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Writing Craft

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 >

Break Through Your Fears And Write That First Book!

By: David Falkirk | Posted on August 10, 2018

Writing a book is hard, but even harder is writing that first book. How many great novelists have we never even heard of because they couldn’t push past their fears or self-doubt? Like most fears, the ones around writing stem from the unknown. Do you even know how to write a book? Will anyone read it? Will anyone like it?  For those that push through, they eventually find those answers – which explains why subsequent books are often much easier to write – but what about everyone else? For a long time, David Falkirk was in that everyone else category but he eventually broke through and is now the author of multiple novels. He’s sharing what he learned and how he did it so that you can finish your first book as well. It wasn’t procrastination. Not exactly. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer — an author — since… Read More >

The Fundamentals of a Successful Book

By: Ginger | Posted on July 18, 2018

Recently, resident HG designer Ginger wrote an article about the importance of a strong cover for your novel – but there are many other fundamentals that go into whether a book is successful. Today he follows up on some of the other factors that can help lead you towards publishing success. “I don’t get it,” one aspiring author said to me recently. “I’m spending all this money on Facebook ads for my books – but I’m just not selling any!” Another complained: “I keep getting bad reviews!” A third lamented: “Nobody downloaded my books during my free promo days. Why?” These are questions that keep plaguing many would-be authors, and they don’t like the answer when they finally hear it. But it’s a bitter truth anybody who takes writing and publishing needs to hear – and take to heart. You can invest as much time, money and effort into promoting… Read More >

A Writing Plan Can Help Your Novel Get Started… and Finished!

By: Tracy Brenton | Posted on June 29, 2018

Making time for writing is one of the biggest challenges of beginner writers, often because to do so means juggling an already full schedule.  Jobs, family obligations, or the myriad of other routines in our lives all compete with writing time – but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the dream of writing a book. You just have to figure out a plan to make it happen, and then stick with it. Everyone’s lives are unique, which means the details of your writing plan will be different than those of someone else – but that’s okay. The point of the plan isn’t so much the details, but how it helps you focus and keeps you from being overwhelmed. To that end, author Tracy Brenton shares her story of how she started writing and the details of the plan that led to her success. Maybe it can help inspire… Read More >