How to Hook an Agent

Hello fellow creatives!!

Creating a pitch and delivering it to an agent face-to-face is a unique experience. Daunting? Yes, but with a little preparation you can execute a seamless pitch that will hook the agents interest and have them begging for more material. You’ve got this!!

A few years ago I attended a conference in Bloomsbury, London. At this event I developed my pitching skills and pitched my second fantasy novel to an agent. It was insightful, nerve wracking, but also confidence building. Events are happening virtually at the moment, which is great for anyone like me who is querying agents in the US.

Your pitch should address these five elements:

  • What is the title, genre, and word count?
  • What is the setting?
  • Who is the protagonist?
  • What is their conflict?
  • What do they have to do to overcome this conflict?

For a more in-depth look at how to craft a pitch, check out this post: Writing the perfect pitch.

Back then, I made the mistake of believing my novel fitted into the Young Adult genre, but thanks to the invaluable feedback, I realized that my novel was actually written for the Adult audience. This meant a rewrite to make the word count fit. One of the most common mistakes agent see is writers not understanding their genre and/or getting the word count wrong. To prevent this happening to you, do your research and get feedback from professionals, critique partners, or betas.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

An important question to consider is what makes your book different from similar books within your genre. In business terms what is its USP – Unique Selling Point. Identify that and you’re on to a winner. Comparing titles of similar books, or authors in your genre, help agents place your work, and it lets them know that you understand the industry.

Remember that a one-to-one pitch is a two-way conversation, therefore it’s likely that you’ll be asked questions. They could be:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What else are you working on?
  • Why do you write?
  • Where did this story come from?
  • How does your book fit into the market
  • What authors do you compare to?
  • Why have you written this book?
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At conferences and events, there’ll be the chance to ask the agent questions too. They might be:

  • About the industry
  • The process of the transition from writer to published writer
  • Their style as an agent
  • About the craft

Remember practice makes perfect. Pitch aloud, in the mirror, and to anyone willing to listen. Until the pitch sounds natural, not stunted. Until the words flow without thought or hesitation.

Remember, agents are normal people. Relax, smile and enjoy the event. Good luck!!

Have you pitched to an agent one-to-one? What advice can you give to help other writers?

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.
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How to Successfully Start Writing Stories

Ever dreamed of becoming a writer? I know many people have a secret desire to put pen to paper and craft a literature masterpiece. And yet many don’t. Perhaps you believe you don’t have the time or resources. Do you start and stop writing, never getting past the first few pages. I know that’s how I used to write: sporadic and blundering. So if you have grand plans for a debut, yet struggle with being overwhelmed at the prospect of crafting a whole novel… then read on for my getting started tips.

Starting any project is all about getting out of your comfort zone. If it ins’t scary, we’re not growing and evolving. So be brave and take that first step into the fear zone. Yes, trying anything new has challenges while we learn the ropes, but learning new skills can boosts our self-confidence. So keep at it!

There comes a point in life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.

~ Albert Einstein

To help me through this stage, I joined a creative writing class with a supportive tutor. The class gave me nurturing feedback and encouragement and initially became a hobby. There are virtual writing groups on Facebook, online learning sites, and a great writing community with fantastic writing resources to help you get started. All you need is a little initiative to find the right resource for you, and then a dedicated slot to write. Even if that’s only ten minutes a day, or a writing sprint once a week.

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You fail only if you stop writing.

~ Ray Bradbury

Remember: Don’t put pressure on yourself. Write for fun. Write for yourself, as if no one is ever going to read your work. And allow your creativity to run free, scribbling inking upon a blank page. Get those ideas down and don’t look back, not yet anyway, editing comes later. When I teach my classes, I give my ideas, themes or a character and ask the blossoming writers to explore that small aspect. Don’t get caught up in pesky details as you explore a scene. It will not only slow you down, but potentially put you off.

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

~ Louis L’Amour
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Soon you’ll be in the learning zone. Full of enthusiasm as you develop new skills and deal with challenges. A great tip is to read as much as you write, if not more: In truth it’s the best way to learn. Before you know it you’ll be firmly in the growth zone; setting goals, conquering problems and living your dreams. Being a writer is not about how many novels you’ve written, its simply about stringing words together to form stories.

Have you dreamed about becoming a writer? If you’re already a writer, can you share a tip about how you got started? Or share a little bit about your writing journey to help inspire others.

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.

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Writing Tip – Crafting a Catchy Title

Hello fellow creatives!

We all want a catchy title. Something that grabs the readers attention and draws them in. The saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by it cover’ yet we all do. Equally as important as the cover, is the book’s title. It needs to be compelling, intriguing and in a few short words pinpoint what your novel entails.

Many writers develop a ‘working title’ which is a rough draft of the title. A temporary idea, while the work is still in progress. Sometimes, after writing the book, the title becomes clearer and the writer instinctively knows to name the book.

My first WIP changed titles numerous times. That’s ok. Just as we revise our manuscripts over and over again, we should edit the title, Pitch and Synopsis, especially when we are querying agents or publishers.

Research is a vital, integral part of this process. Look at novels within your genre to see what catches your eye,what pulls you in and even what makes you think… yes, that’s precisely what the books about.

A successful novel begs the reader to ask questions: Who is The Cruel Prince? Why is the Court full of Thorns and Roses, what could that possibly mean? What happens in the Hunger Games?

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Some novels use the name of the protagonist – Percy Jackson. Others use a phrase from the book, or a word – Caraval. Instead of using the character’s name, perhaps use words to describe them, highlighting their differences. For instance – Mischief and Mayhem. Don’t forget to consider the location: Through the Looking Glass. Or mix some of those ideas: Alice in Wonderland.

Be sure to write down any ideas that come to your head, even if they’re ridiculous. Brainstorm what links the theme, plot, characters, and locations of the novel. Then get feedback. Ask readers, friends and family what title stands out for them. Which one hints at the novel beyond the pages, or evokes intrigue and mystery.

Lastly be original. Your book’s title has to compete with many similar novels. You want a title that stands out from the crowd, and something that is going to snag your audiences attention. Don’t be shy, check to see if the titles already taken. You don’t want to compete with an identical title, in the same genre. This is your time to shine!

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So my wonderful, loyal readers, what do you think of my title? (It’s a phrase taken from the story.)

My third novel is a historically inspired fantasy-romance novel – Crown of Lies.

Archenemies Jac and Lena, turn traitors to their feuding families to stop the plundering of innocent lives. They must: Become marauders but evade the noose. Return the crown to the rightful prince, and above all… not cross the Fates and fall in love.

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.
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Reality of a Writer

Hello fellow creatives!

I’m a huge fan of positive posts. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of inspiration? Sometimes, we need a little push to help us work towards our goals and chase our dreams. Also, it’s good to take a breath and check in with reality. To accept our struggles, knowing that they don’t define us, but that they do make us human.

Being a writer is tough. Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks to being an ink warrior. Take today for instance; I’m sitting in bed with my dog, listening to music, whilst drinking tea and blogging. But it’s not all glamorous: In fact, I’m not sure any of it is!

Today I thought I’d share the harsh reality of what being a writer is like for me. To let you know; you’re not alone in your fight. And that acknowledging our struggles doesn’t make us weak, it makes us honest. Maybe even a little enlightened.

First of all: Shout out to all working-student writers. Hurrah to us! Juggling a full time job/course with other commitments, housework, family and a myriad of other commitments, is enough for any mere mortal. Yet we’ve chosen to spend a dedicated amount of time and resources to build platforms, manage social media accounts and actually write a novel… or two. Congratulations!! Did you know roughly 80% of people dream of writing a novel but only a small percentage achieve this.

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Next it’s a huge shout out to writer parents. Whoop! Do you have young children that need constant attention? Tantrums, potty training, endless kid parties and squabbling siblings. Or perhaps they’re older darlings: full of hormone melt downs, teenage dramas, social media fall-outs, confrontations over boundaries, boyfriend/girlfriend worries and … still squabbling siblings. And let’s be honest, that’s usually just one morning.

When do we find time to write? How do we fit it in? But as we writers know… where there’s a will, and often a desperate need for sanity, there’s a way.

Social life advocates: Bravo! This is a rare-breed of writer. If you’re juggling either of the above, or like me both, and you still have a successful social life… do you only need two hours of sleep???

desk writing novel author Lorraine Ambers

I’d love to go out for dinner with friends, meet the girls for coffee, fit in a yoga class, and attend creative writing classes. But I wrestle to fit in all the other non-social stuff. Write. Walk my beagle. Read, and read more. Blog. Fill cupboards with food, cook, clean dishes… you know the drill. (You’re in it too.) It’s an endless cycle of mundane, just to stay at base level. Tedious, repetitive and frustrating!

To avoid these things is to ‘Attempt’ to change absolute reality, which will inevitably do more harm than good, internally speaking. (Internally = your mind and soul) Realise this is how life is and no longer will it disturb you, you can feel free.

Life is suffering – Budda

And there we have it. Life. Reality. Honest and raw. Be proud of who you are and the choices you make, because you’re unique and awesome.

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.

Crafting a Snappy Synopsis

Hello fellow creatives,

I don’t know about you, but the thought of writing a synopsis is daunting. After months of plotting, writing and revising our novel, we’re finally faced with crafting the Perfect Pitch and whittling the bare-bones of our story down to a one page overview – the synopsis!

But fear not, I have the experience of no less than three synopsis under my belt and I shall share my tips and tricks with you. I’ll be breaking down the elements needed for synopsis writing. Hopefully, I’ll arm you enough knowledge to craft your own. It’s not hard… honest. It’s simply a different process.

Tip one: literary agents and publishers want the complete story. The synopsis isn’t focused solely on conflict and stakes, it must set out the plot, the character’s journey arc, and most importantly… reveal the climax and ending. Yes, they want to know the ending, they need to know that the story is complete and that its structure works.

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Tip two: Tell the story, but keep it simple. I like to skim through my novel jotting down notes of plot points: Action & Emotion. If you’ve done a Reverse Outline during your edits, then use them. From the notes, I begin to shape my synopsis. The notes highlight the important story elements. Always write your synopsis in 3rd person, even if the novel is 1st person and write in present tense.

Tip three: Think of this as more of a technical paper, it’s a factual explanation of the events that drive your story. Don’t evoke your writing style and voice.

Tip 4: Set the stage by providing the setting and introduce your main characters (Protagonist and antagonist). Always introduce each characters NAME in full capitals, the first time they’re mentioned. Then include where the story starts and identify the inciting moment. But keep it simple. Use a few well-chosen words to evoke meaning.

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From there we begin to flesh out the details by revealing what the protagonist and antagonist are planning to do. Showing the plot points through how, why and what the characters are doing – their goals! Don’t include side quests, additional characters or plot twists – unless they’re vital in explaining the story arc. There should be practically no backstory or description, it will clutter the synopsis.

Tip five: Finally, it’s time to reveal how the story ends and how it was achieved and remember to link it back to the inciting moment.

So there you have it, a guide to writing your own synopsis. And remember the hardest part is conquering your doubt and beginning anyway. After all, you can and probably will edit your synopsis many times.

Good luck and happy writing!

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.

Novel Ideas and Writing Projects

Hello fellow writers!!

Yes, I’ve been away for a few months and honestly I questioned the benefits of blogging… slight existential crisis. We’ll call it my five year blogging itch… ha. In the end, my fellow blogging community is what drew me back. There will be a few changes: I won’t be posting as much and I’ll repost some of my earlier content. That way, I’ll be able to keep up with the demands of working, writing, training, and all the other stuff that keeps me busy… I hope.

Today, I’m sharing my updated website and I’ve included some information about my writing. So you’ll get to see my aesthetic boards and learn a little bit about the novels I’m currently querying, editing, or plotting. If you have any questions feel free to ask and don’t forget to follow my blog for writing tips and inspiration. If you’re at the querying stage too, take a look at my ‘Contact Me!’ page if you’d like me to critique your query.

I’ve really missed you all. I hope you enjoy. Xx

Crown of Lies

My third manuscript: Adult historical-fantasy novel at 98,000-words, currently being queried.

Romeo and Juliet meets Robin Hood.

A rebellious prince and a damsel in disguise risk their lives to save their Sister Kingdoms from corruption.


Mischief and Mayhem

My second manuscript: Adult high fantasy-romance novel at 95,000-words, currently being queried.

Grisha meets The Wicked King.

Impish spy Tali is blood-bound to a ruthless magician. But when he gets trapped in another realm, she gains his magic. To save the kingdom she must: Control his fickle power, track him down, and exile his monstrous mother—before she’s killed.


Entangled

My fourth manuscript: Speculative fiction novel at 90,000-words

Inspired by the TV show Fringe and quantum physics.

Theoretical scientist, Ebony Hayes, gets caught up in a rogue operation with Cayden Quinn, exploring multiple universes. Each Merge causes entanglement with their hosts emotions, leaving Ebony and Cayden unsure of what’s real or not. But with a top secret facility and a multi-dollar operation, they both know that danger lays much closer to home.


Raven’s Tale

Gothic inspired fantasy novel where the female protagonist is Death.

Currently being plotted.

Raven strikes a bargain with a recently deceased man. She’ll grant him four months of life in the mortal realm, if he agrees to take her place in the underworld for the remaining time, giving Raven her dream of gracing the mortal planes. But when the recently deceased seeks revenge for his short lived life and rules the underworld in her stead, Raven must regain control of her realm before the balance of life and death is thrown into chaos, putting her immortal soul at risk.


Knights of Secrets and Shadows

My first YA fantasy-romance novel at 60,500 words

No longer querying.

Sheltered, telepathic princess bargains with a magician to save her beloved, knowing the vow will have powerfully binding consequences for her kingdom and king.

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Photo/ digital art credit – Elfine 2 by LaMuserie http://www.lamuserie.net


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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.

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How to Easily Edit your First Draft

Congratulations, you’ve written your first draft!! There’s no doubt about it, writing a complete manuscript is hard. So I’m here to celebrate with you… woo whoo!

If you’ve stumbled upon this post, you’re probably wondering what’s next? Let’s face it… editing a novel is a daunting task. You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed and baffled by this next stage. As I embark on editing my fourth novel, I’m feeling the stirrings of dread. But fear not, I’m going to break things down into bite size tips to get you started.

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After completing your novel, set it aside. Yes, you heard me. Don’t immediately start editing. You’ll be too close to the story and characters to objectively see plot holes, weak characters or blundering scenes. So save your work and close down the files. I suggest a minimum of a month break, but longer is fine too. In the meantime start a new project, read books and maybe (just maybe) catch up on some housework… nah, I didn’t like the last idea either.

Grab your notebook and some fancy pens. Its time to take stock of your story. Read through the whole manuscript, let the story settle in your mind along with your ideas for change. Then repeat the process, but this time a little slower. Recount each chapter with a brief sentence or two.

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On a separate page, take stock of any red flags, structural changes, things that need cutting or rewriting. I personally also like a printed copy for this stage. I underline sentences that don’t flow, or sound repetitive and jot things in the margin. In the past I’ve made the mistake of only doing this. But when it came time to make changes, an arrow pointing to a section with ‘WHAT?’ or ‘add more’ did nothing to help me. Yet armed with my trust note book, I could look back and find the appropriate reference.

Now that you’ve made a chapter by chapter recount of your story it will be easy to reverse outline your story. Only think of the structural elements of the story and begin to deconstruct and then reconstruct. Don’t waste your time on surface editing. You need to focus on the fundamental changes first. Besides, there’s no point polishing your voice and cleaning up the grammar if your only going to cut the scene.

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Once you’ve tackled the big stuff like structural changes and plot holes, its time to work on through the remained of your notes. Focus on the surface editing, such as; sentences that didn’t make sense, the flow of your story and of course polish your Voice. Work in stages; a chapter at a time. This keeps you accountable for the work you’re doing, without overburdening yourself. Remember, edits take as long as they take. That’s why small goals help us to stay motivated throughout the process.

Yay! Pat yourself on the back, the hard graft is done. But before sending your work out to beta readers, check formatting, grammar, spelling and punctuation. This stage is also a great time to check for crutch words and anything repetitive, including repetitive body gestures that your characters use. In my first drafts, I tend add a lot of shoulder shrugging, and body parts. Cut it back or alter the overused words to make your writing flow.

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Now it’s time to send your work to a couple of trusted beta readers, or if your lucky like me, a critique partner. Use their feedback to edit your manuscript again. You can work in stages, one beta at a time, or with a small group. Remember, choose what feedback you use to alter your story, not all of it will apply. You’re the architect of your story, so you get to decide what advice to follow.

And there we have it, you’ve edited your novel! Tell me fellow creatives, what writing stage are you at? And are you a lover or hater of editing? Personally, I’ve grown to love this stage. I learn so much from working with others.

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.

Social media tips for writers

8 Twitter Tips for Writers

Building a platform and navigating the many different social medias can be a daunting task. It can seem a step too far, especially when we’re still struggling to write our novel. But fear not, for I’m here to share my top eight tips for using twitter.

It’s important to remember you’re presenting yourself as a brand. Every interaction on the internet should be tailored towards catching your target audience and strengthening your business – you… as an author.

  1. Load a profile and background image, then add a few sentences to describe yourself. Remember to utilize your Bio by including key words relevant to you. I’ve used #writer #fantasywriter and #amquerying. It helps likeminded individuals find you. Want inspiration? Check out your fellow writers and see what catches your eye.
  2. Every social media has a different way of conversing. Twitter does this by short, punchy statements. Using just 280 characters to convey your meaning. Twitter is fast moving so mistakes can be made. But that’s ok, your creative friends will forgive and forget. So dive in and have fun.
  3. Picture’s and Gif’s are a great way to draw attention, so get creative. Warning about copyright, please make sure you have the right to use the images.
  4. Use hashtags as a way to connect with likeminded individual. Some of my favorites are #amwriting #writing and #writingcommunity. Play around with them and pay attention to what other writers use.
  5. Remember your manners and don’t spam. The fastest way to be unfollowed is by only plugging your own, or others, work. I tend to unfollow writers that have feeds full of promotional content – the hard sell doesn’t work! Instead, I like to mix it up by asking questions, interacting and little updates about my writing journey. Take a look at my profile: https://twitter.com/lorraineambers
  6. People tend to converse through the newsfeed and ignore DM’s (Direct Messages) because the majority of messages are spam. If you want to chat, be brave and tweet them directly by adding there @name. Try me, I’ll be happy to reply. @LorraineAmbers
  7. Twitter is a great place for getting involved in competitions like #PitRev and #PitMad. During them writers accept the challenge of pitching their novel in one Tweet. It’s great practice and an easy way of making connections with your fellow writers.
  8. If you have a great Tweet, maybe a pitch or a link to your website or blog, Pin It to the top of your newsfeed. That way, whenever someone new visits your page they can instantly see that post. They might just interact with it by Liking your Tweet or even visiting your blog. After all, isn’t that the whole point of being on social media.

There we have it, my top 8 tips for twitter. Do you have any tips to share?

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and 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, 2021.