Saturday, November 22, 2014

On the Road to a Dream

Hi All!

I've been interviewed over at Ava Louise's The Road to a Dream, talking about writing, publishing, and some of the stops along the way. Come on over and say hello.


Real Life Diagnostics: Using Emotion to Hook Readers

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: One


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through November 29.


This week’s questions:

Do you get a sense of scene, particularly the house being impressive in some way? Do you get a sense of how the protagonist (Alexis- she is named before the page is out) is feeling in this moment? What are you curious about and what areas need to be fleshed out more to increase your interest?


Market/Genre: Young Adult

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Authors Can Work Together to Achieve Success

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy

Part of the Indie Author Series

The perception of self-publishing is that you’re working alone. And you are, but it doesn’t have to be that way all the time. In fact, I believe the future of successful self-publishing is in working together as allies with other authors rather than viewing them as your competition.

Before I dive into some of the ways I see authors successfully teaming up, though, it’s important to cover the harmful and/or dishonest ways that authors sometimes work together. I want to be very clear that these aren’t things we should be doing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tag! You're It: Talking About Dialog Tags

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Dipping into the archives today with an edited look at dialog tags. Enjoy!

Let's talk about talking!

Dialog tags are part of any story, but sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how to keep them from feeling repetitive. "Said" gets old fast. Nodded, shrugged, frowned, smiled can only be used so often. Having a character push back their hair or clench their hands clogs up the narrative after a bit and can even feel melodramatic. Too much stage direction feels clunky, not enough makes a scene unclear.

Dialog tags work best when they're invisible--either by not drawing drawing attention to themselves or by blending in and doing more than just identifying the speaker. The harder they work, the less work you have to do to craft the scene.

You could eliminate them altogether, but then you might end up with something that looks like this:
"Are they still out there?" Bob peeked out the window.
"Doesn't look like it, but I can hear something groaning."
Jane frowned. "Maybe it's not a zombie. Maybe someone is hurt and needs our help."
"You want to go out there?" Sally pointed outside.
"No. But I wouldn't want to leave someone out there either."
"Maybe I can get a better view from the second floor."
"But that means going outside!"
"Yeah, it does."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Best Non-Writing Tools for Writers

By Robert Morris

With the right tools, any craftsman can be more effective. This holds true for writers as well, and there are a plethora of writing tools out there to help us do our jobs better. But what about the non-writing tools? Robert Morris visits the lecture hall to day to share some non-writing tools that can help writers with their writing.

Robert is a freelance writer from New York working in his first YA novel. Circle him on Google+.

Take it away Robert...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Choosing Which Thoughts to Italicize

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Following nicely with Saturday's Real Life Diagnostic, here's a question from the mailbag...
Q: When I first started writing, I though all internal thoughts should be italicized. Then during an embarrassing moment at a writer’s conference, I learned that only some thoughts need italics. So I started italicizing thoughts I felt my character spoke in her head. But since then I got another critique where my italics were still being questioned. When do I italicize internal thoughts?
Like so many things in writing there is no hard and fast rule here, because personal taste plays a role. Some writers dislike using italics at all, while others love them and use them all the time. Tastes will vary, but I've found italics work best when they emphasize something.They're also useful when you want to show internal thoughts directly "heard" from the character rather than a thought in the narrative.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Real Life Diagnostics: Conveying Internal Thought Without Using Italics

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: Two 


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through November 29.

This week’s questions:

How do I go smoothly into the thoughts of my protagonist. I am writing in the third person but loathe to present thoughts as reported speech. I've been using italics but feel that is difficult for the reader. I'm not sure how to present or punctuate it. Any suggestions?


Market/Genre: Supernatural Romance

NOTE: There's a revised snippet for the fantasy for the piece struggling with names and infodumps for those curious to see how the author revised.

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kill What? What to Do When You Need to Cut a Major Part of Your Novel

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Today's Refresher Friday takes an edited peek at what to do when you need to cut a huge chunk from your novel. Enjoy!

I once had to cut a major (and awesome) event from the end of a novel I was writing. This event was so important to me, the entire magic system developed from it, and a huge chunk of the book lead up to it. But after several months of struggling during revisions, I realized I had a problem.

That awesome event wasn't working with the novel I had written.

I knew I had to cut it, but I didn't, because it was, well, awesome. And I loved it. And I'd pictured this event in my mind so clearly I could feel it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Defying Gravity: Taking the Plunge Into Self-Publishing

By Paul Anthony Shortt, @PAShortt

Part of the Indie Authors Series


My regular indie contributors are getting a break today, and Paul Anthony Shortt is stepping in to share his experiences with--and his choice to--dive into the self-publishing world. Paul has been a long-time reader at Fict-U, and it's a pleasure to see him here once again with a new book, and a new direction in his writing career.

A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.

He believes in magic and monsters. In ghosts and fairies. The creatures that lurk under the bed and inside the closet. The things that live in the dark, and the heroes who stand against them. Above all, he believes that stories have the power to change the world, and the most important stories are the ones which show that monsters can be beaten.

He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends.

The following year, Jen gave birth to twins, Amy and Erica. Their fourth child, Olivia, was born in January, 2014.

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

Take it away Paul...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Three Tips for Creating Evocative Prose

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

When you think about it, writing is a pretty amazing thing. Ten writers can use the same ten words and create completely different sentences. They can use them to evoke a myriad of emotions from joyous to terrified, and bring a reader to tears as well as laughter.

What words we choose matter. A single edit can change how a reader interprets our work, and knowing that, we can put them in the right mindset for the story.