Guest post: E. Rachael Hardcastle (Author of Finding Pandora)

6016f2_1e64bbd333624e3da9900739929e2dbc-mv2_d_1280_1214_s_2.pngToday we’re delighted to welcome supernatural fantasy novelist and West Yorkshire lass E. Rachael Hardcastle to the ideas4writers blog. Her box set Finding Pandora – The Complete Collection (Books 1 – 4) is out this week.

Naturally, we wanted to know all about her, her ideas, and her writing and publishing experiences, and to see if she had any useful tips to share. Here’s what she had to say:

How do you find and evaluate ideas for characters, plots, dialogue, etc?

It’s an overused response but ideas just come to me. Sometimes after watching TV or reading a book I wonder what new swing I could put on that premise, so I’ll write it down and explore it later on. I never base characters on real people – I like to let the characters develop into who they need to be and usually fill in a profile sheet (as seen on my blog) to make sure I cover everything.

How did you get your latest idea? What made it good enough to write about?

My latest idea came to me after watching Jurassic Park and reading a book called The Great Zoo of China. I wanted to explore the theme park idea further, where the guests have to escape for some reason. I know the idea is popular because the movies do well, and to the best of my knowledge the books have done well too, so I thought I’d note it down and brainstorm some ideas. I haven’t started writing yet, but I know it’s a golden nugget because it crosses my mind every day.

How did you expand the idea?

  • Use brainstorming and mind mapping ideas

  • Use story beats to note everything down and build a story/characters

  • Note down the cliches I wanted to avoid and why

  • Watched the movies, read the books etc for research and to see how I can make my story unique

How do you do your research?

I prefer to use reference books rather than the internet, though I do often mix the two. I write fantasy, so some of my research is on myth, legends, signs and symbols, etc, which is fun, so I don’t actually mind this part of the process. I then keep notes in a ‘story beats’ outline document in OpenOffice, which I refer to whenever it is needed. I tried Scrivener but haven’t yet made friends with it.

Would you be willing to share with us some of the ideas you’ve rejected?

I very rarely reject ideas, I just note them down for use in a future project. I think my advice would be not to reject anything because even if it has been used before, there’s always a new way to approach it. They say there are no new ideas and I believe this is true to some extent – it’s what you do with them that counts.

Which book marketing ideas would you recommend?

I offer free content to prove I am trustworthy and helpful. I think marketing can be creepy when you’re posting ‘buy my book’ on social media. Your posts will be ignored and you might lose followers by doing this. Post free content on your blog, helpful notes and resources, and then offer your book at the end. For example, you could advertise your book at the end of a YouTube video that is free and offers the viewer a solution to a problem.

How did you get published?

I self-published my work after coming close to traditional publishing and turning down two offers. I decided I wanted to be in control and give it a shot myself. That way, I could learn the ins and outs and possibly turn hybrid later.

Have you had any really bad/bizarre rejections or reviews?

I once received a postal rejection (with my manuscript enclosed) and on the title page was the comment ‘We don’t publish poetry’. I had submitted my 50,000+ word high fantasy novel…

How do you find the time to write?

I think I steal the time to write after work and between chores at home. If you want to be a writer, you should write, and those who are serious will make the time.

Where do you write?

I have a home office. I keep all my reference books, tools and notes in that room so I can access anything I need quickly and easily.

Can you recommend any software or apps that help with your writing?

And finally, where can we find out more about you and your books?

My website is at www.erachaelhardcastle.com

Thank you! Good luck with the box set and for your future writing success.

Thank you!

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NEW: Discuss What Ifs in our Facebook Group

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Dave Haslett, founder, ideas4writers

 

Hello fellow writers!

If you go to the ideas4writers Facebook group you’ll see an exciting new feature. Each day we’re choosing one of the What Ifs we posted on the blog at the beginning of each month, and we’re discussing it in depth, expanding and enlarging on it, and looking at the story possibilities in each one. I hope you find it useful. It’s certainly stretching my imagination!

The Facebook group is open to anyone who wants to join. Just go to the group and click the Join button and I’ll grant you access the next time I’m on Facebook. You don’t need to be a member of the ideas4writers website or the blog. Your friends can join too – just let them know where to find us. The more people who join, the better the discussions should be, and the more ideas we’ll get for bigger and better stories.

In case the link above isn’t working, the ideas4writers Facebook group is at: www.facebook.com/groups/ideas4writers

WEBSITE UPDATE

If you’re a member of the ideas4writers website, you might have spotted that our forum software has died. We’re going to redesign the site over the next few months, so it seems silly to replace the forum software with something else, only to have to scrap it again when the new site launches. So we’re using the Facebook group as our forum for now, and directing all our members there instead.

When the new website launches, the forum will be at the front of the site, not hidden away in the members’ section, so everyone will be able to use it.

DAVE’S NEWS

I hope you’ve made a great start to your writing in 2017. I have huge plans for the year, and I’ve made a big wall chart with all the projects and timelines I’ll be working on. It looks … scary. But just about doable with a lot of work (and no procrastinating).

You might know that I get most of my ideas while I’m out walking, so when I saw the Walk 1,000 Miles in 2017 challenge, I immediately signed up for it. As I write this I’ve just completed the walk for day 9 and my total so far is 33 miles (8 miles more than the target) so it’s going well – I could even afford to take a couple of days off. Snow is forecast for the end of the week, which might limit the walks for a few days. (But I’ll believe it when I see it – it rarely snows here.)

I’m planning to do some longer walks over the summer. There are about 50 walking routes through the Blackdown Hills, about 20 minutes from here, that I haven’t explored yet. I’m also part of a walking group, but they only walk on Wednesday evenings between May and August.

If I’m walking on my own (which is most of the time – the rest of the family are not walkers!) I take my phone and headphones with me and listen to podcasts to keep me company. They help the miles fly by, and don’t inhibit the flow of ideas. I have Evernote on my phone, so it’s easy to note down (or speak) each idea as it occurs, or take a quick photo, and file it in the relevant section.

The podcasts I listen to are: The Creative Penn, the Sell More Books Show, Write 2B Read, and a new one called the Book Launch Show. I also download and listen to the Radio 4 shows The News Quiz and the The Now Show when they’re on – but they’re not on at the moment.

I must leave you now as it’s 9 pm and I have a chapter to write before bedtime. I hope to connect with you in the Facebook group. Or I’ll see you here this time next week with 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in July 2017 for you to write about.

Entire ideas collection now available on Kindle

nonfiction booksWe are pleased and delighted to announce that our entire collection of writing ideas (all 35 volumes – 5,000+ ideas in total) is now available on Kindle. (Yes, we’ve been busy little bees!)

If you haven’t got a Kindle e-reader device you can download the free Kindle app and view them on any Windows or Apple computer, iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone and most other smartphones and tablets. You’ll find more information about this on Amazon’s website.

You can see our full range of books by clicking on either of these links for Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

The full list is:

Characters, Description & Setting, Dialogue, Plot, Structure, Theme

Fiction, Novels, Plays, Screenplays, Short Stories, Storylines

Comedy, Crime, Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction, Thrillers

Editing, Getting Ideas, Getting Published, Overcoming Rejection, Self-publishing & Book Marketing, Writer’s Block, Writing

Magazine Articles, Non-fiction Books, Poetry, Teens/Young Adult, Travel Writing, Writing for Children

Erotica

If you prefer the PDF versions (which are also printable) you can get them from the ideas4writers website – and we’ve reduced the prices of some of them so they’re in line with Amazon’s pricing structure. Characters and Fiction (previously £12.99 each) are now just £7.99. Magazine Articles is reduced from £10.99 to £6.99. And Short Stories is down from £7.99 to £6.99. (Or whatever the equivalent is in your own currency.)

You can also buy the PDF versions in money-saving compilation editions, or join ideas4writers as a full lifetime member for just £49.95 and we’ll give you the whole lot.

[We’ll be back next Tuesday with February’s “What If…” ideas for you!]

Writing ideas collection Volume 5 now available

We have just released the final 7  e-books in our ideas collection. These books are all part of our Non-fiction, Poetry and Children collection. See below for more details.

You do not need to be a member of ideas4writers to buy these books – they are available to everyone (for the first time ever!)

You can buy any of the items individually, or you can buy the complete collection in a single volume.

(Lifetime members: please note that you do not need to buy these ebooks – they are included in your membership and you can download them from the members’ section at our main website: www.ideas4writers.co.uk)

All books are PDF format.

Magazine Articles
301 ideas, 148 pages, £10.99
Full details + sample idea

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Non-fiction Books
160 ideas, 82 pages, £5.99
Full details + sample idea

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Poetry
125 ideas, 58 pages, £4.99
Full details + sample idea
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Teens/Young Adult
73 ideas, 41 pages, £3.99
Full details + sample idea
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Travel Writing
75 ideas, 33 pages, £3.99
Full details + sample idea
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Writing for Children
201 ideas, 91 pages, £6.99
Full details + sample idea
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The Complete “Non-fiction, Poetry & Children” Collection
935 ideas, 454 pages, £19.99
(you save £16.95 by buying the complete volume)
Full details

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Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 and you’ll get our complete 5,000+ writing ideas collection (all 6 volumes), plus our Date-A-Base Books, The Fastest Way to Write Your Book, The Fastest Way to Get Ideas, How to Win Short Story Competitions, unlimited use of our forums and writing engines, and much more (total value over £150)
Find out more here

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Visit the ideas4writers website: www.ideas4writers.co.uk
Join our Facebook group
Follow us on Twitter: @ideas4writers
Email us: enquiries@ideas4writers.co.uk

Writing ideas collection Vol 4 now available

We have just released 8 new e-books in our ideas collection. These books are all part of our Writing, Editing and Publishing collection. See below for more details.

You do not need to be a member of ideas4writers to buy these books – they are available to everyone (for the first time ever!)

You can buy any of the categories individually, or you can buy the complete collection in a single volume.

(Lifetime members: please note that you do not need to buy these ebooks – they are included in your membership and you can download them from the members’ section at our main website: www.ideas4writers.co.uk)

All books are PDF format.

Editing
117 ideas, 49 pages, £4.99
Full details + sample idea
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Getting Ideas
218 ideas, 95 pages, £6.99
Full details + sample idea
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Getting Published
128 ideas, 65 pages, £4.99
Full details + sample idea
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Overcoming Rejection
30 ideas, 13 pages, £1.99
Full details + sample idea
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Self-publishing
75 ideas, 41 pages, £3.99
Full details + sample idea
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Writer’s Block
143 ideas, 67 pages, £4.99
Full details + sample idea
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Writing
159 ideas, 70 pages, £5.99
Full details + sample idea
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The Complete “Writing, Editing & Publishing” Collection
870 ideas, 400 pages, £17.99
(you save £15.94 by buying the complete volume)
Full details

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Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 and you’ll get The Date-A-Base Books for 2011 & 2012 (plus all future editions) as well as The Fastest Way to Write Your BookThe Fastest Way to Get Ideas, our complete 5,000+ writing ideas collection, unlimited use of our forums and writing engines, and much more (total value over £150)
Find out more here

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Visit the ideas4writers website: www.ideas4writers.co.uk
Join our Facebook group
Follow us on Twitter: @ideas4writers
Email us: enquiries@ideas4writers.co.uk

New “genre fiction” ideas e-books available

We have just released 10 new e-books in our ideas collection. These books are all part of our Genre Fiction collection. See below for more details.

You do not need to be a member of ideas4writers to buy these books – they are available to everyone (for the first time ever!)

You can buy any of the categories individually, or you can buy the complete Genre Fiction collection in a single volume.

(Lifetime members: please note that you do not need to buy these e-books – they are included in your membership and you can download them from the members’ section at our main website: www.ideas4writers.co.uk)

All books are PDF format.

comedyComedy
189 ideas, 68 pages, £6.99
Full details + sample idea
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crimeCrime
215 ideas, 91 pages, £6.99
Full details + sample idea
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fantasyFantasy
139 ideas, 60 pages, £4.99
Full details + sample idea
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historicalHistorical
92 ideas, 45 pages, £3.99
Full details + sample idea
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horrorHorror
106 ideas, 54 pages, £3.99
Full details + sample idea
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mystery and suspense
Mystery and Suspense
87 ideas, 47 pages, £3.99
Full details + sample idea
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romanceRomance
176 ideas, 82 pages, £5.99
Full details + sample idea
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science fictionScience Fiction
122 ideas, 63 pages, £4.99
Full details + sample idea
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thrillersThrillers
102 ideas, 54 pages, £3.99
Full details + sample idea
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volume 3 - genre fictionThe Complete “Genre Fiction” Collection
1,228 ideas, 564 pages, £27.99
(you save £17.92 by buying the complete volume)
Full details
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Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 and you’ll get The Date-A-Base Books for 2011 & 2012 (plus all future editions) as well as The Fastest Way to Write Your BookThe Fastest Way to Get Ideas, our complete 5,000+ writing ideas collection, unlimited use of our forums and writing engines, and much more (total value more than £157)
Full details

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Visit the ideas4writers website: www.ideas4writers.co.uk
Join our Facebook group
Follow us on Twitter: @ideas4writers
Email us: enquiries@ideas4writers.co.uk

How to find article ideas using keywords

In a recent update I mentioned that I’d found lots of ideas for articles by using keywords. Naturally enough you wanted to know more about how to do this. So here’s a more detailed explanation:

1. Think of something you might like to write an article about. It could be something to do with your specialist subject, or something you feel like writing about today.

In my case I wanted to write articles that would help people write articles using our Date-A-Base Books. My articles would help those writers – and help us sell more of the books.

2. Think of the words or phrases someone might type into Google in order to find out about that subject. Make a list of as many combinations as you can think of. These are your keywords.

My list of keywords would include things like:
2010 anniversaries
2011 anniversaries
forthcoming anniversaries
historic anniversaries
writing anniversary articles
anniversaries of inventions
anniversaries of famous deaths
and so on

3. Start typing each of your keywords into Google and you should see it auto-suggest some other things that you might be searching for. Some of these items might give you ideas for articles or article titles. Otherwise, use its suggestions to extend your list of keywords.

4. Save your list of keywords as a text file – you’ll need it in the next step.

5. Go to www.goodkeywords.com and download Good Keywords v3. Install it on your computer, then import your list of keywords into it. It will generate even more keywords for you – words and phrases that are closely related to those on your list. By now you should have a pretty long list of keywords – and hopefully a few ideas for articles. But if not, don’t worry.

6. Sign up as a member of ezinearticles.com, if you haven’t already joined. Then go to the Author’s Area and click on Author Tools | Title Suggestions. Try entering each of the keywords you found earlier, and it should give you a list of up to 20 possible article titles for each one.

You should end up with a huge list of possible article titles.

By doing this, I managed to find over 150 ideas and titles for articles in about half an hour. It will of course take me considerably longer to write them all.

However, ezinearticles.com could help you with this too, as they have quite a few article templates. These include Top 10 lists, Pain Avoidance, Pros and Cons, Q and A, Survey Results, and several others. These are in the ezinearticles.com training course, which you’ll find under their Author Resources menu.

They also have an excellent blog which gives lots of suggestions and help with writing articles, and they also publish regular video tutorials. An excellent and highly recommended site!

Dave Haslett, www.ideas4writers.co.uk