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860 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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I have advocated for indie authors supporting indie authors many times before on this blog. The general idea is to reserve a day of the week to promote the work of a fellow indie author. The question is what day of the week works best for this type of activity.


The vehicle to promote an indie author is clear. You will be using social media. Which social media outlet is up to you. There are a lot to choose from, and many of you probably use several social media sites to make connections with readers.


There is data out there that lets you know when the most active times are for all the social media sites. Because there are so many of them and because some of them service very specific demographics, it's hard to find a consistent day of the week and time of day that will be best to promote your selection for indie author of the week. Rather than try to force a square peg into a round hole by finding a time that caters to all of them, here are the best times to post to get the most views for some of the more popular social media sites. Choose the one that best fits your social media strategy.


  • Facebook: Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Twitter: Wednesdays at noon and between 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Instagram: Mondays and Thursday are the best days of the week, and the best time is between 8:00-9:00 p.m. Specifically, folks say to avoid posting between 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • LinkedIn: Tuesday through Thursday from 7:00-8:00 a.m., at noon, and from 5:00-6:00 p.m.


Remember: creating buzz for other indie authors can build credibility for all indie authors. Get out there and share the indie author love.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Supporting Indie Authors

Living the Indie Author Dream

759 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, social_media
0

I'm on the distribution lists of many indie authors who occasionally send out promotional emails about their books. Marketing is a lot of work, so I respect the efforts of these individuals to boost their sales. Unfortunately, however, many of the emails I receive are peppered with errors, and that doesn't instill much faith that the books being promoted are going to be good. The books might in fact be excellent, but if people don't want to read them because of errors in the marketing emails, that shows the power of a negative impression.

 

We all make mistakes, which is why it's important to proofread your messages several times before sending them out. My brain plays tricks on me when I write, especially after I've been cutting and pasting and moving things around. Sometimes I simply don't see mistakes because my brain sees what it thinks should be there. To help counter that, I have my mom read my newsletters before I send them out. If you don't have someone like that to help you, try reading your content out loud to catch errors.

 

If you were promoting yourself as a dentist or a mechanic, errors wouldn't be so detrimental. But, you're a writer, and you're promoting your writing! So think of your messages as a way to showcase your talent, to give the recipients a taste of what you can do. If your content is engaging, well written, and free of errors, it is more likely to encourage potential readers to pick up a copy of your book.

 

Note: I prefer to use a newsletter program instead of email. Mailchimp is free if you have fewer than 2,500 subscribers, and it's easy to use. If your distribution list is smaller still, bulk emails can also work fine. Just be sure to use the blind copy feature for the recipients.

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

 

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Watch for Errors in Marketing Materials

Book Marketing Is a Numbers Game

415 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, marketing, self-publishing, writing, promotions, writing_tips, grammar_advice
1

Book events aren't the draw they used to be. There is too much in the way of entertainment out there: movies, concerts, musicals, plays, comedy shows, etc. You have a lot of competition. The best way to generate interest for your book event is to spice things up a little. Here are three ideas to make your next book event an actual event.


  1. Treats: Doing a book signing? Would you like people to stop by your table? Put out a bowl or tray of treats: candy, brownies, chips, etc. If it's sweet and/or savory, it will draw people to your table. People rarely grab a free treat and run. Once they're standing in front of you, they are more than likely going to inquire about your book. Make your pitch. Snag a reader.
  2. Entertainment: Have you scheduled a public reading? Do you play a musical instrument or do you know someone who does? Why not come up with a set list for the reading? A little acoustic guitar or even a small jazz ensemble could be a great draw and turn a reading into a bona fide event.
  3. Actors: Got some killer dialogue? Then don't do a reading. Do a series of short plays featuring your best dialogue. You will find actors in practically every community across this country of ours. They are eager to perform. Make a connection at a local theater, and you can combine a fundraiser for them with a night of short one-acts featuring themes and characters from your book.


The key is to make your "event" as eventful and inviting as possible. Do whatever your budget will allow to build excitement for your next book event.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Participation required

 

Do you need swag?

371 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, promotion, writing, book_events
0

To lie vs. to lay

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 29, 2016

 

When I was in high school people used to say "laying out" when referring to catching rays at the pool or the beach. At the time I remember thinking they should have worn sunscreen, but it didn't occur to me that they also should have said "lying out." But now I know better!


I still hear this mistake frequently, so I thought it was worth a blog post about the difference between lay and lie.


To lay requires a direct object (you lay something down/out):


  • Every morning I lay the envelope on the desk so he can see it.
  • I always lay a towel on the floor to prevent water from getting all over the bathroom.
  • It's smart to lay out a plan of action before every game.


The past tense of to lay is laid:


  • Every morning I laid the envelope on the desk so he could see it.
  • I always laid a towel on the floor to prevent water from getting all over the bathroom.
  • She laid out a plan of action before every game.


To lie doesn't have a direct object:


Every evening I lie on my bed and think about grammar.

Even though it's bad for her skin, she lies out in the sun.

She needs a game plan to keep her team from lying down and losing.


Now here's where it gets confusing--the past tense of to lie is lay:


  • Every evening last summer I lay on my bed and thought about grammar.
  • Even though she knew it was bad for her skin, she lay out in the sun for hours every day.
  • Despite the game plan, her team lay down and lost.


To summarize:


  • Today you lie on your bed.
  • Today you lay your head on your pillow.
  • Yesterday you lay on your bed.
  • Yesterday you laid your head on your pillow.


I realize what a head-scratcher this can be, so if after reading this post you want to go lie down and lay your head on a pillow, I won't blame you!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Grammar tip: how to use gerunds correctly

Grammar tip: have gone, not have went

349 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar_tip, lie_vs._lay
0

I recently finished a book that was much more difficult to write than I had anticipated. I had done a lot of preliminary work before I started writing. I selected a target number of chapters I wanted in the book. I did this by examining other books in the genre, and I found that a fairly consistent number kept popping up. No, it's neither a scientific nor a particularly artistic approach, but it gave me an idea of what other authors were doing, which was all I wanted. Next, I wrote a one-sentence description of each chapter, and in most cases, they weren't even complete sentences. I just wanted to build a ladder, of sorts, that defined the action of the book. Following that, I wrote a 50-word description for each chapter. This is where I started fleshing out character and plot. Finally, I increased the description to 250 words per chapter, providing more detail and even some key dialogue.

 

I essentially wrote a mini-version of the completed book before I wrote the first draft. I thought I'd have an easy time of it once I started writing the actual book. I was wrong. What I did was box myself in. As I wrote and explored the story and characters with my writer's hat on, this detailed outline confined me instead of liberating me.

 

About a quarter of the way through writing the first draft, I decided to allow myself to break away from the outline--but not completely. I used it as a guideline. The flow of the outline and the first draft were compatible, but the details differed, in some cases, greatly.

 

Outlines are great, and I will use them in the future. I will avoid overly-detailed outlines, though. They are too restrictive for the writer in me.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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When writing, don't outsmart yourself

The post-draft outline

701 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, drafts, revision, writing_advice, writing_practice
0

Do you have a mailing list of readers who enjoyed your writing? If so, good for you! Whether it's through a newsletter program or email, reaching out to your fans is a good way to keep a connection with them. The question is, what do you tell them?


In my semi-regular newsletter I include one piece of "news." Here are some examples:


  • Photos of my events such as book signings, book clubs, speeches or panel discussions
  • News about upcoming translations of my books
  • News about sales milestones
  • Promotions for signed copies (this is good to do around the holidays for gift ideas)
  • Photos of fans holding up my books at home or at stores (they send them to me sometimes!)
  • News about distribution agreements, e.g., in certain bookstores or wholesale clubs
  • Awards my books have won


In each newsletter I also include links to my recent blog posts as well as a note about my consulting services. I also encourage my fans to tell their friends about my books, so I can afford to keep writing them.


While I like to keep my newsletters strictly about my professional life, some author friends of mine have chosen a more personal route. One recently sent out a message about her engagement, while another tackled her feelings about the presidential election. Yet another addressed with humility how hard it was proving to be to get people to buy her book.


There's no magic formula for any of this, and every author's pot of potential "material" is different. So play around with it and see what works best for you. And if/when you begin working on a new book, include your fans in the process! I once had my fans vote on two cover options for a book, and it worked out so well that I'm considering asking them to vote on the title of my next one.


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Make it easy for readers to find you

The power of a personal connection

914 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, writing, promotions, newsletters
1

 

Bad habits are hard to break. I tend to write hurriedly, and as a result, my first draft can look like it was written in typo-English. And then there are those occasions when I read everything I have written to that point before I start writing. A habit that often leaves me with very little writing time. I also have a habit of talking openly about what I'm working on, sometimes revealing spoilers.

 

I have a lot of bad habits as a writer. But, I am of the mind that it doesn't matter. I almost always finish my journey, which is a completed manuscript. I turn an idea into a story and a story into a book, undergoing rewrites and frustrations along the way. I'm sure that I even put up obstacles that require me to navigate over and around.

 

My habits, the obstacles I create, the mistakes I make, are all part of my writing process. And as clunky and irritating as the process can sometimes be, it works for me. I'll always study the craft of writing and try to improve what I write. But how I write, the rituals that make up my own personal madness, I'm not likely to ever change.

 

Don't listen to critics or naysayers who try to tell you that you need to change your writing habits. I'm here to tell you that if you can finish a novel using a writing process, no matter how unconventional it may be, that's your process. It informs your style. It's yours. Embrace it without apologies.

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Are writing rituals good or bad?

 

Writing tip: stay committed to the process

 

781 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, writing_habits
0

Keep it simple

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 14, 2016

 

    When you sit down to outline your marketing strategy, there is one thing above all others that you want to keep in mind. Keep it simple. Don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. The tried and true work; otherwise, they wouldn't be tried and true. Here are three reasons why keeping your marketing strategy simple makes for more effective results:


  1. Keeping things simple offers the least number of obstacles. If you try to overthink it and come up with something never seen before, you are creating impediments that will likely frustrate you and could lead you to not follow through. Study what others have done before you and repeat.
  2. Overcomplicated planning usually makes for overcomplicated outcomes. Being creative with your marketing strategy isn't bad, but being too creative can confuse the readers you are trying to reach.
  3. Keeping things simple most likely means you are incorporating strategies that have been tested before, which means you most likely have data to justify your strategy. It worked before. It will most likely work again. The hard work has been done for you. Most of the obstacles we discussed earlier aren't there. You can just plug in your book and go.


Of course, keeping things simple with your marketing strategy doesn't mean it will be easy. You are still going to have to do your research and determine what will work for you, but the good news is that the research is usually just a search engine away. Good luck, and keep it simple.

 

 

 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Exclusive versus inclusive

 

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

 

 

 

 

1,076 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, writing, author_tips, writing_tip
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When it comes to author blogging, there are two questions I hear more than any others:


1.    What should I blog about?

2.    How can I get people to read my blog?


Regarding the content of your blog, that's up to you. For the most part, I like to blog about grammar, book marketing, and the writing process itself, but other authors take a more personal approach and share details about their daily lives. Those who write nonfiction often blog about the topics covered in their books to present themselves as experts. For example, the author of a book on personal finance might blog about the best way to prepare taxes, while a cookbook author might share yummy new soup recipes for the cold winter months. A general rule of thumb is to provide interesting, helpful content at least 80 percent of the time. The rest of the time you can promote your book launches, promotions, etc.


Once you have the content of your blog figured out, a great way to get people to find out about the blog itself is to link it to Goodreads and your Amazon author page.  Here's how to do both:


For Goodreads:


1.    Navigate to your Author Dashboard and click "Your Blog"

2.    On the far right, click "edit blog settings"

3.    Paste in the RSS feed address next to "external blog URL"

4.    You can confirm your blog's RSS feed address here (If you don't know where to find your RSS feed, read this)

5.    Check or uncheck "show full post" depending on your preference, and click on "Add Feed"


Here's how my blog posts appear on Goodreads.


For your Amazon author page:

1.    Log into Author Central

2.    On the top left, click "Author Page"

3.    Halfway down the page you will see a section called "Blog"

4.    On the right side of the section, click "Add Blog"


Here's how my blog posts appear on my Amazon author page.


As with most book marketing strategies, there's no magic formula for success. But if you can get people to come to your website through your blog, you have a better chance of getting them to buy your book!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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More Easy Book Marketing Tips

Book Marketing Tip: Be Resourceful

1,352 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, marketing_tip
5

Be weird

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 12, 2016

We writers can be weird. Frustratingly so. Gloriously so. Happily so. If you find yourself sitting alone in the dark, thinking, "Man, am I weird or what?" Never fear. You are not alone. Here are some literary giants who let their freak flags fly.


  1. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road at a furious pace. The book poured out of him so quickly that he didn't want to take the time to remove and replace paper from his typewriter. His solution? He taped sheets of paper together and created a massive scroll. When he was done, he had the audacity to submit the scroll for publication. It was rejected…for years…because Kerouac refused to submit it in a more editor-friendly form.
  2. Dan Brown reportedly hangs upside down to help him think more clearly. He calls it inversion therapy.
  3. Flannery O'Connor faced the blank surface of her wood dresser during the two hours a day that she wrote to avoid any distractions.
  4. Truman Capote claimed he could only write while lying down. He called himself a horizontal writer.
  5. Maya Angelou would rent a small, bare motel room in her hometown in which she would write until two in the afternoon.


If you have unusual writing habits, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. Weird, quirky, slightly mad, that's what we writers do. We are constantly stepping into made-up worlds that are teeming with good guys, bad guys, and danger at every turn. That requires a measure of weird.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Writing the Hemingway way

 

Bad writing habits

883 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, writing_habits, famous_authors
0

If there is one grammar term that I never understood until recently, it was "dangling participle." Now that I finally know what it means, I thought I'd explain it here.

 

A participle is a form of a verb. For example, writing and written are participles of the verb to write.

 

  • I am writing this blog post (present participle)
  • I have written this blog post (past participle)

 

A dangling participle is when a present participle, usually at the beginning of a sentence, doesn't modify the subject. As a result it sounds like the wrong person or thing is the subject.

 

Example #1

 

 

Writing this blog post, memories of high school English class came rushing back.


 

The dangling participle:

 

 

  • Writing this blog post

 

Why it's a problem:

 

 

  • Memories of high school English didn't write this blog post.


How to write the sentence correctly:

 

 

  • Writing this blog post, I was flooded by memories of high school English class.


Example #2

 

Climbing the ladder, the red ball on the roof was easy to spot.


 

    The dangling participle:

  • Climbing the ladder


Why it's a problem:

 

 

  • The red ball didn't climb the ladder

 

How to write the sentence correctly:

 

 

  • Climbing the ladder, Gloria found the red ball on the roof easy to spot.


Example #3

 

 

Reading over these examples, my blog poston dangling participles is easy to understand.


The dangling participle:

 

 

  • Reading over these examples

 

Why it's a problem:

 

 

  • My blog post isn't reading over these examples.

 

How to write the sentence correctly:

 

 

  • Reading over these examples, I think (hope!) my blog post on dangling participles is easy to understand.

 

I realize this is a tricky one, so if you're still confused, you're not alone. Just try at all times to avoid any ambiguity about who the subject is. That should lead you down the right path!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

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Solving the Mystery of Lie vs. Lay

 

Between You and ME

 

 

 

 

1,127 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, grammar, writing_tips, grammar_tip, grammar_advice, grammar_rules
1

You have a story to tell. It's your own. You've either lived an interesting life that is full of intrigue or tragedy or inspiration, or you've experienced an event that either made you or broke you. Whatever the circumstance, your story must be told. The problem you are faced with is whether to write an autobiography or a memoir.


Yes, there is a difference between the two. Here's an explanation of both to help you decide which category best fits your story.


Autobiography: You've had an interesting life. From the day you were born, to the day you sit behind your laptop to write your story, your life has been filled with twists and turns that could, well, fill a book. Your story is told in chronological order, and there is strong possibility that you have achieved at least some notoriety.


Memoir: A major event or series of events has caused a turning point in your life. You have no notoriety, but the struggle and/or triumph you've experienced has given you a perspective that you feel compelled to share. In many ways, regardless of when this event happened in your life, it's a coming-of-age tale or an emotional awakening. And the telling of your story doesn't necessarily happen in chronological order.


While most retailers lump autobiographies and memoirs together, it is important to know the difference as an author. If the whole of your life doesn't offer something out of the ordinary, don't tell it. Focus instead on the changing event that made you who you are.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Presenting Fiction as Fact Can Be a Slippery Slope

Claim Your Genre

669 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, autobiography, memoir
3

I love historical fiction. To me, it's just a fun genre to read. I've never dabbled in it as an author, but here are the five consistent elements I've noticed as a fan of historical fiction over the years:


  1. Know the facts. I don't just mean casually. Know the tiniest detail. If you're not sure on a particular detail, dive deeper until you find the answer. Historical fiction is a category that sends readers to their nearest computers to look up information on their own using their favorite search engines. They are going to essentially check your work. Be diligent.
  2. Know the fiction. Every major event in history worth writing about comes with a heavy dose of conspiracy theories. It's just part of the human condition to create suppositions that help us deal with outcomes we have trouble accepting. We complicate things because the truth just doesn't make sense. As a historical novelist, you need to know the conspiracy theories that came about as a result of your historical event. Play with incorporating elements of the conspiracy into your story. Keep your readers guessing. Have some fun.
  3. You have no favorites. The acts of a historical figure may have drawn you to the story, but don't let your admiration prevent you from creating a three-dimensional character that is as flawed as he or she is heroic. Don't sit in judgment of any of your characters.
  4. Don't explain things. It is so easy to use heavy doses of exposition when writing a historical novel. You, as the author, get caught in the trap of trying to bring the reader up to speed on the where, why, when, and how of every incident, but it's not necessary.
  5. Know the shape of your story. Decide early on if you want to write a novel that features characters shaped by a historical event or a historical event shaped by your characters. The answer will come from your research, but whatever you decide, keep this structure in mind because it will set the tone of your book.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Rethinking history

Too much exposition

1,660 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, historical_fiction
0

 

National Novel Writing Month is here again. Are you participating? If so, the best piece of advice I can give you is to set a daily word target and stick with it.


I've never written a full novel in just one month, but I did once write one in six weeks. I got it done by setting a daily word quota and not letting myself stop until I reached it, no matter what. If you let the word count slide one day, that can quickly turn into two days, or a week, and then before you know it you have just a few days to finish the entire thing. If you're the kind of person who can power through at your desk for twenty hours and still function, then by all means, do what works for you. But my brain doesn't work that way. For me, chipping away day by day is the only way to go. It keeps me engaged, fresh, and enjoying the process.


The folks at NaNoWriMo suggest 50,000 as a target word count for a full-length novel. Divided by 30, that's a daily word count of 1,667. If you have a demanding day job and prefer to do the bulk of the work on the weekends, there are several ways to slice and dice the math to create a schedule that best suits you. The key is to:


1)    Create a word count schedule you can follow

2)    Follow the word count schedule!


That's really all it comes down to. Writing a novel is a lot of work and will be mentally challenging, but if you really want to do it, you can! There's no magic formula other than sitting down at your computer and letting your imagination (and fingers) take it from there. Now get writing!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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How to Write a Novel in a Month

Productivity vs. Perfection

1,021 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, nanowrimo, writing_month
0

The rewriting steps

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 21, 2016

Most authors hate rewrites. I know because I used to be one of those authors. Over the years, I've learned to break down the rewrite process into manageable steps, and it has made the ordeal less of an ordeal. I actually love rewrites now. It's an opportunity to dive deeper and really explore character and plot. Here are the steps I've learned to incorporate into my rewriting process:

 

  1. Give it some time. Don't attempt to rewrite a first draft that took you weeks or months to write immediately after you type "The End." Give yourself some space. I recommend four to six weeks. Fill in the downtime by starting a new project. You need to gain a fresh perspective, and you only do that by weeks of distractions.
  2. Do a reader's read-through. Don't take notes or make corrections. Just power through reading the first draft as is. Soak in the story and characters without your editor's hat on.
  3. React and record. After the first read-through, sit down and write your gut reaction to the material. What worked? What didn't? What do you need to cut? What do you need to expand on? Be detailed. You should have pages of notes at the end of this process.
  4. Now read the material as an editor. Correct, cut, reshape at will. Be brutal. You are not the writer. You are the editor. Don't hold back.
  5. Write a post-rewrite outline. You want to see a sketch of the story to make sure it's coherent and compelling in the broadest possible terms. You should get a good overview of the story using this strategy and find any holes before the next step.
  6. Get feedback. The next and last step is to hand your rewrite off to pre-publication readers to get feedback before you publish. Be on the lookout for consistent criticisms. Particularly pay attention to feedback on elements of the story that you weren't sure about. Overall, trust your gut.


Rewriting is easy when you break it down in steps. Looking at it as one laborious task can be daunting. Take a breath. Give yourself some space and take it one step at a time.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Reward Yourself

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

917 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, editing, writing, rewrites
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