Tag Archives: Peter Economy

Challenge Update, June 2019

1 Jul

Not great progress, but I’m still moving forward! June has been a crazy busy month and I think it will continue through the summer. We’ve got a lot to pack into these warm months and we’re not wasting a minute of it. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in June:

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy (4/5)
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (4/5)
Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens (3/5)

I’m trucking through a long audiobook in my car so I’m not surprised to see two physical books on here, but it makes me happy to make some progress with printed books!

When Are You Reading? Challenge

8/12
I was excited to see that Lair of Dreams would fill in the 1920-1939 time period for me! I love that time period and being able to fill it with such a fun book was a great way to explore my favorite decade.

Goodreads Challenge

31/52
I’m slowing down, but I’m still moving forward. I don’t think I’ll have trouble finishing this one in time. I’ll start flying through audiobooks again soon, too.

Book of the Month

Because of how helpful it was, I have to pick Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. I learned a lot about developing characters and how to structure my novel.

Added to my TBR

I’m up again for the second month in a row and it hurts. I’m up a total of three to 77.

  • Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian. This is a book club selection for the fall. The author is local to our area!
  • Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. I need to keep moving forward with this series! Just two to go.
  • Liam and Heidi by Jason Alpert. One of my writers’ group members published his book! We’re all so excited.
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. After her first book, I have to see what else Morgenstern has up her sleeve!

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: Going OK. I’ve had some knee pain that’s stopped me from most running and biking. I did a sprint triathlon last week and it went well but it set me back a bit in my recovery. The race will happen before my next post so we’ll see!
  • Attend six weddings: Two down four to go! Another this coming weekend and then a break until August.
  • Finish a weather blanket: I haven’t touched this in a while but I’m not too far behind. I have the data, I just need to do the knitting!
  • Write: This got redirected. After reading Writing Fiction for Dummies, I realized I needed a bit more of a re-write than I thought. I’m working through that now and will have to reconsider sending it to agents after that.
  • See my friends more: The weddings are helping with this. I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the triathlon tunnel when I can be really good at this.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2019, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy (4/5)

20 Jun

I went through a period of adding a lot of writing craft books to my TBR. I think it’s fate that I’m just now getting to them as I’m ready to send my first manuscript out to agents. Reading this one actually made me pause and reconsider a re-write of my plot to make it stronger. This was the right find at the right time.

Cover image via Goodreads

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy

Summary from Goodreads:

So you want to write a novel? Great! That’s a worthy goal, no matter what your reason. But don’t settle for just writing a novel. Aim high. Write a novel that you intend to sell to a publisher.

Writing Fiction for Dummies is a complete guide designed to coach you every step along the path from beginning writer to royalty-earning author. Here are some things you’ll learn in “Writing Fiction for Dummies”

* Strategic Planning: Pinpoint where you are on the roadmap to publication; discover what every reader desperately wants from a story; home in on a marketable category; choose from among the four most common creative styles; and learn the self-management methods of professional writers.

* Writing Powerful Fiction: Construct a story world that rings true; create believable, unpredictable characters; build a strong plot with all six layers of complexity of a modern novel; and infuse it all with a strong theme.

* Self-Editing Your Novel: Psychoanalyze your characters to bring them fully to life; edit your story structure from the top down; fix broken scenes; and polish your action and dialogue.

* Finding An Agent and Getting Published: Write a query letter, a synopsis, and a proposal; pitch your work to agents and editors without fear.

Writing Fiction For Dummies takes you from being a “writer” to being an “author.” It can happen–if you have the talent and persistence to do what you need to do.

There was a lot of good advice packed into this book. I picked up a lot about self-editing and thinking about my character arcs. I knew one of my characters was weak, but I didn’t have a solid idea of how to make her stronger. This book helped. I hadn’t done too much editing when it came to my plot structure and scene order, but this book gave me some direction on how to go about doing that and I’m now in the process of cutting and combining scenes to make for a stronger plot.

I thought the chapters on plot structure were the most helpful for me. Seeing how you could take a story and apply the three-act structure to it hit a lot harder with this book than it had when I got lectures about it before. They used some classic novels to show how the structure applied and give examples of a ‘disaster’ and a ‘first act’ that made it pretty clear that while there is a formula for fiction, it’s applied so many different ways that it’s not formulaic.

I felt that the writers pushed writing conferences harder than was necessary. I gathered that Ingermanson met his agent at one so he’s a strong believer, but it seems like a huge expense for people who write as a hobby. I’m interested in going to one (it looks like they’re one in Detroit and one in Windsor I can look at) but I’m still going to try getting an agent by a query.

Ingermanson is very convinced that people can be taught the art of writing. I’m still concerned about my word-by-word voice and style. I’d hate to write a whole book, edit it, and then realize that I haven’t developed my voice strongly enough for the writing to be good. That’s part of why I write this blog. It helps just to get words on a screen, no matter if they’re book reviews, off-topic posts, or the book I so desperately want to write. I have to just keep writing and eventually, I can learn how to structure a book and by then, I should have the voice all worked out.

Writer’s Takeaway: I think most writers could find something useful in this book. Ingermanson and Economy are often pointing out the ‘rules’ and they are quick to remind you that all rules can be broken. One of their biggest warnings is against head-hopping but I just realized the audiobook I’m listening to head hops and it works great! They would probably shrug and admit that it happens. As much as there are rules, they are made to be broken by those who know how to break them. Ingermanson and Economy set rules for amateur writers and then let you know that you’ll grow. It was a really encouraging book.

Overall, solid help for the wannabe writer. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 19-June-2019

19 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I tried but still made minimal progress in Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. I’m fine with it being a slow go, really. I should pick shorter ebooks, though…
I was able to renew A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin for another few weeks. I’m being optimistic about how many disks I’ll get through.
Still on hold with A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.
I’m very close to finishing Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray! I’m enjoying this one a lot and I’m only a little nervous about a plotline that’s a bit similar to my own novel. I’m hoping it’s still dissimilar enough to be unique.
I’ve just started Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens and I’m trying to get through as much as possible quickly! I’m a little nervous about finishing this one in time but I’ll stay focused.

Recently finished: I renewed Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy and was able to finish it just past the renewal date. Phew! I’m so glad I read this one, it was really helpful and gave me some good ideas for how I’m going to edit my novel. I thought it was ready to submit, but now I’m thinking I need to do at least one more draft before it’s ready to send off. I should have a review for this one up either tomorrow or early next week.

Reading Next: I’m going to start my next book club selection on audio as soon as I can’t so I’m not crunched for time again next month. Our net pick is Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. I have no idea what it’s about but I think it’s our non-fiction selection for the year. I always end up liking these more than I thought I would.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 12-June-2019

12 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I made a point of reading Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min during two lunches last week. I think I’m finally past the halfway point! Only a few more months to go…
I passed disk 20 of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. It’s great and I’m adoring it, but it feels like such an uphill battle with how long it is.
Nothing with A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, still on hold.
I made good progress with Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray because of my runs this past week. I had to renew it, but there won’t be a need for a second renewal to be sure.
I have to return Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy today or tomorrow. I’m racing to finish it. Wish me luck!

Recently finished: Second week in a row of nothing. I hope I can break the streak soon!

I did post my review of Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime so there’s that at least! This break in finishing books has finally let me catch up on reviews.

Reading Next: I’m a bit nervous that I won’t start Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens soon. I need to have it finished by the end of the month and I’ve been really slow with physical books lately. I’m hoping it sweeps me away and I finish it in no time!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!