Tag Archives: writing tips

How to Fictionalize your Life

For new writers: how to fictionalize your life.

This approach isn’t particularly new or groundbreaking (In Japan, for example, there’s a literary sub-genre called “shishosetsu”, or “I-novel”, which designates a psychologically realistic “personal novel” in which events in the book roughly correspond to the author’s life), and it can be a double-edged sword.  Read more…

Source: How to Fictionalize your Life

My Writing Tip: Free Class From The Comfort of Your Home PC

My #1  goal in life is to teach independent authors they are no longer writers: they are publishers.   Long before your book is published on Amazon, or before it goes wide, the focus should be on marketing.  Your job is to figure out a way to push your book into the hands of as many readers as possible.

My theory is that if you’re going to spend money on improving your skill, you should spend it on digital marketing.  So, the next logical question is: how am I suppose to develop and improve my writing skill? 

The answer: free university classes that you can complete in the comfort of your home.  

Coursera and MIT Open Courseware come to mind.   A quick search of these sites leads to over 100 eLearning opportunities.   Taught at some of the world’s leading institutions all for free.  On your time, in front of your PC or tablet.

The benefits outweigh the disadvantages.  Often you can skip around and just watch the videos you need.  Then, on that rare occasion, you need ‘hands-on’ training, then, by all means, spend the money on a writing development class.  But, for the most part, ditch the seminars and spend that money on digital marketing.

Hint: you can also find free online university classes on digital marketing as well.

 

 

Jamie Davis’ Podcast “Understanding the LitRPG Genre and What Readers Want”

Jamie Davis is the author of more than a dozen novels including Accidental Thief.

Check out my 20 Questions with Jamie Davis. 

He’s also a registered nurse, a nationally recognized medical educator, and host of The Nursing Show.

How Jamie Became a Fiction Writer

Jamie got started as a novelist on a dare. He’s been a nurse and a medical educator for quite some time and has several nonfiction books available. In 2014, a friend of his dared him to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. He finished his novel during November and then it sat on the file for eight months.

Writing that first fiction novel stoked a creative fire in Jamie. He’s always considered himself a very creative person, and writing fiction gave him a different creative outlet than his nonfiction books or his podcast business.

He decided to release what would become the first book in his Extreme Medical Services series. It was very well received by listeners in Jamie’s podcast community, as well as fans of the urban fantasy genre.

The Extreme Medical Services series started as an idea for an educational web series that Jamie turned into a novel. Jamie is involved with seven podcasts and he writes for several blogs. He’s always writing. And ever since NaNoWriMo 2014, Jamie has always had a fiction project in process.

It never occurred to Jamie to go the traditional publishing route. He’s always been an entrepreneur. He was aware of self-publishing and the opportunities available to him to market to the audience of his choosing, rather than relying on an editor or publisher to decide where his book fit in the marketplace.

Check out the podcast here.

Are you a good fiction writer? Find out here (maybe?)

From: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/writing-fiction-online-editor/three-step-preliminary-acid-test-whether-might-good-fiction-writer

By Joel Gordonson, Author of The Atwelle Confession

Anyone who has contemplated the time and effort needed to become a serious writer of fiction undoubtedly has wondered whether he or she has the right stuff to be good. After all, competition is stiff. A brief wander through bookstores or online leaves an aspiring author with an overwhelming sense of the daunting challenges ahead.

First, there’s the challenge of being good enough to obtain an agent, publisher and publicist—or justify the process of self-publishing. Then once you’re published, you are competing with the likes of Mark Twain, Dostoevsky, and Nobel laureates for literature. There are some 30 million books already in print. What are the odds of someone buying your book?

Can you become a successful writer of good fiction? It’s a prudent question to ask.

Here is a three-step acid test for a preliminary idea of whether you might have the right stuff. It’s not a complete or a sure-fire indicator of success. This acid test for some (Mark Twain, for instance) will show clearly the ability to tell fictional stories. And some writers might fail, yet still become world-class fiction writers. (Dostoevsky maybe? I’m guessing he would fail Step 1.) Nevertheless, these three steps might help you test and assess your potential.

20 Steps for Proofing Your Manuscript

From http://sandragerth.com/20-tips-for-proofreading-your-manuscript/

Whether you’re self-publishing or submitting your manuscript to a traditional publisher, proofreading your work is important. A carefully proofread book makes you look professional and shows readers and publishers that you care about the quality of your work.

Proofreading your own manuscript is not easy, though. After spending months or even years writing your book, you’re very familiar with the text. You see what you think you have written rather than what’s actually on the page.

Here are 20 proofreading tips that can make the process easier:

  1. Put your manuscript aside for at least a week after you finish writing. This allows you to get some distance from your work so you’ll see it with fresh eyes and can spot errors that you didn’t see before.
  2. Start with spell-check, but don’t rely on it. Spell-check can be a useful tool, but it won’t catch some mistakes (e.g., “to” instead of “too” or “who’s” instead of “whose”). It’ll also give you incorrect advice at times. You’ll still have to read through your manuscript.
  3. Change the layout of your manuscript. Changing how your document looks will enable you to see it in a new way so you can catch more mistakes. If possible, print out the entire manuscript and proofread the hard copy. Even if you don’t want to kill a tree, change the font type, size, and color (e.g., change 12-point Times New Roman in black to 14-point Tahoma in brown). Set the line spacing to double. Another option is to proofread the document on your e-reader.
  4. Change your environment. To put yourself in proofreading mode, you might also want to do your proofreading in a place different from where you write. Instead of your desk, try the kitchen table, the library, or a coffee shop.
  5. Read slowly. Proofreading shouldn’t be rushed. Take your time and focus on every word.
  6. Keep a dictionary and a style guide handy. Ask your publisher what dictionary and style guide they prefer. For example, Ylva Publishing uses Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, and The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, for manuscripts in American English.
  7. When in doubt, look it up. Is it halfhearted or half-hearted? Acknowledgment or acknowledgement? Noticeable or noticable? US or U.S.? U-Haul or U-haul? Take nothing for granted. If you’re not sure about the spelling of a word, look it up in the dictionary.
  8. Read the manuscript out loud. When you read the manuscript silently, your brain acts as an autocorrect tool that reads what should be there, not what’s actually on the page. Reading out loud slows you down and makes it easier to focus on what’s really written. It will help you discover missing words and make sure your dialogue sounds realistic.
  9. As an alternative to reading the entire manuscript out loud, which can be hard on the voice, have a text-to-speech app read it to you. I use an iOS app named Voice Dream that reads my text back to me while I read along on the screen.
  10. Use the search function. For every mistake you find, use your word processor’s find or find-and-replace feature to make sure you didn’t repeat the mistake anywhere else in the manuscript. You can also use the find-and-replace feature to replace double spaces with single spaces.
  11. Cover the rest of the text with a piece of paper or a ruler. That way, you’re looking at only one line at a time.
  12. Move your finger along to read one word at a time instead of allowing your gaze to race ahead.
  13. Read backward, from the end of the story to the beginning. Start with the bottom of the very last page. Some people read sentence by sentence, but if that doesn’t work for you, try it paragraph by paragraph. Reading backward stops you from getting lost in the flow of the story and allows you to focus on the individual words instead.
  14. Proofread first thing in the morning. Proofreading needs a lot of concentration, so it’s best to do it while your brain is fresh, not when you’re tired after a long day.
  15. Eliminate distractions. Turn off the TV, your cell phone, and maybe even the Internet so nothing will distract you while you proofread.
  16. Take breaks regularly. Since proofreading requires intense focus, you can’t do it for hours on end. Take a break at least once an hour, get up from your desk, and give your eyes and your brain a few minutes of rest.
  17. Do a second pass. Especially if you find a lot of mistakes in your manuscript, do a second proofreading pass. You could do separate passes for different proofreading issues.
  18. Create your individualized proofreading checklist. If you’re like most writers, you tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly. Make a list of your most common mistakes and add to that list whenever you discover a new mistake. Use the list to check each manuscript for those typical errors.
  19. Brush up on grammar rules. If you don’t know the basic rules of grammar and punctuation, proofreading is little more than guesswork, so take the time to learn the most important rules.
  20. Get someone else to proofread your manuscript. Having someone else proofread your manuscript doesn’t mean you get out of that task, but having a fresh pair of eyes in addition to your own is always a good thing. Try to find beta readers who are good with spelling and grammar, or trade with a fellow writer—proofread their manuscript in exchange for them proofreading yours.

So, how do you approach proofreading your manuscript? Do you have any other tips you want to share? Please leave a comment.

The erotic side of #LitRPG: Cue that 70s porn music

It was bound to happen.  As #LitRPG has taken off, more writers (looking to capitalize on the trend) are getting their hooks into this new(ish) genre.  Personally, I don’t see a problem with it.  I think writers should be able to write what they want.   Let the market decide.  If readers buy it, the sexy side will stay-if they don’t; the writers will eventually move onto something else.

A  glance at /r/eroticauthors on Reddit will quickly tell you the market is already saturated with erotica authors.  Most are looking for the newest and most profitable kink.  And, the pressure to write and produce content is tremendous.  I guess it was only a matter of time before they found LitRPG.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. 

Some erotica authors are just looking for a quick buck.  And,  their catalog suffers for it.  Others have been around since before KU 1.0.  Either way, it comes down to one telling face: is the book good? Does it fit the genre?  Or, is it just written for a quick buck?

Hint: looking at the sales of this author and glancing at a few others, there does seem to be a market for LitRPG sexy time.  Hell, I even read it.  And, yes, some writers deliver some good prose.

In any event, it gives a different meaning to leveling up!   You be the judge.  Peace out.

 

 

How a Critic Opens a Book: A Q&A With Parul Sehgal – The New York Times

Check out this NYT article: a Q&A with (what I gather) is the Time’s newest book critic.  Although, I’m more concerned with how readers on Amazon and Goodreads rate books, this is still an interesting read.  Of course, I still think reviews are like brushing your teeth with barbed wire.  Ouch!

Parul Sehgal joined The New York Times’s team of daily book critics in late July. She was previously a senior editor for The New York Times Book Review; she also wrote a column, “Roving Eye,” focused on international literature.

You recently transitioned from editor and columnist to critic. What has changed about your approach to covering books?

My relationship with the reader — the reader I have in my mind when I write — is a bit different. There’s more of a responsibility to convey what’s happening in the world of literature, and to do it in a timely manner, and to explain why it matters. I can’t direct myself purely by my own idiosyncrasies, or my own temptations.

The challenge for me is remembering that, in spite of the weekly pressures, my reviews can never be formulaic, that they always have to be full of pleasure, that they have to be full of delight — and that I have to stay fresh, and stay excited.

Source: How a Critic Opens a Book: A Q&A With Parul Sehgal – The New York Times

Writers—There’s Plenty of Room for LitRPG, LitFPS & GameLit

Link Article

Dear Indie Writers:

There’s plenty of room for you regardless of what you write: LitRPG, LitFPS, GameLit or anything in between.  Write what’s in your heart because more often than not, you will write better and fans will follow your creative efforts in time. Although, I am a fan of writing to market, don’t let that consume you or your talent.

If you enjoy writing sexy virtual reality stories that, by chance, have a game element—go for it.  I wish you all the luck and success indie publishing can offer.

For over a year, I have seen the LitRPG genre and tropes change: sometimes for the better sometimes not.  But in the end, it is all opinion.  And opinions are like assholes—everybody’s got one, and sometimes they enjoy showing off.

Don’t be bullied by successful writers jockeying for position to corner the market. I’ve seeing it happen for years.  In fact, writers are seemingly some of the more catty people I’ve ever met.  This is just my opinion.  I’ve also met writers who were more than willing to help out newcomers.  They enjoy the camaraderie in an effort to give something back to the community.  In fact, the good writers outnumber the bullies by a large margin.  I know it doesn’t always look that way.  The bullies seem to get more attention because they are louder and often more ostentatious.

Ignore it—and ignore them.  Find, or create your own tribe that is not only appreciative of your work but is supportive of your career.  They’re out there—you just have to look.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, forums, and websites are simply vehicles to get your projects noticed and get your name in front of readers.  Never be afraid to block someone on any social media venue when they are doing you more harm than good.  It’s the nature of the beast.

If social media is giving you heartburn, it probably means that you’re spending too much time there anyway.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed.  And, is easy to take the opinions of others to heart.  It is human nature.

It’s true that authors need to have a tough skin for criticism.  I’ve often heard it said you won’t last long without it.  But it’s also true that writers have to draw a line in the sand when it comes to bullying.  There is a difference.

A few years ago, Goodreads (owned by Amazon) got so bad with bullying tactics that some authors simply gave up and left the business. Sad.  Amazon reviewers are sometimes no better.  There I said it.  An author does not necessarily live and die by the reviews posted on Amazon.  Always take it with a grain of salt.  And my suggestion would be to stop reading them completely.

Although marketing is a tremendous part of the publishing business, successful writers spend at least 40% of their time actually writing.  If you’re spending time on social media—you’re not writing.

The way for indie authors to succeed is to help and support each other.  To some writers, that may sound counterintuitive, but consider that a rising tide raises all ships.