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Writers' Toolbox

Tips for Writing Great Plot Twists

Great advice from C S Lakin When it comes to stories, everyone LOVES a good twist. Whether this is in a movie, short story, or a novel audiences LOVE to be fooled. The greatest compliment any story can earn? I never saw that coming   How did I NOT see that coming? The challenge for the writer is to craft twists that are both unexpected and believable. Ah, there’s the rub. How can your twists be believable if they’re unexpected? Expect the Unexpected Often, the trick is to set up hints, or foreshadowing, in earlier scenes, so that when the truth of the twist is discovered, your reader won’t get mad because they feel cheated or tricked. Having a new character show up at the climax to save the day for the hero will do just that. No setup, no believability (and no satisfaction on the reader’s part). For Every Action There’s a Reaction Your twist needs […]

Self-Editing: 7 Tips to Tighten the Story & Cut Costs

With Thanks For This Post From KRISTEN LAMB A fallacy among many emerging writers is that authors only write the books. Then, once finished, agents will fall in LOVE and someone else will do ALL the editing. *clutches sides laughing.* Yeah…no. And woodland creatures don’t help with housework. Sorry to break the news. Bummed me out, too. The hard truth is the onus is on us (writers) to make certain our manuscript is properly edited before sending a query. Remember, agents are actively searching for reasons to STOP reading. Self-editing skills can mean the difference between a sweet deal or a spot in the slush pile. Even if the story is amazing, agents know editing is time-consuming and costly. This means they’re more likely to wait for another ‘amazing story’ that doesn’t cost as much as a Caribbean cruise to get bookstore ready. They’ll be far more likely to sign an author who possesses solid self-editing […]

Six Ways to Improve Your Novel

Here are some great tips from Kendra Elliot Character emotion: Write a character your reader will root for. Expose their vulnerabilities, show what is important to them, and show what makes them tick. Readers want to see a character grow and be challenged. You can write the most action-packed, suspenseful story in the world, but if your characters are perfect and have nothing to improve within themselves, your reader won’t be emotionally invested in the story. If your hero is a loner who refuses to rely on anyone, break him down and make him face his worst fear and overcome it by asking for help. It’s important to show the reader what was important to your main character and the challenges he/she faces to achieve that. Ticking clock: Nothing maintains the pace in a thriller like a ticking clock. Give the main characters a deadly deadline, a threat that hangs over their heads […]

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, […]