September 21, 2018– I love picture prompts! Picture prompts are images that inspire you to write creatively; they’re useful for a couple of reasons:
They get you out of your comfort zone. More often than not, the image won’t match what genre you usually write in. Today’s picture prompt is especially true for me because I’m not a fantasy reader or writer.
They help you focus. Picture prompts force us to focus on an idea, and they don’t allow us to write randomly. They provide the bones for a story and allow us to branch out from there. They give us a bit of structure to get started.
September 19, 2018– So you want to run a writing business, congratulations! Do you know what you really want?
A lot of authors branch off into offering writing services to the general public. It may be editing or consulting, helping someone flesh out ideas for their book, or it can even be assisting self-published authors with the long publishing journey ahead. Whatever it is, before you begin, make sure you have a head for business.
I’m not going to mention money or charges or price structure in this post because that is entirely up to you! What I am going to talk about are the most important things you need to do before you even THINK about pricing your services.
As I own a full-service publishing house, I have some tips on running a successful writing business:
What are you offering? Make sure that you’re clear about what you do and what you don’t do! Do you offer line editing? Revisions and re-writes? Manuscript consultations? Blog hosting? YOU have to know what you do before anyone else can.
Who is your ideal client and what qualities do they possess? When you work with clients you love, you’ll genuinely enjoy the job you’re doing, and that’s when you do your best work! Make a list of the traits your ideal clients have. Are they bright? Resilient? Courageous? Big thinkers? Rapid responders?
Identify your target market of ideal clients. What do you specialize in and who is your niche? Choosing your target market is essential because to reach the people you’re meant to work with, you’ve got to know where to find them. Maybe your writing business is ghostwriting for medical professionals, make a list of where to find the people who need your services!
Determine the biggest result your clients get. What is the number one outcome that you help your target market achieve? Do you help self-published authors get their book from an idea into physical form? Potential clients within your target market must see your services and products as opportunities to receive a return on their monetary investment. What kind of ROI will your clients get from working with you?
It’s imperative to your success that you answer the above questions before getting started. Because as I always say, you can’t hit a target you can’t see. Here’s to your success!
September 18, 2018- Congratulations to our very own, Tamara Botting! She is the author of Unfrogged and Pants, two fabulously fun stories. We are so proud of her on her nomination for Best Local Author for the Reader’s Choice Awards! Yay, Tamara; you deserve it!
September 17, 2018– Middle-grade scripts are what I’m always looking for! There seems to be an infinite black hole in my line-up of offerings for this age group. My middle-grade submissions never close, so if you’re an MG writer, please submit! You can submit your query and one-page synopsis to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, let’s get inside the minds of our middle-grades, shall we? What is an MG reader? It’s a child between the ages of 8-12, and they seem to live in a world of conflict.
Middle-graders love their families, and they are fiercely loyal to them, but at the same time, they crave independence.
They want to fit in with friends and social groups at school, but they also want to be defined as unique, individual, and special.
They want to grow up, make choices, flex their independence, but they also want to be a kid, be safe, and are emotionally not mature enough to make tough decisions when faced with them.
At this age, MG’s are finding their place in the world and getting their feet wet in different situations; they don’t want to completely abandon their childhood, but they don’t want to be treated as kids all the time either. It’s truly a tough spot to be in, not only for them but also, in relating to them as a writer!
Here’s what you need to know to be a successful MG writer:
Tweens are focused on themselves, but they’re also focused on how others see them. Peer opinions are super important to them.
Heroes and parents aren’t perfect anymore. MG’s are starting to see them as humans with flaws and all.
Things are complex at this time in their lives, and they may be experiencing things for the first time in their lives, e.g., first kiss, first time they’ve been grounded, first time they’ve been in trouble at school, first fight with parents, etc.
If there is romance, make it innocent. Crushes are fine but don’t go too far beyond this.
To echo the above point, keep it PG and don’t go all the way to Young Adult writing with edgy themes and romantic scenes. There is a very LARGE line in the sand on this one. Keep it clean because the edgier you make your novel, the less chance it has to enter school libraries and conservative households.
September 12, 2018– I am currently reading (for the second time) The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. And I can’t say enough about this little book!
This book is the exact kick in the ass that us writers need. It’s no-nonsense, fuss-free look into what is really holding us back as artists! I highly recommend this book for anyone who dreams about writing the next Great Novel, anyone who has regrets over unfinished screenplays, poems, or paintings, and anyone who wants advice as an entrepreneur.
The War of Art is so valuable in unlocking hidden barriers within ourselves! This is a must-read for anyone who wants to start living.
September 10, 2018– Blogging is a blast! I absolutely love creating blog content for clients and for most, it’s an untapped market for writers to capitalize on!
Blogging is not only fun, but it’s also a great side gig for writers to get paid. Blogging helps us write about different topics and helps us flex our creative writing muscles and sometimes even our non-fiction muscles depending on the type of blog posts we write!
Now let’s say that you’re ready to start your OWN blog! Whatto write about is the biggest question. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Take a trip to the store. Browse the magazine section and take note of all the types of magazines there are. Which topics interest you? Is it Cooking? Lifestyle? Gadgets/Technology? Parenting? Fashion? Finance? Sports? Home?
Write what you like to read about. Simply put, if we like to read about it, it may be something easy for us to write about. For example, You enjoy reading gardening magazines, why not blog about this year’s crop of cherry tomatoes that you have growing in your backyard? You could blog about the challenges you faced with too much rain, or how you expertly got rid of bugs that threatened your fruit, with a natural insect repellent. You get the picture.
Write about your hobbies or interests. Are you stuck on stamps from the early 1900’s? Do you like to knit things for kids? What about sports, are you into horseback riding? Do you love to travel around the world while staying in Air Bnb’s? Chances are if you’re interested in it, someone else in the world is too and would be intrigued to read about it from your perspective.
What are you an expert in? Maybe you’re a contractor who specializes in custom horse barns, or perhaps you’re a classicly trained pastry chef who specializes in all things sweet, whatever you’re an expert in, is valuable to your readers! Write what you know and write what you’re the best at.
Happy Blogging! But before you go, make sure you subscribe to this blog!
September 7, 2018– Congratulations! You’ve decided to write a romance. Romance novels have a long and interesting past. Romantic fiction is a genre that explores some of the most powerful emotions ever known to humans. Lust, love, and greed are just a few of the motivators in romance novels, and we all know that we would do just about anything for love (to quote Meatloaf). Myself, I admire people who can write romance because I’m sure as hell not one of them!
What is a Romance Novel? Here’s how most A romance novel consists of two people who meet, have a problem with building their relationship, but in the end, they live happily ever after while gazing into each other’s eyes while riding off into the sunset. Umm…not exactly! See? This is why I can’t write romance.
Here’s what a romance novel, IS NOT:
Always a happy ending. Yes, they must have an optimistic ending, but the characters should deal with trauma and problematic events. Here’s a sample: She stared out the window and watched the rain slip down the cold pane of glass. She knew she’d never see him again, but she knew that she could never forget him.
Always conflict-free. Come on, seriously? A good romance novel is first and foremost about the characters, and we have all experienced problems in our relationships, life, and work. Why should your characters be any different than real people with real problems? Everyone has had at least one bad romantic encounter!
Soft porn for lonely women. No. This isn’t the case at all. Not all romance novels have sex scenes and not all sex scenes border on pornography. Romance novels encourage women to go after what they desire, want, and need. They’re not for lonely women, they’re for women who enjoy this genre. That’s all.
Now that you know what Romance Writing isn’t you can start writing about what it is.
September 5, 2018- We’ve all heard of brainstorming and I’m confident that as writer’s, we tend to do this to a fault. I say to a fault because of how much time we spend brainstorming instead of writing, which is really what we should be doing instead.
Brainstorming, as we know, is where you start with a blank piece of paper in front of you and you’re supposed to come up with new ideas. There’s a problem with the rigidity of this. We think that we’re just supposed to write down ideas, single words, and we are encouraged to think laterally.
What if I told you there was a better way? Enter Stormwriting! Here’s how to do it:
Gather writing materials
Find a cozy place
Write down your idea at the top of the page
Write down EVERYTHING that has to do with your idea.
Use Yes and What if as your guiding questions.
Keep writing, don’t edit! Just get it on paper.
Let’s do an example from one of my own novels set to launch next year:
My Name is Jessica Westlake (is the title so I put this at the top of the page)
Her name is Jessica Westlake, why is her name Jessica Westlake? Has this always been her name?
She is blonde with blue eyes, tall, trim, married, no children, having an affair with her neighbour
Her husband is a high profile lawyer, he cheats on Jessica with the mistress that works for him
They are rich in money but poor in morals
They have a big house, a maid, and nice cars
Jessica grew up poor, her parents were horrible and they did things to her that are inexplicable
They live in Boston in a very expensive neighbourhood
Her husband is abusive and treats her like garbage
What if the husband catches Jessica and the neighbour? What if he seeks vengeance for what they’ve done?
What if things were more complicated? What if the neighbour was also cheating with the husband?
See what I mean? It’s pretty easy to go down the rabbit hole on this exercise, isn’t it?
Also, this contains ZERO spoilers for my next novel:) I wouldn’t ruin it for you! Now get stormwriting!