Tips for Collaborating on Stories

I’m at the Florida Writers Conference and I’m scooping up lots of book recommendations, new contacts, and a few pages of notes.

First up, some rules on collaboration.

  1. Don’t choose a diva partner.
  2. Choose someone at the same level as you. There cannot be an imbalance of power.
  3. Put it in writing. Who makes decisions? Who is responsible for finding agent? Etc.
  4. Decide your process first. Here are three options that work.

Takeaways From R. L. Stine’s MasterClass

I’ve completed about a third of the lessons in R. L. Stine’s MasterClass and I’m loving it. Here are a few of my take-always so far. Writing doesn’t have to be hard and stop listening to the people who say it does.

Spend the difficult hours on the outline so the writing time is fun. Make sure the outline includes the twists, and there should always be twists.

When it comes to writing scary stories for kids, it is to be obviously unrealistic so kids feel safe enough to enjoy being scared. Young adult writing has to be more realistic or teens check out.

And there are a few key things that make reading fun, especially for kids.

Another twenty or so lessons to go with this one. So far, I’m a big fan.

Takeaway From Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass

Signing up for a full year of MasterClass has been all it was promised and then some. I started with the class by Margaret Atwood, then flew through James Patterson, Dan Brown, Shonda Rhimes, and Judd Apatow.

Every class has its own takeaways that resonate for me–the right words at the right time.

From Gaiman’s, it’s this message: You learn more from a finished failure than a finished success. And you learn nothing from a string of unfinished starts. Even if the story is terrible, even if you know it’s not quite working, finish it anyway so you can learn from it and move on.

Indie publishing works with unconventional authority

Today I heard a succinct and accurate explanation of why indie publishing appeals to me. David Kadavny summarized it so well when he was interviewed on The Creative Penn Podcast (episode July 1, 2018):

“Traditional publishers are looking for traditional authority triggers” and this is no longer relevant in how I choose to learn or share information.

In the indie world, authority is based more on what works than what the gatekeepers have done in the past.

Memoir Writing—Avoiding Self-Indulgence

I like writing in first person, real life, working through the hard times to overcome fear and obstacles, and reach that final goal.

I also enjoy reading this kind of thing–sometimes. And sometimes I find this kind of writing more self-indulgent than satisfying.

In an episode of the Creative Penn podcast, Tim Graham succinctly outlines the difference.

I’m loving this podcast for all sorts of reasons. Check it out.

4 Websites to Simplify Author Marketing

It’s day two of the Florida Writers Conference in Orlando and I have pages of notes and insights from this amazing community of writers.

In the spirit of sharing the wealth, here are four new websites I’ve learned about and can’t wait to explore:

Yasiv: Enter a book title and discover a network of related books based on different variables (genre, topic, etc). Helpful for identifying comps and readership circles.

Twin Word: Enter your keywords and find the other related keywords, including their ranking so you can select the most powerful relevant keywords for your content.

Temi: Advanced speech recognition software.

Kindlepreneur: In-depth info on marketing Kindle books

Website recommendations from FWA conference

My Gardening Blog: Yarden Love

I’m converting my yard into a garden, one square-ish foot at a time. The goal: a yard full of edible perennials, Florida native plants, and hardy fruits and veggies that take minimal care from me.

I’m writing about it at YardenLove.com. If you find digging in the dirt relaxing and edible plants exciting, follow along on the blog or on Facebook .