A return to some forgotten routines this week, including everyday writing. I might not have managed much in the way of word count, but I kept my pledge to myself and spent time with my work in progress each day. It was good to get reacquainted with the story and I even found some new inspiration.
I also completed my Marketing Monday task list, and put the finishing touches on an exciting new blog feature for readers that will launch next week.
You writers out there should also check out the FB page for my sister project, Lit Chicks Editorial. for resources, contest announcements, and calls for submissions. We also offer editorial services for fiction writers working toward publication.
That’s this week in review. See you all next week on Marketing Monday!
One of the things I struggle with most as a writer is consistency. Creative people have ideas, lots of them, all the time. If you are of the goal oriented ilk, mustering the discipline to stay on task and see each one through to a timely conclusion comes easy to you. If you’re like me, and you’re of the passionate-about-process persuasion, not so much. I tend to follow inspiration from idea to idea, herding my many projects like sheep along a meandering road at their own pace. Some of them get lost along the way. Others die from neglect, and sadly, precious few reach the end of the process path.
After many MANY failed attempts at regimenting my work day with accountability tools and word count goals and self-imposed deadlines, I have come to accept my creative wanderlust as less an affliction to be cured and more an attribute to be better utilized. We all need structure and context, just like our stories, but we also need to let the muse lead now and then.
I don’t mind boundaries, but I don’t like fences. So, to keep myself from jumping the rails, I have decided to pencil some loose parameters around my writing week. Today, I’m going to kick things off by resurrecting Marketing Mondays – a blog column I abandoned quite some time ago for no good reason. To bookend that feature, I’ll be returning with the Week in Review post on Fridays.
Marketing Monday is all about shameless self-promotion. Each Monday, I am going to do my level best to accomplish a short-list of marketing tasks. To be effective, and manageable in the long run, these tasks should be specific, actionable and have measurable results.
Here’s the list for today:
- Promote Amazon SFF Summer Reads sale (featuring my books) via social media
- Update blog with promo post and refreshed Marketing Monday feature
- Activate FB ad
What about you? Do you do Marketing Monday, or do you have a different strategy for promotion? I’d love to hear your ideas – goddess knows I need the help!
So far I’ve completed two of those three tasks for this Marketing Monday, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I should have that third bullet checked off by the end of the day. My “to do” list for the rest of the week is pretty long, and I’ll let you know how it goes on Friday, with my next Week in Review post. See you then!
I’ll be hosting a series of single session focused workshops with my long-time writing/publishing friends and colleagues Jennifer McCord and Scott Driscoll. For more information, or to register, contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org –
Seattle Area Writer Friends!
Are you a fiction writer envisioning publication and struggling to make sense of editorial notes or reader feedback? Hearing that your story lacks a sense of urgency, a call to action, or that it falls a bit flat? That your main characters are unlikable or uninteresting? Not sure how to turn things around? We can help.
It’s all about story. Publishing and readers expect more from writers than ever before. Every writer must carefully consider how they are inviting the reader into their novel, and then deliver an experience that hooks them and doesn’t let go. There are no secret keys to success, but there are some skill sets you can hone to get your book on track.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest differences. Feedback is essential, but it can also be difficult to know how or where to start. Rewrites and revisions don’t necessarily mean a major overhaul of your book. Often all that’s needed is a closer look at one or two critical story elements, such as impact, pacing, or character motivation.
Knowing what those areas are is one thing – figuring out how to work around them is another. Ready to tackle the tough job of addressing agent/editor notes or early reader response? We are now offering a series of single focus workshops that address some of the most common trouble spots in any manuscript:
The Inciting Incident: A successful novel opens with a “hook” – a call to action or specific event that launches the protagonist into the central conflict that propels the plot. In this session, you will learn how to identify, assess and refine the inciting incident in your story to create a stronger sense of urgency and ramp up the tension from the very first scene.
Next Session: January 29, 2017 / 7-9:30 pm
The Desire Quest: Once an inciting event throws the protagonist’s everyday world into chaos, how he or she responds becomes the foundation of the plot. But what is it that drives the protagonist to accept the challenge? In this session, we’ll delve into the complex traits that define a multi-dimensional protagonist who is not only capable of carrying weight of the story, but also of fulfilling your reader’s expectations.
Next Session: February 12, 2017 / 7-9:30 pm
The Point of No Return: Plot is essentially a sequence of events that confront a protagonist with obstacles they must overcome in order for the story to move toward its climax. How these obstacles are presented determines a novel’s pace and should naturally create the escalating tension that keeps readers captivated. This workshop will help you analyze and assess your book’s major plot points and the protagonist’s progression toward the story’s proverbial point of no return.
Next Session: March 19, 2017 / 7-9:30 pm
Reserve your space today!
- Affordable Customized Instruction & Support – Attend only the workshop/workshops you need – sign up for individual sessions or all three at a special discounted rate.*
- Small Groups Sessions: Class size is limited to 7 student to allow for more in-depth presentation of the course material
- Proven Techniques & Tools: Developed specifically to meet the expectations of today’s publishing world
- Professional Teaching Team: Work closely with three respected publishing industry professionals, experienced instructors and published writers.
The fee for each individual workshop session is $125.00. Space is limited and offered on a first come/first served basis. Workshops will be hosted at a private North Seattle area residence (address provided upon registration).
Register now and receive an early-bird enrollment discount or purchase all three sessions at a special package price of $300.00.
About the Instructors:
Scott Driscoll is an award-winning instructor with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, has taught creative writing for the University of Washington Extension for twenty years and makes his living as a freelance writer and teacher. Scott’s debut novel, BETTER YOU GO HOME (Coffeetown Press 2013) was selected as the Foreword Reviews First Book Contest winner, March 2014. Scott has also been awarded nine Society of Professional Journalists awards, most recently First Place in the Western U.S. in 2014 for arts and entertainment reporting. For more about Scott, visit www.scottdriscollwriting.com
Jennifer McCord is a 30 year veteran of the publishing trade. Throughout her career, Jennifer has worked in nearly every aspect of the industry—as a writer, editor, instructor, and consultant. Jennifer lends her expertise in the book business to writers and publishers through her consulting and coaching business, Jennifer McCord Associates. Currently, she is also an Associate Publisher for Camel Press and Coffeetown Press. Jennifer can be contacted at www.jennifermccord.com
Roberta Trahan is the best-selling author of THE WELL OF TEARS and THE KEYS TO THE REALMS, the first two books in her quasi-historical epic fantasy series from 47North. Her post-apocalyptic science fiction novella AFTERSHOCK is also available through Amazon Publishing’s digital-first short fiction imprint, StoryFront. She is also a frequent guest at SFF fan conventions and writing events. For more about Roberta, visit www.robertatrahan.com.
I don’t believe in writer’s block. Really. Creativity is not a constant, pressurized flow one can stem with a spigot and turn on and off at will. Creativity doesn’t stream. It doesn’t back up like a clogged drain, just begging for release.
Creativity seeps. It burbles. It oozes. It seeks its own path. Creativity is always on its way, but it takes its own sweet time. Sometimes, you just have to wait it out.
The thing is, I’m not so good at the waiting. When the ideas aren’t coming, I get anxious and try to force the story. I hear the silent judging of the Word Count Gods and the not so silent nagging of my inner critic, who already knows I am a fraud and have no business whatsoever calling myself a writer.
That’s when the stress eating starts, which is what I do to stave off the day drinking and hypercaffeination. But when I can’t find anything sufficiently sweet and self-destructive in the house to munch, it’s time to bake.
One of my favorites, especially this time of year, is my mom’s banana bread. It’s quick, easy, and just decadent enough to distract me from my writing demons – at least for the better part of an afternoon. Here’s the recipe, in case you want to give it a try:
Joanne’s Brown Sugar Banana Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar (the light kind will do if you don’t have the dark on hand)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas (the riper the better), mashed
A pinch each of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger (or a big dash of All Spice)*
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Lightly grease 9 x 5 loaf pan.
- In large bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
- In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
- Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.
- Fold banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
- Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
*To make this yummy bread even yummier, try throwing in some extra flavor shots – nuts, dates, orange extract, whatever you have in the pantry. My favorites are chocolate chips and chopped macadamia nuts.
I look forward to the Fall season every year. For me, this is the time of year when I feel most inspired to invest in new ideas or make a new start. A sort of anxious, anticipatory energy bubbles up and spurs me to take big risks. The momentum usually carries over into the new year, and then, often fizzles out.
Sometimes there are just too many obstacles and I don’t have the resources – emotional, physical, spiritual, creative, or financial – to keep running over or around them. Sometimes life events create a fork in the road and the bypass takes me so far off the original path I never find my way back.
And yet, every year, I start again. That’s the definition of crazy, right – doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results? Yeah, well, we creative types be crazy.
They say that writers fall into on of two categories when it comes to goal setting – those who are results oriented, and those who are process oriented. Results oriented folks derive their sense of satisfaction from completion.
They are focused on outcome, and can produce a sizable body of work. But, while they always finish a project, they sometimes do so at the expense of the process. Sometimes, the work they produce lacks quality or isn’t as rich in detail as it could be.
Process oriented folks are focused on the task and glean great joy from the act of creation itself. They tend to produce less, but their results are generally richer in content. Although the work tends to be layered with nuance and is often highly polished, process oriented writers struggle with bringing a project full circle. They tend to get caught up relishing the scene and have a hard time finishing the story.
It has taken me years to own it, but I am a process oriented writer. I get so excited by the prospect of a new idea that I have a hard time keeping my head in the project that is already on the table. I get lost in the rituals of writing. I love research and plotting, and imagining the possibilities. Basically, I get in my own way.
So, this fall season, I am going to throw myself into the process like I always do, but this time see all my new endeavors through to the end – whatever the outcome may be. I’m feeding all my muses this year and I’ve got a lot of projects on the board – a new side business at Lit Chicks Editorial, a new online venture called Idyll Curiosities that resells vintage jewelry, and at least 3 new books to complete. I’m really stretching my limits here.
One of the things I need to do is figure out how to get more words out of my head and onto the page. So this year, for the first time ever, I’m going to take the 2016 NaNoWriMo challenge. Anyone with me? Have you done it before? I’d be interested in hearing how it worked out for you.
So, how many of you are results oriented writers? How many of you are process oriented? Have you figured out how to strike a balance between the two? I’d love to know.
Autumn is all about change – and every time the season falls, I feel a niggling urge to re-evaluate, re-vamp, and re-direct.
One of this year’s fresh starts is a creative collaboration with my colleague and friend, author Camille Griep. We’re both always looking for ways to reinvest our artistic efforts in the writing community. Lit Chicks Editorial Services gives us both an opportunity to share what we’ve learned on our professional paths.
If you’re a writer looking for editorial support, we hope to provide some helpful resources, as well as developmental and copy editing assistance:
Developmental and Copy Editing for all genres
We Read Books. We Write Books. We Edit Books.
Let us help make your book the best it can be.
In my opinion, this is an excellent analysis of the SFF community at large. I’d count myself among the Progressive Fantacists, although my creative DNA might also include traits from the 9th Tribe. What do you think? What Tribe are you?
UPDATE 1: the most excellent Paul Weimer suggests a 9th tribe, and it makes a whole lot of sense. The 9 tribes of scifi? I like it. Paul’s thinking is as follows:
The tribe I think you missed is what could be glibly called The Worldbuilders. Worldbuilders have been under stress lately, as what makes a realistic world and what doesn’t has been riven with internal strife over the roles of women and POC on the fantasy side of fantasy. But Worldbuilders, both fantasy and SF flavors, are the kind of people who see a 800 page epic fantasy or SF novel with a rich and detailed world, and dive right into it, seeking deep immersion with a world and its characters. Maps. glossaries and appendices for these books are features, not bugs. Readers of stuff ranging from Kate Elliott to Brandon Sanderson to Peter F Hamilton and James S…
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47North, Fantasy, Interview, Post Apocalyptic, publishing, Publishing Advice, Roberta Trahan, Science Fiction, Summer Lane, The Dream Stewards, The Keys to the Realms, Writing, Writing Belle, Writing tips