Tuesday, December 27, 2011

fReado: A Fun Place for Readers and Authors

fReado is the world’s biggest book-winning site for book lovers. To win books, you play a simple game, accumulate points and use those points to bid for prizes (including Kindles and iPads).
One of the fun games is called Covermatcher where you match book cover and can win books. This game is great for authors because it gets exposure for your cover and good for readers because you can find new covers to investigate.

Another game is Hangman. Based on a wide variety of topics, you answer several items to acquire points. And authors can create games in order to display their cover art.

And recently the website added Quick Quizzes. For an author you create a five-question quiz on any topic. At the bottom of each answer page your book appears! Ten times! For readers, it’s just a game and a way to accumulate points which allows the player to choose prizes.

It’s win-win and fun-fun.

As an author, I pay $9 a month to showcase my Odessa cover, but I have created quizzes advertising all of my books as well as Facebook pages. This site is worth every penny for the exposure I receive. I also receive weekly emails listing how many times my cover was shown and how many clicks it received.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Use Your Winter Break Wisely

By YA author Andrea Buginsky

Winter break is coming up for students, and for those of you who write, it will provide not only a break from studies, but also an ample opportunity to get some writing done. But since the break is only a few weeks long, you’ll want to use your time wisely.

First, set yourself a schedule. Input any family events that are taking place during your break, as well as plans you’ve made to spend time with friends. Now, look at your calendar, and see what you have open. Mark down specific blocks of time you’d like to use for writing on your calendar. It’s a good idea to post a copy of this on the refrigerator or your bedroom door to remind your family not to disturb you during your writing time.

Now that you have your holiday writing schedule set up, it’s time to get organized to take the most advantage of it. Plan on what you’d like to write about. Do you currently have a story you’ve been longing to get back to? Outline a few chapters or make some notes on what you’d like to write over your break. Do you have ideas for new stories? Plot them out with note cards or a story map. Anything you can plan in advance so you can sit down and actually write will allow you to be more productive during your writing time.

Once your scheduled writing time approaches, make sure you have a quiet place to work. If you have your own bedroom, this is the perfect place. Close your door, post a “do not disturb” sign on it, sit down at your desk, and get to work. If you share a room with a sibling, talk to him or her in advance about arranging an activity during your writing time so you can have the room to yourself.

Unfortunately, interruptions can’t always be helped. If you do find yourself losing some of your writing time, don’t fret. Get back on your schedule as soon as you can, and dig in to the work. The more you can relax and not worry about the interruptions, the more work you’ll get done. Have fun, and enjoy your break!

Andrea Buginsky is the author of "The Chosen," available from Solstice Publishing. On sale for the Amazon Kindle for the holidays for 99 cents!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A New Style of Writing or A New Twist on an Old Style?

Not too long ago, a dear friend asked me to co-author a project with her. She planned to collect four novellas she would release as a novella collection, romantic at that (not my typical style, but it was a fun stretch). We worked and plotted until the four novellas were finished, but what we had at the end wasn't a typical romantic novella collection. Instead we had four linked stories. Ever read a series of linked stories? Until now, me neither.

From my understanding, linked stories are stories that have their own plots, their own characters, their own story elements, but they are interconnected by a common thread. In our book, A Summer in Oakville, the novellas are linked by a common goal: the desire to help the  Grandparents of the characters save their heritage. Each story builds on that link so by the end of the book, its as if you read five stories not four. The fifth story unravels as the book is read as a whole.

Writing linked stories has its benefits, especially if you find a like-minded co-author to write with you. You get to write with a friend **big bonus.** You have to plot and plan ahead which can translate into less editing later provided you read and critique each others work. Not to mention all the fun spent at your favorite coffee place during the plotting, planning, and critiquing time. You also have the benefit of bouncing all your ideas, all those 'what-if' questions, off someone just like you, another writer.

Linked story-telling became so much fun, I decided to take a similar challenge to a writing class I'm teaching at the EDGE (our local teen center). This year they are each member is to write a novella, but those novellas must maintain a link. You should hear the ideas they're throwing around. Imagine a classroom setting as the link. Every character meets back in the class, but each story is unique to their character. Oh they may bump into each other in separate stories or have secondary characters in common, but their tales are as unique as each writer/novella.  AND each novella adds to the story that unfolds inside the classroom. Sound interesting?

If writing a full-length novel intimidates you, has you frozen mid-type, try writing a series of shorter, linked stories. Better yet, grab a writer friend and split the work. Do it together and see what develops.

What linked story would you write? Where would your link be?