Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Post: Melissa Foster author of Megan's Way

Melissa Foster, author of the book Megan's Way (and an absolute doll to work with!), stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

I am often asked about the process of writing; how to do it, when to do it, what ifs, motivation, etc. I’m not an expert on writing by any means, but I am happy to offer my two cents of advice.

If you are writing, you are already a writer! Whether you are writing for a magazine, local newsletter, corporate handbook, or creating your first novel, makes no difference. Writers write. Period. You should think about yourself in those terms, and begin calling yourself a writer, if it is appropriate. Once you have faith in your work, the rest will follow.

Some people feel that books should be written based on outlines, while others use index cards, timelines, and other types of “visual” assistants. I believe you should do what comes naturally to you, and what you are most comfortable with. When I wrote Megan’s Way, I did not use an outline, index cards, or formal timeline. Megan presented herself very forcefully and guided me through the story. After Megan’s Way was complete, I created a timeline—insuring that the story flowed in a smooth, true-to-life fashion. That is not to say, however, that any one way is appropriate. That’s how I write. You might find that creating an outline keeps your thoughts organized, rather than letting the story evolve in its own direction during the writing process, and that works for many authors. Do what feels right when you are writing.

The time of day or night that you write is completely personal. My writing schedule revolves around my children’s schedules. When I was editing Megan’s Way, I often worked at night, and sometimes until two o’clock in the morning. That’s what worked for me. You’ll find a schedule that works for you, too.

What if nobody likes my book? That is a question that I am often asked. I think every author has that fear. I’m not sure that the fear of failure will go away with the number of books that you have published. I believe it lingers just below the surface. Life is fluid, and so are people’s interests, therefore, someone who likes your writing style today, may not like it tomorrow. Writing a book, I’ve often said, is like standing on the corner naked—you’re not sure if people will whistle or throw tomatoes! Every writer should have beta readers; people who will read your early manuscripts and give you solid, unabashed, criticism and reviews. We learn from constructive criticism, and often times we, as authors, need to step back from what we’ve written and have fresh eyes read and provide feedback. I also believe that if you do the best that you are capable of, then what ifs should not come into play. Go with your gut feelings. If you feel that your work is ready for publication, go for it!

My motivation is derived from my characters come to life and my desire for readers to connect with them. If your goal is to write—you have a story bouncing around in your head—then sit down and write. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait for someone else to validate your desire. As Nike says, “Just Do It!”

About the book:

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist living on Cape Cod, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she's faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends will be stretched and frayed.

Megan’s illness reawakens the torment of her best friend, Holly Townsend, whose long-held secrets and years of betrayal come back to haunt her. How does one choose between a daughter and a life-long best friend? Can the secret she has been keeping be revealed after years of lying without destroying everyone in its wake?

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia's world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there's nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, even the paranormal connection she shares with her mother might not be enough to save her - her life will hang in the balance.

Megan’s Way is a journey of self discovery and heartfelt emotions, exploring the depth of the mother-daughter bond, and the intricacies of friendship.

About Melissa:

Melissa Foster has an on-going column in Women Business Owners Magazine, she has painted and donated several murals to a local hospital for children, and is the Founder of The Women's Nest, an on-line community for women. Melissa lives with her husband and their children in Maryland along with their three dogs, and two cats.

Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa's Motto:

"Enjoy each and every day. No one else will do it for you."

If you'd like to pick up a copy of Melissa's book Megan's Way click on the cover image below.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I like Melissa's approach; I can see why you rave about working with her.

Just me, poking my head in to say I've linked to this at Win a Book.

Jessie said...

great advice! thanks melissa!

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