in contrast to the other characters. There are also new characters in the form of film actors who also provide a new and interesting perspective. Whereas, Harriett strives for the reconciliation between theater, family, and reality. However, Mindy is an inspiring and constant figure who is a landscape artist as well as the main character. Blaine, her husband, may be viewed as successful, complex, and dutiful. The story is inspired by the notion that you can fulfill your dreams with dedication. It depicts the fast-paced NY life and the contrasting scenic and languid beach resort lifestyle. The central theme of the balance of career and family explores whether or not it is possible to have both, and is applicable to many people.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

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Author Feature

My Book Began Like A Double-Edged Sword

The following are the words of Sally Guynn, Archway Publishing author of “The Tortoise Tales.” For more on the author, visit her website and Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

How it all Began

I entertained fantasies about writing and painting as published and exhibited works ever since a young girl. Eventually, my dreams converged with a single passion to create a children’s book about animals. Was I biting off more than I could chew?

The children’s book idea endured through my work careers, and once I retired I wrote my memoirs for my family. It empowered me forward, but I soon discovered that my naïve notion to write a children’s book had morphed into something more challenging—a double-edged sword. On one edge was my dream to write and paint, a lifelong passion, waiting to be freed. The other edge was not knowing what I didn’t know. It dawned on me this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. A blade with two edges is a sword that can accomplish twice as much, right? The trick was learning how to handle it.

I began writing The Tortoise Tales and found Archway Publishing to help guide me and keep me from ripping my dreams apart with that big sharp sword. In the process, I discovered three things of value that I’d either underappreciated or simply never had a clue about:

1. Getting Clarity About The Type of Book
2. Maintaining A Sense of Urgency
3. Soliciting Feedback

Getting Clarity About The Type of Book

I’d always envisioned writing and illustrating a children’s picture book, but once the Archway Publishing staff helped me rethink the type of book, I realized several important misalignments. My writing voice wasn’t a good match for a picture book and preschoolers, my paintings more watercolors and washes than stylized illustrations, and my original target audience were now already reading for themselves.

Having already completed many paintings in color at this point, the Archway staff advised making the book more affordable by less artwork and matching more closely with my revised target audience–middle readers who preferred fewer illustrations, no color, and more text. Most importantly, I wanted my book to stimulate a curiosity about nature and wildlife in young people and influence them to go outside and enjoy it. Again, Archway to the rescue when they told me I didn’t need tons of color illustrations to accomplish that goal. Middle readers don’t like anything too babyish. I easily saw the wisdom in making changes to the book’s formatting.

Maintaining A Sense of Urgency

Putting off my children’s book for so long likely increased both my sense of urgency and desire to leave a legacy. But these were good things. Once I began writing The Tortoise Tales, I wrote, researched or edited several hours, at a minimum, every day. If a conflict arose, I made up the time the next day or evening. I believe having this strong sense of urgency elevated the task in my eyes, inadvertently preventing procrastination.

Soliciting Feedback

Soliciting feedback came naturally for me throughout the process. I didn’t resist experimentation and change. It allowed me to take risks that quite often led to improvements. And, perhaps because I’d been a teacher, I tested my stories in both public and private school classrooms and later with seniors over fifty years old at the Lifelong Learning Institute here in my city. Their collective feedback proved invaluable to the book as well as bolstering my confidence.

After the book was printed, I managed to spring for the additional dollars to purchase one of Archway’s professional review packages that included objective reviews from Kirkus, Blue Ink, and Clarion. I learned a huge lesson: If you want your book to succeed beyond peddling it out of the trunk of your car, you absolutely need to have it professionally reviewed to get it on the databases from which libraries and bookstores order.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

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Writing

How I Wrote A Book in 100 Days and You Can Too

The following are the words of Pete Honsberger, Archway Publishing author of “Don’t Burn Your Toast.” For more on the author, visit his website and Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Don’t Let Life Get in the Way of Your Goals

If you ever feel like your day-to-day life gets in the way of bigger goals, whether they are personal, professional, or both, I can empathize.  When I’m busy fulfilling my full-time job’s duties, attending meetings, sending emails, being a good family member, and so on, I often lose sight of the bigger picture.

But despite this reality of our busy lives and daily tasks, many of us have dreams of writing a book, owning a business, scaling a mountain, or even getting that promotion.  Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned in the 100 days it took me to write the first draft of my book is that such laser-focus and bite-sized activity on a consistent basis can apply to just about any project or dream. Continue reading

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Publishing

My Book is My Business Card

The following are the words of Agnes Bellegris, Archway Publishing author of “Animal Encounters.” For more on Agnes, check out her website, Instagram and Facebook pageDownload the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Measuring Success

When taking the path to self-publishing, measuring success can be complex. Do you measure based on sales? Of course, that is always a definitive measure. But, as writers and artists, we need to look beyond this. As a picture book writer, I have the privilege of attending primary schools to discuss the things I love the most: the importance of literacy, creating literature, and now, with Animal Encounters, painting and drawing. When children tell me how much they enjoy my book because it’s “funny” and because “the pictures are amazing,” then I have succeeded. If parents tell me that my books are their go-to stories at bedtime, then I have succeeded. When teachers tell me that they love the richness of the language and that it allows them to introduce concepts from other areas of study in the classroom, then I know one hundred percent I have done something right. Continue reading

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Writing

Unconventional Writing and Writers

The following are the words of Liz Reeder, Archway Publishing author of  “51: The Beginning.” For more information on Liz, visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.  Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

From Hating Writing to Author

I was never a writer. Growing up I hated to write. When I was in school I would write the least amount possible to still get an A on the assignment I had been given. That all changed in September of 2016.

In September of 2016, I was struggling with chronic illness and pain. I needed to find something I could do to distract myself from what was happening and feel productive again. That is when I had the idea for my first book, which I wrote in under three weeks. When I finished that book, I felt like it wasn’t done. That led to me writing a five book series in under eleven months. Continue reading

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Author Feature

Back From the South: A Couples Transitions From Segregation to Integration

The following are the words of  Teressa V Staten Ph.D., Archway Publishing author of “Back From the South: A Couples Transitions From Segregation to Integration.” Learn more about Teressa from her website and Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Continuing the Legacy

For several years after my husband passed, I considered finishing a draft of a book that he had begun about the life of my son. Of course, I procrastinated for many years. However, one of my Back From the South: A Couples Transitions From Segregation to Integrationclose friends suggested an idea that began my self-publishing journey. She was the one friend who always planned our interesting trips. This time she suggested we come together and write. Each of us came up with a broad writing goal. I decided to write a memoir about my husband who had been one of the first African Americans to integrate the Marine Corps, and the Huntsville, Alabama Police Department. Continue reading

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Author Feature

Judy Barnes on Self-Publishing “Two Girls from Nazareth”

The following are the words of Judy Barnes, Archway Publishing author of “Two Girls From Nazareth.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

How My Story Became a Masterpiece

NazarethMy name is Judy Barnes and I’ve always been interested in writing. I have read the Bible many times, but there always seemed to be something missing. How did Mary (the mother of Jesus) become the woman who would give birth to Christ’s Child? While pondering the problem, I started writing about two girls who grew up in Nazareth. Consequently, Two Girls From Nazareth was born. Continue reading

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Writing

Journal Your Favorite Quotations

The following are the words of  Betty Elza, Archway Publishing author of  “Tara’s Treasures.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

What to Write in Your Journal?

Writing tips and writing rules are good reading material for all authors. Authors helping authors. One rule I would suggest is to journal some of your favorite quotations. Every time you read something that “speaks to you” in some way, that you really like, write it in your journal.

The quotations may come from any form of writing from newspapers to children’s books. What you read is important and often becomes a part of you or at least reflects something about you. Continue reading

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Writing

The Anatomy of a Scene

The following are the words of  Charles C. Carroll, Archway Publishing author of  Peacekeepers Among Us.” Learn more about Charles on his author website,  Facebook page, and Twitter account. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Developing a Scene

One approach to writing your novel is to construct it scene by scene guided by your overall plot. Writing craft resources describe the various components of a well-developed scene. The components generally discussed are the role of the protagonist actions, point of view, scene and plot relationship. In addition to conflict and tension, timeline and physical setting, imagery, and the balance between narration and dialogue.

Creating Your Skeleton

Developing a Scene

For the emerging writer, the challenge becomes how to put these components together in a fashion that will produce a memorable scene. You still want to make sure it serves your plot while developing your characters and advancing the story. In thinking about how to do this, the word “anatomy” came to mind and led me think of a skeleton. I thought, maybe, a scene is like a skeleton to which we must add “meat.” Thus, my “skeleton approach” to scene development. In this approach, rather than use all 206 bones in the adult human, only gross anatomy, the head, arms, torso, and feet are used. This approach works when you realize that each scene is a mini-story itself. Now let’s explore how this approach can be applied.

Continue reading

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