Why do we need to worry about structure when we write? #structure #planning #writing #writers #hints


If you think structure is the boring bit of writing and you can away without worrying about it – think again.

Kristen Lamb has some great tips and insights in this blogpost. When you are developing your novel, think about the scenes (Goal –> Conflict –> Disaster) and the emotional sequel to each scene, then connect them together. Check out Kristen’s post here


Encouraging the right people to review your book (and avoiding some of the pitfalls) #writers #writing #authors #book #review

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So you’ve published your book – you love it – but what about everyone else? How do you find people to give you a review, and what should you watch out for?

In my case, I’ve only just started indie publishing in the last few months, and I’m stepping warily into to the realm of promoting my books and finding the readers I’ve been writing for. It’s hard when you’re an unknown author to build credibility and find a market, and I’m hoping to avoid some of the pitfalls. Insights such as those in this great (blisteringly honest) blogpost by Terry Tyler are a great help.


I have never been good at blowing my own trumpet, so I haven’t solicited any reviews yet (nor do I intend to). However, I would love to get some constructive feedback on my writing, and to find ways to create the best stories I can. I looked first at goodreads as that is where many readers gather. And through the blogosphere I’m trying to find people who write and read in my genre (contemporary and historical sexy romance). I know it will take a while, but at least I know that I have done my best to achieve a professional product (through beta-readers and professional editing). With any luck, readers looking for a good read in my genre will enjoy the fresh viewpoint and not wish to ‘abandon it’. Here’s hoping my books will get the reviews they deserve (and ones that will help me to find ways to improve).

Having said that, it is worth being wary of reviewers or beta readers who just want something different. One of my first beta-readers got back to me with comments like, don’t like the name you used for the heroine, the hero, the villain and the book – all too common… I looked into it, and couldn’t find the evidence to back up her assertions. Turns out Cara, Cameron and Raoul are not all that common in romances. So while it is important to consider all feedback, some may need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Everyone has their own opinion, and no one person will ever be completely right.

Who wants to have a great website?


I have a problem – I’m an author who loves writing. When I manage to wrest time from my busy schedule to work on my writing – I want to spend it… well, writing. I usually resent having to do all the other things associated with being an emerging author, such as networking, promotion, marketing, updating my website, etc… I would rather be writing down some more of the stories and characters that fill my head.

But, and it’s a big but, someone has to do it. And most of us who are establishing ourselves don’t have the budget to afford to get professional promotors and all the rest of it. Not yet anyway.

I must admit, I have been planning to get some help with my website soon – it could really do with an overhaul. (check it out at www.emilyarden.weebly.com ) But there are so many other things to do as well… And I know that no matter how good the website design, the most important thing is having good content. And someone has to dream that up as well.

If you are keen to build a great website, check out this useful blog. http://unbound.bookbub.com/post/114077790015/9-things-all-author-websites-need-to-have/

I am planning to follow some of these tips soon – I hope you find it useful as well!

Meanwhile, can anyone recommend a good (not too expensive) company for designing great websites for emerging authors?

5 tips for having a ‘good day’ of writing


In my previous post I talked about counting words, and the pleasure of being able to track a ‘good day’ of writing. But how can we work towards having more ‘good days’?

Some of the things that work for me are:

  1. if possible, allocate yourself a chunk of time (sometimes I write through the night – desperate I know, but at least it’s quiet). Part of this one is about giving yourself permission to write. You deserve this time!
  2. become really at home with your characters and their motivations. Think about them when you’re on the train or in the bath or wherever. Get to know them, visualise them, test out things they might do and things they wouldn’t do.
  3. think of some interesting scenes/situations to write about. I often have my best ideas when I’m trying to sleep – hold onto them, write them down, or perhaps just go and type them straight in. I always have a document standing by for notes and ideas.
  4. try to avoid distractions! (this is a topic in itself, I will share some ideas about this in my next post)
  5. find ways to keep the flow going, including avoiding things that make your writing stall. (another biggie – I have a trick that works well for me that I will share soon)

Happy writing – I hope you have a ‘good day’ soon!

5 tips for choosing the right book promotion strategy

download (2)I’ve been doing a lot of research lately into how best to promote my books. There are so many options, and like many of you, I prefer to spend more time writing and less time on the other stuff.

I liked this article’s no nonsense approach. It is less about selling and more about finding quality of life, but then in such an uncertain industry perhaps it is just as well to focus on staying sane!


Five tips for finding more time to write!

Last week, a writer friend of mine asked me how I find time to write when I am also working full time and bringing up children. The answer is – I do it because I have to. There are usually a few hours here and there that you can grab each week. I sometimes get up an hour or two early, sometimes stay up past midnight. I love the weekends, as I can usually manage a couple of hours. And then there are the blessed days off! I really look forward to those. I usually set myself a writing project to do during the holidays. I like to have goals.

So the bottom line is – we are all super busy, but there are still 24 hours in a day. In the end, it’s how we choose to use them that counts. If you need to write, then you will make the time. You might have to give up on TV, going out so much, even sleep. But sometimes writing is more important than anything else. If you too face the same time conflicts good luck.

My five tips for finding more writing time are:

1 Try to avoid jobs you really don’t need to do. Give yourself permission to spend time writing

2 Try to delegate more of the house-work – perhaps get a cleaner. After all, anyone can clean, but only you can write down your own ideas

3 If you feel like some down-time, instead of watching TV or playing computer games, spend time writing down some of your ideas. You might feel tired at first, but once you get into it you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!

4 Can’t sleep? Perhaps that’s a good time to do some writing. The house is quiet, your mind won’t settle down, so why not?

5 Carry a notebook/tablet with you so you can jot down your thoughts and ideas wherever you are – on the bus, waiting in a doctor’s surgery, anywhere!

Write on