Story Concierge

a blog for writers with tips, tricks, & all things writing 

Successful Writers Do These Things

Happy midweek WRITER WEDNESDAY! 

This week I want to talk about the habits of successful writers because they do make a difference. And they are ALL things that you can start doing right now to change your writing career and take it to the next level. 

1. Successful writers-WRITE. I know that sounds sarcastic and it's not meant to be, but if you want to be a writer you need to write. You need to write every day. Now, there are many who will say that you only need to write when the spirit moves you but not if you want to do this for a living and actually make money. 

If you want to be a successful writer---WRITE, every single day. 

2. They hone their craft. They take workshops, read books on the craft of writing, get into writing retreats with other writers, they constantly work on their craft. You don't need to spend thousands traveling far away to another country or resort to do this--although, when you can, it is fun, but it's not needed. You can read blogs...

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Tips for a Successful NaNoWriMo

Hey, writers!! Are you doing #NaNoWriMo this year? 

        #NaNoWriMo tips!

Yay, so am I. Every year I write blogs about doing it, articles, and I share tips because I want YOU to be successful. Well, this year is no different!!!! 

Add me as a buddy at https://nanowrimo.org/ I am stephnewyork

Here are some quick and easy tips!!

  1. Be open to whatever story you are writing--meaning--just be free and free write
  2. Don't edit--just write
  3. Make a schedule. Usually, during NaNo I set aside a couple of hours every month to write BEFORE I do anything else. Well, maybe you can't do that but try to schedule this in--you will be more likely to do it if it's on your calendar.
  4. Make a daily word count goal.
  5. Aim to finish before the end of the month so you have time to spare.
  6. Do NOT compare yourself to others
  7. Don't expect this to be perfect right out of the gate.
  8. Don't outline in October---I find those who do this often fail because they are trying to stick to an idea, whereas...
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How to Use A Beat Sheet

Even for your novel!

and finish that work in progress. 

 

In film and especially television writing the "beat sheet" is something that is needed to show your showrunner or director the beats of the script so they can approve the story before you spend hours and hours writing it. 

It helps them "see" it. It also helps you see the big picture. 

The beat sheet is an outline of your story in beats. What happens in the story beat by beat.

You open your notebook, notecards, or even Word/Scrivener (I like to use Scrivener for this) and literally write out the beats like this. 

Scene 1--this happens

Scene 2--this happens

etc.

Now, you may not know what happens in perfect order--so then just write what you want to happen out. This is why I love using post-its and or notecards and the stickies in Scrivener 

Scene-character finds out....

Scene--character makes this decision 

Scene-resolution 

If you are doing it...

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You Can Write A Novel in A Month-or Less

Have you ever dreamed of writing a novel but believe that you don't have the time? Well, I'm here to tell you that you can do it!

I've been writing novels during NaNoWriMo since the early 2000s because um, it's amazing. It's like running a marathon in sprint time. 

Really the best thing I ever started doing for myself and I do it every year. I also usually do CampNaNo in the summer and it's taught me so much about myself as a writer and how to draft quickly which comes in handy if you do any work-for-hire or ghostwriting. 

Now, will you have a perfect ready to submit novel after 30 days? Not unless you are super lucky and if you are--OMG awesome!!! I wish that for everyone but what you will have is a FIRST DRAFT and or a revision. 

**I love to rewrite from scratch my novels at about the 4th revision and that way I leave out all the crap that doesn't move the story forward. 

Some people like to take their time and I once had a mentor tell me to slow down BUT the...

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Why You Should Stop Focusing on Being A Good Writer

Forget About Being a Great Writer and Focus on Story First

Have you ever picked up a book that has been on the bestseller list for months and months and the author is all over the publishing news because all the movie deals coming in and how rich they are---and then the writing is bad, like really bad, and you think---WTF???

Yup--been there, done that. 

Have you ever gone to the movies and so many things are wrong and yet the film is bringing in millions and millions and you cringe at the story mistakes? 

Yup--been there, done that. 

 

This has been my philosophy for as long as I can remember. 

There is nothing wrong with being great with words or wordsmithing. I admit, it's not my thing, but if you allow it to get in the way of the story, that is where you will have problems. 

The reason is that people come to you for the story not the words. 

STORY IS ALWAYS FIRST. 

The words should come...

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Why Having Pets for Your Characters is A Great Idea

It's National Dog day! And it got me thinking about the importance of adding pets to our stories. 

Do you do this?

I ALWAYS do. My characters always have pets, usually dogs, but sometimes parrots, cats, ferrets, and fish. The reason is not just for the cute factor but because it's CHARACTER TELLING--or SHOWING. 

Think about it. Ever see someone walking their dog? They look like the dog and or you just know immediately they are owner and pet because they fit? 

Right? 

I have a terrier, see the above photo. It takes a special kind of dog mom to have a terrier in their lives as they are demanding, needy, stubborn, wilful and can be a pain the arse. Westies also need a lot of activity. This says a lot about me, who I am as a person!

So who I am based on my dog? 

Let's see.

I'm athletic & active. I have no movement limitations. I like challenges, I can handle the high maintenance dog, I can be stubborn, and also loving-just like a Westie. 

When I say...

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Stop Writing JOKES (and focus on character)

Happy Writer Wednesday!! 

I have a great blog today that will help you if you are writing any story that has characters----so ALL of you!! 

But first, here is a new eBook that I have created and I'm giving it away for FREE. 

GRAB IT HERE!

If you want to write something funny the very first thing you need to do is to STOP WRITING JOKES! 

"But, Stephanie, every film writing guru says 3 jokes per page??"  SIGH---they are wrong. 

And here is why. 

Have you ever watched a show or film or even read a book that was supposed to be a comedy but it fell flat? Yes, you have, we all have and it's like time we can never get back--unless you are a writer and then you can use it to understand more about the process. 

PRO TIP--everything is learning how to be a great storyteller--everything. 

In Steve Kaplan's workshop for comedy, he talks at length about this and why character drives the story AND THE COMEDY. It all comes from character. 

Let me...

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Oops I Did It Again!

OOPS! (I did it again)

Hello, Writers! 

I wanted to chat with you today about the idea of writing fast as CampNaNoWriMo kicked off at the beginning of the month!

Many writing experts will tell you never to do this as it makes us bad writers?? You've heard that right? Well, I have the opposite opinion about it. For me writing fast means getting right to the story and not getting hung up on the words, the style, or anything except telling the story. 

So, I love it. I have joined CampNaNoWriMo--again. I always do the one in Nov and so I decided that as busy as I am in my online business for writers, I needed this push. 

I have some YouTube Videos on writing for NaNoWriMo Vlog style that you can watch by clicking HERE

Here are some tips for drafting a novel fast. 

1. Focus on story 

2. Don't outline just write

3. Go with your gut instincts 

4. Write every day no matter what. 

5. Don't worry about being a great writer, just focus on story

6....

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Crushing Your Query: Part Three

 Crushing Your Query Letter Part 3! 

So, honestly, I didn't even know that I was going to do a part 3 to this blog serious but as I am reviewing more and more queries for clients and writers who have taken advantage of special offers to review from being on my VIP list I can tell you that part three is NEEDED. 

Have any guesses to what it is about?

This is one of the BIGGEST mishaps that writers make and I see it over and over and over again---and, I used to do this too. 

Do you know? 

It is---drum roll please!! When a writer queries way too soon. 

I understand you've written that book or screenplay and in your head it's completely perfect because you can see it oh so clearly but usually it's not ready. 

Now, I want to interject here on waiting too long too--that happens a lot too-but not quite as often. 

You need to find that balance between wanting every single word to be perfect and sending out when it's just not ready. 

Here are some...

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Query Mishaps & How To Fix Them

Hello, Storytellers!! I hope you are having a fabulous day, morning, evening-whatever! 

This is part two that I just decided to add to last week's blog about crushing your query which you can find HERE or just scroll down after reading this! 

query-letters

So it's time to submit, but you now have to write your query and your mind goes blank. You can't form a coherent sentence, and you just write something too long, too boring, or just plain bad. Why is that?

I think it's like a game of GOLF-all in YOUR HEAD. You put the pressure on yourself to write something amazing and BAM! just like that, nothing good comes out.

woman-golfer

There are tons and tons and tons of resources for how to write a good query, so I won't bore you with those details. GOOGLE how to write a query and I promise you tons will come up. I have some favorites, which you can see in my earlier blog,  but everyone is different, so I want you to do what speaks to you.

That said, as someone who used to run a query clinic, and I...

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