Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pros and Cons - Pantser vs Plotter

Are you a pantser or a plotter? Or a plantster - a little of both?

Here are my definitions...

Plotter - have a terrific story idea, plan, outline, know the basic plot, character backstories, conflict, theme, arcs, etc. Then start writing.
Pantser - have a terrific story idea and/or an awesome character and start writing.

from INSIDE OUT, YouTube clip
Pros & Cons...

Purpose. Your characters need to have goals (Plotter), but how they reach or don't reach them is up to you (Pantser).
Flexibility. Having a plan and making an outline is a great way to know the big plot points of your story (Plotter). Unfortunately, your characters may lead you off your path in a new direction. This isn't a bad thing! Don't resist, go with them and see where it leads (Pantser).
Spontaneity. You want to keep your readers guessing to keep them turning pages (Pantser), just make sure surprises make sense in the story (Plotter).
Continuity. When you start writing a new story, it's a fantastic feeling. Like a child chasing a butterfly--Ooo pretty! (Pantser) But when the butterfly leads you into a dark forest and disappears, you are stuck and lost! If you have a path to follow, you can find your way through the rough parts and make it to the end. (Plotter)

That's why I'm a Plantster - have a plan and a rough outline to know where the story is going, then start writing

I like having a plan, then once I start writing, I take breaks for research, naming people and places, and making notes to keep everything straight. My characters always lead the way through the story, I just nudge them in the right, general direction, so it's just as fun for me to write it and discover it as it is for my readers!

And a special side note, MJ Fifield also talked of Pantsing and Plotting this month!

No matter which way you write it, keep at it!

I love writing!

And someone else who loves writing, is my SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK:

The brilliant Chrys Fey is full of #SPARKS! She found sparks to inspire her and now shares sparks to inspire others. I know she's a big spark of inspiration for me!

Sparks of 
Inspiration -- Motivation -- Advice
Creativity -- Positivity -- Wisdom
Encouragement -- Empowerment -- Insight

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer's Support Group, running their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Special Note: Her mother is one of her biggest inspirational sparks with published books of her own!

Living in Florida, Chrys is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four cats and three nephews, both keep her entertained with their antics.

You can find her all over...
 Blog Website Facebook /  Twitter @ChrysFey

How about you--Plotter? Pantser? or Some of both? And go visit Chrys for a Spark!

Monday, September 17, 2018

What's your THING? 4 Steps to Building Your Brand

I love writing. I get a huge thrill when someone reads something I wrote and tells me they liked it--repeat customers who aren't relatives are the BEST!

But I never realized how much work, sacrifice, and embarrassment I would have to go through to promote myself. Selling yourself is awkward. Putting yourself out there is a huge risk. Some of you think rejection from query letters is a knife in the gut. Wait till you go to an event and don't sell a single book. Heart-wrenching! Why can't we just write a phenomenal book and be a big hit over night?? (I know, don't answer that)

I have come to terms with my lot in my writing life. Time management has new meaning after you're published. Since I love the writing and hate the marketing, I'm always looking for ways to make the latter easier so I can do more of the former!

One huge way to help get your books noticed is to Brand Yourself.
Your author name is your brand. Think about your favorite authors--you love reading their stuff and look for new releases by them. You like their style, their stories, their characters, and how they keep you wanting more! You have to make readers want that from YOU!

So here are some suggestions on
How to Brand Yourself:
  • First, Know Yourself - What do you write? Do you like to read your own genre? Where do you live? Do you like to travel? What part of the process are you best at? Worst at? What do you like to do? Do you have a job? On the surface, these questions will help you form a solid AUTHOR BIO. Looking deeper, you will discover more about yourself so you can relate to your readers.
  • Then, Know Your Readers - There's no stereotype for readers. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors! Readers know what they like, and if they like what you write, you'll gain fans for life! To figure out what your readers like, you have to read the best sellers in your genre. If you read the genre you write, it's easy to do research!
  • Now, Go Get Them! -  Go to Book Events--try to speak on a panel and let readers get to know you. If you write sci-fi/fantasy, try going to some Sci Fi Cons. Romance & YA have conventions and events too. For a younger age group, try speaking at a school or children's book fair. You have to get yourself out there.
  • And Keep writing! - The more books you have out there, the more Your Name is out there and the more your fans will have to read and brag about, getting more people to notice you!
I'm still debating how to head up my blog to capture my brand. Here are a few great examples of Authors who have the right idea...

Stephanie Faris - Adorable Children's Author

Christine Rains - Scintillating Speculative Fiction

Elizabeth Seckman - Hopeless Romantic Writer

And my super cheesy SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK!

Crystal Collier - YA Magical Journeys

I've known Crystal for many moons (ha ha). I love her whimsical posts, her sweet author showcases, and especially the "two truths and a lie" challenges. She's doing extremely well with an adorable houseful of rugrats and a bunch of books out there. Including her wonderful Maiden of Time series!

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, five littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

You can find her...
Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Hope you are in good spirits no matter what phase of the writing process you're in!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

What's a Publisher?

Hello, lovely writers!
I have the honor to be a humble host for the IWSG this month. My fellow Co-Hosts are:

And of course, our fearless leader, Alex J. Cavanaugh! We're all here to listen and learn and know we aren't alone!

The question of inspiration this month is...

What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why? 
My publishing journey continues... I've been with the small press Curiosity Quills for several years. It started out great! They paid lots of attention to the authors, they edit with us, they create covers, and they get us set up on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, etc. Plus they have a contest and set up some reviews to get us started. Then, like baby birds, we kicked out of the nest to fend for ourselves... Fly, be free! All in all, it's been good. No matter what, I think most writers have to promote themselves and get out and sell, unless they're picked up by the big publishers. Even then, it's readers and word of mouth that determine how well the book will do... Success breeds more success.

I've stuck my toe in the self-publishing pool with my UnPrincess Novellas. That is all DIY, but there are many formatting programs to help with getting your book published pretty easily. You just have to take care of the editing, cover, and again, promotion!

Writing a book is a distinguished accomplishment. Publishing it is a matter of perseverance and finding the right fit. Promoting it is where the REAL WORK begins! Ugh!

I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's thoughts on Publishing!

In other news...
You may have heard the latest IWSG Anthology Contest is underway. Well, today they are announcing the judges! To find out who they are, hop over to the IWSG site.

In conjunction with the beginnings of the new IWSG Anthology Contest, we have combined all the previous IWSG Anthologies into one IWSG Anthologies website!

And it just so happens, that my Shout Out of the Week is one of the admins:

She's been writing forever and is very good at it. Multi-talented, she can do all aspects of publishing, and has written a ton of great stories! I'm excited to be working with her at the IWSG Anthology site.

Cherie Reich owns more books than she can ever read and thinks up more ideas than she can ever write, but that doesn’t stop this bookworm from trying to complete her goals, even if it means curbing her TV obsession. A library assistant living in Virginia, she writes speculative fiction.

Give me an I! Give me a W! Give me an S! Give me a G!

Go IWSG!!!!

Hey, it's September and that means:
Football Season and Fall! Yay!

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