Tag Archives: tips for writers

What makes a book unremarkable? One author/reader’s views – very well stated!

This link came to me from one of the writer’s in the local writer’s group I used to attend, who I believe follows this blog. The author who wrote this article came up with a way to review other author’s books, and what about them makes him lose interest. He has evaluated those reasons for losing interest in this blog post in a very effective manner, which could give any author an opportunity to look at their own work with an eye to seeing if those flaws are present. Not surprising to me, poor editing is in the top three. Show, don’t tell is another – also not a surprise. The lion’s share of the top issue concerns goes to story building, which is also not a surprise. Here is something that should not surprise us either – good beta or alpha readers can help resolve the first two, a good copy editor or developmental editor can also help with the first two, but no one can help you produce a good book if you don’t have a good underlying plot, strong characters, and consistently believable material to begin with!


Now – being a scientist, I am aware that you can make statistics tell you just about anything you want it to tell you. Also, being aware of the nature of statistics, I am aware that this fellow is working with a very small data pool and using highly subjective analysis. However, given those limitations I believe that he has been forthright in his presentation and representation of what data he has accumulated thus far, and has limited the subjective nature of his research with multiple checks to the point that the material is extremely valuable. 

It will be interesting to see future results with more data available, or to see if the process could be replicated. Anyone else out there interested in trying this? Or know someone using a review process similar to this so the results can be compared?


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Search yourself lately?

I have lately done a lot of internet searches for a multitude of reasons (fact-checking for manuscripts, research and background for specific topics, refreshing my memory, etc.). I have found myself checking websites to ensure they are still available/actually exist (another form of fact-checking). I also found myself trying to relocate a website about a specific person…

Then, for a lark, I decided to check on my own name and see what came up.

The only things that came up on Yahoo, Google, Bing, and even Ask.com (though there wasn’t much on that one) all seemed to relate to me or my family. All the links looked unremarkable, although there were even some that were promising (there were a few acknowledgements in books that I hadn’t been aware of being acknowledged in floating around out there – one from years and years ago), so I was breezing through the little mini-blurbs that pop up with the keywords highlighted without actually clicking on them, and was getting some warm fuzzies from all the nice things being said (and grimacing at the photos of me, ew…). I saw one place and then another that said something along the lines of “We found 1 people with the name of Ronda Swolley…” and discovered that, unlikely as it may be, I think I am the only Ronda Swolley in all the internet – at least it sure seems that way, LOL!

Everything that popped up was about me, except one odd little bit about an arrest report in Council Bluffs, Iowa. When I first saw that I was a bit peeved, thinking someone had falsely given my information to the police. I don’t recall ever being on the wrong side of the law – or at least getting caught on the wrong side of the law. My misspent youth probably had a few minor infractions I may or may not recall under pressure, and there was a parking ticket deluge that was my ex-husband’s fault which resulted in a warrant of appearance on me because the vehicle was in my name (his sneaky way of getting me to sign the title over to him). However, the way search engines work made it seem as though that link was about me when it wasn’t even about my name! When I tried to track that police report down to see what it said I had been arrested for it was actually a list of reports with my first name and another last name on one report, and then a few lines down someone else with my last name but a different first name had been charged with a misdemeanor violation involving having too many dogs. At least that is what it sounded like. I know who it was (a relative of my husband) but have no idea why she would have had enough dogs to be charged with any kind of violation!

I wonder how many people have seen something like that about another person and jumped to conclusions about it without ever taking that step of clicking on the link to investigate the information. I know that I will be less likely to jump to conclusions in future, bad or good, and more likely to actually investigate the links I find!

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L. Jagi Lamplighter

This is a link to a series of writing tips, tricks, and techniques posted by L. Jagi Lamplighter, a published author and I hope a friend. The link is posted with permission.She has a lot of really good advice for writers of fiction.


She touches on things that range from how to bring a character to life, to how to hook a reader and keep them hooked, and more.

The art is the cover for her newest book, not yet in print.


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