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Benefits to Joining a Writing Group

There are many positives to being a writer. It’s a journey of discovery, evolving creatively and building a solid sense of self. But as every writer knows, there’s a downside. Mine is isolation resulting in poor mental health. It can feel as though we’re plundering through the dark, searching for a switch that will shine a light upon what we hope is a work of literary art.

So, how do we know when we’re good at our craft? Or when our manuscript is ready for submission? When we need to return for yet another round of edits?

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One of those ways is to work with likeminded individuals, offering critique, being a supportive shoulder to lean on and to congratulate when success beckons.

These are the benefits of a writing group.

There are many varying options: I’ve had great support from my online communities where I’ve found fellow betas readers. There are also Facebook groups and online forums where you can share your work and receive an honest critique.

But if it’s a more personnel touch you’re seeking, then a local writing group is what’s needed. Face to face contact has huge benefits, solving loneliness and can eventually lead to long lasting friendships. These groups tend to meet regularly for a couple of hours.

Creative writing groups are another avenue to meeting fellow writers, but maybe you’re wishing to converse with people already on the publishing route.

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

Maybe there’s nothing like that in your local area. Have you ever considered starting a group yourself?

Here are my top tips to consider when starting out.

Keep it small. You’ll want to devote time to each member, which requires reading through their work and offering feedback. This means keeping your group intimate. You don’t want everyone to become overwhelmed with the amount they have to read and equally you want your readers to offer enough of their attention on your work. I’d suggest six members to allow for adequate attention in the two hour slot.

Be honest. The main goal is to learn and grow. That being said, criticism should be an unbiased feedback that doesn’t result in the writer feeling belittled, stupid or attacked. Be kind and don’t forget to tell them what works.

Don’t take criticism personally. Seeing your work through someone else’s eyes can be difficult, but hopefully you’ll nurture a group where everyone appreciates negative criticism delivered in a gentle way. Support and encouragement are just as important.

Meet regularly. Keep momentum alive. This is your dream and only you can make it happen: work for it.

Are you a member of a writing group? Share your experiences, what did you learn from it. You know I love hearing from you. Thanks for stopping by.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Writers: have faith in your dreams.

We all hold a vision of what our success looks like, that shiny dream that’s so incredibly big and bold, that at times seems unattainable. So how do you maintain the faith when life knocks you off track or your self-doubt kicks in? Well today, I’m going to give you a little pep talk for keeping the spirit of your dreams alive.

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Chase your Dreams

“The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.” – Tony Robins

Change that negative story to a positive one.

It’s important to have self-belief and crush any negativity by reading my post on how to eliminate that pesky gremlin: self-doubt.

Remember to appreciate your past accomplishments and celebrate the small steps to success. It takes hard work and determination to make it, with a lot of setbacks along the way. You need the good to smooth out the bad. It’s all about balance…. And a little bit of positivity.

I love using daily affermations to boost my self-esteam like:

I am worthy.

I am a published author.

I am capable of anything.

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Follow your dreams to the ends of the earth

“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.” – J.P Morgan

And you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

Whilst working towards your dreams, its important to hold the vision, make goals and keep them, plus learn from your mistakes. You can read my post on chasing your dreams for inspiration. Don’t forget that life is all about the journey. Take time to enjoy where you are now, because nothing lasts forever, we are constantly evolving, learning and growing as individuals.

“Success seems to be connected to action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they never quit.” –John Willard Marriott

Never fear failure, it shows your trying.
Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have faith in your dreams? If so, please share them with me. 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.

6 Powerful Tips to Keep your Writing Motivation

Writers flourish when our muse is alive. When our words build new worlds, ink flowing, filling up our blank canvas to create a novel. So it’s no surprise that the opposite results in dry spells of writer’s block, self-doubt, and even imposter writer syndrome.

SO! How do we keep those negative things at bay? Fear not, today I’ll share my top Six tips to keep your motivation alive.

book pen artist writer author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance novel YA

Set Goals.

This is a small promise to yourself that your writing matters. That even in the midst of family gatherings, work commitments, and other priorities, you’ll acknowledge that what you’re working towards matters. Whether that be a daily word target, a weekend venture or the spare 10 minutes to make notes between appointments. Set a goal, stick to it and watch the word count rise.

Novel Story Worldbuilding Fantasy

2. Keep the vision.

The most important aspect of reaching your goals is to envisage the final outcome. How will it feel to finally finish your novel? Who will you celebrate with? What will you treat yourself with? It’s your dream, so make it big, bold and beautiful. And anytime you start to flag, or you’ve skipped too many goal targets, and guilt has taken you by the throat. Allow your mind to wonder, to daydream – and then wipe the slate clean and begin again.

The Magicians High king and Queen meme

3. Rally the troops.

Except for the characters that follow us everywhere, writing can be an isolating, lonely business. That’s where we need to branch out and connect with the other elusive, secretive creatures. Thankfully, you can find a few at writing conferences, creative writing classes, and on social media. #WritingCommunity on Twitter is a great place to start, and of course, I give a massive hello and welcome to my beloved blogging community. Life would be pretty dull without you all.

Abstract art - Photo by Art by Lønfeldt from Pexels
Photo by Art by Lønfeldt from Pexels

4. Get creative.

You can’t run out of creativity, but you can get stifled. So remember to stretch your creative wings and take flight to another craft. Colouring, flower arranging or even joining in with your kids at Lego time. I love a bit of block building fun.

It doesn’t have to involve starting a new hobby, there’s a wealth of inspiration all around us. Why not check out my other blog post with 5 Top Tips to Fuel Inspiration.

5. Celebrate the small stuff.

Don’t make my mistake of only celebrating the big stuff. Because usually by the time that rolls around, your sights will be set on the next big thing and you’ve bypassed all of your hard work. Have a cuppa after xxx amount of words. Have lunch with your friends knowing that you’ve written this week’s blog post. Binge watch that Netflix show at the end of the day knowing you’ve earned it. Ok, so you get the point… and yes that’s pretty much how I plan my week.

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

6. Self-love.

This is such an important part and often overlooked or hidden in the shadows. But positive mental health can bring a wealth of abundance to our work. Whereas the opposite can often result in a collapse of creativity. Not only is it wise to get some fresh air, eat healthy and hydrate. But self-love for me means listening to my body, slowing down when my illness flares, appreciating the small things and allowing things to unfold in their own time. Even my novels.

Thanks for stopping by to read. I appreciate every single one of you. Tell me what your Top Tip for staying motivated is. You know I love to hear from you.

Until next time, Much Love Xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Is your WIP Stuck in the Middle?

Hello, my wonderful writing buddies.

With less than two weeks until the end of NaNo, many of you should be halfway through your first draft. And if you’re anything like me, then you’re also stuck in the middle of your WIP. So today I wanted to show support, offer a little guidance and throw in a couple of great quotes to get us all moving again.

desk writing novel author Lorraine Ambers

Whether you write a detailed outline or dive straight into your new WIP, there is going to come a point at which it’s hard to move forward. Trust me, it’s not unusual, and it’s happened with my first two novels and again with my third. I’ve hit the halfway word count; I know where I’m heading, but something is stopping me from progressing. And yes its procrastination, but it’s more than that, it’s the inner monologue that comes with the writer territory. Well, let’s nip that self-doubt/ critical voice in the bud.

As soon as I stopped over-thinking my process, my infernal internal editor shut up, my characters started talking to me again, and my writing improved vastly. Turned out the very thing I thought was helping me be a good writer was holding me back.
K.M. Weiland – Are You Over-Thinking Your First Draft?

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The best we can do in this situation is to apply self-discipline. Sit down at the laptop – typewriter – notepad – napkin or whatever your preferred method is and begin, keep going and don’t stop. Whatever you need to do… Do it! Research, plot, plan or write. Become your own personal cheerleader. You’ll soon be over the hump.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. –  Ernest Hemingway

And for those of you who are struggling because you’re stressed, under the weather, or have too much on your plate with work and family commitments: I want to tell you that it’s ok to have a duvet day. Our creativity can’t bloom under those pressures. The best thing you can do is practise self-love. Your creativity will thank you for it.

If you are willing to do something that might not work, you’re closer to being an artist. –Seth Godin

I hope I’ve inspired you to keep going. What do you do to get over the writing hurdle? Perhaps your advice will help me, plus you know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love Xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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6 funny writing quirks we share in common

We’re all creatures of habits, and writing a novel is no different. Whether you prefer to write on your journey home from work, late at night or early in the morning, there are a few quirks that we writers all share in common.

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The elusive word hunt.

It’s either sat staring at a blank page, while our brains conjure up a magic sentence that will steal the hearts of our readers, or it’s trying to remember that word… you know the one… it’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t find it. Until, ten minutes later, Eureka! That simple, completely obvious word decides to grace your presence and the writing flow can resume.

White Noise.

Let it be silence while a pink ribbon of sunrise streaks the sky. Or music to fire your muse and set your toes tapping. Maybe it’s the chatter on a busy train or in a coffee shop – but there’s always a preference and without that setting it’s impossible to connect with your characters.

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

What’s your poison?

My preference is hot tea, keep me supplied in strong PG tips and watch my word count fly. If there’s a chocolate bar around – all the better. You have your own preference, and writing just doesn’t seem the same without it.

Faithful Companion.

Writer’s are solitary creatures: However with our faithful character companions we need never be alone. And yes, I can be found chatting to myself. But in case we require something more substantial, a fluffy pet or two will usually suffices: The writers familiar. In fact, in many ways I’m like my cats, requiring company and affection when desired, but if I’m interrupted during writing, daydreaming, planning, plotting, reading or browsing Pinterest – watch out or the claws may come out.

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Name in starlight.

Let’s be honest, who amongst us hasn’t envisioned our novels as a movie. Who amongst us hasn’t daydreamt about being the next J.K. Rowling, I know my WIP would make an epic ride in Orlando. While I joke about such things, there’s still a secret hope that one day I’ll steal just a fraction of that limelight for the worlds I’ve created. So the next time a bout of self-doubt claws through your MS, remember; dreams can come true if we work too, and re-emerge as a humble, hardworking artist and set your goals high.

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock.

We all know procrastination is a constant companion, like that well-meaning friend who insists that one more coffee, chapter, or Netflix series won’t really matter because everything will be waiting for us afterwards. I’ll offer some advice that none of us will take; don’t indulge her and crack on. Because on the flip-side of time wasted is the fantastic sensation of getting lost in our own worlds, writing sometimes feels like wading through thick water, other times it’s like flying. Regardless of the process one thing is for sure, time always disappears in the blink of an eye and it’s time to put the pen down and slip back to the normal world. And reality is what all writers dread.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

I hope you enjoyed this weeks fun post. Can you see yourself in any of these quirks? If so, why not tell me about it in the comments.

Until next week, Much Love Xx

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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.
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Einstein’s Inspiration 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.

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“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.

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“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.

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.

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.

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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.