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Monday, October 5, 2009

How Do You .... ?

I've recently had a spate of questions that start with "How do you..." so I'm going to try and answer as many as I can in one post.

How do you decide how much of your writing to show on the blog?
If you don't understand why you shouldn't post your entire novel for the public to see before trying to publish the quick answer is that it's a matter of rights. No publisher wants to pay the money to publish a novel that is, essentially, already free to the public. This is why you need a critique group that is Member Only. Not a paying site, but one that the general public can't read.

So that you don't lose all your potential customers by giving them everything for free on your blog you need to pick and choose content carefully. As a general rule of thumb I limit my writing information to the bare bones details. I'm not posting chapters on the blog or giving the public a detailed outline.

Yes, someone could look at my synopsis and write their own book. But I doubt you could get from the given synopsis to what I have written. Most people don't think like me, ergo, they write different than I do.

How do you find a cool layout for your blog?

I find a layout I want and then edit the html from there. That's my excuse for this weekend's antics. It usually takes me a day or two to find a layout and customize it the way I want. What you see today isn't a final pass yet. Some of the tabs are just filler. Fun stuff, but filler nonetheless.

I found my current template HERE and edited the background, widgets, and tabs myself.

How do you edit a tab?
Easily enough. Hit CTRL+F and enter the current tab title.

Replace the tab title with whatever heading you want. Then find the matching HREF = '# ' that should be just before the title. Replace the # with the url of the page you want.

To fix the e-mail link find EMAIL and then the HREF in front should look like
href = 'mailto : your@email.com' (without the spaces)

That should make the outlook express window pop up.

How do you get ready for NaNo?
Sugar. Lots of sugar!!!

Actually, I'm going to do a series of NaNo posts in October so that anyone venturing out in search of 50,000 words in November will be amply supplied.

How do you find time to write?
You don't find time, you make time. The average person wastes several hours a day surfing the internet, watching TV, texting, or talking on the phone. All of those can be good things, but if you have time to veg with Bones and CSI you have time to write. Even if it is just during commercials.

How do you come up with new plots?
This could be it's own post, but the short answer is that I people watch. There are characters running loose all over the world. It's your job as an author to see those characters, and pin their essence down in a book so they are never forgotten.

How do you make a story unique?
Write with passion. Be yourself. Don't write for the purpose of being different or for pleasing someone else. Write the story you love and write it in a way that feels natural to you.


  1. Ah, thanks again for helping with the tabs! I even got the contact thing fixed from here so yay!

    Can't wait to read your Nano posts.

  2. Great answers. I've admired your blog layout for some time and would like to change mine but I'm a bit scared to. I worry I'll lose everything or something. I'll check out the link you mentioned.

  3. Cool! I look forward to your NaNo posts. :)

  4. I'm one of those who is afraid to go too crazy advertizing my half-done work. Then again, I've always admired how professional the blogs with brief summaries and pages for their works look (as yours do, nice job).

    The blog looks good<:

    If you still want that opaque background thingy, I did find some codes that might work.

  5. Angela- It wouldn't be hard if you wanted to update the look on bookshelf. I can talk you through it if you want.

    Catherine - the links aren't as tidy as on wordpress or a website where you can nest a feature, but the story pages are easy to set up. It's a regular post back dated to an earlier date. If you notice you can't scroll through my past entiries by date, just label. So if I don't label, the post is hidden, and I can use it as a linked page.

  6. Thanks for sharing. All that tech stuff skerrs me. I wish I was more adept at the codes and s uch.

  7. i've wondered myself how you decided how much of your writing to post. hmm.

    I wanted to let you know about my blog address change. *sigh* If you're following me, my posts now won't show up in your feed, dashboard, sidebar, whatever. So please forgive me, but you'll have to change the address for my main writing blog, Where Romance Meets Therapy, to http://jeanniecampbell.blogspot.com. To do this, you have to "unfollow" me and follow me again. Sorry for the confusion!

    The Character Therapist

  8. Oh good about the NaNo thing. Would like to give it a shot this year, though work is picking up, so don't know if I can swing it. Will be watching for your posts on the subject.

  9. Thank you for the offer. I think when things slow down a bit for me, I might just take you up on the offer!