Posts Tagged With: aspiring writers

4 Writing Pitfalls to Avoid at All Costs

4 Writing Pitfalls to Avoid at All CostsHas your writing fallen into a black hole?

Has your pacing dropped to a crawl, or your suspense become a snore?

Do you just feel stuck?

You might be sabotaging your own writing without even knowing it.

But don’t panic. Here’s how to avoid the four most perilous pitfalls of writing.
Continue reading

Categories: For Writers | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Editors

James Persichetti, Developmental Editor at Lost Hat Editorial Services

For every brilliant manuscript that grows into a best-selling novel, untold thousands of others get dumped into the recycle bin. What’s the crucial difference between them?

Ask Jamie.

Over the years, James Persichetti has seen more unpublished manuscripts cross his desk than most people could read in a lifetime. He started out at the incomparable Nelson Literary Agency (Bird Box, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, etc.).

Now, he’s launched Lost Hat Editorial Services, a boutique editing business that helps writers like you succeed. Here he is, in his own words, to tell you how to find the right editor, polish your book to perfection, and avoid the biggest mistakes aspiring writers make. Continue reading

Categories: For Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Simple Secret to Fixing Ugly Story Problems

how to write: retroactive continuity

When you’re in the middle of writing, don’t stop. Except for coffee.

It happens to every writer: you’re writing along when suddenly you need to go back and change some fact or detail.

Because if you don’t fix it, the story won’t make sense. Should you stop writing at that moment to go fix it?

Nope. That could kill your momentum.

Here’s a better idea. It’s called a retcon, and comic book writers have been using it for decades.

Retcon is short for “retroactive continuity” and it means that you’re stating a new fact that changes what’s come before.

In other words, you’re changing the past.

This is a term I first encountered in the massively entertaining and informative book Writing for Comics with Peter David. (Mr. David, by the way, has an impressive list of comic writing credits, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Supergirl, Hulk, Star Trek, and tons of others. He knows what he’s talking about.)

Continue reading

Categories: For Writers | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Secrets of Successful Critique Groups

Critique groups: don't get bitten!

Are you hearing the Jaws theme in your head? I am. And now you are, too. :)

Critique groups: best thing ever for writers? Or soul-crushing pits of despair?

Here are my 6 secrets for spotting a top-notch critique group — or assembling your own.

Connect with other writers and get the feedback you need to finish your book, publish it, and write the next one.

Everything you need to know from Yours Truly is right here on author Patricia Stoltey’s blog:

Click here: http://patriciastolteybooks.com/2016/01/6-secrets-of-successful-critique-groups-by-laurence-macnaughton/

Categories: For Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Short, Sad Saga of Mississippi Jones

Don't eat me!

Scary. Freakin’. Fish. That is all. Move along.

Some names stick with us.

Bridget Jones, Holden Caulfield, Nero Wolfe — these names are all indelibly stamped into our literary consciousness.

Those names are evocative. Memorable. Unique.

Some writers are incredibly good at coming up with names.

I am not one of them.

Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, Uncategorized, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 3 Questions of Aspiring Writers

Thriller Author Interview

with Yours Truly

I’m always happy to answer questions from aspiring authors. This week, I got some tricky ones:

Q: How do you know when to end one chapter and start the next chapter?

A: You end a chapter as soon as the lead character either achieves their goal or fails.

The best place to end a chapter is immediately after you raise a new question in the reader’s mind. The desire to answer that question will make them turn the page. Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, Uncategorized, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why You Should NEVER Carry a Notebook

Levenger Index Card Holder Pocket Briefcase

Don’t carry a notebook in your pocket. Instead, carry index cards!

For many years, I carried a writing notebook with me everywhere I went. That’s what all serious writers do, I’ve always heard. But in truth, it’s a terrible idea.

Here’s why.

  • First, when you write in a notebook, your notes are locked in rigid sequential order. If you tend to think of things randomly (and who doesn’t?), you’ll spend a lot of time flipping back and forth through your pages to find something.
  • Second, it’s difficult and time-consuming to transcribe your notes from your notebook into the files for each project. I suppose if you’re the sort of person who only works on one story, ever, then this isn’t such a big deal. But I’m always working on a huge list of projects.
  • Third, notebooks get gnarly quickly. They get creased, folded, bent, ink-stained… It’s not pretty.

The Un-Notebook Solution

The secret is deceptively simple:

Continue reading

Categories: book business, For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Become a Pro Writer — One Hour at a Time!

The more you write, the better you get.  That should go without saying, but discouragement can dim our perceptions, so I’m coming right out and saying it:

Every hour you spend writing makes you a better writer.
 
I talk a lot about the learning curve of your first novel.  If you’re like most people, as you work your way through your first book, you’ll look back every so often and shudder at your earlier chapters.  It’s tempting to go back and try to polish your old writing up to your current level of proficiency.  Don’t do it!  Believe it or not, you can write a novel from beginning to end without stopping in the middle to go back and fix it.  In fact, I recommend you don’t stop.

Make notes instead.  Scrawl in the margins.  Use up a whole pad of yellow sticky notes if you must.  But don’t spend time “fixing” your old pages until you finish the entire book.  Why?  Because by the time you reach the end, you’ll be a better writer than you are now.  So save the “fixing” for later and do it all at once, rather than trying to constantly improve everything all the time.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s number-one bestselling book Outliers, he says that you need to spend 10,000 hours at something to become an expert.  You’d have to do something 20 hours a week for a decade to hit that.  But you know what?  That’s doable, even with a full time day job — if you want it badly enough.

One of his examples is the Beatles, who performed live more than 1,200 times before they made it big.  Bill Gates started programming when he was 13.  Was he a child prodigy — or did he just get an early start and put in massive effort before he became an expert?

Ten thousand hours — as a writer, that works out to a LOT of pages.  You won’t be an expert writer until after you’ve finished several books, so cut yourself some slack.  In the meantime, you can focus on learning the craft of writing.  Every day, you’re getting better.  Remember: you can write a novel — and you will — one hour at a time!

Categories: how to write a book, how to write a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help Fight Diabetes and Win a Critique!

That’s right, folks.  You already know you can write a novel — and now’s your chance to prove it.  Thanks to the heroic efforts of Brenda Novak and her elite team of auction experts, you have a chance to help a great cause AND win a personal manuscript critique from Yours Truly. 

And of course, there are plenty of other great prizes to be won, too!  Especially in the section conspicuously called Kristin Nelson Literary Agency Presents.  Who could pass up a 30-page read from veteran agent Kristin Nelson?  Or a 30-page evaluation from literary agent Sara Megibow?  These are top-notch opportunities, my friend.  Don’t miss out!

You could even win a personalized love scene written by author Tiffany Reisz!  And yes, it’s just what you think it is: a ten to fifteen page personalized fantasy love scene between you and the celebrity (or two) of your choice.  If that doesn’t give you an incentive to help out a good cause, I don’t know what will!

So do yourself a favor and check out Brenda Novak’s 2011 Online Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research.  You can help a much-needed cause, get a chance to score incredible prizes and maybe even give your writing a boost.  No matter what, you come out a winner!

Categories: writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Win Literary Prizes and Help Fight Diabetes

Just a quick reminder that bidding starts Sunday for the Brenda Novak Diabetes Fundraiser.  This year, aspiring writers get a chance to win some incredible prizes.  Seriously, some mind-blowing stuff!  Like lunch with agents, editors and other Very Important People.  Or a chance to get your polished manuscript into the hot little hands of people who can actually get it published!

Also, this year, I’ve offered up my own humble donation:

Get your opening chapter into shape!

Get a critique of the first 25 pages of your novel manuscript, including personalized suggestions on how to polish this crucial part of your book.  (Submission must be made by November 1, 2011.)

Laurence MacNaughton is a writing coach and contributor to Writers’ Journal.  He teaches fiction writing at You Can Write A Novel .com.

Check out all the details:

http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Home.taf?_start=1

Remember: you can write a novel — and you can help a good cause!

Categories: how to write a novel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.