3 Genres You Have Never Heard of Before

3 Genres You Have Never Heard of Before

With help from the boom of self-publishing in recent years, new genres and subgenres have popped up or have increased in popularity. For example, you can’t browse an online bookstore without seeing several YA paranormal romance titles, a subgenre that wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now following the release of Twilight.

Here are a few more genres that most readers might not be all too familiar with:

Space Opera

Usually set in outer space or on another planet, space operas emphasize adventure and are often sagas involving interplanetary politics or family conflict. Space opera is similar to military science fiction, but is not as focused on the military effort and is generally more romantic in tone. Well-known writers include C.S. Friedman and Frank Herbert. Continue reading

4 Reasons Why You Need to Join a Writing Community

4 Reasons Why You Need to Join a Writing Community

Successful people in every field join together in order to share advice within their industry, and writers are no different. Joining an online community is an increasingly popular way for writers to unite and hone their craft. But, is a writing community right for you? We think so! Here are four reasons why:

  • It’s convenient. You can work in your living room, at your local coffee shop or while you travel.
  • It offers priceless advice. Professionals and peers alike can help you fine tune your writing. Sure, you can ask your mom for her suggestions, too, but your peers (who most likely have more experience within the industry) will do you a favor by offering constructive criticism. Continue reading

The Importance of Peer Book Reviews

The Importance of Peer Book Reviews

If you want your book to appeal to the general public, you need to see what your fellow authors think about it before publishing it. Too often a writer’s ego (e.g. “My work is already perfect!”) gets in the way of this common-sense strategy. Don’t be that author! Ask your peers to review your work – whether it’s just sections or an entire manuscript – to ensure you publish your best work possible.

Sure, it can be scary to put your work in front of your peers, but the benefits far outweigh any hesitations you may have: Continue reading

Title Leading Story – Writing Tips from R.L. Stine

Did you know that the national bestselling children’s author R.L. Stine comes up with his story ideas for his books by beginning with the title of the book? Spooky, right? It’s so different, but guess what? It obviously works. He has sold more than 350 million books and writes six books a year in his Goosebumps series!

Video courtesy of the Author Learning Center Continue reading

3 Fresh Ideas to Help You Organize Your Writing Desk

3 Fresh Ideas to Help You Organize Your Writing Desk

It’s the perfect time of year to bust out the cleaning supplies and tackle some serious spring cleaning. What? You’re not excited? You should be! This is a great opportunity to boost your creative flow and write that book you’ve let sit all winter. Hey, I’m not a DIY Martha Stewart type of person either, but these goals are attainable.

You might be surprised how a little organizing can enhance your work ethic and lead to a clear head with new writing ideas. It may seem like an overwhelming task, but just set aside a weekend afternoon to spruce up your writing desk. You’ll see a clean desk in no time.

1.) Clear off everything. That’s right, you heard me – everything. Make sure you have labeled baskets set aside to separate all of your knickknacks, utensils, trash, etc., as each item is pulled off. Once you sort through the items, the hard part is done. Continue reading

10 Writing Prompts to get Your Creative Juices Flowing

10 Writing Prompts to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

If you’ve hit a snag in your writing and can’t seem to come up with any new ideas, don’t worry — it happens to all of us. There comes a time when we all need a little help to get our creative juices flowing again. Whether you need to rejuvenate your work in progress or want to start a new writing project from scratch, we’ve got a writing prompt for you.

Rejuvenate your work in progress: Here are a few ideas for breathing new life into your current manuscript. Even if you end up writing something that has no place in your actual story, you might still discover something interesting.

1.  Write your character’s obituary.
Looking ahead to a character’s death might help you fill in some holes about his life that you can turn into interesting plot points or meaningful back story. What were his biggest accomplishments? How did he die? Who is he survived by?

2.   Change locations.
Take your characters out of their natural setting, and see what happens. A heated argument between newlyweds might unfold quite differently depending on whether it takes places in their home, a crowded bus or a company Christmas party. How can you use a setting to influence behavior, build tension and change the stakes? Continue reading

How to Write Romance Novels without Crossing the Line

How to Write Romance Novels without Crossing the Line

We’re not judging you if you enjoyed reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but if you want to write a bit more…ahem…tasteful romance novels, here are a few tips.

1.)    Focus on the emotional rather the physical. If writing detailed love scenes makes you blush, skip the gritty details and focus on how excited your couple feels in the moment. Romance novels aren’t all about shock and awe. Stay away from X-rated details, and focus more on the flirty side of things, such as the rush one feels when a new love interest holds their hand. Continue reading

Quotes on Writing: Do These Famous Authors Really Know What They’re Talking About?

Most writers have a bestselling author they admire, such as Shakespeare, Stephen King or E.L. James. (Hey, we don’t judge here.) We think it’s great to have someone’s success motivate you to be a better writer yourself. Quotes are a great way to stay focused during rough patches of your career. And, with Pinterest, those famous quotes are everywhere these days. We all have famous mentors that we look up to, but do these authors really know what the heck they’re talking about?

Here we breakdown a few quotes from famous authors. Tell us what you think: Continue reading

What can a writing community do for you?

True story: I am not a writer unless you count my blog posts on Booktango or my occasional lengthy Facebook statuses. However, I do know a lot of writers, and I am lucky enough to get to speak directly to some of our authors. The one thing I hear a lot is that authors write in solitude, alone, in the quiet. Perhaps that is when the best ideas come to them or maybe they are afraid if they share their ideas or stories, someone might steal them. Whatever the reason may be, I’d like to suggest writers look for feedback during their writing and publishing process.

Who better to give a writer feedback than other writers, or better yet, potential readers? Well friends, good news! There are tools out there to help you with just that.  Writing communities offer several options to interact with others, share struggles, provide insights or ideas. The best part? Almost every (good) community has guidelines and terms of use that protect the writer from their work being copied or against really abusive feedback.

Who should join a writing community? Continue reading

Inspirational Quotes for Writers with the Blues

Writing is work. It is a blessing and a curse; a calling and a haunting. It’s incredibly rewarding, and at the same time, it’s hard.

As an author, you get stuck. You might want to quit, give up and find a new job – discover an easier passion.

Don’t.

All authors – all people, for that matter – encounter times in their lives and careers where things don’t go their way and they lose their drive to continue. When I encounter times like these, I find inspiration in the words of authors and writers I admire. Here are some of my favorite quotes from authors of various genres: Continue reading