Tag Archive - Angela Ackerman

How Writers Can Bring Setting to Life through Personification

Today’s post is by Becca Puglisi.

Settings can be tricky for authors. In our desire to firmly ground readers in the scene, we often write too much, adding way more details than are necessary. We also tend to write our settings in somewhat bald terms, keeping them simple so readers can easily envision the time and place.

The problem with these approaches is they result in descriptions that are flat and boring—even when the places themselves are not.

This common area of difficulty is one of the reasons Angela and I decided to tackle settings in our latest books. To be most effective, setting descriptions should be concise and economical, conveying just what’s necessary in a way that brings the scene to life.

Figurative language can often help with this. Similes, metaphors, symbols, and personification can succinctly express the heart of a setting with an economy of words and in a way that appeals to readers. Continue Reading…

Making Your Book Launch Stand Out

I’m always too busy to do book launches, but I know they are important—just one of those things I shake my head at, wishing I had the time and knew the best way to go about doing one. Last year I watched my blogger friend Angela Ackerman (The Bookshelf Muse) launch her nonfiction writing craft book The Emotion Thesaurus—a compilation and expansion on many months’ posts on how writers can show characters expressing emotion (showing, not telling, which is so important). I joined in on some of the fun the week of the launch and helped by tweeting and posting about her book. One year after launch, she’s sold more than 20,000 copies, so I asked her to share what she did and how writers can launch their books successfully. What interested me particularly was how and why she decided to self-publish. Here’s her post:

A book release is both exciting and terrifying. When my coauthor Becca Puglisi and I launched The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression, we seesawed between euphoria and dread. Two writers, unpublished and unproven, launching a self published “how-to” book about writing? How could we possibly compete with books like Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel, Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, or an arsenal of popular writing books from Writer’s Digest? Continue Reading…

The Fine Art of Conquering Impatience

 Today’s guest post is by blogger and writing instructor Angela Ackerman. I felt the topic of impatience would be appropriate now. Around this time of year we often look ahead to next year—and look back on the goals we’d hoped we would reach this year but failed to. Sometimes we enter a new year with a sense of frustration and impatience, wishing we could just get “there” already—reach those milestones we’d aimed for. Now’s the time to reevaluate and plan our strategic course as writers for the next year (all of December’s posts will be focusing on how to strategically plan your goals for next year). But it’s also a time to reflect on the many small successes we’ve had, and those who have been an encouragement in our journey.

Recently my blogging chum Shannon O’Donnell posted about how important certain virtues are for people on the writing path. We must have the courage to write and put ourselves out there, we must find the fortitude needed to persevere. The one virtue she mentioned struggling with is having enough patience to stave off discouragement, depression, frustration, and doubt. Continue Reading…

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