Mary and Rick Roberts

Written Dreams’ First Annual Writer’s Retreat: July 28th-30th, 2013

Written Dreams’ Writer’s Retreat

The first annual Written Dreams’ Writer’s Retreat will be held at the beautiful Miscauno Island Four Seasons Resort in Pembine, Wisconsin on July 28th through July 30th, 2013.

The fee for the Retreat is $159.00 per author. Reservations are required, and can be made by contacting us by email at admin@writtendreams.com. The deadline to register is June 25th, 2013. The Retreat fee includes all Seminars, admission to the Socials/Book Signing Event, Snacks during the Seminars, and the luncheon on Monday.

When registering, please give your name and contact information. We will also need you to make your luncheon selection. Choices are: California Chicken Sandwich, Hero Club Sandwich, or Blackened Salmon Caesar Salad.

We encourage attendees to stay at the hotel. Most rooms have kitchenettes and are wonderful accommodations. Room rates start at $119., and are not included in the Retreat fee. Room reservations for the hotel can be made by calling (877)-324-5244, or online at http://www.thefourseasonswi.com/. A buffet-style continental breakfast served daily is included with the cost of the room.

The itinerary for the conference is as follows:

Sunday, July 28th

Arrive at Four Seasons Resort and check in at the Written Dreams’ table set up in the Main Lobby. Check in for the hotel is any time after 3 P.M.

6:00 P.M.: Social Hour. Come meet your fellow attendees in a relaxed atmosphere.

Monday, July 29th

Continental Breakfast is served starting at 7 A.M. until 9 A.M. next to the Lobby by the Front Desk.

9 A.M.: Welcome and Who We Are

By Brittiany Koren & Lara Hunter

 9:45 A.M.: Free Marketing, What It Is, and How To Get It

 Presented by Barb VanDeHei

 10:30 A.M. Break/Snacks

 10:45 A.M.: How to Design A Website to Increase Your Visibility to Readers

 Presented by Bill Koehne

 11:30 A.M.: Social Media for the Not So Social Author

 Presented by Lara Hunter & Bill Koehne

 Noon: Luncheon will be provided in the conference room.

 1:00 P.M.: The Joy of Independence: 7 Minutes to a Full-time Writing Business

 Presented by Virginia McCullough

 2:00 P.M.: How to Make Your Story and Characters Come Alive in the Minds of Readers

 Presented by Brittiany Koren

 2:45 P.M.: Concluding Remarks for the Day

             By Lara Hunter

 3:00 P.M. Free Time, Writing Time

 The Written Dreams’ staff will be available for questions/discussion.

 6:00 P.M.: Book Signing & Social Hour. 

             Please feel free to bring your books to sell and sign for other attendees/guests.

Tuesday, July 30th

Continental Breakfast is served starting at 7 A.M. until 9 A.M. next to the Lobby by the Front Desk.

9:00 A.M.: The Ins and Outs of E-book Publishing: What An Author Needs to Know

Presented by Lara Hunter & Kim Wickman

 9:45 A.M.: Utilizing the Under-utilized Senses, and How to Get It Down on Paper

 Presented by Barbara Raffin

 10:45 am :Break/Snacks

 11:00 A.M.: Missing Your Motivation to Write?  Here’s How to Get It Back

 Presented by Brittiany Koren

 11:45-Noon: Concluding Remarks by Brittiany Koren & Lara Hunter

                                We’re looking forward to seeing you there! 🙂

 

Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort in Miscauno Island
Mary and Rick Roberts

E.Tip of the Week: When an IP Lawyer Is Important

Recently, an author emailed me about our editing services. She was interested in revising the novel she had sold in the 1990s, and writing a sequel to it. However, what we discovered about her contract with her original publisher was mortifying.

I won’t go into the details of her specific situation. However, I can not stress enough how important it is to know what rights to your work you as an author are signing over when you sign a contract with a publisher. Not only that, but learn about who you are signing the contract with for your books. Are they a reputable publisher? How do they treat their authors? Do they sell their books on their website?

If you’re not familiar with legal jargon, ask your family lawyer to put you in touch with a trusted Intellectual Property lawyer. If your family lawyer doesn’t know one, contact us at Written Dreams. There are several IP lawyers we know of, and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Mary and Rick Roberts

Written Dreams in Social Media

Did you know Written Dreams has pages at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? Like our pages to hear about news about our services, contests, awards, and fun tips related to the craft and business of being a writer!

We’re very excited to share that last weekend one of the books Brittiany Koren edited, Perfidy by M.E. May, won the Lovey Award for Best First Novel! 🙂

Facebook.com/writtendreams

twitter.com/_WrittenDreams

linkedin.com/writtendreams

 

Mary and Rick Roberts

A New Year, A New Week, A New Day

As we begin a new year, it’s easy to stress over all the writing goals you want to accomplish in a year’s time. Take a deep breath, now make a list, and prioritize it. What’s the one most important thing you’d like to accomplish that is writing-related in 2013?

Is it finishing the novel of your heart? Starting a new novel? E-publishing? Getting fresh eyes on New marketing strategies? A new look for your website? Getting a website? A map for your novel? A character novel bible for your series? Perfecting that query letter or synopsis? A writing coach to help motivate you to keep on top of your goals?

If you have a 2013 goal that is writing-related, the staff at Written Dreams can help. View our list of services here: writtendreams.com

Or email us through our Contact Us page on our website here: http://writtendreams.com/Contact_Us.html

Then, when you’ve accomplished all your goals, think of the wonderful vacation that’s waiting for you! 🙂

Mary and Rick Roberts

Don’t Stress The Small Stuff

E. Tip of the Week: Don’t stress the small stuff. It’s okay to ask for help.

                                Two Contest Drawings!

Writing a synopsis or query letter can be difficult. Instead of stressing about it, let us help you. This month, send us your query letter or synopsis that you’ve  been struggling with writing, and we’ll enter your name into a hat. On Dec. 21st, a winner will be chosen for a Query Letter Edit. That winner will receive a free edit on their query letter.

On Dec. 28th, we’ll choose another winner for a Synopsis Edit.

Emails can be sent to contest@writtendreams.com. One winner will be chosen randomly for each contest.

For more details about writing a great synopsis, read the blog post by Dorothy McFalls on The Editing Essentials from July 11th, 2012.

Mary and Rick Roberts

Please Clarify…Please Clarify…Really, I Need More Clarification Here

E. Tip of the Day: Clarification

When an editor says, “Please clarify,” or “More details are needed here,” or “Clarify the reasoning here” what does it mean exactly?

Every editor is different, with varying opinions on what needs clarification in any specific story. As an editor, I tend to look at this way: if I’m confused about what is happening in a story, there’s something wrong, and that something needs to be fixed. Immediately.

Why? The fast answer: Because it’s not a good thing to alienate and confuse the readers. 🙂

As an author, what can you do to understand better what the editor is trying to tell you? Listen. Ask questions. Ask your editor to clarify to you what they need more details about, if it’s not clear in the comments they’ve made in your manuscript. Ultimately, what they’re telling you, is there’s not enough details being conveyed to the reader in order for the reader to understand what is happening in the story. If the reader is confused, that’s not good. So, when an editor mentions clarifying an area, whether it’s setting, eye color, or something happening in the plot, you should stand up and take notice. And then, find a solution that fits both your needs as the author, and the reader’s needs for understanding.

Here’s a cheat sheet–in my opinion–of areas that usually need clarification and how they can be addressed. And please, keep in mind, every novel is different, so some areas in a story may be more important to clarify than others.

1) If the comment is made on dialogue and is something the reader is explaining that happened, ask yourself: how much does this comment pertain to the overall plot? If my ending will be unaffected by anything I add to the story, how important is it that I add more details (in this specific place)? Or, is this something that can be cleared up later?

2) If the comment is made on setting, and the setting is as much a character as the rest of the cast of characters, it’s probably a good idea to make sure what is being conveyed makes sense. Ask yourself literally–maybe even by making a drawing of a chicken’s scratches map–if I took this route, would I get to my destination?

3) If the comment is made on your character’s personality, in my opinion, that’s a biggie. If your characters are inconsistent, it’ll make your novel a much more difficult read. The story is all about the characters, and when it comes down to it, is the reason why the readers are reading the story. So, ask yourself, why is my character acting this way here? How are they acting differently than in the previous chapter? Why is it important for them to act this way, or can I have them act more like themselves, and still get my point across?

Make your revisions based on your best judgements. Take time to read your work out loud after the revisions have been made. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes, not having any of the back story in their heads before they begin reading. If you’re still confused, and the editor is unhappy with your choice of clarifying on the revisions, it might be time to a) find a new editor, or b) do a self-evaluation on your writing style. It’s important to work with an editor who understands where you as an author are coming from, and what the story is at heart that you’re trying to tell. Editors are there to help the process, not hinder it. 🙂

Mary and Rick Roberts

Motivation to Write

E.Tip of the Day: Finding motivation.

Need it? You know, motivation?

Close your eyes for a moment. Just a moment, or you won’t be able to read the blog. 🙂 Think back to the earliest memory you have of writing a story. What did it feel like when you put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard. Sitting there, letting the thoughts flow. It didn’t matter if they made sense or not, it just mattered that you were writing. Being creative with your inner spirit. It was such a free feeling, being able to express yourself with words. It was exhilarating. It was emotional. It was breathtaking. Do you remember?

It’s there inside you. 🙂

Mary and Rick Roberts

Building a Local Readership

E. Tip of the Day: Having a successful writing career takes many different skills. Knowing how to market your novel(s) to a broad audience is one of the most important skills you need to be educated in. Contact us if you’re struggling to market your novel. We can help!

How to build local readership:

1.      Visit all book stores, libraries, schools, universities, craft fairs, and any other large gathering places in your area. Ask if you can do book signings.

2.      Send over-sized post cards out to libraries/book stores/businesses. Cross-market  especially with those businesses that may have an interest in displaying the theme of your novel. An example would be: Dorothy St. James writes the White House Gardener series and promotes the books in flower shops/greenhouses.

3.      Take out small print ads in community magazines/newsletters/musical programs. For instance, local ads in a school sport or music program. This is a great way to build local readership, and support the fine arts in your community.

4.      Ask your favorite local radio and TV stations to do an interview with you. Send them a short summary of your novel and an author bio. Tell them you are a fan of their show.

5.      Arrange to read a selection of your story or chapter 1 to high school students in English class, or in the library, with a Q & A session afterwards. Leave a signed copy of your novel with the person who helped you set up the event.

6.      Give out a free copy of your book for the holidays to three winners for gifts on your website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook page. Send the winners an autographed copy and a nice letter thanking them for entering the contest.

Good luck! If you’d like more tips on marketing, contact us at brittiany@writtendreams.com. Thanks!

Mary and Rick Roberts

Just Write…Anything

E.Tip of the Day: Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of concerns from writers about how hard it is for them to stay motivated to write. Having that urge to put forth great stories and strong characters continuously can be daunting at times. Asking for help can be even tougher. Writing is a lonely occupation after all. Or is it?

Yes, writing can be lonely but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re struggling with getting words on the page for a week or two, or more, let us know. We’ll help motivate you to getting the right words on the page again. That’s what we’re here for. That’s part of the reason Written Dreams was formed. 🙂

Motivation to some people can be a no-brainer. If you want to do something, than do it. Clear. Concise. And to the point. No complaining. No wondering. Task complete. Simple, right?

No, not quite. Writing is a craft, and with every craft comes the need for creativity. Without that creativity you end up having a flat, life-less story. But, what most writers don’t realize is it’s okay to have a little flatness. It’s okay to write something horrible. It’s okay to stay on the page typing random letters and numbers once in a while. And it’s okay to write something that you will toss out later. Because the important thing here really, is that you’re writing–whether it makes sense or not every day is not important. If you have to get through a few hours of writing a story of silly, random made-up words, you might look at the screen and think you’re nuts. You’re not nuts. Really, you’re not. And just the act of writing something unconventional will motivate you. Try it, and see. 🙂

If you’d like more info on our Coaching services, please see the Coaching Tab on our website under Services. We’re happy to help in any way we can with furthering your writing career! 🙂

 

Mary and Rick Roberts

Building Strong Characters

E. Tip of the Day: Why do readers enjoy learning about the characters we write about? Simple Answer: because they can relate to them. Each of us has our own individual battles we face every day, and escaping into a different world is far easier than facing our own battles some days.

What type of character do readers want to read about? A strong character. A believable character. A character they’ll want to trust and love. Someone who will inspire them, fight for what they believe in, and make them smile. Readers want a character they can cheer for. Someone they could enjoy a cup of coffee with at their kitchen table if that character was standing right in front of them.

So, what are you waiting for? Go write about a strong character that will sweep your readers off their feet!