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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, 2020.

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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, 2020.
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How to Write in ‘Deep’ Third-Person Point Of View

There are subtle differences between Omniscient Narrator, third-person and Deep third-person point of view (POV). But if they’re so subtle how can we know which one our writing falls into? It will affect word choice, and influence the readers’ perception of your characters. Well, read on to find some tips on how to polish your manuscript and make sure you’re using the preferred style for your work.

Not familiar with the different terms. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, I’ll run you through them.

Omniscient Narrator

The writer’s style and voice is reflected throughout the story, telling the story from a narrators perspective by identifying the characters by name. The characters, and their world is shown from a stepped-back perspective. Unfortunately, it can prevent readers from gaining intimacy with your characters, which is something we strive to gain, especially in Young Adult novels. The omniscient narrator doesn’t tell the story from an particular character, but reveals the story from an unbiased perspective and shows it to the reader.

Third-person POV

Writing in third-person is intended to make the story personal, dragging the reader into the story. Thus allowing them to view the world through the characters eyes. The story is shown from either one character’s POV or multiple POV’s and will be shown by using the characters name, and him/ he or she/her.

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A few months ago I had editorial feedback on my second novel Mischief and Mayhem, and one of the criticisms was that my writing bordered on Omniscient Narrator. Why? Because the third-person POV wasn’t deep enough. What? Impossible! I’d done my homework and developed my writing with the one goal of achieving a deeper perspective. I wanted my readers to intimately feel everything my characters experienced.

So what was I doing wrong? Well, I discovered a few simple revisions that can strengthen your work to gain a deeper perspective. And I’m super proud to say I’ve achieved it! The second critique I received was a glowing review of my submission package, with only ONE critique. (Too much exposition in the first chapter. – It’s a fine line line, my creative friends, as the first time there wasn’t enough.)

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How to gain a deeper perspective using third-person POV?

Don’t overuse the character’s name. It prevents the reader from getting inside the characters perspective, giving the illusion of watching the characters actions. Instead, use the pronouns him/he or she/her.

Remove filler words, such as; seemed, knew, wondered, sensed and felt. Again they prevent the reader from becoming immersed in the characters world. They hold the reader back, giving an Omniscient Narrator style of writing. By removing them you will not only strengthen the show don’t tell, but you’ll allow the reader to drop into the characters perspective.

Most importantly develop the character’s Voice, making sure each character has their own unique and identifiable voice which is different from yours as the writer. For a more in depth look and further tips I strongly recommend reading – Voice. The secret power of writing by James Scott Bell.

Best of luck with your revisions. And as always Happy Writing my creative friends.

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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, 2020.

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How to Craft Catchy Dialogue

Writing dialogue is an effective way to show the reader what’s happening in your story. But get it wrong and you risk loosing the readers interest. In a previous post I showed the Do’s and Don’t of writing dialogue – check it out if you haven’t already. Today I thought it would be helpful to go over some fundamental pointers in how to get your characters to show the world you’ve created through dialogue.

Tip 1 – Write as often as you can, read vicariously and listen intently. People listening is the best way to grasp dialogue. Take note when watching you favorite TV show, and see how each character is portrayed through the words they speak. People/ characters talk differently, so listen in and take pointers. Some are blunt and stoic, some blunder and waffle, while others wend beautiful, lyrical tales. Remember: be aware of whats being said, and equally what’s not being said.

Tip 2 – Don’t forget to add body language. Not only will this bring your character and the scene to life, but subtle body movements add depth to what’s being said. An easy smile changes a casual, ‘hello and welcome’ into a warm and generous greeting. Whereas, a pinched brow and clipped tone add a different meaning. Perhaps this character feels obligated to welcome someone, or maybe they’re in a bad mood.

Tip 3 – People often don’t say what they’re thinking or feeling, so layer up the context with internal dialogue. It’s a great way to show conflict and build tension. Mary pasted on a fake smile, and opened the door. “Hello and welcome.” God, she despised this woman. And yet her role as manager forced her to be polite, when what she really wanted was to slam the door in her face.

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Tip 4 – Use contractions. Don’t be afraid to shorten or combine words, to help the character sound as natural as possible. While a professor may use precise wording, a student will often use contractions. For example: Let’s, I’m, who’s and they’re.

Tip 5 – Cut unnecessary words. In real life we tend to stutter, flounder, and add filler noises like umm, well, basically, so, hey, hi, good day and how are you? Such words when used in dialogue slow the pace and become boring. Readers don’t need constant polite introductions or goodbyes, they want dialogue that keeps the momentum of the story going. Remember – that’s not to say never use such words, just be conscious not to fill your dialogue with them.

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Tip 6 – Dialogue must serve a purpose to advance the story. The whole point of writing dialogue is to show the reader things that progress the plot, build characters, show backstory and/ or entertain. It doesn’t drone on just for the sake of having characters converse. Keep everything succinct to the story and integral to the characters.

Tip 7 – Read your dialogue out loud. Make sure it sounds realistic, and then make sure it sounds like your character. Each character will have their own distinct voice. Your character may have an individual turn of phrase, or often call people buddy. These things can really help to differentiate them within your story.

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Do you have any tips on how to write great dialogue? Or perhaps you have a great line that you’d like to share from your current WIP. If so, please share it, 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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3 Fun Exercises to Help You Create Irresistible Characters

I would like to introduce you to Desiree Villena. A writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best publishing resources and professionals. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction, writing short stories, and giving (mostly) solicited advice to her fellow writers. You can check out Reedsy at Twitter / Instagram.

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There are two crucial pillars that hold up a good novel: first, there must be a compelling plot, and second, there must be nuanced characters who undergo this journey. Plot goes hand-in-hand with the central conflict and its resolution, so these elements are often intertwined!

Of course, not every story requires an examination of the deepest crevices of a character’s soul — but the complex layers of a protagonist often still bubble to the surface, even when they’re not explicitly explored. Just as a charismatic and thoughtful person charms others, well-developed characters are irresistible to readers, literary agents, and publishers alike.

So how can you craft characters who will feel believable, evoke sympathy, and rope your readers in? There’s no one single way to achieve this, but the three exercises I’ll be sharing with you below can get you thinking about the many facets of a round character.

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1. Let your protagonist win the lottery

This is a common thought experiment when thinking about the question: “What do you want to do with your life?” Before we get distracted by questioning our own raison d’être, let’s consider  how this exercise works.

Assume the prize for hitting the jackpot is hefty — so big that physiological security is no longer a remote  concern for your character. Without having to worry about survival, what would your character do with their money and, more importantly, their time?

What they choose to do has profound implications for their personality, their aspirations, and their skills. If your character decides to use that money to open a pottery shop, they must be somewhat entrepreneurial and industrious. They might be passionate about pottery, or they’re perhaps less aware of social issies than wider society, considering the fact that they didn’t choose to funnel their resources to a charitable cause. This exercise might also flag up certain areas of specialty you have to research, if you want it included in the story.

The decision of how to use this prize also opens up options regarding their interests and background, e.g. whether they’ve studied this art before, or if it was part of their family history or business. In any case, it’s fun to imagine this kind of scenario, since there are so many possibilities available.

You can frame this writing exercise as an interview of the character by a news outlet, or a conversation the character has with a close friend, outlining their plan. And of course, not every story setting has a lottery, so you can tweak the prompt to suit your needs (maybe your character unknowingly dug up a pot of gold) — just to make it feel more realistic, even if you don’t end up including their “lottery plan” in your actual story.

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2. Trap them somewhere alone

In a modern setting, your protagonist might get trapped in a broken elevator — or, if you really want to push your character to the limit, perhaps a crashing plane. In a sci-fi setting, the place could be a lonely and malfunctioning spacecraft (think The Martian). In a medieval setting, it could be a random sinkhole in the middle of an empty forest.

What you want to do in this scenario is the reverse of exercise #1: you want to remove practically all possibilities from your character and see how they react. Are they angry, or are they anxious? Is your character debilitated by the seriousness of the circumstances, or is their brain whirring, trying to find a solution? If they’re working on a course of action, what skills do they have to come up with and realize this plan?

Even if they’re not being uncannily resourceful and clear-headed, you can delve into what’s going on in your protagonist’s mind. Who and what are they thinking of, now that they’re coming dangerously close to death? Are there any regrets? Do they have certain memories that make this situation especially traumatic, or escape more difficult?

If you’re up for a challenge, try weaving in the emotional or psychological entrapments your character feels into your story. Let the physical space be a metaphor for the obstacles your character faces in life. This way you can explore both the mannerisms and inner thoughts of your protagonist, and the internal struggle that builds onto the central conflict of your story.

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3. Create a social media account for your character

Now I know this doesn’t make logical sense in every scenario — 15th-century knights don’t usually stop on their way to battle to post a quick Instagram story — but it’s an entertaining exercise to develop the social life and behaviors of your protagonist. And of course, you don’t have to actually create an account on Facebook or Twitter; just describing it will suffice.

What can you include in this description? Well, anything, really. Is this account used to keep in touch with close friends, or is it for a practical purpose like book marketing? (Meta!) How many friends or followers do they have? Does your character interact a lot, and what kind of content do they share?

Indeed, just by picking a social media platform, you’ve already determined some things about the character. If it’s Facebook, your protagonist might be the eloquent and argumentative type — as opposed to Twitter, where the character limit means Tweets are more concise and oftentimes quippier.

Feel free to experiment with the tone as well. Though this prompt probably gets you thinking about a contemporary setting, if your character’s from another era, you can definitely use the appropriate vocabulary and language style. (You might know of fanfiction social media accounts where the fans roleplay as book characters on Twitter — this is somewhat similar to that.) Here’s your chance to work on the voice of your character.

And that’s the nice thing about exercises like these: they don’t just make you ponder all the details you’d normally include in a character profile, they also let you experiment with your portrayal of your characters in a fun and creative way. Hopefully these exercises give you some inspiration for writing characters who are hard to forget!

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I want to say a massive thank you to Desiree. I’m sure you’ll agree she writes excellent post and that Reedsy is a valuable writing resource. I know I’ll be checking out their posts. Once again, You can follow Reedsy at Twitter / Instagram.

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.

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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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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.

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back
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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.

Water-girl-emotions

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.