How to Make Your Book A Page Turner

How to make your book a page turner 

 by Janice Seagraves 

 

To make your book a page turner, you’ll need to hook your readers. 

 

Place a hook at the beginning and end of each chapter, so the reader won’t want to set your book down. 

 

A hook doesn’t have to be the middle of some crisis like a cliff hanger in the old serials where the hero is left literally hanging off a cliff. It can be something that leaves a question in the readers mind: Will she/he kiss/accept him/her. 

 

If your story is suspense, mystery or horror, don’t end the conflict until the very last page. Do the same thing if you’re writing romance, keep some unresolved question between your couple until the very last page. 

 

In that way you’re keeping the tension going. 

 

Remember you have to have tension to have a story. No tension, no story. 

 

Then your reader will be staggering into work the next day, saying, “I just read the best book. I couldn’t put it down and didn’t go to sleep until three in the morning.”

Sound-a-like Words

Sound-a-like words

By Janice Seagraves

 

Today my daughter and I were talking about sound-a-like words that  mess up a perfectly good sentence.

Ah—as in Ah, I just got that.

Aw—as in Aw, I’m disappointed.

Awe—as in I’m in Awe of the majestic mountains that surround the Yosemite valley.

Then there is:

There—over there by the car.

Their—is a possessive—That’s their car.

They’re— is a contraction of they are—They’re making a get-a-way in their car.

Also:

Yeah—I agree with you.

Yea—a vote.

Yay!—a cheer.

Don’t forget the possessives that don’t always have an apostrophe s (‘s):

Their—possessive of they—that’s their car.

Its—it’s is is a contraction while the possessive of it is its.

 

What other sound-a-like words can you think of?

Revision Hell by Janice Seagraves

 Revision Hell

by Janice Seagraves

1) Do a read through. Read your manuscript like a reader. Either print it out, load it into your ereader or change the font and read it on your computer. Note: changing the font will make your manuscript look different and you can see it with fresh eyes.

2) Keep a note pad by you as you read. Take notes, but keep it simple: Ch. 1 needs a better opening hook. Ch. 2 starts out too slow.

3) After you do your read through, go through it again, but this time write each scene down.

I won’t kid you, this is the hardest part of revision, but it is the most rewarding. Write it simply, Ch. 1: scene 3: the scene where the hero and heroine meet is too slow.  Ch. 2: scene 1: the wake up scene is too cliché.

4) As you write each scene add a number from 1 to 10 for its importance to your story. Note: Don’t revise until you write all the scenes down.

5) After you have all the scenes down, you will be able to look each over each scene in your story to see which ones you want to delete. This step helps you see the bigger picture, so to speak.

6) But don’t delete yet!

7) Open a new file on your computer and name it “deleted scenes” with the title of your ms. In this file you’ll paste in the scenes you are taking out. It makes taking out those scenes nearly painless, and when you reread your ms you can see if your ms flows better without them. If it doesn’t then you can always put it back in.

8) After you have taken out the scenes that slowed your prose, reread your entire manuscript like a reader. If it flows, you’re done.

9) Send it to a beta reader, or if you’re feeling really confident sent it to a publisher.

Watch Those Tenses

Watch Those Tenses
By Janice Seagraves
 
What are tenses exactly?
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There’s the past tense, the present tense and the future tense. There are more of course, but for this lesson I’m keeping it simple.
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Have I lost you?
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To put it simply: Past tense is things that have already happened. Present Tense is things happening right now. Future tense is things that haven’t happened yet.
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Example Past Tense: Sally went to the store to get some milk.
Here I used the past tense: went
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Example Present Tense: Sally is going to the store to get some milk.
Here I used the present tense: going
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Example Future Tense: Sally will go the store to get some milk.
Here I used the future tense: will go.
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What tense should you use for writing?
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In most fictions such as romance, suspense, paranormal, fantasy etc., I suggest you use past tense as most editors (not all) will prefer it. It was explained to me this way:
“When you tell a story, you tell it like it has already happened.”
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But there will be times when you’ll need to use another tense: when something hasn’t happened yet or when someone is doing something right this moment in your story.
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Here’s an example from Lord of the Ring:
[Galadriel descends to a glade and fills a silver pitcher with water from a stream. She stands before an ornate stand with a shallow silver basin upon it. The Lady turns towards Frodo.]
Galadriel: “Will you look into the mirror?”
Frodo: “What will I see?”
Galadriel: [stepping up to the basin] “Even the wisest cannot tell. For the mirror… shows many things…”
[She begins to pour the water into the silver mirror.]
Galadriel: “…things that were… things that are… and some things…” [She empties the ewer and steps back] “that have not yet come to pass.”
***
Past tense: –ed words, had, was/were, gone, done, finished, verb forms ending in -ing.
Example: I had already studied tenses for writing.
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Present tense: am/is/are, going, doing, verb forms ending in –ing.
Example: I am studying tenses for writing.
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Future tense: will be/shall be/will have, verb forms ending in –ing.
Example: I will be studying tenses for writing.
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As you can see –ing words work for all tenses, but –ing can weaken your prose, so don’t use them too often.

When to use then and than

I’ve been suffering with a cold, which is the third for this winter. And yes I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

However, I’m feeling a little bit better than I was and I thought I do a mini lesson.

If I’ve done this one before, please forgive me.

When to use then and than

By Janice Seagraves

Then and Than may look a lot alike but they are used for two completely different functions.

Use then when you need to show when something happened.

Example: Karen went out to the car to get her purse and then came back inside.

I didn’t use a comma here because Karen did both things.

However, you can also use then by itself since and is implied.

Example: Karen went out the car to get her purse, then came back inside.

Why not use and by itself?

Because and is used when something happens at the same time. Karen can’t go out the car and go back inside at the same time, so and can’t be used here.

On shorter sentences you wouldn’t necessarily need the comma, but here I used it in place of the missing and. However on longer sentences you can use and then.

And then there was than.

Use than when you’re comparing things.

Example: I like this banana better than that apple.

Example: I like driving the Cadillac more than I did the Toyota.

Example: I like skiing better than hiking through the snow.

From this example you might think you’d use then more than than, then you’d be right.

 

Editing your work

Normally, editors want your work to be as polished as you can make it, before they set eyes on it. 

That means: No typos. No grammar mistakes. Correct word usage. And they especially don’t want to see a first draft.

Then they find what you miss, but they can’t write the book for you. They just don’t have the time for that.

To get your work as polished as possible, I suggest a critique group, beta reader, or critique partner. 

Critique groups are great for finding: Grammar mistakes. Wrong word usage. And making suggestions on improving your work.

What they can’t do is see the bigger picture, because they get it one piece at a time. 

If you want someone to see the whole thing, then you need a beta reader or a critique partner. 

Beta readers: Read the entire MS and make suggest for the plot and such. They can also point out continuity errors. 

But they don’t fix grammar problems. 

Critique partners: You trade work. They will take a chapter of yours for a chapter of their’s to do a critique on. Some people prefer this approach to polishing their work.


For more help on what an editor does, check out these links:


 



There is no hard and fast rule to writing a book. However, you need to make your manuscript as professional as possible before you let an publisher see it. 

Another suggestion is to take classes online. There are even classes to help you work on your manuscript. 

Some free online classes:



Some of these you have to pay for: 



Thursday’s Thirteen: Conjunctions other than “And”

A lot of new and experienced writers lean very heavily on the word “and,” so many in fact that “and” has became one of the top overused words.

Thirteen conjunction words to use instead of “And.”

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1. Then
2. Besides
3. in addition
4. too
5. also
6. plus
7. in addition to
8. as well as
9. furthermore
10. including
11. moreover
12. more than that
13. together with