Monday, August 31, 2015

Lots Happening

I woke up this morning and realized with everything going on in my crazy life, I completely forgot to post on Friday. But there is good news!

I finally finished Lore and have sent of the last chapter for a final look through by my friend and fellow author, Michael McFadden. Michael will also be my editor this go around. He is trying to break into the editing world and I thought I would give him the opportunity to have Lore under his belt.

Susan is still a wonderful editor and I plan to use her again with the next book.

Anyhoo, Yes, Lore will be going to my beta readers by the end of the week. I'm very excited and hopeful that they will like Lore and I will be sure to announce their thoughts once I get them back. 

After that, the editing process begins. Won't be long now and Lore will be on Amazon!

I hope there are those of you still looking forward to reading Lore. I hope you enjoy it as much as you did Fable and Fated. I plan to have it available just in time for Christmas and all three books would make a wonderful gift for those readers in your life.

So, without further ado, I am posting the new cover for those of you who haven't had a chance to see it! Please let me know if you like it!

Thanks again for all your support and patience in waiting for Lore. I think you'll find it worth waiting for!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Balancing Act

There's a true dilemma that writers face on an on-going basis - what's more important, writing a great novel, or mastering social media. Both of which, on some levels, can be equally important.

When I search through my list of articles for writers that I want to read, I find most are about social media than what I truly deem important - writing skills. You can be successful with social media, drawing people to your sites and enlisting those buyers, but unless your book is up to snuff those sales will drop in the long run. Not just from the fact that your book has outlived its shelf life, but because you've disappointed readers and they won't invest in your latest novel.

So, in other words, your book needs to grab readers and keep them turning the page. Without those skills necessary to write a great story, your readers will skim and maybe even set your book down, never to return.

Most of the time readers don't know why they've set down your book, only that it's hum-drum, inconsistent, or too many plot holes. So for me, creative writing skills is the place where you need to expend most of your energy.

Yes there is a "skill" to mastering social media and can be equally as tough, but unless you write a clean, tight novel you will lose fans in the long run.

Recently I've been reading a series from a New York Times best selling author that at one time was all the rage. I love the story, don't get me wrong, but the author's skills are, let's just say, lacking. The problem is these books were written a while ago, some as long as back in the 70's, but it sometimes amazes me that this author made it as far as he did.

I know back then creative writing skills weren't outlined like they are today, but the fact that he uses very little dialog and just tells the story, and hops from one character's head to the next, makes me wonder how the books became so popular. Yes, story is important, obviously, but most of you out there aren't a NYT best selling author and you need to grab your reader right away. 

With the overabundant competition out there, your book needs to shine in order to survive. Although it is true I am constantly working on my craft and have a long way to go to mastering great writing skills myself, at least I'm putting forth the effort. I would never dream of publishing my work without a lot of revisions and critiques. Nor would I publish work without an editor, but I do see a lot of writers doing just that.

So if you really want your hard work to be evident, take the time to do it right and leave the social media to 10% of your writing time, instead of 90%. You'll be glad you did in the long run.

What are some of the challenges you have with balancing social media and writing? Have you been sucked into the marketing circus? 

Have a great weekend everyone and I hope it's filled with lots of reading, or writing!

Love, Lisa

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What's Your Excuse

Write every day - that's one of the biggest and most frequent pieces of advice you will receive as a writer. But your life is too crazy and busy to do so - or so you say.

We all know the excuses for avoiding writing, but what about those of you who yearn to close yourself off and immerse into the fantasy world of your own creation? The feeling of joy as you pound away at the keyboard and see the fruits of your labor. I'm sure those of you who love to write go through this all the time. 

I know I do.

But the fact is, life does go on, and we tend to lead busy lives. This is where you need to have a long discussion with yourself about what are your priorities - finding time to write, or allowing those around you to prevent you from doing what you love.

It really is as simple as that.

I know, right now your mind is reeling from what I just said, but the fact remains if you really want to be a writer, you will find the time, and quite possibly, the energy.

Maybe you feel as though I'm putting pressure on you, but really, you're doing it to yourself. Although it is true that I have a wonderful husband who understands my need to write and supports me 100%, but even if you don't have enough support from your family, you need to decide if it's worth laying it all on the line. Express your desire to write and ask for support. 

I know it's easier said than done, and if your job or family is too demanding, well then, you'll have to sneak in the time as much as you can. It is your turn to be selfish with your time.

I'm willing to bet that your spouse loves you and wants you to be happy, and I'm willing to bet he/she have their own hobbies, or things they enjoy doing outside of work, or raising a family. Are you supportive of them to do the things they love to do? If your answer is yes, then the two of you need to come to an agreement.

If you don't have a spouse and are winging life on your own, then it really is up to you to make time for your writing. Every situation is different. I've even heard the excuse of "I'm too old to start a writing career". So not true. I can name several writers who started doing so after they retired.

Life's too short to let things get in the way of your love of writing. So tell me, leave me a comment about what your excuse is. 

Have a nice weekend all - and to all you writers - write!

Love, Lisa

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Never Ending End Of Your Manuscript

You are finally down to the last couple of chapters, Yay! But you realize this isn't over - not by a long shot. So, what do you do next?

Why, you go over your book again, and again. It truly can seem never ending. 

Depending on how long it took you to reach the end of your book with revisions and critiques, you should go back over the beginning at least. Your writing has probably advanced since you last touched on the first few chapters and they are as critical as the ending, even more so.

I have a system that works for me, and have used it on both Fable and Fated. I'll list it here, along with the new added step I will be doing from now on to get my book ready for the editor - a stylized sheet.

1. Make an outgoing outline: I print out and read each chapter to my husband, you can choose who works for you, and as I go, I mark mistakes I catch, or he catches. (It's also good to read the story out loud)

 Then I buy poster board and start with chapter 1 (or prologue) and list the important points in each chapter. This way when I'm finished, I have my whole entire book right in front of me. It helps to see if your story sags anywhere, and if you need to touch on something you brought up on chapter 5 and haven't touched on since. It helps with inconsistencies and plot holes. 

2. Make a list of changes you need to implement: I also have a white board in my office that I use to list things I need to go back and change. Also reminders to check voice of characters ect..

3. Start at the beginning: After I have done these things, I begin to go through each chapter, scene by scene, line by line. I fix as much as I can find and add or take away whats needed, all the while I'm marking off my list of "to do's" from the white board. 

4. Stylized sheet: This is a new addition to my self-editing. My editor, Susan, sent this to me. It will help you to save money with your professional editor too. Basically, you make a list of your characters, separately, and add their attributes, physical descriptions, quirks, ranks/titles, ect... You can also make a list of words you need to check for using too much, such as but, was, that, and so on and try to change them. 

Another good listing would be timelines, significant dates, relationships within the characters, if made up language like I have, make sure is consistent throughout. There's a lot you can check to make sure you are covering all aspects of consistencies and plotting.

After all that, you are ready to send it to your beta-readers. Once their marks have been fixed, it's onto the editor. 

As you can see, revisions can seem never ending, but you do need to decide it's ready once you've covered all these and fixed everything. At some point you need to make the leap. 

I hope this helps you to see how important it is to look for and fix any mistakes, inconsistencies or plot holes. Your book will never be perfect, but it will be pretty damn close.

What kind of schedule have you set up to ready your book for publication? Any shares are great and appreciated! Have a great weekend.

Love, Lisa