CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

Location! Location! Location!

The Word Queen
Bringing Books To Life
Writing, Publishing & Book Marketing

The key to writing a good setting is making it the base of the story. Setting is as important to your writing as plot, character and emotion. It is a part of all those things.

Creating the perfect setting for your novel is not as hard as you might think if you take the time to consider who is going to be living in it. The characters, action, and ultimately solution to your novel will determine the perfect setting for any novel. With some consideration to these important things, your setting will often create itself.

Setting is one of the easier things to create when writing a novel if for no other reason than half the creating is already done when you get to it. You already have the characters, and so you have a framework to build the setting around.

Check out these first three of ten tips for creating an inspiring setting:

1. Get To Know Your Setting
Whether your story is set in a university, London, or a posh restaurant, an interesting setting is critical to good storytelling. And there's no better way to make it compelling than to know it inside and out.

Spend some time checking out your setting, including the nooks and crannies and the history. To learn more about your setting ask it questions like: "How old are you?" "What kind of people come here?" "What are your biggest secrets?"

If you want to use a location in your novel that you have never visited, there are ways of collecting enough research to make it plausible. These include:

The internet
Tour guides, like the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.
Travel clubs
Interviewing people who have visited the locations you want to use

This may sound like cheating, but it is actually how many would-be authors find out about the destinations they use in their novels and there is nothing wrong with this practice as long as the information is accurate.
2. Let Your Characters Explore The Setting
If you're concerned that your book's characters will get bored of hanging out in just one setting, give them a secondary location. It's up to you to decide what places your characters hang out in deserve the most attention.

If you're unable to visit a secondary setting, research the location online, or at the local library. If the setting is fictional, dream up the look and feel of it in your mind; bring it to life in the same way as you do with your characters.

This is where good research comes in to the equation! You must establish the time period, the location, the customs, hardware, construction, instruments, and so on.

After you have thoroughly investigated your setting(s), you can then decide how your characters fit into this setting?

Most readers need enough details about the setting to know where the characters are, in what time period the story takes place and what the place looks like. If it takes place in a hairdressers, that's important for a reader to know. But unless the hairdressers has some unusual decorations, or it is in an unusual location, it's not necessary for the author to describe it. After all, hairdressers all look basically the same.

3. Use The Five Senses
There are more ways to get across a book's setting than by describing what everything looks like. Your reader has five senses, so it's important to engage them all.
Next time we'll look at the remaining seven of these amazing ten tips :)
Love & Light
Keidi Keating
The Word Queen xxx

New Release - Heart Desires by Becca Dale

Heart Desires by Becca Dale

Published - November 11, 2011

Devlynn Connors doesn’t trust her own ability to find a man who isn’t a control freak, but when she turns her future over to her friends and Madame Eve, she fears nothing will change.

When he flies to Las Vegas for a 1Night Stand hook-up. First Lieutenant Stephan Mallard isn’t looking for love. He’s looking to appease his sister’s fear that he will end up alone. A man can do anything for one night, right?

Can Madame Eve overcome misconceptions and misinformation or will Devlynn and the Lieutenant go home alone?

New Release Date for Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Release Date: *January 3, 2012*

Publisher's Summary: The third and final installment of the international bestselling Nightshade trilogy!

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all. And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. In this remarkable final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, international bestselling author Andrea Cremer crafts a dynamic novel with twists and turns that will keep you breathless until its final pages.

Who Will Calla Choose???

Watering the Seeds

The Word Queen
Bringing Books To Life
Writing, Publishing & Book Marketing
Today we're going to focus on watering your seeds, so you can watch your ideas thrive.
Now's the time to gather your list of ideas and decide which ones you would like to explore further. It's best not to pick a huge number at this stage, so whittle them down and select your three or four favourite. Try not to look at these ideas just from your own personal tastes. Remember that your idea has to possess a commercial edge to work well in the big wide world out there. Will it impress publishers and agents? Would you feel proud telling the biggest publishing companies about it, and feel confident it would work?
Here are some ways you can decide exactly which idea to go for, out of your three of four pre-selected ones.
Write A Press Release
Write a press release for each idea to check that the final book will sell well, even just as a concept. A press release is a one-page news story that elaborates on your book and proves that it is unique and worth looking at. Your press release gives your book a chance to get noticed. Any idea that can't stand out on a press release is too risky to follow up.
Ensure Your Idea Is Big Enough
By this I mean make sure that you can create enough gripping content to fill 250 - 500 pages, or however long you want your book to be. It's easier for experienced authors to work this out than new ones.
After you've completed the two steps above you should now have one glistening idea in your head, which is THE ONE; the idea which is going to lead you to produce a best-selling book.
As we're focusing on fiction books here, the next stage is to determine your characters. This is all part of the watering process, so that your idea grows and becomes stronger. Characters are what make a fiction book. They bring it to life and are the elements with which readers associate themselves the most. Sometimes they might see themselves in a particular character, or an element which is the same as their best friend.
Mentally focus on your idea as much as possible throughout each day. Think about it before you go to sleep at night and mull over it first thing in the morning. Focus is a remarkable thing. Think back to when you were a child. Did you ever play the game with the magnifying glass and the sun in the garden? When you held the magnifying glass so the sun reflected off it for a long enough period of time, the leaves underneath would start burning, right?
Well the same happens with our ideas and our focus. Focus on something for long enough and hard enough and doors open. In the case of a small idea, it then develops into a much bigger one with little or no effort on your part - all you need to do is hold it in your mind! Eventually your little idea sees will transform into a fully grown tree.
The Branches
The branches, or sub ideas of your main idea are just as important as thinking of the idea in the first place. Don't get lazy at this stage, as otherwise the rest of the process would have been a waste of your time. Sub ideas can hold the jewel to real success.
Repeat the brainstorming exercise in step one, but this time using the same process to find sub ideas. Write your main idea at the top of a sheet of paper and for twenty minutes or so write down all the related ideas you can think of. These sub ideas are what can eventually help to make up your storyline, plot and theme.
To Conclude
Your ideas will grow as and when you allow them to. Use the power of your mind to focus on your ideas and watch them branch into different directions.

Love & Light
Keidi Keating
The Word Queen xxx

Ideas Are In The Air -- Another Visit from The Word Queen

Continuing on developing ideas for your book, here is Keidi with Ideas Are In The Air. Are you participating in Nano WriMo this month?

The Word Queen
Bringing Books To Life
Writing, Publishing & Book Marketing
Where do ideas come from? Some might say the sky, others the ether, and a fraction from our angels or spiritual guides. I like to think that ideas are in the air. They float around in their invisible form, waiting to land in the right mind; a mind which is ready and open to receive.

In a more general sense ideas stem from our inspiration.

According to the dictionary inspiration is 'a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.'

Our inspiration tends to shine when we are relaxed, or zoned out of the task at hand. Perhaps your time is in the shower, brushing your teeth, on the verge of falling asleep, or driving along the motorway? It's different for everyone.

Take a moment to close your eyes and consider what you were doing when your biggest and best ideas came to you. Next time you're in that situation you will almost certainly expect to think of another idea and with that feeling of expectancy ideas will grow.

I tend to view ideas as seeds. First they are planted (that is when our minds are receptive to ideas), then they are watered and fed (that is us focussing on our ideas and giving them attention) and then they grow (that is us expanding and developing our ideas). Now the idea has transformed into a beautiful tree. The branches are sub-ideas leading off the main idea, the leaves are the idea details and the fruits are the results of those ideas.

Planting Our Idea Seed

One technique to planting an idea seed is via brainstorming, which I've described below:

Brainstorming - This involves letting your mind run away, as if you were completing a marathon. It's all about perseverance! The best method of brainstorming is to write down everything that enters your head, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. The key is to not stop for a breath. Just keep on running. If you stop and wonder if that idea you have just made a note of will really work then the flow of ideas will stop just as easily as they started. Try brainstorming first thing in the morning when your mind is emptier and fresher.

Some Brainstorming Dos & Don'ts...
DO use a new notebook and pen, or a tape recorder.
DON'T try to brainstorm when you are tired, hungry, stressed or ill.
DO make yourself comfortable before brainstorming. Find a quiet room, free of distractions.
DON'T worry if it seems you're writing down wild and crazy things. Remember not to stop and critique anything during a brainstorming session.
DO take regular breaks of ten to fifteen minutes.
Other techniques to planting ideas are through dreams and asking questions, which we'll explore in the next newsletter.

Love & Light
Keidi Keating
The Word Queen xxx

Techniques for Finding Ideas with The Word Queen

 I love all the advice Keidi has to offer. Since it's the start of Nano WriMo, I thought a visit from her would be a great help to you. So here is her guest post for Techniques for Finding Ideas. Be sure to visit her site for even more tips and tricks to writing!

The Word Queen
Bringing Books To Life
Writing, Publishing & Book Marketing
Our dreams are very insightful. Not only do they feed us relevant information about our current circumstances, but they are also an excellent source of ideas for books!

If you think you don't dream, then you are wrong. We all dream, it's just that some of us remember our dreams easier than others. Keep a notepad and pen by the side of your bed or under your pillow and as soon as you awaken (whatever the time) write down what you'd just been dreaming about. If you really can't remember that's ok too - just write down anything that's in your head.

Repeat this process every morning, or every time you awaken from a sleep, and you'll soon train yourself to remember your dreams far easier. That information can then be analysed and used to form storylines, characters and even settings.

For example, last night I dreamt about being trapped in a burning house with no hopes of escaping. I felt sure I was going to die, but then an angel came to my rescue and broke the window so that I could climb out and escape. I then found myself flying through the sky, which was ablaze with wonderful vibrant colours. It was magical.

How could I use this dream to create a story...? I could write a story about a girl who didn't believe in angels until one saved her life. Perhaps this angel becomes her best friend and they go for many adventures together. Ok, so this kind of content might be more suitable for a children's book, but it's still an idea, which came from just one dream!

Ask Questions

There are three parts to this technique.

  1. Newspaper / internet articles! Take a recent newspaper and either tear out or circle in red ink the stories which catch your eye, concentrating mainly on the headline.
If you're more technologically minded then you might prefer to do the same but on the internet. Log on to a popular daily news service such as BBC or CNN and copy and paste the most interesting headlines into a word document.

  1. Mull over these headlines for a while and then write down questions about each one as they occur to you. This is where your natural curiosity is exercised.
  2. Then ask a few 'what if' questions about the headlines. What if this had happened at a different time? What if this took place in a different location? What if the story had ended differently or began differently?

Step Into An Alter Ego

This one is a bucket of fun! All you have to do is imagine being a particular author or creative person who you admire / respect hugely, then meditate for twenty minutes or so, pretending to be that person. Ideas will scurry towards you. But not just any ideas. The exact kind of ideas that your alter ego would come up with.

For example, recently I had just finished reading Stephen King's highly recommended book On Writing. My brain felt very much in tune with him, so I laid down on the sofa and let my mind drift for a short period. During that time I thought of no fewer than three brilliant novel ideas, each in the horror genre, despite the fact that I' never considered writing horror novels before! You can do the same with an author who writes the kind of books you aspire to write.

You - The best ideas begin with none other than yourself. There are various ways in which you can think of ideas in this way so let's take a look at each in turn:

  1. What Are You Good At? We all have unique skills and talents so write a list of twenty of yours. They can stretch right back to when you were a child, all the way up until the here and now. Try not to strain your brain too hard and do include smaller talents too. For example, maybe you're really good at listening to people, or helping friends in need. They all count towards your list!

  1. Your Past Experiences. What's happened to you throughout your life which is particularly interesting/funny or even scary? All our experiences, no matter how much they hurt at the time, can be used as ammunition for book ideas. In fact many of the bestselling books are about people's real life experiences. Some choose to write these as non-fiction books whereas others take these experiences and wrap them into a fictional storyline. Both ways work just as well. Examples of this method of finding ideas include if you have suffered from a particular illness, you've overcome a big challenge or you have succeeded at something others would find impossible. Try working backwards through your life from the present day to as far back as you can remember.

  1. Your Knowledge. At school, what subjects did you shine at? What jobs have you held in the past, full and part time? What are your hobbies? Do you like horse riding? Yoga training? Cross stitch? Write another list encompassing all of the above.

  1. What Do You Enjoy Most In Life? Your true passions are great to write about as you'll enjoy the process much more than writing about subjects you're not so fond of. Jamie Oliver loves cooking and he has written a number of books, sharing his recipes with the world. What love could you share with the world? Do you adore travelling, fashion, beauty, mechanics? Whatever you like rest assured that millions of others will love it too! Consider also the current trends. You can get an idea of these by using Google Trends, or by reading newspapers and the daily news headlines on Yahoo and other news services. If you feel that a particular trend would be old news before your book is released then write about old favourites like weight-loss, money and sex. Sex always sells. If you can incorporate a fresh twist on these topics, then you'll be on to a winner!

  1. Your Challenges. At the time challenges in life never feel like opportunities. But they are the biggest ones that exist! What have you overcome or learnt that you could share with other people? Knowing that you are helping others via your books is an enlightening experience. List as many challenges you have faced in your life as you can possibly think of. The bigger and more terrifying at the time, the better! If you can't think of any of your own then list the challenges of friends and relatives.

There! Lots of seeds have already been sown. Now they need some food and water, better known as love and attention, which we'll explore next time!

Love & Light
Keidi Keating
The Word Queen xxx

November Blog of the Month - Chaos and Insanity

Coral Moore has always been the kind of girl who makes up stories. Fortunately, she never quite grew out of that. She writes because she loves to invent characters and the desire to find out what happens to her creations drives the tales she tells.
Prompted by a general interest in how life works, her undergraduate schooling was in biology. She follows science news and enjoys conversations about genetics and microbiology as much as those about vampires and werewolves. Coral writes speculative fiction and is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Albertus Magnus College.
She currently lives in Connecticut with the love of her life who offers both encouragement and kicks in the tail when necessary. Also in residence are two mammals of the families Canidae and Felidae.

Coral also hosts virtual book tours with author interviews and guest posts.

November Book of the Month - Write-A-Thon:Write Your Book in 26 Days by Rochelle Melander

In celebration of November National Writing Month - the book of the month is Write-A-Thon:Write Your Book in 26 Days by Rochelle Melander. Not only is Rochelle a fantastic motivational speaker, she's also currently on tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe'!

Meet Rochelle
I am excited to kick off my book tour at VBT Cafe. I've been writing fast for years. I wrote Write-A-Thon to support other writers in organizing their lives, collecting their ideas, and getting their books written faster than they thought possible. As a coach, I have been excited and privileged to watch my clients move from wannabe writers to published authors. Now, I am thrilled to be bringing these ideas to a larger audience. Here's to starting and finishing our books! ~Rochelle

Rochelle Melander is the CEO of Write Now! Coach, a writing, editing, and coaching practice that she founded in 2001. Her 10th book, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) will be released in October 2011.

As the Write Now! Coach, Melander coaches professionals, executives, writers, business owners, and aspiring authors. Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander values the power of writing to change the lives of writers and readers. She teaches aspiring authors how to make time to write, shape their ideas into a book or product, sell their work, and navigate social media.

Write Now! Coach evolved from Ms. Melander’s related careers as an author, feature writer, copywriter, editor and coach. Rochelle writes a popular Ezine, Write Now! Weekly Writing Tips, blogs regularly, and hosts the Write Now! Mastermind Class.

In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Creative Writing Workshop, a program that teaches at-risk teens how to use writing to express dreams, set goals, and connect with readers.

Rochelle Melander earned two Masters degrees and is a certified graduate of Coach-U. She is a graduate of the National Writing Project Summer Writing Institute and in 2006 was awarded a writing fellowship by the Louisville Institute, part of the Lilly Foundation. Melander is a member of the International Coach Federation and the American Society for Journalists and Authors.

She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, the writer Harold Eppley, and their two children.

Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days is a compendium of writing tools, performance techniques, problem-solving exercises, encouragement and life skills for nonfiction and fiction writers.  Detailed dos and don’ts for the writer about query letters, agents, publishers, writer’s platform, marketing, and reading lists round out the complete training system for writing a book in 26 days.