Reading Between the Lines: Sending a Message to Readers

Everybody’s got a point to make.

That’s how it often seems, anyway. From movies to television, ads to periodicals, there’s almost always some kind of takeaway message. Some are subtle: others much less so. Thus, it is only natural that books should follow the same pattern. Authors have their ideals and opinions too, after all, and while many are not out to make a point, many are. So, the question left open is, if you are among the latter, how strong should your message be?Continue reading “Reading Between the Lines: Sending a Message to Readers”

Plans for October

September was a quiet, but largely successful month. It saw progress on my current anthology, major improvements to my digital store, and other writing and reading accomplishments.

This month will finally see the release of my first novel, which has been on pre-order since mid-August (the 22nd is the last day to receive the 25% discount on e-book edition, for those interested). October will also hopefully see the end to the rough-drafting phase for my anthology, after which I’ll take a couple weeks off to edit another set of short stories that I will compile with the hope of publication next spring.

10 Ways to Improve Your Writing

There’s all kinds of advice out there you could offer to someone who’s looking to get better at writing. Foremost among these are, of course, write and read as much as possible. But these are rather vague suggestions at best, and there are a number of other things you can do as well. So, here you are:Continue reading “10 Ways to Improve Your Writing”

Building Your Writing Credentials

The hallowed ‘Big Five’ of the publishing world–every professional author’s dream!

There are undoubtedly a number of authors who never intend to publish what they write beyond circles of close family and friends or even the pages of a diary. For such people, what follows is utterly irrelevant. But for every professional (or even semi-professional) writer, the ultimate goal is publication, ideally in a big-time literary journal or book put out by one of the ‘Big Five’ publishing houses. Given how many submissions such publishers receive in a single day, though, the question remains as to how a single author in that sea of names could possibly grab their attention. There are several answers to that, but first and foremost (besides top quality writing, of course) is to have a backlog of previously published work.Continue reading “Building Your Writing Credentials”

Defining Your Audience

What does your audience look like? Cappies from Kirby: Right Back at Ya!

Among the first questions to ask oneself when writing anything is: Who am I writing this for? It doesn’t matter what genre you write in, fiction or non, this question must be answered if your book is to have any chance at success. Some authors ask themselves beforehand so as to tailor their story to suit the readers. Others write first, then look to see who would be most interested in their work. Both approaches have their merits, but in both cases, the following guidelines can be applied. To those of you who have a clear purpose and audience in mind for your work, you’re off to a great start. To the rest, hopefully the following introduction will help you get started.Continue reading “Defining Your Audience”


Outlining can be a useful tool, but only if done properly. Of course, what constitutes proper outlining is subject to the occasion. There are some who prefer not to bother with any planning at all, but it’s worth trying at least once, and so I’ll highlight a few methods I’ve come across here.

Method #1: Streamlining

This is the most straightforward (if also the most time-consuming) method, and the one I tend to use if I have an outline at all. But, it can also save a lot of trouble while actually writing the story, if done thoroughly enough. This is basically the process of thinking the story through in order from beginning to end, noting all the major events that play out as you go. Name people and places as they come up (though it’s sometimes helpful to make a separate character list as well) and describe them as thoroughly as possible. The biggest flaw is that of coming up with new plot or subplot twists as you go along or after you’ve finished. That’s why it’s best to go over these outlines several times, adding new points by squeezing them in the margins or via asterisks and daggers if necessary.

Method #2: Spotting

This is better when you’ve got an assortment of related ideas, but don’t know exactly how to arrange them yet. Just write them all down, then come back and number them when you’ve got a firmer idea of where things go. And, as before, add in new ideas as necessary. As an alternative, some people write each event on a separate notecard (with all accompanying details) and arrange them later.

These are the best ways I know of, and the only ones I have actually tested for myself. There is a third method that I haven’t tried, though it may work for you:

Method #3: Matching

This is perhaps the least cohesive of the bunch, at least in the initial stage. However, it can potentially be great for folks who have a truly random scattering of ideas, and no other way of organizing them. It involves making several lists: one of characters, one of settings, and one of events. Select at least one item from each list (more than one from the character pile, if necessary), then build a story (or at least a scene) around that. You can even add a fourth category involving time, if you so desire, but either way this one is probably best done on notecards or the like. It sounds a bit chaotic for me, and if used for a book-length work, could potentially entail writing a number of scenes out of order. But, for those to whom randomness is not a problem (or for single-author anthologies), it might just work superbly!

Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

Divine inspiration? Dannebrog Falling from the Sky During the Battle of Lyndanisse, June 15, 1219. Painted by Christian August Lorentzen in 1809. Original located at Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark

This is a question common to artists of every kind, and the answer tends to be universal: Anywhere!

Continue reading “Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?”

Pre-Order Sale on E-Books!

Good day all! As those of you who’ve been watching closely may know, my debut novel, Sauragia, has been going on sale for pre-order in various venues over this past week or so. To celebrate the occasion, I’m offering 25% off from today until October 23rd on e-book editions from most of my distributors! This means that on several websites where it’s currently available for pre-order, you can now get it for $2.99 instead of the normal list price of $3.99. For more info on the book and its current distribution, click here.

N.B.-This offer will not apply to orders from Amazon at this time.

For purchases from Barnes & Noble, you’ll need the following coupon code: BNPSAURAGIA25

For those of you with a XinXii Store account, use the following code between now and August 22nd to get a copy FREE: XXSAURAGIA100

The Novel Writing Process from Outline to Print

Writing can be a daunting task for anyone from a student doing a research essay to a professional historian writing a detailed biography. It undoubtedly takes a lot of patience, diligence, and hard work to come up with a piece that’s even passable, much less masterful. But while being an author is a task that one could rarely label as easy, there are certainly ways to go about it that can significantly reduce the stress.Continue reading “The Novel Writing Process from Outline to Print”