Sunday, June 21, 2020

If you’re anything like me, you woke up one morning and thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool if I wrote a book?” (Because that’s how all my hair-brained schemes start.) But unlike all my other crazy ideas, I found that I loved writing and wanted to turn this ‘hair-brained’ idea into something more! So, how do you do that?

Here are some quick tips to launch your name into the writing world:

Tell People. This one sounds obvious (and terrifying) but is so vital to your future as a writer. Tell people that you write! You will be utterly surprised by the support and liberation this little tip will give you. And frankly, none of the following tips will do you a bit of good if you can’t master this one.

Social Media. Yep, you knew this one was coming. I’d be flabbergasted if anyone could navigate a successful writing career without some sort of media representation. Even if they could, they’d be sorely missing out on tremendous opportunity. Make sure your name can be found in association with your work. Build your audience long before you write "The End" on your masterpiece. Follow other writers, aspiring authors, literary agents and bloggers (yes, bloggers are writers too). Be present and interactive on your social media accounts and remember that building a loyal audience takes time.

Reach out. Actively seek out opportunities to present yourself as a writer. This step can mean different things for different people because everyone owns different skill sets. If you have a talent for speaking, reach out to local schools and organizations to talk about what you do. If you have a talent for teaching, host a writer’s workshop. If you have a talent for selling, create merchandise for your work in progress. If you have a talent for listening, attend writer’s conferences—you will find wonderful networking opportunities. Think about what you do well, then use it.



Cortney Winn is one of Word Addicts marketing gurus. She is currently working on her first novel Embers of The Phoenix. Learn more about Cortney HERE.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

So, you have an amazing idea for a story. Now what? How do you organize your thoughts to make a cohesive and coherent book instead of a rambling mess that doesn’t work out in the end?

There are more ways to go about it than you might think, and many variations of each way. Try them out and decide what works best for you. There is no right or wrong way. Here are five of them.

Free Writing/Brainstorming

Sit down and write anything that comes to mind about your book—setting, characters, plot, connections, the beginning, middle, end, plot twists, character flaws, character arcs, your goals, your hopes, and so on. Then group the ideas chronologically, by similarity, by topic, or by any other means you desire. As you work, your story will unfold before you. This method is a bit chaotic at first, but is a good way to just get your thoughts out.

Outline

A more structured way to organize your thoughts is to create an outline. You can create a hasty, generic outline that only touches on the main points and gives a quick glimpse into the details of your story, or a lengthy outline that gets down to the nitty-gritty of each chapter and what happens when and where. By the time you finish a detailed outline like that, your book is nearly written for you, however, it will be plot driven, so be sure you also create dynamic characters that move your plot forward.

Clustering

Perhaps a middle ground between vague chaos and strict order is clustering. Write the main idea or plot point of your story in the middle of the page and circle it. Then add ideas that relate to it and circle them. Add to each circled item until the details emerge. You can also do this for each of your characters to ensure you know all about them.

Create Your Characters

Speaking of characters, you can organize your work by writing about each character. Pull out a piece of paper or hop on your computer and create a page for each one. List their physical characteristics, but also their favorite color, how many people are in their family, events in their past that have shaped them, their weaknesses, their strengths, their favorite food, their best friend, their enemies, and on and on. Now, every detail about them doesn’t have to be in your story, but it helps you really get a feel for your characters. When you know your characters, you know how they will react to events in your plot.

Create it in Your Head

An alternative to the above methods is to create your characters and plot in your head. Run everything through like a movie until you know your characters and what your story will be like. Then begin writing your book.

As mentioned before, there are so many more ways to organize your thoughts into a book. Everyone is unique and will find their own way that works. Personally, I create my characters and run my ideas around in my head until I have a pretty good grasp of who, what, where, when, why, how, etc. Scenes run through like movie clips. Then I jot down a brief outline so I don’t forget any main points.Then I write, write, write. When the story is done, of course, the work has only begun. Next comes editing, rewriting, changing, fixing, tweaking, twisting, rewriting again, editing, editing, editing, and so on. But that can all be covered in another post. 

Allison Brown is the founder of Word Addicts, and is the author of The Precious Stones Treasury, a series of four novels, the last of which will be released in 2020. Find more about Allison HERE

Saturday, June 6, 2020

“I’m going to create the man [or woman] of my dreams in my book!”

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps it reflects your thoughts when you first sat down to write. It’s what I thought. I had a wonderful idea for a story rattling around in my head for years. When I finally tried writing it, I created the perfect woman and the perfect man for her to love. *Sigh*

Yuck!

That’s how it turned out. Disgusting! Terrible! Boring!

Why?

Because real people aren’t perfect! They have flaws and weaknesses. They make mistakes. They choose the wrong thing sometimes. They have to face the consequences of their actions. They drive you crazy, even if you love them–or especially if you love them!

Characters have to be real or they are unrelatable. Readers tune out when characters aren’t like them. I’m not talking about having the same color of eyes. I’m talking about tragedies they’ve gone through like the death of a loved one, divorce, bullying, poor choices that harmed someone...anything a reader can relate to.

Then readers need to see the character grow and learn from their mistakes. This is called a character arc. It shows readers that they can overcome their obstacles and grow and become something more. Just like the characters in their books. That’s a real character.

Characters also need a background–a life before, that shaped them.

Remember the old Smurf cartoons? The introduction says, “They call themselves Smurfs. They were good. Then there was Gargamel, the evil wizard. He was bad.”

For no apparent reason, The Smurfs are good and Gargamel is bad.

Why?

What happened in Gargamel’s childhood or youth that made him bad? Why does he hate Smurfs? Why are the Smurfs good? Have none of them ever done anything wrong?

Who knows? They’re just bad and good. And that’s that.

While that may be fun for a children’s cartoon, it doesn’t fly for creating real characters. There has to be a reason for who they are, what they do, what choices they make, who they like, and who they hate.

Make your characters real. Bring them to life. Make them relatable. Give them a background that makes them who they are (even if you don’t tell it in full to readers). Show the characters struggling, learning, and growing. Show how they change and improve themselves through their challenges.

Then you will have dynamic characters that readers will love.




Allison Brown is the author of the Precious Stones Treasury and several published short stories. Learn more about Allison HERE.

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