October 9th, 2017

Does Your Villain Have Well-Developed Motivations?

Angela Ackerman

Writers are encouraged to dig into their hero or heroine’s past to understand what factors (including wounding events) are steering their behavior and motivation in the story. By doing this we can ensure our protagonist’s goal aligns with the unmet need driving them, tailor challenges that will force them to face specific fears, and raise their awareness of destructive emotional shielding (flaws, biases, dysfunctional behaviors) that is holding them back. Internal growth, after all, is what character arc is all about!

Putting time into backstory is a no-brainer for the protagonist…but there’s another character often overlooked who also needs this type of development: the villain.

The villain (if your story has one) plays a crucial role. He’s the main source of conflict, making the hero’s success that much more difficult to achieve.

Few things disappoint readers more than a cardboard villain who is “evil for evil’s sake.” Yet, we see this portrayal countless times, which steals the power from an otherwise incredible tale.

Compelling characters have real motivations…villains included.

Just like the protagonist, we should always know what is driving the villain in the story. Here are three key areas to brainstorm to help you build a credible antagonist that readers will love to hate.

Negative Life Lessons

All characters enter the story with a suitcase of past pain, including your villain. The fear of being hurt again motivates him just as it does the protagonist, but how this manifests through behavior will be darker. Uncovering the wounds of the past is a must because to write the villain’s dysfunctional behavior well, we need to know what caused it.

To find the wound, ask yourself, who hurt him, and how? What negative life lessons did other people or circumstances teach him that led to his current jaded worldview? Someone, or something, caused him to become the person he is now, and his past trauma, whether it involved a significant loss, a humiliation that can’t be forgotten, or a betrayal that locked his emotional shielding into place, is at the root of it.

Moral Beliefs

Another area to examine is the villain’s moral center. Core beliefs shape our actions, but in fiction, the villain’s code of conduct will change significantly due to the skewed way he views the world.

Imagine two people who suffer the same devastating circumstance—say, one of their children dying in a hit-and-run accident. Though they end up with the same missing need of safety and security, depending on personality, support system, mental state, and a slew of other factors, they could go about filling this need in different ways. One might pursue a career in law enforcement, seek to change the law regarding drunk-driving offenses, or open a rehab center to make it easier for alcoholics to receive treatment. Goals like these are inherently positive pursuits and make sense for someone seeking security.

Another person could go a completely different direction: stalking and ultimately murdering his child’s killer or going on an arson spree and burning down bars around town. He thinks that eradicating the responsible person or establishments from his neighborhood will make the world safer. But because he refuses to work through grief and instead allows fear to dictate his behavior, these goals are ultimately dissatisfying, leading him to commit bigger offenses in a desperate effort to find peace.

Morality is often the biggest difference between protagonists and villains. His do-not-cross line, if he has one at all, is set much farther back than the protagonist’s, enabling him to do unthinkable things to get what he wants.

Coping With Unmet Needs

Unmet needs are also the result of a wounding event. Being hurt in such a deep, psychological way leaves the character in a protective state: he’d rather go without something (love, pursuing a dream, freedom, etc.) than risk having it stolen from him again. The longer this need goes unsatisfied though, the unhappier a person becomes. In a change arc story, the protagonist will eventually reach a tipping point where he’s no longer willing to live without his unmet need, but the villain doesn’t always get to this place. Why is that?

One possibility is that the antagonist once made an attempt to work through his wounding experience and that attempt was unsuccessful, reinforcing the same pain he first felt. As a result, he became hardened and unwilling to risk that kind of hurt again.

Another likelihood is that the villain refuses to revisit the wound and heal because it’s too painful and so simply muffles the gnawing void by pursuing whatever temporarily eases the hurt. This may result in him rejecting his emotions so he feels nothing for himself or anyone else, thereby enabling him to seek revenge (Howard Payne, Speed) or do truly horrific things without remorse (Jigsaw, Saw franchise).

Or maybe the villain’s dysfunctional behavior is personally satisfying to the extent that he’s not willing to give it up. Vices are ultimately destructive, but on a base level they’re enjoyable; for someone who is in denial or is mentally imbalanced, these activities can act as motivators that make it difficult to sacrifice them in favor of lifelong changes for the better. Understanding how your villain copes with his unmet need will help you write his actions in a way that rings true.

A villain’s motives will have deep roots.

Villains are products of their past, just like everyone else. Genetics and anomalies can play a part, but the overwhelming majority of deranged individuals are that way because of the negative people and events they were exposed to. Knowing what’s driving him and why he’s chosen his particular goal helps you to portray a villain who is credible. If you need help with this, pull out your Emotional Wound Thesaurus book, or visit One Stop for Writers’ vast collection of emotional wounds.

What’s your villain’s motivation in the story? Let me know in the comments!

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About Angela

 

Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, as well as five others. Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

October 6th, 2017

4 Questions to Jumpstart Your Novel

Janice Hardy

For some writers, a blank page is a scary thing to face. Others see all that white space as an opportunity, and can’t wait to dive in and tell their story. The vast majority of us probably fall somewhere in between, with some ideas making us eager to write, and some fighting us every for word.

I’ve discovered through (often painful) trial and error, that my novels go smoothest when I spend some time planning them. I don’t have to figure everything out, but knowing what my core conflict is, what my character arc will cover, and who my antagonist is makes it a lot easier to write the novel. I struggle less, my plot comes together more easily, and the first draft turns out much cleaner.

Since October is the planning month for writers gearing up for National Novel Writing Month in November (where you write 50,000 words in 30 days for those who haven’t discovered this yet), let’s look at some ways to help you jumpstart your next novel idea.

1. Know what your book is really about.

Not truly knowing what I was writing has caused me more writing frustration than anything else I’ve ever encountered. I’ve written hundreds of pages I later threw away because I had no idea what I wanted to do. Now, I take the time to figure out my story before I do anything else.

This doesn’t mean I need to know every detail, or even have an outline (though I do prefer outlining), but I do need to know what the major problem of the novel is. If I can’t clearly identify what my protagonist is struggling with, and what problem has to be solved by the end of the book, then I’m not ready to write the novel.

The best tool I’ve found for clarifying my idea is to write a one- or two-sentence pitchline for it. Capturing the essence of my story in a few sentences forces me to really know what story I’m writing. If that sentence is vague with nothing to plot from, that’s a big red flag I don’t have a story to tell yet.

2. Know what your protagonist(s) is going to do.

Many a premise novel has stalled around page one hundred, because a great idea was set up, and then the writer realized the protagonist had nothing to do once that idea was established. The idea was driving the story, not the protagonist–no goal, no motivation to act, no stakes, no conflict. The book was nothing more than the description and explanation of an idea the writer loved.

An idea you love is a great start, but strong stories are about interesting people solving interesting problems interesting ways (many of you have heard me say this plenty of times). I’ve written entire novels with multiple points of view and dozens of characters where not a dang one of them wanted to do a darn thing. Sure, they went where I told them to, recited their lines like good little actors, but it was all make believe. Nothing about the story felt like real people trying to solve real problems that readers would care about. And this holds true if the problem is saving the world from zombies, or finding love when you’ve given up on it.

Being clear on what your interesting protagonist needs to do makes it easier for you to have her do it, which creates the plot and gives you things to write about. But that’s only half the battle. The other half is…

3. Know who your antagonist is and what he (or she) is up to.

The other half of writing a strong story is putting solid conflict in the way of your protagonist’s goals. Once you know what she needs to do, clarify why the antagonist is making it hard for her to do it. Even if the antagonist isn’t seen until the climax, his actions will have consequences to what the protagonist is doing, often from page one.

The easiest drafts I’ve ever written have been ones where I knew going in who my antagonist was and what he was up to. His plan was solid, his motives clear, and I knew how he was going to mess things up for my intrepid hero. So much of what the protagonist does is due to what the antagonist has done, so this is a partnership you want fully fleshed out. It’s the back and forth of trying and failing, winning and losing, that keeps readers glued to the page.

4. Know why it all matters.

One of the harder bits of feedback to receive is, “why should I care?” but it’s some of the most valuable feedback you’ll ever get. If readers don’t care, they won’t read, and it won’t matter how well written a story is, or how cool the idea is.

Whatever your protagonist is doing, give her a reason why doing it matters. Understand your characters’ motivations and what’s at stake for them if they fail. You don’t need to know every detail at the start of the novel, but a general sense of why this is important will help you know what conflicts to use and where the story might go.

A question I like to ask is, “Why can’t the protagonist just walk away?” If you can’t answer this, or the answer is, “they can but then the plot won’t work,” that’s a red flag that your stakes aren’t where they need to be yet.

If you feel confident about the answers to all four of these questions, odds are that your first draft will go more smoothly and you’ll run into fewer issues. There will still be things to work out, of course, that’s the nature of writing, but you should have a lot fewer writing sessions where you stare at the screen in frustrations and have no idea what to do next.

Plotters or pansters, a little thinking about your story before you start writing it can make a huge difference in how easily that story makes its way to the page.

How much thought and/or planning do you do before you start a novel?

If you’re looking for some motivation (and a lot more guidance than these four tips) for your newest novel idea, I’m running a free at-home workshop on my site, Fiction University, all October long. Come on over and check out Idea to Novel in 31 Days. It’s also perfect for anyone planning to do NaNoWriMo next month.

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About Janice

Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of the fantasy trilogy, The Healing Wars, and multiple books on writing, including Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It), Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure and Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft. Her newest release is Understanding Conflict (And What It Really Means). She’s also the founder of the writing site, Fiction University. For more advice and helpful writing tips, visit her at www.fiction-university.com or @Janice_Hardy.

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More Help On Writing Your Novel  

Do you have a great story idea? Do you want to turn it into a novel?

Janice Hardy takes you step-by-step through plotting and writing a novel with her book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure. She’ll show you how to find and develop ideas, brainstorm stories from that first spark of inspiration to a complete story, develop the right characters, setting, plot, as well as teach you how to identify where your novel fits in the market, and if your idea has what it takes to be a series.

With clear and easy-to-understand examples, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure offers ten self-guided workshops with more than 100 different exercises to help you craft a solid novel. Each workshop builds upon the other to flesh out your idea as much or as little as you need to start writing (useful for both plotters and pantsers). You’ll find multiple options that allow you to find the right process that works for you.

For those who like a hands-on approach with easy-to-use worksheets, a companion guide, Planning Your Novel Workbook is also available in paperback.

October 4th, 2017

Your Perfect Critique Partner

Finding a critique group/partner (I call them ‘critters’) is one of the most frustrating things about being a writer. Then, when you find the perfect one, and life intervenes, and they drift away. 

Don’t you hate when that happens?

So I thought it might help if I laid out the rules for a  perfect crit partner, for those who don’t know them.

  1. Choose someone who writes in your genre – After all, who knows the tropes, style, and rules better than them? Unless you – Choose someone who writes in a different genre – In my original crit group, the Sci-fi author taught me world-building. The Action/thriller author taught me tension and stakes. The WF author taught me conflict.  

Bottom line: You’ll learn something either way – don’t let this be a barrier,

      2. Choose someone waaaaay better than you – you get a lot out of it. Until they get bored, and tired of getting not much in return.  In which case you – Choose someone who’s a rank noob – and they get a lot out of it. Until . . . you get the drift.

Bottom line: Try to find someone just a bit better than you are. If you both feel this way about the other – it’s a match made in heaven!

     3.  Make sure you can meet in person – unless they live across the country. Then you – Skype, Call, crit via email, send owls, whatever. 

Bottom line: No reason in this century for logistics to be a barrier.

My first crit group. Some may look familiar…

         4.  Choose someone who is a fan of your writing – because how can unmitigated praise be bad? Unless you actually care about the quality of your work (and isn’t that what critting is about?) in which case, choose someone who doesn’t think you’re all that.  

Bottom line: All that’s really required are manners and mutual respect.

          5. Be true to your story and your vision, regardless of feedback – I’ve seen more than one story lost because the author heeded every single bit of advice. Unless you – Ignore wise advice. You’re the author, and you know best. In which case, you’re wasting your critter’s time. Oh, I see, you just came for unmitigated praise!

Bottom bottom line: NO writer can put out something worth reading without feedback. We know what we meant to get on the page, but we don’t have the objectivity to discern if we accomplished that. Finding your perfect critter isn’t easy, and when you do, there’s no guarantee it’s permanent.

It’s normal to be transitioning at all times, into and out of critting relationships. Don’t be afraid to get out of a bad one, and continue to take risks, getting into new ones. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Because a perfect critter is as rare and elusive as a unicorn,

but wow, are they worth the search!

So tell us, how do you feel about your critting relationships – the good, the bad, the ugly!

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About Laura

Author Headshot SmallLaura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance.

She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central.  The Sweet Spot won the 2014 Romance Writers of America®   RITA® award in the Best First Book category.

Laura began a video blog for writers, answering their burning questions. You can watch all the episodes HERE. If you have a question you’d like her to address in a future episode, leave her a comment!

Did you know Laura teaches craft classes? Check out her upcoming ones, both online and in person, HERE

 

October 2nd, 2017

20 Secrets for Savvy Search Engine Optimization

Penny Sansevieri

search rankingsIf you’ve ever built a website, you know that it can take a lot of time, effort and planning. And that’s before you get the SEO rolling. And with Google and other search engines constantly changing the way they crawl through sites, SEO rules change frequently as well. It can be hard to keep track of what’s really going to get Google to notice you.

Why does SEO matter?

Well, Google ranks top in search and you want to be found. In fact, over 65% of us search on Google with only 7.31% searching on Bing (this is down from 33% in 2015). Sites like Ask, Yahoo, AOL and others make up the remainder.

We recently noticed our search started falling from the the first page. It’s easy to stop paying close attention to all of the factors that go into SEO, and that’s what happened here. Thankfully, it is relatively easy to bring it back. Especially if you have a site that’s been around for a while. But, with that said, it’s incredibly important to keep an eye on SEO. So let’s have a look at the elements that matter in terms of achieving a great ranking.

Every so often, Google changes how it will rank sites. About five years ago, Google did an algorithm change that was so vast, it literally wiped some sites off the map. An internet cleanup like this likely won’t happen again, however you should be aware that there are rules to follow, if you want to gain some visibility for your website.

First and foremost, know your keywords. If you aren’t sure ask whoever designed your site where to find that data. We use a plugin called Yoast and we also use Google Analytics to filter data like this. This tells us specifically what keywords people searched on and which ones brought them to our website. This is hugely important for reasons I’ll go into in a moment.

1. What Keywords are on your Homepage?

This is where some of these keywords will come into play. Having these on your homepage and spread throughout your site is a good way to gain some traction and appeal to the Google gods of search. Also, don’t make your homepage too wordy. Keep it to 250 words if you can.

2. Do: blog. While it may seem boring, blogging is still the number one way to get the attention of consumers and Google. Use keywords in your blog title and sprinkle them throughout your blog post.

3. Blog often.

Most SEO experts recommend three times a week. The more you blog, the better your search is. Generally, I recommend content in three lengths, so long content (1000-1200 words) shorter content (650 words) and then super short (500 words or even less).

4. Always use images.

Images are crucial not just because of the value of search but also the value of keeping your consumer on the page. Our minds are image processors, not word processors to having one or two images per blog post as well as on your site, helps to draw users in. When you use images, make sure to name them appropriately using keywords.

5. Page titles: If your pages aren’t named, they should be. Make sure your web site pages have titles, if you’re not sure ask your web designer about this.

6. Three clicks. Any page on your site should be accessible within three clicks from your homepage.

7. Do: Check out your competition. If you’re trying to get incoming links, see how’s linking to your competition. How do you search for incoming links? Pop the following into your Google search box: linkdomain:www.website.com

8. Be focused.

Have a focused goal on your home page. While your site can do a good many things (and many sites do), your home page should have one goal. Once you get someone to your web site you don’t want to confuse them. A confused mind doesn’t make a choice and will likely click off to your competition.

9. Get a good URL.

Choose something that relates to your topic and is easy to remember. Ideally your URL should also have keywords in it. If you have a few different web site addresses (such as your name, maybe an old domain, etc.) make sure they aren’t all forwarding to the same page on your site. Have them forward to different pages, this will also help with your search rank.

10. Don’t: And speaking of keywords…try avoid using slogans, catch phrases or industry jargon. Here’s why: first off your reader might be a lay person and doesn’t understand what you’ve written, if you confuse the reader you will lose them. Second, when you search for your site in Google, you’ll see that some text comes up with your site URL, this text is pulled from your home page so use that space wisely.

11. Guest blogging helps.

Guest Blogging is a Great Way to Build SEO Love! Offering yourself up as a guest blogger is a great way to build relationships but also a great way to get some good incoming links to your site. By the same token, inviting people to blog on your site is a win, too. You’ll want to invite people who are active on social media so they can share the posts and if they have a good following all the better!

12. Social Media Won’t Help your SEO.

The thing about social media is that it’s good for outreach and networking, but it won’t help your SEO per se. It used to, quite a lot actually but now all of that’s changed. It doesn’t affect your ranking, but it’s great for networking.

13. The Mystery that is Google+.

When Google first started their social networking site, everyone in the tech and SEO community jumped on the bandwagon. Then Google seemed a little iffy about the social media platform, and lots of people (including myself) stopped posting there. A lot of SEO people may tell you that Google+ doesn’t matter in terms of SEO, but I have a hard time believing that Google wouldn’t give preference to their own site so post there, even if it’s just your own blog, a few times a week.

14. Use Google AdWords.

Even if you don’t want to run ads, sign up for an account there and dig into that platform to find great keywords. Their results are quite accurate in terms of searches per month and this can help you greatly if you’re struggling to find the right keywords to use.

15. Getting local reviews on Google.

With 43% of search focused on local results, even if your consumer isn’t intentionally searching locally these results will still dominate the page. So focus on pushing some reviews to Google to get some local love. Even if you aren’t promoting a business necessarily, these reviews will always help you in search.

16. Broken links are bad. I’ve had this happen, we all have, but 404 links are bad news so check the pages on your site frequently. This is especially true when you have made any kind of changes to your website.

17. Mobile is a must.

For the first time since 2014, mobile is exceeding desktop usage and Google is penalizing non-mobile sites, or sites that aren’t mobile friendly. By being mobile it means you need a site created specifically for the various phone and tablet platforms.

18. SEO Experts are a Myth.

I get a lot of emails from people offering to optimize my website. Granted there are great things you can do, and our website person is fantastic at giving us input and advice on SEO, keywords and making sure our website is gaining rank in Google. But WordPress has a lot of tools that can help you zero in on your SEO if you’re willing to spend some time to do it. Trust me when I say, it’s not overly complicated. If someone is trying to sell you heavy duty SEO services, run the other way. You’ll spend a whole lot of money for a whole lot of nothing.

19. Get a good website.

There’s a temptation these days to get a site using places like Wix or others that build sites for you for free. These sites won’t rank as long as they’re connected to the bigger platforms. You have to pay to own it and you should. My suggestion is always go to WordPress. A WordPress template site will get faster traction in Google and probably in the end, cost you less, too.

20. Incoming Links Rock.

So how many sites are linking to yours? Well a good way to find out is to do a linkdomain search on Google. Just type in linkdomain domainname.com and see what comes up. When you insert our URL (www.amarketingexpert.com) it shows over 50,000 incoming links, but keep in mind that I’ve had that URL for 17 years so the older the domain, the more incoming links it’s likely to have.

Getting ranking for your website doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, the thing to remember is that a static site, boring site doesn’t help your ranking.

What SEO tips do you have to share? And do you have questions for Penny?

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About Penny

Author MarkketingPenny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert and an Adjunct Professor with NYU. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. She is the author of fourteen books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload. AME is the first marketing and publicity firm to use Internet promotion to its full impact through online promotion and their signature program called: The Virtual Author Tour™

To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at http://www.amarketingexpert.com. To subscribe to her free newsletter, send a blank email to: mailto:subscribe@amarketingexpert.com

Copyright @2017 Penny C. Sansevieri

September 29th, 2017

Why You Should Celebrate The Milestones

Dawn Ius

I’m going to let you in on a little secret—I didn’t land my agent from a slush pile.

Mandy Hubbard—founder of Emerald City Literary Agency and affectionately known by me as Agent Awesome—never read a single sentence of a query from me. No full manuscript. No verbal pitch at a conference. No gushing recommendation from a writing pal.

In fact, Mandy signed me based on two chapters of I book I’d written, that wasn’t even my own.

Let me explain.

Back in 2013, Mandy was an agent at D4E0 Literary Agency, founded by Bob DiForio, a rock star agent I’d been thinking about querying for my adult thriller work. I was new to Twitter, and while looking up Bob’s wish list, I happened upon a tweet by Mandy. I wish I’d taken a screen shot of it, but the gist was basically that she and a co-agent, Bree Ogden, were auditioning a writer to execute a story they’d brainstormed. The successful writer would win representation from Mandy, as well as a chance to write the book in their mind.

The odds weren’t great. Semi-finalists were chosen from a 300-word sample—a few paragraphs to demonstrate voice, style, and craft. Plus, it was young adult…and I’d never written young adult before.

Nevertheless, I submitted my entry and then did my due diligence on Mandy. It took me about a nano-second to realize that she was my dream agent. I devoured her books, stalked her clients, and wrote down her sage Twitter advice. I dreamed about “the call.”

And then, it came. Well, not so much on the phone, but rather, the notice that I’d been selected as one of three to write two scenes from the proposed book—a modern retelling of the torrid romance between King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. I had two scene outlines, a setting, and POV direction. The rest I was free to explore on my own.

Two painstaking weeks later, I submitted my chapters. A day or so later, my husband and I went to the liquor store to buy some wine. While there, he said, “Do you want me to pick up champagne?” I said, “No. It’s a long shot. Don’t jinx it.” But, like any patient, non-paranoid writer, I was checking my email every three seconds on my phone. As my husband stood at the till to pay, I got this message from Mandy: You blew us away, and you ARE our writer.

A lot of that night is a blur, but I distinctly remember yelling in a crowded booze store, “HONEY! BUY THE CHAMPAGNE!”

That book became Anne & Henry, and while the story was conceived by Mandy and Bree, they handed over the creative reigns and allowed me to make it my own. For better or worse, I did.

But Anne & Henry wasn’t just my first book. It was the beginning of my career, and the start of a tradition that has become almost a joke in my house: we celebrate every milestone.

Every.

Milestone.

This industry is damn hard. Seriously. You weather rejection, paranoia, writer’s block, bad reviews, absent muses, quasi-alcoholism, partners that don’t understand, questions about when you’ll be famous/rich/award-winning/insert belittling comment here, exhaustion, financial stress, and crippling self-doubt. There isn’t one week that goes by when I haven’t asked myself WHY I do what I do—and my third book from Simon & Schuster (literally my dream publisher…but that’s a different blog for another time) hits the shelf on April 10, 2017.

The writer’s curse, though, is sometimes a debilitating lack of confidence.

And yet, when I see that hardcover on my desk, or that ARC drops in the mail, or I get that letter from a fan who just gets it, I remember that I’m married to this job—for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. And like any marriage, it takes work. 

Which is why my husband “picks up” champagne whenever:

  • I finish a first draft of a new book—no matter how terrible.
  • My awesome agent greenlights that book or a new proposal.
  • That book or proposal sells to an editor.
  • I hack my way through every. single. revision.
  • I receive advanced reader copies of my book.
  • I get my first trade review that doesn’t tell me I suck.
  • The hardcover hits the shelf. (Extra champagne if it’s available in my city!)
  • The soft cover hits the shelf.

And sometimes, he brings home champagne when I’ve just made it through a really bad week of really bad self-doubt. Because that’s how I like to celebrate each milestone. Milestones that are determined by me. They’re what gets me through the tough times, and propels me to that magical moment of seeing my book come to life.

Next month, I’m excited to pick out a new champagne to celebrate the advanced reader copies of my third young adult from Simon Pulse, Lizzie—a modern teen retelling of the Lizzie Borden hatchet murders, with a lesbian twist. I’m thinking hubs will pick up a Rosé. <wink>

What are your writing milestones—and how do you celebrate them? (Also, if you have champagne recommendations, I’m all ears!)  

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About Dawn

Dawn Ius is the author of Anne & Henry, Overdrive, and the forthcoming Lizzieall published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)She is the Deputy Editor of The Big Thrill, a book coach with Author Accelerator, and a co-instructor at Lit Reactor. When not slaying fictional monsters, Dawn can be found geeking out over fairy tales, true love, Jack Bauer, muscle cars, kayaking, and all things creepy. She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two giant breed dogs. 

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