Truly Epic Fantasy Bundle

All-Covers-Large-300x165MORE TRULY EPIC FANTASY BOOKS

I am excited to announce that my book, The Feather and the Moon Well is included in another fantasy bundle of famous authors! Please pass this on to your friends and family. They make wonderful gifts! It’s a terrific chance to get some truly epic books to read for a great deal.

At storybundle.com, you can pay a minimum of $5 and receive the base group of five titles, or for as little as $15, you receive all eleven books in your preferred eBook format, delivered immediately. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education. The Truly Epic Fantasy bundle runs for a limited time, ending on September 22. Fill up your reading device with all the worlds you can imagine, help indie authors, and also benefit a great charity.

David Farland Discovery Program launching at FanX convention in March

The Feather and the Moon WellThe Feather and the Moon Well will be launched as the first novel in the David Farland Discovery Program this coming March at Fan X in Salt Lake City! I will be present as well as David Farland to sign copies and talk about the program. Hope to see you there!

Shean Pao

It is official! The Feather and the Moon Well will be published by WordFire Press in March, 2016.

It’s possible we will be launching the book along with the David Farland Discovery Program at FanX Comic Con in Utah, but details are still pending.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU USE SCRIVENER

Before I started using Scrivener, I was writing my material in InDesign. A lot of you might shake your heads, however InDesign is a terrific book publishing application. I worked for a book publishing company and that is what we used to design, format and edit our books. It worked well. Scrivener is like hopping into a lear jet in comparison – just my humble opinion. It is fantastically easy. After just an hour tutorial I was up and running. Ok so I still have not learned all the features, but I am able to write, store, and ORGANIZE my chapters, switch them around in a heartbeat, and write a workable synposis as well.

Best of all – it’s only $45.00 USD. – Well worth it! There is a full review and tutorials at this link.

Literature and Latte – Scrivener Writing Software

WHEN YOU ARE STUCK

I am finding a few things help me when I am stuck in my writing. Today I just wrote a few paragraphs. It just wasn’t coming to me. So I referred to my 20 Master Plots, (and discovered my plot that I was feeling miserable about wasn’t so bad, so perhaps it is the execution or delivery that needs work on. But I still didn’t feel like writing, so I created my business cards. And did research on historical names. Here are some other things I thought of to help me get out of a rut: First off… have a list of things you could be doing. This list is something you keep close at hand, tacked to the wall or in a notebook next to your computer. Keep it updated. My list might look like the following:

Work on book 1 Work on my short story Work on book 2 Rework the first draft of…. (insert a piece you are working on here) Research material for my blog Research marketing techniques Read How to build Master Plots (or a list of other writing books you have waiting)

This may sound overly simple, but I find if I am twiddling my thumbs and don’t feel inspired, it helps if I divert my attention to something else. At least I am getting something done instead of just “sitting” there. Sometimes just sitting there is good. I’ve stared at a blank page for twenty minutes, mashing things in my head and suddenly,… bam.. it just starts flowing and I start typing. But I don’t let it go longer than 30 minutes, unless I am really on to something by the end of that time. –

Keep a stop watch/timer by your writing desk. I use my iPhone. If you set yourself to do something in a short amount of time, set the timer. Also remember to take breaks. Or you are going to end up hobbling around like a gnome in a short amount of time.

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DON’T GET DISCOURAGED IN YOUR WRITING

The summer has deflated me. This incessant heat makes me feel partially melted, and I can’t seem to focus my soggy brain. But through the last four weeks, I’ve put up an author platform, (website, twitter and face book page) as well as a blog for my writing and a website and blog to post information on Zen, my African Grey Parrot.

It was NOT easy. I am not a computer newbie. I’ve used a computer for the past twenty years to earn a living as a graphic designer. I even have some experience in putting up and maintaining basic websites as well. But I have to say, this was challenging. The technical difficulties on setting up a blog, hooking email response up, linking twitter (which I have no experience with, I’m still not sure how a hashtag works), and struggling through WordPress, (I have since switched over to a square-space platform and I think I will be much happier.)…plugins and widgets has left me feeling like I am standing in the middle of the road, staring wide-eyed at the flashing lights.

If a real car comes along I may not have the sense of mind to get out of the way! LOL. But, here I am, posting another blog comment. So what am I trying to say? Don’t get discouraged. Rome was not built in a day. I think I finally can put that popular saying into practical application.

I have a another popular saying on my wall, pinned rather than nicely framed, but it still does its job.. The only difference between winners and losers, – Winners don’t give up. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Remind yourself of what you HAVE accomplished, and give yourself a break. And keep on plugging. It may seem daunting, it may take years, but so what? If you don’t do it, you won’t have it at all. But if you keep at it, one day, .. one very wonderful day, you will wake up and say.. “TODAY is the day, I did it. I accomplished what I started. And you will feel.. fantastic!  I”m still waiting for that day. But I am looking forward to feeling that success. Looking forward to it with great anticipation. And you can bet I will let you know when it happens!

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THE MIDNIGHT WRITER
LAYING AWAKE AGAIN

I don’t sleep well. It has to do with extra lectin and glutamine in my body. (Email me to know more on this, I have a wealth of information on restless leg syndrome.) At any rate, I find myself wide awake at any given hour, with stories racing through my head. Or one story in particular as I try to figure out how my novella is going to end. So last night I ended up thinking of my next blog post, and it occurred to me to list ways to share ideas on how to keep writing. I know this has been done a million times. Probably a billion. But the point is, if you can find the few specific triggers that work for you – DO THEM. Here are just a few.

 

1 – Get an egg timer (or use your cell phone). Write for fifteen minutes a day. Just DO IT. If you go over fifteen minutes, hurrah! If not, reward yourself for doing the fifteen minutes of discipline. it WILL pay off. A friend of mine gave me a little card that says “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” Jodi Picoult

2 – Music. Music can set a mood for many types of dramatic writing. If things are getting stuck, put the right sort of music on to influence your thoughts.

3 – Keep a small notebook with you. Jot down ideas as they hit you. I often have things pop into my head at the craziest times and have learned to ALWAYS keep something to write with near by.

4 – Keep a notebook next to your bed (If you are a midnight writer like myself, a lot of terrific ideas come at night. And if I don’t write them down RIGHT THEN – poof, the morning comes and they are gone *cry*. I can’t tell you how many award-winning, creative ideas have vanished with the dawn. (at least I think they were. I’ll never know)

REASONS TO SPEW OUT THE WORDS

What was the biggest lesson I learned this month? Spew out the words. As a writer in the past, I would often agonize over every sentence. This has a tendency to bog a persons creative flow – don’cha think? But why didn’t I realize that before? Perhaps it comes from having to write papers for school. Or perhaps we were never given the secret when we began our first steps on that road. Perhaps it is a different reason for all of us. But.. if you take anything away from my blogs, take this.

Spew out the Words

 

Don’t sit there and worry about this sentence or that sentence. Don’t STOP your story from coming OUT. Just write. Even if you are breaking it down to – he ran for the door. Lacey watched him run with anger. Simple sentences, but they convey your story and let you keep writing. It’s like building a house. You put the foundation down (first draft) – You put up the wooden frame (2nd draft) You put up the drywall (3rd draft). All the carpet and fixtures go in (final draft and or/ professional edit).

So I’ve been trying this, and it really works! Not only do I not waste time perfecting parts of my story that I discover later don’t belong at all, but I don’t feel the tension that something important is going to be forgotten as I go with the flow.

The real writing begins in the revision.

THAT is where the fun begins. Now you have the framework on which to build. You have your structure, (the plot) and you can rearrange that plot as needed. You can see the whole scope of the house, and can add on rooms, a utility space, whatever is needed, without the crushing realization that you have to tear out thatother room (the one you spent three days perfecting) because it just won’t work.

It’s all about flow! Don’t let your need to perfect keep you from getting your story OUT OF YOUR HEAD! 🙂

RAMP IT UP!

RAISE THE BAR IN YOUR WRITING

Fabulous what you can learn when you really start to put some effort into it. I have to recommend The Nighttime Novelist by Joseph Bates to anyone who is an aspiring author. Simple, straightforward writing tips. But it covers a LOT of GREAT writing information. One of the ideas I have learned from this book (and others that support it) is the concept of raising the bar in your writing. Take each one of your chapters as a single entity, and think about what it would take to raise the stakes in that section of your novel.

 

Write a list – what would raise the stakes? You might have to look at individual characters to do this – what would make the protagonist work harder? What is the WORST thing that could happen to him/her in this chapter? Would that raise the bar and build tension?

Are there arguments that can be started? Conflict drives your story. Conflict can come in an adventure that needs to succeed, a conversation where another character needs to be convinced, an internal struggle where your character needs to make a decision. Keep your character on their toes! They have to try and fail, try and fail… and finally… succeed in their goal.

It’s all about suspense. What will make your reader want to read on? Usually it is because.. surprise… they want to know what is going to happen next! Sounds simple… but how many times have you started a book, and got bored because nothing was happening?

And don’t forget… write 15 minutes EVERY DAY. – let’s say that amounts to 200 words a day. That is 6000 words a month, or 72,000 words a year! (A novella is minimum 20, – 50, thousand words) – given that you need revisions, at the very minimum, you could write one novella a year – Just writing 15-20 minutes a day. Keeps things in perspective – doesn’t it.

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WIRED FOR STORY!

THIS IS A GAME CHANGER IF YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING

wires

For a very long time, I’ve held on to certain ideas about how to write a story.

Perhaps some were subconscious beliefs, built from hearing and reading stories all my life, but many are techniques I have learned through schooling, classes at the U of M, writing seminars and reading a stack of books on the craft of writing, higher than my head. Well none of those years of learning and reading can beat the workshop I just attended, given by Lisa Cron.

 

First of all, Lisa has a list of impressive credentials. You can find those out for yourself here at her website.

Lisa discusses the latest advances in neuroscience that has revealed how our brains are hardwired for story. I know, this sounds like a psychology class you don’t want to sit through, but really, this is an amazing piece of information that I encourage you to learn. May I be so bold to say it will change your writing LIFE.

Story is the language of the brain – Lisa teaches:

  • How – and why – story and the brain developed in tandem.
  • Why we use story, and not facts, to make sense of the world.
  • What it is that gives story it’s unparalleled power.
  • What the brain craves in every story it hears.
  • How to create stories that hook readers from the very first sentence.
  • How to create stories capable of moving people to action.

Ok this sort of sounds like all the other writing techniques you’ve heard others promise. “Read my book – you’ll learn how to become a best-selling author!” -that kind of junk. I promise you, this is not like that. This is the real deal. – (No I am not saying if you read Lisa’s book you will put out a best selling novel. That is going to depend on your writing skill and a whole lot of other factors. – But I am saying you will have one hell of a better chance of doing it!).

Do yourself a favor, study everything this woman has to say. I do not know Lisa personally, I am not being paid to write this. I am trying to pass along one of the most important and enlightening pieces of information I have ever discovered about writing. I want it to improve your writing, as much as it has improved mine!

Lisa doesn’t just give you a vague idea of some brainiac premise on writing technique. She plots out specific things you need to look at in order to even START your book. It’s not hard! It’s very easy. It’s five simple steps in fact.

Below is a link to her blog which explains some of what she discussed with us at the workshop. I have also included the 5 pages of notes pertaining to Lisa’s lecture. – with her permission.

Here is a blog Lisa posted.

PSWG-Cron-5 Steps to Creating an Irresistible Story-2-15-14

If you want to read her book, you can find it on Amazon.com – Wired for Story

Posted on February 17, 2014 and filed under Writing Craft & Technique.

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