Writing Tips



Writing a novel is not for the feint of heart.  It is a huge undertaking that can take months or even years to complete, depending on the amount of research and detail you need to you put into your work of fiction or non-fiction.  Even knowing this, it can feel like it's taking too long to complete your novel, or that you'll never finish.  If you feel that way, it may benefit you to read a few tips and tricks on writing and promoting your fiction in order to speed up the process without diminishing your book's quality or value to your readers.

One of the ways you can speed up the process is by creating an outline or a breif synopsis of the plot as well as short character descriptions. This can help you get your ideas down so that you do not have to continuously stop and think, What happens next? 

Of course, utilizing a good novel planning and writing book, like Ultimate Novel Planning Workbook: Worksheets for the Writer, Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook, Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book (Helping Writers Become Authors 2) and Ready, Set, Write: Level 1, may help keep you focused and on the productive writing path.

For more writer tips and tricks, keep reading.  You're sure to find some ideas to help keep you on the path to publication.




Are you looking for an affordable way to edit your fiction manuscript? If you are, the first thing that may come to your mind is hiring an editor. While hiring an editor offers benefits, like taking th editing off your hands and allowing you to get started on your next book while your editor works on your current book, it can be rather pricey.

Going Rates for Book Editorial Services

If you’ve taken a gander at my editing services, which I call Extreme Editing, you know that I charge $40 per 1,000 words, and you’re probably thinking, Holy Shit! That’s $3,200 for an 80k book! To be fair, that’s not proofreading. My extreme editing is a combination of line editing plus developmental editing. This means I fix what I can by adding description and clarifying passages, and I leave comments for things that need changed but have to be changed by you. Now, you’re wondering if that’s a fair price. Well, take a look at some of the other going rates. Fair Warning – I’ve never used any of these guys, so I cannot vouch for their services.

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If you have two books that you want to release at roughly the same time or two book ideas, you may be tempted to write them at the same time. While there are some good reasons to do this, there are also some downsides. Read more to learn if working on two books at the same time would be right for you.

Pros of Working on Two Books at the Same Time

There are a couple very valid reasons for working on two books at the same time. The biggest reason is that you’ll be able to control your release dates. If you want to release a book every two or three months, you can do that once you have multiple books finished, assuming you are self-publishing.


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If you’re like every other writer I’ve met, you get random ideas for novels that you know would be great and well-received by readers, but it’s not always convenient to start working on a new novel, especially if you’re already working on a single title or the next book in your series. So, what’s the best way to handle all these ideas?

How to Get the Ideas Down so You Can Write Them Later

The biggest problem with being a very prolific author is the number of ideas that you may have for various novels. Thankfully, you can efficiently handle these ideas so that you can work on them after you finish your current manuscript.

1. Stop and Write It Down

The first thing to do when you get a new novel idea is to stop and write it down. Since, your idea may have come at an inconvenient time, like at work or while you are running errands, you may only be able to pull out your phone and jot down the idea in your Notes program. I happen to have OneNote on my Android phone for fast idea jotting, but you can also use Google Keep – Notes and Lists, ColorNote, NotePad or Samsung Notes. If you are in a hurry, and your idea is extremely inconvenient, all you want to do here is write down the working title or theme and a few notes on the premise.


For Example: For The Blooddoll Factory, I jotted down – Male Nurse gets job at vampire food factory. And that’s all I wrote down initially. I think I was in the middle of slamming out 45 content orders at the time, but that was enough for me to work on it in more detail later.

2. Elaborate as soon as You Have Time

Your initial notes are not going to do you much good six months from now. You might not even remember the depth of the idea two weeks from the time you wrote it down. Therefore, it’s very important to elaborate as soon as you get some freetime. I recommend within the first week of initially getting the idea. For me, I believe I started elaborating on it later that night as soon as I was finished working for the day. 

At a minimum, you should write down a paragraph of information and any initial character names. 

For Example: When I sat down to write Anything for an A (which should be out by the end of May 2019), I opened a word processor. Your usual word processor works for this step. I saved the file as Anything for an A. The title came to me right away, but you can also use any file name that is descriptive. As you all know, I have a to-do novel that is current titled – Vampire Erotic Thriller. That’s a theme and a genre, not a title.

But during the initial Anything for an A phase, this is all I wrote down at the top of that blank word processor page: 


With time running out, 18 year old senior Kelsey must get straight A’s in order to qualify for a scholarship to college. After living several years on the street with her poverty riddled parents, Kelsey was taken in by a man she calls Uncle Greg, but he only agreed to house her until she graduated from high school. With one semester left, Kelsey has to prove that she has a 4.0 graduating GPA in order to get a free ride to college via an exclusive scholarship, and that means getting straight A’s her final semester and somehow convincing the teachers to change her previous grades. If she can’t do it, she knows she’ll have to go back on the streets.


Kelsey - girl who needs straight A's

Carl - her best friend

Mr. Hattrick – Principal

3. 5,000 to 10,000 Words 

To really make sure you get this novel idea finished in the intermediate to distant future, you’re going to have to go beyond your paragraph and character list within three to four weeks of having the idea. I recommend within the first week, so I’m being lenient with my official timeframe. What you should strive to do is get to a solid rest point in your current work. You may even want to jot down a few notes at the end to make sure you can pick it back up in two to three days. 

Next, you need to open your new novel word document and write. Ideally, you’ll want to thrown down between 5,000 and 10,000 words in order to get a really good start on that book. This should take you between two and four days, so you won’t be putting a significant delay on your current work, but you will be ensuring that you can pick up this future novel right where you left off, and you’ll see XXXX number of words already written, so this will boost your confidence when you finally get a chance to really sit down and write it.

4. Save and Go Back to Your Current Project

Once you have at least the first chapter done on your new work of fiction, save the document and return to your current project. Once you finish your current project and either start the submission process to find an agent or publisher or self-publish, you can resume the new idea. 

By handling multiple novel ideas in this manner, you are guaranteed to always have your next book idea ready and waiting on you. Not to mention, you’ll be less likely to forget that fantastic book idea you had during work, yoga or running errands.


Read More on Drafting Your Novel


  1. The Minimalist’s Way to Start a First Draft ...
  2.  Best Approaches to Start a Second Draft ...
  3. Writing the Third Draft of a Fiction Novel ...
  4. How to Write the Fourth Draft of a Fiction Novel ...
  5. How to Write the Fifth and Final Draft of a Novel ...
  6. How Many Drafts Should You Put on a Fiction Novel? ...



Read more from Stacey Carroll


Blooddoll2FrontCover01THE BLOODDOLL FACTORY II Kindle Edition


William Wilson is torn as a new clinic director (Kane Devonshire) takes over ESA and continues to sell babies as vampire food. While William doesn’t believe the vampire is worse than Blackwell, his Bonded just might be. The violent redhead has been known to attack every human she encounters. She’s unpredictable, dangerous and might just have to be put down along with Kane. 



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If you’re submitting to agents in order to attain representation for a traditional publishing contract, you may be wondering what to do after you’ve completely exhausted your list. If you haven’t created a list of agents, there is one here that includes thriller and horror agents as well as links where you can find more agents. If you need an efficient way to create a list of agents and keep track of your submissions, you can find that information here.

So, You’ve Reached the End of Your Agent List

First, let me congratulate you for submitting to all the viable agents in your genre. I’m sure it was not an easy task, and you are probably already receiving rejection letters. Stay strong. Hopefully, here in a few weeks all your effort will pay off, and you’ll get the coveted request for your full manuscript and an offer of representation. However, until then, you’ll need to find ways to keep yourself occupied and in good spirits. Once you reach the end of your literary agent list, you’ll still have months to wait until all those submissions time-out, and it’s best to stay busy and look ahead not behind you. Whatever you do, you do not want to sit and stagnate.


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Have you heard of the term over-editing? If you’re a fiction or non-fiction author, you’ve probably run across this term more than once. It obviously means, you’d done too much editing on your current manuscript, but what is the definition of too much editing?

Over-Editing – A Definition

Over-editing occurs when the editing process fails to move the book forward or make the content of the book cleaner and/or more appealing to readers.


I understand that the definition is extremely vague, so let’s add some definable ideas that are actionable. If you find yourself re-editing the same paragraph, chapter or section over and over again, you are over-editing. If at any point your editing hinders your forward progress, you are over-editing. The editing process on your manuscript should not take years. It should take a couple months at most. This, of course, assumes that you aren’t editing a book full of technical information or math problems, but for the majority of writers, self-editing should take a couple of months at most.

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(In a Word Processor.  This assumes you will have your original cover from your Amazon Book that you can easily adjust to fit the dimensions)

Do you want to create your own paperback cover or hardback cover for a book published through Barnes and Noble Press? You can do this with your favorite word processor such as Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer. If you use Microsoft Word, Barnes and Noble Press has some templates to help you get started.  Here is a quick guide with how to create a paperback cover for Barnes and Noble on your own PC or Mac.


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Third person fiction is the most common form of narrative. It’s the easiest perspective to write from, because it allows a lot of flexibility in how you craft the narrative. You can write as an omniscient observer or as a narrator limited to only the perspective of the characters in the scene. You can even stay attached to the perspective of a single character, without having to resort to using the first person. Here are some pros and cons of writing fiction in the third person.

PRO: It’s the perspective most readers are familiar and comfortable with.

Many readers don’t like first-person or second-person perspective in fiction. Most readers prefer third person. It’s the most common perspective in fiction writing, so it’s the one most readers are comfortable reading. Some people really don’t like being forced into the perspective of a single character as in first-person fiction. Others find second-person (where you are put into the shoes of the protagonist) confusing and disorienting. Third-person fiction is the most straightforward and easiest to write. While first-person and second-person perspective can work well when written well, most stories work well when written in third-person.


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Writing a book and publishing a book are only the first steps to author success.  This is because you could have written a great book, but this does not matter if no one knows about it. Thankfully, there are promotional tools and things you can do to help spread the word.

Social media is a great place to promote your book. You can potentially reach thousnads and even millions of people with properly timed and hashtagged tweets and posts. You can also start a blog, create promotional and informative articles and share those across your social media accounts.  There are even sites where you can promote your book for free.

Additionally, there are also several Amazon books available to get you gather book promotion ideas so that you can create your own custom book promotion strategy.  Great Noevel marketing books include:

  1. Novel Marketing: Making Your Author Brand Work for You & Your Books
  2. How to Market a Book Third Edition (Books for Writers)
  3. The Kindle Publishing Bible: How To Sell More Kindle Ebooks on Amazon (Step-by-Step Instructions On Self-Publishing And Marketing Your Books) (Kindle Bible Book 1)
  4. How Your Book Sells Itself: 10 Ways Your Book is Your Ultimate Marketing Tool (Marketing for Authors)
  5. Sell More Books!: Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors Rethinking Book Publicity after the Digital Revolutions
  6. Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Publishing) (Volume 2)
  7. 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Real World Edition: Authors: How to sell more books, ebooks, multi-media books, audios, videos, white papers, and other information products in the real world


In addition to the above helpful books, here are a few articles to help you self-promote your books.



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