Monthly Archives: June 2015

My New Title Coming Soon…

“A Girl Named Mary” from World Castle Publishing

historical fiction for middle grade and young adults.

A Girl Named Mary tells the story of Mary, the Mother of Jesus as a young girl. Though she has a much older sister, she’s raised as an only child. Her cousin, Rebekka, is her closet friend and confidant. Together they grow and learn how to maneuver in a culture that is steeped in tradition. One that looks backward instead of forward for solutions to problems. Mary cares about others, helps the sick and disadvantaged and is a voice, albeit a young voice, for women.
At twelve, Mary was betrothed to an older man who had sons her age. She resisted this arrangement strongly. She argued with her parents against the betrothal with every bit of logic and strength she had but found this tradition beyond her ability to fight. The marriage took place and she was rewarded by the birth of a beautiful baby boy, Jesus.
About the Author:

Mary Jo Nickum, a Roman Catholic since birth, has always been fascinated by her namesake, Mary, the mother of Jesus. When she turned from technical writing to writing for children, researching and writing about the Blessed Virgin Mary became a reality. Her first book for children, Mom’s Story, a Child Learns about MS, is fictionalized nonfiction written for families from a child’s perspective. A Girl Named Mary is her first ‘tween historical novel. Mary Jo resides with her husband in Fountain Hills, Arizona. She has two grown sons.

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Five Steps to Completing Your First Draft

Five Steps to Completing Your First Draft

Daily Writing Tips

Follow these stages of preparation and production to assemble a first draft of written (or spoken) content.

  1. Identify Your Purpose
    What is the reason for writing the content? Are you objectively presenting information? If so, is it for educational purposes, or for entertainment — or both? Are you writing to help someone make a decision, or encouraging someone to take action?

Identifying your goal for the content will help you shape the piece.

  1. Identify Your Readership
    Who are your intended readers (and your unintended ones)? What is their level of literacy, and what is their degree of prior knowledge of the topic?

Imagining who your readers are will help you decide what voice and tone to adopt, how formal or informal your language will be — though that factor also depends on your approach (see below) — and how much detail or background information you provide.

  1. Identify Your Approach
    Should your content be authoritative, or is it the work of someone informally communicating with peers? Are you offering friendly advice, or is your tone cautionary? Are you selling something, or are you skeptical? Should the content be serious, or is some levity appropriate?

Determining your strategy, in combination with identifying your readership, will help you decide how the piece will feel to the reader.

  1. Identify Your Ideas
    Brainstorm before and during the drafting process, and again when you revise. If appropriate, talk or write to intended readers about what they hope to learn from the content. Imagine that you are an expert on the topic, and pretend that you are being interviewed about it. Write down the questions and your answers to help you structure the content. Alternatively, present a mock speech or lecture on the topic and transcribe your talk.

Draft an executive summary or an abstract of the content, or think about how you would describe it to someone in a few sentences. Or draw a diagram or a map of the content.

Using one or more of these strategies will help you populate your content with the information your readers want or need.

  1. Identify Your Structure
    Craft a title that clearly summarizes the topic in a few words. Explain the main idea in the first paragraph. Organize the content by one of several schemes: chronology or sequence, relative importance, or differing viewpoints. Use section headings or transitional language to signal new subtopics. Integrate sidebars, graphics, and/or links as appropriate.

Incorporating these building blocks will help you produce a coherent, well-organized piece.

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