Your book has covered a lot of ground to reach Act 3. Now its time for reader payoff. If you’re a writer, these questions will help you ensure Act 3 is clear and rewarding for readers. If you’re a critical reader, responding to these questions will help you provide invaluable feedback to the writer. (Missed my previous checklists? You may like to start with Chapter 1 or Act 1.)
If you want to craft a rich world for readers to immerse themselves in, geography is your friend. By selecting specific geographical features, you can authentically shape everything from land and architecture, to transport and trade, and farming to food and fashion -and many of your characters potential jobs. This blog is a list of geographical features, ideas and prompts to help you use geography to shape the physical culture of your world, including its impact on religious beliefs.
Some writers dread the middle of a novel. Its an easy place for characters, themes, plots and subplots to get stuck, lost, or to go on unnecessary tangents. The critical reader questions in this post are designed to help reader feedback to support the writer in keeping Act 2 on track, and ensuring it gives the reader a good experience.
What’s life like in your SFF world? What sort of housing, jobs, accommodation, work and family life do people have? What are your civilisations’ attitudes to birth, death, marriage, gender and sexual diversity? And how may aspects of life vary depending on the social, political and economic status of your characters? In this post, I’ll provide prompts to help you unpack and answer these questions for your cast, focusing on world building life.
Unlike social media posts, your author newsletter is a direct line to people interested in hearing from you, and receiving your content. It sits in an inbox where interested people can read it a their leisure, instead of on a social media feed where it may be drowned out by thousands of posts vying for attention. Newsletters effectively reach your people, but what you can offer in yours to make it worthwhile for your subscribers?
Deciding what to put on your author website can seem daunting, especially if you publish it before your first book. But your author bio and writing samples can go on your site, and you can start blogging at any time. I’ll suggest site content, and give tips on carefully selecting your theme in this post. I’ll also recommend pluggins for Wordpress (sorry, I don’t do Wix or Squarespace, though I hear good things). Ultimately, I’ll share what I’ve learnt tweaking my site and blog over the past ten months (yes, as an unpublished author 😉), to help you hit the ground running with yours.
Many writers who joined Twitter after Emma Lombard (in my case in 2019), have learnt a lot from her. Not just about how to Twitter as a writer, but also from her blog posts and the example she’s set in areas like developing your author platform as an unpublished author. But Emma is no longer unpublished. I’m excited to say that her debut novel, historical fiction Discerning Grace (book 1) is out now, and to be posting this interview with Emma about it.
What lies beyond querying, should we be fortunate enough to have a literary agent offer us representation? In this interview, Halla Williams describes how she came to write the #Pitmad pitch which in March 2020 led to signing with her literary agent, and what signing and the early stages of working with her agent have been like, over the course of a year like few others.
If you’re querying, you’re most likely hoping to snag a literary agent. But what about the other option -Small Presses? If you consider signing with one, how will you know you’ve found the right one for this particular project, or for you as an author? And what is signing and working with a Small Press like? In these interviews, I talk to Nikky Lee, C.G. Volgars and Alexandra Beaumont about their experience of querying, identifying the right Indie Publisher, and the early stages of working with their publisher.
Great, you’ve found a critical reader or a story to read! How can you ensure that working with the reader or the writer is a positive, productive experience? I’d like to say the hard part is finding each other and from now on it will all be sunshine and rainbows, but I’ve heard stories of critical reader feedback like, “This is wrong. That was poorly done. You’re such a bad writer.” Or maybe you agreed to read a novel, you get it and… it’s not your cup of tea, or so raw that just re-reading to figure out what’s happening will take more time than you want to give it. To help you avoid (or recognise and exit) these situations, and to create effective partnerships, here’s 6 tips for positive partnerships, and 6 tips for productive partnerships.