How Do I Know When My Novel Is Done?

by Marylee MacDonald, April 22, 2017 in For Writers Doing Revisions

Sending out your novel is easy. You can upload it to CreateSpace or fire off an e-mail to an agent. Whew! you think. Now my novel is done. It’s out of my hands. At one extreme are writers who send out work soon after they’ve finished a first or second draft. At the other extreme […]

A Productive Rant About Building An Author Platform

by Marylee MacDonald, April 15, 2017 in For Writers Ready to Publish, For Writers Who Need Readers

How do writers in general, but particularly late-life writers, establish an author platform? By “late life” I mean writers over sixty. By “author platform” I mean a soapbox that is slightly elevated above the crowd and that allows authors to shout to passersby that our books exist. That doesn’t mean the crowd will necessarily buy […]

Setting And Its Impact on Character : Insights On The Human Condition

by Marylee MacDonald, April 6, 2017 in For Writers Doing Revisions, Setting

The setting of your novel plays an important role in how characters behave. Here’s a simple trick that will help you use setting as a lever to get characters out of their heads and into action. To add tension to a scene, make a character too hot or too cold. If you fiddle with a […]

Author Platforms: What Are They And How Can You Build Them?

by Marylee MacDonald, April 1, 2017 in For Writers Who Need Readers

In this post I’m going to explain author platforms so that you can decide whether you want to invest time in building one. Essentially, author platforms are soapboxes. Authors stand on their platforms to gain the attention of a crowd. Politicians have platforms, as do political parties. It’s helpful to think of the political analogy […]

Louise Erdrich wins NBCC fiction prize for ‘LaRose’

by Marylee MacDonald in Scoop.it

Matthew Desmond’s “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” wins nonfiction prize.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.washingtonpost.com

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files

by Marylee MacDonald in Apps & Software, Scoop.it

Picture this: a bear has been hibernating all winter, sleeping a lot, eating everything within reach, and staying close to its den. March comes. The air warms. Flowers bloom. The bear wakes up, shakes itself off, looks around its cave, and realizes what a freaking mess it’s made. There are bones and food scraps stacked in the corners, loose bear fur clustered everywhere, piles of crap, and the whole place reeks.

Twist: this is a metaphor. Writers, you’re the bear. The cave is your computer. And the piles of crap? Well, those are your mangy old writing files scattered hither and yon.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: litreactor.com

Now this is an article I wish I’d written! Apart from the writing itself, one of the biggest challenges I face as a writer is simply staying on top of the various drafts of novels, stories, and blog posts. While I’ve never lost anything permanently, I have spent too much time rooting around trying to find things.

Now that it’s spring, I feel inspired to clean up my hard drive. This article provides an A#1 system for doing that.

In my case it’s not just the fiction files that proliferate. It’s the marketing files and tips on how to effectively use social media. Not that I’m good at online networking. I’m completely insecure, and I keep downloading new stuff.

When Facebook and Twitter change picture sizes, I scramble around and look for new templates. When I see a marketing expert recommend a way to connect with readers, I can’t pass that up!

My “marketing and PR” folder balloons.

The only way I can keep the plates spinning is by staying organized, and this week I’m doing just that.

I hope you enjoy the article and that you feel inspired to tackle your own spring cleaning.

Launch Week for A Debut Novel About Surfing, Drugs, and a Sister’s Love

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Who Need Readers

This week I’m featuring an interview with California author Kathleen Doler, whose debut novel, THE HOOK, has just come out. I hope you’ll share this author’s excitement about reaching this milestone. It’s a terrific book with a strong female protagonist facing challenges from her present and her past. Kathleen is celebrating the launch week of […]

New Novel Worksheets| 3 Worksheets That’ll Help You Get Started Writing Your Novel

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Starting a new novel scares writers, even authors who’ve been at this writing game for years. In this post I’m going to give you three simple worksheets to help you firm up the novel that’s trapped in your head. Once you’ve put words on the page, you’ll have taken the first step in writing the […]

Story Structure | Filling the “Plot-holes”

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions, Plot

Story structure is something I’ve worked long and hard to learn. If I wrote detective fiction or romance novels, I’d have a readymade scaffolding onto which I could hang my plot hooks and turning points. Those genres have conventions no writer of genre fiction can afford to ignore. With literary fiction, however, story structure isn’t […]

Character Checklists | Fill One Out for Every Character in Your Book

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Beginning Writers

Character checklists can help you keep track of the people in your novel. Using character checklists gives you a systematic way to explore the wants, needs, and personality traits of all your people, not just the ones onstage at the moment. In the prewriting stage, I use the questionnaire below to help me get to know […]