I really want to be able to create a simple outline for my story. Often times my writing flow gets interrupted because I am so worried about sticking to my outline. I found some help from a blog post by Bess Weatherby at DYI MFA. She has suggested 4 ways to outline a book that are simple and allow a write to hang on to their free flow of writing.
This is the fourth post in my series on the benefits of writing with an outline. In my first post, I listed three reasons why most writers need an outline. In the second, I discussed three things to keep in mind when creating an outline. In the third, I talked about how to use one while drafting. In this post, we’ll get into some of the nuts and bolts of different types of outlines.
Let’s start with the obvious: every book is different. And, also obvious: every writer is different. Slightly less obvious: the method of writing each book will be different. Most writers find a system. Sometimes, books blow up that system. At some point, the method that worked for your last book or your best friend or your favorite writer will fail you. Or you’ll discover a new method. Or you’ll realize you’ve let the character drag you kicking and screaming into a murderous subplot you did-not-see-coming! And no one but other writers understands how this can happen.
At this point, I’m often tempted to quote the Cheshire Cat: “We’re all mad here.”
It is in times like these that an outline can be useful. It’s a bridge from your inspiration to the words on the page. A reminder of where you want the story to go. A map. READ MORE HERE.
Tom Clancy, the insurance agent turned superpower thriller novelist, died yesterday at the age of 66, leaving behind a legacy that includes blockbuster books (over 100 million copies of his books in print), movies, even videos games. Although he didn’t set down a list of writing tips for posterity––or at least, if he did, it’s still stealthily unrevealed––through interviews and lectures Clancy offered advice that can be applied to any style of writing.
Tell the story.
“Fundamentally, I think of myself as a storyteller, not a writer.” What’s the difference you may ask? Instead of trying to impress critics with his literary pyrotechnics, Clancy said he told stories to “take people away from driving trucks or fixing toilets or whatever they do, away from their drudgery. That’s a good enough purpose for any man.” Clancy’s career really took off when a man not known for being a member of the literati, then–President Ronald Reagan, labeled Clancy’s first book The Hunt for Red October a “perfect yarn.”
Writing is like golf.
“A lot of people think [when you write] something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired––it’s hard work.” Clancy’s advises writers to “Learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right.” READ MORE HERE.
The markets are inundated with books. So what is the best way to get started separating yourself from everyone else? How creative are you will to get to have people actively seeking for you? At Where Writers Win, there are some very interesting ideas for you to explore.
Collection of Marteting books (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Reader Flora Morris Brown offered up a cool infographic (below) from her own site at coloryourlifepublished.com. A fun way to continue the author marketing brainstorm on ways we can market our work beyond the book store.
Says Flora, “Indie publishers could never count on bookstores to showcase our books and stimulate sales, and it’s more apparent than ever that we must be creative and assertive in getting our books in front of our buyers/readers.”
From author Kathie Hightower: “One simple thing we can all do is make a name tag out of our book covers. I size them and add my name at the bottom, then laminate. Wear them to booksignings but other networking events too. My current books are for the military market, 1001 Things to Love About Military Life, and Military Spouse Journey: Discover the Possibilities & Live Your Dreams. I wear the bookmarks all day. People will ask about them and I say, ‘Oh, I forgot I still had that on… I just came from a book signing.’ Starts a conversation that wouldn’t happen otherwise.”
From BQB Publishing marketing director Julie Breedlove: “We also like interactive activities at a signing table. Maybe it’s a game or puzzle, something that people want to do related to your book. For adults, that could be a riddle you have to solve for a free prize. For kids, maybe a coloring sheet from a page in the book. We love outside the box thinking…”
The spine of the book is an important aspect in book design, especially in cover design. When the books are stacked up or stored in a shelf, what’s on the spine is the only visible information about the book. In a book store, the details on the spine are what initially attract attention. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you have any hope of having your book achieve financial and critical success, you must understand how your readers (your customers), view your book (your product) when they first see it (online or on a shelf). Once you fully understand how your readers will perceive your book when they first see it, then you can adjust your book accordingly.
In order to accomplish this, you must separate yourself from your personal feelings about your book, and think like the objective buyer would think. What would attract you to a book like yours? What would attract people in your audience to a book like yours? Would you as a buyer be more attracted to a handsome cover, or to the cover blurbs? Would you buy a book based on its cover art, or because of the well-known names that are quoted on the cover? Does the book’s page count seem too long, or too short, to cover the topic adequately? Does the subtitle seem to be promising too much for such a topic? How does your book’s attributes compare to other books within your subject category? Read more here.
Putting together the heart of a book takes blood, sweat and tears. The heart of a book is what I consider to be the manuscript itself. But, what about the other parts of your book, such as the table of contents, preface, index and glossary? Have you compiled all of those nice little tidbits that make your book an actual book? If you are not sure how it all works and what you need to do to put a complete project together, I have found you some helpful tips on how to make your book organized.
The Book Designer is a site where authors can find every topic imaginable for self-publishing your manuscript. I have found this site useful for any author looking for help on book design, self-publishing, formatting and more. Check out this article on how to get your book organized so that you can be the professional author you want to be.
Many writers who think about self-publishing are taken aback when they start to put their book together for publication. It’s one thing to work on a manuscript, sometimes for years, getting the ideas right, the words to flow, the overall thematic arc to shine through for attentive readers.
But how do you turn that manuscript into a book? After all, there are lots of things in books that you’ll never see in a manuscript. Things like running heads, page numbers, half-title pages, indexes… stuff like that.