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…)

4 Top Tips For Self-Publishing Your First Book With @Pokercubster

Self pub tipsWriters have a shit load of decisions to make:

Who to kill today, knife em or hang em, daily word count totals, book prices, whether to drown your book blurbing sorrows with vodka or wine… the list goes on.

But one of the biggest of all decisions of all is whether you’re going to run the rat race to traditional publishing, or  push the shiny red button yourself and claim the indie badge.

I made my decision. My blood runs thick with indie colours.

Publishers have their place, I’ll never see my books in a store *weeps* but that sure as shit ain’t enough of a reason for me to go begging book in hand to their doorstep.

Maybe there will come a time when I might need them and I’ll wander up tail between my word covered thighs. But I haven’t slaved over my book for two sodding years, only to be told what cover I’m having, or when I can market or change the price or a myriad other things that would piss me off and I certainly ain’t accepting the 79p pittance for a book sale.

When this goes live, I’ll be in Paris, so your comments might be delayed in appearing.


Today’s lovely guest is the gorgeous and totally glam, Debby. Someone who has become a dear friend to me through the blogging world and one I truly hope to meet her.

Debby is a self-published author who has taught me more than a thing or two over the time I’ve known her. Today she’s giving us top tips on self-publishing.


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

OutlineingIf you cut my wrist, I’d bleed pantser all over you. Which, for anyone that knows me in real life, is about as ironic as you can get. I’m hyper organised. I have lists of lists and spreadsheets to make even the hardiest of geeks weep. I’m so extreme my wife has to schedule in time for spontaneity.

Which is why, when I first started writing, I knew without hesitation I was a plotter. Except that I really wasn’t. I tried to plot my way through to finishing a novel and I couldn’t.

Plotting led to me drowning myself in cliches: balled up scraps of paper littered my living room, my laptop screen lay barer than the sahara and enough empty coffee cups loitered on my table to waken even the most exhausted mother. I was blocked.

In the end I threw my rigid-frigid-plotting rule book in the fuck it bucket and NaNo’d the shit out of November 2014. Victory was mine. I finished off the manuscript triumphant. I was a fucking writer at last. The arrogance did not last. After a 3 month break I picked up the manuscript and nearly paper machè myself a coffin out of it. It was worse than finding a maggot in your apple.

Right there. That was the moment I knew then I had to find a way to prevent myself from ever having to re-write anything again.

So I have amassed X different methods to outlining and made suggestions as to how you can use them as a pantser. A few too many for one post – so as is becoming a habit lately, I’ve split them over more than one post. (more…)

7 Tactics To Grip A Reader At The End Of A Chapter

end of a chapterWhen you write the end of a chapter, you want readers to be desperate to turn the page and read on irrespective of the fact its 3:41AM and they have work the next day.

You want your book to be the cause of their bleary eyed appearance as they clutch the work coffee machine and growl at any one who comes near.

But what is it about a chapter ending that makes someone read on, rather than put it down and go to snoozeyland?

Here are nine tactics you can use to grip a reader and tickle their temptation soft spot to read on. (more…)

3 Things You Need To Create The Perfect Gothic Story With @Icysedgwick

Gothic TalesOver the next month or so I am trying to finish my book so I can do the underwear eating exercise of handing my book baby to beta readers, *gulp*. I wanted to keep to two posts a week, but couldn’t with all the extra writing. So a few lovely friends have offered to step in and take the reigns for some of the posts. Be nice, play gentle and happy clappy rounds of applause please.

Today the lovely Icy Sedgwick, who came to the Bloggers Bash 2016 is talking to us about an area of her expertise: gothic stories. Icy is studying a PhD in film studies looking at space in haunted houses, so she really does know a thing or two about this.

If you want to know some neat little tricks to perfecting gothic tales, check out Icy’s tips below: (more…)

13 Things I Learnt From Completing Draft Two of My Novel

draft twoWhen I wrote THE END on my second draft of Keepers, I cried. Just two tears mind, I am dead inside after all.

I cried because it was the end of more than just a marathon of RSI, obscenely late nights and incessant tapping that drove my wife to distraction. It felt like I had achieved my first real step towards freedom and the life I really want because a) I’d completed something real and tangible, all 72108 words were staring back at me like tiny dancing stick men.

And b) because I knew, this time, unlike my first draft, it wasn’t a total pile of turd.

After my two lonely tears rapidly dried up, I glanced at the clock on my laptop. The time blinked back at me, it read 1:04am. I’d sat and written 4025 words in the last 3.5 hours without moving. I was gobsmacked, that was four days worth of writing. In. One. Go.

Something told me to check the date. So I did. August 20th. I frowned. That rang a bell. I checked the post I wrote after completing my first draft. To my utter bewilderment, I completed my first draft the previous year on August 20th at 1:04am. If you don’t believe me, check the post.

It’s a beautiful thing, synchronicity. Perhaps I should publish it at 1:04am on the 20th August next year!

Here’s 13 things I learnt writing this draft. (more…)

Writespiration #94 Condense Your Novel Into 3 Sentences

condense 3One of the most difficult things we have to do as writers, is boil our novels down to write elevator pitches.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a sentence or two of no more than about 25 words that explains/pitches your novel in the best light. If you met an agent in an elevator and had 2 floors to sell your book, what would you say?

This weeks challenge is in the same ball park as elevator pitches but not quite the same thing.

I listened to a podcast the other day, I think it was this episode from the story grid, and they said that every story should/could be boiled down to just three sentences. It’s a great exercise in getting concise clarity of your plot.

So, your challenge this week is to boil your plot down to its simplest form. This isn’t marketing 101, don’t try an sell me your book like a pitch sentence. This is purely about plot. Tell me your entire novels story in three sentences.

If you want to join in, pop your sentences in the comments, or in a blog post and ping back here so I can find it. You have until 12pm on the 28th August.

Here’s mine: (more…)

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part II

find your audienceLast week I talked through the first five of nine ways you as authors can use to find your readers.

These were all lessons I’d learnt from a pile of marketing books I’d read over the last month. The post was too long to have it all in one blog, so here are the second half of the ‘ways’.

The first five ways included:

  • Defining your audience
  • Connecting in a meaningful way
  • Strategising your social media usage
  • Being your own fan
  • Advertising

You can see the details of those ways here.

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Parenting Lessons from the Terror Tot – Potty Training 101

Potty TrainingWritespiration is on hold this week. I’ve been busy potty training. As well as the fact that this month is my target month to complete my manuscript draft of Keepers (and next month I have to finish the edits ready for beta readers) so the blog has well and truly taken a back seat.

I have heaps of comments to approve or reply to, a bunch of personal emails that need tending to and my usual boat load of pre-scheduled posts is in a deficit, so sozberries, right now I’m drowning!

So I thought I would bring you baby black terror tot extraordinaire with his latest lessons in parent training… (more…)