Monday, August 15, 2022

#BoutOfBooks 35 Day 1 - Writing Reference Book

bout of books 35 image
I'm participating in #BoutOfBooks 35 starting August 15. The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple.

Goodreads @JLenniDorner ID 7120981 bookshelf view Bout of Books shelves

How many times have I participated in Bout of Books? 
  1. May 2015
  2. Aug 2015
  3. Jan 2016
  4. May 2016
  5. Aug 2016
  6. Jan 2017
  7. May 2017
  8. Aug 2017
  9. Jan 2018
  10. May 2018
  11. Aug 2018
  12. Jan 2019
  13. May 2019
  14. Aug 2019
  15. May 2020
  16. Aug 2021
  17. Aug 2022 
Please visit me on Goodreads to see what I've read during past BoB readathons!

Write Better Right Now: The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Confident Communication and Self-Assured Style by Mary-Kate Mackey

I picked this book because I haven't been as focused on my writing goals lately as I'd like to be. In addition to reading and reviewing, this book has activities. So, as personal accountability, here's my "work."

Pg 20: Create an ideal reader. Give them a name and identity. 
clipart rendering of siblings and cat reading and gaming Using my top 15 commenters, I created an anagram and antonym name:
and her brother
(and their cat, Lil 🐈 ).

The Blue-Aridity siblings love reading, blogging, attending stand-up comedy nights, and playing games. Antoinette enjoys hiking and swimming. Braxton likes cooking, learning obscure facts, and caring for his sister and cat. Antoinette has dated a few guys, but none she ever considered to be "mister right." Braxton is pansexual and had a serious relationship with a trans person, but they passed away from a rare disorder. Antoinette has worked some office jobs and is currently employed with a landscaping business where she is sometimes in the office but also helps with flower garden design. Braxton works as a dishwasher at a big restaurant while he attends community college to study culinary arts. Lil likes wet food of the fish varieties and refuses to hunt small animals. She's pretty affectionate, for a cat. 

Antoinette reads books to escape to a world of love and adventure. Braxton enjoys some romance in his books, but especially likes when there's humor included, and absolutely loves when a book teaches him an obscure fact or inspires him to cook something. Both siblings like it when the main characters have a pet (one who lives, preferably) in a novel. 

My writing provides entertainment and often contains bits of romance, obscure facts, and humor. Pets do appear in longer stories. I like to slip in the characters' favorite foods to reveal something about them and appeal to the reader's sense of taste. 

Pages 49-51

It's pretty clear that this book is meant for non-fiction. But I've committed to doing the work, so I'll just do my best here.

In my blog post about bout of books, I am saying that I am committed to making this readathon count.

In my book (Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier) about writing book reviews, I am saying that there is a checklist to make book reviews quick and easy to write, fun to read, and with minimal risk of hurting an author's feelings.

In my book (Fractions of Existence) about urban fantasy characters who appear human, I am saying that they are trying to save human life on Earth from antagonists who believe Earth is a prison for souls, but the protagonist group has no chance of winning while the group is fractured

Page 69, Scar or Tattoo, is an exercise useful to fiction and nonfiction writers. Pick a mark on your body, list facts about it (how and when, etc), and then create an order for the story. Then try the story in a different order.

Pages 84-85

This part is the Hero's Journey story arc, which is useful in fiction. For this exercise, I'm told to plot a story. As my WEP post is due this week, I'm going to use that. As it requires a drawing, I'll be placing an image here.

As WEP is only 1000 words, I may need to cut the story down to just steps 7, 8, and 9. The rest can maybe be flashbacks.


The part about interviews gave me a few new questions to use for the Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight next year. 


Pages 109-110

My WEP as an inverted pyramid, with the information from most important to least.

Parents found a way to keep their baby and protect their family.
It was a time when the law stole babies and sterilized women.
A choice had to be made to risk staying in society or being homeless and off-grid. 
Food and shelter are much more difficult to get when off-grid, especially while evading authorities. 
Pregnancy is scarier and more difficult with no medical care.
Mastering living away from a society that wants you dead makes the idea of returning nearly impossible.

inverted pyramid with words

Page 125 Personal  Essay

(The book discusses sensory details. It leaves out scents or smells, as well as sight or visuals. It does separate touch and feel though. And includes time.)

To include:
A teenager finds his birth parents in the forest under a full moon. 

Sounds: Animals settling in, the wind rustling the new leaves, 
Tastes: Dried meat, pine tea
Touch: Familiar large, flat stones to sit on. 
Scents: Clean air, earth, light smoke, 
Sights: The light from the night sky and the Dakota fire hole
Feelings: Wonderment, gratitude, guilt, worry, love
Time: Night to Morning

Open with Certainty: The teen believes his parents could rejoin society with him. 
Confusion/ Chaos: In telling him about his birth, they reveal why they won't rejoin society. 
Shift: He realizes that, as much as he wants his real family, he must choose between them or the modern medicine and lifestyle.


Page 125 Editing

In my flash "fiction" about this teen and his biological parents, I am saying that it was harder for Native Americans to feel safe reproducing. 
It is being told because enough people don't understand or fully grasp what it means to be so hated by society that even the law once suggested death was the only use for your life. 
“‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian,’ Mr. Scott said.” -- Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie
It connects the reader to the greater world because most readers probably have never specifically thought about it.
The point is that it's a heartbreaking truth.
In a word, this is about: love. 
The best illustration of that is the parents leaving a more comfortable life, sacrificing basic needs (shelter, stable food sources, a stable water supply, community, etc) to protect their offspring and each other.


Page 152 has a good list of words to search a document for when looking to tighten up verbs to strengthen sentences. 
Page 158 suggests counting the words in each paragraph. can do that for you for free.
Page 165 Put first and last paragraph sentences down, and see if they communicate well enough. 
Page 194 suggests reading the work from the last sentence to the first. Then read it out loud.
Page 206 requires creating a writing group.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, having been off line for a while didn't realise it was The Insecure Writer's Group Day.
    Thought your post most interesting although it took time to read.
    Hope you are keeping well.


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