Editing, Writing

There’s Always Room for Improvement During the Journey

The following are the words of M.A. Levi, author of the Beast Series. For more information on M.A. Levi or her book, find her on her website, Amazon or Goodreads. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

There’s Always Room for Improvement During the Journey

Moreover, with such knowledge, improvements in ones’ writing is not only wise, but it progresses success further. Speaking from experience, I started writing my book ‘Beast Blood’ in October of 2013 after a lightning bolt of inspiration struck, and I became obsessed with these ideas and characters and with completing the overall story. Nine months of busy days and sleepless nights of writing and re-writing and enduring the editing agony everywhere and anywhere I went; I had completed my first book! It nearly took me a full year after to find the perfect publisher for my creation. Finally, in 2015 I found Archway Publishing my passion had become fulfilled as a published author. After several months my book was available to the public! Now, I had a solid, tangible mass that I could share with the world. Overall, Archway had given me the base knowledge that I needed to pursue my dream. However, I knew there was much for me to learn. My job wasn’t even close to done, but only beginning.

Along the Way

Compared to the more established authors, I was a newbie in the market. For my first signing, I had a few good pens, my books to sell and sign, and a shipment of confidence. Months on end I scheduled signings, meet-and-greets, Q’s and A’s and with that, I had people interested in my book and who I was. By this time, I had expanded and developed a solid reader base; it was amazing to hear such beautiful reviews for something I had created from a small thought that had much moxie behind it. Nonetheless, with the unanimous praise came the stinging criticism, and that my fellow authors, can break your confidence when you’re early in the game. It’s natural to meet such a negative comment or two with confusion and anger. Oh, yeah, there were times that I had done so. Trying to appreciate their perspective, even though it pounded against my confidence like a sledgehammer, I found that some had a touch of truth. However, it wasn’t until I wrote my second book, ‘Flames to the Beast’ to the point of such precision that I realized I made countless rookie mistakes in my writing. I finally had seen what the few had seen. Grammar issues, plot holes- the works. Determined to perfect the craft, I researched for hours on end, took classes, brushed up on everything that pertained to my weaker areas, and then I researched some more to find the elements that would amp up my game. Diligence and perseverance birthed success.

Learn from your failures but be sure to congratulate yourself for your successes. They are both stepping stones to progress.

Now, understand that some no matter how hard you to try will dislike or find something wrong with your creation. Taking on the attitude of ‘if you don’t like what I wrote, then you write a book to your liking,’ will help you with that. Also, the security and confidence that comes from knowing you had improved yourself will push you through the obstacles. Personally, proud of my endeavors, I walk into a signing assured my writing is where it needs to be, and that has helped create opportunities for success. I currently have my book ‘Flames to the Beast’ stocked in several indie-bookstores while growing the rapid reader/reviewer base. Sales and demand have increased as well. Despite all this, I know in the back of my mind, there’s always room for improvement along the journey.

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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Writing

Confused? Use the Writing Process to Move your Project Along

The following are the words of Liz Cooper, Archway Publishing author of “Granny’s Teeth: A Collection of Quirky Rhyming Tales.” For more information on Liz or her book, find her on her website, Facebook or Twitter. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

I recently met a college English major. He spent his summer working on a novel before giving up. When I asked him what his novel was about, he shrugged and said, “I don’t know, I started writing, and I waited for it to reveal itself.” He couldn’t even tell me the genre. Wow. He seemed to think that a great novel would just “happen.” No wonder he became discouraged. He didn’t take advantage of the Writing Process.

I’ve taught writing to elementary students up through college freshman. Convincing aspiring writers, to mindfully use the Writing Process can be challenging. Many writers like to “wing it.” I tell them that It’s better to follow these steps:

Brainstorming

The old adage, ‘write what you know’ is true. For my book, Granny’s Teeth – A Collection of Quirky Rhyming Tales, I knew I wanted to write funny stories about kids at play. I thought about my own childhood experiences at the beach and sleeping at my grandmother’s house where I loved watching her take her false teeth out at night. As I reminisced, my imagination kicked in. What if the ocean was alive and tried to steal a boy’s sand castle? What if Granny loaned her homesick grandchild her false teeth in a jar to keep her company? Even better, what if the teeth started talking and kept the child up all night?

Plan

Make a plan, even if it’s jotting down a short summary of the beginning, middle, and ending of the story on the back of a napkin. Some people like to type a formal outline or use a graphic organizer. Make an overall book plan before breaking it down further. When I wrote Francois and the Tide, the first story in my book, the basic plot was comprised of five simple sentences: Boy builds a sand castle, Ocean knocks sand castle over, Boy digs a hole, Ocean fills it up. Boy discouraged until he finds a seashell.

Rough Draft

The next step is to commit your story to paper as quickly as you can. Your draft doesn’t have to be neat. I like scribbling or typing as quickly as I can before I forget my great ideas. This is a picture of the very first draft of Bertram Butternut- Innovator, another tale in Granny’s Teeth. It’s a mess, but I knew I wanted Bertram to keep coming up with new ideas in a cause and effect formula until he finally grows an apple tree. As you can see, my brain was moving faster than my pen.

Revise, Revise, Revise

Revising is my favorite part of the writing process. I change words, add transitions, move things around, and attend to the details that make the writing come alive and ensure that the story makes perfect sense. For Francois, I substituted interesting words, i.e. fortress instead of a castle. I added personification; the ocean and the boy taunt each other over who is going to prevail. Lastly, I made several changes to make sure that my rhyming wasn’t forced. It must have worked because this story came in the top ten out of a field of 5,000 entries in a writing contest sponsored by a major publisher.

Editing

The very last step is editing. I highly recommend that authors invest in professional editing. I taught a college grammar course, and I still make mistakes! Errors in usage, punctuation, and spelling distract the reader and blur the author’s message. I used Archway’s excellent editorial service and it was well worth it!

As simple as it sounds, it’s true. Using the Writing Process will provide the orderly steps for completing a successful, and enjoyable, writing project.

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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Writing

Tips for Beating Writer’s Block, Part One

Today we’d like to begin discussing something that affects all writers, self-published or otherwise. Yeah, you know what it is already: writer’s block.

Why are there so many articles on writer’s block? Probably because writer’s block is to authors what a pulled muscle is to an athlete: one of the common denominators of the trade, something every participant can identify with. And like that pulled muscle, it’s one of the most frustrating.

So beginning today, we kick off a four-part series of tips for beating writer’s block. Let’s get started!

Remember what writer’s block is, and isn’t.

“Writer’s block.” It sounds so impenetrable, doesn’t it? And that’s part of the problem. But it’s not a wall or a force field or a dead-end street. It’s just a temporary inability for a writer to decide on the best direction for their story. Realize that there IS a best direction; you just haven’t figured it out yet. Relax!

Remember, you’re in good company!

Charles Dickens has had it. Ditto for Stephen King, John Grisham, J. K. Rowling, Tom Clancy, Stephanie Meyer, and James Patterson. You name the author, and it’s guaranteed that (s)he has stared at the monitor, blank sheet of paper, or piece of parchment and thought, “I have no idea what to write.”

And you know what? They went on to write classics and bestsellers. A problem doesn’t seem so insurmountable when you see other people solve it, does it? Well, every writer in the history of the craft has solved it; you will too.

Lower your standards.

Poet William Stafford perhaps said it best: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” He wasn’t promoting substandard writing, of course. The point is, it’s common for writers to set unreasonably high standards that aren’t achievable on a consistent basis. Remember, a lot of your story is going to manifest itself in the rewrite, not the first draft. The important thing is to just keep moving forward; you can always come back and fix that “clunky” scene later!

Just skip it!

So you’ve already written “A,” “B,” and “C,” and you have “F” and “G” plotted out. But you’re stuck on “D” and “E,” and have no idea what to do with them. Sure, you can pound your head on the desk until you figure it out, or you can just skip ahead for now! Jump to the next place in your story where you’re on “sure footing,” and start writing from there. You can always figure out the gaps later–and you will!

 

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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Writing

Combining Fact and Fiction- a Children’s Journey to Knowledge

The following are the words of Laura Wiener, Archway Publishing author of “The Mysterious Dripping Drops”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Why Did I Write My Book?

I began writing my book, The Mysterious Dripping Drops, with four basic goals in mind. I wanted to educate children about the beauty, intricacy, and delicate balance of life in the rainforest and neighboring areas. I wanted the children to become a part of an Amazon adventure where new facts, explanations, and events were page turners. I wanted the children to identify with the characters and journey along with them sharing their happiness, fears, and hopes. I wanted the children to become aware of the threat of the rainforest destruction leading to the extinction of plants and animals due to deforestation, arson and climate change.

About My Book

Having a doctorate in biology and a degree in education, I combined my knowledge and skills to write a story about two ants. One, a red army ant from a deciduous forest loses his home to clear-cutting, fires, and floods. She is swept down the Amazon River and finds herself in the rainforest. The leafcutter ants find her unconscious by the banks of the river and bring her back to their colony. One of the chief worker ants befriends her, and the two ants journey through the rainforest looking for the wise sloth that can help the red ant find her way back home. On the journey, the ants encounter many challenges and also comical events which help explain the ecology of the Amazon.

To write this book, I planned six basic steps.

Research:
I became an expert and tried to research all and everything about the Amazon rainforest and including the deforestation. I read articles online, went to libraries, spoke with Brazilians who had lived near the rainforest and collected as much data as deemed necessary. I also visited the rainforest.

Major Scientific/Environmental Topics:
I decided which scientific/ environmental topics I wanted to address in the story.

Character Development:
I chose which animals would be the best candidates for the story. The ants are creatures that are key to the environment but often overlooked when children are researching the rainforest. The ants with their small size could journey through the rainforest and witness many events undetected.

Plot Development:
I wove the plot around the topics and characters I chose in the previous steps.

Illustrator:
For the illustrations, I chose an illustrator from South America who was familiar with the landscape of the rainforest.

Publisher:
Archway has been a wonderful choice for my publishing needs. From the onset to end, their expertise, friendly manner, quick responses to any questions and quality work have been true assets. I couldn’t be happier with the end product; the illustrations, text and overall layout are professional and highly attractive. The Author Learning Center has also offered invaluable webinars and made the marketing aspects a lot more understandable.

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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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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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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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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Writing

Unconventional Writing and Writers

The following are the words of Liz Reeder, Archway Publishing author of  “51: The Beginning.” For more information on Liz, visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.  Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

From Hating Writing to Author

I was never a writer. Growing up I hated to write. When I was in school I would write the least amount possible to still get an A on the assignment I had been given. That all changed in September of 2016.

In September of 2016, I was struggling with chronic illness and pain. I needed to find something I could do to distract myself from what was happening and feel productive again. That is when I had the idea for my first book, which I wrote in under three weeks. When I finished that book, I felt like it wasn’t done. That led to me writing a five book series in under eleven months. Continue reading

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Writing

Journal Your Favorite Quotations

The following are the words of  Betty Elza, Archway Publishing author of  “Tara’s Treasures.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

What to Write in Your Journal?

Writing tips and writing rules are good reading material for all authors. Authors helping authors. One rule I would suggest is to journal some of your favorite quotations. Every time you read something that “speaks to you” in some way, that you really like, write it in your journal.

The quotations may come from any form of writing from newspapers to children’s books. What you read is important and often becomes a part of you or at least reflects something about you. Continue reading

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Writing

The Anatomy of a Scene

The following are the words of  Charles C. Carroll, Archway Publishing author of  Peacekeepers Among Us.” Learn more about Charles on his author website,  Facebook page, and Twitter account. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Developing a Scene

One approach to writing your novel is to construct it scene by scene guided by your overall plot. Writing craft resources describe the various components of a well-developed scene. The components generally discussed are the role of the protagonist actions, point of view, scene and plot relationship. In addition to conflict and tension, timeline and physical setting, imagery, and the balance between narration and dialogue.

Creating Your Skeleton

Developing a Scene

For the emerging writer, the challenge becomes how to put these components together in a fashion that will produce a memorable scene. You still want to make sure it serves your plot while developing your characters and advancing the story. In thinking about how to do this, the word “anatomy” came to mind and led me think of a skeleton. I thought, maybe, a scene is like a skeleton to which we must add “meat.” Thus, my “skeleton approach” to scene development. In this approach, rather than use all 206 bones in the adult human, only gross anatomy, the head, arms, torso, and feet are used. This approach works when you realize that each scene is a mini-story itself. Now let’s explore how this approach can be applied.

Continue reading

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