Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #tenthings

Most recents (24)

For today's #TenThings, let's talk about HOW TO INJECT WORLDBUILDING IN YOUR FIRST PAGES. Pull up your velvet chair, pick up your carved pipe of dragon ivory, and ask the bard to gently accompany us on the harp. Let's go!
First, the disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, writing style is subjective, and the rules may be different for outliers and rock stars. This advice is intended for new genre aiming for US traditional publishing.
1. The best worldbuilding is so subtle the reader doesn't even notice it. The world softly forms around them, in their peripheral vision, as they follow an intriguing character through action. The worldbuilding happens organically, a picture forming around us dab by dab.
Read 14 tweets
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about YOUR FIRST WRITING CONFERENCE. How to prepare, mentally and physically. What to bring, what to do, how to find people. All that. Grab your hand sanitizer and join me!
The usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's experience is different. Advice is intended for new writers of genre fiction seeking traditional US publication. I'm a straight, white, non-disabled, cis lady, so your difficulty setting may be higher.
1. Just know that a conference is not like a supermodel getting discovered in a 7-11. An agent won't sign you on the spot. Editors won't throw money at you.It's about making connections, learning, and practicing your pitching skills. You can relax and have fun.
Read 26 tweets
For #TenThings today, let's talk about HOW TO BUILD A SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING BEFORE YOU'RE AGENTED/PUBLISHED.
1. You
2. Can't
3. Build
4. An
5. Army
6. Of
7. Fans
8. On
9. Social media before they're already fans of your work so
10. Become part of a community by being yourself.
The usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. Advice is intended for new writers of genre fiction in the US aiming for traditional publishing. I'm a straight white cis lady, so your difficulty setting may be higher.
1. Why do people follow you on social media? Because you add value to their life. If you don't have a book out that they love, don't expect them to follow you as a fan. Find another way to add value. Helpful links, encouragement, recipes, poems, whatever you can do consistently.
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For today's #TenThings, let's talk about WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE GETTING NOTHING BUT FORM REJECTIONS WHILE QUERYING. Because that was one of the most frustrating parts of querying for me-- not knowing if it was the query, the hook, or just a bad agent match.
The usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, your experience may be different. Advice is intended for new writers of genre fiction in the US aiming for traditional publication. I'm a straight white lady, so your difficulty setting may be higher.
1. First of all, RACK UP 5 FORM REJECTIONS BEFORE CHANGING YOUR GAME. Don't get 1 and give up. I ranked agents 1 (flawless fit dream agent), 2 (great fit), or 3 (long shot or ok fit) and would send the first query to a mix of 2s and 3s to see what kind of response it gets.
Read 34 tweets
For today's #TenThings let's talk about 10 THINGS YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER AS A WRITER. Because, yes, you're an artist, but if you want to be traditionally published, you're going to have to learn to go with the flow, gracefully.
The usual disclaimers apply: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's experience is different. Advice is intended for new writers of genre fiction in the US seeking traditional publishing. I'm a straight white woman, so your difficulty setting may be higher.
1. YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE INDUSTRY. Would it be great if publishing worked the way you wanted it to? Sure. But it doesn't. It works the way it works. Don't like querying? Tough. Want more say in your cover? Fine. Go indie/self-pub. Don't wanna pay an agent? RIP your rights.
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For today's #TenThings, let's talk about VILLAINS. How do you create an antagonist who is realistic, scary, creepy, who raises the stakes and brings out the best (and worst) in your protagonist?
The usual disclaimers apply: YMMV, my way is not the only way, your experience may be different. Advice is intended for new writers of genre fiction pursuing traditional US publishing. I'm a straight white lady, so your difficulty setting may be higher.
1. Right off the bat, let's all agree not to create THE ULTIMATE VILLAIN OF ULTIMATE EVIL WHO WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD. Why?
* it's been done a million times
* it's not realistic
* it's so impersonal that it has no impact
Villains must be REAL.
Read 19 tweets
Today for #TenThings, let's talk about THE BUSINESS END OF WRITING, also known as WHY YOU SHOULD PROBABLY KEEP YOUR DAY JOB. Topical, I know. But let's clear up some misconceptions.
The usual disclaimers apply: YMMV, my way is not the only way, every journey is different. Advice is intended for new writers working toward traditional genre fiction publishing in the USA. I'm a straight white woman, so your difficult setting may be higher.
1. NGL: I'm gonna keep hammering home reasons why you shouldn't quit your day job unless you have a partner/parents who can provide insurance and pad your finances in the lean times. You can't be creatively nimble if you're hungry, out of meds, and the heat got turned off.
Read 36 tweets
Time for today's late version of #TenThings! Let's talk about HOW TO DEEPEN CHARACTER. Because I'll be honest: My first two protagonists were about as interesting as a piece of cardboard.
The usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. Whatever works for you is your process. Advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publication.
1. The character in your book most likely to be a cardboard character is your protagonist. Why? Because we tend to see that person as the stand-in for us and for the reader, and we worry that making them too specific will alienate readers. But the opposite is actually true!
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For #TenThings today, let's talk about WRITING IP, which stands for intellectual property, which is stuff like STAR WARS. Because guess what? It's not about how much you love the property. I mean, it *is* that... but so much more.
My usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. There will always be outliers, but I can't teach you how to be one. This advice is intended for new writers in the realm of traditional publishing. I can't give you George Lucas's #.
1. The key to writing something like Star Wars = You need 5-10 years of a solid traditional writing career with a reputation for writing fast and well, hitting deadlines, keeping secrets, and being easy to work with. There is no way around it.
Read 17 tweets
Today for #TenThings, let's talk a little bit about LITERARY AGENTS. Why you might want one, how to get one, what to expect out of that relationship. Big surprise: I'm 100% pro-agent. I would not be where I am without 'em.
The usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different, you do you. This advice is intended for new writers considering traditional publishing. If you're violently anti-agent, maybe skip this thread? Spewers of vitriol get Muted/Blocked.
1. NO LITERARY AGENT = BETTER THAN A BAD literary AGENT. Seriously. There are tons of schmagents out there who will lie to you, take advantage of you, ignore you, demand money from you, and lock you into what's actually an abusive relationship. ALWAYS RESEARCH AGENTS.
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For today's #TenThings, let's talk about MARKETING YOUR BOOK, especially as a debut.
1. There's
2. Nothing
3. In
4. Your
5. Power
6. That
7. Will
8. Make it a
9. Bestseller
10. Write the best possible book you can
Just kidding. Kinda? Let's talk about it.
The usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. This advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publication. I straight up can't speak to indie/self-publishing because I don't have experience there.
1. The key to all marketing endeavors is WRITING A GREAT BOOK. For real. A book that is compelling, beautifully written, and carefully revised will snag a passionate agent, sell to a quality publishing house in a bigger deal, and receive more marketing attention. Period.
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Time for #TenThings about writing! Today, let's talk about that part of the book that everyone dreads: THE SOGGY MIDDLE. How to know you're in it, how to get through it, how to not sink like Artax in the Swamp of Sadness.
First, the usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. Advice is intended for new writers hoping to be traditionally published. Whatever gets the book written is your process. I can't teach to outliers, badasses, and rock stars.
1. What is the Soggy Middle? Well, sometime around the 30k to 60k mark of your first draft, you'll often lose momentum, slow down, and start thinking... this book is garbage, I can't write, my idea wasn't good enough, and I should quit. You might be seduced by a Shiny New Idea.
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Today's Sunday edition of #TenThings will be answering YOUR UNGOOGLEABLE QUESTIONS, live! The usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. Advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publication. Let's go!
1. Why do paperbacks sometimes have different covers than the original hardcover version of a book? MARKETING. The publisher believes in the book and thinks they might've missed the right market with the 1st cover, so they invest in a new cover. It's happened to me several times.
2. What writing rules do I disagree with?
1. Anything beginning with 'Real writers...' or 'All writers...'
2. Or 'Never do this'
3. Pay me, who has no reputation in the industry, to teach you the secret$!
Everyone's process is different. Badasses can get away with breaking rules.
Read 15 tweets
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about NAMING CONVENTIONS. How do you name your book? Your Fantasy world? Your hero? Your towns and rivers and new species? The proper nouns in your magic system or religion? I've got tips.
My usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. This advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publication. I can't teach to outliers, badasses, & rock stars. Names are VERY PERSONAL, so your tastes may vary.
1. Book titles. Y'all ask for help with that a lot. ;) So know this: If an agent loves your book, they're not gonna reject you because the title stinks. They're going to gently suggest a different title and brainstorm it with you. So unclench your buns and don't worry too much.
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Today for #TenThings, let's talk about TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING. What it is, what it isn't, how to know if that's really what you want. Because, honestly? It's not for everybody.
First of all, the usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. This advice is intended for new writers. My opinions on traditional publishing are based on my experience from 2010 to today.
1. First, the bad news: Traditional publishing does not guarantee automatic success. You probably won't make millions or see your book on the big screen while sitting by The Rock or get sent on a 20-city international book tour. But it can be a sustaining and fulfilling career.
Read 38 tweets
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about DIALOGUE. How to make it real, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to figure out exactly how a character would talk. Hint: The big secret is that dialogue in a book doesn't always sound like it would in real life. It's got to be *better*.
1. The key to great DIALOGUE is knowing your characters intimately. Their backstory, history, likes, dislikes, quirks, what they hold sacred or profane. Any time my dialogue falls flat, it's because I haven't yet grasped a character's unique voice. Or they're a cardboard cut-out.
1.5 When I need to deepen character & figure out someone's manner of speaking, I watch Joss Whedon stuff. Firefly, Buffy, Avengers. It reminds me how to make characters unique, how they pull and repel one another. Each character would communicate the same thing in their own way.
Read 34 tweets
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about GENRE. What it is, how to determine what your book is, what's expected in your genre. I'll be talking about the genres I know best: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Horror, YA, and Middle Grade. Hint: The last 2 aren't actually 'genres'.
First of all, the usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. This advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publishing, so my thoughts on genre are based on what I hear from literary agents and editors.
1. Genre is the shelf at the bookstore where your book will be placed. It is not carved in stone. You won't get a rejection from a literary agent because you 'guessed' your genre wrong. Genre exists to give a reader a good idea of what to expect in your book. That's all.
Read 34 tweets
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about WRITING VIOLENCE, especially FIGHT SCENES. If you're writing any kind of fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, dystopia, or YA, there's bound to be at least one skirmish. So read up and do it right! TW for violence, obviously.
The usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. This advice is intended for new writers of speculative fiction pursuing traditional publishing. Whatever works is your process.
1. Don't expect the first draft of a fight scene to be well written or have any impact. Just get the words on the page and fix it later. Much like sex scenes, the first draft is like blocking on stage. The emotion and power come in later, once you've got the basic steps in place.
Read 31 tweets
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about CRITICISM. How to get it, how to choose what will help vs. what will hurt, who you should listen to, and how to use helpful criticism to level up your writing.
The usual disclaimer applies: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. This advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publishing. Whatever works for you is your process. Now, moving on. :)
1. The most important thing to remember about CRITICISM is that you are not your work. Gonna repeat that: YOU ARE NOT YOUR WORK. Meaning the only way to grow and function as a writer is to recognize that criticism of your work is not criticism of you as a person.
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For today's #TenThings, let's talk about HOW TO RAISE TENSION IN YOUR STORY. Confession: This was one of my weaknesses when I first began writing. My agent basically had to teach me how to up the tension in later drafts. So now I'll teach you!
First, the usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's writing journey is different. This advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publication. Whatever gets the book written is your process.
1. Don't focus on tension in your first draft. Just get the words on the page. Tension is definitely something you can layer in during revisions. My first drafts focus on plot and character, and tension and emotion often come in later as I elaborate on what's already there.
Read 35 tweets
For #TenThings today, shall we talk about HOW TO INVOKE ALL THE SENSES WHEN WRITING? Because that's how you truly ground readers in your world, reveal real characters, and make worldbuilding 3-dimensional.
First, the usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, everyone's journey is different. What works for you is your process, but this is what works/worked for me. This advice is intended for new writers seeking traditional publication. :)
1. Be aware: this sort of complex worldbuilding doesn't always happen in the 1st draft. Don't get bogged down trying to describe every smell in the market on page 1. Get the book on the page & make it a full sensory experience in later drafts as you drill down to word choice.
Read 39 tweets
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about HOW TO DEVELOP A BOOK IDEA. Because they never arrive fully formed, do they? We get a tiny glimmer, if we're lucky. I hope these tips will help you turn your ideas into fully-fleshed stories.
First of all, the usual disclaimer: YMMV, my way is not the only way, every journey is different. What works for you is your process, but this is what helped me. Advice is meant for new writers pursuing traditional publishing. Do not tell me what Hemingway said/did. Cool? Cool.
1. Most ideas begin with a tiny seed. You get a flash of place/worldbuilding, a flash of character, or a flash of 'hook', meaning the general idea or twist of the book. Think of these 3 things as pillars that hold up your plot. Whichever one you got, you must find the other 2.
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This was essential for me as a younger writer -- though now, I've gone back around to being more careful as I write the first time, and measuring words and rhythm and the shape of the prose on the page constantly as I go. Just the same, still necessary advice not to get hung up.
(I want to stress that I find this advice invaluable, at least for me, even if I don't necessarily embody it now. Her #TenThings posts are clearly labeled as for newer, younger authors, and you should be checking that out.)
I comment only because it's interesting to me how we change as writers as... I dunno, we get older, we write more books, we read more books, we live life. My process now is way different from my process ten, twenty years ago.
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Shall we talk about BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE in today's #TenThings thread? About what to look for as you edit and how to weed out the wheat from the chaff? For me, this is usually a draft 4-ish thing, but I'm always on the look out for clunky sentences. TO KILL THEM.
1. The most important rule of beautiful language is that you don't get hung up on it while writing your first draft. Don't spend an hour with the thesaurus. Don't worry over the rhythm on your first page. Vomit up the first draft; make it beautiful later, over several drafts.
1.5 Fun fact: I wrote my 1st book in 2009, but I *tried* to write a book in 2003. Never got past the 1st paragraph because I couldn't decide on the heroine's eye color. I thought IT WAS IMPORTANT. It wasn't. Forward momentum is more important than eye color, adjectives, ANYTHING.
Read 33 tweets

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