1. Writer’s Block or Story Stalling

An empty page is not inspirational, many times we stare at one until we go blind, hoping for lightening to strike, to get the juices flowing again. This usually occurs when you are not as familiar as you need to be with your characters. You need to go back to the beginning, when you first introduced them and find out more of what makes them tick. They have a story to tell and you need to do it.

2. Stop Writing When You Still Have Something to Write.

When you know what is going to happen next it is easier to get started when you get back to it. The momentum isn’t lost, you just continue the flow you had at a later time. You won’t be facing a blank  page because you know where the story is going. So stop in the middle of a great scene or some intense dialogue, you’ll find your fingers will move you along quickly when you return.

3. Don’t be Afraid of Deadlines

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Deadlines can be your friend, they push you to write, even  if you don’t have a contract. Make a contract with yourself. Some great novels have taken years to write, then their sequels come out quickly after, that is the value of a deadline. They push, gently, but you are aware. Be fearless.

4. Keep a Word Count Tally

Writing can be daunting at times (most times), but a word count tally at the end of  every session will show your progress. On a day when you feel you’ve accomplished nothing, a word count tally will prove you’ve accomplished something, sometimes more than you think. It is encouraging when you are feeling less so.

5. Take a Break

If the words aren’t flowing, go for a break. Step away from the computer, doing a mindless chore like washing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk ( that’s good for you too ). When your brain is focused on other tasks you might just find a solution to your problem. It works for me, many a good idea has come while taking a shower.

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There are many reasons why a book doesn’t sell. Sometimes the book is okay, but the timing is wrong Or the timing is right and the book isn’t.

1.         You may be submitting your novel to an Editor that doesn’t work in your specific genre. Know what you are submitting and make sure it gets into the hands of someone who works within your genre.

2.         Poor grammar, spelling and uninteresting writing. If your query letter or cover letter are full of  mistakes, and are poorly written an editor won’t look any further than that.

3.         You do not have a defined target audience in your proposal.This creates more work for the editor, having to discover what your target audience is. They might not think it is worth the effort or they discover there isn’t enough audience interest in your subject.

4.         The world you have created is boring. Do more research, work on ‘showing’ it better. Add more descriptive phrases, show the world through the eyes of your protagonist.

5.         You have a very weak storyline.If that is the case you need to discover what your story is really about. Talk to other writers for insight, put it away for a while and come back with fresh eyes.

6.         Your Characters are boring and uninteresting. Find ways to give more substance to your characters. Give them back-story, values, ambitions. Do NOT make them stereotypical. Try to put your reader inside the heart and mind of your POV character. Review your scenes for weak spots that can be improved.

7.         The author does not have a strong voice. This is what makes your story unique and interesting. Your voice will get stronger with practice, keep reading and writing.

8.         Your plot is predictable.Make sure you do the required research necessary to know your story and its shortcomings. Do not rely on TV for plot ideas and subject knowledge. Check it for yourself. If your characters are weak, strengthen them with moral dilemmas, have them make             the tough decisions. Reduce your character’s options. Make it tough on them.

9.         Your story is more like a sermon. Make your characters more conflicting, with less obvious ties to your story line. Rewrite some of the scenes to include your new changes and some surprises.

10.       Your Book Fails to Deliver. Readers want to be pulled along with your main characters and feel what they are experiencing. If the stakes are not high enough your reader won’t care. Raise the stakes and bring the reader along. Make your main character real, give them values, goals   and future dreams. Make sure you ‘show’ the emotion and its effect, do not tell. Help the reader feel what is happening.

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