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892 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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The following exchange happened in a workshop after a public reading of some new material by an unnamed writer:

 

 

Facilitator: Do you know who the characters are in this scene? What about the woman? Where is she coming from? Why is she so hostile towards the man? Is she the good guy or the bad guy? What is her motivation?

 

Writer: She's his niece, and she hates him, but she is committed to taking care of him because she made a promise to her father, before he died, that she would watch after his alcoholic brother.

 

Facilitator: This is revealed later on in the story?

 

Writer: No. It's just stuff I've uncovered along the way that didn't make it into the story.

 

Facilitator: Excellent! That's exactly what I wanted to hear. You know what's not on the page. You know these characters.

 

Why is it important that you know what's not on the page? After all, if it's not read, why does it matter? It matters because it gives you, the writer, two essential storytelling tools: confidence and boundaries. The confidence will help you write from a position of strength. You'll know how to maneuver through a story because you know the bigger picture. You'll not only know what motivates your characters, you'll also know what kills their spirits and causes them to give up.

 

 

The boundaries will inform you on the choices your characters make. You'll know without hesitation why they behave in the way that they do. You will know the lines that can't be crossed without consequences.

 

 

When you know what's not on the page, you know what belongs on the page.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Can Visualization Help You Finish That Manuscript?

Reality Check: Remember Why You Wrote Your Book in the First Place

2,291 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, author, writers, writing, workshop, book_clubs, writing_workshop
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In my first job out of college, one of my assignments was to co-write an opinion piece for my boss. (In this case, "co-write" meant "write.") He told me the points he wanted to make, and my role was to turn those ideas into a clear, readable argument that a prominent magazine in our industry would accept. Both of us would get the byline, so I was excited!


 

I'll never forget my boss's reaction when I proudly showed him my masterpiece. He smiled at me, then sighed and said something along the lines of, "Ah, how difficult to part with young words."


 

At first I didn't understand what he meant, but then he (tactfully) explained to me that the essay would be much better if I cut out about a third of it. He also said he understood that it would be hard for me to delete words I'd taken such precious time coming up with in the first place. My twenty-two-year-old ego was bruised by his reaction to my hard work, but when I read what I'd written again, I realized something: He was right.


 

I'd gotten so wrapped up in the thrill of seeing my own words in a magazine that I overdid it and lost sight of the point of the assignment - to make a clear, readable argument. And yes, while it was hard to part with those words, the revised essay was much better as a result.


 

The experience provided me with a valuable lesson. Even though I now write novels for a living, I still have a tendency to, shall I say, overstate the point - especially in the early chapters when I'm still figuring things out. In the revision process of my latest book, my editor marked several sections as "already stated" or "already made clear" and (strongly) suggested that I delete them, which I quickly did. And guess what? My feelings weren't hurt. Growth all the way around!


 

Note: In this post I'm talking about repetition of information or concepts. Click here to read my post about what to do with entire scenes that end up on the cutting room floor.


 

-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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Writing Takes Discipline

Four Forms of Creativity Fuel

4,798 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, editing, author, writing
1

Social Media Swap

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 2, 2015

You have a resource that more than likely you have been ignoring as a marketing and branding tool. It may have never occurred to you that you are not alone. You have fellow authors who are also working all the angles to market their books and build their brands. They too are overlooking the same marketing opportunity you are overlooking.

 

 

You do, I hope, have an active presence on social media. You are, I hope, friends with other authors on social media. They have their own sets of friends and followers. You have your own set of friends and followers. Why not combine the two? How, you might ask? With a little something I call a social media swap.

 

Here's how it works:

 

Contact an author in your midst, and propose that you do a two-way interview on Facebook. You will both gain exposure with the other's friends and fans. You could even set up a Skype interview to utilize video. Or, if the other happens to live in your local area, you could set up an in-person on-camera interview.

 

 

You don't want to pick just any author for a social media swap. You want to pick an author who writes in your genre, and you want to pick an author whose work you've read. If you pick an author outside of your genre, you're fishing in the wrong pond. If you pick an author who you don't respect as a writer, you run the risk of tying your brand to an author your audience also might not respect.

 

 

When you are trying to build an author brand and market a book, it's important to keep in mind you're not the only one trying to build an author brand and market a book. Reach out to your fellow authors and make a proposal that could help you both.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Three Things to Avoid When Looking for a Review

My Beta Readers Experience

10,739 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions, social_media
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Eleven Secrets to Writing Effective Character Description - Writer's Digest

Avoid bullet point descriptions.       

                           

When Are You Done? - The Seekers

How do you know when it's the end of your story?         

 

Film

                                                        

Minimum Cost a Filmmaker Will Spend on a Film Festival Publicist by Diane Bell and Chris Byrne of RebelHeartFilm.com - Film Courage

Getting into a film festival is great, but it does come with a cost.       

                                          

Do We Really Want Our Digital Footage to Look Like Film? Or Are We Actually Chasing the "Alexa" Look? - Noam Kroll

Some filmmakers may actually want a high-end digital image instead of the film-look.   

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Numb Singing or Speaking Voice? Question: What Are You Looking At? - Judy Rodman

What is your eye language?  

 

Why Music Matters - Hooks and Harmony

Music is good for the soul.   

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 23, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- January 16, 2015

2,144 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, film, author, self-publishing, promotion, writers, blogging, publishing, writing, promotions, musicians, filmmakers, branding, social_media
1

For quite some time now, I've been recommending that authors use their email signatures as an indirect way to promote their work. Apparently a lot of you are taking my advice, because almost all the emails I get these days from authors mention their book(s) in their email signatures.

 

Nice!

 

Unfortunately, however, many of the emails I get from authors also go overboard on the self-promotion in the signature - which defeats the purpose. You want your email signature to get me to want to check out your writing, not to feel overwhelmed by all the hyperlinks - and underwhelmed by the content/professionalism.

 

Here are some quick dos and don'ts for email signatures:

 

  • DO include a brief, compelling line about your work that shows the recipient it's worth reading
  • DO embed a crisp hyperlink to your website or Amazon author page
  • DON'T tell the email recipient how wonderful/amazing/riveting/funny your work is
  • DON'T list complete URLs - in other words, embed them to keep it clean
  • DON'T include hyperlinks to every book you've ever written
  • DON'T include links to ALL your social media accounts (these should be easily found on your website and/or Amazon author page)

 

 

If your email signature is crisp, engaging, and pretty to look at, you'll have a much better chance of piquing a potential reader's interest than if you conclude your messages with 10 inches of gobbledygook. (Yes, I've received emails with signatures that are that long, include multiple ugly hyperlinks, and are over the top with flattering book descriptions.)

 

 

If you think of your email signature as a virtual business card, that approach should steer you in the right direction. Its purpose should be to open doors to future relationships (i.e. readers and sales), not to close them.

 

 

-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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The Marketing Maze

Email Signatures: What's In a Name?

7,531 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, email_signatures
1

Creativity is the name of the game. Without it, writing fiction would be very difficult...okay, impossible. So how does one keep the creative juices flowing? Here is my four-step program to help you stay creative:

 

  1. Stay busy - For most people this is not a difficult step to follow. Everyone in this day and age is busy, but I'm not talking about your writing life in this instance. I'm talking about your life outside of writing. Find things that take your mind as far away from writing as you can.
  2. Reflect - When you're not busy either writing or living, take the time to sit quietly and reflect on your day. Go over the smallest details. As you reflect, pay attention to your breathing and get to the point where you're actively taking in and letting out breaths slowly. If this sounds like meditation, you're right. Some people don't think they have time to meditate, so I like reframe it as breathing. If you don't have time to breathe, then you're in trouble.
  3. Establish a routine - Drive to work the same way every day. Have the same thing for lunch every day. Tie your shoelaces the same way every day. Dress the same way. Write at the same time every day. Be boring. Be predictable.
  4. Break your routine - After you establish a routine for a few weeks, obliterate it. Change things up. Take a different route to work. Change your writing schedule. Forget what you worked so hard to establish in step three.

 

This program is not scientifically proven to work, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the principle behind what I'm suggesting. Keep the mind from getting complacent. Allow it to rest occasionally and lull it into a false sense of security. Let it think it's safe to relax and expect the "same old same old" every day. Once complacency sets in, change things up. Creativity often comes from the strain of change.

 

-Richard

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

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Creative Writing Exercises

Is the Early Bird More Creative?

7,907 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writing
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Writing Deadline Dos and Don'ts - Huffington Post

If you've set a deadline for your next release, here's how to reach it.     

                           

Twenty-one Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story with Suspense - Writer's Digest

Author Elizabeth Sims tells you how to dial up the suspense.       

 

Film

                                                        

Five Filmmaking Lessons for Directors, DPs, & Those Working with Multi-Cam Setups - No Film School

Lessons on finding your camera's dynamic range.     

                                          

Why a Director Shouldn't Edit Their Own Film - Filmmaking.net

Collaboration is a valuable asset in filmmaking.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Musicians: Discover a Simple Way to Connect with Fans - Musicgoat.com

The smallest things can have the biggest impact. 

 

Marketing Lessons from Taylor Swift - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Bob Baker explains how indie musicians can learn a lot from Taylor Swift.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 16, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- January 9, 2014

2,101 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, author, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writers, writing, films, suspense, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, writing_advice
5

Why Do You Write?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 21, 2015

As an author you often get the question, "How did you come up with that idea?" And for me it's impossible to answer. I have no clue where the ideas for my books come from. There are a few times I can pinpoint an origin to a story, but those times are few and far between. For me, it is much easier to answer another question I've gotten on a number of occasions: "Why do you write?"

 

Let me start by giving the reasons that don't come into play when I evaluate my desire to write. I was not born with an innate ability to write. I wrote just terribly in the beginning. It was embarrassingly bad. Over time I got better, but no reasonable person would have looked at my early stuff and recognized a genius hiding in my clunky prose.

 

I have no illusion that my writing will change the world. There are too many moving parts to this planet for me to believe that I can create a movement and open people's eyes to a new way of thinking. That is a power I don't want nor believe I can develop. That's not to say I don't think other writers can change the world. I absolutely think they can. I just don't think I'm one of those writers.

 

I write for one simple reason: I want to know what happens next. That's it. I'm internally bombarded with "what if" questions daily. You know those moments when you witness an everyday occurrence with a predictable outcome, and wonder what if something different happened? Those moments for me turn into a relentless curiosity, and I'm driven to explore where that "what if" scenario takes me.

 

That is why I write. I'm curious to know why you write. What motivates you to wake up every day and add words to the story in your head?   

 

-Richard

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

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Is Writing a Talent or a Skill?

Gaining Perspective When Writing

1,883 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, indie, writing, characters, craft, writing_advice, author_advice
2

If you've never heard of "active voice" or "passive voice," don't worry, you're not alone. However, while you might not know the official terminology, I'm willing to bet you can easily spot the difference between the two.

 

In the active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the acting. For example:

 

  • I am writing this blog post.
  • You are reading this blog post.
  • They are enjoying that book.

 

In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is being acted on by the verb:

 

  • This blog post is being written by me.
  • This blog post is being read by you.
  • That book is being enjoyed by them.

 

While active voice is strong and clear, passive voice is somewhat watered down...and a bit weak.

 

It's fine to use passive voice now and again, but the problem with using it too often is that it can bore - and potentially frustrate - your audience. Passive voice can also leave readers with unanswered questions if certain information isn't provided. For example:

 

  • The man was seen on the street early in the morning, and it was reported that he was up to no good. (Who saw the man? Who reported that he was up to no good?)

 

Still confused? Here's the first paragraph of this post again.

 

If you've never heard of "active voice" or "passive voice," don't worry, you're not alone. However, while you might not know the official terminology, I'm willing to bet you can easily spot the difference between the two.

 

Now here it is rewritten in the passive voice:

 

If "active voice" or "passive voice" has never been heard of by you, don't worry, you're not alone. However, while the official terminology might not be known by you, I'm willing to bet that the difference between the two can easily be spotted by you.

 

See the difference? Think active = strong and passive = weak. Who doesn't want to be strong?

 

-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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Why the Passive Voice Is Hated By Me

Why Good Grammar Matters

2,481 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, grammar, active_voice, passive_voice
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Write Better: 3 Ways to Introduce Your Main Character - Writer's Digest 

How to create characters that the reader will not only like, but feel like they know, as well.           

 

How to Create an Effective, Engaging Video - Marketing Tips for Authors

Your author video must have a purpose to engage the viewer.     

                           

 

Film

                                                        

Three Reasons Why Great Directing Hinges on Prep Work and Pre-production - Norm Kroll

Going into production without being prepared can ruin a great film.     

                                          

How to Build Your Audience through Email - Filmmaking Stuff

Email is a good tool to use to build your audience.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Six Resolutions All Musicians Should Make for 2015 - Hypebot.com

It all starts with knowing what you're getting into. 

 

What's Wrong with Your Vocal Warm-up? - Judy Rodman

Before you commit to doing vocal warm-ups before performances, make sure you're doing them right.   

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 9, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- January 2, 2015

2,386 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, author, promotion, indie, movies, video, writers, writing, characters, films, promotions, directing, musicians, craft, social_media, character_development, author_marketing, film_audience, vocal_excersises
0

Know Thy Story

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 14, 2015

I had the good fortune of being invited to a couple of writer's workshops this year. Both were enlightening and educational. I learned a lot from both the feedback I received and from listening to the other material that was presented. Beyond the exposure to different styles and genres, I got to see how other writers approach their work. The most edifying moments came when each author was asked to describe their stories. For the most part it was interesting, but there was the rare example of a few authors having no idea what their stories were about.

 

 

How could they not know what their own stories were about? I haven't a clue, but it was obvious. They started their description and then would meander off into a subplot, muddling the storyline so much that even they were too lost to get back to the main plot. When they'd finish their description, they'd invariably bark out, "Oh, I forgot..." and proceed to reveal a forgettable morsel of the story. They jumped from character to character trying to justify their existence. The reaction from everyone in the room shifted from attentive listening to polite head nodding to moving to the back of the room to see if any donuts were left.

 

 

Part of their befuddled delivery had to do with nerves, but part of it had to do with a lack of confidence in their main plot and its ability to carry a storyline. If you have no faith in the central theme of your story, you can't expect readers to demonstrate the faith for you.

 

 

If you're ever given the opportunity to discuss your book in public, know your story and have faith in your main plot. Don't veer off into sub-plots and minute character descriptions. Be concise and confident.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Character and Action

Write For the Story Not the Platform

3,148 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, self-publishing, writers, writing, public_speaking, event, craft, workshops, author_tips, author_appearance, book_events
3

Rewrite for New Life

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 12, 2015

Around 12 years ago, I wrote a screenplay that generated a small amount of interest because it did well in a fellowship competition. I thought it was my big break at the time. I started practicing my Oscar speech and wondering what I would wear to George Clooney's Super Bowl party. It was a delightful but brief, delusional vacation from reality. As the months passed, the phone calls and emails stopped coming in, and I returned to Earth no worse for the wear.

 

 

Fast forward to this summer, I decided to open the old screenplay file and see if I could adapt it into a play or even a book. What I discovered shocked me. The screenplay didn't hold up. It just wasn't as good as I had remembered. It's something I can't explain. I was baffled because it had almost won a fellowship competition. Instead of closing the file and walking away, I took the next two weeks and rewrote it. I cut scenes, characters, dialogue, locations, etc. I kept the basic premise intact, and one character kept his name and disposition. Everything else changed. I even made one of the primary male parts a female character. After the first rewrite, about 10% of the old screenplay remained. I had so much fun rewriting it the first time, I rewrote it again. This time about 1% of the old screenplay remained. The style and format looked nothing like the original.

 

It was a blast. I took a piece that I would have never thought of changing a decade ago, and I totally reworked it not once but twice. And it's a better, stronger piece than it used to be.

 

 

I'm guessing there are a number of writers reading this who have old manuscripts that you haven't thought of in years. I encourage you to dig up those old projects that had promise but went nowhere and do what I did. Do something you wouldn't have dreamed of doing when the manuscripts were new and perfect. Rewrite them and give them new life.

 

 

-Richard

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

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Write without Judgment

Overwriting? Just Say It!

4,302 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, rewrite, screen_play
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Write a Bestselling Novel - The Guardian

How to go from trying to write a novel to writing a novel.   

                           

71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book - Your Write Platform

The key to marketing your book.      

 

Film

                                                        

20 Filmmaking Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know - Indie Movie Making

Do you have empty space in your shot? Should you?    

                                          

How to Direct Actors and Film Crews: Detailed Tips for Independent Filmmakers - LAvideoFilmmaker.com

Go above and beyond the dialogue when directing your actors.  

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Self-Promote Your Music - about careers

Simple steps to promoting your own music that make the process less daunting.

 

How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio - Raw Technique Studios

A detailed video tutorial on the best way to set up your home studio.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- January 2, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- December 26, 2014

2,622 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: music, filmmaking, directors, writing, recording, book_promotion, directing, filmmakers, social_media, independent_film, best-seller, promote_your_book, studio.
0

I can make you more creative and insightful with one word. It's not that I'm a wizard with special powers who can open your mind. I'm not an oracle who knows all and sees all. I'm just an observant writer who has learned a thing or two over the years. When some of you hear this word, you'll balk. You'll think me mad. And perhaps I am, but once you mull it over, you'll start to understand how this word is the key to being more creative. Enough of the buildup. This incredibly powerful word is "rules."

 

I know it's kind of anticlimactic, but I promise you rules will make you more creative. Years and years ago, I was working as a writer/producer on a corporate training video. After the client read the shooting script, she had two comments. She wanted the video to be shorter, and she wanted it to include more information. In other words, she wanted two diametrically opposed changes. I grumbled and groused when I first got her notes. I thought she was asking the impossible.

 

I was wrong. What she was doing was giving me a gift. I saw the project in a whole new light, and a switch went off in my brain. Suddenly, I knew the solution to work within her rules, and we ended up with a much better end product than we would have if we had stuck to the original concept.


Give your story restrictions before you sit down to write it. Your brain will go into overdrive to find a workaround that adheres to your rules, and in turn tell a story that is clear and innovative.


 

-Richard

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

 

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The Pitch Test

Fix It in Rewrites

2,548 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writers, writing, creativity, draft, writing_process, craft, creative_writing
1

A couple of Saturdays ago, my good friends Martha and Tanya had a "stoop sale," which is what we apartment-dwelling New Yorkers call a good old-fashioned garage sale. As the three of us were discussing how much to charge for a beaded purse and why no one had yet bought the wooden elephant, a kind older gentleman strolled by. He struck up a conversation about the stack of books Martha and Tanya were selling. He said his name was Leland William Howard and explained that he'd written a memoir about the 20 years he'd spent with his beloved dog Betsy.

 

With tears of joy in his eyes, Mr. Howard told us how writing the book was purely a labor of love. He'd published it on his own and hadn't sold many copies, but that didn't matter to him. He had a story to tell, he told it, and he was extremely proud of having done so.

 

Bravo, Mr. Howard!

 

With all the focus on what to do once our books are "out there," too often we authors forget why we wanted to create a book in the first place. I've written seven novels now, but I remember the moment I finished the first one as if it were yesterday. I was overwhelmed with an incredible feeling of accomplishment, of pride, of fulfillment. And that was just the first draft! I had no idea what would come next, no clue that I would one day become a full-time author. And you know what? Since then I've have a lot of success with my writing, but none of it surpasses that initial feeling of pride, of I did it! I'm dead serious.

 

So many people want to write a book, but so few actually do. Try to remember that the next time you're feeling discouraged, OK?

 

-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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Those Wonderful Bumps in the Road

How to Write without a Plan

6,119 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing
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