Writing During the Holidays

Wouldn't it be nice if it didn't feel like every single week we had a holiday? Days where we could just relax and write to our hearts content? Well too bad, those days are long gone until next year. From surprise visits to holiday parties, and everything in between, there's a lot of foot traffic in my house during the holiday season.

I'm going to offer you some slacker suggestions on how to create time for writing.

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How Can You Tell that Your Story is Finished?

By now I'm sure you have all heard me talk about Breath of the Titans, the first trilogy of books I wrote. I walked blindly into book writing, but I found a formula that worked well for me. I even managed to squeeze three books out of myself, when I only planned on writing one. That's not mentioning the other tales that followed.

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Riley Amos Westbrook
How do You Categorize Your Work?

I've seen this question asked numerous times on the boards, so I thought I would take the opportunity to address a topic I've avoided. It isn't a difficult topic, just one people can have strong opinions on. Remember, here at SIA  there is no one size fits all.

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Riley Amos Westbrook
Is your WIP a Short Story or a Full Length Novel in the Making?

I love to write. Watching the words flow onto the page is a special thrill unto itself. I've written many different stories, including shorts, novellas, and novels. If there is one thing I've learned, each has their unique strategies. And I'm finding that with proper foresight and planning, there's no reason you can't use all of the different story types together to make a great book.

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Riley Amos Westbrook
Do You Outline? Should You Outline?

Why can't we have both? Seriously though, there are advantages to both styles, and I'm going to attempt to address them here today. Besides, we all use parts of both styles whether we want to admit it or not, it's a spectrum, not black and white kinda thing.

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Riley Amos Westbrook
Reflections by Phil Farina

Carmine woke, or at least tried to, after a hard night of partying. It was the morning after All Hallows’ Eve. Carmine and a group of friends spent the long night drinking and carousing at Jennifer’s house, trying to scare the hell out of each other.  There were costumes a plenty, from fairies and witches to the more grotesque, blood-dripping creatures from popular horror movies. There were finger foods, shaped like actual fingers, a cake in the form of a severed head, a dish of “eyeballs” and a variety of drinks made to look like blood.

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Remember! by Colin Anders Brodd

You awaken in the dark. Where are you? How did you get here? You don't remember. Why don't you remember? You must try to think! Remember!


There is a throbbing in your temples, your eyes hurt as if you have had them open too long in dim light – but nay, did you not just awaken? In truth, your whole head hurts. Why? Did you hit your head? Is that why you were unconscious? Why you cannot remember? What is that smell?

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Premonition by Kayla Krantz

As a young woman, I’ve come to understand that there are universal truths that all girls follow. They’re not spoken out loud, not all the time, but once in a while I’ll hear the warnings: try not to walk outside once it’s dark, don’t walk alone, don’t walk anywhere isolating. They’re all the classic horror movie mantras, but life happens and who has time to read the warning labels?

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Creating an Audio Book

Creating an audiobook has been both easier and harder than I thought it would be. There's a lot more that goes into it than simply sitting and reading into a microphone. There's the timing and rhythm of your reading, as well as the possibility of a flub. Nothing that can't be fixed or overcome, but there are a million possible pitfalls that can hold your work up. Hopefully I can help you avoid a few.

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Do you write as a hobby or as a profession?

I think I'm going to go on a bit of a spiel right now. I just can't control my views on this anymore, because I'm tired of this argument. Whether or not you are a professional writer shouldn't be determined by whether or not you are published. In this day and age, the gatekeepers are gone, and the heathens are just as published as traditional authors. Some of us are proving even more prolific.

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Everyone's favorite part of the process! Editing!

In truth this is where I feel books take the most shape. Editing takes our rough, flawed work and polishes it to a beautiful shine. I mean, I may be editing on a budget, and my works are probably still riddled with errors, but I've learned there are always dust bunnies in even the most well written works. Even those with thousands of dollars in editing done to them have something that could be improved. Could you imagine a world with no editing?

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Writing Gore

I have an advantage when it comes to writing gore. Not only did I grow up imbibing horror movies and books, watching the monsters paint the walls red with blood, but I worked in the medical field. You see a lot of blood when you work with nurses. I really believe this up close and personal look at our bodies has made writing gore that much easier. We are nothing but  bags of meat and liquid, and having a front row seat to blood, it becomes easier to talk and write about.

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How to Research Without Seeming Like a Serial Killer

You’d be surprised how many times people ask me this question. When people find out the kind of things I write about, they inevitably ask me this at least once. I usually make a joke, something about needing to buy a pig farm for people who ask too many questions, but I’ve never seriously thought about it. That is until the other day when one of the other mods suggested it as a topic. I've been thinking about it for three days solid, trying to figure out if there is a way to not leave similar footprints as someone looking to commit a murder.

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How To Immerse Yourself In Your Fictional World

This has become an interesting question to me lately. For whatever reason, I've decided to slow down my planned release dates for several books I would say are “done” in order to get some distance and time away from them. As I come back and read the stories, I find myself slipping quite easily into the worlds inside my head. Sometimes it takes my wife several attempts to draw my attention away from whatever I'm writing and back to reality.

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