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.




Defining Character Traits for Fiction Novels When it comes to writing a novel, it takes more than plot. You have to have relatable characters, which means they should not be perfect, and they should not conform to the standard. This means that you do not want to create the perfect “good” character, and you do not want to create a 100 percent evil character. Instead, you should strive for a balance. A good character can be flawed, and an evil character can have some good traits. For these reasons, it’s important to define positive and negative character traits either prior to writing the novel or at some point during the writing process.


  Types of Character Traits

  Character traits can fall into many different categories, including physical, emotional and psychological. The traits you choose may depend on     the type of character you are creating or the overall theme of your fiction novel.

Physical Traits

The physical traits of your characters include their height, eye color, hair color, tattoos and body modifications, but you can go beyond this and give your characters certain physical defects, like one limb shorter than the other, a defined limp from an old injury and even ailments that limit their physical movements. Don’t be afraid to give your characters physical flaws or even a chronic illness or condition because they can enhance the appeal of the book, deepen the writing and even contribute to the subplots or main plot.

Emotional Traits

When we think of emotions, we tend to think of the basics, happy, sad, angry, in love and jealous or greedy. While these are a good start, don’t forget about the lesser tackled emotions and emotional malfunctions, including being impulsive, having anger management disorders, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and even drug and alcohol dependency. How a character deals with or doesn’t deal with their emotional hang-ups can make for great writing. For example, if your character has a drug addiction, like Avia, in AVIA I – Thunderstorms and .45s, getting that next fix may be just as important to your character as solving or committing the crime and create a conflicting duality in goals and actions that can lead to interesting plot twists.


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Are you trying to think of ways to jumpstart your book’s visibility so that you increase your sales? If you are, you may be thinking about giving your book away for free either on a temporary basis on a permanent basis. There are lots of reasons authors choose to give their work away, and lots of reasons why authors don’t give their books away. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.

1. Your Free Readers Will Talk About Your Book

The hope is that by giving your book away for free, you will attract additional readers for the book via word of mouth who will buy it later. We all want this to be true. We want to be able to create a firestorm over our books and attract thousands of readers so that those readers will tell other book lovers so that, all of a sudden, you’re booming.

The reality is that free books are not valued as highly by readers as books there they plunked down a few dollars. This is like that spiral vegetable slicer you got at the grocery store because you listened to the sales pitch for a $50 manual slicer/dicer/chopper. You’re super happy to get that spiral vegetable slicer because you want spiral French fries and potato chips. You eager run away from the sales counter, complete your grocery shopping, buy a few more potatoes and vegetables than normal, and run home to try out that new free spiral vegetable slicer. You open the small box and find a razorblade on a pole. After realizing just how dangerous that little contraption is, you box it up quick and shove it in a closet. Your free book is going to be viewed a lot like that razorblade on a pole. It’s a neat little thing that is nice to have, but you’re probably never going to use it because the odds of seriously cutting yourself are extremely high. The reader thinks the same thing of your free book. It may be good, but the odds are not in favor of a free book being any good. After all, in order to get it to move, the author had to give it away.

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2. Your Free Readers Will Review Your Book

The hope here is that your free readers will go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or wherever they got your free book and post a review, and the more reviews you get, the more likely you are to attract additional readers. This goes hand-in-hand with number one. In order to review your book, the reader has to read your book, and readers are, unfortunately, less likely to read a free book than they are one they purchased. Now, there are people who solely go after free books to read them, and they only acquire free books. Your free book may attract a few of those people, and maybe they’ll review it. However, the odds are not in favor that your free book downloader will place an Amazon review, unless they really really hated or loved the book.

3. Lots of People Will Download It, Increasing Your Rank and Exposure

This is an old advantage. It used to be that free books and paid books were ranked in the same lists. This gave the author the ability to give away a book and permanently increase their book’s ranking, specifically on Amazon, which is about 80% of the book sales market currently. This meant that once the book reverted back to its paid status, it kept its new rank, and this was highly advantageous for indie authors who needed more exposure and could not afford paid advertising or paid anything.

Amazon has since done away with this. There are 2 ranking lists, including paid and free. When you make your book free to readers, it goes on the FREE list, and it’s rank is increased for every free version downloaded. Once your free promotion ends, the book reverts back to the paid lists and loses every slot it gained.

Now, if you are wondering if you should give your book away for free, that decision is up to you. If you have given your book away or refuse to give it away, let us know your reaosns in the comments.



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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The first thing you should know is that agents want you to have an absolutely technically flawless manuscript before you start submitting.  This means there cannot be any punctuation, spelling, grammar or sentence structure errors, and ideally, you’ve got one hell of a plot and some amazing character’s too. This means that submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers prior to having it finished and perfect is highly frowned upon.  You are risking looking like an amateur at best and a crap author or not serious author at worst. If you are even considering this, you better clear your schedule, and you better bring your writing “A” game.

Why You Maybe Want to Start Submitting Anyway

If you are still contemplating this treacherous time-saver, here’s some reasons and the drawbacks to those reasons.

1. The Submission Process Can Take Months and Sometimes Years

Humans, unfortunately, do not have an unlimited lifespan. This means there may not be years to wait if you want to be a successful and published author and enjoy the fruits of your labor, and this can be especially true if your an older author whose already had a career is and is now doing the author thing that you’ve always wanted to do. If you want to cut weeks and months off your agent or publisher search, you start submitting the minute you can guess a word count, and you have a solid first 30 pages or three chapters.

When you send out your initial submission packet via email, agent’s typically want a query letter, short or long synopsis and the first three chapters or 30 pages.  If you have this much, and it looks damned good, you can start.

The Potential Problems

The caveat is that once you submit those pages, you cannot touch them again.  You better damned well leave them alone and not change anything unless you find a typo or missing word.

Your second problem is that whatever word count you listed in your query is the word count you have to meet or stick to.  This means that if you told the agent you have an 80k manuscript, you better have a word count that rounds to 80k by the time any agent or publisher request your full manuscript. To have a significantly different word count than your query alerts the agent that you were still working on it when you began the submission process.


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For any new writer, there is a guide in which to follow known as the five draft method. For those of us who have followed this method, we have come to know the steps quite well. There is, of course, the first draft which is more or less dumping ideas onto a page, sort of a vomit stage, second draft which is making sense of it all perhaps even creating an outline to follow for the story, the third which is starting to put the novel into manuscript form creating the rough draft, the forth which is basically doing surgery where grammar punctuation along with overall flow of novel is looked over and edited. Then comes what many consider the most critical stage of all, the fifth and final draft. This one is perhaps the most crucial of them all and in doing it there are some helpful hints that could keep a writer on task. 



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When writing a fiction novel, the author needs to be prepared to write several drafts. It will take at least five drafts before a person has a finished product and something that they can be proud of. There are some tips when working on the fourth draft of the novel. This is called the Analytical draft or the surgical draft. Each line of the writing is closely examined and picked apart until it flows properly. 

View Your Draft Objectively
When editing the paper at this stage the story needs to be looked at from an analytical point of view. There can be some things removed at this time. If something does not make sense or if there is something that is too wordy it needs to be removed. There also may need to be some things added to clarify the plot. Details and additional information should be added. This will help make the plot clear and easy for the reader to understand. This is the time to make sure that the plot is easy to follow and it makes sense to the reader. 

Fix Grammar, Flow, Punctuation and Spelling as You See it
After you've picked your story apart, check grammar, spelling, sentence structure and flow A lot of times, this can be done at the same time you read through your novel, so you can make this one continuous process, but it you need to seperate tasks, that's okay too.

Cosider a Second Set of Eyes
An author can edit their own paper but it does have to have another person look it over as well. A writer is very close to their work and they know what they are trying to express. At times what is in their mind may not come across clearly on paper. Once they have picked apart their story and added or deleted items as needed, they should have someone else read it over. The reader can then tell the author if their ideas are coming through clearly and if their story makes sense. At this time any additional changes can be made to be sure that the story makes sense. Once the author has all of this information they can make additional changes and prepare to write the final draft. 

At this time the story s not complete but the author is one step closer to having their book done. When writing any book especially a fiction book it is going to take several drafts to have a final product. When the book is finished the author can share their work with others and be proud of what they have accomplished.

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Those venturing to write their first novel could consider it to be a challenging task. It doesn't help that there are arguments about how many drafts a writer should do of their novel before venturing to have it published. There are even debates about what each draft represents for some the third draft is either a midway point or even the final draft. However, when we look carefully at what is commonly known as the 5 draft method, which by the way is the perfect guidelines for any new author to follow we discover that the third draft is actually the rough draft of the novel going into manuscript form. So, elaborating on this helpful method we will closely examine what it will mean for a new writer to go into writing the third draft of a fiction novel or in this case the rough draft. 

  • Let the creativity flow: It is important to remember that in this stage, no one else will ever have to read what is written. All that is being done here is putting the story which has been in ideas and outlines during draft one and two into manuscript form for the first time. In other words, the framework is being done, but it doesn't have to be perfect, just start creating the story in the structure of the manuscript that is all that is needed at this point. 
  • Don't worry about research: Yes, if a novel deals with a specific part of history or a certain region of the world we want to make sure we have some authenticity to the story. However, at this stage, it is just important to get the overall story down on paper these fine details of ensuring things are realistically correct can come later. Remember even in fiction it is essential to have some truth involved but again research is secondary at this point. One thing that can be done is making notes onto manuscript about researching something further, and then keep writing on. 
  • Set a specific timeline to finish the draft: This might be difficult for some who already have a busy schedule but being able to set a goal to finish the rough draft will help individuals to stay on task. Don't let even writer's block get the better of you if you can't figure out a specific part that you have reached in the manuscript but know clearly something that happens later skip ahead and write that part first. Just keep the story moving ahead. 
  • Don't over-analyze: This can't be stressed enough some want to criticize their work even at this point. But this isn't the time to do that, the time to start to look the manuscript over pick it apart and start editing comes in the two later drafts. Again this one is all about getting the story down in manuscript form, it isn't the time to be a perfectionist about the story. 

The bottom line is that if we don't stress it too much the third draft can actually be fun. It is the time to see our story start to take shape, and come to life for the first time. So, enjoy the literary process and keep on writing.

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When writing a novel there are many steps involved in order to get the perfect end result of a completed and entertaining novel. You first have to plan and write the first draft of your novel but that is only half of the work, you then have to approach the second draft of your novel and really make sure it is completed and everything is in order before being sent to the publisher. 

Re-reading and Refreshing Yourself on the Story

The best method of approaching your second draft of your novel is to refresh yourself and reread the first draft first so that you are fully aware and prepared when starting the second draft. After re-reading make sure to sit back and take time to contemplate what you wrote and really dissect what you like and dislike about your novel that way you can make any necessary adjustments prior to even starting your second draft. After you read through it and came up with a plan of action as to what you want to change and what you would like to keep with your novel, you can then begin to write your second draft of your novel confidently. 

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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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Writing and Editing Books on Amazon












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Journals for Writers on Amazon








Tablets for Writers on Amazon



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