Tag Archives: writing tips

Master The Outline – 12 Methods For Plotters & Pantsers – Part II

OutlineingLast week I confessed all kind of Pantser secrets. Like the fact I’m a filthy dirty  cheating hybrid and I actually sit somewhere in the middle of the plotter-pantser hot tub party.

One of the biggest differences between plotters and pantsers is whether or not they outline. In last week’s post, I talked through the first three of twelve outlining methods, including:

  • Chapter Outlines
  • 7 Point Plot Plan
  • 3 Point Plot Plan

Today I am going to run through the rest of them. Continue reading

Master The Outline – 12 Methods For Plotters & Pantsers – Part I

OutlineingIf you cut my wrist, I’d bleed pantser all over you. Which, for anyone that knows me in real life, is about as ironic as you can get. I’m hyper organised. I have lists of lists and spreadsheets to make even the hardiest of geeks weep. I’m so extreme my wife has to schedule in time for spontaneity.

Which is why, when I first started writing, I knew without hesitation I was a plotter. Except that I really wasn’t. I tried to plot my way through to finishing a novel and I couldn’t.

Plotting led to me drowning myself in cliches: balled up scraps of paper littered my living room, my laptop screen lay barer than the sahara and enough empty coffee cups loitered on my table to waken even the most exhausted mother. I was blocked.

In the end I threw my rigid-frigid-plotting rule book in the fuck it bucket and NaNo’d the shit out of November 2014. Victory was mine. I finished off the manuscript triumphant. I was a fucking writer at last. The arrogance did not last. After a 3 month break I picked up the manuscript and nearly paper machè myself a coffin out of it. It was worse than finding a maggot in your apple.

Right there. That was the moment I knew then I had to find a way to prevent myself from ever having to re-write anything again.

So I have amassed X different methods to outlining and made suggestions as to how you can use them as a pantser. A few too many for one post – so as is becoming a habit lately, I’ve split them over more than one post. Continue reading

7 Tactics To Grip A Reader At The End Of A Chapter

end of a chapterWhen you write the end of a chapter, you want readers to be desperate to turn the page and read on irrespective of the fact its 3:41AM and they have work the next day.

You want your book to be the cause of their bleary eyed appearance as they clutch the work coffee machine and growl at any one who comes near.

But what is it about a chapter ending that makes someone read on, rather than put it down and go to snoozeyland?

Here are nine tactics you can use to grip a reader and tickle their temptation soft spot to read on. Continue reading

3 Things You Need To Create The Perfect Gothic Story With @Icysedgwick

Gothic TalesOver the next month or so I am trying to finish my book so I can do the underwear eating exercise of handing my book baby to beta readers, *gulp*. I wanted to keep to two posts a week, but couldn’t with all the extra writing. So a few lovely friends have offered to step in and take the reigns for some of the posts. Be nice, play gentle and happy clappy rounds of applause please.

Today the lovely Icy Sedgwick, who came to the Bloggers Bash 2016 is talking to us about an area of her expertise: gothic stories. Icy is studying a PhD in film studies looking at space in haunted houses, so she really does know a thing or two about this.

If you want to know some neat little tricks to perfecting gothic tales, check out Icy’s tips below: Continue reading

13 Things I Learnt From Completing Draft Two of My Novel

draft twoWhen I wrote THE END on my second draft of Keepers, I cried. Just two tears mind, I am dead inside after all.

I cried because it was the end of more than just a marathon of RSI, obscenely late nights and incessant tapping that drove my wife to distraction. It felt like I had achieved my first real step towards freedom and the life I really want because a) I’d completed something real and tangible, all 72108 words were staring back at me like tiny dancing stick men.

And b) because I knew, this time, unlike my first draft, it wasn’t a total pile of turd.

After my two lonely tears rapidly dried up, I glanced at the clock on my laptop. The time blinked back at me, it read 1:04am. I’d sat and written 4025 words in the last 3.5 hours without moving. I was gobsmacked, that was four days worth of writing. In. One. Go.

Something told me to check the date. So I did. August 20th. I frowned. That rang a bell. I checked the post I wrote after completing my first draft. To my utter bewilderment, I completed my first draft the previous year on August 20th at 1:04am. If you don’t believe me, check the post.

It’s a beautiful thing, synchronicity. Perhaps I should publish it at 1:04am on the 20th August next year!

Here’s 13 things I learnt writing this draft. Continue reading

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part I

find your audienceAs writers we play the infinitely difficult Where’s Wally of reader spotting. But locating those pesky readers is more tortuous than tweezing your granddads nasal hair, and yet, it is THE most important thing we do.

As I draw nearer to handing my book to beta readers, the prospect of completing it, having to press publish and my labour of love subsequently disappearing into the utterly saturated Amazon rainforest of books, never to be seen again, is becoming frighteningly real.

In an attempt to prevent the only people buying my book being mumsy and wifeypoos, I read 3 marketing books last month:

Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book

Nick Stephenson’s Supercharge Your Kindle Sales

And Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies 

The whole point of my blog is to share what I learn on this sanity testing journey to authordom and what did I learn? Well, I’m resolute on the fact finding your readers will always be the holy grail of authorlyness and because it’s the holy grail, not all of us will find it. BUT, I also learnt a whole heap of other neat tricks to help us along the way, as well as finding an answer to the 64 bergillion dollar question, should an author blog…?

I learnt a shit ton of stuff, so I’ve split this post into two.

So here are 9 ways to help you find your audience, this week I bring you way one to five. Continue reading

Perfect Your Dystopian World in 5 Easy Steps

DystopiaI’m obsessive. Once I get my little fishhook fingers into something there is nothing I won’t consume about a subject.

That’s why I’ve obsessively read books since I sung my first ABC and it’s why I write just as obsessively now.

One of my biggest obsessions, is the concept of dystopian worlds. I heart everything about them. I want the t-shirt, the fan girl moves, the merch and ALL the books. ALL OF THEM.

But right now, as a writer, I’m more interested in how to get them right. What do you need building bricks do you need to include and what key factors do you need to make a dystopian world realistic.

I’ve just finished reading Jane Dougherty’s Abomination. It was both a fantastic read and an exceptional example of an apocalyptic and dystopian setting.

Here are 5 steps to perfect the dystopian world. Continue reading

Mantras, Mindset & 7 Secrets You Need To Finish Your Book

Mantra MindsetIf you’re a creative person, then at some point you’ll meet my little bitch of a friend self-doubt. Meeting her is as inherent as the need to play God and cackle as you kill another darling.

Self-doubt really is the queen bee of inefficiency, procrastination and pointlessness. Frankly, she makes Trump seem useful… did I? Lets move on before I offend anyone with something more than just my potty mouth.

I’ve talked about self-doubt before and given four suggestions to beat it. But like anything, as you grow and develop as a writer, you find new tricks to make you better and more efficient.

Writing is always likened to running a marathon. It’s great analogy because personally, I’ve well and truly hit the 18 mile wall. But even if I have to chew my kneecaps off in a bid to keep my arse in the proverbial chair, I will hand my sodding book-baby to beta readers on 30th September. But fuck me, the universe is not making it easy.

So here are some awesome techniques I’ve been using that you can implement to get you and your book to completion without having to gnaw body parts off. Continue reading

How To Give Your Readers A Book Hangover in 3 Easy Steps

Book HangoverWriting a book is a form of torture, I swear. Between the paralysing self-doubt, the voices constantly screaming in your head and the genuine addiction to playing God late into the night, it is without doubt, a form of torture.

But despite all that, when you see the results or hear of a reader sobbing at 3am because you killed bunnikins the third and all his fluffy bunnywabbit babies, it makes it all worth while.

We’ve all been there: unable to see the page for the hysterical tears, or laughing so hard you drop the book and lose your page. Or the ultimate – been given a book hangover by the latest series you binge read.

As authors, that’s exactly what we want to do our readers: hook em’, shake em, change em’, and set them free again.

The key to a hangover, is being able to change a reader, but in order to achieve that change, we need to drag them into the heart of our story. Which means, we need to know what the heart of our story is in the first place. Continue reading

Lies – 5 Tips to Master The Perfect Character Arc

character arcI confess… Instead of reading the half dozen books I already have on the go, I accidentally (ok, on purpose) opened a guilty pleasure novel. And no, that’s not a sexual reference, you filth-bag, I meant my fave genre – YA fantasy).

Because it’s my genre I took the opportunity to research. I never read a book without taking a lesson from it.

This time I learnt all about the character arc and one awesome method for achieving the perfect curve! The book I read: Frostbite by Richelle Mead (part of the Vampire Academy series), used an awesome technique in which to perfect that arc – LiesContinue reading