Viewing entries in
HELP!

The #1 Tool For an Authentic Setting

The #1 Tool For an Authentic Setting

I've written two books and am in the very early stages on my third book. One thing these books have in common is that they contain places I have never been or haven't visited during the time of year I'm writing about.  

This creates a special set of issues for writers when writing fiction. Chances are that your book will be read by someone who lives in the town or country you've tried to describe. You must add enough detail, from street names to description of the architecture to the feel of the town for the effect to be authentic.  

I am a big proponent of writing about what you don't know. After all we have fantasy writers and historical fiction writers who (usually) haven't been to the time or place they are writing about. 

The single best tool that any writer can use to give detail and authentication to their setting is Google Earth. What's great about Google Earth is that you can type in a specific address and get a 360 degree view of the surrounding area.  

For The Clouds Aren't White I picked out a house on the Isle of Skye so that I could describe the same view out the kitchen window. I've used it for Lives Paris Took to orient myself around Paris and figure out the distance from the Sorbonne to the main character's apartment.  

I suggest downloading Google Earth and trying it out. Look up your house or hometown, figure out what is different. Then look somewhere you've never been and always wanted to visit. After you've puttered around for a while, write a description of it.  

Hope this helps!

Cheers, 

Rachael

7 Things I've Learned as a Debut Author

7 Things I've Learned as a Debut Author

Life is never easy when you're a debut author/novelist. Even if you're Kim Kardashian. Remember her selfie book totally flopped? Its impossible to accurately predict consumers 100% of the time. There are cold hard facts but there is also hope. 

So here we go:

1. You Are Not Alone: However much you feel it or worry that you are. Believe me, you are not. There are two wonderful groups that I am apart of via the wonderful internet. Shelly Muncaster's wonderful Keystrokes and Closed Doors which is a great gathering place for authors who are working on their novels and the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (which has both a website and facebook page). The IASD group is comprised of both published authors and writers working on their first books. Its one of the best meetings of the minds that I have even been apart of.

2. It'll Be Difficult: There's no getting around it, its terribly hard to be a debut novelist, even if you've finished your book and done the amazing and gotten an agent and publisher. Its a long hard road to get the wider populous to hear about you, much less get them to buy the book. 

3. You'll Loose Time: This will range from time with family to your social life to parts of your sanity, as in where did all the time go. Some days you will be so caught up in your writing, social media strategy, writing bogs, setting up your website, that you won't be able to remember how you got there.

4. No One Loves Your Book As Much As You Do: I've heard writers say 'this book is my baby' or 'a part of my soul went into writing this book' - in that case, calm down Voldemort. But seriously, no one cares about your characters or the story as much as you. Not your spouse or mom (ok that's a stretch-but certainly not my mom) or your best friend or even your agent and editor. This is your project, your hopes and dreams. Don't expect mountains from people who can't deliver them.

5. There's So Much To Celebrate: I am currently celebrating finishing the first draft! Woo-hoo...oh wait now I have to go through three more editing hoops. Huzzah (insert weariness here). But that's the great thing about writing/publishing a book. There are so many little triumphs along the way and gigantic ones as well. Like when an agent asks to see your entire manuscript. Or when your sales start rising on Amazon. Invest in champagne people. Invest.

6. Sooner Or Later You'll Hate Looking At That Cover You Love: Ok so just me? I loved the cover for The Clouds Aren't White when it was designed. I love the colors, the way it matches the tone of the book, the dandelion on the spine. Ok I still love the dandelion. But honestly, it'll get old at some point. You'll look at it a lot. A lot a lot. 

7. It'll Propel You On To The Next Book: This goes with #6. I decided I needed a new book in my life and I wanted to get back to the business of writing. So out comes book #2, Lives Paris Took. The old book will always propel you forward. You'll want to dive back into a world again and figure out the characters. That is why the debut novelist has so much going for him/her...they are driven, they want to succeed. It's not all bad.

Keep your head up and keep writing.

Cheers,

Rachael

The Quick Way to Write a Book

The Quick Way to Write a Book

Yes you read that correctly. Because there are obviously 'non-quick' ways to write a book. One of the best ways to drag out the writing process is to let the book go cold. Think of this like a kidnapping, the first twenty-four hours of a kidnapping are crucial. Or in the case of the novel you're trying to write, the first 12 months are key. 

Let's get down to it. You want to write a book. You even have an idea. Let's walk through it.

Month 1: Plan, plan, plan. This applies to you whether you're a outliner or not. Try to plan out the ending. You make the writing go by much quicker if you know where its all going.

Month 2: Write, write, write. One of the best ways to get a running start with your novel is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWrMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Not everyone can plan this out so November falls when they are ready to write. But consider doing it. The camaraderie is beyond compare. Suddenly, 1,667 words per day doesn't seem so great. Please don't worry if the whole draft feels like word vomit. 

Month 3: Keep Writing. The entire book won't get finished in one month. Trust me. Finish up. If you finish early, take some time off.

Month 4: Breathe. This may seem counterintuitive to being "quick." But it is essential to recenter yourself on the story. Taking a step back helps you write better.

Month 5: Revise. Large scale edits at this point. Bottom of the pyramid, narration and character development. Make sure your first chapter reflects your last chapter. Make the story come full circle.

Month 6:  Revise plot and story structure. This is one of the most important parts, I feel, of the revision process. Play close attention to plot holes and overblown metaphors, don't let anything detract from your story.

Month 7-8: Send to beta-readers. Find people who are not your friends or family, hopefully other writers that can offer you sincere feedback on your novel.

Month 9: Implement beta readers edits.

Month 10: Edit, edit, edit. Think the top of the pyramid. Grammar, punctuation, spelling. Work hard on this. Polish to a T. If necessary, hire a professional editor.

Month 11-12: Work on query letters. Send to agents. 

Look there it is! The Quick Way to Write a Book. One thing to remember is that 'quick' is relative. You cannot rush the process unless you are an author with a large team behind them, working on edits, building your online platform, etc. Relax in the everyday work.