Saturday, August 16, 2014

Becoming a Better Writer with SA Snow @BooksBySnow #AmReading #AmWriting #Erotica

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

I see these things all the time, and I’m not particularly fond of them. They’re not specific enough to help any author, and I find I tend to skip over them and skim (if I read them at all). I hope my list is different, but I give no guarantees.

1. Keep writing. I don’t mean this flippantly. Set a schedule, set a goal and meet that goal. Once you start meeting that goal without an issue, then up it. Say you start at writing 1,000 words every day or a chapter a day, once you meet that up it to 2,000 words or two chapters a day. You can’t be a writer or an author if you don’t write. Writing on a regular basis also helps stave off procrastination and that thing some people still think is real, writer’s block.

2. Once you have finished writing, find a few good beta readers. (This is after your first round of edits, of course). Find them, use them, and LISTEN TO THEM. You may not always like what they say, you may not always agree, but they are there for a reason. That reason is perspective. Even if you don’t make every change they tell you to, they bring up reasons as to why something might to be working.

3. Learn grammar. I can’t tell you the number of authors I’ve talked to who say grammatical rules are too hard to learn. Ummm… no. Just stop there. If you don’t want to hone your craft, then get out of the room because I don’t want to talk to you. No master, no best selling author is going to tell you they were too lazy, too confused, too tired to learn the basic grammatical rules. It’s simply a matter of character. Have some, and go study up.

4. Read. Read a lot. Read in your genre. Read out of your genre. Reading gives you ideas (yes, it’s okay to steal in some occasions). Reading gives you a perspective on where the language is going, how it’s growing and how it’s declining. It tells you where the audience is and where other authors are. It also tells you what works, what doesn’t work, and how to improve yourself.

5. Remember those betas? Find an editor. Especially if this is your first novel. Cough up the money because you absolutely need a professional editor. They will help you fine tune everything your beta’s missed and everything you messed up from your beta’s notes. Editors are there for you to ask questions to. They’re there to help you figure it all out.

6. Talk to other authors. This doesn’t mean about what you’re writing if you want to be uber secretive, but if you’re having plot issues, need help finding a good beta/editor, having grammatical problems in your learning curve, then talk to other authors. They’ve been where you’ve been or even are still stuck where you currently are. They are the ones who will support and guide you. I mean, that is the whole point of this post, right?

7. Take time to edit. It’s not a race to the end of the road. Take the time to do things properly. It’ll improve you as a writer by teaching you more about the craft itself, and more importantly, teaching you about patience. Take time to go through your piece to make sure it is excellent before submitting it anywhere.

8. Know perfection is unattainable. There comes a time when you need to stop writing and when you need to stop editing. For me this is after the third round of edits on my own AFTER the editor stage. That means I’ve usually gone through the piece a total of seven to ten times before I just need to stop. It’s not going to get better at that point. In fact, if I keep editing, it’ll probably get a whole lot worse.

9. Words to avoid: that, just, now, literally, sudden(ly), finally, immediately, start(ed), was/is.

10. Learn the 5 basic comma rules (oxford, participle, parenthetical, compound, introductory phrase/conclusionary phrase). Memorize the 5 basic comma rules. UTILIZE the five basic comma rules.

Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love. 

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing. 

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

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Genre – Blended Science Fiction, Erotica
Rating – NC17
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