What it Takes to Be a “Real” Writer

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Since we are only a couple weeks away from NaNoWriMo, I thought this would be a great topic to discuss. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is? You aren’t a real writer. Kidding! Calm down 😛 .

November is National Novel Writing Month and it’s a fun challenge to see if we have what it takes to write a novel (50,000 words) in one month. Though the challenge is geared toward newer writers, I can attest that writers of all levels join in and it is my favorite time of year. Even though I have written millions of words and five books, I love being part of the challenge because of the creative energy new people bring to the table.

Countless folks will join the challenge just to try and see if they have what it takes to seriously pursue the dream of going pro. Fifty thousand words isn’t…

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Melody, Three

just beautiful

Linda G. Hill

Dear Diary,

Today was my twenty-second birthday. It was also our wedding day. Marvin was fabulous as usual. He became proficient at sign language, just for me, even though he knows I can speak. He remained the only one who knew for eight whole years until today.

My first words out loud to anyone but him were, “I do.”

Mom and Dad think Marvin is responsible for a miracle. Only my husband (my husband! It’s going to take a while to get used to it!) knows my secret. He vowed today, privately during our first dance, to keep it to the grave, along with his everlasting love for me.

The end.

Our challenge at Story A Day September was to write in the first person.

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Why Your Author Blog is Stuck & What To DO

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Licht Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Licht

Ah the blog. Some of you might perk up at the word. Others? Blog sounds like some radioactive creature that hatched from a meteor and is only there to feed. Feed on your energy, your hopes and your dreams.

Many writers start the blog with high hopes, then a few months in? You can’t bear to go to your computer because the screen is a reminder of that shiny blog you started…then abandoned to the spam bots.

A blog done properly is one of the most powerful tools in our social media arsenal.

Twitter could flitter and Facebook could face plant, but the blog will remain. In fact, blogs have been going strong since the 90s and have taken over much of what used to be the sole territory of traditional media outlets. Additionally, blogging is the only form of social…

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Making Fiction Come Alive! Using the Senses for Maximum Impact

very interesting

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Five Senses

Image by Rob Nunn/Flickr CC

Today’s post once again is by my Writer-in-Residence Alex Limberg. After 10 posts, I’m slowly running out of witty introductions for him. But hey, if you haven’t checked out his free ebook yet, definitely go ahead and do it now. It will equip you with ‘44 test questions’ to examine your story and make it all-around tight and intriguing. This time, Alex shows us how to describe senses, so your reader feels like he is in the middle of your story. Go, Alex!

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Do you know 5D-cinemas?

I mean these movie theatres that make your chair bump harshly, whip your ankles, and when somebody on the screen sneezes, it sprinkles your face… Yeah, they are basically legal torture chambers people pay entry for.

Why are they such a fun experience for many?

It’s because these theatres feel more real than your ordinary cinema. And…

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5 Rules For Chapter One Of Your Book

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

I... must... read... more! I… must… read… more!

1. Start the story as late as possible

2. Have a grabber opening

3. Make the reader care, usually via the MC

4. What are the stakes? What can be gained or lost?

5. End with a cliffhanger so we go to chapter 2

Need more info? Let’s read on then, shall we?

(Learn more about writing better stories HERE)

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I'm already 45 minutes overdue! I’m already 45 minutes overdue!

Start the story as late as possible

Most authors bury the really interesting stuff a few paragraphs in, or worse, in chapter two or three. What’s the first interesting thing that happens in your story? Start there.

(Learn about tightening your story HERE)

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Have a grabber opening

Holy cow, am I intrigued by this prose! Holy cow, am I intrigued by this prose!

I like a “grabber” opening to a story and especially the opening chapter. Stories that hook a reader right away and keep…

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New Category Rankings for Amazon Books

How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks

Amazon category ranking 3Not sure exactly when Amazon made the switch from listing only the Top 100 in categories in the Product Details to the Top 3,000 or so. I’m not even sure how high it goes.

The official word at KDP remains the same: Every book will have a Best Seller Rank after it has sold at least one copy, but Category rankings will only appear in the Product Details section of a book’s detail page if the book is ranked within the Top 100 books in its category.

Amazon category rankingClearly not the case anymore. Months ago this example (left) would have only shown the #82 ranking for Metaphysical and anything over the Top 100 would be omitted. Now it displays for a couple of categories beyond 100.

Amazon category ranking 2Or here’s another example (right) that’s slightly more bizarre. This book is presently #16 for Dogs, which is kinda cool, and it’s also #224 for…

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Revisiting the Wherefore

great article

Blair MacGregor

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About three years ago, my first novel came out.

No, wait.  That’s not right.  Let’s try…

About three years ago, I released my first novel.

Each sentence is nine words long.  The end result — readers can buy my story — is the same.  But the implied process was very different.

Back then, I told a writerly friend I expected it’d take five or so years for the trade-versus-indie bluster to fade.  If one knows the industry solely from popular online discussions, that estimate sounds wildly optimistic.  If one talks to writers who’ve taken the time to understand their evolving options, it’s not so far off.  As mentioned here, the “versus” is a sickly beast many have already left behind.

With that in mind, and in light of the reprised conversation on Fantasy Faction, I thought I’d revisit a post from 2012 explaining why I chose to return…

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