If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.
It’s the season 1 finale of Writing Break, and we’re ending with two of my favorite writing tips. We have a lot to cover in 15 minutes. As usual, we’re starting with the latest publishing news.
The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s get a drink and settle in.f LGBTQIA+ fiction doubled in:
Top categories include: young adult social situations; general adult fiction; adult fiction fantasy; and young adult science fiction.
Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for NPD, says, “What was once considered a niche area of publishing is now becoming mainstream, with a number of titles leading the national bestseller lists and books being shared across generations of readers.”
Kateryna Volkova, publicity manager for Vivat, one of the largest publishers in Ukraine, wrote an article for LitHub called Life as a Book Publisher in Wartime Ukraine.
In it, she shares what has been happening at Vivat since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how they are continuing on. I recommend reading this article for yourself and checking out the photos she shares in the article of Vivat employees working in bomb shelters.gh this book was published in:
Findaway Voices is celebrating National Audiobook Month with a series of live author events that you can watch for free online. This series interviews authors who publish in audio, ebook, and print formats. The authors share how they are successfully running their author businesses, so it’s worth checking out. Plus, like I said, it’s free.
You can find a link to these interviews and all of today’s news stories in the show notes of this episode and on WritingBreak.com.
Now, let’s commiserate on the Overthinking Couch for a moment.
Today I’m overthinking about the feeling of isolation I get when I’m with people who don’t read books. Yes, I read for a living, and I talk to authors and publishers about upcoming titles, but those discussions are confidential.
When I’m in a group of non-book people, we’ll talk about a lot of things, including, inevitably, movies and shows they’ve watched recently. And it makes me miss the lengthy book discussions I had in college with my fellow English literature majors. I miss it so much it hurts.
Tell me, what do you do when you’ve read a great book, or even a terrible book, and you want someone to talk to about it? Send me an email or DM me on Instagram and give me your advice. I’d love to hear it.
Next up, I’ve got some advice for you. Two massive writing tips I employ all the time.
Here are the two big writing tips for you today.
Tip #1: Tell yourself the story backward.
This helps you know what to leave in and what to leave out.
So, how does this work?
Let’s say your friends are coming over to your house. You want to text them to see if they’re on their way, but you can’t find your phone. So, you look for it in the obvious places. You don’t find it, so then you search in more obscure places. You get frantic. Your searching gets messy. You turn things over, searching in places you’ve already searched and in places where it would never be. Finally, you head out to your car, and there it is.
At this point, your friends arrive. They walk into your home and see the mess you’ve made while searching for your phone. Now you’re going to tell them what happened.
Let’s tell it to them backward: “I found my phone in the car. I searched all over the house before I checked the car.”
That’s it. That’s the entire story told backward. It would be boring to say: “I checked my pockets and then the kitchen and then bathroom.”
Now, what is worth adding to a story like this?
Well, you might make your friends laugh if you admitted that you checked behind the refrigerator.
If you have soot on your face, it might help to explain that you checked the inside of the fireplace.
So, when you’re writing, telling a story to yourself backward will help you cut out everything that doesn’t advance the plot. Then, when you turn the story around and write it in chronological order, you can leave out all of the fluff and only add in details that help the story along or help us get to know the character better and in an interesting way. Remember, just because something is descriptive doesn’t mean it’s interesting to your readers.
Tip #2: Read the story aloud.
This is useful at all stages of the revision process.
During the developmental editing stage, reading the text aloud can help you improve your story’s pacing and organization. You’ll be able to find the boring or choppy parts and revise as needed.
During the copy editing stage, reading the story aloud can help you find typos you might have missed. This is especially true if you have the computer read the text to you. It takes longer, but the computer won’t fill in missing words the way your brain might when you’re doing the reading.
Macs, PCs, and Google Docs all have the ability to read text aloud. Check the show notes of this episode for information on how to set this up for your document.
That’s all for this episode and this season. Next week is a bonus episode. Then in Season 2 we will review the entire writing process of a three-act book. I’ll still be bringing you the latest publishing news and book trends, and we’ll still be meeting in independent bookstores around the world.
Until then, keep writing, and remember, you deserved this break.
If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.
Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at email@example.com.