Collaborative Writing by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #amwriting #writingtips #MondayMessages

Collaborative Writing by Jules Dixon

Writing can be a solitary effort.

Alone. 

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All alone.

So when the opportunity to collaborate with another author or many authors comes around, many authors will jump at the opportunity. But before saying an enthusiastic “Yes!” there are many things to think about. 

First, what will you be writing and what are the requirements for the project. For instance, are all stories to be in first or third POV? Or is it up to each writer? If it’s anthology, what is the story length both min and max? How many authors will be included?

Second, who will be deciding, retaining control of, and paying for major decisions, like the cover, editing, marketing, ISBN’s, platforms and release schedules, and more. So much more. Make sure all of this is down in writing for all to see and to be held accountable. When it comes to cover, will you get a say? What if you don’t like the cover?

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Third, what are the timelines for deliverables? First draft, second draft, edits, accepting edits, final drafts, beta reads, cover reveals, promotions, etc…they’re all important and it’s best to have it all in writing so you and everyone else can’t say they “didn’t know.”

Fourth, how is the money (i.e. ebook royalties/paperback sales) going to be paid out or is the money going toward something? For instance, my critiquing group is doing an anthology and we’re going to use the royalties for group activities, like maybe a retreat or going to a vineyard for a day and drinking wine and writing…the possibilities will be based on how the anthology does, so it’s in everyone’s interest to help it be a success.

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Lastly, expectations must be managed and one person must have the say when there is no time to ask everyone, or the decision is small or doesn’t affect the bottom line, or there is a tie in voting when it does. By this I mean there needs to be a project manager and someone to say “it has to be this way” when it does and can’t be any other way and for the times when someone won’t get their way and a “that isn’t possible” has to be said.

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For ours, that person is me. And it’s not easy. But it’s important that there is one person who holds the group together and finds a middle ground. I try to let the group be as democratic as possible. Occasionally, decisions just need to be made, and when I do it, I try to be respectful and give what I believe the majority would want.

So, in the end, when you ask someone to co-write or to join a collection of stories, have your ducks in a row. Have a contract written up to explain and detail the big parts of above. It will help everyone move smoothly through the project and lend to success for everyone.

Have a great week! ❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

All gifs are from Giphy.com.

How to write for an Anthology#TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with her Tuesday thoughts. I’m going to talk Anthologies today, specifically how to write for them.

Having recently received an acceptance for the next Evernight Anthology—this will be my 10th Evernight Anthology—I’d like to think I learned a thing or two about how to write for them.

So, then exactly how do you do it?

How to written on a white paper

Well, first off read the Anthology call. I can see you rolling your eyes now, but, I mean it, seriously, read it.

Evernight excels at spelling out what they are looking for.

For this Antho call the brief was/is the following:

(for the purposes of this blog post I’m going to stick to the M/F anthology call)

The Alpha lives for the hunt…
 
Driven by instinct, an Alpha shifter recognizes his fated mate from one scent, one touch. He’ll pursue his woman, regardless of the cost, and anyone else would be smart to get out of his way. He won’t stop until he takes possession of his prize.
 
Although the hunter doesn’t need convincing, his mate certainly does. The Alpha will have to prove himself as a lover and convince his woman that he plays for keeps. 
 
 

Stories must have a strong plot, conflict, well-developed characters/dialogue, and a romance to remember. We do not want erotica. We want quality erotic paranormal romance. Original work only.

The Alpha can be any dominant shifter species. The Alpha’s mate can be any shifter species or human.

 

Limited space

No rape, infidelity, or incest

So, let’s digest that. They want shifters, that much is clear straight away. They want romance, a well-developed paranormal story line, must be an original work, and the Alpha in question needs to be a dominant species.

So, that means bear, wolf, large cat, etc. not bunny shifters 😉

His mate can be human or shifter, and interestingly enough, can be any species so, hey, she can be a bunny if you like.

Note the term Alpha. That does not mean they want an asshole, overbearing hero. They want an Alpha, a hero responsible for his pack, with a code of honor and a ruthless streak when it comes to pursuing his mate.

She needs to be reluctant, that’s where the conflict comes in.

The guidelines mention a hunt of some sort…interesting. A literal hunt or do they mean the pursuance of the heroine? Open for interpretation. One thing is clear, he recognizes she’s his mate immediately.

With me so far? Good.

If you’re anything like me, ideas are already percolating around in your brain.

Start with the hero. Who is he, what is he? What makes him stand out.

In my story, the hero is a battle-scarred wolf shifter, responsible for bringing peace to the packs in his area of Northumberland in the UK (my stories are always set in the UK!) He is under a certain amount of pressure to find his mate. His pack wants him to settle down, and he is being offered various, far too young in his opinion, she-wolves.

My hero is no angel. He has fucked plenty of females, both shifter and human, but lately, that has gotten old. Besides, he’s busy with his pack and his work in the forestry commission.

The hunt thing in the guidelines spoke to me because I’d found this picture.

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That simply screams shifter defending his mate to me.

I got the opening very quickly in my mind. My hero and his pack are hunting, and the heroine literally stumbles into the hunt.

I shan’t tell you more because I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but that was my beginning.

Now onto the heroine. My first idea was that she was human. In fact, my first attempt at the anthology was a bear shifter and his human mate, but it quickly transpired that the story wouldn’t keep to the required word count (it ended up over 50 K in the end!), so the wolf shifter was Antho attempt #2.

A word to the wise here. Don’t be afraid to try several stories for fit in an Anthology. I wasn’t sure whether I’d have the time to write an Antho story after the first attempt veered off as it were, but I did.

In fact, this story practically wrote itself in the end. 🙂

Back to the heroine. I mulled this over for a while, and then it came to me. Would it not add to the conflict if the heroine was a shifter species which would normally be food for the wolves. In the end, I settled on a deer shifter.

My heroine left the deer shifting community because she didn’t exactly fit into what the stags expect of their mates. This deer isn’t meek and gentle. She has backbone and snark in spades, and she is determined to live life the way she wants it, now kowtow to some overbearing male.

*smiles*

So when she meets the hero, sparks fly, as she fights the pull between them. Then there is the small matter of his pack. They will never accept a deer in their midst, right? Such delicious conflict right there. How will it all work out?

Well, you’ll have to read the Anthology when it comes out to find out what exactly happens, but I had oodles of fun writing that story.

And that is how you should approach any writing really, whether it is for an Antho or not. Have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to change things up, but do stick to the guidelines and the general story premise.

Dig deep with the emotion and the conflict. It’s a challenge to get that across, especially in a short story format, but digging deep and bringing that rounded story will be what makes your submission stand out above the rest.

If you haven’t written for an Anthology before, then do check out previous anthologies that publisher has published. Read them, get a feel for what they are looking for in a story. It helps, trust me.

Last but by no means least, if you get a no, or a revise and re-submit for a different line, do not be discouraged.

It doesn’t mean your writing is crap. Well, it might do, if you made a hash out of it, lol, but I’m assuming here that you’ll have done your best and have produced a great story.

What it does mean, is that it isn’t the right fit for this Anthology. There could be a number of reasons as to why. Maybe the publisher feels the story would be better expanded on. Maybe it is too close to other stories they already have in the collection. Maybe it’s too different from the other stories.

Maybe, you didn’t read the guidelines properly and shot way off base with your interpretation of what they’re looking for.

It happens to all of us. I recall one submission, not for an Antho, but a specific line, that I got way wrong. I did get an R&R, but decided to publish the story elsewhere as I loved it the way it was, and my other publisher took it and it’s one of my bestselling series.

See, it swings in roundabouts, this getting accepted to a specific submission call thing.

I know, especially with Anthologies, I never take a yes for granted. Well, I don’t ever take a yes for granted, to be honest with you. To do so would be foolhardy in the extreme, and smack of diva behavior I have no time for.

*smiles*

One last thing on writing for anthologies. You may not hear back about your submission for some time. You may hear right away, if your story is an excellent fit, and the publisher definitely wants it in there. You might have to wait till after the closing time for the submission call to hear.

Do not read too much into that wait. I’ve waited weeks before and I also heard back within days. It all depends on what else is going on. Of course, your paranoid writer self will assume the worst if you kept waiting.

Been there, done that, but look at it this way. What is the worst that could happen? They say no.

Okay, then you fix what they want you to fix to get it up the right standard and submit to whatever line they’re suggesting if it’s an R&R for a different line.

If it’s a straight no, again, pull up your big girl panties and have a good long look at the story, and see where it could be improved, and go from there.

And you know if the answer is yes, well, then, kick back with a glass of bubbly and look forward to having lots of release day buddies. 😀

Anthologies are great for getting your name out there and gaining new readers.

And if you didn’t make it into this call, there will be others. Don’t give up. Try again and again, if need be.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

 

 

 

 

Answer that Call! #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

 

Good morning everyone! Happy Saturday. Brrrr!! It is freezing here in Canada. My toes have never been so chilly. I hope this winter business passes quickly! However, it is good writing weather!

Today I want to talk about challenging yourself with your writing. Yes, I know, to sit and write a masterpiece is a challenge and we’ve all conquered it, right?? ROFL Of course we have. But, what I mean is using submission calls / anthology calls to challenge you into writing a story you’ve never written before, staying within the box of the specifications to the anthology call, and keeping to the word count!

Evernight Publishing for example, does anthology calls every year. They’ve done, Dark Captive, Bad Alpha, Uniform Fetish, to name a few. The wonderful things about these anthology calls is that a) they are very popular with our readers, and b) it gives all authors a chance to delve into areas with their writing they normally wouldn’t. Dark Captive is a collection of dark romance, which I know a few authors had never written before but their stories were accepted and proved to themselves they could write outside the box they normally sit in. Now, I have only tried to write for one of the EP anthologies—Bad Alpha last year. Writing the story – Fighting for Honor – was no problem. I was done writing it within a week, and had conquered my first shifter. But it didn’t get accepted. Why not? The word count got me. Like other anthology calls I’d attempted to write for with other authors/publishers, I can never stay within the word limit. With FFH, I was over by 400 words and I’d already narrowed that down from the first draft, which was about 700 words longer. It doesn’t seem like a lot of words to cut, I know, but the anthology calls have a limit of 10,000 and when everything is already crucial to the story, it is difficult to omit more. I spent a few days agonizing over the story, trying to figure out what to cut, but everything I was left had to be there. I sent it out to another author, one I respected very much for writing shifter stories (our own Doris *g*), and she had a few suggestions but it still wasn’t enough.

But, I submitted it anyway. I thought, maybe if it is accepted, then an editor might be about to help me whittle away at that word count. I later received an R&R (revise and resubmit), a couple plot points and the acquisitions editor wanted to see the fate of the nasty villain meet a more drastic end, AND because they couldn’t see words to omit, they offered the R&R to publish the story as a single title! WOOT! So while I was specifically writing for the anthology in mind, and challenged myself writing a shifter, it worked out for me in the end because it still got published. I learned a lot about myself with that short story. I discovered that I did have it in me to write to certain specifications – answering submission calls and staying within some parameters can be difficult for some, and something I’ve always struggled with.

I have recently been invited to another anthology call, not with a publisher, but with a collective group of authors and it will release in 2017. The writing is going well on it and I am confident I can stay within the 25k word count for this one. I am hoping to come in between 15 & 20k to be honest. I’m challenging myself to make it. I love the characters and the flow of the story already, which are major bonus points.

It’s important to challenge yourself when writing. Write outside the normal box you put yourself in, tackle genres you never thought you would ever attempt and push the boundaries of each story wide open to create even more in-depth characters/angles to each story. And sometimes authors just need to use the challenge of what they normally wouldn’t do to hone their craft. I use my short Mustang stories as outlets between longer pieces. For a while, I needed that freedom to just pound on the keyboard whenever I was frustrated or overwhelmed. They’re more like one scene quickies that helped me through some difficult moments. We all have to find what works for us. Through the challenges, through the stories and what we find in the end can very well surprise us. So don’t limit yourself to one area, one box. Branch out, push yourself and let yourself fly.Answer a submission call you normally wouldn’t give much thought to, answer the Muse’s need to get outside the little box you’ve put her in.

You can do it! Never say you can’t!

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!!!

Kacey (2)