Where should I end my chapter?

Learning to find the flow to your writing is an ongoing process that is unique to each author. I know I’m still learning with each book. When I first started writing, one of the things I stressed the most about was where to end my chapters.

You wouldn’t think that would be so hard, but let me tell you, it was for me. I wanted, and still want, to do it the “right” way. I don’t want my readers to feel like I’m making those chapters too long or too short. I want it just right.

So, my approach to this issue at first was to simply count pages. After seven typed pages, I would find a good pausing point and begin a new chapter. There you go. Problem solved.

I’m very proud to say I did not stick with that strategy. I read an article by a fellow writer that made me stop and reevaluate what I was doing. I wish I could have found the article to link to it, but since I read it so many years ago, it’s lost in the big world wide web somewhere. But, oh boy, it was an eye opener for me.

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In the article, the author stated his goal was to hook his readers so well at the end of each chapter that they had to keep reading until they read his whole novel in one sitting.

Good goal, huh? 🙂

He went on to say that each break in the story was a place the reader might choose to stop, and if they stopped, that reader might not pick that book back up. For an avid reader like myself who finishes any book I start, I was shocked by that. What? The reader might not finish it? No way!

Well, yes way. This is a busy world we live in. The day job, the second job, kids, sports, homework, cooking, cleaning, washing, working in a small bit of a social life…and on and on and on. After all that, is that reader going to pick that book back up at ten o’clock the next night when their eyes are so tired their vision is blurry, or will that reader just turn on the TV and conk out in the recliner?

Even as a die-hard reader, I’ve chosen the TV over the book. That’s life, right?

So, yes, I chose to reevaluate where to end my chapters. I want the same thing with my readers. I want to write so amazingly well that they simply cannot put the book down! Bam! And, THAT’s what it is all about!

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So, where should we end the chapter? My suggestion is simple. Don’t force the ending. Make the chapters match the flow of your story. Don’t worry so much about long or short. Just make sure you choose to end the chapter at a weighty moment.

It doesn’t have to be something as monumental as a death. Unless you are writing a slasher story, I’m sure you won’t have that many people, if any, dying in your book. But, you should choose an important or pivotal moment.

You could choose the ending right as the geek got asked to the prom. Emotional turmoil and intensity can be very important to the reader. Maybe end the chapter right as the hero declares his love for the first time. End the chapter with a mystery, a surprise, a crazy turn of events, or anything that could hook your reader.

As long as the ending matches the natural flow of your story, it should work. And, if we’re lucky, that reader will keep reading all the way to the end before life can get in the way.

Published in: on January 29, 2016 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Are you forcing the words?

Writers, we should be writing what we want to read. It takes a lot of work to create a good read. If you’re forcing it, the readers will know. You will know, too.

I know when I’m making this mistake. The words just won’t come for me. I’ll force something out just to make a day of work, but sure enough, it reads like crap. If I don’t like what I’m writing, there’s no way the reader will.

I’ve tried over and over again to change my writing style to match certain publishers. Every single time, I end up in the scenario above. It just doesn’t work. I wish it did. I’m a professional writer. I have a background in journalism. I should be able to write whatever I need to. And yes, technically, I can write a grammatically correct piece of work in any format, but it won’t be good. In the world of fiction, I have to love what I’m writing. Have you found this to be true in your experience as well?

I’ve found that I have to write the story that needs to come out. You’ll know the one I mean. It will be the idea that comes out of nowhere and will not go away. You’ll start thinking about it as soon as you wake up. You’ll create the characters in the shower. It will cause distractions all during your day. Then, you won’t even be able to get a good night’s sleep because you’ll still be thinking about that story.

Yes, that’s the one you need to write! Worry about the rest later. That story isn’t the genre you usually write? So, maybe it’s time to make a change. Find a publisher to fit the story you need to write. That’s the way it should work.

If you’re just starting out writing and you need to know where to begin, the answer is simple. You start by writing. Write the story that won’t go away unless you get it on paper. The words will flow when you’re ready. The reader will love the story you loved writing.

Published in: on April 14, 2015 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Do you like your writing?

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Being a paid author is one of the most amazing jobs in the whole wide world in my opinion. But, no one said it was easy.

The first step is one of the hardest: writing the book. It takes a lot of focus and dedication to finish a novel. It’s easy to start a book. You have a great idea and you’re super excited to start getting those words to paper. Then, something happens and those words slow way down, or even stop…

Do you find yourself getting bored with what you’re writing? Maybe you should add in a subplot to keep the blood flowing through the pages. Or, maybe that character needs something to make them a bit more interesting, some kind of flaw, or challenge. Sure, it’s more work, but it’s worth it. Let’s face facts…if you get bored writing it, people will get bored reading it.

Enjoy your writing. Love your own work. The rest will follow.

I know writers that say they cringe when they go back and read their books. I hope that never is the case with me. I love my stories. Sure, I see some mistakes. I always notice things I would certainly change if I were to ever rewrite it. But, I love what I’ve done. I’m proud of it. Can you say the same?

That is my hope for all writers out there. I hope you love your writing and I hope you love what you do! Happy writing, friends! 🙂

Published in: on July 1, 2013 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Main Thing is to Keep Writing

Okay friends,

I really wish there was one writing tip that would make us all instant successes as writers, but…there’s not. In my opinion, the most important advice anyone can ever give is to keep writing.

Yes, it’s important to build an audience and promote yourself and all that good stuff. But, at the end of the day, what really matters is the quality of the writing. Do you want to succeed? Then, keep writing. Practice. Gain experience. Write, write, write!

The biggest secret to success is to write something so good readers can’t put it down! 🙂

So, in a nutshell, there you go. First book didn’t get published? Throw it aside. Write another one. Second book didn’t get published? Throw it aside, write another, and another, and another. Keep at it! Eventually, the hard work will pay off. Isn’t that the way of things in the universe?

So, happy writing!

Published in: on October 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Behind the scenes of Book Publisher, Whimsical Publications!

1. Tell us about Whimsical Publications. What kind of books do you publish? Are you open to submissions? What are you looking for?

 

WP is a company that, even though it has been in business since 2006, is still in its infancy. I started the company because I wanted to see my books in print. I did the mailing of a few query letters only to have the rejection letters start. I even used one of those subsidy publishers just so I could get into print. I found out about that side of the business the hard way: rejection from bookstores and no support at all from the “publisher”. Because of my research, I knew how hard it was to get my work accepted by the major publishers. The end result of all this…Whimsical Publications was born. Incidentally, the logo for WP was created when I saw my cat sitting on a window ledge sunning herself. She was a great cat, Cookie was. I really miss her.

 

The books published by WP range in genre. I don’t limit what I like to read so I didn’t want to limit what I publish. A list is posted on the website, http://www.whimsicalpublications.com, but it also includes a phrase where other genres can be added at the discretion of the publisher. If I don’t like the book and don’t see the potential for the book, I don’t want to publish the book. It’s that simple. My suggestion to authors: follow the guidelines on a publisher’s website and submit. What have you got to lose?

 

 

2. What made you want to start a publishing company? What obstacles have you faced in order to get the company started?

 

Part of this is answered above in question one. The hardest thing about starting a company is the heavy learning curve. It takes time, research, and a lot of growing pains to do it right. Anyone can publish a book. But not everyone wants to take on the challenge of establishing a business, licensing with the state and federal governments so the doors can be opened, paying taxes to said governments, seeking submissions, paying out royalties and keeping strict financial records. The paperwork involved is tedious, but well worth it to me.

 

The biggest obstacle is getting authors to believe in a new company. Many companies are cropping up every day. Most are online publishers. I love the look, smell and feel of an actual book. When I open a box from the printer, the aroma is heavenly.

 

But I also know there is an electronic age out there, which is why WP offers both print and electronic versions. And that is another learning curve. lol

 

 

3. Though a relatively new company, Whimsical seems to be growing. Are you satisfied with where the company is now and how fast it’s growing? What do you want to see happen in the future for Whimsical?

 

I like for the company to grow slow. It allows the editor to get the book where it needs to be and the cover artist to design something wonderful, which they do. I also don’t want to take on so many new projects that the current authors are ignored and feel tossed off to the wayside. I want the author to feel like they are a part of this company and not just a means to an end. I make the final decisions when it comes to business at WP, but I allow the author to be involved with some of the process. Without the author, Whimsical Publications would not be in business.

 

Would I like to publish the next NY Times best seller? Of course. Would I like to have WP as one of the major players? That would be nice too. But I also want to keep the company at a steady growth. As a small publisher, slow, steady growth is the key to success. If I push to have more books out there than can be handled, the company will fail. I plan on WP continuing for a long time. If my selection is small but growing steadily it keeps the reader coming back to see what is new.

 

 

4. What have you learned from starting this company? What’s surprised you the most about the business?

 

I’ve learned that writing the book is the easy part. The hard part is the behind-the-scene work. It takes time to locate the right people for the company. It takes time to learn where a good printer is, where distribution channels are. It takes time to get the company established and recognized. It takes time to keeping it going, especially since I work a full time job in addition to running this company. It also takes a lot of organizational skills, which I am still learning. Life can sometimes get in the way, but that can not interfere with the business. I learned this the hard way recently with the death of my sister.

 

What surprises me the most about this business is the people. I love to see what authors dream up and write about. It’s thrilling to see the story unfold. Some do it really well, to the point where I can close my eyes and “see” what is happening. Others “tell” the story so that I feel like I’m in a lecture hall listening to the instructor droll on and on and on.

 

 

5. What accomplishments are you the proudest of? Do you have any regrets, anything you would change if you could?

 

I’m most proud of the team of people involved with WP. The cover artists, the editors, and especially the authors. I feel like the conductor to an outstanding group of musicians, playing the art of words and pictures to create a masterpiece.

 

The only regret I have is with my timeliness in responding to authors. Seems my dad did a good job of passing on the tardy gene. As I said earlier, I work a full time job, in addition to running Whimsical Publications. That makes it hard to answer right away like I want to, and should. I’ve had others help with reviewing submissions but they have moved on with their lives. Then again, I have a hard time letting go of the reins. But I’m learning.

 

 

6. Readers can’t see the makings of a book from start to finish. What happens behind the scenes to get a book in the market? What are some of the things you see that would surprise readers to know?

 

What most authors and readers don’t know is the amount of time and effort it takes to get a manuscript ready for the market. The major publishers take anywhere from 12-18 months to get a book ready for release. And that is after the contract is signed. Here at Whimsical Publications we take far less. Mostly it takes 4 to 6 months from start to finish. I think it is because I don’t take on a lot of projects at once. It allows each manuscript to be worked on until it is as close to ready as humanly possible.

 

First, the manuscript goes to the editor where they work with the author to fine tune it. In addition, it may take several tries to get a cover art set. Once that is all finished, the book comes back and has to be typeset to the right specs. Then it goes to the printer, where it can take over a week to get it accepted. Then it goes into distribution. That can take a few more weeks, depending on the store, for the book information to show up. The process becomes easier after a dozen or so books, but it still takes time.

 

The surprise to some people is that they think the process is less intense if it is an ebook. True, the printer part is far easier, but the steps required to get the manuscript ready is the same for either form: print or ebook. Plus, I have to make sure to meet the formatting requirements of the online distributor.

 

 

7. As publisher, what are your responsibilities to your readers?

 

To put the best works I can in front of them for their enjoyment. If they are not happy, then I’m not happy.

 

 

8. Do you have a message you would like to share with readers?

 

If you are an author: submit your work. If you are a reader: realize that small publishers are just as good as the big guys. If fact, small publishers can find the gem among the rocks a lot faster because they aren’t swamped with so many submissions. They can take the extra time to review and work with an author. Their marketing budget may not be as big, which is why it is hard to get the word out about the great books available. Word of mouth from readers can counterbalance that. If you like a particular author or book, tell others and let them know where to get the book.

 

 

9. What advice can you give to writers to increase their chances of getting published with Whimsical?

 

Make sure when you are able to “see” the story you are writing. If I can close my eyes and see, feel, smell, or whatever you are trying to covey, I will definitely be interested. But don’t be too wordy. Convey the message but don’t overflower it with too much description. An example:

 

–As I sit at the kitchen table working on my paper, the gentle breeze brings with it the aroma of a freshly baked apple pie, reminding me of my childhood when mom used to wisk the hot pastry out of the oven and set it on the window ledge to cool.–

 

In this I do not describe the type of table other than it is in the kitchen. I let the reader see what kind of table it is in their mind, not by telling them it is wooden or plastic or whatever. I also don’t describe the oven as to whether it is steel or black or white. I don’t over describe the pie, is it a closed top or an open mesh top. Nor the room I am sitting in. I let the reader see what it is they want so they can tap their own memories. That is what a writer needs to do, and it will bring them lots of reader fan base.

 

That is what it takes to get published by WP. Or any publisher for that matter. If the author can touch the heart of the reader, then I want you as a part of Whimsical Publications. It hard to tell an author no if they don’t do this, but, as I stated before, this is a business. It is one of the unfortunate aspects of the job that has to be done.

 

 

10. Is there anything you would like to add?

 

One of the organizations Whimsical Publications supports is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). To bring in the new year, during the month of January, WP will be holding a basket raffle. There will be four in all, each representing a theme: Romance, Sci-fi, Thriller and General. Each will have books from WP in them along with other items donated by the authors and this company. Pictures will be posted on the website by January for people to see.

 

A raffle ticket will be given for each $5 donation to JDRF through the WP website. Five tickets will be given for a $20 donation. When a donation is made, there is a part where you can leave your name. That will be the name placed on the ticket(s). All the proceeds will go to the JDRF people to find a cure for Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. On February 2, the winners will be drawn and notified. No, Bill Murray won’t be pulling a ground hog out of a box and repeating himself over and over. But it sure would be great for him to pull the winning tickets.

 

More details will be posted on the website about helping to find a cure for this devastating disease. Please let the readers, authors, friends and anyone you can think of know about this event. The more money raised, the more we can help a child with Type 1 diabetes find out what it feels like to be free from needles and enjoy life to the fullest.

 

I want to thank you, Destiny, for having me here and for allowing me to talk about the publishing world. I give you a big hug and wish you and yours a very merry holiday and exciting New Year.

 

Thanks so much for dropping by, Janet! Happy Holidays to you, too!

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 7:30 am  Comments (9)  
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Have a writing link to share?

Hey writers, bloggers, and friends, do you have a writing link you would like to share with writing tips and advice? I would love to add it to a site I’m building full of good writing info. Just leave me the link in a comment and I’ll add it! 🙂

Here’s my site: http://destinybooze.webs.com/index.htm

Published in: on November 17, 2010 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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What’s a book outline?

Okay guys, I admit that this one took me a little while to figure out! Many authors dread writing an outline more than they dread any other part of a book proposal. As always, the exact content that agents and publishers want from a book outline varies.

There’s no doubt you must be adaptable to surviving in the publishing industry!

The book outline is a detailed breakdown of what happens in your story by chapter. Sounds like a bit much, doesn’t it? Well, don’t let it overwhelm you!

Unlike your query and synopsis, this part of your proposal does not have a page limit, not to my knowledge, but always remember to check submission guidelines to be sure. With that said, your outline should still be as concise as possible. Add only the parts of the story that is most important, only dialog that is key to the plot.

I like to write each chapter outline like a short blurb to keep the reader going. It makes sense to me. The book should do the same, right? Each chapter should end with some key points to keep readers turning the pages!

The same holds true for the outline. No one should fall asleep reading it. 😉 Keep it moving and make sure you describe each chapter with a building anticipation toward the big finale.

Another important point to remember is that agents and publishers need to know what happens. Don’t hold back the ending. Don’t leave questions unanswered to surprise them later. They need to know if they like the ending you’ve written. Okay?

So, I hope this has been helpful. Good luck writing your outline!

Published in: on October 28, 2010 at 8:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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