September 18, 2011 · 10:17 am
Roy Peter Clark wrote the 2010 bestselling book, The Glamour of Grammar, and on September 21, 2011, his new book will be released. The new book is entitled Help! for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces. Mr. Clark joins us here for a guest post, answering a key question for us.
JA: Should you write the ending of your story first?
RPC: The paragon for this paradigm is J.K. Rowling, who has told the story many times that she began writing the seven-book Harry Potter series by writing the ending first. Not the ending of the first book, mind you, but the ending of the seventh book! She even teased her faithful readers with the news that the last word in the series would be “scar.” She changed her mind.
It helped me to write to an ending for my 1999 newspaper serial novel “Ain’t Done Yet.” The story, in 30 chapters, described a burned-out reporter hired to investigate a cult planning a terrorist attack for New Year’s Day 2000. Max Timlin, the reporter, feared two things most of all: lightning storms and high places. So, of course, he would fight to the death with the villain on top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in a fierce storm. Because I knew the big arc of the story, I could focus on the little arcs, those moments of surprise that reveal patterns, cliff hangers, and character.
I like the advice of a novelist (don’t remember his name) who said that writing fiction was like driving a car at night along a winding country road. You don’t need to see all the way to your destination, as long as your headlights can illuminate a stretch of the road ahead. In other words, if you can write your way to the end of a scene, you can build narrative momentum toward what’s coming next.
Interested in winning a copy of Help! for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces? If so, just return to this site on Wednesday, September 21st to see how you can win one of five (5) copies that we’re giving away!
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October 24, 2010 · 1:39 pm
Little Duck Says Quack by Judy Dunn, Author and Phoebe Dunn, Photographer (Random House Books for Young Readers [Board Book]; $8.99; 14 pages)
“The little duck stood up on his big orange feet.”
This is a very special children’s book, written by Judy Dunn and illustrated with pictures by world-renowned photographer Phoebe Dunn. In addition, there is a button that, when pressed, sounds out a very realistic greeting, “Quack, quack, quack.” The book has sturdy pages that will withstand many readings, first by adults to a child or children, and later as a book to be read by the child.
The story chronicles the life of Henry, a handsome duck, from before he hatches until his ultimate transition to adult life in a pond. Along the way, Henry grows up and makes the acquaintance of many creatures, including a dog, a hen, a bunny, and a goat. While he enjoys playing with the boy who found him, he wishes for more from life. A nearby pond contains the answer to his wish.
Please note: This reviewer’s kitty was somewhat taken aback by the notion of a duck in the house! After a few repeats of “Quack, quack, quack” the novelty wore off. Little children likely will not tire of pressing the magic button.
Highly Recommended for children and their caretakers.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
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January 22, 2010 · 4:46 pm
One of our most popular recent book reviews was of Life and Life Only, a novel by Dave Moyer about life, baseball and Bob Dylan (Is there anything else?). If you have not read our review yet, we encourage you to enter the search terms “tangled up in blue” in the Search It! box on the right. A good time is guaranteed for all.
Thanks to the generosity of the author, we have two new autographed copies of Life and Life Only to give away! As always, there are easy-to-follow contest rules. In order to enter this contest once, just send an e-mail to us at Josephsreviews@gmail.com . In order to submit a second entry, tell us what Bob Dylan or baseball has meant to you in your life. If you’re not a fan of either, feel free to tell us so and what takes the place of baseball or Mr. Dylan in your own life (hint: we are nearing Valentines Day). No pressure, just have fun with it.
You have until midnight PST on Sunday, February 14, 2010 – that’s St. Valentine’s Day – to submit your entry. In order to enter, you must live within the continental United States. Prior winners at this site are again eligible to win.
Thanks again to Dave Moyer who is rumored to be a scholar and a gentleman!
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Tagged as author, baseball, Bob Dylan, book contest, book giveaway, books, Dave Moyer, fiction, free books, IUniverse, Joseph Arellano, Joseph's Reviews, life, Life and Life Only, music, novel, sports, Tangled Up in Blue, Younger Than That Now