The Writers Circle: Handwritten or Typed

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

When you begin working on a new project – be it to start the actual drafting or to start building an outline – do you have a tendency do this with pen and paper? Or do you tend to do this on a computer? Do you find your level of productivity with the initial work on a new project to be better if you write it out by hand or if you type/draw it on the computer?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

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The Writers Circle: New Year New You 2017

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

Happy New Year!  All of us at Today’s Author wish you a happy, healthy, creative, and successful 2017 in all aspects of your life! 

While the New Year is a somewhat arbitrary day to set as a “new beginning” within our lives, it is certainly a convenient time to take stock of things, set goals, and see if changes might be helpful.  So today we’d like to learn what you are considering doing creatively in 2017. It doesn’t matter if it is a change from your normal writing endeavors or a continuation of what you have always done.  Today we would love to hear what you’re working on, what your plans are for the coming year and how you plan to achieve these goals.  If you are making changes to your writing strategy or process, we’d love to hear about those changes too. 

The Today’s Author community is here to foster creativity.  We are here to help each other along the writing path but also to learn from each other.  Here at Today’s Author we hope to provide a lot of useful ideas, strategies and platforms for sharing ideas that help you get your story out.  So let’s start today! What are your creative goals for 2017 and how can the Today’s Author community help you achieve those goals?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

The Writers Circle: Getting Un-stuck

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

Many of us have experienced times where we are suddenly stuck in our work – no new ideas for how to continue the story, no way out of a situation the characters find themselves in, no further interest in the story.  What are some of the ways you have found that help you to get past this feeling and continue writing?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

The Writers Circle: Revision Survival Strategies

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

We all need to revise our works after completing the first drafts. Many writers find this to be a much more difficult task than writing the first drat was.  What survival tactics, strategies or tools do you use to not only make revision easier, but also to make it something you do not avoid doing?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

Book Review: The Breakout Novelist

Recently, I was asked to review Donald Maass’ book, The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction

breakout novelist

Writers (Writer’s Digest, March 2011) by his publicist, FSB Associates. I jumped at the chance. I loved his prior book, Writing the Breakout Novel, and the title of this new one intrigued me. How timely, with the empowerment of writers by self-publishing (more on Maass’ thoughts on self-pubs later) and digital book sales blowing past traditional offerings. Data shows a slew of new authors emboldened by a successful novel (success being a relative word) who want a career in writing. I wanted Maass’ thoughts on the viability of that as well as how to do it.

For those of you who don’t know Donald Maass, he is a veteran agent, currently the head of the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York which represents more than 150 novelists and sells more than 100 novels every year to publishers in America and overseas. By his own count, he receives annually about 7500 query letters, partial manuscripts, and completed novels–99.9% of which disappoint him. This amazing statistic must be the inspiration behind his new book. The authors, he declares, are not incompetent, merely not in command of their technique. This book provides the tools to change that.

It’s organized into three parts:

  1. Mastering Breakout Basics–how-to-write fundamentals, including exercises for the wanna-be breakout novelist. That’s right, homework. There are no shortcuts, but there are quicker ways to do it and he shares those.
  2. Achieving Breakout Greatness–factors that vault an author to success. This includes a singular voice, tension all the time, hyper-reality, scenes that can’t be cut. If you think you know those concepts, you don’t know. Maass even includes a section on how to write humor (Chapter 16), explaining how to ban banal with his ‘methods of mirth’–like hyperbole, ironic juxtaposition, being extremely literal, and more.
  3. Building a Breakout Career, which addresses the nuts of bolts of agents, contracts numbers, and career patterns that work. Most of this material I have not read before though I’ve read many how-to-write books. His chapter on Numbers, Numbers, Numbers is fundamental to moving beyond the one great novel we-all have inside of us to a successful career. He itemizes:
    • What Breaking Out means
    • When to write full time and how to do that
    • How to build an audience (word of mouth is prominent)
    • What distracts you from writing (lectures, short story anthologies–these he considers ‘distractions’ from the real work of writing a novel)
    • How to create your voice
    • The life cycle of a career writer

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