The Story Always Comes First

by Mike Martin, @mike54martin A Long Ways from Home is a Sgt. Windflower mystery from author Mike Martin.

In some ways it’s easy to write a series. You already have a frame in which to sketch your story. Usually, that means you have a general location or part of the country and you have a cadre of characters that accompany the main character on his or her journey. There’s a familiarity, a comfort in that. It makes both the writer, and hopefully the readers, want to come right in, sit in that nice, comfy chair and slide into the story.

I always have that feeling when I start a new Sgt. Windflower Mystery. Like I’m home. Then I start writing and all the characters come streaming into my head at once. It’s exhilarating and frightening at the same time as my brain tries to process both the story that is starting to unfold, and all of the voices of the characters who are asking for my attention. Sometimes it feels like the old woman in the shoe. So many characters, I really don’t know what to do. And mostly I just feel stressed and crazy. Continue reading The Story Always Comes First

Twitterific Writing Links

The best writing links of the week are on Twitterific from Elizabeth Spann Craig.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

A weekly roundup of the best writing links from around the web.

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 30,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

10 Incorrect Assumptions About Writers:  http://ow.ly/HOuA30467eP ‎@NatePhilbrick

Writing across cultural boundaries in crime fiction: http://ow.ly/ifeH304jG1W @mkinberg

5 Tips to Maximize Your Facebook Posts: http://ow.ly/oN6H304679W @Bookgal

One Fantasy Writer’s Secret Weapon: Archery Lessons:  http://ow.ly/LKb730467h4 @SaraL_Writer  @benjaminsobieck                Continue reading Twitterific Writing Links

Preparing for a Cover Design Meeting

Preparing for a Cover Design Meeting

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

There’s a lot to think about and remember for so many different aspects of book production and book release. I recently shared my checklist for releasing a book. Today I thought I’d list the different elements I pull together before meeting with my book designer.

The brainstorming portion: 

For a first book in a series or the first time working with a designer, it’s helpful to reference/link to covers that appeal to you or that you feel represent your genre well.

I  like to provide general element ideas  to help the designer get started.  For instance, where is the cover set?  Are there any people or animals on the cover? What mood are you trying to set?

Printed books: 

Designers will need to know your page dimensions.

If the book isn’t done yet (mine are usually not even started when I get the covers done), make sure to tell your designer you’ll need to check back in with the final page count (including all front matter and back matter) to ensure that the spine is the correct width.

You’ll want your bio and author photo for the back of the printed cover.

What’s your book’s price?

Be prepared with your back cover copy.

Other considerations: 

Do you need an audiobook cover?

Do you need promotional extras like Facebook and Twitter cover images or bookmarks?

Payment: 

I almost always pay for all book production services through PayPal after the cover is complete. It makes tax preparation easy to go through my PayPal statements at the end of each year.

Finally:

Because good designers book up quickly, I always go ahead set the next appointment with my designer, Karri Klawiter.  Having a date on the calendar helps me to come up with a concrete concept for another project before our meeting.

Any other tips for keeping organized before a cover design meeting?

Preparing for a Cover Design Meeting: Click To Tweet

Keep Your Readers Hooked by Dropping the Right Clues

Janice Hardy with 3 thinks to remember when considering foreshadowing
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Foreshadowing might seem like a technique that applies mostly to mystery writers, but all stories rely on the classic “what might happen next?” question. Even in a romance, there are secrets to be revealed and histories to uncover, and where that information is learned affects a novel’s pacing. It’s the need to know that draws readers in and keeps them reading. Drop the right clues at the right time and readers will be glued to the pages.

Well-crafted foreshadowing puts those readers in the right mindset long before they reach a scene, and makes them anticipate that scene. Secrets unfold in surprising, yet inevitable ways, and readers feel as though the clues were there all along if only they’d seen them—because they were.

Too much too soon and there’s nothing left to learn (and no reason to read). Too little for too long risks frustrating readers, because they never learn anything new.

No matter what type of mystery your novel uses, look at where your clues and foreshadows appear. If you’re unsure how these elements should unfold, consider: Continue reading Keep Your Readers Hooked by Dropping the Right Clues

Twitterific Writing Links

The best writing links of the week are on Twitterific from Elizabeth Spann Craig.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

A weekly roundup of the best writing links from around the web.

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 30,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

10 Tricks to Get Your Writing Flowing:  http://ow.ly/VvGa303Stk0 @MahinWriter

5 Quirks to Rock Your Middle Grade Character:  http://ow.ly/XGXq303SxsC @RonEstrada

Ed-Tech, Publishing and Investment: http://ow.ly/ZLPn304doik @MarkPiesing @pubperspectives

5 Books Featuring Adventuring Parties:  http://ow.ly/3wsi303TZRy @aptshadow  @tordotcom                Continue reading Twitterific Writing Links