Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Should You Avoid Topical Issues in Your Writing?

By Paul Anthony Shortt, @PAShortt

Part of the How They Do It Series


Writers write because we have something to say--be it a poignant message, social commentary, or just to tell a good tale, our words often carry a lot of weight. But where's the line between writing about the world and preaching about an issue? I'm pleased to welcome long-time friend of the site, Paul Anthony Shortt, back today to share some thoughts on writing about topical issues.

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.

Paul's work includes the Memory Wars Trilogy and the Lady Raven Series. His short fiction has appeared in the Amazon #1 bestselling anthology, Sojourn Volume 2.

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

Take it away Paul...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Real Life Diagnostics: Easing Readers Into Your Story

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 March 7.

This week’s questions:

I was wondering if this opening does a good job of captivating the reader without being confusing, and how to make the character development better.

Market/Genre: Young adult historical fantasy

NOTE: There's a revised query up on the story about magical servants and a class uprising for those curious to see how the author reworked it. They did a good job, so it might be interesting to those struggling with queries right now to see how one writer revised.

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, January 23, 2015

Get a Clue: We All Need a Little Mystery in Our Novels


By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday is a heavily updated look at how we can add a little mystery and wonder to our novels. Enjoy!

A good friend of mine writes mysteries, and when she first started reading my fantasies (the novels, not the other kind) she remarked that she’d never be able to make up an entire world like I did. I found it impressive that she could write in the real world and not have the luxury of making stuff up when she needed it. Two totally different writers approaching their stories from two totally different perspectives, but what we both agreed on, was that all stories need a sense of mystery and wonder. Without mystery, stories just aren’t any fun.

I think as writers, we can get so caught up the plot and characters and showing all the cool things we created, and making sure the technical stuff is working, that we forget readers want more than just "good writing." They want a story they can get lost in. A puzzle to solve. They want to figure out the truth and be surprised.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Creating An Author Business Plan: Setting Your Goals

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy
 

Part of the Indie Author Series

In my last post, I announced that I was going to start a series helping busy authors write their author business plans. I’m excited to be back now, facing 2015, and diving in.

The first section of your author business plan is your Author Business Plan Summary. Because it actually contains a lot of different information, I’m not going to cover it all today. That would be overwhelming and make this post much too long. Remember that this is about breaking it down into manageable, unintimidating pieces. One small bit that you can do each day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fiction University Made The Write Life's 100 Best Websites for Writers List

This site is a labor of love, and it always makes my day when a writer tells me one of the articles helped them through a tough problem or got them over a writing hurdle. It's why I do it, and why so many of my fellow writers do it--the writing community is a wonderfully supportive group.

So it made more than my day to find out that the site made this year's list of The Write Life's 100 Best Websites for Writers. I'm honored, flattered, and touched. It means a lot to me.

I'm in good company on this list for sure, and I'm thrilled to see so many friends and so many of my own favorite sites. (I'd share that list here, but honestly, I'd practically be re-posting the whole thing)

Thanks so much to everyone who recommended me, and to everyone who comes here when they need a little writing help. You guys are awesome.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weaving Social Narratives Beyond the Page

By Kate Hackett, @hackettkate

Part of the How They Do It Series

We've got something a little different with today's guest, but mixing mediums is becoming more and more popular for artists of all types--even writers. Kate Hackett, creator/star of the YouTube hit Classic Alice takes to the podium to share a few of the interesting ways she's been creating (and promoting) her webseries.

Kate has been acting since she was four years old, all the way back in Maryland. She grew up doing musicals (she sings!) and other straight plays, but made the transition to film when she attended Boston University for college. Kate has worked on many independent films and commercials and has produced, starred in, and written her own content. She believes strongly in writing and creating her own material, so there's always something new just around the corner! She lives in Los Angeles with some idiot cats and so many books that she stores Harry Potter on her kitchen shelves. 

Classic Alice is currently running an IndieGoGo to fund their next batch of episodes; to learn more and to contribute, please visit igg.me/at/SaveAlice — any donation helps, large or small, and sharing is also amazing!  


Take it away Kate...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Balancing World Building and Pacing

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Q: The feedback I've received is that I skimp a little too much on World Building - I trust the reader a little too much. My pacing is also a little too quick. I've read a lot about world building and pacing, but how do you know how much is too much or too little and too fast or too slow? Beta readers are one good way, but as an author, is there another way?

A: When you're looking at world building and pacing, it helps to think about the different facets of world building itself. The first thing that likely comes to mind when you hear "world building" is setting, which slides right into description. Description tends to be slow paced, so it's easy to make the conclusion that world building = slow paced.

But that's just one aspect of it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This YA Mystery Opening Hook You?

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 February 28.

This week’s questions:

Do you think the book’s opening would hook readers? Does the chapter heading work (trying to create foreboding)? Have I got the YA voice right? Does the tone feel right for a murder mystery or is it too humorous / too light? Does my writing flow? Does my POV work (aside from the opening paragraph, trying to stick to third person limited)? And I’d love to know if you think the overall plot works? Do you think the plot / writing would appeal to agents?


Market/Genre: Young adult

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Sum of the Parts: Writing a Synopsis


By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes an updated look at how to write a synopsis. Enjoy!

Aside from queries--and maybe electronic hotel card keys--few things are as frustrating as writing a synopsis. Condensing an entire novel to just a few pages means some things are going to be minimized or even excluded. I've found that approaching a synopsis similarly to how I approach outlining my novel helps me narrow down what to include.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

5 Marketing Ways to Revive Your Series

By S.R. Johannes, @srjohannes (Contributor: Ashley Dawson)

Part of the Indie Authors Series


As self published authors, we all know how difficult it is to be your own marketing guru. The posts, the updates, the sheer amount of time it takes to put your book out there and keep it out there- it’s a long process! Especially when your series has been out there for a year or two, and you’re working on the next installment. So, what are some good ways to keep your book babies marketed and relevant? Let’s look at a quick round up of some awesome tips and find out!