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Question
Dear Anyone,

   I started writing books this summer, when family problems started. My books are interesting, or so say my friends, but I feel that they lack something. Like maybe that they seem so weak, like its weakly written. I know "big" words makes a book seem like the author of it is intelligent but it makes it harder for those of a young(10-15) age to understand what's happening. So I ask, How do I make my book more interesting without using "big" words?

Sincerely,
A.S.

Answer
You pose an interesting dilemma; should you write to impress your reader or entertain your reader? Do you want your reader to think highly of you or of your books? Todayís books entertain, rather than impress. Youíre already on the right track to avoid words that others may have to look up in a dictionary.  

If you want to entertain, big words donít make a story interesting; conflict and tension do. Fascinating characters do. Realistic dialogue that moves the plot forward does.

Because you just started writing books this summer, donít despair. Most writers spend years honing their craft. At least you have begun. Not only do you need good ideas and a strong desire to write, you also have to learn as you go. Besides reading books about how to write a good story, spend time reading or rereading books by authors you admire. Analyze what makes you like that personís writing and why you enjoyed reading the story. Apply that information to your stories.

Also, know the market you want to write for. If you are writing for young adults, read the books young adults are buying and analyze what makes those stories interesting.

Above all, donít get discouraged. Join writers groups and discuss your issues and learn from them. Do not, however, discuss your story lines; talking about them not only gives your ideas away but also drains energy from the ideas. Instead, use that energy to write down your ideas and turn them into books.

Also, be sure to sign up for The Writers Network News, my free newsletter for writers. You'll get writing tips and techniques as well as other valuable information each month. Go to www.zebraeditor.com and click on "Free Newsletter."

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Bobbie Christmas

Expertise

Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.

Experience

Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Organizations
Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Publications
Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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