Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Some of the best advice I ever read was to always make the reader feel the emotions instead of just using words like “She was sad”. Let them feel the sadness, feel the despair welling up inside of them. Have them relate instead of just telling them how it is. Let them describe the moment as sad.

I wanted to start off with this topic. What is the power of a word? Obviously it has some power, otherwise books wouldn’t exist. They wouldn’t be enjoyable or readable if nothing made any sort of impact on the reader. The book would remain flat and dull. The power of a word is how you use it and where you place it. I can say “He loves her very much.” and place “only” in front of most of the words and it would mean something totally different. Does he love only her? He only loves her sounds ominous as if someone’s jealous and wants him to love them too. Let’s change it around a little. “Only, he loved her.” This reflects a sort of curious observation like someone just remarks upon this fact as if just realizing it.

The question I want to ask you next is this. How powerful are your words? Are you using difficult words that people have to look up to make yourself seem smarter? Are you using words dumbed down enough that every crowd can read them and the more sophisticated reader might reject as being easy reading or childlike? You should use words to target your specific type of audience. A murder mystery can be more adept at wordplay, throwing in the occasional word to look up in your dictionary, because children won’t likely be reading them. Is your book adult themed or child themed? Who is it targeting and why? Will that age group enjoy that book if you wrote to a different category? Dystopian will most likely draw the young adult range while stories of children’s adventures will target kids. Sci fi may appeal to more boys than girls; romance appeals mostly to women. Now use the wordplay that these audiences will identify with. Use the words to make these people imagine your world. Murder mysteries are complex, throwing you a loop every time you’ve thought that you’ve caught the killer. They are tricky, more adult, and more dangerous in the theme. They have more risk. You can take risks with the wordplay as well. It shouldn’t be a mystery who your main audience is. (pun intended, HA!)


Learn your audience; learn your motive; learn how to play your audience and keep them on the edge of their seat because John is about to jump off that cliff. Make them feel the fear of the gun pressed against his back. Learn the power behind the words.







Ha! Jokes on the title when you come here thinking it’s more advice and then you realize that I’m just as lost as you are.
When publishing for your own book, you use social media, hashtags, friends, connections, maybe get an agent eventually and try to make it.
But how on earth do you become such a legend when it’s by yourself? I need advice y’all and I need it from all you writers and publishers out there and even if you have agents or publishing houses you know would look over or just critique my writing to be something. I want to finish this book this year and get on with self publishing if the agencies don’t work out.

Send help.
I need y’all’s help.

This is my begging face, y’all


My question for you writers or comic book artists or graphic novelers, is how do you find that special moment that you begin flowing with all kinds of ideas and plots and scenes that you cannot physically restrain yourself to just a mere scribble in a notebook? You’ve got to find your niche and for that, every single writer is different. 

My brain compartmentalizes oddly. I cannot do anything productive in my room if it’s dirty. Call it what you will but if I decide to get busy on some work, everything around me can’t be screaming out for my attention first. To focus, I must eliminate all distractions and all of the nagging responsibilities that I have to accomplish. Thus, my most productive days are either spent inside a coffee shop away from the cleaning I have to do or without the mound of clothes staring at me and waiting to be either discarted (because let’s face it here, y’all, I have way too many clothes and hardly wear the amount I should) or folded up where there isn’t much room. On the off chance that I did this entire overhaul of my room the night before and wrote a myriad of letters that had been awaiting me and had the interruptions of dinner and chores taken care of and had a sufficent kick in the butt about the plotline of my newest story, I finally got around to doing something it. I compartmentalize my train of thinking into a large graph to be easily moved around, thus my timeline was born. At the foot of my bed, I have two of my four posts completely unhindered by anything so I strung up ropes from a different project left over from my room redo and created five long clothelines if you will for my story. Clothespins and notecards decorate it until I run out of both and have to resort to white notebook paper torn into little pieces and staples and tape and sticky putty to tack them up. Now clothespins are easier to use and easier to move around-such is the point of my timeline- and I’ve found that all will finally do if I just have a little patience and several hours at my own disposal like I had today. I sat down and grabbed my Adventure Novel In A Year book and used the template provided to map out the highlights of what needs to be in my book. The author sections them into three separate acts, and thus my three color coding system was born out of the remaining notecards. Green is for The beginning act, very roughly the first three or so chapters; Reddish pink for the middle act, the main meat of the middle of your book; and finally blue for the third and final act, roughly the last three chapters, all totalling twelve chapters which I went over last time and most likely will again this time. 

That’s okay. It’s just a rough template to help me get my bearings and get the essentials down. 
I finished the majority of my story plotting tonight, scrawling in my fancy purple gel pen all of the major highlighted scenes that I could think of and imagine from visualizing it from Pinterest. 


And that’s where I will bring you to my next novel helper: Pinterest. 
Pinterest will allow me to visualize whatever I search for and create an entire world within my head and provide an enormous help with prompts to inspire huge story twists and different ideas that brilliant authors thoughtfully put on there for anybody to use. 

And finally, I turn my speakers all the way up on my phone and blast Spotify’s Game of Thrones and Lord of The Rings soundtrack blends for my book and let the creative juices flow. 
That is how I find my niche. How ’bout you? 

my pinterest page name to search for is @charliesmithers if you want some idea of what a storyboard looks like. 

Let me just preface by saying that a) I may not be the best person to look to for writing advice and b) I admittedly haven’t read that much of my lovely’s little blog in here, so I may be repeating wisdom that you’ve already heard. Also, if you come away from this with absolutely no enlightenment whatsoever, then I either am terrible at giving advice (which would not be surprising), or you have a personal problem. 
I should introduce myself. That’s what one does in social situations, right? I’m Mary Catherine, but my friends call me MCat (but I write under a pen name). I’ve done Nanowrimo for four years, and have won three out of four (I don’t like to talk about last year). It gave me the confidence to do something I hadn’t quite been able to accomplish yet – finish a novel. Well, most of the time. My first year doing Nano I wrote a mythical book that was entirely over-outlined and had a plot that went on for miles with useless filler. But we live, and we learn, and this year’s Nano is my favorite. However, Nano was not what got me addicted to writing. No, my gateway drug was stapled together construction paper with sloppily penciled words amid cut-out American Girl Doll pictures – hello age five. From there, I graduated to, well, more stapled together construction paper, this time without pictures, with three page chapters and characters with the MOST generic names possible. I’m not kidding – if I had a dime for every time that I named a character Sarah when I was seven to eight, I would have at least twenty dollars. Okay, maybe not. But you get my drift. 


Fast-forward a couple of years, and I had started composing mini-novels, with more original names (baby name books ARE your best friend) and plots that didn’t revolve around my favorite animated Disney movies (looking back, I wrote a lot of fanfiction). But I didn’t write my first real novel attempt until perhaps sixth grade. Being spy-obsessed, I churned out some 13,000 words (that seemed like a ton back then) about a murder mystery that involved the decapitated limbs of the murderer’s former victims and a girl in a black trench coat who was able to solve it all without even upsetting her black newsboy cap. Her name? Marty. I grew so attached to her that I started a trilogy about the same character. Notice that I say started – and somewhere in the remains of my old laptop, three unfinished novels sit, betrayed. I like to think that I’ll go back and rewrite them someday, because Marty and her boyfriend Skip are still close to my heart. 
I’m not going to bore you with how I found out about Nano, wrote a fifteen-page outline because I had no idea how much it would take for me to write 50k, and plummeted into a mythical (and very, very cheesy) novel that reached the goal, but never a conclusion. I like to think I’ll go back and rewrite it someday. 
Bottom line, one spy Nano (not Marty, unfortunately) and one failed Nano later, I have graduated to being able to crank out 50k in, this year, 19 days. (I finished on the 23rd after scrapping my first plot and starting four days in). The moral of this story? Practice makes almost-perfect. Of course, there is still much (MUCH) revision to be done. And I’m also not expecting this novel to end until somewhere around 70k. Also, I’m in love with it, which is probably the best feeling to have as a writer. 
Therefore, I leave you with a few nuggets of advice/facts about writers for you to file away between your latest plot bunny or shove underneath the nearest coffee cup. 
  1. Writers are certifiably insane. 
I talk to my characters on a daily basis, even ones that I’m not writing at the time. They become real, breathing, living beings that you have formulated, and one of the best ways to get to know them is to have conversations with them. Although doing it only when people aren’t around is recommended as well. 
  1. We find inspiration everywhere. 
Carry a notebook and pen with you wherever you go. Inspiration is as unpredictable as a storm on the coast. It will hit on it’s own terms, and you have to be there to catch it as it flows from you. Scribble everything that comes to your head when you see that interesting looking man on the subway/that girl who sings on a street corner for tips/that wounded dog. Even ideas that seem bad at first can have potential later, so never skip anything. Also, don’t trust yourself to remember later. 
  1. Music is a channel for inspiration. 
I don’t care whether you are the most tone-deaf person on the planet, songs are what drive my writing around sixty percent of the time. I know that I can speak for Ella as well when I say that making a playlist of songs that remind you of your story really helps with the process, especially during something like Nanowrimo. I swear by movie soundtracks and Hans Zimmer. And as for modern lyrical music, my current obsession for writing (and watching, if you haven’t yet), is the Reign soundtrack. 
  1. It’s ok to get excited, even if no one else is.
You will face people in your life who do not care about your novel. They don’t care that you have just found the perfect person to model as your main character, or that you discovered a song that described chapter three perfectly. They’ll want to know why you aren’t trying to get ahead in school, or why you don’t socialize more often. I’m blessed to have friends who are mostly fellow writers, and even a mother who understands my love for pen and paper to an extent. But when those who are too close-minded to understand why you would want to plug away at the keyboard all day show up, simply ignore them. And you can thank them when you do your first J.K. Rowling-esque interview (I’mjustsaying). So go. Scream to the world when you hit 50k (or 70k, or 100k, or the last page for that matter). 
  1. There are others like you.
And they live on blogs and and the Nano forums. So go. Find your fellow writers. Just be sure to weed out the vampire-crazed ones. They tend to be a bit less legit. 
I hope this has been slightly more than ridiculously not helpful. Bottom line: keep writing. Never stop. Even if you feel like you are blocked, keep going. That is all. 
Mary Catherine is the authoress responsible for (currently on hiatus), former writer for Bloom! magazine ( – no longer in print), the author of multiple novels such as, most recently, In a Bind (in editing) and Glory (currently in writing), and was recently recruited by her town’s newspaper as a columnist reviewing local theatre. She has been writing since the age of five. In addition to writing, she can be found singing locally and taking photos.
You can friend her on Nano’s website here: