Anybody considering writing a comedy will find the story of a thief robbing Las Vegas male strippers pure gold.
The first thought in my head is, who in the world would choose to rob male strippers? Then I’m thinking many are in tough economic situations, and thieves have to be creative with bank robbing being so cliché and all.
Who knows, maybe the thief was desperate with nowhere to turn.
Maybe you are the E.L. James, the Selena Blake, or the Zane even of love scenes. Having an ample amount of research opportunities and life experiences, you never once struggle to finish your romance novel. Knowing even a simple kiss scene could lead to writer’s block, I would hate to be the writer who wrote, “and they leaned forward . . .” before moving to the next scene.
Some people may get desperate, but before calling up your parents for advice, I must give you 10 reasons why you should never have your mother write your love scenes.
She’ll feel she can disclose her sexual endeavors to prove why a certain scene should go this way.
You’ll never want to read your novel again.
Can you afford to pay her royalties?
She might want to make it a career.
Some things a woman must learn to do on her own.
She’ll want to be mentioned in the acknowledgement.
CNN might get the story wrong (Author had sex with mother to write sex scene).
Your boyfriend might think her sex scenes are better than yours.
It might make dinner conversation.
Those are just a few reasons I could think of. What else am I missing from the list?
Roxie Hanna’s versatile blog just happens to be both.
Hanna began the blog with the intent of creating a resource for “no-fee” writing opportunities.
Now it has grown to be a great tool for education and inspiration.
Hanna provides writers with industry news and inspires them by featuring successful authors.
Bothered by writer’s block or stress? No problem. Hanna’s Sunday Funnies will help you unwind.
Become enveloped in the warm voice of Roxie Hanna as she discusses below the journey and growth of her blog.
Straight From The Blogger’s Mouth
Hey Law, thanks for inviting me to your fabulous blog! Let me introduce myself to your readers: I am a freelance writer and editor, specializing in ghostwriting projects. My focus is on my ‘day job’, which like many of you, keeps me extremely busy.
Three years ago, when I began my blog, I thought I would cut down on freelancing work and dive into submitting my stack of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s pieces I’ve written over the years. I adamantly stated I wouldn’t take on any new clients…well those words have been pretty tasty, but they do travel to the bank and that’s important.
Now I submit my work, freelance, and somehow juggle it all, letting a ball slip to the ground but never dropping them all, yet. I serve as judge on short story and poetry contests, contribute to various magazines, sit (stand mostly) as poet-in-residence at a two-year college, and edit students’ book reviews. Occasionally I teach at workshops and conference sessions, and do anything I can to support First Book and The Cheerios New Author Contest.
Can you tell me about your blog and the objective you hope to achieve?
Oh, good question! When I began Roxie’s Blog I wondered what I could add, how would I be different, unique and helpful to the blogosphere. I saw many people already weighing in on their writing expertise. I considered an alternative angle, topics people might be surfing for based on my own searches. I noticed a void in a bulletin board-type space for writers to become aware of avenues where they may submit work without entry or reading fees. I began listing these no-fee venues for writers, poets, and visual artists. Then I expanded to spotlighting writers, illustrators, visual artists, and song writers, offering tidbits of knowledge from my experience, as well as information about the market place.
This year, I began a Top Twos-day column, posting the most interesting items to cross my desk in a week. My blog is still evolving, and in the fall my plan is to add a weekly column series. Upcoming topics will focus on editing, agents, publishing, ghostwriting, critique groups, and professional associations plus touch on the basics to cutting-edge ideas and technologies.
How did you get your blog started and how long did it take before you saw results?
Way back in 2009, hehehe, I kept seeing advice from agents and publishers for writers to ‘have a platform’. I searched online and asked people, not necessarily writers, how they established an online presence. Most often I heard Twitter was the ‘it’ venue and WordPress offered the most adaptability for styling a blog. I jumped in with both feet. Now I’m thrilled to say I have a presence on Twitter, Goodreads, and StumbleUpon as roxiewriter, on Pinterest as theroxiewriter, on Facebook as Roxie Hanna, and at NetworkedBlogs. I love company, come hang out with me and we’ll enjoy this networking journey together!
To the second part of the question: I’m not sure what results I was looking for, I was thrilled if someone read my blog! I watched my stats like a hawk and soon found out this was like waiting for water to boil! I decided I couldn’t make my stats go up any more than I could cause the stock market to increase on any given day. That led me to recall why I began the blog. With my perspective in focus I concentrated on creating the best one I could, and the results have paid off fairly well. Slow and steady like the tortoise and the hare race…I’m not in it to win a popularity contest. But I do enjoy readers’ responses and get a thrill when people push my ‘like’ button, 🙂
What are some tips?
First, be yourself…it’s a crowded world out here, if you can carve your own niche, you’ll be able to sustain the initial momentum. Visit blogs, become a regular commenter following favorite sites, taking note of features striking your ‘like’ button. No one blogger has a formula, nor is there a map to plot out the best way to produce a successful blog. It’s a combo thing.
Also, I believe you should move out of your comfort zone. Innovative expanses may be awkward and scary, but keep your eyes focused on the end goal, why you want to blog in the first place. Learn all you can about your craft, practice to gain confidence and then polish your work so your best becomes your standard.
IMHO it’s extremely important to surround yourself with positive people. You’ll hear enough negative voices in your own head, doubting your abilities, keeping you from moving forward. You can borrow the first rule comedians use, the answer is always ‘yes’ when doing an improv skit, which would allow you to go with the flow and never stress about whatever direction you’re heading. If you could share a bit of wisdom with aspiring authors who desire to create a successful blog, what would it be?
I guess the best advice I have to offer is to build a blog you’d like to read. And then play around with it, never letting it become stagnant. Try enhancing your style. Find your strengths, play to them, and enjoy communicating with your readers. Have fun. Everyone says it, but are they, really?
Stretch yourself: did you write an historical fiction? You might consider writing posts about various topics that are side shoots from your work. If you did the research for your book, you’ve already done the homework for an interesting article.
Supplement your book: is your genre chick lit or romance? Pick one of the minor characters and explore what she will do in a variety of settings. Play the what-if game with her personality and see where it takes you.
Readers love connecting with authors on another level. Use your posts to share how you developed the book, series, characters, setting, etc. Give them juicy details and don’t forget to add the material you decided to leave out. All the hard work writing a scene and then you cut it…tell them!
Add, add, add to streamline your time. Link up your accounts, if possible, and make a schedule you’ll stick to. If you honor your own deadlines, you become a better writer. This builds confidence. You’ll realize you can tackle a 1500 word piece with just as much ease as a 50 word summary.
Don’t forget to subtract, too. Purge those time-stealers, stuff you keep putting off because it’s like writing those thank you cards after your birthday. Or just do them. Either way, be aware of how much time you’re spending on your blog; you don’t want to be so wrapped up in your platform you forget to create your product!
To me writing what you know is key to completing the novel.
Yet everyone knows just because you completed a novel does not mean it will be great.
To write a truly phenomenal novel, you should care deeply about what you are writing.
Jocelyn Adams, author of The Glass Man and Crossing Hathaway, talks about being a paranormal and contemporary romance author, genres she chose for love instead of money.
The Glass Man, a paranormal romance, was released in October of last year. Crossing Hathaway, a contemporary romance, will be released August 6, 2012.
She talks about both of these novels below, while also providing a unique, but welcomed perspective to editing and outlining.
This author does not outline, she watches the ideas of her novel unfold like movies in her head.
For all you non-outliners out there, you have the chance to make a new friend.
After you check out The Glass Man and Crossing Hathaway, connect with the author through social media.
Straight From The Author’s Mouth
1. Can you tell us about your novel The Glass Man and Crossing Hathaway? Why did you choose to write Romance and Fantasy?
Thanks so much for having me today! Hmm, yes, The Glass Man.My very first published novel,my baby.It came from a dream of a man with ice blue eyes.The next day, in my twisted little mind, my villain was born, and the rest of the story exploded around him.This is a trilogy opener about a woman, Lila Gray, who is trying to survive in a dystopian world after The Glass Man murdered her family.They sacrificed their lives to run interference when he first came for Lila at the age of thirteen.She doesn’t know what she is or why he’s hunting her, so the reader learns about Lila and her situation as she, herself, does.
Crossing Hathaway isn’t my typical genre of book. I wrote it on a lark a few years ago just to see if I could write contemporary romance, and I’m just now contemplating submitting it to publishers under my other persona, who writes mainly erotica, to keep it separate from my UF & PNR works.Crossing Hathaway is steeped with humor, and is about an I.T. girl, Evangeline Ross, who’s sworn off men.She comes up against the big cheese of her company, Ben Hathaway, who is reclusive, charming and gorgeous, and doesn’t usually allow women into his office.Let the sparks of sexual tension fly!
Romance, specifically paranormal romance, and urban fantasy are what I love to read, so naturally it’s what I write best. I’ve tried writing other genres, but my lack of interest bled through into the writing and it just didn’t work.I have three full novels in my laptop that nobody will ever read.Learning tools is what they were, a rite of passage of the author I was becoming.
2. Can you describe your writing process? How long does it take you to finish a novel?
My writing process is pretty simple, actually. I don’t outline anything.Ever.Well, except in the case of the Muskoka Novel Marathon, in which I participated in last year (write a novel in 3 days – satisfying but totally exhausting).
Normally an idea pops into my head and I let it stew there for a while. At night, when the house is quiet just before I go to sleep, my mind starts chewing over scene possibilities and general story arc, like movies in my head.The next day I write the scene(s).The following night I contemplate the next step in the path along the story, and so the pattern continues.I let it drive me, take me wherever it wants to go even if it doesn’t make sense to me at first.In the end, it always comes back together somehow.
The first draft is always a bare skeleton with very little description and detail. During the editing process, I flesh it out with color and texture, add quirks to my characters, furniture to rooms and such.I know most authors cut tons during editing, but I usually add 5-10,000 words during the process.
I finished the first draft of The Glass Man in just under six weeks, and Crossing Hathaway wasn’t much longer. The first draft of book one of my new Ironhill Jinn series, Stone Chameleon, I wrote in seventeen days.Sometimes the story just comes bursting out so fast I can hardly get my fingers moving quickly enough to capture it all.It’s awesome.
3. Any editing tips?
I usually do several passes of editing. The first pass, the rough pass, is where I tidy up story holes, stuff that doesn’t work for one reason or another, details that don’t mesh, etc.
The second pass is where I look at sentence structure to make sure it’s varied enough, while adding in description and personality to everything along the way.
The third pass is for punctuation, spelling and flow from sentence to sentence, scene to scene, and chapter to chapter, as well as ensuring I have character reactions everywhere they’re needed. I tend to follow the scene and sequel method of writing scenes as much as possible.(goal, crisis, disaster, emotion, thought, decision, action).Not all elements are in every scene, but the ones that are I try to make sure appear in the proper order.
The final pass I read on my Kindle, looking for the last few straggling errors. I was shocked at what a great tool that is, at what I found on the Kindle that I didn’t see while reading on my computer.
Then the story goes to my beta readers (who are made of awesome, by the way!). Once I receive their feedback, I make the story changes and start the editing process over again.
4. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?
Hmm, I think I’d have to say don’t be seduced into writing what’s currently hot for the market. If you aren’t enjoying the story you’re writing, nobody else will, either.You need to feel it in your bones, in your heart and soul.Let your enthusiasm spill into the words, and it won’t matter what genre it is, others will enjoy reading it, and word will spread.If you’re in it for the money, chances are you’re not going to go very far in the industry.You need to be writing because you love it.If you end up getting paid, great, it’s gravy on the top.
Perseverance is the key. You’ll get rejected.A lot.It’s the nature of the beast.Let it thicken your skin.Sub out some short stories to begin building a resume and your confidence.Start a blog and develop an author “brand” that suits you and the genre you write.These are all building blocks that can lead up to publishing a novel.
Good luck to you all! Please feel free to ask me anything, just stop by my author blog for my contact details.I’ve also started a book review & author feature site, http://www.booksandeatsbistro.wordpress.com for anyone who would like their book reviewed (PNR or UF only) or to have a stop for their book release blog tours.
When Devan Sipher, author of The Wedding Beat, began writing his story, he knew it was all or nothing.
He wrote 12 to 15 hours a day, six days a week for a year and a half.
While writing, he made sure to make every page a page turner.
I read the book and I think Sipher succeeded.
In the short-but-sweet glimpse into his writing process, Sipher shares his number one tip to writing a novel that landed him attention from a big six publishing house.
Straight from the author’s mouth: Writing full steam ahead
Why did you choose to write this book?
For five years I was a single guy writing the Vows wedding column at The New York Times. It occurred to me that my life would seem somewhat amusing (if I wasn’t living it). Then the movie 27 Dresses came out, with a male romantic lead who seemed to write the column I wrote at the newspaper I worked for, and I figured if someone was going to steal my life, it should be me.
How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote the book in a year over a year and a half, six days a week 12 to 15 hours a day. You could say I was driven. I had never written a novel before (or anything as long), and I was so intimidated by the prospect I felt I needed to do it full steam ahead or I might be tempted to give up.
Any editing tips you used to help you get to the final draft?
On every page ask: What does the character want? How badly do they want it? Why do they want it now? What’s stopping them from getting it? On every page.
If you could share one tip you learned with self-publishers who share the dream of one day being published, what would it be?
Be ruthless with yourself about your writing, and try to find a writing group of kind and smart people – and preferably sane. But kind and smart are more important.