Writing Challenge at This Writer’s Life

Have you visited This Writer’s Life yet?

I moved the site from WordPress.com over to WordPress.org and will no longer be posting anything new here at writersauthorsbooksandmore.

Hopefully all of the followers got transferred over successfully but if you’ve not been receiving new posts during January, could you let me know at writerslifeblog@gmail.com

Many people have recently signed up to follow this old site but all my new posts can only be found on This Writer’s Life. This old site will just be for archived posts.

I’m holding a month long writing challenge in February. Every day I’ll be posting a new prompt and challenge to get you into the habit of writing every day. So if you want to take part and also read new writing related posts you’ll need to visit http://www.thiswriterslife.com and there’s a button on the bottom of the page that says click here. Hit that button and you can sign up to receive every post.

Hope to see you on the new site soon.

Happy writing to all.

I

This Writer’s Life

Hi everyone,

I won’t be posting anything new on this site because This Writer’s Life, has moved. It’s now hosted on WordPress.org and you can find it at http://www.thiswriterslife.com.

Hope you’ll stop by and visit the new site and check out new posts. I’ll have lots of things like market guides, writing how to’s, interviews and on demand classes and other goodies for writers coming up soon.

Thank you to everyone who followed along here at WordPress.com for the last seven years.

Worried Your Plot Isn’t Unique Enough?

Editors and agents see lots of manuscript each week. Readers see lots of newly self published books each week.

So, how do you make yours stand out? How do you take a plot that everyone’s seen hundreds of times before and put a new spin on it?

One easy way to give your readers something different is through your characters or even just one character.

Okay, let’s start with a short exercise.

Think of a book you read that did have a common plotline.

Now write down a few reasons why you bothered to read it.

I’m guessing most of you are going to mention characters.

Put a unique character inside a hackneyed plot and you’ll still win over the reader.

Think about ways you can make the character stand out so the reader is focusing so much on them they won’t think, I’ve read this plot so many times before, I’m tired of it.

Maybe they have a unique profession.

Maybe they have a strange fear or phobia that complicates that done too many times plot.

For example, someone trying to prove their innocence for a crime they didn’t commit has to fly to another country to gather evidence. However, they have a fear of flying because they were once in a plane crash or their parents died in a plane crash when they were a child.

Can you see how you could play up the fear and even use it to complicate the plot even more.

People do remember good plots but they remember great characters a lot more.

Next time you’re working on a new plot and worried it’s been done too many times before, spend an hour or so thinking about what sort of never seen before character you can create to live it.

More Tips for NaNoWriMo

It’s NaNoWriMo and how are you doing?

I thought I’d share with you some more of my favorite tips to help you finish the first week.

Take Breaks

A long, long time ago, I used to be able to sit for hours and write. Now if I do that, my body tells me it was a dumb idea. No matter your age, be kind to your body. Get up and walk around for at least five minutes for every hour that you write. The last thing you want happening is waking up the next day with muscle tension and pain that stops you from writing.

Crank Up The Music

I used to love writing to music. After my long writing break, I switched to having the TV playing in the background, and then I chose to write to music again, this time it being music only and no lyrics. See if any of the above help you become more productive.

Write Alone?

I know from past experience that I can’t write in public places. I once had a writing buddy who I’d meet at the library or coffee shop and we’d take along our laptops. She’d write and write and write. I’d watch and listen to other people’s conversations. I never got a word written and have never tried writing in public again. Decide where you’re most productive, solo, with a buddy or even a group. (And if you’re wondering, the watching and listening paid off big time because it gave me ideas for characters and dialogue).

Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t worry if you’re sitting in front of the screen and nothing comes into your head about the next part of your story. Happens all the time to me and I simply skip ahead to another scene or chapter. No rule says you have to write in order.

Pursue Something Creative

Many of us have lots of other creative pursuits besides writing. If you feel you can’t write, go and paint or knit, or sing, or play the guitar. Even cook!. You’d be surprised how doing something else sparks an idea or sorts out a problem you were having with a scene.

A Major Reason for Getting Rejected

No Tuesday guest blogger this week so thought I’d address a topic that’s been on my mind for several months.

While I haven’t done as much reading over the summer as I’d hoped, I have read the beginning of many stories and chosen to pass on them.

They might have been great stories but they all had one thing in common, the fatal information dump.

I say fatal because if you submit a manuscript with information dumping, it’s coming back to you with the sorry not for us rejection letter.

So, you might ask, how did these books get published, how did an editor let these slip through the net?

I did some checking and all of the books were self published.

About 80 percent of them started off great with both a character and plot that drew me in but then on page two or three, the authors decided to give the whole backstory about the character. And not just a brief backstory, but one that went on for pages.

It’s not only jarring but it’s bit like starting a journey, all is going well and suddenly the car breaks down or there’s a roadblock and you have to sit in traffic for hours.

I gave up on these stories and couldn’t read on because the writer had interrupted that pull you in factor that’s vital to every great story.

These authors might have had the stories rejected, didn’t know why, and then decided to self publish. Maybe they had them edited by someone who let this fatal flaw go, maybe they didn’t hire an editor.

I always tell my students this about information dumping and hope that it gives them an idea of how a reader experiences it.

Think of one of your best friends. Did you know everything about them on your first meeting? Probably not and one of the joys of getting to know people is slowly finding out about them.

Would you want to make friends with someone who tells you their life story from birth to present day, where they were born, where they went to college, the guy that dumped them, the woman who took all their money in a bitter divorce, the numerous operations they’ve had, during your initial interaction with them? I have met people who do this and if you have too, I’m guessing like me, you used an excuse to exit ASAP.

Or even think of a story as a four course gourmet meal. Would you prefer to spend time enjoying the soup before the salad was brought to your table? Time to enjoy the main course before the waiter puts the dessert in front of you?

Information dumping is just like having all four courses placed at the table in one shot. It’s also like meeting the I’m going to bore you by telling you my whole life story person at the party.

Feed the information to your reader slowly. Maybe it’s chapter ten before they learn that your hero has a fear of heights or that they lost a parent when they were a baby. Isn’t that more entertaining then learning about those two things on the first few pages?

Self publishers out there, check for information dumping before you upload your book, and aspiring authors, check your manuscript before you hit the send button.

If you can’t figure out why your story keeps getting rejected or readers aren’t loving your self published book as much as you’d hoped, information dumping might be to blame.

Saying Goodbye To My Writing Companion

Tuesday was a day I’d be dreading for a long time. It began not as I’d planned. My tabby cat who was 22 years and 2 months old (yes, you read that right), showed signs that his journey was coming to end. Up to a few weeks ago, you would never have believed he was that old. I often thought he’d make it to 23.

However, Tuesday morning, his body language told me I had to make the decision all pet parents hate. I decided to use an at home vet service because Flynn had always hated the cat carrier and the vet’s office. The vet couldn’t stop by until mid afternoon which gave Flynn and I a chance to spend his last hours together. No writing, no reading e-mails, no checking in with students. This was our time.

He visited all of his previous favorite spots around the house. One that brought tears to my eyes was when he’d somehow managed to climb up via a box and table to sit on the couch. Not just any spot, but the place where he’d always been by my side as I wrote.

The majority of my books were written with him by my side, sometimes with his paws on my forearms as my fingers traveled across the keys.

He was with me the day I set out as a freelance writer. Often having to listen to me rant about why a publication had passed on my pitch, or who was this crazy editor who cut all the best parts out of my article.

He was there by my side when I got my first contract. When I self published my first book, taught my first class, coached my first student. He lived with my through two whole decades of my life.

When the time came to say our final goodbye, it was so fitting that he passed away peacefully on my lap as I sat on the chair that had been a favorite for both of us.

It’s Wednesday afternoon as I write this post. You’ve probably guessed I’m having a tough time because my daily routine centered around him. Feed Flynn, make my cup of tea, sit down and read e-mails, and then get to work.

Today’s also been one of being grateful that this wonderful animal could be part of my life for so long. I know many pet parents aren’t that lucky. There have been moments of crying, times when I think I can hear him still walking around the house, and even a meow perhaps.

Lots of animals are looking for homes and if you ever get the opportunity to find yourself a Flynn, don’t hesitate to bring one into your heart and home.

Who knows that dog or cat (or whatever), could be the writing companion who helps you write a book.

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 30 Days

Two posts in one day, but I wanted to let you know that my How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 30 Days is on sale.

It’s a four week self paced course with other great resources like a Kindle publishing guide and self publishing planner.

It’s on sale for just $5 because I’m taking part in a check us out sale over at Laptop Lifestyle YOUuniversity.

Even if you’re not interested in it, there are lots of other products on sale for just $5.

Here’s the link, and in full disclosure I’m an affiliate there so if you do use it and buy anything I will get commission.

Maybe you can write a non-fiction book during NaNoWriMo this year instead of a fiction novel!

https://laptoplifestyleyouniversity.com/amember/aff/go/susiep?i=10

Self Publishing Tool Kit

As many of you know, I have a budget/making money, saving money web site. I make products that help people start a business and one of them is a self publishing tool kit.

It’s part of a sale today. Lots of entrepreneurs coming together to offer their products for one price which is $39.95. If you’d like to check it out and even buy it and get the self publishing tool kit as one of the products, here’s the link (and it’s my affiliate one so I do get compensated if you do decide to buy it). It’s on sale from today through March 17th

https://warriorplus.com/o2/a/zd9zt/0

And if you’d like to check out my money site, it’s https://www.budgetsmartgirl.com

And finally, here’s something I mentioned over at This Writer’s Life https://www.thiswriterslife.com, earlier this week. Posting to two sites is eating into a lot of my writing time so I’m think about switching to a once a week podcast where the focus would be writing and industry news and also some interviews with authors, editors and agents.

What do you think? Do you prefer to hear the news rather than read it?

Let me know at writerslifeblog@gmail.com

Have a fun weekend and happy writing to all.

Have You Visited ThisWriterslife?

Have you visited This Writer’s Life site yet?

It’s the new home of this blog. In January, I switched over to using WordPress.org while leaving this site exclusively for archives of old posts from 2010-2020.

You can visit the new site at https://thiswriterslife.com.

Check out the new content on the site. This month’s writing prompts and also last month’s 28 day Writing Challenge.

If you’re interested in self paced classes or coaching and mentoring, visit my other site at https://www.susanpalmquist.com.

Friday Ramblings From An Author-The Final Post of 2020

Another year almost over. Yes, it’s been a strange one for all of us.

I hope you achieved all your goals and if not, like I always say, there’s always tomorrow and now, next year.

I think I got most things on my to do list completed. Well, maybe a few are a little behind schedule.

Just a reminder that I’ll be taking a two week break and will return with Monday Motivation on Jan 5th.

And during the break, I’ll be hopefully and successfully moving the site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. If for any reason Jan 5th rolls around and you aren’t getting posts in your e-mail or seeing anything on the site, let me know at writerslifeblog@gmail.com or just use http://www.thiswriterslife.com in your search engine. I might even do a test post when things get moved over.

This Writer’s Life grew a lot this year and I couldn’t have done it without my guest bloggers and you. Thank you to everyone who’s been following along since 2010 and thank you to all of you who have continued to follow and recently opted to follow. I have lots planned so spread the word. It’s one of the reasons I’ve moving the site so I can have more flexibility with regards to video and audio content for you.

Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

May all your writing dreams come true in 2021.

Take care and ‘see’ you again in the New Year.

The Writer’s Life-The Year in Review

2020 is almost over so for this final Thursday post of the year, I thought I’d do a year in review for This Writer’s Life.

Here are some of the stats-

244 posts which totaled 67,395 words

The most popular day and time for visitors was Mondays at 1 a.m.

Followers passed the 1,000 point mark mid year, and in September, the site views began crossing the 1,000 a month mark

Nearly all countries in the world had visitors who’d stopped by the site but the top five for 2020 are-

United States

United Kingdom

India

Canada

Australia

I’m more than happy with the growth of the site and I couldn’t do this without you.

As I mentioned before, I have lots of things planned for 2021 and new features too so I hope you’ll stick around, spread the word and be part of the This Writer’s Life community as we venture into a new year.

‘See’ you tomorrow for the Last Friday Ramblings of the year.

Wednesday Writing Prompts-Cookies and Cocoa

Our final Wednesday Writing Prompt for 2020. Next year we’ll be changing format slightly. I hope you’ve found these prompts useful, created a story or two, and even sold a story or two.

For this one, the words cookies and cocoa have to appear in your story three times. Once in narration, once in an inner thought, and finally, once in actual dialogue.

Have fun and happy writing.

Tuesday Guest Blogger-Dee S. Knight

Here’s our final guest blogger of the year, Dee S. Knight. Thank you to her for all her great posts this year and to every blogger. You’ve added great content to this site. If anyone wants to be a guest blogger in 2021, contact me at writerslifeblog.com. The only rule, it has to be something writing related.

When did you begin writing?
I wrote my first book in 2002. Gosh! That seems so long ago!! Since then, due to life in general, I’ve taken breaks—one lasting a few years. But there’s something about having stories develop in your head that makes the return to writing a necessity. So far, it’s the only “job” I’ve had that’s held my interest past a couple of years.

What’s been your biggest challenge?
Marketing, I guess, and that’s going to be no surprise to any author. Had I started writing in the 70s or 80s, I would have had to approach print publishers with my books. Back then, many of them helped authors promote their books. Now, with the huge numbers of books available through online publishers and self-pubbing, marketing is more a necessity and it’s all on the author.

Why did you choose your genre?
I chose romance as a genre because it’s mostly what I enjoyed when reading. But I fell into erotic romance. When I sent off my first book, the publisher replied saying that my work needed more sex in order to be sold by them. I had never read an erotic romance. Had never heard of erotic romance! But I figured if others could write sexy stories, so could I. I wrote a book different than I had originally sent her, and she accepted it. I decided to stay with what had worked.

What writing tips would you like to share?
a) Don’t write to market, write what you know and like. The market changes too quickly for you to write and publish to suit what folks are buying now.
b) Write all the time—something every day or as close as you can come. You only get a feel for writing and improvement by doing.
c) Find a good critique reader(s). That is, find someone who can read your work and offer constructive criticism. It’s a fine balance. You want someone who won’t tear your work apart and yet who won’t say it’s great with no real feedback. Neither will help you improve and grow.
d) Listen to those giving feedback, especially on the mechanics (like grammar and punctuation) and on plot holes or places where the reader has questions in the story line. But have faith in your work when it comes to the story overall. Don’t let someone completely turn your work on its head if it’s a piece you truly believe in.

What are you currently working on?
I have a new trilogy in mind that I’m struggling to start. I have the plots for all three books worked out in my head but need to get them on paper! That’s one of the hardest things for me right now. Plus, my first publisher died last year. I’m currently republishing 10 books I had with her. I’m trying to reread and revise, so it’s quite a task!

What would you like to promote today?
I’d like to tell your readers about a book I wrote as Anne Krist, Burning Bridges. Burning Bridges just won the 2020 Gold Medal for Best Romance by Coffee Pot Book Club! I’m excited and humbled at the same time.

Buy link:
Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Wishing you and your readers a wonderful holiday and here’s hoping that 2021 will be a fabulous new year! We deserve it.

After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website. And all three offer some of the best romance you can find! Also, once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity.

About Dee/Anne/Jenna:
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex.

Where to find her (them):

Website: https://nomadauthors.com

Blog: http://nomadauthors.com/blog

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DeeSKnight

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeeSKnight2018

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/265222.Dee_S_Knight

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B079BGZNDN

Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h8t2y6

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/dee-s-knight-0500749

Sweet ‘n Sassy Divas: http://bit.ly/1ChWN3K

Monday Motivation-Two Powerful Forces

Our last Monday Motivation of the year. I hope you’ve found this year’s quotes inspiring. Lots more to come next year and maybe a motivation challenge or two!

I picked this one because it includes two words, dreams and dedication. Possess those two things and you’re on your way to being a success not just with your writing, but everything.

Friday Ramblings From An Author-It Doesn’t Look a Lot Like Christmas

No snow…I haven’t written that on December 11th in…well, I can’t remember if I ever have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because it’s been mild and the sort of late fall temps I prefer.

I’ve been preparing to switch this site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I’ll be getting some help with it so hopefully, things will go smoothly. I’ll tell you more about it in next week’s Friday Ramblings which by the way, will be the last of the year. Can’t remember if I told you that I’ll be taking a break from Dec 18th until Jan 5th.

Thank you to everyone who left a comment or e-mailed me with feedback about what you want to see on This Writer’s Life in 2021. Also, thank you to everyone who signed up to follow this week.

Next week, I’ll be putting the final touches to my to do list, getting organized and ready to start 2021. I have a list of books I want to read over the break and hope to do some more sketching. I haven’t had much time to do that lately so it’s on my rest and relaxation list.

That’s it for this week. ‘See’ you again on Monday.

Have a fun weekend and happy writing to all.