Tag Archives: writers

The 10 BEST Things You Can Do For Your Writing Career

Invest In Yourself!

That right there is my #1 rule for any kind of writing success. Give yourself the right tools, the right tribe, and the right mindset to get your writing where you want it to be.

You want an actionable list of things you can do to invest in yourself? Awesome! I put together a countdown for you. Check it out.

10. Writer’s Digest Is Your Friend

Their shop has all kinds of AMAZING courses, tutorials, webinars, and other resources for you to use! You can even use this coupon when you shop there! $10 Off Any Workshop at Writers Digest University at Writers Digest Shop. Use coupon code AFFTEN during checkout.

9. The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke

If you’ve been struggling and trying to figure out what story you really want to write, this book is for you! Get Your Copy Here!

8. A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

This book has gotten me through SEVERAL hard knocks over the course of my writing career, so far. If you need a constant companion to help you buck up or buckle down, this book is the resource you’ll come back to over and over again!  Get your copy of A Writer’s Guide to Persistence HERE! (Or check THIS out: Becoming Persistent: How to Survive and Thrive on the Path to Publication)

7. Notebook.ai

If you’re anything like me, and it helps to have someone (in this case something) to talk to/ask you questions about your stories when you’re in the planning phase, get in on this ASAP! I am in LOVE with Notebook.ai. You can sign up HERE.

6. 5,000 Words Per Hour (Book & App) by Chris Fox

I honestly can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much more productive I am as a writer after reading this book and downloading the app! Get the book HERE.

5. Invest In Your Cover!

I’ve come across some truly amazing cover designers on Facebook guys! I’m just going to give you a bulleted list here. I highly recommend checking them all out and seeing who best suits your style (or your price range)!

4. PublishDrive

Since Pronoun’s closing, a lot of writers are looking for new wide publication options outside of simply uploading to KDP. If you’re looking to go wide, PublishDrive will get you where you want to be!

3. The Plot Genie

If you’re anything like me, working with The Plot Genie (a.k.a. Heather Cardona) will save your (writing) life! Seriously, join her group HERE. I promise you WILL thank me for this.

I always find myself second-guessing all the plotting I’ve done, and I always worry about my pacing, because it’s not my strong suit. You don’t have to worry about that when you work with The Plot Genie. She does everything from taking outlines you’ve already done and fixing them up to make them even MORE addictive, to writing your outlines FOR you if you don’t want to be bothered!

2. Creative Central With Debbie Burns

This is an AMAZINGLY positive and uplifting group for creatives on Facebook. You can find it HERE. If you join, I can PROMISE you that you’ll find some of your most faithful tribe members here.

1. Rebecca Hamilton & OTOH, Books!

I really can’t say enough about how wonderful Rebecca is, both as a person and as a service provider for authors! She has several Facebook groups and a website. All I can tell you is JOIN EVERYTHING! You never know when or where she’s going to post some kind of incredible opportunity, service, course, or deal on any of the above! There’s a reason I’ve listed her at #1, guys.

OTOH Website
OTOH: Author Marketing for Kindle, Nook, & iBooks
genreCRAVE Open Discussion


NaNoWriMo 2017 | Day 1

You can check out one of my favorite NaNoWriMo tools from Writer’s Digest at the link below!

Free Shipping on $25


Video Book Reviews Coming Soon

TUTORIALS Get Started as a Writer


Roald Dahl On Readers | Quote of the Day 10/30/17

QOTD 10_30_17

Save on steeply discounted writing books from writersdigestshop.com.


Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo 2017

That’s right, I’m doing it again. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) is right around the corner, and I’ve committed to doing it again this year. I’m taking a short break from my Otherworld Trilogy to start my Murphy Family Mysteries series. So, what book am I doing this year?

Murphy'sLaw of theJungle

This will be the first of many mysteries for the zany but endearing Murphy family. I’m not letting myself do a whole lot of over-planning for this one. I’m trying to short-circuit my perfectionist tendencies that usually make me bog down in my writing. This year, I intend to make steady progress and have an extremely rough draft to work from by November 30.

What tools do I have in my arsenal for this November? Here’s a short list:

  • LOTS OF COFFEE
  • A Basic Idea of Where the Story Is Going
  • The 5KWPH App/Technique Developed by Chris Fox
  • My Bullet Journal/Planner
  • Pens
  • Papers
  • Notebooks
  • Supportive Family & Friends Who Will Hold Me Accountable Via Our Facebook Group
  • My Awesome Word Count Widget In the Sidebar of My Blog! →
  • My Fantastic Blogging Community
  • Some New ADHD Management Techniques I Learned from Overcoming Distractions by David A. Greenwood
  • My Amazing Friend Lacey At The Creative Kitchen & Her YouTube Channel (Daily Check-Ins Are Totally Going to Happen)
  • My Trusty, Well-Worn Copy of A Writer’s Guide to Persistence
  • Did I mention COFFEE?

Well, that’s about all I have for you guys right now! 🙂 Stay tuned for all the NaNoWriMo shenanigans!

For Excellent Writing Resources, Check Out WritersDigestShop.com!


I’m a Writer’s Digest Affiliate Now!

confetti

I’m really excited about this news, you guys! I absolutely LOVE Writer’s Digest products, and I use them all the time. When I get my own YouTube Channel set up, you’ll see me reviewing them there pretty regularly. So, this is me just giving you a heads-up that I may now make some revenue if you choose to click certain Writer’s Digest links you find on my blog!

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I'm a Writer's Digest Affiliate Now!

confetti

I’m really excited about this news, you guys! I absolutely LOVE Writer’s Digest products, and I use them all the time. When I get my own YouTube Channel set up, you’ll see me reviewing them there pretty regularly. So, this is me just giving you a heads-up that I may now make some revenue if you choose to click certain Writer’s Digest links you find on my blog!

Free Shipping on $25


Honing Your Horror Workshop: Part 3

 


Honing Your Horror Workshop: Part 2

 


Win $2,000 In Author Services!

Enter HERE. I sure did! Good luck, everyone!


Honing Your Horror Workshop: Part 1

Here’s the video from my first writing workshop hosted at The Creative Kitchen in Bay Minette! HUGE shout-out to the owner, Lacey Collier, for working with me and hosting my events!


Are You Called To Write?

Have you ever had a thought like this? Man, I’d really love to write a book someday, but I have no idea where to start.

I used to have similar thoughts, but I worked my butt off over the past 11 years, and I’ve been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Noir Nation No. 3, as well as having self-published A Collection of Reflections (poetry) and Frost: An Otherworld Tale (my debut novel).

If you love a good story, that love is all you need to become a writer. I’ve invested a lifetime of passion and thousands of dollars in learning about writing craft and the publishing industry, and I’d love to share what I’ve learned with those of you who have an inner storyteller begging to get out.

If you’d like to learn more, you can reserve your seat at my upcoming writing workshop dates HERE. The workshops will be held at The Creative Kitchen in my aweome hometown of Bay Minette, Alabama.

Here’s a fun exercise for those of you considering attending the workshop (or anyone who wants to join in, for that matter):

Describe your worst fear in a single paragraph, but there’s a catch; you cannot name your fear in the paragraph. Post your answers in the comments and we’ll try to guess your fear!


Robert Benchley On Freelance Writing | Quote of the Day 8/26/17

QOTD 8_26_17


Robert Benchley On Freelance Writing | Quote of the Day 8/26/17

QOTD 8_26_17


Work It #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 1

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to just share my paragraph that’s in its first-draft stage.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night.

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?”

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 1

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to just share my paragraph that’s in its first-draft stage.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night.

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?”

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Guest Post – Debbie Herbert

Crystallizing Your Book Idea . . . for Paranormal or Any Genre

By Debbie Herbert

I love paranormal romance because the possibility of magic tingles my creative drive and curiosity.  The speculation that there might be something more to reality than can be perceived through our senses provides a natural “what if” environment writers need to create stories.

Plus – I’ve never outgrown my love of fairytales and mythology!

Not only do I write paranormal romance, my subject matter isn’t of the popular vampire or werewolf variety.  I chose to write about mermaids.  I’d completed three other novels (as yet still unpublished) before switching to mermaids and landing multiple contracts with Harlequin Nocturne for a series.

It all started with a dream.  I was swimming in a deep body of water when I noticed a man dumping something from the side of a boat.  Curious, I swam over.  The man noticed me and his expression was so evil that it frightened me and I woke up.  Like a typical writer, I started asking those ‘what if” questions:  what if he were a killer? what if he was dumping a dead body? what if I were a mermaid and he caught me?

And from that one dream, I created a world in which a clan of mermaids secretly lived deep in an Alabama bayou.

Okay, great ideas are had by all writers.  How do you begin the whole unwieldy process of stringing together thousands of words into an interesting, coherent story?

We all have our own process.  I’m sharing mine today in the hopes it may spur you to try something different that might make it all a little easier or clearer.

My starting point is answering these three questions:

 

  1. What is the HOOK or PREMISE?  What makes your book unique? What’s it about?  Just write one sentence – the shorter the better.
  2. What is the GOOD VERSUS EVIL in my world? I think for paranormal writers, this is important. Are your supernatural beings seeking power or dominance over humans or other creatures?  For mystery writers, it may be an evil killer versus potential victims that provides this conflict.
  3. What are the STAKES? The stakes are huge in paranormal worlds – it is often no less than world upheaval or human subjugation to supernatural beings.

 

If I can grasp these, I can go on to develop character and romance ARCS and external and internal conflicts.  The questions form my logline and blurb.  This is how I start every book.  It’s how my brain works.  Here are some examples from my books:

 

  1. CHARMED AND DANGEROUS – How can a teenage witch help an immortal on the run from another enemy immortal?  Note:  In Immortal legends there is already a strong, built-in good versus evil theme. The hook was combining the worlds of witchcraft and immortals. Stakes: Control of immortals and humans by an evil warlock clan.
  2. CHANGELING –What happens to a child kidnapped by fairies and raised by them? Good versus Evil is between two warring fairy worlds. Hook is the reverse fairy tale. Stakes – if bad fairies win upcoming battle with good fairies, humans will suffer from bad fairies.
  3. FAMILIAR MAGIC – How can a magical cat help an outcast middle grade girl? The evil are the bullies. The Hook is that the book is written from a cat POV.  Stakes:  character and animal’s happiness and survival in MG school world. (not published yet)
  4. SIREN’S SECRET – Hook: What would happen if a mermaid saw a serial killer dumping a body at sea?  Good versus Evil – serial killer versus cops. Stakes: Killer could expose mermaid world and endanger their species.
  5. SIREN’S TREASURE – What would happen if a mermaid was captured by modern-day pirates? Hook – treasure hunt. Good versus evil – kidnappers versus law enforcement. Stakes:  Missing H-bomb captured by American enemies. Stakes: World peace.
  6. SIREN’S CALL – What would happen if a siren met a man not affected by her magic? Hook – hidden world of Okwa Nahallo – (Choctaw legend of mermaids in the bayou) and Indian lore. Good versus Evil:  Female stalker versus cops. Stakes:  Main character’s life and happiness of hero – prevention of future murders.
  7. BAYOU MAGIC series – All three books in this Harlequin series started with the question: What if the old Choctaw Legends of supernatural beings really existed in the Alabama Bayou today? How would you fight the evil spirits?

 

Once you’ve answered these questions you can go about the nitty gritty details of plotting your book.  I’m pretty low tech.  I get a posterboard and divide it into 20 sections which represent each chapter.  I fill in the turning points and any scenes that have come to mind.  I don’t worry about filling every square, I just fill in what I have and GO.

 

How do you begin your novels?  I’d love to hear your process as well!

Connect with Debbie on social media or learn more about her books.

 

Website:  www.debbieherbert.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/debherbertwrit

Facebook fan page:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Debbie-Herbert-Author/151793451695632 Debbie Herbert Author

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Herbert/e/B00F96OXUI


Work It #8 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #8 from Chapter 8 “Go Where You Are Welcome”

I highly recommend that you start a “synchronicity” notebook. You may call it whatever you wish: grand coincidences, goals that come to pass…it doesn’t matter how you frame it. Each day, record noteworthy events pertaining to your writing practice and goals. It could be something like “I picked up two books in a row today at the bookstore that shared the same name as my protagonist.” Or “As I was working on an essay about my mother’s death, I had this funny feeling to look through that box of old photos I’ve never opened; there I found a tiny diary she left behind that I never noticed or read before.”

The more you track these events and situations, the stronger your lens will become to look for signs that you’re moving in the right direction, and the more likely you will feel motivated rather than discouraged.

The first thing I’d like to take note of in relation to what Jordan Rosenfeld refers to as synchronicity is that she actually commented on my first post in this blog project series and encouraged me! How cool is that?

Working my way through this book, picking back up and pushing forward, has helped me immensely. Chapter 8, in particular, has helped me make a very difficult decision in my life. I was pursuing a MA in English/Creative Writing, and the program just wasn’t right for me or my writing life. Since I find myself between jobs again, it was also putting undue stress on my personal life, and reading Chapter 8 helped me to center myself long enough to prayerfully consider what I should do, and I have made a decision. I have decided to withdraw from that grad school program. I would rather focus on my marriage, being truly active in my writing life instead of stagnating in a school setting that was making me miserable, and completing my Medical Transcription Editing school by my July 9, 2016 deadline.

I’ve got that tingle. This decision feels like the right decision. I can’t wait to see where this feeling of rightness, this “synchronicity,” which I personally think of as God letting me know that I am on the right path, takes me.


Work It #8 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #8 from Chapter 8 “Go Where You Are Welcome”

I highly recommend that you start a “synchronicity” notebook. You may call it whatever you wish: grand coincidences, goals that come to pass…it doesn’t matter how you frame it. Each day, record noteworthy events pertaining to your writing practice and goals. It could be something like “I picked up two books in a row today at the bookstore that shared the same name as my protagonist.” Or “As I was working on an essay about my mother’s death, I had this funny feeling to look through that box of old photos I’ve never opened; there I found a tiny diary she left behind that I never noticed or read before.”

The more you track these events and situations, the stronger your lens will become to look for signs that you’re moving in the right direction, and the more likely you will feel motivated rather than discouraged.

The first thing I’d like to take note of in relation to what Jordan Rosenfeld refers to as synchronicity is that she actually commented on my first post in this blog project series and encouraged me! How cool is that?

Working my way through this book, picking back up and pushing forward, has helped me immensely. Chapter 8, in particular, has helped me make a very difficult decision in my life. I was pursuing a MA in English/Creative Writing, and the program just wasn’t right for me or my writing life. Since I find myself between jobs again, it was also putting undue stress on my personal life, and reading Chapter 8 helped me to center myself long enough to prayerfully consider what I should do, and I have made a decision. I have decided to withdraw from that grad school program. I would rather focus on my marriage, being truly active in my writing life instead of stagnating in a school setting that was making me miserable, and completing my Medical Transcription Editing school by my July 9, 2016 deadline.

I’ve got that tingle. This decision feels like the right decision. I can’t wait to see where this feeling of rightness, this “synchronicity,” which I personally think of as God letting me know that I am on the right path, takes me.


Quote of the Day – 12/18/15

“The future could go this way, that way. The future’s futures have never looked so rocky. Don’t put money on it. Take my advice and stick to the present. It’s the real stuff, the only stuff, it’s all there is, the present, the panting present.”

-Martin Amis


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