Writer's Life.org http://www.writerslife.org Where Writers Thrive Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:29:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Trick Yourself Into Writing More Productively http://www.writerslife.org/trick-writing-productively/ http://www.writerslife.org/trick-writing-productively/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:29:08 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5518 All writers would love to be more productive, but it can be hard. With busy lives and lots of other things to juggle, we often find that writing gets pushed to the bottom of our priority list again and again. Here are some simple ways to become a more productive writer, without even really trying! […]

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All writers would love to be more productive, but it can be hard. With busy lives and lots of other things to juggle, we often find that writing gets pushed to the bottom of our priority list again and again. Here are some simple ways to become a more productive writer, without even really trying!

Take baby steps

The key to writing more productively is not to do too much too soon. If you set yourself unrealistic targets -one that you can’t possibly achieve - you’ll never get anywhere. Little and often is the key.

In short, it’s all about making progress, however small that progress is. If you set yourself ridiculously easy goals at first you’ll definitely achieve them. So instead of giving yourself a word count limit or saying ‘I want to finish this chapter by…’ why don’t you just decide to write for ten minutes every day?

No matter where you are and what other things fill up your life, this is doable.

However, be warned, just because you do it three days in a row, don’t change your goal or increase your writing time, just keep doing it, keep writing for ten minutes a day until you absolutely know that you will. You’ll find what happens is that your writing becomes more natural, and flows easier, and soon those ten minutes will fly by and you’ll find yourself writing for twenty or thirty minutes instead without even thinking about it.

If you do it doesn’t mean you shouldn't then write the next day, just keep that same goal, taking small steps and you’ll naturally end up being more productive. Progress has been shown to be an effective motivator, even more so than rewarding yourself when you hit a goal. Think about it, if you were trying to lose weight, for example, would getting on the scales and seeing that your diet is working and you are closer to your target weight be more motivating than the reward of buying a new dress when you do? The same goes for writing, if you keep progressing you’ll feel more inspired to write and the more you write the more you’ll progress!

Reward yourself

Saying that, rewarding yourself when you achieve a goal can be a good way to keep you on track and motivated to continue. Rewards can be little things like having a coffee and a cake after you’ve finished a chapter to larger things like going out for a fancy dinner or a weekend away to celebrate finishing your whole novel. Knowing that if you write well you’ll get to have a reward sooner is a good way to keep you productive and focused, as well as keep those distractions at bay!

Get feedback early on

Another way to trick yourself into writing more productively is to get some feedback on your writing early on. Because writing can often be a lonely job, if you are trying to write an entire novel and you don’t get any feedback until the end, it can be tough to hear any criticism. If you get feedback as you go however you can make tweaks and changes as you write, and then it won’t feel like such a mammoth task or be so disheartening if you do receive criticism of your work.

Get to know your writing self

Lastly, one of the easiest ways to make the most of your writing time is to really understand how best you like to write. Figure out what barriers you have, is it lack of time, lack of confidence, fear of the unknown? Work out which times of day you feel at your most creative. And where do you write well, in a bustling cafe or in absolute silence at home? When do ideas strike you and how do you incorporate them into your writing? Do you prefer to type straight onto a document or write by hand?

Experimenting with what makes you be at your writing best and noticing patterns in your writing behaviour will help you to tackle any problems, set up the perfect writing environment and do whatever you need to to make your writing time as productive as possible.

By following the above you can trick yourself and train yourself into making significant progress in your writing. By working smarter, more effectively and more enjoyably your writing will feel effortless, and you’ll reach those writing goals even sooner!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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Why Setting Writing Goals Will Make You A Better Writer http://www.writerslife.org/setting-writing-goals-will-make-better-writer/ http://www.writerslife.org/setting-writing-goals-will-make-better-writer/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 09:33:07 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5515 When it comes to great writing, having a goal mind is so important. It could be a big, long term goal such as finishing your novel, or a smaller goal such as writing that short story or first chapter. When it comes to writing, having goals is crucial. With everything that is important in life, if […]

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When it comes to great writing, having a goal mind is so important. It could be a big, long term goal such as finishing your novel, or a smaller goal such as writing that short story or first chapter.

When it comes to writing, having goals is crucial. With everything that is important in life, if we don’t have goals or aims of how to improve, we can lack direction. We can become stagnant and unable to move forward.

Setting writing goals is a great idea because:

They help you understand your reasons for writing

Goals give us clarity. When you are setting your goals it will become abundantly clear what it is you hope to achieve. You should never censor yourself when it comes to goal setting. Be as bold and imaginative as you like. There is no reason why your biggest goal can’t be to become a best-selling, world famous author. You just need to then figure out all the steps and other, smaller goals that will get you there.

They keep you writing regularly

Write out your goals, both big and small, and pin them somewhere you can see them. Your goals should not just be your end goals, but everything you need to do in order to achieve them. By breaking your goals down into small, manageable steps you have effectively created a to do list which will help set out a pathway to get there. Make sure you give yourself deadlines as well, and then you will find that you write more regularly and more productively too.

They give you a powerful sense of achievement when you reach one

It’s important to give yourself credit when you have achieved something, even if it is a little thing! Setting writing goals allows you to reward yourself. You don’t have to wait until your book has been published to feel a sense of achievement, you can be proud of yourself for finishing that chapter or hitting your word count target for the day. Feeling as though you are achieving your goals is a powerful motivator and will keep you in a positive frame of mind and inspired to keep on going.

They help you learn and grow as a writer

Of course, one of the wonderful things about writing goals is that they are malleable. What you first set out to achieve may become something different as you move forward on your writing journey. Looking back at your goals and always keeping them in mind, as well as being flexible with them and allowing room for them to adjust, will help shape what kind of writer you are, as well as what kind of writer you want to become.

Setting writing goals is helpful whatever stage you are at with your writing, so if you haven’t already, try to think about why you want to write, what you want to achieve and by when, and the kind of writer you want to be - then you’ll always have these to focus on and keep you moving and improving all the time.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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How To Construct The Perfect Scene – Each And Every Time! http://www.writerslife.org/how-to-construct-the-perfect-scene-each-and-every-time/ http://www.writerslife.org/how-to-construct-the-perfect-scene-each-and-every-time/#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:39:31 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5408 When writing a novel, there are many important aspects to consider. Having an exciting, fast paced plot, having a cast of characters that are intriguing, relatable, and that your readers care about, and of course, writing in a unique and interesting voice that holds your reader's attention are all important. All of the above are […]

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When writing a novel, there are many important aspects to consider. Having an exciting, fast paced plot, having a cast of characters that are intriguing, relatable, and that your readers care about, and of course, writing in a unique and interesting voice that holds your reader's attention are all important.

All of the above are crucial when it comes to creating a perfect scene, and a collection of scenes are what will come together to form your novel.

When writing a scene it’s so important to think about everything that is going on within it, not just the physical location, but how the characters react to it, and to one another. The author should be showing the reader, through their use of language and detail rather than telling them what they should be seeing, thinking or feeling.

Getting this right, however, is easier said than done! Often authors are so wrapped up in their stories or so fixated on getting the words out that they can overlook awkward sentences, overwritten paragraphs or inconsistencies that jar the reader and take them out of the world the author has created. A reader should never realise that they are reading after all!

So how can authors make sure they are creating fantastic scenes, and are able to identify any problems with their writing that might not sit right with their readers, to get the perfect balance between directing the reader to see what you want them to see, but also giving them the space and freedom to use their imaginations and conjure a picture in their own minds? To do so, when writing scenes, it’s helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

Where is the scene unfolding? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Think about the senses and use them to create a vibrant picture. How much time has passed since the last scene? How is your character feeling?

What is going on and how will your character react? It’s all well and good writing an explosive action scene, but if readers don’t have insight into how your protagonist feels about it, they will be left cold. Make sure your character reacts in an appropriate and believable way. A common mistake is for writers to not give enough thought to the way characters react or have them think, say or do something that is inconsistent with the way they have behaved up until this point.

What is the purpose of this scene? This is perhaps the most important question writers can ask themselves. It may seem daunting to do so, but if you don’t have a clear idea of why you are writing it, and if it doesn’t advance the story in some way or reveal something necessary and important - why bother in the first place?

Does your scene include conflict, tension, action, drama? Each scene could almost be a mini story all of its own. It should have rises and falls, it should have a beginning and an end, it should be packed full of strong, powerful sentences and exciting, descriptive language. It should guide the reader, make them react and inspire them to keep on reading to find out what happens next.

Asking yourself these questions and really thinking carefully about the answers will help you to construct the perfect scene each and every time. If you do you can rest assured your novel has action and excitement on every page, that your characters are interesting and engaging and that your readers will be hooked on every word!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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Writing A Supernatural Book? How To Get The Balance Right http://www.writerslife.org/writing-supernatural-book-get-balance-right/ http://www.writerslife.org/writing-supernatural-book-get-balance-right/#comments Sat, 12 Aug 2017 18:59:01 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5327 All writing genres have their own different challenges, however, when it comes to writing supernatural fiction, there might be more than most. Writing supernatural fiction can be so exciting for authors. Doing so really allows us to let our imaginations run wild, for in supernatural fiction we ask readers to suspend their disbelief and enter […]

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All writing genres have their own different challenges, however, when it comes to writing supernatural fiction, there might be more than most.

Writing supernatural fiction can be so exciting for authors. Doing so really allows us to let our imaginations run wild, for in supernatural fiction we ask readers to suspend their disbelief and enter worlds where characters can time travel, where ghosts shimmer in and out of the story, where we are thousands of years in the future or live on a different planet.

Supernatural stories are always going to be popular, and don’t necessarily have the same set of stringent rules as other genres do. Because a supernatural story can be about anything, the rules are more difficult to apply.

However, one thing that is important to ensure, is that you get the balance right. Your readers still need to be able to connect with what is happening. If your story is stuffed full of supernatural elements where nothing at all is familiar, you may find your readers struggling to get to grips with it. So how can you create this balance? Here are some things you could try:

Set the story in the real world

Just because there are supernatural goings on in your story, it doesn’t mean that everything in the world that they take place in has to be otherworldly too. People are familiar with the world in which they live, they know the rules there and it makes it easier for you as a writer, to really concentrate on the supernatural elements of your book and make them shine. If you create a whole new world you need to make it believable and interesting, but also think about every little detail, and readers need to buy into that world completely.

Remember that character development and plot are still crucial

At the end of the day, there is one common rule for all novels, no matter what you are writing about. That is without a solid plot and great characters, your story will fail. So, by all means, make your story, your characters, your world, as weird and wonderful as you like - just keep your reader in mind at all times and make sure that it goes somewhere, and that your characters are intriguing, relatable and that they learn and grow.

Make sure there is a reason to use supernatural elements in your story

Don’t just stick a bunch of ghosts or vampires in your story for the sake of it, or give a kid magical powers for no reason. If you are going to have supernatural elements in your story, there has to be a reason why -so make sure you have one, and that it’s integral to the plot.

Ensure that some ‘real world’ rules apply

If you choose not to set your story in a world that is familiar, at least make your life a little easier by having some ‘real world’ rules and recognisable customs, objects or ways of doing things. If you try to make absolutely everything different your readers will struggle to understand what is going on and find it hard to connect with your story.

Writing a supernatural story can be an exciting and satisfying way for authors to exercise their creativity and deliver a story unlike any other. However, make sure you always keep your readers in mind and ensure that the finished book is one they can relate to and connect with - if you do that you can rest assured your story will be a success.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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How Writing Short Stories Can Improve Your Novel http://www.writerslife.org/writing-short-stories-can-improve-novel/ http://www.writerslife.org/writing-short-stories-can-improve-novel/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:56:45 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5324 As writers, we are always looking for ways to improve our craft. There are lots of exercises we can do and methods we can experiment with to try and get better at writing, to find our writing voice and help us to feel more confident and self-assured when it comes to our writing. Of course, […]

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As writers, we are always looking for ways to improve our craft. There are lots of exercises we can do and methods we can experiment with to try and get better at writing, to find our writing voice and help us to feel more confident and self-assured when it comes to our writing.

Of course, every writer is different and finding methods that work for you is all about trial and error. One of the most popular ways, however, is to practice your writing by trying your hand at short stories. There are many reasons why doing so can be helpful for novel writers. Let’s take a look at some of them.

A tight plot

When it comes to short stories you need to really focus on your plot. Your story, like a novel, must have a beginning, a middle and an end. It must grip the reader, and flow well, hold their excitement and feel like a proper story with a satisfying conclusion. Writing short stories allows you to get very good at understanding what elements are necessary to make a story work.

Character development

Practicing writing interesting and exciting characters, developing them, and making your readers care about them is so important if you want to improve as a writer. Writing short stories is an excellent way of doing so, and you may end being inspired to take a character you’ve written in your short story and using them in your novel.

Making every word count

Short stories are precisely that - short. Because you have fewer words to play with you’ll become a dab hand at making sure that every single word counts and knowing how to cut out anything irrelevant that doesn’t drive your story forwards. This will help you no end when it comes to writing your book.

Editing practice

Of course, short stories need editing just like novels do, and the more you practice editing, the more you’ll become skilled and eagle eyed at spotting mistakes, which will make the mammoth task of editing your novel a whole lot easier.

The more we write the better we are!

Let’s face it, the one main way to get better at writing is to write! Writing short stories builds our confidence and gives us all the practice we need to improve our writing every single day.

Writing is something where there is always room for improvement, and if you spend some time writing short stories you are sure to find that you become a better writer and will find it easier to write your novel too.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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How To Write Great Child Characters http://www.writerslife.org/write-great-child-characters/ http://www.writerslife.org/write-great-child-characters/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:50:47 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5321 All books need to have great characters. It is the life-blood of any story. If your characters fall flat then no matter how good your plot is, readers simply won’t be able to connect wth it. If the protagonist in your novel is a child, this task can be even trickier. Indeed, if you have […]

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All books need to have great characters. It is the life-blood of any story. If your characters fall flat then no matter how good your plot is, readers simply won’t be able to connect wth it.

If the protagonist in your novel is a child, this task can be even trickier. Indeed, if you have any child characters in your book that play a significant part, getting the balance right between believable and interesting is tough.

We might think we remember what it’s like to be a child, or we might have children or relatives who are children to help us gain insight into the essence of what makes children so, well, childlike. However, translating this to the page to create characters that are just as exciting and well-rounded as our grown up ones is difficult.

So what are the main things to look out for and consider when writing child characters? Let’s take a look:

Don’t make them too cute

Cutesy child characters will soon grate on your readers. If they are meant to be likeable yet they are sickly sweet all the time they’ll come across is boring, and a little irritating too.

Don’t make them too old

OK so some things that children say can strike a chord that makes them seem wise beyond their years, but if you make your child characters brimming with sage pieces of advice every time they open their mouths, they simply won’t be believable. Children should have an innocence and a playfulness about them that separates them from the grownups in your book.

Don’t make them stupid

Dumbing down children will only make them unlikeable. Of course, there can be a ‘stupid’ child in your book if that’s intentional and they serve a specific purpose. But simply writing your child characters in a way that makes them appear empty headed will again make them dull to your readers and hard to relate to.

Don’t use baby talk

There is nothing more annoying than having to read lines of dialogue in baby speak! Let your child characters talk normally and instead choose the words carefully to reflect their age.

Make them unique

Child characters should be as unique and interesting as the rest of the characters in your novel. If they all blend into one another they will be bland and easy to ignore - give them quirks, give them eccentricities, give them unusual personalities - bring them alive in your book.

Let them grow

Children should have goals, go on journeys and grow and develop too. If a child character is one of the main characters in your book then give them something to work towards and show the reader how they have changed and what they have learnt - they shouldn’t be the same by the time your book comes to an end.

Remember - children are children

As you write your child character, always ask yourself ‘would a child do this? would a child say this?’ It’s easy to slip into habits where your child characters are suddenly mature beyond their years, but as long as you keep checking in and asking those questions you can ensure they talk, act and react in an appropriate way.

Using the above tips you can write child characters who are interesting, original and entertaining too - just as all your characters should be!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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How To Write The Perfect Happy Ending http://www.writerslife.org/write-perfect-happy-ending/ http://www.writerslife.org/write-perfect-happy-ending/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:54:43 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5303 Everyone loves a happy ending, and indeed most authors choose to make the endings for their books positive. A happy ending leaves your readers with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and if they have been rooting for your protagonist to achieve their goals, they’ll finish the book feeling satisfied that they got the ending they deserved. […]

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Everyone loves a happy ending, and indeed most authors choose to make the endings for their books positive. A happy ending leaves your readers with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and if they have been rooting for your protagonist to achieve their goals, they’ll finish the book feeling satisfied that they got the ending they deserved.

However writing a happy ending requires more than simply finishing your book with ‘and they all lived happily, ever after’! To create a seriously satisfying ending, one that will leave your readers with a lasting impression of your book, you need to carefully construct your ending to make it just right.

So what are the elements you need to include to create the perfect happy ending? Try these:

Avoid sickly sweet perfection

Your readers want your protagonist to get what they set out for, but if everything is miraculously, flawlessly perfect by the end, it may all seem a bit too good to be true. Create an ending that is positive but has a bittersweet edge, or simply reflects the struggles and sacrifices your protagonist had to make to get there. If you look to some of the endings of celebrated books, while they may be considered happy, there is usually something that keeps them from being entirely perfect, and that’s why readers root even harder and are even happier that the hero of your story got what they deserved in the end.

Tie up any loose ends

There is nothing worse than ending a book and going ‘is that it?’ If there are lots of unexplained elements to your book, or lots of parts to your story that remain open ended, you run the risk of frustrating your reader, now matter how pleasing your ending is. Tie up loose any loose ends before you finish your story - unless it’s part of a series that is in which case leaving them on a cliffhanger can be intriguing!

Keep it simple

Of course, the build up to the end of your story can be full of drama and tension and maybe even a twist or two. But when it comes to writing the actual ending don’t over complicate things. If you throw in distractions or suddenly add another element or layer you’ll only distract the reader, and this will make your ending seem weaker and take away from it somewhat.

Don’t use a cop out

Make you're ending thoughtful and meaningful. If your protagonist is in an impossible situation at the end of your book, think carefully about how to get them out of it. If they suddenly wake up and ‘it was all a dream’ or a magical unexplained force or character suddenly saves the day, your reader will feel cheated, and despite having resolved anything they won’t appreciate they way you’ve done it.

Don’t force a happy ending

If a happy ending doesn’t feel right, don’t force one just because you think it will please your readers. Write an ending that suits the style and content of your story, not all books have to have happy endings after all!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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Common Obstacles Writers Face ( And How To Get Over Them) http://www.writerslife.org/common-obstacles-writers-face-get/ http://www.writerslife.org/common-obstacles-writers-face-get/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:29:26 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5300 There are many obstacles writers have to face, but if we want to achieve our end goal - which for most is finishing our novels, we must learn to recognise these obstacles and find ways to navigate around them, or better still, bulldoze through them and never let them stand in our way! So what […]

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There are many obstacles writers have to face, but if we want to achieve our end goal - which for most is finishing our novels, we must learn to recognise these obstacles and find ways to navigate around them, or better still, bulldoze through them and never let them stand in our way!

So what are the most common obstacles that writers face and what can we do about them?

Giving up too quickly

Writing a novel can be a daunting experience, and if you’ve never tried before, the romantic notion of what it might be like is quickly dispelled once you get going. Just remember that it is so worth it in the end. You’ll feel amazing if you finish your novel and always wonder ‘what if’ if you don’t.

Comparing oneself to others

It’s easy to compare yourself to those writers you admire, however doing so can leave you feeling rather inadequate. Instead let great writers inspire you, but remember you have your own unique way of writing, and they too struggled and doubted themselves before they got famous . So keep going and you never know, one-day people could be reading your books and comparing themselves to your brilliance!

Going too quickly

If you are going to write a book, then try to write it properly. You might be desperate to get it done, but if doing so means you aren’t writing your best, you’ll only end up re-reading your book at the end and realising it was all a bit of a waste of time. Writing a book is generally a slow process. Help yourself by having a realistic writing schedule and sticking to it.

Going too slowly

At the same time if you write too slowly you’ll feel like you are getting nowhere and that you’ll never finish - which can lead to giving up altogether. Again, by creating a writing schedule you can avoid procrastinating and will get into a good writing routine.

Self-sabotage, self-deprecation, self-destruction

Writer’s all go through stages where they are filled with self-doubt, and negative thoughts, and if these get out of control can lead to self-sabotage where we convince ourselves we are so worthless and awful at writing we shouldn’t bother continuing to torture ourselves any longer. It’s very difficult not to have moments of self-doubt, however recognising that every writer goes through the same, and learning that being negative won’t help you, is the best way to get over it and move on.

Assuming we know best

Sometimes writers can make incorrect assumptions about what editors want and how they should submit their work to them. If you have made it all the way to the stage where you can submit your work, don’t ruin it by not following submission guidelines. Always read submission guidelines and follow them exactly - it’s as simple as that.

Never letting go

We all put so much into our work that, at times, it can feel very difficult to let it go, finally step back, and truly believe it is ready to be shared. If we refuse to let go of our work we could end up ruining it, over editing it, or simply holding onto it for so long we lose all motivation to do anything with it. We must learn when enough is enough. If you have edited your manuscript and put everything in place to make it as good as it can be, it’s time to let go.

These are all common roadblocks which authors face, but by recognising them and knowing how to deal with each one as it appears, you give yourself a much better chance of being a happy, healthy and successful author.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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Lessons Learned From Completing My First Novel http://www.writerslife.org/lessons-learned-completing-first-novel/ http://www.writerslife.org/lessons-learned-completing-first-novel/#respond Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:04:27 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5296 Finally getting to the end of your first novel can feel like the greatest achievement on earth. When you finally finish and get it out there into the world all that hard work, all those long, late nights, all the blood, sweat and tears - it can all feel truly worth it. However, if you stop […]

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Finally getting to the end of your first novel can feel like the greatest achievement on earth. When you finally finish and get it out there into the world all that hard work, all those long, late nights, all the blood, sweat and tears - it can all feel truly worth it.

However, if you stop there you might never achieve the success you had hoped for. In fact, statistically, authors who go on to write second and third books are more likely to have their worked published, and tend to be viewed as more trustworthy by readers in general.

So, while writing one book may be an amazing feat, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels for long, and indeed should get back to writing and creating as soon as possible.

The great thing about writing a second novel is that you will be armed full of knowledge, of lessons learned, and mistakes made from your first that you can use to make this one even better.

Here are just some of the most useful lessons I learned when writing my first book, ones that would have been good to know from the outset!

The novel isn’t going to write itself

OK, this might seem glaringly obvious, but I spent a whole lot of time procrastinating, plotting, planning and generally faffing about before I got down to writing my novel, and when I finally did so, I did it painfully slowly. If you want to get a novel written you have to write it. You have to be dedicated to it, make time for it, and be ruthless when it comes to sticking to your routine.

It’s OK to go back and start again, or get halfway through and make a huge change which means a complete overhaul of your plot

Your story is never going to end up how you thought it would. Once you start writing and get lost in your world you’ll end up taking your story in directions you had never previously imagined. That’s all part of the fun. OK so some days it may seem like you are taking two steps forward and one step back, but you will be making progress, and making your novel the very best it can be in the process, even if you have to scrap half of what you have already written to do so.

There are certain things a novel can’t live without

Your novel needs to contain a journey be that literal or metaphorical (or both!), the characters must change and grow and be relatable. There must be a goal, and there must be obstacles that get in the way of the goal and it needs to be set in a world that you have described in a way that your readers can picture it. Think about these elements before you start writing your next book and make sure they are all included in unique, surprising, amazing ways and you’ll have the basis for a great story already covered.

You are going to feel paranoid, scared, elated, confused, frustrated, angry, disheartened and a whole bunch of other things in between.

Writing is emotional, and the highs and lows are just part of the job. Find coping mechanisms, accept that you’ll have good days and bad days and keep believing in yourself no matter what.

Don’t let writing take over your life

Writing a novel is a mammoth task and while it’s wonderful to get immersed in your writing, you need to come up for air sometimes. Take breaks, have fun, get distracted. Just like any other job, you can’t focus on it 24 hours a day seven days a week, it will drive you crazy if you try to and will probably end up making your writing a little bit worse!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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What Happens After A Publisher Says ‘Yes?’ http://www.writerslife.org/happens-publisher-says-yes/ http://www.writerslife.org/happens-publisher-says-yes/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 03:26:06 +0000 http://www.writerslife.org/?p=5290 There are lots of pieces of advice out there for writers on how to handle rejection, on what your options are if your book gets refused by a publisher, or how to get your book in perfect shape to give it the best chance of success when you send it off. There are, however, a […]

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There are lots of pieces of advice out there for writers on how to handle rejection, on what your options are if your book gets refused by a publisher, or how to get your book in perfect shape to give it the best chance of success when you send it off.

There are, however, a lot less on what actually happens if you get a ‘yes.’

We are so focused on the improbability of actually being accepted by a publisher that many authors don’t even contemplate what would happen if they got the call, the email, the letter that says a publisher is interested.

So what does happen if a publisher accepts your work for publication? Here is some insight into the publication process and what authors should expect.

If a publisher is interested in your work, if you sent in sample chapters, a synopsis and a proposal, they will come back to you, and ask for the full manuscript.

You can expect a publisher to ask you to adjust certain parts of your story. They may do this right away, explaining that in order for the story to work for them, some elements must be amended to make the book more appealing to a wide audience or to make it more marketable to a particular type of reader.

When you send in your full manuscript it’s important that you have made sure it has been professionally edited and is in the absolute best shape it can be. If they have only read the first few chapters and you know for a fact that they are the best bits of your book, you need to wow them with the rest so really give it your all. Remember there are still no guarantees at this stage - if they fear that they will have to do too much work to the rest of your manuscript to get it right, they might well decide it’s not worth their investment.

Changes publishers suggest should be taken seriously. However, not all of them will be mandatory, and if you strongly disagree with a suggested change, it’s OK to discuss this with your publisher, but make sure you have good reasons why - and respect the fact that they have much more experience when it comes to knowing what sells. If they say something is a deal breaker, you have to decide whether you feel it will compromise your integrity to make the change, or whether you can live with it.

When they have read the full manuscript they will come back to you again with notes and comments where they feel the book needs to be changed. It is then your responsibility as the author to make the requested changes and improvements they have asked for. Bear in mind they may give you a deadline for this and if so you should ensure that you stick to it.

Your work will then go to the in-house copy editor who will format it to ensure it is compliant with the in house style and formatting guidelines and will have more edits - looking particularly for typos and inconsistencies. The manuscript will then be returned to you to make the requested changes - again you can argue if you disagree (but having a good reason is imperative). If they start to think you are being difficult and obstructive this could damage your relationship, and remember until the contracts are signed, they could still back out!

This usually marks the end of the editing process. The publisher will then get to work on your cover. Some publishers allow you to give your thoughts on this, and all will let you see and approve the cover before it is finalised. However, if you are working with a big publisher it’s worth remembering they have teams of experienced professionals who will know, much better than you do, what kind of cover will attract the right readers to your work.

The contract is usually sent out during these processes. It is important that you read every word, and advisable to have a lawyer take a look too, and advise you on anything that you should make note of. Your contract will bind you to certain terms and conditions, responsibilities and, of course, how much you will earn. Remember, your contract is negotiable. It is a business deal after all. Publishers will naturally try to get the best deal for them, but it is OK to stand your ground and usually, a compromise can be reached - however making unreasonable demands should also be avoided!

The release date of your novel will be agreed, and your publisher should advise you on what you can do to help promote and market your book. Then it’s time to pop open the champagne and get really excited about seeing your book hit the shelves!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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