Monday, September 29, 2014
Regular readers will notice there is no Writing 101 post today, and you'll see that it won't be here tomorrow, either. You may not find me on Twitter, and you can't expect me to post the tip later today. Because I'm not here.
I'm on vacation! To find out why, re-cap on one of my recent blog posts. Feel free to use these vacation days to catch up on all my Writing 101 tips, and don't get too complacent! I'll be back later this week to share more horror stories, give more advice and tell you what I've learned from my many, many writing mistakes.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
You have to be "out there" as an indie author, easy to find and easy to access. You've got to be on social media and build up your author page, join in on forums and respond to fans who have something to say to you. But there will be lots of times when you don't like what they say. Not everyone's going to be a fan. When those non-fans approach you, and they will, you have to learn how to master a necessary skill: grin and bear it.
Let's Get Critical
The entire world is full of critics, and the Internet allows everyone to get critical about anything that they see. Many, many people choose to exercise this right. Some of them are going to do it with you. Can you handle that?
The Internet allows for a type of communication never before seen. It allows for spacial barriers to fall away, so that two people can have real time conversations even from opposite sides of the globe. It allows for exploration that was never possible before. And it allows for people to act a lot like jerks.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Indie books appear on the market every single day. The only way for self-published authors to keep up is to keep publishing more and more books, right? It's nice in theory, but it's not all that practical for authors who maintain full-time schedules and want to write really high-quality books. It's okay. You can just write other stuff, too.
The Next Best Thing
Can't write four new novels and get them published this year? You're only human, so don't be discouraged if you're not writing and publishing your books as fast as you'd hoped. However, it is important for you to stay in the game and keep your name out there. There's only one thing you can do: write other stuff.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
As an indie author, you've got to be a bit of a braggart. You've got to shove yourself in other people's faces constantly. If you're shy by nature, that's a big problem. It's one you're going to have to learn how to overcome.
What Worked for Emily Dickinson...
It's not enough for you to write amazing stuff and then keep it all to yourself. Emily Dickinson did it, and it didn't really make her happy. If it had, she wouldn't have written so many poems about death and dying. If you're naturally shy, you have to learn how to pretend not to be. As an indie author, you have to find ways to be extroverted. So you have to find a way to flip your personality.
Monday, September 22, 2014
It's happening more and more. Authors are relying upon adjectives to tell their stories for them. When you're truly painting a picture with words, certain descriptors like gloomy just aren't good enough. After all, your gloomy might look different from mine. So are you really painting that scene, or just using meaningless adjectives?
Blah, Blah, Blah
It was a stormy night, and the horses were spooked in the barn. She could hear them making creepy noises when she got close to the grimy windows.
Notice how I didn't really tell you much of anything in the passage above? What do "creepy noises" sound like? What's so grimy about the windows? And by stormy, what does the narrator mean? Is is snowing? Is it raining? Is there wind? How do I know? The above passage is stuffed with meaningless adjectives. Now let's figure out how to get them out of there.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
"I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed Varden’s world building skills and the rich characters she presented."
"With a world that is so big you want to keep exploring and a few surprises at the end that you won’t see coming, 'Hope’s Rebellion' is definitely a book worth checking out."
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Is it really worth it to be a writer? The romantic answer is a resounding yes. And if you're the type of person who likes insecurity, criticism, instability and exhaustion, then it's definitely something you ought to pursue. But if you enjoy getting holidays off and want to have some sort of extra time on the weekends, you've got some hard thinking to do.
Being a writer means paying a ton of money in taxes -- much more than you would if you had a "real job" -- and it means working much longer hours than the 9-to-5 guys who get the luxury of being on the clock just 40 hours a week. It also means being disregarded by everyone you know, because they'll assume it's easy for you to be flexible when it comes to your work. After all, to some of them what you do isn't even going to be real work. So before you pursue the goal of working as a full-time writer, make sure it's really worth it to you...because I promise, you're going to have to give up a lot to make it work.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
As an author, you're free to use words any way you want to paint pictures, evoke emotions and tell your story. But you're not free to use any symbols you want. It's time to find out about the ampersand, the percent sign and the other stuff you can't use.
Symbols vs. Punctuation
The ampersand, the percent sign and the slash actually are not punctuation. That's the first thing you've got to know and that's what you'll need to remember. These parts of the keyboard are actually symbols, not punctuation. And that's why you can't use them.