Whether you’re new to the writing life–or a seasoned pro–there are always opportunities to grow your writing skills to stay fresh or find your voice as a writer. If you’re looking to grow as a writer this summer, I’ve got five simply ways to do just that. Read. Read often. Reading may be one of.. read more →

Recently I read an article that struck a chord with me entitled “This Is How To Increase Your Attention Span: 5 Secrets From Neuroscience”. The piece made the point that if you want to increase your attention span, you’ve got to stop multitasking as much as possible. While multitasking is often necessary in our fast.. read more →

Writers are masters of language, and yet, that doesn’t begin to describe their true power. As a writer, I always enjoy hearing the words of wisdom from the greats—past and present. Not only does it inspire me to write, but it also fills me with a sense of joy and ease. Knowing these greats felt.. read more →

As we write the last word of our story, we might think we are done. After all, we’ve spent countless hours researching, writing, and sweating over our prose to bring readers into the worlds we’ve created. The truth is—we’re far from it. We don’t want our first drafts to be presented to our readers. We.. read more →

Book readers are the heroes of the literary world. Their love of reading keeps authors writing and countless parts of the industry afloat. But, there is one individual who runs a close second to the reader. What is that, you may ask? Reviewers, of course. Readers who take the time to review the books they.. read more →

If you answered, “I don’t have time to read” or “I am too busy writing to read the works of others” or “my favorite books are those I have written,” then I would say that you may be selling yourself short. Plus, at the same time, your lack of attention to the works of others may be stifling the creativity and depth of your own work. read more →

For some writers, self promotion is a hard pill to swallow. We are authors and artists, not sales people. Self promotion makes some of us feel uncomfortable and cheap. After all, they always say the hardest part about being an artist is selling your own work. read more →

We’ve been talking about prequels and why a writer would consider writing one. We talked about how a prequel should not be just back- story for the work we have already published. We must remain true to the spirit of who the main character is to become. I have just a few more observations I would like to add about characters in a prequel.

WALKING THE TIGHTROPE

As in any good story, characters in a prequel must have flaws and challenges. There must be tension and conflict in their lives and they must grow and learn from this experience. It is up to the writer to make that journey an interesting one by throwing the character into situations that will bring about the desired change. The character must be someone the reader can relate to in some way and develop empathy for; this is no different from any other story we write. The difference comes in considering the fact that the reader may have already met this character The reader may already know that our character will survive and prevail over whatever our antagonist is doing, so the dilemma is – how do we create that oh so important tension? read more →

I received many comments on the last post regarding prequels and back-story. Many authors express the belief that prequels tend to be an author’s saved up back-story. If that is the case, it is unlikely that a compelling prequel will follow. There is a quite a bit to consider as we discuss prequels.

THE BACK-STORY ON BACK-STORY

As the authors, we know what happened before our published work; where our characters came from, what makes them do the things they do, why this one is afraid of the dark or that one has an aversion to apples…we created these personality quirks and the reasons behind them. A prequel does not have to be the “why” of the already published work. Honestly, just because one reader wants to know why John Doe flinches every time the doorbell rings, does not meant that EVERY reader wants to know the story behind that quirk. We need to ask ourselves, is our story idea compelling enough to interest a reader in spending his or her hard earned cash on a book? A prequel should be a standalone story that just happens to be inhabited by one or two (or maybe all) of the characters from our current novel. It’s not there to explain the entire back story; it can, however, support character traits or give deeper insight into certain characters. So what’s all the fuss about prequels? read more →

WHY, OH WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO WRITE A PREQUEL AND WHY IS HOLLYWOOD NOW LOOKING FOR COMPELLING PREQUELS?

Prequels have been dealt a bad hand. For many writers, they are considered taboo – bad luck, the death of your series; other writers calmly advise avoiding them when possible. So what’s the “plague of the prequel” all about? For one thing, they can be boring filler if we are not careful; who wants to read something that is just background fluff about our characters? Prequels can throw our entire published series off track; if the actions of the characters don’t lead them to the path they are on at the beginning of our already published novel, then the already existing novel won’t make any sense. Prequels can render our already established characters unbelievable. Now that I have completely discouraged the writing of prequels, here’s a good reason to write one: the readers want one; they want to know what happened before our novel took place. Our readers are curious as to WHY our main character behaves the way s/he does; they want to know more about her/him; where s/he came from; who s/he is; what her/his life was like before the book they just read. If our characters are compelling enough and we are very, very careful, we can create a prequel that will knock our readers’ socks off. So how careful should we be and what should we be so careful of? read more →