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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Steeple Hill editor podcast link

Got this from Cheryl Wyatt:

Someone just sent me this link. Thought it'd be helpful to anyone targeting Steeple Hill.


Cheryl Wyatt
15-author blog!
Ready-Made Family (4.5 stars RT) IN STORES NOW!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tweak a Cliché Into Something Original

I wrote this article, which originally appeared on Suite101, on how to take a cliche and make it something wonderful.

Tweak a Cliché Into Something Original

Take a Tired Phrase and Make It Zing

Utilize a writer’s voice, a writer’s brand, phrase additions, and key words to change clichéd phrases into fresh prose.

The old saying, “There’s nothing new under the sun” is very true and a death knoll for writers. How can writers come up with fresh prose when it’s all been done before? How can writers avoid using clichés when sometimes there’s no other way to say something?

Utilize Your Unique Writer’s Voice

There is often a way you say things that is uniquely you—utilize it in your prose.

Here’s an example from my book, Single Sashimi:

Venus Chau opened the door to her aunt’s house and almost fainted.
“What died?” She exhaled sharply, trying to get the foul air out of her body before it caused cancer or something.

The last sentence, especially, people have remarked sounds very much like my speaking voice.

Each writer has a unique way of phrasing, or word usage, or cadence. Develop your writer’s voice and utilize it to its fullest.

Utilize Your Writer’s Brand

Often, your unique fiction niche can help you turn a cliché on its head.

For example, from the same novel as above:

Jennifer Lim entered the foyer with the look of an oni goblin about to eat someone.

Because my niche is Asian American fiction, the use of oni goblin is both unique and a twist on the typical cliché of a character being so angry they looked like they wanted to eat someone.

Utilize your own unique fiction brand to twist clichés into interesting turns of phrase.

Add To a Cliché

He looked like a deer in the headlights.

While this is cliché and boring, a writer can add a phrase here or there to make it no longer just a cliché, but something more interesting to the reader.

He looked like a deer in the headlights of a very. Big. Semi truck.

Suddenly, the reader knows there is eminent (but comical) danger for this character ahead.

When you look at a cliché phrase in your writing, see if there are little phrases you can add to it to make it convey more to your reader.

Play Off of Cliché Words

He smelled something fishy.

This is a cliché, but it’s also better than writing something boring like, “He was suspicious.” But how to avoid the cliché police?
The cliché is well-known enough that the key word “fishy” will be sufficient to clue the reader into the meaning behind the cliché—that there’s something suspicious going on. So a writer can take that key word and play with it a bit.

”Bro!” Eddie reached out arms to embrace him, but Charles stepped back. He didn’t smell anything with his nose, but nonetheless, his brother stank. Of something rather fishy.

When you spot a cliché in your writing that is fairly well known, see if you can take a key word and rewrite the sentence around the key word rather than the entire cliché.

Be Your Own Cliché Police

It might be necessary to be ruthless when it comes to finding your own clichés since we tend to skim over them without thinking. But if you can turn your clichés into nuggets of sparkling prose, your writing will be fresh and catch an editor’s attention.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Utilize reader statistics

An old article of mine is on today!

The Gallup Poll website is fascinating. Okay, I admit, I’m a geek.

However, it’s also useful in gathering information about the book business, which is important for a writer.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Friday, April 17, 2009


To Readers of My Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine:

This is Randy Ingermanson, with a special note for you.

Tax Day has come and gone, and I hope you've survived.
This past year has been brutal for all of us. May the
next year be better!

To celebrate getting past Tax Day, I'm running one of
my famous super-slasher sales on my web site store.
Everything is 50% off for the next 96 hours.

If you're getting a tax refund this year, you might
want to consider taking advantage of my 50%-off sale to
invest in your writing career.

For less than the cost of a month of cell phone
service, you could take action that would improve your
writing skills for a lifetime.

This 96-hour special runs from midnight on Thursday,
April 16, 2009, through midnight on Monday, April 20.

(All times are California time.) Sorry, but I can't
give extensions on this. When it's over, it's over.

I don't run these ultra-discount sales very often. The
last was in December.

In order to take advantage of this 50% discount, you
just need to know the coupon code.

You can discover this coupon code, along with
information on all my fiction-writing products, on this
page of my web site:

* Do you need help learning the craft of writing? Try
my two series of lectures which I've given at writing
conferences across the country: "FICTION 101" and
"FICTION 201." Going to a multi-day writing conference
can cost you hundreds of dollars and will take days out
of your life. You can buy my lectures with full notes
for a fraction of that price.

* Do you need help getting your writing career
organized? Take a look at how I got myself organized
with the help of Strategic Planning Expert Allison
Bottke. Allison and I did a series of five
teleseminars, which we recorded. Get the full set of
recordings, with transcripts and Allison's incredible
checklists. We call it "Clean Up Your Act!" because
it'll help you start acting like the professional
writer you want to be.

* Do you want to learn to promote your writing (and get
paid for it) by developing your speaking career? Check
out the teleseminar series I did with Mary Byers, a
professional speaker and author. Get the recordings
along with transcripts and Mary's worksheets and get
going on promoting yourself and your ideas. Publishers
adore writers who speak, because writers who speak are
usually writers who sell.

* Are you planning to go to a writing conference in the
next year? Check out author Meredith Efken's e-book
"Writer's Conference Survival Guide" -- 60 pages packed
with everything you need to know to get your money's
worth out of that conference.

* Want to learn my biggest secret for building a web
site that draws boatloads of traffic? Take a look at my
Special Report on "Super Performing Articles" and learn
how the pros get free traffic forever.

Here is the link again with the special coupon code to
get a 50% discount during my 96-Hour Special:
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