Sunday, December 21, 2014

Real Life Diagnostics: A Look at a Science Fiction Mystery Query

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 January 17.

This week’s questions:

1. Does it make you want to read the book?

2. What parts hook you the most?

3. Where do I lose your interest as you read the letter?

4. What suggestions do you have for improvement?


Market/Genre: Futuristic Mystery Query

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, December 19, 2014

The More the Merrier: Adding Words to Your Novel

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Before I dive into this week's refresher, here's a heads up that I'm visiting Writers in the Storm today to chat about a fun way to get you out of a writing rut. Come on over and say hello!

This week's Refresher Friday takes an updated look at ways to add words to a novel. Enjoy!

We spend a lot of time talking about what to cut from our manuscripts, but there are times when we really do need to add words. Even if a novel is the right size for the intended market and genre, we might feel the story just needs deepening to make it stronger. Here are some common reasons to add words to a manuscript.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing an Author Business Plan

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy

Part of the Indie Author Series


My husband recently finished his degree in paralegal studies, and one of the final major projects was to create a business plan. As I watched him put in hours of time, two thoughts hit me.

First, as an independent author, I’m a small business owner, which means I should have a business plan. Businesses have business plans for a reason—the ones who don’t create them tend to fail. Just because this is a creative business doesn’t mean it isn’t a business. I have a product I’m creating to sell.

Second, I didn’t have weeks of solid time to devote to writing a business plan. I needed to break it down into manageable pieces so that I could do a little each day and fit it into my already crowded schedule. One of my personal focuses is to find solutions for busy authors (hence the title of my series of books) because I’m a busy author and I know what it’s like.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Writing Workshop: Planning Your Novel in 10 Easy Steps

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Just a heads up that my monthly post is up over at Pub Crawl, where I'm talking about the benefits of a small writers' conference. Come on over and say hello!


Start the new year off with a writing bookshop!


If you're in the Atlanta area this January, I'm giving a free novel-planning workshop at the Northeast Spruill Oaks Library.

Planning Your Novel in 10 Easy Steps will cover the key turning points of plot and how to find those points in your story idea. You'll learn a simple process to find and develop the key novel elements, from creating characters to determining the conflict to crafting the major plot points. Explore how to use goals, conflicts, and stakes to build a story and develop characters, and how to approach a story in a way that will make it easier to write and be more marketable to agents, editors, and readers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Worldbuilding Lessons from History: Part Two

By Alex Hughes, @ahugheswriter

Part of the How They Do It Series


Alex Hughes returns to the lecture hall today with more great tips on how history can help you develop your story worlds. An added bonus--to celebrate the release of her newest novel, Vacant, she's running a contest/game/scavenger hunt (with prizes!), so check out the details below.

Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! For all the latest news and free short stories, join Alex’s email list.

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

Take it away Alex...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Springmingle '15 -- Writers' and Illustrators' Conference Registration is Now Open




By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

A heads up for writers in the Southeast! If you're a kidlit writer or illustrator (picture books through young adult novels), and you're looking for a fun and informative conference, then consider attending Springmingle '15 in Decatur, Georgia this March. The conference is presented by Southern Breeze, the GA, AL, Florida Panhandle chapter of SCBWI (The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), and it's a great opportunity to meet and network with some local writers if you live in the area. 

Southern Breeze is my own local chapter of SCBWI, so I can say firsthand that you're not going to find a more welcoming and helpful bunch of people. I look forward to Springmingle every year, because it's a more laid back conference and I get to catch up with friends and colleagues, enjoy the sessions, and not feel rushed like a bigger conference can sometimes be. They're serious about the "mingle" part, and you get plenty of time to chat with your fellow attendees and the faculty. The sessions are always great, too.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Real Life Diagnostics: A Look at a Historical Short 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: Five 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through January 17.

This week’s questions:

1. Does the sample establish enough interest in who the character is and what she is doing for a reader to continue?

2. Is there too much telling?

3. Are there any glaring grammar issues I’ve overlooked?

4. Any pointers are welcomed.


Market/Genre: Historical Fiction or General Fiction Short Story

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, December 12, 2014

Storming the Brain: Coming Up With Ideas

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes another look (now with links!) at ways to get the muse working and find the story in your ideas. Enjoy!

My husband and I play “what if?” a lot. One of us will toss out a question (usually him), and we’ll run with it. It started out as a silly thing to entertain us on long car trips, but it’s evolved into an endless stream of story ideas for me.

You’d think this would be a fabulous resource for a writer, but we often end up with too many ideas. I can’t possibly write them all and not every idea – no matter how cool it sounds at the time – would make a good book.

So how do I pick out the good ones?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The F-Word: Tackling the Nitty Gritty of Formatting

By Julie Musil, @juliemusil

Part of the Indie Author Series 


I was having lunch with a writer friend who plans to self publish a series. Of all the indie tasks, she was most overwhelmed by the dreaded F-Word. Formatting.

Believe me, I understand. I’d worried most about this as well. But now that I have two books out in the universe, I’ve come to realize that formatting is really simple.

If you’re trying to decide whether to format your own books or hire a freelancer, check out Understanding Your Ebook Formatting Options on this site by Marcy Kennedy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How Does Your Character Answer Questions?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

In any story, information is going to be shared between characters, but it doesn't have to all sound the same. How a character responds can show both their voice and personality, as well help writers control how and when information is conveyed to a reader.

Everyone has their own way of answering questions, and that even changes depending on who we're talking to. How we answer someone in authority is typically different from how we answer someone we have authority over, and both of those are different from how we answer a friend or loved one.