I also want to thank Kathy @ I Am A Reader Not A Writer for hosting this blog tour!
Ten Must Haves for Beginning Writers
Writers When I decided to write, I didn’t know a synopsis from a blurb or even what a query letter was. I just knew I wanted to create stories, and that was what I was going to do. But I understood I needed some industry knowledge first, and therefor set out on a yearlong campaign on educating myself in the field. I hope some of my lessons can help the new writers out there excel even faster than I have, and I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learned along the way.
The first helpful website I stumbled across was that of Caro Clarke. Just in case you don’t know it—get ready to thank me—here’s the link: http:// www.caroclarke.com/writing.html
Caro was my lifeline for a good while. I took away so much knowledge from her articles, and continue to be eternally grateful for her willingness to share her experience with newbies.
The second helpful site I discovered was Absolute Write. It’s a community of writers where I found my fantastic beta readers. I wouldn’t trade my experience there for the world. Sure, some people think it’s kind of hit-and-miss, but if you can find an experienced writer who is willing to give advice and direction—take it! Because that’s what writers do for each other. We support and help each other improve our skills.
I would also highly recommend a book titled GMC by Debra Dixon, but should be titled, The Best Craft Book EVER. Period. Seriously. Get a copy.
So that’s three resources. I think it’s also worth our time to mention getting a RWA membership. Not everyone wants to spend the money on it, but I’ve found my participation with my chapter, the COFW (Central Ohio Fiction Writers) was absolutely fundamental to getting published. Since it is a chapter of the RWA, I hold a membership to both. Worth it’s weight in gold. These men and women (mostly women in my chapter) are so supportive and willing to give all of the advice they have to offer. I adore them, and couldn’t imagine my writing career going as well as it has without them being part of my journey.
Then how about conferences? Almost everyone loves social events, and as a professional, it’s neat to mingle with fans. I went to the RT Booklovers convention this month and I have to say, it was awesome. There were amazing writers, enthusiastic readers, and knowledgeable industry professionals. I spent every second networking, attending workshops, or having fun. I’ll probably be going to every RT convention from here on out. It was really that good.
Also, about a year after I began writing I discovered a program that changed everything I thought I knew about my method—which at the time was a complete mess. Thank God for this software. It’s called Scrivener. Funny name, amazing program. I write faster and more streamline now that I can easily keep track of my word count and statistics. It’s wonderful, and even if you don’t end up using it, I suggest at least taking a look. It’s very reasonably priced for what it does. I believe it is $40.00 for Windows and $45.00 for Mac users. Not bad at all.
Microsoft Word is a must in my book. No pun intended. I know there are other alternatives out there, but I feel this program is really the best. With track changes and the most functions, I won’t use any other program for compiling my manuscript.
You know how everyone tells you to make a Facebook page and Twitter account? I agree with them. I know, not what you wanted to hear. If you’re not a fan of social media, don’t worry. You don’t have to be on everything. Choose the one you like the most and do it well. Stick with it. Post regularly. That’s much better than being on Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and then only posting on one of them. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to stretch yourself that thin. And if you know you won’t be at your computer, schedule tweets so they post on when you want them to, or get an application on your phone that will allow you to post wherever you are. It’s worth the effort because your readers will enjoy it, and that’s really why we’re all here.
We’re on nine, right? Wow, I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! Ha! Getting your first few chapters critiqued is also a great idea as far as I’m concerned. A good way to make this happen is by entering into contests. I know it usually requires you to pay a small fee, but if you are serious about finding an agent or publisher for your work—or even if you self-publish—it’s important to get feedback. Writing is not something done all alone. It really is a community effort, and the sooner writers understand that, the fewer headaches you’ll have. Because when you look at best selling authors, what did they all have in common? Editors. There are so many people behind the scenes working to spit shine our books until they sparkles. I am so thankful for my editors.
I guess that leads me to the final tip I have for new writers. If you do choose to self-publish your book, you will realize how expensive it (possibly) can be. But if there is one area you do not be frugal on, it’s edits. Find a good content editor to do at least two rounds of content edits, then a qualified copy editor—not your kid’s high school English teacher. Then get a proofreader. I say this with such urgency because your readers are smart, and the worst thing you can do is tell them through careless editing that you don’t value them.
I hope my tips have been helpful for everyone aspiring to write. And if you enjoyed this guest blog, please hook up with me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know. I love chatting with you guys, and would love hearing from you.
She may have spent years in an asylum, but that didn’t make her crazy–just fearless. Dropped in Moscow with her friends on an impossible mission against underworld forces, Tara is left to her feelings of overwhelming inadequacy. Her boyfriend is a healer, her best friend is “the Guardian,” and everyone else is a powerhouse of awesome strengths. The only thing she has been able to contribute are her memories, which has left her with nightmares of her time spent at the mercy of the evil Sarian–who everyone has gone to fight. Alone with her emotions, Tara finds herself falling into a city of depravity and corruption. And amidst all this evil is a young man with an agenda of his own, who leads her down a road that will either prove she is a hero at heart, or drag her into a world she’s always feared. He wants revenge, she wants redemption. And in an underground rings of missing girls and bloody sacrifices, only the fearless can survive…
A long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa started her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and features articles to delve into the whimsical world of young adult paranormal romance. Since then, Theresa has gotten married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and was repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having stepped foot on the soil of over a dozen countries, traveled to sixteen U.S. states—including an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, she will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.
The Stone Guardian
When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare. Like any other teenager in America, Ashley just wants a normal life. But growing up in an orphanage for the insane is anything but normal. After endless therapy and increasing medication, her nightmares have only gotten worse. Probably because they’re not nightmares. When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian— Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost. When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…
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