Four Ways to Get Your Setting Right – Even If You Haven’t Been There

travel writing old-1130735_960_720It’s hard enough to write about a place you know well. What do you do when your story takes place somewhere you’ve never been?

Let’s say you have a great idea for a novel set in Granada, Spain, but you’ve never been outside the USA. How do you make the setting realistic? More to the point, how do you keep from making the sort of gaffe that will make readers who have been there throw your book across the room?

Fortunately, we have suggestions. Check these out: Continue reading “Four Ways to Get Your Setting Right – Even If You Haven’t Been There”

6 Key Differences Between Storytelling and Writing

STORYTELLING (002)Lately I’ve been working on a project recording people’s personal stories and editing them for publication. While creating these transformations, I have gained a new appreciation for the difference between a work told by a storyteller to a live audience and something written by an author for the reading public. Storytellers who want to write their stories down run into so many problems because some elements of the storyteller’s art just don’t translate to written form. Since the ability to tell a story is one of the key items in every writer’s toolbox, we all tend to slip into storyteller tricks. Watch out for this slippage; often it doesn’t work. Continue reading “6 Key Differences Between Storytelling and Writing”

Terms You Need to Know Before Signing a Publishing Contract

read the fine print publishing contract-587249_960_720Here at Indies Unlimited we work hard to help you make good publishing decisions without getting scammed.  We talk about scammy publishers, scammy services, and scammy agents. Some of us learned through the school of hard knocks, while others were cautious from the very beginning.

Still, not a month goes by that I don’t see someone make a decision that has me shaking my head. Quite often, that decision has to do with contracts.

Several years ago I wrote a book, now out of print, warning of some red flags when it comes to signing with a publisher. One of those red flags had to do with contracts. I said: Continue reading “Terms You Need to Know Before Signing a Publishing Contract”

Writing Fiction: To Thine Own Character Be True

characters hamlet-62850_960_720I don’t know about anyone else’s process, but I’m a pantser, so when I start writing a new novel, I have a few ideas about where it’s going, but it’s not all planned out by any means. That includes the characters. Generally I will start with a few bullet points of the action, the twists and turns of the story, but the characters often are close to a blank slate at the first. They always evolve as I write, some faster than others. And they very often surprise me.

A while back I read Stephen King’s On Writing (yes, I know, I’m probably the last person on the planet to read it), and he talked quite a bit about being true to the characters. At one point, he described his process like this: Continue reading “Writing Fiction: To Thine Own Character Be True”