Janice Hardy's Blog, page 2

May 12, 2018

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Real Life Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and we diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to Real Life Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: Two


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through May 26.

This week’s questions:

Does this opening provide enough conflict? Do you care about the main character (Nicole) based on this snippet? Is there enough of a hint at future conflict? Would you keep reading?


Market/Genre: Christian Literary YA Novella

On to the diagnosis…

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Published on May 12, 2018 03:00 • 6 views

May 11, 2018

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes another look at writing with emotional layers. Enjoy!

Nobody feels one way all the time, or even one emotion at a time. There are a myriad of emotions floating around in our heads at any given moment. We might be happy for a friend who just got a promotion, but also jealous because we were passed over for one. Or thrilled for a sister marrying the man of her dreams, but worried because he’s been married four times already.

Characters are no different. When you approach a scene, think about the different emotions those characters might be feeling. Just like plot layers, consider the emotional layers of your story and how you can use those layers to deepen the scene and connect with the reader. Ask yourself:
Read more »Written by Janice Hardy. Fiction-University.com
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Published on May 11, 2018 03:00 • 1 view

May 10, 2018

By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy
 

Part of the Indie Author Series

A key tool that we have as indie authors for keeping in touch with our readers is our newsletter or mailing list. Building and maintaining a mailing list is considered foundational to a strong author business for good reason.

Unlike social media sites—or even our website—email is a direct means of communication. We’re not hoping they come to our site or hoping that our status update shows up in their social media feed. We’re also in control of our list so that, if a particular social media sites dies a dramatic death, our list doesn’t go with it.

But mailing lists still require maintenance. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing my regular “clean up” on my mailing list, which made me think this might be a good time to write about it as well.
Read more »Written by Janice Hardy. Fiction-University.com
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Published on May 10, 2018 04:51 • 1 view

May 8, 2018

By Laurence MacNaughton, @LMacNaughton  

Part of the How They Do It Series (Contributing Author) 

Sooner or later, every story runs into a little hiccup. As you write, you'll discover that certain facts don't fit together anymore. Maybe a character needs to be changed or removed. Maybe you find a plot hole big enough to drive a Mack truck through.

Somewhere, in the inner workings of your story, something has gone awry. You need to fix it, or you'll have a big problem on your hands.

So what do you do? Put your story on hold, and go back to the beginning in a desperate attempt to make things right?

Bad idea. You might end up killing your writing momentum. Instead, you need to keep moving forward toward "The End."
Read more »Written by Janice Hardy. Fiction-University.com
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Published on May 08, 2018 05:02 • 7 views

May 5, 2018

Critique By Maria D'Marco

Real Life Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and we diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to Real Life Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: Two


Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through May 19.

This week’s questions:

Do you connect with the main character? Does it give you a better feel for who she is and what she wants? Is there enough happening in the beginning to catch your interest and keep you reading?


Market/Genre: YA Fantasy

Note: This is a revised submission. If you’d like to see how the writer revised, check out the original page.

On to the diagnosis…
Read more »Written by Janice Hardy. Fiction-University.com
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Published on May 05, 2018 03:59 • 1 view

May 2, 2018

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Dipping into the archives today with an oldie but goodie on how to avoid a story full of coincidences and contrived plots from 2014.  

No matter how exciting a story may be, if the plot hinges on coincidences and contrived events, readers will feel cheated. Does the protagonist always seem to find the right person at the right time, who happens to have the exact item she's looking for? What about the hero who overhears conversations that reveal the information he needed? If solutions to problems seem to fall into the protagonist's lap with little to no work, odds are your plot is going to feel contrived.

Plots work best when events happen for reasons rooted in character goals and motivations and not just because the author wanted it to unfold that way. There’s a fine line between situations that read plausibly and ones that feel like a series of unlikely coincidences.
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Published on May 02, 2018 03:00

May 1, 2018

By Tamar Sloan, @SloanTamar 

Part of the How They Do It Series

JH: I don't think I've ever met a writer who didn't want to be more productive (myself included). Making writing a habit is one way to do that, and Tamar Sloan visits the lecture hall today to share thoughts and tips on how to avoid the bad habits that sap our productivity and create good habits that will help us with our writing.

A school psychologist by day, Tamar channels her passion for books into creating young adult stories about discovering life and love beyond our comfort zones. She is the award-winning author of the Prime Prophecy Series. Her debut novel, Prophecy Awakened, is an epic story of a love that defies boundaries. When not reading, writing or working with teens, Tamar can be found with her ever-patient husband and two beautiful sons enjoying country life on their small acreage in the Australian bush. Tamar finds it deeply rewarding to share her stories and she loves to hear from her readers and fellow lovers of all things book related.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter |

Take it away Tamar...
Read more »Written by Janice Hardy. Fiction-University.com
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Published on May 01, 2018 04:30 • 4 views

April 30, 2018

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

With two birthdays this week, major clean up after my home remodel, and prepping for a slew of people visiting in a few days, I'm dipping into the archives today. Enjoy this updated look at plotting a novel conceptually. 

I'm always looking for better ways to plot my novels. Every time I attend a great workshop on story structure, or see a phenomenal blog post, or read a fantastic book, I incorporate those tips into my process and update my basic plotting template. One of my pre-novel planning techniques is to start conceptually and narrow the plot down to specifics.

Thinking about a story conceptually allows us to brainstorm what we want to have happen without worrying about the details. Such as, you know you want a major reveal and surprise at the mid-point, or you want X to happen in the climax. Maybe it's whatever the protagonist does at the climax of act one that will come back to bite her in the all-is-lost-moment at the end of act two. You can shape the flow of the story even though you don't know exactly how it will go. Conceptually, you know how you want it to turn out.

For examples, let's check in with Bob and the gang.
Read more »Written by Janice Hardy. Fiction-University.com
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Published on April 30, 2018 03:00 • 1 view

April 27, 2018

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday takes another look at things to do when you have to cut a character from your novel.

It's not uncommon for the number of characters in a novel to grow as we write that novel. We discover scenes that need extra hands, or a walk-on role turns out to be a fantastic secondary character and gets more page time. Or we're writing a series, and after a few books, we realize the cast list has become unmanageable.

I ran into this while writing the third book in my fantasy trilogy, Darkfall . I had the main characters, the major supporting characters, old characters from book one, added characters from book two, and then all the new characters for book three. Suddenly, the scenes were all way too crowded.

I needed to do a little character pruning, but who got to stay and who had to go?

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Published on April 27, 2018 04:30 • 6 views

April 26, 2018

Jodie Renner, editor and award-winning author @JodieRennerEd

Part of the Indie Authors Series


Pulling from the archives today, with some editing tips from Jodie Renner.

Whether you’re writing a novel, a nonfiction book, a blog post, a magazine article, a short story, or an assignment, it’s important to go over your work several times before submitting, to make sure it’s error-free and flows well. No matter what your you’re writing, you’re your credibility will be eroded if readers find mispelled misspelled words, misused words, missing or extra words, or other typos.

Over the years, I’ve presented workshops and written several articles on tips for approaching the whole editing and revising process, starting with macro issues like logistics, characterization, plot, and pacing, and working your way through awkward phrasing and wordiness down to micro errors like spelling and punctuation. And of course Janice has done a stellar job of guiding writers through the process, to result in a polished story before querying or publishing.
Read more »Written by Janice Hardy. Fiction-University.com
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Published on April 26, 2018 03:46 • 7 views