How I Stay Organized While Writing a Story – Written By Sharon K Connell

Whether you’re a traditionally published or an Indie author/writer, whether you are the type who outlines your entire book or write by the seat of your pants, or even if you’re somewhere in between, a writer needs to be organized. That organization may look like utter chaos to others, or your writing space may lean toward the OCD type personality. It does matter, as long as it works for you and helps you accomplish your goals in writing.

Throughout the writing of my now seven books, my writing space has always leaned more toward the chaotic look to others. But I do know where everything on my desk is at the moment it’s needed. Well, maybe not every time, but it doesn’t take me long to find something.

From the beginning of my writing career, I’ve been an Indie Author, and I write by the seat of my pants. No outline beforehand is needed. When I first start to write a story, I start with a 5 subject spiral notebook or a 3-ring binder. Each section is labeled for quick access.

 

The first section is designated for my characters profile. Each character, starting with my main character and then as they show up in the story, has their own page, which is numbered. On that page, I write down everything I know about the character, starting with their appearance. As the story progresses, each time I give a specific attribute to or detail about the character, I list it on the page.

At the top of the page, under the character’s full name, is noted hair color and texture, eyes, height, physique, etc. Later I might add the kind of car they drive, where they work, and even how they drink their coffee. In this way, if it comes up again, the character doesn’t change their appearance or habits. A list of the characters and the page where their information is found is on the front divider for that section.

The next section has what I call a “Running Outline” of the story.

In other words, I mark the chapter and scene in the margin and give a brief explanation of what’s happening in that scene. The day and time, if changed from the previous scene, is also noted.

While I’m creating the running outline, I jot down all special events on a calendar. For instance, if my character is celebrating Thanksgiving dinner in 2020 with a friend out of town, and a fire breaks out which is pertinent to the story, I notate it on the calendar. If an important character shows up for dinner the next day, I notate it on the calendar. In this way, I can see at a glance how many days have elapsed from that event to the next without having to reread all my notes.

It helps to keep your timeline straight.

Major ideas are jotted down in the last section. That also becomes my catchall for all ideas, changes, things I need to check, etc.

The other two sections are used for research notes and misc. like things to check before sending the ms to the editor.

At the end of the spiral, I work backward on the pages to make notes for a book launch, book trailer, etc. Extra tabs come in handy here.

From the picture of my desk above, you can see that I have many notes hanging on my desk. These are information notes I refer to all the time while writing, so I don’t have to keep looking things up in my many resource books.

Being an Indie Author, I don’t have to keep to a strict schedule like writing so many words per day. But I do keep myself on a loose schedule. I know I want to have a new book published during the summer, and something smaller (novella, short story collection, etc.) at the end of the year. But I don’t stress over it. Since I’ve fallen into a pattern of doing the stories this way for the past two years, it now comes naturally.

I hope I’ve given you an idea of how to organize your writing system. Most of you seasoned writers probably already have your own organizational method, but maybe this will help one or two of the newbies on the block. J

Best wishes on your writing journey.

 

Here are the links to my books in order of publication.

A Very Present Help http://amzn.to/2yuF4eE 

Paths of Righteousness http://www.amazon.com/dp/1732923701 

There Abideth Hope http://www.amazon.com/dp/173292371X 

His Perfect Love http://amzn.to/2iCMALI 

Icicles to Moonbeams (Novella) https://amzn.to/2OfcHYi

Treasure in a Field www.amazon.com/dp/1732923736

Sharon’s Shorts~A Multi-Genre Collection of Short Stories https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732923744

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell

 

Here’s a comment or two about my writing to tempt you. J

“The author writes with a uniquely vivid and dramatic touch that keeps the reader engrossed in the narrative throughout. Her characters are strongly drawn, distinctly memorable, and wholly realistic. Her plot-lines are, in this writer’s experience, top-drawer in their nail-biting intensity.” From Author, Alan O’Reilly

“Connell knows exactly how to prime the reader for a knockout climax. She litters her scenes with genius, loaded details to heighten the tension. She increases the stakes with every page. Behind the humor and romance, she builds the danger until any little sound — elevator doors that open in the story and the phone that rings next to you on the side table — sends your heartbeat into a cardio workout.

“The edge of your seat may be frayed, but when your doctor remarks that your heart is healthy and robust, you’ll thank the suspense-induced cardio workout Connell gave.”~Andra Loy, ACFW Scribes member

Please take time to visit me on my website: www.authorsharonkconnell.com I’d love to hear from you.

 

Have Fun Writing for Children – Guest Post By Darlene Foster

If you like children and are quite childish, something I´ve often been accused of, then writing for children may seem easy and natural.

I began my love affair with words many years ago. Some of my fondest memories are being read to as a child, visiting the library, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I still have worn copies of favourite childhood books, such as The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables; and revisit these old friends from time to time. Books and children go together like toast and jam. Recently, one seven-year-old friend said to me, “Who doesn´t like books?” I never show up without books as gifts for my grandchildren. I am known as The Book Grandma.

It´s not surprising that I love writing stories for children.

While writing for children can be fun, it isn´t easy. It requires removing yourself from the adult world and thinking like a twenty-first-century kid (unless you’re writing a historical novel, then a kid from whatever century you are writing about). Fortunately, I like to hang out with kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends. I also enjoy reading children’s books to see what sparks the interest of today’s young people. Children notice things adults don’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s necessary to get into their headspace. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again – and what could be more fun!

Here are a few tips, based on what I’ve learned after writing eight middle-grade books.

  1. Kids like strong main characters, role models. Characters willing to take risks and sometimes mess up, but coming out on top in the end. Keep in mind the characters you liked as a child.
  2. Young people often act childish, but they can also be very mature, especially under pressure.
  3. The hero/heroine can possess extraordinary skills, but they still need to be real so readers can identify with them.
  4. Dialogue moves the story along, breaks up description and gets the reader to know characters better. Each character needs his/her own voice.
  5. Show emotion, don’t tell. This is true in all writing but especially when writing for kids. Instead of writing Jane was homesick, how about, Jane spent a lot of time looking at pictures of her family, often bursting into tears.
  6. Listen to kids talk so you get the lingo right. They are not teenagers so they won’t talk like them, not yet. They often parrot their parents and other adults around them.
  7. Watch movies and TV shows with kids in them, observe how they act and talk.
  8. Be aware that kids speak differently in different parts of the country, and the world.
  9. If you aren’t sure about something, ask a kid. I do this all the time. In fact, I have a street team of young readers from age 7 to 12. They are so helpful. Don’t ask a parent, they are the last to know how their kids talk or act!
  10. Kids are always giving me ideas. I keep a notebook and write down things they say and do, often incorporating these in my stories. They can be so clever too. Often wise beyond their years.

Writing for children is important because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. A love that doesn’t fade with time. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books.

So if you have been thinking of writing for children, give it a try. Have fun and let yourself be a kid again!

 Thanks, Aurora, for the opportunity to talk about something I’m passionate about. If anyone has questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments.


About Darlene:

Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. Darlene has won prizes for her short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies. She has also written a bi-lingual book for English/Spanish readers.

 Darlene grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where her love of reading inspired her to travel the world and write stories. Over the years she held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a home in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she likes to spend time with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Her books include Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021. 


Connect with Darlene:

website http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/darlenefoster
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/


 

Promote On Writer’s Treasure Chest

It’s 2020 and ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ is five years old.

I am very proud to have this blog up and its success and progress are significant. I thank all followers and readers for making this such a pleasurable experience and great adventure for me.

There is, however, one thing that I’d like to extend even more: The chance for many other writers to use “Writer’s Treasure Chest” as a promotional platform.

Do you feel like trying how it is to publish blog posts?

Do you have anything important to say?

Would you like to show up on this blog?

Do you have a book to promote?

Use “Writer’s Treasure Chest” and contact me for

a Blog Tour

a “Featured Author Interview”

a “Guest Post”

So many things are possible, and I’d like to give you a chance to introduce yourself and your work here!

For once I used the contact form within a blog post and hope you will use it!

 

Generally, ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ does have a contact form on the right side, as a widget.

It is always there! Check it out and contact me, I’ll be delighted to work with you on your plans, your guest post, your blog tour or send you the sheet with the interview questions!

I will be proud to have you as a guest on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’.

Anna Mocikat – on Ari Meghlen’s Blog

Ari Meghlen has a great blog post published by her guest blogger Anna Mocikat from Poland. Thanks for sharing this interesting post, and introducing us to Anna, Ari!


Today I welcome author Anna Mocikat onto my blog, who is discusses just why you shouldn’t use Google Translator if you want to include any other language within your novel.

Big thanks to Anna for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out her links and details at the end of this post.

I still remember the day very well when the Google translator got introduced for the first time. Everybody was so excited! The press was celebrating it and enthusiastically cheering that soon professional translators would become obsolete.

Greedy publishers were rubbing their hands in anticipation, hoping they would soon save tons of money they otherwise have to spend on expensive, professional translators.

Continue Reading Here

 

The Crucial First Page of Your Novel – Written By C.S. Lakin

Thanks for this very educational and interesting blog post, C. S. Lakin. The post was published on ‘Live Write Thrive’. Many of us appreciate your efforts.


Most authors know that the first pages of a novel are the most crucial and carry the weightiest burden in their entire book. The opening scene must convey so many things that often the author will have to rewrite it numerous times to get it right.

But the first page is especially crucial to get right.

Continue reading HERE

 

Book Blog Reviews and Bookstagram: How Influencers Help Authors Reach Agents, Publishers, and Readers – Written By Julie Valerie

Julie Valerie writes a guest post on Anne R. Allen’s blog about influencers that can help authors reach agents, publishers, and readers. Thank you very much, Julie!


From Book Blog to Book Deal.

First things first, because I’m sure this question is on a lot of writer’s minds: does a book blog still land a book deal?

My answer? Of course, they do. Great writing and great content will always find an audience, and where there’s an audience, especially a sizable one, there’s typically a book deal waiting to happen. Think Julie Powell, Candice Bushnell, Jen Lancaster, and Jenny Lawson.

Not to mention, entire empires (with books launched along the way), have been built on the humble foundations of blog sites that just wouldn’t quit. Think ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse and Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi.

Continue reading HERE

 

How Dare They Steal My Idea! – Guest Post Written By Jaq D Hawkins

Author Jaq D Hawkins published a guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog about author’s ‘stealing’ each other’s ideas – unconsciously and unintentionally – and still it happens… Read the post, it’s enlightening!


Ever think of a great plot and put it aside while you finish your current work in progress, only to find that someone else publishes something based on the same idea before you can get your version out?

I think this happens to all of us at some point. I don’t mean someone actually steals the idea, but someone totally unconnected to you thinks of the same idea independently, sometimes even a well-known author.

It can be frustrating, especially if it’s a big name author who gets the same idea as you and releases it sooner, but it’s also a great endorsement of the idea itself! So what do you do when this happens?

Continue Reading Here

A Writer’s Guide… to Writing a Character with Depression – On Ari Meghlen’s Blog

Ari Meghlen published a fascinating and educational blog post, written by Tobias Salem of writing about a character with depression. I found the post very useful and highly interesting. Thank you Ari and Tobias.


Since I don’t have a guest post today, I thought I would put in one of the A Writer’s Guide articles I received since this series is going to be put on hold for a while, I wanted to share the last few I had.

This is part of the series of blog articles called “A Writer’s Guide…”. The purpose of this series is to give detailed information on skills and occupations that writers can use when creating characters.

Check out today’s article by writer Tobias Salem is on writing about a character with depression.

___________________________________

Depression

by Tobias Salem

Writing DEPRESSION

It makes sense that, as writers, we may be expected or feel compelled to include accounts of psychological illnesses in our fiction. Maybe, like me, you are dealing with your own mental illness.

Or, perhaps, it’s your partner, parent, sibling, or child. After all, an estimated 25% of the global population will contend with a mental illness at some point.

Continue Reading Here

Book Marketing: How To Get Your Book Into Libraries – The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn published a great guest post on her ‘The Creative Penn’ blog. Thanks so much for sharing this, Joanna.


 

It’s possible for indie authors to go beyond thinking of selling our books just at online retailers.

Libraries are another potential channel for book sales and another stream of income!

Eric Simmons shares how he’s gotten his books into some of the largest libraries in the US.

Continue reading HERE

Top 5 Most Important (Yet Least Talked About) Tips for Writing Flash Fiction – Guest Post By Marie Korman

 

If you just want to know the top 7 or 10 golden rules for writing flash fiction stop reading now, open a new tab in your internet browser and Google, “Tips for writing flash fiction.” You will find dozens of articles that talk about the same rules over and over again, with only slight variation in presentation. These are all great articles, and I encourage you to read them as you won’t find that information here.

In this article, you will find the top 5 most important (yet least talked about) tips for writing flash fiction.
The tips below are the result of reading large quantities of flash fiction for years, both as a fan of flash fiction and as an editor reviewing stories for my clients.

So here is what have I gleaned from those countless stories and gallons of coffee consumed while reading them.

1. Hook

Wait you said you weren’t going to rehash the 7-10 golden rules? Hold that thought and keep reading. In Flash fiction, you must have 2 hooks (see I told you to keep reading)! The first hook has to occur in your title. Yup, that’s right, your title has to have a solid hook too! If your title isn’t enticing, thought-provoking, or the cause of an irresistible curiosity prompting the reader to venture further, then your 2nd hook won’t matter. Many readers cruise the titles to decide which flash fiction stories even to give a 10-second trial read. So unlike novels or even short stories, if the title doesn’t grab the reader relentlessly, then you have already missed the mark. Next, you need a story hook, a very strong one right in the opening sentence. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that placing the hook in the first paragraph will suffice, even if it is a decent hook. In flash fiction, you have to grab the reader right from the very first word and yank them through the story only releasing after the last word that appears in the text. Great flash fiction makes a reader feel exactly like that. Like they were grabbed by the collar and thrust into a new world, released only at the end of the ride. If a reader pauses while reading your story, it’s the kiss of death.

2. Never start at the beginning!

Flash fiction never starts at the BEGINNING of a story. Instead, it starts at the beginning of the most critical action sequence that occurs closest to the END of the story. In flash fiction, you have to start your story when something is happening and ideally at the highest point of the story arc. Just like any narrative, flash fiction needs a beginning, middle, and end with a solid plot. But you’re not going to have subplots. Focus on one plot and one main conflict. The conflict should be the most important one that happens in the broader storyline and acts as the driving force of the story. Therefore, the main conflict needs to appear almost immediately in flash fiction.

3. Tension/Tight Writing

In flash fiction, tension has to be strong and continuous. As such, tension has to present at various levels in every sentence. Every word and every sentence must move the story closer to resolution. Flash fiction by definition is typically under 1000 words. It is a unique medium, and it requires a specific storytelling skillset. Words often have to wear multiple hats, such as creating an action while also providing vivid visual details. You must be ruthless and make every word justify its place in the story and prove that it is adding essential value.

4. Don’t tell everything!

You need a solid storyline with very vivid details that can be shared in the least amount of words with all non-essential text eliminated. That said, the best flash fiction leaves some things out. It leaves clues to possible conclusions or reasons why, without stating the answer explicitly. It allows readers to draw their own conclusions, sometimes multiple conclusions about a single-story element. Good flash fiction digs its hooks deep into the reader’s brain, causing them to mull the story around in the back of their mind even when they don’t mean to think about the story. Don’t take it too far, however. Writers that leave too much of a gap or too much ambiguity just annoy readers, leaving them to feel cheated at the end like they wasted their time. Every reader wants some sort of solid resolution, so be smart in your approach.

5. Emotional Impact

All great fiction connects with readers on an emotional level. That’s what they’re looking for, and flash fiction is no exception. This is why you need to show, rather than tell, emotional attributes. Sometimes naming an emotion has its place, but showing an emotion builds a better connection with the reader. One way to create an emotional impact is to bake it into a twist ending. Many stories have a twist at the end, and it is almost an unspoken attribute of flash fiction. Readers like a story that leaves them with a punch in the gut at the end.

Now that you know how to write amazing flash fiction here are 6 paying sites where you can submit your stories!

1. Craft Literary -They pay $100 for original flash fiction. They also occasionally have contests.
2. Smokelong – They pay $25 and publish pieces under 1000 words.
3. Flash Fiction Magazine – They pay $40 for stories ranging from 300-1000 words.
4. Lamplight – They pay 3¢ per word, $150 max and 1¢ per word for reprints.
5. The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts – They pay $50 for stories up to 600 words. Submissions are open now from March 15-June 15, 2019 and the average response time is just 3 days!
6. Haunted Waters Press – They pay $3.00 for Penny Fiction, flash fiction stories told in exactly 19 words—no more, no less!


Connect with Marie Korman:

Social Media Links:

Website: https://trehpublishing.com
Wordpress: https://mariekorman.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-korman/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarieKorman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieKormanWrites/