The questions are whether or why a novel needs an Epilogue.
I agree with many editors who insist that a story with a strong ending shouldn’t need an Epilogue.
Still, as I’ve said, not all Epilogues are bad. Done properly — and underthe right circumstances — they complete your story and tie up loose ends.
So how do you determine whether your novel needs an Epilogue?
First, don’t mistake an Epilogue for an Afterword.
An Epilogue ties up loose ends from the story.
An Afterword focuses on how your novel came to be — largely to promote you and any of your other books.
The most important aspect of a good Epilogueis its purpose.
It should either show the reader what happens to your main character after the story ends (for instance, jumping ahead a few years and showing your character with a spouse and a child) or it should pave the way for a sequel or even a series.
One thing an Epilogue should never do is reiterate your theme or remind your reader the moral of your story.
If you didn’t accomplish that in the story itself, an Epilogue will not fix it.
Most importantly, after reading your Epilogue, your reader should leave satisfied, never confused.
What an Epilogue Should Never Do
Leave the reader wondering what it meant.
Compensate for a weak ending.
Be long or complicated.
Serve as a cliffhanger. You can hint at a sequel, but a cliffhanger will only frustrate your reader.
When To Use an Epilogue (and when not to)
As celebrated editor Allister Thompson puts it, “If there’s nothing else to say, don’t be tempted to say it!”
Look up these Epilogues online and compare them.
1: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
This Epilogue shows how you can use one to release tension. Moby Dick closes at such a frenetic pace, the Epilogue serves to reassure the reader that Ishmael survives the shipwreck and is rescued.
2: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This Epilogue is set 200 years after the story and focuses on a historian who reveals he found Offred’s story and transcribed the tapes.
3: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
This Epilogue provides a glimpse of Harry and his friends 19-years in the future.
4: Animal Farm by George Orwell
This Epilogue covers Manor Farm many years into the future. It tells the fates of the main characters.
How To Write an Epilogue in 3 Steps
Step 1: Set Your Epilogue in The Future
Provide space between the end of your novel and the Epilogue.
How long depends on your story. It may be a few days or hundreds of years into the future. The key is what you want readers to know about what’s become of your characters.
Step 2: Set Up a Future Narrative
An Epilogue can set the scene for a sequel. Tell just enough to make clear that more is coming.
Hello, can you believe Christmas is upon us once again? I can finally say I finished everything gift wise yesterday, including the wrapping. My family’s new members came out with the most presents. Who doesn’t want to buy for three precious baby children, Olivia and Elizabeth and James? James didn’t do badly, and he’s only been around a couple of years. He has the process down of getting gifts pretty well.
My fervent hope for my family is that they all remember the “reason for the season.” I feel it is up to each family to teach their beliefs around Christmas. The Christmas Season has no choice but to turn commercial because it is pushed upon us by the stores and the potential money to be made. Another reason the reason is forgotten is because of non-believers of the Christian Faith. It’s Holiday and party time, and gift-giving does not have the same meaning. Christmas gifts are supposed to represent the gifts of the Magi. Their gifts represented the best of the three Kings countries. Given out of respect for the baby that God said was his son.
This is a Bible passage taken from a 60 Daybook of Prayer that I thought I would share with you.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. I John 4:9 (NIV)
Today as we get ready to celebrate Christmas Eve, think of God’s amazing gift to the world. Bask in his Holy Light and remember that among all the presents and joys, mistletoe with toys and food abound. Now is the time to center your heart on the rebirth of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Dear God, my thoughts are on the humble birth of Your Son, Jesus, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen
For a total subject change, let me tell you about my new book Thomas Gomel learns about Bullying. It went to the printer over a month ago. I was hoping to have it on the market by now, but the publisher is slower than molasses on a cold day. I have to admit I am a little impatient and frustrated even though it does me no good. I’m sure the publishing date will be marked in 2019, but I won’t get to see it until 2020. It would be nice if the Author copies would be in today’s mail. That would be a nice Christmas present. Oh, well, all in good time.
I want to wish each of you that celebrate to have a wonderful, Merry Christmas and New Year. Blessings to all. Shirley
Hello, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving or day if you don’t celebrate the holiday. Now we are officially working on the Christmas season. It will be here before we know it.
Below is an article was written by Alicia Prince. It’s always a timely article to help improve our writing. I hope you find within it, the information you can use.
No matter how hard you try, it can sometimes be a battle to finish a piece of writing. Whether you’re writing a paper, article, novel or email, it can be a struggle to express your ideas quickly and clearly. Just like anything else, however, a little practice goes a long way towards fast, quality writing. With seven simple techniques, you can greatly minimize the time you waste not writing, and increase the speed you do write. Plus, the more you do them, the easier these great writing habits get.
You Could Write Your Introduction Last
“My advice is to finish the book, then scrap the first chapter altogether and write it again without looking at the original.” — Dr. Kim Wilkins
One way to write quicker is to write your introduction or first paragraph after writing everything else. If you have the majority of your writing planned out, it’s often faster to jump right in with what you’re planning on saying. This way, you won’t need to agonize over your content fitting the tone of the introduction. And writing the introduction last means you know what you need to summarize, as it’s already on the page. Finally, writing your introduction last lets you avoid staring at a blank page, wondering where to begin. Once you have things down, it can be much easier to put together an intro, saving you time.
You Could Be Flexible On Wording
Another way to waste time when you’re trying to write is to agonize over every word. Like staring at a blank page, searching endless thesaurus definitions will knock you off track and interrupt your flow. Especially on the first draft, don’t worry if your wording isn’t right. Go through your document after finishing your draft, looking specifically for words you could improve. Better yet, highlight or change the text color of words you know you want to come back to. This way, you can keep your train of thought moving without your work suffering.
You Could Do All Your Research First
Nothing is a bigger distraction than needing to do research in your writing. Research can be time-consuming, plus it will likely make you forget the point you are trying to make. Do as much research as you can before you write. This lets you focus all your energy on writing, without interrupting your thoughts.
You Could Outlaw Distractions
“It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” — Jonathan Franzen
Especially when you’re writing on a computer or device, it’s easy to get distracted. To save time, treat every trip away from your writing document as dangerous. The best way to avoid getting distracted is to leave your document little. Try keeping all your research and sources in the top portion of a document, then do your writing in the bottom portion of the document. Keep it organized with a slash or image between the two halves. This way, you won’t risk getting caught in surfing the web or answering emails every time you need to check your information.
You Could Relax On Your First Draft
“The first draft of everything is sh**.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Similar to rewording sentences as you write, nitpicking too much the first time around will slow you down. Most experts agree that your first draft will always need work. This means that no matter how long you take to make everything perfect, you will still need revisions. It’s much faster to keep your momentum going than it is to get back on track several times a paragraph. Save yourself time as you write by powering through your first draft, then doing all your revisions at once.
You Could Set A Writing Timer
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ― Jack London
Another way to increase how fast you write is to set a time, then force yourself to keep writing until it goes off. Not only will this force you away from distractions, if you’re struggling to come up with material, but free flow writing can also help you come up with ideas. Setting a timer and writing free form is also useful as a warm-up exercise to get you in the zone.
You Could Easily Outthink Cliches
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov
When your struggling to find writing that grabs a reader, a quick way to burst through cliches is to be specific. Overgeneralizing descriptions can be too vague to garnish attention. For example, rather than having a character exclaim they’re freezing, have them say that the threads of their mittens are freezing to their fingers. By taking vague descriptions or phrases and being highly specific, you can quickly revise your writing, while improving your writing’s impact.
Hello, I thought today I would post a ghost story for Halloween. It is a true story, but I did take some fictional liberties with it. This story was told to me by a friend and Michael in the story was his uncle. Strange things happen in this world and this is only one of them. I hope you enjoy the story and please leave me some feedback.
I do have a book just for Halloween on Amazon called “Shirley’s Book of Horror.” I am giving away ten copies. If you will let me know you would like an ebook of short stories.
Shirley’s Book of Horror – Kindle edition by Shirley McLain. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. https://amzn.to/2Ba3jO8
The Never-Ending Heart
The sobs coming from the people standing around the grave were heart-wrenching. Especially those coming from Andrea’s husband, Michael. Even the dreary gray clouds with the light drizzle intensified the mourning that the Barton family and friends were going through.
Andrea Barton was a vivacious woman who loved her life. The entire family cherished her. There didn’t seem to be a bad trait or habit of any kind. She’d told her family often how perfect her life was and how God had blessed her.
Michael met Andrea in the sixth grade, right after he’d been moved from Michigan to Eufaula because his parents wanted to return to Oklahoma. They became fast friends and were together from that time forward. They knew in their hearts that one day they’d be married.
They worked and saved their money while they were dating so they could buy the farmland out on Route 4. It was located halfway in-between their parents, so it was the perfect location for the young couple.
As a surprise for the couple, both families got together and bought the land and gave it to Michael and Andrea as a wedding present. The money they’d saved could now build a house on their property. Life remained perfect for the couple. They made their dream farmhouse with a wraparound porch and lots of windows.
Love radiated from this couple. If you were around them, you didn’t have a choice but to smile and feel their happiness. On October 31, 1987, they became one legally. In their minds, they already belonged to each other. They didn’t go on a honeymoon so they could buy furniture for their new farmhouse. Their wedding night was the first time they had spent the night together under the same roof and, it was their roof.
Every night, when Michael got in from work, Andrea had a hot bath run, and dinner was cooking on the stove. Michael never liked a shower; he liked soaking in the warm water to help his aching muscles after his hard day at work. They pampered each other in every way possible. This ideal life continued for 30 years. Michael and Andrea had raised two children, who were now gone from home.
Michael left for work after kissing Andrea and saying the words he spoke every morning. “I love you, woman. I always have, and I always will.”
“Not as much as I love you,” Andrea called back. The happiness and love she felt for Michael never left her.
Andrea decided she’d clean off the shelves in the cellar, where she kept all of her canned food and supplies. They were full of junk and disorganized.
The cellar steps were steep without a handrail, and it had no electricity. She’d been after Michael for years to fix everything, but it never happened, so she used two coal oil lamps for light.
She hated going into the cellar because of not having light, and there had always been a problem with scorpions. She shivered just thinking about them. It took all of her determination to go down into the cellar, but she did. She lit both lamps and looked at the shelves dreading what she needed to do.
There wasn’t enough light on the far shelf to see. Andrea picked up a lantern and held it high so she could see the back of the shelf. She felt something land on her arm. When she looked it was a large scorpion which had apparently fallen from the ceiling. She screamed and jumped, dropping the lamp. It broke splashing the coal oil up onto Andrea’s pants. Flames went up her legs. She screamed and made a run for the steps but didn’t get far before she was consumed by the flames. The coroner’s report stated death was caused by fire, which destroyed the body due to the synthetic clothing being worn.
Michael was devastated at the death of his wife and experienced severe depression. All he could think about was Andrea and how much he missed her. His children were genuinely concerned. They even hired a housekeeper to come in daily to clean the house and talk to their dad.
After five years of deep mourning, Michael decided he liked having the housekeeper around. She was kind and talked to him even when he didn’t want her to. The best thing was Darlene was single. He may not have his mind off of Andrea, but he did listen to things going on around him. He decided he would marry Darlene and keep her around for the company.
Within three months Michael and Darlene were married, and she moved into the farmhouse with Michael. Things remained quiet for several days, but then it changed. Every night for a week, Darlene would wake Michael from a sound sleep to tell him someone was crying or walking in the house. Michael could hear nothing, but he’d get out of bed and look. It finally got to the point he told Darlene to go back to sleep because nothing was there.
This continued for almost a month. Darlene was becoming more agitated and unhappy as time went on. Michael decided he would try to cheer his wife up and took her out for a wonderful dinner and a show. Darlene relaxed and felt comfortable for a little while.
When they arrived back home, they immediately knew something was not right. There was a smell of food cooking, and they could hear water running. “I’ll find the water,” Michael said as he took off down the hall to find the running water. It was in the bathroom. The stopper was in the tub, and hot water was running into it. Thankfully it was not running over.
“Ok, I’ll check out the kitchen.” Darlene was standing in the kitchen, screaming at the top of her lungs. When Michael got there he grabbed his hysterical wife to hold her. He immediately noticed the pots cooking on the stove. He continued to hold onto Darlene as he moved them to the stove so he could turn it off.
Nothing prepared Michael for all the emotions he was feeling. Everything about Andrea was brought back to his mind. Darlene calmed down enough to talk and told Michael she was leaving this house and not returning. “I love you, but I’m not staying here another night. There was a woman in this kitchen when I came in. She looked at me and told me you were hers. Then she disappeared. I’m not living with the Ghost of your dead wife.”
“What are you talking about, Darlene? Ghosts aren’t real. There has to be another explanation.”
“Look, I know what I saw, and you won’t change my mind about leaving. I’ll be out of here within thirty minutes. You can come with me or stay, but I’m gone.”
“What did the woman look like?” Michael asked Darlene as she was throwing clothes into a suitcase.
“She was about five foot three inches tall, weighed about 120 and had fiery red hair. She looked like she was in her twenties.”
In a subdued voice, Michael asked, “What was she wearing?”
“You know, I couldn’t tell because of the flames that were covering her body but not burning her. It was your wife! I’ve seen the pictures you have of her.”
Michael sank onto the bed, and his mind couldn’t wrap itself around what he was told. Darlene grabbed her suitcase and left the house. True to her word, she never came back.
From that night on, Michael always had a hot bath and supper cooked for him. He never saw it happen, but it was there for him daily.
About a week before Michael died, he told his daughter he’d seen her mother out by the cellar. “I called to her, but she only smiled and waved to me before she disappeared. I know it has been her taking care of me all the time. It won’t be long before I’ll be with her. I just know it.”
Michael lay on the bed. He had recognized none of his family for the past two days. His eyes were closed, and the loud death rattle sound could be heard into the kitchen. The family gathered around the bed with several shedding tears as they waited for Michael to draw his last breath.
Michael opened his eyes, sat up in bed, and talked to someone at the foot of the bed. The family tried to get him to lie back, but he refused. A rose-colored mist covered the foot of the bed as Michael laid back and let out a show agonal breath.
The family couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Then a female voice spoke, “We are together again, my love,” as the light faded.
Short and Flashy may be the new in thing with writing and I’m so glad to hear it because I love writing short stories and flash fiction. I found that out about myself when I was writing my first book, The Tower. When I needed to have a brain change because I couldn’t find the words I needed to say for the book, I would write a piece of flash fiction or a short story so I could think about something else besides the book I was writing. It helped reset my brain. It made it easier for me to come up with what I needed for my book.
Over the fast few years, people have read more of my short stories and flash fiction. I am assuming it is due to lack of perceived time to read.
Do you know what flash fiction is? In case you don’t, I will try to explain. Flash Fiction is a complete story (has all the components of a story) in a limited number of words. They can be challenging to complete.
Think about how our reading world has changed since the computer came along. The time was we had no choice but to go to the book store or the library to get our reading material. Now we have small portable screens that let us have a book zipped to us over the airwaves. We can get anything we want to read from Amazon including short stories which we might read while we’re sitting under the hairdryer or waiting in a doctor’s office.
According to Anne R. Allen, one of the authors of How to be a Writer in the E-age: A self-Help Guide, short stories make money and hold their value. Kindle Singles often sell for the same as a novel-length book. Ellery Queen and Woman’s World still pay top dollar for genre stories.
Short stories are great for practice. Learning to write short stores can keep your writing from getting sloppy. Having short stories in your portfolio might give you another book to publish or an opportunity to publish in a magazine.
I put the majority of my short stories in an eBook called Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes. The book was published on Amazon. Publishing my work of short stories was something I didn’t want to pass up. You may also have an opportunity to see what you can do.
Below you will find one of my short stories called Angie’s Secret. Please comment with a critique and let me know the good and the bad.
“Heavens no, this is my secret. I told you because you’re my best friend, and I know I can trust you.” Angie sat at the table with her cup of tea. She was pale around the eyes and mouth. “I am doing this on my own. I’m thirty-four years old, and I know this is the right thing for me.”
“It may be right for you, but girl you look like crap. Do you want another cup of tea?”
Mattie went to the stove and brought the teapot back to the table. She asked Angie if she’s eating enough.
Mockingly Angie replied, “Yes, mother, I am. I can take care of myself. Stop worrying about me.”
“How do you think you’re going to pull this off when he barely lets you out of his sight?”
Angie thought of the days ahead as she sipped her tea. Her excitement showed.
Mattie looked at her, seeing the smile, said, “Ok, girlfriend, spill the beans. I want to know what’s making you smile.”
“I have to go home.”
“Angie, remember, no matter what, I’m your friend.” Mattie grabbed Angie, hugged her tightly.
“I’ll be in touch, and don’t worry,” Angie said as they broke apart. She walked back to her house. Her bedroom light was on. Crap, he must know I’m not in my room. I’ll walk through the front door as the grown woman I am.
After she entered the house, she almost made it to the stairs before she heard her father’s harsh voice.
“Angie, is that you?”
“Yes, father, it’s me.”
“Come here immediately,” her father, bellowed.
Angie walked into the library, ready for battle. Her father kicked back in the recliner, with a drink in his hand, asked, “Where have you been?”
“I went to Arlene’s for tea. I left your dinner on the table.”
“It was cold. You are one lousy cook.”
“Yes, father. I’m going upstairs to my room, goodnight, father.”
The clock advanced slowly, but 2 a.m. arrived. She pulled her suitcase from beneath her bed, took one last look at her room and left. Her father appeared to be asleep when she opened the front door. As she stepped out into the night air, she took her first deep breath of freedom.
Hello everyone, I thought today I would share an article on creating fantasy characters. I love reading and writing fantasy. It literally will let my mind go to this creation of fantastic times, people, and creatures.
I’ve written one fantasy book, Princess Adele’s Dragon, which is a medieval adventure story, but I couldn’t count how many books I’ve read in the fantasy category. I love to read those three to five book series that continue to lead you down those wild and wonderful paths. I have to admit I have read all of Harry Potter and the Outlander series which are far more than three to five books.
You have thought of a subject for a new fantasy book. The first thing you have to do is ask yourself if your protagonist is better suited to a series or a stand-alone novel. In Princess Adele’s Dragon, I have two protagonists, Princess Adele, and Prince Anthony. This book could very easily be made into a series because of the storyline I used. The main conflict is resolved but other conflicts have been brought up that can be carried forward.
Secondly, figure out what kind of story arc you want for your series. Do you want to focus on one problem or mystery per book, along with overarching character development? which means that the characters have more to tell. When you are writing book one you really don’t know how many books will be in the series.
Third, Carry character traits and quirks consistently from book to book. This is true of both your protagonist as well as the support characters in the story. If you can keep all your character details in your head, that is wonderful, but if you can’t make a cheat sheet. Your readers will catch the mistakes you make.
Fourthly, write characters and books that you enjoy. Just as readers love characters they can get to know and see, again and again, so do authors. My favorite books have characters that I can either identify with or would like to have a drink with. All accept Hairy Potter, of course, he is too young. I just want him to teach me magic. Write about what you like to read.
If you would like a free ebook of Princess Adele’s Dragon, just let me know along with your email and I will send you a gift code from Amazon. http://amzn.to/25lUOYM
I hope you have a great week ahead. Blessings to all. Shirley
I seem to lose track of time when my life gets in the way of my blog writing. I really don’t have an excuse. It just gets put on the back burner.
Where to start to get you caught up. My Granddaughter and her husband are living with my husband and me to help us and them. Livie is growing by leaps and bounds inside her mom, so come November we will have a new Great Granddaughter. One of her cousins already has her nicknamed Liver. There’s something inside of me that hopes that does not stick. Her full name will be Olivia Margaret Elizabeth. Margaret Elizabeth is named after my mother.
Lee’s cancer is gone and his voice is back to normal, praise God. It has been a long road but he went through it like a trooper. I have to admit there were times I could have cheerfully removed his head from his shoulders but we both managed to persevere. Now he has to have a scan ever so often to make sure cancer stays away.
My book, Thomas Gomel Learns About Bullying, is still with the publisher. I have not heard a solid date when it will be published. I am hoping by the end of this month but I have to remain patient. I have had a couple of very good prepublication reviews. I will get them posted before long.
Now I have to say something that bothers me to my soul. This has to do with our government and how they are treating the children and others at the border. This is nothing to do with whether they should be here or not but the fact that they are. It matters not what side you have placed yourself on, but the fact the children are not getting what they need. They are treated like livestock instead of people. I have visions of the Oklahoma feed lots packed with cattle waiting to be loaded up and hauled off to the slaughterhouse.
As a Christian, I find this heartbreaking and can’t understand how any man or group could treat people especially innocent children in this manner. I will continue to say a prayer for the children and the government that God has mercy on them.
Hello everyone, I do hope you are having a great day. To catch you up on my activities since my last blog write. I’ve sent Thomas Gomel Learns About Bullying to the publisher for approval. I also did an upgrade on Princess Adele’s Dragon and had it republished in ebook form. I’ve kept myself busy writing and entering contests on Fanstory. After the article below I will be posting a short story called The Lake. I do hope you enjoy this week’s blog. Until next time have a blessed week. Shirley
PS. By the way, you can possibly win a copy of Princess Adele’s Dragon by following the link, especially if you like medieval dragons, kings, queens, and knights.
Main characters don’t have to change to grow. They can grow in their resolve.
It is a common misconception among authors that the main character in a story must change in order to grow. Certainly, that is one kind of story, as in A Christmas Carol where Scrooge alters his way of looking at the world and his role in it. But other stories are about characters overcoming pressures put upon them to change their viewpoint and holding on to their beliefs, such as in Field of Dreams where main character Ray Kinsella builds a baseball stadium in his cornfield believing the old time players (and eventually even his father) will come to play. In the end, he is not dissuaded from what appears to be a quixotic plan of a misguided mind, and his steadfastness results in the achievement of his dreams.
It is essential in any novel or movie for the readers/audience to understand whether or not the main character ultimately changes to adopt a new point of view or holds on to his beliefs. Only then can the story provide a message that a particular point of view is (in the author’s opinion) the right or wrong way of thinking to achieve success and personal fulfillment.
But not all stories have happy endings. Sometimes, the main character changes when he should have stuck with his guns in regard to his beliefs and becomes corrupted or diminished or fails to achieve his goals A good example of this is in the movie The Mist(based on a Stephen King novel) in which the main character finally decides to give up on trying to find safety from monsters and shoots his son and surrogate family to save them from a horrible death only to have rescuers show up a moment later.
Other times, holding onto a belief system leads to tragic endings as well, as in Moby Dickin which the main character, Captain Ahab (Ishmael is the narrator), holds onto his quest for revenge until it leads to the death of himself and the destruction of his ship and the death of all his crew, save Ismael who lived to tell the tale.
Though writing is an organic endeavor, when you make specific decisions such as whether your main character will change or remain steadfast and what outcome that will bring about, you strengthen your message and provide a clear purpose to your storytelling that results in a strong spine in your novel or screenplay.
The last time I saw Charlie, he laughed as we drove into Crystal Springs Lake. I knew we would have hell to pay for sneaking out, but I never imagined how this fun evening would end.
Charlie and I were friends from the first grade. We were neighbors, and as adventurous boys, we spent every second together we could manage. We were as different as two people could be. I’m quiet and shy, and Charlie was the fellow that drew people to him like June bugs to a light. Maybe it was his good looks with his coal black hair and that cleft in his chin. He was muscular, athletic and all the girls flirted with him every chance they got. He didn’t care. The only thing he wanted besides our friendship was the full football scholarship at Harvard.
We had a good time throughout school. As this was our last year at Grady High School there was a lot of pressure on Charlie to perform. He actually did it to himself, but if I tried to talk to him, he wouldn’t listen. “Charlie, you have to lighten up a bit. You can’t go on at the pace you’re going. It’s been weeks since we’ve done anything together. You study and practice football. Take time to relax. Quit worrying about that entrance exam. You have it aced.”
“Sure, I do, but it doesn’t feel like it. I feel like everything inside of me is about to explode. I have to keep pushing myself to keep the pressure down, but I’m ready for something different. I’ll listen to you just because you’re my best friend and I love you like a brother. What do you want to do?” Charlie asked.
I had to think of something we would enjoy together and take the pressure off of him. “I’ve got an idea. Let’s go to the lake after dark and go skinny dipping. We haven’t done that in a long time.”
“Are you crazy?” Charlie asked. “We haven’t been skinny dipping since we were twelve years old.”
“Yeah, I know, and it’ll be fun. Just like old times. What do you say?”
We were both laughing, and Charlie said “Let’s do it. I want to be twelve again and forget all about school and football. I’ll be at your house at 7:00 and you can drive.”
“Sounds good to me. I don’t mind driving at all, and I’ll even bring us snacks and cold drinks. See you then.”
I left his room and went back to my house. I got everything ready and packed it in my car. Since my mom and dad weren’t home, I left them a note so they wouldn’t worry about me. Charlie was at my door promptly at 7:00.
It was a great drive out to the lake. We had the windows down and the radio up. We were laughing, singing and shouting at the top of our lungs as we drove to our spot. We were trying our best to be twelve-year-olds again.
It was dark when we arrived, but we didn’t care. We unloaded the car and set up our blanket right at the edge of the lake. It wasn’t the first time we had swum in the dark. I brought two flashlights, but we didn’t turn them on. We were happy. We liked this spot because we could dive into the lake. It was easy in and out of the water. We got rid of our clothes quickly and then laughed at each other as we stood there as naked as the day we were born.
Charlie slapped me on the back. “Are you ready? I am.” He backed up three steps and ran and dove into the lake. I jumped in feet first, as always. The water was cold and sent a shiver over my body. I didn’t hear Charlie laughing, so I looked around. I didn’t see him. The lake was smooth as glass. I called his name. He never answered, so I climbed out of the lake slipped on my pants and got the lights. My hands shook so hard I had trouble turning on the lights. I shined the beams over the water, and I still couldn’t see him. I knew something was wrong. I got my cell phone and called 911. I had a terrible time as I tried to get the words out to report Charlie missing.
I tried to sit but couldn’t stay still. I walked back towards the main road thinking I would meet the authorities. That was silly, it wouldn’t make them arrive any faster. I turned back towards the lake moving the beam of one of the flashlights around. What was that? I brought the light back to what looked like a sign. When the beam of light hit it, I got sick to my stomach. The sign read: No swimming until further notice. Alligator sighting today.
One part of me is going hurray and celebrating but then another part is going, gosh, now I go publisher shopping and setting up more advertising. There is always something more to do with a book that is yet to be published.
Right now I am wanting Beta readers to read the book and give me an opinion on whether they would purchase the book or not. One part of my mind is going why wouldn’t anyone like a book that could teach them how to react and/or treat a bully at school.
I hear rave things about the book from my writing group, but then the devil on my shoulder starts talking and tells me it’s not true. They just say that so they can earn credit or because you said something nice about their writing. For me it’s a constant Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde, depending on the time that you speak with me. I will persevere and this book will be published.
If you would like to read this book in word or PDF and give me an honest opinion, I would be happy to send it to you. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Here is a short story for you called “No Pain, Just Memories”
It’s rough being a girl, going through the teen years. Not a child but not an adult either. One minute you are silly with giggles. The next minute you are miserable with your heart feeling as if it’s broken in half. You’re not old enough to drink but you know that’s what a lot of people do when they have a broken heart.
My day started out so well due to the fact Mike called and wanted to see me. My heart was racing because I knew he was going to ask me to go steady. I could see the high school ring on my finger with tape wrapped around the shank to make it fit.
“Mom, can I go to town for a couple of hours? I want to go to Walmart to pick up some writing paper for school.”
“Have you got your ironing done? You can’t go anywhere until those clothes are taken care of,” Mom says in her I mean what I say voice.
“I’ve got two pieces left and they will be done before I go. Is it OK, can I go?”
“Alright, but you be home before you dad gets in from work.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I tried to keep the absolute joy out of my voice when I answered her. I get to see Mike today.
I hurried to finish the ironing so I could get ready for my anticipated visual idolization of Mike’s handsome face. He was such a dream. That blonde hair which fell into his eyes, oh those wonderful eyes with the longest lashes I’d seen in my life. They were so clear and such a bright color of blue. Even if I hadn’t loved all of him, I would love him for his eyes alone.
I managed to get dressed without changing clothes four times because I was in a hurry. I left the house in my old car that I drove back and forth to school that had a rotten floorboard. Even though the bus stopped at our front door, I was much too old to have to ride that bus with all those screaming, snotty-nosed kids.
I drove straight to the place where Mike was staying while he worked his summer job. I should’ve known something was wrong when he came outside instead of inviting me in as he’d always done before. I didn’t even get the hello kiss that was our custom. I had a fleeting thought something was going on, but I pushed it away.
“Hi, Mike. I got here as soon as I could. Mom made me finish my ironing before I could come to town.”
“Thanks for coming down. We need to talk,” Mike said. He walked me towards my car not saying anything.
When we got back to my car, I asked Mike, “What do we need to talk about?”
He looked down at me from those wonderful blue eyes and said. “I don’t think we should see each other anymore. My summer job is ending soon and I will be returning to school. Besides, there is someone else I want to date. I thought it was only fair that I tell you straight out.”
I kept my cool while he was talking but I could feel the tears begin to burn my eyes. I had the urge to scream, Who is the dirty, rotten, floozy that’s taken, my man? “OK, Mike, if that’s what you want. I understand. Thanks for being honest with me.” I got in my car as gracefully as I could and drove away. I didn’t get far before I was sobbing for my lost love.
As I looked back at that time, I wondered at how silly that young girl was. A girl’s first heartbreak is something she never forgets and an experience most of us have had to go through. I’m an old woman now and it’s as fresh today as it was then. No pain just memories.
I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I did writing it. Have a blessed week Shirley
Let’s start with what is a book proposal. A book proposal is a condensed down presentation of the actual content of your book. What the purpose of a book proposal is to convince an agent to represent your work by submitting the proposal, possibly polished up a smidge more, to the editors/publishers of your book’s genre. I am going to show you how to do this in six parts.
The Overview: In one to five pages you explain the concept of the book. Start out with a hook. You have just a few sentences to pitch your book in an exciting and necessary manner. You want to convince the agent right from the beginning of your proposal that your book matters
1. The opening paragraphs grab their attention and the rest fills in the picture which supports the claims made in the beginning. You flesh out the keynote with a longer hook. You might address why you are the right person to write the project. You might tell them you wrote a successful cooking blog or you’re an expert who wants to share your groundbreaking findings.
If there is a lot of competition in your genre show how your book is important to show them how your book is different. Don’t leave out critical selling points, such as the 500000 subscribers of your online newsletter. If important, briefly mention the organization or specific content such as format, number of craft projects or original artwork, or that the book is a sequel to a previous publication.
2. The about the author section. A factual one-page introduction written in the third person, an author profile needs to convince an agent and publisher to take an interest in your work. Think of it as your biography that highlights your relevant expertise, achievements, and qualifications to write the work. Select details of your education, hobby, career, publications, prizes and awards, media exposure, research or personal experience that spotlight your strengths in authoring your book.
3. The about-the-market section. Agents and publishers take on projects that they believe have a ready market of buyers. They want to feel confident knowing where the book belongs on the bookstore shelf and that it will make money. This is one of the most important parts of the proposal; your writing might be brilliant and your idea solid, but without a clear market, your project could be a nonstarter.
In three to five pages, demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, you know your audience, why they will want your book, and how your book stands out in the marketplace. Research your target markets, and if available, use relevant statistics and facts to boost your case. List key stats of your primary market to prove there is a target audience, and follow up with an evaluation of your secondary market. That is, identify and evaluate competitive works that are currently available in your category, with a critical but fair eye. Point out how your work fits into, and how it is distinguished from the comparisons.
4. The author platform section. Here you prove you are qualified to write the book and demonstrate that you can reach your audience and that readers will buy the book. In one to two pages present your media experience and contacts, email lists, Twitter followers, Facebook relationships (only as relevant to your topic) details of previous successes and related opportunities for promotion.
Be sure to offer details of each of your platform’s six planks which include:
Media experience, such as TV and radio appearances and print interviews or features.
Social media marketing which shows online exposure via your blog, website, e-newsletter, podcasts and dedicated YouTube site. The larger the online audience, the better it looks for book sales.
Previous publications, or books and/or articles you’ve published in the subject area that relate to your new book concept.
Speaking engagements, including- large national or prestigious groups you addressed in your topic area. List how often you speak to groups and the size of your audiences, because “back of the room” book signings after presentations make good sales opportunities. If you work with a speakers bureau, mention that.
Product tie-ins, which include your own products or endorsed products. These relationships could offer another marketing stream for your book.
Continuous exposure, or your ability to generate constant, ongoing and multifaceted media interest. Agents and publishers don’t want a one hit wonder with one feature article in a regional magazine, for example.
5. The expanded table of contents. This section, two to six pages, outlines the core structure and organization of the book, enabling an agent/publisher to envision in summary, the entire concept. Start with a skeletal structure and then fill it out. Use appealing chapter and section titles, and within each craft a few choice sentences of a paragraph or two that describes the content you’ll cover. Identify any important elements such as photographs. Illustrations, sidebars, recipes, and so on. This feature helps codify the entire book demonstrating the book worthiness of the concept and your ability to envision the entire work, including all its pieces. In this section, be sure to identify which chapter or excerpt you are including as your writing sample.
6. The writing sample. Every proposal must include a writing sample of up to three chapters of the work you propose to write. This is the last section of your proposal and can make or break your opportunity. It must demonstrate your writing ability, style and voice as well as generate interest in your topic and the desire to read more. Make your selection carefully to offer strong content, intriguing elements of the book, and your obvious knowledge and passion for the subject.
Now you know why in mine and others opinion why writing is the easiest part of publishing a book if you go by the traditional route.
I have finished my first draft of Thomas Gomal Learns about Bullying. I’ve had help from my writing friends on FanBox. I appreciate their guidance so much. Until next time have a blessed week and happy writing. Shirley