Tag Archives: writing tips

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?

Why?

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

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

Authors – Find Your Book’s Inner Truth & Hook Readers For Life

Once in awhile, you read a book that changes everything.

For me, it’s usually the ones that make me grip the kitchen counter because I need a minute to get a grip of the quivering and bug-eyed daze I’m in. In those seconds, I have a literary, emotional or philosophical ‘O’. A synchronizing of minds with my Muse, its heart beat, pumping in time with mine, pouring inspiration, epiphanies, and unadulterated universal clarity into my consciousness.

Sometimes I just smile, because the epiphany I had, is a small emotional win. Like the fact that when you can’t heal from something in your past, it’s because you haven’t let it go. If you want a scab to heal, you have to stop picking it.

Other times, the revelation is much more significant. I physically pause for thought because the story has just reiterated how inconsequentially small my life is in relation to the infinite enormity of the universe.

I like to think of these moments of pause as reaffirming moments of philosophy and truth. When it happens, that book stays with me forever. That author has single-handedly changed a part of me. Forget meditative yoga retreats and six-week long vows of silence. All you need is a bloody good book, with a bloody good book truth buried inside it and that’s enough to open someone’s mind, shove a whisk in it and jingle jangle their brain cells into a new alignment.

I want my books to have a book truth because I want to give somebody else that moment of clarity and change the way they view the world. If everybody could change just one person, maybe the world would be a better place. What I do know is, whenever an author has done that to me, I’ve read everything they’ve ever written. Isn’t that every author’s dream? So here’s a few lessons I’ve learned about book truths.

Continue reading

5 Things to Remember When Designing Your Book Cover With @AuthorhelenJ

5-book-coversToday is the last instalment from my lovely friends, who have been keeping my blog stocked with juicy tidbits in order to give me time to finish my book. A huge thank you to everyone who helped out, without you, I wouldn’t have had time to finish it

You can check out the other posts here:

3 Things You Need to Create The Perfect Gothic Story

11 Must Do’s When Creating A Podcast

4 Top Tips For Self-Publishing Your First Novel

But today, I welcome the lovely Helen Jones, to talk about book covers. I recently talked about mastering your genre’s book cover. But Helen goes into a tone of useful things you need to consider, that I hadn’t even thought of. So her post was super useful for me this week, because I just sent off my cover design brief! *squeal*. Without further ado…. Helen…
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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