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Monday, November 28, 2016

How to Publish Yearly

As some of you know, I'm a pretty slow writer, and by the time I'm done with a scene and have it singing, I don't regret it. But not everyone writes like I do, and not everyone wants to write like I do, and I sure as heck don't expect everyone to. So today I have Paul Silver on my blog as a guest. Paul has made a goal to write one book per year, and he's going to share how he does that for anyone else out there hoping to do the same. He recently published a new book Shadow of the Arisen, that you can learn about here.

Also, real quick, this is your last chance to enter my Fantastic Beasts giveaway of Newt's vintage Hufflepuff scarf. I'll be selecting the winner on the 30th. Anyway, here is Paul:




Finishing a novel is no small accomplishment. Often, it takes well over five hundred hours to complete and the work involved is not easy, sometimes stretching you to your creative limits. I’ve talked to plenty of writers who wonder if there’s some sort of “secret method” to constantly publish a book every year. For the past five years, I’ve published one to two books each year. I’ve found that secret formula for myself at least. I’m sure the particulars about publishing yearly differs from writer to writer, but here are five core principles that should help any writer out when working on publishing yearly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

7 "Fantastic" Things I Can't Stop Thinking About (SPOILERS)



I wasn't going to do a blog post this week because I just put up my spoiler-free review of Fantastic Beasts over the weekend (by the way, I'm also giving away Newt's vintage Hufflepuff scarf, so you might want to head there to enter). But . . . I couldn't stop thinking about the movie, and I have been really wanting to get some thoughts out of my system, most of which are spoilery. Here are some things I can't get out of my head: Queenie and Jacob, Obscurus (did Dumbledore's sister have one?), Grindelwald (what was with that?), Leta Lestrange (BTW we have some official backstory), all the U.S. wizards used silent spells, the MACUSA death sentence adds evidence to an interesting fan theory about the Hallows and three brothers, and Credence is actually still alive.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and How to Watch it (Review + Fantastic Beast Giveaway)




Eeeek!! It's here! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is finally out!!

And in honor of that, I'm doing a giveaway of Newt's vintage Hufflepuff scarf. (Sorry to everyone who read the title and thought I was giving away a fantastic beast--no nifflers or bowtruckles here 😞)

To enter, all you need to do is "like" or share this blog post from my Facebook Page (do both to enter twice), like or retweet this blog post on my Twitter (do both to enter twice), like or reblog this blog post on my Tumblr (do both to enter twice), and (you guessed it) like (+1) or share this blog post from my Google+--that means you can enter eight times. You must be follower of me on one of my platforms to win. The winner will be selected November 30th, and the giveaway is open internationally.

(Also, if you want to like and share my posts, but don't want to be entered in the giveaway, just go for it, and if you win, tell me you aren't interested, and I'll give it to someone else.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mastering Stylistic Tension



Hey everyone! Last week I did my first post on Writers Helping Writers. So instead of doing another new post on here today, I want to send you guys to that one. In it, I talk about mastering stylistic tension. Here is the beginning to get you started:

One of the first things writers learn is to start a story with conflict. Some writers have bombs go off. Others start with a death. Or a break-up. But over the years, looking at unpublished material, I’ve learned and relearned that how such conflicts are rendered on the page stylistically can often be just as important as the conflict itself, and sometimes even more important.

I’ve seen a lot of stories start with the dead or dying—a topic that is universal to the human experience. And yet, stories that promise a content-minor conflict on something like, say, a character losing her job, seem to have more tension. Why is that?

Often it’s based on how the writer handles the conflict stylistically. In some ways, it’s not the conflict itself that draws readers in, it’s the promise of conflicts. A story that opens blatantly with death often isn’t as interesting as a story that opens with the promise of death—whether that death happens on the first page or last page of the story.

When you begin a story with a death itself . . . that’s it. It’s all there, on the page. But when you begin a story with a promise of death, the reader feels the need to read on to find out about the death and discover whether or not is actually happens.

 . . . Keep Reading

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Mechanics of Rendering Mysteries and Undercurrents—How to Withhold Info from the Reader Right



For months (years?) I've been saying I'm going to post the mechanics of writing mysteries. And today it's finally here! I'm a huge fan of stories that include a good mystery--if not as a main focus, as a side line. Last month, I did a whole post on crafting killer undercurrents. It's worth noting that the techniques needed to render mystery are the same techniques needed to create a strong undercurrent! Win-win!

In the future, I will be doing a post that argues that you absolutely can withhold important information from the reader (even if the viewpoint character knows it)--as long as you do it the right way. That article will reference this one for techniques.

Selecting the Experience You Want for Your Reader

Conscious Mysteries vs. Subconscious Mysteries (works for Undercurrents too)

There are different types of mysteries. A conscious mystery is one that (as you may have guessed) the reader is aware of. In whodunnit stories, the mystery comes from the reader (and protagonist) trying to figure out who the murderer is. It's on the page. The reader is very aware of it, and trying to solve it with the character. In the Harry Potter series, Harry trying to figure out who opened the Chamber of Secrets, who put his name in the Goblet of Fire, and what Malfoy is up to, are all conscious mysteries. The reader is actively looking for clues and hints in the text to find answers.