A few new ones for my list… 🙂
One of my favourite things about being a writer (and about writers collectively) is our constant quest for growth. The desire that grips us all to learn and improve our craft.
One of the best ways a writer can grow, learn and improve is by receiving genuine feedback on their writing. While we all love the positive feedback, we learn the most from the constructive kind.
Sometimes when I look back at my old scribbles from ten years ago, I shake my head and wonder at my writing. Then I stop and realise how far my writing has come, and I look back on those old scribbles just a little bit more fondly. The only benchmark a writer should measure themselves against is their own, and however we improve, whether through beta-reader feedback, taking a course, or by reading about writing style, it can take many weeks, months, or even years for those improvements to show in our work.
So if you have been writing for a long while, or even a little while, go and have a peek back at some of the first things your wrote. You might be surprised by just how much you have improved, but you might also be pleasantly surprised that those old scribbles (while not perfect) are actually quite good.
Happy writing 🙂
Are you stuck in a writerly rut? Struggling to to find motivation?
Look no further, this is the only guide you need to help get your writing wriggle on.
1.The epic desk tidy!
We all know that taking the time to create a tidy desk is the road to writerly success!
Hmm…Well, maybe not in all cases…
2.The writer ritual!
Don’t have a writer ritual? No wonder you’re not meeting your target word count!
Because playing paticake with yourself is a sure fire winner!
3. Enlist the help of your pets!
Ah…Is this even legal?
4. Hire a professional speed writing coach!
Phew! I’m exhausted just watching him…
5. Prepare nutritious snacks to keep you going
Ok, maybe not…
7. Take a course
If nothing else has worked so far this course will set you up for writing success!
Happy writing 🙂
Many people aspire to write a book, and most have no idea where to start. There are many ways to become a writer, but they all come down to one important activity…
Tip 1: Write stuff…
I am a great believer in not trying to eat the whole elephant. If you want to be a writer, and to write a book, you have to start by writing stuff. Unconstrained, nonsense, and whatever pops into your head. Try different genres and styles. Try for something short, and then try for something long.
After about 20 years of doing this…just kidding! After doing this for a while, which will be different for every writer, you start to get the hang of writing, and something interesting starts to unfold…which is usually a story idea.
Tip 2: When you get a story idea…
Maybe you have spent a bit of time at Tip 1, playing about with ideas before you find something that might work out into an actual story.
Or maybe you are the sort of person who wants to jump straight in at Tip 2 because you already know a story and you are chomping-at-the-bit to get it down. Let’s PAUSE. If this is your first ever story idea treat it as a bit of fun, and don’t be too disheartened if it becomes nothing more than ‘Tip 1 -stuff’ that ultimately you discard.
However you find yourself at Tip 2, there is no point in holding back. Write it, or plan it then write it, whatever works for you. One of two things will happen at this point:
- You realise this is a GREAT story idea and that it will pan out into an awesome book
- You get bored and realise it was FUN but it’s not worth pursuing, or not at this time, because you have just had another story idea that might be better still.
Tip 3: When you get an awesome story idea…
Usually you know when an idea for a story is something worthy of pursuit. Now you have to decide whether you need to plan or not. Planning is a matter of personal taste, some people swear by planning, some people loath it with the enthusiasm of a dental appointment.
For planning: People who get the most out of planning are the people who suffer from writers block. If you are the kind of person who finds themselves hemmed in when writing, or not sure what should happen next, planning is GOOD for you. It lets you nut out all the problems upfront so you don’t waste time on something that will go nowhere. Better to tackle all the blocks now than write 30k of words and discover you just don’t have a solution to a key plot point.
Against planning: People who never run out of ideas, who are always chasing the next shiny notion…and could simply write forever! If this is you STOP, and go back to the planning. This may sound harsh, but people with too many ideas suffer from a completely different problem to those who suffer from writers block, and that is what I refer to as ‘Infinite Story Syndrome’ also known as the ’10 book saga’. There is nothing wrong with ten book sagas I love ’em myself. But each book needs a level of conclusion and a little bit of planning, even for the idea masters, goes a long way to getting a good first book.
PS. There is a happy medium..and yes planning will help them too.
Tip 4: Get feedback sooner rather than later…
A trusted friend or confidant is what every writer needs. Someone to sanity check your idea to make sure it’s not a complete dud. Once it is drafted look for beta readers. They will be delighted to pick holes in your plot and make it stronger in doing so.
Tip 5: There is nothing wrong with trying…
I must have a couple of hundred story ideas floating about in bits, scribbled dialog, plot points, and random chapters. All of which were great for my ‘Tip 1-Write Stuff’. I only finished 3 books completely to the draft stage. It was the 3rd one I decided I liked enough to edit, and I am now about to publish. The first 2 drafts—I am going to abandon—and I feel no guilt in that.
I have subsequently finished writing the next 3 books in the series. I spent a lot of time ‘writing stuff’, playing about with ‘story ideas’ and I even drafted a couple of ‘awesome story ideas’ into a full novel, before I found a book I felt worthy of publishing, and I don’t regret any of this time. It helped me to find my writers voice. I had fun. It gave me confidence.
Tip 6: Quality is never a waste of time…
I learnt a massive amount about quality by having my book professionally edited…grammar is definitely not my strong point! A writing course if you can afford it is worth while, but otherwise there is a ton of fantastic free information on the internet, and plenty of great books you can buy to improve your skills that way. No time spent on improving your writing quality is ever wasted time.
Tip 7: Simply read…
The last tip goes without saying…but just in case…when you settle on a genre, read it—a lot.
More more posts on writing…
Read more! Become Evil! 🙂
Writers know all about the writing zone.
About how easy it is to get distracted.
About how hard it can be to get started.
About how difficult it is to keep going.
And about how annoying it is when our nearest and dearest interrupt us in the middle of our writing flow.
So, for those who are unsure what constitutes an acceptable writer interruption, here is a handy guide.
Please drop snacks off promptly. Do not engage the writer in conversation or otherwise interrupt while leaving the treats. Definitely do not lean over the writer’s shoulder while dropping the snack off and speak the last sentence on the page in the voice of a pirate (as my husband does)!
First make all efforts to ‘deal’ with this before interrupting the writer. Only once the fire truck has arrived and you have ‘official’ confirmation from a trained expert that this is in fact an emergency should you interrupt the writer.
Ask yourself – What would I do if the writer was not at home? – go with that.
In the unlikely scenario that zombies or aliens are about to overrun your home, it’s okay to check in on your writer and see if they are at a convenient stopping point…
Today I have the pleasure of introducing author John R Moore who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his new book, Bloodlines.
Where do you get your ideas? I actually get my ideas from a love of history, mythology, and things I am or have studied. The book series that ended with The Sorcerer Queen came from a love of Arthurian legends, as well as stories that I read and studied while attending classes on mythology. The current book that is due for release I used some historical references that I found doing research for books about a year ago, revisited the research and outlined a series of books that I wanted to write.
What motivates you to write? The motivation to write started out of boredom. Literally. I found myself suffering from a debilitating back injury, and sitting around my house with nothing to do was unhealthy. As a lark, I decided to see if I could write a story, that story then became a book. I found a publisher, who wanted the book, but wanted to gut it so much that I refused the book deal. I then saw an article about indie publishing. I did some research; and here we are today, eight books later.
How many hours a week do you spend writing? On average, I spend anywhere from thirty to sixty hours a week writing and editing my books.
Best thing about writing? The best thing about writing is I actually get to enjoy the book I am writing. I write as much for myself as for readers to enjoy. I am a bookworm, have my own collection of all-time favorite books in print, and I have read every book in my collection at least once, and some of them as high as ten times.
Have you ever cut anything form your book and why? Yes, I was writing my second book and without thinking, wrote three chapters of the next book into the story, I had to cut it, and rewrite the chapters. I also had some parts of a story that I wrote in and upon editing, realized it didn’t fit the story, I cut it from the story but saved the material for another book.
Biggest writing distractions? That would probably be living life. As writers, we tend to get caught up in what we are writing, and when you are on a good writing jag, you want to finish what you are doing. Life has a way of intervening at the most inopportune times and usually right in the middle of that good writing jag.
How do you measure your success as a writer? I write for the love of writing, and as long as I am able to write good stories, that are entertaining, then I would say I am successful.
What advice would you give yourself if you were starting the writing journey again? I would tell myself to write my book, set it up for pre-order, and build a social media following to support the book. I would also look for resources for reviews, blogs, and other related items, and get everything I could done prior to the books release.
As a reader
What is your favorite genre(s)? Tell us more about why you love them? My absolute favorite genre is sci-fi/fantasy, followed by fantasy fiction. I love the sci-fi/fantasy genre because the first book I owned was, “A Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It took me to a world of fantasy, and sword fights, as well as to worlds I had only imagined or watched on movies. After that I owned a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragon Riders of Pern” a three book hardback that captivated my imagination. After that I got into Robert E. Howard’s “Conan the Barbarian”, and I was stuck for life.
Have you ever skipped something important to stay home and read a book? Yes, I did that a couple of times when I was in high school. I ditched a chemistry test to stay home and read “The White Dragon” and a few months later, I stayed home and read “Solomon Kane” to keep from doing a book report in English. I didn’t do that when I was working, I had a family to support.
What is your favorite book quote? “Once more into the breech” from Henry V by William Shakespeare. It reminds me never to give up.
Favorite book hero and /or villain and why? My all-time favorite book hero is John Carter, Warlord of Mars. I know it sounds dated, but he embodies all of the classic traits of a hero. I have read many, many books in my lifetime. From fiction to the classics, and without a doubt, he is the true hero archetype. My favorite villain though is from a completely different set of books, it is actually Thoth-Amon from the Robert E. Howard Conan series. He embodies evil so well.
My most influential book(s)? There have been so many books in my lifetime, I have been reading for over forty years. The book that influenced me the most I guess would have to be the John Carter series. I own copies of the complete series, next to that would have to be Tolkien’s tales of middle earth that include the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I also have copies of those as well.
Tell us what you are currently reading and your verdict so far? I just started “Darganau: A Dragons Autobiography” and it is a fun read, told from the point of view of the dragon.
If you could have a signed copy of a book, by an author, (living or dead) who would it be and why? If I could have any book signed by the author, I would want to have a signed copy of “A Princess of Mars”. The reason is that Edgar Rice Burroughs is the father and architect of the Genre. The others followed after, Tolkien, Howard, McCaffrey, etc…, but Burroughs not only wrote of John Carter on Mars, but he also wrote of Tarzan and many, many other books and stories that I don’t believe would have the Genre where it is today, if he hadn’t written “A Princess of Mars” in 1912.
About the book
You are living in your latest novel, where are you living and what is it like?
I would be living in Helena, Montana. It is a beautiful place with mountain vistas in the background, open prairies, and teems with wildlife. It is a quiet and peaceful place, where a person can sit and think, and let their imagination run wild.
You are your most recent Protagonist, what do you like doing for fun, and what do you hate doing and why?
If I were the protagonist in my latest book, I would go on hikes in the mountains around Helena, Montana and look for obscure buried Native American artifacts. What I would hate doing, is the dishes simply because I have other more pressing things I would like to get too. Like Archeology.
Bloodlines by John R Moore
Bloodlines, Available on pre-order. Due for release on July 1, 2017
Set in modern day Helena, Montana. This story is about Tamara Jenkins, a direct bloodline descendant of the most powerful Sorcerer in history; Semiramis, Sorcerer Queen of Assyria, who defeated Zohak, the Dragon Witch King of Scythia. She is the leader of a group of Sorcerers who fight today against the dark forces that attack our world.
You can also follow John on his blog! http:/www.embrellon1.wixsite.com/embrellon
If you have recently published a book and would like to feature in an author interview, please email me at TheWritingChimp@gmail.com
For those who like a little Fantasy with their Sci-fi…
Ten years have passed since John Tanis tried to kill his best friend. Not finishing the job is his only regret.
Where the primitive meets technology, the past meets the present, and former friends become enemies, a quest for revenge will tear a world apart.
FREE on Amazon 8th June!
Today it is with great pleasure I present an interview with first time author G. L. Cromarty of Divided Serenity book one in the Divided World Series.
Q&A About Writing
Where do you get your ideas?
They pop in there at unexpected moments from all sorts of sources, such as songs, news articles, and even—video games. Other books are influential for their concepts, but the ideas always become a bit of a mash of different sources. And I love anything to do with psychology, and so I get a lot of character profile ideas there.
What motivates you to write?
Being in front of a computer. If I am left unattended for more than five minutes, you can assume I am busy making something up!
Best thing about writing?
The escapism. Creating worlds and people, and then having complete autonomy to do whatever I like with them.
Least favourite thing about…
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