Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Author Toolbox Blog Hop – Tips on Writing a Book Series

October 22, 2020
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This particular subject is close to my heart as I begin a detective series. As a free flow/panster writer, I always let the characters take charge. However, now, I have to plan a plot arc across three books. So let’s see what is required for a book series.

Firstly, know what makes writing a series different. A series has a multi-novel continuity with longer-term, series wide developments. The ending of one book should also be the hook for the following book and there should be a central conflict and tense that sustains interest. Create a compelling title for the series and each book in the series.

Secondly, there should be subplots that propel each book forward to the larger or main conflict. These subplots create smaller rises and falls in the story tension. This allows each book to have its own self-contained struggle and opportunity for growth of the characters.

You need to create a compelling central conflict for the series but also have secondary obstacles to the main characters path, with additional complications that delay the main resolution. Also move your characters through multiple settings with distinctive interests, surprises and challenges. In short, create a fictional world readers want to return to.

To aid your series ensure you outline the series in advance, enabling you to understand how each book relates to another. Establish your central characters early, however reveal their backstories gradually so your readers become engaged in their lives. Give them faults, show how their environment affects them and decide how they will change from book to book. You can also change the cast of your characters as the series continues.

Make sure you give each book in the series a strong central event. Remember that each book should stand on its own to a degree. A reader should be able to start with book four and not find the story so bewildering that they’re completely lost. To make each novel in your series work well as a standalone work – have a strong central event and image for each book and create a secondary conflict and partial resolution for each novel. This can be by your characters acquiring a skill, conviction or strategy. With the introduction of tension with uncertainty and unknowns the reader will want to know what comes next.

Plan in advance.

Provide a resolution of part of the narrative at the end of each story but carry elements over to the next book.

Maintain an overarching plot and character arcs. Give your characters time to develop over the series.

Maintain consistency with backstories, attributes, settings and plot from the previous books. Keep a record of details and timelines so you can reference it as you write.

Weave reminders into each novel to a lesser degree.

Do you have any tips you can share in regard to writing a book series?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday Blog Writing – Workshop Tips

October 1, 2020
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I hosted a virtual workshop last Saturday for the Words in the Park event. It was fun to utilize Zoom so that participants from far and wide could join me. As the workshop was free, I thought I would share the bare bones of the workshop. Hopefully, it will give you some helpful information in creating a blog of your own.

There are numerous blogging sites but these tips cover the basics for you to start.

The number of blogs available on the internet is mind boggling – every topic you can imagine is covered. Whether factual, diarized, crafting, a myriad of interests or informational, you can find several postings about things you are interested in or want to know about. 

So why should you blog? Or indeed why not!

The first and most important question is – why do you want to blog in the first place.

There is a huge range of reasons to blog but maybe the best idea is to ask yourself if any of the following relate to you.

 1. To create something you are proud of

2. Challenge yourself

3. Strengthen your knowledge on a particular subject

4. Meet others with similar interests

5. Help other people in a specific field or topic

6. Gain confidence

7. To improve your writing ability

8. To learn new skills

Once you decide on starting a blog there are several key elements you need to decide on.

  • Name Your Blog

This may seem easy – however, you need to search what names are already in existence, will the name reflect the topic OR theme you will be writing about. Is it a personal blog, a business blog, or a specific interest blog? Does the blog name read OK when it’s in a domain URL format?

Later you may want to purchase your own domain name so consider how it will look.

  • Define Your Target Audience

For an author, this will be readers in your genre, for business people, it is who wants/needs your services. Will you mentor? Cover aspects of health, travel, personal training, or something else?

  • Tone Of Your Blog

What tone or voice will the writing reflect? Strictly business or more personal/friendly?

  • Reason For Your Blog

Will you be building your brand around your blog name or the other way around? Is the blog part of a website or standalone? What do you want to achieve with your blog? Choose one area you have the most expertise or interest in. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself straight out of the gate. Your passion about the subject will bring about the following benefits:

  1. You’re more likely to put the time and effort into your blog to make it shine.
  2. You’re less likely to abandon your blog in the future.
  3. You’re less likely to run out of ideas.
  4. It shows through in your writing, and your readers can feel that. This, in turn, will lead to a larger following.

Tips for Writing A Blog

 Understand your audience

 Write for yourself first

 Build you

 Love your existing readers/followers/clients

 Focus on building an amazing call-to-action

 Be consistent

 Give away your knowledge

 Be true to your voice

 Give it time

Write catchy headlines

Be Yourself

Keep it short

 Positives to blogging:  

1. You’ll gain confidence.

2. It’s a form of diary.

3. Blogging is great writing experience.

4. There is potential financial gain if that is your future goal.

5. The blogging community is great.

6. It allows potential for self growth.

7. It allows development of technological skills.

8. It gives people a creative outlet.

9. Blogging is the current way to market a business or product.

10. And it creates opportunities. Whether in the form of friendships, financial gain or self-growth.

Key Elements for a Blog Post

Make sure to include images in every post. A block of text is seldom read. (Attention spans are very short). Rule of thumb is to use one every 300 words or so.

Format your blog post – longer text should be divided with headers and sub-headers

Use bulleted and numbered lists

Bold and italicize key points

Use short paragraphs – 3-5 lines to prevent ‘skimming’ by your reader

Stick to a theme

Don’t wing your content. Make a plan and schedule your posts.

I either write several blog posts at a time and then schedule them or create a draft when an idea pops into my head.

The Commodore’s Gift – Book Launch Update – Words in the Park

September 29, 2020
mandyevebarnett


So Saturday was an intensive all day event, with interviews, virtual vendor walks, workshops and interaction. I hope you were able to drop by and take in the event.

Get it here:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1044821
Amazon POD: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1988723760/
Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08JS3GY6Z

If you did miss out here is the Facebook page to browse the day’s events. https://www.facebook.com/Writers-Foundation-of-Strathcona-County-108504131009645/

You will see me interviewed for my book launch of The Commodore’s Gift as well as reading from my writers group new writing prompt book. P.S. I left it with a teaser LOL

Now this event is behind me, I will be waiting on reviews for The Commodore’s Gift but also making plans for my new project. Yes it is never ending!

I have decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month again this November and will be tackling another new genre – detective/crime. An idea popped into my head for a three book series covering three female detectives in three different cities. Apart from the Rython novellas, this will be my first book series. I;m looking forward to the challenge.

If you have not heard of NaNoWriMo it is a frantic 30 days of writing to achieve 50,000 words! Yep in the month of November. This will be my tenth year. I only missed 2017 since 2009. It is

https://nanowrimo.org/

Author Interview – Kathie Sutherland

September 20, 2020
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Kathie

  1. Why did you decide to write an autobiography? For many years, existential questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” have haunted me and challenged me to go deeper into myself. My search for answers to these questions led me to journaling about life moments captured on the page; writing these short pieces called out for expression. Exploring poetry and essay, fairy tale and short life stories helped me find my “real writer” voice. Self-help books, spiritual retreats, talented mentors, friends and a personal interest in storytelling, psychology, image and myth fuelled my appetite for words. Gathering these stories together into an autobiographic novel took a long time. Now that my book is complete and ready for publication, I am more aware of the gifts and talents I can bring to the world through writing.
  2. How long did it take you to write it? I began capturing moments of my life at a women’s writing seminar in 2004. When the instructor said I had an unusual story – growing up female in the macho world of the military – I was surprised; my upbringing seemed “normal” to me. Many of the stories in my book began back then.
  3. What difficulties did you experience in writing it? Because of the transient nature of my childhood, I saw my early life as chopped into segments and filed in my memory by location. Recently when working with an editor, I began to see links and patterns in my life and finally, story connections were forged and fashioned into a smooth narrative. I had difficulty identifying the genre of these stories because they are based on authentic flashes of memory, and reimagined with fiction writing tools. My goal was to reveal my authentic emotions in short life stories and connect with other kindred souls through them.
  4. How did you come up with the title? In my childhood, our family was in constant transition, and my tools for coping with goodbyes and hellos and consequently with loss and resilience. Alternate titles I considered included “Permission to Speak, Sir!”, “Nesting Places”, “Home and Away”, and “Finding Home Without a Map.” These titles spoke to my developing comfort with being at home in my heart and belonging in my own skin. At one point, the title was “Saying Goodbye is Easy – Letting Go is Hard”. The second half of this title was dropped because it became obvious to me that letting go of the past was getting easier.
  5. As a child of a military family – what can your story teach others? The stories we tell ourselves and others influence what we believe about the world. The military has its own myths, my father’s story included World War 2 events, and my mother told stories connected me to generations of extended family and how the military influenced them and my own childhood. All the legends and myths to which I was exposed inspired my narrative of leaving the sanctuary of home and seeking independence. I believe that many women experience loneliness and isolation when they choose to leave their parents’ home and grow into their own lives. Reframing my life story allowed me to understand that it is a universal story.
  6. The book is a collection of short stories – why did you chose this format? Short stories stand alone, and a collection of short stories are sometimes linked but not always; a novel-in-short-stories has a narrative arc even though the stories stand alone. It is not a memoir because that genre covers a set period of time. Autobiography is factual but many of my stories were imagined to make a point. My research revealed that short stories are more likely to be accepted by a publisher if the author’s stories appear in literary magazines or their writing is well known. This format seemed to work for me because it suited my experience in life.
  7. Do you write in any other genre? I began writing poetry in the 1970s, and I was seeking inspiration for poems when I attended the women’s writing classes in 2004. With encouragement, I began writing prose and personal opinion essays for magazines. Poetry continues to intrigue me and I hope to add to my published books of verse but I also have a novel on the back burner (which is also told in segments!), two based-on-real-events historical fiction books and a non-fiction book. I do not write fantasy or romance and tend to lean towards literary fiction.
  8. Do you have other books? Since 2004 I’ve created several handmade poetry chapbooks, and published two books of poetry. I’ve also self-published a book of essays and a volume of personal fairy tales. All of them are inner focused, and intended for kindred spirits who are interested in myth and metaphor.
  9. Where can your readers find you on social media? On FB as Kathie Sutherland Author, on Twitter as Kathie.Sutherland aka wordpainterpoet, on LinkedIn, Instagram and on my website kathiesutherland.com where my books and writing companionship services are available. I offer Inner Child workshops, Reminiscence and Listening Services, a scuba diving-inspired workshop focused on going deeper into emotions and create “Portrait Poems” as personal gifts.
  10. Do you have a blog? Since writing “Saying Goodbye is Easy”, I have gain clarity about the purpose of my writing. I want to give back through coaching and writing companionship. I have renewed my blogging practice.
  11. What did you learn about yourself while writing this autobiography? The whole of my writing life has been about acknowledging and accepting myself. This autobiography has been narrative therapy for me. Each piece I worked on required me to come to terms with the theme of the story I was writing. One of my greatest strengths is my love of learning. That love brings me back to the greater life questions and my search for answers. I love learning through research. I love learning about words. I love inner work. I love writing to grow.

Saying Goodbye

Blog:

https//kathiesutherland.com

Social media:

https://www.facebook.com/kathiesutherlandauthor/

https://www.instagram.com/kathie.sutherland/?hl=en

@wordpainterpoet

Author Toolbox Blog Hop – Newsletter Content

September 16, 2020
mandyevebarnett


What do you put in an author newsletter?

When it came to my author newsletter, I asked my subscribers what they wanted to hear from me. I also looked at other newsletters for ideas. It is a great way to formulate how you want your newsletter to look and to give you ideas on your content and frequency of transmitting it. 

Tip: You can pre-write your newsletter and schedule it.

Make sure you are not mailing out your newsletter too frequently or it will become a chore. I send mine monthly (most of the time!)

Chose a name for your newsletter and stick to it. 

Mine is Musings from Mandy Eve-Barnett – to distinguish each newsletter I add the month and a title.

Here is a list of possible content you can include: (it is by no means conclusive though).  

Personal anecdotes and photos of your everyday life. You can include your writing space.

Behind the scenes peeks – what you are currently writing, ideas formulating etc.

Exclusive content like a cover reveal or a sneak peek at your next title

Launch dates of your new book

Events you are attending (due to COVID19 these will be virtual of course)

Your writing process

Request feedback on a current manuscript/project

Interviews you have participated in with links

Spotlights/interviews of guest authors

What you are reading

Your book reviews

The goal of any newsletter is to promote, so make sure to include:

Your author bio
Links to your blog, social media sites and any interviews and your book sale sites

Tip: Even unpublished authors can create an author newsletter. The sooner you start to grow your subscription list, the bigger your platform will be when you have something to sell.

Photo by Content Pixie on Pexels.com

What do you include in your newsletter?

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