The Bulletproof Secret to Doing Anything Better

Thumbs Up

Try. Measure. Improve. Then repeat as needed.

Every writer I’ve ever talked to always wants to achieve more.

(Even Hugh Howey.)

We all want to reach more readers, sell more books, write better stories, and so on.

All of us, writers or not, want to do more and do it better. The question is, how?

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How to Turn a Short Story into a Book Series

Lightbulb Moment

DING! (That’s my lightbulb-moment sound effect.)

Believe it or not, IT HAPPENED ONE DOOMSDAY started out as a short story.

I was struggling with another novel, so I switched gears and wrote a fun little story about this awkward wannabe sorceress who ends up breaking the evil curse on a bad-boy hero with a muscle car.

It was half scary, half funny, and people seemed to really get a kick out of it. They kept asking me what happens next.

And I had to say, “There is no next. This is it.”

But then something funny happened.

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How to Make Writing Your Career: Word Cafe Interview with Yours Truly

Word Cafe author interview

Just for the record, the lace doilies were not my idea. Now you know.

Hey, this is cool. Join me over at Word Cafe for an interview where I reveal everything I know about:

• Building a full-time career around writing, as a novelist and a copywriter — and what a copywriter does, exactly.

• How my first book from a New York publisher actually started out as a short story — and how I grew it into a novel.

• The pros and cons of being a hybrid author (both traditionally published and self-published).

• What my fiction writing process looks like. (It’s both crazier and more straightforward than you might think).

• And, of course, my top piece of advice for writers.

Read the complete interview here. >

P.S. Also, I’m giving away a few autographed paperback books to my newsletter subscribers. Don’t miss out. Click here to subscribe to my author newsletter. >

Categories: how to write a novel, The Writing Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Never Get Writer’s Block. Ever.

writers block

Writer’s block(s). Get it? … Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Let me tell you the secret to getting rid of writer’s block forever.

I’ll admit, I’ve certainly had days where I feel like I don’t know what to write, or I worry that everything I write is terrible.

Some people call that writer’s block. I call it “Monday.” :-)

But seriously, what most people call “writer’s block” is an insidious combination of those two problems.

Problem #1: Not knowing what to write. Continue reading

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What an Editor Really Does — and Why You Need One

I first met Anita when she worked with my literary agent, Kristin Nelson. Anita is a freelance editor who helps writers bring out the very best in their novels. She was kind enough to share her editing insights, including why you should never let a rejection letter get you down, and why joining a critique group can not only improve your writing, but also save you money – and help you get published. Here’s Anita with all the insider info about editors. –L.

 

Anita, can you tell us what a developmental editor does, exactly?

Anita Mumm, founder of Mumm’s the Word Editing & Critique Services

Anita Mumm, founder of Mumm’s the Word Editing & Critique Services

The easiest way to describe a developmental editor’s work is that it focuses on the big picture: Does the plot work? Are the characters the kind of people readers want to spend an entire book with? Is the dialogue smooth or stilted? Is the voice appropriate to the genre and audience?

Developmental editing means making sure the foundation of the novel is sound, and that all of its parts come together in a meaningful whole.

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Coming in 2017: Dru Jasper Book 2

A Kiss Before Doomsday

Did you notice the red glowing tire tracks? Words can’t express how much I love this new cover.

So, this year I did something I’ve never done before. I wrote a sequel.

It was weird, because for the first time, I found myself writing a book with pre-established characters, relationships, settings, etc. Dru’s magic universe (or the “Druniverse” as I like to call it) was already firmly laid out in the first book.

If a story fact made things more complicated, it’s not like I could just change it. I had to work it out. For example, Opal doesn’t have magical powers, but now she’s caught in the midst of these epic magical struggles. What does that mean for her as a person? What does that mean for her friends?

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3 Authors Chat on Night Owl Reviews – Tonight!

Tonight at 6:00 PM MST, I’m doing an author chat with Night Owl Reviews.

Far as I can tell, it’s a text chat. So, apparently we’re going to party like it’s 1999. ;)

Night Owl Reviews author chat time zone map

Join me at 6:00 PM MST (or your local equivalent).

Join me, along with romance author Avery Flynn and mystery author Julia Buckley.

We’ll answer your questions, share excerpts and give away brand new books.

Since 2004, Night Owl Reviews has reviewed over 26,000 books. Here’s what they said about It Happened One Doomsday:

MacNaughton provides a smooth, action-packed read all the way to the end! This could be the start of a new series, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. The characters were great and believable. I loved the car scenes the best (too bad Hellbringer isn’t real!) … Very descriptive, and new takes on old stories had this reader staying up to finish it in one night!

Wow. Come see what all the excitement is about.

Click here to RSVP for the event.

Don’t miss another author update or giveaway. Click here to subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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Beyond the Trope Podcast and Book Giveaway

Beyond the Trope podcast and book giveaway

Have you listened to Beyond the Trope yet? What are you waiting for?

Beyond the Trope is the most nerdly fun podcast you haven’t heard yet.

Click here to listen. >

By the way, not only is it oddly addictive, I also promised to give away a signed paperback copy of It Happened One Doomsday to one lucky listener.

On the latest episode, we chatted about all kinds of crazy stuff including, but not limited to:

* a Metallica mix tape that led indirectly to a book deal

* getting writing ideas at a party with Hugh Howey and Kristin Nelson

* what goes into a good book soundtrack, and that means the best Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” cover you ever heard

* a guy named Mr. Angry (I’m not making that up) who built the car that inspired Hellbringer, the demon-possessed muscle car in my book.

Check out the Beyond the Trope podcast.

You can also listen on iTunes or get it on Stitcher.

More podcasts and giveaways on the horizon! Don’t miss it. Be sure to subscribe to my free author newsletter. >

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“A really great story!” –GeekyGodmother

Holy cow! I couldn’t be happier with this fabulous review from Canadian book site www.geekygodmother.ca:

“The characters are fantastic in what I’m hoping is only the first of a series. Dru doesn’t feel she has the great power of her heroes, but she uses all she has to help out those who do. She becomes the best backup she can possibly be. Her friend Rane, a very powerful sorceress, is outrageous, and hilarious. Same is true of Dru’s shop assistant Opal. She is all attitude, but she has Dru’s back. Greyson too is mighty fine, as Opal mentions many times. Even as he fights for his immortal soul, he is helpful, thoughtful and would love to be Dru’s other half… I really like this book and I highly recommend it. It Happened One Doomsday would make a great summer read.”

Read the whole review >

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I Should Be Writing podcast with Yours Truly

Mur Lafferty's, "I Should Be Writing: The Podcast for Wannabe Fiction Writers."Attention writers: You’re missing out.

If you aren’t already listening to Mur Lafferty’s, “I Should Be Writing: The Podcast for Wannabe Fiction Writers,” you need to drop what you’re doing and go listen.

In every episode, Mur talks about the writing process, problems every writer faces, and how to solve them.

The unstoppable Mur was gracious enough to invite me on her show to blab on endlessly about writing, crystals, muscle cars, and the original idea behind It Happened One Doomsday.

Listen to the show here.

Honestly, I think the best part of the conversation happened after we stopped recording:

We talked about how so many creative people get discouraged because they don’t realize that their struggles are universal. I told Mur that what she’s doing with her podcast is incredibly important. And that’s so true.

By the way, since this podcast came out, I’ve gotten plenty of questions about the MONSTER acronym I use to create monsters in my stories.

It’s a handy tool for thinking your monsters completely through. Here it is:

MONSTER — 7 keys to terrifying creatures

MIND: How smart is it? What senses does it possess?

ORIGIN: Where does it come from? What is it called?

NEED: What motivates it? What is it after?

SKETCH: What does it look like? How big is it? What color is it? How does it move?

TAKE ON: How can the heroes fight it? What hurts it? What scares it?

EAT: What does it eat? How does it eat?

RELATIONSHIPS: Loner or a pack? Belong to someone? Obey someone/thing? Rule someone/thing?

If you find that helpful, there’s more.

Get access to all of my free writing tips when you subscribe to my author newsletter. Click here. >

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