Happy Holidays, everyone! This morning I’m excited to share a special December contest for writers:
Starting today, you can enter to win a critique of your manuscript’s first three chapters from me, thanks to Writers Helping Writers!
It’s part of Angela and Becca’s annual Advent for Writers giveaways. I’m so honored that they asked me to be part of this year’s festivities, and I already can’t WAIT to read the winner’s chapters!
It’s happening again: Angela and Becca of Writers Helping Writers have invited me back as the guest editor for their Critiques 4 U contest! (*happy dance time*)
In case you’re not familiar with it, Critiques 4 U is Writers Helping Writers’ monthly contest in which three writers are selected to have their story’s first page critiqued by Becca or a guest editor. It’s a fantastic way to get free feedback on one of the most important pages in your manuscript from a resource you trust, and I’m THRILLED to be back again for the November edition.
OMG, I’m so excited, everyone! Helping out Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers for their Critiques 4 U contest back in March went really well. So guess what? They asked me to come back for this month’s contest! 🙂
If you’re working on a story or manuscript, or if you didn’t get a chance to enter the March contest, continue reading to learn how you can enter this month.
Yes, I’m posting on Tuesday instead of Wednesday this week! Why? Because something AWESOME is happening at Writers Helping Writers today, and I don’t want you to miss out on it.
Today, Writers Helping Writers (run by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and other best-selling resources for writers) is running its monthly Critiques 4 U contest. The rules are simple: Comment on this morning’s blog post within 24 hours of it going live, and you’ll be entered for the chance to be one of three (3) writers to receive feedback on the first page of your manuscript.
Usually Becca critiques the three winners’ first pages. However, she and Angela have invited a special guest editor for this month’s contest: yours truly! 😀 So if you’re working on a story or manuscript right now, keep reading after the jump for more details.
The end of December and beginning of January is a thoughtful time of year for me. I think back on the previous year, the highlights and achievements, the setbacks and lessons learned. Then I turn to the year that’s beginning to unfold. I ask myself, “What can I accomplish by the end of the year? What do I want to do? How can I continue to embrace the projects and ideals that matter most to me?”
This year, I’m taking that goal-setting to a new level by trying a New Year’s ritual that my friend Leanne Sowul practices. Every January, she chooses a word to guide her decisions, intentions, and actions for the next 12 months. In that way, it becomes a sort of theme for her year. And knowing what I’ll be up to in the near future, I’ve chosen my own word to be my touchstone for 2019.
Before I share that word, let’s put 2018 into perspective.
I’m back at Writers Helping Writers this week to talk about one of favorite productivity tips: writing first drafts out of sequence. (*gasps*) If it sounds like it might be an overwhelming or potentially confusing way to write, I don’t blame you for thinking so. But when approached in a methodical way, “skipping around” can help you take advantage of moments of intense inspiration so you’re constantly in the flow. You can even use it as a work-around for writer’s block. 😮
I’m back with a new article at Writers Helping Writers! This time, I talk about the informational interview, a research method that writers can use in addition to books, articles, and documentaries – or when those resources don’t provide the information you’re seeking. Understandably, pursuing this kind of interview can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never conducted one before. So this post offers tips on all three “phases” of the process – before, during, and after the interview – that I hope will give other writers the confidence and clear vision to go after their own.
Today I’m over at Writers Helping Writers to share a recent writing-related experiment: I created a map for an important location in my manuscript’s setting. It turned out to be a fun exercise that exercised a different part of my creativity – and best of all, it was immensely useful for the story I’m working on. So what are some the benefits of mapping your story’s setting? How do you go about creating your own setting map? Find out at the link below. Plus, there might be a photo of the map I drew. 😮 Continue reading
Last January, a friend gave me this New Year’s party hat. The timing for this sparkling “gift” couldn’t have been more appropriate: I was ready to send a YA fantasy novel to beta-readers, and 3 weeks into a crowdfunding campaign to help me afford a trip to the Iceland Writers Retreat. Not to mention I had a whole list of goals and plans for 2017, and if things worked out the way I’d hoped, maybe I’d be closer to my dream of being published by year’s end – a pretty good “best year ever.”
Today, that hat still sits in my writing space (a.k.a. my dining room table), and I’m no closer to being published than I was a year ago. But that doesn’t mean 2017 was “not the best year ever.” Rather, it turned out much differently than I thought it would.
Was it challenging? Absolutely. Discouraging? At times, yes. But it was also one of the most exciting, inspiring, and humbling years I’ve had the privilege of living.
For all those reasons, I can’t write this annual reflection post in the same way I’ve written those of past years. Instead of focusing on milestones, blog statistics, and defined plans that could change in a few months, I’d like to share what I learned this past year. How certain events sent my mental health spiraling and shook my faith and self-confidence. How other events and important choices helped me heal and made me look at life – even why I write – from a different perspective. How it all, in the end, reminded me that I’m intelligent, creative, and determined enough to rebound from setbacks. Continue reading
Today at Writers Helping Writers, I’m focusing on the resolution, or the scenes following a story’s climax. But I’m not offering tips on how to write a resolution. Rather, I’m sharing insights on recognizing whether your story needs one at all. Because as useful as resolutions can be for resolving subplots, answering questions, and providing other closure before the final page, they might not always be necessary.
So what questions should we ask ourselves to determine whether a resolution might strengthen a story? And, which timeless is a fantastic example of a resolution-less novel? All of that is covered in my latest Resident Writing Coach post.