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Saturday, August 15

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at Adding a Hook to the First Page

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

WIP 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 WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines

Submissions currently in the queue: Two

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through August 29.

This week’s questions:

1. Is the beginning interesting enough to want to read more?

2. Is this in Freddy’s POV? Or is it more of a narrative?

3. Is this age appropriate for middle or elementary readers?

4. If the beginning isn’t yet a hook how in the world can I make it more interesting?

Market/Genre: Middle Grade

Note: This is a re-submission. Check out the previous submission if you’re curious how the author revised. 

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, August 13

The Two Best Tips for Writing a Strong Story: Put Characters in Conflict

By Kris Bock, @Kris_Bock

Part of the How They Do It Series

JH: Great characters with a strong conflict make for strong novels. Kris Bock two great tips for how (and why) to get your characters into conflict. 

Chris Eboch is the author of over 60 books for children, including nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen. Her writing craft books include You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting.

Her novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs.

Chris Eboch Website | Blog | Goodreads 

Chris also writes for adults as Kris Bock. Her Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and shelter cats. Get a free 10,000-word story set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café when you sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter. You’ll also get a printable copy of the recipes mentioned in the cat café novels.

Kris also writes romantic suspense set in the Southwestern U.S. If you love Mary Stewart or Barbara Michaels, try Kris Bock’s stories of treasure hunting, archaeology, and intrigue in the Southwest.

Kris Bock Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter 

Take it away Kris...

Wednesday, August 12

Why You *Shouldn’t* Edit That Last Scene Before Moving On

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

If you want to keep your writing momentum going, you might not want to edit your previous scene.

On Monday, I shared the pros of editing and reading what you wrote during your last writing session. Today, let’s look at the cons of doing so.

There’s a lot of advice that says editing what you just wrote is a bad idea. It’s better to start fresh and move forward with your current draft without worrying about what came before. That way, you can focus 100% on new material and have a much more productive day.

When I was starting out and developing my writing skills, I put enormous effort into getting each chapter right before I wrote the next. I’d go through it over and over until I’d polished it to death. It was as if every chapter was a manuscript all its own and it went through a full-on revision process.

Tuesday, August 11

6 Crucial Character Relationships

By Laurence MacNaughton, @LMacNaughton

Part of The How They Do It Series

JH: Relationships in a novel add so much depth to a story and so many opportunities for the plot. Laurence MacNaughton shares six relationships every protagonist needs.

No character exists in a vacuum. They are surrounded by friends, enemies, neighbors, coworkers, and a crowd of others. If you put a little work into their tangled web of relationships, it pays off in developing your character, deepening your story, and enriching your world.

Below are the six crucial types of character relationships. Your main character should have at least one of these. Preferably one of each.

As you read through these, think about your main character and this other person. Imagine that you are interviewing your character. Write down the answers. You may be amazed at the wealth of story ideas you uncover.

Monday, August 10

Why You Should Edit That Last Scene Before Moving On

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Editing what you wrote in your last writing session can help jump start your next writing session.

There’s common writing wisdom advocating to just keep moving forward when writing a first draft, and not stop to edit what’s already been written. I think this advice is a little too broad to be useful, and misses out on something important to writers.

Momentum.

Starting a writing session isn’t always easy. On good days, we know exactly what we want to write and can dive in without thought. On not so good days, we stare at the screen and it takes us forever to get those first pages down.

Many writers even recommend “morning pages” for this very reason. You write before you sit down to write. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s the practice of stream-of-consciousness, free writing for a set amount of time. The idea is to wake up your mind and creativity. (Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is the go-to book everyone talks about if this sounds interesting to you).

Saturday, August 8

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at Developing an Opening Page

Critique By Maria D'Marco

WIP 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 WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines

Submissions currently in the queue: Three

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through August 29.

This week’s questions:

1. Should I develop the main character before this segment or is this okay as a start of a story?

2. I have a hard time telling the difference between internalization and telling. Did I strike the right balance?

3. Does the dialogue sound natural and believable?

4. Would you want to keep reading?

Market/Genre: Unspecified

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, August 6

Getting the Word Out About Your Book Release

By Sherry Howard, @SherLHoward

Part of The Writer's Life Series


JH: Book releases have gone online for 2020, and getting the word out about your new book requires a slightly different strategy. Sherry Howard shares an overview (and a few tips) on where you can share your good news.

Sherry Howard lives with her children and silly dogs in Middletown, Kentucky. Sherry is the author of the picture book ROCK AND ROLL WOODS, with a starred Kirkus review. Her poems and stories have appeared in multiple journals and anthologies. She also writes for the educational market, with about a dozen books. Her middle grade book, SPIRITS AMONG US, releases in October.

Sherry Howard | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Take it away Sherry...

Tuesday, August 4

How to Drive Through the Muddy Middle of Your Novel

By Jodi Turchin, @jlturchin

Part of The How They Do It Series


JH: The middle of a novel sucks many a writer down into its murky depths. Jodi Turchin shares six ways to make it through when the story gets muddy.

Jodi Turchin is a Young Adult novelist represented by Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary. She’s also a photographer, a high school English teacher, an adjunct college professor, and a former actress and director.

Website | Twitter

Take it away Jodi…

Monday, August 3

Navigating (and Writing in) a Corona-Colored World

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy 

It's not easy getting back to a normal writing routine when everything else isn’t normal. Here are some things to help you find your writing mojo again. 

Apologies to all for the last few months. I haven’t been posting much because, like most of the world right now, I’ve been distracted and and fighting to be productive in any way. I had to let a few things slide, and blogging was one of them.

The last five months have been challenging for me and my family. I have two members of my household at high risk of death if they get sick with COVID, so we’re been in full-on lockdown since March. We’re fortunate to all work from home anyway, so it hasn't been too hard to shift to staying put all the time.

We’ve all had good and bad days, and struggles over various aspects of self-quarantine. I think some of the struggles came from the uncertainty of when this would be over and the hope that all we had to do was sit tight and wait it out.

Well, there’s no “waiting it out” anymore.

Saturday, August 1

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at Creating Tension in an Opening Page

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

WIP 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 WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: Two

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through August 15.

This week’s questions:

1. Is this a strong enough hook?

2. Does the "voice" read as a 12-year-old?

3. Does the last paragraph contain too much internal exposition and veer into "telling"?

Market/Genre: Middle Grade

On to the diagnosis…