We’ll cover the main ways to get published today:
- Big Five traditional publishing
- Small press traditional publishing
We’ll cover the pros and cons of each, and show how publishing has changed dramatically over the past few decades.
We’ll cover the steps of the traditional publishing process (which takes, on average, 18 months) and contrast with the steps necessary for self-publishing.
One of the most common questions people ask is: “Where do you get your ideas?” This session will cover ways to find ideas, how to choose which ones to develop, and how to get yourself writing regularly. We’ll cover the following:
- The 10 ideas per day method
- The impact of exercise on the flow of creativity
- How to pick the right idea
- Brainstorming/Scanner method
- Research/determining long-term viability and appeal
- Daily writing
- Morning pages, free writes, #OneSentenceADay
- Debunk the concept of “writer’s block”
- The curse of trying too hard
- The notion of crappy first drafts (it doesn’t have to be good; it just has to be written)
- Don’t compose
- Don’t edit; just write
- The two key elements to creating a daily writing practice:
- Routine (do something every day, without fail, so it becomes something you’d never consider not doing)
- Lack of pressure (tricks to make the blank page less scary—longhand writing, one sentence only, etc.)
We’ll talk about how to choose the right genre for telling your particular story and the pros and cons of different genres: What makes an author choose, say, literary fiction versus sci-fi/fantasy versus memoir, etc.?
We’ll cover two major elements in the early writing stages:
- Deciding which point of view to use
- Deciding how much planning/outlining to do before you start writing
Planning versus pantsing
- Pros and cons of each
- Ways to plan
- When does research become procrastination?
Point of view
- Pros and cons of the different options
- Examples of each in published books (both good and bad examples)
- Avoiding omniscient narration
A panel of authors will discuss their own experience choosing genres, point of view, and their approaches to planning their work.
Most readers say the reason they love a book is because of the characters (not the plot, not the setting, not the beauty of the writing), so character development—creating convincing, multidimensional, unique characters readers can relate to—is key to successful writing. We’ll cover some of the easiest ways to create authentic, well-differentiated characters:
- Character research
- Character development books (including ours, Bring Your Characters to Life, which participants will get as a freebie)
- Using free writes to create hypothetical situations and write backstory for characters
- How much physical description to give in text
We’ll cover the ins and outs of good dialogue (and show why most writers do it so badly), including the following:
- Everett De Morier’s top dialogue tips
- Using contractions, incomplete sentences, etc., to make dialogue more realistic
- How to punctuate dialogue correctly
We will include plenty of examples of dialogue (good and bad) to illustrate the points.
Although this has long been the first rule of fiction writing, not many people seem to be following it. We’ll cover how to “show” more often in writing, to keep the reader interested.
- We’ll focus most of all on the importance of writing in scenes (as opposed to long swatches of description/“telling”).
- Scenes take place in real time (past or present)
- Readers watch the events happen (just like in TV or film)
- Scenes are easy to create with dialogue between characters
- We’ll give examples of good and bad scenes and how writers show/tell.
In explaining how to take a first draft and turn it into a submittable manuscript, we’ll emphasize that the work has only just begun when you type “The End” on the last page of your book. We’ll cover the following:
- Steps for revising a first draft
- Basics of self-editing
- Critique groups/beta readers
- Hiring a professional editor to revise your book before submitting or self-publishing
We’ll cover what happens after you’ve finished writing, revising, and having your book professionally edited:
- Deciding how to publish (traditional—Big Five or small press, or self-publishing)
- What are your goals?
- Who do you want your audience to be?
- Checklist to ensure you’ve done everything that needs doing before you submit (participants will get this checklist as a freebie)
- Finding places to submit work
- Query letters: How important are they and what should they contain?
- Mistakes authors make when submitting
We’ll cover the misconceptions most writers have about what “getting published” entails and what it really means in this day and age. We’ll cover things like the following:
- Average sales figures for published titles
- How people don’t understand the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing
- The role of social media
- The fantasy versus the reality
We’ll open this last session up for an extended Q&A with a panel of published writers, and also cover any lingering questions that didn’t get answered during previous sessions.
- An advance paperback (or ebook) copy of Blydyn Square Books’ soon-to-be-published book
- Secrets Most Writers and Publishers Will Never Tell You
- An ebook copy of our two writing prompt books:
- Write Something Every Day: 365 Daily Writing Prompts to Get Your Pen Moving
- 100 Great Writing Prompts for Kids
- An ebook copy of our character development book: Bring Your Characters to Life: Questions and Scenarios to Take Your Characters From Flat to Fabulous
- Assorted checklists and character development worksheets