Archive for 'Writer tip'
Thursday, June 27th, 2013
I’ve been in a writing mood recently, which is great from my point of view. Today, I wrote “the end” on my current work in progress. Since my mind is in the groove, I thought I’d give some advice to aspiring authors.
1. Sit down and write every day. Make writing into a good habit.
2. Join a writing group, either a chapter or an online community for support.
3. Read and read widely. Analyze books that work for you and those that don’t. Use them as a learning tool.
4. Make a point to learn about websites and social media.
5. Enter writing competitions to help yourself improve and also to give yourself a writing deadline.
6. Research markets, agents and editors to familiarize yourself with what publishers and agents are looking for. This will help you narrow down who to submit your book to. If you’re thinking about self-publishing learn as much as you can about the process.
7. Keep a record of how much you can comfortably write each day. Knowledge of your possible output will help you once you’re published and facing deadlines.
8. Take online classes and attend conferences to learn as much as you can. I’ve been published for a while now, and I’m still learning!
9. When it comes to actual plotting, try all the different methods. Plotting, pansting and in between until you find a method that works for you.
10. There is no right or wrong way to write a book. There is only your way.
11. Find a critique partner/s to help critique your work and critique other writers’ work. This is a learning process too.
12. Once you’ve completed and polished your book send it off to your chosen publisher or agent. While you’re waiting, start work on your next book. If you’re self-publishing, complete the publishing process and start work on the next book.
13. Celebrate each success because writing is a difficult business and plain hard work.
Do you have any suggestions to add to my list?
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
I’m visiting Terry’s Place, the hangout of author Terry ODell today and talking about Strategies to beat Procrastination.
Change procrastination to productivity.
Does this sound like something you need? Yes? I have to admit there are times when I’m a champion procrastinator. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes attacking the ironing pile seems like way more fun than sitting down to write. On days like this it can take me hours to pound out my target number of words, and each one is dragged from me kicking and screaming. Read more at Terry’s Place.
Sunday, June 13th, 2010
This article is reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com.
Note from Shelley – I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter. I always find something interesting in each issue.
In publishing, you never know. Such was the case with Richard Hooker’s MASH, the novel that spawned an award-winning movie and a TV series that seemed to run forever. It took the author eleven years to write and the literary agent eight years to sell it. When the novel was submitted to me I was an editor at William Morrow. I later learned it had been shown to something like 32 publishers. I did not know there were that many publishing houses and that I was so low on the publishing food chain.
I read it over a weekend and roared and gave it to a colleague who had served as a Marine during the war (WW II) and had landed and invaded several islands in the Pacific and managed to survive. He laughed too. Instead of having a committee of readers consider it, which I believe had been the novel’s undoing, I decided to make a princely offer of $5,000. It was eagerly accepted, considering the novel’s history.
I sent it to Ring Lardner Jr. who read it, loved it and gave the book a great quote although he said he is not in the business of writing blurbs for a living – but he did write for the movies and eventually wrote the movie script. The novel was then sent by the William Morris Agency to Ingo Preminger who decided it was high time for him to compete with his brother Otto, a successful movie director, who hired Robert Altman to direct it. The TV series followed with Alan Alda playing Hawkeye Pierce, a character based on the author’s experiences in Korea. I always wanted to meet Alda and tell him he owed me one.
The novel’s timing went against all the rules of sensible publishing. It appeared at the tail end of the Vietnam war, which had become an immensely unpopular conflict and was set during the Korean War, which everyone wanted to forget. The author, a thoracic surgeon, received relatively little money for the movie rights. However, when it was made into a TV series, each time it was aired he received a residual equivalent to the money he earned for a surgical operation. The author’s actual name was H. Richard Hornberger, MD. His pseudonym, Richard Hooker, was named after his prowess as a golfer.
The moral: More often than not book publishing is totally unpredictable, like participating in a lottery. So keep pounding those computer keys if you are a writer. You never know.
Tip submitted by Hillel Black, free lance editor of over 20 NY Times best sellers and member of the Consulting Editors Alliance. Visit http://www.hillelblack.com/.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
I’m a huge fan of Gail Carriger and her Parasol Protectorate Series. The books are a combination of Victorian history, paranormal vampires and werewolves and comedy. I read and loved the first book Soulless and have the second book, Changeless on the top of my reading pile. It will be a reward read for when I finish my next round of edits, due to arrive in two days.
Raelene Gorlinsky has a wonderful interview with Ms. Carriger about her world building and how she came up with the idea for her series. Here’s the link to World Building with Gail Carriger
Monday, May 10th, 2010
“If a scene just isn’t working, and yet it’s critical to the storyline, try writing it from the point of view of one of the other characters. You might be surprised at the difference it makes!”
Visit Nalini Singh’s website
Purchase Nalini’s latest release, Archangel’s Kiss
Sunday, May 9th, 2010
What does that mean? Simply, we must write stories that grab readers at page one and never let them go. It’s not as easy as it seems. To start with, a stellar beginning/opening is vital these days, especially for aspiring authors if we want that coveted publishing contract.
According to statistics, editors/agents reject manuscripts before they’ve finished reading the first few pages. I wanted to know why. So I studied many books on the craft of writing and took several creative writing classes that addressed that very issue. I also read and researched multi-published authors’ books, trying to get the feel of what set them apart. Then I practiced, rewrote and practiced again hoping to get the words right.
Here’s a stellar ‘Get Hooked’ opening from Carved In Stone by Vickie Taylor (Berkley Sensation): Nothing reminded Nathan Cross he wasn’t human so much as an attractive woman watching his every move from across a crowded room.
Now doesn’t that make you want to read more? It does me. The book continues to be stellar throughout and never lets the reader down all the way to the end.
Our first goal as an author is to evoke an emotional response that hooks the reader. Les Edgerton, leading authority on writing stellar hooks says, “If you are able to capture the right beginning, you’ve written a small version of the whole story right there.”
How can we go wrong with that? The best advice I can give about hooking editors, agents and ultimately readers, is to write a stellar opening and then make sure the rest of your story lives up to that fabulous beginning.”
Kaye Manro’s science fiction romance FORBIDDEN LOVE releases at Red Rose Publishing on May 20, 2010.
Saturday, May 8th, 2010
What is your best craft tip for aspiring authors wanting to submit to an agent?
90% of writing is rewriting. I don’t know that it ever gets easier, but I know that the more you learn to self-edit and polish, the stronger you’ll be at those skills.
Follow this link to read my full interview with agent, Holly Root
Friday, May 7th, 2010
“Take disco breaks. Get up every hour and get the blood flowing and give your brain a break by punching up something pumpy on your ipod or stereo and rocking out for a few minutes. Great to reset things and bring you back to the computer with new energy, and helpful to stop your body from seizing up after long hours toiling over the keyboard.”
Visit Sarah Mayberry’s website
Purchase Sarah’s latest release, Her Best Friend
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
“The editor is there to do two things: to make the book as polished and professional as she can and to help you and the publisher avoid infringement suits. There are no brownie points for refusing reasonable edits. My first editor [Suzanne James] taught me: “An editor is not dismembering your baby; she’s polishing your gem.” To that, I added: “Sometimes you have to cut off the rough edges before the soft cloth comes out.” While you may not agree on precisely what changes need made to smooth the work, you should work with the editor to come to a compromise and not dismiss the concerns outright. Chances are, if the editor sees a problem, the readers will as well. Remember, what you see in your mind’s eye is often filling in the blanks between the typed lines, because you know the subject so well. For a reader to see the same thing, it has to all be on the page.”
Brenna Lyons, author of the EPIC’s e-Book Award-winning TIME CURRENTS
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
“I don’t know if my tip is unique or not, but when I’m writing, I keep what I call a tracking sheet on each book. Whenever I start a new chapter, I add in the chapter number and the page it begins on. This enables me to know just how long each of my chapters is and when I should start thinking about ending them. I keep that and a synopsis and a style sheet with character names and a few brief characteristics in separate files on my computer and update them as I go along. The style sheet helps me keep character names and spellings, (which are always hard to remember since I invent most of them) within easy access of my increasingly Swiss cheese brain so I don’t have to go back and scan what I’ve already written looking for the name or description.”
Visit Cheryl Brooks’ Website
Purchase a book from Cheryl Brooks’ The Cat Star Chronicles