Saturday, April 19, 2014

On the Road: What Kind of Writer Are You? Finding Your Writing Process (+Giveaway)

My feet are getting tired from all the running around I'm doing, but today I'm visiting Elizabeth O. Dulemba to chat about finding your writers' process. Come on over and say hello, plus, you can enter a contest for a chance to win a signed copy.

On the upside, I'm getting a lot of chances to use the fun cartoon me my husband had done for me as a surprise last year. Win/Win!

Real Life Diagnostics: A Look at a Fantasy Opening Scene. Is it Working?

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: Six 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through May 31. The Sunday diagnostics will shorten that some when my schedule permits, but I wanted everyone to be aware of the submission to posting delay.

This week’s questions:

1. Am I showing or telling?

2. Does this scene work, aka is there a definite sense of the people and who they are?

3. This is supposed to be adult fiction, does the story feel mature enough? If not what could I do to mature it?

4. Are there clich├ęs that could be reworded?


Market/Genre: Fantasy

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, April 18, 2014

Road Trip to Writers in the Storm: Do You Know Your Novel's Theme?

Continuing on my whirlwind tour, I'm over at Writers in the Storm today, sharing tips on how to find your novel's theme. Come on over and say hello!

Oh, That's Subtle: The Little Things Holding a Story Back

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Today's Refresher Friday takes another look at the subtle things that might be holding your story back. Enjoy!

Subtlety can mean the difference between a passage that works and one that falls flat. One word change, one shift in perspective, and everything's different. These can be hard to spot sometimes, which only adds to the frustration. If you're struggling with a story right now, and getting good feedback, but just not quite landing the book anywhere, (or having folks tell you it's good, but not great, or lacking something they can't put their finger on) perhaps take a closer look and see if there's a subtle reason that's holding the work back. 

Is your premise creating the right expectation in the reader?


Are you writing a romance with a mystery subplot, or a mystery with a romance subplot? Both books can look quite similar, but what one genre expects is different from the other. There might be little things you're doing that nudge it toward the wrong side and makes it feel off, even though no one can tell you why. Check your plots, structure, tone, look at the tropes of your genre and make sure you're in line with the norm for that genre. Make sure that the story you want to tell is the one actually being told on the page. 

(Here's more on going from premise to plot)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Finding and Working With a Cover Designer

By Jordan McCollum, @JordanMcCollum

Part of the Indie Authors Series

They say you can't judge a book by its cover. But they're wrong. A cover's there for readers to judge the book—it's a major factor in sales—so getting your cover right is extra important in the competitive market today.

Professional cover design is a major quality indicator for ebook readers. A poor quality cover that looks homemade often makes readers think the interior of the book is similarly unprofessional.

Finding a Cover Designer

 
As with editors, finding great covers and asking who designed them is the best place to start. Often cover designers are credited on the copyright page of a book, so be sure to check there if you love the cover.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

On the Road (Again) at Marti Ink: Q&A on the Importance of "Planning Your Novel"

I'm a traveling fool this week (more to come over the next few weeks actually), and today I'm doing a Q&A at Marti Ink about the new book (Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure), what's in it for writers, and my decision to self publish it over going with a traditional press. Come on over and say hello, and ask any additional questions you might have.

See ya there!

How Do You Cross "the Line" and Take Your Novel to the Next Level?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

There's been a question sitting in my "to answer" pile for a while:
Any tips you have on getting just the right amount of description, plot/subplot tangles, and internal thoughts will be appreciated. Now that I've reached the higher side of the curve, the 'line' seems to be the capstone I need to make it to the next level. It's so hard to be objective about exactly where that 'line' is.
This isn't an easy question to answer. Well, that's not entirely true, it's easy to answer but that answer isn't very helpful.

There is no line. It depends on a multitude of factors that's different for every book and every writer.

Like I said, not very helpful.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On the Road at Romance University: Are Your Stakes High Enough?

Just a quick heads up that I'm back at Romance University today talking about how to make the most of your stakes, and how to determine if they're high enough for your story.

Come on over and say hello!

Slinging Slang: The Case for Made-Up Words

By Sarah Skilton, @Sarah_Skilton 

Part of the How They Do It Series

Please help me welcome YA author Sarah Skilton to the site today, to chat with us about using slang terms in our novels--and why we should tread carefully.

Sarah is the author of BRUISED, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and which the Horn Book called, “nuanced and honest.” Her new novel, HIGH AND DRY, has been called “A dark, well-constructed mystery with a strong voice” by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Southern California with her magician husband and their son.

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

Take it away Sarah...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Real Life Diagnostics: Raising the Tension in a Flat Opening Scene

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: Seven 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through June 7. The Sunday diagnostics will shorten that some when my schedule permits, but I wanted everyone to be aware of the submission to posting delay.

This week’s questions:

I've been reworking the opening chapter to my manuscript and I keep being hit by the feeling it sounds too flat. Is there enough tension in this scene and does it make you want to know what happens next? (The protagonist is male, but I've also had comments he sounds feminine, which seems to be another issue.)


Market/Genre: YA Science Fiction

On to the diagnosis…