Writing Tips

Please Your Readers – 3 Trope Tactics

tropesI’m a genre whore. 70% of what I read is Young Adult fantasy or dystopian fiction. I’d make it 100% but I actually want to read my friends books and occasionally I like dipping my toes in other stuff like (thrillers, crime, literary fiction) and then there’s non-fiction business, marketing and mindset books and of course, my other love, conspiracies.

But the point is, I’m a big slutty slut slut when it comes to YA fantasy/dystopian. I gobble it up like a starving orphan. Why?

Because I love that shit. I love it so much I’d motorboat them books all night long and carry a caffeine drip to work because I stayed up so late reading (happens a LOT).

But, having read a lot of books in the same genre I can confidently say, they are ALL the same story. No really, they are. But its the familiarity that drags me back.

And it’s the familiarity that drags other readers back too. We actually want to be told the same story, over and over and over. It’s just that we want to be told it in a different way, so it doesn’t feel like the same story.

That’s where tropes come in. Tropes give your readers the familiarity they crave, which is why they are so important to you if you’re a genre writer. (more…)

6 Ways To Organise Your Beta Reader Feedback

beta-feedbackForget the fountain of youth, no one needs to live forever. I mean, can you imagine the botox bill? and not just for your face… EWW. Moving on.

Beta feedback is a gift from the holy fountain of book perfection. 

For some, it makes them face plant into a vat of sludgey self-loathing and bookpression. But for others it turns their sleep deprived eyes into glinty, sparkling ones accompanied by feverish hand rubbing and villainish cackles.

Your book, if you listen to your beta readers, will be oh so much better. That word-turd you vomited out over months of sleepless nights, will finally become a polished glitter covered book.

But receiving beta feedback can be somewhat overwhelming, especially if like me, you don’t do detail.

I’ve finally managed to get on top of the beta feedback and have almost finished going through it.

This post is dedicated to my amazing beta readers, there are no words to quantify my gratitude.

Here are 6 ways to manage and organise your beta feedback.
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10 Things Every Writers Needs To Know About Conflict

conflictConflict – the foundation of every novel bled onto the page.

Without it, your book flatlines harder than the grim reaper. No self-respecting book doctor will even attempt to resuscitate it. And yet, you need to, because conflict is the god of novels.

If you’ve been a good little girl then conflict will dip its mighty hand into Santa’s sack and bestow heavenly book treasures on you, like: pace, tension, plot line and well-rounded characters with enough depth to drown a reindeer. But without it we’re talking dead Kipper slaps to the face.

And no body wants a stinky dead fish face mask.

But when you love your precious little bundle of baby hero joy more than life itself, torturing them with a bout of – villain/antagonist/insert other form of conflict shaped nappy rash can be rather more difficult than one expects.

Here are 10 tips for shaping your books conflict. (more…)

The Power of Stop. Breathe. Write On.

stop-breathIf we’re honest, us writers tend to be a little on the obsessive side. We get an idea, a character forms, and before we know it, we’re tits deep in 30,000 words of wordish vomit. We swim in it like it’s a jacuzzi with naked waiters continuously handing out glasses of champagne. No one wants to get out of that jacuzzi, I know I sure as shit don’t.

But sometimes, after you’ve been chucking up the good kind of word vomit (the one that’s rough round the edges but makes pretty pictures in the middle) all of a sudden it stops. Then you’re pouring out illegible turds, minus the glitter and shine.

Something’s broke. Really broke. It’s not writers block, because the words still come. Only now they’re turd-words instead of smothered with genius literary butter.

Now, no matter what you do, the pretty word vomit won’t come back. So what do you do? If you’re anything like me, you either:

  • Beat yourself with a pen chain and spiral bound notepad until your face is pitted with imprints or
  • Fall into a deep pit of self-deprecating writerly hatred

Neither of which are particularly effective at producing anything other than obscure shaped bruises. Trust me.

I had to try something new… So today, is less of a crazy lesson with bookish explanations and crude examples, and instead a lesson I’ve learnt through experience on my writing journey. (more…)

Capture Your Marketing Voice – Know Your Messenger in 3 Steps With @cynthiatluna

Today brings another guest post – This one is from marketing professional and bloggers bash attendee all the way from Switzerland, Cynthia T. Luna. Cynthia is the author of Write Your Marketing Strategy a fab marketing book which I had the pleasure of beta reading.

Cynthia is filling in for me today while I catch up from months of ignored admin having finished Keepers and even more ignoring of said admin as I am balls deep in my non-fiction book 13 Steps to Evil – An Writer’s Guide to Creating Better Villains.

So, Cynthia, you hero, thank you for coming, it’s an honour. This post is an excellent lesson for any author stuck on how what to say when marketing their book.


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30 Writing Competitions With Cash Prizes

30 FlashThis post is a cheat, partly because I’m exhausted after having thrown a surprise party for the wife’s 30th. But also because I happen to be in the midst of a significant bout of procrastination all because I am wallowing in a deep, deep pit of writerly self loathing.

So this week instead of my wordy bullshit, I bring you more writing competitions than you can shake a shakespearian cat at.

With any competition, it’s advisable to ensure you rake the rules of each one with your finest, slickest rule finding comb. I have not displayed the rules of any of these competitions, so if you don’t check, don’t expect to win. (more…)

Street Teams – The Smart Author’s Tactic for Book Launches

If I continue my night owl tactics and don’t… you know, die of exhaustion first, then next year I will be launching not one, but six books. That’s the aim anyway. Much as it’s traumatised me not to publish sooner, I’ve been sitting on these books for a reason.

It terrifies me to say it, but 2017 will see me publish actual, word filled, hold in your hands books, and hopefully, a few of them.

But any author worth their salt, knows they can’t and shouldn’t be launching alone. Visibility is the one thing that connects indies to new traditionally published authors. I say it all the time, but Amazon, is a rainforest of books. Getting seen in any part of it is difficult.

We might day dream about coffee shops and alone time to ink our hyperbolae in peace, but getting a book from chapter one to finished product isn’t a one man job. While the writing might be, there are beta readers, cover designers, formatters, editors and reviewers that help with the rest. If writing a book isn’t a one man job, why should launching one be?

Mastering a book launch isn’t really about the big day, it, like anything you anticipate for a while, is  a bit of an anticlimax. Besides, if you want sustained sales, then don’t focus on the launch. Focus on the lifetime of a book. It’s not about its first day, or week, or even its first year. It’s about optimising that book as an asset, it’s a product you can earn from again and again and again, so why worry about getting sales in it’s first week. You want to be worrying about getting them for the next ten thousand weeks.

Launches are about driving yourself crazy and into a six foot deep grave through stress sustained activities over long periods, garnering stacks of reviews, running competitions, paying it forward for other authors, teaming up or compelling your own boxsets and unfortunately, paying for advertising.

I’ve been doing a chuff load of research on marketing and book launches, so today, we’re talking street teams, and for anyone willing, there’s a personal request from me, to you, to join my street team.


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Trad vs Indie – A Debate on The Future of Book Publishing

future-of-booksSo I did it. I tweaked my final comma, dotted my final I and after writing an email that gave me hives, I pressed send and off went my bookbaby to five terrifying awesome beta readers.

I sat for a while. Motionless. Except for the rapid blink of my eyelids at the completely blank screen. There were no more words needed. What in the fucksticks was I meant to do now? Then the realisation slowly crept in… I HAD NO BOOK. IT WAS GONE. LIKE REALLY GONE. The book that had consumed me for nearly two years, was no more. Holy mother of almighty fuck.

Wana know what happened next…?

I freaked the fudgebuggins out, thats what. It took exactly 4.3 milliseconds before I combusted in a violent meltdown. I really regretted sending it. HOW COULD I SEND IT OUT TO REAL PEOPLE…Obviously its a pile of shite. A fact of which, even the halo holding hand of god couldn’t dissuade me of.

And to my utter fucking horror, I realised there is no ‘unsend’ button. What self serving artificially intelligent email company DOESN’T HAVE A RECALL BUTTON???

FUCK. Like fucking fuck. With six side orders of FUCK MY ACTUAL FUCKING LIFE.

I spent the next 12 hours listing eleventy hundred things that were wrong with my novel. The list included everything. EVERYTHING. Not just main characters, arcs and endings. Oh no. I attacked the detail too, no comma, speech mark or paragraph spacing was left unscathed.

I made the mistake of voicing these concerns to some bastards wonderful friends who told me to pull my shit together before they sent a BitchSlapOGram to my front door. I listened. Just. And only after several more hours of wallowing in a seriously impressive vat of self loathing and book related hatred.

SonOfABitchWhatHaveIDone?

Okay. I’m done. Moving on.

With continued interruption to the schedule, today, I want to debate. I want to know what you think about the future of publishing. Of course, I have brought together some interesting facts and articles and some points of note. So I hope you bought your most opinionated self cause I’m interested in what you got to say. Without further ado…

Let’s talk the future of publishing.


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The Secret to Making Your Characters Memorable

memorableWe readers are fickle beasts.

If you have a shit book cover we won’t pick up your novel. Sloppy blurb and we chuck the book on the NBR (Never Be Read) pile. If we get past all that and find forgettable characters buried in your pages, well… fuck you author, here’s a one star review.

A couple of weeks ago, I was lording it up in Paris with the girls for a cocktail fuelled weekend… I still have a hangover!

The thing is, I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t take advantage of any and every opportunity to spew some more of my hyperbolae into the world, and Paris has provided me the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I have a terrible memory. Like ,really bad. But my substandard brain cells got me thinking about books and specifically, about characters.

Without memorable characters, your book is worthless. Why?

Because books are written about characters. If your characters are boring, your books boring. But how do you make them memorable without turning them into the equivalent of a glitter covered literary drag queen? (more…)

Master The Outline – 12 Methods For Plotters & Pantsers – Part II

OutlineingLast week I confessed all kind of Pantser secrets. Like the fact I’m a filthy dirty  cheating hybrid and I actually sit somewhere in the middle of the plotter-pantser hot tub party.

One of the biggest differences between plotters and pantsers is whether or not they outline. In last week’s post, I talked through the first three of twelve outlining methods, including:

  • Chapter Outlines
  • 7 Point Plot Plan
  • 3 Point Plot Plan

Today I am going to run through the rest of them. (more…)