Wednesday, February 10, 2016

14 Places That Will Give You Great Book Ideas

Looking for a boost of creativity? Visit these places for inspiration and story ideas.

1. Bookstores

While buying books online is great fun, nothing compares to browsing the latest bestsellers at a local bookstore. If you are looking for ideas on what to write about, check out what is selling. Do some market research while you are browsing for a few more books to buy.

Used bookstores are also a great place for getting book ideas. If you are a craft writer, buy older craft books to study. Think of ways your can update the crafts and patterns, then do it.

2. Farmer’s Market

How many books have a scene in a farmer’s market? Too many to count. Whether you write nonfiction or fiction, the farmer’s market will provide you with plenty of ideas. It is also a great place to do some people watching.

3. Museums

The Smithsonian is an awesome museum, but you probably have a number of local museums you can visit. Browse your local museums (and support them in the process). Museums are filled with interesting fast and images that can easily inspire your next novel.

4. Hardware Store

Getting lost in the hardware store is not that difficult. It not only inspires creative ideas for hands-on projects, but you can also plot the murder of novel’s victim.

5. Libraries

Spend a few hours browsing the local library or spend a day visiting all the local libraries because they are not all the same. If you’ve depleted your book allowance for the month, libraries are a great place to get inspiration for free.

6. Historical Sights

Visit all the local historical sights in your area. Local sights are the source of inspiration for countless works of fiction and nonfiction.

7. Bars

I’ve been to bars fewer times than I have fingers, however each experience has been unique and memorable. Bar scenes are common in novels and the people there can provide you with countless hours of entertainment.

8. Local Festivals

Get the flavor of a local culture by visiting festivals. Festivals are not only fun, they attract a wide variety of people. Where I live, the local pepper festival is a pretty big event. There’s also a redneck festival where my sister lives. These events can inspire a great number of novel ideas.

9. Cemetery

Visit old, historic cemeteries. These places are a great source for names and a great place to dream up the lives of those who’ve lived and died.

10. Flea Markets

Yard sales are fine, but flea markets are where the true gems are found. Knickknacks of all sorts can inspire ideas for new plots and nonfiction projects.

11. Planetarium

The Reading Public Museum has a great planetarium where people can go, relax, and learn. I find the entire experience exhilarating and I’ve enjoyed a number of their shows.

12. Amusement Parks

Amusement parks are the perfect setting for crime and mystery novels. Visit an amusement park and take notes of the scenery, the sounds, the smells, and, of course, the people.

13. Craft Store

It is only too easy to get lost in a craft store. There’s not only an endless supply of inspiration for craft books, but you can create a mystery novel series with crafting as a general theme. Got a sleuth in mind? Make him a knitter (and why not?). Give that diabolical axe murderer a latch hook project to complete the final piece to the murder puzzle.

14. Parks and Hiking Trails

This is where I get the bulk of my inspirations. That little nook in the rocks over there is the perfect place to hide a body. That woman that just walked by with the two dogs? She just threw the gun she used on her brother-in-law into the river.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Advantages to Being a Socially Awkward Writer

I am a socially awkward person. If you put me in a gathering of people, I will shrink to the sidelines and commence my people watching hobby. People often think I am giving them dirty looks when I am actually just lost in my thoughts and am unknowingly staring in their direction. Try and pin me into a conversation and, at best, I'll make a geeky reference that you won't get. Talk about an awkward silence.

I suck at one to one communication and I failed every oral report I have ever been dragged and forced to give. My awkwardness leaves me with only one way to really express myself: writing.

I'm Not the Only Awkward One Out Here

Do you hide from a crowd? When forced to interact with other people, do you blurt out stupid shit and have a sudden urge to run and hide in the nearest bathroom? Do people have to literally drag you out of the house to go to social events?

It is difficult being socially awkward, but there is a plus side to it.

Observing Interaction When Everyone Avoids You

As soon as people realize just how awkward you are, 99 times out of a 100 they will avoid you. This gives writers the perfect advantage when it comes to observing humans. For example, at so-and-so's family gatherings, I could sit anywhere I liked and be almost completely ignored. I was invisible (hallelujah!) to these people as they gibbered and squabbled like a gaggle of geese. It was fun to watch and I would jot down bits of their conversations just to see how it looked in writing. It was great practice.

Writers have often been known to eavesdrop on people's conversations. In fact, many writing guides suggest that you do it so that you can improve your dialogue writing skills.

Being Left Alone to Write

The other advantage to being socially awkward is that people will leave you alone if you choose to write on your smart phone or laptop during events. Heck, I see plenty of socially awkward bloggers attend events with their laptops, observing people, and writing about what everyone else is doing.

You Won't Get Too Distracted By Social Media

To the socially awkward, updating social media accounts is a chore and not very enjoyable. And forget about the forums, as well. Every post I have ever made was either invisible or so forced that one or two people were kind enough to take pity on me and post a response. I have no talent at getting people to interact with me, and that is why I never waste time gabbing on Facebook and Twitter.

More Time to Write

Finally, being socially awkward frees me up to do the things I love: playing with my toddler (no social awkwardness there), writing Kindle books, and blogging. With no one calling me to discuss their latest purchases or breakup drama, my time is my own. No added stress, no obligations to listen to someone whine on the phone for an hour, and no party invitations. Thank goodness. Being socially awkward has its benefits.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Adding Links Inside of Kindle Books

More and more bloggers are writing Kindle ebooks and pasting links to their blogs on nearly every page of their Kindle books. Is this a wise choice to increase blog hits or is it just an annoyance to readers?

Why Are You Writing a Book?

Some people feel the compulsion to write all the time. It is in their blood. If they don’t write, they feel like they are dying inside or just going mad. Other people write in the hopes of becoming rich or famous. Then there is this new group of Kindle book writers that write short books in the hopes of increasing hits to their blogs and to collect email addresses to market their affiliate programs.

Don’t Send Me to Your Blog for More Information

I understand the desire to share a blog with your readers, but there is a time and place for that, such as in your introduction and on the back page of your book. Kindle books that are written with instructions to “learn more here” or “read about this here” are annoying readers. For example, I just finished skimming a Kindle book that literally had links to the writer’s blog on each page of the book, telling readers that they can get more information on this page or that within their blog. Listen, if the information is important, write it in the book. Do not throw me a link to your sales funnel page and expect to get my email address. It’s not going to happen. And I am not the only crank that feels this way. Looking at the reviews of this particular ebook, other readers were upset by all the links. It’s not just me.

Best Places to Add Your Links in Kindle Books

There are some good places to put your blog links in your Kindle book. The first is on your title page under your name. The second place where you can introduce your blog is in your introduction. You can write a short paragraph about how your blog inspired the book or whatever the case is. Finally, you can add a link to your blog at the end of your Kindle book. Writers will often place links to their other books at the end of each book. Include a link to your blog, as well.

Too many links to your blog within the contents of your book is annoying. It also looks like one big sales pitch, and that is not what the readers of Kindle books want. We don’t want to be sent to multiple pages online to read information that should be included in the book we bought.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Write an eBook About Your Amazingly Wonderful Pet

Have you ever read those stories about an amazing pet that saved an owner's life or the life of a child? How about a pet that changed a person's life so entirely that the reader is left in tears and awe? The simple fact is that we love our fur babies and we feel comforted when our love is confirmed by the tales of other pet owners.

Share Your Story

Many of the people I talk to have had an amazing experience with a pet or knows someone who has. People often tell me that they are going to write a book about their pet. "Great idea. Go for it," I say, but they never do.

My latest correspondence was with a pet lover who had an amazing relationship with her dog. Even after the death of her dog, she continued to see him. She is an amateur pet psychic and she wanted to know if I thought she should write a book on her experience and sell it on Kindle. "Great idea. Go for it," I said. I hope to goodness she does.

Writing Your Story

Before you even begin to write your story, read up on other people's tales of their pets. Get a feel for the voice used by published authors. Study how they tell their tale.

After you have done a dive into reading, you are ready to outline your own story. Decide where your story begins. Plan out the middle parts. Bring your story to a closing with the lessons you've learned and what you have gained from your pet.

The outline you create is the map to writing a good, coherent ebook. Many beginning writers think they can skip the outline and dive straight into the writing. Without that outline, you probably will never finish your story. Create your map and then begin writing your story.

Publish on Kindle

Kindle is an excellent platform for publishing all kinds of ebooks, including animal stories. Writers reach millions of potential readers every day and, while you probably won't become a millionaire by publishing one book about an awesome pet, you might make a bit of money as long as your story is interesting and well written.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

25 Quotes from Writers That Will Inspire You

Writers love quotes just as much as they love reading books. Here are 25 quotes that will inspire the writer in you.

1. Show, Don’t Tell

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” - Anton Chekhov

2. Destiny

“If you are destined to become a writer, you can't help it. If you can help it, you aren't destined to become a writer. The frustrations and disappointments, not even to mention the unspeakable loneliness, are too unbearable for anyone who doesn't have a deep sense of being unable to avoid writing.” - Donald Harington

3. Power of Words

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” - Aldous Huxley

4. Becoming a Writer

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” -Stephen King

5. Good Writing Days

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”  - Neil Gaiman

6. Why Write

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. ” - Joss Whedon

7. Inspiration

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”  - Jack London

8. Write Deep

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” - Ana├»s Nin

9. Criticism

“I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” - Mark Twain

10. Purpose

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” - Albert Camus

11. Born to Write

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

12. Truth

“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

13. Creation

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time - proof that humans can work magic.” - Carl Sagan

15. Inner Demon

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” 
- George Orwell

16. Love

“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.” - David Levithan

17. All You Need to Know

“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.”  - Willa Cather

18. What is Real?

“Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?” - Cornelia Funke

19. It Comes from Within

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” - William Wordsworth

20. Living Life

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” - Ray Bradbury

21. Spirit

“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

22. Poetry

“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him.” - Dylan Thomas

23. Loving the World

“All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.” - E.B. White

24. Change the World

“The first step - especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money - the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.” - Chuck Palahniuk

25. Painful Honesty

“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.” - Margaret Atwood

Friday, February 5, 2016

Creating a Basic Plot Around the Main Character for Fiction Novels

What is a Protagonist

In every story there is a protagonist, also called the hero. The protagonist is the main character of a story and the protagonist must want something.

What Your Character Wants - Intent

Begin by deciding what your main character wants. The want can be a goal, a wish, or a strong desire. Since you are in the beginning phase of planning out your book, this should be a very broad statement:

Protagonist wants to find true love.
Protagonist wants to win the marathon.
Protagonist wants to solve a murder and catch the bad guy.


After you have decided on what your character wants, you need to decide on the setting. Where will your protagonist be living your story? What country, state? Is the setting urban, suburban, or rural? These factors will help define your main character.

Character's Appearance

Deciding on your character's appearance before writing your book helps you remain consistent in describing your character. Make a list of how the character looks.

Is your character male or female?
How old is the protagonist?
List the character's physical appearance.
What is the character's name?
Does the character have any annoying habits?
Is there anything unique about your character's appearance?

Character's Background

Give your main character a history, even if you don't use the material in your book. Your character's history is what drivers her to act and do the things that she does.

Give details about the character's childhood.
Job history.
Past relationship.
List likes and dislikes with a brief explanation for each.


Every good story needs conflict. A conflict is something that stands in the way of the character's goal.

Using the examples of character wants, we can decide on the conflict:

Protagonist wants to find true love. - Another woman stands in the way.
Protagonist wants to win the marathon. - Has an injury before the race.
Protagonist wants to solve a murder and catch the bad guy. - The murder doesn't make any sense.

At this point in the plot planning, keep your statements broad. You will be able to fill out the details later after you have created a basic map of the plot.


For the main character to be a true protagonist, he must take action and solve the conflict. Giant eagles cannot swoop down from the sky and save him at the last possible moment. He must take action and solve the problem himself.

Make this a brief statement. For example:

Protagonist wants to solve a murder and catch the bad guy. - The murder doesn't make any sense. - Protagonist finds a missed clue.


The conclusion is how the story will end. Again, make this a brief statement. Example:

Protagonist wants to solve a murder. - The murder doesn't make any sense. - Protagonist finds a missed clue. - Murderer is caught.

Now What?

You should now have a rudimentary outline for your novel based around your character. With this skeleton, you can begin to flesh out motives, barriers, actions, catastrophes, and the conclusion using the plot structure of your choice.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Blogging Benefits for Writers

Over the past few months, I have truly become addicted to blogging. While I have dabbled in blogging in the years past, this new found love for it has opened me up to a new world of possibilities.

As published writers (and writers who plan on publishing), we all need to grasp the benefits that blogging can give us.

1. Publicize Your Books

Many professional writers run a blog, so what are you waiting for? Blogging is a great way to publicize the books you have published.

2. Sell Your Books

While you are talking about your published books, don't forget to link to them using an Amazon affiliate link.

3. Create Your Brand

Reading up on self branding and decide how you want to portray yourself to the world. Work on creating your brand through your blog.

4. Interact With Your Readers

Blogging gives you the chance to talk to your readers. It also gives your readers a change to communicate with you. Readers love having a direct line to their favorite writers. A blog can be that direct line.

5. Build Enthusiasm for a Book Your are Writing

If you are working on a new book, blog about it. Get your readers excited about it. Set a public deadline for when it will be finished and post small quotes from the new book.

6. Keeps You Writing

All book writers have their slow days or slow times. For me, blogging gets the word flow going. Running a daily blog forces you to continuously practice your craft.

So, Why Aren't You Blogging?

If you are still not certain about whether or not you want to go through the steps to setting up and managing a blog, why not try out Google's It is a free blog hosting option that will get you into the flow of blogging.