Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I'm going to be honest here: I don't know that much about Virginia Woolf. She was a writer, and she came to a rather poor end after penning many well-loved books. For my purposes, that's not important. My recent quest to be more like Virginia Woolf isn't about her books. It's about how she wrote them.
Will the Real Jade Varden Please Stand Up
Legend says that Virginia Woolf actually wrote standing up. This is a contrast to Truman Capote, who purportedly wrote lying down. Woolf had a competitive relationship with her sister, an artist. In a stunning bit of sibling rivalry, Virginia Woolf chose to write while standing so her sister could not say writing was an easier job than being an artist. I don't have a sister, but I think the idea of standing up is absolute perfection.
Monday, October 20, 2014
In fiction, certain names have associations that you just can't shake. No YA author can include a "Bella" in their book, for example, and if you throw a "Romeo" out there it's just going to be a distraction. Some names have a deeper meaning and a preexisting link to another literary project. That's why you should avoid those names altogether.
Betty and Veronica
There are many, many names that are probably a bad idea when it comes to writing fiction. After all, Dagmar is a name. But when it comes to naming characters, be sure to avoid these 5:
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Not all authors choose one side or the other, you know. Some keep one foot firmly planted in the old, established world of traditional publishing, and the other foot floating on the cloud of digital age technology and ebook publishing. Some authors are not just one thing, but two. These are the hybrid authors, and they are suddenly everywhere.
Classic By Day, Modern By Night
Hybrid authors are the "in" thing right now in the literary world. These are authors who digitally self-publish ebooks, but still traditionally publish paper books. Some authors do this by keeping entire pen names separate. Others may write certain books intended for self-publishing. And still others hang on tenaciously to the digital rights for all their books, selling off the rights piecemeal to traditional publishers while holding onto the rest. No matter what type, hybrid authors are out there. Should you be one of them?
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Authors are artists who paint with words instead of colors. And artists, by nature, are sensitive types. When you first start publishing, you're going to feel a lot of self-doubt. You'll be wounded by negative reviews. You'll be hurt by rejection. You'll agonize over decisions, and question your books and your writing skills again and again. But here's what you have to know about it: being an author doesn't get any easier.
They're All Going To Laugh At You
What if they don't like it? What if everyone says it's terrible? What if you had written something else, instead? These questions will go through your mind when you write books, because this goes through every author's mind. But it doesn't matter how many books you publish. Questions like this will always go through your mind.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Have you ever been really, really, really hungry? Have you ever stayed awake for 48 hours in a row? Did you break a bone? Did you fall in love...or fall out of it? Well, why don't you write it?
When you're a writer, you're going to hear the phrase life experience a lot. But you don't have to go to Italy or kill a guy in order to get life experience. Everything you've ever been through, no matter how seemingly mundane it is, can help you write a book. If you've felt hunger, if you've worked out until your muscles ached, if you've smelled the perfumed scent of a cigar -- all of it, any of it, can lend rich details to your book. And the other stuff that you haven't done? Well...you can use research for that.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Pre-orders work for big-name titles like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but what about for you? If you do a long pre-order, won't all your fans end up owning your book before the actual publish date? What would you do then?
Selling, Before You Start Selling
Smashwords and Amazon, which are both very indie-friendly sites, both offer pre-order options that allow customers to pay for the book even before it's published. According to market research, books that are available through the pre-order option tend to sell more copies overall than the books that do not. And you need to know that, because the numbers also show that most indie authors don't use it. Why?
Thursday, October 9, 2014
When you and I talk about grammar, it confuses things for you and me. When do you use which, and how do you tell the difference?
Me and I
In order to know when to use I and when to choose me instead, you've got to know the difference between the two. They're both pronouns, but they're different types of pronouns. You see, I is a subject pronoun. Me is an object pronoun. So...what the heck does that mean?
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I'm not shy about the fact that I go on the prowl for writing tips. You're never done learning. But sometimes, the tips I find completely baffle me. The ones see most often is just perfect for a bumper sticker: always be writing. But as someone who actually always is writing, I've got to say it: this is a bad tip.
...Because You'd Die
This is yet another of those post where I'm going to tell you to do the exact opposite of what I do. I am a cautionary tale. Because I'm so always writing, I had to compose this blog post on two different devices. I literally can't move about my own home without writing something. Always be writing is nice and trite when you're writing something for Twitter, but as someone who has put this insane notion into practice I can assure you, it's terrible.