Saturday, March 28, 2015

The business of Writing: Now what do I do? #MFRWAuthor #MFRWorg

The manuscript is done and with the publisher. Now what do you do?

I can tell you not to just sit there and wait. Start working on your next manuscript. The more work you have to offer the more chances you have to sell your books.

Back in the days of RWA we were told not to do multiple submissions. Send in one ms and then wait for that publisher to get back to you. I learned personally that could take a year or more. Like a good little writer who followed the rules, I waited and wrote. So by the time I did sell my first book I had two others waiting in the wings.

Then someone asked me if I had a web page. Of course not. I wouldn’t need one until my book came out right? Wrong. I was told I needed to get my name out there. Did I write newsletter articles for my local RWA chapter? Put them on the web page. Today’s technology allows the publisher you submitted to, to google your name to see how visible you are. Having that webpage can be very important.

In the beginning I build my own webpage and loaded it with articles I wrote and other things I thought an author could use. Then I was lucky enough to win a professional web design at a conference, which is what I have now.

Then I heard about author’s Den. Free? Really? And I can build a web page for myself? Cool. Did that, although I’ll admit I haven’t updated it in years. In fact, I latched onto (and still do) anything free that would help promote me. Most of us do.

Then Facebook came along and I was asked if I had a facebook author page. What is that? Well, I did my research and created one of those. I try to keep it to writing, updates on my work, visitors to my blog, when a book is accepted, updates as I go through the editing process. Anything I think people might find interesting.

How about twitter? Did I belong to twitter? Well I created an account and ignored it for a long time, but I’m trying to do better now, even though I’m still a bit clueless when dealing with it.

Then I joined MFRW:

Since then I learned about the amazon author page. Have one and have my blog feed tied into it. I always make sure I go and add my new books as they come out.

Created a blog. This one was one of those kicking and screaming moments. I work, took care of my young son, and now my MIL. I had to fight to find time to write, how the heck was I going to find time to write a blog? And what would I put on it? I started using my writing knowledge. I’m a nurturer by nature so it’s natural for me to give back.

Joined Triberr a couple of years ago and I’m still learning – did you know that if you go to each tribe stream and release your tribemates blogs instead of doing it from your main stream you normally get more people releasing your blog as well? Who would have thunk it...

Not figured out how Goodreads helps...

I’ve now done blog hops, guest blogs, have guests on my blog and joined a small group of authors who are of like mind and writing. We’re working on promoting our group. I pay a little money on advertising when I can – I’m with TRS and RB4U. I’ve gone in on ads in RT mag, and bought ads in BTS mag. What else? Oh yeah, done chats, programs (online as well as in person), book signings.

Writer Tip: And every time I hear of something new I go and check it I have to figure out what @me is all about. I have an account now it’s time to utilize it.


Barbara Donlon Bradley wears many hats. She’s a mother, wife, care-giver, author, and editor. She’s a senior editor for Melange Books, and writes for Phaze and Melange books/Satin Romances with over twenty titles under her belt.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Can Novellas Be As Memorable As Full-Length Novels? #MFRWauthor #WriteTip #MFRWorg #Writers #Authors

Novels v Novellas 

This week I had the pleasure of writing “Ends” on a novella I need to send off to my publishers. This is a novella, and while it was a treat to write, it was no less work than a novel. 

I am curious about what others think about the novella. I write short stories, novels, and novellas. 

The difference is the number of scenes and whether there’s space for subplots and extra characters. Novella’s weigh in at around 20-30K, but this in no way allows the author to cut corners on story just because the word count is smaller. After all, a novella is not the poor relation to the novel. It’s a slim-lined cousin with a dynamic edge. 

The honey you grab when you want to be entertained, but you don’t have all day about it. The quick, simple read that gives you the same impact and enjoyment as a longer novel but in a fraction of the time, because really it’s about the story—not the length. And isn’t an excuse to give your readers less.

Word count doesn’t matter if the story still packs a punch. A novella can produce compelling characters. If it’s well-written, a novella will keep your readers glued to its pages. Like a full-length novel, it should make your reader laugh-out-loud, wipe away tears, get angry on your main character’s behalf, and sigh when she gets to your Happy Ever After. 

Regardless of which length fiction we write, one thing remains the same. We have to ensure we hit all of the turning points, give our characters depth, show the reader their wounds, GMC, Wants and Needs, Int and Ext Conflicts, the Black Moment, Climax and Resolution.  The Sexual Tension and the pull push of the plot.

Like a novel, a novella’s plot needs depth and all the same attention to detail. In a novella, there’s no space for a ton of extras with speaking parts. Of course, our characters will come into contact with other people. They'll have friends and family, but this cast will be more off stage than on and will be there to add atmosphere. To let the reader know your H/h lives in a world which is not a total bubble.

As I said before, there are not as many scenes—obviously—and the scenes must move along. No time to wander, or for meandering intros. It’s a matter of get in, do the job, and get out. 

What is your take on novellas? Do you like reading them? Or do you prefer the longer novel? Share your comments below, I'd love to hear from you.


Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge.  

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her to learn more about her and check out her other books.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#MFRWorg Author-to-Author: Do Books on Writing Help? @ZeeMahal #MFRWauthor

Do Books on Writing Help?
From someone who entered a creative writing course with illusions of muses and inspiration as essential elements to writing, I've become a believer of perseverance and good old hard work instead.

I understand now, the importance of structure and form, and that writing is an art that improves with practice not with longing. The more I read about the craft of writing, the more familiar I become with concepts that seemed mysterious and confusing at first but gradually become less so because I practice them. I appreciate more and more how much self-discipline and self-critique goes into creating a work of passion.

A writer has to work at not just writing, but re-writing. That comes only after we allow the first flush of finishing the first draft to wear off. But then, how to tell what to edit, what not to edit, what to keep and what to throw out of the metaphorical and sometimes literal window? Which darlings to kill? Or which darlings to kill first? It's a bloody business.

Which brings me back to my original question, do books on writing help? More often than not, I'd say they do in a colossal way. Albeit I’ve read several that felt like a total waste of time to me, there were those that will be forever on my nightstand. Like Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating with the Dead; Dorothea Brande's Being a Writer, Henry James's Notebooks. Schopenhauer’s essay, ‘On Style’, and White and Strunk's Elemants of Style are mini-bibles on writing. Edith Wharton, Ursula Le Guinn, and E. M. Forster, David Lodge, all have valuable advice from which I continue to benefit.

The very first change that these books engender in one is of attitude, I think. They teaches you to be less precious about your writing and the process of writing. You realize that the ease with which the words flow on the page of your favourite writer isn’t because she’s a natural genius, but because she worked, re-drafted, edited and crafted her words in a way that made them flow on the page, and that is her genius. There is a definite shift in the POV—one's own—and you learn to balance criticism and your own judgment of your work. This is imperative. This balance must be learnt and maintained at all times.

Though books on writing offer much, half the time there’s contradictory advice, and then what is a cardinal rule for one writer may be considered utter nonsense by another. And so the bigger question of whether 'it' can be taught arises. 'It' being the art of creative writing.

My belief in books on writing has sustained because there are still things like the ‘voice’ that teachers and writers on writing fail to explain and define. The fact that there is something that is elusive and individual, re-establishes for me, the wonders of what CAN actually be taught.

Of course, there are many who are unable to teach, perhaps because they themselves don’t understand the mysteries of the craft, or because they want to keep the ‘ivory tower’ and the I-am-a-writer-bow-down-to-me concept alive. Taking the analogy from Dorothea Brande, if music and painting can be taught, and we can have Picasso and Matisse, Monet and Van Gogh, perhaps writers too should stop feeling threatened by each other, and freely accept that some parts of their craft is teachable and somewhat transferable to at least some.

There are so many different kinds of genres. It isn't a verbal universe any more, but a verbal multi-verse. It is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, pluralistic world out there.

Embrace it. Celebrate it. 

CONTRIBUTED by Zeenat Mahal 
Zeenat has published two ebooks with Indireads in 2013 and She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is her third novel. The Contract was an Indireads bestseller.

Her book Haveli was up to number 17 on amazon kindle and The Contract went up to number 9 on amazonIn.

Zeenat loves reading and writing romance and her favourite writers in the genre are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, Nora Roberts and Judith McNaught.


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