Creative Writing – Time to Tune Out and Turn On Creativity

Annette Young

by Annette Young

I am used to setting up a make-shift office whenever I am on my travels. Providing the table is the right height and the chair – relatively comfortable, I can set up my laptop or iPad and still keep up to date with my schedule. Whether I am writing for clients, for the Creative Competitor or, purely on some creative writing task, there’s no need to miss out on work. Working from my office or, at home has long been a familiar practice to me. Many people yearn to work from home, dreaming about giving up their day job so they can write, but, it can be incredibly distracting to do so.

I found this myself in the early days. I had to train my mind to work to order, and that’s not always easy. For most writers, especially when starting out, they are governed by creative impulses, rather than being able to seize a writing opportunity. Yes, even it they have to nail themselves to their chair. I learned to turn off my phone, turn off the television and, sometimes, disconnect from the Internet when the temptation to trawl through Facebook became too tempting.

Even so, I often find that the most distracting can be those who play a prominent role in our lives i.e. our families. You can be self-motivating, dedicated and able to offset most distractions but, it can be  difficult to make others give you the time and space to write.  

Most people feel that writing is just a hobby.  They don’t take it seriously and so, you have to show them that your creativity means something to you. You have to stand up for your writing, be proud of it, and, make sure you write regularly. Of course, there’s a difference between saying it and doing it.

Assuming that you really want to improve your writing and to bring it on leaps and bounds, you need to set up a schedule each day or, determine to write on your day off from work. Ideally, write regularly. Make notes in advance so you can stimulate your creative cells.  It is difficult to train your mind to respond to your demands to write, but, you can do it. It can help if you create some titles or opening sentences so you have a strong starting point.

If you have a spare room, hide away for a while and make the room a creative zone as this will help to boost your creativity.  If you can’t do this, learn to block out the noise around you – yes, screaming children, demanding pets or conversations from your partner can be distracting, but, in time, you will switch off.

If you have ever lost yourself in the pages of a good book, you will know that wonderful feeling of being completely involved in the story and of losing track of real life. That’s what you want to achieve within your own writing endeavors. Once you start to write regularly, (don’t worry about how good the writing is) you will improve your writing technique. You’ll feel great because you are visibly achieving something and more, you will find that others start to respect your creative time.  

Build A Creative Platform – Start Today

Author Annette Youngby Annette Young

Writing is about so much more than just the written word. Nowadays, you have to be prepared to promote your work and to be brave and tell the world that you are truly serious about writing. It means strengthening your existing skill-set, being prepared to continue the learning process and, taking the plunge and improving your visibility as a writer too. With this in mind, building a platform is essential if you wish to start attracting potential readers and to make the publishing world sit up and take notice.

The platform in question, becomes a solid framework enabling you to become more well-known in creative terms. You may wish to set up a blog and write regular blog posts, extending your reach by using social media. You may want to write a book and need a platform on which to promote it. Or, you may be a freelance writer and looking to attract new clients while displaying extracts of your work. Whatever your writing goals, a platform is the structure on which you begin your journey.

Like everything in life, the foundations have to be in place. You need a starting point, but one that is solid beneath you and will support you on your learning journey. Professional writers and authors always talk about ‘the platform’ and so, you can rest assured that it is important.  You may wish to write extensively for other sites, perhaps one in particular, and then, this becomes your platform, or, you may wish to have a web presence and share your creative endeavors promoting your site heavily. Your website or blog becomes your platform.

Whatever you wish to achieve creatively, you need a solid starting point and you need others to see your work. If you can envisage this as a gradual journey, so much the better. It will help you to develop the right mindset, the right approach going forward and this is likely to increase your potential for sales.

If you would like to have your own website and to build your platform, do it the easy way. Try our ‘oh so simple’ WordPress training course. 

If you already have a website, don’t just leave it there. Add to it as much as is possible. Include extracts of fiction, opening chapters, an author bio and news about you. Then, promote it through social media including Twitter and on Facebook. If you need help promoting it to the masses i.e. over 38,000 people, check this OUT.

Creative Writing – Getting Started

Creative Writingby Annette Young

Annette YoungIn my mind, the whole process of creative writing is wonderful, yes, even the good, the bad and the frustrating. I admit I am a little biased but, I am not sure that any creative pursuit or hobby can provide as much variety as creative writing. There are so many genres in which to study and so many techniques to learn. Still, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be fun. Right?

As you progress, you absorb a vast array of techniques and you gradually start to utilise these techniques to improve your writing skills. Eventually, you start to develop your own style and begin to write with greater confidence. But, it can take time for this development to happen and when you first start out, understandably, you make a lot of mistakes.

I truly believe that you never stop learning. There are always easier ways to produce compelling material and, more imaginative ways of generating ideas and applying them. But the learning curve can be as difficult or as streamlined as you want  it to be. You can learn quickly if you apply yourself or, you can take your time and learn through trial and error.  Your journey will be personal and unique.

In the last week or so, I’ve been talking to a few of the Creative Competitor News subscribers and, our Write, Learn and Publish members and many have said to me that they struggle to get started. They have ideas but are not sure what to do about it. Do they just write and get the words out or do they have a sense of purpose and plan? Do they write each day and if so, what do they write and how do they even develop winning ideas?  I was reminded that when starting out, the learning curve can seem vast. Yes, it’s absolutely important to cover the basics and as a writer, to know what you can and must achieve and, how you do so.

Then yesterday, I was talking to a friend about the creative process and he  admitted that he wouldn’t have a clue as to how to start writing a novel or even short story. It’s not surprising, there are numerous ways of doing so and the real trick is to understand how to make the relevant techniques work for you so that you can see real results.

Creative writing is a wonderful pastime, more, it’s addictive, especially when you start to develop your skills and see real improvements, which can come surprisingly quickly. But sometimes, you just need a helping hand to streamline the process or, to lay out an effective route forward. However you learn, make it fun and never give up. Try various creative options, flash fiction, twist in the tale stories, horror, comedy and so on. Find out what works for you.  I honestly believe that anyone can take the leap from beginner to professional if they really want to.

Need some help? We have coaching and numerous writing courses to inspire. Check out our latest writing course Creative Writing Toolkit (It’s on offer).

Keep Those Ideas Coming

Annette Youngby Annette Young

I am constantly asked how to keep creative ideas flowing and yes,  this can be difficult if you feel overwhelmed by the day to day problems in life, feel tired or, just low in spirits. The trick I have found at those times is to take myself out of the office and go for a walk. It may not be a high-tech answer but for me, it clears the cobwebs from my brain.

A change of scenery, a cup of strong coffee and a chance to observe life from your chosen spot is often all you need.

It can help if you can train your brain to respond creatively on demand though. The trick here is to force yourself to write even if you don’t want to. Yes, it’s the last thing you will feel like doing but, once you get past the first stages of, ‘I hate this,’ you’ll find your brain starts to respond. The more you do this, the easier it gets to tap into creativity.

Start to think and feel like a writer. I’ve always said that I live and breathe the written word and if you are writer through and through, you’ll do the same. Even when you are not writing, you are observing life and there can be no better way to get ideas by the masses. Fiction and non-fiction requires the experiences and observations of life. I’ve always said, no experience is ever wasted. At the very least, it becomes fodder for your writing.

If you really want to write with heart and with conviction, go and live a little. It will freshen up your ideas and your abilities no end.


Your Way to Creative Writing Success

Writing Success

by Annette Young

When you first start creative writing, it can seem like a mammoth journey to take before you feel comfortable with your writing and can start to believe in your own abilities. It also takes a while to find your ‘voice’ and style. Part of your creative journey is to find out your writing strengths and to build the foundations of your skillset but you need to also accept any weaknesses that may be present currently and to spend time working on those areas which you may not enjoy quite so much. As with anything in life, sometimes we veer away from those tasks or elements which are not quite so appealing.

Let others see your work. This can be scary if you are not confident but it’s part of your progression. There’s a sense of joy and accomplishment when others read and enjoy your work and then you can progress to the next stage of your development by having a professional critique. This will enable you to understand any work that is required before you even think about publication.

It’s also a good idea to meet other writers. Join a writing group if you can or, team up with a like-minded individual and work on some writing projects together. This can help take the isolating factors away from writing. There is always something to learn in creative writing and this is good because it means you will not get bored but continuously strive forward learning new techniques until you can think and feel like a writer.

Never be scared to try out new writing techniques. You may naturally be drawn to one element of writing but in fact, your natural talent lies in another area. When teaching at college level, I found many of my students had fabulous writing skills but they had never even tried those aspects of writing before. When you try out new techniques, you increase your ability to write but you also expand your mind. Most of all, have fun with your writing. Set yourself mini-goals, write to deadlines, enter writing challenges, have a writing party where you have friends and families attending creative sessions.

The more time you can spend creatively, the more instinctive your writing will become. 

Do you need help with your writing? Try our Fiction Masterclass, Novel Writing Blueprint or, any of our Creative Writing Courses.

Conflict in Setting


by Annette Young

Last night I ventured into Torrevieja (Spain) and found a peaceful place alongside one of the marinas where in the early evening, the sound of holidaymakers faded into an acceptable distance and the main sound was of water gently moving and boats swaying. It was peaceful to say the least and with a fading blue sky and temperatures slightly dipping, it was easy to let go of the tensions of the day and to just slip into observation mode.

Over the months, it has actually become a favoured spot where I go to recharge the mental batteries and to unwind. There are always people wandering past the bar towards their boats and occasionally, beautiful boats pull out into the deep waters or return to their designated mooring space. Then there are those who like me, find the place an oasis of tranquility – a refuge from the intense heat of the town and away from the throngs of holidaymakers. There are always a few people milling around, but mainly those who have come to stay in one of the apartments situated behind the few bars strategically placed along the waters edge. As night cast its shadow over the scene, the place suddenly came alive with candles aesthetically placed, and flickering light plus lamplight, sparkling, the light rays mirrored in the fluctuating waters, affording the outside space a cosy, shimmering feel. 

Then, out of nowhere, the sound of a singer being strangled or tortured to say the least, fragmented the peace as his booming voice carried across the marina deafening all who were close. Although I have found much of the entertainment in Spain to be a little cheesy, usually I enjoy it regardless, and the atmosphere deepens but last night, it was too loud, too copied, too false and, it was the wrong time and place.

But you may ask, what has this to do with writing?

Simply this, as the tranquility fractured around me, I couldn’t help thinking about the importance of setting within fiction writing and how writers have to be able to conjure up a scene and relay this to the reader so that it comes to life in a believable way and that it feels right. Last night, all I could think was that the singer and the setting were in conflict with each other. They didn’t match, it most certainly didn’t feel right and the people in the outdoor restaurant, were helpless prisoners as their ears were tortured.

While I may exaggerate just a little, the setting and the entertainment were in sharp contrast to each other. There was little thought into how suitable a setting or how suitable the entertainer would be. If a string quartet had been placed alongside the boats, the music would have enhanced the setting, generating a rhythmic atmosphere to maximise the beauty of the waterside scene. If a harpist performed solo or soft, lilting Spanish music was played, a beautiful scene would be transformed further. But this was not the case.

Writers can observe these conflicting settings and use them to add elements to their writing either to accentuate an irritating event or, to avoid creating conflict within a setting to avoid alienating the reader. There’s nothing worse than a reader questing the way a character thinks or acts or, if the scene is less than real to them, it only stops the readers from becoming involved in the story.  

Writing is all about observation and you can create wonderful ideas, develop new characters or even comprehend the complexities of layers just through watching life unfold around you. With your eyes open and having a natural instinct to create, it is possible to breathe new life into your fiction simply through awareness. At the very least, life will spark off new ideas and will warn you of fiction pitfalls.  

Check out the Novel Writing Blueprint and learn the foundations of a successful novel or, take our Fiction Masterclass and bring your stories to life. 





Easy Ways to Destroy Your Novel Writing Success

Novel Writing

by Annette Young

Even the most enthusiastic and passionate of writers can murder their chances of being successful in their novel writing efforts if not careful and over the years, I have seen many writers make many mistakes which have scuppered their attempts to have their novel published. As such, I’ve compiled a list and and if any sound worryingly familiar, do your best to avoid them in future.  

Waiting and wondering

Sometimes inspiration is slow to strike. It happens to everyone but yes, it is frustrating. You may have the time, the space and the inclination but the blank page from your new computer is quick to mock you for your inactivity, so what do you do? The worst thing (and most common) mistake for new writers is that they sit and wait for the lightning bolt of inspiration to zig zag out of the sky and to replenish their creativity. Oh, if it were only that easy. Sometimes, you have to give your imagination a jolt the old-fashioned way and just start writing. Each word might be painful and your brain will protest but nail yourself to that chair if you have to.  

The evil inner critic

As writers, we are often so hard on ourselves. We expect the words to tumble like gemstones in a perfectly polished state so that little editing or rewriting is required, sadly, it doesn’t happen this way. The writing process certainly is demanding and if you are one to give yourself a hard time on the occasions when those words do not flow and much of the work has to be rewritten, try to stop those negative thoughts.  Even the most prolific and experienced of writers have to push their inner critic to one side or, better still, banish it from the room.

Oh, the arrogance

While the inner critic demolishes their own chances of success, by contrast, the arrogant writer will blame everyone else for their inability to get published or to make money from their endeavours. The road to writing success is never easy for anyone but being arrogant if and when failure occurs will not help one little bit. I have witnessed the arrogance of would-be writers many times and just having a natural talent with the written word does not automatically ensure success. If a publisher or editor decides to reject your work, they do so for a reason. Perhaps the guidelines were not read and inwardly digested, or perhaps they were read but simply ignored? Sound familiar?


With the relative ease of being published these days, some writers are guilty of rushing their work and then, once published, wonder why feedback is far from sweet. Often writers take the kind words of their families or friends as gospel and then publish immediately instead of doing the sensible thing and requesting a manuscript critique where any errors or developmental needs would be highlighted. It’s far better to take an extra week or so and have the book polished and ready to publish than to read numerous negative views. Ouch.

Holding onto the baby  

Some writers refuse to send their creative baby out into the world, they hug these creations, clasping them tightly and refuse to let anyone see them. Their novel may have become the next best-seller but even if not, if hiding creativity away, there’s no chance of progression at all. If a lack of confidence is the issue, improve your fiction writing skills (and your confidence) by signing up for one of our classes, or join a local college writing course. Some writers finish their novels and place them in a drawer and they are never seen again. What a shame.

Calling it a day

Some writers work feverishly for weeks or months and then get completely stuck. Instead of asking for help by the professionals, they decide writing is not for them, it’s too hard. Well, yes, writing is really hard and that is why when success happens, it is so amazing. The joy of being published is simply incredible, yes, whether self-publishing or not, people can read your novel. You become a novelist. Now that sounds good right? So don’t quit unless you really don’t care. After all, you don’t walk into a new job and perform perfectly do you? You have to learn the relevant techniques and processes and this is exactly the same for writing.

If any of these errors sound more than a little familiar, do something about it. That novel idea you have or the half-written novel tucked away in a drawer could be the best thing ever. Don’t hide it.

If you need help with your writing, talk to us. Email:

You can also check out our full list of author services right HERE.

Why Fiction Needs More Than the Humdrum

Bringing fiction to life

by Annette Young

Normal life is filled with all of those deadly dull tasks, you know the ones, house cleaning, shopping, washing or the excitement that is mopping the floor and although fiction emulates real life, the last thing readers’ want is to be reminded of the drudgery that occurs in life. Fiction is about escapism.

Irrespective of the genre, a good story helps the readers’ to forget their own problems. It’s about their sitting back and putting others in the front line and watching them combat the perils of fluctuating emotions, experiencing the dark depths of inner turmoil and overcoming the deadly or dangerous obstacles of your making. Somehow, following a character across war-torn countries, watching them dangle precariously from snow-capped mountains or wrestling alligators in the mosquito-infested swamp is a lot more interesting than reading about a character who is battling boredom while ironing. 

You get the idea. 

Of course, there has to be some mention of real life.There have to be some similarities between the plot, the characters and the reader’s experiences. They have to like or loathe the characters to the point that they are captivated – if they feel indifferent then no doubt the writer has failed. The readers have to witness the scenes around the characters come to life, they should be enthused by the imagery, the colour and the feel of the story as it unfolds. If there is mention of an ironing board, it should be relegated to the corner and not play a main role in the midst of the room unless someone is being bludgeoned to death by it. Draw the readers’ attention to what matters. They needs to be whisked away to a fictional world that  is all-consuming and one that seems real. 

Even the most vibrant and imaginative fantasy story has its roots in reality and each genre should have its foundations in realism. The author has to comprehend which essential components should be included so that the story feels credible and to know the elements of normality that can be discarded. 

Want to learn more about the art of fiction? Check out the Novel Writing Blueprint and the Fiction Masterclass

Writing Fiction – Who Are You Writing For?

Writing Fiction

by Annette Young

When you start writing fiction, you may find that you write only when the creative urge strikes. You are not necessarily planning your writing time and may have little idea as to what you will be writing. As you progress and the writing bug bites, it’s a good idea to sharpen your focus and to really consider what you want to write and who your target audience will be. Even if you are only writing for the sheer fun of it, you’ll improve the outcome and your abilities so it’s a win-win. 

There’s no doubt that knowing who you are writing for will help as it helps you to fix your mind-set before you start and it ensures you remain focused throughout. 

If you want to write short stories, which genre are you focusing on? Is there a particular publication that you love to read and you hope your stories will fit? Do you want to write a novel? Again, have a clear idea as to the genre. What do you like to read? If you love fantasy novels then you may wish to write something similar because you’ll know – on a sub-conscious level at least, the essential components to great fantasy fiction. If you want to write a suspense thriller, you have to consider the characters and how they can avoid or prevent the ‘suspenseful event’ from occurring.

If you are writing romantic fiction, it’s all about the characters, the rising passions and the obstacles that prevent them from getting together. If you want to write for the YA fiction market then the style of writing and language used will change also. Each genre will require different elements.

Who is your target audience? All these things need to be figured out before you start and it will make your creative writing pursuits easier and far more effective. 

If you want to know more about the art of fiction writing, sign up for the Fiction Masterclass at start at your leisure and have fun with fiction. Are you a writing enthusiast? Take a look at our Special Offers Page, there may be something to help you with your writing endeavours. 

Characterisation – Falling Out of Love

Life as a writerby Annette Young

It’s not a great feeling. You prepare to start writing and then you have to face up to the feeling, you have lost belief in your characters and worse, you don’t even really like them that much.  If you feel this way, stop, there’s no point plodding on because the finished result is likely to be that your readers don’t care a jot about your characters either.

 Good characterisation is vital. You really have to care about your characters and be prepared to invest in them in respect of your time, your energy, your experiences and your desire to bring them to life. If you have done all this and yet, still, you feel a little flat, you need to identify what’s wrong with your creations and consider how to make vital changes. 

If you have created character profiles, then take the time to review them. It may be that your character profile is insufficient and your focus has wandered a bit throughout the developmental stage. It may be that your plot has digressed and your characters no longer quite fit with your initial vision. 

It’s easy to make changes, as long as you are honest about your waning interest. Battling on and gritting your teeth determined to finish will always make the end result a little lack-lustre. There’s no cheating the steps towards creating great fiction and characters that do your story proud. Writing fiction can be difficult enough but when it comes to characterisation, you really do need to consider what you want to achieve and go all out to do just this. 

I would always recommend creating character profiles if you are working on a lengthy piece of fiction. It will keep you on track but enables you to really get to know your characters quickly and easily. If you feel that your characters just don’t do it for you, stop, think and then amend some of their traits. Remember, for a character to be believable, they have to have likable traits as well as traits that are irritating. In real life, we are never all good or all bad. We have good and bad habits as will your characters.  Think about how you would like your character to be viewed and add in a few quirky but nice qualities and you’ll soon enjoy writing about your characters once more. 

If you have a clear vision of all that you are trying to achieve, you’ll spot any potential issues sooner than later. 

For more information on fiction and good characterisation, take a look at the Fiction Masterclass

Writing Fiction – Life, Language and Observation

Observation in writingby Annette Young


I sometimes cannot believe how fast the time goes by. It seems only minutes since I blinked and was ready to welcome the weekend in and now, it’s come and gone again. It was a productive weekend in terms of writing and planning however but I’ve always said that the whole creative process is much more than actually sitting down and committing words to paper. Sometimes, it’s the silliest of things that can spark off the imagination and make you think about life in a whole new light.


Relaxing with a glass of wine at the weekend, I stared out over the surrounding villas with the sun sparkling over the roof tops and the sound of water splashing as children played in a nearby pool. Even though, there was noise, the scene was still tranquil…for a short term before car horns trumpted through the early evening breeze and then a creshendo of voices broke the scene and dissipated. My thoughts turned toward the people who had begun to laugh in their gardens, voices sounding ever nearer as they turned their volume up and was reminded, irrespective of the tranquil scene, just how noisy the Spanish folk around me are. 


While I certainly do not mean this to be disrespectful, there is a noted difference between the cultures here and I am surrounded by many – Russian, French, German, Danish, Dutch and Spanish of course. I am endlessly fascinated by the variety of accents and the different tones and…volume. 


One moment, I was feeling more than a little relaxed, content to watch life go by and the next minute, I was out of my chair, convinced someone was being murdered as the sound of rapid and somewhat volatile words shattered the tranquility around me.  Half-expecting to see a dramatic scene unfold, instead, I watched as a Spanish couple barked loud comments at each other while walking past my gate and then, as if choreographed, and with perfect timing, fell into each other’s arms. 


You may wonder what this has to do with writing but, think about this, when we write fiction, our aim is to conjure up characters that feel real and that are strong enough to connect with the reader. So we have to think about the uniqueness of people, the differences between men and women and of course, the differences of culture too. Sometimes we live parallel lives with others, we may share similar thoughts and feelings, go to work each day, enjoy a drink in the evening to wind down after a day filled with pressure and we may laugh and smile at the same things. Yet under the surface, sometimes that’s where our parallel lives end. 


Language is a wonderful thing but, without understanding the words or the pronunciation, we are left with our imagination, with speculation and to try to read the signals from body language. That’s something to consider when you create your next character. Are they easy to read and understand or complex, hot-blooded and feisty? Where does your story take place and can you blend a variety of cultures portraying them in a convincing and yet sensitive way?


There’s so much you can do with your characters, you just have to absorb life as it happens around you and each impression can greatly fuel your ability to create 3 dimensional characters. Or…………………….you can simply join us on The Fiction Masterclass….and let us bring the technique of characterisation to life for you.

Writing and Publishing – What’s the Rush?

be a successful writer

by Annette Young

We live in a fast-paced society, I think you will all agree but, as a writer, I am starting to believe that collectively, there is a worldwide urge to churn out content as if there is no tomorrow. It’s fine to speed-write, I do it myself but I do spend days meticulously going back through my work and then, I have my wonderful editor/proofreader Maggie Burns who works for the Creative Competitor, cast her steely eyes over much of it.

When I wrote my novel, Who Killed September Falls? I did so in a month – I couldn’t take any more time off from my other client work and I wanted to prove that you could indeed write a full-length work of fiction in a limited time-frame if you really wanted to. With each completed chapter, I emailed my colleague and she edited the words – checking for punctuation errors but, we also discussed my goals as well as queried any discrepancies. This approach ensured speed and efficiency as well as accuracy.  

If you are a writing enthusiast, you’ll know that it’s all too easy to make mistakes. You get so caught up in your plot that you romp ahead without realising that your characters have evolved and the plot has now become more complex and then, with your mindset firmly on your original idea, you trip yourself up with these subtle changes and before you know it, bam, there’s a great big hole of inconsistency running through your plot. 

I blame the roller-coaster entity called digital publishing for this urgency to write and publish. It’s all too easy these days to get work published that somehow, as writers, we have belittled the craftsmanship of the writing process. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the digital publishing options out there. Although as published writers, we all know the flaws of Amazon and other publishing entities, we do know that without these companies, opportunities to carve out a living in the writing arena greatly diminish. In terms of benefits, it does enable good writers who were likely to remain stuck in the slush pile of publishing, to have a good opportunity to succeed. It works and I’ve made money from digital publishing but, and, there is a BIG BUT, I also see published work out there which has blatantly had very little thought going into it. 

I find this difficult to understand.

As an editor, I see a lot of fiction and non-fiction books and I help to bring them to life. I polish those words and I consider the inner message that the writer is trying to convey. I think about the target audience, I think about the consistency and style and whether those words will engage the reader. But these are the lucky books – because they have reached the experienced hands of a professional and, the writers have the commitment and desire to their project to ensure that those words are as good as can possibly be. But there are thousands of books and stories published today that have not had the professional touch. The words may still be ultra raw, a talent in the making, or, the story may have little to no substance and the characters fail to touch the hearts or minds of the readers. 

This will only deter readers from buying unknown names. 

So, this is what happens when we rush a writing project or do not care enough to edit, re-edit and then send it to a professional to give it their seal of approval. I have had some excellent books sent to me but which needed a great deal of help and there’s nothing wrong with that. As editors, we do not judge, we just focus on the task at hand, but as a reader, it is impossible to not judge a published book.

There’s a reason why successful authors the world over have editors and proofreaders. They care. 

I know that it’s difficult to produce a sufficient level of words when you work all hours and have to fit in your writing at odd times and so a lengthy project i.e. a novel, can take up months and years of hard slog but, that’s okay. You must write at your own pace. If you are desperate to get your book written but are seriously struggling, have it ghost-written and sell it in your name. If you have captured a full-length work of fiction or non-fiction to paper but are not sure whether it needs more work, have it professionally critiqued. 

All of these options prove that you care about the end result but for all those who churn out their words and never have it professionally evaluated or edited, you are taking a risk – not just with your own work but you also de-value the face of publishing. Let’s be honest, the publishing industry is filled to over-flowing with books that rarely do much in terms of sales and those that are sold but do not provide an enjoyable read are slated by readers (and rightly so) and this knocks sales dead in their tracks. But it does more than that, it adds an air of amateurism to the whole digital publishing or Indie industry. 

I advocate writing as much as you can when you can. We can’t progress unless we write and learn from our mistakes. Let those words pour from the soul, live and breathe the whole writing process and let your story be told, but don’t think that publishing sub-standard work is alright. To be a real writer, you have to care about your story or your idea, it has to have merit and integrity. To be a successful writer, you must stand by your words and create the best book or work of fiction that you can. I always think that writing is a little part of you, you breathe life into it, you give it soul and you add some of your own experiences and beliefs and maybe, if you truly care, you add a pinch of magic to it too. It’s this extra ingredient that will make your work shine above all others and enable it to rise to the top. The other elements ensure that your book has a right to take its place alongside books from top authors because you have created solid foundations upon which to carve out your writing career. 

So if you suddenly have the temptation to churn out work and publish it immediately, resist that urge. Instead, think about your readers and go for the long haul. This might only mean an extra week or two of polishing but make no mistake, your words will shine and you’ll be proud to be called a writer. 

Need any help with your book? Don’t know who to trust? We can help. Take a look at our list of author services or email any questions to:

Writing the Murder Mystery – Crawl inside the Mind of the Reader

The mind of a reader...

Author Annette J Young

by Annette Young

When writing a murder mystery story, you have to create far more than an engaging story, after all, your aim has to be to ensure that readers keep turning those pages, and to do so, you have to think about what they really need from your creative endeavours. When a potential reader chooses your book, they will be looking for a number of things – good characterisation, drama, a strong storyline and one written convincingly. They also want to be plunged into a mystery that grips them from the opening pages and where the drama escalates in a convincing way, and where the plot deepens through a series of revelations.

You must be able to write with confidence and to do so, you need to understand the plot inside and out, there’s no point trying to write a murder mystery unless you have a fair idea of who the victim will be and who the murderer is and of course, why. A reader will know if you are writing with distraction or if your words lead them on a stroll around the plot rather than to invite them, enticing them into the heart of the story.

You can’t cheat a reader. They have to feel confident that you are taken them on a guided journey that is vibrantly painted with words and one which is 3-dimensional so they can almost become a part of the story as it unfolds. Readers need to feel engaged. They need to care about the outcome but more, they need to care about why the character has died and why the murderer felt a need to end the victim’s life. There has to be a reason, even if it is that the killer is a psychopath who kills when the opportunity arises. While much can be left to the reader’s imagination, you have to reveal vital components to make sense of the storyline and to make the reader care.

It doesn’t matter whether your murder mystery is a psychological drama, a thriller or contains a gory sequence of murders that fills them with fear. The murder could take place in broad daylight or be one where death is claimed in the shadows. The ability to hook the reader’s attention lies with you. The best way to engage the reader is to make them feel, to engage their senses and emotions and immerse them in a story that transcends the human experience.

Enjoy this post? Read more on writing murder mysteries – Writing a Murder Mystery – Get Inside the Mind of the Victim

or….Step Inside the Mind of a Killer

Want to read a good murder mystery?

Murder Mystery Novel

Buy it from or

Step Inside the Mind of a Killer

Author Annette J Young

by Annette Young

I’ve long been a fan of crime novels enjoying the cat and mouse game of murderer versus crime solving sleuth but as a writer, there are important steps to take if you wish to create a killer with more than a dash of evil. When I write, I strip back the layers of characterisation and then replace them but emphasise those darker, alternate aspects so that my character is capable of committing my chosen crime. So instead of the character having reason, logic and empathy, there may only be a deeply rooted need to murder someone whether for pleasure or for some perverted sense of justice.  I create a clinical sense of logic and reason – relative only to this character’s goals.

So when creating a killer, you add or detract characteristics, mixing them together in a large creative bowl blending until you reach the right level of murderous intent that suits your needs.

But what motivates your killer? This will make a huge difference as to the blend of evil potential. After all, some people kill out of rage or out of deep emotional pain. In real life, murder victims often know their killers, so there is a tangible link between them. Other murders may be more sinister, the one who stalks the victim, hunting them down for prey – whether for sexual purposes or to merely revel in the game of life and death, these are the characters who send shivers down the spines of the readers.

When I wrote my own murder mystery, I had to decide whether to give the killer free rein. Was the character going to be the star of the book or a shady character lurking in the shadows? Would there be more suspense and intrigue than a cold, calculating desire to take a life? Would the readers share empathy for the killer’s purpose? At the very least, I wanted to make my readers understand why.

writing course
Characters That Kill Writing Course

Learn why characters might kill HERE

The killer must have a reason, even if they own only a distorted logic. Your role as a writer is to create and fine-tune that logic so it becomes a tangible reason to create acts that we all fear in real life.

When you step inside the mind of a killer, you must expect the unexpected and discover the sense of darkness that invades the soul of one who could so easily extinguish a life. When you do so, you create a character so terrible that the reader is hooked to the final page.

Read: Step Insider the Mind of a Victim

Murder Mystery Novel

If you fancy reading a deeply compelling murder mystery novel, you can purchase it from or


Writing Fiction? Don’t Forget the Building Blocks of Characterisation

foundations of writing

Author Annette Youngby Annette Young

When writing fiction, one of the trickiest elements is being able to create the solid building blocks of good characterisation. Even if you are eager to dip into the writing process, you shouldn’t bypass this stage because you will only end up performing an awful lot of re-writes.

Failure to consider these building blocks will certainly impact your ability to create characters that seem real. If they don’t act naturally, are not compelling or believable, then you will certainly lose that connection with the reader.

I’m a firm believer that you should get to know your characters well before even starting the writing process. This doesn’t mean you have to sit down for hours, furiously scribbling out a back history; you can think and create important character traits while you tackle the mundane chores of everyday life. Alternatively, if you work better by creating an in-depth profile, do so.

You have to know all about your character if you are going to write with authority. Trust me; the words are likely to flow once you know how your character should act and why.  If you are writing a novel and know your plot, it’s easier to create a character that is going to respond to the various traumas and obstacles that you will throw at them, if you don’t, then you may suddenly get inspiration for a plot through creative characterisation. There are no rules as to which way you should work.

When writing fiction, consider the following points for characterisation:

  • What was your character’s life throughout childhood, those teenage years and into adulthood?
  • How does your character make a living? Does the character enjoy this work? Has your character had problems in the work-place, before or currently?
  • What does this character do for relaxation or for enjoyment?
  • Relationships – does your character have a serious relationship already or, are there issues when it comes to dating i.e. bad relationships, serial dater, broken-hearted?
  • What sort of outlook on life does your character have?

When writing fiction and, in particular, novel writing, you have to consider just what makes the character tick. The points included today are only a fraction of the elements needed but it’s a good starting point. You need to understand that former experiences will impact perception in life and will affect how the character thinks and acts. But there are many components that make an individual unique. It’s important to know how to build in the back-story and to create a character that is rich in layers and that has a unique voice.

The next time you are writing fiction, try writing a profile for yourself and consider all the elements that make up a character that almost walks off the page.






Shed Real Tears When Writing Fiction


Author/Editor Annette Youngby Annette Young

Nothing pulls at the heart strings of a reader more than well-written, emotional angst.  When you are next writing fiction, try to build in an emotional scene that makes you dig deep into your own experiences so that you can use your personal memories and emotions to fuel your writing.

Characterisation is all-important. If you don’t create engaging and convincing characters why would your readers care if you steered one towards a cliff edge or placed them bang, smack in the middle of a busy motorway? If you haven’t built in that integral connection between the reader, the story-line and the character’s development, you’ve wasted your time.

When I was writing my first novel, I purposely wanted it to be emotional. I was focussing on the deep emotion that I would feel if my best friend suddenly died and I was plunged into a dangerous situation, I am pretty certain I would have real tears. I am also pretty sure it would take me a long time to come to terms with her loss. This brings me to the point that as the writer, you have to be able to feel it if you want to portray it. Blubbering helplessly while typing is OK, even if it does make the mascara run or make you feel miserable for a short while.

I did smile when I read one review which said that she had no idea that a character could weep so much and it’s true, there’s a lot of heartbreak in the story, but isn’t that the point? When writing fiction, you need to encapsulate real life, the good and the bad. My story is about a murder, it’s not going to be sugar coated, it’s raw, emotional and poignant and believe me when I say I felt every word of it. I’ve also had feed back from readers to say they cried too. At that point I wanted to whoop with joy, I had created a deep connection and pulled the reader into the story. In essence they were hooked. Will everyone feel the same way? No, of course not. Those who prefer a different style of writing and less emotion are unlikely to have the same connection. But that’s all about personal taste in reading matter.

Growing up, I would say I’ve never been particularly an emotional person, but following the sudden death of my mother some years ago now, I have to admit, it was like turning on a tap with a faulty valve, the slightest thing would cause my resolve to wobble and I’d feel real tears welling up. Aside from feeling an emotional wimp, it’s been an absolute bonus in my writing and now when writing fiction, I really get the importance of putting my heart and soul into every word. I feel it, I live it and at times a story-line can threaten to overwhelm. Sometimes when writing, you can find yourself in a dark place. The story can take you into the depths of misery and it can impact your mood, even if you know that at some point, you will emerge and start writing that happy ending.

I’m not a sugar coated fan. I like to create a fictional world that mirrors the light and the shade of real life, I want to pull my readers into that place too and let them experience a multicoloured and multidimensional world that holds them tight and keeps them turning the pages. Knowing what you want to achieve when writing fiction can lead the way to a much more gripping fictional outcome and even better if you are prepared to share your experiences and shed a few tears along the way.

If you want to see examples of emotional writing or learn more, here’s a couple of books to start you off:

Murder Mystery






Available on or


How to Make Your Character Cry







Available on or





My Secrets to Fiction Excellence

Writing Fiction

Author Annette Youngby Annette Young

If you are looking for the secrets to writing good fiction, it’s all about expanding the mind and utilising the experiences within. Fiction has to be based in realism even if the fabrics of the story are borne from your imagination. Sometimes, it’s about breaking the rules and letting your imagination take over, it’s about taking risks, learning and anticipating the techniques that work and those that don’t.

I knew that I wanted to be a writer from the time that I could pick up a book. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write and my brain was constantly overflowing with ideas. During my younger years, I wasn’t thinking that each piece of writing would be published, I knew I had to bring my words to life and I was never satisfied with the work completed.

As I grew older, I learned the joys of research, settling into a comfy chair and curling up with a never ending stream of good books. I began to analyse what worked and what didn’t. I learned a lot. We all have our preferences when it comes to reading or writing and for me, nothing beats a good murder mystery or an intense psychological thriller, (blame my counselling background for the latter) but it’s a good idea to step outside of your chosen niche sometimes and to dissect and inwardly digest a variety of techniques.

When I seriously began writing, I tried to put all my knowledge into a practical application and then realised, you just can’t or shouldn’t, emulate someone else’s voice, it’s theirs alone, yet you can still learn from other published authors, using their ideas, their words and techniques as a springboard. Developing your own voice is essential.  Once this falls into place, writing becomes even more enjoyable, it becomes a gift.

I have always been a people-watcher. We are all so fascinating and the fact that people are inherently flawed, this is a wonderful resource to the fiction writer and I absolutely revelled in creating characters that are so deep they are almost  unfathomable.

There is no doubt that real life provides a never-ending source of inspiration. From the nosy, curtain twitching neighbour to the desperate for attention woman or the quiet, surly individual that lurks on the edge of society and who never reveals much, yet deep inside, there are murky, secretive depths to them all.

In fiction, you have to understand the human condition and embrace it, utilising it throughout. Characters can drive a story forward by their actions and desires and snippets of information should be revealed little by little but it’s important to never give too much away.

Writing fiction is akin to playing God. You create, you tease, you explore possibilities, you design events, tragedies, mysteries, drama, chance meetings, love and passion and then, can whisk it all away in a whim. It’s good to make your characters suffer, let them experience the highs and lows of reality, use your own experiences as a starting point and then let the fictional senses take over. It’s important that the reader gleans much through the actions of those characters rather than you laying it all on the line.

There are many secrets to writing good fiction, but enjoyment of the writing process is paramount. Think about it, do you give a piece of yourself every time you write? You should. If the character cries, feels alone and desperate, you need to share those emotions as deeply. Feel it, live it, write it.

The world doesn’t stand still and neither does your story. Your characters must evolve as the plot develops and changes. This fluidity can be appealing, a reader can recognise confident writing and mastery of the written word. Build tension, suspicion and doubts, make the reader think, wrap up your story in an evocative guise, allow the readers to be enveloped in the richness of glorious multi-coloured content, then let in darkness and shade when you need the reader to feel the starkness of your words and the futility of the characters plight. Evoke the senses of all who read your words and provide pure escapism irrespective of genre.

These are some of my secrets to fiction excellence. Over the years they have become an integral part of me and I keep these techniques firmly at the fore, ready for when I need to tap into them. When you understand people, when you are not afraid to dig deep and to lay your own emotions bare and when you write for the sheer love of it, the power of the written word becomes a tangible force.

Stranger than Fiction

couple having problemsLife is stranger than fiction and provides a whole array of intrigue and fodder for the inventive writer.  You simply have to look around you and to bear witness to the complexities of life. Love, crime, suspicion, intrigue, death, blackmail and heartbreak. It’s all there and if you can tap into this real-life resource, it makes life a lot easier of course.   But when you write about something that is or was important to you, it can add a greater dimension to the content too.

For example, recently I was asked to ghost write a romantic fiction novel for a client. My brief was to create powerful, dramatic scenes laced with erotica and to ensure that it was character based, with the characters both believable and compelling. My client also wanted there to be a passionate affair throughout and some intrigue. Now, I enjoy creating characters and usually spend a lot of time creating character profiles and writing detailed timelines. However, for this project, time was of the essence so, instead, I decided to use specific elements of people I knew well so I could add a greater depth of character to my antagonist.

I set the story in Scotland and then France, two places that I know very well and then started to consider my characters. Luckily the lead female became instantly real to me; it took very little time to conjure up her family background, her experiences –which were less than worldly, and to imagine her in a scenario with a passionate man from a very different culture. This would immediately add conflict and tension to the plot. I then began the process of creating the character who would be her husband and began plotting his demise romantically.

My main problem was that I had to gradually start turning her away from the husband she loved, creating believable tension and suspicion so that she would find herself unhappy and vulnerable to attention from any other man. With limited time and word count, my answer was to place her in a situation where her husband became almost a stranger to her. Nothing shakes the foundation of a relationship than the realisation that the person you love deeply is actually very different.  I wrote the story with each chapter revealing more information about her husband, stripping away the loving facade showing a very different and almost sinister persona hidden underneath.

I fully endorse using characteristics from real life people in the same way that you use your experiences writing about places you have visited or events that you have become embroiled within. Why not make use of certain mannerisms of those people who are in your life? Capture the shy smile from the neighbour across the road, the flirty woman who cannot resist attention from her male colleagues, or the furtive glances from the shy, introverted man who rarely interacts with others.  Think about an endearing quality of your friends and gradually add certain aspects to create a whole new persona albeit a fictional one. You are not copying the whole person; you are taking vital elements that can build up the layers of a new character who will eventually become larger than life.

Life is stranger than fiction and when you start looking at the characteristics of those around you, you can tap into this ready-made material and utilise aspects that will add believable qualities and that will hook the reader in the process.

“Image courtesy of [marin] /”.

Authors Who Seduce

By Judy Weir

A neighbor, a petit ordinary woman, was certain a particular international terrorist had her home targeted. Now’s there’s a woman with a powerful imagination, though a bit twisted. People create illusions for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to spice up their life. Others may visualize scenarios as an exercise to plan strategies. In essence, people create novels in their head all the time. We are all masters of illusion.

In fact, we are illusion junkies. From video games to movies, we seek escape. And what about those fantasies that inspire romantic novels. Honestly now, how many of you have an “x” rated fantasy? Okay, okay, everyone put your hands down. Wow, the heat in this room just rose by ten degrees.

“Turn on the fan, someone! Hey, no pun intended.”

But that’s the whole point. Turn on the fans – particularly their imagination. Every author hopes to ignite the reader’s vision center, rev up their emotional core, and take them to a world they’ve never been.

Each reader’s reaction to a novel differs. Though the novel is well written some may not enjoy the story. Their reaction is based on their values, beliefs, personal history and life experiences. A reader may identify more strongly with one of the characters, or a particular event, or the setting may have taken center stage in the reader’s mind. Regardless of the reader’s reaction, if the author engaged the reader’s imagination, job well done.

There is one illusion which is the mark of a talented author. In these novels, the reader becomes one of the cast of characters – falling in love with the hero, fearing for the protagonist, fighting the antagonist, all as if the characters are living, breathing entities. Creating life-like characters will consume a large amount of the author’s time and talent throughout the plot. It’s not enough to create the big picture of the characters’ physical attributes and prominent personality traits.

The author needs to dig deep into each character’s soul. The scar he attempts to hide, the glance, the hesitation, the crack in his ‘armor,’ her secret desire, the sin, the private fantasy, a painful memory – these need to be tied to the plot in some fashion and be revealed gradually. A new treat every few paragraphs or chapters. The character should exhibit some growth, adaptation, shifting of values, rather than remaining as a static and rigid hero or heroine. The more the characters become three dimensional, the more the reader will be drawn into the fantasy.

Though some books are character driven, the author needs to ensure there is also a strong plot that compliments those characters. The setting should be clearly described to facilitate a demanding plot. Dialogue, character profiles, plot twists need to be carefully crafted in detail to ensure the reader is not confused or has trouble seeing. No one would watch a movie very long if the audio was too low or the screen was out of focus.

Normally a novel should include a balance of the good and evil, protagonist versus the antagonist. There is the possibility either could be victorious. Tension is created. There is an expectation the good will be victorious. The question is how and at what cost. What I demand in a novel I’m reading is that the ending is a surprise. If my imagination can predict the ending, it is likely I’ll put the book down.

I love to hear a reviewer’s comment, “I totally didn’t see it coming.” All thumbs up. I did my job.

Authors are expected to be masters of illusion. Readers are their willing prisoners. Readers want to surrender to the fantasy. Reality is to be blurred so artistically, the reader is unaware of the seduction.

Judy Weir (Feather Stone) is the author of The Guardian’s Wildchild, published in 2011 by Omnific Publishing. Over a course of ten years, the manuscript underwent several rewrites until Feather was certain that the reader would not just read, but also experience the love and hatred, fear and anticipation. Read more about The Guardian’s Wildchild at:

Article Source: [] Authors Who Seduce


How to Write a Series of Short Stories

By Tabitha Levin

One of the most lucrative ways to make a living writing short fiction is to write a series of them. Many readers don’t like buying one story on its own, but by bundling a few together, especially if they all build on each other creating a series, is a good way to get people to buy your work. But where do you start? That’s easy because this article will go over some tips on how to write a series of short stories so that you can start your fiction empire.

Think of the Stories like Television Episodes

Most good television series all follow a similar format. Each of them has one overarching theme that carries through the season, but each episode has its own mini plot where all the action and drama is resolved within the show.

They use the same main characters (with a cast of minor characters who may appear in only a few episodes or just one) and each show is often related to a previous one.

This is how you should approach writing your short story series. Each story should work as a standalone, so that if a reader happened to only buy one of your books, they’d be satisfied that they got a full story (rather than leaving them with a cliff-hanger where nothing is resolved). Yet each book should also hint of more in following stories.

Creating a series this way is one of the fastest ways to build a following since very often readers will come looking for more of your work if they liked the first.

Decide How Many Stories Will Be In the Series

Just like the television executive will decide on how many shows will be in the full program, you need to determine how many you are going to write before the series is over.

Usually you can’t have as many stories as a television show does, so a good number to aim for could be five, seven, or even ten. It’s really up to you and how many you think you could write without burning out or boring readers.

Once you have all of them written, you can then publish them as singles, and also bundle them into a collection.

Obviously you don’t need me to tell you that the collection is likely to be far more popular than the single stories as people like to get value for their money (and you’ve made the bundle good value right?).

That’s just one way to write a good []short story series. If you would like some more tips, from an author who writes them for a living, head over to []

Article Source: [] How to Write a Series of Short Stories

Suggestions For Writing the End of a Novel

By Sheila C Skillman

So important is the end, that it can spoil an otherwise excellent novel. As a regular Amazon reviewer, I have read novels thinking, This is superb. I’m going to give this novel 5 stars. And then I’ve reached the end, and my potential review slips a star.

So how as a writer do we go about ensuring that our novel has a satisfying conclusion? For the key is in the word ‘satisfying’. It’s possible to write a novel having a rough idea of where you’re heading and when you get there it’s quite a different outcome. A novel is an organic thing. A writer may set out on the journey with the goal of exploring what it is he or she wants to say. The theme may be as yet unknown. Only by a satisfying end to the story will that theme reveal itself. Characters can change your mind. A pre-determined end turns out to be totally inappropriate. A story may have its true conclusion earlier than you had envisaged. Or too many strands are tied up neatly. You need to backtrack, finish the story at an earlier point, leaving some questions still open in the mind of a reader.

A novel may have a closed or an open ending. The end may be happy, sad, bittersweet or ironical. But certainly the end is determined by the way in which the main protagonist has pursued that over-arching desire which is the spine of the story. As Robert McKee says in “Story”, the protagonist may not achieve that desire, but ‘the flood of insight that pours from the gap delivers the hoped-for emotion… in a way we could never have foreseen.’

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself as you consider the end of your novel:

1) Is there a “deus ex machina” in your conclusion? Or has the ending evolved from the choices made by the main protagonist? Could this ending have occurred if the protagonist had not made those choices? And does the outcome depend solely upon the inner resources of the MP, which you have developed throughout the novel, folding them through the plot in a skilful weaving of characterisation and action?

2) Have you answered too many questions and tied up too many loose ends?

3) Have you said more than you needed to? Have you failed to respect the intelligence of the reader?

4) Is your ending a surprise? – in fact, does it top all the other surprises in the novel? or could the reader have predicted it?

5) Has the outcome been foreshadowed at all? Could the reader say, ‘Oh yes, of course, this makes sense because…”

Above all, we abhor a vacuum of meaning. The end of the story must have coherence, even if it’s tragic, or unhappy, or ironical, or shocking. Take some great endings as an example. John Fowles’ novel “The Collector” has a conclusion which penetrates the reader to the core, it is so chilling. And yet it has an organic relationship with the events of the novel and the development of the two characters. The end of “The Lord of the Rings”, J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece, is one that on many levels satisfies, and yet I personally felt it went too far. For my satisfaction, I didn’t want to know about Frodo sailing away. I’d sooner it was left with the hobbits back in the Shire. But that of course is just my own personal response. One aspect of the ending which did greatly satisfy me was when Tolkien notes that the power of the Dark Lord is reduced and shrunk but not totally annihilated. It is still there, in a corner. It can be reawakened. I found that a profound recognition of the nature of evil in this world.

Finally, a very well-known happy ending is to be found in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. And yet we are still left with the irreduceable fact that Mrs Bennett and Lydia and Wickham will all continue to be problems in the future. The problems they pose will be of a slightly different nature as a result of the events of this story – but they’ll still be there, because they are inextricably bound up with those characters.

S.C.Skillman is an author and blogger. She writes mystery romance novels. Her debut, “Mystical Circles”, may be found on Kindle. The story “weaves romance and attraction with spiritual searching and emotional needs, powerful universal themes which affect us all”. To find out more about SC Skillman, visit her blog at to read posts on writing, books, travel, inspiration, art, culture and history.

Article Source: [] Suggestions For Writing the End of a Novel


Create the Writing Life You Want

By Marg McAlister

Ah, writing. For those of us who love to play with words, it’s like standing in front of a smorgasbord, agonizing over which delicacies to try. You can potter about with your writing as a thoroughly delightful hobby – writing wedding speeches, penning dreadful doggerel for people’s birthdays, or writing stories to entertain your children. Or you can work at it, hour after hour, determined that your book is going to be the next bestseller. You can choose the writing life that’s perfect for you now, then change direction later, as your circumstances change and your experience grows.


I’m going to work on an assumption here – that you actually like writing. (I can’t imagine any other reason you’d be reading this article. If you don’t like to write, why are you being such a masochist? There are thousands of other jobs out there that will suit you better. Stop reading this and go find one.) So, given that you like to write, you should now ask yourself: ‘Do I like writing enough to do it full time, or do I want to keep it as a hobby?’

If you just want to keep it as a hobby, then you are relieved of a number of ‘duties’ already. Since it’s a hobby, you don’t have to earn money. You don’t have to please editors. You don’t have to be published. You can scribble in faint grey pencil on a table napkin if you want – nobody else has to read it. And best of all, you don’t ever have to write anything except what you want to write!


Most of us are not in that situation. We either want to write as a paid hobby (which might also be known as ‘part time writing’) or we want to work towards a full time career. Let’s look at ‘part time writing’ first, and assume that you wouldn’t mind being paid for what you do. (At least in kind – a free book or meal in exchange for your carefully produced text.) If you want to be paid, then you are faced with a certain set of responsibilities. You have to make sure that the person paying you can read your work, so faint grey pencil is out. In fact, it’s very likely that good clear word processing is in.

Hmmm… this is beginning to sound expensive. Suddenly it’s taking money to make money. You have to invest in your career – in the form of hardware and software and consumables. You have to think about GST and that means a business name. Your part time writing career might take up more time, and cost more money, than you had expected.


But wait… you have more decisions to make. Are you going to concentrate on just one kind of writing (say, writing short stories for popular magazines) or are you going to peddle your words in any way that will bring in cash?

There are lots of people out there who require writers. They need wordsmiths to write their 21st birthday party speeches, or to put together smart resumes and application letters, or to create snappy promotional material for their business flyers. If you’re happy enough to do all of these things and more, then you can certainly generate a part-time (or even full-time) income. Of course, you may have to advertise, and obtain business cards, and that costs more money… but don’t worry: the better you become at what you do, the more your clients will do your advertising for you. (“Oh, you must get so and so to do your flyer; she’s really good…”)


Time to move on to the Serious Writer. Serious Writers come in two flavours: the ones who want to write the Great Australian Novel (or win one of the major literary awards for novels) and disdain networking, marketing, self-promotion and all those mundane things.

They are passionately committed to writing literary fiction, and if it takes twenty or forty years of living off relatives or typing at night after their day job, then so be it. Some of these Serious Writers can write like angels and will undoubtedly achieve what they want. Others never mix with anybody else and have no idea that their work is substandard or boring until they get their first rejection. (They may not realise even when they get their hundredth rejection.)


The other kind of Serious Writer is the one who is determined to make a success of writing, investing as much time, energy and cash as is needed. He is happy to network and talk to clients or editors and other writers. Sometimes this becomes a broad-based writing career – this person just loves words and crafting finished pieces of writing, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction or promotional material. He is happy to be writing – any kind of writing!

Not everyone is happy to write whatever puts bread on the table. Some writers are content to do an assortment of fiction (mainstream, romances, or romantic intrigue, for example) or to target one specific genre – say speculative fiction – in both short and long formats. They spend time tracking down other aspiring writers in these genres, swap stories of near-misses and ‘good and bad’ rejections, and share the jubilation of finally getting a ‘yes’. If you are determined to write only what you want to write, then don’t give up your day job in a hurry – it might take a while and a few ‘practice books’ to get your first acceptance.

What you can do, right now, is determine the writing life you want-and start working towards it. Begin by asking yourself the ten questions below.


Would I rather do any kind of writing than do other work? (If the answer is ‘yes’, and you know you handle words with creativity whether you’re writing a short story or a letter to the bank, then a multi-faceted writing career might suit you.)

Can I identify a range of writing that I would be happy to attempt? Is there a need for this writing? Can I provide a special service, or target a niche market?

What kind of books do I like to read? Are these the kinds of books I’d enjoy writing?

How much money do I need to spend on equipment or resources to start a writing business? If I haven’t got this money, how long will it take me to save it or obtain it?

How many hours can I devote to writing?

Do I need a separate office and phone line, or can I share a computer with the family?

What other commitments do I have? What other demands are there on my time?

If I could choose any kind of writing at all to do, what would it be? Can I work towards this, even if I can’t spend all my time on it now?

Do I have a network of supportive people – friends, family and other writers – to help me achieve what I want? If I don’t, can I find these people?

What can I do RIGHT NOW to set my writing career in motion, or to start moving in the direction I really want?

(c) Copyright Marg McAlister

Marg McAlister has published magazine articles, short stories, books for children, ezines, promotional material, sales letters and web content. She has written 5 distance education courses on writing, and her online help for writers is popular all over the world. Sign up for her regular writers’ tipsheet at

Article Source: [] Create the Writing Life You Want

Female Heroines: Is Kick-Ass Compatible With Kleenex?

By Lauren E Grimley

Go on nearly any website related to reading and you will find entire discussion groups dedicated to books with strong heroines. It seems kick-ass female characters are popular in commercial fiction right now, and not just in books for young women, but in books for a variety of audiences. As an independent female and moderate feminist, this trend is pleasing-to a point.

I love reading about and writing about female characters who are self-sufficient, confident, and who every now and then kick a little ass. But I also love when those same characters admit (at least to themselves) to being afraid, insecure, and sensitive, because, as a woman who also struggles occasionally with these emotions, it makes these characters easier to relate to. Real women, strong women, still have feminine qualities that don’t make them any less kick-ass, yet it seems readers and viewers of fictional females are quick to criticize a character who displays too much emotion. I understand wanting our heroes and heroines to be a little bit stronger than the people we interact with in real-life, but a woman doesn’t have to suppress all emotion to be strong. For that matter, despite what society might say to our young boys and men, guys don’t have to either.

A few years ago I was writing a paper about the females in the Harry Potter series, and was discouraged to see so many critics, often females themselves, arguing that J. K. Rowling was exacerbating female stereotypes in her books. Their reasoning often focused on the fact Hermione cried and displayed emotion too often and Molly Weasley coddled her children and was a stay-at-home mother, as if a teenage girl who didn’t hide her feelings and a mother who cared deeply for her family couldn’t also be strong female role-models. Hermione’s emotions didn’t get in the way of her using her logic to save her two male co-characters any more than Molly’s love of her family kept her from fighting evil (while also providing the best line in the entire seven book series, just before killing another female character: “Not my daughter, you bitch!”). These female characters’ compassion, morality, and sensitivity occasionally made them vulnerable, but not weak.

Shortly after writing my paper defending the females in Rowling’s works, I began writing my own novel. I wanted my protagonist to be a strong independent female, but as my story progressed, I realized she cried or wanted to cry almost as often as she verbally or physically kicked ass. On one of my earlier drafts I scratched the question, “Does Alex cry too much?” in a corner of a page. I worried readers might view her as weak. I was tempted to edit out a majority of her emotions in order to keep her the kick-ass heroine I had set out to write. It wasn’t until I took a step back and looked at the piece as a whole, rather than hyper-focusing on scenes where Alex cried, that I realized I had created the female I wanted to. She was smart, sassy, and both mentally and physically strong. She was also capable of feeling compassion, having her heart broken, and falling helplessly in love. If I edited those parts out I’d be left with a character who looked like a woman, but acted, spoke, and thought like a guy. I didn’t want a dude with boobs or a pit bull with lipstick; I wanted a woman with guts, brains, and a heart. I’m hoping for my sake and my readers’ that I got it right.

It’s a shame that in fantasy, action, and adventure books, guys got all the glory for so long, and it’s great that female characters (and writers) are fighting their way to the forefront of these genres, so long as we’re not doing it by simply slapping heels on our heroes, renaming them heroines, and calling it a day. It’s not stereotypical to admit there are distinct differences between the genders, but it is sexist to deem certain qualities of either gender as weak. Most readers will appreciate a writer who’s willing to embrace and celebrate all sides of a female character. After all, there’s plenty of room in most women’s handbags to pack both a Taser and some tissues.

Lauren Grimley is a middle school English teacher, writer, and author of the urban fantasy novel Unforeseen. Though she writes mostly fantasy, she likes to share her thoughts on writing, teaching, and life through her website:

To see an excerpt from her novel Unforeseen visit:

Article Source: [] Female Heroines: Is Kick-Ass Compatible With Kleenex?

Pseudonyms: 10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Pen Name

By Adrienne DeWolfe

Pseudonyms abound in writing circles. What doesn’t abound is clear and insightful advice on how to choose the best pen name for a long-term career in novel writing.

Let’s have some fun. Check out the names of these genre fiction authors: Robin Hobb, Stephen King, Jack Higgins, Rebecca Brandewyne, Issac Asimov, Barbara Michaels, Alistair MacLean, Eboni Snoe…

Do they or don’t they write novels under pseudonyms?

(Keep reading for the exciting answers to your pop quiz.)

One of the biggest decisions you’ll face as a newly contracted author is whether or not to write under a pseudonym. Choosing a pseudonym – which is sometimes referred to as a pen name or a nom de plume – will also be one of your greatest creative challenges. In fact, it’s far more difficult to name yourself than to name a character when you’re writing novels!

Whenever fiction writers ask for my advice about pseudonyms, they’re usually wondering:

a) Why do published authors choose to write under a pen name, and

b) How do genre fiction writers choose a “good” nom de plume.

The answers aren’t cut-and-dry. There are many reasons to write under a pseudonym. Some considerations are emotional (honoring a relative or mentor); some involve self-protection (keeping aggressive fans from tracking you down); and some considerations are strictly professional (your real name is too complex for the average person to pronounce, spell, or remember.)

Later in their novel writing careers, some authors choose to change the name under which they write. A variety of reasons exist for this decision, including:

The author wishes to write in multiple fiction genres or sub-genres but doesn’t want to confuse his/her core readership.

For example, bestselling Romance novelist Nora Roberts (her real name) decided to try her hand at futuristic suspense. She chose to write the new genre under the pseudonym, J.D. Robb.

The author wishes to start fresh.

If an author’s rate of return is 50% or higher (after his third published novel), publishers will shy away from buying that author’s future books. To overcome this “sales stigma”, an author might bury his name (or pen name) and give birth to a new pseudonym, hoping for a second chance with publishers and readers.

Choosing whether to write novels under a pseudonym is a highly personal, and often emotional, matter. It’s important to remember that the decision is, at its core, a business one. Before finalizing your choice, confer with your agent and editor, as well as your spouse.

Your advisors can help you make the best choice for your novel writing only if you’re clear about your long-term career goals. You need to carefully consider how publicity (both positive and negative) will impact your life, your family’s lives, and any other businesses that you may own now or in the future.

Most importantly, you need to understand the far-reaching impact of publicity upon your privacy, as well as your right to privacy, under the law, after you become a public figure.

Here are 10 questions to consider as you decide whether or not to write under a pseudonym:

1. How comfortable are you with having your real name splashed all over the Internet, especially if your writing is being savaged in a blog post or book review?

2. Are you likely to attract more readers in your fiction genre if you’re writing novels as a male or a female?

3. Would your name be easier to remember, pronounce, or spell if it was more generic?

4. Is your real name so common that it could be easily confused with the name of someone else (for instance, a highly publicized white collar criminal or another author in your fiction genre?)

5. Would you prefer to err on the side of caution, protecting your loved ones from your followers or from any future career fall-out that you may suffer?

6. How comfortable are you with the idea that fans and detractors may be able to find you in the phone book and show up at your house or your place of business?

7. Is your preferred pseudonym easy to spell and remember?

8. Does your real name invoke a positive association with the fiction genre that you’re writing? (For instance, if your birth name is Cherry Clapp, you may face hurdles in the Romance genre.)

9. Are you planning to write multiple fiction genres?

10. Where is your preferred pseudonym likely to be shelved? (At the bottom of a book store’s stacks? Near the name of a bestselling author in your fiction genre?)

Okay: I promised you some answers to the pseudonym mystery, “Do they or don’t they write under pen names?” So here goes:

Robin Hobb (her pseudonym) writes epic Fantasy. She also writes as Megan Lindholm.

Stephen King (his real name) writes Horror. He also writes as Richard Bachman, Eleanor Druse, Steve King, and John Swithen.

Jack Higgins (his pseudonym) writes Mystery. He also writes as Martin Fallon, James Graham, and Hugh Marlowe.

Rebecca Brandewyne (her real name) writes historical Romance.

Issac Asimov (his real name) wrote Science Fiction. He also wrote as Paul French and George E. Dale.

Barbara Michaels (her pseudonym) writes gothic and supernatural Thrillers. She also writes as Elizabeth Peters.

Alistair MacLean (his real name) writes Mystery. He also writes as Ian Stuart.

Eboni Snoe (her pseudonym) writes African-American Romance.

For better or worse, your pseudonym will follow you throughout your novel writing career. It will become your brand, characterizing your public persona and the types of books that you write.

Like any decision, choosing a pseudonym has its pros and cons. It can offer you a layer of protection from the public and help you retain a degree of privacy.

While deciding whether or not to write under a pseudonym, I encourage you to research the privacy rights that public figures are entitled to under the law.

That way, you’ll start your novel writing career with your eyes wide open.

About Adrienne deWolfe

Published by Bantam Books and Avon Books, Adrienne deWolfe is an award-winning genre fiction novelist and freelance writer based in Texas. She offers the free, downloadable report, “20 Questions Editors Ask Before Buying Your Book,” which can be accessed at For more tips about the business (and humor) of novel writing, check out her blog at

Article Source: [] Pseudonyms: 10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Pen Name

Fiction Writing – How To Keep Readers Turning Pages

By Karleene Morrow

You’ve arranged your writing area, you go there every day and churn out x number of words on the story you have set out to tell. Kudos. But along with writing your dream, there are techniques that make a story sizzle and lack of those techniques that make it fall flat. Among these are developing characters, components of the story, i.e., beginnings, middles and endings, building plot, dialogue, diction, style, scene and sequel, point of view, tight writing.. and more.

Along with writing every day, one should learn something about the craft every day. Each strategy a writer learns will benefit him as a writer. It is important, one could say imperative, to work at learning the craft of writing on a continual basis and not think that the book should be written first, then the skills learned and the book ‘fixed’ afterward. Wrong approach. The more one learns the more improved the writing process and certainly the better the manuscript that is coming into being. Lack of writing basics is undoubtedly the prime reason that many first novels end up in the bottom drawer and subsequent novels see print. The more we learn and the more we write, using that combination together, the finer writers we are going to be.

That is not to say we should sweat over each word or phrase in our first draft. On the contrary, wiser writers than I, such as James Michener and Stephen King,believes that it is to our benefit to write ‘straight through.’ Write the first draft without looking back. By the end of it you will have an understanding of the story that was not available to you when you began. The rewrites, however many it takes, will bring the novel out in all of its potential. But the more we know about the art and craft of story telling, the better both the first draft and subsequent rewrites are going to be.

It is difficult, or maybe impossible, to say that one technique is more important than another. Interesting characters, for example, will not save a novel that is loosely written and perhaps abounds with exposition, page after page of description. Yawn.

There are, however, two parts of the writing process that rise to the top in value. The first is keeping your novel “active” right out of the chute. That means Show – not Tell. You will hear that over and over if you work at learning the craft of writing. As you read and study you will continually be told to write in the active voice or to not write in the passive voice. Listen up. Pay attention. The passive voice will kill your story, it will make it drag, be boring and will lose all but the most masochistic of readers. Seriously, it is self-torture to try to stay with a dragging, boring story unless there is nothing else in the house to read except the toothpaste carton.

Showing is letting the reader see the scene or event. Telling is having the reader hear the event, it is explaining. Sometimes, rarely, telling works but basically it is lazy writing. Work at doing better and you will be a better writer. “The morning was bright and warm.” What’s wrong with that sentence? Not much, the grammar is correct, it has a subject and a verb. But it is passive. The sentence is telling us something. It is explaining. What about: The day dawned bright and warm. Ahh, now we see it, we feel it rather than hear it. If a character is mean and abusive, don’t tell us that. Show us something in his actions, allow us to experience him. “My front window was broken by your son.” Passive. “Your son broke my front window.” Active. Better.

What would you think of this: “It was the last morning of Virginia’s bloodiest year since the Civil War. There was a fire burning and through the window sunrise would show the sea.” Sound all right?

Or maybe this instead: “On the last morning of Virginia’s bloodiest year since the Civil War, I built a fire and sat facing a window of darkness where at sunrise I knew I would find the sea.” Does that sound, feel, read better? Yes, I’d say so. That’s the opening to Patricia Cornwell’s Cause of Death. Excellent writing.

While you’re focusing on the active voice, there’s something related that you should be aware of. Please, please don’t have a character tell another character something she already knows. Don’t have Jane say “I ran into your friend Betty, the hair dresser, today.” She knows her friend is a hairdresser. That’s sloppy writing, used when the author butts in to tell the reader something he should have shown. Learn all you can about showing and not telling. Use the active voice. It will be one of the two biggest favors you do yourself as an emerging writer.

One way you can help yourself stay on track is to use the Search feature on your word processing program when you finish a chapter. Look for “was.” Almost every time you find it you will see a passive sentence. Rewrite it. Make the ‘was’ search a routine until you are absolutely, completely certain that you have overcome the habit of writing in the passive voice. Also turn on your grammar and spelling feature and watch for those green underlines. The program, not being human, is often wrong so skip those notices but it’s not generally wrong about a passive sentence. Rewrite to make the sentence active and you will see instant improvement.

The second technique a writer should know if he wants to keep his readers turning pages is to end each chapter with something unresolved, something that makes the readers want to go on. It does not have to be a major event like the house burning down or a burglar crawling through a window. But if the chapter ending leaves something the reader is unsure or curious or concerned about, he’ll keep reading. This is the kind of writing that readers mean when they say “I couldn’t put it down,” or “It kept me up half the night.” The reader is anxious to know what comes next.

Read the ending of one of your chapters as if you were a new reader. Does it make you want to turn the page? Do you want to know what happens now? If not, analyze that chapter and consider how to make the ending intriguing. Good story line along with good writing engages the reader but dull chapter ending are dangerous. The reader is apt to close the book and maybe never get back to it again.

At a writers’ conference in Austin, Texas several years ago, speaker James Magnasom said a friend told him he had finally figured out why Louie Lamour’s books were so popular. When asked why, the friend said, “At the end of each chapter there’s a knock at the door.”

Put a post-it note on the left corner of your monitor that says ‘Show, Don’t Tell.” On the right corner stick one up that says “Is there a knock at the door?” Keep those in front of you as you write your novel. Whatever else you learn about this craft, these two techniques will be among the most valuable tools in your bag of writing tricks.

Karleene Morrow is the author of the historical fiction novel, Destinies, set in 18th century Russia. Available from and other online stores. Karleene lives at the beach in the Pacific Northwest with her Pomeranian show dogs. Visit her at

Article Source: [—How-To-Keep-Readers-Turning-Pages&id=6737452] Fiction Writing – How To Keep Readers Turning Pages

How to Successfully Write the Plot of Your Story in Reverse

By Sheila C Skillman

How can one write a good fiction story in reverse? This may seem a trick question until you realise this simple fact: a novel is defined by its outcome. Put it in another way; every story has a Controlling Idea; and this idea is embedded in the final climax of the story. You cannot know what you are really trying to say until you have your Controlling Idea. And the corollary of that is: you cannot find out what you are trying to say until you have written your story. So what do you do?

1. Do your thinking, your wondering, your research, perhaps even write a plan – just a way to trick the unconscious – then write the first draft without stopping to analyse or correct what you’ve written and without even being sure of exactly what you’re trying to say – though you may have some vague notion. Go on the journey, let all the ideas pour out, and as you do so start learning who your journey companions – your characters – are, and reach the point where you set them free to surprise you and to take twists and turns you had never expected. Pass that point and continue on through all the unexpected deviations and contingencies and revelations – until you reach the story climax and know you have finished.

2. Leave the draft to marinate for a period of time; at least a number of weeks. Then come back to it, print it out, read it through, and see it afresh. Consider the Controlling Idea embedded in the story climax. It may be something very different to what you originally thought you were trying to say. Be sure you have clearly identified this idea; it must not be ambivalent. It may be negative, or positive, or ironic. But you can be sure that if you have followed your own instincts, this Controlling Idea will be your world view. It will be true to yourself, and not to what you imagine the world around you wants to hear; not even to match what you perceive to be the beliefs of a commercial audience. The paradox is this: your story will never please anyone else if it is not true to what you really believe.

3.Then write your story in reverse. Take your Controlling Idea, write it on a Post It Note, stick it your laptop/computer and go through your draft again, rewriting, setting every twist, every turning point, every reversal, every climax of every Act, in the light of that Controlling Idea.
Robert McKee in his book “Story” cites some examples of Controlling Ideas in famous movies to help you understand this concept: “Goodness triumphs when we outwit evil” (The Witches of Eastwick); “The power of nature will have the final say over mankind’s futile efforts” (Elephant Man, The Birds, Scott of the Antarctic) or “Love fills our lives when we conquer intellectual illusions and follow our instincts” (Hannah And Her Sisters).

In conclusion, for a story-teller, one guiding principle stands out: “We have only one responsibility: to tell the truth.”
SC Skillman

S.C.Skillman is the author of “Mystical Circles”, a psychological thriller. You can buy the book on Amazon and through the Kindle Bookstore, or visit the author’s website to find out more, and click the secure payment gateway to buy a signed copy at

Article Source: [] How to Successfully Write the Plot of Your Story in Reverse


Image:© Ruediger Baun |

You Gotta Want It Badly – 8 Ways to Actually Write

By Dawn Goldberg

No matter how much we want and love to write, unless we’re terribly disciplined or have deadlines (or an editor/agent looming over us), our default activity is not writing. In other words, if we have a spare minute, a break between activities, the rare gift of an unplanned hour, do we write? Or do we fill it in with stuff that “needs to be done”? Or take a much-needed nap? Or call a girlfriend and relax? Or make plans for dinner?

I will write – after I take a shower and get dressed – and after I make the bed – and after I do the dishes. Why do I delay? Why do those things come before writing?
For one, those other things are calling at my attention, nagging me, so I tell myself that I’ll write better if those nags are quieted. But the list of nags must be quite long because there are a lot of times that I never seem to write.

Secondly, I might be afraid of writing. I’m not where I want to be in my project. It’s stalled. I want it to be perfect, compelling, and impactful, and I’m afraid it’s not. Or it feels hard to get started, so it’s much easier to do other things.

And – here’s what I’m afraid of the most – maybe I don’t want to write badly enough more than I want to take a shower, get dressed, make the bed, and do the dishes.
When I was teenager in Texas, I’d get up in the summer early and go run. The heat, no matter how early in the morning, was oppressive. Step outside, and one hits a wall of heat. Yet, I’d invariably get up and go run in that awful furnace. Why? Because I’d rather do that than deal with my parents when they got up in the morning. Running in the heat was preferable to being around my parents. I would rather run.

So what do we need to create so that writing IS the default activity and it is THE thing we would rather do than anything else?

1. Be aware of what DOES get in the way. Pay attention. Are they always the same things (chores like cleaning the house, work tasks like returning emails, etc.) that you do instead of writing?

2. Understand why you would rather do those things. Are they nagging items? Are they delaying tactics? Are you afraid of something?

3. Just do it. Make writing more of a routine, and it’s harder not to do it. Kind of like brushing your teeth. You do it every day. The day you might miss, you run that tongue over your teeth, and you’re constantly reminded that you didn’t do it that day. So write regularly, and it will be harder to not do it.

4. Set up rewards. Yeah, it might seem childish, but it works. Don’t schedule that massage until you’ve reached your word count goal. Don’t eat the piece of chocolate until you finish a page. Your spouse cooks dinner if you write today. Make it so that you WANT to write because of what you get after you’re done.

5. Visualize the end of the rainbow. What if you finish that sales page? Wouldn’t you feel great to have compelling hot words and phrases (that you can then turn into social media updates) for that sales page? You’d be so far along – farther than you are now. You don’t have to see to the end of the ultimate rainbow (an entire finished project), just today’s little rainbow.

6. Make writing pleasurable and fun. Don’t want to sit at your desk and write? Go outside with your laptop or – gasp – a notebook and pen. Get a chocolate malt and enjoy while you write. Go to the park, the beach, the mountains, a tea room, a cool coffee place…. some place gorgeous and inspiring. However you design the pleasurable and fun aspect, only do those things when you write. So save that chocolate malt only for your writing times.

7. Set concrete goals. It’s a lot easier to write with a measurable goal in mind instead of just write until….whenever. And, as soon as you hit that concrete number of words, number of pages, number of minutes, you are done!

8. Think of your writing project as an adventure. Write your ideal client as a character. What outrageous article title can you come up with? How brazen can you be and get away with it?
It’s a blend of figuring out what gets in the way as well as thinking about what you could do so that you really want to write – and not do anything else.

Want to write from your soul? Of course, you do! Because when you write from your soul, you connect more deeply and successfully with potential clients and your community. Download your free Writing From Your Soul system at []
Article Source: [—8-Ways-to-Actually-Write&id=6769376] You Gotta Want It Badly – 8 Ways to Actually Write


Image:© Lyn Baxter |

Tips to Writing Great Romance Novels

By Carmella Borchers

Writing a book can take weeks, months, or even years. There truly is no time limit when it comes to perfecting a story that an author develops. However, this is only the beginning of the process. Before romance novels or any type of book can be published, the author has to first know that the story at hand is well-written, edited properly, and is something that will catch the attention of readers. But before an author can publish a book, he/she must be able to write a book that is powerful, catchy, romantic, and one that truly captivates the reader’s attention.

If you’re a new author or just one who is slowly beginning to write romance books, you may have writer’s block or maybe you just want helpful tips that will allow you to create a piece of literature that is sure to be worthwhile. Below are some tips for you to consider no matter what type of book you’re writing. From romance novels to mysteries, fantasy and erotic eBooks, all of them require the author to use basic writing tips and tricks.

1. Create and fully develop a setting – Setting is especially important in romance novels. Don’t have the book take place in one boring dull setting. Try to incorporate the setting of your story into one that plays into the love line within the book.

2. Make characters relatable and dynamic – Character development is important. Characters should be whole and they should be dynamic. It never hurts to have a static character here and there, readers often like those characters that develop and are relatable.

3. Find ways to captivate the reader – No one wants to read a boring book. Romance and erotic books should be relatable. The reader shouldn’t want to put your book down until the last page is read. Do this by using suspense, relatable characters, and a plot that grows and grows. Your plot should be a mountain or a rollercoaster, not a flat road.

4. Focus on conflict – Readers like conflict and we all know love is one big conflict in itself! Be sure to focus on adding conflict whenever possible but don’t overdo it. You want your readers to see and feel the conflict but don’t make it so obvious that the reader knows what is coming next.

5. Always tie up loose ends – Have you ever watched a movie or read a novel and still had plenty of unanswered questions? This is what most readers don’t want. It’s important to tie up any loose ends that your story may have unless you’re planning to write a series of novels that will allow all ends to be tied in other editions.

Writing a book definitely takes a lot of time and effort, but following simple writing tips can be extremely helpful. Before any romance novel can be published it has to be proofread, edited, and in some spots, rewritten. A book should flow and no publisher will want to publish a book that won’t do well on the reader’s market.

Carmella Borcher is the author of this article and is an avid fan of []Romance Novels – particularly Erotic Books and []Erotic eBooks.

Article Source: [] Tips to Writing

Image:© Michael Macsuga |

Descriptive Writing

By Jonathan Degler

The beginning of any creative piece of writing is the word choice. There are obviously many other components of descriptive writing, but it all begins with recognizing who your audience is and then using the words that will connect to them personally.

When I first began my writing career, I was convinced that the adjectives and adverbs were the the words that drove the images into people minds and gave the reader a clear picture of the writer’s scene. However, after some training, i found that the adjectives and adverbs i was using to describe were actually just muddling up my writing. The secret is utilizing the nouns and verbs to communicate meaning.

I will give you three examples and you can tell me which sounds the best and gives you a clear image of what is going on.

“The girl walked across the street.”

“The young lively girl walked across the busy street in a way that told us she had just received great news.”

“With a smile spread from ear to ear, a girl ambled across the brightly lit street.”

As you can see, the first sentence is bland. It tells the reader nothing but the most basic information. The second sentence seems alright, but there are too many adjectives that dilute the image the writer is trying to convey. The last sentence give us as readers a clear image that there is a happy girl crossing the road on a nice day. If you read the second and third sentences again, try to imagine the scene in your head. I’m sure all of you would agree that the third sentence gives you a clearer and more vivid mental picture, without bogging down the flow.

When thinking of solid descriptive writing, the first place to look for examples is the writing of David Sedaris. My favorite of his stories is “Six to Eight Black Men.” Throughout the entire piece I get a very clear image of the story of St. Nicholas, the Christmas icon of the Netherlands.

If you would like to improved your descriptive writing, I would begin by reading David Sedaris or other creative nonfiction writers. Then practice your own writing by taking completely bland and normal sentences, then transforming them in descriptions. For example, begin with the sentence, “I ran to the house.” Practice replacing the verbs and nouns of the sentence with others, like “jolted” or “bungalow.” Of course the words need to be appropriate for the information that you are trying to convey. So if you are thinking of a cottage in the woods, you wouldn’t use the term “bungalow” for a house on the beach.

Avoid the “Be” verbs as much as possible. Not that these are bad verbs, I use them a lot, but when you are trying to write descriptively you will find that the replacement verbs turn out to give readers more vivid images of your scenes, characters, and tones.

So as always, your charge is to write. Your objective should be to write as much and as often as possible. For the first draft, do not worry yourself so much. Your real work begins in the revision. Look for nouns and verbs that fail to give you real images, and particularly avoid the “Be” words. These quick, simple practices will get any writer of any skill level off their butt and on the page.

Good Luck!

Jonathan Degler is the author of the novel “Gone Astray,” and more information can be found at

Article Source: [] Descriptive Writing

Writing Fan Fiction: How to Write Your First Sex Scene

By Daphne Dangerlove

Intimate encounters are a huge part of Fan Fiction; nothing inspires the writer’s imagination like two characters with unresolved feelings for each other. Usually when it comes to a sex scene, coming up with scenarios is easy, but getting it on the page is a little harder, especially if it’s your first time.

Here’s your step by step guide to getting it on, on the page.

1. Who? – It probably didn’t take too much time for you to decide on the characters you are going to feature in your story, but take a few moments to think about who your characters are, how they react to each other and what they have at stake in the scene. Understanding your characters personalities will give you an extra edge when you are writing your scene, and readers will be drawn in by your authentic characterizations of the characters they love.

2. Where?-This is the fun part, so take your time and really think about the atmosphere that you want to create for your scene. Will it be fun and playful, sensual or full of fireworks? A night of lovemaking under the stars or in front of a roaring fire imparts a totally different vibe than in an elevator or against the wall just inside the apartment door. You are writing a fantasy so make sure to put elements into your story that will delight your readers.

3. What Kind of Sex? – When it comes to writing sex, it’s critical that you know what is going to happen in your scene. It will be so much easier to write the scene with fluidity if you know what is going to happen. So take a minute to map things out and decide who is going to do what in your scene. Things you need to consider are the type of sex (against the wall, oral, solo etc.) There are a host of different things you can do, so be creative (but not outrageous) and lend a sense of fantasy to your scene.

4. Write a Rough Sketch of Your Scene – Don’t worry about this being bare bones, just get everything down that you want to happen. Forget about word choice, transitions and all that stuff. Just lay it out point by point. This will be the frame on which you will base your story. If it is easier for you, you can even do this as a numbered list.

5. Layer in the Detail – Close your eyes and imagine the scene that you’ve just sketched out playing before your eyes. Sometimes, I’ll even type with my eyes closed so that I can get an accurate description of the scene as it plays out in my mind’s eye. If you get stuck while you are writing, a good practice is to follow is Action, Reaction. So for everything one character does, have the other character react. This will bring intimacy to your scene. And don’t forget to work in drafts. You don’t have to get it all right the first time. Just take your rough sketch, and work on expanding it slowly, as if you are drawing a picture and then coloring it in.

Writing sex can be intimidating but if you take a few minutes to plan out your scene, you’ll find it much easier to get it on the page. Using this step by step approach breaks down the process into manageable chunks, and before you know it, you’ll have your story on the page.

Put what you’ve just learned to work by []downloading my Sex Scene Worksheet right now!

About the Author

Daphne Dangerlove has been a fan of Fan Fiction for almost 2 decades. She is the author of []How to Write Fan Fiction, the only book dedicated to the art and craft of writing Fan Fiction.

Article Source: [] Writing Fan Fiction: How to Write Your First Sex Scene