Tag Archives: self-publishing

Writing Fiction: Stop “Writing”, Create Experiences

Writing Fiction: Stop “Writing”, Create Experiences

You’re writing fiction. You’ve published one, or several novels. Perhaps you’ve yet to complete your novel.

Wherever you are in your publishing career, you want one thing — the same thing every other author wants. You want your novel to sell because you want readers.

So, how can you be certain that your novel will sell?

There’s only one way.

When you’re writing fiction, stop “writing”

To sell, your novel must entertain readers.

Unfortunately we authors often lose track of the “entertainment factor.” It’s easily done. We’re writers, so we concentrate on the writing. We want to write well — but when that shows, it’s fatal.

if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it

In New Novelist: Write A Selling Novel With One Simple Strategy, I shared my favorite Elmore Leonard writing tip:

My most important rule (for writers) is … if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Similarly, you may have heard the advice to “kill your darlings.” It’s the same thing. It’s “writing”, so you’re not entertaining readers.

Next time you read something in your fiction which gives you a warm glow, stop. Are you thinking, modesty forbids… but that’s quite good? If you are, ask yourself: am I creating an experience with these words?

The easy fix for “writing” syndrome

There’s an easy fix for “writing”. Here it is. Stop focusing on the words. Focus on what’s happening in your novel instead.

Unfortunately, this can be a challenge, especially if you’re a new author. You’ll get better at recognizing “writing” problems as you gain experience.

In your first draft, only fix obvious problems.

When you get around to editing, rewrite when you find anything which bores you. Ask your beta readers to identify any scenes in which their attention wandered.

Tip: entertain yourself first

If you’re not having fun with your writing, your readers won’t have fun either. Boredom is always a clue.

When boredom hits, try this simple exercise.

Set a timer for five minutes.

Start writing with this phrase: Here’s how to make this scene exciting…

Then follow your own advice. Make writing fiction fun for yourself, and you’ll entertain your readers.

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

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Writing Fiction: 3 Easy Tips For Subplots

Writing Fiction: 3 Easy Tips For Subplots

One of the most fun things in writing fiction is creating subplots.

Unfortunately when creating subplots it’s easy to (literally) lose the main thread of the plot. When this happens, readers stop reading. Let’s look at some tips to help.

When you’re writing fiction, your primary aim is to keep readers entertained, and reading

Firstly, let’s be realistic. Subplots require words. If you need those words for your primary plot and character development, keep your subplots short. Also consider that if you’re writing a short story or novella, you almost certainly won’t have space for a subplot.

From Plot Your Novel: 3 Tips for Sizzling Subplots:

Subplots are easy. All you need to remember is that a subplot isn’t just an unconnected story dumped into your book to bulk it up; it’s a way of adding richness to your story. A subplot always relates directly to your main story in some way.

Let’s look at how subplots can help when you’re writing fiction.

1. Subplots increase the tension and keep readers reading

No matter the genre, you need to keep readers entertained because they have many options for entertainment today. So your primary reason for developing a subplot is to increase tension. You want readers turning the pages wondering what will happen next.

You can manage subplots any way you choose, but I like to hint at the subplot in the Setup phase of a novel (the first 25%), then develop it, and have it alternate with the primary plot.

When you do this, you can hit an OMG! moment in your primary plot, and switch to your subplot for a couple of scenes to increase tension.

2. Use subplots for a change of pace: to add humor, or romance

You may love chocolate cake, but you don’t want to make an entire meal of it.

So, whatever your genre and main plot, a subplot can add a needed change of pace. Shakespeare often added humorous scenes to his tragedies. When there’s too much gloom and doom, you need a contrast so that readers appreciate the next horror scene.

Whatever your genre, humor is always welcome. Try creating a character or two for comic relief.

Consider adding a romantic subplot, if you’re writing in a genre (science fiction, thrillers, mysteries) which doesn’t need romance. In these genres, a romantic subplot not only aids character development, it also provides a useful change of pace.

3. Develop your characters: think opposites

Have you seen the movie The Odd Couple? It’s a gem because it’s the perfect illustration of a strategy you can use when you’re writing fiction to make your characters memorable.

Let’s say you’re writing a mystery. Your subplot could involve your sleuth’s hapless sidekick, as he tries to do something or other. The sidekick is the opposite of your sleuth — think Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

You may be writing a romance. A secondary character could be the polar opposite of your heroine or hero. Think Scarlett and Melanie in Gone With The Wind, and Jane and Lydia in Pride & Prejudice.

Not only does creating opposites help with your character development, the contrast between characters provides a change of pace.

Subplots make writing fiction easier

The change of pace which a subplot provides is often as beneficial to authors as it is to readers.

If you get stuck when you’re writing a novel, explore creating subplots. If a subplot adds nothing, you can remove it later.

Have fun with subplots, and write on. 🙂

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.

What if you could market in just 15 minutes daily?

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Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

Write A Book: 4 Ways Scrivener Makes You A Better Writer

Write A Book: 4 Ways Scrivener Makes You A Better Writer

Recently on a private forum, after responding to a plea for help with the suggestion, “use Scrivener, the program makes you a better writer,” I’ve received questions about that statement.

My first response was to giggle. Ah — NO, I’m not a shill for Scrivener’s developers. You won’t find any affiliate links in this post. Nor do I know anyone in the company, but I have immense admiration for the developers.

So, how does Scrivener make you a better writer?

I believe that Scrivener is worth every penny of your investment in its purchase, and more. Your mileage may vary of course, but I know that before Scrivener, writing a book took me three and four times as long.

If you need to write a book, you need Scrivener

Scrivener’s beta version arrived in 2005. In that year, I switched from using Windows machines as my primary computers to Macs. It took forever to make the decision to switch.

At that time, I was writing about PCs for computer magazines, as well as doing ghostwriting for a global publisher, so I still needed my Windows machines.

My contract for the large publishing house meant that not only did I write chapters for them for various books, I worked as a ghostwriter and copywriter for them as well.

My life was chaos. I spent 12 and 14 hours a day, just writing. Research took another couple of hours at least.

Then suddenly, at just the right time, Scrivener came out with a beta version — suddenly writing books was much easier.

Scrivener will make you a better writer because it makes it easier to organize your writing projects, and to think.

1. Scrivener makes it easier to organize and think, so your writing improves

Books, whether fiction or nonfiction, morph.

In this post, I suggested writing your blurb (book description) before you start outlining and writing:

Writing your blurb first is important because you need to fulfill promises you made in the blurb. It’s much easier to edit your blurb than it is to edit your book.

Nevertheless, even with your blurb as a compass to your writing, your book’s vision will change before your eyes. When this happens it’s not only disorienting, it can throw you off track. If you’re unfortunate enough to have deadlines for several books at one time, it also leads to a lot of stress.

Scrivener has a marvelous feature called Collections, which helps you to revision (re-imagine) your book, no matter how much it morphs.

An excellent article on Collections:

Before Scrivener, I’d print out a novel, then lay out “collections” of documents on the bed, and the carpet. Next, I’d create index card summaries of every document in every collection. I’d delete scenes and chapters by tossing their documents, and then type up fresh scenes, and lay them out on the carpet. It was chaotic.

2. You can view your Scrivener project from several different angles, so you get better ideas

When it’s time to outline, I start out in the Corkboard view. The Corkboard’s index cards are itty bitty things, so I usually switch from there to the Outline view, and then to the Scrivenings view, to flesh out the outline.

You can start writing at any time.

For example, with fiction I’ll usually write the first scene, and then because the final scene mirrors the first, I’ll write that scene next. Of course, the final scene needs rewriting later, but I’ve mapped out the territory.

You may find that being able to switch so easily between views helps you to keep your project on track, and become more creative.

3. Got an editor, or beta readers? It takes just a few clicks to compile a draft to send them (and you can quickly make changes)

When ghostwriting, I like to send my client or editor a copy of the first draft of each chapter when it’s done. That takes just a few clicks in Scrivener, and the PDF is ready to email to the client, or to attach to a thread in a chat program.

Sending out out ARCs (advance reading copies) is just as simple. A few clicks, and your PDF is ready to send.

4. Inspiration can strike anywhere: Scrivener has iOS and (soon) Android apps

You can get ideas anywhere. I have an “Ideas” folder in each Scrivener project, so I can type up an idea quickly. Occasionally, I’ll be on the sofa, watching a movie, when inspiration hits. It’s easy to open Scrivener on my tablet, and add a few paragraphs to a scene, or correct something in a scene if I realize that the timeline is off, for example.

So, there you have it. I truly believe that Scrivener can help almost any author to become happier and more productive.

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.