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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.

Love writing, notebook, pencil, tea

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.

Chase your Dreams and Write

Hello fellow creatives,

Inside each of us, there is something that ignites passion in our hearts and creates purpose in our soul. It’s no easy task admitting that what we covet is at odds with our current life. It seems unattainable and foreign. Utterly terrifying. That’s when you’ll know you’re onto something: for if your dreams don’t scare you, then they’re not big enough.

‘I have lots of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly.’ – Oprah Winfrey.

Don’t hide in fear, grasp that force and channel it. Hold the big picture, your dream, clearly in your mind, without doubt and enjoy the sensations as you imagine yourself having already achieved your dreams.

‘Never be ashamed! There’s some who will hold it against you, but they are not worth bothering with.’ – J. K. Rowling.

Forget the people who mock your dreams; they won’t help you succeed. You need to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who motivate and encourage you to prosper.

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‘You will never find time for anything. You must make it.’ –  Charles Buxton. M

Don’t fool yourself with the belief that you’ll have time for your dreams in the future… there’s never a better time than now. Magical thinking won’t manifet your aspirations, you need to take action.  To work with commitment towards your goals. Building knowledge, connections or funds. The road will be long and at times difficult. But true failure only comes when you quit.

‘Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.’ – Nelson Mandela.

Equal importance should be given to each and every milestone. No matter how small. Don’t neglect or underestimate them. For each miniature victory is a step towards achieving your dreams.

Now go chase them!!!

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What dream are you working towards? Tell me about you recent milestone. We have a great community of motivators… so let’s celebrate our journey together.

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 rouge operation with Cayden Quinn, exploring multiple universes. Each Flip 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, his life returned for four months in the mortal realm, in exchange for taking her place in the underworld for the remaining time, allowing her to grace the mortal planes.


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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Halloween Delights

The night draws closer to All Hallows’ Eve, blanketing me under the inky depths of superstition and the unknown.

It’s not the tradition of trick or treating that I like, or the horror films that threaten to terrify. No, I have enough ghosts of my own. It’s the pleasure of the senses, and that devious delight in being reborn each year.

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The Mummy by SFX makeup artist Abi Giles

So here’s to this full moon, black cats and our whispered intentions. Spiced pumpkin pie, jack o’lanterns and the brisk cold that beckons for log fires and velvety hot chocolate.

It’s time for costumes, whether young or old. Playful, wickedness gleams, in the eyes of those who participate. Gone are the days of plastic bin liners, fashioned into a witches dress or Dracula’s cape. Now the competition has risen, pushing for bolder, fancier designs.

Halloween makeup effects

It’s a time to celebrate this new season of autumnal colors. Along with the crunch of acorns and crisp bracken under wellington boots, while coppery leaves that dance in the wind. The thinning umbrella of the forest rooftops, that leave a spider web of branches dancing above our heads as we plunge deeper into the wild woods. Nightfall brings the promise of a veiled identity, allowing us to blend into the shadows.

Here in Wales, it’s only a few more sleeps until bonfire night and the promise of sparklers looms. When the sweet smell of caramelized onions and roasted pork will scent the air. Thick woolen scarves and bright colored mitts. A shower of science and magic will ignite in rainbow dust, under the moon lit sky, filling my heart with child-like unbridled joy.

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Queen of Hearts by SFX makeup artist Abi Giles

It’s going to be a very different Halloween this year thanks to the pandemic. But I still want to appreciate and take part in this traditions. Even if it is just carving a pumpkin and watching Hocus Pocus and the Corpse Bride.

How do you normally celebrate, and what will you be doing this year? Any movie or book recommendations are greatly appreciated.

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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.

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Surviving Writer’s Guilt

Writers love to write, daydream, read and plot. But what they don’t like is having their time interrupted, stolen or even ruined by writer’s block. And unfortunate this pandemic is causing all kinds of issues for us creative folk.

Here in Wales we’re heading into a second Lockdown, particularly around the capital in the south. I live in the west, but I’m anticipating it rolling out across the whole country in the coming weeks. These challenging times have presented a variety of problems. While, like many of you, I’ve had stints of wild enthusiasm and high productivity. I’ve also had the down side of procrastination and burnout. So if you’re currently on the flip-side with me, suffering writer’s guilt — welcome, let’s relax and settle in for the ride.

First of all, lets acknowledge how difficult it is trying to work from home, home school, or go into work during this bonkers time. We have to navigate Zoom meetings, wear face masks in public and sanitize, wash, sanitize our hands consistently, tirelessly, endlessly. Tensions are high (with my teenagers in particular), loneliness is rife, and the underlining pandemic is constantly bubbling under the surface of our awareness. 

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It’s no wonder our creativity suffers. It’s no wonder we have no time or energy to write. It’s no wonder we’re choosing to put other peoples needs in front of our own. 

I’ve spent the last few months of summer fulfilling zero writing goals. My creativity has crumbled under the change in pace. I suffered a total melt down, and my writer’s guilt has shot through the roof. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve longed to write, I’ve longed for the mental peace and quiet so I could focus. Instead, I have nagging guilt over being a terrible parent, and a terrible business partner. Trust me, I seriously let the ball drop.

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So what can we do to ease some of the burden? 

  • Remember you’re only human and that you’re doing the best you can.
  • Understand that your writing is a part of you: an extension of your soul. You’re story is not going anywhere, it will still get written, just not today. And that’s okay!
  • Self-care, and self-acceptance is important. I’m not talking about a bubble bath or pampering yourself (although that’s always an option). I’m saying listen to your inner-self and do what you need to do. A walk. A day on the couch. A good cry. Don’t deny whatever is going on for you, it will only persists.
  • Ask for help. We all have days, weeks, months when life is just too much. Don’t be afraid to message or call a friend. Or to tell your boss that you’re struggling. It doesn’t make you weak, it means you have courage to ask for what you need. 
  • Refill your creative cup.
  • Read. Read. Read. This is a guilt-free pleasure because it helps develop your craft.
  • Watch movies (just pretend your studying the plot and complex characters).

Tell me fellow creatives, how do you ease the burden of writer’s guilt?

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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 the Perfect Pitch

I’ve been practicing my pitches for years in a variety of ways. From the twitter contests where pitches need to be condensed into 280 characters. To crafting elevator pitches or Loglines (the one line introduction that sums up the whole story). And of course the dazzling pitch that introduces the main character, conflict and stakes. All in a bid to hook that illusive agent or publisher’s attention, making them want to read more of your novel.

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I can tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. I still dread the question ‘what’s your book about?’ As writers we flounder and babble. We practice loglines in the mirror, and recite them while driving the car or doing laundry. Yet we always forget when the time comes to explain our work. Thankfully, written pitches can be drafted, edited and polished until they shine.

I think in times of crisis it’s the artists responsibility to dig a little deeper.

~ Bruce Pavitt.

One of the blessings that come from years of experience, is that I’m always learning new tips and tricks. And the latest come from working with the talented, enthusiastic and genuinely lovely editor Jeni Chappelle. I’d reached the point in my writing where I needed professional feedback to help me grow. And I can honestly say, Jeni has helped raise my game.

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And because I love my fellow creatives, I’m more than happy to share all I’ve gleaned with you. So, here is the format for creating the perfect pitch.

Paragraph 1: Introduce your Main Character. Set the story by revealing what they want (goal) before they embark on their journey, connecting to their deepest emotional wound. Remember to show what is standing in their way, both internally and externally?

Paragraph 2: Introduce the main conflict. Reveal how it affects them, and what drives them to get involved.

Paragraph 3: Show how the stakes are raised as the story progresses. Reveal 2-3 specific obstacles they will have to overcome to resolve the main conflict. End with an impossible dilemma, often phrased something like… They must choose to: (internal or external conflict) before: (raise the stakes and/or show consequences).

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Each paragraphs should be 100ish words each. If you’re showing both POVs in a query, (for example, in romance genre) then usually a dual POV query would include a full paragraph about each character (about 100 words each, give or take) and then a third paragraph showing how their individual stories tie together. Note: writing the pitch from the POV of the character first introduced in your MS, otherwise agents and editors will be confused and put off.

And there you have it, the perfect combination of character, conflict and stakes. Easy… right? Don’t worry if your struggling to perfect your pitch, you’re not alone. Besides, practice makes perfect. Do you have any tips to share? Or are you currently struggling with your pitch?

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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.