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There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?
**5 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer**
When I started talking about my writing, people often asked how I got anything written between a full-time job, part-time classes, and a family.
My only answer was coffee. And more coffee.
Over time and after taking more classes, I learned 5 things that helped me with my writing.
1. Always keep writing. I know you hear that all the time, and it makes writer’s fret over hitting a particular daily word count. Frankly, people’s lives are busy and can’t always fit in writing during bursts of inspiration (we don’t all get to write full-time). So I approach this a little different, “Always think about your writing.” Whether it’s a current WIP or one you have tucked away, keep it in the back of your mind. It’s okay to have a million book ideas (well, a million is a little excessive). When working on a manuscript, I’ve always got 15+ more unfinished WIPS (works-in-progress), ranging from a one paragraph summary, upwards to 10,000 words+. This is how I avoid writer’s block. Always keep writing…whether it’s in your mind or on paper.
2. Focus. Focus. Focus. I wish someone told me this in the beginning. I was in my second year of writing, and was practically going crazy working on the 15 WIPs I mentioned above. On top of it I was taking classes (while working full-time in a non-writing job), and trying to attend every writing workshop I could get my hands on. I met with the current Writer-in-Residence at the time in our area, and asked how he gets one project done. Focus. He said every writer has a ton of ideas, but focusing and getting them done one at a time is what gets you closer to publication. Every time I’m overwhelmed with all the story ideas that pop in my head, I remember this and make myself stay on task.
3. Patience. Oh the joy of patience. I remember a former co-worker telling me a story about her granddaughter, when a new baby came into the family. “But Grandma,” she exclaimed, “what is this patience thing, anyways.” My greatest fault is in my anxiousness and inability to wait things out. I always want to submit my manuscript before it’s been completely polished or start getting reviews before the final edits are done. Wait. Be patient. Once your book is in print you can’t take it back. Never forget this.
4. Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. When I started writing I was constantly overwhelming my manuscript with the little details. The more time I spent learning about writing through workshops and classes, and reading published novels in my genre, I realized that the great novels are about the little things, not little details. Turning something simple into something wonderful. I know this sounds vague…but when you think about it while looking through your story it will start to make sense.
5. And finally, never stop learning or writing. Whether it’s one tiny lesson, or an entire book of them, every little bit you absorb will make you a better writer. Join your local writer’s guild, go to conferences, and take a continuing education class at a university. Every step you take helps you improve. Fellow writer’s aren’t your competition (tell me one person who reads only one author). Use the resources out there as a source of support – a good group treated right will return the favour.
No matter what happens in my writing career, I keep in mind why I write: because I love to.
About the Author
Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her upcoming YA trilogy: THERE ONCE WERE STARS and her YA urban fantasy series: SUMMONER RISING.