When you're first starting a story, there's a lot to think about—your characters, plot, and world-building, to say nothing of critical questions like what to name your character's pet dog. But there are five things you need to include in the opening scenes of your book to help your readers. Characters. This may sound obvious, but … Continue reading 5 Things Your Readers Need From You
As soon as you sit down to market your work, you need to know what it is that you've written. You may have some idea from comparing your work to other people, but it helps to know what you've written from your writing itself, as just "having romance" in your story doesn't make it a … Continue reading Commercial Fiction vs. Literary Fiction—Which Do You Write and How to Tell the Difference?
Nowadays, you can go from "I've got a great idea" to "PUBLISHED" without involving anyone besides yourself. You can do your own editing and proofreading, formatting, cover design, and blurb writing (I'm not saying you should, but it can be done). Now, we've talked about the need for good cover design, and we discussed what … Continue reading Why Your Book Needs Beta Readers
As writers, we're told that we should "Show, Not Tell" all the time, and it's advice that is usually quite helpful. When possible, we need to let a scene unfold before the readers, to where they get to see what happens and to experience the details just as the characters do. But there are times … Continue reading When Just Showing Isn’t Enough
This is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog-hop, designed to help encourage authors and foster discussions about writing topics across the internet and the world. This month's question is, "What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?" This is something I constantly have to watch out for, as an … Continue reading The Power in Our Words
When you write a story, you have time passing, whether it's just a few moments, a few hours, or a few days. Frequently, you have events happening that require you to stick to a particular time table, and if that time table isn't included in the story, readers can object to the plot, feeling that … Continue reading How to Manage Time in Your Novel’s Plot
This is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog-hop, designed to help encourage authors and foster discussions about writing topics across the internet and the world. This month's question is, "Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?" This is actually a very applicable topic, because my other main creative outlet—editing and book … Continue reading Creativity in Editing: A Good or Bad Thing?
This is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog-hop, designed to help encourage authors and foster discussions about writing topics across the internet and the world. This month's question is about what physical objects one would find in your writing space. Right now, my writing space is the kitchen table, so who knows what … Continue reading Physical Objects in Your Writing Space: Help or Hindrance?
We've been looking at Les Misérables to see what writings lessons we can glean from it. Last post, we looked at the Plotting and Sub-plotting, and this time, I want to look at the characters. Hugo has an enormous cast of characters in this book, and honestly, there are times when even the most attentive readers … Continue reading Writing Lessons from Les Mis: Characterization
Having just finished a read-through of Les Misérables, I've been struck by the writing. It's a long book at well over 600,000 words, so I definitely wouldn't recommend writing a modern novel of that length, but it's a classic nevertheless. It's been made into dozens of movie versions, beginning in 1897 and continuing onward, with the most … Continue reading Writing Lessons from Les Mis: Plotting and Subplotting