Query Hopes and Fears of a Writer

Are you embarking on the submission/ query phase of your writing journey? Or perhaps like me, you’ve forged head-long into the process, only to feel lost, disorientated and at times disheartened. Fear not, I’m here to guide you through it.

The querying phase may trigger the ‘Magic Eight Ball’ zone. The inside of your mind gets shaken to its core. Until your only able to answer – Yes, No or Maybe, to your pointless, endless, rhetorical questions. Will you find an agent? Have you revised enough? Is your story unique and sell-able? Blah, Blah, Blah.

When I first started querying, I understood the process. I’d read all about it. So I knew waiting and rejection would be inevitable. But, oh boy, was I unprepared.

Yes, I’d done my research on finding an agent, polished my query, edited my synopsis and gathered my submission package. And so, back in 2017, I started submitting my YA fantasy novels, Secrets and Shadow Knights. I tugged on my big-girl pants and repeated my mantra: show no fear, you’ve got this.

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Those initial months were fought with anxiety, anticipation. I desperately want to be published, to be chosen, to be good enough. The biggest hurdle I faced during the next few years, was my self esteem. Realizing, I already was good enoughdespite not being published. 

I’m sure you’ve face some of the following situations. And guess what, it’s all completely normal. You’re not alone, thousands of writers are walking a similar path to you.

  • When well-meaning friends and family ask, “so, when are you going to be published?” – Urm?! It’s about as helpful as asking a heavily pregnant woman, “when is the baby going to arrive?”
  • Having amazing dreams about being signed with a talented agent… Only to wake up, disappointed. Well, at least you know you’re passionate about your writing career.  Right?
  • Stalking agents via Twitter. Only to humiliate yourself with a miss-understood tweet. Mortified, you hid from all forms of social media. Yikes!
  • Doubting your skills and creativity. Questioning every plot decision that has led you to this point.

Over the years, I’ve learnt from this process. Things like: strengthening my pitch, learning how to craft a query letter, and finding fantastic beta-readers. There are some amazing bloggers out there who have helped me develop these skills. Check these out:

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An important part of the process is self acknowledgement, self belief. Otherwise, the rejection can easily corrode your self-esteem. You’re not alone, every writer faces these challenges. Every writer battles with doubt. The whole experience is tinged with What if’s. Embrace those fears. Use that motivation to evaluate where you’re going, set small goals, and continue to grow.

I’ve come to realize that this process, as painful as it can be, is also liberating. Even if I don’t find the agent of my dreams, I’m not quitting. I can’t. Writing is in my soul, a passion that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There’s a sense of satisfaction, in knowing my craft, in the continuous growth of mastering a skill. To date, I written four novels. After sound advice from an editor, I’ve rewritten my second novel – Mischief and Mayhem, and I’m almost ready to start querying again.

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Perhaps it will take a 100 submissions. Maybe, like Stephanie Garber – author of the Caraval trilogy, lucky book number 5 will be published. Either way, I have faith that one day my work will be published. Until then, I’ll keep writing, reading and improving my craft.

To my fellow writers embarking on, or wading through, the query trenches – I hope this post brings a little bit of hope. I wish you the best of luck with your submissions.

Do you have any advice about querying? How long have you been in the query trenches? And do you have a success story to share? Come on, share your journey with me, you know I love hearing from you.

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

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
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Novel Crafting – 12 Character Archetypes

Hello my fellow creators, and welcome to this weeks post. Have you ever wondered what archetype your character falls under? Or perhaps you’re outlining a new project and brainstorming who to include in your story. Hopefully, you’re wondering what character archetype would most benefit your story. Well, I’m here to help with a fun Inforgraph outlining the main 12 Character Archetypes. So lets delve a little deeper…

Those who yearn for utopia

Characters who fall under this category all ultimately desire the same thing, but their background, strengths and weakness all create a character with different needs and/or goals. The Innocent / Child – yearns for safety and happiness. They’re imaginative, open-minded and trusting. However: They have a low position of power, fear punishment and tend to be naive and easily taken advantage of. Whereas, The Explorer – craves freedom, and a fulfilling life, with the ability to embrace autonomy. Yet: They tend to wander, fearing entrapment. The Sage/ Mentor (not included in the Info-graph) – wants a better understanding of the world. They intelligent, a great listener, have a calming presence, craving wisdom and knowledge. Though: They fear deception. Their biggest flaw is a lack of action, an inability to learn from their mistakes, and solve their own problems.

Those who wish to leave a mark

These archetypes vary on the scale of good to bad intentions. Here we have three very different archetypes, with almost polar opposite characters.The Magician/ Wizard – wants power to alter reality. They have great knowledge, understanding and strategy. However: Hubris is their greatest weakness. They may resort to anger when facing consequences. The Hero / The Warrior craves mastery of their destiny. They’re confident, ready for action, and have great physical and/or mental capabilities. However: Overconfidence may be their downfall, by underestimating their opponent. Thus having to face their own weakness, which is their biggest fear. The Outlaw / Rebel – desires liberation and revolution. They inspire, never quit and know how to get the most out of everything. But: They’re constantly trying to outrun their fear of having little power in the world, and tend to earn things the hard way.

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Those who crave connection with others

This group of archetypes loves to be in the company of others, they thrive on it. Yet they seek their needs out in very different ways. The Lover – needs intimacy: They’re loyal, devoted and openly communicate. However: they may loose themselves in their devotion to please the other person, whilst fearing isolation. The Jester/ Joker – derive pure enjoyment from their interactions. They’re fun, loved by all and appear to be emotionally deep. However: They tend to be unreliable, selfish and in need of constant distraction. The seducer – also craves intimacy. They’re charismatic and charming. However: Their weaknesses may jeopardize long lasting relationships: They have no morals, no loyalty and can be controlling, ultimately having a fear of rejection. The Orphan/ Everyday person – They want to belong. Often well respected, empathetic, realistic and open. However: They lack confidence, cynical, are eager to please and care too much about what others think of them. They fear exclusion.

Those who provider structure

All three archetypes want to build a better world, but with utterly unique points of view. Lets explore. The Creator (I’m sure we identify with this one) – Is an innovator. Imagination is their best skill, they can realize a vision and implement it. However: They fear mediocrity. Perfectionism is their downfall. The Ruler – needs control. They desire prosperity and obtain it through leadership. However: They fear being overthrown. Authoritarian is their flaw. The Caregiver – wants to be of service. They’re selfless, compassionate and always help others. Yet: Their fear of selfishness can lead them to martyrdom.

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Personally, I embody elements of the caregiver, creator, lover and sage. But remember, there is no one-size-fits-all, we’re unique, complex and fluid in our ability to change. You’re characters will be too. What archetypes do you tend to favour in your novels, and did you identify with any of the archetypes yourself? Please share your thoughts 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, 2020.

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7 Writing tips by Lorraine Ambers

Hello, and welcome. In this post I’m sharing some of my writing tips with you, giving you a sneak peek into my writing habits. From creating realistic goals, to defining your writing zone. A helpful and fun little post. Enjoy!

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Tip number 1: Read you work aloud. This helpful tip comes from the wonderful author Judith Barrow, She instilled the advice in me. It helps to identify poor flowing work, straightens out kinks and generally is a great tool for your sharpening your revision.

Tip number 2: Use your own writing voice. Don’t try to imitate someone another writers style. Publishers, editors and readers want your unique style, your unique voice, so don’t be afraid to let yourself onto the page. Remember– don’t confuse your voice with the voice of your main character, check out my post on Defining your writing voice for a better understanding of the differences.

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Tip number 3: Always carry a notebook and pen. Pencils, or a felt pen will suffice. When an idea strikes write it down. You’ll lie to yourself, saying you’ll remember this gem of a plot twist, a development of a scene, or some clever prose – but you won’t. I can’t tell you how many times I should have been prepared. In your handbag/ backpack, in the glove box, by your bed or even record your words of epiphany onto your mobile phone.

Tip number 4: Writing and kids don’t mix. For all my writing mums and dads, the struggle is real. I know parents that get up before the children to write at 6am, and others that wait until late at night. My tip is; don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Have small writing goals, that are achievable to you and your family. I couldn’t even think about writing when my young kids were awake; or when they were preteens are home. It always resulted in tears and tantrums; mostly mine, because my kids would not let me write.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

Tip number 5: Set a writing goal. I don’t know about you, but I’m the queen of daydreams and procrastination. So I need some limits and boundaries. Even if its just writing for 20 minutes a day. Get your laptop, or pen and paper, and put your butt in a seat… and begin. Once I get started, I can write for a few hours, whereas, other days  I’ll struggle to get two words out. We all have those days, you are not alone! Still the routine and an achievable goal  really spur me on.

Tip number 6: Bring a fresh mug of tea. Hot beverages and snacks don’t help me write, but it does lift my spirits. And a happy writer is a productive writer… another white lie I tell myself. Still, why not enjoy the perks of being a writer. I fully take advantage of working from home by staying in my pyjamas, continuously drinking tea and having my cat and dog as work colleges.

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Tip number 7: Back up your work. I unfortunately learnt this the hard way – not once but twice. Thankfully, I managed to decrypt both USBs, but it was painstakingly difficult (I’m not tech savvy) and utterly stressful. Don’t repeat my mistakes! Now I save my MS’s on the cloud, a memory stick, and my computer – and just to be extra sure, I keep a printed copy in a vault that can only be accessed if you have magical powers. Of course I’m joking, I don’t have magic. Hopefully you understand my point though, when the works gone, its gone, so take care of it people.

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Tell me about some of your writing tips, quirks or habits. Have you learnt the hard way to back up your work? Or perhpas your struggling to write with young kids at home. Whatever your journey is, please share it with me, you knw 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, 2020.
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Top Four Tips For New Bloggers

Hello, and welcome. Yesterday was my five year blogging anniversary. Woo hoo!! So I thought I’d celebrate this monumental goal by sharing my top four tips. These are all things I wish I’d known at the start. But don’t let any of these tips overwhelm you; the most important step in becoming a blogger is to start. Many bloggers, myself included, have learnt through trial and error.

Tip number one: Know your audience.

Once you’ve decided what your content is going to be, include a brief bio on your About Page, outlining who you are, and what content your covering. Whether its about lifestyle, a travel journal, or writing, you’ll gain loyal readers by being consistent.

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Tip number two: Write great content.

This is the most important tip. Once you’ve defined what your blog is going to be about, start crafting content that’s informative, helpful and engaging. And don’t forget to edit your post! Blogging should be written as if your having a chat with a friend… in your voice. Don’t be afraid to inject your personality into each post, readers will connect with your style and return for more. Finding your blogging voice takes time; it took me a year. So just relax, have fun, and I’m sure that energy will be picked up through your posts.

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Tip number three: Include quality images.

Readers tend to scan posts, only stopping if something catches their eye. That’s why images are important, they grab views attention. Don’t forget to use images that are royalty-free, meaning the owner of the image won’t expect a fee.

My three favourite sites are: Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels. On top of that, I create my header images in Canva: The app is super easy to use, and allows me to add text to my images. It offers a variety of templates, and some free images too.

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Tip number four: The layout.

Remember, white space is your friend. Many readers will be viewing posts via their smart phones. Less is more: reams of text will be overwhelming, to readers, so keep your posts punchy and precise. Divide the page between images, text and headers. This allows readers to scan, to find the most relevant information and looks aesthetically pleasing.

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So there you have it, my top tips to get you started on your blogging journey. To all my fellow bloggers, do you have a tip worth sharing? You’re tip might teach me something new, so please share it with me. Or are you a relatively new blogger? Come say hi, so I can checkout your blog. 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, 2020.
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Are you Blocking your Writing Success?

As writers, we know our characters need to be pushed to the limits to reveal their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Have you ever realized that the same applies to you? You’re also on a journey of self discovery… and with perseverance you can accomplish anything.

Fear is a powerful emotion that shapes our whole lives. We can become slaves to our patterns and behaviours.  And without even realizing it, we can self sabotage, and block our own success. Perhaps we hide behind perfectionism, waiting for the right moment to query or publish. Perhaps we’re stuck in a loop, writing and improving but never letting anyone critique our work. Or maybe, we’ve done those things, but can’t see why were not making headway with submissions, but were to afraid to seek a professional opinion.

Instead, find strength and support for your journey to greatness. Maybe you could try adopting the Abundance theory. With the correct attitude or spiritual alignment, we can acquire personal abundance.

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Another powerful tool is to use the Power of Intention. Wayne Dyer says, ‘Our intentions create our reality.’ Start each day fresh and focus on the purpose of today. Use your time wisely and plan what goals you want to achieve by writing them down. We cannot change the past, so don’t dwell on it but think ahead instead.

Visualize your success and develop your vision by writing out your future goals or create a vision board. It’s not complicated: I’ve set one up on Pinterest using images that promote a positive response. To reinforce the future you want to ascertain. Or glue magazine cut outs onto a board and stash it away. You don’t need to look at it again, the works been done. The seed has been planted in your subconscious, trust me, changes will follow. Give it a try, what do you have to lose?

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Silence your inner critique. She’s holding you back. Would you tolerate a stranger calling you fat, useless or a failure? No, of course not. Practise love and acceptance. You’re a valued member of your family and circle of friends. Treat yourself as you would others.

Practice positive thinking with the Laws of Attraction. The energy you emit to the universe will be returned to you. Remember you have the power to change what is in your control. Show gratitude for what you have today and let the rest fall to the fates. Breathe, because you’ve got this.

– Benedict Cumberbatch

Have you identified an area that you’d like to improve? Maybe it’s your writing. Perhaps you want to push yourself to become more socially engaging on social media. Or are you planning on attending a writers conference. Or taking the plunge and self-publishing.

Look back upon the defining moments in your life, and as a writer? What lessons have you learned along the way? By evaluating our lives with curiosity and intrigue we can see the paths taken and how we arrived here. Now tune into your blockages: What’s stopping you from progressing?

If you have doubt and fear in your heart, but you still preserver, then you my friend are brave and striving for greatness. What goals are you currently working on? Please share them with me, you know I love hearing from.

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

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
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How to Write A Fantastic First Chapter

The first chapter of a story has a lot to deliver. On top of setting up your main character, and their world, it also has to hook the reader. Get it wrong, and you’ve lost the reader–that’s game over! So to help you get it right, here’s some tips on what you should or shouldn’t do in that all important first chapter.

Setting up your first chapter.

Do – introduce your Main Character. The reader needs a sprinkling of basic details to build a picture of the character. Show them in their ordinary surroundings, living with a flaw (or emotional wound) that impacts their lives in a negative way, ready to take them on their arc.

Dohint at the theme. It might only be a sentence, but it will help set the tone of the story, giving the reader a taste of what’s to come.

Don’t – start with lengthy exposition, world building, flashbacks or dreams. This also includes lengthy internal monologue, while your character stares out the window. It’s super boring. Instead, orient the reader in your MC’s world right from the start.

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Do – keep the scene active. Have your character interact with the world around her. We want to see her/ him running for the bus because they’re late again. Out hunting for food to feed their starving family. Or leaving their own birthday party, because the cute guy hasn’t noticed her, only to bump into him in the courtyard (that’s a scene from one of my novels). Set the pace, set the tone and get the reader inside the character.

Do – Include your characters goals. You’ll want to hint at, or include, the conflict that will prevent your MC from reaching their goal, thus injecting stakes. If you’re following The Three Act Story Structure, then the inciting incident may not appear in the first chapter. But delivering the set up, that will propel your MC to take action and begin their journey, is a skill worth building.

Don’t – bog down your first chapter with side characters. Keep it central to the protagonist. That doesn’t mean you can’t include other characters, that’s not realistic or practical, but limit them so that the reader connects to your MC first. If your story is a romance novel; include the love interest. If it’s a murder mystery; have them stumble across a dead boy. And it’s always fun to hint at or include the antagonist too.

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Do – open the scene with an intriguing, catchy first sentence. This is a skill all writers would love to possess. Read the first page of lots of books, get a feel for what works and what doesn’t… and practice, practise, practice.

Remember, just because were told not to do something, doesn’t mean we have to listen. If you want to open your scene with a flashback, or multiple charters, then go for it. Read lots and write lots, that is the real advice, and the best way to learn your craft.

I’m sure there are many more do’s and don’ts. Do you have any? Tell me friends, what piece of advice would you give for writing a first chapter. You know I love hearing from you, so please leave a comment.

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

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
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Blackbirch: the beginning by K.M. Allan

I want to introduce the fabulous author K.M. Allan and her debut novel Blackbirch – The Beginning. I had a little fun with Kate’s interview and asked her to answer four random questions. Hopefully, something a little different from the other interviews she’s done, to give her readers another dynamic to how she develops her stories. Let’s begin…

K.M. Allan – Author of Blackbirch the Beginning

What was your hardest scene to write?

There are a few action scenes toward the end of the book. To ensure it was clear; who was standing where, and what was happening, was a skill I had to quickly learn. I confused some of my early beta readers, even though it all made sense to me, but I think I got there in the end, and it was a nice surprise to learn that I like drafting action scenes.

What is your favorite childhood book?

I was a huge fan of The Babysitters Club series and really wish I had of kept them all. I am pretty sure at one point I had most, if not all, of the books.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Definitely getting started. I can be inspired and organized, all ready to write, and procrastinate instead. Once I start writing it’s great, it’s just the act of getting started that’s difficult.

What was your favorite scene to write and why?

There’s a scene where Eve Thomas is being watched by something or someone she can’t see and it was interesting trying to capture the tension and creepiness on the page. I remembering being alone when I was drafting it and needing to go and be around people afterward, so hopefully, that means I pulled it off. 

If you want to stalk, I mean follow Kate, you can find her hanging out at Facebook and Instagram; talking about her kitten Dash, and letting us know how her series is coming along. Go check her out – she’s really friendly!!

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/k.m.allan.author

https://www.instagram.com/k.m.allan_writer

Welcome to Blackbirch. It’s a place no one forgets. Except for Josh Taylor. 

The fatal car crash took more than 17-year-old Josh’s parents. It stole his memories and returned him to his birthplace, Blackbirch, a tourist town steeped in a history of witchcraft. 

Amongst friends he’s forgotten and a life he doesn’t want, Josh is haunted by nightmares so believable he swears the girl in his dreams is real. Kallie is so captivating he ignores her blood-stained hands, but he can’t overlook the blue glow summoned to her skin. 

Kallie says it’s an ancient magic they share and a secret worth hiding, because as Josh discovers, they aren’t the only gifted ones. 

To restore his memories and find the true cause of the car accident, he must learn what’s real. And what secrets Blackbirch has buried in its woods.

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Buy Links

The book can be bought at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Book Depository, and Kobo. All the buy links are here: https://kmallan.com/blackbirch/

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I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kate on this series, her characters are truly compelling and her story hauntingly beautiful. Tell me my wonderful community: Have you read Blackbirch the Beginning? Do you think it’s something that might interest you? And what magnificent projects are you working on at the moment? 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, 2020.
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Improve your Writing by Removing Crutch Words.

Completing a rough draft of a novel is a huge success. However the real work comes from revising. Working with critique partners to help develop the plot and character arcs. But what happens after you’ve done a few rounds of revision? Where do you go next? How can you sharpen your manuscript?

We all have words that we over use, words that we rely on to tell or show the story. Words that we’ve peppered our page with. Soon, you and your beta readers will being to notice the words you rely on, and with diligence you can begin to remove them from your work.

Because I write fantasy-romance, I tend to over use body parts; eyes, mouths, certain gestures for my characters like shrugging or curling their hands into fists. When over used, our readers pick up on them, which brings them out of the story. These become our crutch words.

A great tip is to create a checklist sheet. Jot down a list of your culprits and search your document, preening them out. Don’t forget body parts, facial expressions, or words that you identify as over using. Then edit out the crutch words. Try rewriting the sentence using different words? Ask yourself – do the words adding any meaning to the sentence? Will its removal, alter the story? Can the crutch word be replaced with an alternative description? Thus eliminating the obvious eyesores before your readers identify them.

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#TIP. Word document has a Find tool that searches and highlights the specific word in your manuscript, making it easy to alter or remove.

Air caution, when using the thesaurus. While its function is invaluable to us authors, it runs the risk of stripping our unique voice from the story. I must admit to replacing a word for a recommended substitute and losing the original meaning by not understanding the definition.

A rough idea, is to limit those pesky crutch words to just once per page. Of course, you don’t have to stick to that. Changing a lounge, to a front room, mid-scene is going to be jarring. As would using flowery prose to describe a lagoon, just so you don’t say water too much.

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Some genres – I’m thinking romance – expect to have an emphasis on certain body parts. Eyes in particular, because it shows emotions, and builds tension. Reading in your genre will help you identify those crutch words that have become acceptable to use.

My last tip is to read your work aloud. We’re often too close to our work to see fault. But by sounding out the writing, our brains have the ability to process the information, thus picking up on crutch words.

Yes, it’s tedious hard work, but with persistence and a thorough revisions your writing will improve. I believe in you!!

What is your main crutch word? Don’t be shy. I love it when you share your thoughts and opinions.

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

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
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Defining Your Writing Voice

We all hear it, time and time again, from agents and editors and publishers… we want VOICE! But what exactly does that mean? And how can we start to define our own Voice in our writing.

Over the last year I’ve started receiving some great feedback from Editors and Agents, great Voice, wonderful writing style. And yet, I’ve had no full manuscript requests. So I wanted to dig deeper into what wasn’t working in my manuscripts. It turns out, I’d developed the wrong kind of Voice.

Don’t get me wrong, the industry wants a writers voice and their style to come through, but what they also want, also NEED… is our characters Voice. Both the POV of the character (their voice), and the writers (Our own voice), need to blend together to create a wonderful voice that draws the reader in.

If your struggling with the concept, or want to improve your own writing, I strongly recommend reading – Voice. The secret power of writing by James Scott Bell. In his bite sized book, he sets writing exercises that help hone and develop Voice. He gives examples of Voice in literature to help the reader understand the many different aspects of voice and how we can cultivate a different style of voice for different genres.

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Perhaps it’s easier to develop a characters voice in first person POV, over second person POV, because the writer is filtering everything through the characters perspective. And to make matters more confusing, some novels are written in an omniscient narrator style, where the writers voice carries the story.

The main points that I’ve learnt is when describing a setting, do it through the characters eyes, taking into account their mood, their background, their current goals and their character wounds. I’d been describing them through my POV. What I wanted to convey was a stunning visual world full of hidden emotion. Some characters don’t care what the sunset looks like, or what dress so-and-so is wearing. Oops!

I’ve tried to write my second novel Mischief and Mayhem in deep third person POV, unfortunately, to much of my own voice carries the story. So it’s time for a complete rewrite. I’m on the lookout for new critique partners who understand Close narrator – Third Person POV, and loves fantasy-romance. If you’d like to work with me, please comment below.

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Do you have any tips on how to develop your character voice? If so, I’d love to hear all about it. Don’t be shy, we’re all here to learn and develop our craft.

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

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
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How to Revise your Manuscript Using a Reverse Outline – Review of Jeni Chappelle’s webinar.

Hello my fellow writers and welcome! This week I’ve completed my fourth manuscript; a speculative fiction called Entangled of around 90’000 words. Finishing the first draft is a fantastic moment, but it’s also only the beginning of a novels journey to completion. I’m currently in an odd position where I have three novels all at different phases of the revision process. I must admit the task of tackling a first revision is still as daunting as it was the first time. I recently attended a webinar by editor Jeni Chappelle who has a wealth of experience, so I thought I’d share it with you.

The first part of editing may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s vital: Put the MS down and forget about it. Leave it on the hard-drive or locked in a draw and focus on something else. When the time comes, you’ll want to be as objective as possible. You’ll want to forget about the subplots and character arcs. You’ll need to switch your brain from being a creative writer, to an analytical observer. Time and distance from your WIP will help.

Jeni talk us through the three phases of revision, the first one is to look at the structural elements of your story. The plot and character arcs are the foundations of your novel. It’s fundamental to do this type of revision first; the set up if you like, to see if the novel works.

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While I’ve always started my process by reading through the whole manuscript, making notes on the things I want to change or clarify – Jeni opens up a whole list of vital question to ask during this process. Jeni gets us thinking about the internal goals and conflicts of the characters. The webinar gives the key to unlocking all of the hidden workings behind a successful story.

I found Jeni’s friendly approach not only welcoming but also easy to understand, despite the in-depth scope of the lesson. During the half an hour webinar, Jeni helps distinguish the importance of identifying the plot and pacing, and much, much more.

Jeni teaches writers how to Create a reverse outline. If you’re having heart palpitations at the thought of this, trust me, you’re not alone. A reverse outline is an overview of your novel, enabling the writer to structure their novel. Stories should follow a novel structure, their are many to choose from, but I prefer to model my stories on the three act structure.

Infographic-writing tips-three act structure

Once we’ve identified the gaps in our manuscript its time to start editing. Perhaps your MC needs clearer defined goals, or the pacing is too slow to start. Maybe some of the scenes need to be switched around to enable the story structure to flow.

The process will be different for everyone, the important part is trying. That’s where you’ll learn and grow as a writer. Once you’ve finished the first round of revision, you may choose to ask a critique partner to help out. They will be able to point out any areas you may have overlooked.

Send your work out to beta readers and return the favour by critiquing their work. This is the stage I’m at with my third MS Crown of Lies. It’s a valuable chance to put into practice the knowledge you’ve gleaned from revising your own work. While it can be daunting, it is undoubtedly the most valuable skill you’ll learn as a writer.

If you’re stuck and you’re searching for professional feedback, you may want to work with a developmental editor, or simply get feedback of your submission package. (This is the stage I’m at with my second novel, before I query again.) Today’s post has been influenced by one of Jeni Chappelle webinars. She is a co-founder of #RevPit over at Twitter. Check her out – subscribe to her newsletter. Not only does she have great content and she’s also a fantastic editor too.

What resources do you use when editing? Do you like to use the reverse outline method, or do you tackle the issue in a different way. I’d love to hear all about your process, please share your experiences with me.

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

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.