Category Archives: Inspiration

Plotting Problems? 3 Easy Fixes (They’re Fun)

Plotting Problems? 3 Easy Fixes (They’re Fun)

You’re writing a novel, and you decide that you’ve got plotting problems.

Perhaps you’re stuck, and have no idea what happens next. You may decide that your novel is trash. One of my students couldn’t get started on a new novel. She was bored with every idea she had.

Before you decide that your “plotting problems” are so severe that your novel can’t recover, take a moment to consider that your real problem is that you’re uninspired, so you’ve stopped generating ideas.

When my students complain about their plots, I reply: “chances are that you have idea problems. Let’s look for ways to generate more ideas, so that you can keep writing.”

Plotting problems are idea problems

When you’re inspired, you’re an idea machine. You churn out ideas effortlessly. Unfortunately, you’ll have many days when it seems that your muse and creativity have departed for parts unknown.

On those days, you need to kickstart your creativity manually, and develop ideas — the more ideas the better. Bonus points for crazy ideas.

One of my students said in complete frustration: “BUT ideas about what, exactly?”

Try these easy fixes; they’re fun, and easy.

1. Develop a subplot: money, sex, personal relationships, or…?

Money and sex make the world go round, and everyone has relationship problems of one kind or another. Use this knowledge to develop a subplot.

Every novel, no matter the genre, benefits from a subplot. Your subplot will tie into the novel, giving you more plot ideas, and enhancing your main characters’ characterizations.

2. Give your primary characters more problems: both internal, and external

When you have plotting problems, chances are that you’re not making the most of your characters’ problems.

While you’re alive, you have problems. So do your characters; they need both internal, as well as external problems.

Let’s say you’re writing a thriller. Your main character’s a resident doctor at a major hospital. She’s concerned that a new drug is killing patients.

What does she do now? You have no idea. So, let’s tie your plot to your main character.

Make a list of negative internal character traits of your doctor. Perhaps she’s paranoid, and obsessive. How does she show her paranoia, in a scene? How does she show her obsession? How do these traits affect her? Again, remember you need to show.

Her positive AND negative traits, will affect your plot — your plot is what your characters DO.

Next, make a list of external problems she has. Perhaps she’s sharing accommodation, and doesn’t like it. What about her family? What problems does she have with them?

Everyone has problems. Your characters’ problems equal PLOT.

By the time you’ve generated negative internal traits, as well as external problems for your character, you should have many ideas which will solve your plotting problems.

Key: create scenes, and keep writing.

3. Give your primary character a pet, a hobby, a passion, or a bad habit

Got a pet? Give your primary character one too. Or give him a hobby, or a passion. Perhaps he loves to cook.

Habits are plotting gold too.

Make a list of bad habits you can inflict on your primary character. Maybe he:

  • Smokes, and is perpetually trying to give it up (or maybe he’s unrepentant, and has no intention of quitting.) This habit leads to problems, like… (fill in the blank.)
  • Is always late. This habit masks a deeper problem, which is… (fill in the blank.)
  • Has the habit of interfering in the lives of his children. Or parents. Or wife. This leads to… (fill in the blank.)

Plotting problems are always idea problems

Make idea generation a habit. It’s a good habit, because no author can rely on inspiration. At times, inspiration will fail, and you’ll need to kickstart it.

Have fun.

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

eBook: $4.99

When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.

More info →
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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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Resources to build your writing career

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Writing Goals: 3 Tips For Self-Publishing In Series

Writing Goals: 3 Tips For Self-Publishing In Series

We’re powering through March; the first quarter of 2019 is almost done. For many of us, it means that the writing goals we set in January have vanished in the rear-view mirror.

It’s time to revisit them. Have you been reviewing your goals regularly?

Review your writing goals weekly, it’s essential

For many years, I was hopeless at meeting goals. I’d set a goal, and forget all about it. Then I complained that “goal setting doesn’t work.”

Finally I realized that I had to review my goals regularly. If I didn’t, I’d forget them, because life and work would get in the way.

Reviewing your goals is essential. These days, I review my writing goals every week.

I’m sure you’re wondering: what do goals have to do with SERIES writing?

In a nutshell: you need to set goals when you write in series. Otherwise, you’ll forget about your series because you’re chasing the latest bright shiny idea you had.

(Apropos of series writing, Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series has just been released; check it out.)

Series sell, in both fiction and nonfiction, but it takes persistence to write in series

It’s worth focusing on series for one simple reason: you have more chances to sell books and build a readership. When I coach authors and look at their publishing catalogues, I see a lot of standalone books.

There’s nothing wrong with writing standalone fiction and nonfiction, but writing in series is better.

You do need to set goals however, so here are some tips.

1. Set series goals: how many series will you start this year?

Series sell. Ask any author who writes fiction or nonfiction in series about his experiences. He’ll tell you that his only regret is that he hasn’t written more series books.

Authors are collaborating to write series these days, because they know that a rising tide lifts all boats: a successful series helps you to sell all your books.

Set a writing goal for the number of series you’ll start this year.

2. Keep series’ books short: aim for a book you can write in less than a month

When I suggest to my students that they write in series, they sometimes complain about the effort ONE book takes, let alone several.

Two words: write short.

3. Consider collaborating with other authors on series’ promotions

With five million books on the Kindle Store, it’s a challenge to gain and maintain visibility. More authors are collaborating in various ways.

A collaboration helps everyone. So consider limited collaborations with other authors. You might promote each others’ series in the back matter of your books, or send out mailings to your mailing lists.

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

eBook: $4.99

When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
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Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

3 Time Management Tips: Writing When You Have No Time

3 Time Management Tips: Writing When You Have No Time

Time management is challenging for writers because you can’t manage your time, per se. Everyone has the same 24 hours. You can only manage yourself.

Let’s say that you want to become a successful indie author — but you know that writing books takes time. Depressed yet? That’s OK, because not only do most people have more time than they imagine, they can achieve more, no matter how limited their time.

However, you need to make a decision.

A time management truth: you will NEVER have enough time

It’s true, sadly. Even full-time writers moan that they have “no time.” Your life will eat your writing time if you allow it.

You have a decision to make: how badly do you want to write? If writing is important to you, your writing comes first. Schedule your writing time, then rejig everything else to fit.

Let’s look at our time management tips for authors who are convinced that they have no time.

1. Kill the myths about writing which are holding you back

Here’s the thing. Myths about writing abound. Many are completely incorrect; others are only partially incorrect. Few are true — and even the myths which are true are only true for some authors.

Which myths are holding you back? You may not know, because a myth can be completely unconscious, and nevertheless control your writing.

Myths include:

  • Fast writing is bad writing. You can’t write a book in 24 hours;
  • If your book doesn’t sell immediately, it will never sell;
  • You can’t write 3,000 words in an hour…

There are as many myths as there are writers.

My point: you believe things which are untrue for you, and you’re unconscious of your harmful beliefs.

Try this exercise.

Write this phrase in a new computer file: “The myths about writing which are holding me back include…”

Wait for ideas to come to you. You’ll be shocked at the notions you have which cripple your ability to achieve your writing goals.

Of course, many of your personal myths involve notions about what YOU need to write: “an hour of uninterrupted time”, etc.

2. Dictate your words, it’s faster

Dictation is faster than writing, especially once you get used to it. In the beginning, you’ll feel uncomfortable — persist.

Modern computers include voice recognition software. Read the Help files for your machine, and start talking.

Nuance produces Dragon voice recognition software; it’s worth the expense if you’re making money from your words.

I gave you some tips on how to make dictation work for you here.

3. Adjust your preferences, because everything is a preference

Now for a little Zen. 🙂

Everything you want, or don’t want, is a preference.

If you can become consciously aware of your preferences, and realize that they’re only preferences, you’ll write more, no matter how little time you have.

From Zen Thinking:

Without having a preference of any sort, with no opinion for or against, you become free.

Let’s look at some common preferences.

  • You might prefer to be able to quit work, and become a full-time writer. However, currently you need a day job;
  • If only you could sell 500 books a day, you muse… but most days, you only sell one or two. (You may need to steal a little writing time so that you can advertise more);
  • Perhaps you wish that your partner and children would do more of the household chores. That’s a preference. Tell them that your preferences have changed, and that you’ve drawn up a list of chores for each of them so that you have more time to write.

Time management: you always have more time than you imagine you do

Use our tips to squirrel away more time for your writing — and have fun while you do it. 🙂

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
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Buy from Amazon Kindle
Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 5
Genre: Writing

You're a writer. You need to make money from your words. What if you could create AND sell a nonfiction book in just a day?

More info →
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Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Genre: Writing

Today, the opportunities for writers have never been greater. Back in the day a writer who was making six-figures a year seemed a creature of myth. These days, highly successful writers are making six figures a month.

More info →
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