An excellent way to break into the writing realm, or boost your already established writing career, is to submit a short piece of work to an anthology. They usually consist of short stories, poems and nonfiction ideas. It gives you the chance to work with an editor and get valuable feedback on your writing skills. Plus, you’ll meet other authors, personally or virtually, and maybe make new friends.
Find 2-3 writing groups who publish collections of work and join the groups. They’ll likely have an annual or bi-annual call for submissions for a new book.
Earlier this year I sent off five submissions altogether and was excited to have two of my pieces chosen. I write Christian Speculative Fiction and Christian Fantasy stories, so both anthologies are from Christian groups.
Anthologies make great gifts for all ages. I’m delighted to share with you the ones I”m in this year —
Christmas – Stories and More
Christmas with Hot Apple Cider
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.
Do you ever wonder if any author who isn’t famous ever makes a decent income from writing?
I was wondering this after two years of little in the way of sales from my first book. I did eventually realize if I could just write more, that would increase my income. But who’s got time to write more?
Here’s how I did it – I took what I’d already written on my social media and made it into a book!
Seriously. That’s what I did. All my blogs about writing, my posts about my life, my tweets of writing tips and coaching, my pins about my interests, all became tidbits to expand and form into a book! It was a lot of fun, and I’m using these methods to write more books. So, I wanted to let you know how to use what you’ve already written and get started with that income too. Still with me but wondering how the heck I did that?
Here’s How I Used These 5 Simple Ways to Create Income From Writing
From Blog To Book – The Novel Author’s Workbook I created an Etsy downloadable 99-page workbook from blogs I’d written over the course of a year on how to write fiction, as I was doing the research. It takes the author from the beginning premise and outline of a novel, through to publishing and marketing.
From Pin To Print/Nonfiction —Hosting a Shire Party is a simple ebook about a cosplay party I had. I wrote about creating easy costumes, food, and games, as I pinned the photos from the party.
From Tweet To Tutorial – Your Write Voice For His Kingdom is a course I wrote from tweets about my workshop notes as a Christian Life Coach and writer’s coach. I coach students through the decision process of becoming a writer and how God has equipped them to write for His purpose.
From Post To Published – Life at White Rose Shire is an ebook in-progress of a collection of devotionals which I’ll be posting on my blog under a sub-heading and later publishing as a Kindle devotional book.
to get news on all the new courses as well as exclusive cheatsheets, writing tips, resources, and other insider goodies!
Another Way to Create Income From Writing
I’m still working on the ‘full’ part of my income but here’s a colleague who’s grown a full-time income and has permitted me to add her blog link for you. Because she’s published by a royalty publisher, she brings a different perspective.
Ann-Margret Hovsepian has a full-time income from her writing and engagements. She shares her success tips on her blog ‘You Asked Me’:
I wish all of you a very happy day today, be it Valentines Day, Love Day or Tuesday. I don’t for one moment profess to be an expert at any of the above (well, Tuesday I could handle, I guess), so I’m going to hand you over to the experts:
What Is Love?
For the Christ followers out there, here’re a few scripture verses from 1 Corinthians: (not only for weddings!)
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
Just a recap; this was written by Paul to the church at Corinth and is for all believers to remind them that Christ taught us to love one another. It’s a beautiful passage but it refers to the love of all people, not just romantic love. However, I still think it goes well with a couple starting a life together, don’t you?
For The Lovers
I’ve met this amazing speaker in person and had the privilege of taking a few of her classes at a writer’s conference. She’s a straight-talking Christian woman who doesn’t mince words. So if you’re looking for that little something extra today, well here’s Sheila’s award-winning book.
Apart from the actual storyline, our stories need to include other elements for them to hold our reader’s attention. Look for ways to incorporate some of the things you find interesting and entertaining when you read a novel or watch a movie. Your voice will come through in your own writing.
Creative Elements #WritingTips
What Are 4 Of Your Favourite Books? Why? #AmReading
This is an exercise in finding Creative Elements for your novels. You’ll write best what you enjoy most because it will come easier. Your story will take on a life of its own as you write so let it flow naturally and don’t think about getting it perfect the first time. You’ll probably find that you automatically write the elements you’re attracted to and, if humour is one of your favourite elements, go ahead and laugh out loud. If anyone’s listening and asks you what you’re laughing about, tell them they’ll just have to wait for the launch date.
As you read through your first draft later, look for lapses in your storyline and see if you can add more of your favourite elements. Creative elements also serve to bridge the gaps between scenes and break up long dialogue. Have you ever noticed how some movies are good at throwing in humour right in the middle of a battle scene? One of my favourite franchises for this is the Avengers. Iron Man is always cracking me up right before he clobbers someone!
#WritingFantasy #CreativeElements #ShowDontTell
How do you write humour, for example, into fantasy? A favourite of mine is the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, where misunderstandings of the English Earth language stumps the character Drax through the entire movie, but the movie is packed with other elements such as adventure, romance, battle scenes and chases. And let’s not forget Groot! He doesn’t say much, but that’s half the humour. And we all loved the baby Groot dancing. Remember to show, don’t tell. The key to making your story memorable is to engage your audience. Be yourself and you’ll write with your own voice and use your own creative elements.
You probably have a pretty good idea of who your protagonist, their main sidekick, and the evil antagonist are and what they’re doing when your story starts; but how did they become who they are? Why is your protagonist a charming young female who loves to wander the forests of a mystical land on horseback? Why is her companion an outcast from a faraway land? What led your antagonist to despise all Elves?
What’s the story behind your story?
How do you find out the backstory of your story? As you know, I’m learning this whole process as I go along – like most of you too, it means. Thank you for joining me on this journey. In my research I discovered that the best information to start with is the character’s birth. (Duh.)
I also found as I wrote my first NaNoWriMo novel draft last fall, it really does help to plot all this before you start writing your novel. I wasted many hours last November going back into a previous chapter to correct something I didn’t realize about my character until half way through. I mentioned I switched my focus half way through the story, right? The first half was superhero and the second half was – well, I’m not exactly sure but it wasn’t superhero. Something I learned from a fellow NaNo writer was to write all the main characters on sticky notes or in a journal with their own page (the method I chose), then add anything you discover about them as you write so you don’t lose track of information.
So let’s start with your protagonist.
Ask where they were born and any unusual circumstances surrounding their birth. Was it an easy birth? Was the father present? Were they delivered by a doctor or a travelling healer? Maybe in their realm they were delivered by supernatural means. How many siblings did they have? Write as much as you know about your character.
Then go on to childhood. Did they go to school? Who was their best friend? What was their favourite subject? Did they excel at anything? Did their experiences as a child influence their career choice? Were they homeschooled or sent away at a young age to apprentice with someone? Were they born with all the knowledge they would need in life? How did that happen?
If they’re an adult when the story begins, what drove them to be in the situation they’re in now? Did they suffer prejudice, health issues or a failed relationship? Write as many life events as you can think of and add to and erase when you begin to write. Many ideas will change as your story unfolds.
Then do the same for your major antagonist. Ask why they’re angry, mean, and vicious. People don’t start out that way as a newborn baby so what happened in their past to steer them down that path? Is the antagonist driven by fear, guilt or jealousy? Why do they have metal teeth or wear a mask?
Do the same for two or three minor characters and any new ones you add later. Write only what’s important to your reader.
Take a look atThe Watcher by Sara Davison as a great example of backstory for her protagonist, Kathryn Ellison, and Great Expectations as a wonderfully written backstory for the antagonist, the embittered Miss Havisham.
Good Morning, readers, and welcome to our blog on Interviewing Characters. Today I’m with Colin Wade from Singularity.
#CharacterInterview Lynne: Colin – first, let me say “happy birthday!” Colin: (Laughs) Thanks. It was quite an accomplishment for me.
Lynne: I understand you’re a pilot for Deep-Sight Space Exploration. How long have you been working for D.S.S.E.?
Colin: Not very long. I mean, I’ve been with them for a long time, in training. And I’ve done some odd jobs here and there but this is my first time doing anything this… big.
Lynne: Yes, I heard your current mission is rather ambitious. Can you explain the goal?
Colin: The mission is to study a singularity. The central point of a black hole. Research into black holes is nothing new, but this is the first time we’ve ever attempted anything this close to one. The D.S.S.E. seems to think we’ve got the technology in place to study it safely but in greater detail than we ever have before. The data we get back from this one mission should match or even surpass what would normally have taken us decades with the previous tech. It’s a good time to be in astrophysics.
Lynne: How is it going?
Colin: Slow. (Laughs) So far it’s been surprisingly difficult to find viable black holes. But it’s probably just the regions we’ve been exploring. Ang seems to think it’s just a matter of time before the perfect one shows itself.
Colin: Oh, sorry. My onboard computer – the Artificial Neuron Generator for Universal Studies. “Angus” sounds too formal, though, so I just took to calling him “Ang”. He doesn’t seem to mind.
Lynne: I see. I hear this is your first time as captain.
Colin: It’s my first time on official duty as a captain. I mean I’ve had training. I’ve done the tests. But actually sitting in the chair on a live mission is a completely different feeling.
Lynne: Do you find space to be a lonely place?
Colin: It’s certainly different. I don’t mind isolation, necessarily, but space is different from simply finding a quiet room or spending time alone in the woods. To have literally no other living being around for incalculable miles is a feeling hard to describe. Ang keeps me company, though. For an AI he’s not bad to talk to. Plus he plays music for me.
Lynne: Oh, really? What kind of music do you listen to?
Colin: It changes. Ang’s gotten into the habit of picking songs based on my mood. I like a lot of oldies by Sarah McLachlan and Elton John. Lately, Ang’s been playing mostly “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins. And of course, David Bowie has some good ones for my particular career choice.
Lynne: I LOVE Bowie! And yes, I suppose he does have some fitting songs. What made you choose space exploration as a career?
Colin: I never really asked myself that. But if I think about it I guess there’s a lot of reasons. The biggest attraction was probably that it’s quiet. Not that I don’t like people. I like them in small quantities. A little bit at a time, or a few people at a time. But I do my best work on my own, in a quiet room, with all of space to look at. Compared to people, astrophysics is easy.
Lynne: Do you miss home?
Colin: Oh yes. Way more than I thought I would. But they did warn me that isolation can do that.
Lynne: Is there anything you’d like to say to any friends or family back at home?
Colin: Oh geez. Well, the first thing would be to thank everyone for the razor. It’s been working like a charm. I’ll give a shout out to my mom and dad and my sis. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there on my birthday to see everyone, but duty calls. We’ll do a barbeque at mom and dad’s when I get back. I’ve been practicing. I feel like I’m forgetting some people, but whoever you are, just assume that I miss you too. I’ll see you all as soon as I get back, and thanks for all the well wishes. Ang, do you want to say anything? (Brief silence) Really? Ang just says hello. He’s being unsocial.
Lynne: Well thank you so much for doing this interview, Colin. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.
Colin: Oh, the pleasure’s been all mine. It’s been great to hear another voice.
Well, reader, that was an interesting interview. I couldn’t imagine being alone in space for months at a time. Although listening to Bowie and staring at the stars sounds very peaceful.
Which of your characters would you interview? Why did you choose that character? What would you ask them?
You can read more about Colin Wade and his extraordinary space mission in Singularityby Benjamin T. Collier.
As you write your fantasy novel’s premise, look for unexpected ways to fill in the plot. These are commonly known as the ‘What If’ scenarios of fiction writing. They throw in something the reader isn’t expecting to happen in the story to add conflict, drama and adventure. Go back to your premise sentence and see where you can spice things up a little. Keep your readers guessing.
Write a sentence about something in your novel your reader will expect to happen.
Now write a What If.
What if that didn’t happen at all? What would happen then?
Now turn that upside-down (not literally).
What if this other thing happened instead? How would the story unfold then?
In her poignant novel, Rescued, Donna Fawcett (Dawson) writes about two women;
“Charlene McTaggart can’t conceive and badly wants a child. Dr Jason Steadman goes against those who would do all they can to stop a unique procedure from being performed. A procedure that will save an embryo, prevent a death and give an infertile woman a chance at motherhood”. (back cover premise)
Then Fawcett asks these questions:
“What if there was a solution to abortion?”
“What if pro-life and pro-choice could join forces to see the war over the issue end?”
“Is it possible?”
The answers to these questions fuel a powerful and emotional novel which touches the heart of the reader.
Readers crave a plot twist to keep them interested. What can you add that they may not have been written before? Write as many plot twists as you can think of. Try these exercises to get your inner Tolkien flowing:
It’s expected that the villain will be arrested. What if he suddenly vanishes?
It’s expected that the rain shower will stop. What if it turns into a red storm?
It’s expected that the hero will get the girl. What if she doesn’t like him one bit?
Will this plot twist change your premise? Your premise can change to accommodate your developing story. Remember, your back cover isn’t published yet.