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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Writing

Building Blocks for Writing

The following are the words of  Ralph Mosgrove, Archway Publishing author of  “Saying Thanks and Beyond.” Learn more about Ralph on his author Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Drawing Inspiration

 1. Examine a life-changing experience in life and formulate thoughts on paper. Starting with Title, Sub-Title and an outline. For me it was my wife, Elsie who provided the impetus for this book. Her disabling fall, in 2008, breaking her hip and back changed our lives dramatically.

 2. After her death in 2015 I began thinking about our conversations concerning people who offered themselves by opening doors for her as she approached with her four-wheel walker. This act of kindness, repeated over and over, caused us to say, what more can you say beyond “Thank You” to these considerate, compassionate people. Continue reading

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Writing

Making Sense of Our Senses – Sight and Sound

The majority of people connect most strongly with visual stimuli. As a self-publishing writer though, it is our job to make sure we cater to all our readers’ senses to fully immerse them in the world we are creating for them on the page. But how to best do that?

It’s All in the Details

During your pre-writing phase, consider your five main senses and then decide which ones will best help you set each scene. Try and think of at least one detail for each of the five senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste—that will best place your reader in the story. Then write the scene, including as many specific details as possible. You may decide you don’t need all those details when you edit your work later on, but it’s always better to have too much than too little to start with. Continue reading

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Writing

Using Research to Craft a Better Book

Research is a must for self-published authors because it shows that you are informed and knowledgeable on a topic, and it gives you instant credibility with potential readers. Don’t think that research is only necessary for nonfiction authors; fiction writers can benefit from doing their homework, too!Magnifying glass

The good news is that when you are writing about a subject that you’re passionate about, researching can be fun and rewarding. Today we present a six-step guide to getting that research done!

1. Read

It’s a cliché that good readers make good writers, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Immersing yourself in your topic (or genre) will inspire you to write your own book. Plus, surveying what books are out there can help you write a book that fills (not falls into) the gaps in the marketplace. Continue reading

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Writing

Where to Write This Summer

Regan Ralston is an offline marketing intern at Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. Regan recently graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She also received an honors level certificate through the Liberal Arts Management Program: an interdisciplinary program that incorporates Kelley School of Business courses with a liberal arts education.

A Writer’s Retreat

The summer sun approaches and with it comes plenty of sunshine-filled days. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about warm weather retreats for you and your writing. There are more places to write than just the closest coffee shop! Below are six inspirational locations to take your work and a pen.

Delve into the creativity of a new spot, or return to an old favorite: from natural retreats full of grass, wind, and water to industrial settings like cramped subway stations. Variety is the spice of life. Get up, be bold, and dare to write away from the computer and overly-sweetened cappuccino! Continue reading

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Author Feature, Writing

Characters and Setting with Author Linda Maria Frank

The following are the words of Linda Maria Frank, Archway Publishing author of “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” Learn more about Linda on her author website, YouTube, or Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Where to Begin?

One of the most common questions when writing fiction is the question of creating characters.

My choice in writing was to create a mystery series for kids. My background teaching forensic science provided a whole world of possibilities for plots. I thought of just the thing to grab my young readers’ attention: the main character of my series, Annie Tillery.

Many of my readers ask if Annie is me. My answer is that Annie is the teen I would have loved to have been. I enjoyed creating a fantasy world and putting Annie into it to see what she would do. You know, sometimes the characters make the decisions. That being said, I manufactured my girl sleuth protagonist.

Building Your Character

The process of creating Annie was like dressing a paper doll. Let’s see what the basic body type is. This is important! Your readers want to visualize what she looks like. I decided to address this issue by adding a description somewhere early in each book. Next, I tried on – not different clothing – but different characteristics. Some of the choices for a junior sleuth were: brave vs. reckless, smart vs. nerdy, enthusiastic vs. low key, sneaky vs. inventive, and feisty vs. passive aggressive.

It’s also important to give the protagonist a personal life, family, relationships and such; not a perfect family, but one that presents them with challenges and brings out characteristics that will endear them to a reader.  Or, make them angry at her.

The books you’ve read that feature characters you’ve fallen in love with let you into that character’s head. Even better is if the author lets you into a character’s heart. That is what I have attempted in my teen mystery books.

Whatever the genre or plot, the reader wants to know what the main characters think and feel. What’s the best way to do that? THIS WAS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE TO ME WHEN I FIRST STARTED TO WRITE.

Placing the Character

The final element of a book is setting. The first two books of my series take place in settings I knew and loved. Because of this, the story could sometimes just flow on the back of descriptive passages and historical accounts. The development of characters became easier, because the setting helped me to capitalize on specific personality traits that were evoked by the surroundings.

Setting the third book of my series, Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys, in Turkey was not easy. Although I visited Turkey to research the book, the fabulous settings I found there were not a part of my soul. I had to really work hard to achieve a credible air of intimacy with the settings of Turkey.

In an archaeological journal I came upon a description of a dig in a real place: Catalhoyuk, in what is modern day Turkey. I was fascinated by the fact that Catalhoyuk was the oldest known town ever found (9,000 years old). The area where it exists is Cappadocia, rich with ancient history from the Hittites to the “cave people”of the present. “Fairy chimneys” is the name given to striking and weird geological formations that exist there.

My Inspiration

My tour of Turkey included much time in Cappadocia, allowing me to take many pictures and absorb the atmosphere of the place. I took notes and wrote passages of the book, adjusting the chapter outline to make it fit what I saw. My photos were invaluable. I had a super guide book that helped me with words and phrases. I took note of peoples’ names so that I could use authentic Turkish names in the book. Cappadocia almost became one of the characters in the book with its dry vegetation, dust, and of course, fairy chimneys.

Istanbul, once Constantinople, was captivating. The city setting can still be conjured up just by closing my eyes. The bazaar exceeded my expectations. It was a total assault on the senses

As a writer, the lesson I took from Turkey is to really research your setting. If you can’t go there, study maps, view travelogues, and learn the history of the place. Google maps and images are a great help too.

There needs to be a balance between setting, character, and plot. Setting for me can be one of your characters; one that provides your main characters with endless possibilities.

 

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Writing

Creative Exercises to Keep You Going

Whitney Eklof is currently an offline marketing specialist for Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She has a master’s degree in telecommunications from Indiana University, focusing specifically on storytelling across a range of mediums and storyworld creation.  While at IU, she also served as an associate instructor, educating students about writing, storytelling, and other telecommunications-related subjects, and worked as a writer for Indiana University’s Media Team.

Creativity can be hard to come by. Some days we’re just worn out, or we feel we’ve exhausted our creative juices. Writing, an inherently creative process, is no different. There are days we’re just dog-gone out of the dose of creativity we need to keep pushing our story forward. However, we don’t have to languish in our creative void – there are a whole host of creative exercises we can try to get our writing juices flowing again. Below are just a few suggestions, from the obvious to the obscure.

The obvious

Free write: You are probably familiar with this technique. Simply set aside what you’re working on and write. Write whatever comes to mind; write in full on stream-of-consciousness. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar mistakes or that the paragraphs don’t flow together. Just write. Free what’s in your heart and mind and put it on a page – you never know where it’ll take you.

writing-1209121_960_720Read: We are often inspired by others. In fact, that may be the reason you started writing in the first place. Maybe you read a story that sucked you in completely and charged you up to write something of your own. Take some time to go back to those roots. Read something you really enjoy; even better if it’s in the same genre you’re writing in. See how someone else spins a sentence or brings a character to life. Let someone else inspire you instead of trying to will creativity into existence.

Utilize writing prompts: There are hundreds of books and websites full of writing prompts. Whether or not they relate to your book’s subject-matter, taking on a prompt can let your mind roam free. Don’t be afraid to embrace a genre you don’t normally write in either! Writing prompts give you just enough direction to send you down the path to creativity.

The not so obvious

Exercise: When we think about trying to jog our writing creativity, we often focus on writing-related exercises (the obvious ones mentioned above), but exercises unrelated to writing can also help us find the creativity we need to finish that next chapter. In comes the most straightforward exercise of all: exercise. It gets your heart pumping, gets you out of that hunched-over-your-laptop position, and just flat-out increases creativity. Scientific study even supports it!

Meditate: Mindfulness meditation has exploded in popularity over recent years. Mindfulness is about slowing down, taking in your surroundings (and your body), and simply being. It’s a practice about being present, and not letting the distractions of life in. The process of mindfulness can boost creativity as it helps us focus and frees us from worry or tangential rabbit holes.

The obscure

Play: That’s right, play. Sit down with your children, nieces, nephews, pets, or even by yourself and play. Free your mind from stress and worries and just imagine yourself as a princess, a powerful wizard, or simply be your dog’s favorite ball thrower. Play not only incorporates exercise; it helps expand our thinking in new directions. Instead of thinking linearly all the time, we open ourselves to more lateral thinking and associations. You might be surprised at how creative kids can be, they may end up providing the inspiration you needed. Beyond that, play is simply important, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Restrict yourself: This one probably seems counter-intuitive. You probably imagine creativity is a product of freedom, and sometimes that’s true. However, there is power in restricting yourself, as the story behind the creation of Dr. Seuss’ classic, “Green Eggs and Ham,” demonstrates. By reigning in your boundaries, you’re forcing your brain to work within confines it may not be used to – giving it a new challenge, and forcing you outside of your comfort zone.

Creativity is something we can find in the most unexpected of places, and it’s something essential to writing – no matter if we’re writing a sci-fi saga or a how-to helper. When our creativity wanes, it can bring our writing to a halt, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of our story. There are thousands of creative exercises out there and the ones listed here are but a few. So, please, take some of the ideas listed above and give them a whirl, or share some of your own creative exercises to help a fellow writer out of their creative void.

Write on, fellow writers!

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Writing

Writing Advice from Famous Authors

Regan Platt is an offline marketing intern at Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She is currently a senior at Indiana University where she studies English. Regan is in Indiana University’s Liberal Arts Management Program, an honors level interdisciplinary program that incorporates Kelley School of Business courses with a liberal arts education. 

Don’t stop reading.Don't stop reading.

William Faulkner: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

Meaning: Faulkner emphasizes the importance of immersion. If you constantly surround yourself with writing, then you can start to observe both valuable techniques and common pitfalls. As you put to practice what you’ve observed, your own writing will become all the better for it.

Write the book you can’t find.

Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”               

Meaning: This quote can be read as a call to arms for dreamers and “creatives.” The world would have so much less to read and dream if those with great stories never shared them.

Follow your instincts.

Saul Bellow: “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”                                    

Meaning: Bellow comforts and encourages fellow writers who work in bursts of passion. Inspiration may come at the strangest and least convenient of times, yet when the muse calls it is best to answer.

Beware the predictable.Robert Frost Quote

Robert Frost: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Meaning: Frost suggests that strong writing occasionally necessitates a stream-of-consciousness technique that leaves only feelings and ideas. This emotional work results in literary moments of ingenuity.

Show, don’t tell.

Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Meaning: Our final quote by Chekhov reverberates the traditional writing advice “show, don’t tell.”  Engaging writing leaves a reader to do some of the “visualizing” work themselves. Rather than dully listing the circumstances, great writing will reveal what’s happening in an innovative way.

 

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Writing

Thirteen Mistakes Readers Always Catch – Part One

Finding Mistakes

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re a writer. And if you’re a writer, then chances are you’ve read a book and set it down in disappointment because you found some mistakes that offend your sense of professionalism.

mistake

We all have.

Worse than finding an annoying blunder while reading is when an error is pointed out in your own work. A person finds a mistake in your work that you somehow missed. This is a mortifying moment. It’s especially annoying because the mistake is usually obvious after it’s been found. We know you hate this sensation and moment as much as we do! Continue reading

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