Category Archives: authors

Should I give up my story?

I don’t know a single author who hadn’t abandon a project (even if it was just for a while) and asked himself, “Does my book worth it?”.

A novel is a very long, demanding project that will keep you busy for a long time. Sometimes, you find yourself at a dead-end. You realize that it wasn’t such a good project as you had thought, and that can be devastating.

Does it have everything a story needs?

This happens for different reasons. The most common is that you had lots of ideas, full written scenes in your head, but you’re trying to squeeze them into a story that doesn’t exist. A bunch of scenes, no matter how great they are, isn’t a story.

You don’t have a well-written plot with a strong conflict. Your characters aren’t developed enough – they don’t have a specific goal, their personality is a mystery, or you don’t know how they look like.

Sometimes, you had a good plan, and everything was going well. Then, you feel gradually less excited about the project and start to see its flaws.

Take it or leave it

As enraging as it can be (desperation is also possible), it is a perfectly normal process. Now, before you give up on everything, let’s stop and think about it.

If you already sold the story, you have to keep working on it, whether you like it or not. If not, you can stop for a bit and ask yourself some questions.

Many times, our emotions get in the way of pragmatism. That’s great for our characters, but it can harm our work. That’s why you need to ask yourself the following questions and think about them one at a time:

Do I really like this story?

Am I just tired?

Is the story that bad that it can’t be fixed?

Do I know how to fix it?

If it is that bad, you can drop it or put it aside. You can always come back to it later with fresh eyes and a new perspective. You may, in the future, find the solution you can’t see now.

If you don’t know how to fix it, you can ask for help. And if you’re simply not sure about what’s going on, you can also ask for help!

Give up is (not) an option

To become a good writer, you need to write! A lot! Not all your stories will be masterpieces, and that’s okay.

Think about your “not so good” works as training wheels. Finding solutions for them may not make them great, but it will definitely impact your next work.

Analyze all the pros and cons of keep working on that story and make sure of what you truly want. Remember: you can always change your mind.

Books for Children: a writing challenge, with very specific rules

Would you like to write a children’s book? Most writers have their own favorite genre, and that reveals in their stories. Yet, sometimes, you want to do something different.

Writing for adults and children are two distinct things and demand different skills.

When you think about children’s books, you probably picture beautiful drawings, full of color and sweet characters. It may scare you right away, but you need to remember that you’re the writer, not the illustrator.

Planning a children’s book

Now that we are clear about the pictures let’s talk about the actual writing. You might think that it is hard, that you have a lot of competition, which is true. There are thousands of people writing cute little stories and trying their luck with the publishers. So, how can your work stand out from the others? Knowing the structure and avoiding the most usual mistakes.

Make it short

When writing a children’s book, like in any other genre, you need to be aware of its structure and respect it. In this case, there is a very specific one – a very short story (around 550 words, never more than 1000), 32 pages, 24 to 28 of the actual story, with a couple of sentences per page.

Sounds easy now? Not quite. You still need to be very careful with some points. Let’s begin with the story itself. Your small readers are very demanding and specific in what they like (and the publishers know that). Your story must have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Characters

The characters are very important too. Don’t think that children are easier to content.

They spot all the inconsistencies and don’t let it go. To be good, a character has to be strong and, to some point, realistic. Do you want to write about a flying tiger? Think about how the fact that the tiger can fly would impact other parts of his life. The kids will do it.

Illustrations

As I mentioned before, you need to focus on writing. Write a good short story, with good characters.

The publisher will probably want to hire the illustrator. So, unless you’re a very talented artist, avoid sending the illustrations with the story. Best case scenario, you’ll talk about that later. Yet, while writing, keep in mind that each page will have an illustration. The text should be easy to illustrate.

Look around

Writing a beautiful story for children can seem easy, as soon as you know all the rules, but that’s not quite true.

If you want to be a children’s author, you must follow the market development. Have you read one of these books lately? I’m sure they are very different from the ones from your own childhood. Children’s books changed a lot in the last few decades, and you need to be aware of these changes to be an author.

Face your challenge professionally. Research and find the market rules and tendencies. Children are a very difficult audience, and publishers know that. You need to stand out.

Sharing your writing: what a scary thing to do!

One of the greatest pleasures of writing is solitude and peace when you’re doing it. Yet, at some point, you’ll need to share your writing with the world. That’s scary, but it’s also a good thing.

Sharing will give you some feedback from different people on your work. This feedback might be useful sometimes (others not so much, unfortunately) for you to improve and grow as a writer.

With sharing, comes…

When you share your writing, you’re putting yourself outside for the whole world to see. That brings bad and good stuff. That’s why sharing what you write is the biggest fear of most writers, and that’s normal. No one likes to be criticized, and you can end up hurt. So, how to deal with it?

First of all, share your writing only when you’re ready to do it. This way, you’ll be stronger to face whatever comes in your direction.

Then, there are so many things you must keep in mind. Let’s see, one person’s opinion is exactly that. It’s one person’s opinion. Writing is a form of art, and art is very subjective. The appreciation of a book depends on the readers’ personal preferences and experiences. Those will help them to identify themselves with the characters, the environment, the dilemmas.

Besides, in the end, it’s always your decision. If you believe in your manuscript, if the criticism doesn’t make sense for you and you’re sure it’s good, then go ahead! Remember that many famous successful novels had been rejected several times. Eventually, someone accepted to publish them.

Sharing options

Waiting for a big publisher to find you is definitely not the best course of action. Before you go for a big publisher, you should have already shared your writing to get feedback. Other people’s opinions and notes might help you to improve your work. Never forget.

You have many options to do this. Start by sharing your writing with your relatives and friends. Keep in mind that they are not exactly impartial, but it’s a good start.

Create a blog and form a writer’s group. In the first one, you’ll have the possibility to reach more people. With a writer’s group, you’ll probably get more “professional” opinions. Also, it is excellent feedback about the styles and tools you may use.

And, of course, you’re not stuck with publishers, remember? You can self-publish your work. Don’t be afraid of doing it. Magazines are also a good option, especially for short stories. Do some research, look at magazines, and find the ones that publish some work similar to your own. Look for their “guidelines” for submission and try it!

Confidence and Courage

Be brave! It is tough to deal with criticisms. They can be cruel. Yet, if you want to be a successful writer, you must get used to it. Listen, evaluate their worth, and move over. Use the good ones to improve, and ignore the others.

Be prepared and stay strong.

How should I present myself?

If you want to be an author, this is a question which you’ll sooner or later you’ll have to deal with. The name you choose might make a huge difference in the success of your body of work, even if you’re not aware of it, and the most important thing is that you should never change it. It’s your brand, for the long run, so you must choose wisely.


Nowadays, this is an even more difficult task, since you have to think about not only the name as it will appear in the published book, but also in social media and the increasingly fundamental website or websites that back it up. They will help you establish your own brand and they are quite important marketing tools.

So, choosing your author name might be a huge problem without a single specific and correct answer.

Three different platforms, three different names. Now, put them together.

According to Randy Ingermanson in his amazing advancedfictionwriting.com, there are 3 different situations you must think of, before choosing your name. Let’s think about each one of them.

Published books

Unless you want to use an alias, you probably are thinking about using your real name, even if you need to make some alterations to it. There are many names that are common, so if you’re using your first and last name, there is a big possibility of finding another author with the exact same name.

As much as you dislike it, this, usually, is not a big issue, unless we’re talking about an extremely famous author or if you both write the same exact genre. In these cases, you might consider using another name.

Social Media

The name you choose to use on social media doesn’t have to be exactly the same as you use for your published books, but should obviously be related and clearly identifiable as being the same person. That said, you might change a few things that don’t make you go off-brand and remember, short strong names tend to work best on social media platforms.

Website

There is another problem. You must have a website, as it’s quite important for your brand and work. In my opinion, for the website domain, you should have the same name that appears in your published books. However, that might need some adaptations.

It’s important for it to be easy to write, when you listen to someone mention it or hear it on the TV, without needing anyone to spell it out for you and without too much confusion between similar words.

 

After this, I’m pretty sure you have a lot to think about. Just pay attention at each of the things you must consider and try to find a good in-between that works for you. You’re a writer, think of it as another creative task and I’m sure you’ll figure it out!