How can I become a better writer in 2019?

How can I become a better writer in 2019? Lynda Filler, Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present) Quora

I love this!!!

Elizabeth Gilbert—Everyone has read Eat, Pray, Love, right—posted this on Instagram today and I just had to share!

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A friend told me yesterday that she was thinking of taking a writing class. I told her that was fine, but that I might be able to save her money, by telling her everything I know about HOW TO WRITE. So here it is!

My free 10-step Writing Academy:

1) Tell your story TO someone. Pick one person you love or admire or want to connect with and write the whole thing directly to them —like you’re writing a letter. This will bring forth your natural voice. Whatever you do, do NOT write to a demographic. Ugh. ❤️

2) Start at the beginning of the story, write what happened, and keep going until you get to the end. ❤️

3) Use radically simple sentences. ❤️

4) Don’t worry if it’s good; just finish it. Whether or not your project is good, you’ll be a different person at the end of it, and that’s always worth doing. ❤️

5) Don’t write with the aim of changing anybody’s life. That will lead to heavy, irritating prose. Just share what delights or enrages or fascinates you. If somebody’s life is changed by it, that’s a bonus. ❤️

6) Whenever you can, tell stories instead of explaining stuff. Humans love stories, and we hate having stuff explained to us. Use Jesus as an example: He spoke almost exclusively in parables and allowed everybody to draw their own lessons from his great storytelling. And he did very well. ❤️

7) Your work doesn’t have to be any particular length or written for any particular market. It doesn’t have to even be seen by another human being. How and if to publish your work is a problem for another day. For today, just write. ❤️

8) Remember that you’ve been doing research your whole life merely by existing. You are the only expert in your own experience. Embrace this as your supreme qualification. ❤️

9) Every writer starts in the same place on Day One: Super excited, and ready for greatness. On Day Two, every writer looks at what she wrote on Day One and hates herself. What separates working writers from non-working writers is that working writers return to their task on Day Three. What gets you there is not pride but mercy. Show yourself forgiveness, for not being good enough. Then keep going❤️

10) Be willing to let it be easy. You might be surprised. ❤️LG

I’m highlighting this and reading as a mantra every day until I know it off by heart! It was Eat Pray Love that inspired me to write my own memoir, LOVE The Beat Goes On, Thanks, Liz!

Make something every day.


Seth Godin sent me to my blog! So here I am!

“My work is to figure out how to share emotions and stories with people to turn lights on for them. And the part of it that scares me is wasting the privilege, wasting the leverage, wasting the opportunity. So that’s why I keep pioneering and pushing new ways to do it encouraging people to copy me.”

“After you innovate, you have to keep pushing forward, coming up with new ways to move things forward.”

Writer’s block is a myth. Being a professional is showing up everyday and making something despite how you feel. The world needs more artists, who love what they do, and do it despite uncertain outcomes.”

Whoever fails the most, wins. Now if you fail too big, you don’t get to play anymore. So we have to learn how to fail, just the right amount to keep on going. Make small calculated risks so you can be in the game long enough to succeed.”

“If I come to your barbershop for a haircut. I don’t care if you had a fight with your girlfriend and don’t feel like cutting my hair. I came to you for a haircut. Cut. My. Hair. That’s what it means to be a professional.”

I think I’ve given you a few key notes to think about. Sometimes I’m asked questions on Quora about writing. Often times it centers around story ideas or writers’ block, or ‘what should I write?’ The reality is if it’s your job to write, don’t talk about it, write something! And don’t waste your readers time. If my reader expects to learn something or be entertained on my page, then it’s my job to deliver that to you/him/her each and every time. No excuses. The same when I write a novel or a non-fiction book. You are trusting me to deliver what you are paying for…entertainment or ideas and knowledge. 

It’s become a habit that even when I am working on the marketing and sales of my books, I will not go to bed without writing something. It might be a blog like this or a few fun things on FaceBook, but if time is limited, I go on Quora and answer questions. A writer writes. No excuses. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed a few ideas I picked up on You Tube today. I love to share with my readers and will answer anything and everything you throw my way. If you have any questions about any of my areas of expertise, feel free to send me an email or drop a note in the comments. And remember, I spend far too much time on Facebook so feel free to connect with me there and get my latest news. 

And speaking of news: I have a free prequel for you. 

Drop by Amazon and download a free copy of Luke Raven and Code Raven, how this exciting and fun series began. 

https://amzn.to/2QuCgnf

CODE RAVEN PREQUEL free!   

https://amzn.to/2QuCgnf

How do you do that thing you do so well?

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It’s a common question asked by those who want to write a novel. I hear this all the time on Quora. Where do you begin? How? Where do you get your ideas? Do you plot? Do you ‘wing-it?’ How do you do that thing you do–so well?

Let’s talk about my latest release, SILK ROAD Code Raven 6. It’s a great example of my personal writing process and may help you to get started on yours!

It starts with a word. I asked a friend, fellow author, to give me a country. In this case, it was Kyrgyzstan–a country that had no meaning to me. If you’re familiar with the Code Raven Series, you would know that not only do I love my characters and develop them further with each story, but I also love to take them to different countries around the globe to get into–and out of–trouble!

In my research about Kyrgyzstan, I came across the history of how this country was once a part of the Soviet Union. I already had a rough idea of the Russia/Asia part of the world but didn’t know much about the terrain. If you are anything like me, once you go on the world-wide-web, one search turns into another, and another, and before you know it, you’re off on a tangent for no particular reason. In my case, my interest was piqued by the crime lords who moved in to fill the void of a legitimate government. Corruption of all types runs rampant in this predominately Muslim country.

At this point, I became intrigued by the historical implications of this centuries-old area and the original Silk Road–the trading route moving through Asia from the East to the West.

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Without giving away the plot, let’s just say that I became intrigued by the human condition and in particular how turmoil and greed affect women and children around the globe.

HERE’S MY PROCESS:

  1. Out comes the excel spreadsheet. 
  2. Usually, I reprint the Characters names across the top of the sheet so I don’t mix up attributes, history, or activities, timelines, etc. This is important when writing a series. You would work the same way as you introduce new characters in your novel even if it’s a stand-alone book. I also used this process on my memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On
  3. Chapters numbers down the left side column.
  4. Next column a key phrase to summarize what will happen in that chapter.
  5. The next column will give more detail, possibly a paragraph of key events.
  6. In the planning stages, I might color code the chapters. If it’s fiction and action, I might color code an action event RED, something that moves the plot along in YELLOW, and a relatively soft aspect, emotional, resting chapter might be soft green. This way you can make sure you don’t lose your reader by dropping the pace. Inevitably all my reviewers say this series is ‘fast-paced.’ You want that when writing a mystery. Otherwise, your fans will get bored and put your book down! We want them to read it in “one sitting!”
  7. The chapters continue down the page until the end.

Why a spreadsheet?

I use this concept if I’m writing Action/Adventure/Mystery or Contemporary Romance or Non-fiction like my memoir. Why?

  1. It’s easy to cut-and-paste therefore changing the sequence of events, or slotting in a new chapter!
  2. You can see the entire story in one place. 
  3. The spreadsheet allows you to edit the events along the way inserting, expanding where you find your plot to be weak.

My process is always fluid. I never set a rigid plot.

Sometimes I start with one idea and watch the following events move down the page. The thoughts, ideas I have may never make it to the final story. But here’s the key: one idea leads to another, and another, and another. And my story starts to take shape from that original one word. Example:

Silk Road. Trade. Smuggling. The new Rail service from the coast of China all the way to London, England! Think about the potential here. Imagine all the events that could happen along the way! And that’s how the story moved along. And then I found activities in the Maldives that I decided to connect. And one of my main characters, Zach was summoned to Washington DC by the frightening pleas from a SEAL friend he served with in his Afghanistan/Bin Laden days.

Here’s a couple of teasers so you get a feel for the final story:

A former Navy SEAL gets a terrifying message from his estranged daughter. “I’m desperate! I need your help, Dad. Bring your friends!”

“They stole my baby Daddy! They’ve got my boy!” Will a team of ex-SEALs break US law to exact revenge?

A teenager is abducted in Kyrgyzstan. Has she become one of many kidnapped brides? Or is something far more frightening going on? The corrupt authorities ignore the parents’ pleas for help.

A new Silk Road train stretches from the eastern shores of Yiwu China to London, England. Its precious cargo is not what’s written on the manifest.

When two young children are abducted in the middle of the night from Raven’s sanctuary in the Maldives, Luci, Luke, and the Raven Group will stop at nothing to get them back.

Are all these horrific events linked?

If I’ve peaked your interest and you want a great read, written in the style of Lee Childs, David Baldacci, or Clive Cussler, get your copy on Amazon: Silk Road

 

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