There are certain things all writers need: inspiration, creativity, dedication, some measure of talent. But there’s one thing that’s perhaps more important than all these elements combined – one thing that’s guaranteed to help you become a productive, prolific writer. And that thing is a writing routine. Every writer who wants to achieve their goals must have a writing routine. Without a routine, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of procrastination, or to disappoint yourself when your writing output isn’t where you want it to be. Without a routine, it’s hard to make writing a regular habit – and making it a habit is something you must do if you ever want to finish that novel! Like most things in life, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution here. Every writer works differently and has different strengths and weaknesses…
Have the words ‘I’m not a real writer’ ever crossed your mind? Have you ever felt that your writing skills are inadequate, despite evidence to the contrary? Have you ever achieved success with your writing, only to think, ‘How did I get here/I don’t know what I’m doing/I don’t deserve this’? If any of the above rings true, you may be struggling with something called impostor syndrome. What is impostor syndrome? First identified by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, impostor syndrome refers to feelings of fraud and self-doubt experienced mainly by high-achieving individuals. These individuals are convinced that they are not really knowledgeable, skilled or talented in their area of expertise – that they have somehow fooled people, scammed their way to success, and will be exposed sooner or later as the fraud they really are.
Aithne is a warrior kidnapped from her homeland during a Viking invasion and forced to marry her captor. Shortly before the raid that claims his life, she becomes pregnant with a child whom she believes cursed. Spurred by the dark sorcery she learns from relics her late husband’s mother left behind—including a magic mirror—Aithne descends into a madness that threatens not only her child’s life but also the lives of everyone around her.
Exiled by her mother, Brenna is taken in by a clan of dwarves who treat her like their own. They soon learn that no one is immune to Aithne’s lunacy—not even the prince to whom Brenna was once betrothed. Brenna must face and conquer death itself if she is to save the land that rightfully belongs to her, and to break her mother’s terrible spell on the man she loves.
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The simple structure, clear elements, and unadorned style of fairy tales are something all writers can learn from. After all, fairy tales have passed the test of time. They engage readers (or listeners) exactly because their simplicity makes for dynamic (and dramatic!) stories. Regardless of what genre you write, here are the top five things writers can learn from reading fairy tales.
1. Craft a strong beginning
The classic ‘Once upon a time…’ story beginning immediately creates a connection with readers. It is familiar, while at the same time promising a new adventure. These are four magical words for kids, and for many adults. And that’s the point right there: the beginning of your story should be magical. A strong beginning should:
Convey a sense of atmosphere (giving a clue to the genre and style of your story)
Establish the setting
The importance of your novel’s first chapter cannot be underestimated. It’s the chapter that introduces your book to the world – the chapter that needs to draw in agents and publishers and readers alike. (No pressure or anything!) Unfortunately, there’s no predetermined formula for a perfect first chapter. Every story is different, and so is every opening chapter. However, there are certain elements that most successful first chapters share, and it’s those that should serve as guidelines to you when you’re writing the opening of your book. Virtually nobody is able to knock out a flawless first chapter on their first draft. You may need to come back and include some of these elements during your rewrite or edit. But even if you haven’t started writing yet, it’s worth keeping the following things in mind to ensure you’re on the right track.
When you’ve finally finished your manuscript after thousands of hours of work, the last thing you want to hear is that there’s more work to be done. But unfortunately, that’s the simple truth of the matter. Finalising your draft is an enormous achievement, but now’s not the time to rest on your laurels! There’s still a lot you need to do to get your book ready for publication. Once you’ve written, rewritten and edited and you’re satisfied with the story, it’s time to focus on the little things: the small yet important details of the writing itself. Despite (or perhaps because of) the hundreds of times you’ve read your manuscript, there are plenty of things you might have missed. Overused or unnecessary words; inelegant phrasing or exposition; long, difficult-to-read sentences… All of these things might have escaped your notice while you were dealing with bigger…
I’ve been crap at updates recently, but there’s good reason for it, I PROMISE. In this post you’ll find a quick rundown of those reasons (i.e. everything that’s releasing/I’m working on in 2017, subject to change).
This erotic horror series officially debuts this month, but you can get started with a couple of teasers, one of which is my story “Suck.” Check it out here.
Recently, we delved into what makes a great opener for a novel, covering the key elements to include in your first chapter. But just as there are important elements you should aim to include, there are also elements you should strive to avoid. As we discussed previously, your first chapter has the power to make or break your novel in the eyes of readers, agents and editors alike. Clichés, weak writing, gluts of information, misplaced scenes – all these things have the potential to drive away your audience. For most authors, it’s fairly easy to fall into the trap of any of the following undesirable elements. Mistakes are completely understandable, especially when you’re only on your first draft. But if you keep the following tips in mind while you…
As a writer, it’s easy to feel like you’ve completely exhausted all your ideas when you need to be creative all the time. The good news is, you can never run out of creativity! As John Steinbeck once said, “Ideas are like rabbits, you get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen”. If you’ve lost inspiration for a project you’re working on, or you’re looking for some tips to get motivated to write, here are some activities you can try that will help you out of that creative rut. 1. Read, read, read Perhaps the most obvious of these tips, reading is a great way to reignite your creativity. Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked from a story someone else has already written. If you plan on writing novels, reading is a great way to help you remember what you’re working towards: getting your own book on the…
Scenes drive your story forward; without them, there would be no novel. Your scenes need to keep your reader on the edge of their seat with your plot and characters because otherwise, they won’t keep reading. Looking at your novel on a scene-by-scene basis is a critical step in the writing and editing process. Here’s a list of six things you can do to make every scene super engaging for your readers.
1. Structure your scenes to maintain good pacing You’re probably aware of the importance of structuring your novel, but having good scene structure is equally important. By structuring your scenes carefully, you will ensure your novel maintains a good pace and isn’t full of dull patches.
In his book Techniques of the Selling Writer, author Dwight V. Swain highlights the importance of creating scenes and sequels. He suggests that a scene should always be