Preptober Week 4: What Is A Zero Draft and Why You Should Use One!

Hey lovelies!

It is week four of Preptober and you know what that means – NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. This week, I go into detail about the not-so-mysterious-yet-overlooked powerhouse in the author and screenwriter arsenal: The Zero Draft.

What In the World Is a Zero Draft

Now, I know what you’re thinking, what the heck is this thing? Isn’t draft one enough? Why should I torture myself with another copy?

That’s the beauty of a zero draft. It’s not actually a “draft.” Rather an amalgamation of scenes and ideas you put in a more structured format than your notebook (unless you’re using a notebook for zero drafting).

This type of writing is different from normal written responses in that it is understood to be your free-flowing initial thoughts about a topic or question. You might think of it as brainstorming in prose form.

DiscoveringHistory.org

Unlike draft one, you don’t have to stick with the rigid rules of the first draft. It’s just for you to get your ideas out there in a somewhat orderly fashion. That’s what makes it so powerful as opposed to straight outlining.

I’ve included an example of what my zero draft looks like for my NaNoWriMo project this year. It’s not published yet, so no you won’t be able to see any details!

My NaNoWriMo 2020 project. I used Kat O’Keefe’s 3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapter method

Pantsers Can Use It Too!

I’m someone who loves to draft by the seat of her pants, but like I said in the video, I don’t approach every project the same way. Most of the time I identify as a beatser (one who relies on beat sheets instead of outlines).

As you can see from the screenshot above, I am using Kat O’Keefe’s popular 3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapter structure. To play Devil’s Advocate, I’ve taken this and made it into more of a beat sheet than an outline since I rarely use the chapter aspect. This is after I’ve fleshed out the premise (book blurb), the Pixar Story Spine and the basic beat sheet in Trello.

I put Trello boards together prior to Zero Drafting

But isn’t this “plotting?” No, it isn’t. There’s nothing planned out save for the main beats I know I want to hit in the story. If it takes a few more chapters to get there, that’s fine! The way I use this method leaves me open to insert scenes, aspects of the world, foreshadowing, and sub-plots virtually wherever I want.

That’s what makes zero drafting so wonderful for pansters too! You don’t have to have anything readily available to zero draft. Just sit and bleed on the page.

Why You Should Use One

  • Get books out faster: For rapid release authors like myself, having the zero drafts of multiple titles done at once helps the process go a lot smoother. I already know where I’m going in the next installment mostly!
  • Avoid getting stuck: The most annoying part of being a panster is getting to that one point in the novel and getting stuck! It sucks and often results in unfinished and neglected manuscripts.!
  • NaNoWriMo runs smoother: One of the perks for NaNoWrimo is much like the first point. It can be very hectic and result in burn-out. Having your zero draft available while meeting daily wordcounts less stressful.
  • Easier revisions: You already have a draft set aside that can be updated each time you work on a chapter. Keeping your zero draft updated (or turning it into a reverse outline), can help make revisions less of a pain in the butt.

Closing Thoughts

There is no right or wrong way to use (or not to use) a zero draft. What I do with mine may not work for you, and that’s perfectly fine. My hope is that this blog post has helped you understand what a zero draft is and what it can do for you.

Here are some resources for you to check out:

Guest Post: Worldbuilding by WorldBreaking by @KeirAlekseii

Greeting lovelies!

There are many challenges when it comes to crafting a novel from the ground up. Among them, building an immersive world that won’t baffle, confuse or frustrate readers. Often times, this is a part of the writing process that is overlooked, thus creating a flat and sometimes boring experience.

For today’s guest post, Keir Alekseii takes us on a journey on how she builds her worlds that hopefully helps you build yours!

Let’s see what she has to say:


Every writer has their own strengths. For some, character-building is cake. Others are power plotters. There are writers that have lyrical prose, and there are world builders.

Me? I’m a world breaker.

Sure, “a broken world” is the setting of every dystopian novel you’ve ever read. But it plays a big role in fantasy, too, particularly in my favorite sub-genre: Urban Fantasy. Consider Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, where magic breaks the world. Or maybe you’re more of a Kim Harrison fan, where Rachel Morgan lives in a world broken by genetically modified tomatoes. How many of our beloved heroes are rushing to prevent the world from becoming broken, or more broken?



Since this obsession of mine began, breaking has become my primary method of building.

KeirAlekseii



Steps to “Break” Your World

Photo by Khaled Akacha from Pexels

The first step in this process is, of course, to figure out what causes the break. I’ve discovered that sometimes the answer seems innocuous, like a tomato. Other times, magic might “return” and topple skyscrapers. Or, maybe the really big earthquake finally happens.

Sometimes, breaking the world looks a lot like fixing it. What if COVID-19 really were a hoax? Or maybe it just didn’t happen at all. By my definition, “breaking the world,” isn’t about destruction so much as it’s about making a change that has enough of an effect that the resulting setting is a brand new environment, with brand new problems for my characters to deal with. This is probably why I like the Hollows’ tomato so much. It was meant to fix the world, but instead it created a plague that killed humans and outed non-humans. The butterfly effect that this had on Rachel Morgan’s problems was one of the most compelling pieces of her puzzle, to me. (Disclaimer: I’m a molecular biologist, so I may be biased)

That brings me to step two of this process: now what? Now that the world is broken, what does it look like? This ripple effect is how you know you’ve accomplished a worldbreaking. If the change you made affects communities and countries, not just your individual characters, you’ve probably succeeded. Some (boring) questions I ask myself to figure out if I’ve done it right are: has the economy changed? Is healthcare the same? How has this affected daily life for people on the street? How did major political and religious bodies react or change?

As boring as these questions are, you can’t really say you’ve done “world” breaking if only the life of your characters has changed. No, every inhabitant of the newly broken world needs to be tangibly affected by the “breaking” action. There should be a distinct before and after.

Depending on how you break things, your jumping off point will be different. For example, a world broken by magic looks a lot different to a world broken by a tomato, which is also different to earthquakes or nuclear bombs. If you’re like me, you know that one of the nicest things about fiction, particularly fantasy, is that you don’t have to be realistic in how you decide to break things. You can do it with dragons, magic, or gods, as easily as with tsunamis, earthquakes or nukes. Better yet, you’re not limited to breaking just your world. There are AU (alternate universe) fanfiction writers who skillfully break secondary worlds all the time, just to give our favorite characters a chance to try something new. Or someone new, but that’s a different discussion.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Once you’ve broken things, assessed and catalogued the global consequences, and have a good handle on any new or altered cultures, beliefs or languages… well, you’ve pretty much built a new world. Now what?

Now we stray into familiar territory: if you’re writing a story, step three is about your characters. In my opinion, once the breaking is done, the most important question is: what new or interesting problems do my characters encounter in this setting? After all, that’s why you’re giving a new playground. Of course, if the answer to this is “nothing,” then you should try breaking something else.

Perhaps what you thought broke the world is just the tip of the iceberg. At this point, you can try using one of your characters to do more of the breaking. I’m a sucker for a protagonist that accidentally sets off the apocalypse, especially if they’re desperately trying to find an “undo” button. You can also ask yourself: does your character react to the change in a way that makes other dominoes fall? Or is something done to them, after that first change, that tips the whole world into chaos?

For some writers, the more you think about this, the more you’ll realize that your own worldbuilding process has often been about breaking things, and seeing what happens next. For me, I build as often as I break, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a preference. I’m sure you can guess what that is. Ultimately, whether you put your characters into a broken world, or use them as tools for the breaking, I guarantee that this perspective will give you a new angle to write from.

So, go break something.


About the Author

Keir grew up at the knee of Arilyn Moonblade, fought Thread on Pern, and went to Battle School with Ender Wiggin. After two and a half decades reading books of all shapes, sizes and genres, she finally settled on a favorite niche: Urban Fantasy. Since then, Keir has read (and re-read) The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, the Meredith Gentry series by Laurel K. Hamilton, and the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. You know, just to name a few. As a writer, she aims to achieve similar success at building deep and fanciful worlds with compelling characters that you will never admit you cried with, for or over. Keir has published two short stories: The Clock Tower Girl (The Written Word Mag, October, 2008) and Silver Burdens (Lorelei Signal, July, 2008) and was privileged to become a Cropper Writing Workshop resident (2019) and a Voices of Colour fellow (2020) to the MVCWI, which was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Places You can Find Keir:

Guest Post: What You Should Do to Build Your Author Platform by @brittweisrock

Hello lovelies!

Writing a book in and of itself is a painful endeavor, but, and this might not come as a surprise, it’s actually the easiest part of being an author.

In a world full of commentary about what you should do after writing, sometimes it’s hard to discern what to do!

Let’s take a look at what soon-to-be-published author, Britt Weisrock (Triad) says about the steps she takes to build her platform daily!


“Writing. We’re all here because we’re writers. We have an innate desire to take words, string them together, and create new worlds, illicit emotions, you know the fun stuff we all love, but what happens when you’ve finished a project and are looking to take the next step?

I found myself in this exact position around seven months ago.

Find Your Niche In Social Media

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

What I’ve learned is: do your research. Social media has a power that reaches beyond the typical stretch. Start to create professional social media accounts. I recommend Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube. These are currently at the top of the pile for extending your reach and gaining an audience. If you’re an overachiever, heck shoot for all of them, but juggling all apps might lead to feeling burnt out, so do be careful not to over-extend yourself.

For me, I found my niche in the ‘Bookstagram’ Community on Instagram. My love for books and taking photos allowed me to grow a platform with an engaged audience. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

I find people love to be entertained, so give them something entertaining.

Do You Have a Blog/Personal Website?

Do you blog? Great! Start reviewing books or writing something near and dear on a consistent basis. It’s a great way to get your name and writing out there–no matter how small the audience at first. Are you better at photos or even videos? TikTok–which hosts a large community known as ‘BookTok.’ It’s an excellent place to make short fifteen-sixty second videos that capture your ideal audience by an algorithm.

If you have the means, look into a personal website. Before you get worried about cost–there are plenty of sites offering free versions of their service you can always upgrade later. I tend to favor Wix; they provide an easy to use platform with plenty of free alternatives until you’re ready to expand. You’re going to want that website to showcase yourself and your work because a huge part of writing is the ability to sell yourself along with your book/work. Having a website also offers the opportunity to send newsletters and gain email subscribers, which become a critical part of mailing out information.

What Publishing Path Are You Taking?

Photo by Jake Young on Unsplash

As for me, I wrote a book (Triad) and wasn’t sure what to do with it. I was a fresh writer with no real experience in the community and in need of guidance. Did I want to query agents? Did I want to query small presses? Was I interested in self-publishing? I wasn’t sure. I turned to my old friend, Google, to see if she had any ideas. And it was then I stumbled across something on Twitter—PitMad, now, if you’re unfamiliar—I’m going to give you a crash course!

PitMads are Twitter events held every couple of months where writers of all genres can ‘pitch’ their work via a tweet. Two hundred eighty characters of pure pressure to select the right words, hashtag the proper things. But, under the hair-pulling pressure of that character limit lies an opportunity–an opportunity for an agent or publisher to see your pitch and give it a ‘like.’ 

Once you get that golden like, the work begins!

Every agent or publisher is different. Some may require a full synopsis, others a short one. Some may ask for a partial manuscript or the full. Some may go by pages. My point is before seeking out agents, publishers, or PitMad—Be prepared. Have your letters, synopsis, bio, and manuscript as polished as it can be. Agents and publishers have lots to read, and you don’t want to give them any extra reasons to set your book down.

Each writer’s journey to publishing varies. Some take more time than others to reach certain milestones but keep going. Keep writing. Keep trying. Your only real challenge is an empty page—fill it.”

—Britt Weisrock


Britt Weisrock, author of Triad was born in Chicago and raised in Northern Wisconsin, where she and her husband, Bryan, live with their daughter and with two cats. She’s a self-described fantasy aficionado and wine-enthusiast who enjoys Mickey ears and taking baths. When she’s not got her head in a book or writing her own, you can usually find her at www.facebook.com/brittweisrock or Twitter @brittweisrock.

Places you can find Brittany:

How You Can Use PrepTober to Maximize NaNoWriMo

Greetings Lovelies! It’s October and you know what that means! NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and it’s time for Preptober!

In this video, I do what I can to help you maximize your Pretober by finding out some of the crucial things you will likely be using for NaNoWriMo!

Ten Tip on How to Plan Ahead

As you can see, I outlined ten things I do to help get things ready for NaNo. Doing these things during Preptober can help alleviate stress because you already know and have what you need, leaving you the ability to just sit and write!

  1. Find an organizational tool > This can be Trello, a notebook, a word doc, whatever. Just organize your note ahead of time so you aren’t frantically searching things out! Nothing is more stressing than to break the flow by having to do research you lost on a sticky note or forgot to do during Preptober. Having a word tracker is also a powerful tool during this time. WriteTrack or Pacemaker Novel are good ones to look into!
  2. Have a Self-Care System > NaNo creates burn-out. Let’s face it. Why else do authors begin and never finish? That’s right. Burn-out. Take a day where you do nothing but care for yourself. These are usually Sundays for me because my hubby is off and the kids are out of school.
  3. Treat Yo’Self > Along with a self-care system, have a reward system in play! On your off day (if you stayed on track), do something – anything! – other than writing. Watch a movie, go for a walk, read, sleep, whatever! Take care of yourself and give that brain a break!
  4. Have a Writing Candle / Incense > This is an optional one, but it’s one I find really helps train my body and mind to settle into writing. The olfactory system is a memory system and it will become familiar with a routine if it smells a certain smell. I found this works incredibly well when meditating and incorporating it into my writing routine has made a heck of a difference. PS: I typically choose a fall candle (like pumpkin or apple) for NaNo. ❤ Use Preptober to test and find your special candle or incense.
  5. Make a Dedicated Writing Time & Stick to it > JK Rowling once said to make your writing time sacred. This is VERY important during NaNo. It takes a large amount of dedication and setting aside that special hour or so, really makes a difference in finishing or quitting. Use Preptober to tell your family your time and work out it with them.
  6. Find and Accountability Buddy / Critique Partner / Group > Use Preptober to build a network of people who are going through the same thing you are. Challenge each other to finish your wordcount for the day and check in with one another. After NaNo ends, ask if they will critique your work! You can do this via Facebook, Twitter, email or NaNo’s website.
  7. Stock Up on NaNo special snacks / tea / coffee > Use Preptober to find some snacks only for NaNoWriMo. Stash them if you have to. Don’t open a single package until November 1st or the day you start writing! Same with drinks. I am not beyond putting a coffee pot in my room. Really, I’m not. Whatever you like (hopefully healthy) to snack on, stock up. That way you have it and are ready to keep your brain fueled while you’re writing.
  8. Build Your Playlist / White noise > White noise or shamanic drumming are amazing playlists to have going on while writing. Use Preptober to find a background noise comfortable for you. If you’re like me, you love making playlists for your novel. Make those during Preptober so you don’t have to stop and start surfing Youtube during your writing flow. There are some authors who like to work in the dead quiet. That’s more than fine! I am so not one of those. Lol!
  9. Schedule Procrastination > It’s inevitable, guys. It really is. Let yourself schedule procrastination. This is a lot of demand you’re putting on your brain. Just let it happen and catch up as soon as possible. Preptober is the perfect time to schedule these days out.
  10. Cheer yourself on! This is a big deal! > NaNoWriMo has many authors who start and more who drop off before the end. All through Preptober, prepare yourself and cheer yourself on. Brag to your friends, create memes so you can have them ready to post. I do this in Preptober so I don’t have to Google them in November.
As promised, a sneak peek at my Preptober 2020 Trello Board.
FaeTober (c) TwistedFae (I do the drawing contest too)

Finished, Not Perfect

NaNo is not the time to have that inner editor chewing you apart. Shut that b*tch up and get finished! Even if you don’t publish it (and no, you don’t have to), be happy you finished something.

I don’t fiddle or edit or change when I’m going through that first draft.

Nora Roberts

Don’t worry about editing during NaNo. They have months for that via the website. Get it done, let it rest and celebrate yourself with a “Hooray! It’s over! I did it!”

Tell Yourself, It’s Okay to Fail

NaNoWriMo is hard! So, don’t get down on yourself if you fail or don’t finish. There are many who can’t or don’t. Even if you only got the first 10K, you have something to work with and something you can build off of. No one is going to judge you. Do what you did to your inner editor to your inner judge. Shut that b*tch up!

Guest Post: “I Never Wanted To Be a Writer” by @GGGenge

Greetings readers!

While some of us dream of being doctors, astronauts or something else, some of us never really know what we want to do until situations put us in front of the perfect circumstances to give us that “Ah-Ha” moment.

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

Let’s explore such a situation when talking about an idea becomes a dream that evolves into a book series with today’s guest and author of Terra Obscura, a gorgeously written novel that it has been my pleasure to read and review, by G.G Genge.

He Never Wanted To Be A Creative

“I never wanted to be a writer. I wasn’t one of those heady young people with a sticker covered notebook of brilliant story ideas and Dali-esqe doodles. I didn’t dream of someday writing a great novel that would change the world and make me famous all over the globe. I wasn’t one of those kids, but I eventually married one.”

I was the unassuming, closeted nerd hoping no one would notice my fixation with comic books, sci-fi adventure, and weird music. I always loved great character-driven, end of the world-type stories, but I never expected to write them. I did dream of being a filmmaker for a while in high school, probably because I was getting my first taste of drama clubs and high-school theatre, which gave me my first opportunity to stand out, feel empowered, and see how a production could come together with perseverance and hard work. I thought I had a critical eye with my lifetime of naively studying the great films of the 80’s, so therefore I could make movies. I didn’t know where the stories would come from, but I knew I could recognize a good one when I saw it.

Then He Found a StoryTeller

Then life happened, as it does to most. I found various jobs, shared crummy, laugh-filled apartments with smoke-stained walls. I went to university to find myself and slowly did, again never feeling like the kind of guy who could write a novel. It just wasn’t on my radar at all. But I always maintained that critical eye and love of adventure stories. Comic books and Star Trek were my jam, and I was no longer embarrassed by being a nerd. Instead, I relished it and celebrated it with my new nerd brothers and sisters that university had brought into my life. 

In university I met that wannabe writer girl I mentioned earlier. She was beautiful, interesting, and well-read in the classics. She was going to be a writer someday and everyone knew it. She’d tell you soon after you’d met her. We fell in love, and like romantic fools we headed off back-packing around Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East to see how tough we were and if this relationship would break. It didn’t. In fact, it grew stronger and stronger. Long days walking from one Greek village to the next, soaking in the beauty of it all, we’d tell each other the stories we knew. For her part, she’d tell me the long form overviews of the works of authors like Jane Austen and Graham Greene. For my part, I would try to explain in some sort of chronological order the histories of the X-Men, Spider-Man or UFO’s. I could go on for days, weeks even. She loved it, and she still does, I think. I didn’t see it then, but I can see it now. A key part of our relationship has been built on the telling of stories… 

Seeds Are Planted 25 Years Later

Now, fast-forward 25 years and two kids later, life kept happening to both of us. She still hadn’t written her novel yet and we were focused on careers and child raising; but one fate-filled day driving and talking with my daughter and her friend, an idea was born. You see, our daughter is truly a combination of the best and most interesting traits my wife and me. She’s smart and earnest, interesting and unique. At this point in her life, she was inheriting my love of the weirder side of things and was diving deep into the X-Files on Netflix and simultaneously watching a lot of the Murdoch Mysteries on the good ol’ CBC. Most people know what the X-Files is, but the many may not know Murdoch. The Murdoch Mysteries, based on the novels by Maureen Jennings follows the murder investigations of William Murdoch, a turn of the century policeman in Toronto.

Truth be told, I’m not the show’s biggest fan, but what I really appreciate about the program is how well they weave actual historical characters into the story and how Detective Murdoch is always on the cutting edge of radical new forensic sciences like fingerprinting, blood splatter, and whatnot. 

As we drove along, explaining to my daughter’s friend the oddball taste in television viewing in our home, I asserted how awesome it would be if someone took these favourite parts of our shows and combined them. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone did a show about a turn of the century paranormal investigator examining all the classic supernatural tropes but utilizing fringey cutting edge technology available at the time?

“What if you took someone like Charles Fort, the world’s first real paranormal investigator, and told a grand story about his secret life, out in the field examining everything from cryptids to UFO’s, all the while discovering a sweeping ancient conspiracy that has the world in its thrall.” 

Well, the seed was planted and took hold fast.

Immediately, my daughter and I were batting back and forth story ideas and characters that would be fantastic to see, all while this other poor girl from a normal family sat there nodding with very little idea about what we were speaking about and who these characters were. We wanted a monster-of-the-week show but with a great and unfolding back story and charming, flawed characters. We wanted it to be grounded in history yet fantastical, scary yet light-hearted, full of monstrous threats and bizarre science. 

Eventually, the drive was over but the ideas lived on in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt I could even see it. The characters, the relationships, the era, the mission, the steampunk patina and flavour, and of course, the paranormal cases.

Plotting & Development Continues

As the months went by, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the elements I wanted to add. I started keeping a notebook, jotting down every esoteric idea I wanted to explore further and later. But then after three months of taking notes, I started to ask myself what was I doing with this? I realized that if I wanted to see this TV show, the first thing I had to do was write a screenplay. I took an online course and bought some software and started hammering out the pilot, which was by this time, pretty well fleshed out in my mind. It was weird. Here I was writing — I mean seriously writing — something for the first time in 25 years!

But it was flowing.

My wife was supportive and that meant a lot. Having her feel like I wasn’t wasting my time and that the ideas were good gave me enough steam to keep at it. Revisions and editing, editing and revisions, on and on the cycle went until finally one day I had a pretty polished screenplay. I sent it off for some professional criticisms and got back good feedback. “Fix this. More of that. But the core idea is great.” And the more people I shared my work with, the more I kept hearing it. “The core of this idea is great. It’s got a lot of potential.” I entered it in a few competitions and it fared pretty well, even making the top ten in one big one. 

I had plotted a couple of seasons of story arc and got to work on a second episode when it struck me, “What if someone wanted to make this show? What if they wanted to option it? What would I do?” I was so in love with the world I was creating that I was nervous about ever letting it go.

If someone even offered me a modest amount of money, how could I say no? Would I end up losing control? Would I ever get to tell the long story I’d dreamt up? Would the relationships I created ever get to be truly explored and would they resolve as I intended? 

As this existential breakdown played out in my mind over time, I realized that I didn’t want to let it go. I wanted to tell this story and see it through to the end. My wife believed in it and wanted to help, so we decided to make the leap and try co-writing a novel together. The notion both excited and scared me. Did I mention we’re both Aries? Was I risking my marriage to explore some vanity project that would never even see the light of day? Maybe… 

It took a little time to come up with a process that exercised both our writing strengths, but we found it and we were getting good results. We definitely had some tough debates and it is hard to convince a fellow writer that one’s ideas may be better than the others. But it was debate and arguing for what you believe in that was making the book better and stronger. If we couldn’t convince the other of a good idea, then maybe it wasn’t that good. If you wanted to fight to keep a word or a sentence just ‘so’, then you’d better be able to make the case. 

For us, collaboration proved to be a godsend. I also understand why it wouldn’t work for everyone or every project. We were able to combine our shared love of telling stories and to truly appreciate each other’s strengths. It added a whole new dynamic to our marriage as well, which has been really rewarding as a long-term married couple. We explore ideas in new ways, we travel around to various writer events, conventions and book signings. It’s given us something new to grow together with, especially important now as our children are well into their teens. 

“Collaboration was our key to success, but so was determination, passion, and compromise.”

I wanted these stories to be told. I wanted the world to be able to see my vision. Never giving up and finding a path forward go hand in hand. If you really want to tell your story, hold on to your passion, don’t be in a rush, and find the path forward. It’s there, you just may not be able to see it yet. You may wander down the wrong path a bit, but if you are determined to reach your destination, you’ll get there. Just don’t give up. 

Our creepy and exciting series, The Terra Obscura Chronicles is available on our website at www.Terra-Obscura-Chronicles.com. You can also find it on Amazon and Ingramspark. You can find me on Twitter @GGGenge and on Instagram at TerraObscuraOfficial where I am beginning a series showing all of the things that influenced the creation of the world of Terra Obscura.

Are You Missing This Vital Key to a Strong Story?

Hello lovelies! Welcome!

Nothing is worse than dealing with multiple rejections. It stings, it’s disheartening and it can often lead to a rash decision to self-publish.

What many authors don’t realize is you can’t just run headlong into self or indie publishing. It’s competitive, it’s draining and often times you only get 10% of the reviewers to review after months of contacting them. Many authors think a way around this is to resort to bashing people over the head to buy their books.

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and really look at the reasons why an editor is rejecting your work. Because it doesn’t matter if you self-publish if your structure and plot are not page-turning.

In the video, I introduced you to two powerful tools I use when approaching a novel:

  • The Pixar Story Spine
  • Dan Harmon’s Story Circle

I will do more with Dan Harmon’s Story Circle in the next structure video.

The Pixar Story Spine

https://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2013/06/05/back-to-the-story-spine/

This is probably the one thing that revolutionized structure for me. It is so simple, yet powerful enough you can break down any story into it. It is the first step I take when writing a new novel and one I will not move from until I have it right.

Kenn Adams goes deeper into this tool by cutting apart The Incredibles and Wizard of Oz, however, you can cut down popular book titles, boiling them down into this simple structure. Let me show you how easy it is by taking apart a well-known YA dystopian novel.

Once upon a time… there was a teenager named Katniss Everdeen who lived in a world under the control of a ruthless government.

Every day…. she was forced to sneak out of District 12 to find food for her family.

But one day… her sister Prim was chosen to take place in the Hunger Games, a ruthless contest that could result in Prim getting killed.

Because of that… Katniss volunteered to take place in the Hunger Games in her sister’s place.

Because of that… she was whisked to Central City to be prepared for the Games and blew away the competition with her archery skills and firey display in the introduction of the sacrifices.

Because of that… Katniss was pitted against her fellow Tributes in a dynamic fight to the death, suffering betrayal, poisoning and other various hardships, including facing her love for Peeta.

Until finally… Peeta and Katniss decided to commit suicide thus forcing them both to be declared winners.

And ever since then… Katniss decides she’s had enough of the carnage and chooses to go up against President Snow.

See how easy that was? That is the entire structure and plot of the popular series, The Hunger Games.

Next week I will break down Dan Harmon’s Story Circle and how I use it as a rapid release author.

Thank you for reading and if you haven’t already, why not follow my blog for more bookish news and writing tips! You can also subscribe to my newsletter for ARC calls, early cover reveals, character intros and more!

Pre-Orders, Deadlines & ARCs Oh My!

I know my website is a bit of a mess at the moment, but we do have a few pre-orders links up and running! For now we do have Smashwords, Kobo and Apple iBooks links if those are your preferred reading venues.

The ARC interest form for BloodMoon (Vampire Chicago #2) is open for sign-ups! If you want to go right into book two, then go right on ahead and sign that form. Should you get selected to read it, I will add you to my street team so please be sure to let me know your Facebook page!

Another deadline has been put in place for a new YA Dark Urban Fantasy I’m working on alongside Vampire Chicago! Book One will be completed in September, and two in October! I can’t wait to share these gorgeous books with you!

As for blogging, I’ll try to make myself helpful at least once a week! Probably on Saturday or Sunday, so please don’t forget to subscribe!