Tag Archives: writing tips

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.


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

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

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

Putting Theory into Practice – 13 Steps To Evil Workbook Launch

How do you become the best writer you can?

Is a question I constantly ask myself in my quest to write full-time.

One of the most obvious answers I’ve discovered is by continuing to learn lessons and develop your craft.

But lessons only take you so far, right?


Because you have to put them into practice. Continue reading

Villain Clichés That Work – Four Lessons From The Dark Tower Movie #MondayBlogs

Original Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

It’s been a while since I saw a film that was so good I practically combusted over it. But I just saw the Dark Tower, and oh my sweet, sweet deliciously-evil villain heaven was it bloody amazing.

Now before anyone whips out their red pen and corrects this post:

Two caveats:

ONE – This post will contain some spoilers, if you haven’t watched the film and intend to, please don’t read on.

TWO – I have not read The Gunslinger by Stephen King, that’s the book the film is based on. Therefore all comments are in relation to the movie the Dark Tower only.

I lied, there’s a third caveat, this is all my opinion. If you don’t like the Dark Tower movie, I can’t do anything about your bad taste in films. :p

Why am I talking about Dark Tower? Because it had a villain that was off the chart. And you know how I swoon over a good villain. But Walter (the villain) was also a total cliché, and yet, despite that, he worked. Like really, REALLY well. So well, that I was salivating literary story joy all over the screen.

Which means the film provides a cracking lesson on how to make a clichéd villain work:  Continue reading

12 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Writing A Trilogy or Series by @rogersonsm

Today I’m delighted to host Suzanne Rogerson, Suzanne and I met through this blog and we’ve shared many a tweet and comment since. Today Suzanne launches the first book in a series called The Lost Sentinel: Silent Sea Chronicles. To celebrate, she’s here talking us through 12 key questions we should ask ourselves before launching into a book series. Continue reading

50 Shades of Mistakes That Sell Books #MondayBlogs

I warn you now, this post is for the open minded.

There are some books that are bound to cause controversy. 50 Shades of Grey is one of those books, so it makes sense that I don’t know many people who actually admit to liking it. But I don’t get it. There have been at least a hundred million copies sold worldwide, which puts it in the realm of the top ten selling books of all time. And that 100m figure was the from two years ago, with film releases it’s only going to boost book sales.

So somebody has to be buying it and reading it.

Most people I talk to are vehemently against the book.  The trilogy seems to ignite more ferocious battles than all the recent political Brouhahas. Most argue their dislike is because it’s written badly, or the subtly abusive connotations around how the male love interest treats the female protagonist.

If you didn’t know, 50 shades of Grey is actually fan fiction of the Twilight saga written by Stephanie Meyer which also sold in excess of a hundred million copies despite being yet another series of books that received significant critical attention.

But here’s my point, and the driver behind this post, if these bitches can sell nearly 300 million copies despite nearly everyone I know wanting to shove their books in a woodchipper, then there has to be something they’re doing right, and I wanna know what it is.

I don’t care if you’re Shakespeare himself risen from the dead to craft word-gold to hit the NYT best seller list, you don’t sell 300 million copies without giving your audience exactly what they want. And that, my dear sweet cherry pies, is the point of being a writer. I don’t know about you folks, but I sure as shit wouldn’t mind selling 300 million copies of my book.

So here’s me, suggesting to you, we all put our disjointed noses and misplaced egos aside for a moment and deconstruct what in the shizzle they did to make themselves so successful. Continue reading