Monday, June 26

Birth of a Book: The Idea Stage: Clarifying the Idea

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Part of the Early Stages of a Novel Series

In this series, I’ll be analyzing the early stages of writing a novel. Part One is the Idea Stage, focusing on my own four-step process of developing an idea enough to turn that idea into an actual novel. First, we went through step one of the process, The Inspirational Spark. Last week, we discussed step two with Brainstorming the Idea. Today, let’s move on to step three, take what we brainstormed, and clarify the idea.

Sunday, June 25

Writing Prompt: The Photo Prompt: Handprints

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a photo prompt. Write whatever comes to mind, be it a description, a story, or even a poem.

Write something inspired by this photo.

Saturday, June 24

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This Early Reader Opening Work?

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 July 29.

This week’s questions:

I had some feedback suggesting that I don't start with a noise and also to make Johnny stronger as he is the protagonist not Granny. Does this work?

I will be pitching this at a conference, so I would like to know if these first words hook the reader (or in this case Editor!).

Market/Genre: Early Reader

Note: This is a revised opening. The original can be found here for those curious to see how this writer reworked it.

On to the diagnosis…

Thursday, June 22

Ask Us! What Do You Want to Know About Indie and Self Publishing?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Part of the Indie Author Series

With Angela exploring the wilds of Scotland for her next book (lucky gal), I figured this was a good time to see if you guys had any indie or self publishing questions for the faculty. There are more than 160 indie pub articles on the site now, but I'm sure there are things we haven't yet covered, or topics you guys want to hear more about.

What do you want to know about indie and self publishing? 

Here's a quick round up of topics we've done so far:

Wednesday, June 21

How to Handle Conflicting Critiques

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I'm a little brain-friend after a week of editing from critiques, so I'm dipping into the archives today and updating this article from 2010. About critiques, because, ya know, it fits thematically. Enjoy!
Q: I submitted my story to a few online critique groups in hopes of getting it polished up for submission. I've been a bit paranoid about submitting since I found all these publishing and agent blogs and of course all of the advice from actual published authors. But after getting my critiques back, no one could agree, on anything. What was wrong, what was right, what worked or didn't work, even grammar suggestions. I didn't get the same thing twice. Everyone had completely different ideas. I'm just curious, that if I'm getting such a wide range of comments, could it mean that this story is lost cause? Or do I need to seek out some other readers? How do you sort through all the varied opinions? How do you get the most out of your critiques?

Tuesday, June 20

How Your Ear Can Make You a Better Writer

By Fred Johnson, @standoutbooks 

Part of the How They Do It Series

JH: Writing great fiction relies on trusting your ear as much as trusting your gut. Please help me welcome Fred Johnson to the podium today, to share some tips on training your writer's ear.

Fred Johnson is an editor for Standout Books, where he helps authors take their manuscripts from good to perfect. He also writes fiction and poetry. You can follow Standout Books on Twitter @standoutbooks.

Take it away Fred...