Tag Archives: book recommendations

Book Endorsements 101

Laura Ayo

A dear friend recently asked me to provide a quote for the jacket of a book she wrote. I’ve had the privilege of accompanying this woman along her journey to write her story since day one, so, of course, I said I’d be happy to share my opinion of her work. I was flattered that she asked, even though I had never composed a cover quote. After re-reading the endorsements on several books in my home and scouring online resources for guidance, I thought I’d share what I learned. Continue reading

Voicey-Voice Voice

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

I’ve been thinking about voice a lot lately, or at least the act of having a voice. Maybe it’s our current political climate or maybe it’s that I’m five scenes away from a first draft and I’m still not sure I’ve mastered my voice yet. Whatever it is, voice has got me rattled.

Since I’m not going to even pretend to be an expert on discovering literary voice, you’ll not find a five point plan for creating the voiciest voice you could write here. What I will offer are some solid examples where, in my humble opinion, the authors write with a voice that is honest, reeks of music and is totally engaging. Stick with me, We’re going directly to the source, folks.

My list began to get ridiculously long as I thought about all the books I believe have strong voice, so below I’m including only the books I’ve recently devoured:

Picture Books
The Bink and Gollie series
Last Stop on Market Street
The Piggie and Elephant Series
Life on Mars (love that this book is in first person)

Mid-Grade
Ghosts
The Red Pencil
Roller Girl

YA
Kids of Appetite
Goodbye Days
The Carnival at Bray
The First Time She Drowned
Aftercare Instructions

Adults
Homegoing
Barkskins
Perfect Little World
The Girls
The Bone Clocks (Currently reading, but added because 40 pages in and the voice is excellent)

(Not consumed recently, but always and forever):
The Outsiders (Because duh)
The Cather in the Rye (Because double duh)
The Harry Potter Series (Because triple duh x 7)
Invisible Man (Because this book, for me, is the master “duh”)

My list is clearly not exhaustive, so please share the wealth. What books are you reading that have great voice?

 

Pretty Good

Megan Norris Jones

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000 hour rule, which states that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill. This notion is both encouraging and discouraging. It’s encouraging because it means if I practice, I can become good. It has inspired me to dedicate time to my craft and consciously cultivate the skills I lack. It’s discouraging when I consider how long 10,000 take to rack up when I squeeze writing time into 15-30 minute increments. This is going to take a while.

Then I heard a TED Talk by Josh Kaufman, and he introduced me to the 20-hour rule. In it, he argues that, while it might take 10,000 hours to master a skill, 20 hours of deliberate practice can make you decent at most things. Continue reading

Insomniacs Anonymous 5-26-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou’re awake. Instead of writing the Great American Novel—or even a mediocre one—you’re reading our blog. Okay, then. We offer a topic; you respond. Let your fellow writers inspire you, and return to that manuscript refreshed.

What prompts you to re-read a book?

Insomniacs Anonymous 5-19-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou’re awake. Instead of writing the Great American Novel—or even a mediocre one—you’re reading our blog. Okay, then. We offer a topic; you respond. Let your fellow writers inspire you, and return to that manuscript refreshed.

What’s your favorite source for book reviews and why?