By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: #amwriting (Page 1 of 5)

Learn To Love Your Characters

 

All writers, myself included, need to learn to love our characters more. We need to implement this love into two aspects of our writing.


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First, always remember what initially inspired you to start writing. What motivated you to pick up the proverbial pen to put words down on paper? Maybe there were visions of grandeur and fame, but there are plenty of ways to chase that without sweating over a book, essay or poem. Our culture seems to always be looking for the next new reality star; you can probably chase fame easier that way, than by writing.


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More than likely, you didn’t start writing for the purpose of a foolish get-rich-quick scheme. You had a passion for it. You had a story bubbling up inside you that could no longer be contained. You had a love for writing. Always go back to that love. Especially on the days when you’re scrambling for the motivation to sit down and do it. Always remember to love the process, then dip your pen into the ink of your love of writing.

 

Learn to love your characters deeply and your writing will jump off the page. Readers will take notice.Click To Tweet

 

Second, if you are writing a story where you are developing characters, apply this tip to each character you want to bring to life. Love your characters more. I mean literally. Have passion for them. Have hopes, dreams, fears, hate, anger, jealousy, excitement, and compassion. Love your characters as if they are your family and friends. Your readers will feel it when you have passion for your characters. Love them more each time you write about them. It will come through on the page.


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If you’re sitting there thinking that your writing doesn’t have characters because you’re not writing fiction, think again. All writing has characters that need to be loved. If you’re writing a memoir, you need to learn to love the younger self you’re writing about. If you’re writing an essay or article about the state of the world, love the people affected, love the state or country impacted, love the planet that needs changing. If you’re writing a self-help book, focus on each person you’re writing the book for and lean in and love them.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

The Not So Gentle Art of Collaboration – 6 Tips for Writing Collaboration

Witches of Ravencrest Thorne and Cross

6 Tips for Writing Collaboration

 

The Witches of Ravencrest, the second book in The Ravencrest Saga, is now available in ebook and will soon appear in paperback. The novel continues the story begun in The Ghosts of Ravencrest, following the adventures of young governess Belinda Moorland, who seems to have a penchant for attracting ghosts … and witches. We both love gothics, having independently teethed on Daphne DuMaurier’s sublime gothic,  Rebecca, indulged in Dark Shadows, and read every 70s and 80s gothic novel we could get our sweaty little hands on.

In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Belinda met her employer, rich, handsome zillionaire, Eric Manning, along with his mysterious butler, Grant Phister, Grant’s metabolically-amazing husband, Riley, a gaggle of peculiar maids, and Mrs. Cordelia Heller, a witchy Mrs. Danvers who makes Endora look like a saint.  In addition, Belinda also got involved with a number of ghosts and other strange creatures like a trio of bleeding nuns with a thing for persimmons, and a deformed harlequin who scuttles through the walls pining for the governess.

In The Witches of Ravencrest, Belinda has come to grips with the fact that Ravencrest Manor – imported stone by stone from England two centuries ago – is brimming with ghosts – but now she’s faced with more disturbing creatures, from a serial killer to stray zombies, and a boatload of witches. As the annual Harvest Ball approaches, she meets the Devilswood Historical Society. Known as The Pastels, these women have more brewing than history and Belinda finds herself caught in the middle of a witchy war between the Pastels and Mrs. Heller. And to top it off, there’s the ghost of Rebecca Dane Manning, a spirit who insists that heads will roll if Belinda doesn’t avenge her. In the midst of all this, the relationship between Belinda and Eric Manning is heating up.

We had so much fun writing this novel that we’re already beginning the third in the series, The Ravencrest Saga: Exorcism. We’re having a blast brainstorming the book are are itching to get started.

The Witches of Ravencrest is our fourth collaborative novel and now that we’ve proven our successful collaboration is no fluke, we’re ready to answer a few of the many questions readers and writers ask us about our partnership.

It turns out that many, many writers are considering collaborating but are concerned about how well it will work. Writers – and readers – want to know how we divide up our work and maintain a good working relationship while doing what is, admittedly, a very stressful job.

We’ll try to shed a little light on the art of collaboration.

Collaborating: What to Do, What Not to Do

We’ve been collaborating for almost five years now and we can tell you it requires more than just two writers deciding to work together. It requires commitment, honesty, loyalty, respect, and a sense of humor.

 

1. Commitment is Vital.

Collaborators share more than a story: they share a dream that, in order to be fulfilled, requires mutual commitment. You both must be on board to work hard, do your share, and take responsibility for your own contribution. We work by Skype, in the Cloud, continuously collaborating, but if you work another way – say, writing alternate chapters or following separate characters – you must still do your fair share. That is not to imply that there won’t be times when one of you does more writing than the other – there are days when fire strikes for each person, and days when it doesn’t. We often have sessions when one – or the other – of us – does the lion’s share of the work, and that’s fine because we both know the situation will reverse itself very quickly. We always achieve that 50/50 split without sweating the small stuff or worrying about what our partner is doing. Our commitment is equal, as is our trust.  You must be able to trust your collaborator. Be sure of that before you begin.

 

2. Honesty: Stow Your Ego at the Door.

It’s important to be able to say to your collaborator, “That could be better,” or “Maybe we should do it another way,” without meeting resistance. Collaborators must be able to discuss anything and everything. Mind games and guilt trips are not allowed, nor are they necessary when you and your partner are adept at being ‘on the same page.’  In our case, we generally work simultaneously in the same file, usually in the same scene and our styles mesh so well that we don’t know who wrote what; that’s the best because you can criticize – and complement – without any worry. But even when we do know who wrote what – after all, we edit and read for each other in our solo works – it’s just fine. We have only each other’s best interests at heart and we both know it. Jealousy must be a non-issue.

And if you work as closely as we do – spending hours and hours together daily, you need lots of personal honesty because you’re probably never going to be closer to another human being save for your spouse. For example, if you have to leave the computer every five minutes, don’t bother being coy. You don’t have to go into detail, but tell your collaborator you’re under siege by a bad burrito. He or she will understand. Believe us, honesty pays off – and will probably result in some great jokes.

 

3. Loyalty: No Selling Out Your Collaborator.

Why loyalty? Because, once you’re successful, others might (a) try to turn you against each other, (b) try to convince you to collaborate with them, or (c) both.

If you’ve ever been around children, you know that they will try to play their parents against each other. They’ll ask Mom for permission to go to the movies, and if she says no, they ask Dad, without mentioning Mom said no. Attentive parents always consult one another, thereby negating the manipulation. Writers beware: some people will do exactly the same thing to you and your collaborator. That’s why the two of you must be honest and totally transparent with each other. It’ll stop manipulators in their tracks. Good collaborating means that if someone approaches one of us with anything provocative – anything – be assured both partners will know about it.

 

4. Respect – Sock it to Me!

While it’s true that the famous creative team, Gilbert and Sullivan, didn’t get along well, they managed to create amazing comic operas. You can, too, if you can keep your collaboration fundamentally business-like, but would you want to work with someone you can’t stand?  We wouldn’t – if you’re going to work with people you hate, you might as well work somewhere that will provide a more reliable source of income.

Gilbert and Sullivan lacked mutual respect, each feeling that their work was subjugated by the other’s. Each believed he was better than his partner.

We can’t imagine working this way. When we write together, we’re one entity, not two. We are partners, 50-50 in all ways, and see each other’s strengths and weaknesses as equal. They balance us and make our stories better. One of us may be better at one thing, but you can bet the other excels at something else. Not only do we rejoice in each other’s strengths, we help each other with our weaknesses. There’s no room for jealousy and criticism in our partnership; only mutual support, respect, and loyalty. We believe this is vital to an enduring collaborative team, just as it is to an enduring friendship. We cherish both and encourage you to look for the same.

 

5. Similar Personalities: Viva le non-Difference.

While some differences make for better partnerships, having similar personalities is a boon for us. Our differences? Alistair keeps the very ADHD Tamara focused. Tamara, in turn, keeps Alistair from getting too intense. Otherwise, we’re virtual twins in everything from our preferences in storytelling (eerie atmosphere, big casts, third person narratives, complicated plots and subversive humor) to our philosophies and outlooks on life.  And, of course, our love of cats.

Working with an opposite personality sounds like fun on the surface, but it often leads into murky waters. We are both “nice” sorts – we don’t tell each other what to do, we both despise drama, and we both want to have a pleasant work experience. All the items listed above help us achieve those things on a daily basis.

So what do we hate?  Working with a writer who constantly tells you that you must write a certain way – in first person, for example – is an exercise in annoyance. That’s very different from suggesting to your collaborator that it might be fun to try a first person project.

Working with someone who cries and whines and takes offense because you suggest getting rid of an unnecessary character will do nothing except, perhaps, improve your understanding of crying, whining characters and help you imagine new ways to do them in. Never write with someone who uses guilt to manipulate you. Unfortunately, it’s a very common problem.

Working with someone who constantly cries and whines because they are intimidated by your prowess in a certain area. One of us had an early collaborator who, quite literally, cried when they read our dialogue-filled scenes because they weren’t as adept at dialogue. Telling this person that they excelled at plotting in order to make them stop feeling sorry for themselves merely resulted in them flinging threats and insults when the partnership ended. The person told people that we would never be able to write another book because we couldn’t plot on our own. *insert eyeroll here* – it’s often true that no good deed goes unpunished. If you enjoy drama, write with someone who enjoys it as well, but please don’t try to connect with someone who appeals to you because they’re steady and easy-going. Easy-going types tend to put up with a lot in order to keep the peace, but make no mistake – they will reach their limit and dump you.

 

6. A Sense of Humor: If You Don’t Laugh, You Cry

Writing, especially collaborative writing, is hard work. Hard work is stressful and if you don’t have a sense of humor about what you do, you’ll likely crash and burn. You both need humorous sensibilities – otherwise one of you will drag the other down and hard feelings will surface. Share jokes, share responsibility, share respect and commitment – and be loyal to one another. Do all these things, and you might be as fortunate as we are! We wish you luck!

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

About the Authors

 

Thorne & Cross

In collaboration, Thorne & Cross have written The Cliffhouse Haunting, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, and Motheras well as the ongoing Ravencrest Saga, a serialization with new installments appearing every four to six weeks. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project, and whether writing individually or as a team, neither has any intention of slowing down anytime soon.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, Peter Atkins, author and screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston and Child, Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.

 

Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published in 2012, Alistair has since written several more books. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller which earned praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write, among other things, the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. Learn more about Alistair at: http://alistaircross.com

Tamara Thorne

Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She’s been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life. Tamara’s novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you’ll find a ghost or two lurking in the background. Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness. Learn more about her at: http://tamarathorne.com

Author Tweets of the Week (2-24)

 

I know I don’t usually purely plug my own stuff on these pages. While I may give a nod to my writing every now and then—Can you blame me? It’s my own damn site people!—I try not to put it in your face too much. I want Nothing Any Good to be a site that provides you insight and wisdom for your Indie Author journey, and encouragement and humor for those days when the journey seems to be beating you down.

However, today I want to kick off our Author Tweets of the Week with a tweet of my own about something from my book Pieces Like Pottery

As always, these are real tweets and posts from my readers and followers.

 

 

I’ll give you the short version. One of the literary devices I experimented with in the story The Gravesite (from my book) is tying ten songs to each portion of the story. A few readers have picked up on this and have asked about it.

I decided I would post on this site the story in its entirety along with each song. I’m excited about it. It’ll allow you, the reader, to experience the story in a unique way—taking in the music and lyrics that were utilized to add another layer to the story itself.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear feedback! Do you think it worked well? Did you hate it? Do you hate me?

 

Anyway…on with it already…

 

 

Paint away, my friends! Paint with all the vigor your voice can handle.

And remember to paint in the style that is you. Embrace your style!

 

 

Embrace your weirdness. Don’t let anyone deter you from that.

 

Speaking of embracing your weirdness.

 

This cracked me up. Good work, Alistair.

 

This next tweet we can probably all relate to.

 

 

Too funny. Don’t let rejections get you down, friends. Keep on keeping’ on.

 

A few posts to for those that love to ponder and those that just love to smile.

https://twitter.com/crassusmedia/status/834840658078789633

 

 

Thinking yet? Smiling at least? Good. By the way, for those wondering, both of those arrows in that last tweet from @V8Sheppard are too straight to be my path to becoming a writer.

 

 

Quick, name your five favorite books of all time.

 

 

Tough right? Wow. Can I do it? Let’s see…

The Brother Karamazov.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

The Boxcar Children. (So what if it’s a series of books. Deal with it.)

A Short History of Nearly Everything.

A Tale of Two Cities.

 

Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll have five different books for you.

 

Need an idea for a good social media prank?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tamara Thorne, you make me laugh weekly.

 

All right, friends. It’s time to get back to work. Breath deep. Relax.

You’re writing already, so you’re a writer. Don’t sweat it. We all have doubts. We all have fears. We all believe that our writing is so terrible that the entire world is going to laugh in our face and kick us in the stomach while we lie naked in the street sobbing hysterically. (No? That last one is just me?)

You get the point. Believe in yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

Keep writing away, my friends!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

Your Thighs Are Huge

I’m excited that Nothing Any Good can be utilized as a platform, not only for assisting writers throughout the writing process and promoting their works, but also as a platform to explore new works from up-and-coming authors. Despite what some might think, I don’t believe writing should always be done in a vacuum. Having a community with whom to share essays, short stories, and musings is a valuable commodity for writers. I’m pleased to bring you a heartfelt essay by Sarah Warman.

 

indie author running

The author–Sarah Warman–running a 5k.

 

Your Thighs Are Huge

by Sarah Warman

 

I was basking in the sun on the Delaware beaches. I had just completed my first 5k and had even won my age group. In between dips into the ocean, I found myself discussing my accomplishment to a man and woman who had also ran the race. I told them how I was so excited to complete my first 5k because I had been a sprinter in high school and at one time could have only dreamed of running three consecutive miles.

That’s when he blurted it out, “Your thighs are huge.”

I didn’t get upset or mad. I just felt perplexed. I didn’t know how to respond. For his part I think it was a foot-in-mouth, not-meant-to-offend comment. But it still left me feeling confused. No one had ever told me that my thighs were huge. It wasn’t like they were out of proportion with the rest of my body or I had to search the mall for pants wider in the thigh. Was it a compliment? I wasn’t sure.

 

“I’m worried that young girls will see those images and think; “I need to have the ‘thigh gap.'” I’m here to tell them, “You don’t need it.”

For a while there’s been a trend circulating the Internet called the “thigh gap.” This bothers me. It doesn’t bother me on a personal level, but it bothers me because I think about the young teenage girls that are bombarded with images of the “thigh gap” and other so called “ideals.” I was fortunate to spend my high school years without social media and constant reminders of what I should expect myself to be. I’m worried that young girls will see those images and think; “I need to have the ‘thigh gap.'” I’m here to tell them, “You don’t need it.”

As a teenager I was fortunate to have positive experiences playing team sports including volleyball and basketball and also running track. My coaches never cared about my weight. How high could I jump? How fast could I run? It was our performance that mattered, not our appearance. I never had any concern over my weight or my clothing size. The only thing I cared about was if I was improving at my sport. But usually when I was good at my sport, I felt good about myself.

I can’t remember the last time I had a “thigh gap” or if I ever had one. If I was standing on that beach today hearing about my “huge” thighs I’d probably have a response. I’d say how my thighs are one of my favorite body parts. I’d say how even when I gain weight they still look strong and in shape. I’d talk about how they enable me to walk stairs of an observation tower to enjoy a wonderful view. I’d mention how they could walk for miles without getting tired or even squat over one hundred pounds. I would add how they have carried me over 26miles without collapsing and gave me more confidence than I ever knew I could have. I would say they make me feel grateful and proud, and that’s something no one will ever make me feel bad about.

 

 

This essay originally appeared August 15, 2014 on the Huffington Post.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

Indie Author

Photograph taken by Andrew Warman

About the Author

Sarah Warman grew up in Southwestern Pennsylvania, raised by her parents who met in the steel mills of Pittsburgh. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Technology she moved to the eastern shore of Maryland so she could take walks on the beach whenever she pleased. After spending five years as a migrant, Sarah and her husband returned to their native Pittsburgh where they reside with their rescued cat. Her writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog and her personal blog, Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes. She recently self published two ebooks including a book of essays entitled, Don’t Forget to Write and a short story entitled Seeking Vegas.

 

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