Writer’s Corner #6

Writer's Corner

Welcome to 2017! This week’s writer’s corner is about some useful websites that are invaluable help for any writer.

Grammarly

This is your go-to place for all things grammar and punctuation. Respect your peers and never send out a draft for critique unless you sorted the grammar first. It’s often hard to focus on the big picture if you keep wondering what did the author said while you try to figure if there should have been a comma or the sentence means something else.

Hemingway App

Your second stop is Hemingway app. It can suggest you some very curious insights on how your text flows. It’s free, and it helps you to focus on the readability of your work.

Scribophile

This is the best online community for writers I’ve seen so far. Definitely, a place to go to if you’re just starting to write, as you can get tonnes of useful information and invaluable critique for your work.

That’s it for today. I hope you will find these tools useful for your work!

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Writer’s Corner #5

Writer's Corner

Today we’ll discuss the first chapter. Arguably, one of the most important chapters.

4 Approaches for the First Chapter of Your Novel – this article is a bit dated, but very useful. It explains a few ways you can start your story and gives the advice on how to follow up.

Consider your choices, and then choose the beginning that fits naturally with the story you want to tell. If you approach your first chapter from a strategic standpoint, you have a better chance of maximizing your novel’s potential—and engaging the reader from the very beginning.

It’s crucial to hook the reader right there.

25 Things to know about writing the first chapter of your novel – a few ideas, obvious and not as much.

First impressions matter. Impressions are in many ways indelible — you can erase that thing you just wrote in pencil or tear up the page with the inky scribbles, but the soft wood of the table beneath still holds the impressions of what was written, and so it is that the first chapter is where the reader gets his first and perhaps strongest taste of mood. Make a concerted effort to ask, “What is the mood I want the reader to feel throughout this book? What first taste hits their emotional palate?”

Your readers will think of your whole story based on the impressions the first chapter gave them. Think smart, choose wisely.

8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One – a shorter list of stronger points.

This step might seem obvious, but too many first-time novelists try to lure the reader into a story by holding back the main character. Having a couple of subsidiary characters talking about the protagonist can be a terrific technique for character or plot development at some point, but not at the beginning of your novel.

Put the light correctly, make sure the readers know whom they are doing to follow throughout the book.

This is it for the week, the next writer’s corner will happen in 2017. Have great holidays and enjoy the rest of the year!

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Writer’s Corner #4

Writer's Corner

The writer’s corner four is about reading. Might sound controversial, but reading is an important part of writer’s life.

Roz Morris on Why Writers Should Read – an interview that focuses on reading habits.

Everyone has to find their own muses. It’s essential to have a range of writers who make you raise your game. I’m always trying to improve my storytelling and my use of language, so I gather writers who will make me sweat for better words and imagery, and who seem to handle the reader effortlessly.

That’s effectively what DragonFu told me once. Looks for the works that inspire you to be a better artist.

5 Reasons To Keep A Record Of What You Read – reading is only part of the game.

We’ve all started a book that we wanted to connect with but for whatever reason couldn’t. I never dismiss the possibility that I picked up a book at the wrong time, and that I should come back to it later. If you keep track of not only the books you read in full, but the ones you only read partially, you can check back in with them years later and give them another go. This is better than casting a book off entirely, or pushing yourself to finish one when you’re not keen on the experience. Move on to a new title without guilt knowing you’ve made a note to revisit it in the future.

I started using Goodreads to track what I’m reading, what I finished and what I’ve put aside. Knowing where you are is important.

Top 10 books writers should read – a good list to start with.

Writing can make you feel like a weirdo if you don’t already – but feeling like a weirdo is useless psychology for the job, hence this little book. Mason Currey has carefully compiled the daily habits and personal foibles of 161 great writers, artists, scientists and thinkers, including one who stood on his head to cure creative block. By the end of this book, our carpet-glue habit looks normal.

This is a book that definitely is worth to be on top of the list.

This is it for the week! Do you have any reading habits of your own? Share them in the comments, facebook, or mail them to me at writers@shinyuu.net. Still no mailing list. I’m bad at being tech-y.

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Writer’s Corner #3

Writer's Corner

Writer’s Corner episode three is out! Let’s discuss some planning things today.

Everything You Need to Know About Planning Your Novel – it’s a huge and excessive list, but it has lots of valid points.

Be sure that you have an ample backstory worked out, and a good projection of where you intend to take this person.
This is the character that will be dragging your reader by their hand through your book, so you want them to have impact. Can the reader easily relate to them? Here are ten things a great character needs.

My biggest problem is protagonists. Make sure you know what are they doing and why. And who exactly is the protagonist in your story.

How To Correct Your Self Publishing Mistakes – this article describes issues that will happen after you’ve gone the self-publishing route.

Prologues, prefaces, forewords, introductions, credits or anything else that may be between your book title and the start of the first chapter all steal space from your online preview reads. In other words, a potential reader gets a lot of irrelevant text to read, and may not even get to read any part of your first chapter. Remove the clutter, and send it to the back of the book to make sure your potential book buyers can get to read a good chunk of your first chapter.

Don’t forget that online bookstores usually allow readers to read the first few chapters. Those chapters must be absolutely the best and hook up the readers into buying the whole book. But don’t stop there, if your book isn’t as good as the first two chapters, your readers will drop it and will never come back. Make sure they have a reason to remember your name.

How To Title Your Book – I was pointed at this post recently in scribophile discussion group.

First, make sure you know the genre of your book, and identify what kind of feeling or tone you want to convey with the title. Write it down. This is important, as I’ve seen humorous books with dead-serious titles, contemporary books whose titles say “historical romance,” novels that sound like self-help books… you get the picture. Be clear on what your title needs to instantly communicate.

Choosing a good title is half of the deal (another one is a proper cover). That’s what people will see first when they look at your book.

This is it for the week, see you in December! By that time I hope to fix the readability of my blog and start a mailing list for Writer’s Corner. As usual, if you have any comments or notes, drop me a note here or on Facebook.

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Writer’s Corner #2

Writer's Corner

Welcome to the second episode of the writer’s corner. Today I’ll discuss some tools of trade.

5 Writers on Scrivener – I use scrivener for my writing. I love it.

Get comfortable. One of the great things about Scrivener is how flexible it is. You can set the full-screen editor up exactly how you like, with your favourite font, line height, line width, even a background image. If you are going to be looking at your words for long stretches of time, you may as well enjoy it!

It’s actually a very different experience, as compared to Word or whatever “simple” text editors are there. It has a pricy tag, but it’s really worth the asking price.

Name generation files for Scrivener – a bunch of various names for the generator, English, German and Russian.

There’s also a windows version of those. I rarely use name generation tool, but sometimes it’s very handy for brainstorming.

Worksheets for writers – sometimes pen and paper just works best!

The website has a good number of very useful sheets available for download and printing. Tick off the things and see if that will help you to improve your writing.

This is it for the Writer’s Corner #2.

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Writer’s Corner #1

Writer's Corner

I want to trial a new category in this blog—a writer’s corner: I’ll write bi-weekly posts with useful links about writing.

This is now I feel about most of my writing

How To Choose A Critique Partner For Your Writing – the post is old, but the points are very important.

Are you looking for an overall opinion on plot and pacing? Worried about your point of view? Concerned about your characters? Or are you simply looking for a line edit to catch grammatical errors and typos? Let your critique partner know exactly what you want and avoid conflict down the road.

Make sure you know what exactly are you looking for in a critique. Ask the questions. Ask accurate questions.

3 Ways Writers Can Instantly Spot Telling – isn’t “show, don’t tell” the most annoying, aggravating yet the most important rule that is so enjoyable when you finally shape the words just in the right way? The article describes different kinds of telling (not all of those are wrong!) from sentence and up to the scene level.

No matter where you find your told prose, before you revise it, take a step back and consider: What are you trying to tell your readers? Once you pinpoint what’s important and what needs to be conveyed, you’ll be better able to choose how to show that information.

The Written Image: The African Svelte – English is such a curious language. Sometimes my own writing gets on the loose too, when I lose my way with words.

In one example a writer describes someone as “like a puppy on a string,” and Menaker explains that it’s not an outlandish slipup to make, since it turns out “puppy” and “puppet” are derived from the same French root for “doll” or “toy”: poupée. “English is a marvelous jumble,” Menaker writes.

This is it for the Writer’s Corner #1. See you back soon!

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