5 Great Things to Do in Writing for 2016

A Writer's Path

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by Victor Salinas

A new year signals a new beginning.

While the change of the calendar year is really nothing more than a formality, it can, in fact, be a powerful symbol in the human mind.

Most of us make resolutions at the end of each year. We promise ourselves and those close to us that we will strive to make a better, happier us.

So for all of us writers, here are five great things you can do in 2016 for your writing.

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POV: Point of View

Learn the different kinds of narrative POV: reliable first person, unreliable first person, omniscient third person, limited third person, objective third person, and even the rarely-used second person. Also, better understand why understanding POV is an important life skill, beyond the writing or study of literature.

Spelling Technique for Dyslexic

Most dyslexics have problems with reading and spelling, specifically with phonics , decoding words and remembering how to spell them. But for many, visual aids are extremely important in all aspects of learning. This technique uses visual cues within the words to help the child recognize the word and remember how to spell it.

Amazing Technique for Teaching Reading to an LD-Dyslexia student.

Watch a 2nd Grade girl with severe learning disabilities (LD) learn to read in 12 minutes using the ReadingKEY program. This no-nonsense approach to reading instruction uses a series of memory tricks to dramatically improve the ability to learn new words. Unlike other reading instruction programs, ReadingKEY puts all energy into being able to fluently read the essential reading vocabulary from most-common to least-common. Watch instructor Richard Pressinger almost “give-up” after 8 minutes, but then the lights go on for this amazing little girl!

The Writing Process.

the writing process

By Ali Hale

 

Whether you know it or not, there’s a process to writing – which many writers follow naturally. If you’re just getting started as a writer, though, or if you always find it a struggle to produce an essay, short story or blog, following the writing process will help.

I’m going to explain what each stage of the writing process involves, and I’ll offer some tips for each section that will help out if you’re still feeling stuck!

1. Prewriting

Have you ever sat staring at a blank piece of paper or a blank document on your computer screen? You might have skipped the vital first stage of the writing process: prewriting. This covers everything you do before starting your rough draft. As a minimum, prewriting means coming up with an idea!

Ideas and Inspiration

Ideas are all around you. If you want to write but you don’t have any ideas, try:

  • Using a writing prompt to get you started.
  • Writing about incidents from your daily life, or childhood.
  • Keeping a notebook of ideas – jotting down those thoughts that occur throughout the day.
  • Creating a vivid character, and then writing about him/her.

See also How to Generate Hundreds of Writing Ideas.

Tip: Once you have an idea, you need to expand on it. Don’t make the mistake of jumping straight into your writing – you’ll end up with a badly structured piece.

Building on Your Idea

These are a couple of popular methods you can use to add flesh to the bones of your idea:

  • Free writing: Open a new document or start a new page, and write everything that comes into your head about your chosen topic. Don’t stop to edit, even if you make mistakes.
  • Brainstorming: Write the idea or topic in the center of your page. Jot down ideas that arise from it – sub-topics or directions you could take with the article.

Once you’ve done one or both of these, you need to select what’s going into your first draft.

Planning and Structure

Some pieces of writing will require more planning than others. Typically, longer pieces and academic papers need a lot of thought at this stage.

First, decide which ideas you’ll use. During your free writing and brainstorming, you’ll have come up with lots of thoughts. Some belong in this piece of writing: others can be kept for another time.

Then, decide how to order those ideas. Try to have a logical progression. Sometimes, your topic will make this easy: in this article, for instance, it made sense to take each step of the writing process in order. For a short story, try the eight-point story arc.

2. Writing

Sit down with your plan beside you, and start your first draft (also known as the rough draft or rough copy). At this stage, don’t think about word-count, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Don’t worry if you’ve gone off-topic, or if some sections of your plan don’t fit too well. Just keep writing!

If you’re a new writer, you might be surprised that professional authors go through multiple drafts before they’re happy with their work. This is a normal part of the writing process – no-one gets it right first time.

Some things that many writers find helpful when working on the first draft include:

  • Setting aside at least thirty minutes to concentrate: it’s hard to establish a writing flow if you’re just snatching a few minutes here and there.
  • Going somewhere without interruptions: a library or coffee shop can work well, if you don’t have anywhere quiet to write at home.
  • Switching off distracting programs: if you write your first draft onto a computer, you might find that turning off your Internet connection does wonders for your concentration levels! When I’m writing fiction, I like to use the free program Dark Room (you can find more about it on our collection of writing software).

You might write several drafts, especially if you’re working on fiction. Your subsequent drafts will probably merge elements of the writing stage and the revising stage.

Tip: Writing requires concentration and energy. If you’re a new writer, don’t try to write for hours without stopping. Instead, give yourself a time limit (like thirty minutes) to really focus – without checking your email!

3. Revising

Revising your work is about making “big picture” changes. You might remove whole sections, rewrite entire paragraphs, and add in information which you’ve realized the reader will need. Everyone needs to revise – even talented writers.

The revision stage is sometimes summed up with the A.R.R.R. (Adding, Rearranging, Removing, Replacing) approach:

Adding

What else does the reader need to know? If you haven’t met the required word-count, what areas could you expand on? This is a good point to go back to your prewriting notes – look for ideas which you didn’t use.

Rearranging

Even when you’ve planned your piece, sections may need rearranging. Perhaps as you wrote your essay, you found that the argument would flow better if you reordered your paragraphs. Maybe you’ve written a short story that drags in the middle but packs in too much at the end.

Removing

Sometimes, one of your ideas doesn’t work out. Perhaps you’ve gone over the word count, and you need to take out a few paragraphs. Maybe that funny story doesn’t really fit with the rest of your article.

Replacing

Would more vivid details help bring your piece to life? Do you need to look for stronger examples and quotations to support your argument? If a particular paragraph isn’t working, try rewriting it.

Tip: If you’re not sure what’s working and what isn’t, show your writing to someone else. This might be a writers’ circle, or just a friend who’s good with words. Ask them for feedback. It’s best if you can show your work to several people, so that you can get more than one opinion.

4. Editing

The editing stage is distinct from revision, and needs to be done after revising. Editing involves the close-up view of individual sentences and words. It needs to be done after you’ve made revisions on a big scale: or else you could agonize over a perfect sentence, only to end up cutting that whole paragraph from your piece.

When editing, go through your piece line by line, and make sure that each sentence, phrase and word is as strong as possible. Some things to check for are:

  • Have you used the same word too many times in one sentence or paragraph? Use a thesaurus to find alternatives.
  • Are any of your sentences hard to understand? Rewrite them to make your thoughts clear.
  • Which words could you cut to make a sentence stronger? Words like “just” “quite”, “very”, “really” and “generally” can often be removed.
  • Are your sentences grammatically correct? Keep a careful look out for problems like subject-verb agreement and staying consistent in your use of the past, present or future tense.
  • Is everything spelt correctly? Don’t trust your spell-checker – it won’t pick up every mistake. Proofread as many times as necessary.
  • Have you used punctuation marks correctly? Commas often cause difficulties. You might want to check out the Daily Writing Tips articles on punctuation.

Tip: Print out your work and edit on paper. Many writers find it easier to spot mistakes this way.

5. Publishing

The final step of the writing process is publishing. This means different things depending on the piece you’re working on.

Bloggers need to upload, format and post their piece of completed work.

Students need to produce a final copy of their work, in the correct format. This often means adding a bibliography, ensuring that citations are correct, and adding details such as your student reference number.

Journalists need to submit their piece (usually called “copy”) to an editor. Again, there will be a certain format for this.

Fiction writers may be sending their story to a magazine or competition. Check guidelines carefully, and make sure you follow them. If you’ve written a novel, look for an agent who represents your genre. (There are books like Writer’s Market, published each year, which can help you with this.)

Tip: Your piece of writing might never be published. That’s okay – many bestselling authors wrote lots of stories or articles before they got their first piece published. Nothing that you write is wasted, because it all contributes to your growth as a writer.

Conclusion

The five stages of the writing process are a framework for writing well and easily. You might want to bookmark this post so that you can come back to it each time you start on a new article, blog post, essay or story: use it as a checklist to help you.

If you have any tips about the writing process, or if you want to share your experiences, tell us in the comments!

 

Original post:http://www.dailywritingtips.com/the-writing-process/

7 Tips for Creating a Successful Book Cover

by

 

Cover Designs

Whether you like it or not, your cover is the face of your book, and you will be judged by it. You’ve put a great deal of work and thought into your book, and your cover should reflect that effort. After all of your planning, plotting, and editing is done, the last thing you want to do is to send your book out into the world with a bad cover to die a slow, unnoticed death.

Still, creating a book cover is a difficult, even perplexing job. Even seasoned book designers can make missteps with difficult texts. Here are some tips to help you along:

1. Know Your Genre

There are a lot of genres: cozy mystery, hardboiled mystery, space opera, epic fantasy, literary fiction. Each has its own demands. It’s good to start by looking at other books that are roughly similar to yours and ask yourself a few questions. Does your book cover have a similar feel? Will it attract the right audience? Does it fit within the genre without getting lost?

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2. Let Your Type Lead the Way

Typefaces tell readers a great deal about a book, often more than they realize. The right font can make a cover, just as the wrong one can break it. Is the title set in 60-point Trajan or Trade Gothic? Chances are it’s a thriller or a detective mystery. Both title and author name are set in letter-spaced 18-point Gotham? It’s probably a literary novel — or maybe a biography. Papyrus? Unless you’ve written a cozy mystery set in a card shop, avoid Papyrus at all costs.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out

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Whether your work is literary or hews close to the rules of a specific genre, you know your book is unique. With genre fiction in particular, the urge to stick to templated designs can be strong, and that approach isn’t wholly without merit: It lets readers know exactly what to expect from the text. But such covers risk getting lost in a sea of similar-looking titles. Readers who feel passionately about a specific genre may pick up your book on whim, but it’s unlikely to find a broader audience.

If your book is as unique as you feel it is, have faith that readers will find it even without a bare-chested model depicting your hero and a Photoshopped dragon representing his magical companion. By foregoing clichés, you may find a wider readership than you expected.

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4. Sometimes Less Is More

A cover that’s overly busy or has too many design elements can overwhelm a potential reader, but a single iconic image can in some cases convey the idea behind your book, and communicating that idea may be more telling than merely depicting a character or setting.

5. But Sometimes Less Is Just Less

A strong, singular image can carry the right kind of book to glory, but without the right context or a clever title to play against, that photograph of a colander or a burning match will only leave readers scratching their heads. So before you commit to a cover featuring just the type and a pair of cufflinks, take a moment to decide whether such minimalist imagery suits your text.

6. Invest in Art

When it comes to cover art, you get what you pay for. Fonts and stock images can cost money, but the money you spend on licensing fonts and photography serves to make your book more polished and professional. Commissioning custom illustration or lettering is an excellent, if expensive, way to achieve a cover that stands out.

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Low-end, royalty-free art of the sort sold by Shutterstock or iStock is meant primarily for advertising and made to be adapted to as many purposes as possible, which means it can also come across as generic or even dull. For a bit more money, the right solution for your cover may be found at a site that specializes in photographs for book covers, like Trevillion or Arcangel. If you’re looking for something classier, try a site that specializes in fine art photography, like Gallery Stock. And of course…

7. When in Doubt, Hire a Professional

It may just be that in addition to being an excellent writer you are also a talented designer. Or perhaps your babysitter is an extraordinary artist at home in all media. That, however, is rarely the case. Becoming a great graphic designer takes years of experience, and moreover, book cover design is its own specialization. The kid down the street who made your website may have no clue when it comes to creating a book. The best way to guarantee that your book is represented properly is to rely on someone who knows what works visually in the marketplace and has the ability and experience to create the right cover. Start by looking for names on the backs of books in the same genre as yours whose covers you admire. Once you’ve collected a few names, Google the designers and have a look at their portfolios.

A professionally designed book cover can cost upwards of $1,500 (in addition to licenses for any stock art featured in the design). That may sound steep, but it’s small change compared to the time and energy you’ve surely committed to creating your text. A couple thousand dollars can be a small price to pay to assure that your hard work doesn’t immediately fade into oblivion.

Original post:https://insights.bookbub.com/tips-for-creating-a-successful-book-cover/