The Easiest-Ever Guide To Story Outlining!

Easiest Ever Guide to Story OutliningI have a guest post up on Cholontic – The Easiest-Ever Guide to Story Outlining.

It’s definitely worth a look if you struggle with outlining.

It’s a simple two-step process, each step broken down into easy-to-do parts.

http://jenchristopherson.wix.com/cholontic#!The-EasiestEver-Guide-to-Story-Outlining/c1q8z/551e2ab90cf215f35a384c8e

 

Things I wish I knew about Author Promotion when I started writing

Everything I wish I knew about Author Promotion when I started writingIt’s really tough getting word out about your creative endeavours, so it’s good to know what works and when to start doing it.

With this problem in mind I asked a group of writers to throw their best tips at me, and they responded with some fantastic advice.

My own tip: Be the kind of person that other people want to be friends with by helping and supporting them whenever you can. (It doesn’t hurt to put the name of your latest book or your website address in your email signature either.)

Here’s some more great tips:

“My biggest one-day bump came from an article a newspaper reporter/recent acquaintance wrote about books featured locally. The second was from doing a reading at high school that then ordered a classroom set of books. Both involved being open to the opportunity. Neither was based on a sale or a paid advertisement. In 20 months as a published writer have seen no appreciable return from sales or paid advertisements!” Robert L. Slater

“Connect with – and support – other authors by commenting on their blogs, hosting them on your blog for releases, Tweeting about their books, etc. People are more willing to help promote authors that they already know and like.” Quanie Miller

“Every now and then try a new author promotion strategy. Ask yourself – Have I done anything new lately to promote my books?” Aditi Chopra

“Promotion also is all about presentation to the right market who is interested in your writing.  Make sure you are targeting the market for success.”  Debra Hargrove

“Promote soft or hardcover editions via a public book signing and leave a copy or two to be discovered in a public place to create a public awareness of your work.” Douglas Moore

“What I learned was that resistance is futile and you need to embrace this part of the process. Sometimes it is even – gasp! – fun.” Janine Donoho

“Think outside the box. That is where the growth occurs and if you don’t grow, you stifle.” Karin Halford

“Be patient. Maintain personal integrity, and hold on to your moral and ethical beliefs.” Armando Almase

“Create a writer’s platform, starting with a blog you own.” Carly Compass

“Social media is a must for any author who wants to earn a steady income from writing. Update your blog(s) and make use of Twitter and Facebook and Google + with a mix of self promotion and reposting other articles of interest. Self promotion alone will lose you followers on social media platforms.” Douglas Moore

“Write, write, write, join a critique group, critique, critique, critique. Then, rewrite what you wrote! [Start with a great book!]” Cholontic (Jen Christopherson)

“An author platform online should encompass many sites. Twitter, an FB page, website optional but definitely a blog, Google Plus, maybe YouTube trailers, Instagram & Pinterest, WattPad, Goodreads, if on Amazon fill out your bio area. Fill that out everywhere and utilize the free online real estate at your disposal. Update your LinkedIn.” Tosca Johnson

“Author promo is separate from book promo. Author promo begins long before you have a book on a shelf, the attention of an agent, or hit ‘upload’ on your first self-pub’d masterpiece. Author promo means standing up in the world, both visceral and virtual, and saying ‘Hello, I’m _ and I’m a writer.’ Author promo means connecting with peers, networking with the writing community, and making sure potential readers know your name long before you have anything other than yourself to promote.” AmyBeth Inverness

“Do what you love.” Joe Machney

“I wish I had known how to do it. I didn’t really promote my first book very much. I wish I had been friends with writers who could point me towards the better sites for helpful hints.  Have an author page on all the major social media sites and keep it up to date with  anything appropriate. They are a great way for people to get to know you as a person and want to buy your books because of it.” Karin Halford

Check out some of the other posts in the “Things I Wish I Knew About” series: Point Of View, Critiquing, Dealing With Rejection, Editing Your Own Work, Short Stories, Creating Characters, Story Development, Worldbuilding and Writing.

CMS Structural Analysis Report giveaway.If you’re looking for a little help with your own writing, head over to Creative Manuscript Services and enter the free Structural Analysis Report giveaway.

Structural Analysis Report – giveaway!

CMS Structural Analysis Report giveaway.Creative Manuscript Services (my editing business) is giving away a free Structural Analysis Report, which is normally valued at $550.

All you need to do is subscribe to the CMS blog and intrigue me with your best one-liner for your book.

If you win, Creative Manuscript Services will produce a structural analysis report for you based on your outline or synopsis.

Simple.

So get over there and throw your novel’s one-liner at me! I can’t wait to see it!

If you’re not sure what a Structural Analysis Report is, it’s about audience expectations and meeting all the criteria an audience will expect – whether they know it or not.

Please remember though, you’ve got to follow ALL the guidelines on the CMS website – don’t just drop your one-liner here!

Book reviews: Aurora Darwin, Arrived, Haven – A stranger Magic, The Lethal Oath, Light Touch Paper Stand Clear

It’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed any books here, so during my week off I picked up my kindle, determined to finish a book I’d started a while back and then take a crack at a few more I’ve downloaded over the last year.

Aurora: Darwin by Amanda Bridgeman

Amanda Bridgeman has been a guest blogger here on a couple of occasions, and her posts are worth looking up if you’ve got the time.

Aurora: Darwin is a slow burn despite a introductory teaser delivering expectations of a fast-paced action thriller.

The story follows the crew of the Aurora and their investigation of a problem on a research station. A good half of the book was devoted to setting up the characters, situation and story world.

I won’t go into details so as to avoid spoilers, but once the crew arrive at the station the squishy brown stuff hits the proverbial spinning air-circulation device and things start going very badly for the Aurora crew.

The character development was strong, the action and underlying politics believable for the most part, and the resolution was solid while leaving plenty more for the sequels.

Overall, three-and-a-half stars out of five.

Arrived by Keion Alexis

I’m not sure how I came across this – most likely a freebie advertised on social media. Written with a lot of enthusiasm but little skill. Rating: a generous one star.

Haven: A Stranger Magic (short story, novella) by D.C. Ackers

Another social media download freebie, Haven: A stranger Magic is a promotion for D.C. Ackers longer works in the same world.

As a story, it’s mostly just an introduction to the characters and world, with a mini-adventure thrown in without any real resolution. Still, it got me interested enough in the characters that if I stumbled across the next one as a freebie, I’d take a look. Rating: two and a half stars – it would have been three if it had been a complete story in itself.

The Lethal Oath (The Viking Series) by John Snow

This is a short story/novella with a lot of promise and fairly solid characters and conflicts, but the author’s style failed to draw me in. I struggled through about half of it, skipping ahead regularly even then, before giving up.

I think the author was more interested in the story world and events than the characters themselves, but there’s lots of potential there. Rating: two-and-a-half stars.

Light Touch Paper Stand Clear – short story anthology

I’ve only gotten through the first four stories so far, but here’s the round-up.

The Bone Chime Song by Joanne Anderton – pretty darn good. A very well written, solid story with strong characters and a gritty world I’d be happy to revisit. Four stars.

Five Ways to Start a War by Sue Bursztynski – kept me reading to the end, though I’d probably have appreciated it more if I’d been a fan of Homer and ancient Gods of Olympus. Not so much of a story in itself as the exploration of a concept. Three stars.

History: Theory and Practice by Dave Luckett – the manipulation of a developing civilization by an advanced society. Essentially a small event set against a bigger backdrop, it’s well-told and drew me in. Felt a little bit like I’d only gotten half the story though, and the rest was in the works. Three stars.

The D____d by Adam Browne – couldn’t get through this one. The concept was wonderfully visual – the exploration and colonisation of the Circles of Hell – but I kept waiting for the story to kick in and eventually gave up on it. Two stars.

That’s it for now. Overall, it was just nice to have the chance to read.

Time to do some writing of my own.

2014 Roundup

Drawing of trees in snow2014 has been an interesting year. I:

  • signed with an agent who’s now shopping my fiction around
  • wrote a couple of short stories (writing short stories is pretty rare for me)
  • critiqued a bunch of novels and had one of mine critiqued in return
  • gave a workshop on story structure at the local convention which was exceptionally well received (very happy about that!)
  • gave two presentations at a writers day: one on story structure, the other on blogging
  • grew the Fantasy Writers community on G+ to well over 8000 members
  • changed careers thanks to government cutbacks
  • edited half a novel
  • wrote the best part of a non-fiction book on story structure

So what does all that mean for me in 2015? It means:

  • I’ll be writing and editing a lot more in the evenings/at night
  • I’ll hopefully sell my first novel to a major publisher
  • I should have a non-fiction book ready-to-go in the next few months that will help a lot of writers with their stories
  • I still have three fiction novels that are written and need editing
  • I have far too many more books I want to write.

How’d you go this year, and what does that imply for your expectations in 2015?

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