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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Building a Social Media Plan

By Rochelle Melander, @WriteNowCoach

Part of The Writer's Life Series


JH: Most authors would rather write than market, but social media is a useful way to connect with readers. Rochelle Melander shares tips on creating a social media plan you can live with--and maybe even enjoy.

Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, certified professional coach, and teaching artist. She is the author of twelve books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity; A Guide for Writers, Entrepreneurs, and Creatives. Through her writing and coaching, Rochelle Melander has helped thousands of people overcome writer’s block, design a writing life, turn their ideas into books, navigate the publishing world, and connect with readers through social media. Her debut book for children Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing will be released in July. She interviews authors and publishing professionals on her Write Now! Coach blog.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Take it away Rochelle…

The Danger of Self-Rejection (And Tricks on How to Battle it)

By Royaline Sing, @RoyalineSing

Part of The Writer’s Life Series

JH: Sometimes, writers can be their own worst enemy. Royaline Sing shares her story of self-rejection, and how she overcame it to achieve her dream of publication.

Royaline’s first fiction work was a notebook length movie script, featuring her favorite stars. She was probably ten. It hasn't seen the light of the day (And it won't). But storytelling lingered. Now, she writes through the noise of lovely two kids, a very supportive (but sweetly clueless) husband and a bank job where numbers rule.

Born and brought up in India, she’s a huge fan of Bollywood romantic movies and likes all things Marvel. She loves to travel and has so many destinations on her bucket list: Scotland, London, Agra, you get the picture.

She writes Historical Romances, with heroines setting their own norms and coming to toes with heroes worth loving.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Take it away Royaline…

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Deconstructing Deadly Illusions—What Not to Do With Your Manuscript

By Bonnie Randall

Part of The How They Do It Series 


JH: The smart writer learns from the mistakes of others. Bonnie Randall shares what went wrong with a story that made plenty of them, and how we can avoid those same mistakes.

Friends, because I’m a little salty these days, and because Netflix is a quadra-gajillion-earning empire (and therefore will not, in any way, suffer from this tiny hit piece), I decided to deconstruct one of their latest movies—a total stinkeroo called Deadly Illusions—in order to illustrate what not to do with your story.

So, if you’re prepared to hear a little snark, here we go:

Monday, April 19, 2021

A Lousy Way to Create Conflict in Your Novel

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Don’t take the easy way out when developing your plot.

I love conflict in stories, but not all conflict is created equal. There’s one type that really annoys me as a reader or a viewer.

Infighting.

Maybe I’m just a team player at heart, but I prefer a group of characters who work together to overcome problems. That “us against the world” attitude makes me cheer for them and I can’t wait to see how they deal with the next obstacle thrown their way.

But if they turn on each other and start bickering, or stabbing each other in the back, then I want to kick the whole lot to the curb. It’s hard to root for people who are being mean, petty, and selfish. Watching people fight is not my idea of enjoyment (though countless daytime talk shows says I might be in the minority here).

Saturday, April 17, 2021

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at a MG Historical Opening Page

Critique by Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

WIP 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 we 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 WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines. 

Submissions currently in the queue: One

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through April 24.

This week’s questions:

1. Is this in his view point?

2. Does it sound like a 10-year-old boy?

3. Does this catch your attention and want to read more?

4. Am I showing or telling?

5. Does this beginning even come close to a “hook”?

6. How can I improve this beginning?

7. Do these sentences sound mechanical or do they flow with the story?

8. Did I mix his thoughts in with the narrative?

9. Would Freddy’s boredom come across to the reader?

Note: This is a resubmission. The previous versions are here: firstsecond, third, and fourth for those curious to see how this revision has developed.

Market/Genre: Historical Middle Grade

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, April 15, 2021

How to Win Short Story Contests: Insights from A Writing Competition Judge

By Rayne Hall, @RayneHall

Part of the Focus on Short Fiction Series


JH: Thinking about entering a short story contest? Rayne Hall shares tips on how to improve your chances at winning.

Contests are great for short story writers, because they motivate you to create more stories and to revise them until they sparkle like diamonds. If your story wins, you'll gain recognition, validation that your writing is good, a boost for your credentials. You may also reap a cash prize, and perhaps a certificate, trophy or plaque to display.

So how do you make your story stand out in the eyes of the contest judges?

Of course, you need to write a really good story. All the usual guidelines for story writing apply: character, goal, motivation, conflict, structure, dialogue, hook, satisfying ending and more. Unless you've mastered the craft of short story writing, your chances of success are small, and no insider tricks will help.

But here are several steps you can take to draw the judges' attention to your good story and win their favor.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Why Self-Editing Your Novel Doesn't Really Work

By Dario Ciriello, @Dario_Ciriello 


Part of The Indie Author Series


JH: It takes a sharp eye to edit a novel, and familiarity with the work dulls that eye. Dario Ciriello shares why writers shouldn't rely on only themselves when editing their novel. 

I once found myself reassuring an author on Twitter. The author had shown someone their final novel draft, which they’d gone through countless times, and the reader found a number of mistakes in just the first ten pages.

This isn’t in the least unusual. And although there’s currently a rash of books and blog posts on how to self-edit, the reality is that you’re not — unless you’re already a seasoned pro, and even then — going to catch the majority of issues with your own work. It’s impossible.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Story Structure: How The Wrap Up Works in a Novel

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

The wrap up is the final goodbye for the novel, and your last chance to leave readers with a good impression.

There’s a series* I’ve read several times, because the wrap up has such an emotional punch that it pops into my head at least once a year and won’t leave. This is not a mega-bestselling series, and it’s not perfect. And while it’s fun, it also has issues and does plenty of things I could use as examples of what not to do in a novel.

Yet I keep reading it. And not just one book, but five. All to get to that ending.

It’s not the climax that gets me, though that’s exciting. In fact, the ramp up to the climax is also emotion-ladened and always makes me cry. It’s what the characters do in that final scene and why they do it that makes me come back to this series every year or two.

It’s heroic. And uplifting. And sad. And offers a sense that the world is a better, safer place now.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at Balancing World Building and Hooks

Critique by Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

WIP 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 we 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 WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines. 

Submissions currently in the queue: Two

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through April 24.

This week’s question:

1. Does this opening give enough information to hook the reader? In other words, would you keep reading?

Market/Genre: Science Fantasy

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, April 08, 2021

3 Powerful Ways Pros Create Character Conflict

By Laurence MacNaughton, @LMacNaughton


Part of The How They Do It Series

JH: Conflict is a lot more than arguing. Laurence MacNaughton shares three ways you can create conflict that matters to the story.

Have you ever written a scene where two characters argue, but it just seems to fall flat? Have you ever felt like a dialogue scene never sizzles, no matter how much conflict you pump into it?

Your story might have a bad case of character bickering. By that I mean that the characters are arguing, maybe insulting one another, but the conflict doesn't really show who they are as people.

Bickering feels bratty and shallow. True character conflict feels much deeper and more gripping.

If you suspect that your characters might be bickering, don't worry. The bad news is that it will take a little bit of digging and brainstorming to fix the problem. The good news is that there is a solution. Three of them, in fact.