Information For Writers

The Real Life Press Archive for Writers

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In each issue of WRITER our weekly newsletter we feature one question and provide many answers.
In our YES YOU CAN WRITE BLOG we provide new insights, ourselves and through guest bloggers.
Some of the new articles will appear on this web page, which we change regularly so keep visiting.

If you provide an outsourcing or training service to writers, or have written a specialist book, but are willing to provide some free initial guidance in an article, become a guest blogger.

The 105 Questions Every Author Needs Answered

BEGINNING

  • What do I need to read and do before I start writing seriously?
  • How can I get fired up to write? (Inspiration & Motivation)
  • What about the days when I need something to prod me into writing? (Prompts and Writing Exercises)
  • Why is writing frequently important? (Craft Practice)
  • Why does it matter how I begin?

 

THE MEDIUM & THE STRUCTURE

  • How should I share my knowledge? (Book, magazine, training course)
  • How can I use my specialist knowledge in fiction?
  • How can I personalize my knowledge, to make my book more than a list of instructions?
  • What do I really want my book to be about?
  • Why do I need a structure when my best work comes from writing spontaneously?

 

WRITING: THE BASICS

  • How can I learn to spell and punctuate?
  • How do I get the grammar right?
  • How can I stop using the same words?
  • What is the right sentence length?
  • What is the right paragraph length?

 

IMPROVING WRITING QUALITY

  • How can I write to win literary competitions?
  • How can I make my writing clear and easy to understand?
  • How can I write copy and ads for my business?
  • How can I write summaries and letters I will need to help pitch and sell my book?
  • How can I find words that create pictures and sensations for readers?

 

ELEMENTS OF CREATIVE WRITING  

  • How can I create realistic/interesting characters?
  • How can I create page turning prose?
  • How can I describe the time and place of a scene?
  • How can I use dialogue and other conversations?
  • How can I introduce backstory without interrupting the narrative flow?

 

OVERCOMING CRITICISM OF FICTION

  • What do I change if I’m told my story is short of hooks or stakes?
  • What is the difference between lack of conflict and lack of action?
  • How can I correct a lack of tension?
  • What is the difference between characters lacking goals and lacking motivation?
  • Can somebody please explain the difference between show and tell without adding to my confusion?

 

WRITING DIALOGUE, MONOLOGUE & CONVERSATIONS FOR EACH MEDIUM

  • How should I quote speech within a personalised ‘how to’ manual?
  • How should I quote speech in a story or novel?
  • How should I write dialogue for a radio play?
  • How should I write dialogue for TV drama?
  • How should I write dialogue for film?

 

CREATING WRITING FRAMEWORKS

  • What is the best structure for the book I want to write?
  • How can I create a chronology and characteristics framework of my main character(s)?
  • How can I create a framework for adding personality to a ‘how to’ guide?
  • How can I create a location framework and use descriptions from it in my text?
  • How can I create the best framework for the genre?

 

VIEWPOINT & TENSE

  • What are the advantages and downsides of the first-person viewpoint?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the observing narrator third -person viewpoint?
  • How can I keep the immediacy of the present tense while telling a story than spans decades?
  • How can I switch viewpoints without losing the reader?
  • How can I tell a story chronologically in the third person voice and still make the characters live?

 

WRITING GENRE FICTION

  • What are the conventions for writing sub-genres of crime?
  • What are the conventions for romance?
  • What are the conventions for biography/history?
  • What are the conventions for the genres of sci-fi?
  • What are the ghost, horror & vampire conventions?

 

WRITING ABOUT REAL PEOPLE

  • How can I write the truth but not identify the actual people?
  • How can I model my fictional characters on real people but invent situations?
  • How can I write an autobiography about someone else?
  • I want to write genre fiction but with realistic rounded characters not ciphers, what’s the secret?
  • I want to dazzle readers with my sparkling style but remain true to the characters, what’s the secret?

 

CRITIQUING AND EDITING  

  • How can I get constructive comments about my story, characters and plot before I write the whole thing?
  • What does copy editing involve and why does it cost so much?
  • If my manuscript has been copy-edited, why does it need to be proofread?
  • Isn’t there software to do all this editing?
  • What is the point of having a genre specialist reviewer reading my manuscript in draft?

  

  CREATING THE MANUSCRIPT FOR PRINT & eBook

  • What is the optimum number of words and chapters?
  • Should I format or use a template, and create a word document or a PDF?
  • What are the best typefaces for printed books and eBooks?
  • How do illustrations need to be presented and positioned?
  • What’s the best way to create a cover that sells?

 

CREATING THE PRESENTATION PACKAGE & SCRIPT

  • How should I approach agents and the commissioning editors in traditional book publishing?
  • How should I create and pitch a radio play?
  • How should I create and pitch a TV series pilot?
  • How should I create and pitch a movie script?
  • What do I need for self-publishing or using hybrid book publishers?

 

THE TECHNICALITIES OF SELF-PUBLISHING

  • How do I get ISBN numbers and artwork, and do I need them?
  • How do I get my books listed for booksellers to order?
  • Why shouldn’t I just leave all that to Amazon?
  • Should I have copies printed in bulk or use Print on Demand?
  • Why will a distributor insist on doing the printing?

 

ARRANGING DISTRIBUTION

  • How do I arrange to get my books printed and trade distributed through shops and on-line worldwide?
  • How can I have an eBook trade distributed but keep 100% of my website sales?
  • How can I service online orders for books?
  • How can I sell overseas and translation rights?
  • How can I sell movie, radio and TV options?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

PLANNING BOOK MARKETING 

  • How can I prepare marketing materials as I write the book?
  • How soon before publication should I start getting the word out about my book?
  • Are there good times of the year to publish certain kinds of books?
  • Should I offer my book free or at a low price and when should I change the list price?
  • What should I include in my publication day marketing package?

 

ONGOING MARKET PRESENCE 

  • Do I need a website?
  • How can I build a mailing list?
  • Do I need active social media accounts?
  • How can I automate social media posts?
  • How can I use landing pages to convert social media posts into book sales?

 

SOCIAL MEDIA 

  • How can I use Facebook to sell books?
  • How can I use Twitter to sell books?
  • How can I use Instagram to sell books?
  • How can I use YouTube to sell books?
  • How can I use Google+ to sell books?

 

MAKING MONEY BEYOND ONE BOOK? 

  • How can I write the book so it creates merchandising opportunities?
  • How can I create compulsive central characters to feature in a series of books?
  • How can I create a book with scope for sequels and prequels?
  • How can I use a free book to sell the rest of a series?
  • How can I become a celebrity with a fan following?

 

GETTING EDITORIAL COVERAGE AND REVIEWS 

  • How can I sell serialisation rights?
  • How can I become a columnist?
  • How can I send out media releases on a tight budget?
  • How can I get good reviews?
  • How can I use reviews in my marketing plan?

 

DOING EVERYTHING OR DELEGATING? 

  • How can I find and manage freelance resources?
  • When should I get experts involved if my budget is limited?
  • What are the benefits of affinity marketing?
  • How can I measure marketing success and delegate intensification?
  • How can I balance writing creativity with the business of being a writer?