Writing Tips



Writing a novel is not for the feint of heart.  It is a huge undertaking that can take months or even years to complete, depending on the amount of research and detail you need to you put into your work of fiction or non-fiction.  Even knowing this, it can feel like it's taking too long to complete your novel, or that you'll never finish.  If you feel that way, it may benefit you to read a few tips and tricks on writing and promoting your fiction in order to speed up the process without diminishing your book's quality or value to your readers.

One of the ways you can speed up the process is by creating an outline or a breif synopsis of the plot as well as short character descriptions. This can help you get your ideas down so that you do not have to continuously stop and think, What happens next? 

Of course, utilizing a good novel planning and writing book, like Ultimate Novel Planning Workbook: Worksheets for the Writer, Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook, Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book (Helping Writers Become Authors 2) and Ready, Set, Write: Level 1, may help keep you focused and on the productive writing path.

For more writer tips and tricks, keep reading.  You're sure to find some ideas to help keep you on the path to publication.




Updated Dec 21, 2020

 Note: Yearly price is $45 per year until January 23, 2021. After January 23, the yearly price increases to $65 per year or $9 per month. Existing clients will be grandfathered in at the old rate.

Novelize is a new player in the novel writing software world. It was created two years ago and is completely web-based. This means that you can use this software on any device that has a browser, including your desktop, laptop, phone and tablet. This is a very well thought out piece of novel writing software, and all the features that are in the software are available to those who are using it. The downside is that Novelize is not free. It is, however, low cost, and I think extremely affordable.

For full disclosure purposes, I will say that I was given a VIP account to test and review this software. The cost of Novelize is $65 a year. For all the features that this writing software offers, I believe it’s well worth the cost. If you want to test Novelize, they do offer a 17-day free trial. After the 17-day trial, they’ll bill your credit card for $45 a year. If you decide you do not want to continue using the software, you can cancel at any time via a button in your account area. In other words, you do not have to talk to anyone in order to cancel your account, and you are free to cancel at any time.

Are you looking for free novel writing software that is mostly fully featured and functional? If you are, Bibisco might be the right novel writing software for you. Bibisco works on Linux, MAC and Windows machines. Unfortunately, there are no Android or Apple versions of the software as of yet, and it does not connect automatically to cloud storage, which makes portability between devices extremely difficult. With that being said, let’s take an in-depth look at how this software works.

bibisco11. Opening Screen

Once you open Bibisco, the first screen that appears says Ready, set, go! On this screen, you have the ability to open an existing project, create a new project, create sequel, import a project, change the settings and get some info about Bibisco and contact information for the developer. If you have not started any projects, obviously click on create a new project.



Are you considering having your book professionally edited? If you are, you may be wondering what types of editing services are available for authors. The truth is that the names of the editing services can be dependent on the editor or editing service company. A few common editing services include proofreading, line editing, developmental editing and beta readers. Since the names and types of editing vary greatly between editors, it’s very important to thoroughly read each type of editing offered to make sure it meets your needs and your expectations.

1. Beta Readers

Beta readers are volunteers. They don’t charge and shouldn’t charge to read your manuscript. You can think of them as prepublication book reviewers. Typically, your beta readers are going to be people you know, like friends, family members, social media buddies and coworkers. There are also individuals who advertise that they are beta readers. These people may be looking for free books to read because they can’t afford to buy books, or they are other authors who like to keep up on the industry and/or who like to help other authors be successful. It’s important to vet beta readers thoroughly, especially if it’s an author or writer that you do not know that you found via an Internet search. While most beta readers are honest and want to help you, there are a few that are unscrupulous, and these guys will take your work, alter it or not alter it, and publish it under their names. So be careful when choosing your beta readers.

As to what to expect from your beta readers. These guys are not editors, so they’ll not going to correct typos or anything like that, nor should they. What your beta reader should do is tell you their overall honest opinion of your book and tell you where they thought it fell short and where it excelled. It’s best to have more than one beta reader. I’d recommend getting a minimum of three and probably more. Not every beta-reader that receives a copy of your manuscript is going to read it in a timely manner, and some may forget they have it. It goes without saying that your book should be 95 percent finished before you send it to beta readers.

2. Book Indexing

Book indexing basically finds every instance of everything in your book. It goes well beyond a basic table of contents in that it lists every instance of every major character, every place, every major and minor concept and every key term referenced in the book. Not to mention, the index is located at the back of the book whereas the table of contents is located in the front. This is most commonly used for non-fiction books that contain a lot of vocabulary terms and graphs and charts, but it is increasingly making its way into fiction books. While you can do this yourself, it’s extremely time-consuming without the right software. A few pieces of indexing software that I found with a quick Internet search include TExtractCindexSimpleIndex and IndexGenerator. The good news is that if you use novel writing software, like ScrivenerBibisco or yWriter, and you tag your book thoroughly as you write, you’ll be able to create this yourself with a little bit (or a lot of) time and patience.

3. Copyediting

Copyediting is often used interchangeably with Line Editing and may be referred to as sentence-level editing. It can also be referred to as a mechanical edit. When you request a copyediting service from an editor, you can expect them to check for grammar, punctuation, spelling and style errors. The reason it’s often used interchangeably with line editing is that the editor must check the material line by line for errors, including syntax errors, consistency and flow. If the work needs to adhere to a certain length or a particular format, the copyeditor will also ensure the text meets the length and is formatted correctly for the publication. Some copyeditors will also fact-check the work, which is essential if your novel contains real facts and/or is set in the past.

4. Developmental Edit

developmental edit finds large errors in the text. Developmental editing can also be referred to as a structural edit, manuscript appraisal and conceptual editing. A developmental editor must be intuitive and experienced in order to find structural errors with the novel. Structural errors can consist of missing sections, areas where there isn’t enough description or there is too much description, timing errors and major and minor plots that are incomplete. They also check the overall tone of the novel and the overall writing style. This can be a very time-consuming edit, and it’s often the most expensive type of edit you can get for your book.

5. Fact-Checking/Research

For historical novels and novels that are set in real places and use real technologies, it may be wise to get a fact-checking or research edit. These edits involve making sure that all the facts in your book are historically accurate or accurate according to current technology or current places. For example, if you stated that the Civil War resulted in 600,000 deaths, your fact-checker would research how many individuals were killed in the Civil War to make sure that your number is correct. In this instance, 620,000 were killed in the American Civil War. If your book is set in Indianapolis and you mentioned that 171st street is located in downtown Indianapolis, your fact-checker would look at a map to make sure that was correct. In this instance, 171st street is many miles north of downtown Indianapolis.

6. Formatting

If you’re having trouble consistently formatting your manuscript, which can happen with extremely long fiction and non-fiction works, you may consider having an editor format it for you. This type of edit consists of making sure that all your chapter and scene titles are consistent and that the text is formatted correctly for the publication where it is to be made for sale or read by readers. You might choose to have your book formatted for ebook or print sales or formatted for a specific magazine or writing contest.

7. Line Edit

The term line editing is often used interchangeably with copyediting and is also sometimes referred to as substantive editing or paragraph-level editing. However, it can also be a separate service. When line editing is listed along with copyediting on an editor’s website, you can expect the service to check your work line by line and sentence by sentence for style and flow issues, verb consistency and to add or eliminate words for clarity. Your line editor may also do some light restructuring of paragraphs for clarity and/or flow, but the basic goal of a line edit is to ensure that the works flows well, is easily readable, stylistically consistent. If you’re writing for a particular audience, like children, adults or seniors, the line editor is going to make sure that the language is appropriate for the specific audience and may change, delete or add words accordingly.

8. Proofreading

Proofreading is a very light edit. It can also be referred to as a word-level edit. It does not significantly change the text. Instead, a proofreader looks for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. This is the least expensive type of edit you can purchase, but due to the nature of the edit, you must find an editor that is extremely detail-oriented. They cannot skim through the work and locate every mistake, especially grammar and comma issues. By the time your proofreader finishes, your manuscript should contain zero technical errors. This is the last edit your book should receive.

9. Reviewers

book reviewer reviews published books (or books that are about to be published) and offers their opinion on the story. They state whether they liked the book and whether it had any issues related to the plot, characters, etc. Book reviewers may also offer a star rating. Like a beta-reader, book reviewers offer their opinion of the book as a whole. At the very least, you can expect the book reviewer to write the review and post it on his or her website. Most reviewers will also post their reviews to Goodreads. (It is very rare for a book reviewer to post a review to Amazon due to the strict review requirements.)

10. Rewriting/Drafting

Some editors will offer rewriting and/or drafting services. This is where the editor goes through the material and performs the next draft. In order for this to be successful, the editor must be able to mirror the author’s writing style and language and add pertinent details and forgotten or missed passages to the text. If the editor gets this correct, it can save the author a lot of time in the writing process. If the editor gets this wrong, the author can’t use the material.

11. Self-Editing

Self-editing is exactly as it sounds. The author performs all or some of the editing himself or herself. The author can self-edit according to his or her gut or refer to several self-editing books to help them through the process. Some authors are so proficient at self-editing that they may only need a proofreading edit and/or beta readers to test the material. When an author can completely self-edit a book, they can save themselves thousands in editing fees.


Post sponsored by @raquelgraffen





Read more from Stacey Carroll


Blooddoll2FrontCover01THE BLOODDOLL FACTORY II Kindle Edition


William Wilson is torn as a new clinic director (Kane Devonshire) takes over ESA and continues to sell babies as vampire food. While William doesn’t believe the vampire is worse than Blackwell, his Bonded just might be. The violent redhead has been known to attack every human she encounters. She’s unpredictable, dangerous and might just have to be put down along with Kane. 









Read More on Editing

  1. What Is Over-Editing, and What Can You Do About It? ...
  2. 6 Tips for Performing Your Final Book Edit Before Formatting and Publication
  4. Should I Hire an Editor for My Novel Before Submitting It to an Agent?
  5.  8 Tips on How to Quickly Self-Edit a Novel
  6. Extreme Fiction Manuscript Editing ...


If you’ve been a writer for any length of time, you’ve probably had someone tell you to write what you know, but what is that? You might even think – What I know is boring. I know that second phrase is what I think. What I know is boring. I’m boring. I worked as a computer operator, computer programmer, pilot and retail manager. Most of that is boring. No one wants to read a book about a retail manager. They might read one about a pilot, and I don’t know about that computer operator or programmer unless I wanted to write something like The Net.

If What You Know Is Boring, How Do You Make It Interesting? 

Let’s take a closer look at that pilot. I flew airplanes. I went to college to fly airplanes. I was a certified flight instructor, and I met some pretty shady individuals in that industry. Thieves. Organized Crime. Sex Addicts. Alcoholics. Abusive Sons of Bitches. The details of what I know are starting to form. A pilot flying from point A to point B every day is boring, but a drug addicted pilot, running drugs and guns for an organized crime family while being chased by the cops is pretty doggone interesting. I may have a story here.

If you’re like me, you have a ton of fiction novels laying around. You probably have some you liked, some you didn’t like and some you’ve read multiple times. You may also have more than a few collecting dust. The good news is that you can use those novels to jumpstart your own novel. All you have to do is pick one in your preferred genre and open it.

Get Your Novel Started with a Novel

For most writers, the biggest challenge of writing a novel is getting started, and it doesn't matter if you’ve never written a novel or if you’ve written dozens of novels. A blank page is still intimidating even if you have an idea. You have a basic idea of the flow of the novel, and you know the setting and the name of the main character. All those ideas and thoughts are fresh in your head and you are ready to slam out thousands of words, until you open your word processor. The minute you see that blank page, all your brilliant ideas just disappear just like last night’s ice cream. Having a novel on hand can help you get rid of that blank page and alleviate your anxiety over starting a new piece of fiction.

 When you’re writing a new novel, you can choose to do all the writing, drafting, editing, proofreading, polishing and formatting yourself, or you can choose to work with an editor. What you decide will depend on your budget and whether or not you feel editing services are something you want to utilize.

1. The Developmental Edit

Developmental edits are designed to find large flaws in your manuscript. This is typically where the editor goes though and points out things that are missing and things are unclear. It could be description. It could be a dropped main plot of a dropped subplot or a scene, section or chapter that you forgot to finish. When it comes to developmental edits, you want to get them done fairly early in the process. I recommend no later than after draft three. At this stage, your plots and subplots should be in and any description your going to add should also be in the manuscript. I recommend getting developmental edits done at drafts two and three because you should be about halfway finished with the writing process, but you shouldn’t be so far along that major changes really send you into a tailspin and delay the publication of your work. It’s worth noting that these are one of the most expensive types of edits, but they can save you months when they are performed correctly and utilized correctly.

1. Amazon Fire HD 8 - $59.99 for the 16GB Model

The Amazon Fire HD 8 offers up to 10 hours of battery life, and comes with either 16 or 32GB of storage with the ability to add an SD card for up to 400GB of storage. It also has a reasonably decent processor at 1.3GHz, contains a front and rear facing camera and offers dual-band Wi-Fi. At $60 for the 16GB version, it’s also extremely affordable. For those who want more storage, the 32GB model is only $90. Both of these prices are extremely reasonable. The only downside is the 8” screen, which is a little bit small in my opinion.





Writing a book and publishing a book are only the first steps to author success.  This is because you could have written a great book, but this does not matter if no one knows about it. Thankfully, there are promotional tools and things you can do to help spread the word.

Social media is a great place to promote your book. You can potentially reach thousnads and even millions of people with properly timed and hashtagged tweets and posts. You can also start a blog, create promotional and informative articles and share those across your social media accounts.  There are even sites where you can promote your book for free.

Additionally, there are also several Amazon books available to get you gather book promotion ideas so that you can create your own custom book promotion strategy.  Great Noevel marketing books include:

  1. Novel Marketing: Making Your Author Brand Work for You & Your Books
  2. How to Market a Book Third Edition (Books for Writers)
  3. The Kindle Publishing Bible: How To Sell More Kindle Ebooks on Amazon (Step-by-Step Instructions On Self-Publishing And Marketing Your Books) (Kindle Bible Book 1)
  4. How Your Book Sells Itself: 10 Ways Your Book is Your Ultimate Marketing Tool (Marketing for Authors)
  5. Sell More Books!: Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors Rethinking Book Publicity after the Digital Revolutions
  6. Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Publishing) (Volume 2)
  7. 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Real World Edition: Authors: How to sell more books, ebooks, multi-media books, audios, videos, white papers, and other information products in the real world


In addition to the above helpful books, here are a few articles to help you self-promote your books.



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Line Editing

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Writing and Editing Books on Amazon












Coffee Mugs for Writers on Amazon



Journals for Writers on Amazon








Tablets for Writers on Amazon



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