Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

Writing a High Concept Novel

I don’t know about you, but the very notion of a High Concept baffles me. It seems to be the key that many agents and publishers are seeking, yet none of them can confirm what that means for them.

However, it’s the same stumbling block I’ve come up against on my submission journey. My most frequent feedback is that the agent has not connected with my concept as much as they’d hoped. While this fills me with hope that I will find the right agent to fall in love with my story, it also got me thinking about what I can do to improve my chances with my next novel.

Love writing, notebook, pencil, tea

I like to forward plan, learn from my mistakes and take advantage of every situation, I’m sure most of my fellow writers do too. So let’s take a deeper look at what a story concept is. In basic terms it’s the idea of your whole story, before plot, before characters, simply the idea behind it. The bare skeleton of the story.

Now this is not the same as the premise, which is the heart and soul of your book. This is where we flesh-out the skeleton by adding characters with goals, motives and fears. Then you add plot which adds conflict and stakes. Now the richness adds to the bare concept and builds a premise.

So while they are similar, they are ultimately very different. By understanding this I can already see why my concept is familiar, if not a little boring. But add premise and my story grows wings and takes flight.

Inspiration butterflys Pexel-image

There isn’t one magic ingredient that takes an ordinary concept and raises it to new heights. In fact, it’s a mixture of several. So what makes a story – High Concept?

It meshes high levels of entertainment with originality.

It’s unique.

Born from; what if, putting a spin on an original concept.

The idea is visual making for a great movie adaptation.

It has clear emotional focus: fear, love, rage etc.

And or, it has mass audience appeal.

And as with all things in the writing world it boils down to subjectivity.

With that information in mind, I hope all my blossoming writers are a little clearer on the illusive High Concept novel. As with all things in the writing world it boils down to subjectivity.To be honest, I’m not sure I am. After all, isn’t that what we already thought we were doing???

Perhaps some of my fellow writers have a clearer understanding, if so, please share your knowledge with me. And thank you all for reading.

Until next time, Much Love Xxx

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

6 Tips For Adding Tension

This week I’m sharing the fantastic blogger Kate’s; 6 tips on creating tension in our writing.

K.M. Allan

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put it down? A story where you couldn’t flip the page fast enough, or wait to dive back into its chapters, resenting all life distractions until you can read “The End”?

While novels like this are no doubt filled with worlds you connect with, terrific or terrifying characters, real dialogue, and surprising plot twists, they also contain the one thing that makes your readers eager to see what happens next: tension.

Adding tension to your story is like putting frosting on a cake. The frosting is arguably the best part of the cake, and tension is like that for your story. It draws the reader in; they want more, right until the last sentence, when all the delicious cake story has been devoured.

So how do you get this awesome tension baked into your MS? By giving these tips a try…

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Inspirational Quotes for Writers

Taking inspiration from every available source is in our best interest as writers. And Einstein’s view of the world is a great place to start. Let’s take a closer look at some of my favourite quotes and how we can apply them.

maps-desk-notes writing novel ideas

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

By creating new and innovative worlds we can reflect upon our own reality and lift it to new heights. Never take for granted the powerful gift we writers have, to use the knowledge that surrounds us and expand our reader’s consciousness through empathy for all characters and their circumstances.

When outlining plot and character arcs, remember Einstein’s advice: The chaos created, will need a different way of thinking, a more positive action to return the story to a harmonious outcome.

Quote - Those who tell stories rule the world

“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

By taking a curious look at the world around us, we create well rounded characters which in turn allow us to grow as humans.

The same applies with nature, for the fundamental building blocks are used to build literary worlds. Using sounds, smells, textures and taste. Even the patterns of how people interact. As a writer, you should become an avid watcher; take a keen interest in the vivid, vibrant world around you.

Water-girl-emotions

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Appreciate your unique abilities to write, for no one else can tell the story the way you do, no one else has your voice to tell it in. Maybe you can’t run a marathon, or cook, or you’re terrible at maths… join the club, but we can write.

I love Einstein’s last piece of advice: If your writing isn’t clear, then your readers won’t understand it. Simple.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

As always, Thanks for stopping by.

What’s your favourite Einstein and why does it resonate with you? You know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love Xx

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Love Inspiration Dreams

Writers: Thanks a Million

Today I’m filled with appreciation and love for my fellow writers. All the bloggers, all the twitter writing community, my Facebook friends and my adorable Instagram peeps.

Wonderful people spread over many virtual places. But just because we aren’t connected in a skin and bones, face to face way doesn’t diminish the respect or gratitude I feel towards you all.

I know that we all take the risk as writers to bare our souls, to delve deep under the surface of emotions, to expose that which makes us human.

Thank you message in a bottle

I’ve struggled this week with a chest infection and the knock on effect of poor mental health. I burrowed away with low energy, a rattling chest and crippling doubt.

Yet the inspiration and positive vibes from my community kept me strong and pulled me out the other side.

So thank you all.

Each week I get such a fantastic response from you all, you share your experiences, your views and most of all your personality. I owe you all my humble admiration and love. Because sometimes we need to simply spread the joy.

Keep dreaming and aim high.

Tell me about your week, how is the autumn season beginning for you. Much Love Xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

Let’s connect: Writers Tag

Being a writer can be lonely business. So we thought we’d create Writer’s Tag to get the ball rolling and in a fun way, introduce each other to all the wonderful writers who blog.

Before we start the Writers Tag, here is a little work to put in:

  • Post the Tag and Image on your blog (see above)
  • Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.
  • Mention the creators of the award and link back to their blogs.
  • Nominate 6+ deserving bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

This Writers Tag was created by Lorraine Ambers and Ari Meghlen. Click on the highlighted names to check out their blogs and don’t forget to comment on their blog and tell them that you’ve played the fun Writing Tag so they can connect with you too.


So let’s get started with this fun, quick fire writers Tag and get to know each other a little better.

Name one novel that inspired you to write.

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou. Her harrowing experiences as a child were transformed into something beautiful, her words, her courage and her ability to take readers on a journey. Simply awe inspiring.

What’s your favourite genre to write and read?

💕💕 Fantasy-romance 💕💕

Do you prefer to write stand-alone or series?

So far series, but my latest novel is a stand-alone and that is equally endearing.

 Use 3 words to describe yourself.

Caring, creative and a little crazy.

Reveal your WIP aesthetics or an image that represents your MC or setting.

Autumn forest

How long did your first MS take to draft?

Too long! About 18 months, but it was time well spent learning my craft.

Who is your author idol?

Sarah J Maas – I love her work!

Share a writing memory that made you determined to carry on.

Every time I get feedback on my work. It’s made me feel proud of what works and determined to right what doesn’t.

Tell us something surprising or unique about yourself.

I’m a qualified Interior Designer and my husband and I develop the properties we live in. 

Share the hardest part about being a writer and how you overcame it.

Doubt. It’s soul crushing. The only way to overcome doubt is to persevere, just keep going. It takes small steps to climb a mountain.

What’s your favourite social media and why? Share your link.

I’m loving Twitter at the moment. It’s fast moving, engaging and has a fantastic community of writers. @LorraineAmbers

Share some uplifting wisdom in six words or less.

Be brave and keep writing.


Thanks for reading in this fun Writing Tag. Remember fellow writers, treasure your unique abilities and talents and never give up on yourselves.

Here are my nominations:

K. M. Allan

uninspiredwriters

Caffine and writing dreams

Andrew Mcdowell

A crack in the pavement

Judith Barrow

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Readers don’t be shy, what do you think of the new Writers Tag? Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard YA Fantasy Romance Novel

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Averyard

Blurb.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard YA Fantasy Romance NovelTHIS IS A WORLD DIVIDED BY BLOOD – RED OR SILVER.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .


I award this novel 4/5

Review

If you love fantastic fantasy worldbuilding with a slight dystopian feel, mild romance and a strong heroine, then this novel is for you.

The worldbuilding in this novel was immersive, elaborately designed and vivid. The separation between the powerful Silver bloods and the poverty stricken lands of the ordinary Red’s created a world that made me long to see the powerful tumble.

Mare as the main character is likable; her flaws are relatable and even lovable. She feels her mother looks down upon her compared to her angelic sister. Yet Mare is only trying to do what she can for her family and best friend. The beginning of the book is enchanting and Mares dedication to her loved ones hooked me from the start.

Once Mare enters the world of the Silver’s things change, although the plot still pulls us forward with awful antagonists and superb action scenes, the complexity of the two princes and their roles to play alongside Mare. Unfortunately everything came across as obvious. Especially, without giving away spoilers, the main plot twist – I saw it from miles away, hence the four stars.

That being said, the novel is a worthy contender on my bookcase and I’m eager to delve into book Two. Even if the reviews claim the series goes downhill from here, shame, but I’m still invested in Mare and her cause.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Have you read the Red Queen series? If so, what are your opinions on the series.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, Much Love Xxx

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

Time to Write and Not Procrastinate

?We know that daily writing goals and being proactive creates a great forwards momentum for our novels. Yet putting that into practice can sometimes feel like a mountain to overcome and before we know it, writing has turned from a wonderful pastime, into a herculean beast that we can’t face. Then even if we find time to write, procrastination takes over.

Suddenly, writing time has evaporated into a missed opportunity.

book pen artist writer author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance novel YA

Today I’m sharing my productivity tips in the hopes that they resonate with you:

Let’s do this!!!

Set intentions

There’s no point in half-heartedly thinking; I’ll try to write today. No. Make it a definite intention: A promise to yourself. And keep it. I set mine the night before, listing the top 3 things I intend to achieve the next day and allocate the time for those things to happen.

Business writer artist author Pixabay

Carve out time.

I’m a mother of two and a partner in two businesses. Life can get pretty hectic. But I make it my intention to write first thing in the morning, so no matter what unfolds through the rest of the day my creativity won’t be impacted.

Don’t faff.

Put down your phone. Turn the TV off. Don’t nip to your friends for a quick brew (Oops, I’m already guilty of this.) Sit at your computer and begin. Even if the words don’t flow, and your characters are silent. You can always edit, develop setting and plot or research – just not on Facebook.

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Take yourself and your writing seriously.

By putting everyone else’s needs in front of your own, you’re giving off the energy that your writing isn’t that important. If you can dedicate your time to your kids, running around for their needs. Dedicate your time to a job, because you need the money. Dedicate your time to your partner, because you want a healthy relationship. Then you should apply the same principles to yourself. Your passion. Your calling. Your love for words and literature make you who you are. Own it and believe in yourself. Even if it’s only for half an hour on your lunch break, or in the car while your kids play sports, or cutting out one Netflix show. (I love Netflix; they have great story lines… its research.)

Recharge your batteries and don’t stress.

We are notorious for burning out. Pouring heart and soul into a novel and balancing family, work and personal life can take its toll. We are only human and life happens while you’re making plans. Relax, recharge and reboot your creativity. Although this could be considered procrastination, it’s different. It’s running on empty and needing to refuel. So watch movies, walk in nature, laugh with friends and read books. It’s good for the soul. And a happy writer makes for a more productive writer.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips on creating time to write and how to stop procratination by? If so, please share.

You know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

Dear Manuscript: It’s not you. #pitchwars

I’ve been assessing my position from the query trenches with over 50 rejections. Phew! That was hard to admit. But I’m ok with that number because I’m constantly strengthening my work before sending back it in the world. Today I thought I’d share some of the reasons why manuscript gets rejected which have nothing to do with writing abilities.

Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

Recently I entered Pitch Wars, a competition to be mentored. On average I’m competing with 300 authors for each mentor I’ve submitted to, meaning my chances are slim. This echoes the same stakes as sending a submission to agents. Competing with hundreds of other applicants for the chance to win an agent.

Now I love twitter, it’s fast paced, honest, and has some great tips for writers. And what I love most are the amazing threads that come up offering a glimpse into the minds of mentors and agents.

One of this year’s Pitch Wars mentors is Adalyn Graces. She tweeted: ALSO, if you get 0 requests, it isn’t always because of your submission material. Some possible reasons:

-We are writing or plan to write something with a similar concept.

-The concept just isn’t right for us in that moment

– It could also be a mood thing. Or that a mentor only wanted to request 10 manuscripts out of 300. Literally there’re so many reasons. It’s never a bad idea to get more eyes on your work to see what you can strengthen, but sometimes it’s not about your material.

 

The Magicians - Quentin meme

Another Pitch Wars mentor, Kim Chance (read her interview with Ari Meghlen) tweeted: No requests in NOT an indicator of the quality of your work. There are just SO many factors that go into the decision to request or not. The talent this year is incredible and the mentors are so proud of you and your hard work.

Over at Jason Hine’s blog he sheds some light on why our stories are loved but just not enough to be chosen. For peace of mind and inspiration I suggest you take a look.

https://www.jasonhine.com/blog/2018/9/5/pitchwars-insights-reading-for-the-one

Last weekend I attended a Writers & Artist writing event, where I met the fellow blogger M.L. Davis. She’s a fantastic writer and superb beta partner. Together we absorbed the advice from  a panel of agents answering some of the elusive questions surrounding their Slush Pile and demystifying the process.

About 80% of the queries/ cover letters end up straight in the bin. Simply because the writer hasn’t taken the time to do their homework. So be sure to address the letter to the correct agent and make sure they represent your genre.

Sometimes the concept or voice is too familiar to them. Perhaps they’re already working with someone who’s wrote something similar. Maybe the planets aren’t aligned or they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Every agent, publisher or mentor is just a person with individual likes, dislikes and ideas.

Keep writing. Don’t stop believing in yourself and chase your dreams. I have faith in you.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

What are your thoughts on receiving rejections? And dare you admit to how many you’ve had. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
universe, night sky, stars

Positive Quotes: Create your Destiny.

Every creator needs inspiration, a muse, a way of seeing the world around them. This week we’re taking a look inside the mind of a writer, This Writerpoints a finger at her chest, to discover the journey of Creating your Destiny. Do you identify with any of the following 5 quotes? If so, what do they mean for you? Enjoy!

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back
Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

From the outset there’ll be a Wicked Gremlin whispering all of your faults to you. And to be able to create you must learn to silence or at least ignore that pesky Gremlin. Set aside your self-doubt and begin.

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. ~Erich Fromm

Letting go of that Gremlin requires courage. There are million and one reasons why you haven’t started, or shouldn’t carry on. But what about that one good reason to begin? Find your courage and let your imagination take flight.

Inspiration butterflys Pexel-image

Anxiety is part of creativity, the need to get something out. ~David Duchovny

It’s ok not to have your shit together. It’s ok that you have baggage. In fact, it’s bloody marvellous. Use your experiences as fuel. Like the fairy tale of the girl who spun straw to gold.

Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer. ~Marilyn Monroe

Take those bad times and allow them to glitter on the pages, humanity is something we can all identify and connect with.

Rose Key Heart Lock romance heartbreat Lorraine Ambers

Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity. ~Bo Bennett

Now that you’re on your way, cherish your passion, knowing that the gift to create has been bestowed upon you and will carry you through the highs and lows of life.

Go create your own destiny!!!

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a quote based on the theme: Creativity? If so, please share it with me. Or tell me which quote you most identified with and why.

You know I love hearing from you. Until next time, Much Love x

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Writers – Do You Feel Like A Fraud?

“The stories we tell literally make the world. If you want to change the world, you need to change your story.” — Michael Margolis

I often hear writers talk about how young they were when they started writing, how they’ve always been avid readers. And I admire them for that, but my journey was different. In the past, that cast a shadow over my confidence, adding to my writers fraud like complex. Oh my, I’m not a real writer… I haven’t been writing since I was five… or I didn’t complete my first MS at 16.

writer author Lorraine Ambers desk fantasy romance YA

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou

The first story I wrote was in junior school about an alien coming to earth. The story flowed; words filled the pages of my little red text book. The problem was, I couldn’t stop. I struggled to fit an ending into the alotted time of my English lesson. I remember rounding the story off with a blunt, awful ending. I felt defeated and decided I was a terrible writer.

Quote - Those who tell stories rule the world

As a teenager, I stuck to crafting cringe worthy pop rifts and filling journals with my darkest fears and faraway dreams. I didn’t once consider myself a writer. Yet I’ve always crafted stories. I’d stare off into space and daydream: Plotting, planning, defining characters and building worlds. I had no idea that I was writing stories in my mind. I had no need for pen or paper, because I was playing out the tales in my imagination.

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” — J.K. Rowling

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back
Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

We have all lived different lives. Beauty doesn’t lay in the repetition of tales, it’s in the uniqueness. Never compare yourself to others, instead revel in your own journey. No matter how difficult or ordinary it may seem… there is splendour in each tale told.

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” —Robert McKee 

Tell my something about your life that’s special, extraordinary or perfectly simple. I’d love to get to know you a little better.

Until next time, thanks for reading and Much Love xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.