Tag Archives: social media

Reflections on 2013 & Looking Ahead in 2014

Reflections on 2013

My poor old blog got a bit neglected last year, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back into a regular schedule again this year. Here is a snapshot of some of the big things that happened to me in the writing world at the end of last year that I haven’t yet shared:

1. I attempted NaNoWrimo. And didn’t hit 50,000 words. I’m not disappointed, though, as I knew going into it there was a slim chance I’d hit the 50k mark. Fitting writing around an extremely busy November calendar was going to be a push. But I got words on the page! I made a start on my novel and I know where I want it to go, so to me that is a win.

SuperHERo Tales cover

2. SuperHERo Tales. Last year I posted a story called ‘Spectrum’ on my blog. I updated the post, but never got the chance to write an official blog post to announce the story is now published in an anthology of female superheros. I’m very excited about this anthology as all the proceeds go to the charity ‘Because I am a Girl‘, which helps girls in third world countries. It is a cause I am passionate about and I implore you all to buy a copy of SuperHERo Tales or support the charity in some other way. The other reason I’m excited to be part of this anthology is because it helps try to break through the stereotypical superhero stories that are aimed a boys. My 4 year old daughter said to me a few months ago, “I want to be my own superhero.” Hopefully stories like these can encourage girls to do just that.

Jingle Bells cover

3. Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World. This anthology was published just before Christmas and features an extended version of my story ‘Dashing Through the Snow’, which I posted on my blog for Christmas 2012 and was a finalist in Susanna Hill’s annual holiday contest. We’re a bit past Christmas now, but it has lots of family-friendly, holiday-themed stories, so keep it in mind for next Christmas.

Looking Ahead in 2014

Some of my writing resolutions for 2014 include:

1. Subbing More. I’ve made the same resolution the past few years, but I need to keep reminding myself that if I don’t submit I won’t be published. I’ve received some very positive and encouraging rejections this past year, in some cases just narrowly missing out, which has given me confidence and motivation to keep submitting. The other day I started planning submissions for the first half of this year–just short stories at this stage, I still need to plan my picture book subs.

DSCF4667

2. Making Time to Write. NaNo always reminds me that I can find the time to write if I stop procrastinating and take advantage of spare moments. I want to keep using those spare moments. I have some short stories I want to write, I want to write more picture book drafts this year through 12 x 12 (I’m hoping to join again this year) and I would ideally love to finish the first draft of the novel I started during NaNoWriMo.

3. Get Back Into Social Media. I dropped off the social media grid this past year in the writing world, not just with my blog, but on Twitter and Facebook, too. I miss all those connections and friendships I make with fellow writers through social media and want to try to get back into again. Unfortunately, when life gets busy, social media is usually the first to suffer. I’m hoping to remedy this by scheduling time specifically for social media. I’ve got big plans for my blog, including continuing the Writing a Novel series, starting a monthly writing challenge and reviving Helpful Websites and Blog Posts.

What about you? I’d love to hear about some of your successes from the past year and what your aims are for 2014. 

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Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts

I love Grammarly because even grammar nerds like me sometimes need a second pair of eyes.

Full disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by Grammarly (hence the line above), but I loved using their site so much I wanted to include them on my post.

Grammarly

When I first went into the site I wondered what made it different to Word’s grammar checker, but after testing it out I realised it offers so much more. For a start, it gives a much more detailed explanation of the grammar rules than Word does, as well as examples of incorrect and correct usage (as with Word you need to sometimes use your own judgement). It covers punctuation, spelling, adverb use, split infinitives, redundant words and so much more. It’s quite comprehensive. I loved that it even picked up on common/overused words (e.g.: big) and offered suggestions for alternatives. They offer a free 7-day trial if you want to check it out for yourself.

10 Social Media Tips for Authors Marketing is an important part of being an author, whether you want to self publish or go the traditional publishing route. This post outlines tips for authors on building an effective social media platform.

Plotting a Novel This way of plotting is similar to the way I plot. Author Laurie Faria Stolarz provides a clear list of points to think about to plan out the plot of your novel. It’s simple to follow and covers all the key points. A great post to bookmark and refer back to when you’re in the planning stages of writing.

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts July 2011

It’s been a quiet month here on the blog (due to my family being hit by some nasty illnesses), but I have still been collecting helpful writing sites and blog posts during July to share with you.

Writing

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far

A guest post by author Sydney Salter on seven things she’s learned on her writing journey so far. She has some great advice on rejection and criticism of your work.

How to Write with Kids at Home

As a mum with two young children at home I know how difficult it can be to find five minutes quiet time to get some writing done. This writer/mum offers some tips on keeping the kids occupied so you can write.

4 Writing Crutches That Insult a Reader’s Intelligence

Some great reminders for writers on writing crutches and how to avoid them. (Are you guilty of using too many adverbs or telling instead of showing?)

What Makes for a Great Thriller

Some tips from two thriller authors on the essential elements of a thriller.

Pitching/Queries

Why Pitches Fail

Three reasons why pitches fail.

Self-Publishing

Three Reasons to Self-Publish (and a big one not to!)

Advice for anyone considering self-publishing.

Social Media

What Social Media Stats Should You Include in Your Book Proposal

A look at blog stats agents and publishers deem relevant.

6 Secrets to Writing a Killer Author Bio

On our blogs, Twitter, guest posts, interviews, etc. it’s important to have an author bio. This post gives tips on writing an effective bio.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Writers Make on their Websites

The five most common (and easily fixed) mistakes writers make on their website.

Helpful Writing Sites & Blog Posts January 2011

The first helpful writing sites blog post for the year. I’ve come across quite a few good ones this month.

Writing Advice

Writing in the Age of Distraction

Tips on how to balance writing with social media/the internet. What I most like about this post is that Cory Doctorow outlines how the internet has benefited his writing as much as it’s been a distraction and that there can be balance – you don’t have to black-ban yourself from the internet to get writing done.

Back Story and Exposition

Brooke Johnson talks about mastering the skills of back story and exposition without resorting to the dreaded ‘info-dump’.

How to Write Intriguing Male and Female Characters

A post on how understanding gender differences can improve your writing in any genre.

Want to Get High (Concept)?

A post explaining what makes a story ‘high concept’.

The Increasing Importance of the First Chapter

Author Jody Hedlund explains why the first chapter is so important. She also includes a link to a post on ‘Potential First Chapter Problems’.

100 Stories for Queensland Update

While the submissions for the 100 Stories for Queensland Anthology closes today (there’s still just over 12 hours left to submit – it’s for a great cause), this post is worth reading if you are a short story writer. Scroll down the page a little and Nick Daw gives some great advice on writing short stories.

Queries

Is the Query System Dying?

Author Jody Hedlund talks about query statistics and how you can improve your chances of getting an agent.

The Difference Between ‘Pitch’ and ‘Query’

Query Shark, Janet Reid, outlines the difference between giving a verbal pitch to an agent and writing a query.

Your Professional Bio: Query Letter and Cover Letter Tips for Writers

As part of a query or cover letter, writers are asked to include a bio paragraph. This post outlines the things you should and shouldn’t include in your bio paragraph, and what to do if you have no writing credentials.

The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents

This is a long post, but well worth reading. J.M. Tohline e-mailed 100 literary agents and asked them the same question, “What is the single biggest mistake writers make when querying you?” This post looks at the answers received from these agents, including some of the detail agents went into when answering.

Synopses

How to Write a Synopsis for Your Novel

7 steps to writing an effective synopsis.  This post gives advice on how to avoid ending up with a boring summary of your story (‘and then this happened and then that happened’), and tells you how you can include the emotional twists and turns that make your story interesting.

Manuscript Submission

Checklist for Submission

This truly awesome checklist has been compiled by an editor/publisher. The comprehensive checklist includes everything you need to remember when submitting your manuscript. It even includes a handy printable version with check boxes.

Formatting Your Manuscript – The Silent Scream

All the things you can do to ‘keep your editor’s hair from turning white’.

*image by nuttakit

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts – September 2010 Edition

The end of the month is here, so it’s time for my monthly round-up of helpful writing sites and blog posts.

The Writing Process

Stories That Cross Borders and Boundaries

Tips for writing multicultural fiction.

Keeping Pace: Maintaining Momentum in Fiction

This article is based on a session from Aussiecon4. An in-depth look at creating effective pacing in your novel.

Fixing Character Errors

Heather McCorkle offers a few tips and tricks for keeping track of you character details so you don’t end up with inconsistencies.

5 Ways to Make Your Novel Unforgettable

Editor A. Victoria Mixon lists the main elements of getting to the climax of your novel in an engaging and unforgettable way.

The Worst Mistake A Writer Can Make

I know this is something I’m guilty of doing. I sit hunched over at my computer for hours at a time and I wonder why I get a sore back and neck. This is a post all writers should read and remember. Some great advice for those of us who spend a lot of time writing at our computers.

Picture Books

The Top 3 Considerations and Top 3 Pitfalls of Children’s Picture Books

Although this post is primarily aimed at those self-publishing picture books, there are some valid points in this post for all picture book writers to consider.

Writing Picture Books

A great an in-depth overview on the various elements that go into writing a picture book. I love the diagram included at the end.

Word Counts for Picture Books

Casey McCormick has compiled a post on appropriate word counts for picture books based on her knowledge as an agent intern and research (she lists her sources at the end of the post if you want to check them out).

Query Shark #178

It’s nice to see some posts on writing pb queries starting to surface around the web. When I wrote my post on pb queries a while back there weren’t many posts specifically relating to pb queries at all. Thank-you Query Shark for ripping apart a pb query this month!

Picture Book Queries

Kidlit agent Mary Kole has also posted on pb queries this month. She describes how pb queries need to be simple and gives an example. (Where were these insightful posts two months ago when I was writing my pb query?)

Pitching

How to Write a Logline

A short simple post on how to craft a logline for your novel.

Writing a Logline/The One-Sentence Pitch

This post goes a little more in-depth into writing a logline. It sets out the elements of a hook line and gives examples.

Social Media

Should Writers Talk About Their Rejections

A post tackling the issue of how much a writer should share of their rejections on social media.

10 Ways to Create a Better ‘About Page’ for Your Blog

If a publisher or agent comes across your blog and checks out your ‘About Page’ you want to present yourself in the most effective way possible. This post tells you how you can do just that.

Just for Fun

How to Write a Novel

A funny (and embarrassingly true) look at the journey of a writer.

Against Promotional Author Photographs

I laughed when I read this post as I recognised all the ‘author poses’ listed. As well as being a funny look at the typical ‘author pose’, it also made me determined to make sure I come up with something original when I do my own ‘author pose’ one day!

There’s a bit of a focus on picture books this month, but hopefully there is something here for writers from all genres/stages of writing.