Many people don’t start their novel or other creative endeavor because they’re worried about what other people will think. In one of my favourite books, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the notion of creative entitlement. She reinforces that every person on earth is a creative being with a unique voice. There are no new ideas, only new perspectives and approaches to retelling old ones. Continue reading “Creative entitlement”
Before you get alarmed and click away from this post, when I say “kill your darlings” I don’t mean your family members – James and Buster are both alive and kicking. I’m talking about ruthlessly editing your work to ensure the most polished product is published.
Stephen King is the master and kill your darlings is his most famous craft advice. But what does it mean? Some folks advocate finding your favourite sentence in your manuscript and deleting it, but you don’t have to do that to prove you could if it was warranted. Continue reading “Kill your darlings”
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a book called Big Magic and it was a life changing read for me. I don’t typically re-read books, but with this one, I go back to it whenever I need a reminder to keep going with my writing. I previously shared other books that made me a better writer because I highly recommend devouring craft books if you want to be an author. One of my favourite quotes from Big Magic explains how to know when your novel is done. Continue reading “How to know when your novel is done”
Have you ever heard the acronym KISS, which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid? This holds true in writing and is one of the reasons you should avoid adverbs in genre fiction (not to mention the master Stephen King told you to in his cult classic, On Writing). When people use too many words, it’s because they don’t know what they’re trying to say – it’s the equivalent of “filling dead air” on the page. Continue reading “Adverbs in genre fiction”
I had a professor in university who said “you know” like it was going out of style. We made a game out of counting how many times he’d use his weasel words during a one hour lecture just to pass the time (it remained the most interesting part of class all semester).
Weasel words are qualifiers that make statements (and writing) inconclusive and vague. Most of us use these terms and they are distracting from the overall message. If you pair them with passive voice, you have a recipe for disaster. Continue reading “Avoiding weasel words”
There is one sentiment that successful authors almost always echo: writing is a lonely job. Stephen King tells us this fact in On Writing and Jennifer Probst makes the same point in Write Naked. As someone who writes for my 9-5 gig and also runs a busy blog, social media accounts and, oh yeah, crafts contemporary romance novels, I certainly spend a lot of time writing. So, how do you go about making writing less lonely? Continue reading “Making writing less lonely”
If you’re in the query trenches like I am, then you have undoubtedly seen the call for #OwnVoices stories and perhaps even wondered, what is #OwnVoices and does my book qualify? Simply put, #OwnVoices are books written by an author who shares a marginalized identity with the protagonist. For example, if you’re Deaf and you write a book with a Deaf protagonist, that qualifies as #OwnVoices. You can read more information here. Continue reading “What is #OwnVoices?”
I’ve written about strategies to reach a goal, but what happens if you have a setback or outright failure on your journey? Spoiler alert: you probably will because life rarely (if ever) goes perfectly to plan. So, today I’m sharing my best tips for how to overcome failure and ensure you aren’t derailed for good.
The #MeToo movement is a very politically charged conversation and I don’t debate politics or religion on social media. However, the relevance of #MeToo in romance novels is a valuable conversation to have without getting into any of the nitty gritty details. If you want to learn more about what the heck #MeToo is, you can check out this site.
I’m a contemporary romance author, but many of the suggestions I provide below about how to research your book apply to multiple genres. Whether you are writing your debut novel (mine is called Sweet Redemption, which I’ll be querying live to literary agents this weekend) or working on your twelfth, I hope my list contains a tip or two that you can use. Continue reading “How to research your book”