Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Hello Rebels, welcome to episode 61 of The Rebel Author Podcast. This week I’m talking to Honorée Corder. We’ll be discussing tips and tricks to help you write your book in 15 minute time blocks. In this episode we cover:  How to use 15 minute time blocks to write Common mistakes when trying to use…

061 How to Write a Book in 15 Minutes with Honorée Corder — SACHA BLACK

Writing is a viable source of income. In the modern day and age, you don’t just have to knock out a book and hope it reaches a bestseller list – there are multiple types of businesses you can put together to make use of your writing talents. And it’s that freedom that’s got you thinking… […]

What Writers Need To Know About Going Full Time — SpookyMrsGreen

LAURENCE MACNAUGHTON

Is there a simple way to make the plot of your story irresistible, so that your readers keep turning pages, desperate to find out what happens next?

Yes. Every irresistible plot contains seven key elements that help catch the reader’s attention and hold it to the very last page.

These keys are so universal that you’ve seen them hundreds of times before, even if you didn’t recognize them. In fact, you’ll actually find these plot keys hidden in the spelling of the word FICTION.

F is for Flaw

In a well-crafted story, something is already wrong even before page one. It could be a dysfunctional relationship, an unhealthy situation, or an unresolved trauma haunting the viewpoint character. Or all three at the same time.

Creating a character who is perfectly fine at the start of the story robs you of opportunities to put your character in deeper and more complex…

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Five Ways to Support Author Friends

by Melissa Face

I was chatting with a fellow writer and friend the other day about how my book collection has grown throughout recent years to include the works of many friends. I now have a whole section on my bookshelf I can point to and say things like, “I know her! We work together! She is my friend!”

Even though she shared my enthusiasm, my friend said, “But one of the tough things about having a lot of writer friends is that you often feel obligated to buy a lot of books.”

She’s right. Writers are usually not raking in the dough from our first (and sometimes second and third) published works, yet we are often the ones supporting one another, attending events, buying each other’s books, and generally being good literary citizens.

Even though all authors will agree that yes, we want you to buy our books, that is only one way to support your author friends. Here are a few more:

  1. Buy the Book – There’s no need to sugar coat it. We definitely want you to buy our book. And if our book isn’t your favorite genre but you still want to be supportive, buy it and save it for someone who will love it. Books make great gifts.
  2. Write a Review – If you read our book and have something nice to say, take a moment to write a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Positive reviews help with visibility and book sales, and they provide a little encouragement to the writer.
  3. Attend an Event – There are many ways to be supportive of someone, and showing up in person (or online) is huge. If it’s an in-person event, go and take a friend with you. Book events are typically festive and lively these days, and many are held in less conventional locations like coffee shops and breweries. Presently, many events are being held via Facebook or Instagram live. So even if you have a conflict, share the event link on your platform. Authors appreciate likes and shares so much!
  4. Share on Social Media – In addition to sharing events, take a moment to share your author friends’ social media posts. Tell your online friends what you liked about something, comment on a book photo, or share an article your friend wrote. In addition to writing, we often serve as our own marketing reps and publicists, so anything our friends can do is helpful. Plus, sharing a post is completely free.
  5. Talk About the Book – Word of mouth is still very influential when it comes to book sales. If you enjoyed a book, tell your church friends, Woman’s Club, Rotary Club, and by all means, your book club members. I have heard many stories about small conversations leading to larger speaking engagements. It happens, and it’s because of people like you!

As an author, I have found my network of friends to be invaluable.I am grateful to everyone who has shown up and said kind things about my work, both in person and online. If you have another idea for supporting friends in the literary world, type it in the comments section. I’d love to read it!

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Melissa Face is the author of I Love You More Than Coffee, an essay collection for parents who love coffee a lot and their kids…a little more. Her essays and articles have appeared in Richmond Family Magazine, ScaryMommy, and twenty-one volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Read more at melissaface.com.

i love you more than coffee

 

I Got Nothing #IWSG

August 5 question – Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”

Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!

shrug

I Got Nothing

Apparently not even good grammar, according to the first thought that came through my mind as I reflected on what to write about for this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group post.

I usually try to write my post to answer the monthly question. But this month? Not a thing. I’ve never had a piece I was writing morph into a different animal than I had planned. At least not yet. Someday it may happen, but not in time to help with out with this question.

And seeing as how my writing has gone the past few months – or should I say NOT gone? – I don’t have much to add on that topic either. On the first of the month, I always go through and tally up the words I’ve written the month prior. In July I didn’t even hit 5,000 words. It may truthfully be a tad bit higher than that, since I don’t count what I write in my weekly newsletters. But those few extra words aren’t going to add massive numbers to that monthly count.

And queries and submittals? I did write one essay to submit. When I added it to my queries/submissions list, I saw that the last one I’d submitted was in May. In May I submitted one piece. June and July – zero. Zilch. Nada.

You’d think with all this extra time at home, with my day-job work hours so drastically cut since March, that I’d be racking up the numbers in the word count game.

Not so.

But hey, looking at the bright side (can I toss any more clichés into this little missive?), at least thanks to the nudging from the Insecure Writers Support Group, I now have 304 more words I can add to my August word count tally.

Thanks Insecure Writers Support Group!

There are some authors whose craft books are automatic purchases. Doesn’t matter the topic, I’m buying it because I know it will be crammed full of amazing tips and tricks. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are two of those authors. If you’ve been living under a rock then they’re the Craft Thesaurus authors, the first…

via How to Use Character Occupations to Deepen Your Characterization — SACHA BLACK

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month’s question is:

Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours,
something readers would never know from your work?

The awesome co-hosts for the June 3 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!

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Rockhound Hoarder

What? You want me to spill my secrets? Right here in print?

Now, most months I play along with IWSG’s Question of the Month. But this month, I think you are taking things a little too far, Insecure Writer’s Support Group. If I have secrets that I am not going to tell my best friend, I’m certainly not going to put it out here in the virtual world to live forever.

However, as horrified as I was when I initially read the question, I did give it some thought. What can I share with you here that won’t be cause of future embarrassment? What tidbit can I share about myself that won’t get me in trouble with anyone?

Rocks.

Yes, I will admit to this secret obsession. I love rocks.

Big rocks. Little rocks. Pretty rocks. Interesting rocks. Shiny rocks. Dull rocks.

I love rocks!

Almost every trip I make, I haul rocks home. Sitting in my center console are rocks I collected the year I lived in Arizona. I moved to Texas twelve years ago and the rocks remain. They were pretty. One was shaped like a miniature pyramid. One had pretty stripes. One had…well, you understand that they’re all fascinating in their own wonderful way.

I come home from visiting my dad in Arkansas…yep…there’s rocks in the trunk to put into my flower bed out back.

Trips to local creeks with friends here in Texas…fossils! Gotta bring some of them home!

This isn’t a new fascination. I remember family hikes we took when we lived in Glendora, California. On Saturday mornings we’d drive up to the foothills of Mt. Baldy. I wore a zippered sweatshirt with those two large pockets in the front. And by the time we were headed back to the car, I was loaded down with my loot for the day.

So there you have it. A secret about me that I haven’t shared with any of you – until today. Sorry it wasn’t a juicer secret.

There are some great tips here – not only for aspiring authors, but for those of us that have been writing for a while too.

Four Foxes, One Hound

This week: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
I actually have a list. There have been many who talk to me about writing. I also have had many young writers around or in touch with me, so here is what I tell anyone who asks for advice:

Read, read everything.
Know and delve into the genre in which you want to write, but don’t limit your scope. I’ve heard editors, publishers and agents say that the first question they ask potential clients is, “What do you read?”,  and if the would-be writers  say that they read little or even none, they know that the person’s work will not  be good before they read the first paragraph. I had it happen with a potential interviewee; he said that he didn’t read much and never read others in the genre of his book. He said that his wife/co-writer…

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IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month’s question is:

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

deadline

Does a Deadline Count?

Alas, I have no fascinating ritual that I can call to mind and share to inspire others with. I read the question and had a huge moment of silent space.

Upon further reflection, I realized that my greatest motivator when I need to ‘get in the zone’ is simply having a deadline. That propels me forward like nothing else.

I’ve also discovered since the Coronavirus has invaded our world and our lives, that having a finite time period to accomplish a writing task is most effective for me. When I have a specific open time slot – Tuesday afternoon when I’m not working, or Saturday after the newsletter is done, or Sunday morning before I call Mom – that is when I’m most productive at juggling writing with other real-life activities.

Since Coronavirus, when I’ve been home with very few working hours over the past five weeks…ehhh…I’m not so good at it. With all these extra writing hours available to me, I should have been pumping out the articles and finishing up the half-completed projects.

That hasn’t happened – possibly reinforcing that I do really require that deadline.

Yet, in a way I’ve been more at peace with myself since life hasn’t been as frantic. I’m learning to be easier on myself if I don’t accomplish all my active brain thinks I should get done. A happier, more relaxed me is also a healthier me – in body and spirit.

So maybe I haven’t been in the ‘writing zone’ as much lately, but I’ve been in the ‘life-zone’, and I think I’ll count that as a good thing.

atoz badge 2020

Join us in April as Writer’s Zen celebrates the world of historical fiction, blogging along with the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’ll be posting our way through the alphabet, a letter at a time – every day except Sunday.

If you like historical fiction, there are links at the end where you can follow Pages of the Past on Facebook or sign up for the weekly newsletter. Each week we feature an article about writing historical fiction, spotlight a historical fiction author, and share great reads in a variety of time periods. There are also occasional short story contests and other fun highlights.

Today, introduces the letter O.

Get Pages of the Past delivered to your inbox every Friday!

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/184527085517941/

oral history

Oral Histories

As authors of historical fiction, often the information we glean during our research phase is from oral histories of people that have first-hand information of people, places, or events of long ago. Following is an excerpt from a class I had on writing your family history that has some tips about interviewing people.

Interviews

Are you interviewing family members for their stories? Do you think about it, but don’t get around to it? Not sure where to start?

Here’s some tips for interviewing people to glean information and tales of the past.

  1. Do it now. This is I think one of the most important. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time fifteen or twenty years and listen to more stories from Grandma. I’d listen more intently, not with just half my attention. And I’d take notes. And record her! We think we’ll have time. Next month. Next summer. When I’m not so busy. And then – it’s too late. So do it now.
  2. Plan multiple visits if possible. You’re not going to get everything in one visit. You’re not going to cover 60-70-80 years of memories in an afternoon. The best time I had with my mom was when I took a week and flew to California. I picked her up and we drove to Arizona to see my kids and grandkids. We spent several days there and drove back. I took notes the whole week. One memory begets another. It seems that once someone takes a trip back in time, other memories start surfacing over the next few days and weeks.
  3. Don’t do too much at once. Plan for breaks. Several hours is a good period. If you try to go all day, it will be fatiguing – to you and to the person you’re interviewing. The visit with my mom worked well, even though it was over a period of many days because we weren’t constantly ‘interviewing.’ It was conversations in between driving, visiting, eating, relaxing, etc. Most likely the person you’ll be interviewing is older, so be considerate. Realize that this process may be tiring for them.
  4. Make notes, and record if possible. I didn’t record any conversations with my mom, but I have a legal pad full of notes. Unfortunately, when I go to look at those notes four or five years later, some of my cryptic notes that made so much sense at the time now look like nonsense and I have no idea what I meant by my scribbles. Most people now have phones that can easily – and unobtrusively – record your interviews.
  5. Ask ahead of time if there are photographs available that you can look at. If this doesn’t come up until you’re with the individual for your interview session, it may not be possible to access photographs. Often, they’re buried deep in a closet or in a storage bin. If they know ahead of time, it will be easier for them to have photographs available, which are a great source of prompts.
  6. Ask open ended questions. Open ended questions, those that don’t require yes or no answers, gather more responsive answers. Instead of asking ‘Did you like being raised on a farm? (Answer – yes or no – and you’re done), ask ‘What was it like being raised on a farm?”
  7. If possible, visit at their home. Especially if they’re elderly. They may be more comfortable at home in their own environment. Also, being home may prompt memories that wouldn’t surface if you’re sitting in a loud, busy restaurant for your interview.
  8. Be Patient. Many elderly people speak slowly and softy. Some are hard of hearing. In our excitement about getting to the gold nuggets we’ve been searching for; we don’t want to rush full speed ahead. We may need to slow down a notch or two to match their energy levels.

 

The Legacy Project has six terrific questions to ask:

  1. If a young person asked you, “What have you learned in your ____ years in this world,” what would you tell him or her?

  2. Some people say that they have had difficult or stressful experiences, but they have learned important lessons from them. Is that true for you? Can you give an example?

  3. As you look back over your life, do you see any “turning points”; that is, a key event or experience that changed the course of your life or set you on a different track?

  4. What would you say you know now about living a happy and successful life that you didn’t know when you were twenty?

  5. What can younger people do to avoid having regrets later in life?

  6. What would you say are the major values or principles that you live by?

 

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