Posted in action, beginning, better writing, great writing, how to write, The Writer's Toolbox, writing

3 Ways to Make an Engaging Start to a Story, Chapter, or Novel

How does a writer start a story, chapter, or novel to make it engaging and keep the reader interested? After all, a story can be good, but are there are some key elements to making a story, chapter, or novel stand out? There are actually, and this post will address three of them, and I’ll give some examples of really fantastic starting lines I’ve come across in my reading.

Have you read some of the classics (even just dating back a few years ago) where the authors take the time to build a relationship with the reader? The stories start at a leisurely pace and it may take awhile to see any real action. That was nice and great, but unfortunately to be a writer in this day and age you have to forego the hand holding and get right into it. You can do the hand holding stuff, but do it while you are hooking the reader.

1. Start in the Middle of Action

One of the best ways to engage and hook the reader is to start in the middle of some sort of action. If you are starting a story or novel, then it should be bigger and more attention grabbing action.

What sort of action? Ask yourself this question. If you were starting to read a new book or story what would grab your attention?

Maybe your character is in the middle of fighting off a mugger? Or maybe your character is in the middle of a car accident. You can even do a smaller action like maybe a student just dozed off in class and smacked his head against his desk. Or maybe your character is driving down a dark road and the gas light is blinking and there’s not a gas station in sight.

How big the action is isn’t nearly as important as the action itself. Start with that blinking empty fuel tank light, or your character dodging a fist, and go from there. Engagement in this way creates interest, and then the details can be filled out as you continue further into the story.

Here’s an intriguing action line that opens the book The English Assassin by Daniel Silva.

Marguerite Rolfe was digging in her garden because of the secrets she’d found hidden in her husband’s study.

Continue reading “3 Ways to Make an Engaging Start to a Story, Chapter, or Novel”
Posted in blog, book review, The Writer's Toolbox, writing

New Blog Design, New Pages, and A New Offer!

Hello All!

You ever have that moment when you look at your work and you realize that it kind of sucks and it needs a complete makeover? Well, that’s what happened with this blog. I was looking through my blog in June, especially some of my older posts, and knew I needed to spend the time making my blog better and more accessible. I had almost three hundred posts that spanned about nines years, which many of them weren’t read much because no one knew about them.

I have been hard at work for the last month doing a complete blog redesign, which included going through every single post I’ve ever written. I ended up deleting over a hundred posts (because they really were that bad, or just not worth keeping), and then edited and organized about a hundred and thirty more, and I still have about thirty or so waiting to be redone completely and reposted at some point down the road.

Another major thing I did was to create two new pages. One called The Writer’s Toolbox and the other Book Reviews. Oh and yes, I did a redesign of the blog’s look too. Yay!

The Writer’s Toolbox is basically a complied list of posts dedicated solely to writing. The page is broken down into 6 categories, A Writer’s Life, Writer’s Block, Boosting Creativity, How to Write, Editing, and Other Writing Stuff. This is meant to be a writing resource page for myself and any other writers who want to use it. I want to start creating more writing based posts, and when I do, they too will be added to the the Writer’s Toolbox.

Book Reviews is a list of reviews I’ve done over the years. I also want to start doing more book reviews. My goal is to do about one a month. I am specifically looking to help out other indie or self-published authors. If you have a book that’s science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, or steam punk (but I’m also open to any other stories with good character and plot), then contact me with a short blurb about your story and a link where I can buy it. I will do a review here on my blog and in other places that your book is listed online (Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, ect.).

Note: I will only be able to review as time allows, so if I get a lot of requests for a review I may only be able to do a few.

These are the changes I have made so far, but there will be more to come. More news on that as I have time to implement them. Right now I’m feeling a huge accomplishment just from all the redesigning, reediting, and reorganizing. Whew! You’re welcome!

Posted in A Writer's Life, better writing, inspiration, The Writer's Toolbox, write, writer, writing, writing advice, writing better

Everything Else Comes First, Before I Write

Yes, I know. That title contradicts every single piece of writing advice I have ever been given, or heard. In fact, it’s probably the number one advice most give about writing––to put writing first, and do it every day. And perhaps for many that’s what they need––to put writing first, and do it every single day. But I’ve been doing just that for years, and it’s been having a very negative effect on all the other parts of my life.

I need balance. And when I put writing first, I can’t achieve balance, no matter how hard I try (and believe me, I have tried).

So I’m trying something new. I have reprioritized my life and made a new list of how things with happen and it goes something like this…

Continue reading “Everything Else Comes First, Before I Write”

Posted in Blood Feud, Emperors of Ethia, Other Writing Stuff, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process, write, writing

My NOT Marketing Plan

I know I’m not the only one who can claim to have a very busy life. Everyone is busy these days. No one has time for any extras, and it’s just plan impossible to squeeze in time for things you really, really don’t want to do. I wear many hats as a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, friend, Reiki healer, writer, sometimes employee, and a very sometimes blogger. Lately, I’ve added another job as packer and mover with our family’s relocation to Florida in the next few weeks. I really don’t have time for anything extra, especially for something I don’t want to do and something that’s most assuredly going to add more stress to an already stress-filled life.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I recently published my first novel last month. Most writers would be marketing their little hearts out and plastering the internet and anything else they can think of to get the word out about their new book! And why shouldn’t they? It was hard work and it’s time to reap the benefits. But I’m not like most people, I already got the “benefit” out of writing my book. I finished a really hard and tough project (well the first book of it anyways) and damn if that didn’t feel freaking awesome! If I actually sell some copies here and there… bonus!

But I did not become a writer to make money, and I do not and will not get to a point where I rely on book sales to supplement my income (that’s what my hard working husband is for–– love you Hun!). If I need money, I’ll find some other way to acquire it. That being said, it would be really, super awesome to at least earn back my investment in self-publishing my book, and I certainly appreciate anyone who has helped and will help to contribute to that goal!

I know there are a lot of hard working writers out there who do rely on writing as an income and my hat is off to them, but partway through my writing “career” I realized that’s not for me. I can’t write that way. I have to be one hundred percent free to be me when it comes to my writing and that means not limiting myself in anyway or stressing myself out over something I don’t want to do. And marketing is something I most certainly do not want to do.

Continue reading “My NOT Marketing Plan”

Posted in A Writer's Life, creative writing, focused freewriting, free writing, freewriting, the creative process, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process, writing

Journaling Series Part 3: How to Stick With Journaling?

The content in this journaling series is from what I shared with my recent in-person journaling class. My original idea was to try and create an online class, but ultimately decided to create a blog series in which to freely share this information.

Last week we talked about What is Journaling? The week before we talked about Why Journaling is Important? Now let’s finish up with ways to keep inspired and to keep journaling.

Ways to Stay Inspired

We all know how hard it can be to stick with something, but it helps if we can get some inspiration here and there. Here are some great places to help inspire your writing!

Continue reading “Journaling Series Part 3: How to Stick With Journaling?”