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Posts tagged with: advice for writers

Welcome to Mentor Monday!

ASK US ANYTHING!!!

Hello, everyone –

And welcome to the new vision for the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood! I’m Liz Talley and I’ll be your tour guide for …. drum roll please…..

Mentoring!

Yes, today we’re talking about the importance of having a mentor and offering some (hopefully) helpful advice. 

First, you may be wondering  WHO needs a mentor.

The answer – everyone.

I’ve written twenty-seven books and I still need a mentor. We all do. Whether we’ve written a paragraph or fifty novels, everyone needs someone to give advice, kick their butts, cheer them on, and basically be the one person in their corner who knows what it is like out there and can get her come out swinging anyway.

I know what you’re thinking – Ohmygosh! I don’t have a mentor!

That’s okay. No need to panic because mentors are everywhere. You don’t have to meet them for coffee every week. You can find them here. On Facebook. At conferences. In fact, we’re going to do some mentoring TODAY. Yes, today the Rubies are offering to be your mentor.

I do acknowledge this is like an advice column. I do not know how to get wine out of your carpet, but I might be able to help you with a writing issue. So hit me up…. Help me help you by telling me what’s up with your writing and how I can help you today!

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Why Do You Write?

In the writing communities I belong to, the question being asked is why should I continue to write. Authors of all levels are asking this question because their incomes have dropped dramatically. Many can no longer support their families or the life style they’ve become accustomed too. They’re searching for jobs which will more than likely become their main source of income, or they’re downsizing their properties and portfolios. They’re citing many reasons for this occurrence?

  • Technology has created self-publishing platforms which allow anyone who has the desire and drive to publish their works.

  • Readers can not find them in the volume of books being published each day and advertising is hard to get and not cheap.

  • Readers are demanding more books faster than they can write and more on quickly to those authors who write quickly.

  • They are book farms and book pirates pilfering work and republishing it under a pseudonym.

  • The sea of readers is drying up because of other forms of entertainment have captured their attention.

  • Their readers are sadly dying off.

The list of reasons grows longer every day.

So why write?

Let me tell you a story about a little boy. At the age of three, he received a baseball glove and a ball for Christmas. From that moment on, he was in love with the big-league game. He watched and learned and practiced, and practiced. He played in church leagues, for his school and eventually for the U.S. Air Force team. When he came home from servicing his country, he returned to his church leagues and the city leagues.

One day, he was offered a try out for the Baltimore Team. We went. He wasn’t offered a contract, but it didn’t matter to him. He continued to play hard ball in leagues until he was sixty-four of age when cancer came on the scene. In all the years I’d known him, he once never regretted not making the big leagues because there was so much of his life he loved and would never give up for fame and fortune. But he never stopped loving the game and playing it.

He was my husband and best friend. Jim’s frame of mind mirrored my own as I started on this golden brick road to publishing. I love to talk to my characters and learn about them. I love to research and learn new things. I love creating stories and entertaining others with them. I never thought I’d be the next big thing, nor would I want it. I’ll continue to work my day job (which I’m working now, so I’ll reply when I’m able) to support my family, and have my writing support itself and maybe a nice vacation.

However, we all live in different situations and have different dreams. Whatever you decide is your path, be at peace with it, and know five years down the road the game will change again.

 

 

WWW.AUTUMNJORDON.COM

 

 

MY SPACE DIED

If you read my blog last week, you know I began to dissect my life, trying to learn what is crushing my muse and acting on the beasts. One of the things was my writing space.  With the pool closed and the last tomato is picked and the weather is turning frosty, my writing spaces has moved back indoors. The grandkids who live with rule 90 % of the house, which made me retreat to my and what I discovered was not good. NOT AT ALL.

Sometime over the past spring and summer my Zen space became a storage area. With a bathroom remodel the stuff had to go somewhere. Yuck. The dust and clutter. They do nothing to help my muse, so I spent the better half of one day sorting and cleaning until I felt my muse say, “Okay. It’s doable. We can start the book, but we’re not done here.”

I love writing outdoors, but when the weather doesn’t allow me to, I need a space that doesn’t remind me that I have a list housework to get done. I need a space that inspires me to dream of another world and especially the two humans living in it. (our characters are real to us, no?)

If you haven’t learned this yet, you must. Everyone single person in this world is unique, perceives things differently, and has distinctive ways of learning and when we’re writing we’re learning about are characters lives. Some of us are visual people. They might want to color-code files to differentiate topics. Indulge in colored pens, highlighters, paper and index cards. Paint the walls of their creative space with vibrant, exciting colors. Or hang vacation pictures, or pictures of your characters and your story’s settings. They might try, with a pencil in hand, brainstorming, diagraming or just doodling while visualizing the next scene.

Some of us auditory people. We need music! Crank it up.  Or open the windows and enjoy the sounds of the world. Even family activity can keep you focus, so keep that office door cracked. This type might pack up their writing and head out to a café or library. They also can meet or call a friend and talk out their story plot.

Kinesthetic people rely on touch to trigger their muse, so tactile toys are ads to tickling their muses. They should select textured desk accessories. Mixed them up. Experiment with different kinds of paper and pens. For them, motion is a cure for writer’s block, so take a walk.  

I’ve found that I’m a little bit of all three types. I can’t learn simply by watching or listening and I’m definitely not the type to sit in my chair for long periods of time. Doing so, puts a strangle hold on my muse.  To keep my muse excited, I need to change things up now and then which means I’ll write in different locations in my home, but I can’t do the café thing. Not me. I’ve tried. I’ve written while standing at my kitchen counter or sitting on the floor next to sliding doors with the sun shining down on me. I can walk for twenty minutes and then come back and knock out a couple hundred words in the next twenty. I love free writing with a pad and pencil. Not a pen. Pens restrict me. The words seem too irrevocable. Nuts, I know. But I am who I am.

In my office, my walls are painted yellow. I love plants so there a few of them.  Pictures of family and friends are everywhere. My awards are mixed in with my keeper books, and some awesome reviews and inspiring quotes are posted near my laptop. I have a bulletin board filled with character and setting pictures for my current work. Pictures of my past characters adore another area.

I burn lemon or jasmine candles because the scents inspire creativity. And sounds, my muse feeds on classical and new age music, and believe it or not, listening to the sounds of baseball or football games. (I think this stems from a time when I’d sit at my children’s practices and work on my next story.)

Touch. I come up with the best ideas in the shower. Something about the water hitting my body, releases the etorphines.

To create a space for you, first think about how you learn and then try different things to arouse your muse.     

How have you learned to stimulate your muse?  

 

  www.autumnjordon.com

ONE MORE WORD OR MAYBE JUST ONE WORD

I realized only minutes ago (Sunday evening 10:30 p.m.) that I scheduled to blog here at RSS on Monday. In a panic, I found this blog I wrote almost ten years ago (now updated) and realized that my life has changed a lot since then but also, I’m just as busy. I’m still working outside the home—actually studying for another career too—and I’m now helping my son raise his two sons. Motherhood in your golden years is challenging, but oh so fun. And finding time to write is  still a chore. Most days it doesn’t seem like I have a minute to breathe much less craft a great story, but I’ve done it and will again and again and again.

My motto has always been; word by word, line by line and page by page, and by staying true to that frame of mind, I’ve written thirteen 80K novels in as many years.

Here are a few things I did or gave up to write;

1) I limited my social media and television viewing.

2) I wake earlier, before others in the house, and spent an hour or two in another world.

3) If I wake in the middle of night, which is often, I’ll make notes.

4) I carry pages with me and worked on the wip while waiting for scheduled appointments, sports practice, or even in the lot at grocery store before I shop.

5) Lunch break is a great time to add a paragraph or two.

6) I set goals every day.

7) I’ve made notes in church. You’d be surprise at the inspiration that enters you while in the house.

8) I write while I cook. Keep that pencil and pad with you at all times. I even have a pad of water proof paper near my shower.

9) I joined the RSS WWF in January and scheduled myself in the chat room at least five hours a week. Accepting a hostess responsibility put my butt in chair.

10) I’ve faithfully attended my writing chapter’s monthly meetings and spent a some time writing there before heading home.

11) I get out of the house, away from the chores (I can always find more to do around the house.) and go to the library to write. Some of my friends go to coffee shops.

12) I use my tape recorder function on my phone when I’m walking or sitting in traffic.

13) I’ve made my children,  and now grandchildren, responsible for their rooms and only interfered with their farm of dust bunnies when a health issue becomes apparent.

14) I’ve learned to say YES when it’s really important for me to do so. Otherwise, it’s a “I’ll do what I can, if I’m free that day.”

15) I don’t read every book to the end. If I’m not involved with the story, I move on. Time is too precious.

16) During the season, I don’t try to keep up with the Jones next door. I mow my grass every ten days instead of every Friday.

17) I make time for family and friends because they inspire me.

18) I try to schedule a new adventure every few months, because I need excitement. Guess who attended Celtic Fest last weekend and is going to Ireland in 2019? Living a mundane life, shows in the writing. JMO

19) I don’t have the cleanest car on the block, or house for that matter, but I do have a ton of friends in my head.

20) I spend time each day looking up at the sky and thanking the higher power for giving me a talent that I love!

 

I’m sure some of you can add to the list. Please do. I’m always looking for ways to find seconds to get inspiration and work.

 

To Be A Writer or Not?

I officially started on this publishing journey twenty years ago last month. I’ve written millions of words before, just not for the public, but at some point (It was a sunny day), I pulled on my big girl panties and walked into a writers group meeting where there were other people who talked to the characters in their heads just like I did. They were the lost family I never knew existed and I was home. Since then, while the family I was born into (well, some of the family) supported my need to create, I worked my a** off to learn as much as I could about the craft of writing and to take advice from those who succeeded in winning the public’s hearts. Just when I reached a point that big houses doors were cracking open, the industry took a one-eighty turn. E-readers were released and like any new toy the techs in my generation and the generation behind me coveted them like chocolate. New businesses were formed every day to handle the need for authors to fill these readers with their stories, ie small epubs. You know the rest of the story. You lived it.

 

The one thing I heard constantly in the early years of my training was, “Don’t quit your day job.” Authors who had large followings, like SEP, Debbie McComber, Linda Howard, Susan Brown, etc. etc. stood on conference stages and warned us this business is fickle. You are up one moment flying high among the stars and then suddenly the floor drops out and down you’ll crash.  Yes, some authors will float down gently and might even hover in the sky like a kite on a gentle breeze  (because they’ve earned the large following) but most writers will not. Let me repeat that. Most writers WILL NOT make a living from this career. Those who do make a career out of writing are doing jobs that they might not love, like tech writing or free lance articles, editing, ghost writing. This in not something new. Writing, like any art, has always been a low paying career.  So why do it?

 

I can tell you that I plan to continue to write, because creating stories I love is what I love to do. I’m going to be smart about where I spend my income (no second house or new car). While I think conferences are important to attend, I’ve got to be very choosy which ones have valve to me. Maybe an on-line class or retreat would feed my muse better. I also need to spend my advertising budget where I get the biggest bang for my buck.  A few things I will not lower my standards on is editing, copy-editing and covers.  If I need to supplement my funds in order to publish my future stories, I will. I’ve taken a part time job, because I love writing. I love myself. And I love my family.  I will not take from family funds, but I will work at a job that brings in a steady income, and I will spend a little of the money earned on my true desire.  Who knows, one day I might write a story that will be on the shelves generations from now. That book might help my grandchildren in their retirement years.

So what are your thoughts on the down-turn of the industry? And how do you plan to handle your writing career?

 

FYI: Did you know Edgar Allen Poe never made a living as a writer? He couldn’t support his family from all his works and died penniless.

 

 

 

Not A Blue Bird In Sight

A blank page sits in front of you. The sharpened point of your pencil taps against the lined paper, or that black cursor blinks at you, mocking your muse to write something readers will find entertaining. What you envision scrawled across that page and every page afterwards may be a full-length novel, a short story or just a blog post. But you’re frozen in time like a deer in the headlights of a semi-truck. Your heart pumps your blood through your veins so fast every nerve sizzles and every muscle twitches with anticipation of what will come to life in your mind and then make its way through your fingertips and on to the page.  And you know, as sure as you know the sun will set tonight that if an idea fails to spark you’ll just….

What? What will you do?

Hit your head harder against the wall?

Die?

Quit?

HA!

 

Writing is in your blood, so relax. We all have days, weeks, and sometimes even months that the page remains blank, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a seed of an idea growing inside of you.

In this age, where everyone wants more yesterday and authors are pressured to produce several books a year, stress has risen to new levels for authors and stress does what? Makes us focus on what is causing us the stress.  So, stop focusing on not having an idea and focus on your well-being. Study craft books, read, take a class, read, critique another writer’s pages, read, have a plotting party, enjoy life and people watch… You get the idea. Feed your muse. Once you’ve done that, the words will flow.

Remember, in life, it’s the journey that counts. Enjoy it!

What are some ways you’ve fed your muse?

 

 

 

An epic case drops from thin air and a ticking clock begins. Can U.S. Marshal Jolene Martinez stop the sinister creator before it’s too late and a death occurs?

A thrilling new standalone mystery from award -winning author Autumn Jordon with a totally shocking conclusion.

  LOVED BY DARKNESS RELEASES TOMORROW MAY 8TH!

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

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It’s WEEK THREE check in time!

Happy check in day, friends!

I know week three has come and gone. Crazy, isn’t it? Didn’t we just get started?

If you’re like me, you may have had some set backs. Weekends are particularly tough for me because, um, family. They’re so demanding. They like to be fed and have clean clothes and stuff. And, if I’m being honest, I’ve been binge-watching Game of Thrones and addictions to television programs can also be demanding. They call to me – “Liz, come sit down for thirty minutes. Half an episode, that’s all…” and five hours later I’m staggering to the fridge for more Halo Top ice cream and feeling that old familiar guilt – the you’re-supposed-to-be-writing guilt.

But that’s okay because I’m still going. It’s like a diet. You fall off and eat half a piece of chocolate cake, but the next day you have a salad. I’ve been eating my salads, too, and to date have added 14K to my WIP during the past three weeks. That’s pretty darn good. <Blowing on my knuckles and wiping them on my shirt.>

So don’t worry if you’ve been distracted or commandeered by other issues like the flu, the day job or Netflix, we’re still in this, friends, no matter how successful or unsuccessful you’ve been over the past three weeks. 

Here are some things you can do to up your game:

  • Set aside a particular time to write…and stick to it
  • Visit the chatroom. Hands down this is the best way to WWF. I’m serious. Go to the chatroom.
  • Ignore your inner editor
  • Or not. Progress is progress even if you must stop mid-book and return to the beginning to make sure your not wasting words. (Admission: this is what I had to do)
  • Indulge your muse. If you’re stuck, take a walk, read a book or listen to inspiring music
  • Read the daily inspirational posts at the WWF page here
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Or do. Sometimes you have to get real with yourself and recommit to your writing. That book ain’t gonna write itself.

So time to check in. If you’ve made your goal for the week, type I MADE MY GOAL in all caps at the beginning of your post. We’re going to do back flips (not real ones because most of us are too old for that…or maybe it’s just me that’s too old). But if you didn’t reach your goal, you’re still invited to tell us what’s going on. This isn’t about wagging our fingers at anyone. Nope. Not here. 

And we have prizes….

The fabulous Katie Graykowski has offered up a “First Chapter Critique (any genre except erotica)”

Kate Parker is giving out a $20 Amazon gift card (MORE books!)

And Heather McCollum has a PRIZE BUNDLE: $10 gift card to Starbucks and a digital copy of THE BEAST of AROS CASTLE

 

Okay, so leave a comment and let’s start week four with enthusiasm, determination and a smile on our faces! 

 

 

WE ARE ONE

NOTE: This blog might seem like a me blog but there are important lessons to learn.

If you would ask any of my elementary, junior high or high school classmates, or teachers for that matter, to describe in one word what I was like in school, you’d probably hear the words quiet, nice, shy, friendly, helpful. I was the person who got along with everyone; Nerds, Jocks, Wall-flowers, Artists, etc. etc. Everyone seemed to include me in their groups, but I always stood on the fringe of their social troupe.

At that time, girls like me graduated and went to work in the mills, or became secretaries, nurses, store clerks, waitresses, teachers or housewives. I didn’t long to be any of those things. I wanted to be a writer. Fortunately, my school had a newspaper so there was a possibly that I might try on the dream, but remember I was shy. Of all the groups I mentioned above, the wall-flowers were my groupies. Then something happened. My parents said, if you want a car you need to get a job to pay for the gas, repairs and insurance. This was the inciting incident that changed my future.

I did get a job, through my aunt, as a waitress. Now waitresses are not shy people. They can be quiet, but being friendly and open earns you much better tips and believe me I learned that lesson fast.  And the next year, I joined the school newspaper staff and even managed to ruffle some feathers with one of my articles. (If you read my current bio, you’ve read that trouble is my middle name. I believable this when it all started.)

Jumping forward; I remain a wall-flower of sorts whenever I enter a new situation. My stomach is still a bag of nerves. I still tend to pick a corner away from the action and scope out the happening playing out in front of me.  I still watch the people who walk in the door with their heads held high, flashing smiles, and who jump right into the conversations of others and I wonder how the hell they became that way.

I remember walking into my first writer’s meeting and first writer’s conference feeling a nervous wreck. But then I remembered my first day working as a waitress, and how nervous I was. Then I recalled the more confident person I’d become when I left that job to go college. It took steps to become that person. They were hard steps to take but the rewards were so great.

Over the years through my careers as a mom, professional volunteer (25 years in the elementary PTO plus other orgs.), national restaurant chain area supervisor, a corporate secretary, and as a writer, I’ve amassed a huge number of friends. I count a number of my writer friends among my most dearest. My Ruby sisters and my sisters of the Pocono-Lehigh Romance Writers (past and present) and others, have helped me through the darkest hours of my life after losing my husband to cancer and then my father a year later the same way. It was because of these relationships that I was forced to look up from the dark hole of depression and see the light of hope. Hope that joy could still be found in life.

Writing has always given me joy, but being a writer and having the gumption to step into uncomfortable situations and meet new people has been a blessing. So, you introverts who are heading off to RWA National next week, good for you for taking that step. If you’re thinking of going to a meeting, workshop or conference, do it. Keep my story in mind and start a conversation with other wallflowers. Start your own gang. Introduce yourself to others while in line or sitting next to someone in a workshop. Exchange business cards, like them on FB or tweeter immediately, join a newsletter or two of those authors who impressed you.  Most of all, be you. Be genuine. And have fun!

 

LAST DAY TO PREORDER!

 

Autumn Jordon is award-winning sneaker wearing Ruby. She writes both romantic suspense/mystery and contemporary romance filled with attitude and laughs. In fact, her fourth release in a Perfect Love Series, Perfect Fall, releases tomorrow July 18, 2017. Preorder today at a special price. She’d love to have you join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com

Always

I’m a firm believer that you should never stop learning. On my last day walking this earth, I intend to learn something about this world, or the world I’m about to enter, or myself.

I wince when I hear people say they don’t need to know this or that. Why won’t you want to know something about everything?

Since this is a blog for writers and we focus mainly on the craft of writing and publishing industry and elements related to both, I’ll speak to the authors reading this. Never stop studying the craft. Never turn a deaf ear to information that relates to your small business. Never stop learning about humanity and the world, because they feed your creative well.

No moment in time has offered us so many venues in which we can expand our minds. We have the ability to fly to the other side of the world in a day and experience cultures our forefathers never heard of. We can open a window to the worldwide web and learn about every uncover stone in history, and steps that will change our world today, tomorrow, in years to come.

We are friends to people all over the globe and share our daily lives, hopes and dreams, having never met them face to face.

Since the majority of information shared is through written word, we have a responsibility to humanity to never stop educating ourselves and share what we’ve learned, be it through poetry, screenplays, non-fiction or fiction, but the majority of us, on government income tables, qualify as starving artist. So how can we continue to learn, to improve ourselves as artists?

There are so many avenues that cost little or nothing. Here are ten ways.

  • Blogs like the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, where experienced writers who published, both traditionally and independently, and are willing to share their journeys and help guide others.
  • Many authors have writer related archives on their websites where they share articles on craft.
  • Local or National writing organizations. There is nothing like being in a room with other writers, even if the group is small.
  • On-line writers groups. Check RWA for info on on-line chapters.
  • Craft books. Buy used if on a budget, or trade off with other writers.
  • Industry related magazines. Check for on-line magazines also. Many are free.
  • Conferences or workshops. Many conferences are breaking down their venues and offering the purchased of one day, two day or entire conference packages, making attending more affordable to some.
  • Conference workshop recordings. If you can’t attend the event, this is the next best thing.
  • On-line classes. I, and several other Ruby Sisters, love Margie Lawson classes (margielawson.com). Intense, but worth the time and money! And I’ve taken Master classes from James Patterson and Arron Sorken through masterclass.com. I review classes constantly. Michael Hauge also offers a lot of information on his website, storymastery.com.
  • Reading. You can learn about the craft just by studying your favorite authors’ works. Whether you write every day or not,  reading, learning, every day should be a priority.

 

There are more venues to help you on your journey and I know some of the sisters will jump in and offer them up, but if something has helped you, please share in the comments below.

 

Autumn Jordon is the award-winning author of romantic suspense-mystery-thrillers such as her Golden Heart Finalist and Golden Leaf winner His Witness To Evil. After her family business was comprised by The Russian Mafia and the FBI investigated, she grabbed her note pad and pen and went on to interview the agents. Join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and be privy to upcoming releases, sales, and events. Also, you’ll receive free reads and be entered into her monthly contest for great prizes.

 

 

 

Is Short The New Long?

Writing a great short story used to be the training ground for writers. Hemingway started his career by writing them, as did Stephen King, and many renown others.

For many years, the appetite for short stories, nearly disappeared, cutting the number of magazines that included them substantially, and leaving only classic short stories on the book shelves. However, I believe the tide is changing among today’s readers. Their time is limited and there are times when they just want something worthy and short while they’re waiting in a doctor’s office or school parking lot.

Also, many are now reading on their phones, and reading a short story is more feasible on the small device.

This month, I dove into the short market with a novelette titled Perfect Moments. It released on February first. I was nervous about writing it because shorts have a totally different writing style than a full length novel. It was a learning experience, but after receiving emails from readers requesting to know whether Elizabeth and Bob Kincaid (from Perfect) made it home from their overseas duty, I decided to give Elizabeth and Bob their story. Their short.

Another reason I decided to try my hand at writing a short story was because today’s reader wants more product from an author, and quicker. I’m comfortable writing a full length novel in a year, sometimes nine months. But to write quicker, I know the quality of my work would decline. I want to continue to improve my craft, not hinder it. So to feed my fans cravings, writing short stories might be the way to go.

 

I asked my Ruby Sisters their thoughts on writing short stories.

 

Rita Henuber said she wrote her short stories because, “I have many stories bumping around inside my skull. Characters screaming at me to tell their story. Some are absolutely not full length novel material. All but one in my collection of short stories began with an experience of mine. I had to write them.”

And Jeannie Lyn said, I actually LOVE shorts and think they’re a great way to pack a punch in a short amount of space as well as introduce writers to your voice. The last short story that I wrote was meant to be an introduction to my steampunk world for new readers and a little bonus for existing readers.”

Ruby sister Ava Blackstone stated she wrote a short after reading an article in her RWA chapter’s newsletter about writing for Woman’s World. “I decided to give it a try. I found that short stories were great palate cleansers when I was sick of my main WIP. I also liked the freedom to experiment with different writing styles without worrying that I was wasting months on something that might not work.”

And Vivi Andrews stated, “I’ve always written short stories for anthologies, usually with open submission calls that provided the opportunity to get my writing in front of more readers.  My little gateway stories to lure readers into my world. 🙂  This spring I’ll be participating in the 2nd RWA Anthology.”

I then asked the sisters if they found writing shorts difficult? I know I found it challenging not to add more conflict, more points of view, more of everything.

Vivi said, “Actually, I don’t find them difficult at all.  I was nervous initially about stepping out of my comfort zone, but I wound up loving the opportunity to tell more compact romances.”

 

Rita stated, “Not at all. I enjoyed writing the shorts and the side benefit of stopping those people in my head screaming. I view shorts as a moment in time. A snapshot event giving the reader something to ponder.”

 

Jeannie started writing shorts before she wrote novels. “I have a totally different mindset when I switch back to writing shorts. They’re not just shorter novel storylines — the way I plot and present a short story is entirely different than what I do in a novel.”

 

Ava said, Writing that first short story definitely required a paradigm shift. I had to come up with a much smaller-scale conflict than I was used to writing so that I could wrap things up realistically in 800 words. It helped me to think about it as though I was writing a scene instead of a novel. So then it was just a matter of coming up with a compelling scene that could stand on its own.”

 

 

 

 

So why write shorts? I’d heard shorts help with sales on other books, especially if their part of a series. Perfect Moments just released, so I don’t have a track record to share, so again I questioned my sisters who had published short stories.

 

 

Jeannie stated, I actually have found it helpful bringing in new readers with shorts. Since my settings and worlds are not so mainstream, I think readers find shorts an easy way to get a feel for me without having to commit to a novel. Short stories with direct tie-ins and characters from other series are the best way to go in terms of hooking readership. Teaming up with other authors in anthologies is a also a great strategy for getting that first look.”

Ava had a different use for her short story. I give it away to readers who sign up for my mailing list, and it has worked great as an incentive to drive signups. I’m planning to write another short to go along with my next Ava Blackstone book.”

 

 

 

 

If you’re considering writing a short story, I have some advice.

  • Read short stories. There are many; The International Thriller Writers have released collections titled Face Off. And, I know the Mystery Writers also release an annual collection. Then you have classics like William Faulkner’s That Evening Sun.
  • Pick your story’s moment or moments that really matter and write about them.
  • Stay with one main character.
  • No subplots.
  • Write more words than you need and then pick the words that show don’t tell, show character’s change, and that moves the story forward.
  • Go through the same editing steps as you would for a novel.

 

 My sisters also offered advice or suggestions?

Rita said, “I go by what I love to read. IMO a short story is for a reader’s experience. I will also say I think there is a difference between what is considered a short story to a novella. With a novella, because of its larger word count, I expect story structure, GMC, story resolution, the whole enchilada. Shorter stories can certainly have all that good stuff but I think of them as a bite of the enchilada not the whole thing.

Vivi offered this advice, “I didn’t take any online courses or read any books on the subject.  I will strongly recommend that anyone looking to write short consider the kind of conflicts that can be resolved quickly.  If you give your characters more than they can reasonably solve in a short format, you’re going to have some very grumpy readers.”

Jeannie recommended, Rather than craft books (which I normally love), the best way to learn for shorts is to read how others do it. I think there’s MORE of an art to writing short than writing a novel. The good thing is that they’re short. 🙂

Some authors I love:  Ray Bradbury (for voice, tone, memorable setup and hook). If you can find it, read “A Laurel and Hardy Love Affair”.  Edgar Allen Poe (check out his word choice and how effective his opening lines are)

For romance, these authors’ shorts are actually novellas,  but they establish character and emotional stakes in a relatively short amount of time. Courtney Milan – The depth of characterization is amazing. They feel as emotionally complete as full novels. And Ruthie Knox – She sets up emotional tension wonderfully between hero and heroine

Thank you, sisters for sharing your experiences in the short story market. 

Please ask any questions that you might have and we’ll try to answer them for you.

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Autumn Jordon is an award-winning author of romantic suspense/thrillers and contemporary romance.  Join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com. And don’t forget to check out Perfect Moments.

Ava Blackstone is a winner and two-time finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest and has five short romance stories published in Woman’s World magazine. She is currently hard at work on the next contemporary romance in her Voretti Family series. You can find her on the web at: http://avablackstone.com  PRETTY IN INK

Jeannie Lin is known for writing groundbreaking historical romances set in Tang Dynasty China starting with her Golden Heart award-winning debut, Butterfly Swords. Her Chinese historicals have received multiple awards and starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. SILK, SWORDS, AND SURRENDAR

Rita Henuber; I’ve always had stories in me and now I’m sharing them. I married a Marine, a man I’d known since I was fourteen. I’m fortunate to have lived many places and traveled to the states and countries I didn’t live. I moved back to the barrier island in Florida where I grew up and now spend time writing, weaving my experiences into my stories. My first books have heroes and heroines in the military or government service. But, I’ve started on a new series of books with collections of short stories. LET ME TELL YOU A STORY

Vivi Andrews is a Golden Heart winner & 2-Time RITA finalist. As Lizzie Shane she writes contemporary romance with a pop culture twist, and as Vivi Andrews she writes paranormal romance. ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Latest Comments

  • Louisa Cornell: It’s a great first line, Louise! I am looking forward to reading the book!
  • Lenee Anderson: The murderer is David’s best friend. I’m concerned if I said something along the lines of...
  • Darynda Jones: This is great, Lenee, especially for a first attempt. Wow. I’m wondering if the stakes can be...
  • Darynda Jones: YES!!! I love it, Vivi, but Autumn’s is adds that twists that grabs me. Great job both of you!
  • Heather McCollum: Yes, this works! Thank you Autumn! You are awesome!!

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