Tips for Creating Voice in Your Writing
Ask any agent or editor what they look for in a manuscript and inevitably they’ll say they’re looking for voice. A strong voice. A unique voice. An original voice. A realistic voice. But how do you ensure you and your main character possess this? That’s the billion-dollar question, isn’t it?
There is a lot of writing advice out there, some good, some not so good, and I’ll try not to repeat it. I’m only going to talk about what works for me, and I hope it can provide some guidance and help for you as you develop yours. So with that caveat in mind, let’s talk about Voice.
Continue reading at Writer’s Digest >>
Are You Pricing Your Book Too High?
In a previous blog post, we briefly looked at price to see if the price you set your books at is helping you to attract readers or if it repels them.
The discussion stemmed from the fact that many self-published authors tend to price themselves out of sales. This happens because:
Continue reading at Book Marketing Tools >>
Let's face it, not very many authors have the luxury of writing full-time for a living. Most have to squeeze their writing in around work, school, family and life in general. Time is at a premium so even though there are ton of books, magazines and blogs out there about how to market books, reading through them takes time and pulls an author away from doing what they love in the first place. So how can you learn the ins and outs of book marketing without sacrificing hours and hours of your time? Well believe it or not, YouTube actually has a lot more than funny cat videos. There's actually a ton of useful book marketing and promotion videos and most can be watched in under 10 minutes. We've selected five of the most popular but we're obviously just skimming the surface here. We highly recommend taking 10-15 minutes to browse through the massive YouTube library. Chances are, you'll find something that will be both useful and entertaining. Who knew, right?
In honor of the Chicago Cubs epic, life-altering World Series win, in what many commentators are calling the greatest baseball game ever played, we present an NPR interview with John Grisham about his novel Calico Joe, a fictional account of a Chicago Cubs rookie, fatherhood and redemption.
“Start With The Action!” – What It Means And When You Should Do It
If you’ve ever read an authors’ ‘How To’ book, attended a creative writing class or pretty much sought writing advice of any kind ever, you’re bound to have run into this phrase: ‘always start with the action’. It’s probably as ubiquitous as ‘show don’t tell’ and ‘do not, under any circumstances, use Comic Sans. EVER’.
But should you always start with the action? And if so, what does that really mean?
Continue reading on Standout Books >>
Book Marketing: How to Create An Author Brand
Communicating an author’s brand is especially challenging when you’re an indie author not bound by the constraints of traditional publishing to stick to a specific genre. Australian author, poet, book designer and musician Jessica Bell describes how she rose to the challenge of branding her work – by branding the author rather than the books. Thanks to Jessica for sharing this detailed case study of the process that went into branding her self-published collection of books.
Continue reading on Self Publishing Advice >>
Writing About the Weather in Fiction
Writing about the weather in your novel, and writing about it well, is critical for an atmospheric story. It's also a great shortcut…
A simple description of storm clouds gathering on the horizon, say, can foreshadow troubled times ahead in the plot and save yards of complicated explanation about the character's mood.
Forget about writing novels for a moment – it's easy to forget just how important a part of our everyday lives the weather is.
Continue reading at Novel Writing Help >>
Stephen King: The 'Craft' Of Writing Horror Stories
In the summer of 1999, writer Stephen King was nearly killed while taking his daily walk. A driver had left the highway and struck King as he strode along the gravel shoulder of Route 5 in Maine.
While recovering from his injuries, King worked on a book called On Writing. The book was both a reflection on his craft and his thoughts about the accident that required months of rehabilitation to repair his broken bones.
In a 2000 interview on Fresh Air, King described his life-changing accident to Terry Gross but said it didn't change the way he approached his writing.
Continue reading on NPR.com >>
The Right First Impression
By Virginia Heath
‘Jack Markham, lately christened the Earl of Braxton, brought his horse to a stop on the brow of the hill just as the first rays of the sun burnt through the hazy mist of the early…’ Zzzzzzzzzzz sorry I nodded off there!
Those were the uninspiring first lines of my doomed, never-to-be-published first attempt at a historical romance novel. If the reader had a convenient pair of matchsticks at the ready to prop open their drooping eyes, the story then went into a great deal of description about the fictitious place he happened to be riding in. I think the story actually started somewhere around page five. Five wasted pages where I should have hooked my reader and made them want to continue reading my book. I’ve come a long way since then.
Continue reading at Romance University >>
How to write a romantic book: 5 mistakes to avoid
Learning how to write a romantic book also means learning to avoid common romance writing mistakes. The best romance writers excel at finding romantic story ideas and fleshing them out with memorable character relationships. Here are 5 romance writing mistakes to avoid:
1: Avoid immediate, total attraction between your story’s lovers
The process of characters falling in love is half the adventure and excitement of many great romance novels. You might ask ‘What about Romeo and Juliet?’
Continue reading at Now Novel >>
The Top Three Story Pitch Mistakes
If you’ve read Fix My Story for very long, you probably know that I’m big on story pitches. I call them by their Hollywood name of loglines. I’ve even written a book or two about how to make your story pitch amazing. It’s a passion of mine to make sure every storyteller who comes into my sphere of influence knows how to write a great story pitch.
Today, I want to go back to basics on story pitching. To do that, let’s look at the top three mistakes I see most often in story pitches.
Continue reading at Fix My Story >>
The Complete Guide to Point Of View
Point of view is probably the largest single area of novel writing that aspiring writers have problems with. More specifically, they can't decide whether to write in the first person or the third person…
Both viewpoints seem so tempting in their different ways... and choosing one over the other can feel like closing the door on a whole world of exciting possibilities.
Just about everything in literature boils down to the writer having to make choices. And you could argue that the whole "1st person vs. 3rd person" debate isn't going to make one heck of a lot of difference at the end of the day...
Continue reading on Novel Writing Help >>
The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel
Back in the spring of 2010, Stieg Larsson’s agent was having a good day. On June 13, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest—third in the series from a previously unknown author—debuted at number one in hardback in the New York Times.You can imagine the lists would have been a pleasing sight over morning coffee. Hornets’ Nest straight in at the top, Dragon Tattoo at number one in two paperback formats, and The Girl Who Played with Fire a roundly satisfying number two. This had been going on for forty-nine weeks in the U.S., and for three solid years in Europe. It would have been hard not to be smug.
Continue reading on Huffington Post >>
Is your writing a hobby, an art, a business, a vocation, a profession? Let’s discuss
This question was raised in a Facebook group this week: if you’re not earning much from writing, does that make it a hobby rather than a serious pursuit? My gut reaction was ‘no’, and I’d like to examine why. What follows will be a few attempts at definitions, a few assumptions – and I want this to be the start of a discussion rather than the last word. So do let me have your thoughts at the end.
Continue reading on Nail Your Novel >>
Points to consider for writers describing people of color
By Scott Sigler
Did you know that certain skin tone descriptions can piss some people right the fuck off?
We contracted a new editor to do the copy edit for my scifi/thriller EARTHCORE (out Nov. 29 in print, eBook and audiobook). This editor did a solid job. She’s quickly getting the hang of my particular style and the Siglerverse as well (if you’re new to my work, most of my stories are in the same continuum). She’s currently doing my next short story collection, FIRE IS ORANGE, and also THE REEF, a GFL novella.
But back to the topic of pissing people off. As the editor was working on EARTHCORE, she came across this phrase:
He started out of bed but stopped when a hand with long, purple fingernails lightly scraped his back. He turned to see Chloe smiling up at him, her caramel skin beautiful against the white sheets, her lush lips slightly parted, her black eyes glinting with sex.
Continue reading on the Scott Sigler blog >>