• Charles Dickens,  Craft,  Discipline,  Revising and Editing,  Uncategorized

    Top 10 Signs You’ve Given TMI & Need to Cut The Dickens Out Of Your Backstory by Katharine Grubb 10 Minute Novelist

    You are not Charles Dickens. As much as you may want  to be Victorian, champion for the London’s most needy, and father 10 children, that doesn’t give you the right to overwrite your novels. That is, if you intention is to sell them in today’s market, you may want to reconsider how much backstory you have and how you may want to cut it. In today’s market, there are general guidelines for genres. Writer’s Digest has a nice article that breaks it down for your use. But these are general guidelines. Anyone who self-publishes can basically do whatever they want. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find exceptions to nearly ever…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Discipline,  Inspiration,  Motivation

    Top Eight Things Future Best-Selling Authors Are Doing Right Now

      Someday in the future, maybe five years, maybe ten years, maybe twenty years from now, the best-seller lists will name authors that no one has heard of now. Those future best-selling authors don’t spring up out of nowhere, they’re alive and breathing as we speak. They’re out there, right now, getting kids ready for school, driving to the day job or composing another blog post. Future best-sellers also working on their craft. They’re hard at work, making the most of the time they have to create the art that someday will be acknowledged by the world. What exactly are they doing then? They probably write every day. If they…

  • Uncategorized

    How To Develop Your Writing Voice

    (Author’s Note: For June, July & August, this blog will be posting on Mondays & Thursdays only!) A writer’s voice is a complex, hard-to-describe thing. I think it could be compared to a rich cheese, a well-crafted symphony or a good wine. The complexities of each of these come from a variety of sources —  Cheese, music, and wine are complicated. Voice is complicated too.  A writer’s voice can be influenced by many different things.  Each of my children could re-tell me the story of The Three Pigs, but they would all do it differently. The differences between their interpretations will lot to do with their individuality. The distinction between…

  • #WhyIWrite

    Life Lessons Gleaned from Novel Writing

    By Carolyn Astfalk After I’d given birth to my first child, I vowed I’d never allow any task or experience to intimidate me again. After all, despite my worries and fears, I’d just delivered a little human being, sans medication no less. If I could do that, I could accomplish anything. But time has a way of dulling memories, especially those surrounding childbirth. (Thanks be to God.) When in November of 2010, I decided to give National Novel Writing Month a shot, I was intimidated. Surely fifty thousand words in thirty days would be less daunting than childbirth, right? But the bold sense of empowerment I’d felt after my son…

  • Inspiration,  Uncategorized

    Five Reasons Why I Would Write Series Fiction (And One Reason I Wouldn’t)

    What to read? I’m at the library, looking for something to check out and I see a row of similar-looking spines, books all by the same author, some with numbers on them. It’s a little army of series fiction! (And almost always one of those numbers is missing!) I have an irrational insecurity around serial fiction as a reader. I feel like I have to start at book one if I’m going to start at all, and then, I wonder, will I feel compelled to read all the books in the series? What will I miss out on in the literary world if I get to the end of Adam…

  • Community

    12 Reasons You Should Go To a Writers Conference

      One way to grow as a writer is to attend a writers conference! Now, I’m not a writers conference junkie, but I’d like to be. I know enough about them to understand that if you are in a climate controlled hotel ballroom, surrounded by writers from all over the world, with speakers and experts in front of you, then you’re in a great place to grow. Why? You need to meet other writers in person. In my limited conference experience, I’m always amazed at the diversity of the writers that I meet. They all aren’t bloggers like me. My writer friends don’t all have tendencies to publish quirky comedies…

  • Craft

    Twelve Questions To Ask Yourself After That First Draft Is Done

    You’ve finished your first draft! You are so, so, so proud. This is an accomplishment worth celebrating! And in the midst of your hard work, you’ve fought all kinds of self-doubt and torment. The quoted author was right, you really did just open a vein and bleed.  But you’re not done. Please, for the love of all that is super easy publishing, please don’t think you’re done. If your goal is to be a serious writer, to be a viable literary force in your genre, to be a legitimate player in the world of books, please don’t stop with your first draft. You’ll need to improve on it. Here are…

  • Character Development,  Creativity,  Uncategorized

    Shipping: 14 Ways To Develop Romance In Your Story

    Man, do I love a good, believable romance. I like the slow kind, where looks are exchanged, where she ignores him, where he adores her, where their journey leads to something beautiful and long-lasting. I like the kinds of romance where the undercover action is a result of commitment, not the possibility of it. Good romance stories, in my opinion, have the reader fully engaged in the feelings of the couple long before they figure it out themselves. I didn’t know there was a term for this. Oh, this is why I write fiction! I can get emotionally involved in the romance of characters without actually getting emotionally involved! And…

  • Creativity

    Want to be a Better Writer? Think Like A Sculptor!

    When I was a new writer, I had a lot of misconceptions of how writers wrote. I had a mental image of a writer sitting in front of a typewriter with a stack of blank paper next to them.  Wasn’t that was how all writers worked. I thought that the first sentence I read in a book was the first sentence that the writer wrote. And I thought that the first thought was the best one. I thought that writers had to have everything in their story figured out long before they sat down to write it. Foolishly, I thought writers who were good enough to be published never had…

  • Craft

    Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Writing

    You want to improve your writing? It’s oh, so easy and oh, so hard. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if you are reading this blog then you are a writer. Even if you don’t think you can call yourself that, you probably have aspirations for literary greatness, fame, or fortune. The right kind of greatness, fame, and fortune only comes from those writers who spend their time improving their craft. How do you get better? Glad you asked! Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Writing 1. Read, read, read. Read in your genre every chance you get. Try reading the Classics. Read your writing buddies’…

  • Interviews With Authors,  Uncategorized

    Free & Not-So-Free Writers’ Conferences For The Poor And Anthropophobic

      It’s Conference Season! Another spring has arrived and you will not be going to a writer’s conference. I’m so sorry. I’m not either. I’ve been trying to get to the ACFW conference in September every fall for the last ten years and I’m not any closer now than I was ten years ago.  I did, however, get to go to the Mountain Valley Writers’ Conference in Lake Guntersville, Alabama a few weeks ago. And I have the bug to go, and speak, at another one. But it may not be for a while. I loved speaking to a group of writers. But then I had to talk to them…

  • Character Development

    13 More Mistakes You Could Make When Creating Narrative Voice

      Who is telling your story anyway? What is the point of view? You’ve had a story in your mind for weeks. Maybe you’ve twisted it, pounded it and cut it to pieces. You’ve already made many decisions on how it is to be told. But, have you put thought into the narrative voice? The narrative voice is the voice of the point of view character that tells the story. With a well-drawn point of view character, a story can be rich and interesting. You want to take the time to get this right. Last week, I blogged about 12 big mistakes that you can make in creating a narrative…

  • Character Development

    The 9 Things Your Main Character Needs From You

    Character development is one of my favorite things to do when I’m cooking up a new story. With the development of character, it’s like I’m meeting a new friend who trusts me enough to send me on an adventure. I need my character badly for, without him or her, I don’t have a voice for my story. But my character needs me too. I have the necessities to make them come alive. These are the nine things my main character needs from me. A name. This is obvious, and you can spend a lot of time looking at name meanings and overthink it to the point of ridicule, or you…

  • Character Development,  Uncategorized

    12 Mistakes You Could Make When Creating Narrative Voice

      Narrative voice is the voice of the narrator in a story. Every novel, especially those written in the first person, tells the story from a specific point of view.  If you’ve chosen a point of view for your story that is specific, you may find that it is complicated and difficult to keep the story only to their viewpoint. If done well, your narrative voice draws the reader into the story. The details of the thoughts and dialogue work together to make the narrator a sympathetic or likable character. But if the narrative voice is put together thoughtlessly, your reader may bore quickly, dismiss the narrator and possibly discard your…