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Writers' Toolbox

How to Plot Your Novel and Your Personal Goals

Excellent advice from Martha Alderson Requests for plot and transformational consultations are streaming in from around the world with people’s’ fervent expressions. This is the year I’m passionate to finish my novel. I promise to change. I’m hell-bent (determined to achieve something at all costs) to succeed. Before you begin any resolution, first plot a plan. Following are 7 steps how to plot your novel and your personal goals whether they be to: meet a writing deadline plot a publishing strategy create something new break a destructive habit plot your personal transformation Plot Planner  I recommend using a Plot Planner for any plan you intend to undertake. The planner is a visual template patterned after the Universal Story which leads to all creativity, transformation, and success. The Universal Story is the story of life. First view the simple line as the literal expression you’re looking at. See how the line travels upward, then drops down, builds again to the highest peak, and ends with one final drop. The line of the Universal […]

What to do with your baby – traditional or self-publishing pros and cons

       What to do with Your Baby?        Traditional or Self-Publishing? Ann Neville Ann, in previous lives, has been a nurse and a secondary school teacher in New Zealand and the UK. She has produced a number of resources for the education sector, including Anti-Bullying Guides for teachers, parents and children. Her fiction book ‘Batjack’, for 9 to 13 year olds, was shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 2011, and ‘Suspicion’, a young adult novel, was released in 2017. Ann is the Managing Director of the boutique publishing company, CreateBooks. Traditional or Self-Publishing? Letting go of your baby is the hardest part of writing a book. Authors now have a choice as to how they publish and get their books into the hands of readers. I have done both and, of course, you don’t have to choose between them either. Many authors are now hybrids, […]

Marketing, Promoting and Selling More Books

Some great advice from 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

( 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 […]