Tag Archives: techniques

Why Authors Need to Understand Color Blindness

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When it comes to cover design and graphics the last thing most DIY authors will think to consider is color blindness. With almost 10% of the world having some form of color blindness, an amount nearly equal to the population of the United States, this affliction is something everyone should consider when it comes to graphic design. If you suffer from color blindness what comes next can help you create great designs too.

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Types of Color Blindness

It’s good to know the different types of color blindness in order to appreciate what your colorblind viewers will be seeing in your designs.

Color blindness doesn’t mean that you only see in black and white; that is one form of color blindness, although it is very rare.

Color blindness is most common in reds and greens and then less commonly in blues and yellows. This is where color blindness relates to the difficulty in distinguishing between certain shades of certain colors. Some colors tend to blend into one another.

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Some Rules for Designing

  1. Avoid the following color combinations: these color combinations are difficult for people with colorblindness: Green & Red; Green & Brown; Blue & Purple; Green & Blue; Light Green & Yellow; Blue & Grey; Green & Grey; Green & Black.
  2. Make it monochrome: Take the design you’ve made in your design platform and switch it to grayscale mode. When you are seeing it in only black and white and shades of gray, you can easily spot where colors may blend together for someone with colorblindness.
  3. Use high contrast: High contrast is something to consider in design because people affected by colorblindness can usually distinguish between colors when there is a high degree of contrast.
  4. Colors won’t signal emotion: color for most people symbols mood and evokes emotion, but it won’t for people who are color blind. Make sure you are adding good design elements beyond color to relate mood or stir emotion.
  5. Use texture instead: in maps and infographics you can try using texture in addition to color to differentiate between objects.

For designers’ it will help to see what a person who is colorblind might be seeing when they’re viewing their designs. Some of these links are also helpful to designers who suffer from colorblindness. If you are wanting to get it right, here are some links to help you do just that.

  • Colorblind Web Page Filter: here you can just type in a URL and choose which type of colorblind filter you’d like to apply. Now you can see your design in that form of colorblindness.
  • Coblis: another great colorblind simulation application.
  • Color Laboratory: this will help you choose which colors will work well together for a colorblind viewer.
  • Color Oracle: color blindness simulation for Windows, Mac and Linux users.
  • Color contrast visualizer: this will help any designer choose good color combinations.

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Design Help for the Colorblind

There is no reason why you can’t create great designs even if you’re colorblind. All you need to get started are some great color pallets. Below is a link to a site that will help you whether you are colorblind or not, to create pallets that will work in every single design you create.

Coolers: this sight will help you create beautiful color pallets that you can then use in your graphic design software.

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Are You Color Blind?

Many people have some form of color blindness and aren’t aware of it. Here’s a link to a test to find out if color blindness affects you:

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I want to thank my editor for reminding me that I hadn’t included this section in my cover design book! He’s the best! I recommend Dennis to all of my clients:

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Thanks Dennis!

 

 

It’s Easy to Design Your Own Graphics

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You really can design your own book covers and author graphics:

With a bit of training, you can start designing almost right away.

You can get the right software if you know what to look for.

From all my talks with indie authors I’ve had over the years, the biggest turnoff to designing for themselves is the software. Either they can’t find good software or it is too hard to learn.

I normally would tell people to leave the designing to the professionals, but not everyone has that in their budget.

Here are some basic design principles you should know:

Before you go purchase software, let me introduce you to some basic design principles. This way you can see that you will be capable enough to give it a go.

Balance

Most of us can tell what looks well balanced and what doesn’t. What you may not know is that there are different forms of balance.

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  • The visual weight of your design elements can be evenly distributed on either side of the design in order to be symmetrical.
  • Asymmetrical balance is the balance achieved through color, scale, and contrast to achieve flow. Most of your designs will be asymmetrical.

Start looking at book covers and graphic designs and point out the flow. Notice how design elements are chosen for their color, scale, and contrast. How each element works with the others to draw the eye to focal points. The design flow will draw your eyes through the elements of the design and to those focal points.

In a matter of seconds, you can decern the mood, the genre, and the theme of the design, hear its message visually. In those few seconds, a reader will decide whether or not you’ve piqued their interest.

Proximity

Proximity creates a relationship between similar or related elements. These elements are visually connected by way of font, color, size, etc. Basically, the things that are related should be nearer to each other.

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Proximity can create relationships between the visual elements in a composition. It can create relevance, hierarchy, organization, and structure. Or, there can also be no relationship between elements, by breaking organization and structure.

Alignment

You will want to be sure that the elements of your design are in alignment. You might center all the text to the centerfold of the design. You might zigzag the flow by centering the top and bottom text, but then staggering a blurb that you want to stand out. You can align elements across a design or diagonally. Watch for different types of alignment and what appeals to you.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is important because it can help lead the viewer through the message of the design. The viewer’s eye will follow this visual hierarchy.

Each element of your design will carry more or less visual weight. More important elements are given extra visual weight to move them up the hierarchy. You can use larger or bolder fonts to highlight the title, etc. What color you use can determine hierarchy. Large to small, bold to soft, bright to dark, top to bottom, left to right, etc., these all are part of a visual hierarchy.

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Repetition

A large part of graphic design is branding. As an author, you will be developing your own visual brand too. Repetition in design is fundamental, but essential when it comes to branding.

Repetition creates a rhythm, it ties together the consistent elements and strengthens the overall design. There are certain elements that will make viewers instantly recognize your brand. These design elements include your color palette, fonts, and your logo.

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Contrast

The contrast will guide the viewer to key design elements. Two opposing design elements create contrast:

  • dark vs. light
  • contemporary vs. old-fashioned
  • large vs. small, etc.

Organization and a hierarchy can be established with contrast. Using contrast is useful in creating visual interest too.

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Color

Color is basic in design and is also used within other principles of design. Color expresses mood so what palette you choose is very important. As a graphic designer, it’s always helpful to have a basic knowledge of color theory, take the time to do a little research. This will pay off hugely in the long run. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a color wheel for easy reference.

Amazon.com: Cox 133343 Color Wheel 9-1/4"-

Negative Space

The space that is left blank in your design is called negative space. And just like dark matter in space, it’s an area that contains nothing flashy, or no design elements. No design elements except for maybe some background color. If used creatively, negative space can help create a shape and highlight the important components of your design.

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by Brian Caldwell

Typography

Typography is a key element in graphic design. It can speak volumes. Typography can set the mood, establish it’s own hierarchy, and even express genre. It’s important not to use overly used fonts in graphic design. Overly used fonts are most of the font’s that come with your common word software. You are better off purchasing your fonts.

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Rules

The only real rule in graphic design is to not use true black or white in your designs, they won’t transfer correctly in printing or on the web. Other than that you are free to design in your own style, whatever that may be.

These principles are your guide to creating great graphics and building a solid brand.

Now to get your software:

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Before you continue to the next section, you should know that I am NOT affiliated with the software listed below. I won’t earn anything if you purchase one of them from any of the links posted.

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Here are the top graphic design platforms:

Affinity Designer: You can get this platform for a one-time payment of $24.99. (2020)

This is awesome software for the price. It will give you all the tools you need to create great graphics and is easy to learn. This platform is smaller in size than others and won’t bog down your computer. You will have access to free updates and Affinity Designer also runs very smoothly and quickly, even on older machines. Here is the link to the tutorials.

Adobe Photoshop: You can get this platform for $20.99 per month. (2020)

I use Photoshop, I like that you can use it for photo editing and compositing, digital painting, and graphic design. It works for all of my design needs when it comes to creating book covers. Photoshop is an excellent program used for creating images, photo editing, and graphics design or to add special effects to images. Vector graphics are not used in photoshop because it is pixel-based software. Here’s the link to their tutorials.

Gravit Designer: This platform is a free full-featured vector graphic design app.

With this platform, you can design from anywhere on any machine. You won’t have the versatility of Affinity or Adobe, but you can make graphics on the fly for blogposts. Gravit is mostly vector-based software, but has image manipulation and editing, and is a good cheap alternative to Affinity. Here is the link to their tutorials. This would be the software I would use if I couldn’t afford Photoshop and Adobe Suites.

Inkscape: This software is free and is a great substitute for Photoshop.

Inkscape is a free open source vector-based software because it does not take the resources of RAM nevertheless you are under MS Windows or Linux Distribution like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE, RedHat, etc. Inkscape is better because it has own plugins for bevel and emboss, image manipulations, some times it behaves like photoshop. Here is the link to Inkscapes tutorials.

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These basics will get you started and headed in the right direction. Just remember that learning how to create great designs is a process. You will improve over time. But there’s no reason you can’t create some pretty great graphics right out of the gate.

Good Luck!

 

 

Create Your Day

This is the most brilliant lecture I’ve ever listened to. You so gotta get an earful of this – but be sure to listen with a fresh ear, cuz some of it you’ve heard before, but the important parts are fricken magic!

line orangeWhy do you have your beliefs? Who taught them to you and why do you hold it within you? How do you perceive yourself? How do you perceive others? Do you want to learn more about the world you experience and live in? Is there a habit you want to break? Listen to this and get an idea of consciousness. Old knowledge with a new perspective.

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Author Chat with K.M. Weiland

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I recently had the opportunity to interview K.M. Weiland who is just super awesome! I am a huge fan of her writing and admire the vast amount of knowledge she has to share with the writing community. Check out how she got her start as a leading author mentor and more…

k-m-weilandK.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


Tell us a little about yourself:

Where are you from and what is your favorite pastime?

I’m a longtime western Nebraskan. Writing, of course, is my all-consuming passion. But I also enjoy various types of design, as well studying the psychology of personality.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I don’t know that it was ever something I “discovered” per se. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made up stories. In fact, my earliest memory is of myself dreaming up some wild story about saving my family from some unknown catastrophe. I started writing my stories down when I was eleven or twelve, and throughout high school, I wrote, edited, and published a newsletter for horse-crazy girls. Moving on to novels was a natural progression. I guess you could say I’ve always been a storyteller; it’s just inborn; it’s who I am. But the writing—the learning of the craft, the studying to show myself approved—that was something I became.

What is the number one book you would recommend to writers and why?

Tough to pick just one! But I’m going to go with Robert McKee’s Story. Blew my mind.

What inspires you to write speculative historical fiction?

I’ve always loved history—mostly because it’s… a story! But I love exploring faraway places and times and the beauty of other cultures.

Where do you come up with your ideas?

I like to say that inspiration is everywhere—and it really is. I’ve picked ideas from such disparate places as the dust on my windowsill (I’m a terrible duster) to my pets to the grapefruit I had for breakfast. It’s really just a matter of being open to whatever you’re experiencing at the moment.

But I will say that most of my inspiration is usually the result of other people’s art. The three big ones are most definitely:

1. Books
2. Movies
3. Music

I feed off other people’s stories and glean little tidbits that inspire stories of my own. The characters and themes in books and movies and the half-answered questions in songs are endless sources of inspiration for me.

What is the main theme of your fictional writing?

I’ve always loosely defined my fiction as “blood and thunder,” but a reviewer recently described them like this: “The consistent theme in each of her books is finding the best in human relationships and coming to an understanding about who you are and what you believe.” I thought that was pretty accurate, so I adopted it!

Helping Writers Become Authors

If you haven’t discovered Katie’s award-winning blog Helping Writers Become Authors, you should take the time to visit.

You are an expert in your field and I am curious to know how and when you got started? Was your author mentoring blog an early career goal, was it strategically planned, or was it created to fulfill the needs of your growing network?

Like most newly published authors, I was looking for a way to build a platform. And, like most newly published authors, I was clueless how to start. I figured blogging about writing would be more interesting than blogging about washing dishes or walking the dog. At the time, my intent was merely to spread the word about my fiction. But, of course, it’s grown into so much more.

What do you love most about what you do? How would you describe your journey as a mentor so far and where do you see yourself in the future?

I think the reward is two-fold:

1) I’m learning right along with everyone I teach. My blog and my books are just an outgrowth of my own writing journey. Forcing myself to put my own thoughts and discoveries into a teachable format has been invaluable to me in strengthening my own conscious knowledge of writing.

2) I love helping people. It’s a joy to be able to reach out and touch others in the solitary lifestyles we pursue as writers. I’m humbled and honored that I’ve gotten to work with so many people. It always makes my day to hear that something I’ve written has helped another writer have a “light bulb” moment in their own writing.

How do you carve out enough time to manage your platforms, provide such great content, and write books?

I like to say, in all seriousness, that schedules are my secret weapon. I manage my time strictly and I’m always tweaking my daily schedule to try to get my best productivity while still balancing the need for relaxation and recharging.

I like to get my writing done first thing in the morning, while the day is still fresh. Right now, I’m experimenting with staving off email, and Internet activities until the very last thing in the work day. Blogging gets its own day, in which I take care of all the weekly blogging duties in one fell swoop.

Minimizing distractions is key, so I’m very strict with myself about wasting time on the Internet, watching videos, or even reading news sites.

What advice would you give to someone carving out their own niche in the publishing industry today on how to strategize for the greatest chance of success?

Marketing is about personality. It’s about getting your personality—your books—your brand—to as many people as possible. That starts with a platform, and the foundation for that platform is your home on the web. Start building an email list as soon as you can, since this will be your only assured direct route to dedicated readers. Give them content they care about to keep their attention: drawings, freebies, special deals, glimpses into your life. Craft your book launches with care, since Amazon’s sales algorithms will treat you right if you can prove early on that you can generate sales. And most of all—have fun! Don’t let marketing be a chore; embrace it as a challenge. Your audience will sense that attitude and respond to it.

Author Advice

Write Yourself a Bad Review

I recently read a guest post you did with Patrick Ross where you gave some great advice for authors in “Write Yourself a Bad Review”. In your post, you mention our inner critics and how they might actually benefit us. I liked the idea of giving these critics the chance to be heard to identify weak areas of our writing.

I love the humor you injected into this article while also offering up a specific set of areas to focus on so the bad review pays off. Your plan of action at the end is a brilliant method for going back to a manuscript with a fresh set of eyes that has looked at the writing from a fantastic perspective.

I would recommend this unique approach as a round of edits that all authors should approach because it can provide a level of assurance that they have put their best work out for publication.

I had never come across this idea before as something that could provide such a great deal of positive criticism without seeking outside help.

When did you start implementing this technique and how did you discover it?

If memory serves I think fellow author Roz Morris had written something in her great writing book Nail Your Novel that sparked the idea. I don’t use it for every book, only those that are really giving me trouble.

What are some faults it has helped you overcome as an author?

It’s a good way to really drill down to the heart of the issues that are dogging a novel—to see them objectively, instead of just flailing away at the book, knowing something is wrong.

Do you have any other suggestions that might make an impact on an author’s final product as the process of writing yourself a bad review does?

How about writing yourself a good review? 🙂 Usually, I’ll write myself both a bad review and a good review of the idealized novel I want to create. More on that in this post: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/strengthen-your-story-by-writing/

More Author Advice

Earlier I mentioned your Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. I have these books now and love them. I have found everything I learned from them extremely helpful to me as a writer. You didn’t have the boxed sets with the workbooks like you offer now, so that’s an added bonus for anyone that’s interested. You also offer a story structure database on your website that is pretty impressive.

How can writers take advantage of that?

I have a whole post, talking about how to best utilize and navigate the Story Structure Database: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/story-structure-database/

Basically, I recommend watching your favorite movies and reading your favorite books and trying to figure out the structure for yourself. Then stop by the site, look up the story, and see how it lines up with what I’ve provided. It’s a great, hands-on way to really understand how structure works and how it affects a vast array of stories.


A huge thanks to K.M. Weiland for taking the time to  chat with me 🙂



How To Get Back To Writing Fast

 

By M.R. Goodhew

If you are a writer then you probably feel compelled to write, as if somehow, something in your life has gone missing when you avoid the task of writing.

Calling yourself a writer gives your personality a certain distinguished and eccentric flair. It’s a rewarding thing to wear the title of Writer!

  • You have a creative mind that has the ability to play like movie in the heads of your readers.
  • You have toiled endlessly for what might seem like forever to bring your ideas together.
  • You work at your writing until it drives you to what can surely seem like the lands-end of your mind.
  • You bleed your thoughts and rework them until you are almost certain you have got it right, that it has come alive, that it’s heart is beating.

It is work, it is hard, it is humbling, sometimes humiliating, but the payoff is priceless when those eyes that are not yours begin to witness your creation.

It’s not about the money or the fame, or lack thereof, it’s about the beautiful thing you brought to life within a separate mind. It is a life experience you have delivered, you are a creator.

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How to Get Yourself Back To Writing!

I think the most important thing for a writer to do is carve out a section of time every day that they will commit to writing. If your not writing then your skipping work. Have you not shown up for your business of writing when you should have? There are plenty of things that can get in the way of writing, but the one thing you must do every day as a writer is write, PERIOD.

If you are feeling uninspired or timid at thought of getting started, you can use the following techniques to get some words, any words, down on paper….or into your computer. These ideas work for me when I’m really not wanting or feeling capable of getting the words out. They are my tried and true methods of getting to the business of writing.

Where to Write

Before you even get started writing you need to pick a place that suits you. Be it your most comfortable chair or the front porch, choose a place that you will return to at least once a day to work on your writing. Picking the right spot will aid your writing, but failing to do so will only keep you procrastinating. If your office isn’t built yet, then pick somewhere else to write until it is. The inability to make a decision and take action will only keep you in the same situation your in.

This place should comfortably accommodate all of the tools you use for writing, such as:

  1. You
  2. Laptop
  3. Computer
  4. Pencils
  5. Pens
  6. Paper
  7. Note-cards
  8. Notebook
  9. Journal

Create a Schedule

Make the time to write! Put aside, at the very least, thirty minutes of your time that you will use to focus on honing your writing skills or producing your next book.

You can’t keep making excuses why you cannot write, if your that sort of person, which you don’t have to be. In order to be successful at your craft you must practice it religiously. It is your job to set aside this time each day that you will devote to writing something, anything.

Get out your pencil and your calendar and sit down and think about what would be the best time of day for you to commit to the task of writing, and then reserve it. Usually the best time would be in the morning before you get ready for work, on your lunch break, or before you go to bed. The reasons why these times are typically the best are because they are when you can most likely find some alone time. If you have to start getting up an hour earlier, or going to bed an hour later, then so be it, that is your lot-in-life if you hope to be productive and successful as a writer.

Make it clear to those you live with that this is your private time and you are not to be interrupted. This is an acceptable boundary that should be respected without any problems. They can live without the stereo or TV for thirty minutes to an hour and find something to do that won’t interfere with your writing.

Show Up

Here you are, it’s 4:30 in the morning and you’ve managed to get your weary ass out of bed, cobwebs in your eyes, and your writing utensils are at the ready! Good job! Great in fact! Here you are, you’ve accomplished the hardest part, showing up!

Showing up every day is what it takes to improve your style and flow. It only takes 21 days to create a habit, so if you can show up for your writing every day for three weeks, you will have created a successful writing habit.

What to Write

Here can be the tricky part. The first day you begin your writing journey, you can start out by writing down your ideas for what to write about tomorrow. This is an initial key to success that creates a domino effect with your writing schedule. By planning a day ahead, you always ensure that you have something to write about when you show up at your scheduled time to write. When you’re done writing, write down your plan for your next session.

So now you have a plan to plan for the following session but still aren’t sure what to write about. Check out the next section which covers writing inspiration and contains valuable tips on what to write about.

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Finding Inspiration

It can be difficult when you sit down to write to come up with ideas of what to write about or to get inspired to write at all. By pre-planning, like mentioned in the last section, you will always be prepared to write when you show up. No more finding yourself staring at a blank screen and daydreaming.

The following is a list of writing ideas that should be used together, rotating between each idea. Use a combination of all of these tips to keep your writing moving forward in a diversified manner. This will give you the right exercise in areas that will strengthen your writing all the way around.

Writing for Money – Short Stories

There are several magazines that pay $500 plus for your short stories. Here is a good opportunity to take one of your ideas and expand it to 5000 to 30,000 words and sell it to a magazine for some fast cash. Here is a link to 15 magazines that pay great money for your creativity:

So how do you go about writing a short story.

1. First, Write the Basic Story in One Sitting

The first step to writing a short story is to write the  version of the story that you would tell a friend. And when you write it, be sure to write it in one sitting. Just tell the story. Don’t think about it too much, don’t go off to do more research, don’t take a break. Just get the story written down.

2. Next, Find Your Protagonist

The protagonist is the character whose fate matters most to the story. Your protagonist isn’t necessarily the narrator, nor is she necessarily the “good guy” in the story. Instead, the protagonist is the person who makes the decisions that drive the story forward.

Your protagonist centers the story, drives the plot, and his or her fate gives the story its meaning. As you move forward in the writing process, it’s important to choose the right protagonist.

3. Write the Perfect First Line

Great first lines have the power to entice your reader enough that it would be unthinkable to set your story down. If you want to hook your reader, it starts with writing the perfect first line.

4. Break the Story Into a Scene List

Every story is composed of a set of scenes which take place in a specific place and time. A scene list keeps track of your scenes, helping you organize your story and add detail and life at each step.

Scene lists do two main things:

  • Provide structure to your story
  • Show you which parts need more work

You don’t have to follow your scene list exactly, but they definitely help you work through your story, especially if your writing over multiple sittings.

5. Research

Waiting until your story is well on its way, you can keep it from getting derailed by the research process, and by this point you’ll also be able to ask very specific questions about your story rather than following tangents wherever they take you.

6. Write/Edit/Write/Edit/Write/Edit

It’s time to get some serious writing done. Now that you know who your protagonist is, have the perfect first line, have created your scene list, and have done your research, it’s time to finally get this story written.

7. Publish!

Your story is not finished until it’s published. You can submit it to magazines, or publish it as an eBook, it’s your choice. But it’s important to grow your library in order to attract readers as well as publishers. Be sure to have your short story beta read by a few people so you can spot any flaws and make last minute changes. Here is where you can go to find beta-readers https://mundusmediaink.com/beta-readers/

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a terrific way to get some writing done. When you brainstorm, write down your ideas and create a layout with them.

Generating Ideas

Rather than wait for the big idea to hit – the theme of your novel, let’s say, or the plot of your story – you start by scratching for a small idea first. The idea could come from anywhere, really.  A painting. A random item. Or something that has happened to you.

A short story needs three steps.

1. Introduce the main character and the problem or challenge that they face. The problem or challenge must give your main character some conflict and a goal or it won’t be powerful or interesting enough for a story.

2. Escalate the problem by making you main character struggle.

3. End the story with the main character solving the problem, or coming to a new understanding because of it.

For a novel your steps will be more in depth.

Act 1. – What will be the beginning of your story.

This is the opening of the story condensed into a description that you can expand upon in the first quarter of the book. Each portion listed here should follow a story arch like a short story and many writer’s end their scenes and chapters with a cliffhanger, leaving you wanting to know more.

The first quarter of the book is split up into about three chapters, and then by at least three scenes in each chapter. Think of each of these sections as there own short story that leads to the next section and follow the main story arch with your ideas.

Chapter 1. – Your introduction

Scene 1. – Introduce the main character

Scene 2. – What are they on the brink of doing

Scene 3. – What external situation will require their attention

Chapter 2. – Introduce a problem or conflict.

Scene 1. – What is the goal of your protagonist?

Scene 2. – Introduce some conflict.

Scene 3. – What is preventing your protagonist from resolving the conflict?

Chapter 3. – Escalate the Problem.

Scene 1. – What is your protagonists internal conflict?

Scene 2. – Introduce your antagonist.

Scene 3. – Escalate the problem.

Act 2. – What will be the middle of your story.

This is where everything seems to go wrong for your protagonist. This is there time of learning, a time where they reach their lowest low. By the end of the act, the protagonist will have a clear vision of what they must do and the lessons learned to make them successful.

Chapter 4. – Your protagonist has discovered the conflict and begins to go on the defense.

Scene 1. – How will the protagonist approach the conflict defensively?

Scene 2. – What incident is occurring concerning the conflict?

Scene 3. – Your protagonist makes their first discovery about the conflict and it rocks their boat.

Chapter 5. – Introduce a problem or conflict.

Scene 1. – What is the goal of your protagonist?

Scene 2. – Introduce some conflict.

Scene 3. – What is preventing your protagonist from resolving the conflict?

Chapter 6. – Escalate the Problem.

Scene 1. – Enter the antagonist. What mischief are they up to?

Scene 2. – How does the protagonist react and defend against the antagonist

Scene 3. – Your protagonist suffers a devastating loss, failure, or lesson.

Act 3. – What will be the end of your story?

This is where your protagonist gains some courage and goes on the offense. They may have a plan but they begin to take action to resolve the conflict. This is where your final conflict will occur and then the climax of your story. And then finally the outcome and ending.

Chapter 7. – Your protagonist has discovered the conflict and begins to go on the offense.

Scene 1. – How will the protagonist approach the conflict offensively?

Scene 2. – What incident is occurring concerning the conflict?

Scene 3. – Your protagonist makes their next discovery about the conflict and will use it to their advantage. A small victory,.

Chapter 8. – The final battle

Scene 1. – What is the goal of your protagonist?

Scene 2. – Introduce some conflict.

Scene 3. – Escalate the conflict.

Chapter 9. – The climax.

Scene 1. – Here is the battle

Scene 2. – Here is the climax of the story

Scene 3. – Here is the end of the story

Writer’s Prompts

Writer’s prompts are a great way to get some creative writing down on paper. Writer’s prompts can be words, phrases, or visual aids. You should find a weekly prompt or two on your network and follow them to improve your writing skills and to come up with story ideas.

I offer a visual writing prompt every Wednesday that you can link to in the comments with the html address of your published prompt writing. So this is also a great way to network. There is also a tool where you can submit your writing to find out what famous writer you write like just for fun.

Writer’s prompts are inspiring when you participate with them and can make you feel like you are accomplishing a real achievement, which you are. When you respond to a writer’s prompt you are stretching your creativity as well as perfecting your skill as a writer.

Visual Aids

You can use visual aids around your house or find an image online that inspires you to write. Then sit down and map a short story to your idea inspired by your visual aid.

You Tube

By watching YouTube videos on subjects that interest you you may become inspired with a short story idea or an idea for a novel. Remember that your short stories only have to be as long as an article or blog post. You can always expand upon them later.

Blog Posts

Get inspired by your network. Read blog posts and comment on them. This is not just an opportunity to express your voice as a writer, but an opportunity to create a better rapport with the members of your network. Yes, accomplishing two goals in one!

Write your own blog post. You should be posting to your blog at least once a week, regularly in order to grow and keep your network. Do not use your writing session to do research. Unless it’s for the layout of an article that you will be writing down ideas for. Below are examples of how to layout your blog posts.

free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:

  • The How-To Post
  • The List-Based Post
  • The Curated Collection Post
  • The SlideShare Presentation Post
  • The News-jacking Post

How to Write a Blog Post: A Simple Formula to Follow

1. Understand your audience.

Before you start to write, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them?

2. Start with a topic and working title.

Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with.

3. Write an intro (and make it captivating).

First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.

Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives.

4. Organize your content.

Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms, sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!

To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it.

5. Write!

The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points.

6. Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.

You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging, don’t overlook it.

7. Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.

At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next, subscribe to your blog, download an eBook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content, use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.

8. Optimize for on-page SEO.

After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.

Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density, Google’s smarter than that!

9. Pick a catchy title.

Use good keyword phrases as titles that convince your audience they need to check out your blog post.

10. Publish

Character Sketches

You can use your writing session to do a character sketch of one of your characters.

CHARACTER SKETCH

Scenes

You can use your session to work out a scene from one of the layouts you’ve created above.

 

images (1)

Editing

Make time for editing, you can include this in your writing time you have allotted. Editing is by far the most crucial step for the writer. Taking your work and tearing it to shreds and rebuilding it into something more masterful is a skill that practice will reward.

Take the time to do at least three rounds of edits on any piece of writing you will want to share. Be sure not to edit until you have completed the first draft, because getting that first draft down and done is essential to moving forward, and stopping to edit will ruin your flow and can sometimes stop you from ever finishing the piece.

Finally…

If you incorporate the ideas above, you will never run out of things to write.

What do you do to find inspiration?