For Readers & Writers

from Susan Dennard

May 23, 2014
I'm running a 5K! Not quickly or very easily, but it IS happening. Why? Because I'm doing a fundraiser for the 5K! It was all blogger Melody Simpson's idea, and together we've built this awesomely fun #YARunsA5K endeavor to raise money for First Book (an organization that provides children in poverty with books).
(Thank you to Erin Bowman for this AWESOME graphic!)

If you're near Philadelphia, please consider running with us (you get a t-shirt!!!). Or, maybe do a Virtual Run with us instead (you ALSO get a t-shirt!). ORRRR, consider donating to our cause...? All donors are entered into a giant raffle, and all donors >$40 get a free signed book, ARC, or critique!

Learn more about what you can win here. There will also be auctions for agent critiques and even a 10 minute phone call with my agent, Joanna Volpe. :)

In other news, New Orleans was AMAZING!! The Romantic Times Convention was seriously the MOST fun--panels and workshops on writing? Yes please!! I highly recommend this con to aspiring authors. :)

Plus, check out my photo (on the right)--I got to visit Joseph Boyer's favorite restaurant, Café du Monde (his favorite food is beignets, of course ;)).

For the Misfits:
Read the entire first chapter of S&EA!
Yep, you read that title right! If you click on this link, you can read all of the first chapter of Strange & Ever After. HOORAY!!

I mean, I have to celebrate the pending release SOMEHOW. And can you believe the book comes out in just under 2 months?? 7/22/14--that's so soon! (Where did this last year gooooo?)

Oh, and I finally updated my Facebook header AND finally changed to the stupid new Twitter (does anyone else hate it?). Feel free to use the graphic. ;)

 For the Daydreamers:
Take Your Writing to the Next Level, Tip #2

You may recall I discussed pushing your writing to the next level in a previous heart-to-heart. I'm ALWAYS pushing myself harder and looking for new ways to get better (okay, not always. Sometimes I get lazy...but USUALLY).

Well, this week, I wanted to share a second tip:
Work with other writers.

I've talked about how important critique partners are to my creative process, and I've talked about how valuable a writing community can be for sanity's sake. But what about on a craft level? How can other writers help you improve and expand your skill set?

To answer that question, let's actually reverse it: how can YOU help other writers improve their craft and broaden their toolboxes?

Well, let's think about that for a second. No one--not a single person on this planet--can write a book like you would write a book.

And no one--not anyone--has the knowledge or experiences or personal tastes that YOU have. That's pretty cool right? It also means you have something unique to offer the world and fellow writers.

When someone gives you a manuscript to critique, how do you approach it? I know I focus heavily on character consistency and pacing. I hate characters who act out-of-character and I hate slow pacing or unnecessary scenes. That said, my darling critique partner, Sarah J. Maas, can definitely get tripped up with slow pacing and long word counts, so I help her keep things streamlined.

On the other hand, I'm kind of TERRIBLE with character motivations--specifically with making them clear and concise (I am the queen of convoluted motivations that make zero sense to the reader). Sarah is EXCELLENT at spotting wonky motivations, so she can always help me catch those sorts of problems.

And, the more we work together, the better we both get at recognizing issues in our own stories.

Each of my critique partners and beta readers and writer friends offers me something different (and I of course offer what I can in return). The more we all write, interact, exchange our work, and discuss the craft of writing, the more we all learn.

Honestly, it's incredibly rewarding.

Even if you don't have a group of writers you trust, you can FIND "your people." Join the RWA or Savvy Authors, Absolute Write or the OWWSFF. Attend conventions like Romantic Times or SCBWI. Simply going to panels and hearing other writers discuss craft is a GREAT way to expand your own skill set.

Now, to wrap up, here are the best writing-related links I discovered this week: See you next Friday (there'll be no blog Monday because my family is visiting me for Memorial Day). If you have any questions about ANYTHING, drop by the forum to ask. Thank you so much for reading!

P.S. If you're in my "Write a Book with Sooz" workshop, you'll be getting an email about the whole shebang verrrry soon. :)

photo by Emily Rae Photography

Copyright © 2014
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St., Suite 410
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer, an animal-lover, and a (now gluten-free) cookie-eater.