Creating Mood

 By Chrys Fey

Beneath a sky bruised with black and purple clouds, a woman limped down an alley where only criminals or the very desperate would venture. The pavement was slick with slime. Broken bottles and crushed beer cans littered the ground. Every now and then she stepped over a used syringe.

The air in the alley carried the stench of stale alcohol with a pleasant splash of raw vomit and human urine. Graffiti marked the walls; there were gang signs spray-painted in blood red, vulgar words scribbled in anger, and pornographic drawings.

The farther down she went, she realized why the alley was known as “The Valley of the Shadow of Death”. There were several ratty clothed individuals ambling about lifelessly. Their skin was as grey and pasty as the skin of a corpse, their eyes were dark hallows, their lips were cracked and bleeding, and their bones stuck out of their deprived bodies. They looked like they belonged in graves.

Mood is the atmosphere created by the setting and actions of the characters in it. The teaser in the beginning is an excerpt from the first book in my series and an excellent example of mood created by setting. In the excerpt, I depicted a dangerous alley where low lives go to drink and do drugs. The mood is dark and mysterious because I do not introduce or reveal the woman’s identity; it is also pitiful in regards to the state of the inhabitants of the alley.

Mood also relates to how the reader emotionally responds to the setting and the action of characters. One example for how a reader can emotionally respond to mood would be while reading the passage in Dave Pelzer’s book, “A Child Called It” when he is cleaning the infected, puss-filled stab wound on his side. Reading that would make a reader grimace in pain, feel disgust at the ordeal this child had to go through, and even nauseous.

To create mood depict vivid settings, give detail to the actions of your characters, and use emotion. You can do this with force like in Dave Pelzer’s book or subtly by describing a summer afternoon that makes your readers recall the dry, sweltering days from their youth when they would float in a lukewarm pool in effort to stay cool. The mood for such a writing could be happy, leisurely, and nostalgic.

Decide what type of mood you need for your book and become that mood!

Chrys Fey created Write With Fey, a how-to blog about writing a novel. Every Tuesday there is a new post containing tips, inspiration, insight into her series, and much more.

Article Source: [] Creating Mood

Bring Characters To Life

By Chrys Fey

We don’t just read books for the plots, but for the characters. We are following their lives, listening to their conversations, and even intruding on their most intimate moments. We befriend them and sympathize with what they are going through. Sometimes we laugh at them or we cry with them. Every now and then, we even fear for them. That is why you must treat the characters in your novel as though they are real people in your life. (If they live in your head, they are as good as real.)

Characters are the breath in a book so they must breathe! And for them to breathe, you have to bring them life!

All of the characters in your novel need personalities and quirks. Is one of your characters sweet and shy, or mean and dangerous? Bring it out in your writing. For example, a shy character can blush fuchsia, and a mean character can grind his teeth in aggravation.

I gave the butt-kicking female protagonist in my series many of my personality traits like my “god-like” anger and lack of patience -especially when she’s trying to catch a criminal. Could you give your main character a few of your charming (or less than charming) traits?

Your characters also need appearances. After all, you are creating people. Give them hair/eye colors and body structures, but be creative when you are describing them in your book and let your creativity for words shine. Don’t just give a character green eyes and blonde hair. Instead, say they have green eyes the color of fresh cut grass and 24-karot gold hair.

Project: Grab a few sheets of paper and a pen. At the top of the paper, write the characters name and make a profile for them like so:


Hair color:

Eye color:

Body Type:



Other details you may want to consider when you’re creating your characters is their past. Does their past influence the story you are telling? Do they have fears and/or weaknesses that can come into play later in your book? What are their flaws? You can’t create perfect characters, because we are, after all, not perfect.

Add any other relevant information, but don’t forget to have fun!

You also need to figure out what each of your characters is going to do in your novel. What is their purpose? Their purpose can be as simple as being comedic relief to being the villain. I have a character in my series whose purpose is to be funny, witty, and sexual. But she also has an important role as the medical examiner.

Chrys Fey created Write With Fey, a how-to blog about writing a novel. Every Tuesday there is a new post containing tips, inspiration, insight into her series, and much more.

Article Source: [] Bring Characters To Life

Creative Writing – How To Use The Power Of Your Imagination

By Grace Jolliffe

Do you feel you sometimes lack imagination? Or that your imagination is low or tired? Well, it’s simply not true – everybody has lots of imagination. If you disagree with this statement try not to build a picture in your mind of a pink elephant wearing a white hat and cool shades. Next, try not to see the pink elephant with the white hat and cool shades dancing… get the picture?

Now, try this exercise: Think back to your earliest childhood memory. Was the sun shining? Were you in your pram? In the garden? Were there butterflies?

Keep asking yourself questions and fix on your most vivid memory. You will probably find you have added a few extras to the memory. Now, write it down – all of it – every detail you can think of. The first time I did this exercise I saw myself as a baby peeping out of a pram and looking at a beautiful garden, filled with butterflies and of course the sun was shining.

Is this memory or is this imagination? If you have just seen the above images as I described then you know the answer already. You may have added the above butterflies. That is okay, memory is a great tool for a writer but it is not everything.

The power of suggestion is immense. If, for example, I mention a white Unicorn or a large fire-breathing dragon you will immediately see these in your mind. Your imagination will deliver the images you think about.


You can trigger your imagination in a myriad of ways. One of the most powerful ways is by asking yourself questions.

Taking the above example a few steps further:

A white wolf has come down from the mountains and is approaching the garden. It is now frighteningly close to you as a baby. Somebody comes to the rescue.

Ask yourself why the wolf came down from the mountains. Why it approached you as a baby and who came to the rescue.

Now you have the beginnings of a story, and you can use your imagination to bring this story further, by asking more questions.

You can take ‘you’ out of the story and replace with a fictional character. If you don’t know who your new character is you can simply let your story create a character by simply inserting ‘man’ or ‘woman’ and asking yourself questions about them to generate a character.

To exercise your imagination, simply use it. For example, you are in walking in a park. Who is there? What are they doing? Who or what is lurking under the bushes? Who is hovering below the still waters of a nearby lake?

Your imagination is always present. All you have to do is use it by asking yourself questions. Don’t forget though – write everything down.

For more lots more creative writing help, tips and exercises visit

Article Source: [—How-To-Use-The-Power-Of-Your-Imagination&id=7241111]


Want some Challenging Creative Writing Projects? Look no further….


Three Cover Design Secrets for Drawing in Readers

By James Adams Clofield

Great book covers compel readers to grab and buy the book. This feat is a veritable art form in itself. Often, either authors take this matter for granted and spend little effort to ensure it looks artfully compelling, or worse, they take matters into their own hands and do the artwork themselves. This would be okay if they really know what they are doing. Often, the DIY approach proves devastating to first-time authors without enough book cover art experience.

So how should you go about producing your book cover? How do you know your book cover will likely pull readers’ attention enough to consider buying your book?

Here are a few pointers that will help you create a book that catches your readers’ attention and communicates a direct, clear message that the book has been written specifically for them.

1. Your Cover’s Image Should Reflect What’s Inside

Shout out your book’s engaging plot and story by appealing to their sense of interest. Depict an image, illustration or artwork that will announce your story in a big and clear way.

Readers know what they are looking for. Make it clear to them that there is a truly mesmerizing mystery inside for them to solve or that your book will teach them everything they ever wanted to know about a specific topic.

2. Your Book Cover’s Typography Should Help Tell Your Story

Apart from conveying the aesthetic style of your book, typography or the font styles used in your book cover should help define your book by visually cluing-in your readers about your book’s theme and mood. A clean, white space cover with simple fonts conveys order and elegance that clue in readers about the formal nature of a business book. Conversely, gaudy-looking font styles may clue in readers of the interesting content inside a rock and roll musician’s memoir.

Take note of the following typographical guidelines:

• Your choice of type face, font size, style, and color will make an impact on your cover’s design. The words must be a part of the overall image you are trying to create.

• Isolating a particular word or words immediately increases their significance. By doing so, you are calling the reader’s attention to them. This may be a good idea if you are a famous author and can sell books by your name alone. But in other cases it might dilute your cover’s intent.

• Positioning is crucial. The most important element of your message should be at the top of your book’s cover.

3. Each Element of Your Cover Should Work in Harmony with One Another

Typography, illustrations, design, size, positioning, color, and every other visual element of your book’s cover must be organized in a fashion that communicates their overall message to your reader clearly, quickly, and efficiently. Remember,

• The larger the size of the element, the greater its importance to the overall message.

• Use color to make a particular element pop.

• Position each element in a way that your reader’s eyes flow from one to the next as though they are being told a visual story.

For more book marketing tips, head over to the []iUniverse Writers Tips and learn from the experience of []self-published authors.

Article Source: [] Three Cover Design Secrets for Drawing in Readers

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

How to Write a Psychological Thriller

By Tabitha Levin

There are many different types of thriller stories, ranging from action adventure, mystery, crime, courtroom, and even paranormal. But there is one genre of this type that is different from the rest because it focuses more on the emotional aspects of the story, rather than the action. And that type of story is the psychological thriller.

Step 1: Write Your Outline

There are many different opinions on how to write a psychological thriller, but probably the most common is that you should start with an outline since it gives you a road map to adhere to when you are writing.

The reason that this is important for this type of book, is that you need to get the suspense elements right, and having a guideline of what you want to achieve will help you keep on track.

Step 2: Have Good Clear Characters

Unlike other genres, you need to make sure that you define your characters completely in your story, since most of the plot will revolve around their emotional reactions to certain situations. Are they weak and run at the first sign of danger? Do they have a past issue with something that is now haunting them again?  Explaining not only how they react, but why, is the key to making them real.

The same goes for the baddie of the story. Since the antagonist is usually the one heaping the emotional stress on the protagonist, you need to make them clear in their intentions as well. Are they doing it for revenge? Fun? Because they know something about the hero that they want to reveal to the world?

Often you’ll find that the good guy and bad guy are emotional opposites of each other. One will be strong and resourceful, and the other weak but single minded. By the end, the hero will usually always overcome whatever issues they have and be able to beat the antagonist at their own game.

Step 3: Get Into Your Characters Minds

Since most of the fear and suspense will be happening in your characters mind, you need to let the reader see this fear that the character is experiencing. If the character jumps at the sound of a branch snapping, you need to make the reader feel that same terror with your writing. This takes practice to get right, but slowing down the action and focusing on every gust of wind, every hair that is sticking up on the back of the characters neck, will help create that mood. []Thriller stories, especially psychological driven ones, are increasingly popular with readers and being able to thrill and excite your audience is the key to becoming a successful writer in this genre.

Tabitha writes short thrillers (amongst other things). You can find out more about her books at her website:

Article Source: [] How to Write a Psychological Thriller

Are Short Stories Becoming Popular Again?

By Tabitha Levin

With the rise of digital publishing, it seems that the humble short story is indeed becoming popular again with readers.

Short stories lend themselves to e-readers well, since most people use their Kindles and Nooks while travelling to and from work, relaxing in a coffee shop in their lunch breaks, or snuggling into their pillow just before bed. All of these times are limited to how long the reader has, so being able to finish a story before switching off the lights has great appeal.

That’s not to say that novels are less popular now, not at all, in fact the rise in reading lengths is across the board from short fiction to epic novels, but nevertheless it’s good to see that short form fiction is on the rise.

In the past, traditional publishers thought they were not profitable enough to print due to paper and publishing costs, which is why novels became the standard (better profit margins). The only place that short stories remained popular was fantasy and science fiction due to magazine publications that were happy to publish them. But with digital publishing that is no longer a factor, and both fiction and nonfiction of all lengths can be produced for little cost.

The short length is popular with young adults especially, who in today’s culture, often don’t have the attention span to stay with a long novel. If they can get all of the action they want in a few pages, along with a tight plot and interesting characters – that suits their fast paced lifestyles better.

But it isn’t just young adults that don’t stay with long novels, with so many entertainment mediums competing for our attention, from television, iPads, cinemas, and e-readers most people have limited time. Choosing a story then becomes a much more attractive option.

Many short stories are also being optioned to become films, since the shorter length translates onto the screen much better than a full novel, which requires substantial editing to get it to fit to less than two hours. Recent movies including Brokeback Mountain, iRobot and Fight Club all started this way, and many more are being made or optioned right now. It’s of no surprise that Hollywood directors are scouring the Amazon bestseller lists for potential movie ideas, and just recently independent author Hugh Howey got the interest of producer and director Ridley Scott for his excellent story Wool.

It’s not only readers who like short stories, many authors, including myself are also enjoying writing short fiction. []Click here to see my latest work (including short stories and bundled collections) and while you are there make sure to read some more reasons to read short stories.

Article Source: []

How To Make Your Amazon Book Rank Soar With Free Book Hashtags and Kindle Select

By Douglas Glenn Clark

Many readers and authors would laugh if I announced, “My book has broken into the Top 80,000 best-selling books at” Yet that’s what I did. I also updated that announcement three weeks later when my book fell to 278,000 and then broke into the Top 10,000. You see, my ranking began at 950,000 – and I like progress.

Read on if you care to learn why these rankings matter for indie fiction and non-fiction authors, as well as business people who know they have a book (or article) in them but are too busy to take the leap.

The Amazon Kindle Select program fueled my rise (and fall and then rise). As a member I am allowed five giveaway days every three months. This promotion tool allows an author of articles and books to get some much-needed attention – if the author does some simple promotion.

You may wonder, why give away a book for free? Free is the new windfall. By sharing your article or book for free, you have the potential to achieve significant downloads. If you do this well, the Amazon system will be very pleased and begin improving your book ranking – even though no actual sales have occurred. Yet sales eventually will occur. More on that later.

In June of 2012, my first free day netted 209 downloads. I was thrilled because a writing colleague had told me that even 100 downloads can be significant.

In July of 2012 my second free day netted 5,376 downloads. I was stunned. My ranking soared from about 275,000 to as low as 9,950. How did it happen? I’ll tell you. But first…

Think about it. You are a new author, or you have a new business or acting or singing career and you need a boost. You create a Kindle Select article – a fairly short piece – or short book. It must be…

fun to read
biographical and/or insightful.

But it can also include contact info and promotions for your product, service or expertise. How do 5,376 new fans sound?


As of July 3, 2012 my Amazon ranking for my new title is about 17,000. I guarantee my rank will continue to drop, until I can generate more sales and promote another free day. And yet for a couple days I was ranked in the Top 100 in three categories.

If you can get Amazon to pay attention – “Attention must be paid,” said the wife of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s classic play “Death of a Salesman” – you will be rewarded.

When I planned my second free day, I knew I would need help. This is how I got it.

First, I found a list of blogs that announce free Kindle books. Some are free, others charge a small fee.

My Twitter following was only about 500, so I hired Book Tweeting Service. For a modest fee, three days before my free Kindle Select day they began to Tweet promos that I wrote – with their help – that included links to Amazon, of course, and hashtags, such as #FREE #BOOK and #Kindle, etc.

I also purchased a “free alert” from Orangeberry Virtual Book Tours. They Tweeted my message all day long. Dedication is worth paying for.

I re-tweeted (RT) all the above Tweets as I saw them, and added replies and thank yous with my link.

I remained engaged online from 7 AM to 10 PM on the free day, with breaks, of course, and created new tweets as needed, which BTS and Orangeberry kindly RT’d.

Also, since I could tell I was doing fairly well in the United Kingdom, as their 24-hour free day was coming to a close, I featured tweets that reminded those readers to “get it quick.” Afterwards, I concentrated only on the United States.

How much did all the help cost? $180.98. In the hours following the free day, a trickle of sales — readers who missed the free day? — quickly returned $54. More sales will follow, so the outlay is a no-brainer.


Since I created the short links for my Tweets at, that site’s statistics told me which link was most popular. Naturally, I kept pushing that link.

Also, the music theme of my book provided an obvious audience. So before the free Kindle Select day, I grew my Twitter account by engaging that niche and a couple others. In short, authors must define their audience – and then engage them.

By the way, throughout the day I met some wonderful people who showed an interest in my project, so I was more than happy to RT their announcements and ideas. A sense of community and sharing developed, and it was very nice. I don’t care to compete with other writers. It is better to encourage them.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to inform book lovers of their options. For example, I wrote blog posts that revealed a Kindle device is not needed to get a free copy of a Kindle ebook: Just download free Kindle software. In the posts, I advised readers to Google “Free Kindle” for apps and other information. And I provided links for PC and Mac users. Make it easy.

But what about sales? Some authors merely post their book and it takes off. Why? I don’t know. Karma? Or maybe their book falls into a very clear genre. Millions of others get nowhere, and this is particularly true of non-genre fiction. Suffice it to say, if you want your beautiful book or article to get some attention, you must get in front of it and promote! Don’t be shy.

Kindle Select free days – if well managed – can get you some attention. As you improve your rank, Amazon begins including your title in simple promotions with other titles. This adds fuel to the fire. But…

As I said before, my rank will drop until I find new ways of engaging my readers and audience. The ups and downs are like an ocean tide: forward movement, retreat; forward movement… and so on. In other words, marketing never stops.

But that’s okay, because wishing and hoping rarely works. And it is exciting to your book rise and shine.

Douglas Glenn Clark is the author of The Memory Songbook. Read it now: For FREE DAY ALERTS, visit

Article Source: [] How To Make Your Amazon Book Rank Soar With Free Book Hashtags and Kindle Select


5 Facts About Daily Blogging

By Helga L Van Niekerk

1. People are interested in People

Facebook has proven that people are interested in people. They (we) spend hours peering into the lives of others in a subtle form of voyeurism. So if you are thinking of starting a daily blog, your life will change as you find things in your daily life that will interest others. That will get others coming back to see what’s happened next.

2. Consistency is Everything

If you are going to declare your blog to be ‘daily’ then you had better make it daily! There’s nothing worse than going into a daily blog and finding the last post was 6 months ago. I would suggest that you force yourself into blogging daily for a month without posting your blogs just to get into the habit. Once you are sure you can do it, get online, find a blogging site, register and off you go!

3. Social Networks Work

If you want people to read your blog, go to where they are. Start with your own profile page and post the link on your own status. Soon your own friends will view it. Post it on any other social site you are affiliated with. If you are writing about meeting a well known person and you have something nice to say about them, post a link on their social network page as well.

4. The Title of Your Blog is Really Important

The longer I blog, the more I realise the importance of the title. You want a bit of a provocative title that will draw people in. Quite often, I will sit down and write a blog and not have a title. As I get going, I soon discover a sentence of part of one that will grab a reader’s attention. It may not be a huge event from the day. In fact it may only be a passing comment, but it’s enough to get the casual observer’s attention and turn them into a regular follower of your life.

5. Blogging Can Bring Out The Real You

Don’t blog for the masses! Blog for yourself. Let what you write be the story of your life, so that in years to come you can look back and trace what has happened. You’ll find logging events from your life makes you look for things to write about. Be creative. Have fun! Let the real you come out!

Helga van Niekerk is the presenter for the Rise and Shine Show on Cape Town’s 107.5 CCFm. Helga’s life changed when she came to faith in Christ in 1979. She enjoys writing and travelling and looks forward to doing more of both.

View her blog at

Article Source: [daily blogging,daily blog,daily personal blog,blogging daily,daily life,Helga van Niekerk] 5 Facts About Daily Blogging

Want to Be a Writer? These Tips Will Help to Make Your Dream Come True

By Harriet Hodgson

Last week I met a writer who had one book published. Since his book sells well, and he speaks to groups across the country, he thought about writing a second book. But he didn’t take action on this idea. “Writing is too much work,” he admitted, “so I just revised my existing book.”

This writer speaks the truth. Whether it is a novel, mystery, history, self-help, poetry, children’s book, sports book, or another genre, writing is hard work. You also have to deal with submission guidelines, editors, deadlines, and marketing. In short, your work isn’t done when your book is done.

Writers also have to deal with comments from readers. During my 35+ years as a writer I have received compliments and thoughtless comments. One man was disappointed when one of my books was released. “I was going to write that,” he complained. However, I researched the topic, spent weeks on the outline, spent months on writing, and submitted the manuscript to publishers.

I acted upon my book idea and he did not.

Many people have approached me and said they wanted to write a book. When I ask what they are working on at the moment, however, the answer is always the same — nothing. I have never met a would-be writer who was working on anything. By definition, writers are supposed to write. If you want your book published, you need to create a body of work.

Volunteering may also help you reach your dream of becoming a writer. You may serve as volunteer editor of your church newsletter, for example, or write articles for the public library newsletter. I wrote a brochure for a local community group and you could do something similar. Over time, your volunteer efforts will become a body of work and prove, without a doubt, that you are a writer.

Community education and college courses may also help you to achieve your dream. Taking courses proves, yet again, that you are serious about becoming a writer. Keep a file or files of everything you write to track your progress. If you don’t have a resume, now is the time to create one. List courses, volunteer efforts, and completed manuscripts on your resume.

These tips helped me to achieve my dream of becoming a writer and I hope they help you.

Write every day. You may write letters, blog postings, short articles, or work on a book outline.
Find your genre. This may take some time, but keep at it.
Research publishers in your genre. Never submit a manuscript to a publisher that you have not researched.
Work on a one-page query letter. Put it away and take it out in a few weeks. Make any revisions you think are necessary.
Create a resume, including all of your volunteer writing positions.
Update your resume regularly.
Keep a file of submissions and rejects. Hopefully, this file will eventually include acceptances.
Be persistent. If you don’t believe in you, others will not either.
Consider self-publishing. In this sagging economy many writers are going directly to self-publishing and the Kindle or Nook. Before you sign on the dotted line, however, investigate the publisher and read reviews on the Internet.

Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson is the author of 31 published books, including six grief resources. For the first time in her writing career, two of her books were released simultaneously — “Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss” and “Help! I’m Raising My Grandkids: Grandparents Adapting to Life’s Surprises.” Please visit her website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.

Article Source: [] Want to Be a Writer? These Tips Will Help to Make Your Dream Come True

Write What You Can Know Well – 10 Internet Sources for Research

by Mike Evan

A longstanding maxim within the writing craft has been: “Write what you know.” Certainly, authors have never constrained themselves to the knowledge they currently possessed. They researched subjects through books, interviews, trips to locations, and things such as these.

Enter the internet.

How has the World Wide Web affected that relationship between direct experience or research, and the subject matter of the contemporary author? In other words, because we writers have access to websites and web-enabled tools, are we able to short-cut the process?

Yes and no.

No, because what has always held true still applies: life experience trumps any amount of research. Whether it’s through an interview of a WWII vet, or all the internet research in the world, none of us who weren’t at the Battle of Bastogne could possibly tell its story like one crouching in the trenches during hours of incoming fire.

Yes, because of the ubiquitous nature of the modern internet. Where in earlier days, one required means of access to individuals or research material which could be difficult to obtain, today any author can find loads of free information at the click of a mouse.

There are almost countless sources of information available via the internet. Sure, one must exercise care when using these materials, but the same may be said for every research source. Some are more reliable than others; some require additional fact checking. Here are ten categories:

1. Websites. From general to specialty websites, there is a load of information available. As always, the more sources you can find, the more confidence you can have in your material. In addition, cruising the websites can offer many ideas for your next story or allow you to see connections you would otherwise have missed. Online catalogues can be especially useful for gathering specifics.

2. Wikis and Encyclopedias. There is, of course, Wikipedia, which is becoming more and more reliable in its information, complete with linked sources in many instances. In addition, there are specialty wikis for many subjects. Many encyclopedias, such as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, offer information freely for all users.

3. Mapping Software. The phenomenal mapping features of internet applications like Google Earth offer the user opportunities to not only map out locations, but to see the areas through pictures and videos from a variety of angles. Except for the smells, many times it’s almost like being right there.

4. Online Dictionary and Thesaurus. A few keystrokes, and you can find complete definitions of words and correct usages, including examples. In the same vein, the internet tools make it so much easier to use a thesaurus to find synonyms, or even better, that perfect word that offers that precise shade of meaning you’re trying to find.

5. Language Translators. There are countless language translators on the internet, although some are better than others and you’ll often get conflicting results. It’s always best to find someone, either in person or online, who speaks the particular language fluently, to really get it right and avoid the embarrassment of using a foreign phrase incorrectly.

6. Library Databases. Some local libraries, as well as universities and colleges, provide access to specialized databases, such as EBSCO, Reference USA, LexisNexis, and so on. This access is usually more restricted and often depends on your residence, or being enrolled in a particular institution. Open source programs are actively working to bring much of this information to the general internet user, but for now, it’s best to check with your local or school library.

7. Multimedia. There are literally millions of multimedia files available internet, ranging from zany time-wasters to complete how-to series of videos. There are many images freely available, although you need to be quite careful not to violate copyrights when using an image, and try to find the original source for permission or to satisfy usage requirements, including fees.

8. Online Interviews. These offer invaluable insights from the unique perspective of various individuals. These give you the chance to really see what makes a person (one who might resemble your character, for example) tick. Often times, it also provides the opportunity to pick up on special lingo used by certain people, or in certain professional or geographical cultures.

9. Online Forums. There are a number of online forums focusing on virtually every subject known to man. In addition, blog sites and many articles have comment sections that can in themselves offer a treasure trove of information, particularly from the unique perspective of someone who has lived out a particular situation or has a special insight or expertise.

10. Direct Contact. Perhaps the greatest advantage of the internet is the opportunities it provides for establishing direct relationships. Many of these can provide opportunities to relate to someone who has had first-hand experience with a certain topic of research. Most people are thrilled to share their stories and life experience, and to act as a kind of expert on a subject.

We have really just touched the surface of research opportunities available via the web. Since the nature of material and applications available on it change literally by the week, I’m sure there are numerous other ways to use the internet as an effective research tool.

Article Source: [—10-Internet-Sources-for-Research&id=7086123] Write What You Can Know Well – 10 Internet Sources for Research


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Writing Rituals – Does It Work? An Honest Review

By Martin Schmalenbach

What Is “Writing Rituals”?

“Writing Rituals” is a productivity guide for commercial writers and copywriters. By using it’s 5 Writing Rituals, the author, Nick Usborne, claims “you can turn things around very quickly, and achieve a dramatic increase in your productivity. This means you’ll get more writing done faster, and earn more money, every day, every week, every month and every year.”

The Sales Pitch

I’ll let Nick speak for himself:

Few of us write to our full capacity.

I know there are times when I don’t.

I have been a freelance copywriter for almost 30 years now, and still have productivity problems from time to time.

I also know I’m not alone. I have corresponded with dozens of other commercial writers and copywriters over the years, many of whom have the exact same problems.

These productivity challenges apply to people writing copy, web site content, blogs, white papers, business reports, essays, college papers, e-books and any other non-fiction.

I came across Writing Rituals via a recommendation on the ‘warriorforum’ forum. At just $17 it’s priced cheaper than many other manuals. I do a lot of writing for many outlets, AND I suffer way to often from lack of focus and procrastination (is it me, or is it an age-related thing – seems to get worse as I get older!). So buying it made sense for me.

You can see the rest of his sales pitch on his web site, which can be reached through .

He also has a great little affiliate opportunity. And yes, I’m gladly an affiliate too!

You get 50%, which is excellent, all handled through ClickBank.

And the icing on the cake? Nick provides affiliates with a number of articles to help with the pre-sell process, and these are great articles in their own right anyway!

What You Get

You get a 46 page PDF document, nicely laid out, pleasing on the eye. And no fluff.


The style is relaxed, and very empathetic – Nick clearly appreciates what it is like to have writer’s block for example. It’s easy to read, easy to access, thanks to the page numbering, use of space, and signposting – using a mix of heading styles and relevant graphics to indicate where each section starts & stops.

One of the last pages summarises the 5 rituals in a very useful format. In fact, I’ve printed this page out, laminated it and stuck it on the wall in front of my desk in my study!

I particularly like the story of Nick’s brother, a cabinet maker, and how he achieves what he does. Through this device we quickly get to grips with the rituals, what they are and why they are necessary. And this helps the rituals stick in the mind. Now, if only more writers of eBooks did the same…!


The essence of Writing Rituals are the 5 rituals themselves, which are:

clear your mind – remove distractions.

visualise the outcome.

get fully loaded – get all the information you need for the job, allocate time.

start writing – start anywhere!

stick to the plan

The manual shows you HOW to achieve these rituals. And they ARE rituals and not habits because, as Nick himself points out,

A habit is a repetitive behaviour that we pick up for better or for worse. Some of our habits are good, others are bad.

A ritual is also a repetitive behaviour, but it is conscious and deliberate. And it has a deeper meaning.

For example, Nick describes the use of tools such as mind mapping, to help visualise the outcome. Students of Solutions Focus may take a different approach.

A big part of the philosophy is self-discipline and the management of time and workload. You may want to also use Get Things Done by Dave Allen, and Goal Directed project Management, to assist you here. What I DO like are the little snippets of advice that are the ‘difference that makes a difference’. Perhaps these could be highlighted more, although these may only be MY differences that make the difference FOR ME!

And I just love some of the tips he provides in Ritual #4 – Start Writing – really simple, practical ways to get going. There are at least 4 that Nick highlights, and 1 or 2 of them are ‘off the wall’ – enough to make all the difference!

Nick gives good examples of applying each, and explains how each supports the other, and why following them in the given order can really make a big difference.

Applying It In Practice

I actually followed Nick’s 5 rituals in writing this review. Bearing in mind I have been writing for 20 years, have a number of articles published internationally in ‘learned journals’ as well as popular or ‘main street’ magazines, and use my writing to generate an income, you’d expect me to be able to turn something out quickly. And I can. Just not consistently enough for my liking. I almost always produce high quality material, but sometimes it can take an age until I’m satisfied and the client is too.

So what impact did Nick’s 5 Writing Rituals have on my productivity?

A huge impact! In fact I went away and wrote some other stuff using these rituals, just to check I hadn’t experienced a fluke! I hadn’t. I got to where I needed to be much more quickly in every case, usually between 25 and 50% quicker than usual, and with me feeling so much better about my efforts too – and that’s a big factor in overcoming any prolonged period of procrastination and writer’s block. And I have just had a bout of prolonged writer’s block too, so thanks Nick for helping me out of that one!

I found it very easy to apply these rituals. There are only 5 to remember, and I found that each ritual helped me apply all the others, and develop some self discipline too – I don’t have too much of that at times, despite serving in the military many years ago!

I’d say give them a go, you won’t miss out on anything if you do, and you are more likely to gain a lot instead.

Pros & Cons

There are other eBooks out there that have a lot of depth, or breadth about them. Or are actually pretty thin. I’ve seen some people comment on the fact there is nothing new here, nothing earth shattering, etc. Well, perhaps. Certainly there is nothing here I’ve not come across before. But this is the first time I’ve come across them in such a format that they’ve had a huge impact on me.

Others may think that $17 for 46 pages of nicely laid out text with a fair amount of white space is too much. Perhaps. You have to judge for yourself. My preference is for spacing.

For me, I’d have liked some stuff on how to write better copy. But “Writing Rituals” never set out to do this. It’s a productivity guide – nothing more. You can use these rituals if you are writing a 1 page sales page, or a 100,000 word novel – they are equally valid and useful.

Personally, spending $17 on a well-laid out and structured, mercifully short manual that helps me in a real and practical way to radically improve my productivity is money well spent. I hope it will be for you too, if you buy it. And, as it’s sold via ClickBank, there is the usual 56 days refund policy.

The only fault I can think of, and I had to think hard, is a lack of a contents page. This is usually a hot button for me, but wasn’t so much this time. Maybe it’s because it’s a naturally accessible book, in my opinion? Oh, and perhaps just a little bit more on managing your workload and projects – though the danger then is this is no longer the highly focused eBook that it currently is…


This eBook does “what it says on the tin”, at least, it has for me. If you are looking for how to write knock-out copy, look elsewhere.

If you are struggling at times to get things done with your writing, to overcome the latest bout of writer’s block, and to up your productivity hugely, then this is for you. Buy it, and then USE IT!

OK – that’s nearly 1300 words. I gave myself 2 hrs to do this, not the 6 hours I usually take, to write this review. Now it’s over to you!


Value For Money **** (4/5)

Readability/grammar *** (5/5)

Usability **** (5/5)

Application/practicality ***** (5/5)

Relevance ***** (5/5)

Overall **** (5/5)

Martin Schmalenbach is a relative newcomer to Internet Marketing. Having navigated the sheer volume of material and advice, he is now reviewing the many tools and systems. Read more reviews at []

You can read Nick’s sale page and get your own copy through the site.

Article Source: [—Does-It-Work?-An-Honest-Review&id=1084739]

Writing Multiple Articles Per Day The Effortless Way

By Lance Winslow

The other day, I got an interesting e-mail from a fellow online article author. He was not engaged in the selling trinkets or online article marketing, rather he was producing ideas and concepts, along with a little creative writing, and getting this information out to the world. What a noble cause indeed, a kindred spirit I might add. Apparently, he had counted up all the articles I had written, and divided by the number of days, and noted that I had written on average a dozen or so articles every day of my life since I started.

Okay so, let’s talk about this for second shall we? First, that was an interesting figure, and apparently his calculations were on the money. Still, I cannot say that it is the quantity of articles that you write that is truly the most important thing. After all, without decent quality what’s the use, you may as well just put out a bunch of tweets, blog posts, or create a few YouTube videos. Now then, let’s say you want to do this the right way. My acquaintance asked me how on earth I was able to accomplish that feat.

Unfortunately, there is no solid answer to give you, and I’m not sure how I did it myself, except that I persevered, didn’t stop, and worked very hard studying and reading to come up with more ideas and information to couple to my experiences, observations, and know-how. From there I used just a little bit of creativity, and I sat my butt down, and wore the keyboards off several computers, until I discovered speech recognition software.

Is it possible to write multiple articles per day? I believe it is. I think a good number is probably two or three articles per day, and it won’t be that hard once you get good at it. For instance, if you spend an hour a day, and you get good at writing, you should be able to produce 2 to 3 decent articles each and every day. That should suffice, and if you will think about production, efficiency, and find out what works best for you, then you can stay on top of this goal writing multiple articles per day in an effortless way.

The only reason I know this for sure, other than because I’ve done it, is because I’ve been asked this question numerous times, and my answer remains the same. If you follow what I’ve said here in this article, and will think about it, you can accomplish this goal. If you have any questions or comments you may e-mail me, let’s talk.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on []Writing Topic Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

Article Source: [] Writing Multiple Articles Per Day The Effortless Way

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10 Ways to Screw Up Your Blog From the Start

By Lisa A Mason

I work with many clients on a regular basis helping them with their blog and website content. Over the years I have been in business, I have written for thousands of different blogs/websites both with my byline and also as a ghostwriter helping my clients.

Through all the years and all the changes in search engine algorithms, there is one thing that has not changed- content is king. And it’s true now more than ever. However, I still see smart business people making dumb decisions about their blogs day in and day out. Some come to me to get help after they messed things up and others come to me from day one in hopes that I will help them get on the right track.

Here are some mistakes I see regularly that are sure to doom your blog before you even get off the ground and running:

Use a terrible theme that makes it difficult to read or look at your page. Backgrounds with odd patterns that make the reader feel dizzy or fonts that are too difficult to see or that blend in with the background are big no-no’s.
Write it like it’s a diary. Unless your blog is, in fact, a diary, it should not be written this way. Think about what’s in it for the reader. No one cares what you had for breakfast.
Abandon it! The key to blogging is consistency. If you create it and then abandon it, then you obviously will not have the results you seek.
Babble a lot, especially about yourself. Get to the point. Your readers are busy. Get to your point or they will find someone who can.
Bore the reader to death. Some writing is just not interesting. However, a creative blogger can make any topic (regardless of how dull) sound exciting.
Talk all about your products/services and how wonderful they are. The blog should give the reader something of value- not sound like an early morning infomercial.
Format your post like one giant block of text. Readers on the Internet like to skim. Break up your text, use smaller paragraphs and shorter sentences. Use bullet and numbered lists and subheadings when needed.
Disable comments. Blogging is about getting the reader engaged. You want people to be able to comment on your posts. If not, you’re just out there talking to yourself and what’s the point of that?
Have no social media share buttons. What’s the point of a great blog if it doesn’t get noticed? Add your social share buttons and make them as user friendly as possible and in an easy to find location.
Have nothing to say. It is possible to have a bunch of words that say absolutely nothing. Readers today (and Google) are looking for something more. Your posts should have something of value for the reader.

So what do you think? Have you ever made these mistakes in blogging? What are some other mistakes you’ve seen people make with their blogs? Did this post give you any ideas on how you can improve your blog?

About the Author:

Lisa Mason is a []freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles and the author of How to Earn a Living Writing for the Internet. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content in more than 10 years as a professional writer.

See her website for a free article writing template guide as well as more []writing tips and info on the writing services she offers.

Article Source: [] 10 Ways to Screw Up Your Blog From the Start
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Co-Authorship: Weighing the Pros and Cons

By Jared D Silverstone

Common wisdom dictates ‘two heads are better than one’. Working with someone has many pros: you can do less of the work, having someone else invest in your work takes away a lot of loneliness, and with a co-author, there’s a chance you won’t both get writer’s block at the same time.

On the other hand, you can’t control timing of the manuscript perfectly, and you’re going to have to worry about someone else’s conflicting ideas competing with your own. Many co-authorships happen based on existing friendships and mutually-formed ideas, but maybe you’re finding yourself publicly searching for a someone as a co-author for a book you have in mind. If so, here are some things to think about.

1.Common thematic goals

Most of the time, our worldviews come out at least a tiny bit in how we write our characterizations and themes. If you and your co-author have wildly different worldviews, you have to plan for that at the outset. Is this book going to reflect the struggles between two main characters with opposite worldviews, trying to make peace with each other in a polarized world? If so, your opposing co-author makes perfect point of view material, if you can pull it off without booking a flight to Paraguay in a rage (Paraguay is the only country in the world where you can legally duel someone).

2.Unified writing Style

Are you going to break your book into chunks representing different POV? If not, how will you make sure you both write the same characters with the same voice the whole time? This is perhaps the trickiest aspect of working with a co-author. If you don’t break into different POV chunks by author, or somehow find some other way to apportion the work for a consistent voice, you will have to spend a long time talking about the book and characters before you both get on the same page. On the other hand, you might enjoy that; getting all worked up about planning might be almost as fun as the actual writing.

3.Putting in the work

Will your co-author put in the same amount of work as you do? Would you rather he didn’t? If you don’t break the book into POV chunks, who will do style checks? Don’t choose a co-author just because you feel he or she should get in on the project, especially if you already have your ideas all laid out. Choose a co-author who can put in an amount of time you’re comfortable with–not too much, so that she dominates the project, and not too little, so that you’re left to do everything.

If you’re meant for co-authorship, you and your copilot will throw ideas together all the time, really enjoy them, and just make it happen. Sometimes these things are natural; sometimes you can structure them. Don’t stress the process more than you need to.

Some AuthorHouse authors like John P. Lopez teamed up with former NFL star Dan Pastorini to write Taking Flak, a memoir about the legendary sportsman’s life. The latter’s life story couldn’t have been as richly told, otherwise.

Jared Silverstone has worked in the self-publishing industry and now advises authors on matters about writing, editing and marketing books on their own through self-publishing companies such as]AuthorHouse. He contributes to various sites including the []AuthorHouse Writers Advice Center. He also maintains the blog Indie Book Adventures.

Article Source: []


Image: David Castillo Dominici

Top Mobile Apps for Creative Writers

If William Shakespeare were alive today he might say, “If apps be the food of creative inspiration…download them”!

I might be mucking up words from one of the best know writers on the planet, but I’m just having a little fun with words. As a writer, it’s our obligation to have fun with words—when we write, scribble down inspired plot lines, and even record a few words of inspiration for that next best-selling novel.

The following five smart phone apps will help you tap into your inner wordsmith. So hop on your nearest smartphone or tablet and get those creative juices flowing…
1. Verses: A Notebook for Creative Writers ($0.99 – for iPhone)

Regardless of if you’re a children’s storybook writer, a sci-fi novelist, or a short story writer—all similarly struggle with ideas when they come suddenly. I know I’ve had ideas for a story in the most inopportune of places, such as in bed, on my commute home from work, or during a board meeting with a bunch of stuffy suits. Too often, writers are hit with the muse when they are unable to capture it fully. Unfortunately they end up forgetting their best stuff when they don’t have something to write on or record their ideas down on. The Verses app will capture all of your inspired thoughts. It’s allows users to take notes whenever and wherever they’re struck with genius.

2. INSPIRO ($2.99 – for iPhone)

The INSPIRO app will wake you up from writer’s block faster than you can spell “metaphor”! I use this app whenever I’m feeling particularly low on ideas or when I’m procrastinating. This idea-generating app features 3 “chapters”: The Muse, Scenarios, and the daydream, each chapter will randomly produce a ton of inspiring phrases that can help kick-off your creative endeavors—from short stories to screen plays.

3. Kindle (Free – for Android)

To improve as a writer I constantly seek encouragement, inspiration, and education through the reading of other great writers. That’s why the Kindle app is a great way to enhance your skill and creativity as a writer. The Kindle app gives users access for searching and downloading a huge database of books via your Android device (plus the cost of individual books). Plus, you can use the Kindle device to sync all your books back to your laptop or desktop so they are always available in the cloud. Once only available on Amazon’s own standalone devices, Kindle is now available for popular devices like the iPad right through to more obscure devices like the G-Slate Android tablet from T-Mobile.

4. Instant Audio Recorder ($0.99 – for iPhone)

Taking notes on the back of envelopes and napkins isn’t very effective when you want them to be legible later on. Luckily there’s the Instant Audio Recorder app to take an audio recordings of your most inspired creative musings. This app is handy for capturing ideas, expert research interviews, and prime sources. Simply launch the app and it will automatically start recording so you always have a copy. Plus, you can forward your recordings to your email or iTunes library to listen to, store, or transcribe later on.

5. Dictionary & Thesaurus (Free – for Blackberry)

The most well-known, comprehensive dictionary and thesaurus duo from is available for mobile! Giving users access to a database of more than 500,000 words, definitions, and antonyms and synonyms, this app also offers phonetic pronunciations, recent history on words, a new word of the day, spelling suggestions, and social networking functions so you can brag about all the new words you’ve added to your vocabulary and be dubbed a “word snob” by your Facebook friends.

Bio: Jane Johnson is a writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone related news, commentary, reviews on popular providers like T-Mobile.


Grammar Don’t Matter (And Other Online Writing Myths)

By Greg Walker

You’ve read it before, probably on multiple occasions: Perfect grammar is less important when writing online content than it is for other types of writing.

Not so.

Grammar does matter. It always has done, and it always will do. Wherever writing is used to communicate ideas and thoughts, grammar will be essential. Because in the end that is what grammar does: It clarifies exactly what you mean to your readers so that they can understand what you are communicating with as little effort as possible.

The whole idea that writing for the web means writing at a more basic level, avoiding lengthy words and complex sentences, has nothing to do with discarding grammatical rules. On the contrary, if you want to make it easier for your readers to understand you online then surely faultless grammar is even more essential.

Grammatical mistakes slow the pace of your writing. They give it a jarring quality which jolts the reader out of the flow, forcing them to use more effort to understand what you are trying to say. And as we all know, online readers are not prepared to put up with that.

Punctuation mistakes can lead to even greater misunderstandings. The ‘Dear John’ letter at this link is fantastic, and a perfect way to illustrate how two very different meanings can be formed through using punctuation alone.

Some would argue that rules are there to be broken, and there is nothing to say that you cannot break the rules for impact… but you have to know them first.

‘Unique’ Content = High-Quality Content

Unique is a word which appears a lot online. Clients often ask their writers for ‘unique’ content; people discuss its importance in forums and on social networks; everyone is always so quick to herald the benefits of writing which is ‘unique.’

I’ve got nothing against unique copy as such. But it has gotten to the point where if a piece of writing is classed as ‘unique’, the automatic assumption is that this must mean it is good.

No assumptions should be made from the fact that someone has written something themselves using words that have not been put together in that particular order before. If ‘unique’ implied high quality, we’d all be using article-spinning software to do our work for us on autopilot to turn the internet into one great content-regurgitating monster.

And what about slavish rewrites of previous articles, raising the same old themes but using different vocabulary? Unique, yes. Worth reading? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

There is a Penalty for Duplicate Content

Of all the enduring myths of online writing, this has to be one of the most prevalent.

This is probably because of the invested interests that some people have in keeping the myth alive (article spinning software creators, perhaps?) who propagate it as widely as possible for their own commercial benefit.

So, in a bid to bypass all of the current nonsense out there, I found a couple of quotes which might be of interest:

“Duplicate content doesn’t cause your site to be penalized.” Source: Google

“Let’s put this to bed once and for all, folks: There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” Source: Google

OK, that’s pretty clear then. So where does the confusion come from?

Google also claims that duplicate content is only grounds for action if “it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”

But this is another thing entirely, and as long as you do not actively try to deceive the search engines by using duplicate content for malicious purposes you will be alright.

Writing for the Web Means Writing for Peanuts

This is another abiding myth of content writing, and it’s just plain wrong. The likely propagators? Those who have tried to launch a freelance career, hit the bidding sites, discovered that they cannot find any jobs that pay more than $1 an article, and promptly given up.

It is easy to find plenty of people complaining about issues such as low freelance writing rates without doing anything about it. But you also do not have to look too far to find many content writers who are earning very good livings.

The argument that web writing is low paid is easy to believe. After all, it is simpler to start up a career as a content writer than a magazine writer, therefore this must lead to more competition and lower rates.

But it does not work like this. As with any form of writing, or profession, there are a whole range of pay scales. There may be more writers, but there are also more writers willing to work for lower wages for the jobs that you don’t want to do. There are also lots of clients out there who are willing to pay higher rates.

I have my own theory on this: Refusing to believe that there is money to be made online is another reason to delay giving it a go. It is easier to simply decide that there is no money in it and put the whole idea to one side rather than try it out.

The truth is that if you can write well then you can charge accordingly, whether that’s online or offline.

Ditch the Myths

These are a few of the most prevalent myths that seem to endure well beyond their sell-by dates and haunt new writers (I say ‘new’ writers because most people who have been writing web content for a while know what to believe and what to ignore).

Do yourself a favor and forget about these online writing myths. They will only get in your way and stop you from enjoying the success that you are capable of achieving. Remember, just because lots of people say something, it doesn’t mean it’s right.



For more about the right and wrong ways to go about freelance writing online, visit Greg Walker has been writing online for years and can help you to avoid the pitfalls made by many new writers. He’s even written an ebook on ways to make money on the side using your writing skills which you can download for free at his website.

Writing A Comedy Script

By Andy Williams

In theory, writing a comedy script is easy; as a matter, of fact, we can apply that to writing a script of any kind, too. Writing anything is easy, period. However, when you start to apply qualifiers such as “funny” in front of the words “comedy script,” then the difficulty level obviously increases to the point that it can be very hard. Don’t believe that? Well, in that case, then just look at all of the bad “comedy” films that have ever been made throughout the history of film! Each and every one of those transgressors first started out with an awful comedy script. With all of this in mind, let’s take a quick glance at just what should be included in writing comedy, and, no, you need not be so-called comedy writers to succeed.

First, you should use reversals. What are reversals? A reversal is basically something that is contrary to what is expected. For instance, remember that scene from 2009’s The Hangover that included plans by Stu to wed his girlfriend? It turned out that Stu would actually marry a stripper-that’s a reversal. In fact, as those experienced in writing comedy will tell you, humour is founded on reversals.

Next, you should never underestimate the power of a big build-up. A big build-up relates to something happening in a movie that everybody expects, but to really capitalise on this occurrence, you should make any characters in your script expect the total opposite of what is really going to occur next. This has the effect of increasing the schism between the characters’ and the audience’s expectations and what really occurs. As a result, the bigger the schism is between expectation and reality, the bigger the laughs will be, too.

Believe it or not, location is not just important to the story of a movie, but also to writing comedy as part of your comedy script. If you select locations in a wise manner, even though you are writing a comedy, the funny ideas will just have a tendency to flow effortlessly. It will be useful to think of some locations that are not just interesting in a visual sense, but also chock full of curious items that your characters can interact with in humorous manners. For instance, The Hangover made great use of this principle of scriptwriting. Remember that the setting of the movie was Las Vegas, which obviously is chock full of interesting people and things that the Hangover characters could interact with, thereby producing really funny moments!

Searching for the less obvious joke is another thing to keep in mind when writing your comedy script. You see, in comedy, the less obvious is sometimes funnier than something that’s been done to death a hundred times over! Here is a tip on how to locate a less obvious funny joke: It is probably going to be the 5th or even the 20th scene that you can come up with and not the first one that you concoct. So be patient as you go about trying to find the less obvious joke in the material that you come up with.

Irony is rarely something that is practised properly, but when it is, it is usually comedy gold, maybe even comedy platinum. Irony is nothing more than creating either a disparity or an incongruity between the intention and the expression or even between the intention and the results. Remember this simple-but-effective definition of irony when crafting your comedy scenes. Irony is very versatile, which means that you can incorporate it right into your comedy on both the macro as well as the micro levels.

It is beyond clear that hardly everyone can be a legitimate comedy writer. In fact, some writers of comedy probably shouldn’t be in the business at all, but, for some weird reason, still are! No matter how you look at things, though, comedy is a science more than an art form because there are things that are simply funny to the human mind, period. So to save you from being just another of the many bad comedy writers out there, do keep the above tips in mind when composing your comedy masterpiece. That way, you’ll actually succeed at humour. []Andy Williams is a stand up comedian and award winning comedy writer.

Article Source: [] Writing A Comedy Script

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

From Wannabe to Writer

By Allie Anders

The first step to becoming a writer is to want to write something. I don’t mean to want to be a writer. How many people look out into the garden and say, Oh, I want to be a gardener. I want to put on those big gloves and boots and get out into that mud and transform it?

Those who do are real gardeners. But many others imagine the garden already all tidy and beautiful, with borders full of flowers and never any weeding to be done. They envisage the completed garden. It’s the same with some people who want to be writers – they imagine the completed book and none of the toil that goes into it. But you have to want to actually write – to long to do it – before you can become a writer. Let no one tell you anything different, because it simply isn’t true.

To want to write something you will have it running through your mind so that it’s already turning into sentences and paragraphs as you think about it. It really is like a baby bursting to come out. When this happens you won’t be worrying about finding a pretty pen to write with or where to place your desk or table so the sunshine falls on it during the afternoon. You will be grabbing the first biro that comes to hand and falling on the first piece of paper you find – an old envelope or whatever – and the words will be spilling out without your worrying about their shape or form. This is how you sow your literary garden. The tidying up (trimming and strimming) can come later.

So, to start writing you need to begin thinking of something – anything – that evokes passion in you, that you want to tell the world about. It doesn’t have to be to do with a particular issue or even a hobby. It can be an actual incident in your past. Have you ever had a big row with someone – your mother or mother-in-law, your boss or a co-worker? Think back over what it felt like till you feel your blood begin to boil all over again. Now you’re getting there.

Now, take up your pen and notebook, or sit down at the computer. Start putting down words without paying too much attention to them. Don’t worry about describing what anything looked like, unless it’s really vivid in your memory – for example, the colour of the lampshade someone hit you with. All that can be added later. Just try to
capture the emotion, the thoughts that were running through your head, whatever will add colour to the experience itself rather than to the things surrounding it. It is emotion that brings a piece of writing to life, pouring out like blood from a wound.

Because you do have to allow yourself to be wounded if you are to write down the things you feel churning around inside you. Even if you are writing a genre story, you need to find the vein to open in yourself to let the blood (emotion) flow out in a way that will make readers gasp, whether with pleasure or shock or horror.

Once you have started writing – broken the ground, so to speak – it is important that you write every day. It doesn’t matter what you write, just that you do, and that you allow your emotion to flow while you’re doing it. You might not be able to sit down for a formal writing session. Most of us have commitments to work, family, other projects. It is still writing if you just pick up the nearest scrap of paper and jot down something. But do it.

Eventually, though, you will have to start gathering these jottings together if they are to be of use to you, so it might be better to just use a notebook or the computer in the first place. A diary is a wonderful repository. If you get one of the great big A4 page-a-day ones and write just one page each night of anything – a memory, something that happened during the day, or your deepest feelings about something – this time next year you will have 365 pages, a very respectable size for a book.

As a novel, it probably won’t be in the right order, unless you had a plan clearly outlined in your head when you started. But it will be there in a form which you can sort into something coherent and, hopefully, good enough to be published once you’ve edited it (weeded your garden, that is).

So, back to the writing itself: when we’re recalling an event emotionally, we don’t think, Okay, so I woke up yesterday and had my breakfast, and then went to buy my newspaper… No, what we think is, The cheek of that bitch coming at me like that just because Joe and I were having a good time together. What did she mean, I was trying to steal her boyfriend? We can be friends, can’t we, without wanting to jump into bed together?

You start with the emotion of the situation and then, when you’re a bit calmer, you begin to rationalise it to yourself, remembering how the day started or where you first met someone, almost like providing yourself with backstory. But it’s the emotion that gets you thinking about what happened, and it’s the same with your readers.
Starting with someone staring out the rain-spotted window evokes no corresponding emotion in them. Plunging them right into the moment something important is happening will.

Another thing – from now on you should be sure to always have somewhere handy to jot down ideas. Once again, it can be the back of an envelope, but it’s a lot easier to have your thoughts in one place than than to have to gather all the envelopes and scraps of paper from the four corners of your life when you need them. Apart from the danger of throwing them away by mistake, of course.

The thing about ideas is that, like dreams, you are always sure when you first have them that you will remember them but, sadly, most vanish into the ether never to appear again. Even those you do manage to hold onto, you may not recall in exactly the same emotion-filled way they first arrived.

So when jotting down the idea, also put down any keywords that came with it, or even a sentence as it ran through your mind. It is in this form that you will be able to open up to the original idea in all its brilliance (because they always are brilliant, to you at least, or you wouldn’t have been riveted by them in the first place).

Finally, a brief word about writing properly. Way back in some mythical time in the past there were apparently people called editors who combed through writers’ error-strewn work to find the gold nuggets which would eventually be published.

Whether or not this ever actually happened, now you have to take responsibility for your work yourself. Don’t think it doesn’t matter if your spelling, grammar or punctuation aren’t right, or that no one will notice. It does matter and many people will notice and be annoyed at your lack of professionalism, which will spoil your story for them, no matter how wonderful it might be.

The draft of your novel is a bit like your house when there’s just you living there. You might be comfortable with all kinds of little flaws and quirks in it. But when you want to sell the house you simply have to tidy it up and redecorate if necessary to make it look its best for potential purchasers. That’s just common sense.
So if your own decorating or housekeeping skills aren’t up to it, you need to get someone with these to run an honest eye over your work. Only allow this to be your mother, son or favourite aunt if you can be sure they really will be honest. Responses such as, ‘Oh, that’s lovely,’ are no use whatsoever to you unless your relative is also a publisher or agent prepared to take you on as a writer.

This article is by Allie Anders, author of The Fairytale Quest, a children’s fantasy. In this story Toni is tricked into swapping her baby brother for a unicorn and has to go to Fairyland to try to get him back before her parents find out. The book is out on Kindle now, and the website will tell you all about it.

Article Source: [] From Wannabe to Writer


Jam on the Breaks When You Start Getting Off Topic

By Lisa A Mason

There are times when you start writing and you just love the topic. Because of your enjoyment of it, you may find yourself getting more in depth than you planned and
possibly even moving off topic. It is important to stay on topic and to keep within the word count of the article. It is easy to get lost and just start writing and
lose track of time but these tips can help you jam on the breaks when you start getting off topic:

Proof Read Every Paragraph – If you stop and proofread every paragraph as you go, you are less inclined to run on and on. You can get a grip on the topic and move to
the next paragraph. Now this does not mean that you are checking for spelling and grammar because you should do that at the end, but you should simply be checking for
content. You can always fix any errors that you find of course, but this should not be an editing session.

Do Not Research as You Go – It can be easy to simply get an idea for an article and start writing, when you get stuck, do the research to finish it. This is not a good
way to work because you may not even realize that you are not staying on topic at all. Instead, get all your research done before hand so you have a good working
knowledge of the topic.

Have a Basic Outline – Some writers find that starting each article with an outline on what each paragraph says makes the writing process easier. It also helps to keep
you on topic because you are following a set pattern. Since we make money by the article and not the time we spend working so make it a quick little outline that
simply keeps you on track.
It can be very easy to get rolling along just to find that you have completely missed the mark on the topic of your article. This means time wasted and time wasted is
money lost for writers. If you proof read and research as you go as well start with a basic outline, you should have no problems getting off topic.

About the Author:

Lisa Mason is a []freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles and the author of How to Earn a Living Writing
for the Internet. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content in more than 10 years as a professional

See her website for a free article writing template guide as well as more []writing tips and info on the writing services she offers.

Article Source: [] Jam on the Breaks When You Start Getting Off Topic


How to Find Writing Inspiration

By Becca Chopra

Everyone who has gone through life’s tough experiences and come out the other end has wisdom to share. We’re all experts at life’s lessons and we all have the knowledge to fill many self-help books. But, where to start? What words to use?

One of my friends who has gone through breast cancer, broken bones, and loss of a parent at a young age, has learned methods of coping, plus inspiration to help others as well. So, she’s starting to write. You may have a story to tell as well, and it’s cathartic (which can be good) to get your words out.

But where does the inspiration to write come from? From the chakra standpoint, the Third Eye chakra. This is the chakra that opens you to your spirit guides or higher self or higher knowing, whatever terminology you choose to use. You can access the “muse,” your inner guidance, and messages from the Infinite, all when in the alpha state, when opening your Third Eye.

You’re also in the alpha state when you’re near sleep. Don’t you wake up in the middle of the night and wish you had a pencil and paper to jot down your great ideas? Another time you empty your “monkey mind” is when exercising. When I go for a run, just the right words for a headline, slogan, or retort to a criticism will pop into my mind. While a nap or a run might not fit into your work day, meditation can easily fit into 10-minute breaks when you’re up against the wall of writer’s block.


Meditation is a daily practice that has numerous health benefits, because it reduces the stress response on all of the body’s organs and systems, sharpening the mind and enhancing calm and clear thinking.

Research studies continue to report on the power and benefits of meditation. A new study from the University of North Carolina shows that people who meditated for 20 minutes a day performed 10 times better than ones who didn’t meditate.

Not just 100% better, but 10 times or 1000% better, an amazing shift.

If you’re writing your next article or book, imagine how that would affect your productivity and creativity. In fact, meditation could be a great way to overcome writer’s block.

Some might say meditation is one of the fastest ways of coming up with new ideas. But how can you fit it in?

1) Find a regular place in your home, office or garden where you can sit quietly for 10 minutes without disturbance.

2) Choose the style of meditation that feels right to you:

– A guided visualization you can listen to on your iPod,

– A traditional meditation where you focus on your breath or a mantra,

– A more active meditation where you relax through a few deep breaths, focus on a specific question or topic, and wait for answers/inspiration to come in.

So, calm your mind with meditation and open it to creativity.

For more on chakras, and to listen to a guided Chakra Meditation that you can listen to while sitting or lying down, please go to []

For more information, contact Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, at

Article Source: [] How to Find Writing Inspiration

Advice for New Authors on Writing a Children’s Book

By Lesley Carr

It would be hard to argue against the premise that the language and themes commonly used in children’s books are relatively straightforward when compared to those in adult novels. However, as an aspiring author you shouldn’t assume that writing a children’s book is easy. Far from it! As any parent will tell you children are an audience that’s notoriously difficult to please.

Characterization and plot play important roles in all children’s books, and there is another factor that you need to be aware of. Keeping the interest of your young readers is something you’ll have to bear in mind at all times. Unlike adults, who are prepared to stick with something as it develops, children will quickly lose interest if a book doesn’t grab their attention right from the start, and then keep it held throughout.

If you currently spend a great deal of time around children, you may already have a good insight into the way their minds work. However, just because you are frequently in the company of children doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve tapped into the way their minds work. How much do you actually listen to them, rather than talk to them? Allowing a child to lead a conversation can be very enlightening, and it’s often not something adults are comfortable doing.

If you don’t have your own children or grandchildren, but would like to gain valuable experience of children’s company, it might be possible to volunteer as a helper at your local school, subject to any necessary background checks. If you explain that you’re writing a children’s book, you may find yourself with a warm welcome.

It’s tempting to think that because you were, at one time, a child yourself, you will naturally know all about what motivates and interests children. That may prove to be a big mistake. What was true for you 20, 30 or 40 plus years ago is not necessarily true for today’s children. They live in a different world, which moves at a much faster pace. They are exposed to multiple stimuli, such as television, the internet and video games. Their levels of understanding and engagement are far more complex than yours will have been.

It’s vital from the very start of writing a children’s book that you have a clear idea of which specific age group you are targeting. The rate at which children’s intellects develop is surprisingly quick, so that a difference of just a year can mean a great deal in terms of their expectations and ability to understand.

If you are writing a children’s book and considering self publishing it, make sure you work with an experienced and supportive rel=nofollow children’s book printing company to produce your books.

Lesley Carr has a wealth of advice and tips for aspiring writers, including how to find inspiration for your work, getting your draft manuscript into shape, and how to manage your route into self-publishing. She works closely with to assist authors with getting their work into print.

Article Source: [] Advice for New Authors on Writing a Children’s Book

Daydream Believer

By Joy DeKok


With the recent death of teen idol, Davy Jones, the words to Daydream Believer have been running through my mind more often. It’s been a favorite of mine for a very long time.


When I was in grade school, my teachers sometimes had to pull me back from my daydreams to the classroom, and they did this with varying degrees of patience. Okay, so math was enough to cause my brain to freeze and science put me into a deep trance; I tried hard to concentrate. When numbers and science came together, I closed my eyes to hold back the tears. Really.


My parents were told I was a daydreamer as if that was a dirty word. Here’s the truth about all of this: I didn’t waste a lot of school time on daydreams. They were fragile, beautiful things that might get damaged or ruined. It’s probable when I was starring off into space, they’d simply lost me, again, and it’s highly likely I was hoping when I looked back at the blackboard, I’d finally get it. It never happened.


After a negative moment in the sixth grade (Yes, I was starring at the door, wondering if I could get a hall pass to get a drink), I tried really hard not to let my mind wander. It didn’t go well, and I gave up. I welcomed daydreaming into chemistry class and algebra. I wasn’t going to understand either of them, and was likely to get accused of daydreaming, so why not?


Slipping away in my mind was easy. I could be wearing the coolest of the cool hip-huggers with elephant bells, and dating either Davy Jones or Donny Osmond. I never entered the teen magazine contests, but I could win in my imagination.


But you know what? I knew none of those dreams would come true. It was the other daydream that mattered; the one where I was a writer with readers. Words filled my heart, my head, and my notebooks. Poetry flowed, and stories danced in my dreams. My mind was at home in these misty moments. It felt good and right. It still does.


I don’t know anyone who doesn’t indulge in a little daydreaming from time to time. We writers dream about what our words will look like on the pages, our names boldly printed on book covers, our characters, our reader take-aways, and emails from people who bought, read, and love our books.


Some experts call this visualization. This simple terminology switch, transforms daydreaming into a healthy exercise.


Now when I get time to stare off into space or close my eyes and go deep in a daydream, it counts as writing. Forget the hip-huggers; this is the coolest of the cool.


There has always been a difference between my teen idol infatuations and my writing daydreams; I believed writing was a part of who I am and what I was created to do.


That makes me a daydream believer.


Is there a daydream you’ve put off? If you dare to believe in it, you might get to live it.


Joy DeKok is a published author, speaker, and author coach. Because Joy is living out her dreams, she knows others can too. This is one of the driving factors in her writing, coaching, mentoring, and speaking.


Article Source: [] Daydream Believer

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?

Why Book Editors Reject Fiction Proposals

By Adrienne DeWolfe

As a book writing coach, I answer that question a lot when folks want to know how to become an author.

As strange as it may seem, even good book writing gets rejected sometimes. In the Western genre, for instance, the bottom has fallen out of the market. As a result, only the best of the best published authors, who have a strong and loyal reading audience, get offered contracts for Western book proposals.

The good news is that publishing is a cyclical business, and the success of recent movies, like True Grit and Cowboys and Aliens, has given Western writers hope that book editors will start buying Westerns again.

But what if you’re writing a popular fiction genre, sales are booming, and you still can’t find an editor to buy your book?

It’s a lot harder to explain why book editors reject fiction writers who appear to be doing everything right.

One of my novel writing students falls into this category. She’s writing Romance novels, which statistically outsell every other fiction genre.

She has taken a half-dozen online writing courses.

She has workshopped her manuscript with at least three published Romance authors (all of whom have praised her story and promised her testimonials for her book cover).

She has hobnobbed with book editors and literary agents at all the important writing conferences. She has even won an award as an up-and-coming (if unpublished) Romance author.

So why do book editors continue to send back her fiction proposal?

I have to admit, I’m beginning to think that her book writing isn’t the problem. Call it Karma, call it Timing, call it the Will of a Higher Power, but she just hasn’t been able to sell that book. I’m as bummed by her latest rejection letter as she is.

The frustration of my writing student has motivated me to write this article to illuminate the many personal and professional considerations that impact the book buying decisions made by editors and publishers.

For instance, book editors have to read your manuscript a minimum of 2 times (plus all your revisions) before your story goes to press. Mind-boggling, eh? If I were a book editor who had to read every blessed word in a 400-page manuscript more than 2 times, you can be sure that I would only purchase a story that I absolutely loved!

Here’s another eye-opener:

In mega corporations like Doubleday Random House, fiction book editors don’t make decisions all by their lonesome. If they fall in love with your story, they have to convince a whole slew of other publishing professionals (sometimes referred to as the Editorial Committee) that you’re worth spending money on — and I’m not just talking about your advance against royalties.

Publishers have to hire an artist and models to pose for your book cover’s illustration. They have to consider the price of advertising and promotion, commodities (like paper), and the commissions that they’ll owe to their sales team for shopping your book to national distributors. In short, publishers incur a lot of operating expenses to print and market a book.

So you can bet that the book editor who is reading your story for the first time is not only evaluating your writing skills, she’s weighing the business consequences of championing your fiction proposal to the Editorial Committee.

If your story should fail to generate revenue for her employer — the publisher — she’ll have some explaining to do. And if that editor finds herself buying a few too many books that bomb financially…

Well, let’s just say that book editors have career aspirations, too.

If you want to know how to become an author, here’s my best advice: keep the faith in your publication dream, and write books.

In the immortal words of Irwin Shaw, “If you’re a real writer, you’ll write no matter what.”

About Adrienne deWolfe

Published by Bantam Books and Avon Books, Adrienne deWolfe is an award-winning genre fiction novelist and book writing coach 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: [] Why Book Editors Reject Fiction Proposals

How to Find Places to Publish Your Short Fiction

By Kathryn Lively

Not everybody aspires to write the great American novel. In fact, many writers are content to thoughtful and engaging short stories, whether for broad consumption or simply as a means of channeling creative energy into the written word. Writing short stories may not make you a millionaire, but you have the opportunity to gain a loyal readership and perhaps find greater glory in another medium. When you consider that a short story about cowboys by Annie Proulx, published originally in The New Yorker, was adapted into an Oscar-winning film, you’ll find the possibilities of interpreting your story are many. So, too, are opportunities for getting them read.

Thanks to the Internet, writers have greater avenues to explore for their writings. As a short story author, you especially want to take note of market guidelines – what rights are signed over, how you are paid, and in which media your story will be distributed. Here are just a few suggestions for your short piece:

Story Journals and Magazines – Yes, there are still many journals and periodicals on the market that accept short fiction. Granted, some of the better known magazines may require you to have agent representation, but you can consult the annual Writer’s Market guides to find out which journals will look at work and what you need to do to submit.

Anthologies – Keep an eye out, too, for submission calls by publishers putting together multi-author anthologies. These are especially popular in certain genres like science fiction or mystery. While many anthologies are by invitation only, you can search online submission calls for other projects. Editors of these works typically offer authors a flat fee and take one-time rights, but it’s best to check all the particulars before you sign a contract.

Self-Published Singles – Thanks to the likes of Amazon’s KDP platform, authors can offer short stories for the Kindle. You can charge as little as 99 cents for readers to download your stories to eBook devices or laptops.

Short Story Collections – If you find you have enough shorts to comprise a book, you may wish to consider publishing them together as a collection. Research publishers interested in taking on a short story author, or look into alternatives in self-publishing to get your book out to readers.

Story Websites – As with periodicals, there are fiction websites willing to pay for content. Some may be subscription based, while others make the works available to all visitors. Be sure to study all potential websites before submitting.

Think Outside the Box! As a writer you are encouraged to be original. Take advantage of new media to promote work. Tweet your story 140 characters at a time on your account, or set up a Facebook page for your stories. You may not make money, but the readers you gain from your publicity may end up buying your works later on.

Short fiction is more in demand than you think. Know where to go to submit your work, and you will discover a rising appreciation for your talents.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on []freelance editorial services and []social media writing.

Article Source: [] How to Find Places to Publish Your Short Fiction

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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

Studying Your Favorite Author Can Help You Write Your Book

By Flora M Brown, Ph.D.

Staring at a blank sheet of paper or Word document as you start your book is a scary thing. It stops the flow of creativity in even the most talented writer. As for newcomers to the process, it can kill the dream at the start.

Published writers, editors and publishers offer much advice about what you should do before you write your book. Most say you should create an outline or put pressure on yourself by announcing your plan to the world.

One thing that is extremely helpful to authors as they are writing their book is market research. You may have heard this term used as it relates to consumer research for marketing services and products, but it is also a very relevant practice for writers, too! Studying the work of a writer you admire is an excellent example “market research” for writing your book.

There are three good reasons for it:

1. Inspiration
The mere fact that a favorite author has successfully shared her ideas in print is encouraging, especially at the start when your first words seem out of reach. Observing the author use words you can understand to unfold concepts before your very eyes will give you encouragement and often call forth your ideas that until now were too shy to reveal themselves.

2. Guidance
It is very instructive to turn an analytical eye to the work of an admired author or even the top authors in your genre, whether you admire them or not. You can learn about writing, structuring and publishing all in one place.

First, pay attention to how you approach the book as a reader: check out the title, author’s name, quick scan of front cover, flip over to back cover looking for proof that this book will keep the promise of its title and solve your problem or fill your need.

Second, go inside the book to see how the author delivers on his promise. How does he begin, develop and end the chapters? Is the book light-hearted, humorous or serious, with lessons and activities? Are there quotes, stories, illustrations, and if so, do they add to the message? Are there examples to make key points clear or does the author pose questions and leave you to reflect?

3. Direction
After you have read, examined and analyzed the book, you will begin to see gaps in what and how the author wrote his book and how you want to write yours.

You will notice omissions, ideas she didn’t cover or information glazed over that you’d like to explain in more depth in your book.

You will begin to see missing evidence you would set forth to support ideas in your book that somehow the author in question neglected.

In this phase you will begin to see your book emerge as distinctive. Even though it may be on the same or similar topic or style and isn’t even written yet, you will begin to see the gap your book will fill in the literature.

You will be able to visualize the books currently on the bookstore shelf moving closer together making just enough space on the shelf for your upcoming book to join them.

There are two very practical reasons to study another author or authors in your genre:

You will be able to return to them when your confidence wanes along the way (and it will).
If you plan to approach a literary agent or submit directly to a traditional publisher, this will be a required part of your proposal, without which they will not even consider your manuscript.

Using some of these techniques and tips will keep you moving forward on your path to writing your own book. Start putting them into action today!

Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. is an author, coach, speaker, radio host and entrepreneur. Her book, Color Your Life Happy, promotes making choices that give you the life you want. Her forthcoming book, Color Your Life Published: How to Write a Nonfiction Book in 90 Days, gives the ordinary person reassurance and guidance in getting their books published and creating multiple streams of income. Get her free ebook, It’s Time to Write Your Book, at

Article Source: [] Studying Your Favorite Author Can Help You Write Your Book


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