It’s my pleasure to have Kristina Stanley over to explain her latest project. Although she is well known for her mystery series she also is very much involved in helping authors sell their work. She is the author of The Author’s Guide to Selling Books to Non-Bookstores and her latest non-fiction is Fictionary – helping writers edit their first drafts.
I’m very pleased to be invited onto Carol’s blog to share my writing and editing journey. I’d love to tell you why we created Fictionary and how it can help you.
I’m an author who loves to edit, and I believe today’s author must be also their own structural editor.
The difficulty with editing is keeping track of writing knowledge, the time it takes, and the cost of an editor. So what if I could have writing tips focused on my manuscript, speed up the process, spend less money, AND write better fiction?
This is the story of how we created Fictionary.
What is the Fictionary?
Fictionary will help writers turn a first draft into a great story by becoming their own big-picture editor.
With Fictionary, you can focus on character, plot, and setting. Fictionary helps you evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on the overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first and guide you through the rewriting process.
Why a structural editing tool for writers?
Creating Fictionary began when I finished the first draft of my first novel. By then I’d read over 50 how-to-write and how-to-self-edit books. I’d taken writing courses and workshops, and had 100s of writing and rewriting tips swirling about in my head.
I knew I had to begin the editing process and improve the quality of my draft before sharing my work, but I didn’t know how to go about it.
How was I supposed to remember the torrent of advice and apply it to each scene? A spreadsheet, that’s how!
I created a spreadsheet with a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene structure. Then I listed the different writing advice I needed to consider for EVERY scene. I ended up with over 75 “key elements of fiction”. I used the reports from the spreadsheet to visualize my novel.
The process I used was then developed into the Fictionary online tool for writers.
Did Fictionary Work For Me?
After the hard work of self-editing, the quality of my fiction was validated when my first two novels were shortlisted for prestigious crime writing awards and I landed a two-book deal with publisher Imajin Books.
My first editor said: “If every manuscript was this good, my job would be so easy!”
The next exciting moment came when DESCENT, my first novel, hit #1 on Amazon’s hot new releases. Descent was published by Luzifer-Verlag in Germany, and I sold the audio rights to Auspicious Apparatus Press. Imajin Books also published BLAZE, AVALANCHE and LOOK THE OTHER WAY.
I wanted to share my process, SO OTHER WRITERS COULD BENEFIT FROM AN IMMEDIATE APPROACH TO SELF-EDITING and rewriting first drafts. But who would want to use a spreadsheet? Perhaps a fun, fast tool that helps writers visualize and self-edit their novels would be better.
I joined forces with author Michael Conn and business specialist Mathew Stanley, and we formed a company called Feedback Innovations just to build this tool for fiction writers.
Turn Your First Draft Into A Great Story
You can try Fictionary for free (no credit card required) for two weeks.
Download our free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The 15 Key Elements Of Fiction, and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story.
I’d love to hear in the comments what your biggest structural editing issue is.
Thanks for reading.
Kristina Stanley the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Feedback Innovations: a company created to help writers rewrite better fiction. She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCE are published by Imajin Books. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES is her first non-fiction book.
You can find her at:
Brittany Carter must choose either to live in the present or in 1765. She cannot have both.
In her present, she is finally starting to reach her goals of fame, success and money. Her romance novels are bestsellers! But success does come at a price.
And that price is Mitchell Killgower.
Drop dead gorgeous and with a heart to boot. The man of her dreams, the love of her life, THE ONE she’s been waiting for her entire life.
But can she trust him?
Does she want to live in 1765 with all its inconveniences which she takes for granted in the present?
Is she willing to give up fame, success and money?
Moore is delightfully good at historical romances. With wit and intelligence she takes the reader back to Georgian England where bad-boy Mitchell is in the midst of an inheritance row when Brittany Carter literally drops into his life.
With the romance between Brittany and Mitchell as veneer, Shehanne Moore smoothly makes her way through the power struggles between men and women – using as backdrop a feisty, strong protagonist with present day relationship values trying to apply them to the relationship values of a man living in 1765.
One of Buddha’s famous quotes is
Happiness is a journey not a destination.
The journey to arrive at the ending of The Writer and The Rake is complex, entertaining, amusing, reflective, smexy and made me happy as well.
The Writer and the Rake is the latest in Shehanne Moore’s Time Mutant series.
Have you ever had to choose between a career and romance?
To find an answer to a problem, Bear Heart taught to face east and think about the problem, saying: “Grandfather Sun, you come each day to dispel the darkness. In that same way I ask you to shed your light so that I may see where to take the next step.”
I am extremely proud to be part of Jacqui Murray’s amazing Blog Hop for Twenty-four Days, the latest in her Rowe-Delamagente tech-thriller series.
I first got to know Jacqui through her tips for writers on her blog – which, btw, I am envious of its clean and easy to navigate interface. https://worddreams.wordpress.com/
Jacqui Murray, as far as I can tell, is a techy and – dare I say – a little bit of a geek?
So, it’s no surprise that her novel is
heavily heavenly sprinkled with – in her own words – “edgy science.”
In this novel you’ll encounter a robot that’s capable of self-awareness and expressing emotions. You’ll get a front row seat to invisible warships and dive into the inner workings of the warship cruiser, the USS Bunker Hill ( a cruiser which Jacqui’s daughter served on as an officer – talk about having a great research connection!).
I have a lot of admiration for Jacqui’s accomplishment in writing this series, not only because of the authenticity of the technology detailed in the novel but also because of her talent in putting together believable characters in an intriguing plot about a subject reflective of our times.
Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:
A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don’t know what it is, where it is, or who’s involved.
Available at: Kindle US, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada
Do you write under a pen name? And if so, why?
An article in Writer’s Relief lists reasons why writers choose to adopt pen names. It could be, as they point out, that another author “owns” your name. For example, it would be difficult for someone named Agatha Christie to write under her real name.
Or, as a high school teacher who writes erotica, you’d want to conceal your identity. I hope.
Or maybe, you write in a genre that has basically a male audience and you are a woman. Joanne Rowling used the initials J.K. (K after her grandmother Katherine) because she feared that boys would not want to read Harry Potter if it was written by (horror!) a girl. Similarly, Mary Ann Evans used a male name because she wanted to be taken seriously and wrote under the name of George Eliot. Of course, that was in the 1860’s and that doesn’t happen anymore, right?
Should you be interested in using a pen name you might want to consult Ellen Sedwick’s Self-Publishers Legal handbook for the legal aspects on using a pen name .
Here are some well known pen names:
Amanda Cross: Carolyn Gold Heilbrun
Isak Dinesen: Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke
Ann Rice: Howard Allen Frances O’Brien
John le Carré: David Cornwell
And pen names that hide more famous real names:
Rosamond Smith: Joyce Carol Oates
Richard Backman: Stephen King
And there are authors who write under several pen names.
Click to read an excerpt from Marie Lavender’s latest book.
What are your thoughts on a pen name for yourself?