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Manage Your Social Media Tags: writing social media

Iíve been wondering lately how to keep up with everything I need to write. My first passion and priority is my fiction writing, the short stories and novel that Iím working on. But thereís other writing I need to do too. I sometimes receive interview requests from bloggers who invite me to visit their blogs and thereís my own social media sites. I have to do something to fill the white space in them. So thereís often something else waiting for me to write, taking me away from what I want to work on. I imagine many of you can relate to this.

So how do you manage to keep up with the other writing you have to do and have time for your fiction? Iíll not tackle interview requests as thatís a blog post in itself. Instead Iíll concentrate on writing for your social media sites: your blog, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you are online. Iíve borrowed some ideas from a Romance Writers of America online course I attended recently, as well as adding my own suggestions. The course titled how to use your blog effectively and it was tutored by contemporary romance author, Stacey Juba. Although the course was specifically about blogs, Staceyís lecture about generating material for your blog can be applied to other social media too.

When writing for any of your social media sites, you want to keep in mind that one of your main goals should be to help readers discover your writing without doing a hard sell. Keep that in mind when you choose topics to blog about or guests to invite to visit your site.

A couple of the most obvious types of posts to include are announcements of new book releases or other news about your books and writing. These posts donít need to be long to get the information out. Short posts, including all the important information, is all thatís needed and, if you craft them properly, nearly the same post can be uploaded to your blog and Facebook page. Be sure to add an image with the posts to catch readersí attention.

Since your aim is to introduce readers to you and your books when they are reading posts on your sites, try to keep the posts on your site loosely related to you writing. Do your stories or books have a theme? If so, use this theme in your posts. For example, I write stories set during the Second World War so I could post information Iíve discovered during my research or other facts and articles about the war era that might interest readers.

Inviting guests to your blog or sharing Facebook posts by other writers are also ways to create content for your sites without spending lots of time writing your own new material. If your writing has a particular theme or setting, look for writers who write on similar themes or about the same era or place as you. Find something that links their work to yours. When you invite other authors to your blog, suggest a topic for their guest post or interview them about their writing. Create a list of interview questions you can ask all your guests.

In order to find guests for your blog, you could register as a tour host for a blog tour company. The company will contact you with requests from authors seeking blogs to visit and you can choose the ones that are compatible with you and your blog. There are lots of blog tour companies out there so surf the net to find one that suits your genre and style. I work with a company that hosts historical fiction tours but there are loads of others. Some are general, others specialise in specific genres such as romance or crime.

Do you post reviews of books youíve read to Amazon, Goodreads or any other sites? If you do, you also have a nearly complete blog or Facebook post too. Just add a sentence to introduce your review and post it to your social media sites. Donít foget to include an image of the reviewed book. In order to draw readers to your blog who like the kinds of fiction you write, itís a good idea to feature reviews of books in the same genre as yours.

If you donít want to limit your blog and social media posts to topics related to your writing, you might choose two or three topics that interest you. Maybe a hobby or a passion of yours. Or you might decide to post about the place where you live or the place where your stories are set. Give readers a glimpse into you, your interests and your life in the material that you post. Limit yourself to a few topics so that readers have an idea what to expect when they visit your social media sites. †

†When youíre writing social media posts, donít forget your readers. Try to answer the question ďWhatís in it for me?Ē from the readersí perspective. Why do they want to read your posts? Will they learn something new and interesting? Will the post give them something they want? For instance, will it make them laugh or feel good? Will they feel they have something in common with you? If readers donít find anything relevant to them in your posts, they wonít bother to read them.

So, if you want to be able to devote your time to the writing you really want to do, but donít want to neglect your social media sites, then find ways to create posts quickly. And be sure these posts resonate with your readers.

How do you juggle Ďnecessaryí writing with the projects you are passionate about?

This Week on Writers Abroad 2nd January 2017
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing news

I hope you enjoyed the holiday season. Itís the first week of the New Year now and I expect most of us are full of plans for it. In Writing Goals for 2017 Sue and Dianne have posted their goals for the coming year. This week is a good time for the rest of us to take a few minutes to take stock of our achievements last year and hopes for this year, and commit them to print in a thread on the forum.

Blog: Lesley has given us some advice in todayís blog post, The Perils of Procrastination, to help us accomplish our goals this year.

Monday Muse: The Muse is a good place to start in order to get inspiration for your writing. Check the diverse prompts, from nursery rhymes to picture prompts, that Alyson has given us to get us started writing. She has also included recording your goals for the coming year as one of her prompts.

Bragging Stool: After a quiet week in the run-up to Christmas, three of our members have had success this week. Sue has another 150 word piece, Homecoming, included in an issue of Ad Hoc magazine. Angelaís blog post about the Boxing Day hunt in Ross was noticed by the Ross Gazette and the newspaper has picked it up to print in the next edition of the newspaper. †And Dianneís new Short Read, The Christmas Cure, has been in Amazon US Hot New Releases Top 10 for Irish Historical Fiction for the past 2 weeks.

Even after the lazy days of the holiday season it seems that our members are full of enthusiasm for the coming year. So harness that enthusiasm and jump into another great writing year, everyone.

Just A Memory
Category: Writing
Tags: writing devices memory flashbacks writing technique

On Saturday I attended a writing workshop tutored by Anthony J. Quinn, a Northern Irish crime writer. We spent considerable time discussing how to develop three dimensional characters. One of the interesting suggestions he offered was to give your characters memories.

Memories make a character seem more real and can also be used to explain what they think, believe, feel and do. Like real people, characters should have thoughts, feelings and issues from their past that make them who they now are.

The writer needs to weave the memories they create for their characters seamlessly into scenes. When an event happens in the plot, the character may have a one or two sentence thought about the past that relates to the event, or a short flashback to a memory that will give the reader an insight into how the character feels or will react in the present. But itís important not to let the memory dominate the narrative. Long flashbacks should be avoided as they will slow the pace of the plot.

A characterís memories can be triggered in various ways. A conversation with another character or an event in the plot may make the character remember something from the past. Or seeing a particular object may trigger it. Using an object as the trigger can be particularly useful if it is an item the character sees regularly or possibly one that he owns. This provides the opportunity for the character to be constantly reminded of a particular memory. If it is an unpleasant one this can be used to create anxiety, fear or sadness in the character and add to the tension in the story. If he owns the object that is tied to a powerful memory, this also may say something about him. Why he has kept the object and what it means to him may be important to explore in the story.

Something that triggers a memory doesnít have to be physical either. In a story that Iím currently working on, one of the main characters has very vivid memories evoked when she hears a particular song. This could work with a film clip or television ad as well. In my story, the memories evoked are good ones but remembering earlier, happy times makes the character sad because she now lives hundreds of miles from the people she cares about and misses them. This illustrates that even a characterís happy memories can be used to create tension and internal conflict in a story.

One of the interesting points the tutor raised yesterday was that the landscape and the weather can both be used to evoke memories for a character. Selectively using items in the landscape, such as perhaps a dead tree or dark hills, can set the character off on a frightening or sad memory, whereas the sight of a field filled with meadow flowers on a summerís day will likely trigger happier memories for the character. †

Another interesting point to consider when creating memories for characters is that the memory doesnít have to be accurate or reliable. The character doesnít necessarily have to remember the past as it actually happened. This can highlight the characterís concerns, fears, desires and pre-occupations. An inaccurate memory may cause the character to feel aggrieved about something in his past and give him Ďan axe to grindí in the present. Or it may give him unrealistic hopes and expectations about how his present should be. This could also be used as the trigger for the conflict in the plot. If the character eventually realises the inaccuracy of his memory this might provoke changes to his actions and thoughts and resolve a conflict. Or he may never realise his error and this could set him on a path to his own destruction. It depends on the type of story you wish to write.

So, when you are writing a story, allow your character to think and remember. This will draw him off the page and make him seem more real and believable to the reader.†

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