Tips and Tricks

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Bring it in with a bang.

July 19, 2014

It’s not new news that the first few pages of your book are critically important to getting published–and to getting picked up off a bookshelf. I’ve written about the first two-hundred and fifty words before, as well as the fact that many agents will ask to see the first three chapters of your novel as a sample of your work. They don’t ask for these chapters just because they want to see your writing quality–if that was the case, it wouldn’t matter where the three chapters came from. They want the first three chapters because they want to see if you can hook an audience early and keep them begging for more. This is especially important for your debut novel–you know, the one you’re trying to publish before you’ve made a name for yourself. I’m sure the well-established authors out there have different rules to live by, and most of them have great relationships with their agents and publishers already. […]


7 awesome reasons you should explore writing prompts.

July 17, 2014

A few years ago, I bought a book with a bunch of writing prompts. It was a small green book, maybe a hundred and fifty pages long, but it was one of the most interesting books I’ve ever bought. Every single page had a different writing prompt on it–and not necessarily how you’d imagine. Some of them were text prompts. You know, pages with a single sentence that said something like, “Write a scene using colors as the only adjectives.” Other pages were a lot different. They’d have photographs or sketches with a simple prompt like “Write about this.” Unfortunately, I also bought this book at a time when I was really busy, and I fell off the train of using it every day pretty quickly. Getting a degree will do that to a person. Anyway, I’ve wanted to pick up using writing prompts again, but sometimes it’s hard to convince myself to work on writing prompts instead of taking […]


Reading speed and retention.

July 12, 2014

Anyone else have that problem about reading super quickly? You know, when you’re crazy into a book and suddenly it’s four in the morning and you’ve already finished the first three-hundred and fifty pages, so you may as well just stay up to get through the last chapter before the sun gets up? For most of us reader/writer types, this is a dilemma we know well. Essentially, all the way through high school, this was my problem. Whenever I was really into a book, I read it ravenously. Every single time a Harry Potter book was released, I got through that puppy in fewer than three days–and it would only take me that long because I had school and various other distractions getting in my way (one time, my family was driving through Yellowstone and my mom kept getting mad at me for having my nose stuck in a book rather than enjoying nature–but seriously, that was The Halfblood Prince, […]


How to find the time to read AND write.

July 11, 2014

As a writer, I have a nasty habit of writing way more words a week than I read. I get so absorbed in my work that I forget to make sure I have time to actually read a book rather than write one. I’ve been getting better, and I’m actually keeping a book in my purse at all times to read whenever the mood strikes me, but there’s still room for improvement. I think most writers get caught up into one of two problems with their reading and writing. Either they’re like me and they write way more than they read, or they’re the opposite of me and they read way more than they write. Both of these things aren’t really ideal, but hey, at least you’re doing something! Let’s look at why it’s important for writers to read and write more often. Why it’s important to read often. Reading is where a lot of writers get their inspiration. No, […]


5 things writers should avoid to be productive.

July 10, 2014

Have you ever taken a day to write and taken a seat at your computer only to find that, four hours later, you’re still staring at a blank page and blinking cursor rather than a wonderful document full of new writing, fantastic scenes, and alluring characters? Welcome to the trap all of us writers fall into: distractions when we’re trying to be productive. There are a lot of tricks to upping productivity, from applications designed to keep you away from things that aren’t your writing to the good, old-fashioned locked-door, but one of the best ways to make sure you stay productive is to avoid the things that keep you from being productive. When I really need to sit down and get some serious writing done, these are the top things I try to keep off the table when I’m working. The internet I’ve been over the internet before in several of my blog posts, both about the definite benefits […]

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