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For Authors

Making Magic Work In Your Novels

By: Gail Z. Martin | Posted on October 19, 2018

A convincing magic system can make or break a fantasy novel, and is often the best remembered aspect of the book or series.  Growing up, I read a lot of Fantasy – from Piers Anthony’s Xanth and David Eddings’ Belgariad, to Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series or Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time – I remember these books most fondly because of the rich and diverse magic systems that their worlds were built on.  But coming up with those sorts of systems and worlds from scratch is a daunting task that requires a lot of thought and planning, and that’s why we turned to Gail Martin for an article on the subject. Gail is a prolific novelist who is very experienced at coming up with complex and varied magic systems, having done so for many of her own books and series. Here are her tips on how to make magic work… Read More >

The Undeserved Stigma of Self-Publishing

By: Ginger | Posted on October 12, 2018

Services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing have provided a new generation of authors an amazing opportunity to be successful outside of the confines of ‘traditional publishing’ – yet there’s still a stigma about self-publishing. As more and more authors choose to spurn traditional publishers, many feel that this stigma is increasingly undeserved. As my writing career has become more successful, I’ve been more and more open to telling people about it. I’m now a writer full-time, and it’s pretty exciting to be able to support my family from book sales. And yet, when I talk to strangers about this, I still often get a strange reaction from them. “Oh, I’d like to write a book someday. But, y’know – like a real book.” I always like to ask: “What do you mean a real book?” “Oh, you know – from a publisher.” It’s funny, but almost a decade after Amazon… Read More >

Let Experiences and Emotions Fuel Your Writing

By: Stephen Bentley | Posted on October 5, 2018

As I mentioned in a previous article, the idea of writing what you know isn’t meant to be taken strictly literally and as today’s guest author Stephen Bentley puts it, the saying might be better expressed as “write what you feel”. Your experiences and emotions can be a great source of fuel for your imagination, and are the root of many great fiction novels. Learning to harness these experiences and draw from them is essential to authentic writing that draws the reader in to make them feel like they’re part of your story or world. ‘Write what you know’ is an old adage. Possibly older than me. I am now seventy-one years old. I started writing books three years ago. I guess another appropriate adage is ‘you are never too old to learn or to start.’ I have written an Amazon UK bestseller about my undercover cop days. I started… Read More >

Location, Location, Location: The Power of Writing and Real Estate

By: Ginger | Posted on September 28, 2018

The setting of a story is one of the most important elements that a writer should focus on, as it sets the tone and feel for the entire book.  The tips below include some fantastic examples of how and why successful authors pay so much attention to where their book is located. It’s no coincidence that some of the best and most beloved novels are often remembered most for the rich worlds they create in the minds of the readers.  One way to truly make your writing stand out is to make the setting for your story as much a character as your hero. In 2006, I returned to the northeastern United States after a long hiatus, and I brought with me a copy of Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. That book, and that return visit, have been inextricably linked in my mind ever since; and it demonstrated to me… Read More >

How Short Story Writing Can Improve Your Novels

By: Kate Larkindale | Posted on September 21, 2018

When you’re new to something, a common bit of advice is to start small and work your way up to bigger and better things. This applies to writers just as well as anyone else, and is the reason short story writing often comes before novels for many authors. Kate Larkindale understands first hand why this is good advice, and she’s here giving us all the reasons why writing short stories can make you a better novelist – whether you’re just beginning your career or already well established. I wrote my first novel when I was still a teenager.  Barely a teenager.  I’d never written anything except stories for school before, and had no idea what I was doing.  And the finished novel was a complete mess.  So were the next two I attempted, and the fourth. It wasn’t until I took a step away from pouring myself into novel after… Read More >

5 Quick Writing Tips – An Editor’s Perspective

By: Ginger | Posted on September 14, 2018

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” Neil Gaiman One of the greatest gifts to my own writing was becoming an editor of other peoples’ books. It revealed the depths of talent out there in the world of self-publishing, and it inspired me to improve my own writing by seeing how good other writers could be. At the same time, I’ve noticed a few common issues that writers fall afoul of, some of which have very quick and easy solutions. These are just simple writing tips that I’ve learned along the way that massively improve the readability of a book.  Editing reminded me that writing isn’t an art – it’s a craft. You’re constructing a story from the raw materials – in this case, words – and there are infinite ways… Read More >

Five Reasons Why You Should Write Every Day

By: Bradley Charbonneau | Posted on September 7, 2018

Building a writing habit is like anything else, it takes perseverance and discipline at first, but then becomes easier as you go. And once you’ve gotten in the groove, you’ll find that finishing that book is no longer as much a chore as it is a pleasure. Bradley Charbonneau should know – he’s taken the write every day mantra to heart by not missing one for over 2000 days straight. He’s here today to explain how much it helps and how you can do it too!  Are you waiting around for inspiration to strike? Let’s end the wait. A dentist once advised me to “Only brush the teeth you want to keep.” At first, I didn’t understand his joke, but then it hit me. “Well, I want to keep all of my teeth!” I said. He smiled with a knowing grin. The question for us as authors is: how often do… Read More >

Write What You Know vs Write to Market

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on August 31, 2018

As someone that works with scores of authors each month, I often hear about the challenges they face or am my opinion on various things.  One source of confusion that comes up, particularly from newer authors, is whether they should “write what they know” or “write to market”, since those two bits of common writing advice are often diametrically opposed. It’s confusing because both of those recommendations have just as many authors that support them as they do dispute them. So what’s an author to do? Which way is right? To really answer that properly, it’s best to look at both bits of advice in more detail so that we understand what makes them so contentious in the first place. “Write What You Know” If you’re like many writers, this may have been one of the first bits of writing advice you were given back in school.  I’m not sure… Read More >

Notes From a Writing Contest Judge

By: Anne Lovett | Posted on August 24, 2018

Many authors get their start by entering writing contests – either for the experience or just because of the added push a win or placement gives to their ego. Other writers find them intimidating, unsure if they have what it takes simply because they don’t know what to expect. So who better to give us the rundown on writing contests than Anne Loveet – a published author who doubles as a writing contest judge herself? I like to “give back” to the organizations that help me in my writing journey, and one way is to be a contest judge. This year, I’ve judged for the Golden Heart, the Daphne du Maurier contest, and our local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter contest, the Maggies. I’ve seen the gamut from wonderful manuscripts ready to publish to a few I could barely get through. Have questions about writing contests and judging? Here… Read More >

The Complex Relationship Between Authors and Free Books

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on August 17, 2018

There’s a lot of mistaken belief when it comes to free books, from both authors and readers alike.  After all, whether they’re doing it for the love of the art, or just as a job, most authors still want to earn money from their work, so how can free books ever be a good thing?  The truth is, the relationship between authors and free books go back a long time – and like any relationship… it’s complicated. Every so often I see a reader don their white hat to make the argument that they don’t use an ARC program because they think that authors should get paid for their work. An admirable sentiment, for sure.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if those same readers have ever used a library, or borrowed a novel from a friend?  After all, readers have been using those as traditionally acceptable sources of free… Read More >