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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September 27th, 2017

A Writer’s Perspective on Point of View

Kimberly Brock
Taking a fresh look at things

I am consumed by the idea of perspective. At the moment, I’m witnessing the effects of a visual processing disorder in one of my children, which means that for him, nothing is as it seems. I admit that as a parent, I’m busy doing everything I can to learn about what he’s experiencing and I am searching for anything that will allow me to see what he is seeing, the way he is seeing it.

Do I want to correct this stressful and frustrating issue for him? Sure. Do I want to be sure that everything is being done to give him the tools he needs to succeed in spite of this challenge? You bet.

But I’m sharing this with you today on this writer’s blog for a different reason, because of the single motivation that keeps me up at night since faced with this neurological puzzle and that is this: I don’t want him to feel alone.

And it struck me as I was pondering a topic for today’s post that this same driving motivation is really why we write. We want to share our own perspectives in a way that connects us with readers who can find themselves in our prose and our characters. We want to be assured that the way we see things is a common experience. Even when we disagree, we want to be able to say to ourselves and our readers that we can imagine feeling or behaving in just a certain way, faced with a certain set of circumstances.

We don’t want to be alone, not as writers or as readers. And so we spend hours and days and years of our lives casting our thoughts onto the page in the hopes that we’ll find a meeting of the minds. And yet, we so often don’t.

Why are we so afraid of seeing things from a different point of view?

Lately, the internet is a dangerous place when it comes to freely expressing individual perspectives. I think a lot of writers – and readers – are exhausted by the constant war of words that can be found in any comments section.

I’m one of the exhausted. But I woke up this morning with the realization that these two things – my son’s difference in visual perspective and what I’m seeing from every voice raised with the hope they’ll finally be heard – are the same thing.

We writers call it voice. The thing that makes my writing mine and your writing yours. Voice is what reveals us down to our bones and shows our substance in written form. Voice is perspective and perspective is the magic in our mundane human lives. It’s what sets our stories apart from one another and keeps them from being the same rote retelling through the centuries. It’s what makes a character, rather than a caricature.

With that in mind, I decided to, well, change my perspective. I wanted to see what would happen if I relaxed a little, let my vision lose its sharp, critical, even frightened focus and took a second look at my son’s difficulty, my work, and even the gnashing teeth of recent social media.

A few days ago, I watched a video that allowed me to see some of the visual images my son experiences when looking at a screen or a page of black and white print. They blurred and jumped and shifted and swirled. At first, I admit, I felt only horrible dismay at not realizing sooner that he was struggling so profoundly and I’d missed any sign of it.

But today, I watched the video again, with idea in mind to see things differently, and I came to a new conclusion that filled me with wonder. I’d just seen the world through someone else’s eyes. Someone who saw things completely differently than I ever could have imagined. And it changed me. It changed my mental perspective. It connected he and I where we had been disconnected and I was struck by the knowledge that I’d just accomplished the very thing I feared I would never be able to do for him: neither of us was alone.

With that in mind, I took a look at the characters I’m writing and tried to apply the same idea. I tried to move my own perspective aside and allow my imagination to conjure a perspective that is completely individual to the character. The most amazing thing started to happen. I learned something I hadn’t known about the character and about the story I’ve been trying to tell all along.

Now, granted this is really a little mind game when you’re working from your subconscious, but believe me when I say it was freeing to give myself permission to step outside the box where I keep my favorite ideas and see what mysteries might be discovered. There were layers and colors and impressions I’d never considered and the ideas brought a new depth to the story, and maybe a fresh connection to a reader I might have missed out on knowing if I hadn’t been brave enough to take that second look from a new angle. It was different from the way I usually see things, but the truth is, an author shouldn’t write from only one perspective or what would be the point?

I’m saying, take the chance on the power of voice and give it free rein to make your work stand out.

Of course, when it comes to the many perspectives we meet online every day, what I hope I’ve learned (or am learning) from my son’s gift is that I may not be able to see things the way another person sees them, but it doesn’t make their perspective less real or less valid. 

As I writer, I am consciously trying to apply that to all my good guys and bad guys, all my lovers and haters, all my dreamers and doers. Same goes as a human being. And as it turns out, if there’s anything I had to say to you today, I guess it was really what all those voices are saying, what my son said, what all our characters are saying, if we let them.

I wish you could see what I see.

Why do you write? What has helped you develop your writing voice? What tricks do you use to see more deeply into your story and see it from each character’s perspective?

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Brock is the award winning author of the #1 Amazon bestseller, THE RIVER WITCH (Bell Bridge Books, 2012). A former actor and special needs educator, Kimberly is the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year 2013 Award. A literary work reminiscent of celebrated southern author Carson McCullers, THE RIVER WITCH has been chosen by two national book clubs.

Kimberly’s writing has appeared in anthologies, blogs and magazines, including Writer Unboxed and Psychology Today. Kimberly served as the Blog Network Coordinator for She Reads, a national online book club from 2012 to 2014, actively spearheading several women’s literacy efforts. She lectures and leads workshops on the inherent power in telling our stories and is founder of  Tinderbox Writer’s Workshop. She is also owner of Kimberly Brock Pilates.

She lives in the foothills of north Atlanta with her husband and three children, where she is at work on her next novel. Visit her website at kimberlybrockbooks.com for more information and to find her blog.

September 25th, 2017

Finish Your Novel One Stroke at a Time

Kathryn Craft
Turning Whine Into Gold

This is a picture of me at the age of 52, swimming the length of Trout Lake in northern New York. My husband Dave is trailing behind in a rowboat with a life preserver—you know, just in case. Off to the left is a loon who popped up to watch, alarmingly close, wondering how that would turn out for this middle-aged broad (everyone has to deal with critics!).

The first time I swam the length of the lake I was 47; the last time was last year as I turned 60. Distance swimming might sound like an odd thing to take up late in life. Truth is, I would not have been able to do it before then.

When I was a teenager on the lake, my father would row its half-mile width while my three sisters and I swam behind the boat. At the time, I was active in dance, cheerleading, waterskiing, and snow skiing. I’d grown up in this water and was the second oldest daughter. I should have had every reason to believe I could complete the swim.

Much to my shame, however, I couldn’t keep up. My Dad had to help me climb into the boat to ride the rest of the way. I dripped onto its floor, shivering in defeat, while my sisters got the glory.

That would change.

More than three decades later, I’d swim the length of the lake—almost four times as far. I was no better a swimmer than I was in my youth. It’s not that I was a fiercer competitor, either—as you can see from the photograph, no sisters. It’s just me, the water, and the loon.

So how is it that I was able to start doing in my late 40s what I couldn’t physically achieve in my athletic prime? I have some pretty nasty life obstacles to thank. They required that I summon inner strength that as yet had remained untested.

The result: I just figured I could do it. I finally understood the way the accumulative nature of effort applies to all disciplines: if I kept my arms moving and my legs kicking, and continue to breathe in and out, I would eventually reach my destination.

The metaphor works for any long process, including writing a novel.

You’ll get there, stroke by stroke.

I like “one stroke at a time” better than “one step at a time.” Because water molecules have more heft than air, it’s easier to see that not only am I moving forward, I am physically creating a path for myself by applying my muscles and willpower to part a medium that resists me. I seek change by pushing aside fear and self-pity and denial and any other obstacles standing between me and the destination I seek. I leave ripples in my wake.

Swimming is taxing but so is change; productive change is never achieved without a significant application of effort. In swimming as in writing, I am using the very medium through which I must move to help me move through it. The water buoys me as my legs and arms press against it; the very experiences my writing requires me to face will help demystify all that frightens me and weighs me down. If I am truthful on the page, the words and sentences and paragraphs will contribute enough meaning and structure to hold me up.

Swimming, my focus alternates above and below the surface, separating that which is easily seen from that which is hidden. I fear that which is hidden; after all, there are those legends of the Trout Lake monster… but then up pops a beautiful loon. Despite his sharp beak he wishes me no harm, but simply wants to join the blue sky and evergreen pines and my patient, understanding husband in witnessing my journey.

Novel writing isn’t a sprint. You won’t achieve the same effect if you close your eyes, hold your breath, and make a mad splash to “the other side.” With one purposeful stroke at a time, at my own pace and with my eyes open to note the changing scenery along the way, I could eventually turn around and see that I’d gained distance from my starting point. Its details, once so sharp they could bite, had blurred. Renewed to my task, I turned toward the future, knowing in my heart that I am capable of reaching my destination, and reminding myself to look around along the way because the journey has so many rewards.

Note that the number of strokes I have taken has not made me a better swimmer, any more than the number of black marks on the page makes you a better writer. There’s more to mastery than pushing yourself through to completion. But knowing that you can complete the journey takes a lot of pressure off of a novelist, who now has a better sense of the scope of her undertaking.

This picture came to mind because I am starting a new novel. The cursor blinks at me from a still-empty page. The old fear creeps in. Yet I know I can do this: I have swum the lake! In fact, I’ve swum it four times now, one for each manuscript completed, and plan to do it again. Stroke by stroke, I will reach for the grace that comes from facing adversity, the grace that whispers in my ear: “Keep swimming, we’re almost there.”

Do you have any personal experiences with extreme endeavor that you lean upon to remind you that you too can reach “The End”? Please share!

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About Kathryn

Kathryn Craft  is the award-winning author of two novels from Sourcebooks, The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy, and a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, specializing in storytelling structure and writing craft. Her chapter “A Drop of Imitation: Learn from the Masters” was included in the writing guide Author in Progress, from Writers Digest Books. Janice Gable Bashman’s interview with her, “How Structure Supports Meaning,” originally published in the 2017 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market, has been reprinted in The Complete Handbook of Novel Writingboth from Writer’s Digest Books.

September 22nd, 2017

5 Easy Steps to Hone Your Instagram

It’s Autumn (finally) and for me, that means a time of reflecting. I like to take the first weeks of September and look back over my organizer and see where I need to make improvements in the new year. Last year it was learning to use Instagram, which I’m happy to say I’ve been doing much better at.

If you aren’t using Instagram as an author, you are missing out on what is quickly becoming the go-to social media site. Statistics tell us that not only are the users primarily women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties (which happens to be my primary reader demographic) but that it’s growing quickly, and is now in fact the second largest social media site in terms of active users (edging out Twitter earlier this year with over 300 million users). It has a number of advantages over Facebook as well, the most profound being that it still has great organic reach, unlike Facebook who has moved toward a heavily monetized system. If you have 800 followers on Instagram, ALL 800 will see your posts in their feed, unlike Facebook who only shows your posts to a small percentage of followers. Also, Instagram has the same live chat features as Facebook, making it a wonderful platform for things like live author chats and sample chapter readings. It also gives high priority to Instagram Stories, a snapchat like option that shows your stories in the very top of every follower’s feed for 24 hours then disappears.

I’ve had an Instagram account for about two years now (maybe a little longer) and I honestly never gave much thought to whether or not I was using it to its full potential. But as a very wise friend reminded me, a writer’s time is valuable, and any time we are spending promoting and marketing online should be done with both a plan and a goal. Using Instagram is no different. Taking that advice to heart, I made it a goal to double my IG following in 2017, and I’m happy to say I did. While I still have a long way to go, I want to share the steps I took to make that happen.

  • Be constantly aware of your BRAND.

What am I offering my followers? What am I hoping to get from them?

I’m a huge believer that social media doesn’t sell books, but it’s a great resource for building brand awareness and exposure. With that in mind, how is what I’m posting relevant to, and how does it reflect me as an author and my brand as a whole?

This first step I accomplished by simply adjusting my bio. I wanted people who saw my page to immediately know three things.

  • Who I am
  • What to expect from my page
  • What is in it for them

Who am I? Sherry Ficklin, Author, book lover, history nerd.

What can they expect from my page? I chose to use #LifeBetweenThePages because it’s an underutilized hashtag that both gives me a lot of content control and also immediately tells the reader what sort of posts to expect from me.

And finally, what’s in it for them? This is the carrot I offer to get them to follow me, visit my website, and my ultimate goal of getting them to sign up for my newsletter, putting them in my sales funnel. Get 5 free books… not a bad offer, right?

  • Keep your content on target.

Yes, I will occasionally post personal photos, quick snaps of odds and ends. Some fans what to see those things, but they should not be part of your static page. Remember, Instagram is basically a one page magazine of your brand. Cluttering it with cat pictures and such isn’t really delivering an on-brand message. Save those things for your IG Stories, since they vanish after 24 hours. Or, post in your feed and then after a day, archive them. But strive to keep your page as relevant as possible to you and your work. That doesn’t mean only post book covers and BUY ME ads. It does mean that readers aren’t looking for what you ate today when they are searching for new authors to follow. People who are already fans will see your IG stories and your one day posts in your feed, people not yet following you will only see your static page, the bio and magic 9. Which brings me to step 3.

  • Be Visual.

Instagram is a visual medium, and in today’s 30 second world, visual is prefered over any other form of communication. Look at your magic 9, that is the nine images that appear on your page when you open your instagram (they will be the most recent 9 posts). Does the composition look balanced? Do you have lots of images that look the same or similar or do you have varriation? Do your images tell a story, and are they indicative of you and the online presence you want to convey? Would someone looking at them know who you are and what you do? When you post, take a moment to go back and look at your magic 9. If the post doesn’t work within the storyboard you’ve created, consider archiving it or post it as an IG story instead. Remember, instagrammers want ART. It’s your job to give them ART WITH INTENTION.

If you’re unsure what message you want to send with your Instagram account, consider this; what are 5 things your brand represents? For me, those are:

Books/Reading

Writing

Entertainment

Escape/Travel

Romance

If I’m conveying any of these things with my images and the text I assoiate with it, then I am doing my job.

  • Cultivate New Fans.

Instagram is one place where finding new fans can be as easy as effectively using hashtags. When you begin a hashtag in your post, IG will automatically open up a suggested list based on the first few letters you type, and more than that it will tell you how many others are also using that hashtag. You want a good combination of very popular hashtags and smaller more specific ones. #Bookish may have 300K users, and #HistoricalFiction may only have 3K. Those hashtags show your post to everyone else looking at those hashtag feeds. Consider also using a few what I call ‘discovery hashtags’ like #BookClub and #NewReads. Use genre and theme specific hashtags as well.

Another way to find new followers is to search those hashtags yourself and interact with others using them. Cross networking is always a great tool for building followers. Also, be sure you have a way for people who visit your website to easily follow you on Instagram (and all your social media pages, for that matter).

  • Post Often.

Like any social media site, it’s all about using it often and effectively. If you are only posting once a week, it’s going to take you a very long time to gain new followers. Post on your IG stories daily, to keep those already following you engaged, and drop a post at least a few times a week to draw in those new followers. It seems like a lot of work, but remember that IG will allow you to cross post to your other social media sites with each post, so save some time and dedicate a few days a week to really targeting your IG account. I promise it will be well worth your time!

I hope this is helpful to anyone who (like me) struggles with new social media.

I’m curious how you plan to improve your IG usage and if you found these tips helpful, let me know in the comments!

 

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Sherry is a full-time writer from Colorado and the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best-selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs. She is also the managing editor at Changing Tides Publishing and works as an author consultant with Author branding Essentials.

Her newest novel, THE CANARY CLUB, releases 10/16 from Crimson Tree Publishing.

September 20th, 2017

Writing Secrets from a Television Great

We can all remember that first moment we felt like we might understand “how to write a story.” The excitement, and the thirst to know more more more. The writing advice moment that turned the key for me came from the late, great mystery and TV writer, Stephen J. Cannell.

Trust me, most of you have heard of his shows: The A Team, The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street, and a dozens of others. More than a decade ago, Stephen J. Cannell spoke at my writing chapter’s monthly event and there was a huge flurry of excitement. At the time, I hadn’t a clue who he was, but I still got caught up in the buzz.

So he gets up to talk and he just looks like a Hollywood guy: sexy in a lanky way, salt and pepper hair, snappy dresser. His easy smile and raspy voice commanded attention. He was mesmerizing.

Here’s what I know now that I didn’t know when I arrived at the meeting that day:

  • Cannell created or co-created nearly 40 television series, mostly crime dramas, and more than 300 scripts. If you look at his IMDb Bio, you won’t believe it.
  • He was dyslexic and overcame huge hurdles to be a writer.
    Example: he frequently had to dictate ideas or even complete scripts to a personal secretary and typed on an IBM Selectric typewriter unless he was doing research.
  • He would unlock the mystery of 3-Act structure for me. 
    This man had an enormous impact on me as a writer, and has shared the wealth with thousands more through his free video series.

Anyone who has hung around WITS for a while knows I’m a scene writer, a story quilter who can’t write linear. I have to put the story in order separately from the writing process, which means…

When it comes to my stories, 3-Act structure is everything.

I never really understood what the heck it was until that first day Stephen spoke. I’ll never forget that moment. He stood at a podium in front of 100 writers and broke down When Harry Met Sally in easy 3-Act detail.

A paraphrase of Cannell’s description of When Harry Met Sally:

When I ask young writers what 3-Act Structure is, they say it has a beginning, middle and an end. This is not the answer. A lunch line has a beginning, a middle and an end. The 3-Act structure is critical to good dramatic writing, and each act has specific story moves.

Take the movie, When Harry Met Sally. The First Act is all about the hook, or the premise. In this case, it’s that “men and women cannot be friends.” So you’ve got the set-up where they meet and then decide they’re not going to be friends.

Act Two opens with Harry and Sally meeting up again in the bookstore and slowly becoming good friends. Their friendship becomes the single most important thing in their lives and the worst thing in the world would be to lose it. The scene in the wedding is the dark moment climax of Act 2 because it is the end of their friendship as we know it.

They’re off to the side of the reception, speaking in furious whispers about why they’ve been at odds since the night they had sex. (See the video clip if you don’t remember.)

The scene ends with her slapping him across the face, saying, “F*ck you, Harry!” and storming away. The curtain closes on Act Two because the WORST thing has happened…the two of them are no longer friends.

Act Three is the “clean up” act, the resolution to your story. In this case, it’s all about Harry trying to get back into Sally’s good graces so the two of them can be friends again, just as they were. Sally’s having none of it.

Finally, on New Year’s Eve, Harry has his turning point and we get the final scene of the movie where he runs through New York City to get to Sally before midnight. When he sees her at the party, he gives his now famous “I love you” speech.

This scene is full of awesome. If you want to wallow in the brilliance of When Harry Met Sally dialogue, click here.

I don’t know if this quick breakdown turned the lightbulb on for you, but it sure did for me the first time I heard it. To see Stephen Cannell’s “official description” of 3-Act structure click this post.

More Stephen Cannell Trade Secrets:

Cannell discusses a myriad of “trade secrets” in this entire series on writing that he did on WritersWrite.com. But the main bit I remember, besides my 3-Act Epiphany, was the way he’d refer to the villains in a story.

He called his bad guys “the Heavies” and he was brilliant with them. It’s no surprise to me why his television shows were so wonderful. Whenever, he’d get stuck in a story, he’d ask himself, “What are ‘the Heavies’ doing?” Once he wrote the story from their angle for a while, he’d get back on track.

On WritersWrite:

Once we get past the complication and are into Act Two, we sometimes get stuck. “What do I do now?” “Where does this protagonist go from here?” The plotting in Act Two often starts to get linear (a writer’s expression meaning the character is following a string, knocking on doors, just getting information). This is the dullest kind of material. We get frustrated and want to quit. 

Here’s a great trick: When you get to this place, go around and become the antagonist. You probably haven’t been paying much attention to him or her. Now you get in the antagonist’s head and you’re looking back at the story to date from that point of view. 

If you’d like to hear his voice too, he’s got dozens of videos on his site. Here’s some simple, yet sage advice from the man himself. 

Advice for Aspiring Writers by Stephen J. Cannell

If Stephen Cannell is a new discovery for you, enjoy! He’s awesome. His mantra was: “be honest, be sensitive, be reasonable, be fair and you can succeed marvelously in business and in life.” Go, Steve.

Who has made the biggest impact on your writing life? (It’s okay, you can share more than one.) Do you have any other 3-Act or story planning tips to share with the rest of us?

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About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18+ years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or here at Writers In The Storm.