Please help me welcome my friend, Liz Tyner. I LOVE this girl so much!! She’s talented and sweet and funny and smart. What’s not to love? She has some excellent advice for us today. PLUS, she’s giving away a prize!! One lucky commenter will receive a copy of her book, Wallflower Duchess and a Swag Surprise Gift from RWA17.
Ten Things I Learned On My Writing Journey
- A novel is a series of mini stories. Little scenes, one leading to the next.
- Each scene should move the story forward. You can test that quickly by summarizing, in one sentence, what happened in the scene. Those sentences, read in order, are a novel’s plot.
- Something in the scene should make it real or individual. For instance, a character takes a bite of an orange and grabs a napkin.
- A scene should have a “sense” included besides visual, such as the taste of the orange, the feel of the juice sticking on the face or the sound of a napkin box falling to the floor.
- Usually, the minor characters shouldn’t pull attention from the main characters or plot, but background is very important to create reality for the reader. Try to point out a bit of individuality in each background character and each scene. A chipped tooth on a smile. Straightening a picture of the leaning tower of Pisa.
- Boredom is bad. Imagine how many times you walk by pictures on the wall in your home, and no matter how much you liked them at first, you ignore them. Put new art up, and it’s fresh for a while, but then you start ignoring it again. Push yourself to put freshness throughout each book.
- No matter how stunningly wonderful your story is, it’s not going to appeal to most people because most people only read one book on average per year. They prefer other things. You’re writing for a select group of people, and one in particular—yourself.
- If you want people to read your book, plan to market. With millions of books to choose from, a reader who would like to read your story simply cannot find you without help. Marketing creates a road map to the location of your book. A chance to tell someone who is searching for that style of story where they can locate it.
- Don’t compare yourself to people quickly volunteering information about sales and income. People “spin” their writing lives. Most multi-published authors are a “bestselling author” or “prize winning author” in some form or another.
- The paperwork on a writing business is a pain, and grows as the business grows. You’re going to have expenses. If you’re serious about writing, you’ll have income taxes to pay. Plus the social security tax is around 15%. Add an agent, and a good rule of thumb is to halve your royalties by 50%. In other words, an agented author with a major publisher will most likely only net about half an advance.
- (Bonus) Writing is hard, but most important journeys are And copyrights are scheduled to last about 70 years longer than the life of the author. Which feels good. Now—imagine how many free books those authors starting 100 years from now will have to contend with…
Wow…fabulous, Liz!! Very helpful info. I’m definitely going to keep this handy. Thank you so much for joining me today!
I’ve had six novels published, which in today’s writing world, is a small number. But I’ve had editions published in ten countries and my author copies arrive with the Harper Collins imprint on the box. My last novel, The Wallflower Duchess, hit a bestseller list. (See point number 9. Immediately.)
“Capt’n. There’s yer mermaid.”
–First sentence in A Captain and a Rogue.
“I don’t eat hearts,” Bellona inserted, directing a look straight into the vile man. “Only brains. You are safe.”
–Forbidden to Duke
“My husband confessed to me that he’d only married me because his parents hated me so much—and that they’d been right.”
—The Notorious Countess
An unmarked grave would not fulfill her dreams.
—The Runaway Governess
“The two of you are not to fight. Brothers must be kind to their sister.”
“I am. She likes hitting me with the doll and I like calling her names.”
—Safe in the Earl’s Arms