novels

Giveaway is almost over and I’m excited!

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I put my book on Goodreads for a Giveaway and so far 375 people have entered! There’s only two days left until the winners are drawn and Goodreads sends me the list of the ten winners. I’ll sign ten of my books and post them out.

I’ve never done a giveaway before and it’s actually exciting. Yes, I’ll have to pay for the postage of the books, but those people will get my book and read it and hopefully put up a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

I’m gonna enter some giveaways myself and see if I can win a book or two. It’ll be fun.

I’m trying to decide what to put in the box with my book. Maybe a little thankyou card and a small gift of some kind…

It would be nice for them to get something extra.

Have you ever put your book up in a giveaway or won a book yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

The thing about procrastination

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Life is short, people. Stop putting things off. You’ll run out of time. If you’ve always dreamed of learning how to play Stairway to Heaven on the violin, just do it!

But seriously, I’ve always had trouble with me procrastinating about something. I don’t know why, but sometimes it’s just too hard to make a decision, so I put it off. Or sometimes I get distracted, or there might be some other reason I don’t get to do whatever it is. I run out of hours in the day. That’s a really common problem for me.

I need to manage my time better. I know this. I’m working on it.

But sometimes something happens and you can really see the consequences of putting things off. My mother passed away on 6th September and I’m still in shock. She had a split in her Aortic Artery and they couldn’t operate. She’d already had open-heart surgery for this same problem six years ago.

There were so many things that I was going to do with her. For her. And now it’s too late. This is the ultimate price we can pay for our procrastination.

I’m rethinking things. Not only do I have to give myself a kick up the bum as far as working on my business and writing my next book goes, but I also need to look after my health. I’m fairly healthy, but need to lose some weight. I don’t want to have a short life. My mum was only 70, but my nan lived till she was 92. I want to live a long life and be there for my son and the rest of my family, and I want to write heaps of books before I’m done here on Earth.

So… I need to change a few things and just DO IT!

What about you? Do you put things off? Tell me in the comments below. What do you want to do and how are you holding yourself back?

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Said is NOT dead

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I hear people on the Internet, especially on YouTube, say that their English teachers had told them that “Said is dead”, meaning, don’t use the word “said” when writing a novel or short story. I don’t remember my teachers saying that specifically, but they did insist that we use more “interesting” words to describe speech. I’d never really thought too much of it until recently.

A few AuthorTubers were talking about this and saying that it’s okay to use said. In fact, they’re saying that if you do use it, it kind of floats to the background and your readers don’t really notice it. It’s almost invisible, which is a good thing. I thought that what they’re saying made sense, but it wasn’t until I picked up a book written by someone who had used anything but “said” that I realised exactly how much it changes your writing.

I found myself noticing every word they used. Replied, reciprocated, insisted, intoned, argued, countered, retorted, interjected… the list goes on. The first things I noticed was that it didn’t feel natural and it didn’t fit with the style of the writing. The next thing I noticed was that it started to really annoy me. “Said” would have been better than most of the words used.

Sure, there may be instances where you need to make sure your readers know how something was said, and that’s fine. Use another word. But “said” and “asked” are quite adequate for most things.

Although, if you write, “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”, you don’t need to write ‘Sarah yelled’ afterwards.

Another thing you can do so that your writing isn’t full of he said, she said: Try to use an action rather than just telling the reader that someone spoke.

For example, instead of this:

“Are you coming to the mall with me?” asked Mary.

“Um, I don’t know,” said Jill.

“We could go to that shoe shop where the cute guy works and then we could get a smoothie,” said Mary.

“Okay, I’ll get my purse!” exclaimed Jill.

Use this:

Mary strode into the living room. “Are you coming to the mall with me?”

Jill cringed. She didn’t want to go, but didn’t want to upset Mary. “Um, I don’t know.”

“We could go to that shoe shop where the cute guy works,” Mary insisted as she twirled a lock of her hair around her finger, “and then we could get a smoothie.”

A devilish smile spread across Jill’s lips. “Okay, I’ll get my purse!”

Which example sounds more interesting?

On a side note, when writers say “Said Mary” instead of “Mary said”, it rubs me the wrong way. To my mind, the books I read in primary school when I was learning to read would use “Said Mary”, so it makes the writing sound childish. And it seems to sound worse when written in the present tense. Or maybe that’s just me.

Is it just me? Or does this bother you too? Let me know in the comments below. Or tell me if you think “said” is dead.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

No warmups – just write!

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There is a lot of advice out there about preparing to sit down and write your book. Some people tell you to free write or journal beforehand. They say to just write about anything that comes to mind. I’ve sort of tried this and it’s okay. But I guess I didn’t love it, or I’d still be doing it and this blog post would be totally different.

This advice is usually meant for someone suffering from Writers’ Block. To help them get unstuck and back into the swing of things. To get their mind muscle back into writing again. And this may work for you. But I don’t think we need to free write every time we sit down to write.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this advice. It’s just that it doesn’t always apply. Or it doesn’t always work for us as writers. I think maybe we have to look at other factors, like the time we have available to write. I have plenty of time, but a lot of people don’t. You might only have an hour or less per day. Or an hour a week. However much time you have, it is precious. If you spend that time writing about something totally unrelated to your story, then you won’t get your story written.

As I’ve said in a previous post about writing faster, a good idea is to plan ahead and know exactly what you’re going to write about in your allotted time. Then sit down in the chair and just do it. Planning ahead really helps to eliminate Writers’ Block, because you know what you’re going to be writing about. It’s in your head already. You might have been thinking about the scene you want to write on your way home from work, and now that you’ve set aside time to write, it all just pours out onto the keyboard.

If you do find you need to write something to help with Writers’ Block or there’s something you’re stuck on, try writing about something related to your story. Those words won’t be wasted. You could write a totally unrelated scene, a scene depicting something that happened in one of your characters’ lives in their childhood, an “interview” with the main character or the antagonist, or anything you can think of. And don’t forget, you don’t have to write your scenes in chronological order either. You might be having trouble writing a scene because you keep on thinking about this other scene that is more exciting because it’s a fight scene or something. Go ahead. Write it. Just do it!

You’re the author. You’re the boss.

As we write, we establish our own routine and we learn how we like to do things and what works for us. What works for you? Do you like journaling or free writing? Add your comments below and we can start a discussion.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

How to write your book faster

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There is lots of advice out there on how to write faster and be more productive. They tell us to be more organised before we sit down to write. Plan ahead. If you only have an hour a day, or even less, make sure that you know ahead of time what you need to write, so that you don’t waste time thinking about what to write and maybe not even get any writing done. This is great advice and I’ll be following it closely when I start writing my first draft of my next novel.

But…

There is another way that you can all write faster, and that is, to actually WRITE FASTER! It’s kinda simple really. If you learn how to touch type, you can really get more words down in your novel in the time that your bum is in the chair and you are typing.

You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, I can type,” but how many fingers are you using and do you have to look at the keys? Most people use two or three or four fingers and if they use social media a lot, they’re probably pretty fast, but…

Your accuracy will improve immensely if you can look at the screen and see your mistakes as you type them. If you learn how to type properly – using nine fingers, you will be too slow at first, but your speed will pick up and soon you’ll be typing faster than you did with two fingers. Faster than you can type on your phone with two thumbs. And more accurate.

I can type 70 words per minute while I’m writing my novels. I used to use a program that measures your speed while you write your book. I start off slower, but once I’m into the swing of things, I’m doing 70.

There are plenty of typing programs out there, and there are plenty of free ones. Give it a try. I’ll warn you now, the exercises will get tedious and even boring doing it, so do it in small doses. Maybe ten minutes a day. It will be worth it. It is an investment in your business as a writer. And once you’ve learnt this new skill, you will use it for the rest of your life. It isn’t boring or tedious once you are using it to write your books. Believe me. I pick up my phone and get frustrated at how slow I have to type. Sometimes, I just wait till I get home before answering Facebook messages or emails.

Here are some free typing programs I found on the Web (OMG! I sound like Siri!):

Typing Club – https://www.typingclub.com/

Typing.com – https://www.typing.com/

The Typing Cat – http://thetypingcat.com/

Learn Typing.org – http://www.learntyping.org/

Speed Typing Online – https://www.speedtypingonline.com/home

You can always ask Mr Google if you don’t like any of these.

I hope this has been helpful to you. I would love to know what you think in the comments below.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Another free promotion of Tamisan

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Tamisan is free on the 22nd July on Amazon! Grab it now!

Why Amazon is driving me crazy right now

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It started with the Kindle app on my phone. I used to be able to download and read a sample of a book, and if I liked it, I could click a link at the end of the sample and buy the full book. Not anymore. Now I have to go out of Kindle, open up Safari, go to www.amazon.com.au and search for the book, then click to buy it. It is really frustrating and I can’t understand why they changed it. Were people complaining and saying they didn’t know they were buying the book when they clicked the link? Because that’s ridiculous. It tells you that you are buying it. You have to actually click on “Buy now with one click”.

Amazon, if you’re reading this, please change it back!

The other, more recent thing, is at the US site, when I click on a link on my computer to view the book’s sales page, the browser scrolls down to the reviews or the author bio or somewhere in between. I know that the reviews for a book are important, but this is beyond annoying. I click the link so I can get a better look at the book’s cover and read the product description. I’ll scroll down to the reviews when I’m good and ready. Actually, I rarely look at the reviews. I decide whether I am going to read it by all the other details. Just because someone else likes or dislikes the book, doesn’t mean I will too. And then there’s the fact that some reviews contains spoilers…

Strangely enough, if I go to the Australian Amazon site, it doesn’t do it (thankfully).

Amazon, if you’re reading this, please change it back!

I’d be interested to know if any of you find these things annoying too.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.