Tuesday, August 4
What Should I Write About? A Simple Way to Answer That Question
Writing

What Should I Write About? A Simple Way to Answer That Question

In the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient story from India on how to live with purpose, one character tells his struggling counterpart: You don’t know what to choose because you don’t know your True Self.Oof. Ouch.As both a yogi and a writer, I don’t think there’s one sentence more appropriate — or more cutting — that captures why so many writers struggle with the ongoing and ever present dilemma that every writer experiences on his or her creative journey: “But what should I write about?”I built a corner of my business around helping writers solve for this very creative struggle. From 2012 to 2016, my paid-membership online writers’ group served hundreds of writing prompts and lessons to a community of 300 writers from 17 countries. While one intention I had for the group was to help members learn...
How to Write a Synopsis for Your Book: A Guide for Fiction and Nonfiction Writers
Writing

How to Write a Synopsis for Your Book: A Guide for Fiction and Nonfiction Writers

If you plan to publish a work of fiction or non-fiction, writing a synopsis that summarizes the scope of your manuscript is inevitable.Consider the typical submission process: First you write a query letter to agents or editors, and hopefully someone requests sample chapters along with a synopsis. Usually only after this step will authors be asked to submit the full manuscript.What is a synopsis? Before we dive deep, let’s first define synopsis. Simply put, a synopsis is a summary of your fiction or nonfiction project. A synopsis willhave a beginning, middle and endleave no plot questions unansweredreflect the manuscript genre and tonedemonstrate your voiceThat may seem like a lot to accomplish within a few pages, but you’re not reinventing the wheel, here.What’s the purpose of a synopsis?...
Build Your Author Platform: 7 Manageable Ways to Start From Scratch
Writing

Build Your Author Platform: 7 Manageable Ways to Start From Scratch

By now we’ve all heard about author platform, even if we’re not entirely sure how to build or maintain one.But in my everyday work with authors, I’ve noticed many writers aren’t sure how exactly to get started. What should you focus on when you’re being pointed in 20 different directions, and all roads are potentially huge time sucks?How to start building your author platformAs I explain in this post, author platform includes these components: expertise, contacts, social media, previous media, previous books, personality, existing readership and ability to execute. That breakdown can function as a roadmap for anyone who’s trying to figure out how to get started, especially if you feel like you’re starting at zero.Ready to build your author platform? Here’s how to start from scratch.1. Expe...
3 Ways You Can Edit Your Manuscript With an Editing Tool
Writing

3 Ways You Can Edit Your Manuscript With an Editing Tool

Editing is an instrumental part of the writing process. So instrumental, in fact, that common wisdom dictates that your story is made in the edits, not in the initial writing.To get your manuscript publication-ready, you’ll need to edit it…a lot. Editing your manuscript is often more work than writing it in the first place, but that work pays off. An edited manuscript is tight, polished, and ready for readers.Editing your manuscript isn’t as simple as scanning each page for misspelled words. There are a number of different types of edits you’ll need to do get things up to par. We’ve got some great editing tips for you to try using a tool specifically meant for editing.How an editing tool can help you get your manuscript in tip-top shapeHere’s how you can use an editing tool to support thre...
The Elements of a Solid Novel, Plus Steps to Take Before You Even Start Writing
Writing

The Elements of a Solid Novel, Plus Steps to Take Before You Even Start Writing

Writing a novel is a big deal. It’s soul-consuming, and creating a feature-length work of fiction takes a great deal of time as well as dedication. But, you probably already knew that, right?One of the most haunting thoughts for any budding novelist (the kind that wakes you up at night) is: will my idea support a lengthy work of fiction? Is it even worth writing at all?You could argue that with the right level of care and development any acorn of an idea could flourish into a mighty work of fiction. But, in reality — some novel ideas are more viable than others.While starting something that will eventually implode right in front of you on the screen after months of work is a daunting prospect, there are things you can do to test run your novel idea. And, we’re going to look at them here.Th...
The Ultimate Guide to Authenticity for Indie Authors
Writing

The Ultimate Guide to Authenticity for Indie Authors

The term “authenticity” is bandied around a lot when it comes to marketing and especially for authors. But what does it mean and how do you tap into authenticity without being discomfort or too much information? That’s what the Alliance of Independent Authors AskALLi team aims to answer today in the Ultimate Guide to Authenticity for Indie Authors. With thanks for the contributions from members and partners, in particular Connor Whiteley, A.G. Billig and Karen Ferreira. The Ultimate Guide to Authenticity for Indie Authors: Know, Like and Trust Marketing Know, Like and Trust (KLT) marketing is also known as “the progression your customers will take from discovering you to engaging with you or your business online.” Kate M. Gilbert, founder of WPMaster.me The concept of getting your customer...
Writing

How to Coach Others When You’re Still an “Aspiring” Creative

Back when I started coaching in 2013, I had no experience. And when I say “no experience,” I mean ZERO. I didn’t go through any training or certification programs and I didn’t practice doing calls with friends. I just put up a coaching page on my website and started getting on the phone with strangers. It was a bit nerve-wracking to say the least, but it was also the best course of action for me. Why? Well, before I actually started coaching, I had wanted to coach for a long time. I loved writing and I wanted to work with writers. However, I felt like I was in no position to coach other people because I had not yet published anything of my own. In my mind, I was still an “aspiring writer,” and if I was still aspiring, then how could I possibly offer anyone else guidance that would...
Do I Need a Solid Business Strategy, or Can I Just “Wing It”? (INFPs Listen Up!)
Writing

Do I Need a Solid Business Strategy, or Can I Just “Wing It”? (INFPs Listen Up!)

Through my work I come into contact with hundreds of highly intuitive, highly creative people who want to work for themselves as writers, coaches, and/or teachers. They are rock solid on the fact that they want to help people, and they know they have excellent skills as counselors and listeners. They can feel that they have so much to express inside that wants to come out. But then they get stuck on the “business” part of it all. The thought of coming up with a business plan or a business model deflates all that juicy creative energy, fast. And that’s where almost ALL of these people get stuck, sometimes forever. There’s this belief that you have to do things a certain way, an assumption that if you don’t have a “solid business strategy” then you won’t get anywhere. But I can tell...
How to Launch an Online Creative Business Is Now Available!
Writing

How to Launch an Online Creative Business Is Now Available!

The How to Launch an Online Creative Business course package is now available for purchase. You can get it here: HOW TO LAUNCH AN ONLINE CREATIVE BUSINESS The price is $87.00 for the next five days (until June 1). After that it goes up to $199.00, so grab it at the lower price while you can. I’m still taking questions about the course too, so if you have any, please send them to writecitysf@gmail.com. And thank you everyone for your support, it means a TON to me! Related Lauren Sapala Writer, Writing Coach and Blogger
7 Techniques for Using Subtext to Supercharge Your Scenes
Writing

7 Techniques for Using Subtext to Supercharge Your Scenes

When you think about the books and stories that you most enjoyed reading and that stick in your memory, inspiring thoughts and emotions, what comes to mind? Why are those particular stories so enduring?Chances are, the story’s scenes were woven with something deeper than what appeared on the surface. As writers, we are always working, practicing, studying to make our stories the best they can be. That’s our job, and today we’re taking a look at an advanced technique we can use to add interest to a scene by giving it an underlying meaning implied by the surface action and dialogue.I’m talking about subtext.Why Subtext?Like a puzzle, subtext puts the reader’s brain to work, piecing together clues to arrive at the emotional truth of the scene. It makes the story more engaging and more memorab...