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Writers' Toolbox

Marketing, Promoting and Selling More Books

Some great advice from https://buildbookbuzz.com/sell-more-books-2-steps/ for those of you who have already published or are thinking about your next book. Do you want to sell more books? In a recent online discussion, an author observed that when you write books on different topics, each with its own audience, it’s hard to build up a fan base. She’s right. She was referring to nonfiction, but many novelists have this problem, too. They write books in multiple genres and have to start from scratch with the marketing when they move into a new category. For example, they might write a science fiction book, then shift to poetry before moving on to steampunk. This is a common situation. These writers follow their muse or interests. They’re not interested in focusing on one topic, genre, or audience. They write what they want to write about. Fair enough. But they’re often the people who complain the loudest that their […]

The Key to Great Writing

An interesting perspective from Dawn Field While there is no common definition of great, all great books have the common feature of lacking content that isn’t great. Great writing does not contain “un-great” stuff. The Internet is full of tips to improve your writing. Do this. Do that. Add this. Add that. Brainstorm this. Flesh out that. Adopt this structure. The list goes on and on and is full of wonderful and sound pieces of proven literary advice. There is so much advice and knowledge accumulated over the ages, yet no one seems to fully agree on what makes great writing. It is more that we just know it when we read it. And many cannot agree on that either  –  think of all the rejection letters great writers have gotten from publishers. Think about the fact that we all have different favorite books. Some are perennially popular and historically […]

Tips for proofing your work

(http://www.lrcom.com/tips/proofreading_editing.htm) Read it out loud and also silently. Read it backwards to focus on the spelling of words. Read it upside down to focus on typology. Use a spell checker and grammar checker as a first screening, but don’t depend on them. Have others read it. Read it slowly. Use a screen (a blank sheet of paper to cover the material not yet proofed). Point with your finger to read one word at a time. Don’t proof for every type of mistake at once—do one proof for spelling, another for missing/additional spaces, consistency of word usage, font sizes, etc. Keep a list of your most common errors (or of the writers you are proofing) and proof for those on separate “trips.” If you are editing within Word, use the “track changes” or “mark changes” function to make your comments apparent to other reviewers (additions and deletions can be set to […]

A SMATTERING OF STUPID WRITER TRICKS

These tips come from the blog site ‘Terrible minds’ written by Chuck Wendig. Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language – be warned. But he gives GREAT advice so it’s worth reading. A simple formula for writing: take the story from high intensity (action, argument, manifest tension, drama) to low intensity (dialogue, simmering tension, concerted character development). Nothing should be without tension, and conflict should carry throughout. A film like Die Hard does this well — period of calm, then period of action. Calm, action, calm, action. You can play with the timing and the length of these sections, too. Requiem for a Dream does slow, fast, slow, fast, too. But as it goes on, the slower periods begin to winnow. The sharp, fast, nasty patches get sharper, faster, nastier. The last ten […]

Ideas On Characterisation

An interesting article from The Writers Workshop UK. Characterisation – the task of building characters – isn’t easy. But if you’re struggling to build characters with real life and vigour, just apply the techniques and examples on this page. If you do follow them correctly, we can pretty much guarantee that your characterisation will be just fine! Know what kind of character you are writing There are roughly two types of protagonist in fiction. One is the everyman or everywoman character, plunged into an extraordinary situation. Harry Potter, for example, comes across as a fairly ordinary boy, albeit that he’s a wizard. Likewise, Bella Swan (in Twilight) always thought she was ordinary, until she started to fall for this slightly strange guy … The second type of character (rather less common, in fact) is the genuinely extraordinary character who would make things happen in an empty room. Bridget Jones is […]