Tips for Writers

Write On Book Bag Available for a Limited Time

Write On Book Bag Available for a Limited Time

Fellow Writers and Readers … We are doing our first ever Booster.Com Fundraiser and what better item to start with than a Write On Book bag!       This is a limited time offer – expires in less than 2 weeks! Please consider supporting Fine Lines with a purchase and optional additional donation.  Click through on the photo to the Booster Fundraising Page.  Share with your...

Read More

Write On Wednesday Open for Submissions

Fine Lines accepts blog submissions for “Write On Wednesdays.” We feature writers from across the country and your input is welcome. If you’re wondering what we love, here are some great posts to check out: Three Things Successful Writers Have in Common Writing Advice from an Avid Football Fan And of course, Those Lowdown Rejection Blues Further notes: We prefer blogs 500-1200 words. Short can be sweet, however, give us a complete thought. Send in a word file. Do not indent paragraphs. We reserve the right to change format to be “blog friendly” as needed. Fellow writers are extra sensitive to technical errors; please proofread your work. Send a bio, a photo if you’d like, links to any of your website and social networks you want to share. If you have an appropriate photo that you own the rights to, yes, please share. We do accept previously published material, please note in your copy where it was published before and, if appropriate, a link. Fine Lines is fueled and manned by volunteers, please be patient with reply times. We read and appreciate all the work received. Ready? For blog submissions send to david.martin (at) finelines.org Subject: Fine Lines Blog Submission Thank...

Read More

10 Non-Writing Suggestions for Writers

10 Non-Writing Suggestions for Writers

# 10 ALWAYS carry and use recording devices Paper and pen are the most obvious and low-tech tools to collect random thoughts. Many cellphones have a built in voice recorder; some have “note” capturing capability. (See your owner’s manual. Find it online if you don’t have the hardcopy booklet, or go to your cell carrier’s store and give the poor trainee check-in person the thing they crave the most; a chance to show how techy superior they are to us mere mortal users). You can also text or email yourself. There are many “apps” that can be found to record and organize your thoughts and your time, which is also important for you to schedule writing sessions. I’m jealous of writers who carry a beautiful journal and nice pen. My thoughts are often recorded on receipts, coupons and napkins. The jottings are thrown into a container that is sifted through, occasionally. Eventually some of the legible concepts are transferred to my computer and cellphone, where they buzz around like mosquitos at a screen door. This blog originated as scribbles of words that stuck fast, before they could be slapped away by the flyswatter that clears my mind quickly for the next unattached swarm of thoughts that riddle my over active brain. # 3, 4 & 5 were written on an empty junk mail envelope. # 1, 6, & 9 were fitted on to a small corner left on a yellow legal pad. Some of it was lost on a fast food napkin. If it’s found and the original ideas were better than the culmination here, I’ll do an update to this blog entry. My perpetual disorganization is so frustrating. I hope that you are not plagued with this horrible affliction and that you have a beautiful journal and fancy pen that never leaks and always marks on any surface!  # 9 Read, Read, Read Reading is to a writer the daily jog of a marathon runner. You must be in shape, inspired, and practice a lot to have the endurance required to complete the race, a book, a poem, etc. Reading makes me want to write. Reading anything stimulates the brain and provides information that can make your writing more complete. Reading best sellers can help with “market research.” Plus if you love to write, you probably already love to read, the trick is finding the balance between the two.  # 8 Invest in a formal education Take writing classes, find a writing group, or come to Fine Lines Summer Camp. Invest time, if not money, because you need to never stop learning to develop your craft.         Informally planning time to write is good but a degree or...

Read More

5 Tips Your Written Work is “Done”

5 Tips Your Written Work is “Done”

Today’s Guest Blogger: Abigail Hills Am I done? A lot of us writers are perfectionists. We want to make sure every single letter; every comma is flawless. When do you know you’re done working on a piece? When do you distinguish the time to put down the pen, or stop clicking away at that keyboard? “I’m finished.” Are you able to say that? Many writers are not. One published novelist told me she only knows she’s done when her editor tells her she has written enough. Most writers believe they are never done. Even after something is published, a lot of writers still feel their work is unfinished, and that’s okay! Here are some helpful tips from me, another writer, to get you to a place where you can say “I’m done.”   When you’re sick of working on a particular piece, you’re done. You started out with something you really loved, but now you dread going back and editing. That piece has reached its finale. Send it to someone else to edit. You’re done. Remember that you may never feel your piece is “done.” You might always think you could have done better. We all feel that way sometimes. That doesn’t mean you aren’t finished. As you mature as a writer, your tastes will also change. Spending too much time on one piece can often do you more harm than good. You could spend the rest of your life on one single piece of writing, and never feel it’s finished. This is sometimes called the “Black Hole of Revision.” If it’s been a long period of time, too long for the amount of pages you have, you’re done.  Ask yourself these four questions: Did I complete all the necessary story points? Have I taken out parts of the writing that I simply don’t like? Does everything make sense? Are my characters believable? If the answer is yes to all four of these questions, it’s likely you are done. Ask a friend. Ask someone whose opinion you trust to read your work. If they have some major things you need to change, you have work to do. If they only have small comments, it’s time to submit!   Remember, you don’t have to be 100% confident in your piece to submit it to an editor. Sometimes the pieces writers are the least sure about are the first ones to get published. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revise. Revision can be your best friend! However, at some point, enough is enough. Carry on writers… but not for too long. How do you decide you’re work is done?   Bio: Abigail Hills is a published writer and editor for Fine Lines....

Read More

The Rabbit Hole of Naming Characters

The Rabbit Hole of Naming Characters

*Today’s guest post is by author Chris Mandeville How Do You Name Your Characters? Some writers don’t worry much about naming.  They slap a label on a character and run with it.  Other writers dive down the rabbit hole and put excessive amounts of research, thought, planning and creativity into naming.  I’m in the latter camp, so thought I’d share with you some of the things I consider before attaching a moniker to a new character.  I don’t recommend you join me down in the rabbit warren—especially not during NaNo—because it’s far too easy to lose all sense of time and purpose while exploring the wonderland of names.  Instead I offer you a few categories, resources, and suggestions to help you quickly choose the names you need and get on with the business of the story. WARNING:  once you go down the Rabbit Hole of Naming, it can be hard to climb back out.  For safe exploring, always attach a lifeline — a kitchen timer or a trusted friend to rescue you at an appointed time should do the trick. CONNOTATIONS As far as I’m concerned, the primary consideration when selecting a name is the connotations that come with it.  Unfortunately connotations are for the most part an individual thing.  Take the name Charlie, for example.  If that’s the name of your favorite grandpa, your best friend, or the family dog, you will have a much different feeling about that name than if Charlie was the bully who beat you up in the third grade. So how do you get a handle on connotations if it’s such a personal thing? Try to weed out the truly personal associations and look at the more general, cultural connotations.  Take “Trump” for instance.  Because of “The Donald,” most American adults immediately think things like tycoon, businessman, wealthy, powerful, mogul.  The cultural connotations of Donald Trump are bolstered by the definition of the word trump:  a card of a suit that outranks the other suits; to excel, surpass, outdo.  Note that I didn’t put a “good” or “bad” value on it because not everyone likes Donald Trump.  The good/bad connotation will differ from person to person (along with various other associations, like crazy hair), but the impressions relating to Trump being a business tycoon are fairly consistent. With most names it’s not that clear cut.  I chose “Trump” as an example because it’s a fairly unique name – there’s one primary cultural figure attached to it.  I didn’t choose “Donald” because there are multiple popular cultural references that don’t relate to each other:  Donald Sutherland, Donald Glover, Donald Maass, Donald Driver, Donald Duck.  Even though “Donald” is not exactly a popular name in North...

Read More

What Do You Write?

What Do You Write?

As a writer, the subject of writing tends to find its way into introductory conversations. Even if not your full time profession, even if you consider writing a hobby, or an uneconomical passion, you are still a writer and when the subject comes up, as it often does, the inevitable question that follows is: “What do you write?” Uh, oh. If you’re like me, suddenly every genre I’ve touched on dances around in my head waiting to be mentioned, my current projects and old projects clamor for status and then, worst of all, suddenly nothing feels worthy to mention. The impulses to justify and yet downplay my passion begin duking it out while the innocent inquisitor stares politely at me waiting for an answer. Market-Write Tip – When asked, “What do you write?” Have your answer ready. Perhaps you’ve heard the term elevator speech. This is the idea that a short 3 minute “pitch” is ready and prepared for any occasion, but especially for the opportunity to sell to a new prospect. In publishing there is also the logline. A logline is a one or two sentence summary of your written work primarily used to sell to an agent or publisher. Both of these examples are important for when you’re selling your work.   Today we’re not talking about selling, we’re talking about answering a question in a conversation. Why is this important if you’re not selling? Because, as writers, we should always be connecting: connecting to readers, connecting to writers and connecting to community. This question is the most commonly asked and the best starting point for making connections.   Also, it’s a hard question to answer. That is why the answer is important to think about ahead of time and even practice. To make it easier, put your answer into 3 short parts. Choose one or two descriptors that people can understand and relate to. For example: Genre, length, or medium. Who for? About? Why? Similar to… What I’m working on right now is… or I just finished… What do you like to read? Or other question that facilitates conversation.   One reason it is difficult for an artist to articulate, What do you write? is because most people work in several different genres and mediums and resist the inclination to put all of their work into a box, so to speak. However, being too generic with an answer like, “Everything,” or “All kinds of stuff,” closes the conversation instead of opens it.   An author friend of mine, and Fine Lines Senior Editor, Marcia Forecki, really does write all over the board of genre, length and medium, with a published memoir, a book of short stories, a...

Read More

Signup for the latest news and events at Finelines!

Current Issue

2017SpringCover