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.


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


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


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


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

Author Feature

Story of a Ghostwriter

The following are the words of Archway Publishing’s Sandee Hart, co-author of “Nighthawk” with Bill Bowers. Learn more about the book or Bill on his author website and Facebook. To keep up to date with their book, follow Sandee on Twitter. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

In the Shadows

When my childhood friend Bill Bowers contacted me about helping him write his memoir, I immediately said yes. After all, he was an incredible storyteller and I had spent my life writing in the shadows for others. There wasn’t a lot of glory, and it was hard work, but I was quite comfortable hiding. I guess you could say I was afraid if people knew it was my work they would think it wasn’t good enough. I learned very early on that when you’re not noticed, people don’t bother you. They can’t assassinate your character, your opinions, or your choices. Being hidden is safe because there is no risk, no missed chances and no record of your existence in the writing of others. Continue reading


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.


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.