filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

It might make some people flinch to think this but: the first 3 chapters of your book are a sales document. Most agents and publishers only ask to see the first 3 chapters of your book when you submit. Based on those first 3 chapters, agents will decide to take you on or to pass you over and publishers will decide to accept or reject your book. So it makes sense that you should spend more time on the first three chapters of your book than on any other part. To help with that, here are 10 tips about how to…

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filed under Writing and Motherhood, Writing Tips.

Thanks so much to everyone who commented on, read and shared the first post in my series about balancing writing and motherhood, which was an interview with the fabulous Kate Forsyth. I was thrilled with the love everyone gave that post. My next writing mum is Allison Tait, a freelance writer, blogger and author with more than 20 years’ experience. You might remember her hugely successful blog, Life in a Pink Fibro. Allison now blogs here, she’s still a prolific freelance writer and she’s just released the first book in her children’s trilogy, The Mapmaker Chronicles. Welcome Allison! As I did last time,…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

I was having a conversation on Twitter a couple of weeks ago about writing sex scenes in fiction and was virtually dared to write a blog about it. I love a challenge, so here goes. DISCLAIMER: I am writing a blog post about writing sex scenes in novels. Therefore, I will be using the word “sex” frequently. If you’re likely to be offended by this, please stop reading now. Please don’t read all the way to the end and then leave me a comment about how degenerate I am. Sex happens in books. It’s good to know how to write about it well.…

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filed under Scrivener, Writing Tips.

I thought I’d start a new series where I post some Scrivener Quick Tips every 6 weeks. These posts will show you how to use one small but very handy feature of Scrivener. Today’s Scrivener Quick Tips are about using the Name Generator to come up with great names for your characters. I love the Name Generator because sometimes I find character names difficult. I scan my bookshelves, I scroll through all the names in my mind, but nothing seems quite right. With the name generator, I can quickly produce a list of names that I would never have thought…

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filed under Book Chat Video Book Club, Book Reviews.

It’s been a month of historical fiction—I’ve been lost in the worlds of Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, Kim Kelly’s The Blue Mile and, because I spent a couple of days in bed with a lurgy, I squeezed in an extra book, Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman. One of these books was not at all what I was expecting but, regardless, I loved it. Another made me wonder how much responsibility the author has, when writing a novel about a real person, to stick to the known facts. Inventing plausible stories in the spaces between the…

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filed under ebooks/apps, How To Get Published.

I’m the first to admit I know very little about self-publishing. But I’m fascinated by the potential, by the stories of success, by the stories of failure. What’s real? What’s the truth? How easy is it, really? Enter Annabel Smith. Annabel has published 2 books the traditional way, and her new book, The Ark, is self-published. What better way to compare self-publishing versus traditional publishing than by speaking to someone who’s done it all. Over to Annabel, who’s written this great overview of the pros and cons of both avenues. Introducing Annabel Smith The advent of self-publishing on a mass scale…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

So we all know that we don’t need writing tools; the only way to write a book is to sit down and write the thing. Procrastination and Twitter are things we should avoid as writers, and our most meaningful writing tool is time to write. Right? Perhaps not. I’ve had a big realisation this week. I’ve been focussing so much on writing time that I forgot about the preciousness of thinking time. If I cast my eye over my monthly planner, I can see no thinking time scheduled in. Everything else is covered: blogging, writing books, teaching, my PhD, an…

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filed under ebooks/apps.

Every so often, an article is published that sets fear into the heart of writers. The article will point the finger at the digital age and blame it for a range of issues confronting writers. Some recent articles are: Val McDermid’s statement that she would be a failed novelist if she’d started today, because writers are expected to have big first or second books and publishers are no longer patient with the writer who takes more time to find their feet Lionel Shriver outlining in hilarious detail exactly what is expected of a successful author these days, which mostly isn’t writing;…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

Redrafting and rewriting a book are stages of the writing process that don’t seem to get as much attention as they deserve. I love rewriting a book because it’s means I’ve finished with the uncertainty of the first draft. I finally know what the story is and now I can focus on making it better. So, given the popularity of my infographic about writing first drafts, I’ve created an infographic about redrafting and rewriting. 1. Take a Break Pull up a palm tree and read a good book. Take a break from your manuscript after you finish the first draft.…

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filed under Scrivener.

Transform Your Writing Process With Scrivener In early 2013, I began writing my third book. I found myself increasingly frustrated with the limitations of Word. It was tiresome to cut and paste and move scenes around, and difficult to experiment with the structure of my story. I had things all over the place: notes in several notebooks, ideas on dozens of scraps of paper, an outline scribbled somewhere else, research photos and documents in separate locations. I wanted a way to bring everything together, to transform my writing process from something messy, disorganised and frustrating to something fast, effective and…

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