Saturday, December 10

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This Chapter Opening Show or Tell?

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: Six 


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through January 21.

This week’s questions:

1. Is this second beginning page satisfactory, or does it need more work?

2. Do you see anymore show vs tell issues?

3. Is there too much narration?


Market/Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction

Note: This is a revision from an earlier submission. This is the opening of chapter four.

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, December 9

How to Be Your Own Book Doctor

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday is for all those gearing up to revise, and takes another look at how to be your own book doctor. Enjoy!

If you Google “book doctor” you’ll get pages of folks willing to analyze your book and tell you what’s wrong with it. While this might be a helpful option for some, not everyone can afford to pay for this type of advice. But never fear, because with a little objectivity (and a plan), you can give your novel a checkup all on your own.

One of the reasons a good book doctor is so successful, is that they look at a story without all the emotional baggage us authors bring to our own work, and can analyze the critical elements of good storytelling. (We love our words. Our words are perfect, aren't they?)

Thursday, December 8

Creating Single-Author Box Sets: Part Two

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy

Part of the Indie Author Series


Last time we looked at the benefits of putting together a box set. This time I want to dig down into what we need to think about on a practical level once we’ve decided that a box set is a good idea.

So here are the most important items when creating a box set…

Decide how many books (and what books) to include.


Single-author box sets tend to be the most successful when we’re bundling up books from the same series in chronological order.

Wednesday, December 7

Three Ways to Make Your Writing Come Alive

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I'm on the road today over at Seekerville, discussing three easy ways to bring your writing to life. Come on over and say hello!

They're also giving away a copy of my book, Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It), so there are goodies to be had. Consider it an early holiday gift for one lucky reader.

Monday, December 5

A Surefire Way to Add Conflict to Your Story

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

A lack of conflict is one of the main reasons books get rejected from agents, editors, and yes, even readers. It can manifest itself in many different ways, from no obstacles keeping the protagonist from a goal to scenes that feel as though nothing is going on, but it all ends with the same basic complaint—readers don’t care enough about the story to read it.

One of the pitfalls of conflict is that it’s often misunderstood. When we think “conflict” we tend to think “fighting” or “aggression” or “enemy,” but that’s only one aspect of it (and the least interesting one at that.) The simplest way to look at it is as the struggle for what we want over what’s best for us.

It’s the Halloween Candy Principle.

Saturday, December 3

Real Life Diagnostics: Is This Engaging Enough for a First 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 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: Seven 


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through January 21.

This week’s questions:

1. Is this engaging enough for a first scene?

2. Is this combination (inner conflict & she being locked and alone) overwhelming?

3. Are the descriptions enough for you to picture the scene?


Market/Genre: Fantasy

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, December 2

We're Ready for Revision Pre-Flight: 10 Self-Editing Tips

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes an updated peek at getting ready for revisions. Enjoy!

Even if you love revising (like me), the thought of diving into a revision can be overwhelming. If you don't enjoy doing it, it can be downright soul crushing. Where do you start? What do you look for? How do you know when you're done?

To help make the process easier, here are my top ten tips to give you a place to start, a map to follow, and a guide to get you through your revision.

Thursday, December 1

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Newsletter Plan? Part Five


By Jami Gold, @JamiGold

Part of the Indie Authors Series

So far in this Indie Publishing Paths series, we first focused on how to decide which path will work best for us. We figured out our goals and priorities so that when we’re ready to put our book up for sale, we could decide on:

Wednesday, November 30

You've Finished NaNoWriMo: Now What?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Pulling from the archives again with some tips on what to do when you finish your NaNo novel this evening. My eyes are feeling better finally, so I should be back to normal next week.

A big congratulations to all the NaNo'ers out there who made it through the month. No matter how many words you wrote, rejoice that you dedicated time to writing.

Now that it's over (or soon to be depending on your time zone), here are some suggestions on what to do next:

Tuesday, November 29

Playing With Personification

By Bonnie Randall 

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


By definition, personification is the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman. In literature, examples of personification number in the thousands, and each of us could present many of our own favorite examples of this device, (one of mine being Stephen King’s (not-so-sweet) ride, Christine).

Why personification works, as opposed to how to craft it, is the topic of this month’s article. When considered at base level, the idea that a place, object, or idea could be emboldened as a person seems not just absurd, but wholly unbelievable. Yet it works incredibly well in novels like Christine or movies like the soon-to-be released Collateral Beauty. Why?