Saturday, 30 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

Émile Zola

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


Z for Zola

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
― Émile Zola


Just had to have this one as well:
 
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”

― Émile Zola



It's the end of the A-Z Challenge for 2016! Hope you enjoyed my posts and I'm sorry I couldn't visit every blog, but well done - we made it!


Friday, 29 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

A photograph of William Butler Yeats on 24 Jan...
A photograph of William Butler Yeats on 24 January 1908 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


Y for Yeats

 “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”
W.B. Yeats


Thursday, 28 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


X for X-rated

Having been a ghostwriter of erotica, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
  • Don't get wrapped up in blow by blow (forgive the pun) detail of the act itself. Remember to bring out the emotional dynamics between the couple. How does the situation make them feel?
  • Remember the 5 senses and draw on them to create your atmosphere.
  • Keep an eye on the trends e.g. BWWM and move with the times.
  • Never say throbbing manhood - ever again! Or any of the overused terms for parts of the body. You're a writer, use your imagination and come up with something new.
  • Write to stimulate the reader's brain as well as getting them excited physically. Know your readers - they do want some good story content

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers

 

V for Voice

The writer's voice is what makes a piece of writing distinct, gives it personality and style, or a particular tone or point of view. Some naturally have one that just comes out on the page, some of us have to develop it over time. Whatever the case, make sure you have your voice for a particular piece of creative writing. The cool thing about voice is that you can adapt it for the piece or you can use it as your brand as a writer.

This is a book I found really useful when developing my writer's voice:

Try it and see what you think!
 

Monday, 25 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


U for Ursula

"Thanks to “show don’t tell,” I find writers in my workshops who think exposition is wicked. They’re afraid to describe the world they’ve invented.… This dread of writing a sentence that isn’t crammed with “gutwrenching action” leads fiction writers to rely far too much on dialogue, to restrict voice to limited third person and tense to the present."

- Ursula K Le Guin


Saturday, 23 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers

T for Targets

You've got big dreams, you want to write a sci-fi series of ten books, so right here is where you start setting some targets and getting there without all the sweat. (Okay that was supposed to be a play on the Fame series for anyone who remembers it).

But seriously, imagine you want to write a book series? How many words can you write per day, per week, to make that happen and over what time scale? When do you want to see your first in the series published? Choose a target that is realistically achievable by you and won't leave you stressed. i.e, it fits in with your life, family, day job etc.

Remember targets don't have to be like the one above. You can set yourself a target to:
  • write 1000 words of your novel each day
  • blog twice a week
  • enter at least 5 writing competitions in a year
  • produce ten short stories in ten months
 Whatever your long term goals - targets can help you make them possible. Good Luck!

 

Friday, 22 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


S for Synopsis

It still amazes me when I hear writers using the words blurb and synopsis interchangeably. They are so different that if you mix up the two you could be jeopardising your submissions to publishers and agents and you could have some real long winded blurbs on the back of your books.

A synopsis is the summary of your book's storyline, written in a clear, factual, yet gripping way. In a synopsis you tell the literary agent or publisher exactly what happens from beginning to end - especially how it ends because a synopsis is not a teaser like the blurb; publishers and agencies want to see that your storyline works.

You only need the main plotlines and you don't have to cram the name of every single character. It must be as long or short as the agent or publisher wants it to be so check their submission guidelines. Generally a page of typed A4 is good. You may need a long version  and a short version on hand.

Lots of writers hate this part of the wrting process and here is a site I've found particularly helpful when it comes to advice for writers: http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/Synopsis.html 


Retailer sample of Corrigan's autobiography Th...

 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


R for Rowling

English: Created by modifying this image Itali...
 “Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”

- J K Rowling


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


Q for Quoting song lyrics in a book

Did you know that any song published after 1923 is not in the public domain? Therefore if you are quoting song lyrics in your novel, especially if you use them to create an atmosphere, introduce it as a main scene or go so far as quoting more than a few words from the song, you may be breaking all kinds of copyright laws and you could have major music publishers or collection agencies on your door demanding money or a letter from the copyright owner's lawyer!

You might use song lyrics in all innocence but be warned - you need to seek permission from the appropriate bodies and that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

This is one of the better sites I've found to explain your position as a writer:  http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2015/03/how-to-use-lyrics-without-paying-a-fortune-or-a-lawyer/

The title of a song, or book, come to that are fine. Make up your own lyrics if you must have some!



Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


P for Pitching

Taken from Hannah Ferguson (literary agent for The Marsh Agency) 
What to Avoid:
  • I've been writing since I was four years old
  • Take up valuable pitching space saying - my friends, my mum really likes it...
  • Anything irrelevant - see above.
  • Sending presents.
  • Trying too hard to please in your cover letter. Just be yourself.

Do This Instead:
  • Bullet points are brilliant - cover what your and your books selling points are.
  • Write your cover letter in the style of you.
  • Write a blurb rather than a synopsis - it's snappier and more succinct.
  • Remember you'll need more content for a non-fiction book along with a more structured book proposal.
  • Tell me why you are especially fit and qualified to write the book you're pitching.

Begging Hands

Saturday, 16 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


N for Notebook

A writer's friend. Don't leave home without one. You'd be amazed how many great ideas come at you when you least expect it. You could be out shopping, having coffee with friends or you might have a brilliant line that comes to you before you can get the laptop on. I went around for ages without one, never listening to that one small, simple, but useful piece of advice.
Your phone or a recording device could be just as handy but not always convenient.
Some writers believe it is the best way to write their first draft. If you write by hand you can't hit the delete button, that way more ideas are saved and you never know when you might delete a gem and have to keep hitting the pesky Undo button to get it back.



 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


K for Keep in Touch

Writing is by nature a lonely pursuit, but only in that it's just you and your notebook or laptop. But when you raise your fingers off the keys or give your pen a rest, remember that there are hundreds of writing networks close to your home that you should be getting involved with.

Go to writing workshops, festivals, talks and events whenever you can. There is nothing like building or being part of an author community for support, feedback, advice and more. If you live in some remote town where no one owns a pen let alone writes, even for fun, then try the internet for writing communities. Here are a few to get you started:
 Join in! 


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


J for Journey Planner

Build a road map for your story. Know what journey your characters are taking on and then let your imagination run free in the story telling. You don't have to stay on the same road you set out on, very often you might find a better route. Enjoy the ride!

 

Monday, 11 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


I for Isaac Asimov

“I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics—Well, they can do whatever they wish.”

- Isaac Asimov

Saturday, 9 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme : Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


H for Hemmingway

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. – Ernest Hemingway - See more at: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-quotes#sthash.C4J7bwtE.dpuf
"It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way."

- Ernest Hemmingway


It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. – Ernest Hemingway - See more at: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-quotes#sthash.C4J7bwtE.dpuf
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. – Ernest Hemingway - See more at: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-quotes#sthash.C4J7bwtE.dpuf
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. – Ernest Hemingway - See more at: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-quotes#sthash.C4J7bwtE.dpuf

Friday, 8 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]


My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers


G is for Genre

My top 5 tips on genre:
  1. Write in the genre you love not the one you think will sell. You won't be putting your best foot forward. Plus genre readers are discriminating and they'll spot a fraud.
  2. Decide on your genre and read extensively within it and anything that crosses over. Read the good and the bad.
  3. Target literary agents who have represented a writer you admire in your genre. You'll often find the agent's name in the acknowledgements in the book.
  4. There are formulas to writing genre fiction, learn them but then make the genre your own by taking it to another or experimental level. Try something no one else has done.
  5. Remember genre fiction is plot driven - work hard on plot lines. Make them tight with no loose ends or gaping holes. A strong plot will make you stand out as a 'fresh' voice in your genre. 
 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers

 

F

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!
 - Ray Bradbury

Image result for First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!– Ray Bradbury
 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers

 

E is for Editing

My top 5 tips for self editing - before the professional editor gets their hands on your manuscript:
  1. Leave your manuscript alone to 'cool off' after the first draft. There's nothing better than coming back to it with fresh eyes for that second draft.
  2.  When you have a draft you think is more or less there, print it out and read aloud. You'll be surprised how many jarring sentences, weird punctuation and inconsistencies you'll find like that.
  3.  Don't be tempted to leave in your 'go to' words. Do you say, 'suddenly' a lot for example? Find a better word - repetition looks amateur.
  4.  Take a scythe to adverbs you can easily do without.
  5. Pay close attention to Point of View and don't baffle the reader by jumping from one person's mind to another in the same paragraph. 
  

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers

 

D is for Description

There's no escaping having to describe what your book is about, whether that's for the blurb, a synopsis, to tell your friends about the book or to list it on Amazon. Describing our own work doesn't come naturally for all writers. So here are a few tips when writing your book blurb for the back of your book:

  1. Be brief. You can't put everything your books about on the back cover and neither should you. This is teaser. Read the back cover of the last five books you bought. What appealed to you about them? Resist cramming in details just because they're your favourite bits in the book. Only add what will entice the reader to click: Buy.
  2. Your book blurb should make the reader ask: 'How on earth is the writer going to resolve the problem they've just presented to me in their blurb?'
  3. Set the mood of the book. Are we sailing on the high seas in 18th century Europe or are we running away from a murderer and hiding on a lonely moor in rural England in the 1970s?
  4. Write lots of drafts before you think: This is it! I've nailed it! Get as many critiques and opinions as you can.
  5. Use powerful words that tap in to the reader's emotions: motivate, inspire, peak curiosity, intrigue, make them feel they are missing out if they don't pick up your book.
Good Luck!

Monday, 4 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [April 2016]

My Theme : Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers

 

C for Copy Cats
It's one thing to love and respect a particular author but it's another to try to copy their style. Sometimes this can be a useful tool for new writers because it forces you to get something on a page if you are still too nervous about being yourself - a lot of us go through this insecurity because it's not easy to be judged. Eventually you'll need to break the habit because trying to write like someone else will stifle your own creativity.

Oscar Wilde was supposedly known to have said these words:
"Be yourself; everyone else is taken."

English: Oscar Wilde, three-quarter length por...

Saturday, 2 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [April 2016]

My Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers

 

B for Beta Readers and Critique Groups 
Writing is a solitary mission. The need to have other people read your work and offer you feedback is so important I cannot begin to understand why a writer wouldn't try to gain help, feedback and advice from others. Beta readers are ideal because they're not your best friend or your Aunty May who loves you and knits you sweaters every birthday and in whose eyes you can do no wrong. Beat readers don't hold back - they don't know you personally so don't need to. You can find beta reader groups on Goodreads.

Critique groups are also cool because you're among your peers and if you've got a really supportive and experienced group you're on to a winner. Try MeetUp.com to find one near you.

When writers do all their own editing and proofreading - it shows and it's not a good look.
Trust in the advice of others. You don't have to do it all on your own and you don't have to take all the advice you get. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

A - Z Challenge [April 2016]

Theme: Tips and Inspirational Quotes for Writers 

 

A for Anne Lamott

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”
—Anne Lamott

Highly recommended by me:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DTOzISUVL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg