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A One Page Pitch…

October 15, 2018– Wow; This is a great infographic on how to pitch your novel or screenplay! As a traditional publisher, I cannot tell you how important it is to get your words on the page concisely and effectively, because publishers and movie makers expect this. It makes things easier for everyone and allows us to make a decision quickly and intelligently. Check out the info below from our friends at bang2write.com and keep this in mind the next time you pitch your work. Best of luck! X LLB

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Inside the Mind of an MG Reader

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 pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

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.

  1. Middle-graders love their families, and they are fiercely loyal to them, but at the same time, they crave independence.
  2. They want to fit in with friends and social groups at school, but they also want to be defined as unique, individual, and special.
  3. 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.

Now you know! Here’s to your success.

X LLB

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One of my most fave middle-grade novel series! 39 Clues- Check them out today! 
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What We’re Reading

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.

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So You Want to Write a Romance…Here’s What It’s Not.

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: 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

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What is Stormwriting? Do You Know?

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:

  1. Gather writing materials
  2. Find a cozy place
  3. Write down your idea at the top of the page
  4. Write down EVERYTHING that has to do with your idea.
  5. Use Yes and What if as your guiding questions.
  6. 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!

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I Care About Your Credibility…You’re Welcome.

June 25, 2018-The most important thing a writer can be other than creative is credible. This graph explains the limit of the human body which is essential stuff if you’re writing your character into a sticky situation!

Credibility is crucial because as soon as your reader calls bullshit on what you’ve written you’ve lost them and they’ll put your book down possibly to never pick it up again. It’s different if you’re writing fantasy and building your own world. However, if you’re writing in this one, here’s what you need to know about the limits of the human body.

Interesting to know

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The Beach is my Happy Place…

May 3, 2018- I was fortunate enough to spend time at the beach last month. It was pretty cool that I was able to finish writing my novel in the same place that I started it. The entire process felt as though it had come full circle. From the salty waves to the sandy, sunny shores, I can confidently say that the beach is my happy place. I was inspired by the peaceful, lapping waves and the gentle sounds of seagulls talking to each other. The creative process flowed easily and naturally in this type of environment; I can’t wait to return.

Where is your happy place? Where do you go to escape or get revitalized in your writing routine?  Is it the mountains? Or the bubbling brooks that are hidden in valleys? Is it the ocean and the secrets it keeps? Are you inspired by old towns and new places? Let me know in the comments below.

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My Happy Place-the place where creativity grows and good energy flows