Archive - Writing for Life RSS Feed

Tweaking Your Writing and Genre for Success

Last week I began talking about the wisdom in studying other authors’ works in order to nail a genre. This may or may not be something you are interested in, but in dealing with hundreds of clients each year who hire me to critique and edit their novels, I note that most of them 1) want to have successful sales with their books and 2) are targeting a specific genre. Some of my clients aren’t sure what genre they are writing in, or what audience they are writing for. As a result, those books are usually unfocused, awkwardly constructed, lacking clear style and voice.

I get that a lot of beginning writers are just finding their feet (or, rather, voice) and are often experimenting with writing to get some chops and see if they can just write a somewhat coherent novel. All well and good. But at some point, a writer needs to ask herself questions like “Just what do I want to do with this book?” and “Do I want to grow fans and make money from my writing?” Continue Reading…

Nailing Genre by Studying Successful Authors

I’m going to talk a bit about craft in some of these Writing for Life posts since they are off topic from the course I’m running this year (The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction, which runs Wednesdays). And really, this topic has as much to do with marketing as it does with actual writing craft. And for some, it’s a controversial topic.

Although there are some who oppose studying, deconstructing, mimicking, or breaking down (it’s called many different things) another writer’s work, I wholeheartedly encourage it. When I studied one particular novel last year to get a feel for a genre I had never written in, and then ran a blog post about my process (which went viral through the Internet writing world), in the midst of tremendous support for what I’d done, I had a handful (three or four) people go on the warpath to attack what I did. Continue Reading…

Using Life’s Hardships to Make You a Better Writer

Today’s guest post is by fantasy author Ashley Carlson:

“I’ve been thinking lately, about our relationship,” she said, studying her nails.

“Yeah?” he answered, looking up from the couch.

“And how . . . I’m not sure . . . we should be in one anymore.”

This wasn’t a scene from my latest WIP, though I sorely wish it was. No, this was a conversation I recently had with my boyfriend of two yearsUsing Life’s Hardships to Make You a Better Writer—a man I lived with, a man I’d imagined marrying. A man I’d slowly come to realize wasn’t the right one for me. Continue Reading…