Tag Archives: authors with blogs

Starting a Novel: Tips, Tricks, & A Little Chaos

11 Jul

I recently finished a major revision on a manuscript. Typically that calls for a well-deserved break, to which I shake my fists at, because I am a write-aholic, and I love nothing more than to immediately jump into my next, shiny, new project. That’s right. 

I already started another novel. 

Why did I already start another book? Well, for one, I’ve been working on the aforementioned revision for six months. It’s been a bit, and I’ve been dying to oil my creative gears and discover something new, whether that be a fresh, exciting world or a character that shocks me. I also know that a writer should never put their writing dreams into one book. If my revision doesn’t work out, well, I need something else, don’t I? Might as well get on that. 

So how does someone start a novel?

Quick answer: It’s different for every writer and often every project. Some of my projects are more outlined than others. Some come to me in a blink; others fight me the whole way. But there are ways you can enhance your chances for success. 

Here are those tips: 

  1. Set Yourself Up Before You Begin

On any given day, I’m working on about three novels. One that I’m revising, one that I’m writing, and one that I’m outlining. Because my recent revision was more of a rewrite, it had been taking up both my revising and writing focus—so, when I turned that in, I had space available for one of the novels I’ve been outlining. (I currently have three strong contenders.) These three ideas have been rattling around in my brain for a while. (One I recently came up with only a few weeks ago; another is based on an idea I actually started drafting when I was 14. That’s right, the idea is 15 years old! But now I’m giving away my age. Always keep your notes.)

By having notes ahead of time, you won’t feel burdened by the blank page, because, well, you aren’t starting on a blank page. You’re starting with bursts of character, fun dialogue snippets, exciting scenes, and more.

2. Research, Research, Research

Research comes into the writing process at different stages for everyone. For example, when I write my fantasy novels, research might not come into play until the later drafting stages. I typically write the book, realize the type of research it needs, then do that. My science fiction novels are the complete opposite. I need to know how certain technologies work long before I start writing, or I’m going to have a mess on my hands. Same thing with the historical novel I wrote. Research happened before writing. Significant research. Knowing what sort of project you are writing and how research will affect the project is important. If you aren’t sure, go ahead and jot down a couple topics you know are in your story but you don’t know that much about. Next time you’re having a writer’s block day, guess what? You now have something to do. Better to research earlier on and prevent a blundering plot hole than to write an entire book and realize the premise is flawed. Amiright?

3. Start Writing that FIRST Draft 

Write however you want to. Write messy. Write in order. Just write. Right now, I’ve been writing in one of those three fun ideas I’ve had laying around, and I’m still at the stage where I’m writing snippets all over the place. I wrote Chapter One – Six, and then I went back and added a short prologue, flipped three chapters, and started outlining the rest. I have one document titled ORGANIZEDwhich includes notes I can put in order by scene, and one called UNORGANIZED, which is my chaos document. I have no idea where these snippets will go or even if I’ll use them, but I love them and hope to use them as the book shapes up. 

A sneak peek behind the curtains

Basically, my Scrivener project looks like a mess right now, but I’ve been here a dozen times before. I trust that it will come together as it should. I trust the process. I trust me. If you don’t trust yourself to write or finish, then you’re still at the stage of your writing career where you’re figuring out what your process is and how to go about it, and that’s totally valid. Try different times of the day. Experiment with new writing methods. Are you used to plotting? Go ahead and be a pantser for the afternoon. Play with a new genre you’ve never tried before. Explore, and eventually you’ll find an adventure worth pursuing. If you’re struggling with meeting your goals, try NaNoWriMo, setting goals, or using tools like PaceMaker Planner

At the end of the day, you’re at the start line, not the finish line, so treat it as such. You shouldn’t be comparing your new words to someone’s edited words. Remember: This is your first draft. You can be as messy as you need to be in order to figure out what your book is about—as long as you plan on revising later. And guess what? No matter how perfect you think your first draft is, you will have to revise, so embrace the moment. 

Start writing your novel today.  

~SAT

P.S. For more tips and tricks on starting a novel, I will be teaching a FREE virtual class on Monday, July 27 at 6:30 PM (CST). More information: Starting a Writing Project. It is taught through ZOOM. Go ahead and register, and I will see you there! 

#WW: The New Cover of Minutes Before Sunset Revealed!

18 Mar

Small announcement: Facebook removed over 50 likes from my author page this week. You might have been one of them. Currently, FB is removing inactive accounts across all pages, but many are reporting active members being removed. Please visit my Facebook page and make sure we’re still connected.

The New Cover of Minutes Before Sunset Revealed!

logoThe time has come. Today, we have a cover reveal for the second edition of Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy. This novel releases on July 28, 2015 by Clean Teen Publishing, and I would like to send a huge THANK YOU out to their team as well as all of the websites who are supporting me today (in order of sign-up).

Introducing Members of the Dark: Confessions of a Book GeekJera’s JamboreeNicholas C. Rossis, Jonas Lee, Acid Publications, Gnome on Pig Productions, Darkness Rising Universe, Lit World Interviews, Ronovan WritesIn Between the PagesLegends of WindemereA Reader’s ReviewTranquil DreamsBooks for ThoughtAnnette AbernathyLive. Laugh. Read.XO EESHThe Modest VergeEnnlee’s Reading CornerReal Rad ReadsSDAV ReadsCassandra Lost in BooksRed Sands Reviews and RamblingsMs. Me28 ReviewsPau’s CastlesawkwardMEOWEndless ReadingNerd GirlTaking on a World of WordsTrials of a wanna-be-published writerWritten ArtNay’s Pink BookshelfThe Incorrigible ReaderMacy Avenue, Ky Grabowski, Bookshelf of DoomJust Another Girl and her Books,Hines and Bigham’s Literary TrystChris PavesicCoffee Books and ArtRead Watch Think, Making My MarkMel’s ShelvesMacy AvenueNote to Selph Book ReviewsSteampunk Sparrow’s Book BlogPointe Taken, FlannelletteBook Gannet, and Fantasy is More Fun!

::drumroll – even though you’ve probably already seen it by now::

Ta-Dah!

CoverTwo destinies. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

Isn’t it beautiful?

are youNow, go out and share, share, share. We are recruiting for the Dark, so if you want to become a member, email me at shannonathompson@aol.com! You will also get a fancy badge like the one to the right, but it will say “Member of the Dark” instead.

You can also join the Dark here:

Thank you for sharing, and thank you – once again – for being so awesome! We’re all members of the Dark on the inside. :] That is, until I make Member of the Light badges….

~SAT

P.S. I have one more reveal….THE FULL COVER!

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April Ketchup

29 Apr

These are my favorite posts to write. I love numbers, so I love analyzing my stats and sharing them with everyone. If you’re a blogger, I hope my stats help you know how my website grows – what works and what doesn’t. This month, I want to clarify that I’ve been rather busy with getting my next manuscript – “TMT” – ready for next month’s announcements, so I didn’t have as much time as I normally do to read other blogs. I am a HUGE advocate of reading other blogs. It’s a great way to meet fellow writers, and it is vital to creating a fun environment for readers. (I will get into why I believe this later.) As usual, I have adjusted my Ketchup post to new insights. 😀 Enjoy.

Here is how my April Ketchup is organized:

My big moments, top three blog posts, the one blog post I wish received more views, the rest of the blog posts, top referrer other than search engines, top searched term, and gains in followers, likes, and shares. I also included every website who has helped me this month. I’ve added two new categories though: my guest blogger has their own spot, and I’ve linked to my YouTube videos since I just began a channel this month.

Big Moments:

lalunaMy poem – Regretful Memories – was published in LALUNA Magazine. When one of my favorite photographers asked for poets to submit to her new magazine, I never thought she would pick one of my pieces to be in the first edition. I did a reading of it on YouTube as well, but this was a big moment because I haven’t had any poetry published since 2012, and it feels really nice to be able to participate in the poetry again, especially during National Poetry Writing Month.

ShannonAThompson.com hit 15,000 followers. Ah! So exciting! I cannot believe how quickly this website is growing and how many wonderful people I’ve been able to meet because of it. My next two big moments include two of those great people I have been able to meet because of this blog:

David Congalton, writer of Authors Anonymous, contacted me after he read my review of his film. I already finished interviewing him, so you can expect to see his interview on here in May. In the meantime check out his film. It’s perfect for writers.

And Gordon Tredgold – author, speaker, and leader – quoted me on his website:

10155262_673875619326289_5424221285165146459_n …

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Writing With Barbie: I never thought my confession would be so popular, but I am glad you like my Barbie dolls as much as you like me. Maybe I should keep my dolls out of storage and start playing with them again…

2. Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous” This is the post where I wrote about the movie, Authors Anonymous, that David Congalton and I will be speaking about this week. I definitely recommend seeing this movie, especially if you’re a writer.

3. Editing Tips: I shared some unconventional ways to go about editing, including how you can use a shoebox.

The Post I Wish Got More Views:

Behind the Scenes of The Timely Death Trilogy: I meant to share my 30-Day Countdown from March last month, but I finally found a slot this month. I included new games and excerpts, too. Plus, I love talking about my books with readers, and I love sending out fun games about it even more. (This post even includes new hints for TMT!)

Other Blog Posts, Organized by Topic:

My Poem, Regretful Memoriesmyhome

YouTube:

Writing:

Interview:

Website Wonders:

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

  • Website Wonders: I was late in February and March, so I posted their website wonders at the beginning of this month.

Guest Post:

What if I Can’t Write What I Know: Written by Susannah Ailene Martin, this post explains how writers can get over the hurdle of researching for a novel. My stats spiked when I shared her post, which is a perfect example of why we should connect with one another through blogs and other kinds of social media.

YouTube Videos from Coffee & Cats:

My goal when I started was to only post one video this month to test it out. Plus, I had to learn how to create the channel and videos. I was really proud of myself when I beat my goal by uploading two videos.

Reading of “Regretful Memories” and Author Confessions

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites. I will be looking for new reviewers for TMT soon! I can’t wait!

Reviewers: Making My MarkEndless ReadingParis CarterCoffee, Books, and ArtThe ExaminerReturn Novel.

Interviewers: Read to Write Stories, The Lurking Voice, Doodles, doodles everywhere.

Features: How to Write a Love Story

I used this photo because it reminds me of “TMT” - my next novel that will soon be announced.  (Photo from gdefon.ru)

I used this photo because it reminds me of “TMT” – my next novel that will soon be announced.
(Photo from gdefon.ru)

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