Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review - The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

Okay I admit it. I am a writer wannabe.

Except, I haven't even written anything :p (school work didn't count).

A couple of years back I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, and I wrote 100 words (or was it 50?) Yeah, you get the picture. 

I have all these ideas in my head, but as soon as I tried to put words on paper (or rather on the computer screen), it just did not work. My biggest problem I think was plotting - how do you weave the storyline together that's not boring? How do you write 300 pages when I could summarize it in 500 words?! So I went to research on books that help you with plotting, and I came across this one.

From reading the reviews, some people may find this plan too structure. From what I'd read, some writers are "pantsters" (can write by the seat of their pants) and some are "plotters". Now when I write blog posts, I just write without any outline/drafts, but I can't do that when I tried writing a story. Normally though I am not into big structure either, but I think this book offered me some good insights about plotting in general, and I may give it a try (no, haven't started yet... work had been very busy, and with a teething 10 month old, I am choosing sleep when I could.)

There are other books on plotting but I haven't read them yet so I don't know how they compare. Ultimately though, there are really no right or wrong way, but I love hearing about how others write. So if you do write, I'd love to hear how you do it!

Some reviewers did say this book applies more to books like thrillers, and I don't know if it's true or not. But I do notice more about plotting when reading novels now :)

4 Stars - did learn something new and may be useful!

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Book Review - Butterfly Tears: Stories of Entrapment and Enpowerment by Wil Drouin, Jennifer Thomas

Butterfly Tears: Stories of Entrapment and Enpowerment  by Wil Drouin, Jennifer Thomas

When I was asked if I'd like to join the tour for Butterfly Tears (, I said yes right away because I love reading inspirational true stories. This is a book about 9 women who transformed their lives from their shattered past, whether it be abuse, neglect, addiction or despair.

I am the 3rd stop on the tour. And I don't think I can tell her story better than Ashely sharing it herself. Here's a brief summary:

"Like many alcoholics, my drinking career started with my first sip of alcohol at age fifteen. I didn’t take into account my alcoholic dad, or all the fear and pain his addiction had caused me growing up. I just wanted to fit in, and alcohol made me feel cute, confident, and popular. I immediately began drinking to excess, blacking out, and sleeping around. With the death of my father, an abortion, and further family dysfunction, my substance abuse spiraled to daily pot use and other drugs, to numb myself from the pain of everything around me.

Finally I could no longer stand the false life I was leading. I got sober, and through Pathways to Independence, I got the therapy and loving support I needed to face the root of my problems in an honest way. That was the really hard part: facing all my feelings and fears. Today, I am seven years sober, and a credentialed teacher. My passion is to help children recognize all their opportunities in life and to boost their self-esteem. I want to show them, and everyone, that if you are confident, you can achieve what you want to, and that you can invent—or reinvent—your life the way you want it to be. It’s never too late."

~ Ashley

I recently read an article about authentic leadership, and one of the essential qualities is self-awareness - how you learned from your past and make the most out of it. As I was reading Ashley's story, I kept coming back to that article. It takes tremendous strength to pull yourself out of the hole, and stay out of it.

So congrats Ashley on your achievement! I can't even begin to imagine what she had to go through. And I love that she is now helping other children!

If you want to hear the other 8 women's stories, stop by the other blogs on tour!

May 30
Author/Activist Cheryl Rainfield:
Sharing Kaysie’s story
May 31
Books a La Mode:
Sharing Paige’s story
June 1
Mental Foodie:
Sharing Ashley’s story
June 2
Celtic Lady’s Reviews:
Sharing Lin’s story
June 3
Literary Lunes:
Sharing Sara’s story
June 4
Bookerella Reviews:
Sharing Annie’s story
June 5
Stuck Between the Pages:
Sharing Veronica’s story
June 6
Kary Annalysis:
Sharing Kimberly’s story
June 7
As I Turn the Pages:
Sharing PepperFanne’s story

Note - A free copy was given in exchange of an unbiased review

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.