Rejection...Criticism...the things we all have in common.
The 'R' word is a tough pill to swallow, however we have all heard it in some form or another. But as a writer, trying to get out into the world, trying to get noticed; that word hurts to the core.
This is your baby that you've been working on for what feels like YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. You finally have it completed and you think "now is the time that it will get picked up, put on bookshelves, and sold. Later a movie deal." Then the emails come back and it's not turning out how you thought it would...but let's face it; life never does. Get the chocolate, the wine, the 'whatever makes you happy' stuff out of the way and dust it all off.
People get rejected every day, but there wouldn't be success stories if those people didn't move along. Research the heck out of query letters and see what exactly you might be missing, find peers to glance over what you have and see if they notice something, or maybe...that specific person that you sent that query to, or those multiple people; they aren't the ones for you.
Do the research, if you feel you have done all you can in that avenue- change your path. There are publishing companies out there looking for you. Or of course, the ever-growing Self Publishing biz is always ready for a new face and new story. Don't let this one time, or even handfuls of rejections let you stop from following your dream. You'll get there, but only if you push yourself. It takes time, effort, a solid foundation to find your footing on this massive adventure. Don't let it get away from you.
Just remember, Harry Potter was rejected 12 times before J.K Rowling found success!
So, it looks like your characters don't want to be part of the current time period. It's time to do your research.
What era are they from? When you figure that out, next is coming up with the proper speech. The dialogue has to match. A little understanding of the language and clothing they wore can go a long way in your story. Keep notes on the language, clothing, what they did to pass the time, major events that happened then or could happen (if your character is in the future).
If they've evolved with the times, that can be a bit easier, but research is always necessary. Don't be afraid to dive in and let your character tell you what they want, you can always go back and clarify later. It's exciting either way to do a period piece. Showing a new perspective on a society that many are not aware of. It's amazing to be able to show a new side of time that your readers don't know about or showing them a whole take on the world in general.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!! In this blog I want to write about my trials & errors and give tips for new writers. Also, since I love to read, I will be giving reviews of books from any genre. Today though, I wanted to talk about one important thing that helps me keep my mind in order through the writing process...Keeping a notebook or journal.
As a new writer starting off, I had to find my routine and my style. Everyone is different and I learned that through joining Facebook writing/author groups...which I recommend joining. It's nice to meet like minded (meaning other people that hear voices and have conversations with made up characters) people. ...off topic
Back on... Always have pens or pencils, whichever you prefer, and always Notebooks. I have a specific notebook at work designated for writing and ideas, notebook in the dining room, something in the living room, and another in the bedroom. I even have a notepad in my purse along with a pen.
It may be like this because I'm getting older and can't remember, but even as I'm writing this post, I'm doing it via my phone on a notepad because my brain wouldn't shut off until this was done. At 12:18AM...this is how a writer's brain works...it never stops.
That's what the notebooks are for. Our characters never really sleep. They are there, waiting to get their story told. They don't care what time it is or where you are, they want it done right then. If you were not to write it down and walk away... you would forget or the never be able to recreate it. That's the worst! Please don't let this happen to you...
If you have a book you would like to be included in my book review articles, Id be happy to work with you! Im also looking for Co-Bloggers if anyone is interested. Happy writing!
By: Crystal Garnett
If you are like me, the time you get to set aside to write is precious and you want it to count. Very few of us have the luxury of being a writer full time. We have other jobs, family, friends, and responsibilities that vie for our attention. And truthfully, I wouldn’t trade those things for the world. But, it can be hard to carve out a small chunk of time to write on a regular basis. So, when I do, I want those moments to count.
Often, by the time I have a chance to sit down and write, I have so many different parts to my story that I want to get down in words. And the harsh reality is that I probably will not get it all out in the time allotted. The scenes in my head play out much quicker than my fingers can glide across the keys, and I am a pretty quick typer.
So, how do you make those times count? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes? I think there are a few simple things you can do to help maximize your writing time.
1. Find a place that is distraction free. For me, this means my most productive time is after my kids go to sleep or before they wake up. I know that when they are up, my mommy hat is going to be firmly in place and it will be hard for me to focus. I also don’t do well with a lot of noise and chaos around me. So super public places or around loud music is not a good writing place for me. However, some people work best in those environments. My husband is like this. He can throw on some heavy metal music and bust out a writing assignment no problem. In fact, I think he works better that way than in perfect silence. So, find out what your distractions are and aim to remove them as best as possible.
2. Pick a good time of day- I personally am not a morning person and my writing suffers when I try to get up too early to write. I know that my most functional and creative times are in the evening. I love the quiet of the evening and find that I write best when I can settle down with a cup of tea and a warm blanket. So, that is my ideal time to write. Others I have known say that the early morning hours are their best and they find great peace in the stillness that proceeds the day. While still others find that writing throughout the day is best for them. Whatever it is, find your best time of day and try to carve out some time then to write.
3. Make short notes- For me, this has come in really handy on those days when I have four or five different ideas bouncing around in my head, but only enough time to get one on paper. Before I start working on that one scene, I will take a few short notes about the other scenes that I know I won’t get to that day. Nothing fancy, just some short phrases that describe what I am thinking. Mostly I use these as a reminder tool. I write down just enough to jog my memory and will refer back to them later when I have more time to write.
4. Don’t worry about editing as you go- when time is tight and you have more ideas than time to write them down, leave the editing for later. Don’t stress about typos and grammatical errors at this time. Just get the ideas down. Get the story written. There will be a season for editing. In fact, this is a great thing to save for those days when the ideas just aren’t flowing and you have nothing new to add. I find that on those days, I go back and edit my previous work and often inspiration comes quickly.
5. Turn your phone onto “Do Not Disturb” mode- most phones have this option, though perhaps called a different name. You can turn it onto “Do Not Disturb” mode and silence all the random dings and chimes that can easily pull you away. I know on my phone there is the option to select certain contacts that I want to allow to contact me when this mode is set. So, I can list the most important people whose calls and texts I would not wish to miss, but still silence the random junk mail alert, the Facebook notifications, and other such less important notifications. This allows me a time of uninterrupted writing. Because, I don’t know about you, but when that ding comes on my phone telling me someone has commented on a post, I just have this immense urge to pick it up and see what that person said. Then that leads to rabbit trails and I don’t get as much work done. If your phone doesn’t have a “Do Not Disturb” mode, then consider putting it on silent and setting a time limit before you check it again. For example, check it every 15 min or so, but tell yourself you will only respond to the most necessary things. Everything else will have to wait.
These of course are just suggestions. Take them or leave them, it’s up to you. But the idea here is to make your writing a priority, if only for a short time that you have carved out of your schedule. If you are anything like me, the passion you feel for your writing will drive you crazy if it doesn’t have an outlet. So, don’t be afraid to make it an important part of your life. Carve out some time, even just 30 minutes, guilt free and dedicated to making that time the most productive it can be.
There will always be a million different things vying for your attention. Some of those things, like family and work, are worth it. Others are less important and can justifiably take a backseat to your writing. Finding the right priorities for your life will help you be the best writer you can be. So, don’t be afraid to tell those lesser things that tug at you to wait their turn, you’ve got a story to write!
So, you have an idea for a story, but no idea where to begin. As kids, we were taught to story board, write out plot diagrams, create synopsis, and many other planning steps. But the harsh reality is that creative writing doesn’t always flow that way. Many times, the best authors have very different writing styles, and that is okay! Forcing yourself to write in a way that is not your niche with only result in sub-par work. So, throw away all the old ideas of how you develop a story and find what works for you.
But what if you don’t know what works for you? Try a few different things! Trial and error are sometimes our best friends. Learning how our brains and creative juices work best is all a part of the writing experience. Let’s look at a few tips to help you discover your writing style.
Some work requires the author to do research. For certain styles, this research can be extensive while other styles of work may not require much if any research at all. Doing research can be a frustrating part of the writing experience, especially if you don’t particularly like research. So how can you tackle it?
1. Pre-writing research- some artists find that doing research before they even begin the work is a great way for them to gain ideas, inspiration, and content. These authors sometimes spend months or even years researching their topic in preparation for the final work. The great thing about doing research this way is that you are well versed going into your work, knowing your topic in full from the beginning. The down side is that you can spend time researching topics or sections of your topic that you never end up using.
2. Research as you go- other artists find that this method is the best way for them. With this method of research, the artist research each specific area of their topic as they need it. For instance, a historical writer may research the clothing of the era when describing a character, while later researching the local customs when describing those in the work. The perk to this is that you can begin your work and research along the way, allowing the creative process to guide what you research and when. The down side is that you run the risk of not having a full understanding of the topic and thus accidentally misrepresenting the facts.
For work such as poetry or pros, this is not necessarily an aspect of the creative process. But for most authors, a strong storyline is the backbone to your work. But coming up with that storyline can look different for many different authors.
1. Firm storyline- With this method, the author sits down and creates a storyline that they intend to follow. Some authors find that they enjoy detailed storylines that outline intricate facts. This allows them to have a skeleton on which to build their story and a guide to follow through the process. Many non-fiction writers use this type of story line to build their work due to the fact that they are telling a story that already exists. Keeping a firm storyline in place helps them to maintain the integrity of the story they are telling. Some fiction writers enjoy this method as well, especially when they have a very specific story to tell.
2. Soft storyline- Other writers find that they like loose storylines that allow for more creativity along the way but still help to keep them on track as they go. They storyline the major events before beginning but leave room for the details to be filled in as they proceed through the writing processes. Many fiction writers tackle the writing process this way to allow them the freedom for creativity while still helping them to stick to the story they originally set out to tell.
3. No storyline- This method of writing allows for the most creative freedom, but also has the greatest risk for your story taking on a life of its own and changing throughout the writing process. Some writers really prefer this though. Creative writing is most commonly the genre which embraces this type of storyline planning, but not exclusively. Some authors enjoy letting inspiration from their lives and their observations influence their writing and thus reject the traditional idea of creating a storyline. However, these authors also need make sure their work eventually tells a complete story and that a distinct storyline can be seen in the final work.
Building complete and compelling characters is a must for any good piece of work. There are, of course, exceptions, but most types of work have at least one character, even if that character is simply the voice of the work. Even poetry and pros have a voice and thus have a character. Of course, those types of characters require less work than characters found in stories, plays, or other such work. Development of your characters can make or break your work and is an important part of the creative process. Details of the characters should stay consistent or else the author runs the risk of confusing the reader and derailing the story.
1. Detailed character building- Some authors like to plan all the details of their characters before beginning their work. This allows for the greatest consistency throughout the work with the least risk for accidentally changing details. However, like any other detailed pre-planning, this method also leaves the least amount of room for creative interpretation along the way.
2. Free-flow character building- Other authors enjoy allowing their characters to develop through the creative process. This can allow for flexibility and creativity to move the author and develop the characters. However, the risk involved here is under-developed characters or details that change unintentionally through the story. If using this method of character building, I highly recommend keeping notes on your characters that you can refer back to later to maintain consistency.
Carving out a time to write can look different for many different people. Let’s face it, we are all busy and few of us get the luxury of writing as our full-time job. For many of us, writing is a hobby or a side job that we are fitting into the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Many authors can stress themselves out about following a certain schedule or designated time to write. Finding your best schedule will help you create the best content.
1. Time of day- ask yourself when your best time of day is and if you can write during that time of day then you should. I am not a morning person, myself. So, writing first thing in the morning is just not a good idea for me. I find that my work is best when I write in the evening. While I have known other writers who find that the quiet of an early morning with a nice cup of coffee is the best recipe for sparking creativity. Find your best time and aim for it.
2. Day to day or in spurts- Some writers find that they work best writing something every day. Other writers find that they work best working in spurts. For instance, I often will not write something for days at a time and then when inspiration hits, I spend hours and hours writing each day for a few days. Then I may go another couple days without writing again only to repeat the cycle. I am very much a sporadic writer, but I find that is the best way to get the best content. However, other authors feel that their best work comes when they write at least a little each day and keep the content fresh in their minds.
3. Length of time- some authors like setting aside a designated time block of their day to write. This allows them to schedule the writing in and have the freedom to create within a designated window without feeling the weight of their other activities breathing down their necks. While other authors determine the length of time they write by the content they are writing. If they scene or chapter they are creating takes a few hours or more, they are committed to finishing that content before moving on to the next task at hand. While other authors are a blend of the two.
Other Things to Consider
Chronological writing- Chronological writing is simply that, writing the story in chronological order from start to finish. Some authors find this to be the best way for them to write. While others choose to write scenes and chapters as they find inspiration, tying them all together along the way. Whether you choose to write from start to finish or jump around, always be aware of storyline and making sure your story is complete.
Notes- Some authors find it extremely helpful to keep notes along the writing process. Some will keep a small journal or writing pad with them at all times to be able to jot down ideas when they come. Taking notes can also help you as an author to maintain consistency with characters, events, and settings.
External review- Some authors find that having others read and review their work as they develop it helps them in the creative process while others find external input to be frustrating and bothersome. If you find that you enjoy external input, don’t be afraid to seek it out! There are some amazing writer’s clubs, groups and forums that help provide this kind of feedback. Even if you do not want external input during the writing process, I highly recommend getting external feedback during the editing and proof reading stages. Having a fresh pair of eyes (or five) is a really important aspect of the publication process.
Method- Some writers find that pen and paper are the best way to get their ideas out on paper while others prefer to use a computer and type out their work. Some find that the speed at which they type vs that which they write can be either a good or a bad thing for their writing process. Find whatever method helps you most and go with it.
And finally, the best piece of advice I can give is try not to fit in someone else’s mold. Be your own author. Let your creative process be your own and don’t feel like it must look like anyone else’s. It’s okay if you do it differently. The most important thing is that you just do it. Find the way that works best for you and run with it. But don’t be afraid to try something new too. It’s a journey… walk it out!
Written By Crystal Garnett
You know that awful feeling… when you want to write and nothing is coming. Normally, content flows, the story grows and the work is exciting. But today there is a brick wall. You try to scale it, you try to push, you try to write but it just gets worse. There is no real reason for it, which of course, makes it even more frustrating. One day you are writing well and the next you hit the wall.
Yep, it’s writer’s block and every writer has encountered it at one time or another. Whenever I try to push through a writer’s block, my work always suffers. I can go back and read through and totally see the difference in my writing. When I push it, I never write my best, plain and simple. It can be super frustrating and discouraging. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Writers block can be a great opportunity to grow as a writer. It can be useful in forcing you to take a break, step back and really examine your work. It can be an opportunity for editing and proof reading. It can be a blessing in disguise. It is all about how you approach it and the attitude you keep when faced with it.
So, what are some practical things you can do to embrace these times, grow from them and enhance your work? Let’s look at some practices that you can put in to places.
1. Get a different perspective.
Writer’s block can be a great opportunity to step back, look at things differently and get a different perspective. This might look like stepping away from your computer or writing desk, getting out and taking in life. Go for a walk and take in the beauty all around you. Spend a day at the park people watching and observing human interaction. Watch a movie that stirs you or makes you step outside your normal wheel-house. Call a friend and talk through your ideas to get an external perspective. Listen to some music, paint, or go for a drive. There are so many ways to accomplish this. Sometimes a writing block can be a great excuse to step back and look at your work from a different angle. This can be frustrating… or, you can use it as a tool to enhance your work.
2. Take the time to edit and proof read
I know for me, I often forget that proof reading and editing can be a great way to shake off the fog of a writer’s block and spark new ideas. Often when I go back and look through my previous writing I can reignite the original ideas and feelings that I first started with. Sometimes, reading through, editing, and tweaking my earlier work can spark new ideas, give me new direction, or help me remember ideas I once had but never put into my work. Plus, I get a chance to perfect my earlier work, making future proof reading easier. Even if this doesn’t spark new ideas, at least you are using your time to do something productive. You are perfecting your art and growing your piece.
3. Take a break
If you are anything like me, it is sometimes hard to recognize when I need a break. Sometimes I am so excited about the work I am doing that I want to see it finished and I find myself consumed by the desire to keep pressing on. But, even our creativity needs a break from time to time. We need to allow our minds and bodies time to recoup. Taking a few days off, guilt free, to relax and recharge is sometimes all we need. Sometimes a writer’s block is your body’s way of asking for a day off. So, take some time off and don’t stress about it. Then when you have had time to recharge you can start again more renewed and recharged and your work will reflect that.
4. Read your work aloud
For some reason, we hear things differently than we read them. Sometimes reading your work aloud helps you to hear something you might not have read silently. Find a quiet room where you can read aloud without disturbing anyone or feeling awkward. Talk through your work, listening for how your reader may interpret your words. If someone else was telling you the story or reading your work to you, where would you expect it to go? What kind of plot twists would you expect if it were a movie? Can you picture the scenes and ideas based on just the words you are speaking without your own thoughts? Is there a way that you can beef up your descriptions to make it more understandable? Reading aloud can be a great way to hear things and make your work even better. Or, if you have someone you trust, have them read to you. This can be an amazing way to get out of your funk.
5. Develop your characters and scenes more
A writer’s block can be a great way to take a step back and look at your characters and scenes to ask yourself if you have developed them well. Often, when I read amateur or sub-par work, this is one of the most common problems. The story may be interesting, but the author hasn’t taken the time to build the pillars of the story for me. It’s as if you went to a play but they didn’t take the time to build the set, make costumes, or assure the lighting worked. You may be hearing the dialog, but you are missing out on so much of the story. So, ask yourself a few things… Does your reader see your characters the way you do? Have you explained the little details or just the major ones? Can your readers picture the places you are describing and the people you are telling a story about? Sometimes, in our excitement to get the story told, we can easily skip over details that will enhance and enrich our work. Let a writer’s block be a fantastic opportunity to step back from the story and build the pillars that hold the story up.
They say that so much of success depends on your attitude and when it comes to overcoming a writer’s block, nothing could be truer. If you let it frazzle you, frustrate you and defeat you then you not only run the risk of it lasting longer than necessary, but you also rob yourself of the opportunity to grow as an artist and in turn grow your work. Writer’s blocks will come, even for the most experienced writers. But, just like everything else in life, it is all about your perspective.
Written By Crystal Garnett
Let’s face it. Breaking into the book industry is harder than ever. And there are more and more companies out there promising you are going to be the next best-selling author. It can be so hard to know who to trust, which avenue to go with your publishing, and how to go about it.
I know what it is like… You pour hours and hours into a manuscript. It becomes your baby. You nurture it, pouring over it line by line, revising and proofing. It takes on its own personality and becomes so much of you. You can’t imagine ever putting it in the hands of someone who won’t see its value too. But who is that? How can you know?
So many authors struggle with this. There are so many options out there and it is hard to know which is the best avenue to take. So, let’s break it down and help you guide the sometimes chaotic and messy waters of book publishing.
There are many different avenues you can take as an author to get your material out there. Not all avenues are for everyone. You, as an author, must ask yourself what you want, how much you are willing to invest (both time and money), and how you want to distribute your book later. So, let’s look at the pros and cons of each different type of publishing.
1. Traditional Publishing
Most authors dream of having their books featured on the endcaps and display tables of every major book distributor in the country. But to get there, it takes a lot of work, connections, and money. So, many people turn to traditional publishers with hopes of rising to the top. Traditional publishing is simply this: You sign with a publisher who offers you their services (usually editing, design, publication, marketing and so forth). In return, they take a decent chunk of your royalties (moneys earned from the sale of your book). Typically speaking, the publisher will purchase the rights to your manuscript.
Pros: This is a great way to get your book to print with little or no money out of your pocket. The publisher typically had well established contacts and experience in the field, where you as a new author may not. Some publishers will pay you a set amount of royalties up front and then an additional amount after your book sells so many copies. Publishers often have sales reps to market your book to bookstores. Many publishers have years of experience and are well established, lending a sense of security that your work will be represented well.
Cons: The Publisher now owns rights to your book. Many times, they have the final say on all decisions made. It is very hard to get signed with a traditional publisher. Your chances increase if you hire an agent, but they come with their own set of pros and cons as well (as listed below). It is estimated that as little as 1% of authors who seek traditional publishing will be signed. The process can often be slow and time consuming as well. Often your royalties with this type of publishing are lower due to the need to pay the publisher as well as the agent and possibly a publicist.
TIP: If you decide to go this route and you do get an offer from a publisher, be sure to read through your contract very carefully. It is not a bad idea to seek out the trained eye of a legal professional to make sure that the contract says everything you expect it to say. Also, be sure to ask what sort of marketing help they are planning to offer. If you are asked for money up front, it is not a traditional publisher but really a vanity publisher instead (more about vanity publishing later). Don’t just stick to the big publishers, but also keep an eye on smaller traditional publishers that offer less stringent screening processes and are more willing to take a risk on a new author.
2. Literary Agent
A literary agent is not a necessity to getting a book published. However, they can help speed the process and help to streamline the details. Often, they have years of experience and can help to answer questions, give advice, and help guide and author through the publishing process. They negotiate deals and contracts for the author.
Pros: Many traditional publishing houses will not even look at a manuscript that isn’t submitted through a literary agent. Agents have contacts in the world of traditional publishers and can help you get noticed much faster and with much greater success than if you went it alone. A good agent knows what to look for in a contract to help you navigate all the legal jargon and they can often negotiate better royalties on your behalf. They are a wealth of knowledge and can advise and guide you through the whole process.
Cons: An agent will take up to 15% of your royalties as a payment for their services. It can be difficult to find and secure an agent. Agents can be picky about what books they are willing to represent. Some agents will only represent books from certain genre or style. There is often a decent amount of research and work that goes into getting an agent.
TIP: If you would like to pursue the help of a literary agent, do your research! Know what makes up a good query letter. Learn as much as you can about the agents you are submitting your manuscript to. Submit to more than one agent to increase your odds of finding someone to represent you. Have patience… it can take a while to find a good agent. But when you do, they can be a great asset.
3. Vanity Publishing
Vanity publishing is best described as a blend between self-publishing and traditional publishing where the author is responsible for the entire, or a large portion of the cost of publication through an established publisher.
Pros: It is much easier to sign with a vanity publisher. Typically, as long as an author can afford the established fees, they can publish their book. Some vanity publishers will absorb some of the initial costs of publishing, sharing the financial burden with the author. Vanity publishers often offer more freedom to the author to make decisions about content, design, and such. The process of getting a manuscript to print can often be much quicker than with a traditional publisher.
Cons: Unfortunately there are many vanity publishers who do not have the best interests of the author in mind. There tends to be a negative association with vanity publishers amongst those in the industry. Many distributors, fulfillment houses, bookstores, etc. will not carry titles published through vanity publishers. Much, if not all, of the marketing falls on the shoulders of the author.
TIP: Be sure to do your research before trusting a vanity publisher. Make sure your royalties reflect the investment that you are being asked to take. Know which services (such as editing, design, layout, etc.) you are paying for and which services you would have to pay extra for. Be your own advocate and make sure you are getting what you are paying for.
4. Self Publishing
Self-publishing is simply that- publishing a book yourself without the aid of a publisher. This can be done through a variety of different companies and programs.
Pros: Self-publishing has the potential to be the fastest way to get your manuscript to print. Many authors choose this route because they retain full rights to their book with no interference from outside sources. There are affordable options that allow an author to see their book published into e-book as well as print formats. Authors retain control over design, book cover art, and title. Authors set prices for books and retain much higher royalties. Anyone can publish a book this way. If a self- published book does well enough, it has the potential to catch the attention of literary agents and traditional publishers.
Cons: No professional editing is offered through self- publishing. Authors will need to either design their own artwork or hire a graphic artist to create book covers and any additional art for the book. Less than 10% of the books in the current market are published this way. Author is responsible for all marketing of their book. Authors must work really hard to grow sales, get discovered, and build a following. It is often a challenge to gain credibility with this type of publishing.
TIP: If you choose to go the way of self-publishing, make sure your expectations are realistic. Do your research into other books in your genre that are self-published to gain a realistic expectation of how your book could do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help- get others to review, edit and critique your book honestly before you self-publish. Hire a graphic artist to design a stunning book cover if you do not have master skills in graphic design. Learn as much as you can about marketing your book via social media. The more exposure you get and the better networking you do, the more likely your book will be a success.