To Outline, or Not To Outline.

Brianna Siegrist

So. Here’s a little story of my (limited) experience with outlines and fiction writing.outline2

Here’s me, la-dee-da-dee da. I’m writing a novel! yay! But novels are big and scary and long and full of rat holes you can start down and get trapped in. So I say to myself, “Brianna, here’s the deal. Read you some plot books and then plan out your plot ahead of time! No wasted tangents or wild goose chases. Or rabbit trails! Or any other cliches, for that matter!”

So I does it. Doose it. Whatever.

I make a pretty little outline. It’s incredibly detailed. It tells me where I have to have my character happy, where she has to fail, where she has to face a cliff… Everthing! And then I start typing.

Type typetype type tyPE backspace type type type.

When the going gets tough, which is… like all the time, I even make…

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Modernize Your Grammar

The Write Nook

One of the scariest aspects of self-publishing is the editing process. You don’t have a built in editor waiting for your next draft. If you don’t possess a doctorate degree in the English language, you feel prone to have a ‘professional’ edit your work which often comes with hefty fees. You worry about following every grammatical ‘rule’ because you fear that any poor grammar will cast your work in a negative light or will be judged by readers and/or critics, just because you are not following the ‘conventional rules’ despite how well you write. We all have heard and seen authors get slammed for poor grammar and the last thing we want is to be the next victim. Go ahead and breathe because I don’t want you to spend another second worrying about it. I recently came across a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, called “There Is…

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The Truth Behind #VeryRealisticYA

A. C. Wyatt

So, last week, this hashtag, #VeryRealisticYA, was created by @ABoredAuthor (aka John Hansen), and it caught the online writing community by storm. The tweets people sent in were hilarious. (I’m too lazy to embed them, but if you want to see some of them you can go here, here or here.)

But although the hashtag was created largely for satirical purposes, it does hit home for a lot of YA readers and authors. A lot of YA novels aren’t that realistic. This is an even bigger issue for Contemporary YA novels, because the people who write them don’t get the kind of artistic freedoms that authors who create their own worlds do. They have to conform to the world we live in today—issues and all (especially with the issues). But think about it: how many popular YA novels feature a person-of-colour narrator or main character? How many…

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Moving Plots Around: Writing Excuses Exercise 10.13

Andrew Knighton writes

It’s that time of the week again, time to delve into the latest Writing Excuses writing exercise. If you’re not already familiar with these, Writing Excuses is an excellent podcast in which four pro genre authors discuss how to write, and I’ve learned more about writing from this show than from any other source.

This week’s exercise:

Take the reverse engineered outline from a month ago, and move a side plot to the main plot.

This is an interesting way to see how focusing on different plots affects the structure of a story. I have to confess, I made a slightly half-arsed job of that previous exercise, looking at the first five pages of a Transmetropolitan comic. Still, I can do this exercise, and maybe take it a little further than last time.

Back to the City

The plot I looked at was issue six of Warren Ellis and Darrick Robertson’s…

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some notes on process: the reading notebook

the stanza

An in-progress page of my reading notebook. An in-progress page of my reading notebook.

A reader recently asked if I’d consider writing a post about how I use my notebook. Since then, I’ve been paying closer attention to how I use my notebook — or notebooks actually — and the answer is: pathologically.

Because I have too many of them. So I’m going to break this up a bit. Today: my reading notebook (there is also my writing notebook, and notebooks for lists, orphan lines, craft, lexicon, and… some other stuff).

The reading and writing notebooks are the ones I would take if the house were burning down, though I would hate to lose the rest of them. Really hate. Oh… I can’t even think about that.

Longtime readers know that reading is crucial to my generative process. As I read, I circle and underline, check and star, make notes on the poem’s architecture. I jot down words…

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Divorcing the Writer From the Editor

William Drayman

I realize that the secret to a good blog is posting often, but circumstances at the moment dictate my writing time take a back seat to my children’s schooling requirements. I am writing from 9pm to 1am or so, and there is so much work to do with The Road Out that I simply cannot spare much time for blogging.

However, the holidays have started, so I have more time available for sitting in front of the keyboard right now.

So, I wanted to talk about what I have learned as regards editing. Not the mechanics per se, but the mental attitude that has to be donned to edit a book successfully. As you can discern by the title, the writer mindset does not get on well with the editing mentality.

The writer spends many an hour crafting a chapter to encapsulate beautiful prose. The creative juices flow and the…

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Guest Post by Alex Hurst: What Can Traditional Publishing Offer Authors?

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Alex Hurst

As you know, I’ve self-published some of my books, and published traditionally others. When I posted a (somewhat cheeky) infographic about Self-publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, my friend Alex Hurst pointed out that there’s lot more to be gained from following the traditional path than suggested by the post.

After she had made a few great arguments in the comments, I asked her to write up a guest post on the subject, as she had obviously put a lot of thought into the subject. She came up with the great post below. Enjoy!

3 Reasons to Go Traditional

These days, self-publishing is all the rage, and with the prominence of DIY publishers like Amazon, Smashwords, and Draft-2-Digital, it’s not hard to see why. Authors can take full control of the creative process, editing only what they want to, choosing (or making) a cover they feel presents their book faithfully, and distributing to whatever…

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Promoting Book 1, Writing Book 2 and A One Star Review

Writer Babble

Blank notepad over laptop and coffee cup on office wooden table

Okay to start with I’m still having an awesome time floating around the sea of self publishing. It’s a wonderful place to be but has it’s ups and down like everything else we do in life.

First to promoting book 1. I’ve found some really good places to promote The Vanishing. Bknights, who came to me as a recommendation from other writers was great. The result was nice and again were a very easy place to do business with. Pixelscroll were just okay. I sold some but not a lot for the price I paid for them.
Overall though the book has been within the top 20 and top 50 in it’s categories which I’ve been incredibly happy about. The enigmatic Amazon algorithms Gods have picked it up and advertising it here and there.
I also did an Author interview with R J Madigan over on her blog. If you…

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A Must Read Article- Marketing Your Book by Jessica Leigh

Urban Book Reviews – Marketing Your Book Using Social Media

When I took a deep breath, and hit that publish button for the very first time, it was an exhilarating experience. But boy, was I what one would consider a Noob. I quickly realized that the writing and editing were the easy parts!

My journey is still in the beginning stages. But it has not been overwhelming, and it is certainly doable for any emerging author with a will and a bit of grit. Let me show you what I’ve learned so far.

A Must-Do List for Marketing Your Book on Social Media

1. Start Facebook and Twitter pages with links to buy your book. Focus on the quality of your posts – don’t go overboard – and focus on entertainment (not just selling). Utilize hashtags where you can, they will help. (ie. #fiction #books #romance)

2. Start a Blog. I used…

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5 Top Podcasts For Indie Publishers

The Self Publishing Challenge

mbIf you are wanting to find out about the latest new in indie publishing as well as hearing from those who have trodden the path before you, there is no better way to stay up to date than tuning into some podcasts.

I will be honest with you there are a lot of indie publishing podcasts out there.  Indie publishers are, by their nature a very entrepreneurial bunch and the chance of running amock with a mic and a great idea is hard to resist.

I have listened to many and the list below are the ones that I consistently come back to.  Mainly for their enthusiasm but also for the quality of the information and the interviews themselves.

The Creative Penn

cpp podcast

Joanna Penn is a non-fiction writer who has now very successfully entered into the Thriller Genre and is going great guns.  There is nothing but lovely things…

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MEET MY MUSE: Kylie Kaden


Kylie Kaden

MEET MY MUSE with Kylie Kaden

You know what? I’ve never been too sure what Muse is, exactly.

I’m not certain I’ve met her. It? Them? Or, for that matter, know how it might be channelled.

Now I get the verb version – to muse, or ponder over something. But they tell me it also comes as a noun. But from what I gather, it sounds like some sort of spiritual cloud that frolics around arty types as a source of inspiration, power and creativity.  A magical halo that wafts about feeding authors magnificent plots.

Well that just sounds like cheating to me.  But if there is an official Muse Facebook page I need to like to get regular feeds, my finger’s ready.  I can certainly do with some inspiration for book three right about now.

But yes, I am familiar with the concept – you suddenly get hit with…

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Writing That Scene: Scaramouche

A forum to engage in some free, online, constructive criticism of your own writing or the other people’s writings.

Andrea Lundgren

In the format of a non-traditional critique, Writing That Scene examines the fundamentals of what it takes to make a scene powerful and memorable for readers. The opinion expressed is my own, and other readers’ opinions may differ.

The goal is to provide a free opportunity for authors to learn from each other and to see their own “problem scenes” with fresh eyes. In my own experience, hearing what other writers and readers think of some of my own writing scenes has helped give me a fresh perspective, getting me thinking “What if…” and pointing out possibilities I hadn’t even considered.

If you are interested in sharing a scene of your own for a future post, click on the Writing that Scene Submission link. Or, you can suggest a scene from another writer’s work for us to analyze. To see last week’s scene, click here.

Author: Rafael Sabatini

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One Indie Author’s Debut Year Income

Jessi Gage...A Time to Love

The Numbers Are In!

About a year ago, I compared royalties for traditional versus indie publishing in a blog post. I had a unique perspective to offer since I did this comparison for the SAME book and close to the same month of different years, an opportunity afforded to me when the traditional small-press publisher I was with changed hands and gave authors the chance to ask for their rights back.

View the post here to see what I made in January 2013 as a traditionally published author versus what I made on the same book in February 2014 as an indie author (both were debut months). At the end of the post, I suggest I might do a similar comparison for a full year of traditional publishing versus indie publishing.

Well, here I am to do just that! Thanks for stopping by to peek! If you’re new to…

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