Rewriting Your Story – 5 Tips

If you are thinking about writing a story, maybe a full length novel, then I hope I can help inspire you.

I’ve looked back at the experiences I’ve had between now, and when I was a kid, and compared it to some other people’s experiences, and I think I have five tips, which honestly, I think other people have shared with me from time to time, which will help you.

They can help you write a better story to share with others, whether it is your own life story, or a story of a life of a character in your own settings for a book or book series.  With that being said, let’s get into it.

Rewriting Your Story - Todd Tucker

  • The first tip would be, know what version of you, that you want to be.

If you are putting yourself into an imaginary world for a story, imagine a version of you within that world.

What is your past, what is your present like, and how would you like for things to change from here on out?  What kind of adventures do you want to go on?

What would it take for you to actually get up and leave the house to do something?  How many times would you have to try something before you get it right?

Feel free to both exaggerate, a little, and still be somewhat realistic.  Once you kind of know this version of you, you are ready for the next tip.

  • The second tip would be, find a group to interact with who looks forward to the version of you that you want to become.

If you are writing this story, whether a novel you are writing, or just to write a story of your life that you would prefer to be living, then add characters to your story that accept you, and that you want to be around.

There’s a possibility that one day you’ll find a copy of this story, and realize that some parts of it actually came true, or are still coming true.

Either way, with this group with you, you’ll be better prepared for the unexpected moments life will bring into your story, and the unexpected twists that you may find yourself adding to the stories you are putting your character through, who will also find that they are better prepared, because they have friends who can help them through it.

So let’s keep going, with the third tip.

  • The third tip would be, sign up for the long trip.

Whether it’ll take a month or three, or a year or three, or whether or not you’ll spend the rest of your life at this, be ready to stick with it. Think about your legacy.

Read the whole article here.

Self-Editing – The Bane of a Writer’s Existence

Self-editing is a double-edged sword that will certainly test not only the mettle, but the integrity of an author on many levels.

Self-editing – The Bane of a Writer’s Existence

To self-edit your own work, you must be prepared to be your own best and worst critic.

That means reading your work over and over to the point where you can see the words dancing in your head when you are doing things not related to your editing.

When that happens, you will see the good, the bad, the ugly, and the otherwise that you feel needs to be changed and/or altered within your write or writes.

For myself personally, I have self-edited multiple times, only to see and realize that I STILL needed more work. Granted, this is my personal experiences with self-editing, yet I have come to learn and grow from those personal experiences.

Trust me when I say that ending ALL sentences with either a noun or a verb is indeed a daunting task in the realm of self-editing. Words WILL run together. Words WILL start to look funny.

Even worse, your wording will look SO ALIEN, you would swear that when you write AND speak (IT DOES HAPPEN), you will look at yourself in a mirror and hallucinate about wearing clothing from the Renaissance Era with the way your speech has been affected by editing your own work.

Maybe that is just me…

Regardless, to self-edit your work is a tough road to traverse because of the lack of one critical item that is very necessary in the realm of a great read: A Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Opinion when doing a book edit.

Of course, this is completely up to the author if they wish and desire to look for a second opinion or more. What I can say in this regard I sincerely hope will be taken to heart and into great consideration:

You WILL need that second, third, fourth, and fifth opinion. You WILL need those eyes to help with your editing of your work. The reasoning is very simple:…

Read the whole article here.

As A Writer You’re Job Isn’t Just To Write

We all know that in order to be a good writer you need to write. The question is how many words a day is a good day, or how long should I write?

  • Everyone is different and there’s no magic number.

You have to find your spot and go from there. If you’re in the moment and find that the words are flowing then why would you stop? Keep going.

I try and write at least 8-10 hours a day. That’s normal for me but if you’re a single mother or father that would be impossible.

Writers have strange rituals and there is no right answer.

Everyone is different. Take whatever idea you have and run with it. Even bad ideas may have something magical in it somewhere.

The best advice I have for unpublished writers is network. Facebook is your friend.

I have been invited to take part in anthologies because someone had read my book or knows that I write splatterpunk and they think that I would be a good fit in an anthology they’re putting out.

As a writer you’re job isn’t just to write

  • Always pay attention.

The reason so many stories are rejected is due to an author not paying attention to what they’re submitting too.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and submit to a genre you have never tried to write in.

Read the whole article here.

Focus. Focus Is The Key

Well, focus is something I have to work into this mixture with this whole independent author journey.

Hi!

I’m A.D. Ellis, author of A Torey Hope Novel Series. I started writing in October of 2013 and published in April of 2014. I followed my debut with a release in July, November, and the newest released January 19, 2015. Four more books are scheduled for 2015.

I wish I could tell you that I got all of this done because I was focused. But that’s not what this article is about.

I’m a mother, a wife, a teacher, and an author. I am the queen of multi-tasking and I think that’s why I’m able to get a lot done. I focus and give my best to all I do, but I have to work on several things at once.

If I was not being a mom and a teacher and a wife, maybe I wouldn’t have to multi-task, but I have to so I do!

This post is going to multi-task. It’s going to focus on a few of my biggest tips for success.

They are in no order, they don’t require 100% focus (although, you WILL have to put forth effort and do your best), and they can be done along with several other things all at once.

Engage with your readers:

  • Ask their opinions.
  • Invite them to send you their thoughts and feelings on your work.
  • Open yourself up to their comments and questions.
  • One of the very best parts of being an author is getting to meet and interact with my readers.

A side note: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT engage negatively with readers EVER. Not on review sites, not on emails, not on social media. Keep it positive. It never turns out well and you’re trying to build your name up and reach readers; you don’t need to get a bad reputation.

A side note on my side note: Just because you publish and are (hopefully, but very honestly likely not) a huge overnight success, this does not give you the right to start slamming others and expecting that every single reader will love your book. Stay humble.

Back to engaging with your readers…they are the most important people in this whole thing.

Readers leave reviews, readers tell their friends, readers buy more of your books. Treat them right.

Focus is the key

Research to get it right: If you’re going to take the time to write and publish a book, take the time to get the details right. My first couple books had some topics I knew a lot about from my years as an educator; no research needed there.

But, there were some topics on addiction and recovery that I wasn’t familiar with. Sure, I knew what I saw on television and movies, but I wanted to get it right; I talked to addiction and recovery therapists to get their insight.

I don’t have a medical background other than watching ER years ago. In my newest release, there were medical scenes and I wanted them spot-on. I spoke to paramedics and nurses. There were some scenes involving police and laws, I spoke to people in the law enforcement field.

I’m currently writing and need background/input on construction and the point-of-view of a gay man. So, what am I doing? Talking to those in construction and having a blast talking to families of gay men and gay men themselves.

What if you don’t know nurses, paramedics, police officers, gay men, therapists? JUST ASK! I promise, if you’re on social media and you put out a plea for information, you’ll get at least a couple people willing and able to help.

Read the whole article here.

Editors and Their Importance

You are well on your way to completing the first draft of your manuscript. You may even have it completed. Now, you ask yourself, “Do I really need an editor? After all, I wrote it and I know what it’s supposed to say.”

Editors and Their Importance

Did you know it is nearly impossible to catch all of your own mistakes?

Yup. Just because your brain knew what you meant to say, doesn’t mean it’s actually what made it to the page. That means you need some outside editing help.

But what kind of help or editing do you need? And where do you look?

Did you know you may need multiple phases or different types of editing, depending on your manuscript? Do you know what different editors can do for your manuscript? Take a look…

Substantive or sometimes called Developmental Editing…Just as you might think this kind of editing mainly looks at the substance of your manuscript.

It can even be called content editing because although punctuation and grammar count at this stage, this editor’s primary role is looking at the big picture.

Often your editor will look at things like flow, readability, clarity of message from start to finish, consistency in voice, and does all the information included really belong there?

Like I said, you know what you meant to say and write. Your reader may not. In this round an editor will take an outsider’s point of view and will point out ideas that don’t make sense or that aren’t easy to understand.

Published authors know if they want their reader to get the most benefit from their book, they hire a substantive editor.

Read the whole article here.

The Art of Literary Critique

According to the dictionary, to critique something is to give your opinion and observations. If you are a member of a writing group that offers critiques, you can expect to hear a variety of opinions about your work.

This is a good thing, as you want to know how readers are reacting to your writing.

What you should not expect, however, is an edit of your writing. I have heard writers complain about critique groups because the members of the group did not understand what critique meant.

Sometimes when a person is asked to critique a chapter, that person thinks he or she is expected to edit for grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Other times the critique comes back as a completely negative commentary, taking the word critique and thinking it means critical.

I have had people tell me that they dislike doing critiques because it is sometimes hard to find something wrong with the piece.

“A well-written manuscript deserves a positive commentary.”

Of course, a critique is also an observation, so if there are many mechanical and/or structural errors in the manuscript, mention it, but not as a line-by-line edit.

A simple statement something like this will do:

“The overall theme of the manuscript is clearly identified; however there are several grammatical errors on page three that can be easily fixed with a line edit.”

This technique, called cushioning, starts out with a positive comment, followed by a constructive comment.

You can also surround the constructive comment with positive statements, thereby creating a sandwich effect in your observation.

The Art of Literary Critique

Read the whole article here.

Poetry: Its Form and Expression

April is recognized as poetry month and poetry itself has many defining moments in its history. That is recognized in many languages too.

The earliest well known poems are anonymous British verse like the late 14th century Middle English piece, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and also the Old English heroic epic poem, “Beowulf” which is now most widely understood than ever since Gaelic writer, Seamus Heaney, translated it into more approachable and understandable verse.

Many of the earliest poems weren’t even written out in printable form, but memorized over the years and sent down to generation after generation.

 “Poetry: Its Form and Expression” is locked Poetry: Its Form and Expression

Epic poems like The Iliad and The Odyssey are Greek masterpieces that are very heady and very lengthy to read even with the English translation. The Middle English Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a book length series of narrative poems like “The Wife of Bath” and “The Pardoner” to name a couple.

This Middle English masterpiece of literature is nearly impossible for the average reader to comprehend without an accurate Modern translation line by line to be seen.

Then, of course, the sonnet is the next in history to cover if you’re a poetry aficionado. Reading all types of poems can definitely help to improve the diversity of a writer’s style if they’re an aspiring poet. A sonnet is often difficult to understand and needs to be re-read many times to properly digest it.

The original fourteen line rhyming poem originated around 1235 in southern Italy and its term sonnet is established from the term ‘sonneto’ which is Italian for ‘a little sound’ or ‘a little song.’ *1 The Italian sonnets are referred to as Petrarchan and the latter ones from England are known as Elizabethan from the times of Queen Elizabeth I mostly written by William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser and John Milton during the Early Modern English eras.

The Petrarchan sonnets are stylized in an Italian rhyming scheme made famous by Francesco Petrarch, who was born in the 14th century of Italian descent. *2

Elizabethan sonnets are of iambic pentameter with rhyming couplet and fourteen lines and stylized very tightly. More modern writers of the sonnet have taken liberties of just making the poem fourteen lines without adhering to any of these strict contingencies of the original.

Read the whole article here.

How to Finally Admit that You are a Writer

If you’re reading this you’re probably an author, or at least you want to be. I bet you have wondered how you get there.

How do you go from wanting to be a writer to being an author with your name on the cover of a book?

How do you get to wear one of those t-shirts that says “Ask Me About My Book – Published Author.”  Don’t you need to know what you’re doing? Don’t you need a college education? Don’t you need a history of writing projects?

In my journey, I found that admitting and believing that I was a “real” writer was the first hurdle to overcome on this road to authorship that I unexpectedly found myself traveling on in life.

I mean, I didn’t have a fancy university diploma framed on my wall.

I was a blogger, and I’d only been doing that for several years. The rest of my life before that I wrote in journals now and then when I found it helpful. That was my experience and knowledge. The one thing I kept hearing all the time from others was that I had talent.

How to Finally Admit that You are a Writer

“You’re a good writer. You should write a book”, they said. 

Though half the time I wasn’t sure I believed them. After all, what did they know?! They weren’t a professional anything anymore than I was. Even after I had two book projects in progress and a couple of blogs, getting great response, I still didn’t think of myself as a real writer.

There were a couple of things that helped me to go from this state of mind to finally saying to other people “I am a writer.” And, as of December 1st, 2014 I can finally say to others “I am a published author.”

The first thing was reading a book called “If You Can Talk You Can Write” by Joel Saltzman. I learned from this book to stop worrying about the “proper” way to say things, or editing as I went along, and to just write down the words that were in my head.

Read the whole article here.

Why Write?

I think this question has been asked to every author at every book signing, literary event and convention since time immemorial.

But it is an honest inquiry.

Why do authors choose to do this? What was the first spark? 

Personally, I started writing when I was a kid. I remember going to the movies and left wondering what happened after the lights came up. Did they all really live happily ever after? What about the bad guys? Did the surviving ones see the error of their ways?

So, I dabbled, keeping a handful of journals just to get the thoughts onto paper. Wrote on my high school newspaper, working in movie reviews and opinions primarily.

But it wasn’t until writing a satirical column about the mind controlling powers of Cabbage Patch Kids that I found my true calling in the world of fiction. (Sadly, the local newspaper did not print the article, but the editor gave me some very good advice: Don’t stop.)

I didn’t stop, but I did put my writing on hold. It wasn’t until I read the final book in a somewhat successful YA series, which will remain nameless, and after suppressing the urge to throw said book across the room for crappy story telling and ridiculous character choices, I decided to write my own story.

Why Write Authors

We read something that sparks our interest and decide, “You know? I don’t think ‘insert-character-name-here’ should’ve gone into that room. If I were writing their story…”

And so it begins. But creating a unique perspective on a well-known concept is the true test of any aspiring wordsmith. We all know about good v. evil, we know the bad guys will get their comeuppance or mend their ways.

But there has to be more than that. It’s in the shades of good and evil that we find the truly interesting characters. Our heroes need vices and our villains must have some redeeming qualities.

Read the whole article here.

Choose Your Genre Well or Not

A sage piece of advice for writers who seek commercial success is to choose and know your market before you start to write.

Decide who is going to read your work and know what their expectations are. Then write to the target market.

Write to fulfill those expectations.

This includes understanding the requirements of different categories or genres.

The expectations of romance readers about how a story should be told are different from those of readers of thrillers or fantasies.

The Lost King by Devorah Fox

I didn’t choose the fantasy genre of The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam series; it chose me. Though The Lost King is about present-day issues like divorce and career displacement, the story wanted to be told in a once-upon-a-time fashion.

Thus the setting is an imagined land, the story takes place in the Middle Ages and it includes mythical creatures like dragons.

The series was inspired by a friend’s real life crisis, a complete personal and professional derailment. I wanted to see if I could make that come out happily ever after.

That turned out to be harder than I thought. Three books later I’m still at it.

Even the strongest among us doesn’t bounce right back from such stunning losses. While King Bewilliam, the series hero, scored some successes, he continues to struggle to reclaim his life which led to The King’s Ransom, the latest release, The King’s Redress, and my current work-in-progress, The Redoubt.

To tell his story I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would about ancient times and chimerical creatures and have made friends among other writers of fantasy and paranormal fiction. 

Read the whole article here.