Critiques 4 U

halloween-1743227_1920Well, folks, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s October. For me, that means ordering Halloween costumes, enjoying the leaves changing color, and baking all the pumpkin stuff.  On the blogging front, Ange and I kicked off our Resident Writing Coach program last week with our first post, which was a humdinger from April Bradley, and the next one will be out next week. Since there was a gap in our calendar, I figured it was a good time for…


If you’re working on a first page and would like some objective feedback, please leave a comment that includes: 

1) your email address. Some of you have expressed concern about making your email address public; if you’re sure that the email address associated with your WordPress account is correct, you don’t have to include it here. But if you do win and I’m unable to contact you through that email address, I’ll have to choose an alternate winner.

2) your story’s genre (no erotica, please)


Three commenters’ names will be randomly drawn and posted tomorrow. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll offer my feedback. Best of luck!

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Character Motivation Thesaurus Entry: To Escape A Killer



Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Do Your Settings Contain An Emotional Value?

As writers, we try to draw readers fully into each scene. Not only do we want them to picture what’s happening, we want them to feel as if they are sharing the POV (point of view) character’s experience.

ONE STOP Deep POV ChecklistShared experiences are all about emotion, and Deep POV is one of the best ways to encourage feelings to pass between readers and characters.

To achieve this level of closeness, details from the character’s world are filtered through the point of view character’s emotions and senses. Readers not only see, hear, smell, taste, and touch what the character does…they feel as well.

Imagine a character on a moonlit walk across a football field, enjoying the clean scent of grass, the glimmer of dew, and the chance to be alone. The reader sees this setting through a filter of peace: all is good in the world.

But change the description (a cold breeze kicking up, the unsettling flap of a raised school flag in the darkness, shadows clustering at the field’s edge) and the mood shifts. All is not good in the world. Unease crawls into the reader’s lap because they experience the setting as the character does. There’s a stretched feeling, a tension that hugs each word. The character (and the reader) is alert, waiting for something bad to happen, for something to go wrong.

As you can see, shared emotional moments help readers immerse themselves into the story. But, we can always do more. If we truly want to show readers who our character is and help them experience what they feel, we should choose settings that have an emotional value.

Settings with an emotional value are meaningful or symbolic. They represent something to the protagonist and possibly other characters.

A location containing an emotional value might remind a character of a past event and the feelings associated with it, good or bad. It may represent safety, loss, failure, or one’s greatest success. It could also reveal a fear, a desire, or hope. The list goes on and on.

restaurant3For example, imagine a character being asked to an important business lunch meeting. A writer could choose any restaurant for this scene, but why go with something generic?

Instead, let’s choose one with a specific emotional value: the same restaurant where, two years earlier, our character’s girlfriend turned down his marriage proposal.

By making this setting meaningful to the protagonist, everything changes, because even though time has passed, an echo of that old hurt and rejection will affect him while in this restaurant. He may find his gaze turning to the table where he popped the question. The heaviness of the cutlery, the smooth linen napkins, the taste of wine…everything will evoke memories of that day. And, in turn, his turbulent emotions will influence his behavior. Does he blow the meeting, or can he ride the pain out? Suddenly we have tension, conflict, and possible plot complications. And as a bonus, we’ve created a scenario where the reader can’t help but feel empathy for the character.

So how do we go about creating an emotional value within our setting?

The first step is to brainstorm the best setting match for a particular scene. Look at what will happen in the scene and which emotions are at play. Identify your hero’s scene goal—what must he do, learn, or achieve? And what do you want him and the other characters involved to feel?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00072]Once you know the answers to these questions, imagine different settings where this scene might take place, ones that fit the story and are logical locations for your character to visit. Think about how each one can represent something significant to the protagonist and ties into the outcome of the scene.

If you like, make a list. Often the settings that pop immediately to mind are the most obvious, but with a bit of digging, some more creative and interesting choices can be unearthed too.

Setting description is so much more important than many writers think. If you’d like to know more about Emotional Values and how to make sure your setting is working hard for your story, take a peek at The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces.








Posted in Conflict, Description, Empathy, Experiments, Fear, Mood and Atmosphere, Motivation, Pacing, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments

Finding Your Way Into Your Story

april-bradleyI recently avoided a workshop assignment that should have been completed in no more than an hour because I couldn’t find a way into my story. This workshop generates significant, raw material for me. New characters and compelling stories emerge; sentences flow, and everyone contributes imaginative, heart-stuttering stories. It’s a word-feast, and I was strolling along eating it all up, licking my fingers—when it vanished, and I found myself with word-sticky fingers, staring at a blank page.

I had characters, an idea, but they were elusive. When this happens, I like to compose in my head, rearrange structure, let the characters play out different actions, maybe try out different perspectives and settings. But thinking is not writing. If I’m avoiding writing, if I can’t find a way in, it’s typically because I don’t want to write the material. This is when I should be working harder to open up the story. Much in the same way we shouldn’t shepherd our characters away from conflict, we shouldn’t avoid it in the act of writing.

There exist strategies to help writers overcome a sense of feeling blocked, but that’s not my focus today. Instead, I want to offer some approaches that will help writers think of beginnings as a way into story so that we can start drafting with some momentum and unburden ourselves from the temporary distraction and pressure of firsts (line, page, paragraph, chapter, beat, turning point). There’s time later for further development and revision. If you, like me, just want to return to the word-feast, consider finding a way into your story by starting it with one of the following:

Character: Character is a writer’s lodestone, and we enter our stories in various ways through them: what they want, what they’re doing, how they look, what they think, how they feel. We describe their pasts, their desires, and their faults. Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride tells us: “The story of Zenia ought to begin when Zenia began.” Ian Fleming in Thunderball begins: “It was one of those days when it seemed to James Bond that all life, as someone put it, was nothing but a heap of six to four against.” When we open with character, we create empathy and shared experience, which isn’t a bad way to start. Changing the focus on characters from major ones to minor ones or unexpected ones, like animals or inanimate objects, is a way to draw on character to help us enter our stories.


Courtesy: Pixabay

Perspective: “This is the saddest story I have ever heard,” begins The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. The main character Dowell narrates, and what we read here isn’t dialogue; it’s a thought. Dowell is one of the most notable unreliable narrators in the modern novel. Changing the perspective or narrative point-of-view can dramatically alter how writers gain access to their stories. Perspective and character are intimately entwined. When we change the point of view, we tilt the entire world of the storyscape. When we decide to alter perspective we constrict or expand our access to the story as well. New questions emerge: Whose perspective is it? How trustworthy is it? How does this work to our advantage as the writer? A narrative point of view may seem to fit better than others, but if you aren’t writing, try entering the story from a different perspective.

Setting: The narrator of Dodi Smith’s I Capture the Castle tells us, “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” Sylvia Plath opens The Bell Jar with “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” Setting creates mood and atmosphere; it evokes emotion, and orients the writer and the reader. It affects characters and their development. Setting, including the cultural and physical environments, is so vital that it can drastically alter plot. You can create as many open doors as you need to gain entry into story with a change of setting, even in small ways.

In Medias Res: This is a familiar and common way to enter a story. It’s dramatic, immediate, and compelling. It raises questions that demand answers. Gabriel García Márquez’s astonishing opening sentence in One Hundred Years of Solitude is a famous example of this method: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” Thomas Pynchon drops us in the middle of Gravity’s Rainbow with this line: “A screaming comes across the sky.” And then? we ask. This method generates momentum that ultimately drives a dramatic arc. What might your characters—or readers— need to do or witness? Start there.

Statements: Summations, declarative sentences, ruminations, philosophical observations, or meditations demand a writer’s further engagement because they demand an explanation that leads to another sentence, and yet another. Consider these examples: “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board,” (from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God) or Virginia Woolf’s opening in Mrs. Dalloway: “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” Statements like these are solid starting points because they provoke the writer to respond and to provide what their readers will want to know: what happened.

Dialogue: Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love is one of my favorite openings: “When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,” Papa would say, “she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing.” Dialogue is challenging because writers discover their stories indirectly through whatever the dialogue reveals about an aspect of characters, setting, mood, conflict, or events. Done well, this way into your story reveals elements in rich, layered ways. This is an excellent choice for subtextual techniques or the desire to explore story on different narrative levels between dialogue and body language. This way in asks the writer to deal with what’s revealed, shrouded, or undisclosed in language.

There are other ways in, and many of these devices can be combined. For more help with this, I’d like to recommend Naming The World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer, edited by Bret Anthony Johnston. How did I eventually get into my story? I went with a short descriptive statement about the setting and dove into character. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about how you find your way in.




april_bradley_framedApril has a Master’s in Ethics from Yale University and studied Philosophy and Theology as a post-graduate scholar at Cambridge University. Her fiction has appeared in many literary magazines and has been nominated for the 2015 Best of the Net Anthology as well as the 2017 Pushcart Prize. She is the Associate Editor for Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine and Press and the Founder and Editor of Women Who Flash Their Lit. Find out more about April here, visit her website, and catch up with her online.

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Posted in Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 25 Comments

Character Motivation Thesaurus Entry: Stopping an Event from Happening

Before we jump into today’s thesaurus entry, I wanted to let you know that I’m at Adventures in YA Publishing, talking about 3 Kinds of Story Arcs. If you’re curious to know which one is (or should be) in your story, hop on over and check it out.

What does your character want? This is an important question to answer because it determines what your protagonist hopes to achieve by the story’s end. If the goal, or outer motivation, is written well, readers will identify fairly quickly what the overall story goal’s going to be and they’ll know what to root for. But how do you know what outer motivation to choose?

If you read enough books, you’ll see the same goals being used for different characters in new scenarios. Through this thesaurus, we’d like to explore these common outer motivations so you can see your options and what those goals might look like on a deeper level.


Courtesy: Pixabay

Character’s Goal (Outer Motivation): Stopping an event from happening

Forms This Might Take: Stopping…

  • a bomb detonation
  • an assassination
  • the killing of a captive
  • someone from killing himself
  • a war from being started
  • someone from revealing national secrets or plans to one’s enemies
  • the exploitation or execution of a people group
  • a serial killer from striking again
  • an apocalyptic event with catastrophic results (an asteroid strike, a superstorm, a deadly virus, etc.)
  • thieves from robbing a bank
  • intruders from pillaging one’s home or killing one’s family
  • an evil wizard from rising to power
  • a race of aliens or vampires from taking over Earth
  • a gargantuan shark from eating any more humans
  • an estranged and unhinged father from abducting his son
  • a deadly curse from coming true

Human Need Driving the Goal (Inner Motivation): safety and security

Methods for Achieving This Goal:

  • Infiltrating enemy ranks to gather information
  • Gathering allies by identifying those who would benefit from one’s goal
  • Removing, disabling, discrediting, or otherwise undermining any competition
  • Seeking out partners or mentors who can offer expertise in an area where one lacks skill or knowledge
  • Keeping a low profile so as to avoid detection by one’s enemies (hiding out, disguising oneself, adopting a new persona, etc.)
  • Compiling evidence against one’s enemy
  • Utilizing one’s natural skills or talents (being a bomb expert, speaking many languages, having the ability to blend in, being an excellent marksman, etc.)
  • Learning new skills or abilities that one must master in order to succeed
  • Calling in favors to gain resources
  • Sharing information with an adversary who has a common interest

Possible Sacrifices or Costs Associated With This Goal

  • Getting killed in the process, either because of the inherent danger or purposely by those one is opposing
  • Those in close proximity (emotional and/or physical) to the hero being threatened or killed
  • Losing credibility with loved ones or important people in one’s life due to one’s single-mindedness and passion
  • Close relationships being tested when one isn’t available and misses important events (birthdays, parties, soccer games, dance recitals, etc.)
  • One’s reputation being ruined by one’s enemies
  • Being financially ruined due to paying for one’s quest with one’s personal funds
  • Losing one’s job (due to a boss disagreeing with one’s goal, too many absences, distractibility at work, etc.)

Roadblocks Which Could Prevent This Goal from Being Achieved

  • the person, corporation, race, or group of people one is opposing
  • one’s family and friends (trying to dissuade the hero from pursuing such a ridiculous or impossible goal)
  • physical boundaries (if one needs to travel)
  • financial difficulties that limit one’s resources
  • the authorities in a corrupt society
  • politics (such as a high-profile corporation that’s partnered with one’s villain opposing the hero in a public fashion and making things difficult for him)
  • Prejudice (someone with an axe to grind against a certain people group blocking the hero)
  • Emotional wounds from the past resulting in personal fears (of flying, snakes, water, public speaking, leaving one’s home, etc.)
  • Incompetent allies
  • Physical disabilities and mental illnesses

Talents & Skills That Might Help the Character Achieve This Goal:

A knack for languages

Blending in

Exceptional memory


Super strength

See our complete list of talents and skills and find the ones that pertain to your specific story goal here.

Possible Fallout For the Protagonist if This Goal Is Not Met:

  • Insecurity over one’s abilities
  • A fear of trying to stop anything like this from happening again
  • Losing one’s job (if the job is tied to one’s goals of stopping a certain event from happening)
  • Being vilified for one’s failure (if one’s goal is a public one)
  • Depression
  • Losing faith in the system (if one’s failure was due to the interference of others)

Clichés to Avoid: 

  • The government going to any length to protect its biological weapon
  • A madman at the helm of a country’s nuclear controls
  • The bomb ticking down to its final seconds until one is able to disable it with the simple snip of a wire
  • Because this is more of a general entry that can cover a variety of story goals, the list of possible clichés is long. Identify the type of story you’re writing, consider the stereotypes you’ve seen in the genre, and avoid them by coming up with something new.

Click here for a list of our current entries for this thesaurus, along with a master post containing information on the individual fields.







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Get Ready For Something Amazing: A Resident Writing Coach Program

Confession time: Becca and I have been plotting.

light-bulbOur mission, as you all know, is to help our visitors become stronger writers. And while we do our best to craft insightful posts week after week, we also believe that one of the best ways to evolve one’s writing skills is to experience a variety of teachings and viewpoints.

With a million blogs out there, variety is never hard to find, is it? But time–there’s never enough of that. Really, we’re all looking for the same thing: the brightest nuggets. The best bits of writing help.

So this got us thinking…

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to hunt for top-notch storytelling help…if instead it showed up here, week after week?

We put our heads together and identified some of the best sources of writing information online, both from world-renowned story experts, and emerging writers. And then we begged bribed asked if they would like to join us here at WHW as resident writing coaches.

(And guess what? They did!)

Are you ready? Seriously, prepare yourself.


Over the next year, you will see some amazing blog posts from these unbelievably talented people:

#1Bestselling Author and International Speaker James Scott Bell

Editor and Founder of Women Who Flash Their Lit, April Bradley

Hollywood Story Expert and International Speaker, Michael Hauge 

Editor and Award-winning Novelist, C.S. Lakin

Deep Craft Wizard and Part-time Editor, September C. Fawkes

Author, Writing Coach, and Founder of Author Accelerator, Jennie Nash

Poet and Character Arc Enthusiast, Sara Letourneau

Mega-star Ghost Writer, Writing Coach and Author Roz Morris

Award-winning Author and Writing Coach, Jami Gold

Read more about our Resident Writing Coaches here

divider-30134_960_720Some of these names you may know, others may be new to you. Each one, we believe, has unique insight and a special talent for story. Becca and I are looking forward to being able to share their contributions over the next year, and we hope you’re excited too!

Now before the sheer talent of these people causes the internet to collapse, why not leave us a comment with your writing craft topic wish list for blog posts? Because you never know… 🙂

Also, one more thing...

one-stop-for-writersOur big giveaway for six 1-year One Stop for Writers Subscriptions ends at Midnight EST, so hurry and get your name in!

We have a breakdown of all our newest additions to the site (a new thesaurus, Timelines, Descriptive Lessons, & 2 Scene Maps!) in the post, but should you wish a fuller breakdown of how our new tools work, check out our One Stop For Writers newsletter as well.



















Posted in Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 44 Comments

One Stop for Writers is Now One Year Old!

You guys can’t tell through the screen, but Becca, Lee, and I are grinning like crazy today. A year ago, we cut the ribbon and flung open the doors to One Stop For Writers, a site that took a ton of long hours, many lines of code (thank you Lee!), and  lots of love to create.

one-year-at-one-stop-for-writersSome of you know what One Stop For Writers is. You may have visited and registered, taking the free side of our site for a spin. Maybe you even went all-in and subscribed.

Or perhaps you’ve just heard the name and wondered what those girls who wrote The Emotion Thesaurus and that guy who created Scrivener for Windows were up to.

(The answer, BTW? Making writing easier than ever.)  🙂

When we started One Stop, we had BIG IDEAS. We imagined a grand library, a beautiful writing home where people could come, quickly find the help they needed, and then boom, get right back to writing their novels. We’ve spent thousands of hours working toward this goal.

A year ago, we started with 11 Descriptive Thesaurus Collections:

  1. The Color And Pattern Thesaurus
  2. The Emotion Thesaurus
  3. The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus
  4. The Negative Trait Thesaurus
  5. The Physical Feature Thesaurus
  6. The Positive Trait Thesaurus
  7. The Setting Thesaurus
  8. The Shape Thesaurus
  9. The Symbolism And Motif Thesaurus
  10. The Texture Thesaurus
  11. The Weather And Earthly Phenomenon Thesaurus

Idea Generator_closed


As well as worksheets and templates, tutorials, and a one-of-a-kind Idea Generator. It was a good start.

Since then, we’ve jumped into the sandbox with both feet. Story Maps leads writers step-by-step through character arc and story structure so planning a well-crafted novel is unbelievably easy.

(You just can’t go wrong when you start with Michael Hauge’s amazing 6-Stage Plot Structure.)


(click to enlarge)

We also added two Scene Map tools, so all levels of writers to plan stronger scenes that accomplish exactly what they need to within the story.

Don’t worry Pantsers…we thought about you, too.

Timelines will allow you to plan as much or as little of your story as they wish.

Even better, timelines can be used for so much more than times, dates, and events.


(click to enlarge)

Maybe you want to keep track of your character’s progress as he journeys, naming each town he visits and what happens there. Or maybe you need to plot out chronological world building events, like battles during a war or specific holidays and rituals that come into play in your story. Or perhaps you want to capture the order of clues your police detective hero discovers during the course of a murder mystery.

Basically, whatever you want to track? You can. And if you want to rearrange the order? No problem! Just drag the timeline boxes onto a new order. (Fan Girl Moment: I think Lee’s a total genius to have created this functionality.) Think about how this will allow you to apply Save The Cat beats, or other methods of story brainstorming.


(click to enlarge)

We’ve also created new templates and worksheets, and added new thesaurus entries (there are now 98 Emotion Thesaurus entries  and a whopping 236 included in our Setting Thesaurus.

We’ve also uploaded a master list of One Stop Lessons on descriptive techniques and devices.

Oh, and we added a new thesaurus, too: Talents and Skills.

We’ve improved site functionality as well, like giving users the ability to organize all their maps, timelines, bookmarks, worksheets, and notes by project in their own private workspace within the library.


(still in development–click to enlarge–and don’t tell Becca and Lee I grabbed this screenshot, deal?)

More is coming…

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is being added as I type.

A World Building Tool is in development.

And on deck?

A Wordsmithing Tool that will make any writer’s heart palpitate.



Now, can I tell you a secret?

Get a bit gushy, just this once?

*deep breath*

I’m proud. I’m proud of what Becca, Lee, and I have built.  🙂

This site was a leap of faith for us. We wanted to create something that didn’t exist, but we felt was needed: a one-stop destination where writers could grow their craft and find resources and tools that not only made writing easier, it would turn them into more efficient writers.

And now, more stories are being written. More books are ending up in the hands of readers. What could be better than that?

Help Us Celebrate!


We want to send a big thank you out to everyone who has checked out One Stop, cheered us on, and believed in what we’re trying to do. You guys are the very best. We’re giving away some One Stop subscriptions to celebrate!


Congrats to Robyn, Melissa, Markus, Loraine, Sacha, Monica, and Sarah!

One entry per person, please. Contest closes Tuesday, October 11th, Midnight EST. As with all of our giveaways, this is free to enter. There are no hoops to jump through, no conditions to enter as long as you are 18 and eligible to enter.

So, have you used One Stop For Writers? 

If so, please, tell us how we’re doing. Or hey, blog about it if you like! Either way, we’d love to hear from you, and how your writing journey is going.

To stay up to date on what we’re doing at One Stop for Writers, sign up for our occasional newsletter. But fair warning–we don’t believe in spam, just information and news. And to see more detail on how all these new tools work, here’s the latest newsletter.

You guys are terrific–here’s to many new words on the page, for all of us. 🙂

Angela (and her two better halves, Becca & Lee)

angela becca Lee_One Stop For Writers





































Posted in About Us, Goal and Milestones, One Stop For Writers, Uncategorized, Websites, Writing Craft | 27 Comments

A Checklist for Publishing Your Book

Guys! I’m am SO stoked about today’s post. You all may not know that I’m kind of an organizational freak. Just tell me about a spreadsheet, container system, or software that helps keeps things organized, and I am ALL OVER IT. Well! April Brown has put together a publishing checklist to take the pain and panic out of remembering everything you need to do to publish your book. This post is longer than our typical one, but it’s worthwhile since it’s got so much necessary information in one spot. I hope you find it helpful.

Organizing and writing your novel is obviously the first step in the publication process. There are already many useful resources available that can help you plan and prepare that novel. But what about after the book is written? Do you know the publishing and marketing steps you’ll need to follow to get your work out into the world?

It sounds daunting because there are so many things to remember. This is why I created my own publishing and marketing checklists, so I always know what needs to be done, and in what order. It’s helped me so much that I wanted to share it with you.

My advice is to print off the following checklists and begin by crossing off the line items that don’t apply; every author uses a variety of distributors and marketing methods, so if you don’t use Draft2Digital or HootSuite, just delete those. Your sheets may also include more outlets, such as Ingram Spark, Google Play, iBooks, or ACX. And you may choose not to include the portions of the process that you’re outsourcing, such as writing the marketing copy.

In general, most of these steps will be completed in the week prior to pushing the publish button—with the exception of Createspace, which can take more time. But keep in mind that some of the line items are reliant on other sites doing their jobs before you can take the next step, such as Amazon building your book page before you can add your title to your Author Central page. In this way, it may take some fiddling to figure out the perfect timeline, but this list should get you started.


Courtesy: Pixabay

Step 1: Publishing Checklist


  • Upload: 15 minutes
  • Process time: 1 to 3 days
  • ISBN: You can include one of your own, or an ASIN will be assigned once the book is processed
    • Categories (2)
    • Keywords (7)
    • Cover picture (.jpg) height/width ratio of 1.6 (minimum 1000 x 1600)
    • Description
    • Ebook Format: See the Kindle Direct Publishing FAQ for allowable formats

Bookshare (Books for the blind and print disabled)

  • Upload: Email only
  • Process time: 1 to 2 days
    • Categories
    • Description
    • Ebook format (.doc .rtf or epub)
    • Links and ISBNS for at least one publisher such as Amazon


  • Upload: 1 hour for both regular and large print
  • Process time: 1 to 2 days
  • Proof Review
    • Online: Varies. If no changes are needed, it only takes long enough to review the proof. If changes are needed, this step will take longer.
    • Ordered copy: one week delivery + time to read it. Again, if changes need to be made, your file will need to be edited and uploaded, and a new print copy will need to be sent out. So the time for this step could be doubled if a second print copy is necessary.
  • ISBN 10: Either upload your own or CS will make one available immediately
  • ISBN 13: Either upload your own or CS will make one available immediately
  • Categories (1). Note: you can add two more browse categories after the Amazon page has been created. You just have to call CS and ask for the specific browse paths that you want. This will give you a total of 3 categories.
  • Keywords (5)
  • Cover front and back .pdf
  • Description
  • Large print .pdf
  • Regular print .pdf
  • Look Inside Feature. This feature becomes available 2-3 weeks after the print book is available for sale. The default percentage of the print book that will appear in the Look Inside feature is 20%. If you want something different, you’ll need to call CreateSpace after the page is created at Amazon and request the change be made.


  • Upload: 30 minutes
  • Process time: Available immediately, to retailers in 1 to 3 days.
  • ISBN 10: Available immediately from D2D or you can include one of your own
    • Categories (5)
    • Keywords (10)
    • Cover picture (.jpg) (Minimum 1600 x 2400 pixels)
    • Description
    • Ebook (.doc)

Draft2Digital has some unique options. One of these is to automatically update the back matter in all of your ebooks on all platforms at any time. Be sure and do this when you upload a new book.

Other Draft2Digital Options – You can choose to allow them to generate the following, or you can choose to create your own:

  • Introductory Pages
    • Title Page
    • Copyright Page
    • Dedication Page
  • Promotional Pages
    • Also By (other books by you)
    • New Release Email Notification Sign Up
    • Teaser for another book (Any book you choose, easily changed and updated anytime.)
  • Biographical Pages
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher

Books2Read – Use this site to create one link to all the places you sell your book. Generally available as soon as your book is available in online stores. It has the same user name and password as your Draft2Digital account.


  • Upload: 30 minutes
  • Process time: Available at Goodreads immediately; available at other retailers in 1 to 7 days.
  • ISBN 10: After the book is processed, go back to the dashboard to add a Smashwords-assigned ISBN. This takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
    • Categories (2)
    • Keywords (10)
    • Cover picture (.jpg) (Minimum – 1,600 width x 2,400 height – pixels)
    • Description
    • Ebook (.doc)

Step 2: Publishing Checklist

With Amazon, Create Space, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords, there are many options for where your books can be sold, and you’ll have to choose the distribution channels for each platform. For instance, if you want your book to be sold at iBooks, you can make this happen through either Smashwords or Draft2Digital but not both (since doing so will create multiple copies of your book being sold at a given store). The caveat: CreateSpace automatically sends a print copy link to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other locations. Ebook and print in both locations is fine.

To keep track of everything, it’s a good idea to keep an ISBN sheet for each of your books that includes all the channels that have been enabled through the various stores. (Joel Friedlander has a good one that you can download, or you can create your own.) If, for instance, you tell Smashwords to send Book 1 to Apple iBooks, you cannot send the same book to Apple iBooks through Draft2Digital. This becomes important especially when sending to Amazon. Also, to avoid copyright issues, you might want to make note of your cover creation information, including the date and location for the photo if it was personally taken.

Amazon options:

  • (US)
  • (Britain)
  • (Germany)
  • (France)
  • (Spain)
  • (Italy)
  • (Ireland)
  • (Netherlands)
  • (Japan)
  • (India)
  • (China)
  • (Canada)
  • (Brazil)
  • (Mexico)
  • (Australia)

CreateSpace options:

  • Amazon
  • Amazon Europe
  • CreateSpace E-store
  • Bookstores and Online Retailers
  • Libraries and Academic Institutions
  • CreateSpace Direct

Draft2Digital options:

  • 24 Symbols
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes and Noble Nook
  • Kobo
  • Page Foundry
  • Scribd
  • Tolino

Smashwords Options:

  • Apple
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Baker Taylor Axis
  • Baker-Taylor Blio
  • Gardners Extended Retail
  • Gardners Library
  • Inktera
  • Kobo
  • Library Direct
  • Odilo
  • OverDrive
  • Scribd
  • Tolino
  • txtr
  • Yuzu

Ongoing: Marketing Checklist

Pinterest (Begin as you write)

  • Create a folder
  • Pin pictures
  • Pin linked cover

Website (As soon as possible)

  • Author’s Note
  • Cover Picture
  • Meet the Characters
  • Description
  • Links
  • Page (Create a page containing information on your book or add it to an existing Bookstore page)
  • Snippets

Publishing Notes Sheets

  • Author’s Notes to go in the book
  • Categories
  • Characters (Names and possibly brief descriptions)
  • Cover Photo Information (designer, links to the designer’s site if applicable, cost, date the design was created or photo was taken)
  • Descriptions
  • Blurbs
  • Back copy (for a print book)
  • ISBN or ASIN
  • Length
  • Links
  • Resources (for fact-checking purposes)
  • Setting
  • Snippets

Amazon Author Page and Bibliography: It generally takes three days after uploading the book for you to be able to find your page online.

  • Add Books
  • Go to the book page and fill in available information for each copy (ebook, large print, and regular print):
    • Reviews (from outside sources)
    • Product Description
    • From the Author
    • From the Inside Flap
    • From the Back Cover
    • About the Author

A note about the Amazon Central pages: copying and pasting the above information from other programs usually works well, but within the Amazon Central page, line breaks won’t work. When editing your information on this page, there’s an HTML box that you can paste directly into, and the formatting comes out clean.

Blog Posts about/promoting your new book

  • Blogger
    • Titles
    • Descriptions
    • Links
  • WordPress
    • Titles
    • Descriptions
    • Links

GoodreadsOnce you have a link and an ISBN, create a book page. Link to available editions (kindle, paperback, ebook, etc.)

  • Upload: 30 minutes
  • Process time: Available immediately
    • Categories
    • Cover picture (.jpg)
    • Description
    • Length
    • Links to editions
    • ISBN and/or ASIN
    • Characters – can be added after the page has been created
    • Setting – can be added after the page has been created

Header (the image/text that will go at the top of your various social media pages)

  • Description
  • Photos
    • Facebook – 1200 x 445 pixels
    • Google Plus – 1080 by 608 pixels
    • Twitter – 1500 x 500 pixels
  • Tag Lines
  • Hootsuite (Schedule posts for Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook Page)
  • Links
  • Marketing materials
  • Photos

Signature: You’ll want to update your signatures in various places to automatically include info on your new releases.

  • Email
  • Text
  • Other signature options


  • Links to print copies at various locations (the Amazon link is available once CreateSpace versions are accepted: about 3 days after the print copies are uploaded)
  • Create Coupons


  • Smashwords coupons
  • Cover photo
  • Descriptions
  • Links

And once you get to this point, your book should be published and available for purchase! The beauty of this checklist is that it’s customizable to meet your needs, which will likely change a bit with each release. Want to run a giveaway? Add that to the Goodreads and/or Amazon sections. Need to send out review ARCs? Slip that into the appropriate spot and jot down the necessary details so you’ll remember next time.

Also, the industry is always evolving, and distributors are constantly changing their processes in various ways. For instance, Smashwords recently added a new email subscription feature that you may or may not want to take advantage of. If you’re maintaining a publishing checklist, you’ve got a handy place to make note of changes like these that you’d like to remember for the future.

And that, as they say, is that. Whether you decide to tweak this list or start your own from scratch, I hope the information comes in handy. Best of luck with your publishing and marketing efforts!


April Brown (@UncoveredMyths) writes dramatic adventure novels that uncover the myths we hide behind.  Uncover your own personal myths with a gluten free cookbook, life lists, or by learning to use the Brailliant Braille Display with VoiceOver on the Mac. Future updates, as well as information on her books, can be found at her website.



Posted in Publishing and Self Publishing | 24 Comments

Character Motivation Thesaurus: To Rescue a Loved One From A Captor





Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Becoming Stronger Writers: The Best Ways We Can Elevate Our Writing Craft

Elevate Your Storytelling LinksWith it being September, and all our collective kiddos are firmly back in school, education is on my mind. Last week, my oldest headed out on his own post-secondary adventure to become an electrician, and it reinforced to me how important it is to always be stretching ourselves as writers.

Now I do know writers who feel they know enough because they have read the books, done the courses, and written the books, but this isn’t my view. I can NEVER know enough.

Every day new writers are adding to the storytelling well. They are taking the information and theory currently out there and adding their own perspective, which creates further depth and insight. These writers then share their ideas in articles, lessons, craft books, and most importantly, through passion-filled fiction that spellbinds readers (and makes us writers all wish we had that sort of talent!)

Logo-OneStop-For-Writers-25-smallBecca and I are always trying to bring you content to help you grow as writers, and our mission at One Stop For Writers is literally to Elevate Your Storytelling. And if you follow me on Twitter, you know I love to curate great content.

So in the spirit of always educating ourselves, I thought I’d mention just some of the sites I visit often for great articles that inspire and enlighten, and other ideas to help with self-improvement.


Terrific Writing Blogs

Now Novel: Great general writing topics, for all genres.

Anne R. Allen (with Ruth Harris) A deeper look at many aspects of writing and publishing.

Mythcreants This site tackles unique topics–a must-visit.

Helping Writers Become Authors Katie Weiland is an undisputed writing craft master.

Story Mastery Michael Hauge’s insight is unparalleled–I have learned a ton from him. Read his posts, buy his books, attend his workshops. Can’t recommend him enough.

Live, Write Thrive C.S. Lakin has a ton of knowledge, so visit and take your writing up a notch!

Writer Unboxed Great topics, from a variety of posters means many voices and options. Excellent site.

Jami Gold Jami knows her way around storytelling. Grab all her beat sheets!

September C. Fawkes September blogs deep writing craft. Visit and always learn something new.

Kristen Lamb Kristen has tons of writing knowledge and social media. A win-win site.

Better Novel Project Great breakdowns and craft advice. The cartoons are a fun bonus.

DIYMFA Another terrific site with some really rich articles on elements of storytelling.

Elizabeth S. Craig Elizabeth not only gives great craft advice–her Twitterific posts are a must-read.

Writers In The Storm This group blog mixes support, writing advice and publishing tips all rolled into one.

Top Writing Books

And here are some of the books I recommend most often:


write from the middle structuring self-editing wstsheartofyourstory12 pillars21st-centuryOn Writingsavethecat

And here are some books I am excited about releasing or are in my TBR pile:


diymfa don-mass-emotional-craft story-genius

Writing Conferences and Festivals

Recently I’ve posted in a few places about conferences, both on how to make the most of the conference experience, and also how to grow into the role of “professional author” when it comes to interacting with readers, giving talks and workshops, and selling books. Conferences can be a terrific opportunity to learn. Here’s a link that may help you find the right conference for you (updated each year).

Online Courses, Webinars & Recordings

Online courses and webinars can be an affordable way to fill gaps in your story knowledge. I have downloaded some of the lesson packets from The Margie Lawson Academy, and taken webinars through WANA International, and found both very valuable.

heros-two-journeysA recording I highly recommend is Michael Hauge’s Hero’s 2 Journeys. You get several hours with not just one world-renowned story expert, but two: Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler. They both bring great story structure and character motivation information to the table using the famous Hero’s Journey and 6-Stage Plot Structure methodology. Worth every penny.

story-genius-workshopA new course that costs more but offers great value is Author Accelerator’s Story Genius, which is a 10-week course that teaches you how to write a story that the reader’s brain is hardwired to enjoy. Taught in tandem by two excellent writing coaches (Jennie Nash and Lisa Cron) you’ll learn how to drill down to the essence of your story to deliver a meaningful story that readers crave. There’s a self-study option too, if that’s your learning style preference.

I know C. S. Lakin also teaches online writing craft courses from time to time, and while I have not taken any, her writing books are excellent, and she’s our editor for the Writers Helping Writers books, so I don’t think you could go wrong checking her out either.

(Note: I’m not being compensated in any way by these instructors.)

Writing Retreats

mountain-cabinOne more thing I’d thought I’d mention, just in case it’s in your wheelhouse: writing retreats. This is something I have always wanted to do, and I think most writers would as well, but costs is always a factor. Often local writing groups host these, so look around at your own community as the prices may be more affordable.

Or, create your own. I have a mini one planned in a few weeks time, and I can’t wait. I’m sharing costs with a few local writers and we’re heading off to the mountains for the weekend. It will be great to get together, talk writing, brainstorm ideas and learn from each other.

If you’d like to do a retreat that is a bit longer, you may wish to look into Cruising Writers. Not only can you book a week-long writing cruise where you learn from great speakers and get face time with editors and agents, you will find inspiration and fill your creative well. USA/NYT Bestselling Author Steena Holmes gave one of these retreats a try and wrote a terrific article on it: Writing Cruise = Best Career and Writing Decision Ever.

Now, if you are up for a writing cruise…maybe we could go together!

liberty-of-the-seasI’m thrilled to announce that I am locked and loaded for the September 2017 Western Carribean Cruise, and will be teaching writers how to go further and deeper with their description. I would absolutely love it if some of our blog readers joined up! Lisa Cron will also be there, and as she’s completely wired into the brain science of storytelling, writers will learn how to drill into the essence of what their novels are about.

tropicalIf you think spending a week with me and honing your craft sounds like fun, I hope you’ll check it out.

If you prefer land over sea, they also have some amazing trips coming up, like a week long stay in France in a wine Chateau with Margie Lawson. Now that would also be amazing.

Seeing as both of these aren’t until 2017, there’s time to save up. 🙂

And of course the best thing you can do is to always make time for writing. The act of creating and applying what we learn is ultimately what will help us grow into stronger storytellers. So write, write, write!

If you know of a resource, site, a book, course, or something else that might help others, please link to it in the comments!




















Posted in About Us, Experiments, Focus, Motivational, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 13 Comments