Writing

Character and Topic Development

The following are the words of Gabrielle F. Culmer, Archway Publishing author of “Where Lives Lead”, “Glenely Bay and Nostalgia from Paris”, and “Arrive by Dusk.” For more on the author, visit her website, Facebook, and Twitter. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Write What You Know

I was once told when studying for my “O” levels in high school to write about what I knew because it was my strong point. Since my early years consisted of scenic marine views, they usually have been a topic in my novels. I always concentrate on the aquamarine colors, the temperature of the water, its texture, the sensation of diving into the water and how it motivates my characters. My characters have a focal point where the topics arise from the scenery.

Turning Reality into Fiction

 I use this practice now for much that I write about and can extract topics from everyday life. If I am in a particular city to which I am accustomed, naturally it would present some element in my stories. It takes technique to turn this reality into fiction and have it removed to the third person of my character. How a character may feel would not necessarily be my point of view. It is important to both disassociate from myself to appreciate the character and delve into the imagination of how that character would react in reality. It is about their perspective and a different point of view.

The character’s point of view may be distinct from the writer and may not be a normal reaction; it should be respected. The character may be disliked because their life may appear too perfect or they may be unpopular. Whatever the situation, I try to make them more coherent to the reader and describe how they perceive their situation. The characters are usually complex and have some underlying issues beneath a perfect surface that may cause friction. Often, my characters can inspire others who may be facing a particular issue, or be overcoming a loss. The character’s personality nuances may be a subtle point which may go unnoticed to the reader at first, and then evolves, and is revisited.

I relish visiting parts of a town where a character may inhabit, or a theme in the novel, or a place I appreciate. I may imagine how a character may react in a very uncomfortable and unknown environment, or in a familiar setting.

“Where Lives Lead”, emphasizes family and career and is the continuation of the story-line of “Arrive by Dusk.” The story was still untold and I wanted to delve into the character’s new lifestyle as a married couple as well as add new characters and interests.

A Little About My Characters

The new character of the writer, Genevieve, shows a writer’s point of view in contrast to the other characters. There are also new characters in the form of film actors who also provide a new and interesting perspective. Whereas, Harriett strives for the reconciliation between theater, family, and reality. However, Mindy is an inspiring and constant figure who is a landscape artist as well as the main character. Blaine, her husband, may be viewed as successful, complex, and dutiful. The story is inspired by the notion that you can fulfill your dreams with dedication. It depicts the fast-paced NY life and the contrasting scenic and languid beach resort lifestyle. The central theme of the balance of career and family explores whether or not it is possible to have both, and is applicable to many people.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

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Author Feature

Heaven’s Magic Bubble Machine

The following are the words of Teri Yuki, Archway Publishing author of “Heaven’s Magic Bubble Machine.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Writing About Difficult Topics

Like many aspiring authors, I had an idea I wanted to share with others. My desire was to help children who were grieving due to the death of a loved one. For obvious reasons, this is not an easy subject to write about, particularly to an audience of children.

As a young child, I lost my mother due to a tragic accident. Growing up I often thought I would like to find a way to comfort children who were missing a loved one who had passed away. Most importantly I wanted to find a way that offered a positive and constructive outlet that would lighten little hearts with joy and laughter.

For several years I jotted down ideas as they came to me and vowed that when I retired my first project would be writing my book. But how was I going to approach writing a book with an upbeat message about a subject as difficult as death? How was I going to bring a smile to a grieving child’s face?

As I pondered these questions, I kept asking myself what activities children enjoy. What brings on the lovely sounds of a child’s laughter? What do children around the world have in common?

At this point, I was getting stressed about not being able to identify this critical component of the storyline. Finally, I decided to stop worrying and let the Universe provide the answer when the time was right. I continued to work on the manuscript, character development and planning the style of illustrations that were going to bring my book to life. Then one day (while performing some mundane household task, washing dishes I think) the answer just popped into my head.

BUBBLES!

Of course! BUBBLES are magical! Children love BUBBLES! Dogs and cats and baby elephants in the zoo love BUBBLES! That day HEAVEN’S MAGIC BUBBLE MACHINE went from being a Dream to a foreseeable RealityThe Universe did not let me down.

Now it was time to start searching for a publishing company. After talking to several companies, I decided to go with Archway. From the initial consultation to each department that assisted me, everyone was helpful and patient. I am thrilled with the end result.

As for marketing funds, I have to pace myself and search for creative ideas that other Indy authors have used. Author Solutions has some wonderful marketing programs to choose from. Through Author Solutions, I have participated in a very successful book signing at the LA Book Fair and the Goodreads Giveaway Program. My next marketing goal is the new Amazon Advertising program.

All of us have a unique story to tell. When the time comes that you decide to share your story, let Archway Publishing help bring your dream to reality.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

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Author Feature

My Book Began Like A Double-Edged Sword

The following are the words of Sally Guynn, Archway Publishing author of “The Tortoise Tales.” For more on the author, visit her website and Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

How it all Began

I entertained fantasies about writing and painting as published and exhibited works ever since a young girl. Eventually, my dreams converged with a single passion to create a children’s book about animals. Was I biting off more than I could chew?

The children’s book idea endured through my work careers, and once I retired I wrote my memoirs for my family. It empowered me forward, but I soon discovered that my naïve notion to write a children’s book had morphed into something more challenging—a double-edged sword. On one edge was my dream to write and paint, a lifelong passion, waiting to be freed. The other edge was not knowing what I didn’t know. It dawned on me this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. A blade with two edges is a sword that can accomplish twice as much, right? The trick was learning how to handle it.

I began writing The Tortoise Tales and found Archway Publishing to help guide me and keep me from ripping my dreams apart with that big sharp sword. In the process, I discovered three things of value that I’d either underappreciated or simply never had a clue about:

1. Getting Clarity About The Type of Book
2. Maintaining A Sense of Urgency
3. Soliciting Feedback

Getting Clarity About The Type of Book

I’d always envisioned writing and illustrating a children’s picture book, but once the Archway Publishing staff helped me rethink the type of book, I realized several important misalignments. My writing voice wasn’t a good match for a picture book and preschoolers, my paintings more watercolors and washes than stylized illustrations, and my original target audience were now already reading for themselves.

Having already completed many paintings in color at this point, the Archway staff advised making the book more affordable by less artwork and matching more closely with my revised target audience–middle readers who preferred fewer illustrations, no color, and more text. Most importantly, I wanted my book to stimulate a curiosity about nature and wildlife in young people and influence them to go outside and enjoy it. Again, Archway to the rescue when they told me I didn’t need tons of color illustrations to accomplish that goal. Middle readers don’t like anything too babyish. I easily saw the wisdom in making changes to the book’s formatting.

Maintaining A Sense of Urgency

Putting off my children’s book for so long likely increased both my sense of urgency and desire to leave a legacy. But these were good things. Once I began writing The Tortoise Tales, I wrote, researched or edited several hours, at a minimum, every day. If a conflict arose, I made up the time the next day or evening. I believe having this strong sense of urgency elevated the task in my eyes, inadvertently preventing procrastination.

Soliciting Feedback

Soliciting feedback came naturally for me throughout the process. I didn’t resist experimentation and change. It allowed me to take risks that quite often led to improvements. And, perhaps because I’d been a teacher, I tested my stories in both public and private school classrooms and later with seniors over fifty years old at the Lifelong Learning Institute here in my city. Their collective feedback proved invaluable to the book as well as bolstering my confidence.

After the book was printed, I managed to spring for the additional dollars to purchase one of Archway’s professional review packages that included objective reviews from Kirkus, Blue Ink, and Clarion. I learned a huge lesson: If you want your book to succeed beyond peddling it out of the trunk of your car, you absolutely need to have it professionally reviewed to get it on the databases from which libraries and bookstores order.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

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Author Feature

Controlling the Course of Events

The following are the words of Kathleen Glassburn, Archway Publishing author of “Making It Work.” For more on the author, visit her website and Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

My Journey to Self-Publishing

Reading and writing stories have been part of my life since first grade. The library was a more inviting place than the playground. I earned a BA in English and went on to earn an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis on Fiction. After having many short stories published, I wrote my first novel and decided to publish it. With an employment background in business, I am organized and don’t like to do projects according to other people’s timetables (or lack of timetables). I’m not patient when I have to wait around for things that I think could have been done in a more expeditious manner. I also don’t like my work being part of someone’s slush pile.

A friend had a book done by Archway Publishing and she gave an excellent recommendation. With my characteristics (I don’t like to call myself a “control freak” but perhaps, at times, this is a good description) I decided that self-publishing would be right for me.

Why I Love Archway

My novel has now been available for several months. It has received positive responses from readers (friends, acquaintances, as well as professionals with whom I’m not familiar). The book itself is beautiful. The cover that I was helped to choose is exactly as I wanted it to be. The text is clean. And, the symbolic images representing a major theme are tastefully done. Also, the book was completed in a timely way. I never had to wait for responses to my questions or updates on progress. Because of Archway’s conscientious attention to providing a meticulous package, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed interacting with my team of well-qualified and knowledgeable people.

I am so pleased with my novel that I have contracted for them to do a collection of my published short stories. I look forward to seeing these in an equally-beautiful book sometime this year.

To me, as a business-minded, independent person, who loves to write fiction, this is the most telling detail of my Archway experience — I am a return client.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

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Author Feature

How a Good Girl, Proved that Kindness Still Matters!

The following are the words of Alexis Bloomer, Archway Publishing author of Good Girl Bad World” and “Kindness is Key.” For more on the author, visit her Facebook page, Twitter and website. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

The Inspiration for My Book

My freshman year of college (2012), I was sitting in my in college apartment at Sam Houston State University and I thought back to my first year in high school and remembered how lonely I felt that year. I was in college, making new friends and I was reminded of the past and the words that hurt me. Isn’t that crazy? How we can remember comments that hurt us, more than ones that celebrated us? Just like the hurtful comments, I remembered a comment from one of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not!” Such simple words that impacted my story, profoundly. Continue reading

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Writing

How I Wrote A Book in 100 Days and You Can Too

The following are the words of Pete Honsberger, Archway Publishing author of “Don’t Burn Your Toast.” For more on the author, visit his website and Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Don’t Let Life Get in the Way of Your Goals

If you ever feel like your day-to-day life gets in the way of bigger goals, whether they are personal, professional, or both, I can empathize.  When I’m busy fulfilling my full-time job’s duties, attending meetings, sending emails, being a good family member, and so on, I often lose sight of the bigger picture.

But despite this reality of our busy lives and daily tasks, many of us have dreams of writing a book, owning a business, scaling a mountain, or even getting that promotion.  Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned in the 100 days it took me to write the first draft of my book is that such laser-focus and bite-sized activity on a consistent basis can apply to just about any project or dream. Continue reading

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Publishing

Transcending Understanding

The following are the words of Edna Koelfgen, Archway Publishing author of “Beyond Coincidence.” For more on the author, visit her Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Prologue

Achieving my dream of becoming a published author at age 74 gave me the courage to continue writing. It has taken me over 18 years to create my first book.

Creation of my Bookself-publishing

By the year 1999, both of my parents had already gone to Heaven. I thought about many things I wish I had done while they were still on earth. Trying to get my mind off of losing them, I had to do something to live a life filled with many of those things. I began to write! A plot idea had popped into my mind that I might be able to include some unusual happenings that they had witnessed. Continue reading

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Publishing

My Book is My Business Card

The following are the words of Agnes Bellegris, Archway Publishing author of “Animal Encounters.” For more on Agnes, check out her website, Instagram and Facebook pageDownload the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Measuring Success

When taking the path to self-publishing, measuring success can be complex. Do you measure based on sales? Of course, that is always a definitive measure. But, as writers and artists, we need to look beyond this. As a picture book writer, I have the privilege of attending primary schools to discuss the things I love the most: the importance of literacy, creating literature, and now, with Animal Encounters, painting and drawing. When children tell me how much they enjoy my book because it’s “funny” and because “the pictures are amazing,” then I have succeeded. If parents tell me that my books are their go-to stories at bedtime, then I have succeeded. When teachers tell me that they love the richness of the language and that it allows them to introduce concepts from other areas of study in the classroom, then I know one hundred percent I have done something right. Continue reading

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Author Feature

Following Your Dreams

The following are the words of Christine Lourenco, Archway Publishing author of “For the Love of the Ocean” and “Commuter Bob.” For more about Christine, check out her website, Facebook, and TwitterDownload the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Realizing My Childhood Dream

Writing was something I did throughout my childhood. It started with a passion for reading when I was young. I read one book a day and often visited the library to take out more books. Fiction was my preferred genre, to escape to another world. I had always kept diaries and journals and enjoyed writing poetry. Different characters and stories would often pop up in my daydreams. I would think how great it would be to put those thoughts into a story or even a movie. It never crossed my mind though at the time that this was something I wanted to pursue. Later in life, I was reminded that storytelling was something in my heart. It was a dream of mine. Continue reading

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Writing

Making Sense of Our Senses – Touch, Smell and Taste

To fully immerse our audience in the worlds and settings we craft for them in our self-published novels, it’s important to let readers engage all their senses. A while ago, we presented the first part of this article, in which we covered sight and sound; today we’ll discuss touch, smell, and taste.

Touch

Our heroes often find themselves in unusual situations. After all, the whole point of us creating these adventures is to help our readers escape reality. This often means they are touching or coming into physical contact with unusual or repellent objects, things that our readers have probably always tried to avoid touching.

A great way to enhance your description of touch is to focus on the physical reaction it evokes. Your hero’s skin might crawl or become covered in goosebumps; they might faint or feel ill.

The use of adjectives will also help you with your descriptions of touch. Continue reading

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