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Saturday, April 21

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This Scene Show a Strong Bond Between the Couple?

Critique By Maria D'Marco

Real Life Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and we diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to Real Life Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: One


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through April 28.

This week’s questions:

1. Does this scene successfully convey a playful, sexual connection without actually describing the act?

2. Does this scene show a strong bond between the couple?

3. The beach is a strong theme throughout the novel. Is it used effectively here?

4. Would you read on?


Market/Genre: Adult fiction (Please note: This snippet contains a non-graphic sex scene)

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, April 20

Join Me for the Power of Writing Interview Series 2


 
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Becoming a writer isn’t an easy path! There are many challenges that new writers face on their quest to say "I am a writer" --challenges which, like those on any other quest, have to be overcome if we wish to find the treasure at the end.

Some of these common challenges include: Wondering what you should be writing about; finding the time and the inspiration to write; overcoming the fear of not being good enough, of what might come up; not writing consistently; procrastinating; getting easily distracted; struggling with keep a writer’s journal that inspires and guide your writing life (because you know you should be doing that but you just…don’t!)

Thursday, April 19

Easy Ways to Sell Signed Copies of Your Novel Online

By J. Kathleen Cheney, @jkcheney
 

Part of the Indie Authors Series

I’ve been in this author game for a while, and it still surprises me when someone wants a signed copy of one of my books.

Signings, both at conventions and at bookstores, are often fraught things, with no one showing up at one signing when the next week twenty people stand at your table. For some of us writers, those public appearances are quite stressful. And while there are those among us who are even brave enough to rent a table at a convention and sell from there, I haven’t had the nerve to join those ranks yet. (Jaimie Engle talks about selling at an event here.)

As it is, I’m doing only a few appearances a year, so I can’t get very many signed copies out there anyway. And what about that nice person who can’t get to your signing?

Wednesday, April 18

5 Ways to Structure (and Plot) Your Novel

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Writing is a creative process with a lot of variables, but basic story structure is consistent and reliable. Hit these points at roughly these times and you will finish a complete story arc and novel.

Note I said “complete” and not “good.” We all know there’s so much more to writing than putting the right pieces in the right places, but solid story structure is the first step to creating a solid story. Plenty of well-written novels with good ideas have stumbled and failed because they had flawed structure, and that hurt the overall story.

Think about a movie you’ve seen that should have been great, but wasn’t, because:
  • It felt unevenly paced
  • It didn’t take advantage of the cool things it setup
  • It felt like it was missing important moments
  • It was predictable

Tuesday, April 17

10 Best Packing Tips For Authors


By Gail Carriger, @gailcarriger

Part of the How They Do It Series


JH: Whether you're published (yet) or not, odds are you'll attend a writing event at some point in your writing journey. For those requiring overnight stays, some special packing just might be in order. Gail Carriger returns to the lecture hall today, to share her tips on packing well for a writers' event.

Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G.L. Carriger). Her steampunk books include the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, Supernatural Society, and Delightfully Deadly series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr

Take it away Gail...

Monday, April 16

The Easiest Way to Get More Writing Done

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I’m always looking for ways to be more productive (and organized, which for me, is a lot harder), so I’ll try just about anything that sounds interesting. But what has worked better than anything else I’ve ever done, is something anyone can do.

Turn off my email when I sit down to write.

Turning off my wifi is even better.


When I have no distractions, I get more writing done. But when email is sitting there with its little Inbox (13) staring at me from the bottom of my screen, it’s hard not to click over “just to check.” Especially when I hit a point in my scene where I’m not sure what the next sentence is. Instead of focusing and getting past it, I’m wasting time looking at an email I don’t need to worry about right now.

Sunday, April 15

Writing Prompt: The Story Starter: A Difficult Situation

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a story starter, so take the element provided and turn it into a story of any length you choose. If you’re stuck on size, I suggest aiming for 1000-2000 words.

Your protagonist just learned someone they trust betrayed them. While they’re trying to process it, that person calls needing their help.


Fill this situation out with whatever details you want, as long as you use this core problem.

Saturday, April 14

Real Life Diagnostics: Is This an Engaging Science Fiction Opening?

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Real Life Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and we diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to Real Life Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: Two


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through April 28.

This week’s questions:

Is this an engaging opening? I wanted to introduce life in 2090, but do I have too many specialized terms?


Market/Genre: Women's Fiction- Sci Fi

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, April 13

Are You Talking to Me? Addressing the Reader

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday tales an updated look at addressing the reader. Enjoy!

In most stories the narrator is telling the story to an ambiguous “someone.” The fourth wall (the reader) is never broken and everything happens as if no one was watching, just like TV.

But sometimes narrators break that wall and speak directly to the reader. Done well, it can make the reader feel as if they’re listening to a story by a good friend. Done poorly, it jars the reader out of the story and reminds them they’re reading a story.

When you think about it, all first person stories are talking to the reader. The narrator is saying “I did this I did that,” so sometimes you can have sentences that feel like the narrator is addressing the reader when they’re actually not. The comments are more like rhetorical questions or musing to oneself.
It wasn’t like they’d shoot me for it, right?
This is fairly common in first person, so it’s not technically speaking directly to the reader. The "right?" could just as easily be the narrator trying to reassure themselves.

Thursday, April 12

Solo vs. Group Effort: the Indie Author Collective

By Dario Ciriello

Part of the Indie Authors series


“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.”
Winston Churchill

A little over a year ago, after a decade of writing and publishing as an indie, a local library event brought me into contact with three other L.A. area indie authors.

The personal chemistry felt terrific and all of us were writing at a pro level. Most importantly, each of us brought different and complimentary sets of skills to the table—graphic design, video trailer production, print formatting skills, copyediting, proofreading, and that rarest of indie author talents, marketing.