(By Marcy Kennedy, intro by Kristen Lamb)
Writing a stand-out novel involves a lot of individual pieces working together in perfect concert. If there’s no solid plot? Readers get confused, lost or bored. If the plot is great, but the characters are all one-dimensional paper dolls? No one cares. If we butcher grammar, spelling and formatting? It’s a formula for dismal sales or even a long line of one-star reviews from ticked off readers.
Hey, the world may think writing fiction is easy, but we all know differently ;).
One of the best ways to move plot forward with increasing momentum and to create living, breathing characters is by harnessing the power of dialogue. As an editor for twelve years, I can tell you dialogue is one of the single largest components of writing great fiction, and it’s the part that’s most often butchered. The story can be great, the setting, the prose?
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By Bryan Cohen:
Self-motivation is crucial for authors, regardless of which publishing path you choose. Writing a book is difficult enough, but when you add on editing and marketing, it can feel impossible. And I’m crazy enough to have self-published 32 times. How did I do it? I learned a few ways to trick myself into doing work when my brain wants nothing but mindless entertainment.
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14 Prompts is a short eBook full of fourteen unusual writing prompts designed to both inspire you to write and teach you a few practical techniques to improve your writing.
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In my last post, I specifically wanted to find out why people would self-publish novels when the vast majority of self-published works are likely buried in the avalanche of self-published books. Fortunately, a lot of authors did comment, and I learned a lot. So, I’d like to thank the authors for that.
This has nothing to do with quality, and in the last post I specifically said I thought plenty of great work was being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of publication. Thus, I wasn’t “bashing” such books, as some claimed.
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Indie publishers are slowly coming to realize the importance of an amazing book cover. Since many self-publishing authors are starting out on a very small budget however, homemade, DIY book covers are still a popular choice. But be forewarned: although book cover designs come in a wide variety, publishers consistently use reliable, time-tested techniques and guidelines to catch your attention and make the sale. You want your cover to be different and unique, but you also want to tick all the right boxes (because they work).
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By Chuck Wendig…
When writers are tasked with creating characters, we are told to try these character exercisesthat entreat us to answer rather mad questions about them: hair color, eye color, toe length, nipple hue, former job, phone number of former job supervisor, what she had for lunch, if she were a piece of Ikea furniture what piece would she be (“Billy bookcase! NO WAIT, A SKJARNNGFLONG LINGONBERRY-FLAVORED COCKTAIL TRAY”). And so on and so forth.
Most of these are, of course, abject badger-shite.
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By Robert Duran:
“There exists a common misconception that if your manuscript isn’t in great condition, it needs a structural edit; if it is in reasonable condition, it needs a copy-edit; and if it’s in pretty good condition, a proofread is all that is required. Well, I have some bad news. The truth is rather different, and it goes something like this: every manuscript needs all three, because each of the three contributes something distinct and valuable to the project. OK, Ian McEwan or John Banville will get away with skipping the structural edit, but there are very few manuscripts that wouldn’t benefit from one.
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