Guest Posts

8 Steps to Side Characters by @sacha_black #BookReview #PubDay

Today, I have the pleasure of being a part of a very special release day!

Our very own, Sacha Black, has done it again with another cracker of a non fiction release, following on from her gems, 13 Steps To Evil, 10 Steps to Hero, and an absolute favourite of mine, The Anatomy of Prose.

This time we welcome 8 Steps to Side Characters!

Now, Sacha has guided us, in her inimitable way, through how to create the most evil kind of villains and those flawed, yet strong heroes, so it stands to reason that we need some guidance about how to handle all those other characters that make up the bones of our books… so here we have it!

Wanna know more about what it’s all about? Here’s the blurb:

Do your characters fail to bring your story to life? Are they flat, boring or have no depth? Is your story lacking a little cohesion or sparkle?
In 8 Steps to Side Characters, you’ll discover:

+ A step-by-step guide for creating side characters that bring your story alive
+ The main types of side characters and what you should do with them
+ The key to crafting character depth that hooks readers
+ How to harness your character’s voice to deepen your reader’s experience
+ Tips and tricks for using details to enhance characterization
+ Methods for killing characters that will help deepen plot, theme and story
+ Dozens of ideas for creating conflict with your side characters
+ Tactics for differentiating characters and making them feel real to your reader
+ Character archetypes and functions
+ The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid

8 Steps to Side Characters is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create the side characters your story needs. This book is packed with tips and tricks for polishing characters for writers at any level.

If you want to power up your characters, eliminate dull and lifeless archetypes, and perfect your characterization, this is the book for you. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your characters to give your story, prose and plot the extra something special it needs to capture a readers and fans for life.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create better side characters, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting supporting roles with intention, purpose, and power. Read 8 Steps to Side Characters today and start creating kick-ass stories. 

After I read my ebook arc, I was quick to get in there with my request for a signed hard copy of this beaut, too and it will be well thumbed, I can promise you!

My Review

8 steps to Side Characters: How to Craft Supporting Roles with Intention, Purpose, and Power by Sacha Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some authors, you just know you are going to read and enjoy.
And one of those, for me, Sacha Black, has done it again with her next writing craft special, 8 Steps To Side Characters. I’ve loved her previous guides to writing Villains, and Heroes, and the Anatomy of Prose was just ENLIGHTENING!
You know you’re reading a real (Sacha) Black beauty when the first chapter in the book is called F*ck The Rules! Her colourful language embodies all that is Sacha, ensuring a read full of laughs, snorts, and ‘A-ha!’ moments!
There is so much in the book to help you craft your side characters into solid people that readers will understand, and how to use them to push the story forward.
Side characters are fantastic literary devices, but you really do need to know the nuances of how to use them, and also, it’s important to know what kind of side character you are writing… yup, there are several types. Sacha has it all covered!
What a fantastic resource that had me questioning all my side characters, past and present – in a good way. You can always count on Sacha for a dose of ‘Real-talk’ writing advice.
And one of my favourite lines, which I can just hear her saying… (I listen to Sacha’s podcast, so her wonderful British lilt is ingrained in my mind!) “Don’t be an @sshole – they’re full of sh!t rather than words”.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

And… she doesn’t just have the Textbook available, as always there is an acompanying Workbook, too. She’s a whip-wielding task master, that Sacha…! But, honestly, if you want to hone your craft, what better way than to work through the exercises designed to strengthen your craft?

Universal purchase link textbook: books2read.com/sidecharacters 

Universal purchase link workbook: books2read.com/sideworkbook

What are you waiting for? Get yourselves out there!

Oh, and if you want more, check out Sacha’s Social Media. There are a whole host of mini tip videos that have been posted over the last few days, and for the next few days, Sacha has some fantastic interviews lined up.

As part of the launch week, I’ll be interviewing nine authors all about their side characters, their favorite side characters from books and films as well as their tips for creating better characters. And I’ll be doing that all LIVE on instagram every night at 8pm from the 30th July to the 8th August.

Sacha Black
  • Friday 30th July – Mark Lefebvre from Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast
  • Saturday 31st July Jeff Adams from Big Gay Fiction podcast
  • Sunday 1st August Katlyn Duncan YouTuber and author
  • Monday 2nd August Daniel Willcocks, my Next Level Authors cohost, book coach and horror authors
  • Tuesday 3rd August Crys Cain, host of Write Away, cohost of TASM and author
  • Wednesday 4th August Kristina Stanley, CEO of Fictionary.co
  • Thursday 5th Helen Scheuerer author of fantasy
  • Friday 6th Miranda Bridges romance author
  • Saturday 7th Elaine Bateman urban fantasy author and staff writer at Indie Author Magazine
  • Sunday 8th August – if I haven’t collapsed, will be a solo show from me.

Find Sacha on the following channels:

Facebook: @sachablackauthor

Instagram: @sachablackauthor

Website: http://www.sachablack.co.uk

Guest Posts

I Have Been Podcasted!

It gives me great pleasure to let you know that I have been featured on a wonderful podcast, Great Writers Share!

Image may contain: Ritu Kaur BP, text that says "NEC THIS WEEK'S GUEST RITU BHATHAL EPISODE #053: MARRIAGE UNARRANGED, SETTING PRIORITIES, FINDING BALANCE, AND POETRY PROSE."

I was honoured to be asked on as a guest, and I hope you have the time to listen.

GWS #53 – Ritu Bhathal

Hello everybody! This week I got to sit down with chick pea lit author Ritu Bhathal!

In this episode we go deep into:

  • • Where Ritu’s journey began
  • • How life can prioritize over writing
  • • Starting a blog on a whim without a plan
  • • Indian family customs
  • • How writing groups and accountability can help lift you up and keep you on track
  • • Publishing Poetry vs a Novel
  • • How having a support system is instrumental in the writing process
  • • Stationary and her vast collection of brush pens
  • • Being realistic when it comes to balancing everyday life and getting words written
  • • What her writing advice is for new writers

Listen now: https://pod.link/1473869415

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says "EPISODE #53 FEATURING RITU BHATHAL GREAT WRITERS SHARE"
Guest Posts

5 Editing Terms All Indie Authors Should Know #GuestPost by Claire Jennison

As a writer, we have the craft to create worlds, characters, and their stories. Inside our heads, those stories run like an all-singing, all-dancing movie. (Well, they do in mine…) but do our words convey this same effect for a reader?

Often, we are so close to the story we have created, it is hard to spot where we may need to make changes, add or remove items, spot crutch words (Oh, I have compiled a list, a mile long, of mine).

This is where editing comes in.

And as an Indie author, I remember the mind boggling at the different aspects of editing; the different stages that your book baby goes through, to become a polished piece of prose, ready to be presented to the world.

With this in mind, I am delighted to invite professional editor, Claire Jennison of Penning and Planning to step up and give us a brief outline of some of the jargon we will encounter on our second leg to publication… EDITING! Away you go, Claire!

Claire Jennison of Penning and Planning

Are you an author planning to self publish? Does some of the jargon associated with editing confuse you? If so, this blog will help!

As an indie author, you need to know exactly what editing terms, phrases and descriptions mean if you are considering using a professional editor to edit your book(s) – which you definitely should! This blog outlines and explains some common terms, demystifying the jargon often used in association with professional editing.

For example:

  • Is line editing different to copy editing?
  • What does developmental editing mean?
  • What is a Frankenstein edit?

The answers to these questions will become clear in this post!

Here is a list of 5 editing terms all indie authors should know:

  1. Sample Edit

A professional editor should offer a sample edit before they agree to edit your full manuscript/you decide to book them as your editor. Some editors offer free sample edits (usually between 500-1000 words) and some charge a set fee for sample edits (which may be then deducted off the cost of the full edit should you choose to book them).

A sample edit ensures you, as the author:

  • Know what level of editing your book needs
  • Understand what is included in the editing service
  • Feel the editor is a good fit for you and your book
  • Feel reassured the editor understands the genre expectations of your book
  • Are given a transparent price and timeframe for the editing work involved
  • Are able to evaluate the impact the edit could have on the whole manuscript

A sample edit also ensures the editor:

  • Feels you are a good fit for working together
  • Your book is ready for professional intervention
  • Feels their skills and knowledge can improve the book

Some editors will ask for a sample from the beginning of your novel, others may ask for a sample from the middle, and others may request your full manuscript and edit a section of their choosing. It depends on the editor. If a professional editor refuses to complete a sample for you, whether free or paid, I would seriously question whether they are the right editor for you.

2. Line/Copy Editing

Line editing and copy editing are usually interchangeable terms, but different editors may still mean different things when referring to each. Make sure you ask what is included in the editing service they recommend you need.

Generally, line/copy editing usually focuses on:

  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar corrections
  • Correcting incorrect words and adding missed words
  • Consistent formatting e.g. how dates/times are written
  • Character name/description/distinguishing feature(s) consistency
  • Removing writing clutter (How to cut the clutter for page-turning prose will help with this!)

3. Developmental/Structural Editing

As with line/copy editing, developmental editing and structural editing are usually interchangeable terms, but different editors may have a preference for one term or the other. Again, make sure you are clear what developmental/structural changes your editor will address in your manuscript.

Generally, development/structural editing usually focuses on big picture issues such as:

  • Plot order
  • Major plot holes
  • Pace of the book
  • Plausibility of events
  • Loose/unnecessary story threads
  • Adding or removing scenes if necessary

4. Track Changes

Track Changes is a function of Microsoft Word that most editors use, as it’s standard practice to edit manuscripts in Word. It allows editors to make changes to the body text in your manuscript, as well as add comments/suggestions using comment bubbles in the right-hand margin. Track Changes keeps track of all the amendments and suggestions for you to review when the manuscript is returned to you, which you can then accept or reject as you see fit.

5. Frankenstein Edit

A Frankenstein edit is exactly what you might imagine it to be – an embroidery of sample edits from different editors in order to get a manuscript edited for free. Needless to say, this is not good practice! Even if you think your book only needs a light line/copy edit, it is still impossible to ensure consistency throughout a full manuscript if different editors have edited different sections. In fact, it’s more likely to throw up even more problems as each editor will have their own style of editing based on their individual training and experience. Quite simply, don’t do it!

I really hope 5 Editing Terms All Indie Authors Should Know has been helpful to you as an indie author. If it has, please check out my other writing related blogs at https://penningandplanning.com/blog/

Thank you so much, Claire, for breaking down some of the intricacies of editing for us all. I hadn’t even heard of the Frankenstein Edit! Sounds rather scary, to be honest, and I can see why that wouldn’t be the best option (shouldn’t even be an option!), though with the costs sometimes being high to self publish, i can understand some inexperienced writers trying to take these cheaper shortcuts. My advice? DON’T! When you’ve spent all that time writing your story, why skimp on the editing, which will give it that polish?

And, if you want more advice, Claire has a book out, helping writers give their writing that edge, right from the beginning,

A little about Claire

As well as being an editor, proofreader and formatter, I’m an indie author too. This means I know exactly how you feel about self publishing your book. Don’t worry – we’re in this together.

I’ve been a professional editor since 2018, but I’ve been writing (and reading) obsessed since childhood. I’m an introvert and tend to live inside my own head, which is ideal for nurturing my overactive imagination!

Before creating Penning and Planning, I taught English and English literature for over 12 years, as a qualified teacher, after completing my English and Creative Writing degree. Although I possessed many transferable skills from my teaching career, I have invested in many editing, proofreading and formatting training courses over the past two years to ensure my author clients receive the best service I can possibly offer and deliver.

My professional training includes a wide range of editing, proofreading and writing courses from trusted, reputable and inspiring sources: CiEPThe PTCThe NovelryJericho WritersSelf Publishing 101 (taught by six figure indie author Mark Dawson), Plan Your Plot (taught by bestselling author Laura Jane Williams), and Self Publishing Formula’s How to Write a Bestseller (taught by bestselling author Suzy K Quinn). 

Alongside running my business, I have been a member of my local lottery funded and community interest writing group for two years. Collaboratively, we self published an anthology of short stories – Another Time Another Place – in January 2020, and our second anthology of crime based stories – Red Herrings and Blind Alleys – was published in May 2020.

Find Claire on:

While you’re here, don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter! Click the image below.

Guest Posts, Marriage Unarranged, Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour

Author Interview – Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal #Books #RomanceReaders #Bookish – Lucy Mitchell

Pop over to read my interview with Lucy Mitchell of Blonde Write More fame – and a successful Romance author in her own right!

Source: Author Interview – Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal #Books #RomanceReaders #Bookish – Lucy Mitchell

Guest Posts, My Writing Journey

South Branch Scribbler: “The Path to Writing a Novel is Never Smooth” Returning Guest Author Ritu Bhathal of Kent, United Kingdom

I’d love it if you join me over at Allan Hudson’s Blog, South Branch Scribbler, where we talk a little about writing, I share a couple of Ritu Stories, and there is an excerpt of my novel, Marriage: Unarranged.

Source: South Branch Scribbler: “The Path to Writing a Novel is Never Smooth” Returning Guest Author Ritu Bhathal of Kent, United Kingdom