Conversations: 2/17/2017

FOUR DOZEN ROSES—FOR WRITERS—III

There is a book on the self of my local library that enjoys what I call “staying power.” The title: Cheaper by the Dozen fits right into my theme this month of beautiful things, excellent writing and good lessons learned when we write with passion and purpose. This novel was first printed in 1948, made into its first movie in 1950, then a second movie in 1952, followed by the stage play in 1992, and two more recent movies in 2003 and 2005. Although several of the tips listed below apply to the Cheaper by the Dozen novel, stage play and films, the authors recognized the passion and purpose in the lives of these characters and the love and laughter we Readers appreciate.

Here is my third dozen roses for you to consider…

roses

  1. IF you’re considering using a Narrator to tell your story, you must develop this person with as much detail as you’ve done for all the other characters.
  2. Be prepared to re-write and re-re-write until you’re heart and head tell you it’s time to let this book fly.
  3. Words are the writer’s friend—and enemy. If you don’t know the definition and usage of a word DO NOT USE IT.
  4. Don’t allow yourself to be derailed by ideas for other The simple fact that you ARE a creative writer/thinker opens the door to many other book ideas while you’re developing the current book. KEEP FOCUSED ON THIS ONE BOOK.
  5. IF you have an idea about another book, write a one-line concept sentence into a notebook that is SET ASIDE specifically for these ideas.
  6. Many authors have discovered that their dreams will guide them, especially when they feel stuck. It might be necessary to have a notebook or tape recorder beside your bed.
  7. Find a reading/writing friend who trust, and who will sit and talk with you about “the story” you’re writing. You do not have to take their comments literally. However, they will help you move the story forward.
  8. Don’t even try to creatively write a chapter and simultaneously edit it. These are two separate processes and where you can find personal enjoyment in both.
  9. Value yourself as a writer and value what you’re writing. These words your building into a book will define your writing career and, in many ways, define you.
  10. Take laughter breaks! Play with your children. Go to a movie. Take a nice walk with the dog. Have a picnic with your sweetheart! Not only will you feel better physically and emotionally, but your inspiration quota will increase!
  11. Remember: Every novel is about people. We all have quirks and one or two of your characters may be very “quirky.” However, too much quirky-ness is not an easy thing for Readers to enjoy.
  12. As you’re writing visualize the people/characters IN THE MOVIE. Go back to your very detailed, very descriptive backgrounds you’ve written about each character. Is there an actor (past or present) who fits? Listen to their on-screen dialog and watch their actions and reactions.

 

NEXT WEEK: the fourth dozen. ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 2/10/2017

FOUR DOZEN ROSES—FOR WRITERS—II

Have you ever read a sequel to novel (that you just loved) and found it lacking the intensity—the passion and purpose—you enjoyed in the first book?

William Shakespeare is the author who penned the words “…that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” which I paraphraroses royalenesed in last week’s blog (Romeo and Juliet, 1600). Tradition tells the story that Shakespeare was poking fun at a local theatre group at the Rose Theatre (rival to his Globe Theatre), considering his to be the better environment. And he wrote the critique right into his play.

There are many skills a writer must develop when creating excellent work. I’m not so sure that throwing punches at other writers within a storyline is one of them. So it is that you’ll find my second dozen roses below—for you to consider as you build your own, personal writing career!

  1. AS you are writing/developing #s 4 and 5, begin a PLOT file—a plot timeline. Keep this first plot draft in chronological order. You’ll have plenty of creative time later to mix things up should you choose to do so.
  2. As you’re developing the theme, you’ll discover the conflict in the story. Like the difference in the right side of a spoon and wrong side, your story will not hold the plot without knowing the right and wrong side of issue/theme.
  3. Using your creative thinking while accomplishing the first seven tips will begin to show you the best perspective from which to reveal this story. Each character must stay true to their specific point-of-view. However, you may choose to complete the story through one point-of-view—or several.
  4. Also, as you get to know your characters, they will share the crises of their lives with you. You can make a separate list of these crisis elements—or you can incorporate them into the plot timeline.
  5. Look for the joy in your character’s lives. This term “joy” is defined quite differently in the lives of various characters. Be sure you understand your characters well enough to what bring true joy into their hearts.
  6. Look for the explosion factor in each main character. What event, action or missing action, cause your characters “scale” to be tipped?
  7. When you started writing you may have had one specific resolution or outcome in mind. Keep an open mind. Your characters may point to a totally different solution—or there may be several mini-solutions that just might carry you into a second or third novel.
  8. Make sure you have one solid character who Readers can cheer for. This could be—but doesn’t have to be—your main character. Supporting characters, who have one major problem that is resolved by the end of the book, can eventually become main characters in your next book(s).
  9. As you begin the actual manuscript draft remember: every sentence must either advance the plot, reveal more about the characters and/or the theme you’re developing.
  10. At the end of every chapter (or section) give the pages a “reality check.” Does this scene live? Are the actions of your characters realistic as they deal with the situations?
  11. Look for the miraculous as well as the ordinary events in your character’s lives.
  12. Challenge your thinking about how the story is growing. Allowing our “left-brain/right-brain” argument time often leads to amazing outcomes.

NEXT WEEK: A third dozen … ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 2/3/2017

FOUR DOZEN ROSES—FOR WRITERS—I

February (and the last week of January) is a season that is full of family birthdays for me. My Mother’s birthday started the celebrations rolling and she loved roses. When someone admired her centerpiece vase full of red, yellow and white roses, she was always pleased. However if anyone happened to mention that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” she would gracefully argue the point. Often she took several roses from the vase and requested that each rose be smelled individually so that her visitor would realize the subtle differences. There was even one variety of rose (which I can’t seem to recall at the moment) that had no scent at all, yet was most exquisite. In my Mother’s world, each individual rose—no matter which bush it came from—was uniquely beautiful and brought joy into our home.

roses

So it is with each individual writer who writes with Passion and Purpose—which is exactly what I’m hoping you are doing. In the spirit of beautiful roses and beautiful writing you’ll find my first dozen roses for you below—things to consider as you build your writing career!

  1. READ a LOT of books in the genre you’re writing in! When you find something in one of those books that you don’t like about it—make a note about it—so you can avoid doing the same thing in your book.
  2. READ the occasional book that connects with your writing/story interests, but is from a different genre.
  3. Set yourself up for SUCCESS! Decide what time of day is the best for your creative mind to kick in and flow. Then set your writing schedule accordingly. This could be an everyday schedule, a 5-days-a-week schedule, 3-days a week. Being aware of the needs your life demands of you will (yes, WILL) give you the time you need to write.
  4. Then—if your schedule tells you it’s time to be writing—go write! Don’t allow moods the power to remove a day of writing.
  5. Do your best to relax while writing. If you’re a spiritual person, mediate or pray before you begin—or simply practice some deep breathing (to bring oxygen to your brain)—and begin.
  6. Prepare yourself to work hard. Writing and becoming a published author is not an easy career.
  7. Always, ALWAYS, back up your files on a disc and/or memory stick.
  8. Think about your audience. Who is that one person who will understand your story because they’ve lived it? Or because they’re dreaming about living it? IF you don’t know who this person is you’ll run the risk of boring them to sleep.
  9. Consider making your first notes (files) by hand. Those wonderful legal-pads of lined yellow paper are excellent tools and as you type them into a computer file the creative embellishments will flow with ease.
  10. Begin to write one-liners about the theme of your story(s). What words express this theme? Could you write an essay about the essence of it?
  11. Develop your characters TO THE MAX. Let them tell you who they are and what makes them This means ALL of your characters. IF you bring a character on stage you must know at least the basics about them.
  12. Develop the setting (environment) where your characters live. Use LOTS of descriptive words and detail as you break-out each specific setting in relation to each character’s timeline.

Next week: The second dozen!⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 1/27/2017

TRIBES, SUPPORT TEAMS, MENTORS ~ SEEK WRITERS

Last week my husband participated in a parody play written by one of our neighbors. This tribe of actors and their audiences greatly appreciated the writer’s creativity. A few days earlier a neighbor was interviewed for an article in a local newspaper about her soon-to-be released novel. That journalist became both a member of the author’s support team, and the recipient of a worthwhile article to write—which in turn increased the newspaper’s readership. The previous weekend, I received a call from one of my client/authors who needed “three quick write-ups” to be dispersed on the Internet, and she had no time to write them herself. Although my own work schedule was quite full, I was able to help—which in turn strengthened our working relationship. These are but a few examples of reciprocal mentoring that is active and engaged at most every turn of a writer’s life—IF we are available to see it and cooperate.

In last week’s blog I used the term “spinning wheel of creativity.” Most wrispindle spinning wheelters easily grasp the concept of spinning and weaving together the moving parts of their novels and nonfiction books. Every author I know also appreciates the feel of wrapping themselves in their own woven “cocoon” as they sit alone and write. Today, I’m taking this analogy another “spin” further as I offer you additional tips in building these writing/working/marketing relationships. In my first blog of 2017, you’ll find four ways to start this process—however the focus today is on the keyword relationships.

  • Author, know thyself. This isn’t a deep psychology test. What it IS, is setting aside time to answer those questions that marketing, public relations, literary agents and book publishers ask us. Example: Who is your audience? (1st be as narrowly specific as you can—then expand the potential audience as many levels as possible. Think BIG!) What is the core theme? (Develop one sentence that demonstrates your passion behind this theme.) When (Is it a period piece that impacts our lives today)? Where (give the setting/location that attracts readers). How (this is the genre and/or method of writing you’re using). Present these responses as if you were speaking to a publicist who needs “media-bites” to promote your book.
  • Respect your Tribe members. Each of the people you’ll be working with has taken their own journey to reach the connection point where you’ve met. Like us, they need recognition of their skills and their contribution to telling the world about your book(s). During your Tribe-relationship they, too, will be learning new things. As this becomes evident, always acknowledge and encourage them in their goals. The spoken (or typed) words, Thank You, go a long way in building long term relationships.
  • Become part of their Team. Whether part of your Support Team has joined you through their business or you’ve discovered each other through Internet Networking reach out and help them whenever possible. Give a “shout out” about them on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter. Add a line to your marketing mailings that give their business name and contact info. Find creative ways to support those people who are supporting you.
  • Always be kind and courteous. Should someone miss a deadline to provide you with any type of marketing piece—practice forgiveness. I once heard “creative people” described as the most unorganized human beings on the planet. I’m hoping someone (besides me) can relate to that statement. AND YET, in the midst of apparent chaos, beautiful things happen. Creativeness is especially useful to all the Mentors, Support Teams and Tribes as they utilize out-of-the-box thinking to help us succeed.

Bottom line/Take away for this month: Writers are NEEDED in every aspect of life and so are their support teams whether discovered through self-publishing contacts, Internet groups or our neighbors next door. Co-laboring for a common goal gives us strength. Go Forth and BE STRONG in 2017! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 1/20/2017

WRITER SEEKS A TRIBE

Do you have a Native American heritage? I do. So when I heard authors talking about all the amazing help they received from their tribes I was more than a little confused. There was a workshop “All About Tribes,” at last years’ writers conference and curiosity caught me. If you’ve not heard this term before—associated with authors—here’s my paraphrased definition: A tribe is any group of people who care about something they have in common. End of definition. However, applying this concept to authors who are seeking the support of a tribe was a whole different twist for me. My paradigms had not shifted into the “real world of Internet groups” which are being re-labeled “tribes” even as I write this blog.holding hands

Please allow me to come at this concept from another perspective. There are two things I’m absolutely certain about. One is that Writers and basically loners. We develop our stories alone, in our heads, and they pour out onto the computer screen through our fingers. Two, we love words! The shorthand of the majority of Internet users can (and often does) frustrate writers to the max! What most of us are NOT savvy about is marketing and/or networking in order to get the wonderful book we’ve just published actually into READERS hands. Here is where the TRIBE comes in—the group of people out there on the Internet on social media venues who will TALK about our books. I’m not referring to a small group of media-types who populate television media—the “talking heads” who announce and pronounce success (or not) concerning everything from politics to cookie recipes. I’m referring to the thousands of people (hopefully more) who are talking about our books—genre, topic/concepts, characters, settings, etc.—because they have found a common thread within those pages that they care about.

For example: I mentioned my short story/book titled DEPLOYED. Doing a quick Internet search of groups for our deployed military, I found over 30 pages of potential resources—groups of people that are talking about some element of military deployment. This is FREE information that can lead you people who “care about” the same topics you do—and who will tell other people about the book(s) you’ve written! And when they talk, people listen.

Now the questions become: How do you find the appropriate groups/tribes? How do you contact them—all of them? How do you introduce yourself? Should you start a tribe of your own, without connecting to other tribes first?

When I typed out these questions from my workshop notes, I floundered. I want to write the books I’m passionate about and share those writings with lots of Readers. I don’t want to become a marketing specialist! And yet, the tribe concept intrigued me. I do want to encourage other writers, dig deep into this spinning wheel of creative writing and help them make something beautiful, too.

So my personal definition of my writing career is expanding. I am no longer the solitary author. I’m an author/mentor who is seeking the Tribe(s) of people in this world who appreciate and care about what I’m writing. And possibly, just possibly, there are a few writers in that Tribe (as well as Readers) who will talk about, write about and help even more writers, too.

How will I find them? It’s a little late tonight, but first thing tomorrow morning I’ll be calling my Publishing Consultant and asking her to connect me with their Personal Marketing Assistant. That’s all I need—just a little help from a friend—and I’ll be connected to my Tribe very soon. ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 1/13/2017

WRITER SEEKS SUPPORT TEAM

Have you collected several years-worth of Writer’s Digest magazines anhelp!d multiple editions of the Writer’s Market? Have you gone to Writer’s Conferences, sat in the back row and collected every handout? Have you walked bookstore aisles searching for that one writing advice book that would motivate you to actually publish what you’ve written? These are, indeed, excellent resources and you’ll learn many things through listening to their articles and fact-finding pieces and reading each chapter. However, they are not the hands-on, personally invested assistants that we all need in our writing lives at various strategic moments. I’ve been told that the journey I’ve taken in my writing career is similar to that of many authors—even the famous ones. So it is that I hope the following examples of my personal experiences will encourage you to seek and accept help along your own writing path.

  • Stories popped into my head ALL the time and I never found/took the time to write them down except for the occasional basic concept which I filed Then a neighbor mentioned that our local county library was hosting a writing workshop—and I signed up! The instructor was an experienced author whose encouraging manner led to the completion of my first published short story!
  • That library workshop group of people grew in solidarity as we invested in each other during the next several 8-week sessions. Then times—and county library budget—changed and we learned that there would be no more workshops in the foreseeable future. SO—we established our own Writers-at-Work group and the instructor joined us as one of the working This group remains loosely connected today—after close to 45 years together! We will never stop mentoring each other!
  • One particular short story caught my husband’s eye. It is a Christmas story titled DEPLOYED, and its storyline touched several of my author-friends as well. With his big nudge and support we printed 500 copies and donated the majority of them to encourage military units as they were deployed. Later, I published it on Amazon/Kindle, and am now developing it into a novel. This would not be happening if I’d never surrounded myself with my Personal Support Team.
  • As I grew in writing skills and knowledge, and my supporters grew in their nudging skills, I became an Advance Writing teacher! What an amazing experience to work with high school students! Their imaginations inspired each other, I was inspired, too! Those are the years that I began setting aside notes for a different kind of book which eventually became FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writers Study of Words—self-published with Outskirts Press.
  • When the teaching season of my life concluded, a new door opened, and I started working with beginning authors to edit, critique, and prepare their projects for publication—and that has been my writing life for the past ten years. With the publication of each author’s book I am again blessed beyond measure!

So there you have it—a personal example of one writer who has experienced the multiple benefits of supportive people throughout one writing career. I call this the TEAM EFFECT, similar to the concept of a ripple effect as each individual nudges you along and widens your horizons making your writing better!

About my decision to self-publish? I simply did not want to wait years to be accepted by a traditional publishing house as I queried and/or worked with an agent who would receive part of my royalty. Instead, I did my research into self-publishing companies, talked with other authors who have self-published, and then selected Outskirts Press. Their Author Consultant, Publishing Consultant, and Design Specialist were excellent additions to my Support Team. When the time comes, I’ll be publishing with them, again! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 1/6/2017

WRITER SEEKS MENTOR

January and the New Year nudge many of us to look into the future and consider what we might accomplish during the next twelve months. Quite often this season of new loungingpossibilities fills me with memories of the English/writing teachers in my life—the men and women who were passionate about grammar, sentence structure and the specific definitions of words. Many of my friends talk about the professors who became their tour guides into the worlds of American and English Literature, Shakespeare and Renaissance writings and the dramatic works of stage plays and poetry. For me, personally, I continued my education through writers’ conferences and local creative writing workshops. Without exception, each of the instructors fed me the knowledge they’d learned—and experienced—giving me the opportunity to absorb as much as I would or could at the time. I will forever be thankful for these counselors, advisors and mentors in my life.

Have you been a protégé of an English teacher, Journalism professor or local Creative Writing instructor?  Have you advanced your skills and abilities under their tutoring? Are you now ready to be a Mentor? Here are few thoughts to consider in this New Year—as you find yourself in position to encourage the youngest and oldest writers in your neighborhoods.

  • Be prepared with lists of resources. Take an inventory of your own writing resources. Include books and articles you’ve found most helpful and also include several of your favorite books—in several genres—that demonstrate the best of writing expertise.
  • Learn about your own personality type and the corresponding communication skills that allow you to connect with someone who asks for your advice.
  • Create a list of questions that you can select from which will help you understand what the person—and their writing project—need from you.
  • Be willing to decline a request for help. It is quite possible that you are a link to help that person connect with the writer/person who will be their best advisor.

There are several authors I know who are offering creative support to writers. Two of my “go to” mentors are Francine Rivers (Christian Fiction) and Joanne Penn (Thrillers). Their websites and blogs offer excellent advice developed from years of experience and award-winning writing. They are excellent resources for those who are a bit shy about meeting face-to-face. However, should you wish to locate a writer in your location, you can contact the National Writing Organizations in your genre and ask for recommendations. Another source is your local Universities and Community Colleges. Their professors may be a good fit, or they will know of author/mentors in your area.

It is an exciting time when one writer seeks mentoring by another. I never imagined that I would someday be in both positions—simultaneously. Experience has and is teaching me, that every writer—as we grow in our craft—become counselor, advisor and partner/assistant to other writers. What we learn from helping other writers, both through them and their specific projects, enhances our own skills in ways we may not realize for years. These are continuing paths of education that cannot be measured or given a monetary value.

As we begin this year of 2017, I hope we’ll all enjoy the blessings of being mentored and mentoring at least one other person. And may we never be shy about seeking the mentoring we need. It is through these experiences we become lifetime-learners! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.