Tag Archives: books

4 Ways Not to F*** Up Your Novel’s Tenses

I’m in the home stretch, for both my books, the glorious finish line is in sight… like the marathon runner entering the stadium I am high, the lactic acid burn is intense but like an addict, I love it. Things are going well…and then I realise…I’ve messed up, BIG time. Ballsed up like a big pile of chunky vomit, covered in word poops and a distinct time distorted tense cock up.

Now, I am tense. Tense, because I fudged up my fuckling manuscript. I’m trying not to throw my toys out the pram, because this is supposed to be the last edit, and it is, kinda. It’s just a chuff ton bigger than I thought it was going to be.

Here’s what happened: I gave my manuscript to beta readers they provided some delightful and useful feedback, I processed said feedback and then I put it down whilst I finished off 13 Steps to Evil my non-fiction writing craft book that teaches writers how to craft better villains. Three months elapsed and when I came to do the final edit of Keepers. I started writing, and could not for the life of me understand why I couldn’t get it right.

Something was off, something intangible, a murky jelly-like substance that was just out of reach. I knew the problem was there I just didn’t know what it was. It wasn’t until I shared the paragraph with a friend who asked me why I’d switched tense that I realised the ALMIGHTY cock up.

Because of such a significant time  gap, I’d started editing in a completely different tense. It wouldn’t have been a problem, except I preferred the new tense to the old one, which means a total rewrite.

CUNDYFUNKINGBALLSACKS

*Takes deep breath*

“Do I really need to do a full tense rewrite for my whole manuscript?”

“Yes, Sacha, yes you do.”

&)@£%$*$7″$£$^””%$

Be smart, don’t do me and balls up your whole manuscript 2 meters from the finish line here is how… Continue reading

13 Steps to Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains – Cover Reveal

Today is a big day, for a lot of reasons… I’m still breathing for one, that’s always an achievement. But the real reason is because today is the day I reveal the cover of 13 Steps to Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains.

I know cover reveals are a big and exciting moment for anyone, but frankly, I am a little terrified!

The first reason it’s daunting is because this is my first book…Okay, technically, it’s my second, but it’s the first one being published. Which means this is the first time I’ve done a cover reveal.

The second reason is because until now, I’ve been able to back out. I might have said I was writing a book, but there was no proof! Other than me being supremely antisocial and hiding away behind a laptop screen for months, who was to say I was doing anything? Maybe I was scouring the internet for the best small arms deals, or for Darth Vader lego sculptures made by the hands of the real Santa.

Book? What book? Phsst.

There was no evidence of book related projects, until now…..  Continue reading

6 Writing Tools You Can’t Live Without in 2017

Last year saw me complete and edit no less than two manuscripts. That’s good, but it’s not enough to get me writing full-time. So this year, I’m even more ambitious. In 2017, I want to publish not one, but five books. Yes, I know, my sphincter tightened saying it too.

Given I am a mum to a toddler and I work full-time, it’s ambitious, utterly mindfudgingly insane. But YOLO bitches, if I don’t start publishing a lot of books soon I’ll spend another year watching my glorious dream disappear in a vat of sludgey self-loathing and word-turds. I’d rather cut out my left ovary and eat it than go another year without publishing (and that is saying something I have been a vegetarian for 28 years).

BUT, publishing five books in one year is not going to be easy. Over the past six months, I’ve been building up a set of resources to help me be super efficient. Besides, everyone knows I love to share my process, and what better way, than being totally transparent with all the tools I use.

So here is my list of 6 recommended tools to help you be as productive and efficient as you can in 2017. Continue reading

4 Things That Develop As You Write More Books

I finished my second book (kinda). Yay, go me. By kinda, I mean it’s all but on it’s way to beta readers, which means it’s had a big edit and a proof from me and Mr Grammarly, the cover is done (cover reveal coming soon) and the blurb is looming like a nasty plague eyeing my self-doubt hungrily in the corner.

I thought, given it’s my second book, and it feels like a milestone, I’d do some reflection. I’ve done a couple of these posts, one when I finished my first book (9 Secrets Successfully Completing That First Draft), and another after all the editing and completing the second draft (13 Things I learnt From Completing Draft Two)

This post is entirely selfish and just my observations about the development of my writing process, maybe you’ll find it useful, or maybe you can have a good chuckle at my incompetence.

The book I finished is 13 Steps to Evil, my non-fiction writing craft book that will teach you how to craft Superbad villains. Continue reading

2016 Books of The Year

2015 saw me read a disgraceful three books. There was no way in literary heaven I was going to read just three books in 2016.

So this year I decided to set myself a challenge. The Goodreads challenge. I have a small child more commonly known as the Terror Tot, so I knew reading time would be limited. I figured reading one book a month would be better than just three over the year. So that’s what I set my challenge as.

12 books, 12 months.

But I’m pleased to say I smashed that goal into teeny tiny words like smithereens. I read 32 books.

So here’s my summary of the best books of 2016, including recommendations, my challenge for 2017 and the number of books are set myself to read next year. Continue reading

New Website Launch – Sacha Black Books – Coming Soon #MondayBlogs

img_0441I’m doing something exciting… At least I think it’s exciting. So much so I’m liable to wee my pants.

I’m launching a new website. A new blog. See, I made a bit of a school boy error when I started this blog, I focused solely on non-fiction, and I swore, a lot.

Now, that’s great, if you read non-fiction or are a writer, or have dark sense of humour like me. But not so good for  if you’re trying to attract fiction readers of a very specific genre.

DEEP SIGH. 

So here is me, warming you up to the fact that come January I’ll also be blogging somewhere else… That doesn’t mean this blog will go. Oh no. This blog-badger is here to stay. I’m just going to make my life supremely difficult and have two sites!  Continue reading

Please Your Readers – 3 Trope Tactics

tropesI’m a genre whore. 70% of what I read is Young Adult fantasy or dystopian fiction. I’d make it 100% but I actually want to read my friends books and occasionally I like dipping my toes in other stuff like (thrillers, crime, literary fiction) and then there’s non-fiction business, marketing and mindset books and of course, my other love, conspiracies.

But the point is, I’m a big slutty slut slut when it comes to YA fantasy/dystopian. I gobble it up like a starving orphan. Why?

Because I love that shit. I love it so much I’d motorboat them books all night long and carry a caffeine drip to work because I stayed up so late reading (happens a LOT).

But, having read a lot of books in the same genre I can confidently say, they are ALL the same story. No really, they are. But its the familiarity that drags me back.

And it’s the familiarity that drags other readers back too. We actually want to be told the same story, over and over and over. It’s just that we want to be told it in a different way, so it doesn’t feel like the same story.

That’s where tropes come in. Tropes give your readers the familiarity they crave, which is why they are so important to you if you’re a genre writer. Continue reading

Forget #Halloween Here’s 6 Reasons The Publishing Industry is Terrifying

industry-fear

I hate Christmas because it’s eye-twitchingly expensive. Mostly we spend it in the car or feeling bloated from greed. I don’t eat meat and honestly, I don’t really drink either, so the prospect of Christmas does not fill me with fluffy tinsel covered unicorns of joy. When I think of Christmas I think of the Grinch and smirk.

But Halloween, I don’t just like, I love it. And not for its real purpose of remembering the dead, or its meaningful roots derived from Irish mythology and Christianity, but because it’s filled with the weird and wonderful.

Halloween is the one time of the year when judgement stops and everyone is free. Ugly masks and unusual make up suddenly become acceptable, celebrated even. Fancy dress is no longer an oddity served with a raised bushy eyebrow, it’s compulsory.

Halloween has never been scary to me, but the writing business is and so is the publishing industry. 2017 is nearly upon us, and that means, that by hook or amputated butt cheek, I will be publishing next year.

So in a salute to Halloween, here’s 6 things I find terrifying about writing and the publishing industry  Continue reading

10 Things Every Writers Needs To Know About Conflict

conflictConflict – the foundation of every novel bled onto the page.

Without it, your book flatlines harder than the grim reaper. No self-respecting book doctor will even attempt to resuscitate it. And yet, you need to, because conflict is the god of novels.

If you’ve been a good little girl then conflict will dip its mighty hand into Santa’s sack and bestow heavenly book treasures on you, like: pace, tension, plot line and well-rounded characters with enough depth to drown a reindeer. But without it we’re talking dead Kipper slaps to the face.

And no body wants a stinky dead fish face mask.

But when you love your precious little bundle of baby hero joy more than life itself, torturing them with a bout of – villain/antagonist/insert other form of conflict shaped nappy rash can be rather more difficult than one expects.

Here are 10 tips for shaping your books conflict. Continue reading