Category Archives: Writing Tips

Book Pricing Strategies #MondayBlogs #amwriting

Book pricing. That slightly ugly elephant that sits somewhere between self-loathing, desperation for sales, pride in what you’ve completed, and the necessity of, you know, having enough mulaah to feed your kids.

But what to do? What to do? What if you have a series? What if you have a single book? What if you write non-fiction?

I recently *praise the literary gods* managed to land the holy grail of marketing – a Bookbub. I’ve learned a few things about pricing along the way and wanted to share my experience.

Before anyone gets their book-knickers in a twist, I’m not suggesting THIS strategy is THE glorious sales panacea that will work every time, hell it might not even work for you – I do write in a specific genre and anyone with an ounce of marketing sense will appreciate that genres vary as much as my mood during the final week of editing!

Here’s what I’ve learned about book pricing Continue reading

To prologue or not to prologue that is the question… with @Marjorie_Mallon #Sundayblogshare

Today I have a wonderful guest on the blog, Marjorie Mallon. I met Marje at the very first ever Bloggers Bash – have you got your ticket yet? Marje has attended every single bash and I am absolutely thrilled to have her on today to discuss prologues to celebrate the launch of her first book and paperback.

You can purchase a copy of A Curse of Time:

AmazonUSA

AmazonUK

Welcome Marje:

Continue reading

5 Reasons Why Flash Fiction Makes You A Better Writer #amwriting #MondayBlogs @Charli_Mills

There’s nothing I like more than getting to the point. That’s what flash fiction does, and it’s also how I started writing. For the longest time, I wrote fractured pieces, snippets of stories that weren’t destined for me to finish. Characters came and went, challenges were entered, and pieces of stories lay frayed at the edges and abandoned to dusty corners.

But the skills I picked up writing flash fiction were invaluable.

If it weren’t for the heroics of bloggers and community builders like Charli Mills, I might never have been brave enough to pick up the proverbial pen and grit my way through 70,000 words.

February sees the launch of the first flash fiction anthology from Charli’s writing community: The Rough Writers over at The Carrot Ranch. I am both humbled and deeply honored to have been part of that anthology.

Check out the anthology here:

Anthology USA

Anthology UK

Here are 5 reasons why you probably ought to be writing Flash Fiction: Continue reading

Happy VILLaintines – Why your villain needs a heart #amwriting #ValentinesDay

At festive periods, there’s usually a slew of charitable adverts and campaigns to encourage our altruistic sides, (something I believe we should do more of).

But today, for Valentines, I’m proposing a rather more alternative form of giving. To appease my villainous rants, I need y’all to be a doll and give your damn villain a heart.

Don’t screw up your latest villainous scribbles just yet. Indulge me, and I’ll explain why your villain needs a heart.

Oh, and should you want more detail, this is a topic I cover in my book 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft A Superbad VillainContinue reading

Untangle Plot Problems With This Quick Tip #MondayBlogs #amwriting

Writers talk about their characters being disobedient all the time. It’s like some kind of cosmic joke, we spend weeks planning, checking, re-checking. We dust our shirt collar in a smug, ‘I’ve defeated my story outline’ pose, only to get 30,000 words or so into our novel and the little darlings bastards have pitched a killer twist that’s so far out of left field even book-God himself wouldn’t have seen it coming.

Sentient.

I’m telling you.

Those little story critters know exactly what their doing. Lulling us into a false sense of security and then when we’re balls deep into the flabby middle, they slap us upside the head with something so good, we can’t ignore it. Tyrants. Heathens. Thou cullionly idle-headed hedge-pigs!

And so, the plot is messed up, the timeline fudged and your brain a crockpot of drafts, twists, confused dialogue and stroppy characters.

What to do?

Here’s a quick tip to help you beat those little darlings back into shape. Continue reading

9 Quick Tips To Master Your Fantasy Map #MondayBlogs #Amwriting

You don’t NEED a fantasy map. There’s a lot of things you don’t need in life: drugs, alcohol, rock n’ roll, wild raves that end in the hospital. But life would be that bit more boring without them. Besides, if you create an entirely new world from your dark and strange parts, then sometimes it’s a handy little addition to help dear Mr. Reader visualize your world.

Besides, if you create an entirely new world from your dark and strange parts, then sometimes a map is a handy little addition to help dear Mr. Reader visualize your world.

This isn’t a definitive guide, and I’m not the fantasy map police. But I did learn some killer lessons while having my fantasy map created. You know me, I’m all for sharing the love and fluff and lessons.

Here are 9 quick tips to master your fantasy map. Continue reading

4 Top Tips To Build A Fantasy World #MondayBlogs #Amwriting

I re-wrote Keepers three times… from scratch. I won’t be doing that again. It breached all acceptable tolerance levels of inefficiency. So much so, I developed a permanent twitch, and I’m pretty sure I herniated the moment I realized I had to start again… for the third time.

Part of the problem was the world building. See, writing in most genres, you use the real world as the world your story is set in. But as a fantasy/sci-fi writer, your world could be populated by angry hooman eating marshmallows. The sky could be on the ground and the ground in the sky. Suffice to say we get to push our sleeves up and play book-god. But playing book-god is hard. There’s a lot of shit to create.

You can’t just pluck a sword made of magical fish fins, that’s about to reign down a plague and cause world ending genocide, out of thin air. There’s got to be a reason, context, and history. Why? Because it has to mean something to the reader. I mean psssht, magical fish fins indeed. How do they even work?

The problem is, unless your George R.R or Tolkien, you only have three hundred or so pages to convey your entire world and all its constructs. Not an easy task.

So how in the glistering fudgemuggins do you do it?

Well, dear reader, I’m glad you asked. Here are my 4 top tips for building a fantasy world. Continue reading

KEEPERS is here! Welcome To Trutinor #amwriting #amreading

I’m not entirely sure what drives a person to undertake epic-length projects. But it must be some kind of carnal instinct because I don’t know who in their right mind willingly goes on the emotional rollercoaster mind-fudgery that is book publishing.

But people do. I did. And today, I published the result: Keepers.

Which means the dreams of a little nine-year-old girl who hid in a cupboard because she was bullied, come true. Twenty-one years ago, I had an idea, her name was Eden East and she controlled the elements.

You’d think most characters would get the message after a few years of their story not being written. But not Eden. A right stubborn whatsit she is. No idea where she gets that from…

Five years ago, almost to the day, I relented and decided over a glass (or five) of wine, that I would, in fact, do something about Eden’s nagging. It was getting annoying.

Three years ago, after plotting myself scared, I actually picked up the proverbial pen realizing no amount of plotting would put words on the page. Thus, I wrote the first draft… of utter shite.

Two years ago, I threw said shite in the bin and wrote another version – which I gave to beta readers.

One year ago, I got beta feedback and promptly threw that draft in the bin too because it was only mildly better than the shiter draft from a year ago. Then I re-wrote the story and finally… It gleamed like a sparkly magical fairy unicorn. 

A couple of days ago, I pressed publish…

After 237,000 words of THREE different first drafts, after not hundreds but thousands of hours of editing, learning, reading and studying the craft of writing, FINALLY, Keepers is finished. Continue reading

How To Get Character Depth, or, The Best Freaking Writing Craft Book EVER! @angelaackerman

There’s nothing better than an epiphany. It’s all gooey and warm on the inside, and on the outside it smothers my brain in a glass clear sensation of clarity.  

What follows is usually a brief flappy hand dance, a wide stare into the distance as my brain discombobulates and then has an epiphany.

That’s what the Emotion Thesaurus did to me the first time I read it. If you’re a writer and you don’t own a copy, then shame on you… You bloody ought to. To my absolute delight, I was given a copy of the latest installment in the emotion thesaurus series to review: The Emotional Wound Thesaurus.

Once again, I had one of those delightfully sticky and positively crystal clear moments. Each time Ackerman and Puglisi release a new book, it’s like my writing jumps another notch on the development scale. Continue reading

5 Top Tips To Improve Your Sentence Quality #Amwriting

photo credit: writers helping writers

A little over a year ago, I saw a guest post on one of my writing heroes websites: writers helping writers. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi announced their brand new writing Coach residency. The coaches were HIGHLY esteemed with the likes of James Scott Bell and C.S Laiken.

When I saw it I was so excited. I thought it was amazing that they had brought together such an insane line up of coaches and I’d get the benefit of learning from all their tips.

I also made a promise to myself that day. I swore that whether it was in five years, fifteen years or fifty years, I would be able to call myself a writing coach. I didn’t know how I’d manage it or if I’d ever be good enough to call myself that. But that didn’t matter. I wanted to be one and I was determined to help others.  

So I was totally and utterly mind fuggled when a few weeks ago, an email from Angela herself dropped into my inbox asking if I’d join their coach programme… Continue reading