Write Now Prompt for January 19, 2021

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

They had overcome many obstacles to get to their destination, but none more challenging than this.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.

Tech Tips for Writers: Google Drawings

Google Drawings is a free Google Drive-based drawing tool that allows users to create drawings, devise marketing pieces for their writing, brainstorm stories with concept maps, and more.

To use Google Drawings, here’s what you do:

  • Open your Google Drive account; go to New and select Google Drawings (it’s probably located under ‘More’).
  • Insert shapes, lines, an image, or text with the editing tools.
  • When finished, publish the drawing as a stand-alone or add it to a Google Doc, slideshow, or spreadsheet. As will all Google tools, it can be shared with others in a wide variety of methods.

There are a lot of drawing programs available — SumoPaint, KidPix, and TuxPaint to name a few. All are wonderful in their own right and many more powerful than Google Drawings. So why use Drawings? Here are eight reasons:

  • It’s collaborative which is nice if you’re working with a team.
  • Projects are easily shared with others.
  • It syncs between locations so you can start a drawing on your laptop and finish it on your tablet. 
  • It is minimalist which means it is easy to learn, intuitive to use, and with only exactly what you need for most drawings.
  • It’s easy to find. Rather than trying to remember where you created your drawing, Drawings are all saved to your Google Drive. 
  • Edits are easy. Just open the project from Drive and edit.
  • The project can be shared as a link or embedded into many different locations with an embed code found under File>Publish to the web
  • A project can be downloaded as a .jpg, a .png, a vector graphic, or a PDF

Here are eight projects perfect for writers:

Brainstorming, mindmap to plan your story

Create the bubbles and arrows popular to mindmaps with Google Drawings rather than a dedicated mindmap tool like Bubbl.us. Since Drawings allows for collaborating and sharing, it’s easy to brainstorm a story if you’re co-authoring and come up with a collaborative solution everyone likes.

Here’s an example I created:

google-draw-mindmap-brainstorm-k

Comic strip another way to share your story

Create a comic strip trailer for your novel quickly and visually. Here’s an example:

Infographic about your story

Introduce your story with an infographic created in Drawings. Here’s a good video on how to create the shapes required for infographics. Once that’s done, add text boxes to describe your story.

Timeline (events in your plot)

I love timelines but most of the online tools are less than satisfactory (I won’t mention names). Google Drawings has become one of my favorites because of its minimalistic approach–add text boxes to identify events in the story and then add pictures. The example below uses a thick line, text boxes for events, and one picture to sum up the story:

Clickable map of your story

Create a map of the locations in your story. Add a picture that links to a rundown of what happens there in your story. Use this to inspire interest in potential readers.

Here’s an example of a story, based in the USA (though you won’t be able to click the red stars because I’ve uploaded a screenshot only):

plot map in google draw

***

In a literary world where getting noticed is critical, Google Drawings could be exactly the right tool.

More on Apps for Writers:

Digital Storytelling Tools

How to Screenshot

How to Use Canva in Your Writing

Write Now Prompt for January 12, 2021

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

Amidst the chaos of the world around them, they had built a place where people could go to escape for a while.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.

2021 Anti-Resolutions

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

We’ve kicked off each of the last several years with a fun writing prompt. Because it’s all about looking forward, it seemed like a good way to start off the new year here at Today’s Author.

This prompt is simple in concept:

Your 10 Anti-Resolutions:

  1. List ten things you resolve NOT to do in the upcoming year.
  2. Be as creative as possible.

And we are serious about #2:

This is not as creative as possible: “I will not write any status updates in ALL CAPS.”

This is: “I will not train my parents’ smart home assistant to tune the television to Animal Planet every time the dog barks.”

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.

Write Now Prompt for December 18, 2020

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

Even though the reason for the celebration was a little obscure, it had always been their favorite holiday.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.

Write Now Prompt for December 15, 2020

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

After months of uncertainty, there was finally a reason to be optimistic.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.

Write Now Prompt for December 4, 2020

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

They weren’t invited to the party, but they showed up anyway.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.

Write Now Prompt for December 1, 2020

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

She knew she was breaking the rules, but sometimes that was the right thing to do.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.

Interview with Jackie Fraser


I met Jackie years ago in an online writing forum. We later spent time in the same writer’s group and whenever I’ve had to take time away from the group, I beg Jackie to keep sending me her stuff. I’ve been lucky enough to read a lot of her books and I’m rereading her latest now. Jackie is so good at creating characters who feel like real people – the kind you think about long after you’ve finished reading. A big reason for that is her ear for natural dialogue that makes you feel like you’re eavesdropping on an actual conversation. Her new novel, The Bookshop of Second Chances, is like that. I got her to talk to me about her writing style and publishing journey.

 

Talk a bit about your most recent book. How long did it take to write? Who is your audience?

The Bookshop of Second Chances is commercial women’s fiction. It’s about Thea, who loses her job and splits up with her husband when she discovers he’s been sleeping with her friend. Her great-uncle has left her his house and collection of books in Lowland Scotland. She goes up there to sort out the house and sell the books. She meets Charles and Edward, estranged aristocratic brothers, and decides to stay for the summer, getting a job in Edward’s second-hand bookshop. And so on.

I’d hesitate to say it’s entirely romance, although it’s stuffed with romantic tropes, some more foolish than others. I wanted to see how far I could go with that and still write something I’d like to read. So the audience is ‘me’ and by that I mean ‘women of 45 plus who like a happy ending but don’t always find older women in romance novels particularly relatable’.

It took about five or six months to write altogether – I began in September 2016 and it was more or less done by the following spring, although I had some trouble with the ending. I did a million drafts.

Tell me about your writing process. At what stage of writing do you find outside feedback helpful? How do you sift through differing advice?

I have an idea for the beginning of something, and usually an idea about the central relationship. Then I just hammer it out. I don’t fight it if I get stuck, but I do make myself keep going if I’m bored of typing. I work it out scene by scene (at night usually) and sometimes I’ve done that well enough in my head that actually getting the thing into the computer seems a bit tedious.

Like everyone, I have good days and bad days, on a good day I can write 8000 words, but usually I manage much less than that. I edit as I go along but not in a decisive way – I just often re-read and amend sections as I’m going. My aim is always to just get the first draft finished, though, not to make it ‘good’ in any way. I put the speech marks in at the end, because writing dialogue is my favourite thing and punctuating it gets in the way. Apparently this is a bit weird.

I do a number of drafts and don’t share it with anyone until I’m pretty happy with it. I go on the waiting list for the Women’s Fiction Critique Group (on Facebook, run by ex-Authonomites). The Bookshop went to be critiqued in February 2018, so I’d probably waited, I don’t know, six months for that? I can’t remember. I was writing something else by then, anyway. So it went off to be critiqued. I think it was the fourth of my books that went to the WFCG, and the response was pretty good. I’d been a bit worried that it might be too ‘romantic’ (they don’t do standard romantic novels) but generally it went down a storm. I was slightly surprised, even though I did think it was quite good. (British sense of ‘quite’ there – as in ‘reasonably’.)

I got some good, useful feedback, particularly about the end as I recall, plus a significant suggestion about changing the location of one scene. I usually copy and paste all the comments into a document and work through them. Critiques are so useful, even if you disagree wildly with what people are saying. Anyway, I did a ‘final’ draft, and then probably another three. By 2019 I was trying to make myself submit it. I don’t always submit my books, I find it quite difficult, even though rejections don’t really bother me. But submitting is hard work, I hate writing synopses because my books have very small plots that can look quite feeble, and the whole thing is wearisome.

Do you plot it all out on note cards or does the ending come as a surprise to you, too?

Ha, no, I don’t really plot at all. I just ‘put some characters in a room and see what happens’. As I say, I usually have a vague idea – I mean the question is always ‘will X and Y KISS?’ and the answer is ‘YES, OBVIOUSLY’ – it’s not very complex. However how they get there and what the ‘apparently insurmountable barrier to congress’ will be is less clear.

What do you do if you get stuck?

I stop and do something else and assume my subconscious will fix it, which is usually does.

Do you read in the same genre(s) you write in? Are there particular authors who inspire you?


Ah, so this is a tricky one and the answer is… not really. I like literary fiction best. Which I can’t write, although I do try sometimes. I also read a lot of non-fiction (which I also write). Recently I have read a few more books at the lighter end of the women’s fiction spectrum because one ought to read in one’s genre. But I read all sorts of things, and I’m basically inspired by everyone who writes well, in whatever genre.

In terms of my own genre, Georgette Heyer is my greatest inspiration because her books are funny, and her characters are almost always convincing, however silly her plots may appear. My favourite authors include Iain Banks, Douglas Coupland, Claire Fuller, Terry Pratchett, Hilary Mantel, Susanna Clarke, Sarah Perry, E M Delafield, Stella Gibbons, and Kate Atkinson, who I absolutely love. (Interestingly, Atkinson says she’d write books even if they never got published and I would too – that is, after all, what I’ve done my whole life up to now.)

Can you describe your path to publication?

Well. Simon & Schuster UK have a Digital Originals imprint and every year in July they have a one-day open call for commercial women’s fiction submissions. Last year I noticed this on the actual day, and the extremely short deadline was very motivating. I sent off ‘five hundred words about me’ plus my first chapter. That week they came back and asked me to send the full manuscript. I’d never been asked for a full before, so this was quite the thrill.

Then everything went very, very quiet. In October one of the team shared a pic on Twitter of their Kindle with my words on it, which was exciting, but then it went very quiet again. In January they started talking about #OneDay2020, so I assumed it was a no, and planned to email and ask for a formal rejection (for my Rejection Spreadsheet). But when I opened my emails that morning there was one asking me to go to London for a meeting. Obviously I cried.

Anyway, I went to the meeting (I was extremely, surprisingly nervous) and we talked about the book and my soon-to-be-editor suggested a couple of revisions. I went home and did those and then we signed the contract. As an editor myself, receiving my copy-edits was really exciting, and, dare I say it, enjoyable.

I’ve been very lucky, as they’ve sold the rights in Germany and the US, so there will be a German edition (for my German in-laws to read!) and an American one – which will be a physical paperback. (The US edits were extremely bracing – I also had to write an extra chapter for them.) Plus there’s going to be a large print library edition, and US and UK audio books. I’m astonished frankly.

What can we expect to see from you next?

I’m writing two new things at the moment and hoping they’ll want to publish one of them. One’s about a woman who runs away from home, and the other one is about a woman who owns a fancy house that she rents as a retreat for artists and writers. I’ve nearly finished the first drafts of both, and am at the stage of having no idea whether they’re any good.

For more information on Jackie, follow her on Facebook!

Write Now Prompt for November 20, 2020

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

They hadn’t seen the sun in weeks.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back here and provide a link to your work on the Write Now! prompt for which it was written.
  6. Read other authors’ posts and leave constructive comments.

Important Note: When you post a draft of your work online, it may be difficult to find a publisher who will accept it, as many see an online document as being previously published. It may also be ineligible to be submitted for certain writing competitions. Always check publisher’s and competition guidelines before using a draft you put online.