Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Fraud Teaches Writing

Every year our UU church has a auction to raise money for church activities. Not everything is an auction, however. Some goods and services are just outright sold. It’s fun, each year, for us to try to come up with a mix of old favorites from past years (caroling and chili supper party) along with some new ones (bid to be a named character in one of my books).

One of the items I sold was for a five-hour “How to Write Your Novel” class with lunch included. I figured it would appeal to a small group, and I was right. Three signed up and paid and two of those attended.

My plan for the day was simple: find out what kind of fiction they wanted to write and provide support structures to help them get there.


Neither wanted to write a novel, but they thought it would be an interesting experience and helpful nevertheless. That’s why they signed up.

And I think it was helpful to them. They were both eager participants and asked questions and offered suggestions. A good day I think.

However, I felt the guilt because, even though it was advertised as novel writing, they wanted to do memoir. I worried I let them down.

I know some basics of novel writing apply even if one is writing memoir. There’s a story to be told, after all, and dramatic tension and pacing are apt in memoir as well. I think I did provide an introduction to those elements, and others in common between memoir and fiction. Still, the niggling feeling.

You see, I know bupkis about writing memoir. Never tried it. Never wanted to. Almost never read it. So I was kind of a fraud, pretending to help them meet their goals, chase their dreams. I am in the exact same bind when asked to respond to poetry in one of my writing groups.

Do others of you who teach writing bump up against that? What do you do?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Magic Five: Using Bell's Super Structure

Last post I told you of my challenges with NaNoWriMo beyond the normal ones I’ve dealt with before. And I told you that using five sign posts from James Scott Bell’s work on Super Structure gave me exactly what I needed to work on five separate, but linked, manuscripts, mysteries, no less, during November Madness. If you haven’t read Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story, stop reading this post and buy that book! I use Story Engineering (Larry Brooks) and Bell’s Write Your Novel from the Middle, along with Super Structure as my triad for planning my stories.

In Super Structure, Bell posits that in each well-crafted story, the protagonist faces death. The death can be physical, professional, or personal. In each “death”, ramifications are dire if the death occurs. So my five novelettes had to have five “death” threats.

Bell identifies five tent poles, part of his 14 signposts, that will support any length story. The examples I am using are from the five novelettes in Ancient Grease, my culinary mysteries set in the Aegean. Alli and Gina are demonstration cooks on a luxury liner that cruises back and forth between Istanbul and Athens. Because of the different ports of call, I wrote five linked mysteries.

In order to write five short mysteries, I relied on Bell’s five signposts (plus one) for my structure. The five signposts are: Disturbance, The Doorway of No Return #1, The Mirror Moment, The Doorway of No Return #2, and The Final Battle. The five stories in Ancient Grease are:

“Talk Turkey”: Set in Istanbul right before Alli and Gina board the ship for their summer gig as demo cooks on a luxury cruise liner, Alli sees a thief she observed in the Grand Bazaar on board the ship. When a major theft occurs on the ship, Alli knows whodunit . . . she thinks.

“The Garden of Eaten”: Alli meets a pastor who is taking some faithful people to visit the recently found Garden of Eden site. Is it possible that is true?

“On the Lamb”: A puzzling passenger attracts Alli’s attention when not all is what it seems and when Alli questions that she puts her life in danger.

“Something Fishy”: Alli questions the ship’s executive chef about food safety, and since he already dislikes her, she is persona non grata in the kitchen. What is going on with the ship’s food sourcing?

“Ancient Grease”: Alli and Gina finish their summer contract and disembark in Athens. Before heading home to Arizona, they have a job cooking for a charity dinner theater producing a Greek play where the actor in the play doesn’t just die in the play.

To illustrate how I constructed the stories, here are some of the signposts for them:

The Q Factor:
James Bond always had a gadget that was kind of the modern version of the old Greek plays’ deus ex machina. You know what I mean, a god intervenes and saves someone who is doomed with no way out. So, Bell built that in as a cool factor to include as one of his signposts.

In “Talk Turkey”, Alli (and all staff members) are given a GPS locator for emergency use if a passenger is in trouble or causing trouble. She does manage to save herself, but using the GPS locator gets reinforcement help to her site sooner. At this point, first draft stage, that is the only story with a Q Factor, but I am scouting Q Factor possibilities for at least one other novelette in this book when I revise.

A disturbance serves several functions. It is a hook to engage the reader straight off. Something out of the ordinary happens. It also sets up what the story problem is going to be. It is loaded with clues that the reader won’t know are clues until later when the mystery solution begins to gel.

For example, in “On the Lamb” (It’s a culinary mystery, okay? I know how to spell the other “lam”.), Alli is sitting on the balcony of her room suite watching new passengers board. A object weighted with a rock sails past her and lands on the pier in front of her. A boarding passenger stops to pick it up and pockets the object while looking around in a suspicious manner.

Doorway of No Return #1:
Doorways of no return are self-explanatory, right? Once you go through the door, there is no turning back. Something shifts in the world, and it will never be the same again. The numbering is a tip that there’s another pivotal point coming down the road, but for now, the world as the protagonist knows it has ended.

In “The Garden of Eaten”, Alli approaches a passenger who is a minister for a conversation about religion and faith. She is not even agnostic; she simply gives no thought to religion to accept or reject. But the minister’s earnestness and goodness causes her to reconsider her stance. She finds that she is searching for something and religion/spirituality might hold part of her need.

The Mirror Moment:
Bell says that at the mid-point of a well-crafted story, the protagonist looks in a virtual mirror to consider one of two options the writer has set up. Either your protag is confronting imminent death (“I can’t win. I’m going to die.”) or irrevocable change (“Who AM I? What have I become? What do I have to change?). In this moment, the core value of your story is challenged. How the protag responds is the rest of the story. This is more than the doorways of no return; this moment goes to your story theme.

In “Talk Turkey” Alli must choose whether to go for justice or whether to give up pursuit of a crime she’s been warned off. Is she going to risk her job in order to continue investigating. If she doesn’t, she feels she is condoning the crime and criminal. She has to wrestle with what is at root important to her as a person.

Similarly, in “On the Lamb”, she deals with an issue she has struggled with in all the previous books: what is family and what do you owe them, if anything.

The Doorway of No Return #2:
This doorway, like the first, means there has been an irrevocable shift in the protagonist’s world. There is a new normal and the new normal has upended the status quo, yet again, but at a higher level, with greater stakes than before. This doorway leads to the inevitable final battle. A blockage occurs that makes the outcome questionable, but in going through the doorway the protag also gets new information, gets another clue, makes a discovery to carry into The Final Battle.

In “The Garden of Eaten”, Alli overhears a conversation that both reveals a major scam and that draws her into the circle of physical danger.

The Final Battle:
Sometimes The Final Battle is an internal struggle, but more often there is an action scene where the evil is confronted and the good prevails. Going back to the Mirror Moment, if the moment were one of confronting how must the protag change, then the battle is interior; if the moment were of the “I’m going to die” type, it will almost certainly be a physical confrontation.

In “The Garden of Eaten”, Alli has both moments going on. She is confronting a physical death at the end, but she also comes to a tentative resolution about the place of spirituality in her life.

In “Something Fishy”, The Final Battle is purely physical. The crooks are gonna do her in before she can turn them in, whereas in “On the Lamb”, Alli comes down on the side of her core value when she could reject that in order to do the legal thing.

If you are reading this saying, “Whoa! Are you trying to turn a pantser like me into a plotter?” I would respond to you that we have created a false dichotomy for ourselves with such a distinction. Bell isn’t judgmental about your writing style. He thinks it comes down to do you want to create a successful novel through a structure approach or an experimental one. Both successful novels will end up with these elements. Successful novels have them.

So start with structure or not. Your choice. But you will end up, in rewrites, including these elements. That is, you will if you want a successful novel. I choose to do it from the beginning because I am impatient to have my book done as soon as possible. As I say, your choice.

If you liked this post, I would appreciate you sharing on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks so much!

Tweet: Writers: Planning made easy with this post by @good2tweat using @JamesScottBell’s Magic Five  http://bit.ly/27RJ5mc

Facebook: Do you struggle with planning your books? This post by Sharon Arthur Moore-Author should help. http://bit.ly/27RJ5mc

Friday, February 26, 2016

2015 NaNoWriMo the Easy/Easier Way

I have been away for a long time. Emotionally. And virtually. But things are shaping up now, so I am back to blogging again. This is a post about an old topic, but maybe not. National Novel Writing Month in November is only the beginning for us writers. Here’s what happened then and what is happening now.

I tried something very different for NaNoWriMo in 2015. I had decided to write book four in my culinary mystery series (books two and three coming out in 2016). So that doesn’t sound so different, eh? In November 2014, I wrote most of book three, Potluck. So what was so different?

2015’s NaNo experience continues the production of books in the “Dinner is Served” series. Ancient Grease follows the adventures of Alli and her personal chef business partner, Gina, in their work as demonstration chefs on a luxury cruise liner traveling back and forth in the Aegean Sea between Istanbul and Athens over one summer. Ancient Grease. Get it?

It seemed like a good idea, to use NaNo to get a jumpstart of 50K words of the 65K+ words novel. Except this one was different.

In the previous three books, I had 65K words (give or take) to create a murder mystery and solve it. Lots of plotting, clue dropping, and misdirection opportunities required, right? You’ve read before about my extensive plotting and planning. I am always ready for NaNo and crank out a bunch of words on November 1st.

I love Bells’ craft books. Write Your Novel from the Middle was a game-changer for me. The saggy, soggy, sinking middle always gave me fits. Once I read this book, I got it! I understood what I needed to do and it has worked.

Yeah, well what happens when you decide you can’t have a single mystery for the entire cruise time because you want to drop into different locales and involve more characters?

What happens when you aren’t doing one set of extensive, forty-scene plot cards but creating five?

What happens when you have to create new characters for each new story but keep up with the old ones hoping people read the book in order and don’t jump around in the titles which are oh-so-clever?

Yeah, well, that was me in mid-October anticipating a very different NaNoWriMo. But how to keep 12,000 to 15,000 words engaging? Not long enough for a novella and not short enough for a short story, these were five novelettes I was planning.

Did I panic? Uh, yeah!

Wouldn’t you?

Then, the miracle happened. I found my savior—in the form again of James Scott Bell. His book Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story delineates 14 signposts that comprise the super structure of a successful novel. But, he says, if that is overpowering for you, structure your story around just five of them and you will be successful.

I did and it worked.

The magic five? Disturbance, Doorway of No Return #1, Mirror Moment, Doorway of No Return #2, and Final Battle.

I’ll give examples of how I did it and when I used the Q Factor (another of his signposts) when it was appropriate. I’ll also reveal the five titles of the novelettes so you can anticipate its publication!

Come back and see me. Be sure to subscribe so you will be notified when new posts appear.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Guest Post: The Crucial First Pages by Serita Stevens

What a delight to have the prolific Serita Stevens back with us at Write Away. I hope you read her earlier post on script writing a couple of months ago. Not only will this post help all of us who struggle with those critical first pages, but she has two new books out this fall! And, of course, you must already own The Ultimate Writers Workbook for Books and Scripts.

"It was a dark and stormy night."  Those words have been made famous by many including the Peanuts dog, Snoopy. 
While it is a beginning to a story, you have to ask yourself "Is it the best beginning?"
Do you have a great first line - one that not only introduces your protagonist gives us a hint of what will happen?   Have you established the tone of your story?  If it will be comedic, you have to have comedy; if horror, there has to be a hint of scares.
Readers will stand at the bookstore counter and, after reading the back cover, will flip though the first few pages to see if it entices them before putting it back on the shelf.  Script readers will give you a few pages to prove your worth before they dump your script.  In fact, while the pervading myth is that they give you ten pages to hook them, after talking to a number of studio readers I have learned that the facts are they can usually tell from the first page or two if you are a professional writer and if they want to continue reading your script. 
Whether you are writing a book or a script, today's fast paced world demands that you keep the audience attention.  This means engaging them with the main character and his problem as soon as possible; it means engaging us on an emotional level.  After all, it is the universal emotions to which the reader relates and this helps the reader to bon with the character. 
The characters, especially the main character or your protagonist, needs to be introduced within the first two pages at the latest.  This is the person we will be following throughout the story.  It is he who will change and develop in the story.  It is he whom the audience identifies with. 
We don't need to know what color his hair or eyes are, we don't need to know how tall he is, though the type of clothes he is wearing can tell us something about him -pressed pants tell you one thing, while torn jeans and dirty tee-shirt tell you something else. It is the character's personality that we need to experience. 
What is the character's need, his want (which often is two different things,) and his flaw?  We need a hint within the first few pages.  What are his intentions, plans and outer goals?  The writer needs to give the reader a hint of the problem and an idea of how it will get worse.  The goals have to be visual and something that the reader can see and measure the progress by i.e. he will get to point x by the end of the week to rescue his wife or he will accumulate so much money so that he can ransom his daughter.  (This is the outer need, but you have to understand the character's inner need, as well, and that can be totally different.)
While one has to describe the location, to a point, and give the reader a sense of the world that our character inhabits, there is a limit as to the description you are going to give here.   If you get too lost in the narrative of the world, you will lose the reader.    One of the worst problems new writers have is being too descriptive.
Back story has to take a back seat.  (Often new writers tend to tell too much of the character back story and bore the reader.   Hint this in bits and pieces and don't do too much of it until page 50 (book) or Act 2. 
There has to be an incident or a catalyst that starts off the book or script.  This is the hook that pulls the reader into the story.  Is there a time clock started?  Is suspense going?  Is there dramatic irony - that is does the audience know something that the character does not?
The protagonist can be in the middle of something that perhaps has been going on for a while, but it needs to be something that establishes the conflict going on.  This event will showcase the character's humility, fear, need or dream.  It will give us a sense of the complication that he is facing and how he will grow and change.   
However, until we start to bond with the character and identify with him, we won't care if he wins or fails.  Establishing the emotional core from the beginning of your story is of the utmost importance.

So the first ten pages must -
·       Engage us on an emotional level
·       Establish your protagonist and his problem, goal and fears and how the problem will  get worse.
·       Hook the reader's attention with compelling conflict
·       Have strong, vivid characters
·       Establish location and tone
·       Format correctly - this is especially true if you are doing a script
·       Beware of too much exposition
·       Make sure you are starting your story in the right place without too much back story

Happy writing and keep reading. 

An established writer of mystery, crime, historical, thriller, western and young adult novels, as well as several produced and many optioned screenplays, Serita also teaches writing.  Her newest books include The Ultimate Writers Workbook For Books And Scripts - based on her teaching at USC. UCLA and other universities and Against Her Will, a teen drama based on her experiences as a psychiatric nurse. The script/book is now being considered by Lifetime.

Serita has two new books coming out from Oak Tree Press this fall. Heathen Heart is an historical romance about Boudicea's revolt against the Romans in 60 AD (to be released at the end of September), and Deceptive Desires, a female-driven western romantic suspense (released at the end of October).

She frequently lectures at both national and international writing conferences and mentors young writers.

Trained as a forensic nurse, she helps other writers with their medical and investigational questions.  One of her popular book is The Book of Poisons from Writer's Digest for writers to get their poisons correct when killing off their victims.  Recently, it was featured on a Law &Order!!

See more about her at www.seritastevens.com or reach her at sswriter400@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Guest Post: "The Best Book Promotion Advice I Ever Got" by Ann K. Howley

I am delighted to share my blog this week with fellow Oak tree Press author, Ann K. Howley. Her first book is Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad. Her post certainly made me examine what I can do to promote my work and help others along the way Let's give a good "Write Away" welcome to this new author on the publishing scene.

“Solve, don’t sell.”
That’s what Beth Caldwell, a local businesswoman, who is a powerhouse leader amongst women entrepreneurs, said in one of her live webinars a year ago.
“Nobody wants you to sell them something to them. They want you to solve their problems.”
I was skeptical. After all, I was the brand new, baby author of my first book, a humorous memoir about growing up in Southern California during the Sixties and Seventies. How on earth were my funny stories going to solve anyone’s problems?
But I understood her point. I know enough about marketing to know that consumers essentially buy things that they think will make their lives easier, more organized, convenient, less painful and, of course, sexier.  Everyone has certain pain points in their lives… wrinkles, a closet full of clothes that no longer fit, or an overgrown lawn. That’s why we buy cosmetics that make us look younger, clothing that make us look slimmer, and self-propelling lawn mowers we barely have to push to cut the grass.
People buy things that solve their problems.  So the key, Beth claimed, is to know where the pain is.
It all made perfect sense if I wanted to sell kitchen gadgets or snake oil, but I still didn’t know how this applied to a small-press author who was trying to figure out how to promote her first book.
“It doesn’t matter what your product or service is,” Beth explained. “You still have to find the pain points in people’s lives. And you do that by listening to what people say. What questions do people ask you the most? What do they want to know?”
I wracked my brain thinking about this, but I still didn’t think it made a lot of sense for me. I just couldn’t see how my book was going to be anything other than an entertaining and enjoyable read. But I took Beth’s advice to heart and I started to listen to people. As I told my friends, family, friends-of-friends and friends-of-family about writing a memoir, I began to hear the same thing over and over.
“I always wanted to write a memoir,” people wistfully told me. “How did you do it?”
Then I realized something important. THAT was the pain point.  People kept telling me they always wanted to write stories about their lives and they just didn’t know how or they needed a little guidance to start.
How could I have missed it? That had been MY pain point. For decades, I wanted to write. I had stories practically bursting out of me.  And when I finally started to write, it wasn’t because I knew what I was doing, but I believed I had a story to tell and I was determined to write it. I was elated when Oak Tree Press published my book in 2014.
Small press and indie authors know that book marketing is never as much about selling as it is about connecting with people. And if Beth Caldwell was right, then maybe I could connect with people who were just like me  - people who wanted to write a memoir and needed the encouragement to try.
I had previously called several libraries to ask if I could come in to talk about my book, but more than one librarian warned me that sometimes nobody comes to author talks. This time I asked a local librarian if she thought her patrons might appreciate a presentation on how to write a memoir. She immediately scheduled a date. Since my first presentation in January 2015, I have been invited to speak to many library groups and organizations. The local community college asked if I would do two intensive 4-week workshops on writing and publishing a memoir. Later this year, I will be speaking at a writer’s conference and at another book event where I am, by far, the least well-known author amongst all the other speakers.
I’m not a bestselling author and I don’t pretend to be a literary genius. I still have much to learn. But I’m a proud, published author and I have learned many things about writing and publishing in my own writer’s journey over the last few years, and I am eager to share my experience. When people who attend my workshops buy my book, I feel like it’s an added bonus.
I love when people read my book. I genuinely appreciate every Amazon reader who has honored my book with a 5-star review. But the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment I have experienced as an author is to offer advice to people who want to write and to help, in some small way, to solve someone’s problem.
Beth Caldwell was indeed right when she said “solve, don’t sell.”
It was the best book promotion advice I ever got.

Ann K. Howley, who is a regular contributor to Pittsburgh Parent Magazine, was thrilled when her humorous memoir, Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad, won an Author Zone Book Award in October 2014.
Website www.annkhowley.com
Do-Gooder Gone Bad Blog http://annkhowley.com/blog/
Twitter @annkhowley
Email akhowley@gmail.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Confessions-of-a-Do-Gooder-Gone-Bad/697332883669295 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

5 Tips for Turning a Short Story into a Short Play into a Short Story

As I wrote on June 3rd, I tried play writing as a challenge and arrogantly assumed it was easier than novel writing. Ha!

Well, having my comeuppance was good for me, but I continue to write short plays, some of which I created out of short stories I’ve written and some are original short plays that I can turn into short stories. My tips for doing that are further down.

I got a compliment at a critique group meeting. Or at least I am taking it as a compliment. It was couched in a criticism of my descriptions of characters and setting. To use the vernacular, I “suck” at descriptions. And my critiquer agreed. But the compliment came in the form of what we in the school-discipline business called a “re-direction.”

“I see you as a playwright. You are so plot-driven. In your plays, that comes out. I can see why it is harder for you to do the descriptions in novels. That is not your focus.” Or something sorta kinda like that. 

So, am I a “natural” playwright (HA!), thereby giving me permission to ignore setting except in the case of stage directions, costuming, and set design? Or am I a non-observer who hides behind scenes and acts and minimal stage directions, incapable of taking my reader to where my characters are?

Hmm. Knotty problem, eh?

But does it matter? 

Well, yes, if I continue to write novels, it matters a great deal. If I just want to write plays, maybe lack of description is less important. But, no, that’s not it, either.

The better I can see my characters, the richer the setting is to me, the easier it is to write dialogue that is consistent with my play. And that would be true with novels as well, right?

But maybe that’s why I like to write plays. I can imagine it all, but I don’t have to put it down for the world. Plays are interpreted by directors and actors all the time. You ever wonder why so many people watch the same play with different actors? Maybe it is that interpretation, the nuanced scenes.

So how do you write a short play from a short story? The process of turning one into the other is pretty simple. Here’s how I do it:

How to adapt a short story to a short play:
1) Read over your short story synopsis.
2) Identify 3-5 key ideas in the short story,
3) Identify characters needed for the key ideas.
4) Pick out dialogue from the short story that carries the key ideas.
5) Paralleling the short story, write scenes and link them with transitions.

It’s that easy. I can go the other way, too. I have written original short plays that can be short stories simply by expanding the range of scenes and characters a wee bit.

Give it a try if you haven’t. Let my know how it goes for you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Guest Post: Three Things You Need to Know When Writing for Children and Teens

Anna Questerly shares her insights to help you be a successful writer for a youth audience. She has created some wonderful tales for young readers so she knows whereof she speaks. Anna has been a guest on Romance Righter, so she's one of my blogging pros. Welcome, Anna!

It’s a lot of fun writing for kids. I love their whole-hearted hugs during book signings and school visits, opening the sweetest handwritten fan mail—ever, and I have a bulletin board covered with colorful drawings of my stories I’ve received from my young readers.
For those of you who want to give it a go and gather your own hugs, here are three things I know about writing for this younger market. Fortunately, the first two, I knew before I started The Minstrel’s Tale Trilogy. After writing and rewriting those three novels and dozens of fairy tales, I finally learned the last lesson. While this knowledge came too late for The Minstrel’s Tale, I can, at least, save you some trouble.
First, and probably the most important thing, is to have the right mindset for your target audience. I don’t just write for kids; I write for smart kids. Knowing my readers are intelligent and already love to read, keeps me from ‘dumbing down’ my vocabulary or my concepts. (Of course, if you use unfamiliar words, you try to make the meaning clear in context, just as you would for adults.) Since every writing book warns against writing down to kids, this seems to be one of the biggest mistakes new writers make in writing for children. By changing my mindset from the start, this was never a problem for me. Plus, an additional benefit is that adults enjoy my books too.
Second, the mechanics of story-telling are the same as for adult writing. Story structure, character development, dialogue, and narrative, all of the devices we use when we write for grown-ups come into play in writing for kids. There are no short cuts simply because your readers are younger.
As you can see, so far, other than adjusting for content, there’s really no difference writing for kids versus adults. Ah, but there is—the lesson I learned too late.
Once I finished rewriting and editing my trilogy, I began to send out query letters to agents and publishers who specialized in books for children. I was beyond excited to get three requests for the full manuscript right away. Then, I was devastated when I received their gracious rejection letters.
The gist of the rejections: “This isn’t a children’s book.”
Fortunately, I was able to have a conversation with one of the publishers. This isn’t exactly how it went, but it’s close enough.
“What?! Of course it’s for kids—it’s half-filled with fairy tales!” I argued.
“Nope. A children’s book must have a protagonist the same age or a bit older than the target reader. Your main character is a forty-year-old minstrel. Therefore, not a children’s book,” he informed me.
“But what about Snow White, Cinderella, Gulliver’s Travels, The Hobbit?”
He shrugged. “Those are classics. Feel free to submit your next manuscript, but this isn’t for us. Have a nice day, now.”
Later, I fumed to my friends. “What a ridiculous box! Who made that silly rule and why was I never told about it? It wasn’t in any of the books I’d read on writing for kids. No one mentioned it in the writing workshops I’d taken. Stupid rule!”
I considered rewriting it with a younger main character, but decided to self-publish instead. After all, an entire 5th grade class beta read the first book, and they loved it. I’m glad I did. I like my minstrel, Amos, and the kids do to, too. But the next book I write for kids will have a younger protagonist. Lesson learned.
As a matter of fact, my most recent book, Pangaea: a Utopian Fantasy, was written for the new adult market, and I made sure my main character was exactly twenty-years-old.
The essence of this lesson is to know the confines of your genre. If you’re going to submit to the big publishers, you’d better stay in your box. If you decide to break out of the it, you’ll probably need to self-publish. Isn’t it great that’s an affordable option now?
I hope these tips help you with your next book. Good luck and keep on writin’!
Contact Anna:

Bookseller and bibliophile turned author, Anna Questerly writes medieval fiction and fairy tales for smart kids and young hearts. For adults, she creates Utopian fantasy as A.J. Questerly.