Sunday, March 27, 2016

Writing a Sharp 1st Draft

by: Stephanie Burkhart

Getting ready to write your novel or short story? I’m sharing some tips on how to write a “sharp” first draft. Mind you, your manuscript will need an edit, but if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll save yourself a serious content edit once you’re ready to tackle the editing process.

#1 – Research! You maybe very familiar with your topic, but you can never research enough. From the setting, to the characters, to the season, the more you know, the more you can write with authenticity. For example, say your character rides a train/subway to work every day. Ride a train for the experience. If your story is set in a foreign country you’ve never been to and you have no opportunity to go there, use the internet, your library, and magazines to explore.

#2 – Establish a hook. Do this on the first page. Usually action serves as a good hook. You could also use dialogue to draw your readers in. Example: Sophia Windsor landed flat on her rump.

#3 – No info dumps in the first 5 pages! We know our main character has a back story, but piece it out slowly. This helps to build anticipation and keeps the reader turning the pages.

#4 – Show, don’t tell. Look for “was” verbs. That’s usually an indication of telling.  Example 1A: Sophia was pale. Example #1B: The color drained from Sophia’s face.

#5 – Use a 1st or 3rd person narration. 1st person is the narrator telling the story using “I.” A great 1st person narration is the Stephanie Plum cozy mysteries by Janet Evanovich. 3rd person involves “he” or “she.” In 3rd person, it is important to keep the scene in one perspective. You can switch perspectives with a minimum of a line break. In “The DaVinci Code,” the author switches perspective with each new chapter.

#6 – Watch out for repeated words. Scan the page and see if you’ve used the same word often. Take a thesaurus and look up the word to see what other choices it gives you.

Question: I’d love to hear from you! What tips do you have for writing a “sharp” first draft?

Happy Easter to my 4RV family and 4RV readers! I hope you enjoy the day with your family.

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She first started writing when she was a little girl, making comics at the kitchen table. She enjoys coffee, adores chocolate, and likes taking long walks. Her books with 4RV Publishing include: The Giving Meadow, First Flag of New Hampshire, Brady’s Lost Blanket, and Joseph’s Cradle.

The Giving Meadow: Caterpillar makes his way through a meadow learning about caring and sharing. A great story to help children understand the mystery of Easter. 

Buy Link:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Welcome back - Bubba and Giganto

Bullying has no target age. This book takes a different viewpoint into the lives of three boys: a toughie, the bullied boy, and the bully. How they resolve the issues, and why bullying became an issue all comes together when a secret that places one of their lives at risk, comes out.

“Lea is a skilled storyteller weaving `new boy in town' with the `town secret'. The book grips you with the teen struggles that everyone can identify with.”

“She has an uncanny way of getting into the head of the protagonist and letting you know exactly what he's thinking and feeling.”

      One can order Bubba and Giganto from 4RV Publishing Catalog, too.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Introducing new 4RV children's book - Concepcion's New Look

     Concepcion's New Look, by Rebecca O. Hayes and illustrated by Jessica McClure, will be officially released March 15, but it can be pre-ordered from the 4RV Bookstore starting March 8. 

     Now, a bit about a young girl who has trouble seeing and reading:

     ConcepciĆ³n loves TV, but she has to sit close to see the screen. She holds her books close to her face to read. Her teacher seats her in the front row to copy her spelling words from the blackboard.
When she gets a chance to look through her Papa’s glasses, she  decides that must be the answer. She wants to get glasses so she can see better.

     But first her eyes need to be tested, a new experience to be faced.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spotlight on Hello, Wigwam by L. John Lawrence

     So many 4RV books have slipped through the promotion cracks. Therefore, let's begin a series to give notice to our outstanding books. 

      First is Hello, Wigwam by L. John Lawrence, which earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Literary Classics reviewer L.J. Bryant posted the following review of the book on November 20, 2015:

Hello, Wigwam is the story of Albert, a young private fresh out of high school who, through a series of miscommunications, finds himself in the heart of a critical top secret mission during the Vietnam war.  Author L. John Lawrence's depiction of the absurdities of combat and its impact on the occasional unwitting pawn is an introspective study of humanity vs. war.

L. John Lawrence exhibits a true gift of the pen in his depiction of a young man who is swept into a world of blood and battle which is not without its ironically funny moments.  This riveting story is superbly written, displaying poignant moments interspersed with a healthy dose of satire.  Hello, Wigwam is recommended for a mature young adult audience and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

     The book is now entered in the 2016 Literary Classics Awards.

     Hello, Wigwam can be purchased through the 4RV Bookstore, any brick and mortar bookstore, and any other online bookstore.

     Learn more about John from his website: