Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to select your genre



Many new writers like to say something like this:



“My story is in a new kind of genre. There is some romance and little historical and some science fiction all mixed together in a coming of age novel.


While you may not say this exactly, I am fairly sure that at some point you have decided you have a whole new genre, but, as King Solomon said in the Bible, there is nothing new under the sun. The same is true with our writing. While our books will have unique elements, we must keep our stories within an explainable category, aka genre.


How do you go about selecting a genre? Some say that you should write in the area you understand best, but that doesn’t always work for every author. While I have a degree in political science and history my stories are contemporary suspense novels. That means that I have more research to do in order to construct my plots, but it is the world I am best able to write in.



Consider what it is that most interests you and the kind of writing you get most excited about. Don’t limit yourself to the kind of writing that fits in with your background or learning. Look at the way the story starts to percolate in your mind. That is your first clue.



Once you’ve selected your genre you have the most important step: research that genre. There are certain conventions in writing that you must provide to your reader. Every genre is a promise. In a romance the promise is he and she will meet at the beginning of the book and be in a happy, committed relationship at the end. If you have her die on the final page you are breaking the promise you gave in writing a romance. In suspense you are promising the reader that there will be an emotional experience where life and limb are challenged. If the bad guy is caught 1/3 of the way through and you proceed to go in to the main characters childhood [without any further threat of the bad guy returning] you have broken the promise to the reader.



Within the formula there is always some room for a SKILLFUL adjustment [notice I said skillful], but you must master the convention before changing it.


In the comments why don’t you share a bit about the genre [or genres] you are writing in and what you like about that genre. You may also want to share your understanding of the conventions of that genre to help others learn about that kind of writing.




The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.




Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Clearly defined purpose


Why do you want to write?


It may seem a silly question but it really deserves an answer. This business is full of rejection, low pay, and long shots. During a soaring economy it was about 10% of Manuscripts [maybe slightly less] that actually saw the light of day and joined hundreds of other books sitting lonely on the bookstore shelves.


Authors, once they get that publishing contract, also find that readers can be snide, cruel and difficult individuals sometimes. Now, I’m not talking about all readers [I happen to be an AWESOME reader. The kind every author longs to have. Ha-ha], but there are those few who want to copy edit your novel instead of reading it or debate a single minor comment on a single page in an obscure part of the subplot.


Why do you want to subject yourself to that?


When I answered it I realized that it was because, to me, the characters in my books are alive. They have stories to tell and a need to be heard. They were born [created] to touch someone and I want to help them do that.


So why do YOU do it? I’d love to hear in the comments. And those of you who are editors, what role do you feel you play in all of this? I’d love to hear from you as well.


To read more on a similar topic follow these links:


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com


Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.


Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.


Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.


Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.


Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.


She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Interview with Diana Brandmeyer




Today we are interviewing author Diana Brandmeyer. Her most recent book, Hearts On The Road, is available through Heartsong Presents.


Diana Lesire Brandmeyer has a background in education and psychology. Her credits include My Devotions, The Metro East Family Gazette, Little Visits Family Devotions and The Lutheran Witness. She received her degree from Webster University. She is the author of Hearts on the Road, A Time to Dance, Mystery of the Smithton Necklace and The Trouble with Ralph. She lives in Southern Illinois where the corn grows at a rapid rate behind her home.

She’s married and has 3 grown sons all on their own now, each of them bringing someone special to join the family. Yay! Daughter-in-laws!

Diana loves having pets, right now there is only one in the house, a cat named Wendell and an occasional granddog named Rusty.

Hearts on the Road:

Love cannot be trusted.

Abandoned by her father, betrayed by her fiancĂ©, and forsaken by God, truck driver Randi Davis crisscrosses Wyoming with a broken heart, vowing never to love another man. Suddenly Matthew Carter, a pastor in search of a mobile ministry, is thrust into her life and into her cab. And there’s nothing she can do about it.

Soon Randi and Matthew find themselves at cross-purposes. His life on the road has just begun. Her eight-year-old niece needs a parent to come home to every day. Is this the end of the road for Randi and Matthew’s romance?

Which road leads to God’s ultimate plan?


Diana took a few minutes to talk about publishing from a writer's perspective with Writing Career Coach.

Writing Career Coach: What are some ways you prepared to market your book before you were published?
Diana Brandmeyer: Before my book was available for purchase I began posting to my blog at least twice a week. I also put out teasers on various social networking site. When my cover became available I posted it on my blog and tweeted and used my facebook status to alert people. I posted reviews of other books on my blog to entice readers to come back often so when my book became available they would know. In all my signature lines for email and when posting comments on blogs, I listed my book and the excepted date of its release.

WCC: Tell us about your book.
DB: Abandoned, betrayed, and feeling forsaken by God, truck driver Randi Davis crisscrosses Wyoming with a broken heart, vowing never to love another man. Suddenly Matthew Carter, a pastor in search of a mobile ministry, is thrust into her life and into her cab. And there’s nothing she can do about it.

WCC: How do you plan and write your book?
DB: I am a SOTP with some degree of planning. I like using two programs, liquid story binder and Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Pro to collect my thoughts and ideas. LSB is a great tool for keeping photos of my characters, settings and my loose ideas. I can write with the program too but I like using word. When I begin a story I usually start with a character, they seem to come to me with a problem they want solved and the story evolves from that problem. I spend a lot of time locating photos of what they might look like, what they wear, drive, where they live, and if they have a hobby I have photos of what they collect or make. Once I do that they are real to me and I begin thinking of the three worse things that could happen to them and start writing.

WCC: What is it like working with editors? Do you have tips for getting along and building a great relationship with them?
DB: I have a great editor at Heartsong Presents and before that with Awe-Struck. My best tip is ‘listen’ they know what they are taking about. You can always disagree, but think about it carefully and pick your battles. What is the most disturbing change that you can’t live with? That’s the one to question. Always be respectful, the publishing community is small and you don’t want to be known as the one who was impossible to work with.

WCC: Do you have a tip for finding-and working with-an agent?
DB: Join a national organization like American Christian Fiction Writers-ACFW, attend conferences and network with other writers. It’s possible that someone you know will recommend you to their agent. I can’t stress the importance of networking enough. I didn’t realize how much it could help your writing career when I first began.

Read more of Diana’s interview here at Examiner.com

Other books by Diana Brandmeyer:

YOU COULD WIN!
Leave a comment on this posting and you could win a copy of Hearts on the Road. The drawing will take place on December 28, 2009. This give away is for US residents only. There is no fee to enter.
The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Clearly defined success


How is it you are defining success? Your answer that will not only show a great deal about who you are but also about who you will be. If your goal is to maintain where you are-do you like where you are? Some people really do, and that is great! I like where I live. I like the size of our family and I love the relationship I have with my husband. Those things I want to maintain. I write a few columns in addition to my blogs each month. I am happy with that level, but would be willing to take on one more paid article per month [maybe two]. That means I may spend some time on submitting to a few places to try to develop my connections in paying markets.


I want to contract 3 novels this year so my daily tasks will be deemed “successful” each day if they are leading to that ultimate goal.


In Steve Martin’s Hilarious novel, The Pleasure of My Company, the main character has an odd view of success [such as touching the corners of every copier at Kinkos], but he takes very deliberate steps to reaching those goals. Some might call the man crazy, but how much crazier is it to daily say you have a goal but do nothing to cause forward momentum.


At least he left the house to go to Kinkos.


To read more on a similar topic follow these links:
Clearly defined goals
The right opportunity in the right hands


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com


Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.


Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.


Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.


Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.


Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.


She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Clearly defined goals


Over the next few blogs I’m going to really hone in on clarity. Lingering questions are the key to excellent craft but if you ever want your writing to be published there must be some clarity on a few things.


Today think about your goals. Are they clearly defined? You want to be published? When? Where? What form? What genre? What publication or Which project?
Do you even think about these questions? Do you say “I want to be published next year” or do you say, “I want to have my WIP “Awesome Book” completed and at least three queries out by August 2010”?


Does it seem I am really beating on this right now? It is because in the course of working with authors in my Writing Career Coach program I find that most people are extremely ambivalent. They are afraid of failure and are thus stuck in this persistent “One day” mentality.


So, write a clear goal for each day this week. What is ONE thing you will do each day? It could be research [Read 17 pages on Regency etiquette] or it could be directly writing [write 1,500 words], but whatever your goal determine going in how doing this will help advance your writing career. That will give a real value to your goal and make you more likely to follow through.


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com


Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.


Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I’ll do it as long as I can do it well.


I have come to the conclusion that there are a few different kinds of procrastinators. There are those who have far too much to do, so they are always pushed up against a deadline. That means nothing gets done until it is urgent.

Then there are the procrastinators who find everything so easy that they put it off to the last minute in pursuit of pleasures like movies and games.

There are those who are intimidated by a task and will put it off as long as possible, hoping it will go away.

I’m the type that only enjoys doing what it is that I do really well. This goes for everything: writing, cooking, working, speaking or anything else. As long as I know I’m getting results [positive results] I don’t care how much effort is involved. I will work at it. I want to do everything with excellence. I want to be the best. I push forward to that goal.

That is what makes writing so hard sometimes. It is highly subjective. What is a winning entry in one contest doesn’t even final in another contest. The book project one editor asked for, a publishing board wants to use to start their Christmas fires.

For a type-A personality, writing can offer exciting challenges, an opportunity to learn as well as a horrible assault ones ego. It is an illogical, ever-changing business.

However, it is that change that is most exciting. You are never sure one day to the next what you will work on. What bit of information you will read that will spark a story idea? What plotting technique will change your writing?

So, I guess the best thing we can do is to recognize what it is about us that causes us to put things off…and shut that part of ourselves down. Once we do, the potential for success for a driven person is wide open.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/


Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.


Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.


Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.


Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.


She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Perception is important


I know my readership, so I was surprised. I have a decent sized following for Writing Career Coach. I opened the page and saw “2” in the subscription box.

Yuck!

Of course I quickly realized it was because we’d just created the list [so please get subscribed to the new feed so you don’t lose out on the latest posts.] My next thought was that you guys wouldn’t realize that. It doesn’t matter how snazzy the website graphics, if “everyone” isn’t reading it, why should you.

This is very important for you to think about because it shows the importance of a reader’s perception. What perception are you creating in the mind of your reader with your Ad copy, blog tours, tweets, and other networking? What things are working against you? Just as having 2 people signed up for a newsletter can hurt your credibility, having a large following can help. Having multiple online entries, a strong google rating, and other quantitative things can help.

Just remember, it isn’t what you are, it is what people think you are. Make sure that the image you project is the one you want others to see.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter
is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

People will tell you that you can’t, but don’t listen.


I want to dispel a rumor today. In writing you will not EVER reach the place that your writing success will make you happy if you are expecting a certain level to be “it”. When I started writing I really thought that there would be a spot where I would suddenly be a real writer. A real writer is a person who daily pursues the craft, builds their sphere of influence [platform], and continually watches life around them. It is a person who sees life in a different way.

So, instead of trying to figure out when you will become a real writer, live the writing life. Keep a notebook in your pocket. Live in the world of interior monologue. Think of creative ways to describe every sight and emotion. Then take the time to write it down.

People will tell you that you can’t be a writer. People will try to limit you by defining you based on their standards. Instead of getting caught up in all of that, focus on what you can control. Your writing.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.comTiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I learned from the class of 2009


This last weekend I was in Dallas, TX with Chip MacGregor, Jim Rubart, and 6 authors at the first Master Seminar. I have spent the last year working with Chip and Jim to put these seminars for writers together and thought I knew what to expect.

I knew that there would be excellent content, which there was. What I didn’t expect was the incredible chemistry among all the participants. As I sat in the back corner of the room and watched the event from the outside I saw a group of 8 people become a single unit. That may sound extreme, but that is exactly what happened. The first hour was an overview of the event and, as you’d expect, people were wondering what to expect. By 10 am, however, I saw a noticeable shift. I saw people leaning forward and taking notes. I saw engaged smiles and nods of recognition.

We had lunch together and talked about things that were not writing related like our families, favorite recipes and one man talked about his incredible car business. As the afternoon session began we were no longer participants or attendees—we were friends.

Day two came and Chip told me he thought this might be the part that people liked least. As we sat together as a group we focused on one person in the room at a time. Chip and Jim asked about their book and then shared suggestions for ways to market that particular work as well as the person as a brand. We were surprised to learn that this was everyone’s favorite part. No one got bored because everyone learned from everyone else. At one point a participant offered to write a story on another participant in a magazine. There were networking connections back and forth as each of us realized that we all had gifts that could strengthen the other person.

I wish I could fully convey in this single blog posting what this Seminar meant to me. I was the coordinator which meant I ran and made sure everyone had food, that the meeting room was set up properly, that the room rates were negotiated well and that handouts were prepared. I was the one that Chip and Jim looked to when there were small errands needed to be done. I arranged Jim’s shuttle and answered questions. Even with my outside role, I learned about myself as a writer and a person. I made new friends this past weekend and I reinforced my friendship with Chip and Jim. We had so much fun I started calling them “Seth and Matt” [those are the names of my two brothers] because they kept teasing me like my brothers did when I was a kid.

With all the fun, I still left with great ideas. Jim’s explanation of branding opened my eyes to realize who I really was as an author and what I really wrote. I had been on the right track, but this weekend it finally clicked what the promise is I put in each story. What my underlying theme is.

The participants were excited about the event too. I have asked them to come over and comment on this post, and I hope they will. They are in the week following a conference and all of us have experienced that before. However, since each of you found 2 or 3 things you’ll do immediately to market your writing, you will see real results this time.

The next seminar will be in Indianapolis Dec. 4-5. I won’t be at that one, but I hope most of you will be. Car pool, share a room and pack sandwiches to be sure you are there. It is very worth it. Also, for those of you who are unpublished Susan May Warren has a great event to help you improve your craft. January she’ll be in Phoenix and February she’ll be in Atlanta. These events will, NO DOUBT, be life changing as well. Details are at http://www.themasterseminars.com/.


Writer’s conferences are great, but you can sometimes get information overload. Writing retreats are nice, but they are usually more focused on putting words on paper than building skills. What was great about this weekend’s seminar is you got both: A day of information and a day of practical application.

In my comments I’d love some of the participants to share your experiences, those of you registered to upcoming events to tell what you hope to get out of it and for those of you who have been to other writing conferences, what is the best part of getting together with other writers. Our free update lists will tell you about discounts, new events, venues and other important information on The Master Seminars. Sign up here.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.

Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.

Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Practice your scenes


Here is an exercise to help you with your craft today. In the comments write the following scene but within your genre. Let the tone, description and pace of this small scene be guided by the time period, mood of the scene, genre of the book, etc.


A man and woman are walking outside. Both are hungry.


How much tension can you make of this prompt? How many problems could you realistically throw at them? Will it even matter at the end of the scene that they were hungry or is that just what brought them to the place of conflict? Or will a new secret be revealed over dinner.

Be creative and tell us the genre and time period you're writing in. Have fun with it. I cannot wait to read what you write.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ingermanson Communications Inc. announces the release of Snowflake Pro


Randy Ingermanson, known to many in writing as The Snowflake Guy, has released new software that takes the snowflake method of story writing and helps writers craft their stories, proposals, character sketches and other aspects of the writing process. He offers a number of free articles on his website including on outlining the snowflake method. [www.advancedfictionwriting.com] He is running a special through Friday, November 20, 2009 at midnight where he is offering this new product at 80% off. Details here: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/links/96.php


According to his website Ingermanson holds a Ph.d in physics from U.C. Berkeley and is the author of six novels and one non-fiction book.


Randy’s Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine is the world’s largest electronic magazine on fiction writing craft. Hundreds of people sign up for the free e-zine each month. He also speaks regularly at a variety of writer’s conferences.


More information on Ingermanson’s e-zine, The Snowflake Pro or for contact information you can visit the Advanced Fiction Writing Home page.


In the interest of disclosure: I personally purchased a copy of this product and found it to be extremely easy to use and exceeded expectations. In about an hour I had the skeleton of a book project I’d been working on. The series of prompts makes the process of prewriting like a Q&A session. I was thinking about character arcs, motivation and take away. I was so thrilled with it I wanted to pass this information along. I received no compensation or free products for this endorsement.


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interview with Fred Waren

Today we are interviewing author Fred Waren. His first novel, The Muse, is available through Splashdown Books.

After a 22-year career in the U. S. Air Force producing innumerable military reports and analyses, Fred Warren decided to cut his imagination loose and try his hand at writing the science fiction and fantasy that he’d enjoyed reading his whole life. With over fifteen works of short fiction appearing in a variety of print and online publications, and his first novel, The Muse, debuting in November 2009, he’s feeling pretty good about that decision, though he admits he’s still got a lot to learn. Fred works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, where he lives with his wife and three children.


The Muse: Stan Marino needs a muse. He’s written himself into a corner…again. A shot of inspiration is all he needs to finish his story…where is he going to find it? Stan doesn’t realize that inspiration has found him, and it’s about to take over his life. Ripped from reality, he must lead a band of lost souls into a life-or-death battle with a merciless enemy. Stan has found his muse, but will he survive it?

Fred took a few minutes to talk about publishing from a writer's perspective with Writing Career Coach.
Writing Career Coach: What are some ways you prepared to market your book before you were published?
Fred Waren: Frankly, marketing was the last thing on my mind before Grace told me she wanted to publish my book. I figured I was in for at least a couple of years shopping it around to agents and publishers, if it sold at all. Suddenly, I had to think about things like cover art, and press packages, and conventions, and signings, and, of course, blog tours. I was completely unprepared.
WCC: Tell us about your book.
FW: The Muse is about inspiration. If creativity is the vehicle that allows us to do great things, inspiration is the fuel that makes it run. In my story, we meet Stanley Marino, an aspiring writer who's run out of inspiration. He's hit a brick wall. We often say that someone in this situation "needs a muse," or is "looking for his muse," but in this case, Stan literally finds a muse and discovers that reality is a lot stranger, and more dangerous, than he ever imagined. What seems at first to be the solution to all his problems becomes a battle for his soul and for the lives of the people most dear to him.

WCC: How do you plan and write your book?
FW: I normally would want to enter a project like this with a fairly well-defined roadmap, and I tried to do that. I had a one-paragraph summary, chapter synopses, a list of characters and their descriptions, historical background, and so on. Unfortunately, I’d planned for an entirely different story. About three days before I planned to start writing, the idea for The Muse just hit me out of nowhere, and I knew I had to write it instead. It was a very non-mechanical process, like watching a flower grow. In a sense, I lived the story along with the characters, discovering it as I wrote. I guess it's appropriate that a story about inspiration happened that way. I don't expect to always get hit by a bolt of lightning, but it's nice when it happens.WCC: Do you have a tip for finding and working with an agent?FW: No, I haven't had the chance to work with an agent yet. While I like the growing trend toward a sort of democratization of the publishing process, I still think it's important to cultivate professional relationships with people who are experts in making connections between authors and publishers and know which buttons need pushing.
WCC: What do you do other than writing? How do you maintain balance?
FW: That’s a great question. My whole life has been an unending search for balance—spiritual, emotional, physical, work, and family. It’s tough keeping all those balls in the air at once. I know my relationship with God has to be in order, or nothing else will work. Close behind that is my family, and of course, work pays the bills. I try to stay active…I run for exercise, and I find just getting out in the woods every so often does wonders for my peace of mind.
Read more of Fred’s interview here at Examiner.com
YOU COULD WIN!
Leave a comment on this posting and you could win a copy of The Muse. The drawing will take place on Nov. 24, 2009. This give away is for US residents only. There is no fee to enter.
The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Interview with Grace Bridges


Today we are interviewing author Grace Bridges. Her most recent novel is, Faith Awakened.


Grace Bridges is a sci-fi author (Faith Awakened, 2007, and Legendary Space Pilgrims, coming in 2009) and owner of Splashdown Books, an independent publisher of inspirational sci-fi and fantasy. She's a Kiwi of Irish descent living in beautiful New Zealand, and a chocaholic cat-lovin' Trekkie, Jesus freak, web designer, and all-round DIY gal who also takes care of the Lost Genre Guild blog.


Grace took a few minutes to talk about publishing from a writer's perspective with Writing Career Coach.


Writing Career Coach: What are some ways you prepared to market your book before you were published

Grace Bridges: I joined a lot of social networks online, of all types: mailing lists for authors and readers, sci-fi fan groups, Shoutlife, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and more, and even started one of my own where readers can get updates and previews if they sign up: www.gracebridges.com/signup. I also created a series of video trailers to promote the book, and released them during the run-up to publication, to build the buzz. You can view the first one at http://www.socuteurl.com/jiffyfuzzledo - and look for the Playlist on the right for the others.
WCC: Tell us about your book.GB: Which one? LOL. Probably the one that's out as opposed to the five or six that wrestle within my hard drive and my head. FAITH AWAKENED was first published in 2007 and is now re-issued in a new edition from my own company, Splashdown Books.


A deadly plague with a political greed background destroys most of Earth's population, leaving just a handful of genetically immune survivors. When they realise their immunity is not permanent due to mutations in the virus, they decide to activate a prototype cryogenic system enabling the user to live on in virtual reality while in hygienically isolated suspended animation.

But after flicking the switch, the supposed virtual reality feels a lot more real than the supposed real life. Which one is real, and which one is true? Could there be something supernatural behind this? And how come Mariah's virtual stasis keeps on crashing?
You can find more about this book at http://www.faithawakened.com/.

WCC: How do you plan and write your book?

GB: I use a number of steps from Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method, available here: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php - namely, steps 1 (one-sentence summary), 2 (one-paragraph summary), 4 (five-paragraph summary) and 6 (four page summary), and then a scene list which only vaguely resembles step 8, containing one-sentence descriptions of what must be accomplished in each scene. However, these descriptions are still pretty vague.


For example, in my WIP - "Godspeed," the sequel to Faith Awakened, I'm currently working on a scene I described in planning as "Dave breaks Naomi out of jail." But the details of exactly how he did that - getting past the guards through a maintenance corridor, blowing a hole in the cell wall, getting caught while she escapes, then she sneaks around behind and rescues him again - all that was purely SOTP invention, and that's a really fun part of writing that I wouldn't want to be without. Also, my characterisations tend to be SOTP also, deepening and developing as I delve further into the story.


WCC: Do you have a tip for finding and working with an agent?

GB: Actually I don't believe in agents. No offense to those wonderful people who do that work and those who work with them - but it just doesn't work in my genre. Science fiction and fantasy is notoriously difficult to get an agent for, especially for newbies. That's why I founded my publishing company Splashdown Books, to pick up wonderful new authors who wouldn't get a chance by traditional means. We don't even have submission guidelines - I call them Acceptance Guidelines, which you can find on the Authors page at http://www.splashdownbooks.com/. You see, I don't take submissions at all - rather, I interact with other authors in critique groups, swapping edits, and if I find something I want to publish, I will approach the author. I grant you it's not the usual manner of proceeding for a publisher, but it allows me to gauge their editing skills and consider publication without having the author on tenterhooks waiting to hear what I decide, and without having to reject anyone directly.


WCC: What do you do other than writing? How do you maintain balance?

GB: I'm a freelance translator, so that's very flexible and irregular work. Otherwise I'm kept busy doing things for Splashdown Books - I love all the periphery of publishing, such as graphic design, interior typesetting, filming book trailers, planning blog tours, etc. All these things provide the perfect balance to offset the mental intensity of the writing itself. I'm also a hobby photographer and am learning to play the bodhran (Irish hand drum).


Read more of Grace’s interview here at Examiner.com


YOU COULD WIN!
Leave a comment on this posting and you could win a copy of Faith Awakened The drawing will take place on Nov. 23, 2009. This give away is for US residents only. There is no fee to enter.


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Using what you live to deepen character conflict


"That will end up in a book."


If you spend any time around a writer you will hear that phrase. That is because so much of our writing is drawn from our personal experiences in one way or another. While most of my stories are not autobiographical [I don't stalk women based on a misinterpreted scripture, nor am I a college student in a small town trying to solve a murder], I have to admit that things that I experience do find their way in to my writing in one way or another.


Maybe it is the way I personally reacted to a breakup or disappointment. It could be that one of my characters is afraid of the same thing I am. These are all obvious and easy to do.


Have you ever considered bringing the dual nature of your personality in to your writing?


I am really a dichotomy. On the one hand, I am a successful speaker who really enjoys speaking to large groups. On the other hand, I am a total nerd who gets excited at the idea of doing research and looked forward to every term paper in college. My idea of a dream job would be sitting in a room full of ideas, articles, news reels, historical data, etc. and making sense of it all. Pecking away at a keyboard and discussing the implications with a coworker of similar temperment. Trying to find a pattern and constructing possible scenarios from it.


How do you reconcile the two? One is extremely extroverted, the other introverted. One thrives on feedback and the energy of a crowd, the other the quiet solitude of one's own thoughts.


I guess you become a writer. That's what I did.


Think about the contradictory things in you. Then take time to discover and deepen the contradictory nature of your main characters [including your villain]. Doing that will deepen your writing and create a more relatable story.


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/


Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.


Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.


Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.


Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.


Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.


She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Interview with Anita Higman


Today we are interviewing author Anita Higman. Her most recent book, Love Finds You in Humble, Texas, is available through Summerside Press.

Award-winning author, Anita Higman, has twenty-four books published (several coauthored) for adults and children, and she has been honored as a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston. Anita has a B.A. degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Some of her favorite things are exotic teas, going to the movies, and all things Jane Austen.
Anita latest novel, Love Finds You in Humble Texas, is now in its second printing. She’d love for you to pick up a copy at your local bookstore, Wal-Mart, or Sam’s Wholesale Club.

Please visit Anita online at http://www.anitahigman.com/.

Love Finds You in Humble Texas: Trudie Abernathy is a little inelegant, and she’s never had much luck in love. To makes matters worse, her thirtieth birthday is fast approaching and her sister, Lane, has decided to “treat” her to a makeover and a blind date. Trudie is about to protest, but then she meets the kind and devastatingly handsome Mason Wimberley. In spite of Trudie’s humble manner, Mason finds her attractive, funny, and smart. But there’s one obstacle in the way of the budding romance: Lane suddenly decides that she’s in love with Mason! Trudie has never been one to compete with her glamorous sister, even when it means giving up the things she wants. Will she be able to stay true to her humble self and find her heart’s desire in the process?

Anita took a few minutes to talk about publishing from a writer's perspective with Writing Career Coach.

Writing Career Coach: Tell us about your book.
Anita Higman: In a nutshell, my latest novel, Love Finds You in Humble Texas is about two sisters who love each other very much but happen to fall in love with the same man.

WCC: How do you plan and write your book?
AH: I do a combination of both SOTP and an outline. I write a basic synopsis of the story, but then I let the characters take it from there. I rarely hold strictly to the synopsis. So, I have a destination and a roadmap, but I take lots of side trips along the away, which is also the way I love to plan my vacations.

WCC: How do you market yourself and your writing?
AH: I do a lot of marketing, but I’m not in love with it. I love to write, but I know marketing is very important too, so I try to do my best and get out there and spread the word about my books.
Here are a few of my marketing ideas: I pay for a blog tour, a book trailer, and then distribution for that book trailer. With this latest novel I had a book launch party with sponsors, which was a happy success. I recently put up a TV interview on my website, which came from The Harvest Show. It was live TV in front of eight million regular viewers. Whew! A little nerve-racking, but lots of fun. I hope having that interview available to watch on my site will generate more interviews. If you’d like to watch it, go to http://www.anitahigman.com/ and then click on the little TV screen. In addition, my promotions include giving away a ton of free books to influencers and reviewers. Those offers have helped gather 40 reviews on Amazon. I do traditional promotions as well, such as book signings and monthly contests. I wish I could tell you what the most effective publicity ideas are. I’m never sure, but I do know that promotion is no longer an option for a writer. We must see publicity as a team effort along with the publisher.

Read more of Anita’s interview here at Examiner.com

YOU COULD WIN!
Leave a comment on this posting and you could win a copy of Love Finds You in Humble Texas. The drawing will take place on Nov. 9, 2009. This give away is for US residents only. There is no fee to enter.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

THE PHOENIX RATTLER – DOES YOUR STORY HAVE BITE?


Christian Writers of the West (CWOW) is the Arizona branch of American Christian Fiction Writers



PRIZES: What’s the prize? Finalists will not only receive the opportunity to have their ten pages judged by an agent and/or editor, they will also receive a finalists’ certificate. The winner in each category gets a designer championship pin and will be mentioned on the ACFW loop, on our CWOW website, and Michelle Sutton’s highly trafficked blog: http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/


Categories and their esteemed FINAL ROUND judges:
Contemporary Fiction: Melissa Endlich, Love Inspired, Harlequin
Historical Fiction: Barbara Scott, Abingdon Press
Suspense/Thriller/Mystery: Elizabeth Mazur, Assistant Editor Love Inspired SuspenseSci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: Diedre Knight, Knight Agency
Young Adult: Janet Grant, Books and Such Literary
Women’s Fiction: Rachelle Gardner, Wordserve Literary


FEES: A flat $20 fee per entry paid through Paypal button on http://christianwritersofthewest.blogspot.com/


HOW TO ENTER:
Please include an attached RTF file of the first ten pages of your manuscript, Paypal receipt, and the following information (You can copy and paste the entry form below into an RTF document and complete/attach to entry email):


ENTRY FORM:
Name:
Address:
City/State/Zip:
Phone (cell/home):
Email address:
Are you an ACFW Member? (Membership not required for 2009 contest)
Title of Entry:
Word count of completed manuscript:


Category Coordinators:
Contemporary Fiction: Terry Doyle terrydoyle@cox.net
Historical Fiction: Sandra Smith sandraleesmith@cox.net
Suspense/Thriller/Mystery: Pamela Tracy PamWrtr@aol.com
Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: KM Wilsher gzusfreek@live.com
Young Adult: Lynn Rush sheriboeyink@cox.net
Women’s Fiction: Jennifer Cary jlcary@writeme.com
((Romance included in all categories))


THINGS TO REMEMBER:
1. You should send entry form (shown above), the first ten pages of your manuscript, and paypal receipt to the coordinator of the category you desire to enter by Midnight (PST) October 31, 2009.
2. Use Courier New or New Times Roman font 12 with 1-inch margins all around
3. Make sure to pay your $20 fee by the paypal button on http://christianwritersofthewest.blogspot.com/
4. Finalists announced mid-December, 2009 and Winners announced mid-February, 2010.
ELIGIBILITY: CWOW’s Phoenix Rattler is open to all unpublished writers. There is no membership required for this first annual contest. Published authors may enter if at least five years has passed since their last publication.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.

Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.

Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


Monday, October 19, 2009

How to clearly show your story to your reader


“Writing is telepathy.”


I read that in Stephen King’s book, On Writing. It changed the way I looked at writing. The reason was not so much because it was funny or clever but it was because it made my understanding of writing so much clearer.


That is our job as writers. We need to convey with clarity every thought and emotion our characters express. They need to cry when our character hurts and hide their eyes when the evil is fast approaching. We need to transport thoughts and that comes through the senses.


While there is no simple way to build tension or infuse emotion there are some things that are fundamental:


1. Make sure you engage every sense, including a sense of smell, on every page. Use creative nouns and different ways to explain the senses.


2. Connect a physical sense to an emotion. Don’t smell a sweet flower. Smell the intense softness of a lilac and let it pull them back to spring nights of hide-and-go-seek in grandma’s back yard. You can further infuse the emotion by making the darkness an enveloping blanket or a deep black shroud.


3. Be true to the character of your story. A city girl won’t know the difference between scratch and mash, but a chicken farmer will. If you want her to know that, however, it can add an interesting dimension. You must make clear that you know it is unusual.


4. Clue the reader in. While you don’t want to interrupt the story to explain something to the reader, you need to clue them in. Find ways to weave details in the story that the reader may not always know. Readers read to explore; help them do it.


While this isn’t an exhaustive list of the skills necessary to engage readers, these elements are a part of every good story. Go back through your current manuscript and incorporate these elements in to your story.


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.

Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.

Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fight for it


Last night I was having a conversation with three of my daughters, I have four, and I was talking about my years in school. With the new school year in full swing we were talking about goals and expectations. One thing in particular I wanted them to think about is the strength of their dream. My daughter who is nearly eleven was talking about all the different things she’d like to be when she grows up. Her young mind was struggling to figure out how she could be so many differently, and seemingly unrelated, things.

It occurred to me that many people that I am in contact with through Writing Career Coach battle with the same issues. They arent’ sure if they are interested in or committed to writing. I’ve encountered many people in the years I’ve been writing. I saw some who are stagnating. They have reached a certain level and they’ve become enamored with the idea of “One Day” being a writer, but never really committed to seeing it happen. I’ve seen others get so paralyzed with fear over their writing that they stopped doing it all together. And then I’ve seen some who have really fought for it, and they’ve prevailed.

When I was in sales they used to say “Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice.” Usually we said this about a new person who was starting out. They were excited and saw no limit to their potential. Over time, and with a steady stream of rejection, they gave up. They had more knowledge and better sales techniques but they went nowhere because they’d decided it was impossible. They weren’t willing to fight for it.

So, today, right now, consider what it is about your writing that you’re willing to fight for? Maybe you have an article almost done that is rotting on your hard drive. Wrap it up and send it off. Maybe you need to stop watching a cool new series on TV and spend time writing instead. Maybe, like me, you need to flip your body clock so you can write in the mornings as the house sleeps instead writing at night when there are more distractions.
Often by changing one small activity you can completely change your amount of progress. Don’t give up if you’re in a rut. Fight for it.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writing: Making work or making progress


For more than five years I had a relatively successful network marketing business. I had a large team of sales people and our annual revenue as a down line topped six figures in my best year. This gave me some great practice in sales, marketing, and working with people. One thing I learned that I continue to apply to my writing is recognizing the difference between making work and making progress.

It is important as a writer to clearly determine which you are doing on each project. Early on it is best to take on every opportunity you can find to write. This is because we all need the practice. My mentor once told me that writers have to write half a million words to get all the junk out. That is why some authors even write letters (real ones, not email) when they have writer’s block. But as you progress as a writer, how do you distinguish whether you’re making work or making progress?

Here are a few ways to know if you are actually making progress in your writing:

• If you take time to write a piece and then consider the market it might work best for.

• If you continue to work on it, even if you haven’t found ‘Your Muse’.

• If you are working on an already contracted piece [this may seem obvious but writer’s block sometimes leads us to work on ‘new ideas’ before we’ve finished contracted work.

This is by no means exhaustive, but it does begin to give criteria to help you recognize whether you are stalling or progressing. The sign of a professional writer is a person who pushes through and writes even when they don’t feel like it.


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interview with Editor Sally Bradley


Today we are interviewing Editor Sally Bradley.

Sally Bradley has worked for two Christian publishers, writing sales and marketing materials, sorting through the slush pile, and proofreading and editing fiction. She has a BA in English and a love for perfecting novels, whether it’s her own work or the work of others. A judge in fiction-writing contests, Sally is a member of ACFW, The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), and the Christian Editor Network. She’s a work-at-home mother of three and is married to a pastor who moonlights as a small-town cop.

Sally took a few minutes to talk about editing with Writing Career Coach.

Writing Career Coach: How did you get started with editing?
Sally Bradley: Straight from college, I worked for Tyndale House Publishers. I created the sales sheets the entire staff used to sell every new product. The editorial department sent me information on a new book, and I’d create a short book blurb, an author bio, a list of potential markets, things like that. That was a great foundation for learning how to create hooks in a proposal.

I left Tyndale when my husband and I moved out of state for him to attend seminary. The church that ran the seminary started a small fiction publishing company, and I proofread and edited a number of books as well as sorted through the slush pile there. Sadly the company no longer exists because they had no sales or marketing department. It’s awfully hard for people to buy a book they don’t know exists.

I left that job to have my first child, and my goal at that point was to become a published novelist. I spent the next six years writing and studying the craft. I spent almost half a year studying how to write a synopsis and proposal, and the proposal I wrote garnered an offer of representation from two reputable agents.

About that same time, I began to consider opening my own freelancing business. A friend from church asked me to read over an essay for grad school applications. She was having a hard time getting it to word count, and I showed her a number of changes that made it concise and below word count. It was at that point that I realized how much I loved words and that this was a job I needed to do.

My friend got into her dream grad school, by the way. :)
WCC: What type of editing do you do?
SB: I work mostly with fiction. I love diving into a story and finding ways to make it (and the writer) stronger.
I will customize my work to fit whatever a client needs, but most of my work involves looking at the big picture of a novel--plot, characters, setting, story structure, opening hook, etc.--and seeing what works, what needs some help, any areas where the story can be tied together better, anything that will make the structure of the book itself strong and more appealing to publishers and agents.
In addition to critiquing the big picture, I offer line editing where I do my best to make the actual prose more polished and professional. This involves deleting unnecessary words, identifying pet phrases, fixing awkward wording, and other little details that make a book sing. I'll even mark any misspelled words and grammar and punctuation problems I find.

WCC: What is one consistent issue you see in the manuscripts you edit?
SB: There are a few I see routinely, but the most consistent problem is telling instead of showing.

Telling isn’t evil; there is a time and a place for it, but it should never be the main action of the story. Fiction readers want to experience the story happening right in front of them through dialogue and action. They don’t want to have it summarized as if they were hearing about it from another person. Think of it this way—would you rather watch a movie or hear about it from someone else? Writers need to make sure the reader is watching the action happen.


Read more of Sally’s interview here at Examiner.com and find out what the best resources are on writing well.




The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! In order to offer you more services and a central location for all information I am moving this blog to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/ There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.