Ideas for new novels seem to fall into my mind at the worst moments. In the middle of a meeting or phone call, falling asleep, watching television with my husband. He doesn’t love it when I suddenly stop paying attention to our murder mystery show and begin typing. But I’m now in that swampy creative […]
Promoting your book should be fun and easy — are you crazy? When there are millions of books out there competing for attention, getting your published book to shine in a spotlight that readers can find seems at first like finding a gold ring that’s been thrown into the ocean.
If you’re a new author and waiting for your book to launch, or it has just launched and you’re obsessing over not doing enough, you know the feeling I’m talking about. After the book’s launch I felt like a real novelist, but I was worried that no one would find my published novel. And I read about this thing called an author platform — something like a launch pad from which your book can rocket into the stratosphere. Did I have one? Did I even have the planks for building such a thing?
The most wonderful thing has happened, the thing I always wanted, and I’m in here under the covers hiding from the book launch day for my first novel, The Renaissance Club. It was published on January 23 by Fiery Seas Publishing, a wonderful new publishing company. Your book launch may not be as scary as mine, but probably it will be. You might find yourself hiding like I am because after all the effort to write and rewrite a book, suffer rejections from agents and publishers, finally find a publisher who finally sends it out in the world, you just have too much wrapped up in this thing. All I’m thinking right now is how can I survive the attention?
I’m beginning a new DIY writing retreat! Heading down a new path of revising my draft of Novel #2 – better known as The Romantics, a story of two half-sisters and the cottage they inherit in Italy, along with its resident ghost.
It was drafted last year during National Novel Writing Month, (NaNoWriMo) a month-long writing marathon in which you commit to write 50,000 words of a new book. Are you jumping into this national writing craze too? I rashly signed up and plan to revise last year’s book.
Did you know you can use NaNoWriMo as a rebel? You don’t have to make your goal 50k words. This time, I’m committing to two hours of revision every day, for 30 consecutive–my part-time DIY writing retreat.
If you’re venturing down the #NaNoWriMo path with me — maybe your first-time? — here are some ideas to keep yourself going. Take your courage in both (typing) hands, and tell yourself every day, “I’m now going to do my beautiful writing!” Also, make yourself a structure. Here’s mine.
Structuring a 30-Day Writing Sprint
You need some sort of promise to yourself — that’s the structure. It could be “I’ll write every day” or “I’ll think about my book every day.” My goal is to give myself a month of part-time StayWriCation (as I call my stay-at-home writing retreat) and revise my 353-page novel. NowI’m not counting words, but chapters — 48 chapters to revise. Read More “A 30-day, Part-Time DIY Writing Retreat”
Ways to Plot a Novel Working on a plot outline so you can plunge into your next big creative project, or getting ready to jump into National Novel Writing Month — could you use at least 10 ways to plot a novel? I have a list of articles for you. Actually, it’s a lot more […]
Here I am on a weeklong stay-at-home, self-designed week of working on my new novel — my DIY writing retreat — and I’m thinking, “What do you do on a writing retreat during breaks? You talk to other writers!”
So here I am, kibbitzing with you, fellow writer. I hope you’ve had an hour or more of writing today — possibly you’re even on your own DIY writing retreat — and that it’s going well. My goal is to complete the first draft of my second novel, The Romantics. It’s a tale of two estranged half-sisters who inherit a house on the Ligurian coast of Italy, along with its resident ghost of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who once lived there. Their story explores the price of individuality and the depth of love of family, as well as the value of heart over head in mapping out a meaningful life. There are some love interests, but the two opposed sisters are at the heart of this love story. Read More “Report from my DIY Writing Retreat”
I’ve decided to launch from my Rocket Kid Writing blog into a newly titled blog, which will be integrated with my new website (stay tuned!) as The Writing Path.
It’s not an easy path, involves some hard pulling at times, some days of feeling lost in the woods, but for me, it’s a compelling path of self-discovery. I have to keep going forward. And though it often feels solitary, I’m surrounded by writer friends, whether we connect in person over a cup of tea or coffee, or on Facebook, Twitter, or through the marvelous nonprofit organization for writers of women’s fiction, The Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
Two great things I did for my writer self last year: draft a (nearly) complete novel during National Novel Writing Month, and join the WFWA, where I’ve met and learned from many wonderful novelists. Read More “The Writing Path”
One obvious way to find good writing podcasts is to go to the major magazines and papers. They all have writing and reading related podcasts.
But I want to hear from people like me, novelists in the trenches of a first or second book, writers suffering through querying, plotting, character development, point-of-view decisions. Authors working to publicize their indie books or books out from smaller book publishers. I want to know how they’re doing it, how they keep on doing it, and what new ideas are out there for me. Read More “The Best 5 Writing Podcasts (out of 1,000s)”
By Writing Holiday, I of course mean Writing ON a Holiday. Holidays are better known as Writer’s Retreats, for all writers truly addicted to their art seize on the first amount of free time to face the blank page. Or the written page that desperately needs revising.
Novel writing occurs over an extended period of a year or more. Long form story writing requires you to visit your work as often as possible — that’s my main writing tip to novelists! Novelists are like that Beach Blanket Babylon lady who carries the whole city of San Francisco on her hat. We carry our long, complicated stories around in our brains months and even years. Read More “Writing on a Holiday – Dodging Parties to Get to the Writing Desk”
Someone in one of my writing groups asked what makes a great first page. It’s an excellent question, and no two answers will be alike, despite what the bestseller lists and books on writing “the breakout novel” tell us.
Character always draws me into a book. I don’t read many thrillers or fast-paced stories. Someone reported the advice that a first line of a novel should make you nervous. I think that works well for readers who love suspenseful stories. I’m not so reeled in by suspense, but a great character in the book’s opening — even an unappealing person — will catch me.
A Man Called Ove did this, with the most unique character I’ve ever read about. I kept reading just to see who was going to punch him in the face. Here are three book openings whose characters, sketched nimbly in first paragraphs, hooked me. And the books proved just as good as their openings!