X Marks the Spat
Uncategorized / July 28, 2016

I managed, with my usual aplomb, to find myself in the middle of a discussion that turned into a mild argument– on Twitter. It takes extreme talent to argue on Twitter and I don’t advise it. Better to admit my inadequacies and move on: I need far more than 140 characters to really get my teeth in a topic. However, the point isn’t the dispute, but the subject of dispute. We were discussing gatekeepers and whether or not indie writers should have them (or writers in general). I’m going to set forth my reasoning here (in far more than 140 characters or even 140 words), but I would love to hear from you as well. Comment here. Knock me up on Twitter (although I do expect help raising the baby). Send me an email if you’re feeling a bit shy. I’ll put all my contact info at the bottom. Do I think that big publishing houses have too much control over what we read and they tend to be directed more by the almighty dollar than the best in reading material? Yes. Not all of them, all of the time, but a significant enough amount to not ignore it. Do I…

Why on Wednesday: Why Are YOU Writing?

There’s a crazy notion out there right now that everyone should publish a book. I’d like to break this down logically, but I’m a Figment, so I’ll break it down Figment-logically: Everyone should birth a baby. Yeah, that makes sense. Those who can’t birth a baby (men, women with fertility issues, small children, the elderly, aliens, and animals), those who don’t want to birth a baby, and those who shouldn’t birth a baby makes a pretty compelling argument against this. The same thing goes for book publishing: some can’t (lack of skills, finances, commitment, etc.); some don’t want to (which is perfectly valid); and some simply shouldn’t (I’ve read a few published “books” I wish hadn’t been published because… ugh). Everyone should sell a piece of art/ craft work. Really? Because not everyone will ever be good enough to sell something. Everyone should become a rocket scientist/ brain surgeon/ marathoner/ concert pianist.  All ridiculous, right? I am not saying people shouldn’t write. Everyone should write. Anyone who wants to should write a book. Hurrah! I’m also not saying we should stop anyone from writing a book or publishing it. But there’s a big push out there to get everyone to publish a…

How to Write a Book: Outlining

I am aware that I just lost a lot of pantsers. I’m going to ask you to come back and give me an opportunity to woo you. I’ll even hold your hand if you want, but I’m running at the first sign of a restraining order. Stick with me through this post. Let’s see what we can do about this outlining idea. There’s a reason we learn to outline in school: it’s a very useful skill to have, even if you’re not a writer. If you are a writer, it can be invaluable. But, Zan, I hate outlining. Here’s a thought: if you hate it, maybe you’re not doing it right. But I’m a pantser. I like to just let the story flow. There are people who can do this. If you’ve already finished books and published, ignore me. If, however, you either can’t finish a book or you get stuck in forever edits, let me try to help you. It might not work. The fun thing about anything artistic is that there is no real right way or wrong way; there’s only the way that works for you. So, how do you outline a novel? Start with the basics. Every…

How to Write a Book: Getting Ideas

  Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott Card I once belonged to a writing group. It was a mixed group, with experienced, published writers shuffled in with complete newbies. There was one thing that often made the newbies stand out. They’d come in, participate for a while, and then say, “I need help. Does anyone have a story idea I can use? I can’t come up with any.” This is a relatively safe place. I try to not mock much…. Wait. Who am I fooling? I write humor, parody and satire. Mocking is my middle name. So if you are a sensitive soul who doesn’t like being the butt of a good poking (but not a poking in the butt; that’s just rude), you may want to pull out your blankie. A good writer learns to see the millions of ideas out there. You cannot be a good writer unless you can come up with ideas. The good news is that fourth word: learns. This is something that can be learned. I’m here to help you…

The Self-Publishing Furor
NaNoWriMo Prep / November 19, 2015

(This post originally appeared on the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook.) My social reality person was actually good for a post today:   Write, don’t write. Publish, don’t publish. The furor.   It happens every year. Someone reposts the articles about why people should not write. Every year, there is a big fuss because every year there are new writers.   Those of us who have been writing for years and who self-publish LOVE new writers. We don’t fear competition because we don’t compete with each other. My biggest writing support comes from other writers. People like Jeffrey Cook, Renee Fournier, Ronnie Virdi, Erin Blair Roberts, and Ellie Mack (and so many more; I know I left names off!) have encouraged my writing journey and I try to encourage theirs. So when I see posts that say “You’re just afraid of competition when you tell us not to self-publish”, please understand that I was never competing in the first place. Indie writers work with each other, not against.   When I beg you not to publish before you’re ready, it’s not because I’m afraid someone will download your book and like it better than mine. Hurrah! Someone is reading and indie…