how to choose a captivating title

Writer Tips on How to Choose A Captivating Title

The title of a book is important; it has the capacity to entice your audience, or have them reject it simply because it did nothing to intrigue them. I don’t know about you, but I find choosing the right title a nightmare. In this post we’re going to offer some tips on how you can hone your choices and captivate your audience with a just a few words.

how to choose a captivating title

Finish your WIP: Sometimes the title simply comes to you, a miracle gifted from the literary gods. If this happens cherish it and continue onwards in your writing journey. However, this is rare! Often you’ll need to finish writing the novel before you can look back and reflect upon the story.

Do your research: Look up other titles in your genre. Not only will this give you a clue as to what works, but it will also tell you your choice is already taken. There’s nothing more disheartening than having an excellent title in mind, only to discover it’s already in use within your genre. Not the smartest move, especially if the other author is a runaway success.

It’s all in the name: You may choose to use your main characters name as a title, like the famous Harry Potter. Perhaps you could use their mythical heritage, like The Hobbit. Or name it after the place they visit or live in, like Caraval, and if you haven’t read any of these magical series yet, I highly recommend you do.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Get poetic: Use alliterations, internal rhymes, slant rhymes and poetic prose. Listen to lyrics, pay attention to movie lines and don’t be afraid to play around with words. Be careful not to copywrite, but you’re an artist, so have fun and get creative.

Themes: Once you’ve finished your book you’ll get a clear picture of the themes, key events, and any related words. Check out my post on defining themes in your novel for more clarity on the subject. Using a single word as your title can be evocative and punchy, try an adjective, a noun, or a verb to sum up the actions or feelings of the book.

Characterisation: Take a closer look at your main characters, what are their key traits and how do they correlate to the story, and to each other. Then use them as a title, this is how I named my second WIP Mischief and Mayhem, click on the link to find out more about that work.

The Positive Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

Key phrase: There’s nothing more satisfying than reading a novel and coming across a sentence that encapsulates the story or characters and relates to the title. Pay attention when writing or editing, and pick out any phrases that could work as a title. Perhaps a resonant, unusual phrase carries meaning for your work.

Check out a thesaurus: Maybe you’re close, you understand your character and have pinpointed the themes. You’ve loads of ideas, but something is not working and the words land flat. Try using a thesaurus to mix it up a little. Word to the wise, be sure to check each word in the dictionary for clarification, otherwise you could end up with a title that makes little sense, and worse still, has no relevance to your story.

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How did you come up with your title? Please share your experience, it’s fascinating to know how other writers make their choice. You know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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Let me Introduce my WIP: Mischief and Mayhem

Thank you, Ari Meghlen for nominating me for the Round Robin game. The talented blogger, Ari, has created this game to help fellow writers introduce their WIP.

To play the game, I shall introduce my WIP, nominate another writer to introduce their WIP and then they nominate the next person… and so on.

Loved, nymph, magic, enchanted grove, castle, novel aesthetics

Let’s get to it…. I want to introduce you to my WIP “Mischief and Mayhem ”.

What genre is Mischief and Mayhem?

Mischief and Mayhem is a High-Fantasy / Romance novel.

I love worldbuilding and playing with a cast of mythical creatures, therefore, my WIP features fae, djinn, nymph, witches, elves and much more.


How did you come up with the Idea?

A powerless magician and a mischievous nymph can destroy realms with their wicked games, unless they work together to save them.

Theo and Tali, were secondary characters from my first novel: A power hungry magician, originally the antagonist, and a wily nymph became my favourite characters to write. I wondered what would happen if Tali rebelled against Theo, causing him to lose everything he coveted.


Who is the MC of Mischief & Mayhem?

Theo Belvedire is ruthless and wicked; his one goal is to find his estranged father who is trapped in a sacred realm, his one weakness is Tali.

In exchange for a safe haven, Tali brokered a deal with Theo, in exchange for her alliance. Now they’re bound by an enchanted vow, meaning she must assist Theo in reaching his goals, but Tali is cunning and will always find a loophole.


What POV is Mischief & Mayhem written in?

I write in third person POV, telling the story through Tali and Theo.

I love writing duel POV’s so that the reader is fully immersed in the complexities of the love story.


What is the current status of Mischief & Mayhem?

Mischief and Mayhem is current in submission. The novel has been complimented for its ambitious premises, but I’ve had no full requests… yet!


Who is Mischief & Mayhem’s target audience?

My characters are mostly in their late teens and early twenties. Therefore, my target audience is mostly Adult, but it may appeal to people who enjoy reading upper YA and NA. My demographic will most likely be women.

Share the blurb of Mischief and Mayhem

Let me know what you think, I’m always looking for ways to improve my blurb.

Ruthless magician, Theo Belvidere, has amassed power, wealth and dominance. All in a bid to discover his estranged father’s realm. On the eve of unlocking the portal, Tali an unscrupulous nymph becomes severely injured and Theo chooses to ease her pain by overpower her. But Tali is outraged that Theo has manipulated her with magic and rebels by stealing his power.

From ruthless to ruined, Theo loses everything. As a powerless magician, he’s taken prisoner inside the deadly realm. How will he escape to regain his lost kingdom and magic? And what punishment should he mete out on the trickster nymph for sabotaging his plans?


Share a small piece of your WIP

Safety was a luxury most took for granted. Tali had carved hers out with lies, wiles and unwavering zeal. It wasn’t an easy choice. Her destiny wasn’t predicted in the night sky with distant stars and spiralling galaxies. No. Her trail, whilst still blazing, was too complex, too twisted for fairy tale endings.

A flutter of fear caught in her chest, she pretended to caress the hourglass contours of her corset, forcing herself to smile for the guards in black armour. The cold tiles nipped at her toes as she strolled to the courtyard. As a water nymph, she thrived near the Groves she hailed from, but even though she never returned there, she still walked barefoot everywhere, keeping herself as grounded to nature as possible.

How dare Theo question her commitment, after everything she’d done for him? She ruffled the scrunched edges of her skirt, maintaining her playful, nonchalant pace through the fort.

Theo was becoming desperate, his temper flaring and his patience for her—thinning. What would happen when his father arrived? With the Dark Prince at the helm, there would be no need for casual distractions. Her days as his master spy were coming to an end, meaning she would become disposable.

Their relationship, of sorts, was complicated. It had been based on mutual respect and alliance. Anything more was a fool’s game, males like Theo weren’t the committing type. In fact, Tali didn’t think his infatuations lasted more than a month. Not that she was checking.

She shook her head in pity for the girls that longed for him.

Her future relied upon being a commodity to the great Theo Belvidere. She simply had to figure out what that role would become—her side of the vow depended on it.


How will Mischief & Mayhem be published?

I’m seeking representation from an agent, so that I can become traditional published. I’m looking forward to working with a team who will help guide me through the industry. Yikes, I’m excited thinking about it!

Round Robin Nomination

M.L.Davies, I nominate you because I know you’re going to find an agent soon, you write gripping mystery/ thrillers. More people should be checking your work out.  Its been an honour to be your beta reader.

All you need to do is:

  • Write a post next week and answer the following questions:
    • What genre is (WIP title)?
    • How did you come up with the Idea?
    • Who is the MC of (WIP title)?
    • What POV is (WIP title) written in?
    • What is the current status of (WIP title)?
    • Who is (WIP title)’s target audience?
    • Share the blurb of (WIP title)
    • Share a small piece of your WIP
    • How will (WIP title) be published?
  • Link back to this blog post
  • Nominate another writer into the game to introduce their WIP using this “Round Robin Nomination” format.

Happy writing

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Tell me what you think about my WIP, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.


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The Incredible Power of Journaling in Six Simple Steps

I’ve written a lot about the importance of selfcare and how writing can be an incredible way to manage your emotions. Even though we know it helps reduce stress and improve our mental health, have you ever considered how to get the most benefit from it? In this post, I’ll walk you through my process of journaling, and then show you how to reflect upon what you’ve written, and how to use it to your advantage as a self-reflective tool in six simple steps.

I journaled for many years, sometimes on a regular basis and sometimes not so regular. And in all that time, do you know what I learnt about myself? Nothing! While it was a great tool for me to understand my emotions and allowed me to dig deep into how they affected me, I never developed any inner awareness, or learnt how to resolve problems.

My mum died when I was a teenager and journaling became my confidant. It enabled me to escape the overwhelming grief and gave my consuming thoughts an outlet. This period of my life has now become my greatest tool as a writer. It taught me how to portray emotions effectively, becoming my first training ground for developing characters. With time, my life improved and my journaling become infrequent and patchy. This was my first big mistake.

The Little Journal Company

Be Consistent.

To gain the most out of journaling it is essential to use it consistently. It doesn’t have to be every day, which can seem daunting, it could be once a week, but sticking to it on a regular basis . Otherwise, like me, you’ll find yourself journaling sporadically and I can’t tell you how ineffective this will be.

Get out of a rut.

Sometimes journaling can become a chore, perhaps you simply don’t know  what to write about. Journal about the mundane, the stuck place, the difficult work colleague, the wonderful summer, or about how flattered you were by a passing compliment. Just keep it going.

Use some of these prompts to get you going:

  • What was the most challenging part of your day?
  • Write 3 affirmations that help you align with your goals.
  • Write a special memory, then write about how this has influenced your life.
  • Use your favourite motivational quote and expand on it… why is it relevant to you and your life, how does it help?
  • What is you goal, what steps are you taking towards it, and most importantly what has the journey so far taught you?
  • Write 5 things about yourself that you love? Now write about what thoughts and feelings came up as you did this exercise.
Daily affirmations

Add gratitude.

Why?  Because it pushes positivity into your journal and therefore into our minds. It brightens patches of our lives that perhaps we’re struggling with. It gives hope! Taking a different perspective of your life can help you appreciate the things you take for granted. Add one thing you’re grateful for into each entry, and see the difference it makes.

Problem solve.

We encounter many problems in life, and some seem insurmountable. By journaling consistently, you’ll begin to clearly see the issues you face, therefore, you can begin to find solutions. Do you need to have an awkward conversation with a friend? Write about what you plan to say, and about your desired outcome. This should bring clarity and relief. Maybe the problem can’t be fixed, maybe it’s something you have to come to terms with like an illness or a loss. Instead, write about how you plan to take care of yourself. Consider areas where you’re being to hard on yourself and practise self-love, allowing yourself to lessen the burdens that hail you.

Self-reflect and review your process.

It’s important to read back, or skim, your journal. Look at everything that’s transpired over the last, week, month or even year – depending on when you choose to review. Imagine you’re the author, and that each entry has been made by your main character. What journey have you been on? What patterns can you see arising? What problems have you resolved and what can you learn from the process. Are you coping with a difficult situation? Are you happier than you’ve previously been? View everything with curiosity and wonder, turn off the self-criticism and really allow yourself compassion and understanding. Keep exploring, and remember you’ll discover far more about yourself if you’re kind.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

Do you Journal? If so, do you have any other tips to share? Or, maybe you’ve never journaled, but you’re toying with the idea; are you ready to give it a go? Don’t be shy, share your journey with me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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The ultimate Pinterest 101 for writers and bloggers

There are many ways to drive your audience to your blog and one of my favourites media sites is Pinterest. In this post we’ll be taking a look at how to set up an account, to maximise your chances of gaining new viewers, and how to set up visually enticing boards so that your followers can visually connect with your novel and get to know you a little better.

If you’re new to building your brand then I recommend reading The Importance of Building a Platform and How to Identify your Target Audience. Setting up solid foundations for your business is a vital first step, but don’t worry if you’ve jumped in feet first, sometimes simply beginning is the hardest part and I commend your enthusiasm.

Here are my four awesome tips to get you started!!

One: Set up a business Pinterest account. It looks the same as a personnel account, but has tools and analytics that will aid you and your blog. When setting up your profile, choose an image, or logo, that you’ll use across your social media and get creative with your bio. Now is the time to sell yourself, not your books. Tell your readers a little bit about you, your interests and what you write about. Put some thought into your profile using key words that correlate to you. Mine always featuresfantasy-romance writer. Any content you create here can be echoed through all social media platforms to maintain a cohesive brand.

Inspiration for my second novel Mischief and Mayhem

Two: Pin boards: Use boards for historical research, to identify your characters, or help define scenes for your worldbuilding. A word to the wise, if it’s harmful to your brand, or is personal and you don’t wish to share certain boards, keep it locked from public view. Name each board with titles that use keyword to describe what’s contained within. Add boards that will direct the right audience to your profile, so for authors you could add a library board and fill it with books within your genre. Or, maybe have a board with your dream office space.

Create a unique writing den.

Three: Verify your websites ULR in settings. This took me a few tries and a couple of YouTube videos. But have faith, if I can master technology, so can  you. By linking your website/ blog to Pinterest, it creates a PIN symbol on all of your images, enabling you to link your posts to your Pinterest boards. Don’t forget to install a Pin it button to your blog, this is a vital way for you to gain more followers, readers may choose to add your content to their boards, showing your work to a new audience.

Captivating worldbuilding ideas

Four: Use great images in your blog. A picture says a thousand words, or so I’m told. Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash are fantastic sites that offer free stock images, that have no attributes or royalties attached. Don’t forget to edit each image when you add it to your blog, in the alt description box, use keywords to help new audience members find your content. Those keywords are used as the primary function of Pinterest, which runs as a search engine using those keywords. So it’s time to get savvy with SEO.

Finally learn SEO 😉

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Do you use Pinterest? Is it one of your favourite media sites? Perhaps you have another tip to share, don’t be shy, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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How to Write Compelling Secondary Characters

This week I’ve received a comment about secondary characters, and more specifically, how many characters should support your protagonist? In truth, every story is individual; Game of Thrones notoriously has a large cast of characters, whilst The Martian focuses solely on the plight of the protagonist for the best part of the story.

Therefore the plot holds the key to such questions, a better question to consider would be; how can I create context for the MC struggles? What internal or external circumstances, characters or environment will best serve and/or antagonise my protagonist? How can you help develop your protagonists story arc?

Secondary characters can provide powerful purposes within our stories. They can help to advance the plot in ways the protagonist cannot. They create conflict that stymies the protagonists journey. They can help to deepen the theme through dialogue, backstory and actions. Whilst help to reveal elements of worldbuilding through their individual point of view.

Here is a guide of the types of characters who may accompany your protagonist on their journey.

The sidekick – This character can also be the protagonists friend, or family member. Whilst they accompany the hero on his quest, they may well hinder, create conflict, become their confidant and most importantly add an element of comedy or surprise, just like Ron Wesley in Harry Potter.

The Magicians - Margo Meme

The friend – The nurturing companion who is always available to lend a shoulder to cry on. They help the hero to realise their own path, to be there after conflicts to give them the strength to continue onwards. Hagrid from Harry Potter is a great example.

The mentor – The wise soul who gives council, hints at vital clues whilst offering training and experience to the young apprentice. Remember not to make the story too easy, your mentor should lead the protagonist to the answers without actually telling him how to solve the problems.

The love interest – Create romance and tension within the story by adding an element of romance. It stirs internal conflict driving your protagonist to explore new emotions.  You could raise the stakes by forcing your protagonist to sacrifice something in order to save them. Or if romance is not central to your plot, maybe their love interest is merely a way to round out your character, a way to introduce their backstory and reveal another side to their personality.

The Magicians - Alice Meme

The healer – When your character gets injured, or faces a time of great healing, they will require someone who can aid them. This type of character helps the protagonist recover and strengthen up before they move on with their journey. This flexible character will add a fresh dimension to the story as your protagonist fights to overcome their injury/ illness.

The Herold – This character will call the protagonist into action, starting them on their journey. They give instructions in the beginning, like Gandalf who sets Bilbo Baggins off in The Hobbit. Often the protagonists ignores, rebels, or simply persists the call to action until they’re forced to act.

The Magicians High king and Queen meme

The antagonist – Unlike all of the influencer characters the antagonists purpose is to create conflict, to prevent your protagonist from reaching his goals, to stay one step ahead until the climax of the story. Ultimately allowing the protagonist to grow, to improve, to reach a point where they can defeat or overcome the antagonist. They may take form as the bully, the irate boss, the murder your trying to track, or the power crazy queen who needs to be usurp.

The family – Families come in all forms, some supportive and others abusive. Inside each family the dynamic will vary depending on the types of characters involved. You may encounter the herald, the friend, the side kick, the antagonist and a love interest all within one family. We see such dynamic interactions in Hunger games when Katniss sacrifices herself to save her sister.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Have fun, get creative and play around with these side characters as a way to introduce conflict, obstacles, tension, support and stability.

Tell me, how many characters does your WIP have? And apart from your protagonist, who is your favourite and why? Don’t be shy, share your ideas, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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Ten Steps… Stop Daydreaming and Start Growing your Business

We all have aspirations of becoming more successful, of being more fulfilled? Have you always romanticised about being a writer? Or about finishing your novel? Maybe, like me you hold onto the possibility of being published. But here’s the catch, dreams won’t come true by fantasising about them. No, you have to put in the work.

Some of you are wondering, but how? Where do we start? Well, I’m here to guide you through the process – read my Ten Step Plan to get you on track. It’s time to be brave, battle through your fears and start taking action towards your dreams.

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  • Commit – This should come as no surprise, but the next step in your plan is to actually commit. You’ve pictured the end goal, held the dream in your heart, filled notebooks and Pinterest boards with your ideas; the next move is to make a promise to your self to start. If your vision hasn’t taken off yet, then there is obviously a level of difficulty to it. Not to worry, the following steps will help.
  • Plan – Well done, the hardest part is beginning. We’ve all heard that person who constantly talks of setting up a business, or writing a novel, or converting their loft into a studio. While they have committed to the idea, they have yet to make any plans. And that’s what you should do, write it down, create a course of action and make sure it logically supports the envisaged dream.
  • Study – What? Why? I hear you groan. If it’s a necessary skill to your business, then committing to learning everything you can about that industry is vital. As a writer, I studied by attending a creative writing course, and now my skills are worked upon by reading, writing, editing and working with Critique Partners. Maybe you need to touch up on you marketing skills, or research Platform Building, or discover your Target Audience. Whatever the issue, there will be some form of developing and growing your skillset.
pexels- ideas, pin-board, character files, novels, writing
  • Practise – This is where the ground work begins, building the foundations as you being to cultivate your dreams. Get dirty, get bruised and tumble into self-doubt; and then dust yourself off and climb back on that metaphorical unicorn, ready to chase your dreams over the nearest rainbow. Never give up, because you never know how close you are to making your ideas blossom into reality.
  • Action – Finally, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. TA DAA!! Take those tentative steps into the unknown. Be warned, reality has wicked sense of humour: Don’t be disheartened by the truth, that no matter how much effort we’ve invested up to this point, we will inevitable not be where we want to be. Maybe we’re not confident enough, fast enough, or media savvy enough. There will come a time when you hit a wall, it happens to everyone. The difference between success and failure is that the successful people never quit. Don’t berate yourself, it’s all part of the process, so let’s continue onwards with our Ten Step Plan.
  • Community – Developing a strong foundation of people who encourage and motivate you will help you stay the course through difficult times. Whether they’re friends and family, an online group for entrepreneurs, or the wonderful world of fellow bloggers; having people who can offer support when you need it most is beneficial.
Writing Group-Team work-Laptop
  • Health – It can be a long, winding road to reaching your goals. And many creatives struggle with mental health. It’s important to listen to your body, watch out for signs of stress and anxiety and take care of yourself. If you crash from Creative Burnout, your beloved dreams will temporarily perish. The same applies for the health of your body, so get some sleep, eat healthy meals, and take time to recover.
  • Take Risks – For life to move forward in a new direction, risks must be taken. It’s easy to stay safe, to live in your comfort zone, but nothing changes. Everyday push your boundaries, it’s the only way to grow and develop (and not just in business). Make that call, ask that blogger to beta read, attend that writing conference. It doesn’t have to be massive steps. In fact, my number one peace of advice to budding new entrepreneurs is: Conquer your fears by taking small steps, one at a time, but keep moving forward. This is how you build self-esteem, by looking back and recollecting all of those tiny achievements. You can do it, you’re AWESOME!
Cinderella giphy
  • Embrace Failures – No one is perfect, humans make mistakes, and failure in some form or another is inevitable. Don’t wallow in the misery of what you’ve lost, instead find the silver lining and learn from the valuable lessons gained. What will you do differently next time? Where will you invest more? How will you overcome the current hurdle and rise victorious?
  • Celebrate Each Triumph – Life is like trying to climb a giant beans stalk, instead of gazing up at the blanket of clouds and imagining the glittering castle beyond (or, your ideal vision of success). Celebrate each leaf that you climb! Remember to look back at all the other small accomplishments you’ve made, because that is embracing the journey, and that is the true measure of your success.
Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

What step are you embracing at the moment? Do you have any advice for your fellow readers, maybe a further steps to add? Whatever your message, please comment – you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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Writers: Identify your Target Audience

Writers are busy creatures, apart from writing and editing, we’re continuously developing our brand and building our platform. We’re constantly striving to reach out and connect with our audience. But have you ever stopped to consider who they are? Unfortunately, your story will not appeal to everyone, so ask yourself – who is going to read your book?

We shouldn’t waste precious time on social media, slogging away at the wrong audience. We want to target the readers who will find our story irresistible, those who will take delight in snatching it off the shelf to devour the secrets within. It’s time to stop the busy work and work smart.

So how do we find them? With a little bit of reseach, that should be easy right?? Queue – internal groan!! But there’s no need to worry, relax, we’re writers, and we’ve got this.

First of all, we need to take a closer look at the readers preferences: what do they like to see in the stories they read. And then do a little more research into the reader demographic: those who enjoy, relate to, and connect with the story.

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Genre and sub-genre- Readers tend to gravitate to towards a preferred genre. My favourite genre is Fantasy, and within that my sub-genres I love epic/high fantasy, fantasy- romance, and paranormal romance. But I tend to avoid Romance Fiction, or plot driven Fantasy about war.

Plot vs Character- Some readers want a slow-paced story, driven by mysterious events. Others want to enjoy the journey of the characters, taking pleasure from their deep development. My novels are character based, with a fast-paced plot full of adventure and tension.

Period settings and worldbuilding– Some readers might be drawn to a specific time period, a particular setting, whilst others are drawn to the escapism of a whole new world.

Art, pink, birds

Writing style– Perhaps your reader desires the luscious, poetic prose of literary fiction. Or the easy flow of commercial writing with its straight-forward style.

Age- Fiction is divided into different categories; Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. It’s important to determine who your writing for because your character’s age, and their experiences should be relatable to the age group your writing for. Also this will have an impact on the size of your novel, as the industry tends to expect novels to stay within a certain range. For example, YA novels are usually between 60,000 – 80,000 words.

Gender- This won’t necessarily have a huge impact on your audience, after all, everyone has individual taste that isn’t gender dependant. However, it’s worthwhile noting that some genres tend to have a larger demographic following. Romance maybe appeal to a wider female audience, whereas gritty war stories may be preferred by a male audience. It goes without saying, of course both of these types of stories can be enjoyed by any gender.

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And we can go further, refining our target audience with themes such as, culture and race, sexual preferences, disability, mental health, religion, and personal traumatic experiences. Do any of these themes play an important role in your novel? Perhaps they’ll tap into a specific audience who will emotionally connect with the heart of your story.

Once you’ve built up a picture of who your audience is, ask yourself these questions. What do you like to read? What do you like to write? Who are you writing for? What writers are similar to work? Where would your novel sit in a bookshop or library?

You may not be able to identify your target audience right away, it might become more apparent once your story develops. When I first started writing I thought my target audience was Young Adult, but after a few meetings with editors and agents I realised my novel was more suited to the Adult genre. So don’t stress if you get it wrong, it’s all experience.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

What challenges do you encounter when trying to identify your audience? Please share your experiences, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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Developing Conflict and Resolution in your stories

Characters are the heart of a story, the plot is its skeleton, but the blood running through its veins is conflict. Without it, your characters have nothing to fight for, no arc will develop, and your plot will wither and die. In this post, we’ll explore the internal and external conflict to resolution elements that could be evoked to create a truly dynamic novel .

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The protagonists traits need to be carefully selected for each story. Their backstory will colour their personality, and mould their goals. It’s important to understand where their character journey starts, so that you can plan for their reactions by understand their limiting beliefs. You should know what they want, and what needs are hidden beneath.  

Within the protagonist is the delicate balance of their life’s story, and before the plots even started, there might be an internal conflict brewing beneath the surface. In other words, the conflict is Person vs Self. Do they struggle with a mental illness? Are they harbouring a deep, dark secret?

Perhaps the conflict is Person vs Society. Is your character desperate to escape the seemingly perfect, yet utterly dull family life. But if they leave to seek fame and fortune, they’ll be shunned by the community they’ve grown up in?

Other types of conflict to consider are: Person vs Paranormal = A spooky ghost story. Person vs Environment = A thrilling adventure where the character has to survive a hostile, unfamiliar environment. Person vs Technology = like the movie Terminator!!

Info graphic, character’s personal iceberg metaphor

When we consider these questions, a shadow character will immerge, and from that, we can build a nuanced character using all of their backstory/traits/goals.  Once the conflict has been targeted, make it personal, give an emotional connection to the character, that way the reader will be invested in the resolution too.

Make the conflict specific to your character; creating a league championship with the idea of your hero and villain playing on opposite sides isn’t engaging. But show the reader why the characters believe winning will fulfil an unmet need and you’ve captured their attention.

We could use the same techniques to build our antagonist, possibly, with the intent of creating a character that will purposefully challenge our protagonist, Person vs Person. Perhaps, they both have the same goal, but with very different ways of obtaining it. If the protagonist is socially awkward, a brash and obnoxious antagonist would naturally create a conflict.

Keep creating tension by adding layers of conflict. Every obstacle creates an opportunity for triumph or failure. Keep raising the stakes, build barriers that prevent your protagonist from gaining his goals unless he overcomes the impossible. The pressure of time will ratchet up the pace of your novel. In order for your hero to win, they’ll have to suffer first. And remember to keep the conflict believable for your genre/world/plot.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

I love Person vs Person conflict, it works wonders in the romance genre, but I also use Person vs Society. What’s your preferred conflict method? Share your writing style with me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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How to Define Themes in your Novels

Under the surface of every story is a Theme. But what is a Theme? And how do we develop one for our novel? You may have already drafted the novel without much thought to Theme, and that’s fine. This post will help you identify them so that they can be used to strengthen the story during revisions.

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When we think of fairy-tales, we think about morals it’s trying to portray. Theme is similar, as in it’s an underlining message to the reader, expressed through your character’s arc. The plot is what happens in your story, but the Theme is why it happens.

During your character’s journey, certain Themes will keep coming up through their goals, the conflict and then, the resolution. How do they overcome their character flaws? What holds them back from achieving their goals? What are they afraid of, and how do you force them there? How do they differ from the beginning of the story to the end? Their inner transformation may naturally hold the key to any Themes.

The polar opposite of each Theme might be used in a story to add depth and tension. Consider your favourite story and identify some of the conflicting Themes from the infographic below.

Another way to identify Theme is to consider what topics you’re trying to convey, in my Mischief and Mayhem I focus on the abuse of power and redemption. Through our writing, we express our views of the world, even if it’s subconscious at first. What is the prevailing mood/tone of the whole story? What messages have you conveyed about human nature and the world we live in. Do the events leave a sufficient and impressionable imprint upon your protagonist? The answer to your Theme may lie in there.

Of course, there may be many underlying Themes. You need only consider some of your favourite stories to explore and identify Themes. Take Cinderella, I would say the most significant Theme is good vs. evil. However there are also Themes of friendship, Death, and love. Every character’s journey will undoubtedly be complex. One Theme might weave through the entire story, while others only appear in a chapter or a scene.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

What is your favourite Theme to write about? And does this differ from the type of Themes you prefer to read about? You know I love hearing from you, so please share your experiences.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.

Creative Writing Blog Directory          Lorraine Ambers writer and daydream queen - OnToplist.com

Differences between chapters and scenes

Chapters and scenes play different roles in a novel, and you’d be forgiven if you believed the two were one and the same. But they’re not! Whereas chapters are obvious in a novel, scenes are subtle structural parts. In this weeks post, we’re going to break down the functional elements of scenes and delve into the creative aspects of chapters.

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Chapters are creative decisions put in place to develop pacing, and while they seem to hold an air of structure, really they serve to capture the reader’s intrigue and hook them into your story. This isn’t just employed at the beginning of your Novel but is continuously done at the start and finish of each chapter, to entice your reader to finish one more chapter, then another, until finally, they’ve invested in the story as a whole. For more tips on this read: How To Hook A Reader_from the first sentence.

Novels can be written with as little, or as many chapters as you desire. Long chapters give a sense of leisurely pace, while shorter chapters ramp up the tension. They can even merely contain a single sentence. While some novels break each chapter into a new POV, this is also entirely up to the writer.

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Scenes are made up of structural bones, containing the goal, conflict and subsequent disaster. Followed by the sequel; reaction, dilemma, and decision.

If your new to these concepts read these post, Four Ways To Structure Your Novel and How To Plan Your Protagonist’s Journey, where I explain them more fully.

Each scene is a domino. When set up correctly, scenes create a seamless line of cause and effect that almost effortlessly powers your entire plot.

  • K.M. Weiland

How you fit chapters and scenes into your novel is entirely up to you. A chapter can encompass a full scene, but it does not have to. Once you understand the differences between the two, you can develop the pacing, its hooks, and twists around the structure of the scenes. This may well depend on the needs of your story and the goals of your characters. Maybe you choose to divide the elements of a scene over many chapters.

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While the cycle of chapter breaks reveals the flow of the novel, scene breaks reveal shifts within the story. There are hard and soft breaks to help define those elements.

Hard Breaks: These are usually highlighted by two lines between paragraphs. Alternatively, in a manuscript, it will be represented by a hashtag. But in novels, you may well find a symbol, three asterisks or a long-dash in the centre of the page. These indicate one of the following: A shift in character POV, a large jump in time such as flashbacks, or the introduction of a new setting or scene.

Soft Breaks: These indicate a smaller shift and can be a subtle pacing tool, represented by one space between paragraphs. They are minor shifts in settings or time, and where the scene is continuous with its flow. E.g. the characters move to another setting whilst continuing their conversation.

If you’re confused by the whole confounded mess of scenes vs chapters, my advice is to play around and trust your instinct, you’re probably already on the right track. But mastering a new technique only serves to strengthen your craft. This is the joy of being an artist!

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

How do you use chapters and scenes? Together, or do you like to mix things up? Maybe you’ve never considered it much and prefer to let instinct and creativity rule? Either way, why don’t you share your thoughts, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.

Lorraine Ambers writer and daydream queen - OnToplist.com    Creative Writing Blog Directory