Spotlight – Writers Leveling Up

In the time that I have been part of the Writing Community on Twitter, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know a number of people who bring an enhanced level of skill and talent to the mix. These people are among us and in this feature, I want to introduce a few of them. I invited David Gane, DC Wright-Hammer, Joanne Paulson and popular reviewer, Mrs. Y. to answer a few quick questions about what they do when they are not being writers. Here’s what they had to say:

David Gane

David Gane, cowriter (with Angie Counis) of the The Shepherd and Wolfe mysteries , and co-host of Writers’ Row on Youtube answered these questions about the show he started with DC Wright-Hammer earlier this year.

Question 1: David, what has been the biggest take-home from doing Writers’ Row for you ?

My best part of Writers’ Row has always been the guests. The opportunity to talk to other creative people who are trying to figure out how to make a living at writing is always rewarding.  I’m always learning from them and I find doing the show informative and entertaining . I  really hope that translates to our viewers.

Question 2: What has been your favourite part of doing Writers’ Row?

Of course, my favourite part is when the cameras aren’t rolling. Many of these people are my Twitter friends, so it’s great visiting with them face-to-face. Also, when we’re not doing the show, we’re not trying to keep on topic and focused, so it’s often a little silly.

DC Wright-Hammer with his two science fiction novels from the Between Two Minds series

I asked DC Wright-Hammer, author of the Between Two Minds series of science fiction novels a question or two about Writers’ Row, also. He had the following to add:

Question 1: DC, how do you think Writers Row is benefiting the Writing Community?

More than anything, I think Writers’ Row is letting writers of all kinds know it’s okay to not be an expert on everything. There’s always more to learn and know, and asking questions, seeking out experts, and having conversations are all part of the process.

Question 2: What has been your favourite part of doing Writers’ Row?

Guests, guests, and guests. From surprising my favorite writing community folks by sliding into their DMs (direct messages) telling them we want them on the show, to spending time with them chatting, to editing the videos and remembering the good times, the guests are by far the best part.

SIDE NOTE: Writers’ Row is a great resource for writers at every level of experience. It’s informative, lively and often inspiring for the subscribers who follow the show on YouTube. A recent addition to the show lineup includes podcast episodes (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc. – just search Writers’ Row on your favourite podcast service). The creators of Writers’ Row try to release a new video at weekly intervals.

DC’s website is: wrighthammer.com

Counios and Gane website is: couniosandgane.com


Joanne Paulson

I also chatted with Canadian author, editor and journalist, Joanne Paulson. Joanne is the author of Adam’s Witness, Broken Through and Fire Lake. Joanne answered these questions for me about being an editor:

Question 1: What is the most valuable piece of advice you can give an aspiring author about choosing an editor?

The most important thing is to actually get an editor, particularly for emerging authors. None of us know everything; no work is perfect, and never will be, but a second or even third set of eyes is crucial. That said, seek an editor who will neither crush your muse nor silence your voice. Find someone who understands the technical aspects of writing, such as spelling and punctuation, but also cadence and rhythm, active and passive voice, clarity and nuance. Be sure to clarify your expectations around deadlines, cost and whether you are hiring a content editor, line editor or copy editor. Know the differences.

Question 2: What do you enjoy most about editing?

It’s fascinating to read other people’s works, to discover their world views, how they use language. That’s the best part. I hate to say it, but I also love finding errors I can fix (!) — when I know in my heart that it will improve the work, whether vastly or just a wee bit.

Question 3: What do you dislike the most about editing?

Removing, replacing, reworking dialogue tags. It can be tedious.

SIDE NOTE: Joanne is one of the editors that worked on my third book, and second in my Rubicon Saga series, Storm At Dawn. She is wonderful to work with as an editor and I am thrilled to be working with her on future projects.

Joanne’s website is: jcpaulsonwriter.com


A rare glimpse of the awesome Mrs. Y.

Finally, I asked Mrs. Y., esteemed reviewer of the writing community on Twitter a few questions about being a book reviewer:

Question 1. What do you think is the most important aspect of doing a book review?

The most important aspect of book reviewing is to encapsulate your subjective opinion in a way that others with similar opinions can understand why they should (or should not) read a book you read. This helps the writer with sales, but it also tells the reader what kind of book to look forward to. If a reader has similar desires or wants in a book, the review can clue them in on if it will or won’t be something to their liking.

Question 2. Can you give some good tips for people wanting to leave book reviews?

The best advice to a book review is honest, but be realistic. One word sentences are neither honest nor realistic because they are barely on the cusp on a subjective opinion. Everyone has a right to any opinion, but if the opinion ends in “Meh” than the opinion was not given full weight and judgment. That’s not honesty. Say what you like and what you don’t like and be considerate because you may be turning a reader off who would be a perfect match for the book, and that’s not fair.

Question 3. What drew you to be a book reviewer?

I like to write, and one of the aspects of writing is knowing what you love to read. If someone is in love with reading, then whenever they put the work on paper, they naturally are drawn to what stories they enjoy. That’s basically why I do it. I also do reviews because I feel consumers need to know what they are getting into. Authors need reviews to make money, but readers need reviews to know where to put their money best. Reviews that are honest and considerate of the full weight and judgment of the book, are the ones that readers can rely on for making their mind up with their wallets.

SIDE NOTE: While Mrs. Y. is passionate about reviewing books, she is tough and truthful. This is a valuable and admirable trait in a reviewer and it adds weight and importance to her reviews. She is held in high regard and is very busy, so if you want her to review your books, please make sure you understand her policies for doing a review. Her insights have been invaluable to me, as an emerging writer, and I admire her and hope she will review more of my books as I continue to publish them.

Mrs. Y’s website is: mrsyreviewsbooks.blogspot.com


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