Tag Archives: writers

The Benefits of Dictation

Story Empire

Hello Story Empire readers! I’d like to fly – at least when it comes to writing – rather than plodding along. There’s one tool I now use to do just that: Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Good thing you don’t have to train this dragon to dictate well.

When it comes to writing a book, there is a faster way without a huge expense which also feels like flying. In my last post, I described how I was working to clear my own logjam with available time and one of those changes was to spend a little money to address my constricted writing time. I purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking and set out to dictate so I could produce more words per hour than typing. To dictate well, it requires training Dragon – which sounds like the title of a couple of movies.

Training a Dragon is simple, especially when compared to the movie…

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The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart

Novelty Revisions

How do you know if the writing advice you’re being given is worth listening to?

Does it matter if someone is a published author or not?

Who is “qualified” to give the best advice?

These are all tricky questions. So here are some of the types of advice you’ll generally get about writing, who they tend to come from, and how to apply them (if at all) to your own writing life.

From a well-meaning acquaintance

“I never, ever do it that way. I always do it like this, and it’s definitely going to help you too.”

Unfortunately, there are a lot of (I suppose) well-meaning people out there who don’t know how to think outside their own mindset. They see the world only from their perspective. So even though they might want to genuinely help someone by offering advice, it’s usually very one-sided and closed-minded. But you should never…

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Tension and Conflict. What’s the Difference?

KRISTINA STANLEY

Tension and conflict will keep your reader engaged in every scene. Knowing the difference and when to use each will drive your story forward.

Tension

Tension is the threat of something bad happening. This creates suspense.

Tension can be subtle or in-your-face.

Subtle Tension: Imagine one character is hiding a secret that could destroy his life and another character is about to accidentally spill the secret. The reader will feel the tension if you’ve set up the scene so that the reader knows the second character can’t keep a secret.

In-your-face Tension: A woman is thrown off a boat at sea. The tension comes if the reader cares about the character and wants her to survive. Or the tension could be she’s an evil woman who is about to destroy the world, and the reader doesn’t want her to survive.


Conflict

Conflict is the fight that is actually happening. A…

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Feminism in Cold Storage

I absolutely loved this memoir written in poetry when I had first read it and wanted to remind everyone of it for this year’s National Poetry Month! I don’t know what you’re reading this April but I highly recommend brown girl dreaming if you haven’t read it yet!

Review:Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline WoodsonI’ve read a lot of memoirs, but none that were done as a series of poems before. It really is a beautiful way to convey your story. My favorite was the first one, about the day she was born.

Woodson brings her birth together with the state of black in America and it’s done masterfully.

I’m not sure how many people can do memoir in this fashion, but this does a better job of explanation some things about the Civil Rights era than almost everything I had to memorize in school. It gives the feeling in the South of black child…

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How Long Should A Book Be? Word Count Guidelines by Genre.

First Edition Design Publishing - a hybrid publisher

A constant complaint I hear from agents, editors, writing teachers, and reviewers is that they see too many manuscripts with inappropriate word counts.

If you’re getting a lot of form rejections or simply silence from agents, reviewers and editors, this may be why.

Word count guidelines have been trending down in the last decade. Most editors won’t look at a debut manuscript longer than 100K words—a little longer if it’s fantasy or a non-romance historical. They were not so rigid ten years ago.

Now publishers—and many readers—won’t take a chance on any long book by an unproven author.

While readers will happily plunk down the big bux for an 819-page book by George R. R. Martin, they’ll turn up their noses at a book that long—even if it only costs 99c—if it’s written by Who R. R. You.

I know the “accepted wisdom” in the indie world is that…

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DADDY: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships (Cover Reveal)

K E Garland

I write to inspire. I write to motivate people to re-think social issues. I write to raise women’s voices because, although women make up nearly half of the world’s population, many times our experiences are not heard, and subsequently, devalued.

To that end, I’ve compiled another anthology. This time, I’ve invited 13 women to write memoirs centered on their father-daughter relationships. Over the next couple of months, I’ll introduce you to ten of the writers. Each Friday, they’ll explain why they wrote and what they hope to accomplish by participating in such a project.

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SYNOPSIS

A father’s presence is important in a daughter’s life. He is the first man a little girl sees and knows. He demonstrates how men relate to women.

But what happens when the father-daughter relationship is dysfunctional? Daddy answers that question.

Included are fourteen memoirs that describe the impact a failed father-daughter relationship can have…

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Recording Your Memories

Writer's Block No More

Try This Technique

By Annette Rey

For the third time in less than a year, a person close to me has died. This has left me feeling fate knocking at my door. For protection from these outer influences I crawl into my writer’s hole and find memoir to be the perfect subject to contemplate.

Take a peek…

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12 Things to Tell Yourself When You Start to Believe You Can’t Actually Do This

Novelty Revisions

1. People who criticize my work just to put me down aren’t worth paying attention to.

2. And just because I receive constructive, negative feedback doesn’t mean I did a bad job.

3. There are always going to be people better and more successful than me. I still matter.

4. If I want other people to be happy for me, I really need to try to be happy for them when they succeed.

5. I want to be a writer. No one is making me do it. This is my dream and I’m not giving up on it.

6. Every writer writes terrible first drafts. What matters most is that I finish it.

7. Everyone doubts themselves. This is normal. There is nothing wrong with my brain.

8. The more I push back against my self-doubt, the easier it will be to get up next time it knocks me down.

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