My September novella (Part 2 update)

Hi guys,
I have started working on my September novella. So far, I have just about 2, 000 words, and I am really sleepy now.


This one will be about a young professor coming back to his island in the Caribbean and becoming a bit emotional by the challenges around him. He will start falling in love with a girl, but for a time their relationship will seem a bit strange, as the two of them are introverts. So far the first few paragraphs started where it is night and stormy weather.


Oh yes and the young professor has a cat called Bella.


Writing THE DECISION: LIZZIE’S STORY # 2 – The Pitch

When writing a novel, a good pitch is worth its weight in gold. Not only is it a good document to grab the interest of agents and publishers, it can help if you are self publishing too as it helps you stay “on track”.

I had tried writing novels before, but always ran out of steam. Previously I had written only loose outlines, so when approaching LIZZIE’S STORY I decided to write a detailed pitch. I actually spent as long on the pitch as writing the manuscript (nearly four months!), but I didn’t regret it. Here’s how I did mine:

First Page:

1. Working Title. My title was picked by my agent, Julian Friedmann as BUT WHAT NEXT? This came from the manuscript itself. When they bought it, the publisher Rowohlt retitled it, GUT DECISION, which I love. (FYI – The series is now called THE DECISION in the English Language).

2. Genre. THE DECISION is a Young Adult (YA) novel series, aimed at females aged 14-20 years. Yes, be this specific. Agents and Editors hate it when writers say “suitable for all”!

3. Length. YA is typically in the region of 50-75,000 words, so I put this here. The novel came in at just over 62,000 words. Make sure you know what has “gone before” in the genre you’re writing in, don’t just pick a number out of thin air!

4. Target Audience (short paragraph, 100 words max): I wrote a short paragraph here in more detail about those 14-20 year old females. I wrote about what types of book, plus TV shows and movies they would like (thus cementing *why* they would like my novel).

5. Pitch (25-50 words): Here I put a logline-style summary of the story as a whole, along with a “What if …?” question, which was: “What if you could play out everything that *could* happen next in your life?”

Page Two:

6. Statement of Intent (1 page max). Think of this as the reason why you’re writing – like my last post. Remember: if you don’t believe in the message behind your writing, the readers won’t either. So work out what it is and why you’re writing this book.

Page Three:

7. Synopsis (half a page maximum). Here is where you write the premise behind your book and iron out any potential issues with the “story world” in advance. In Lizzie’s case, Lizzie is presented with ALL the possible scenarios of how her decision (“have the baby/don’t have the baby”) could play out, one per chapter.

Pages Four – Seven:

8. Extended Pitch (2-3 pages). Here I gave a summary of each chapter: what happens; who’s in it; how it ends. There are five “main” chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue in the book. This provides the “framework” for your novel, if you like.

Pages Eight-Nine:

9. Character biographies. I gave the protagonist, Lizzie, the top of the page – then listed her “significant others”: what they were like, who they were to Lizzie and how they figured in the story. Lizzie is 17, so her Mum and Dad, sisters, best friend and boyfriend are all in there. That’s about ten “main” characters, so I took up two pages for this, but you can take less if you have fewer in your novel. Don’t go on for longer than two pages and don’t note peripheral characters, only those that are really important.

Page Ten:

10. SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for “Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats” and is often used in business to assess various projects and ventures. Here is a free handout as a Word document. SWOT is a useful tool to look at the development of your novel as well as “selling it off the page” to agents and publishers. For example, one of the Strengths of GUT DECISION was its female bias and the fact that unlike many contemporary YA novels it does not deal with the supernatural or an abusive relationship at its heart; a Weakness could also be its female bias! The fact I have such a large following online is an Opportunity in terms of marketing and so on.

Concluding, a good pitch can not only save you a lot of heartache in writing your novel, it could help you sell your book to agents and publishers. So don’t skimp on your preparation!

Download a free novel pitch template here 



The original article:

The Fortress

Pebble by pebble;
Stone by stone,
this fortress was built up
by the hands of our own.
Now destined to fall
from the distress of cracks,
yet despite its weakening,
we continue to wrack.

We destroyed this once sovereign being
and have transformed it into an idea
we will never be reaching.
Not with our minds
wrapped in the wicked ways of this world.
Not until we learn
what a life is actually for.

Shots are fired
like the beat of a drum
with each thump,
another one comes along.
Raiding and ravaging
each other for their worth
ends only when one
becomes part of the earth.

Corruption and lies
lie deep within our lives
seeping into the core
of our values and guidelines.
We are no longer ashamed
and willingly take the blame
as long as the world
will one day know our name.

This is also posted on…

View original post 10 more words

My September Novella (Part 1 update)

I am starting work on a novella today (I am thinking about 17 000 words or so). I have already done the plotting, but as we know, developments will happen alone the way that I never saw coming. I have no idea why my characters do such things at the very last minute.

Estimated time frame for completion, is about three weeks. I will let you know how I am doing along the way.

This novella will be about a young psychology professor, using writing as a means to solace. I write from a Caribbean background, and so, this will influence the general atmosphere of the book.

6 Ways To Find Success As A Writer With Your Blog by Matt Banner

GREAT tips from Matt on how TO use blogging to your advantage as a writer … Enjoy!


Right around the time I started 6th grade, I had chosen my career. I started out like most kids wanting to be: a firefighter, an astronaut, and maybe even a chef in my spare time. But when I reached that middle-of-the-road in my education, everything sort of fell into place …

… I wanted to be a writer!

It hit me like a ton of bricks, and suddenly all of those other career paths melted away. Of course, we all know that being a successful writer is easier said than done, but today I’m here to show you some ways that you can use a blog to find success in your writing career.

6 Ways a Writer Can Use Their Blog to Find Success

First thing’s first: you need to know how to start and create your blog, but once you have that in place, a whole world of new opportunities open up for you. Suddenly your blog becomes a tool that can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Self-Promotion – Market yourself and your writing.
  • Hone Your Craft – Practice makes perfect.
  • Networking – meet and connect with influential people.
  • Learn Valuable Skills – pick up knowledge and know-how that earns top dollar!
  • Pitch Your Ideas – throw out some concepts and see what people think.
  • Gain a Following – create an army of fans!

If you’re hungry for more details, I’ve got them right here, so keep on reading!

1) Self-Promotion

Your Blog is a Giant Billboard with Your Face on It. Use That Potential to Market Yourself, and your Writing!

Your book, poem, and even your screenplay are all one in a sea of millions. Standing out and spreading the word would normally require you to spend a ton of money on marketing, but with a blog, you have the perfect tool to market your work.

Whether it’s posting pieces of what you’re working on, or promoting your latest book via social media, your blog is the platform where it can, and should happen. Always remember though, when working online it’s crucial that you back up your screenplay or novel, just in case. One glitch and you could lose a whole lot.

In his column on Writer’s Digest, Michael Larsen referred to a holy trinity of content as such:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Sharing

Your blog empowers you to do all of those things and spread the word that you’re the new writer in town. MORE:10 Reasons Your Blog Sucks


2) Hone Your Craft

The Only Way to Get Better at Writing is to write. Blogging is a Perfect Excuse to Practice and Sharpen Your Proverbial Pen!

Blogs live and die by what is written on them. Besides using yours as a means of promotion, you can also use it as the whetstone for your writing blade. Set up a schedule and post several times a week when you’re not working on your own stories. These posts will give you the chance to put your thoughts down on paper, and they will keep your skills sharp.

Your blog is also the perfect place to find that “writer’s voice” that everyone has. Practicing your skills via blog posts allows you to experiment with different tones and types of writing in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise have time for. Not to mention, the feedback you’ll get from comments and followers will be invaluable in finding your voice and style. MORE:5 Ways Tweeting Will Make You A Better Writer 

3) Network and Meet Influential People 

The Internet Connects You to Countless People. Reach out to Other Writers and Bloggers to Build a Network of Influential People.

Blogging connects you to an entire world of people who are in the same pursuit as you. Bloggers are unique in that they work together and network to find mutual success. Whether it’s cross-promoting a post, or sharing some industry advice, we’re good people. Reaching out to other bloggers builds your network, which can lead to some very important introductions.

Let’s say you connect with a blogger, who then puts you in touch with an agent he knows. The agent comes and checks out your blog, they love your stuff and suddenly you have a publishing deal! It sounds too good to be true, but as they say, it’s all about who you know. A blog puts your writing on the map and gives you the chance to build your network like nothing else can. MORE: Connecting With Writers, Filmmakers & Agents Online

 4) Pick up Valuable Skills

Before you know it, you’ll be a Master of Blogging Skills, SEO, and More! Those are Valuable Talents that are Always in Demand!

Success very rarely comes overnight. It’s a long and arduous journey down this road, and while you’re getting things up and running, you’re going to need a source of income. Well, you’ll be happy to know that this doesn’t mean working part-time at a dead end job while you pursue a writing career.

Instead, you can use the skills you gain as a blogger to your benefit. You’ll pick up knowledge as you go around things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), blog design, and of course, writing. These things can score you some great freelance jobs on websites like Upwork, or on freelance job boards. These sources of income keep you sharp while you use your blog to make your dreams a reality. MOREHow Do I Become A Freelance Writer?


5) Pitch Your Ideas

Got an Idea, But You’re Not Sure it Will Stick? Pitch it to Your Followers and Check out the Feedback!

Once your blog is up and running and you have some people reading it, why not throw out your next big idea? Don’t give it all away of course, but this is a great way to test the waters and see if people would like to read that particular pitch. If not, don’t sweat it, that just means you won’t waste your time and you can really narrow down the options to something that will blow people away!

Knowing that people are interested in a pitch means that all of the time and effort you put into writing, publishing, and promoting is absolutely worth it. MORE:Can I Pitch My Unfinished Projects?

6) Gain a Following 

As Your Popularity Grows, so Too Will Your Fan Base. By the Time You’re Ready to Market Something, You’ll already have an Audience Eager to Buy!

There isn’t a single, one-off method by which writers become successful. There are multiple paths to this goal, and blogging is most certainly one of them. One of the goals of any blogger is to grow their audience and bring in a following of subscribers. This goal lines up perfectly with that of a writer.

Whether you have an agent, or you’ve decided to self-publish, you need a following. The fastest and most effective way to gain that crowd of dedicated fans is by growing your blog, promoting the content, and marketing your books to them. As you write more and more, your followers will see you as an expert in what you do (and you’ll feel like one). That means when you ask them to buy your book, they do so without hesitation! MORE:6 Ways To Build An Audience

Some Final Tips:

Blogging is something that just about every type of career can benefit from, but for writer’s it’s an absolute necessity for success. As you’re getting everything set up, don’t forget to always read other blogs, books, and advice from other successful writers. You don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither does your blog. The biggest lesson of all is to learn to see and utilize the tools you are given.

Thanks for reading and be sure to share your own methods for using a blog to find writing success in the comments below!


The original article:

Writing a Memoir

Earlier this month of August, I started working on a memoir of the early parts of my life. For some reason, I was under the impression that these are parts of my life, and this ought to be easy. Was I wrong!
I started to see themes that I had not thought of before; how the world around me influenced my life, even before turning twelve.  There are some areas I am not ready to explore further as yet and other parts that I will have to ask my older sister to help with some details.
I have about 7 000 words. I will attempt to take it up in about three weeks time or so. But  for now, I want to start working on a novella I had been planning for a few weeks.