Search results for ‘Chris Mandeville’

Are You “Shoulding” on Yourself? An Author’s List of Shoulds

by Chris Mandeville As writers we have a lot of shoulds. I should write every day. I should take out the trash before I write. I should Tweet. I should call my mother. I should apply for a BookBub promotion. I should be reading. I should exercise. I should go…

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Tips and Tools to Help You Complete NaNoWriMo (or any writing project)

You’re down to the wire. The deadline for NaNoWriMo (or another writing project) looms on the horizon. But you’re behind. You’re afraid you’re not going to make it. You simply don’t have enough time to write the requisite number of words at your typical writing pace. Or the words just won’t come. Or both. What’s a writer to do?

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NaNoPlanno: Tools for NaNoWriMo Prep

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month: a frenzy of writing with the goal of producing a 50,000-word novel during the thirty days of November.

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Book Signings: So Much More Than Selling Books

By Chris Mandeville The author book signing: you sit behind piles of your gorgeous books, surrounded by adoring readers who buy your books and have you autograph them. Awesome right? But unfortunately not always realistic. Unless you are very famous, book signings can be dull affairs where the author sits…

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The Long and Short (but mostly long) of Writing Short Stories

By Chris Mandeville Many writers begin their careers with short stories—they’re easier to tackle and faster to complete. But not me. I dove into novel writing right out of the gate, so I’m a late-comer to the short story. Recently I had the opportunity to submit a story to an…

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Silence Your Inner Critic With Improv Writing

By Chris Mandeville Nothing banishes a writer’s critical inner editor like improv writing. Just like improvisational acting, improv writing is off-the-cuff, unplanned, uncorrected artistic expression, and it can be a powerful tool for sparking inspiration, enhancing creativity, and boosting productivity by shutting up that pesky inner critic. I learned about improv…

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Cut & Paste Your Way to Inspiration with Collages

by Chris Mandeville   Arts and crafts, anyone? Get out your old magazines, some scissors and glue, and a poster board because—believe it or not—creating a collage can serve as a powerful writing tool. Just ask award-winning bestseller Barbara Samuel (who also writes as Barbara O’Neal): “Collaging gives me a…

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The “Sweet 16” First Lines of Your Manuscript

by Chris Mandeville The first page of your manuscript contains only sixteen lines, and this “sweet sixteen” is an essential tool for hooking a reader. If Page One doesn’t capture the interest of the editor, agent, or book browser, chances are your story will be set aside, so it’s important…

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Attention Marketing: Planting Seeds With Readers

You might recognize Chris Mandeville from the inspiring and engaging monthly articles she shares on this website. But readers will likely remember Chris because of the amazing “seeds” that she planted when distributing a unique hand-out to tie-in with her novel of the same name. Seeds Synopsis: Forty-eight years after…

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Which Came First? Awesome Writing Tools with All the Answers

by Chris Mandeville   The other day I was talking to another writer about the young adult time travel story I’m writing. Her first question was, “Do you have the book English Through the Ages?” I didn’t, but at her encouragement I got one immediately. The minute I opened the…

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Are You On Track to Meet Your Writing Goals?

by Chris Mandeville At the start of a new year, it’s common to take stock of where we are in our careers and set goals for the year to come. If you made a writing-related New Year’s resolution six weeks ago, right about now you’re likely taking stock of your…

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Music: a Tool to Help Writers Focus?

by Chris Mandeville It can be easy to lose focus when trying to write, especially when there’s distracting stuff going on around you. According to psychiatry professor Anthony Rostain, MD, in an article on Heath.com distractions often come in the form of external stimuli like noise. Well, that’s not news…

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Eat Your Words! A Tool to Carve Out Writing Time

by Chris Mandeville Life is fast-paced and full, and we’re all busy, even during an average month. But during the holiday season, we add all sorts of stuff to an already full schedule, making it particularly difficult to carve out writing time. For some it can be great to put…

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Take a Hike! A Writing Tool. Really.

by Chris Mandeville Any hikers out there in writer-land? Or writers who love to go for walks? Well, hiking-slash-walking isn’t just for pleasure-slash-exercise. It can actually be a valuable writing tool. Just ask Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of more than 142 published works, most of which…

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The Author Website: Not Just a Digital Business Card

by Chris Mandeville   An “official author website” is, like a business card, a tool for providing customers (readers) with information about you. But unlike a business card, your website gives a sense of who you are and what your books are about, which helps you engage with readers. Having…

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The Writer’s Conference: a drink from the fire hose

by Chris Mandeville I just returned home after spending a jam-packed three days at a writer’s conference. This was the 25th or so such event I’ve attended as a writer, and as I sit here totally exhausted I’m pondering why I continue to attend these conferences despite the cost in…

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Channeling Popeye: I yam what I yam

By Chris Mandeville Here’s the thing: I’ve been trying to be something I’m not, and it hasn’t worked out very well for me. I’ve been attempting to be a more steady-on writer. Someone who has a regular writing routine. Someone who writes every day. Someone who writes in the <gasp> morning.…

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Picture This: The Author Photo As A Tool

By Chris Mandeville Your “official author photo” can be a powerful tool for drawing in and connecting with potential readers. Like your author bio, your photo gives a sense of who you are. If you make a good impression on someone via your photo, it can sway them to take a…

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The Author Bio: a Tool for Boring…or for Bonding

by Chris Mandeville   An author bio can be a valuable tool for connecting with readers. Or it can bore them to death. Too much info, or the wrong info, and you may lose a potential reader of your work. But a good bio can be the beginning of a…

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Got a Minute? 15 Uses for a Kitchen Timer

By Chris Mandeville   One of my favorite tools is the kitchen timer. It’s so simple yet has so many uses in everyday life as well as in writing. In the kitchen it lets you know when the pasta is done and when to take the cake out of the…

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Down the Rabbit Hole? Tips and Tools for Naming Characters Quickly

By Chris Mandeville Some writers don’t worry much about naming. They slap a label on a character and run with it. Other writers dive down the rabbit hole and put excessive amounts of research, thought, planning, and creativity into naming their characters. I tend to be on the extreme side of this spectrum:…

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The Writing Retreat: Fabulous Tool or Out-Of-Reach Fantasy?

By Chris Mandeville We’ve all heard about exotic writing retreats where every need is provided for and all that’s required of you is to write. It sounds like a fabulous way to concentrate 100% on your story, but is it reasonable for the average writer? Come on—the time, the expense?…

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Cover Copy: a Must-Have for the Novelist’s Toolbox

By Chris Mandeville Cover copy is the brief summary of a novel found on the back cover of a paperback. When this summary is inside the jacket of a hard cover it’s called “jacket copy,” and it’s essentially the same as cover copy only longer. Why is cover copy important?…

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New Year’s Writing Resolutions? This S.M.A.R.T. Tool’s for You!

By Chris Mandeville This time of year, regardless of our religious beliefs and holiday traditions, most of us spend a few moments looking back at the past year and taking stock of where we are in our lives/careers/relationships. Many of us also give some thought to what we want to…

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The Hat-trick: Tools for Revision

by Chris Mandeville Knife, scissors, chisel, scalpel, jackhammer—I bet you were expecting a plethora of these types of implements in a post about “tools for revision.” After all, revision is all about cutting, honing, tearing apart and re-crafting your words, right? Well, not exactly. Though we often use the terms…

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Top Ten Tips and Tools to Help You Complete NaNoWriMo (or any writing project)

By Chris Mandeville You’re down to the wire. The deadline for NaNoWriMo (or another writing project) looms on the horizon. But you’re behind. You’re afraid you’re not going to make it. You simply don’t have enough time to write the requisite number of words at your typical writing pace. Or…

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Kobo Writing Life Podcast – Episode 043 – Marie Force

Marie Force, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than 40 contemporary romance novels was recently in Toronto and spent an evening with Kobo, Harlequin and an intimate group of lucky fans to celebrate Marie. Mark Lefebvre, Director of Kobo Writing Life, interviewed Marie…

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NaNoPlanno: Tools for NaNoWriMo Prep

By Chris Mandeville NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month: a frenzy of writing with the goal of producing a 50,000-word novel during the thirty days of November. NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to push yourself as a writer. It’s all about quantity of words, not quality. It’s vomit writing,…

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Critique: Calibrate Your Expectations Before Using this Tool

by Chris Mandeville I’ve been perfecting my recipe for Coq au Vin for years. I use the happiest, most humanely raised poultry, a decent French Burgundy, organic farm-fresh veggies, and my own secret blend of herbs. The other night I prepared this special dish for my critique group—we always eat dinner before…

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Synopsis: The Tool You Need (whether you know it or not)

by Chris Mandeville A synopsis is a document —sometimes a paragraph, sometimes several pages— that describes your book. What could be simpler? As a writer, I know my story better than anyone and thus should have no problem summarizing it. Really? Yes, theoretically. But in the real world, writing a…

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The Plotting Grid: a Tool for Plotters and Pantsers

by Chris Mandeville A “plotting grid” is a physical chart used to lay out the components of a story in a visual way. It often looks a lot like this: The plotting grid can be useful to anyone at any stage of writing. For writers who like to plot out…

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The Right Tool for the Job: Logline

by Chris Mandeville I’d like to share a tool that will help you talk about your book: the logline. A logline is a one-line synopsis that typically answers the question: “What is your story about?” The obvious use for the logline is the “elevator pitch” where you have one minute…

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GMC: The Swiss Army Knife of Writing Tools

by Chris Mandeville One of the best things I ever did for my fiction writing was determine what my main character wants, why she wants it, and what’s in the way of her getting it. Figuring this out helped me know my character better (obviously), but also helped me to…

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Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It

by Chris Mandeville Welcome to “Tools for Writers,” a new semi-regular feature of Kobo Writing Life. I begin this series by sharing a tool that can help in any stage of fiction writing. I’d like to say it’s my best-kept writing secret, but that would be a lie. The “secret” is…

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