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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What Separates Authors From Writers.

The world of writing is a complex one, and although there may be millions of writers in this universe not all of them are authors.

Some people, myself included, actually prefer being referred to as a writer as the word conjures up the image of a young, wild free spirited person, eager to take on the world and its many challenges. But when I think of someone who is an author, I instantly picture Danielle Steel or Stephen King. Or someone who has been writing all their life and made a best selling career, multi million dollar deal out of their books.

And that's the difference.

So, are you an author or a writer?

Do you ...

  • Expect to get world recognition as soon as you hit the publish button on Amazon Kindle? A writer should know better than this, and everyone who publishes a book should keep their feet firmly on the ground. But an author is willing to go one step further by pushing their brand name out there. 
  • Fail to understand marketing and its importance. Writers will just often sit with their head in the sand when it comes to this topic. But authors will market endlessly and do whatever it takes to promote their work.
  • Spend money on your book? Writers may be horrified when they learn how much it actually costs to have their work professionally copy-edited but an author realises they need to do this in order to have the best possible chance of success. Every book also needs the best possible cover image too.
What are your thoughts on this matter?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

How to Write With Precision.

I love to read but most of all I love to read books which have short and simple sentences. I'm not a huge fan of flowery prose and I find it immensely distracting to read a book that only has three sentences per page. I struggle to follow the plotline with books like these as I usually forget the sentence's point by the time I have finished reading.

So, if you're like me you'll like writing short sentences as well as reading them.

Here's how you do it.

  1. If it's obvious, don't say it. Don't say your character looked across the room with their eyes. If they're looking at something it's obviously going to be with their eyes.
  2. Avoid repetition. If you say your character has long blonde hair there's no need to mention it again every time it swishes over her face. If you've told the reader this fact once they'll remember it in the next chapter.
  3. Don't explain everything. Write actively, not passively. Give your reader enough credit to work things out for themselves. You don't have to keep hitting them over the head by explaining every single little detail. If you do this it's only going to slow down your writing.
  4. Cut the fancy language. Unusual and impressive words can sometimes add meaning to your writing. But having them in every other sentence is just showing off and will turn off your reader quicker than a light switch.
  5. Say what you mean. Your writing should always be clear and concise. Your reader should be able to picture the scene with crystal clear vision once they have read the chapter. Say as much as possible in as few words.
So, what works for you? Would you like to share any more useful tips?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Why Outlines Are Good For Writing

This weekend marked the point where I successfully completed my first chapter outline draft. I can now say that I am planning to write twenty four chapters in my third book and I have a brief idea what will happen in each. Actually, it's more than a brief idea: it's a solid foundation of what's to come. I can easily add more layers of writing to my base.

I first decided to write the chapter outlines because I love having a map to follow before I set out on a journey. The outline allows me to write with purpose while occasionally writing outside the lines. Basically the outline offers me a structure while also giving me permission to wander off course. The outline cannot be rigid as the result would be forced, weak writing.

The outline gives me passion and determination and a whole lot of courage to sit down and make a start on writing the book. It is a daunting prospect for any writer when they settle down to write a full length novel, even when the writer has the experience of writing previous books. Writing my first book was terrifying. Thinking about writing my second book seemed like an impossible task. But I managed both and now I am faced with penning my third. But as I write a constant stream of ideas flows to me. This is extremely encouraging and comforting as I know that if just write I will able to produce my book. Many people think that writing books is an overwhelming task and those thoughts prevent them from making a start. Penning any book is indeed a great commitment but it can be done, just as long as you write something every day or week. Like eating an elephant it just takes time and having a chapter outline will help guide you to staying on the right path.

What do you think of chapter outlines? Are they beneficial to you?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Lessons Learned From Writing 2 Books

This month marks the third year anniversary of me writing seriously. During that time I have produced two novels and written a steady plot line for book number three. I can't believe it has only been a short time frame as it feels like I've been writing books my entire life. But as I reflect over the years I ask myself what I have learnt from my writing journey.

Writing has been the steepest learning curve I have ever experienced. I haven't worked harder in my life. I spend a portion of each day working on something book related - that's seven days a week for 52 weeks in the year. I'm sure I must drive my other half crazy as my books are the only thing I can talk about with enthusiasm.

But spending time writing is the only thing that's going to make you a more successful writer. Reading the genre in which you wish to write helps a lot too. But if you're serious about treating writing as your desired or main career you have to make time for it every day. You have to understand that there are no set rules for writing fiction either. Sure there are various things that work and things that don't, but creatively speaking it doesn't matter where you outline your chapters in detail or just set off writing. Don't be fearful about experimenting. Try something new within each book.

One of the greatest things that helps me when I settle down to write is looking at ideas I've written in note form. Whenever I think of a potential storyline that could go into a book I always make sure I write it down. This way I have a map, some sort of idea where to go, before I set off on my journey. Writing the first chapter doesn't seem so overwhelming then. I also carry a thesaurus, making a conscious effort to expand my vocabulary.

So, what have you learned from your writing? Please share in the comment box below.