Monday, August 31, 2015

Blog or Website—Which One Does a Writer Really Need? Blogging for Writers, Part One

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The reason we do social media is to connect with our audience. And one of the best ways to deepen that connection is by hanging out with them on a blog. Because of that, I’m going to spend the next few weeks on blogging issues.

The first issue I want to talk about is the difference between a blog and a website. It’s important to know the terminology and be able to evaluate exactly what you need for your circumstances. Just like social media, blogging is not a one size fits all proposition.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Writing is Both A Mask & An Unveiling

This quote by E.B While intrigues me. I'd love to know your thoughts.

Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

I invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Power of a Six-Word Story

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Legend* has it that Ernest Hemingway boasted to his friends one day over lunch, “I can write an entire story in six words.” To make his point, he plunked a ten-dollar bill on the table and bet each that he could do it.

When all the takers had tossed in their money, he wrote this story on a napkin:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Keep Dreaming Big Writing Dreams

by Henry McLaughlin @Riverbendsagas

At one time or another, we’ve all had big dreams. When I was a kid, my dream was to play Major League Baseball. But I stopped growing and my bat never could figure out how to hit a curveball.

As we grow up, our dreams change but they’re still big: the right job, the perfect spouse, the promotion to the corner office, a ministry that touches millions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Art of Saying No for Writers (And a Writing Book Give-Away)

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Writers are often asked to volunteer, give of their time and talents, bend, stretch, and fed guilt-lines to convince them to edit, speak, teach, write, mentor for free, read my book and tell me what’s wrong, and the list goes on. You probably have been posed the same question.

Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts about helping others. A willingness to serve is a positive trait for all of us. Unfortunately, too many times we say “yes” because we feel it’s our obligation to respond positively to all opportunities, but the art of saying “no” takes guts, planning, determination, and practice.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Novel Rocket Writing Blog is 10 Years Old and Celebrating!

Edie here. Don't panic, you didn't click on the wrong website. As many of you know, I'm the Senior Editor and a monthly contributor to  the award-winning Novel Rocket writing blog. I wanted to help them celebrate—and let you in on the give-away fun. Be sure to stop by and wish them Happy Birthday!

Queue the hats and horns!

Happy birthday, Novel Rocket!

We’re turning 10 years old this September! It was in September of 2005, our very first author interview was with Deborah Raney. To celebrate this 10-year milestone, we have 2 announcements:

First: we hired a VA to go back and catalogue all the interviews from the past 10 years. Now you can access those by going to the Interviews tab on Novel Rocket. There you’ll find a linked alphabetical listing of every author, agent, publicist and publisher we’ve interviewed. And for 10 years, it’s quite a substantial list!

Second: September will be Giveaway Month. Every week, one lucky winner will receive 5 autographed novels (unless they are an e-book. You can’t autograph one of those) by the Rocketeers of that week.

Every comment you leave will give you one chance in the drawing. If you leave one every day, you have 7 chances that week.

So get ready to celebrate Novel Rocket’s 10th birthday with us!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations for Social Media? Part XI, Social Media Basics for Writers

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“I’m not getting any traction with social media,” is one of the complaints I hear a lot as I travel and teach writers how to connect.

There are a lot of reasons people feel this way, a few are legit, but most are just unreasonable expectations. Today I’m going to address the unrealistic exception for social media that many have.  

Unrealistic Expectations

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Why Are You Worried?

by Brenda McGraw @BrendaMMcGraw

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?” Psalm 121:1

My help comes from the Lord.

If we live long enough we are going to have something that rocks our world. It steals our peace and joy. I call these “Joy Zappers.”

What is stealing your peace and joy today?

Is it the lack of money, or debt? What has you worried?

Sickness and pain can zap our joy and steal our peace.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Writers—We Have to Use it or Lose It!

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

My recent long-term layoff has taught me several important things about the writing life.

One of those is the fact that the longer the time between writing sessions, the more difficult it becomes to get back into the habit. 

Extended periods of not using our talents may result in our giving up altogether. And that’s not good for any writer, especially those who are under contract or dealing with deadlines.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Art of Two-Dimensional Characters

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

A master novelist paints his story with dynamic two-dimensional characters. The characters are woven into the story like puzzle pieces. Each is important to the final picture, but standing alone they bring no significant revelation to the final image.

Two-dimensional characters are flat. They lack depth, are partially developed, and often are stereotypically inclined.

But stories need two-dimensional characters. They bring the story to life, birthing a necessary reality for the main characters, and layering a believable background.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Writing From the Inside Out

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I hardly ever cry at movies. I cried at the end of Inside Out. Even though it’s a kids’ movie, I saw how the inside of our brains might work when anger, fear, disgust, sadness, or joy takes the helm. 

Each feeling was embodied in a little colored creature whose outward appearance matched its personality. Short, blue Sadness couldn’t help but be drawn to sad things and turn the little girl’s memories blue (or sad), while tall, cheerful Joy tried to keep Sadness distracted and in check. 

At the end (I won’t give it away), I felt what the characters felt and knew firsthand the feelings that were being portrayed on screen. I had lived them. From the inside out.

When we write, we want to impact the reader from the inside out. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Writing Quotes that Inspire and Keep You Moving forward

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ~ Frederich Buechner in “Wishful Thinking”

That place for me is as a purveyor of “Encouraging Words.” And while I am in the middle of an intense book deadline, the following wisdom from admired writers helps keep me going. May you find something here as well to encourage your soul and fill your pen…

Monday, August 17, 2015

Social Media Basics for Writers, Part X—10 Tips to Help Writers Get More Twitter Followers

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Once we see the value in Twitter, the next thing we need to know is how to get more followers. 

I haven’t run into many people who don’t want to increase their numbers, so today I’m going to share 10 tips to help writers get more Twitter followers. 

Why do I want more Twitter followers?
  • It gives me credibility
  • It increases my reach, and makes it easier to spread the word, no matter what my message.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Are Your Bags Overweight

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

It’s getting close to my fall conference season, and that means airplane travel. I don’t mind flying, but I absolutely hate packing. You see, I’m a chronic overpacker.

A few years ago, one of my travels gave me  trouble. This particular trip was a bigger than usual challenge because I was going to be away for nine days.

I spent several days planning my wardrobe—packing and repacking—weighing and reweighing the suitcase. I was determined to come in under the fifty-pound maximum. Finally success! I even had two and a quarter pounds to spare. I was off, zipping through check-in with no problem, literally flying high.

I enjoyed my week and a half with other writers. It’s always fun to get away with people who truly understand the way your mind works. But in the midst of having fun, I didn’t pay attention to the extra stuff I was accumulating. At these conferences publishers and authors give away tons of books…literally. And I’m a writer—I can never turn down the temptation of a free book—especially from friends! I didn’t prioritize what I needed to carry home versus what I just wanted to carry home.

It turned out there was be a big difference and a high cost.

By the time I had to check back in for the return trip home, I knew I was in trouble. Sure enough, when the clerk at the counter weighed my bag it was four pounds overweight. For those of you who aren’t aware, airlines are serious about weight limits. The overage cost me a cool one hundred dollars extra to get home.

As I pondered what I could have done differently, I couldn’t help but draw the comparison of the spiritual weight I carry with me daily. The expectations I take up without reason, the stress and worry I add to my load, and of course the guilt. Some of the guilt comes from things I should or shouldn’t have done—true sin. But a lot of it comes from things I just believe I should carry—whether God agrees or not.
This extra load comes from not paying attention, from not prioritizing the experiences in my life. I’ve learned, through experience, this extra load can cost even more. It can lead to burn-out, exhaustion (physical and mental), and worst of all, depression. Whenever I see that I’m overloaded, I come back to these verses and hand over all the extra stuff to Jesus. I exchange what I thought I wanted for what He knows I need. And it’s ALWAYS more manageable load.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Perseverance and the Writer

Writing, it's a mind game so much of the time. How do you persevere when your mind won't cooperate?
"Perseverance, secret of all triumphs." - Victor Hugo

I invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Write Smart: Don't Dumb Down Your Writing & Insult Your Readers

by Vonda Skelton @VondaSkelton

Readers are smart. They’re smart because they read. And if there’s one thing smart readers hate, it’s when writers treat them like they’re dumb.

One way writers dumb down their readers is by info-dumping. Check out these examples:

“When are things going to get back to the way they were before? Can you believe it’s been ten years since daddy left us?” 

Marsha turned from her sister and wiped a tear. “We had to move into public housing and go on food stamps. Then our brother died and Daddy never Description: knew. And then you had to ago into rehab. It’s all his fault.”

Let’s be honest here, would we ever have a conversation like that with our siblings? I doubt it. After all, it’s simply a retelling of facts we would both already know. It’s dumping info on to the page for the perceived benefit of the reader. But our readers won’t appreciate the so-called benefit. They can see through our ruse. They know that we’re taking the easy way out.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Value of My First Creative Writing Course Experience

I'm so excited to share that Warren Adler has a new book coming out:  

Torture Man

The caller made it clear-$10 million or her daughter's head. The power of unintended consequences sends the privileged life of prominent anti-war activist Sarah Raab crashing down around her. Fear and terror take hold and Sarah turns to former CIA operative Carl Hellmann, a man she has only just met and who stands against everything she has been fighting for.

How could this happen? Why would a terrorist group target her family? Confusion turns to fear and anger as Sarah faces the shocking truth lying beneath the surface of her life. And though Carl's interrogation methods violate everything Sarah believes in, they may be the only way to save her daughter's life.

Faced with horrific choices, Torture Man takes the reader on a torturous weekend where Wall Street kickbacks, deceit, corruption, and jihad collide on the Upper East Side of New York City.

Be sure to visit AMAZON and preorder your copy today!

The Value of My First Creative Writing Course Experience
by Warren Adler @WarrenAdler

In 1949 when I was twenty-one years old I took a creative writing course at the New School in Manhattan given by Professor Don M. Wolfe. He had been my freshman English teacher at New York University, where I graduated in 1947, just two months shy of my twentieth birthday.

I lived at home in my parents’ Crown Heights apartment in Brooklyn all through college and took the hour-long ten-cent subway ride to the NYU campus in the Bronx, which proved to be an excellent environment for study. Officially I was declared pre-med, although I had absolutely no interest in becoming a doctor, but I had to declare a goal since I was mostly uncertain what career path to follow.

In that fateful freshman year, largely due to Dr. Wolfe’s inspiration (of which he was surely unaware) I decided to be a writer of fiction, changed my major to English literature, gloried in the study of the extraordinary western canon of authors and have since then pursued a lifetime of obsessive composition of novels, short stories, essays and poems through every imaginable phase of rejection, insult, deprecation, praise, acceptance, and a moment or two of lionization.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It's the Author's Responsibility to Keep Readers Reading

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

J. R. Ewing heard a noise outside his office door. He walked into the hallway and BOOM! Shot. Twice. This was the season ender for the 1980 television show, Dallas. America was taken back when they realized they were left without the answers to two questions:      
  1. Was J. R. Ewing dead?  
  2. Who shot him?

That closing scene was every writers dream come true . . . having the viewer/reader hungry for more.

Fiction is the most read genre in the country. Not only do authors vie for a spot on the fiction shelves of a bookstore, bigger yet, they vie for the reader’s attention. Thanks to the world of technology and media bumping up a viewer’s expectations, writers must step up the pace to draw the reader in.

Monday, August 10, 2015

What Do I Say On Social Media? 23 Conversation Starters for Authors

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I'm constantly being asked for ideas of what post on social media. 

It's important to use those updates as a tool to start a conversation with your friends and followers. 

So I've compiled a list of 23 social media conversation starters for Authors. These should help you never be at a loss for words!