Free Resources to Inspire Fiction Writers

Over the past several months I have created a number of free resources for fiction writers to help with inspiration, motivation and the craft of writing. Some examples: writing planners to help you plan your writing week so you can get more done, lists of exercises and activities to inspire and motivate you, character development questionnaires to get you to dig deeply into your characters. And lots more.

Here they are. To download any of them simply click the linked title.

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The Craft Your Novel Roadmap

Assembling all the components of a novel is a monumental task even for experienced authors. It can and often does leave writers feeling defeated and deflated.

You're dealing with premises and concepts, characters and character arcs, villains, settings, story structure, plotting, scenes, themes, timelines. And much more. 

Not only do you have to create the components, you have to assemble them so they fit together. They should flow smoothly and tell your story. When that doesn't happen--and all too often it doesn't--you end up with a jumbled mess that looks nothing like the bestseller you had in mind when you started out on your novel writing venture. So you become frustrated and give up way before you reach the end. Or maybe you never even get started.

If this comes close to your experience when trying to craft a novel--or even just thinking about it--you'll want to download a FREE copy of the "Craft Your Novel Roadmap" right here.

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How to Plan Your Week So You Have Time to Write Your Novel

When I surveyed the writers in my Facebook group Chapters and Chocolate and asked them to list the NUMBER 1 CHALLENGE they face in starting or finishing their novels, the top response was "not enough hours in the day." And it led by a HUGE MARGIN. The next highest choice had only about a third as many responses.

As a bestselling author and writing coach, I'm often asked how I find the time to write. I certainly understand the challenge. Your writing doesn't pay the bills--at least not yet--so your job and many other things take up much of your time. I've been there, so I get it.

When I wrote my first few novels, I was single and had no children. The only thing competing for my writing time was my 9 to 5 job, and even then I struggled to find the time to write. I finally realized that I would have to get up very early, stay up late and give up a lot of the activities that I enjoyed. At least while I was writing the novel.

Fast forward...

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Instagram for Authors

A large following on social media helps sell books, whether you have a publisher or self-publish. In this interview with Lakita Wilson, an aspiring author who grew her Instagram following to more than 20,000 and has attracted the attention of agents and a major publishing house, we discussed how Instagram can be a powerful tool for writers.

Lakita is a college professor and owns a child care center in Maryland. Her upcoming novel for preteens is called The Sweet Pea Girls. In our talk, we discussed:

  • How Instgram can help writers get noticed
  • The importance of creating a "fandom" for writers attempting to grow their Instagram followings
  • What writers should include on their Instagram profiles
  • How to create a visually appealing profile on Instagram
  • How long it takes to gain lots of followers and how many are needed to attract the attention of agents and publishers
  • And so much more!

The complete live interview is available at Chapters and Chocolate LIVE, on my Facebook biz page.

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All Things LitMag: How to Get Published in Literary Magazines

On Chapters and Chocolate LIVE, my Facebook biz page, I discussed "All Things LitMag" with Rachel Thompson, published author and former managing editor of the literary magazine Room. Her book of poetry, Galaxy (Anvil Press, 2011), won the SFU First Book Competition. 

 Here's what we covered in our chat:

• How to determine if your writing is literary
• The benefits of submitting to lit mags
• How publishing in lit mags can improve your writing
• How to make valuable connections for your writing career through journal publishing
• What the heck lit mag editors want in submissions
• Why one editor may accept a piece and another reject the very same piece
• How to know if a journal is the right place to send your work

The complete interview with Rachel can be found on my Facebook biz page, Chapters and Chocolate LIVE. You can learn more about Rachel on her website for literary writers here.

And if you're ready to get...

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10 Resources for LitMag Writers

Literary magazines--or litmags as they're often called--have been around for centuries. And now that they have gone digital they're more widespread than ever before. 

Did you know that getting your work published in literary magazines will make you more appealing to literary agents and publishers?

Or that some literary agents look through the pages of litmags in search of new talent?

Or that sometimes writers don't even realize that their style of writing is what literary magazines are looking for.

If you didn't, that's OK. I've got you covered.

Grab my free guide to dozens of literary magazines online: 10 Resources for LitMag Authors and Aspiring Authors.

AND on Chapters and Chocolate LIVE, I discussed "All Things LitMag" with Rachel Thompson, published author and former managing editor of the literary magazine Room. Her book of poetry, Galaxy (Anvil Press, 2011), won the SFU First Book Competition.

In the interview Rachel discusses and...

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The #1 Thing You Must Do to Find the Time to Write Your Novel

A recent poll in my writing group Chapters and Chocolate revealed that the biggest challenge for many writers is finding the time to write in a crazy, jam-packed day. In this video excerpt I tell you the bare, naked truth about why setting priorities is so important and what you MUST do if you're serious about writing a novel.

The full video (37:41 minutes long) includes more tips and truth-talking and can be found in the videos tab in Chapters and Chocolate, my Facebook group exclusively for writers. It's filled with both authors and aspiring authors just like you. Join us!


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On Character Development


Do the characters in your novels seem FLAT? Or are they all too similar? Do you STRUGGLE with their dialogue?

If so, you're likely not digging deeply enough into their personalities. To create MULTI-DIMENSIONAL characters who will keep your readers turning the pages, you have to get to know them inside and out.

In this video, I talk all about how I create the characters for my bestselling novels, including how I BECOME my characters.

Want to see more of my talk? The full video can be found in my Facebook group for writers, Chapters and Chocolate. Just click the videos tab and go to the Q&A video dated May 13. You can join the group--where you'll find hundreds of writers just like you--and check out the full video here.

Want more help with character development? Check out my online course Craft Your Characters.

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Become Your Character

If you worry that the characters in your novel seem one dimensional or that they all look and sound alike, then I have a question for you. How well do you know them? I mean really know them, inside and out? Particularly your lead character? 

A good way to figure that out is by examining the character’s dialog and how comfortable you feel when writing it. If you struggle with writing dialogue for the character that’s a sure sign that you don’t know her or him very well. You should know instinctively what the character would say in everyday circumstances and even some unusual ones. 

Long ago and far away, there was a TV show called Queen for a Day.Several women would get asked probing questions about their lives, and the studio audience would ring an applause meter based on the responses. Usually the contestant who'd had the toughest life got the most applause and won. She would became Queen for a Day and win all sorts of grand prizes.

I’m going...

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5 Tips to Overcome Writer's Block

You’re flying along churning out page after page of your novel, when suddenly you find yourself stuck like lint to a lint brush. No matter how much you try, you can’t shake yourself loose. You can’t get a decent thought on the page for anything. Eventually you give up trying. You’re frustrated, puzzled, worried. What the heck is going on here? 

Some call it writer’s block. Others believe there is no such thing. I won’t argue about terminology or definitions. I will say this: wherever you fall on the writer’s block belief spectrum, if you write long and hard enough you will eventually hit a slump. It may be a long one or a short one. But when it happens, the worst thing you can possibly do is hope it will soon go away on its own. No, my dear writer. The longer you let a writing slump linger, the harder it is to break free. 

So get proactive. Below are 5 tips you can try to kick that the ass....

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