Tag Archives: writing process

Editing Your Book? You May Not Believe It, But Apps Can Help

Editing Your Book? You May Not Believe It, But Apps Can Help

You’re all done with writing; now you’re editing your book.

Editors cost money, so you’ve done as much self-editing as you can. Self-editing is vital, because:

Leaving aside the fact that if you dump a mess into an editor’s lap it will cost you a small fortune to get it cleaned up, your own editing is important, because:

  • It’s your chance to discover the story you want to tell (this applies to both nonfiction and fiction);
  • It’s your big chance to make your book better.

But what if you’re on a self-publishing budget, and can’t afford an editor?

Editing your book takes time (and money)

Recently I started revamping and republishing several of my older books, published years ago.

Rather than hire an editor, I decided to try an app.

My reasoning? Using an app’s faster than hiring an editor. Although these books have been edited, I’m revising and rewriting scenes, so an app might help me to catch typos and other errors.

Also, I’ve never tried any of the editing apps. Since they’re proliferating, they must be useful, so I decided to download ProWritingAid.

ProWritingAid: amazingly useful

My expectations were low. I’ve been writing professionally for 40 years so — an app? Surely you kid….

After a month of serious use, I can report that ProWritingAid is useful.

Not only does it catch obvious errors like typos, but it also tightens up my writing.

Another benefit: we authors can get a little precious about our words.

However, once you’ve dumped your precious words into ProWritingAid, they no longer seem as sacred. You’ll slash and burn with abandon, and your writing gets better.

Check out a writing app or two: you may be as surprised as I was

I’ll do a proper review of ProWritingAid soon.

The app has also inspired me to take a look at other writing apps. As soon as I get time, I’ll be looking at Grammarly and others to see how they compare with ProWritingAid.

Hard as it is to admit, I’ve been properly humbled by ProWritingAid. Anything which improves your writing is a good thing.

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.

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Resources to build your writing career

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

Writing A Novel? 3 Easy Tips To Make It Fun

Writing A Novel? 3 Easy Tips To Make It Fun

You’re writing a novel, and you know that you’ll devote many hours to this project. What if those hours turn out to be a waste of time? Perhaps you won’t finish the project you started with high hopes.

Worse yet… A small part of you is cynical. It’s muttering in your ear: OK, so you’ll finish, but it won’t SELL, dummy…

These are all signs that you’re taking your baby novel much too seriously, and that’s dangerous.

Here’s why.

When you take writing a novel too seriously, your creativity dies

Yep. Your cold-hearted, determined, logical self can write. Unfortunately, it’s writing no one wants to read.

To boost your creativity you MUST let your creative self take over. This means no:

  • Backseat driving from your inner censor/ editor (where are you going with this? Is this supposed to make sense? Etc. and etc…);
  • Expectations. Having expectations of your first draft while you’re writing your first draft is like teacher asking kindergarten babies to explain their play, and exactly what they meant to achieve with that huge Lego tower…;
  • Distractions, such as following rules (your own, and others’) while you’re writing.

Your normal logical, anxious and kvetching self will NOT like this. It wants to be in charge, and fears a lack of control.

Remember your school days? Imagine that it’s the height of summer: what can you hear? Stop reading for a moment, and take yourself back to those days in your imagination

Were you there in your mind? That’s day-dreaming, and it’s the state of mind you need when you’re writing fiction.

Let’s look at some tips to help you to day-dream.

1. Your subconscious mind knows best

When you write a novel, encourage your logical self to take a back seat. Tell it that it can return when you’re revising and editing, but not before.

Expect that it will take time before you can switch to a day-dreaming mind state at will. While you’re getting practice in letting your creative self take charge, if you don’t know “what happens next” in your novel, you can:

  • Sleep on it. Before you go to sleep, muse about your novel;
  • Doodle or draw for a few minutes;
  • Go for a walk, or just move to another room. Not relaxed enough sitting at your desk? Lounge on your living room sofa and write on your phone.

2. Write forwards: towards the midpoint, and then the closing scene

We’ve talked about milestones in a novel:

Authors tend to use different expressions for the milestones; some authors call them “beats”, for example. I like the term milestones, because I think of a novel as a journey. You can call the milestones anything you wish.

Once you know your word count, you’ll know where the milestones will be. For example, if you get to the midpoint, and nothing much changes, you know you’d better look lively, otherwise your novel will meander over a cliff.

In your first draft, you’re telling yourself the story. Keep writing forwards — don’t go back.

3. Speed up: stop thinking, keep writing

My favorite acronym, which I’ve used for many years (I used to be the Queen of Overthinking) is: DDT — Do, Don’t Think.

When you’re busily thinking — that is, anxious and worrying — you’re not day-dreaming. Stop thinking. Start day-dreaming.

A word about day-dreaming: don’t try to manage it

Let’s say you’ve trained yourself to achieve the day-dreaming mind state at will.

What happens when your day-dreaming derails? That will happen. So, instead of day-dreaming about your thriller, in which the hero is confronting three large and angry terrorists, you’re imagining your upcoming weekend getaway.

That’s totally fine. You’re day-dreaming, so you’ve got the correct mindset. Gently steer your imagination where you want it to go. Imagine what your hero’s feeling: can you picture the scene in your mind?

On days when you’re especially distracted, switch between imagining your thriller (or whatever genre you’re writing), and free writing.

When you’re writing a novel, day-dreaming is valuable

Most authors are excellent day-dreamers. Unfortunately, at some stage you may have been told that day-dreaming is wrong. Perhaps you were accused of being a “dreamer”, and that blocks you today.

Be gentle with yourself while you’re getting back into the day-dreaming habit. Not only is day-dreaming fun, it’s an essential skill for a novelist.

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.

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

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Resources to build your writing career

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

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.

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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

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