Friday, September 30, 2011

What Do Writers Need to Know Before Sending Out Their Manuscript?

Writers should be aware that the publishing industry is a business and the more they know about the business and how it works, the better there chances in securing an agent and publisher. Before getting published, I would think of ten things daily that could bring me closer to my dream. Research plays an important role in a writer’s life. Connecting with authors allow you to network and support one another. Writers need to build their platform a year before their book comes out which means Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and having a website is one way to reach to your market. Attending events like workshops, writing conferences and retreats offers a lot of valuable information that could connect you to an agent or editor who would be interested in your manuscript. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's The Best Investment for a New Writer

The best investment I’ve ever made was to hire a developmental editor. A developmental editor is very different from a copyeditor. A developmental editor looks at the bigger issues of your manuscript. She inspects if you follow the correct structure, if your characters are well-developed, POV, dialogue, voice, pacing and plot. It’s very difficult to be objective with your own story and a developmental editor will dissect your novel and see what works. A developmental editor can bring your novel within publishing standards and it's important to find one with good credentials. I've made the habit of hiring an editor for all my books.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Writing Journey

Today, I have Andrea Buginsky, author of The Chosen who will be guesting on my blog.

I have enjoyed writing all my life, but didn’t consider turning it into my profession until college. I grew up with heart disease, and had planned on going into the medical field to work with other children growing up with heart disease; but I wasn’t doing well in some of the courses required for my program. So, I had to reconsider my career goals. My sister said, “You love writing; why not do that?” And that’s when it hit me: she was absolutely right. I switched my goal to becoming a journalist.
After earning my BA in Mass Communications-Journalism, I began working as a freelance writer from home. Over the last few years I’ve written web copy for several different web sites, including Associated Content,, and Daily Glow. I also decided I wanted to try my hand at writing a book. My first attempt was an adult romance novel, but I could never seem to complete it, no matter how often I tried. Then I decided I wanted to write for children, and tried, unsuccessfully, to write a series of short stories. When that didn’t work either, I knew it was time to return to the drawing board.
Then, one day, I was watching the movie “The Seeker: The Darkness Rises” on TV, and thought to myself, “That’s what I want to write: a fantasy for children.” At the time, I was playing a role playing game with some of my friends and family. I had the idea to use our characters and write my own story with them, creating a world I could call my own that they would live on and be sent on a quest to save. “The Chosen”was born from that idea, and four years later, it is my first published children’s book, available in both e-format and paperback. And people are buying it! They’re reading it, and enjoying it! It’s getting some great reviews, such as “a refreshingly different read” (Creativity Corner), “a cute read” (Lost for Words), and “a quick and rather fun read” (Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile).That’s the best reward I could receive.
After “The Chosen” was published, I decided to continue writing stories with those characters, and turn it into a series. I’ve recently submitted book two to Solstice. I’m also currently working on book three. I love working on the books, coming up with different adventures for The Chosen to go on, continuing to save their world from the chaos that seems to happen on it, and meeting new people. What I’m hoping to accomplish is to have kids looking forward to the next book of “The Chosen” series to be released, like they did when J.K. Rowling was writing “Harry Potter,” or Rick Riordan was writing “Percy Jackson.” I want my books to be available in bookstores for children of all ages everywhere to be introduced to and enjoy reading.
I would also like to see some other books I have in mind become realities. One is another fantasy novel I started working on a few years ago about a girl who discovers that the legend of King Arthur, Camelot, and Avalon are real, and she is a part of it all. I’ve also been working on an autobiography about growing up with heart disease called “My Open Heart.” I’m hoping it will be a book that adolescents who are growing up with heart disease, or other chronic illnesses, as well as their parents, can read and see that someone in their situation survived the ordeals they’re currently facing. I’d love to be an advocate for them.
Now that my hard work has paid off, and I’m at last a published author, I’m learning a harsh reality that writers have been learning for years: the work does not end when the book is published. In fact, I’m beginning to think that’s when the real work begins. The writing is hard, tedious, and often frustrating; but it’s also fun and rewarding. But once your book is published and available to readers, you also have to market it. That’s tough. Suddenly, you have to learn how to market your book, to let readers know it’s available. And you have to keep marketing it so that readers will find out about you and your book, find it, and read it. Word of mouth is not enough. You have to get out there and get your name in the limelight, whether it is in public or, thanks to technology, over the Internet. Since my book has been published, I have created my website with a blog, signed up for a Twitter account, which I never thought I’d do, and added an author page to Facebook.It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’m enjoying it.
Writing is something that allows us to delve into other worlds, and create things the way we want them to be. If you’re interested in writing, or are starting to write yourself, just go with the flow. Write what you want to write, and not what others think you should be writing. Reach for the stars, and make your dreams come true.
I’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions, thoughts, or comments, you can reach me through:
You can also leave a comment about “The Chosen” on Amazon or Solstice Publishing.
Halli is a shy, young dwarf who has no idea of her true calling.  When the evil Prince Gastle sets out to detroy the world of Phantasma, Queen Laurali of the Elves comes to tell Halli she’s a Holy Paladin with the power to heal, and will join The Chosen, a group of brave warriors being sent to defeat the evil beast and save Phantasma.  Will Halli be accepted by her group, and be able to keep them alive through their adventures?  Will the evil Prince Gastle be defeated, freeing Phantasma from his destruction?  Only time will tell.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Mind-Numbing Necessity of Transitional Scenes

Today, I have Dianne Hartsock who will be guest posting on my blog. Dianne lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her husband and college-aged son, and works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

The Mind-Numbing Necessity of Transitional Scenes

Yep, they have to be done, but they’re my least favorite part of writing. I’ve been known to create whole novels without them then going back to put in all the little details of characters moving from point A to B and ignoring C all together. With ALEX, if I could have included a believable transportation device, Alex would have used it at every turn. So many exciting scenes lay ahead of him! But how to get him there without my readers banging their heads in boredom as he trudged across the street or town or whatever to reach that point was a problem. My solution? I threw obstacles in his path along the way until he begged me to just let him get there already. Now, whenever I’m faced with the blank page of a transitional scene, I try to think of a crazy wild thing to trip my characters up with and make the journey an adventure in itself.

To find out more about Dianne, please check her website at:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are Themes Important?

Yes. Theme is the wisdom and universal message that resonates in your story. It's more than just writing a well-written blockbuster plot. If there’s no message that you want to tell your readers, then why write a novel? Every time I read a book or watch a movie, I feel changed.  If there is a powerful theme that touches my heart, I know that the author’s story has taken a positive effect on me. Writing is an emotional journey where you open up your heart to your readers.  Providing an evocative theme is the best gift you can give them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

How Do You Pick Names for Your Characters

When creating my characters, I always think of them as my children. J  This only means that you want to give your characters a special name that suits their personality. Characters that are distinct and unique, can leave an impact with your readers. After the book Twilight was released, Bella was the most sought after name given to baby girls by their parents. Isn’t it amazing how one name can leave such a huge impression on people’s lives?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

I know a lot of editors and agents are going to cringe when I say this but I don’t believe in writing outlines before you write your novel. I know the beginning and how it will end, but everything in between is where I allow my characters to surprise me. Nonetheless, conflict is magnified throughout the novel. I create character sketches, visualize my setting and emphasize on my theme and hook before I write my novel. I keep a notebook and index cards beside me to add ideas along the way. Only when I’ve completed my first draft do I write an outline. I evaluate my character sketches to see if my characters are consistent and if the story has a payoff in every chapter. Before I begin editing, I write down notes for every chapter. I would love to hear if you’re a pantser or a plotter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Do You Choose a Catchy Title for Your Novel?

When choosing a title, I always think of a symbol. I chose to name my novel Love Letters because the letters were the symbol of a love that was lost but not forgotten. The powerful love was revived by reading the letters. I chose Chocolicious to be the title of my novel because chocolate led my heroine to pick up the pieces from her shattered life and help her find herself. Titles are meant to hook your readers and should have a deeper meaning behind the book. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Do You Edit As You Write?

Never. Writing is a creative process and you need to let your creative juices flow. Don’t worry about the grammar or spelling issues in the beginning for that can be fixed later. If you feel you have a strong message and believe in your characters, then write the best possible story you can write. Don’t rush! Enjoy the moment and get to imagine and visualize what your characters are doing while you bring them alive. After writing your first draft, celebrate and congratulate yourself. Not everybody gets to write and finish a book like you did. Tuck your manuscript away for a month so you can give your mind and eyes a rest. You’ve been working too hard and deserve a break before you dive in and edit.