Getting Back Into the Groove

I’ve been running a Meetup group in Charlotte called the Thrifty Author’s Publishing Success Network for six years now. Every month, we get together and talk about an aspect of publishing or writing or marketing, and the group suggests a theme for the next month. It’s a tactics group, not a writing critique group, and it’s a fantastic bunch of people (if you’re in driving distance, c’mon and join us). So in 2016, I’m going to use the group’s monthly theme for one of my monthly posts here, starting now.

Which brings me to this month’s question–how do you get back into the groove when you’ve taken a break?

Maybe you got busy with life, or got sick or hit a wall on your idea and … stopped writing for a while. Or maybe you set one project aside to work on something else that had a more urgent due […]

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Quick Tip Tuesday: Coming up With Story Ideas

It happened again the other day. I was at a holiday party and someone I know — someone who knows I’m a writer — told me that he had an idea for a story, and that I should write it. This actually happens quite often, and I told him what I tell everyone else who makes such an offer: that I have plenty of ideas of my own, thank you very much.

And that’s the truth. Once upon a time, I worried about running out of ideas and not knowing what to write next. Now I worry about having enough time to write all the stories I’ve imagined.

But I know that early on in my career, I did have trouble at times figuring out what to write next, and I know as well that I still get lots of questions from aspiring writers about where I my inspiration comes […]

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New Release & Literate Liquors Episode 18 – Writing Tips for Beginners

So I’m a little (a lot) like Simon Cowell on old episodes of American Idol. I’m snarky, sometimes biting, and I don’t suffer fools lightly. I might or might not unleash a little of that in this week’s episode of Literate Liquors, when I give some tips to beginning writers on how to write better. Or as I tend to put it – suck less. I have a lot of people that ask me to read things, and a lot of the time my response is simply – this isn’t written well. So this week I go over a few things that writers need to avoid doing in order to craft tighter stories, create better tension, and generally suck less. Because the less you suck, the more you sell!

Literate Liquors Episode 18 is available here.

By the by, the second in my Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter novella series is […]

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Holiday Post: My List of the Best Writing Tips

I have never done NaNoWriMo. I know that there is an ongoing debate about its efficacy for aspiring writers, but I haven’t felt that I could stake out a position one way or another.

Now, though, I am now in the midst of my own NaNo experiment. I started City of Shades (Thieftaker Chronicles, book III, by D.B. Jackson) later than I had intended, which means that I was behind almost from the start. So, I decided that I needed to crank out the pages in February. If I could write 45,000 words this month, I would be back on track. If I could get 50,000 words, I would be ahead of schedule heading into March, which would be good I’ll be taking a week off to travel with my family and celebrate my big milestone birthday. That’s right: I’m about to turn 21 . . .

Anyway, I […]

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On Writing: Transitions and Chapter Breaks

I have been wanting to post about transitions for ages now, and I haven’t been sure how to approach the subject. Faith has posted about them before — a pair of posts that you can read here and here — and she did a masterful job of talking about using prose to smooth us through those moments mid-chapter when we need to relocate a character or show the passage of time in a way that does not upset the flow of narrative and that does not rely on clunky crutches. What I want to talk about is a little different: Today we’re going to focus on chapter breaks and how to make the most of them.

Let me start with a definition: A transition in a book or story is pretty much any passage or device that bridges moments of discontinuity in our writing. Changes in time, changes in setting, […]

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Writing Your Book, part VIII: Story Arc and Your Ending

There are as many ways to end a novel as there are authors writing books. Everyone has his or her own approach, and I’m no different. Neither are you, no doubt. Today’s post, another in the “Writing Your Book” series, touches on a subject that draws rather strong opinions from writers and readers alike: How should you end your book? Obviously, I’m not talking about specifics here. Each of us has an ending in mind that addresses character, plot points, and the rest. The issue with which I’m concerned is a broader one, and it’s best discussed in the context of story arc. At what point in a story arc do you want your book to end?

To facilitate the conversation, I’d like you to visualize story arc in your mind, and to that end I’ve prepared a few graphics.

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Swing Tips Pt 3

As a joke I’ve said that I’m a literary slut – I’ll read anything. I know. That sounds trashy. LOL. But I’m also a literary…(um, how do I say this to bring this post back in line with the high moral tone of this site…? Ah!) And with my writing I’m also a literary call-girl – I do it for money. Sorry. Couldn’t resist!

Not that I view my writing as cheap or something to be abused in the name of the dollar (or gold, as the dollar is worth nothing these days). It is totally creative. But it’s also a creative way to make a living. Writing is my job. I get up and go to work pretty much 9 to 6 PM, just like anyone else. (Of course I work in my PJs half the time, though not silk PJs like a call-girl. Today I haven’t even combed […]

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