Author Collaborations (May 2017)

Writing can be a really solitary endeavor — just you and your laptop and your words. Even the most introverted of writers (which lets be honest, is mostly all of us) occasionally wish we had someone to bounce that crazy story idea around with. Or someone to talk to about trends in marketing or publishing. Or someone who simply just understands how crazy/exhilarating/exhausting/thrilling this business is.

Which is where collaboration comes in! Whether it’s working on a monthly podcast, or writing an anthology. Planning a local happy hour, or hosting an online community — it can be hugely beneficial to collaborate with other authors. This month, we’re talking about all the ways in which authors are creating their own little teams of awesome and the benefits of collaboration, as well as how to set yourself up for success.

You can also listen to us on iTunes or SoundCloud, and if you’d like to share a drink, all the details are here.

This month we’re also toasting a new collaboration of our own! Julia, Alexis, and Mary Chris along with the amazing Alexandra Haughton, Lindsay Emory, and Laura von Holt just launched HBIC Nation last week. We’re thrilled to share our online community and our Dream. Do. Dominate. philosophy with you. Check out our exciting new adventure over at hbicnation.com or on the HBIC Nation Facebook group!

As always, thank you so much for watching/listening/reading! Sign up for our newsletter, and please let us know what topics you’d love to see us tackle in the future in the comments below. And if you enjoy our show we’d so appreciate you sharing it with others you think might like it.

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What is Scrivener? (April 2017)

We realized that we mention Scrivener a lot on First Draught, so it seemed like a good idea to devote a show to what it is, what we love about it, and how we use it in our daily writing lives. One of the number one takeaways from our conversation is that there is no one right way to use this software– we each use it differently. Our hope is that by sharing our experiences, we’ll give you some direction to start playing on your own and figure out what works best for you. (And when you do, drop us an e-mail or leave a comment here, we’d love to hear about it!)

We’ve included a couple screen shots at the bottom of this post that highlight Julia’s method of using Scrivener for a series bible and how Alexis uses it to organize promotion for her books. As an added bonus, Julia will be making a Scrivener series bible template, and would be happy to send you a copy when it’s ready. Just drop by her website and send her a message (you might as well sign up for amazing newsletter while you’re there, too– just saying.)

And of course you can also listen on iTunes or SoundCloud and drink along with us (details here).

Screenshots:

Julia’s series bible (note the folders on the left, to see how she is organizing and writing her whole series in this one file):

 

How Alexis uses Scrivener to organize promotion:

 

Links:

Details about Scrivener

Details about Vellum

And finally, you didn’t think we’d forget to show off these two beautiful covers we talked about, did you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much for watching/listening and reading! See you next month!

Note: This show was not sponsored by Scrivener/Literature & Latte. We just like their product and wanted to share. 

I Wish That I Knew What I Know Now … (March 2017)

We’ve been at this writing and publishing game for a few years now; which means we’re far enough in to have learned some big lessons, and close enough to the beginning to remember what it felt like to be new to the arena. This month we’re sharing some of the things we wish we’d known when we started: everything from setting our own pace and owning our identity as writers (even if we didn’t quite believe it yet), to navigating the often sticky terrain of etiquette among writers. Grab a drink, and join us:

Or if you prefer take our chat on the go, you can find this episode on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Special thanks to Katie DunnebackZoe York, Dana Volney, and Karen Booth, for commenting on Alexis’ Facebook page and on Twitter so we could pass along their sage wisdom. (And to Heather Gardner whose post we ran out of time before getting to, but who also offered excellent insight.)

As always, thank you for your support of First Draught. Got an idea for a future show? Please don’t hesitate to let us know about it in the comments below.

And finally, we offer the below, with apologies in advance for the earworm:

How to Tackle Revisions (February 2017)

You’ve written the draft, sent it to beta readers or a critique partner, and now you’ve got a bunch of notes on your manuscript. What next?

In this month’s First Draught we tackle how to sort through all those suggestions, a few different ways to organize the editing process, and what to do when you think you’ve gotten some bad advice. We also debate how much whiskey is really in Alexis’ glass, and whether Julia has a future as a telemarketer with her new headset.

Grab a whiskey, wine, or beer (we have recommendations for all three) and join us:

If you prefer to listen, you can find this episode on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Huge thanks to Jess L. for suggesting this topic on Twitter. Have a topic you’d like us to take on– leave a comment here, drop us a line at firstdraughtwriters@gmail.com, or catch any of us on Twitter (@AlexisAnneBooks, @The_Julia_Kelly, @marychris_e).

Show Notes: Planning Your Writing Year (January 2017)

Happy new year!! This month our episode is all about how we plan for the new year and what’s great about it is that we are covering ALL ends of the spectrum on this topic. Julia’s got quarterly goals, Alexis has broad overarching goals for the year, and Mary Chris is setting some intentions and running some experiments. But we’re all on the same page about “doing the work,” taking care of yourself, and staying flexible and open to the magic of the journey no matter what your plans are. Wherever you are with this topic– there’s something for you in this show:

Prefer to listen in? Find us on Soundcloud or iTunes and if you want to drink along, find out picks for the month here.

Here are links to the book and planning tool we mentioned on the show:

How are you planning your 2017? Leave us a note in the comments.

Show Notes: Our Favorite Books of 2016 (December 2016)

We missed you last month! Sincere apologies for the radio silence. Our regular recording schedule was derailed by germ-y fall crud and then by, well… November. Hope those of you that were celebrating Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday. One of the biggest things on all our gratitude lists is YOU! Thank you so much for going on this journey with us.

We’re all healthy, (mostly) rested, and back this month talking about some of the best things we read in 2016. We could have gone on for hours on this one, because is there really anything better than talking with friends about that amazing book you just read? Grab a beverage of choice (see ours here) and enjoy this month’s episode (which is not actually hours long). Then when you’re done watching/listening, join in the conversation by sharing some of your 2016 favorites in the comments!

(Just want to listen? Check out iTunes or Soundcloud.)

And to save you the trouble of frantically jotting down titles while you’re listening here are our lists:

Alexis’ List:

Mary Chris’ List:

Julia’s List:

Again, we’d love to hear about your favorite books of 2016 in the comments, as well as any suggestions you have for topics you’d like to see us cover in 2017.

Cheers! And happiest of holidays!

Show Notes: Avoiding the Dreaded Info Dump (October 2016)

We had a lovely e-mail from a listener a couple of weeks ago (hi, Ellen!) asking a question about one of our craft-related topics from a previous show, and it reminded us just how much we enjoy talking about that stuff. Since we hadn’t done a show focused on craft in a while, we capitalized on this good energy and decided to dive into the mechanics of writing.

This month, we tackle how to tell the “story behind the story” without just dumping it all on the page (aka, The Info. Dump). When you delve too deeply into back story you run the risk of losing your reader, so we’re giving you tips on how not to do that. And also taking cookie analogies way too far… you don’t want to miss this.

Watch the show here:

Or listen on Soundcloud or iTunes.

While you’re watching/listening, we’d suggest you sip on an Oktoberfest, some hot chocolate, or– if you’ve just run 8 miles or aren’t feeling so great– some good ‘ole fashioned water (but, in a fun mug).

And finally, here are a couple things we mentioned on the show:

  • Sarah MacLean’s Rule of Scoundrels series
  • The example of “weaving in back story” or “leaving breadcrumbs/cookie crumbs” that we mentioned from Alexis Anne’s The Storm Inside (breadcrumbs in bold):

    Jake nipped my earlobe at the exact same moment he flexed his hips into mine, and I forgot everything I was thinking. Everything but him. I didn’t think about the ten years he’d been gone or how much I hated him. All I could feel was his hard body pressed up against mine, his rough hands as they desperately roamed over my skin, and the intensity in his kiss. We’d always made an explosive combination; that clearly hadn’t changed.

Thanks so much for watching/listening and please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know what topics you’d love to see on future shows. Cheers!