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. (more…)

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: (more…)

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. (more…)

Writespiration #94 Condense Your Novel Into 3 Sentences

condense 3One of the most difficult things we have to do as writers, is boil our novels down to write elevator pitches.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a sentence or two of no more than about 25 words that explains/pitches your novel in the best light. If you met an agent in an elevator and had 2 floors to sell your book, what would you say?

This weeks challenge is in the same ball park as elevator pitches but not quite the same thing.

I listened to a podcast the other day, I think it was this episode from the story grid, and they said that every story should/could be boiled down to just three sentences. It’s a great exercise in getting concise clarity of your plot.

So, your challenge this week is to boil your plot down to its simplest form. This isn’t marketing 101, don’t try an sell me your book like a pitch sentence. This is purely about plot. Tell me your entire novels story in three sentences.

If you want to join in, pop your sentences in the comments, or in a blog post and ping back here so I can find it. You have until 12pm on the 28th August.

Here’s mine: (more…)

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part II

find your audienceLast week I talked through the first five of nine ways you as authors can use to find your readers.

These were all lessons I’d learnt from a pile of marketing books I’d read over the last month. The post was too long to have it all in one blog, so here are the second half of the ‘ways’.

The first five ways included:

  • Defining your audience
  • Connecting in a meaningful way
  • Strategising your social media usage
  • Being your own fan
  • Advertising

You can see the details of those ways here.

(more…)

Parenting Lessons from the Terror Tot – Potty Training 101

Potty TrainingWritespiration is on hold this week. I’ve been busy potty training. As well as the fact that this month is my target month to complete my manuscript draft of Keepers (and next month I have to finish the edits ready for beta readers) so the blog has well and truly taken a back seat.

I have heaps of comments to approve or reply to, a bunch of personal emails that need tending to and my usual boat load of pre-scheduled posts is in a deficit, so sozberries, right now I’m drowning!

So I thought I would bring you baby black terror tot extraordinaire with his latest lessons in parent training… (more…)

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. (more…)

Orion’s Belt & The Universal Language

orions beltOne of the great questions in life. Scratch that. The GREATEST question in life, is whether or not we are alone. Billions of pounds and millions of man hours have been devoted to answering that question. But no matter how many pieces of evidence are provided, our tiny little brains cannot fathom the possibility that we are not alone. Frankly, it feels like even if a goggle eyed grey alien himself were stood blinking in front of us, we’re so damn numbed to the possibility, we’d still deny their existence.

And suuuuure, some of us are open minded. But lets be honest we are the small minority.

I talked recently about the Fermi Paradox, that questions why, if the universe is infinite and there’s infinite possibilities of life, haven’t we come into contact yet? One of the questions still left in my mind, was what if, in trying to contact ET’s we have been both sending out messages they can’t understand and interpreting messages left here completely wrong the whole time.

How would we communicate? and what is the Universal Language? Many claim its numbers and maths. But aren’t those constructions of society and humans? Numbers are a method of measuring but what if our lifetimes span completely different timescales to others, perhaps our numbers would be trivial. Damon T. Berry, writer and filmmaker has come up with a suggested answer that I find intriguing.  (more…)

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. (more…)

Writespiration #93 Underwater Ballroom

BallroomI get inspiration from all over the place, I actively seek it out on a daily basis. Basically I’m a sniffer dog only my crack cocaine happen to be quirky ideas. Although I’m hard at work editing Keepers, I can’t help but ferret away at other projects. Currently I’m searching for location inspiration for a different book series.

I found something awesome recently in an article on the Atlas Obscurer, and I just had to share it. They found a ballroom built under a lake. You can check out the article here. The ballroom happens to actually be a smoking room, but they called it a ballroom, and that was enough to send my mind reeling. What if it really were a ballroom? The glass roof, now covered in algae would have allowed dancers to view the creatures in the lake while they danced. I almost have to squeeze my temples to prevent all the ideas falling out. I love this.

Your challenge this week is to set a piece of flash fiction under water. Write a story in less than 200 words. Paste in the comments or use a pingback and submit before 7th August.

As always, I am slow to respond to entries because I read and moderate everyone, you may find a delay before your story appears and before I comment. (more…)