Friday, February 12

View to a Skill: Understanding Point of View

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s Refresher Friday takes a heavily updated look at understanding and using point of view. Enjoy!

I still remember the moment when point of view (POV) clicked for me. I was talking to a writer friend of mine, (Juliette Wade), and she was explaining one of her comments in a critique she'd done of my WIP. I’d written:

She came around the corner and saw the rowboat tied to the dock piling.

Juliette had asked, "Did she know the rowboat was there? Because "the" implies prior knowledge, and I don't think she was looking for it or knew it was there."

Thursday, February 11

Is the Indie Gold Rush Over? Does it Matter?

By Julie Musil, @juliemusil

Part of the Indie Author Series 

In December of 2015, Mark Coker of Smashwords wrote 2016 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Myriad Opportunities amid a Slow Growth Environment. The full article is lengthy but fascinating.

One of the points he makes is this: “Many indies and traditional publishers alike reported flat or lower sales in 2015. The go-go days of exponential ebook market growth of the early days (2008-2012) are over.”

Does that statement strike fear in your heart?

Wednesday, February 10

5 Common Problems With Beginnings

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

A novel’s beginning is under a lot of pressure. It has to introduce the protagonist and characters, setup the world and story, and get the plot moving, all while hooking our readers and making them want to turn the page. With all that setup and introduction, it’s no wonder they often start off wrong, or take too much time to get going.

The only thing tougher than a beginning is the ending. Except for the middle.

If a beginning isn’t working, it’s usually due to not grabbing the reader’s interest, either by lack of a compelling problem, nothing happening, or taking too long to get to the actual story.

Tuesday, February 9

You Have the Right to Remain

By James R. Tuck, @JamesTuckwriter

Part of the How They Do It Series

Last go around we talked about the business of writing and my opinion on FTL markets.

This time we are going to talk about the business of writing but we are going to move up the ladder to small press anthologies and a bit that can apply to any contract for longer works at publishers of varying sizes.

Today we talk about rights.

Monday, February 8

Bouncing Back When Your Writing Routine Gets Disrupted

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

My husband and I recently moved to another state, closer to family. Between the packing, the moving, the unpacking (still not done), and our new hectic life, my writing routine has been completely shattered.

I accepted the disruption before the move, since I knew there’d be months when writing wasn’t going to happen much (or at all), but we’re “settled” now, and I’m trying to get back to normal.

Except “normal” has changed.

Sunday, February 7

Writing Prompt: The Challenge: What Scares You?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy
This week’s prompt aims to challenge you to write something outside of your comfort zone. It’s designed to push your creative boundaries and stretch those artistic wings.

Write about something that scares you.

Put a character into a situation where he or she faces whatever it is that scares you. It can be funny, scary, emotional, thrilling—totally up to you. The goal is to tap into fear and explore how that affects a character (both good and bad).

Skill tip: What fear you choose to write about will determine how deep you dig for this exercise. Superficial skills might only tap into surface feelings (still good), but deep-rooted, “I don’t like facing this” fears can help you find an emotional place that really make an emotional scene resonate. You can use that in your novel’s own emotional scenes.

For the brave, share in the comments! But it’s okay if it’s too personal to share.

Saturday, February 6

Real Life Diagnostics: Would This Query Letter Grab Your Attention?

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: Five

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through March 11.

This week’s question:

Would this query grab an agent's attention?

Market/Genre: YA thriller

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, February 5

Me or You? Choosing Between First and Third Point of View

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes another look at choosing a point of view style. Enjoy!

How do you choose between first and third person point of view (POV)?

Whichever you like better.

That seems way too simple, right? But there is no preferred POV for any type of story. There are traditional  POVs for genres and markets, but no one says you have to adhere to those. But that's not helpful for someone who isn't sure which to use, so let's dig a little deeper.

Thursday, February 4

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Pricing Plan? Part Three (The Freebie Option)

By Jami Gold, @JamiGold

Part of the Indie Authors Series

For the last several months, this Indie Publishing Paths series has explored how there’s no “one right way” to self-publish and be successful. The successful indie authors have all made different choices, so rather than worrying about finding the “right” way, we simply want to make the right decision for us.

The previous posts in this series have covered the steps we should go through to understand our options. We first need to figure out our goals and priorities. Then once we’re ready to put our book up for sale, we need to decide on the where (such as whether we use a distributor or we sell direct through a retailer or go exclusive with Amazon’s KDP Select), the when (whether we delay, use a preorder, or go for immediate sales), and the how much (whether we price high, in the middle, or low and whether our pricing strategy is a good match for what we want to accomplish).

Wednesday, February 3

Forcing the Issue: Adding Conflict to Your Scenes

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I'm feeling a little under the weather this week, so here's a Golden Oldie on conflict. Enjoy!

Sometimes I notice my protagonist is following along with the plot and doing what she needs to do, one step at a time, but even though things are problematic, there's no sense that there's really anything in the way trying to stop them. Sure, it's hard, but she just needs to fight through it to the next step. Stuff's in the way, but it's not opposing her. It's the literary equivalent of a big action sequence in a movie. It's fun to watch, but it's all surface problems.

This is when I know I need to add more conflict. Not the "put random obstacles in the way" conflict, but the deeper, more interesting, "make the choices harder" type conflict.