Five Wishes – guest Shereen Vedam

I’ve been a fan of Shereen’s stories for years, so it’s with great delight that I welcome her to my blog.  If you like fairy stories, romance, adventure, and the occasional talking broomstick, I highly recommend these books.  This blog contains sound advice for writers, but readers should note THERE IS A CONTEST FOR A FREE BOOK BELOW!!

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Grant Me Five Wishes

The best way to improve our writing is to pay attention to what our readers want. Though it might sometimes feel as if they ask for the impossible, satisfying reader-needs is a sure fire way to win their hearts.

So what do readers want? Why, it’s simple. They want writers to grant them five wishes.

Wilcox in public domain WISH #1 – Indulge me – This wish is not about drinking hot chocolate on a cold winter day, but it could offer an avid reader an equivalent amount of enjoyment. We grant this reader wish when we pay homage to writing basics. Eliminate typos, revere grammar, be concise, and use literary techniques with skill to the point where  readers becomes so immersed in the story, they are unaware we have even used such tools. Mastering this wish will take patience, practice and persistence. Start by building a relationship with yourself through your writing – write every day, week, month and year. Then begin to edit with a reader in mind.

WISH #2 – Convey me – This wish speaks to suspension of disbelief, which in turn is linked to meticulous research and solid world building. Whether our story is a mystery or a paranormal, a contemporary or a historical, we must convince our reader that he or she has just bought a train ticket to our fictional world. If that world has unusual elements, then explain them up front so the reader can enjoy the ride without being bumped out. If we have twists and turns, lay the ground work so those shocks are absorbable. Paint vivid and atmospheric sceneries, employ a captivating conductor (an engaging narrative voice), populate the train with intriguing passengers (fully fleshed-out secondary characters) and ensure the main characters are people a reader will be enthusiastic about spending time with during this exciting journey.

WISH #3 – Intrigue me – If this train ride gets boring, a reader might be tempted to get off at the next station. To avoid this, ensure all scene changes and chapter ends have solid hooks crafted to make a reader say, “Maybe I’ll read just
A Beastly Scandal 450 newa little longer.” A Beastly Scandal’s editor had a favorite question that she would scribble at the end of my scenes: “And then what?” Every time I read that, I wanted to reply, “Well, keep reading and you’ll find out.” But what she meant was, “What’s to keep me from putting this book down right now?” Give the reader a reason to keep reading.

WISH #4 – Amuse me – Karl Iglesias, in his Writing for Emotional Impact, devotes eight pages to this reader wish. He believes that a reader always tries to second guess a story line. It’s part of the fun of reading. So inject humor, plot twists and endearing character quirks. And if we can intermingle surprise with suspense, that train will be chugging on late into the night.

WISH #5 – Delight me – This final wish is about a story’s ending. But this wish does not simply refer to a happy ending where the hero and heroine end up together, though that is a strict requirement of any book labelled a romance. To truly satisfying a reader by the end of a story, we must tie up all the story threads. It’s about ensuring the ending is solid and strong enough to justify the reader having spent their precious money and time to travel with us. It’s leaving a reader sighing with pleasure at the end of their journey and then wanting to buy another train ticket from us.

As writers, are we up to granting readers these five wishes? Of course, we are. But we could use a life line. There are many books on how to edit well, but authors also need insightful feedback from the people who have our backs: critique partners, contest judges and editors. If their comments always make us feel proud and pleased about what an excellent writer we are, we need a stronger supporter who can be fearless about hurting our feelings when necessary. Someone who will at times make us so furious, that we passionately gripe to family and friends about how wrong this person is about our work.
640px-Leighton-Courtship public domain We need this type of honest, uncomfortable feedback to force us to re-examine our work with a critical eye. To clearly see both what’s working, and what isn’t. And don’t be afraid of your righteous anger. That fury can trigger creative breakthroughs. When we’re royally cross, we gain the courage to step out of our comfort zone and shed those easy answers with which we normally pad our work. This process is necessary to ensure our story doesn’t wander, will read faster and stays laser focused to hold a reader’s undivided attention until the very last stop.

Remember, our goal is not simply to write a good book. Our goal is to win a reader’s heart. To do that, we must craft stories that leave our readers in awe, and forces them to ignore their TBR (to be read) piles while they anxiously scour the internet or bookstore for our next book. And curse us if we haven’t yet released it.

My recent release, a paranormal Regency novella, is part of a Christmas anthology, One Winter’s Night. Below is an excerpt from this Goldilocks-inspired, Regency romance, A Season for Giving, where you are about to meet one of the three “bears.”

December 20, 1812, London, England

CHRISTOPHER DE WYNTER skimmed his hand across the page as he wrote down the time, date, location, and purpose One Winter's Nightbehind this final experiment. Flickering candlelight from three lit candles accented his perfectly-written script. His mama used to say his writing was a work of art. It was in Christopher’s nature to be precise, a useful trait for his work with volatile mixtures.

And important work it was. He designed trigger mechanisms for guns that soldiers in combat could use in a dependable and safe manner. He had recently been inspired to use a small canister linked to a braided rope-type fuse in place of the less reliable fuses made of straws or quills filled with black powder. He hoped that one change would greatly reduce the hazard of accidental explosions.

With the war still raging, the navy had gone to great lengths to ensure Christopher’s work was kept top secret. If successful, his new fuse could hasten the end of the war and save numerous lives. Still, such an invention was best kept out of the hands of the enemy. Only his family and his naval commander, Sir Trigg, were privy to his work.

Christopher had been given permission to use the Royal Arsenal’s laboratory in Woolwich to work on his theories. Its location, on the outskirts of London, was far from his family home in Mayfair, so on those nights when he worked late, he stayed in the barracks nearby.

While there, he still took pains to ensure his most dangerous work was conducted only when no one else was likely to be nearby. He scheduled his tests when his colleagues had left for the evening or were at church on Sunday when the adjacent offices were certain to be empty.

Despite painstaking precautions and triple checks of his routines, occasional unexpected explosions did occur, and they were hard to keep quiet. Come daybreak, neighbors nearby were known to complain about the loud blasts at night and charred debris spewed on the streets. Those annoyances were tiny compared to the stir that would be caused if such disruptions were to happen in his laboratory at his home in Mayfair, where the ton of London, with strong connections to members of Parliament, resided.

As for his own safety, Christopher, with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a predisposition for working with chemicals, had spent the last couple of years surviving the dangers of his chosen profession. It helped that he had a special family talent that enabled him to escape an imminent blast. An unusual inheritance passed down over many generations had kept him out of harm’s way.

The story went that one of his ancestors, a Spanish gypsy, had been a tightrope dancer in a circus until, in retaliation for a perceived wrong, a witch had cast a curse that clashed with the gypsies’ protection spell. Christopher was unclear about the specifics and uncertain if he even believed in such far-fetched tales, but all direct de Wynter descendants could race like a gazelle, scale walls as nimbly as a squirrel climbed trees, and leap like a startled Yorkshire hare. On occasion, a de Wynter was known to even defy gravity and rise straight up in the air.

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A Season for Giving by Shereen Vedam

After one unsuccessful season, Miss Honoria Gilbert knows just what she wants in a husband. And she’s finally found him. But Christopher de Wynter isn’t your typical English gentleman. He’s living a double life, doing undercover work for the crown, and has no intention of letting anyone get too close. But then again, he’s never been up against the power of a young lady’s Christmas wish . . .

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GIVEAWAY:

I have a Kindle copy of One Winter’s Night to offer as a prize to one randomly chosen commenter. To enter:

  • if you’re a reader, share a wish you’d like writers to grant you
  • if you’re a writer, share one of your readers’ heartfelt wishes

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shereenShereen Vedam
was born in Sri Lanka but her roots are now firmly planted on Canada’s West Coast. After thriving for 5 years in friendly Winnipeg with its -40ºC wind chill factor, she decided sandals and shorts for 9 months of the year was preferable to 6 months of parkas, snow boots and frozen nose. Vancouver Island’s magical rain forest, with its ancient cedar, red-barked arbutus and giant weeping sequoia, inspires her writing. Among her published works, you’ll find heartwarming historical and fantasy romances that have a healthy dollop of mystery, with a pinch of magic.

 

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Comments

  1. Andrea says:

    The pleasure of reading the absolutely soul-captivating stories that have been so charmingly and beautifully crafted.

    To enter into their magical world(s).

  2. Catherine C. says:

    Whenever I pick up a book, whatever the genre, I’m asking the writer to make me feel the characters’ hopes and pain, and to make me believe life will get better for them and, by extension, for those of us in the real world as well.

  3. Laurie Gommermann says:

    My wish is for authors to continue to introduce me to new places and interesting, intelligent characters!

    I wish everyone an excellent 2015!

    May all your writing dreams come true!

  4. Michelle RB says:

    As a reader my wish is to read books that are, what I call, the total package. There has to be adventure, romance, mystery, humor and love. It also has to have a bittersweet ending–I’m happy with it but sad it’s over. 🙂

  5. patri says:

    Characters who live on with me after I finish the book.

  6. sue gannon says:

    I love the fairy tale themes !

  7. Karin says:

    I like to be in the story. If the story is too way out, I am left out and really don’t appreciate it. Saying that, I enjoy Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, Lord of the Rings, etc. So, my concept of ‘way out’ is pretty way out 🙂

  8. Diana Huffer says:

    Please continue to write the amazing stories that spring from your creative muses! Books are an escape from reality and entering a new “world” is always welcome! Merry Christmas to all!

  9. Kristi says:

    As a writer, for everyone to enjoy the written word and open up to reading works for the first time from writers who are new to them.

  10. Karen Krack says:

    To pull me into the story from start to finish, so that at the last page, I am asking, “But what about secondary characters #1, #2, #3, etc.? I want their story now!”

  11. Andrea, excellent wish! I love it.

  12. bn100, lol, I hear your wish. Not so sure about publishers. I think cliffhangers are one of their wishes.

  13. Merry Christmas, Diana,
    World building – Emma is a master of that one.

  14. Leanna Morris says:

    My wish would be to have someone clean my house and leave me more time for reading! Reading has always been a passion of mine. (I’m a retired librarian, too!). It seems I just don’t have enough time to read all that I want to! A 2nd wish would be that authors continue to write the amazing novels I am able to “get a hold of” to entertain me…and as my escape! What great therapy it is to pick up a good pick and read away!

  15. kent cook says:

    Looks like a perfect Christmas present.

  16. Nancy says:

    As a reader I want a story I can read several times and still enjoy.

  17. Nancy says:

    More sequential tales, without cliffhangers. A good series shouldn’t need them.

  18. Norma Storms says:

    I love books that are part of a series, but I also find myself wondering about the secondary characters and what happens to them at the end of a series. I wish that those stories could also be told, but I also want to be able to eat my cake and read new stories with different characters from my favorite authors as well. Happy Holidays!

  19. Sandy says:

    My Christmas wish for authors would be to continue to write wonderful Christmas stories to help get me in the mood for Christmas. I live in Arizona and it never gets very cold, so EVERY year I read about far away places where they do have seasons! Christmas stories are my favorite!

  20. DeeAnn S says:

    As a reader, what I wish for most is a story that carries me along with its ups and downs, challenges and solutions. I want to be taken away from reality in a way that lingers long after the experience of the story has ended. Thanks.

  21. Nancy Reynolds says:

    As a reader, I love to escape through the writer’s words. Thanks for today’s blog – and a very Happy Holiday Season to all. Merry Christmas.

  22. LINDAB/HOTCHA1 says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS EMMA. I PLAN TO READ YOU SOON.

  23. KGiardina says:

    I always for characters who captivate me with their stories. As much as I love happy endings, I want to finish with just enough “what happens next” to invest myself in a much-desired sequel so that the story can continue.

  24. Sandra S says:

    I love good mysteries, well-written books and short stories to read between book to take me out of one story before I indulge in another. This book seems to answer all my criteria! Thanks for the chance.

  25. Cherie J says:

    As a reader, my wish is to escape. If I read a book and feel swept away into another place and or time, then that wish is granted.

  26. Benita says:

    As a reader I like very much to meet the characters of a book, to get to know about them through description and language, to learn about them throughout the story, to relate to them. That way I see the book evolving in my mind. As a writer, I try to paint a story with strong characterization and consistency.

  27. Patricia Cochran says:

    My wish is for stories that completely envelope me,
    drawing me into the tales being offered, and staying
    with me forever!

    Pat C.

  28. Laura Emerson says:

    I wish for a story that have characters who live in my mind and heart long after the last page has been read.

  29. Mary Preston says:

    As a reader my wish is to lose myself completely in the stories I read.

  30. Geraldine Pierson says:

    I just want stories that draw me into the story and that the main characters at least find true happiness. I guess because I thought I found true love and then found out it wasn’t on his part. I also like to see stories about the other character’s in the main book so they can find there happiness.

  31. Lori R says:

    As a reader my wish is to have writers grant me the words I need to write reviews of their wonderful books so others will get a chance to read and enjoy them.

  32. Hi Shereen,
    Great interview and excerpt. I think as a reader my wish is to have the writer immerse me so deep into the character’s world that when I lift my head from the page I blink. As a writer I think my readers would wish for the next book! 🙂

  33. I love the five wishes, because they all speak to me of great books I have read, and the hope that my books will measure up as well. Thank you for that.

  34. Wanda Maynard says:

    If I could have one wish from an author, it would be to grant me many wonderful hours of reading your good books.

  35. Wow, I had to go to work and came back to a bushel of reader wishes.

    I probably forgot to mention that I love to graph things, but since that’s not possible in a small comment field, I’ll list the Reader Wishes I’ve read so far…

    READER WISHES (in alphabetical order):
    Christmas stories (appropriate)
    Empathize with characters
    Enjoy written word
    Everything: adventure, romance, mystery, humor, love
    Fairy tales (Yay, Sue!)
    Re-reads
    Good mystery
    Happy ending
    New worlds / world building
    No cliffhanger
    Pulled into the story, start to finish
    Series
    Soul captivating Stories
    Therapy/clean house (I’m with this one!)
    Vivid secondary characters (that live on)
    Write rewiews

    I think I’m in Heaven and my Christmas stocking is overflowing. Thanks for sharing so many insights from a reader’s perspective.

    Keep them coming…

  36. Julie McDonough says:

    My wish is for my favorite writers to keep on writing. You are so talented and I appreciate you.

  37. ilena holder says:

    I love anything British! The refined manners, the parties, the feminine clothing all put me in the scene & provide escapism from modern life

  38. Charlene Fraley says:

    Well, since I can’t actually climb into the story as I sometimes want to, maybe using my name would be good too!

  39. Kai W. says:

    Write more stories with suspense and romance with hero and heroine being intelligent and not bratty.

  40. Jackie Wisherd says:

    Wonderfully crafted stories with characters I would like as friends.

  41. Kai W. and Jackie Wisherd, excellent wishes.
    – stories with suspense and romance that have intelligent h/h
    – Characters that could become friends

    Love all of these Christmas Reader wishes … and this is the perfect season to release them into the air, during such a magical time of year.

  42. clynsg says:

    As a reader, allow me to want to read every word rather than to leaf through the pages to sample rather than enjoying everything (much harder to do on an ebook though!).

  43. Sandi W says:

    I wish to be able to feel that I am a part of the story that lays before me. That tells me that the writer believes in what they wrote, and took the time to find a way to capture the mind, heart, and imagination of the reader. By bringing the characters to life, and by making their stories believable, you can get lost in the story. That is a work of art.

  44. The five wishes which you have listed, I desire to have all given to me as a reader:
    INDULGE ME, CONVEY ME, INTRIGUE ME, AMUSE ME AND DELIGHT ME. These are the kind of books which I enjoy reading.

  45. Tracy Brown says:

    I agree with so many comments here. I like feeling as I know the characters personally by the time I finish a story.
    I wish all of you a Merry Christmas!

  46. ML says:

    To avoid Mary Sues in romance, and to be swept up in the stories of our heroes and heroines!

  47. Ilena, wish: British fiction
    Completely agree with your British fascination. I’ve loved Regencies for the very reasons you state since my teens.

    Clynsg, wish: READ SLOW
    I’m so glad to hear you say that about reading every word. It shocks me when people say they read a book in a day.
    I read mostly on the bus, to and from work, about 20 mins each way. So a full novel could take me weeks to finish, especially if I love the voice.
    Sometimes I’ll check the ending to make I’m going to like it (don’t do that, that’s only okay for me to do :), but then I’ll read the rest slowly and savor every word.

  48. Alison says:

    I love a book that involves me so much I forget to feed the cats. They always remind me, quite loudly, if I dare to forget to feed them on time.

  49. As a reader, my wish is to be presented with a story that is crafted with pride and great attention to detail. Just as a master architect would never want her (or his) creation to be of shoddy craftsmanship, built with inferior materials, and held together with staples and a glue gun, a good author should never present a story that isn’t of the highest possible quality. A writer is expected to know how to write, so there are no excuses for poor grammar, punctuation, or syntax. The story should be complete, the plot developed, the characters well-rounded.

    This is my wish, my hope, my expectation for a story.

  50. Donna Harris says:

    I wish I could be the character in the book, to feel the romance etc and go to places other than where I live in Illinois.
    I love stories that I can image I’m them. The story is written for me to do that.
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  51. Wow, some great wishes came in since I last checked

    I’m with Tracy, I agree with so many of the wishes mentioned here.

    Alison, if I forget to feed my cat because I’m reading, she places herself right on top of the book until she’s the center of my attention.

    Michelle, I like how you compared a writer to an architect at work. Very true, every aspect of the creation of a book does indeed matter.

    I hope for Christmas, everyone’s reader wishes come true.

  52. Peggy R says:

    The stories were so descriptive and rich, that I felt as if I were there, along with the characters!! My wish as a reader, would be that I would be able to get One Winter’s Night in print, because I am in no position to purchase a Kindle, or any type of e-reader, for that matter. When a book such as this comes along, it makes my heart ache when an Author doesn’t allow for print or e-copies of their books, and leaves so many people out in the cold – especially so close to Christmas!! Nonetheless, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!!

  53. Morning Peggy, yours is a wonderful reader wish (I have a Kindle that I love, but I also cherish reading books in print). And your wish has already come true.

    One Winter’s Night is available on print as well as in many ebook format. You can find both types on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Google Books and at Book Depository for international readers.

    By the way, a winner has been chosen randomly for that Kindle copy of One Winter’s Night. It was Karen K. Congratulations, Karen! Your copy has been sent.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing all of your reader wishes with us. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them.

    Merry Christmas!

  54. Sharon Baker says:

    You are a new author for me. Your books sound wonderful. Would love to read.

  55. Well, thank you, and it’s very nice to meet you Sharon. Hope you have a great Christmas holiday reading books and discovering lots of authors you will grow to cherish.

  56. Patricia Kasner says:

    To be able to escape to the worlds that I am reading and forget about the world around me

  57. Very nice wish, Patricia. 🙂

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