Help Desk: Book Reviews / Manuscript Beta Readers

When my daughters were toddlers, my mother would remind me

“No one thinks a precocious baby is cute except her parents.”

Nothing could be further away from the truth because my baby girls were adorable!

Ok, her point was others wouldn’t be as fascinated with my children as I am…and she was correct.

The same can be said for authors and their books and manuscripts.

There are very few people outside of a circle of loved ones (and when it comes to manuscripts maybe not even them) who want to read and review an unsolicited manuscript.

In fact, in an unscientific poll, undergoing a root canal would rank higher but you can turn the odds in your favor. Continue reading “Help Desk: Book Reviews / Manuscript Beta Readers”

Help Desk | Story-Telling 101

“…the dash between the years” ~ Linda Ellis


Imagine, it’s the eleventh hour and you feel the end is near.  You pause and ask yourself,  “What have I done with my life?  Have I really lived?

What does my “dash” reveal? ”

OK, so it may be a bit morbid.   But what if someone had to tell your life’s  story; how would it read?

In their book, “How to Tell A Story: The Secret of Writing Captivating Tales”, renown  writer instructor Gary Provost (1944-1995) and literary agent Peter Rubie give us some insight on the structure of life’s journey.

Rubie and Provost say that 90% of stories you’ve ever read, told or heard follow a plotting formula that reads like this:

The Plot

“Once upon a time, something happened to a woman, and she decided that she would pursue a goal. So she devised a plan of action, and even though there were forces trying to stop her, she moved forward because there was a lot at stake,  And just as things seemed as bad as they could get, she learned an important lesson and when offered the prize she sought so strenuously, she had to decide whether or not to take it, and in making the decision(s), she satisfied a need that had been created by something in her past.

~Gary Provost, How to Tell a Story

As you survey your life, you’ll probably find some points on your dash that read just like this plot.  But the real gem of this outline helps you stay the course  in both your fiction writing and through the difficult times in life.

THE WRAP:  A Plot:

A Protagonist has (Who)

to overcome a challenge(What)

to achieve a goal (Why)