#authortoolboxbloghop

Save the Cat Writes A Novel (Book Review) – #authortoolboxbloghop

save the cat

Lately, most of my writing time has been dedicated to revising my Camp NaNoWriMo project, and I’m feeling good about the progress I’ve made. I’ve discovered several new things that have helped make the process easier for me. One is the chapter overview which I shared for May’s #authortoolboxbloghop. (If you missed that one, you can read about it here.)

Today, I wanted to share about another great resource – Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.

Originally taken from Save the Cat, a book about screenwriting, this book takes the three act structure of a story and breaks it down even farther into 15 beats. It also tells about the ten types of stories and gives examples from best-selling novels like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter.

I love this book! It’s really helped me with my revisions. Using the fifteen beats, I’ve been able to see where things needed to be moved around so they fit better into my story. I’ve also been able to determine whether or not scenes are necessary. And I’ve been able to lay everything out to see how it’s working together.

One of Brody’s suggestions is to use index cards and a big cork board to set up the fifteen beats. I love this idea and while I haven’t got the board yet, I’ve started making the cards and can’t wait to see how it will all look once it is all put together. (I’ll be sure to share my results.)

I think any fiction writer would benefit from this book, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. This is one of my favorite writing books and one I’ll be keeping close whenever I’m working on revisions. (If you’re a planner, you’d probably use this book before you write your novel.)

How about you? Have you read this book yet? What’s your favorite craft book? Let me know in the comments!

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To check out all the participating blogs, or to join in the fun go here.

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#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Revision – Chapter Overview #authortoolboxbloghop

time to revise

Last month I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I worked on revising a WIP. Revision/editing can be overwhelming at times. I know I’ve often felt that way. Recently, I’ve started using a new strategy – chapter overview. And it is so helpful, I wanted to share about it today.

I’m a total pantser. When I start to write a novel, my planning consists of thinking about my story idea and possibly jotting down a few stray ideas. Then I just sit down and type. So when I start to revise, I really have to analyze each part and determine if I need to keep it or not. This is where the chapter overview comes in. (Before I start this process, I’ve already done one read-through so I have a general idea how the story is flowing.)

First, I note the chapter number, the number of pages, and the act in which the chapter takes place. Next, I write a one-line summary of the chapter and write out the purpose of the chapter – What is this chapter doing to move the story forward? This is key in helping me determine whether this is something that needs to stay or go. I also list the characters and the role they play in the story, and then I do a short summary of each scene in the chapter.

I’ve made my own Chapter Overview template that I use to help me with this. I’ve seen other versions floating around online which I’ve also used before, but none of them had exactly all the things I wanted to include, so I made my own.

example chapter overview

Here’s a printable copy: my chapter planner

For me, this has really helped me dig into my story and find what’s working and what isn’t. But more and more, I’m realizing that people learn and think differently, so you just have to find what works for you. If you’re a hard core planner, you might do all this before you even start to write because that’s what works best for you. I find that if I try to do too much planning before typing out my story it interrupts my flow and the story seems to crumble. Either way, I hope you find my chapter overview helpful.

What about you? How do you work best? What are some of the things you find helpful when you’re revising? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Side Note: Earlier for the bloghop, I did a post on the different kinds of editing. If you missed it, you can read it here. (Cataloging chapters is part of the developmental edit.)

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To check out all the participating blogs, or to join in the fun go here.

#authortoolboxbloghop

Prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo – #authortoolboxbloghop

3-WriterTwitter_cover

I’m going to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next month. For those who might not know, Camp NaNo is an extension of NaNoWriMo (where you write a novel in 30 days throughout the month of November).  There are two sessions of Camp Nano, one in April and one in July. You are sorted into virtual cabins with like-minded writers who support you throughout the month. You can sign up and find out all the details here.

The thing I like about Camp Nano is that you can choose to do whatever writing project you would like. Some people work on a series of short works such as poems or short stories, others work on nonfiction pieces, some focus on revising and editing a novel, and still others follow the traditional Nano and write 50k words in a month.

I’ve chosen to do a revision project. I pulled out a manuscript I stored away several years ago and am going to see what I can do with it. It’s a nice chance to step away from my current WIP and focus on another project.

Here are some tips I found helpful. I hope they can help you get ready for Camp NaNo too:

1. Decide on your project. What are you going to do? Is there something you need to finish with an impending deadline? Maybe there’s a piece you’ve set aside that you’d like to reexamine. Or maybe you have a series of shorter pieces you want to complete. This is one of the best parts of Camp NaNo – picking what you want to do!

2. Gather your supplies. For me, this included some research materials, which you may also need if your project requires it. I always have a specific notebook assigned to each project I do so my notes are all contained in one place. Maybe there are some specific resources you might need for guidance. (I’ve included a list of resources at the bottom of this post.) You’ll want to have you planner/calendar for the month handy too (more about this in the next tip). And then there are the obvious things you’ll need – pens, laptop, a favorite writing snack and /or drink, and any other essentials you use when you write.

3. Set up your timeline/calendar. You need to decide on a plan. How many pages, hours, words, ect., are you going to write each day? Make little goals and create a reward system for yourself to help keep you motivated. I start with little rewards like a candy bar or a Starbucks drink, and then build up to larger things like a new mug or book. I usually choose a big prize for completing my final goal at the end of the month, something I’m really excited about that will help motivate me to finish. I’m still working on setting my plan up, but when I finish I’ll share what my calendar looks like.

4. Last but not least – Have Fun! Make this a fun event. If it’s something that will be a lot of stress for you right now, maybe decide to try July’s event instead. If now is the right time for you, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You want to reach your goals, but also be realistic. Don’t set goals that you will be unlikely to attain. And remember this is something you tailor to you – so you can make it as big or as small a project as you’d like.

These helped me with my plan for Camp Nano and I hope they’ll help you too. I know some people don’t like NaNo because it’s too much pressure, but this is a more relaxed version since you’re picking the project and the goals. So even if you don’t like NaNo, you could still give Camp NaNo a try.

camp nano books

Resources:

Story Genius by Lisa Cron This is a craft book with tips for creating your novel.

Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell. This is a great resource to help with revisions on your novel.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. This is a great guide on how to self-edit your novel.

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty. This book is by one of the creators of NaNoWriMo and is an inspiring and quick read. Very helpful if you’re not sure what you’re going to write about.

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.

What about you? Are you participating in Camp Nano this April? What do you do to prepare? Let me know in the comments!

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Connecting With Your Readers Through Twitter – #authortoolboxbloghop

twitter2.jpg

So before the New Year, I did a series on connecting  with your reader as part of the blog hop. (You can see my last toolbox post here.) I wanted to share some tips for using Twitter to connect with readers, so I decided to go ahead and add another post to this series.

As with all the other venues of social media, you want to be commenting and liking your readers’ posts. Just like with Instagram, hashtags are key for finding like-minded people on Twitter, but there are also other ways you can use Twitter. Here are a few ways to use Twitter to connect with your readers:

  1. Share articles or quizzes that your readers will enjoy. This can be your own content or content you’ve found from somewhere else. For instance, I share a lot of things from the Epic Reads site. They have quizzes about YA books, and articles about the newest YA releases. Just remember to credit who or where you got the content from.
  2. Share the same things you share on Instagram or on other social media sites. You get the best use of your content when you share it on all your social media platforms. To help with this, there is even a slider button on Instagram that allows you to share your post to Twitter or Facebook. However, sometimes I find it more effective to share your content separately. When you share posts via the IG button, the picture doesn’t actually post directly to Twitter,  it’s just a link to the photo. If it is something you really want your followers to see, it is more effective to post directly to Twitter.
  3. Use your hastags! Like I said earlier, hashtags are how people find your posts. Find some relative hashtags for your genre (#yalit, #yabooks ect.) to use with your posts. Also, just like on Instagram, there are challenges you can participate in using specific hashtags. (#fridayreads, #yearofepicreads ect.)
  4. Share what you are reading.  Your readers love to hear about new books.  They also enjoy hearing about the kind of books their favorite authors like. Sharing what you are reading is one of the best way to connect with readers.
  5. Make use of the poll option. One of the cool options Twitter has is the poll capability.  (When you go to post a tweet, it is the button on the bottom that looks like a little bar graph.) You can use the poll option to find out what your readers like most about your books, what their favorite genre is, or which of your books they enjoyed most.

These are just some of the ways you can use Twitter to connect with your readers. You can connect with me @charityrau1 on Twitter. What are some you favorite ways to use Twitter? Let me know in the comments!

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.

 

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Bingo

NaNo-2018-Writer-Badge

I am doing Nano again this year, and I ‘ve seen some people participating in a NaNo Bingo. It seemed like a lot of fun and a good motivator. But I couldn’t find any printable version, so I made my own. The link to the printable version is at the bottom of this blog post. Since we are halfway through, you’ll probably be able to fill in several spaces to start with. Feel free to share on social media with #nanobingo18! Hope you enjoy! 🙂

NaNoWriMo Bingo

Feel free to share and Post to Social Media with #nanobingo18.

Attend

a

Write-In

Hit

10k

words

Donate

to

NaNoWriMo

Add a

NaNo

buddy

Kill

a

character

Add an

animal to your novel

Encourage a friend to keep writing

Post word count update to Social Media

Participate in word sprint on Twitter

Make

two characters kiss

Write longer than 2hrs in a sitting

Take

a

#NaNoselfie

Announce

Your

Novel

Write

at a

library

Double Your Daily Word Count

Write

25K

words

Write a Holiday

Scene

Read a

Nano

pep talk

Write a Dramatic Reveal

Post three quotes from your novel

Post on

a Nano

forum

Make

a Cover for Your Novel

Do something (besides writing) to improve your writing

Treat Yourself for working so hard!

Write

50K

words

charityrau.wordpress.com

Printable version: NaNo Bingo 18

How many squares have you already completed? Let me know in the comments!

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Connecting With Your Readers Through Instagram – #authortoolboxbloghop

ig blogpost

My past two bloghop posts have been about different ways to connect with your readers. (If you missed them, you can check them out here and here. )

So this month, I wanted to share some tips on how to connect with readers on Instagram. (And again, I find Instagram is really effective for me as I write YA and there are a lot of YA readers who use Instagram. It might not be as effective for those who write in other genres.)

As with all social media platforms, you want to be commenting on and liking posts from your readers. In addition to that, you can use hashtags to connect with your readers. With Instagram, hashtags are key. Hashtags are how you find people with similar interests. There are several ways you can use hashtags to connect with your readers.

  1. Use several hashtags when you post. (Ten is considered the optimum number.) Some good hashtags for connecting with readers include: #bookstagram, #yabookstagram, #bookworm, #booknerd, #yalit (or whatever genre you write in), #bookdragon #toberead #currentlyreading
  2. Hashtag challenges – There are always plenty of monthly challenges you can participate in.  Each day of the month you are given a prompt which you use to stage your picture for that day. One example of the monthly challenge is #octlitwrit. There are also some challenges where you only post weekly.  My current favorite weekly challenge is #fantasyonfriday
  3. Daily hashtag themes – Similar to the challenges, you use a theme on a particular day like #mondaymotivation, #throwbackthursday or #fridayreads. There is no prompt, you just use the day’s theme to post something.
  4. Tagging games – In the tagging games, you take something like #spellmynameinbooks to complete and then tag several friends to do so as well.

Also, just a note on hashtags – Don’t use hashtags that don’t apply to the picture you’ve posted just to try to get more likes.

What about you? Do you have a favorite hashtag on Instagram? What’s your favorite thing about Instagram? Let me know in the comments. And you can connect with me on Instagram here.

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.

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Choosing the Right Social Media Platform to Connect With Your Readers – #authortoolboxbloghop

Connecting With Your Readers#authortoolboxbloghop (2)

For last month’s bloghop, I posted about connecting with readers through your blog. If you missed it, you can read about it here. I want to share some tips about connecting with readers through social media, but first, I’d thought I’d share some tips on how to determine the best social media sites for you to use.

There are so many social media platforms out there, it’s hard to know which ones are best. There are some things you want to consider before choosing which ones you want to use.

1. First, find the sites your readers are always on. For me, I primarily use Instagram and Twitter. I’ve found a lot of YA readers on both.  Snapchat is another site YA readers hang out on, but your audience is limited to those you are already friends with, so I don’t use it much. Other options include Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Wattpad, and Goodreads.

2. Choose only two or three sites to manage. If you try to use all the sites, you’re going to be eating up a lot of your time. You can be much more effective if you choose just a couple of sites to focus on. Twitter and Instagram are my main focus. I also have accounts with Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+, but I use them far less.

3. Set realistic goals for using your chosen sites. Now that you’ve determined the sites you’re going to use, it’s time to set goals. You want to have goals for posting, interacting with and gaining followers, and promoting your books. I’ll share more about these in my next couple of posts.

While it can seem challenging and confusing at first, using social media can really help you build relationships with your readers. I have found it to be rewarding and enjoyable, and I have made a lot of great friends.

How about you? Do you use social media to connect with readers? Which sites to do you use? What do you like best about social media?  Let me know in the comments!

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.