Friday, May 29

Be Flexible When Plotting (and Writing) Your Novel

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s Refresher Friday takes an updated look at how to be flexible when writing your novel.

There's an event in my novel, Darkfall, that's key to the whole story. It's something the entire series builds toward, and it cranks up the stakes and starts a (hopefully) white-knuckle thrill to the end of the book. However, when writing the novel, I had no idea where this event was going to occur.

I knew from my outline that it would happen, and I had several places where I thought it could happen, but the story kept evolving and I wasn’t sure where this pivotal event was going to go or how I was going to do it.

Thursday, May 28

Writers: Keep On Keepin’ On

By Dario Ciriello

Part if the Indie Authors Series

As indie authors, there are times when any of us who are honest with ourselves wonder why we’re doing this.

You know the feeling. You’re sick of the constant need to self-promote, or just had a string of mean reviews. Perhaps you worked like a dog on that last novel, and it’s lying dead in the water. The competition out there is so brutal you’ll never break through, no matter how hard you try. You wonder why you’re doing this when you could be doing something fun. You’re a fool. You’re beat. You want to reclaim your life.

Writing is a tough gig. Indie is tougher still. Darwin red in tooth and claw.

Wednesday, May 27

Why Every Writer Should Watch “Mama”

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Once in a while, a story comes along that blows me away. It might be a novel, a movie, a game, or a TV show, but how it’s written or structured illustrates an aspect of storytelling that expands my writer’s mind.

The film, Mama, by Andrés and Barbara Muschietti is one such story.

If you haven’t seen it, the basic premise is this: Two young girls abandoned in the woods are rescued by a tormented spirit who decides to raise them as her own. When the girls are found five years later, things get…complicated.

Although classified as horror, this film is really more physiological suspense in the “peek through your fingers while on the edge of your seat” way. It will utterly creep you out, but also make you laugh so hard you can’t breathe. And it makes you care—deeply.

Tuesday, May 26

The 4 Essential Ingredients to a Sizzling Romance

By Laura Lascarso, @lauralascarso

Part of the How They Do It Series

As one of the largest-selling genres out there, romance is hot-hot-hot on and off the page. Laura Lascarso joins us today to share a few tips on what makes these stories sizzle. Even if you don't write romance, these are great tips for anyone looking to create compelling relationships between characters (just adjust the romance aspects to suit your story).

Laura is the author of COUNTING BACKWARDS, winner of the 2012 Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature. Her newest project, RACING HEARTS, is a series of e-novellas that tells the story of two star-crossed lovers thrust into the world of competitive car racing. The second installment of this steamy summer romance will be launching June 30, 2015 with Leap Books.

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

Take it away Laura...

Monday, May 25

What Makes the Best Story?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

There’s a comedian who says doing whatever makes the best story is the secret to life. In writing, it works in a similar way. Whatever provides the best story is usually the way to go.

The TV show Nashville, recently had a good example of this (Minor spoilers if you haven’t seen the season finale yet). We can apply the same technique to our own stories to develop stronger plots and bring out the inherent tension our stories already have.

All season, one of the main characters (Deacon) has been battling cancer. His only chance to survive is to receive a liver transplant, but his estranged sister (Beverly) refuses to help. Finally, in the season finale, she’s pushed into agreeing by Deacon’s fiancé (Rayna) and they go in for surgery.

Sunday, May 24

Writing Prompt: Your Least Favorite Genre

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt aims to challenge you to write something outside of your comfort zone.

Take the opening scene from your current work in progress (or any opening scene you’ve written) and write it as if it was a genre you don’t like. 

Can’t stand historical romances? Find a way to set your sci fi adventure in the past. Not a romance reader? Turn your cozy mystery into erotica. Dislike thrillers? Make that love story a serial killer thriller.

Skill tip: Think about the elements that go into a scene and how they shape reader expectation. You’ll have to find specific details to get that genre feeling across, and write in ways you never have before. Forcing yourself to think “what makes a thriller?” will shed light on what makes the genre you like to write in and give you insights on how to make those elements stronger.

Don’t worry if it’s not good, that’s not the goal here, and it’s hard to write a genre you don’t read. The point is to push yourself to do something different and shake up how you think about your genre.

Share in the comments!

Saturday, May 23

Real Life Diagnostics: Start With the Action, or the Characters?

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: Three 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through June 13.

This week’s question: I've received so many different ideas, advice and suggestions, and don't know now if I'm on the right track. I was told to tell something about the characters before jumping into the action, and that is what I've tried to do with the first few paragraphs. What do you think? 

Market/Genre: YA Romantic Thriller

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, May 22

Onward...No? Write to the End or Go Back and Edit?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes an updated look at whether it's better to keep writing a first draft or stop and revise during the process.
At some point during a first draft, we're bound to ask ourselves if we should keep going or start editing. I've talked about some general reasons before, so now let's look at some specific instances we might face.

Chances are this type of editing urge will be prompted by reading a great article or finding some great writing advice, or even getting an exciting idea for the story. A light bulb might go off and you'll understand something you didn't before and want to go back and put that into practice.

But should you?

Thursday, May 21

Creating an Author Business Plan: Our Product Plan

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy

Part of the Indie Author Series

We’ve now reached a milestone in writing our author business plan. Last month, we finished our author business plan summary and our Business Operation section. In other words, we’re officially into the body of our author business plan where we need to start laying out practical steps to reach our goals. (If you missed the earlier posts, it’s important to start from the beginning because we’ve already talked about setting our goals, choosing our stories, and identifying our audience.)

Everything we’ve written down in our author business plan prior to this point will remain fairly stable. In the upcoming sections, we’ll need to be much more flexible, adjusting as we go. What we write down is our starting point.

Wednesday, May 20

Four Ways to Prepare for a Book Launch—Even if You Aren’t Published Yet

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Before I dive in, just a head up that my monthly post is up over at Pub Crawl: Want to Write Better Stories? Write About Change. Come on over and say hello.

I’ve both written and read a lot of guest posts by authors with new books out. I’ve seen authors talk about their novels on panels and chatted with them in person. Every one of them at some point during the launch and marketing of that new book, struggled on what to write about or what to do.