Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How I Stay Motivated During the Tough Times

By Susan Dennard, @stdennard

Part of the How They Do It Series


No matter what stage of your writing career you're at, at some point you're going to lose steam and need a kick in the pants to get going again. Fatigue happens to everyone, but it doesn't have to keep us doesn't for long. Please help me welcome Susan Dennard to the lecture hall today to share a few tips on how she keeps going when times get tough.

Susan is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels–and not novels about fish, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues. She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband and Irish setter. Her latest book, Strange and Ever After, released this week. Her debut, Something Strange and Deadly, as well as the prequel, A Dawn Most Wicked, and the sequel, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, are available from HarperTeen.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Take it away Susan...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Deep POV is Not the Only POV

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I'm a fan of deep point of view (POV). I enjoy being in the head of a character and feeling like I'm experiencing the story as they do. The more distant the POV, the less I connect to the characters. But this isn't true of all readers, and many dislike that close feeling. They'd rather sit back and watch a story unfold with a safe measure of distance between them and the characters.

With so much focus on deep POV, it's easy to think that's the "right" POV to use, but there's nothing wrong with a distant POV if that's how you choose to tell your story. A narrator who hovers over the tale and describes it all to readers is just as valid as a tight in-their-head narrator.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Real Life Diagnostics: Starting With a Dream: Yay or Nay?

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 blog. 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 (+ two resubmits) 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through August 9. The Sunday diagnostics will shorten that some if my schedule permits, but I wanted everyone to be aware of the submission to posting delay.

This week’s questions:

Does it flow well? How can I get her emotion across better? Is there a better way to transition from the dream to real life? Is the nightmare a good way to hint at some major emotional/social issues Toria has?


Market/Genre: Unspecified

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, July 18, 2014

Painting Your Story World

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Today's Refresher Friday takes a heavily revised look at how the right setting details can bring your world--and your story--to life. Enjoy!

Just like the color of a room affects what people think and feel when they walk in, details in a scene affect how a reader experiences your world. The wrong details can create false assumptions and cause a disconnect between your reader and your world. The right details can start both reader and story off on the same page.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Things to Consider When Considering Self Publishing

By S.R. Johannes, @srjohannes

Part of the Indie Authors Series


As you guys may (or may not) know, in 2011, I chose to self pub my young adult thriller series (Nature of Grace) after it had some close calls in the traditional world.

I would not change that decision for the life of me – I absolutely love self-pubbing and plan to continue it in some sense. And I love where I am. I have an awesome agent now to help push my traditional work and I have a great foundation and reader base for my self-pubbed books.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What My Cat Taught Me About Characterization

By Corinne Duyvis, @corinneduyvis

Part of the How They Do It Series

Writers are always looking for new and fun ways to create characters, and sometimes you find the perfect tip in the most unlikely of places. Please help me welcome Corinne Duyvis to the lecture hall today to share how a fuzzy little feline helped her find her characters.

A lifelong Amsterdammer, Corinne Duyvis spends her days writing speculative young adult and middle grade novels. She enjoys brutal martial arts and gets her geek on whenever possible. Otherbound, her YA fantasy debut, released from Amulet Books/ABRAMS in the summer of 2014. It has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and the Bulletin. Kirkus called it "original and compelling; a stunning debut," while the Bulletin praised its "subtle, nuanced examinations of power dynamics and privilege."

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Take it away Corinne...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Do Writers Practice Their Art?


By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I spent the weekend at the Turner Cassity Literary Festival in Douglasville, GA, teaching a workshop on world building (A great writers’ festival, by the way, so look for it next year). Friday night, keynote speaker Stephen Corey said something—I believe he was quoting Marshall Thomas—that really stuck with me.

Other artists practice their art—musicians, dancers, painters—but what about writers? Do we practice or are we always “just writing?”


I can’t tell you the last time I wrote something that didn’t have a specific purpose. I'm either writing an article for the site, a writing book, or a novel, and the intent is always to share it or sell it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Real Life Diagnostics: Turning Infodumps Into Drama

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 blog. 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: Three (+ two resubmits) 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through August 2. The Sunday diagnostics will shorten that some if my schedule permits, but I wanted everyone to be aware of the submission to posting delay.

This week’s questions:

This opening paragraph seems so different to others I have read, is it too informative? Should I be more vague or even cryptic? As an opening paragraph can it work?


Market/Genre: Young Readers Historical Fantasy

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wanted: One Character Willing to Work With No Questions Asked

Molly Quinn, the perfect Aylin
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes a revised peek at my character-developing process, with a few added tips on how to adapt this to your own process. Enjoy!

For a lot of writers, the character comes to them first. They hear this person’s voice in their head, dream about them, and then they find their story. For me, it’s different. I usually find the problem first, then find someone whose life I can make miserable.

Because of this, my characters rarely start a novel fully developed. I usually only know the bare bones of their past, how they got to be where they are, what they like and dislike. The plot is the crucible I toss them into to get to know them. How they react to problems is what tells me what I need to know to write them.