Wednesday, August 31

Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft is Out!

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Do you have a manuscript to revise? Could you use a little help? Then do I have a book for you.

I'm excited to announce the release of the third book in my Foundations of Fiction series, Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft

Revising Your Novel
takes you step-by-step through the novel revision process, with in-depth sections on how to analyze your draft, spot any problems or weak areas, and how to fix those problems.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is its structure. I've broken it into ten workshops, each covering a different area of fiction, with various options for revising that area. Having problems with point of view? Zip to Workshop Four: Point of View Work, answer the analysis questions, determine what's not working and why, and then do the exercises designed to fix that problem. Stuck on plot? Workshop Three: Plot and Structure Work can help you develop your plot, unstick any stalled scenes, and raise conflicts, goals, and tension overall (plus a whole lot more).

The Quick-Check Analysis Questions in the appendix will make it easy to use this book again and again. You'll find the analysis questions from every workshop, plus a list of red flag words to help you spot common trouble spots, such as told prose.

Work through the book as you see fit, doing every workshop in order, jumping to your trouble areas first, or doing only the exercises your manuscript needs. Tailor your revision plan to suit your process and writing style.

With clear and easy-to-understand examples, Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft offers eleven self-guided workshops that target some of the toughest aspects of writing. It will help you:
  • Develop a strong and effective revision plan
  • Analyze your manuscript to find its strengths and weaknesses
  • Spot common red flag words for problem areas (such as told prose)
  • Determine the best way to revise a scene, plot, character, or novel
  • Fix problems holding your novel back

Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft starts every workshop with an analysis and offers multiple revision options in that area. You choose the options that best fit your writing process. Learn how to:
  • Develop weak characters into strong ones
  • Strengthen plots and subplots
  • Flesh out your world or setting
  • Control your novel’s pacing to keep readers hooked

BONUS Workshop: How to salvage half-finished manuscripts! If you have a half-finished manuscript you love and don't know how to fix, this bonus workshop covers common problems specific to manuscripts that stall in the middle. It'll help get your story moving again.

Available in paperback and ebook formats. Get yours today!

Looking for tips on revising your novel? Check out my book Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft, a series of self-guided workshops that help you revise your manuscript into a finished novel. Still working on your idea? Then try my just-released Planning Your Novel Workbook

A long-time fantasy reader, Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her novels include The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The Shifter, was chosen for the 2014 list of "Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read" from the Georgia Center for the Book. It was also shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, and The Truman Award in 2011.

Janice is also the founder of Fiction University, a site dedicated to helping writers improve their craft. Her popular Foundations of Fiction series includes Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a self-guided workshop for planning or revising a novel, the companion Planning Your Novel Workbook, Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft, and the upcoming Understanding Show Don't Tell (And Really Getting It).  

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Tuesday, August 30

The Writing Personalities As Crit Partners

By Bonnie Randall 

Part of the How They Do It Series (Monthly Contributor)

Critique groups are a funky set of monkeys, are they not? They can buoy a writer or bury them, create conflict off the page instead of upon it, and are simultaneously a writer’s worst nightmare and a writer’s best friend all at once.

I’ve been in and out of crit groups for years and have had some partners whose compatibility was lacking, others who outright infuriated me, and still others with whom I’ve formed what are now decades-plus friendships with, and I think, after a long spate of reflecting, (and definitely some maturing as a writer and as a person), I’ve reached a place where I can see how each of the three most dominant writing personalities has a useful, and perhaps even crucial place in a crit circle. Here’s how:

Monday, August 29

Blog Tour Stop: Discovering Your Novel's Hook

Hi gang!

Today's stop on the Better Fiction Blog Tour visits my old stomping grounds, Pub(lising) Crawl, with Discovering Your Novel's Hook (plus there's another chance to enter the critique giveaway). Come on over and say hello!

In case you missed them, here are the other stops so far on the tour:

Sunday, August 28

Writing Prompt: The Challenge: That’s Hot

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a challenge designed to push your creative boundaries and stretch those artistic wings.

Today’s challenge stretches your symbolic and thematic description skills.

Write a scene that uses “hot” as a theme or motif, using as many words, images, or ideas for “hot” as you can—but don’t use the actual word “hot.”

Extra Challenge: Also avoid using common synonyms for “hot,” such as: warm, heat, and blistering.

Super Duper Challenge: Use “hot” as a motif, but set the scene in a cold, winter climate.

Saturday, August 27

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This Romance Opening Work?

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 I 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: Four 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through September 24.

This week’s questions:

1. Is this a good opening scene?

2. Do the logistics of her collision with the man make sense?

3. Do you care about Sarah yet?

4. Overuse of progressive verbs?

Market/Genre: Romance

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, August 26

It's An Idea: Taking Your Novel From Premise to Plot

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes a heavily revised look at crafting a plot from a premise. 

I didn't know it at the time, but the first real novel I ever wrote was a premise novel. I had a cool idea, and the entire book was about illustrating that cool idea, without a plot in sight. I had no solid protagonist, no narrative drive, no personal stakes, and no chance at selling that book.

Because a premise is not a plot, and a plot is what makes a novel.

My experience isn't uncommon for new writers (and even professional writers can struggle with a premise novel from time to time). I've read a lot of queries that describe an idea, but there's no sense of a protagonist doing anything to solve a personal problem. Often, these novels are a lost cause because they're too inherently flawed to fix. But sometimes, it's just a matter of finding the plot within your premise.

Thursday, August 25

Indie Choices: Writing in Multiple Genres or Specializing

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy

Part of the Indie Author Series

One of the empowering, amazing parts of being an independent author is we get to choose. That ability to choose and experiment is one of the things that drew me to self-publishing rather than trying to work with a traditional publisher.

A lot of the choices we make won’t have a right and a wrong. Instead, they’ll have a right for me and a wrong for me. What’s important is that we understand our options and select the one that suits us.

Tuesday, August 23

The Importance of Genre Specific – Part One

By Susan Brooks, @oosuzieq 

Part of the How They Do It Series

Knowing where your book fits into the market helps readers find those books. Although the terms often used interchangeably, genre and market are not the same. Editor Susan Brooks takes the podium today to help clarify how they differ, and how they affect a writer's chances at selling a novel. Please help me give her a big welcome.

Since 2009, Susan has served on the board of directors for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, a non-profit educational organization supporting both published and aspiring writers of commercial fiction. She holds a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and is Editor in Chief at Literary Wanderlust, a new, small traditional press located in Denver, Colorado.

She tweets once in a while and you can follow her as @oosuzieq on Twitter. She also writes a weekly blog on writing craft and other writing topics which you can find at The Writer's Bag of Tricks.

Take it away Susan...