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835 Posts tagged with the writing tag
1

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you participating? If so, good for you! Given the inherent deadline of the movement, I'd like to share one of the most important lessons I've learned about writing books: If you try to make every sentence sound perfect NOW, you'll never get anywhere.

 

When I was writing my first novel, anytime I found myself stuck about where to go next with the plot, I would go back and wordsmith what I'd already written. At the time, I reasoned that as long as I was working on the book, I was making progress. Looking back, however, I realized what I was really doing was procrastinating! I was putting off the hard work of developing the plot, instead choosing to spend hours and hours fine-tuning what I'd already written. The problem with that approach is if you don't push the story forward, you will never finish the book. (Click here for my post on how to keep the plot moving.)

 

If you want to complete (the first draft of) a 50,000-word novel in a month, I suggest you take a clinical approach and set one of two goals, depending on your schedule:

 

A)  Write 1,600 words each day

B)  Write 2,500 words each weekend day and 1,300 words each weekday

 

Writing that many words, especially if you're working full-time and/or have kids, is quite a task, but it's doable. The key is consistency. Skipping even one day will put you way behind, so don't even consider that as an option. And if you find yourself on a roll at some point, keep writing! There's nothing wrong with going over your daily quota.

 

Once you finish the first draft, by all means go back and edit from the beginning. And you know what? As you read the story with fresh eyes, you'll probably end up cutting some things that for whatever reason don't work for the story anymore. Just think how glad you'll be you didn't waste your valuable time and energy tinkering with them.

 

Good luck!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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How to Stay Committed to NaNoWriMo

How to Write a Novel in a Month

1,701 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, nanowrimo
0

I'm writing my first nonfiction piece after working exclusively in a fiction environment for several years. It is a whole new world, one that I've resisted for a while, even though some of my favorite books are nonfiction titles. Nonfiction takes a whole new mindset that I'm slowly getting used to. Here are the top three things I've had to adjust to:

 

1. My day of writing doesn't begin with the content of the book. It begins with the research I've collected. I focus on the material that supports the current chapter I'm working on. I happen to have the detailed journal of the individual I am writing about, so I read the passages tied to the chapter over and over again. He's also made himself available to me via phone, text, and e-mail. In the world of fiction, it's mostly just me facing my computer screen searching for inspiration. Writing nonfiction has been a collaborative effort that has me relying on various pieces of source material.

 

2. My day ends in a similar way. After I've finished a section, I return to the journal and read a page or two, just enough for me picture the elements that will be committed to the book the following day. This is similar to Hemingway's advice to stop writing when you know what's going to happen next. The difference with nonfiction is that I'm not doing it to keep my creative juices flowing; I'm doing it to keep myself immersed in my subject's world in order to get a view from the inside out.

 

3. There is no clear bad guy or good guy in this story. There's no clever protagonist that develops a plan to save the day. There's no overt antagonist that wreaks havoc and causes conflict. There are people who do some misguided things and make the lives of others difficult, but not in the calculating way it's done in most fiction. The basics of story structure still exist in writing a nonfiction book, but the sweeping display of plots, subplots, and conclusions aren't as well defined. In this way, it mirrors reality because it is reality.

 

As a first-timer to the nonfiction world, I'm curious to know how other nonfiction authors approach the task of writing. How does your day begin and end?

 

-Richard

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

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Non-fiction Writers: What's Your Marketing Plan?

Is There Always a Twist?

2,112 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, nonfiction, fiction
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Create the Perfect Website: Where to Put Your Buy Button - Marketing Tips for Authors

Why are you hiding your "buy now" button?

                           

The Easiest Way to Write a Book - ASHLY LORENZANA

Work smarter, not harder.      

 

Film

                                                        

Independent Filmmaking - Can I? Should I? Am I Good Enough? - NoHo

Shut out the doubt and make your film.    

                                          

How to Find Great Child Actors - The Top 3 Things I Learned - Projector Films

One filmmaker describes her process for finding the right child actors.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Advertising Your Music - Music Consultant

Online media buyer Pedram Nikfarjam dishes out his best practices for advertising your music.

 

Nine Steps to Setting Up Your Music Career like a Business - musicgoat.com

You're more than a musician, you're a music entrepreneur.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- October 31, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- October 24, 2014

1,471 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, website, self-publishing, promotion, advertising, movies, writing, acting, musicians, social_media, independent_film, music_industry
2

For an upcoming release, I used a fairly large group of beta readers before my final round of rewrites. Now, the dangerous thing about using beta readers is that you're selecting readers who are fans of your previous books. In the wrong environment, these readers may be reluctant to give you their honest opinions in an effort to stay in your good graces. So, I decided to give this group of beta readers the ability to provide feedback anonymously. I set up a survey with 13 elements of the book that they could rate on a scale of 1 to 5. I also gave them the option to leave a comment on each element they were asked to rate. In addition, they could leave a comment at the end of the survey to give their overall impression of the book.

 

This system worked beautifully. I got a lot of constructive feedback that helped tremendously during the final round of rewrites. The key for me was to know what needed to be addressed. Of the 13 areas, eight would only apply to my story, but five could be used for almost any book. I'll share them here, and I invite you to use them should you decide to use this method with beta readers.

 

  1. Character: Please rate main and secondary characters as a whole. (I went on to describe my style of revealing character)

  2. Plot: Besides being the catalyst for action and dialog, the plot has to be worth investing time in and has to be delivered in a compelling manner. Given all that, how would you rate the execution of the plot?

  3. Setting: The setting is a small fictional Southern town at the base of an unknown mountain range in Tennessee. Various other communities featured in the book are located on the slopes of those mountains. The author attempted to establish a ruggedness and sense of isolation both in the terrain and through the secondary characters of these small communities. Based on these criteria, how would you rate the setting of this book?

  4. The Final Conflict: The final conflict takes place in?(a location specific to my story). At the conclusion of this scene, readers should not have any remaining questions about the main plot: who was involved, the extent of the crime committed, and the plan to address it moving forward, etc. Based on these criteria, how would you rank the final conflict?

  5. The Ending: How would you rank the ending?

 

Together with the other eight questions in the survey, I was able to address problem areas. Having so much input before the release of a book has really set me at ease. I'm usually a bundle of nerves just before a book goes live, but now I'm more confident than I've ever been about a new book. And, I wouldn't feel this way without my beta readers.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

 

 

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Fix It in Rewrites

Thank the People Who Help You

4,043 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, readers, setting, writing, story, characters, drafts, plot, reading, craft, social_media, author_advice, writintg_tips
4

I live near downtown Brooklyn, where sidewalks are lined to the gills with what can best be described as "random stuff" for sale. On any given stroll one can find an array of sunglasses, fruit, CDs, jewelry, clothing, cell phone cases, skin creams, and last but not least, books.

 

Yes, books!

 

New and used. Fiction and non-fiction. Cookbooks, travel books, children's books, novels, the list goes on and on and on.

 

Books!

 

Seeing all those card tables buckling under the weight of the reading material perched upon them has recently got me thinking. Wouldn't it be cool if an author set up a table and sold his or her own books? Granted, doing this would require figuring out the local permit situation - I would hate for one of my blog readers to get arrested! It would also take some thick skin given how many people rush by street vendors without so much as a glance. But I still think it's a cool idea. If I saw an author sitting at a table with a stack of his or her own books, and the signage clearly stated the seller's authorship, I think I would stop and buy one just to applaud the author's gumption. I often do the same thing with little kids selling lemonade or cookies, as I imagine many of you reading this do as well. You have to give it up for people who take initiative like that, no matter what age.

 

If you try my card table idea, I suggest picking up a couple of bookstands at a craft store (or online) to help with the display. It may be a table in the street, but that doesn't mean it can't look classy!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Another Example of Smart Marketing

Marketing Tip: Choose Your Book's Title Wisely

5,004 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions
0

The goal during NaNoWriMo is fairly cut and dry. During the 30 days that make up November, participants complete a manuscript that is a minimum of 50,000 words in length. Now, you may want to stand back while I do some math because this could get messy. I believe that works out to roughly 1,667 words a day. That is a pretty substantial word haul in a single day. It's not outrageous production, but it is a healthy dose of story day in and day out.

 

The best way to achieve this somewhat lofty goal is to set milestones that can serve as guideposts to your final destination. My recommendation is to give yourself four milestones per day to reach. Cut the daily word count goal into four parts. Basically, I'm recommending that you cut your workload down into four achievable goals. Each goal is set at 420 words. After you reach the 420 word mark, give yourself a small reward. It doesn't matter what it is, but make it something that will help you relax and decompress. If you follow this strategy, you'll have 50,000 in 29 days.

 

Whatever you do, avoid the weekly milestone. The temptation will be to fall short of your daily word count goal by telling yourself you can make it up the next day or the day after that. You'll convince yourself that it doesn't matter as long as you reach your weekly goal. This philosophy is bound to leave you frustrated when those unfinished days keep adding up, and you're faced with trying to catch up.

 

NaNoWriMo isn't that daunting if you pare it down into manageable workloads. Give yourself frequent milestones so you'll stay on task and feel the progress as you go along.

 

-Richard

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

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The Distraction Fast

How to Stay Committed to NaNoWriMo

2,165 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, nanowrimo
1

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner! Join hundreds of thousands of authors who are taking the challenge to write an entire novel in the month of November.


50,000 words. 30 days. And 8 tips to get you started. Write on, Wrimos!

 

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2,447 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, writers, writing, nanowrimo, novels, nano
4

The Pen Name Quandary

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 29, 2014

I have a secret. It's not really a closely held secret. In fact, I tell everybody my secret. I do now, anyway. There was a time when I was tight-lipped about it. I wouldn't dare utter a word about my secret for fear it would ruin my writing career.

 

My not-so-well-kept secret is that I write under three pen names. I do so for various reasons. First and foremost, the three names represent three different genres. I didn't want to confuse and disappoint readers of one genre when they read a book I had written in a completely different genre. Secondly, my primary pen name creates books written for the young adult market. My two other pen names write books that contain material not suitable for young adults. I decided early on that the responsible thing for me to do would be to keep those worlds separated.

 

In the beginning, I didn't tell anyone of my "secret" identities. I simply published and kept quiet. The problem is that I had to market those other books, and my main source of marketing comes from social media interaction. I tried creating separate online personas for one of the secondary pen names, but that tactic didn't suit me. I only know how to be me. Being two different author brands was time consuming and daunting.

 

With the multi-brand route no longer an option, I came clean with my readers and announced my other author names. I stressed my reasons for going undercover and made all the appropriate disclaimers about the material not being suitable for younger readers. I thought there would be a backlash from parents and my more conservative fans, but I was surprised when they offered their support and positive feedback on the books.

 

I know there a lot of authors out there secretly writing under a pen name. You may be doing so for the same reasons I did. You may also be frustrated trying to juggle more than one author brand. If you're finding it as stressful and overwhelming as I did, I say it might be time to reveal your secret and trust your readers. They are a sophisticated bunch that, if given all the information up front, can make their own reading decisions.

 

-Richard

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

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An Author by Any Other Name

Marketing Tip: Choose Your Book's Title Wisely

5,787 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: self-publishing, writers, writing, craft, author_brand, writing_tips, writing_advice, author_advice
2

A couple posts back, I explained how an author had contacted me about doing a guest post for her blog. I liked her approach because in her email she obviously knew exactly who I was and had clearly read some of my work. I felt honored, not used, and I was happy to help her out. I even blogged about the experience, and here I am blogging about it again!

 

Connecting with fellow authors is a great idea. The trick to doing it successfully is to add some context to your outreach. Here are two examples of how to do it right:

 

1. Connecting on LinkedIn: When you send a connection request to a stranger, always add a personal message. I usually accept personalized invitations because I appreciate that the sender took the time to explain to me why he/she wants to connect, but unfortunately these invitations are the exception, not the norm.

 

When I receive generic LinkedIn connection requests from people I don't recognize,I never know what to make of it. I meet a lot of people, so I can never be sure if it's spam or from someone I actually know. I usually reply with a quick note asking the person to refresh my memory as to how we met. More than 95 percent of the time the person responds explaining that we haven't met but that he/she is an aspiring author. When I ask if he/she has read (or bought) any of my books, the reply is almost always no. Put yourself in my shoes here - how would you feel?

 

2. Connecting through my website: I love getting emails from authors who are inspired by my career, even more so if they have read some of my work. However, I also receive generic (e.g. copy/paste) emails nearly every day from authors asking me to check out their books - with zero mention of having read (or bought) my books. Again, put yourself in my shoes here. How would you feel?

 

Reaching out to fellow authors is smart - just be smart in how you do it, and you'll be on your way!

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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To Be a Professional Writer, Make a Professional Impression

Marketing Tip: Put Yourself in the Recipient's Shoes

 

2,914 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, linkedin
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The Distraction Fast

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 27, 2014

Let's face it: NaNoWriMo gobbles up your free time. Sure, there may be time to squeeze in an episode of The Walking Dead, but there's absolutely no time for anything else. Okay, I forgot about the release of Mockingjay on November 21. You have to take time out to go see that. You're only human. And, you know what, I completely forgot about watching all those cat videos on YouTube. We all need our daily cat video fix. So, by all means, get those in too. But there's absolutely no other way you should be spending your free time other than writing…unless you want to post 80 pictures of your breakfast on Instagram. People need to see that. On second thought, given the enormous amount of distractions out there, I don't see how you're going to be able to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

 

Here's a crazy thought: Why not just forgo those distractions during the 30-day writing marathon? Set them aside and get back to them when December rolls around. Call it a distraction fast. Cut out the TV watching, the movie going, and the nonessential social media activity. The only essential social media activity is your regular NaNoWriMo status update. The one thing I wouldn't give up is the time you spend with real live human beings in a non-virtual setting. Human contact is essential to the writing process so make time to be with the people in your life.

 

November means one thing: You write. You write like you've never written before. You write like a fiend. There is no time for distractions.

 

-Richard

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

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Fix It in Rewrites

How to Write a Novel in a Month

2,133 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writers, writing, nanowrimo, drafts, national_novel_writing_month, craft, rewrites, writing_tips, writing_advice
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How Authors Support Their Writing Dreams - The Book Deal

A barista, a mailman, and a textbook editor, oh my!

                           

How to Set Up Your Goodreads Author Profile (And Why You Should!) - The Future of Ink

With more than one million unique visitors a day, Goodreads is a haven for readers and authors alike.      

 

Film

                                                        

Crowdfunding - Film Courage

A collection of videos where various filmmakers discuss their crowdfunding efforts.    

                                          

Podcast Episode: Writing and Making a Feature - Projector Films

Two writers discuss the trials and triumphs they experienced making a film.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Crowdfund Your Next Music Project - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

The basic elements that will make your crowdfunding efforts more fruitful.

 

9 Effective Networking Tips for Composers - Musicgoat.com

Do your homework before you network.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- October 17, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- October 10, 2014

1,865 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, music, networking, author, indie, movies, writing, films, goodreads, music_marketing, writing_process, podcast, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, crowdfunding, soc
0

Be accountable. That's how you stay motivated during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Make your intentions known, and you are more likely to stay committed to your daily word count. Call it the opposite of the watched-pot theory.

 

If you're feeling bold, go one step beyond announcing that you are participating in this year's NaNoWriMo. Brag that you can get it done. Put the pressure on in a very public and big way. If you do, you will anchor yourself deeper into a sense of obligation to get it done.

 

And don't just proclaim your confidence once and be done with it. Take to your online platform every day, and feed your friends and followers daily word-count updates. Let them know that you are a writer of your word, or in this case, a writer of a minimum of 1,667 words a day.

 

Yes, it is risky because there is a chance you will fall short, but so what? Are people going to unfriend you if you don't reach your goal? Sure, you may feel a little embarrassed for making your intentions so public and then not quite getting there, but scores of people fail to summit Mount Everest every climbing season. It doesn't stop them from trying or telling everyone in their lives that they intend to succeed.

 

You are a NaNoWriMo participant. That means you intend to a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days. You have no intentions of failing. Let the world know you will get it done.

 

-Richard

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

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How to Write a Novel in a Month

Sharing Your Successes & Challenges

887 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writers, writing, national_novel_writing_month, writing_tips, writing_exercise
2

Book descriptions can be an effective marketing tool, but they can also be tricky. Here are three keys to writing a good one:

 

  1. Show, don't tell: Much like an online-dating profile, if you toot your book's horn too much, it's a turnoff. If your book is funny, don't write, "This is a laugh-out-loud story!" Instead, write something funny to describe it. Another downside to the overselling approach is that if the reader doesn't laugh out loud when reading your book, he/she is going to feel cheated. (This unfortunately has happened to me several times, which is why I decided to write this post.)
  2. Don't go into too much detail: When I'm perusing potential books to read, I want to know what the story is about, period. I don't need to know all the details, or all the minor characters' names, or exactly how the book ends. None of that matters to me before I begin reading it. Plus, when my eyes start glazing over because there are simply too many words in one massive, overly descriptive paragraph, I question how good the writing in the actual book is, and I usually move on without making a purchase.
  3. Watch your grammar and spelling: As in the above example, if the book description is well written, I assume the book is well written. The reverse is also true, so make sure you don't have any grammar or spelling errors in your description.

 

There are literally millions of books out there competing for attention, so the description is a great way to entice potential readers to choose YOURS. It may be just a paragraph or two, but it's worth taking the time to make it shine.

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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How's Your Elevator Pitch?

Marketing Tip: Know When to Be Concise

13,461 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, book_description
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Fix It in Rewrites

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 20, 2014

The temperature is dropping outside. The leaves are turning brown. Shoppers are dodging fake cobwebs while they fill their carts with huge bags of candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Thanksgiving meals are in the planning stages. All this can mean only one thing: it's NaNoWriMo season.

 

Are you ready? Do you have all your ducks in a row? Have you committed all the common grammatical errors to memory so you can avoid them as you're pounding out almost 1,700 words a day? What about plot points and main character backgrounds and secondary character development? Is all the preliminary work done? No?

 

Good, because it doesn't have to be! NaNoWriMo isn't about writing the perfect manuscript in 30 days. It's about writing a first draft, and what have I told you about first drafts? They're supposed to be bad - bad to the point of being embarrassing. Don't waste your time during NaNoWriMo carefully crafting a first draft that you will be ready to publish as soon as the event is done. Write a sloppy, ugly, I-hope-nobody-sees-this first draft. You will have plenty of time to get the manuscript into shape when you rewrite it.

 

During rewrites you'll switch gears and turn your ugly first draft into a pristine work of beauty. But for now, you don't care about mistakes. You don't care about inconsistencies. You don't care about formatting. The only thing you care about is piling up as many words in a day as you can. This isn't about writing well. It's about writing fast. Now, off you go, speed demons. Go forth, and slam out a first draft as fast as your fingers can dance across the keyboard.

 

-Richard

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

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When to Say "I Don't Care"

Unfinished and Happy

3,554 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, nanowrimo
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

                           

Why Authors Should Have a Newsletter - Marketing Tips for Authors

Having your own newsletter puts you in the driver?s seat.      

 

Film

                                                        

Learn How Joss Whedon Approaches Story, Writing & Directing in 10 Minutes - No Film School

Joss Whedon has proven he can craft a story for film.    

                                          

How Does a Director Know They Are Getting the Best Actor for the Role - Film Courage

How to avoid miscast actors playing the wrong role.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

The War of Art: Resistance and the Music Producer - Renegade Producer

Do you know your unlived life?

 

The Most Important Step to Vocal Improvement - Judy Rodman

Find your weakness and turn it into a strength.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- October 10, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- October 3, 2014

788 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, film, author, promotion, movies, writing, book_marketing, promotions, directing, musicians, filmmakers, social_media, music_production, vocal_improvement
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