The Woman Who Rewrote Me – From the Electric Lit Blog

Man whose face is obscured by smoke

What happens when the person you love treats you like a character in one of her stories?


She bought me T-shirts. They were similar to the shirts she wore, bright with colorful pop culture designs. The disembodied head of Indiana Jones floating among the clouds. A kazoo with a cursive disclaimer: Ceci n’est pas un kazoo.

It was August 2007, and we’d been dating for about two months. This was a long-distance relationship, Massachusetts to California; we wrote letters and emails, sent each other small gifts. With T-shirts she was making me over into someone else. Someone more fun and more casual, someone younger.

I was 30 years old. She was 37 and a successful writer, the author of novels, comics, and books for children. I’ll call her Cynthia.

Cynthia’s friends were writers and editors, musicians and show business people. When I visited LA, I went with her to parties, readings, conferences, dinners, shows. She seemed to know everyone.

I wanted to be a writer, too, and I was more than a little in awe of Cynthia, who wrote full time, who mixed and mingled at the intersections of Hollywood and the LA literati. I wore the T-shirts she gave me, even as I began to understand that she was grooming me for a particular role. Younger boyfriend. Hip nerd. Suitable match. I would become the right sort of character for this story, which was of course a love story, wild and daring.

We told it to one another in our letters. One of her first to me was written on the backs of sheet music pages. “I wonder if you are a dream,” she wrote. “Will you still want me in a month? Say yes. Say yes.”

Read the rest of this post HERE.


The Best Writing Decisions Are Made with All Three Brains – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

Colleen M. Story

Should you spend the money to go to that writing conference?

Pay for a professional edit on your book? 

Invest in new computer equipment for your writing office? 

Risk cutting back on work hours so you can write more?

Making a decision can be frightening. What if you make the wrong one and it sets you back? 

If you’re struggling with a decision you need to make about your writing career, it’s probably because you’ve been using only one brain.

That’s right. You have more than one. And it’s time you recruit the other two into your decision-making process. It will make it a lot easier. 

The Three-Brain Decision-Making System

Neuroscience has discovered something fascinating over the past several years: we have complex and functional neural networks—or “brains”—in the heart and gut as well as in the head. 

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Start with Your Accordion Mostly Closed – From The Book Designer Blog

By Beth Barany

Elevator pitches–not just for marketing… Today, Beth Barany provides us with a different perspective on elevator pitches, those one paragraph synopses we should all be writing for our books, how to write them and how to use them. Lots of great information. I think you’ll enjoy it.

When I was starting on my path as a novelist, I just dove right in, but I had no idea what I was doing. It was scary but I was determined to stick with it, no matter what.

Soon I found roadmaps of sorts to guide me along my way. I didn’t know if these “how to” guides would get me to The End but I persisted.

Novel #1

My roadmap for my first novel was The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray. Divided into 52 lessons, I was able to go through this book, complete the assignments, and make progress on my novel.

By the time I finished my first novel, I was determined to find a better way to write a novel. It took me 5 years to get to The End.

5 years, really? I mean, there had to be more direct routes to get to my destination of a finished first draft. (Though I know it took the time it took because learning, and life.)

Read the rest of this post HERE.

The process of writing a historical book – A post by Robbie Cheadle on Jennifer Alderson’s blog

Robbie Cheadle WWII historical fiction

I am happy to welcome author Robbie Cheadle back to my blog. She’s here to talk about her foray into historical fiction writing. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t as ‘easy’ as she’d expected! Take a moment to read about Robbie’s fascinating process of turning her mother’s earliest memories into a captivating memoir.

The process of writing a historical book

Robbie Cheadle

When I embarked on the journey of turning my mom’s early years into a book, I didn’t have a plan. She had told my siblings and me all sorts of tales about her early life while we were growing up and it seemed a simple thing to get her to jot down her memories and for me to turn them into a continuous story about her childhood. My mother grew up during WWII but that didn’t faze me at all. Even though I knew she was only seven years old when the war ended, it didn’t occur to me how much research would be required to get her story to hang together in a believable and factually accurate way.

We started off with her writing down her memories of various events during her life and I typed them up into a fictionalized account of her reality. Already, research was required. I had to learn an awful lot about everyday events during the period 1939 to 1945 such as what kind of swimming costumes were available during the war, what food could be grown and bought, how did the rationing of food work in practice, how did a dairy farmer sterilize the milk bottles and how was milk delivered. My mom could remember all sorts of oddments of information about her life and family, but this sort of detail was not available from her memories. Another issue I encountered early on during our writing process was the fact that my mom did not necessarily have her memories in order or in the correct timeframes.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Writing for Audio – 6 Top Tips from a Radio Professional – From the Alli Blog

by Jules Horne on March 27, 2019 in Writing A Book

headshot of Jules Horne

Creative writing tutor Jules Horne helps you write your books with audio in mind

Interested in publishing your book as an audiobook?It’s the fastest-growing publishing market, and a great opportunity for indie authors, but most know little about audio-first writing techniques. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, a few cunning radio writing techniques can really help your script to shine – and your narrator and listeners will thank you! Jules Horne, author of Writing for Audiobooks: Audio-First for Flow & Impact, shares six radio editing tipsto help you get your writing ready for audiobooks.

Producing an audiobook is expensive, and with just a bit of editing work before your manuscript is sent to the studio or voice artist, you’ll get a better, more ear-friendly result that helps your narrator to deliver a more powerful performance. These tips are drawn from my background in BBC radio and spoken word writing – I hope you find them useful!

1.    Simplify your writing for audiobooks

Audio is a linear medium. The recording whizzes by and if listeners don’t catch something, it’s gone. With print and ebooks, readers can easily scan the text and check back. With audio, this is far less likely. What’s more, listeners can be listening in all sorts of situations, usually multitasking and in less-than-optimum technical quality. Writing for radio calls for great clarity and economy (which is good writing, to be fair – only far, far more so!)

Try this:

Imagine your listener as a dog-walking, child-wrangling, commuter wearing tiny earbud headphones. Or (radio flashback) a shortwave listener with a crackly radio in a log cabin in the woods. Write with the clarity you need to get through to them. Bigger, bolder, stronger verbs, tight precision. And then…

2.    Read your writing aloud

Radio thrives on shorter sentences, and a writing voice more aligned to the spoken word and an informal register. Some writers naturally do this, and have a strong focus on rhythm, pace, and sonic effects. Which is great news if you want to get into audiobooks!

Most, though, have a writing voice that’s more formal and literary than their spoken voice, with longer sentences, “which” clauses, long subordinate clauses, asides and backflips. This is fine in print and ebooks – less so for audio. Note: voice artists are true artists, and great ones can make even the telephone directory sound enticing. You may fall in love with your book in their beautifully resonant/gravelly/seductive voice. But don’t be seduced by smoke and mirrors! With a true audio-friendly script, they’ll love you back, enjoy recording your book, and deliver a far better result.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies Issue #102 – From The Book Designer Blog


By Joel Friedlander

Welcome to this issue of the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival. This issue is for March, 2019. We welcome your submissions on topics related to writing, self-publishing, book design or marketing books.

A collection of outstanding articles recently posted to blogs, your reading here will be richly rewarded.

See the end of this post for links to submit your blog posts for the next carnival, or for participating Bloggers and Featured Bloggers to grab your sidebar badges. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Featured Posts


Kimberley Grabas presents Personal Branding for Authors: What It Is And Why It’s Essential posted at Your Writer Platform, saying, “Personal branding can be a vague term… It isn’t just a website, a font choice or a clever tagline. It’s a blend of your skills, talents, values, interests, and beliefs reflected through your writing, online presence, and offline interactions. For authors, it’s often a mix of professional and personal branding which includes what you do, why you do it and who you do it for. But, It’s not enough just to be good at what you write. You must be able to easily and clearly communicate your vision or the purpose behind your work, and coherently voice its importance to others. This is why effective branding is such a big and significant part of developing and growing your writer platform.”


Carla King presents Comparing the 5 Most Popular eBook Distribution Companiesposted at BookWorks Blog, saying, “’s Tech expert, Carla King, compares 5 popular eBook distribution and publishing companies that she has tested and used for her own and her clients’ books.”

Frances Caballo

Frances Caballo presents New to Instagram? Here’s How to Start Plus 9 Tips for Authors posted at Social Media Just for Writers, saying, “If your reader demographic is between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram can be a strategic application for you to use. Those of you who write young adult, new adult, dystopian, and teen and young adult romance and science fiction novels, will need to spend time connecting with your readers on Instagram.”

Read the rest of this post HERE.

What Defines Our Story? Drive vs. Focus – From Jami Gold’s Blog

Close up on a car's side mirror and out-of-focus background with text: Understanding Our Story: Drive vs. Focus

Ever feel like super-common writing advice doesn’t apply to your story? Or that feedback suggestions would make your story into something completely different? When that happens, we can experience self-doubt, wondering whether we’re doing this writing thing all “wrong.”

There are many reasons why not all advice will work for us or our story. Today we’re going to talk about one aspect of our story that can make the best-intentioned advice in the world a bad fit, and it has to do with plots, characters, drive, and focus.

Read the rest of this post HERE.