Writing When Life Gets Crazy (June 2017)

The only thing constant is change. Super cliché, but super true. This month we’re talking about the special kind of flexible it takes to thrive in the world of publishing– those scheduling gymnastics we do to keep our careers afloat.

We share practical tips on how to work backwards from your deadline to create a writing and publishing schedule, the importance of giving yourself a grace period within that schedule, and how to cope with life’s little (or not so little) unexpected changes. We also chat about knowing when to be extra kind to yourself and take a step back for reflection.

Check out the video of our conversation here:

Or listen in on iTunes or SoundCloud. And if you want to sip along as well, all the details on what we’re drinking are here.

Our conversation started with much enthusiasm for beer and bourbon related travel (as all good conversations should, naturally). If that piqued your interest, check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and all the amazing that is Asheville, North Carolina (including Green Man Brewery).

As always, thank you so much for watching/listening. Got a topic you’d like us to tackle? Leave us a note in the comments below. Love the show? Please take a second to leave us a quick review on iTunes (or your podcast delivery system of choice) or a thumbs up on YouTube– both help other writers find us. We couldn’t be more grateful for your time, thank you!

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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. 

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!

 

 

Show Notes: Publishing Journeys / Julia Kelly (September 2016)

In our June episode we introduced the idea of interviewing authors about their journeys to publication. What better way to kick off this series than with our own Julia Kelly, whose book The Governess was Wicked comes out this month (next week, in fact, on September 12). This first book will be quickly followed by the other two books in the series, The Governess was Wanton in October, and the Governess was Wild in November.

Julia talks about getting “the call” from her agent about an editor wanting to buy her books, what it is like to turn around a three book series on a tight deadline, and how she thinks her decision to indie publish while waiting for a traditional deal has helped prepare her for the launch of the Governess Series. She also shares exciting news about her next project. Watch the video below or listen to the podcast on Soundcloud or iTunes.

And while you’re watching/listening– we suggest you enjoy our Drink of the Month: Irish Coffee. Inspired by a scene in Alexis’ latest book 5 Dirty Sins.

Want to follow along with Julia’s exciting book launch? Here are all the ways:

As always, thanks for watching/listening! If you love our show, we’d be so happy if you’d give it a thumbs up on YouTube or leave a short review on iTunes– this helps other awesome writers like you find us!

Also don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get First Draught delivered straight to you inbox!

Cheers!

RSVP: Serials

This month First Draught is grabbing a six pack of pumpkin beer and settling in to talk about serials. Alexis is very well-versed in launching and following through with serials, and Julia tried her hand at one this past summer under the pen name Vivienne Thorne. Now we’re ready to pool all of our knowledge and try to give you a crash course in what’s involved with serializing a novel.

You can RSVP to the Google Hangout which will air at 8:30 PM EST on Tuesday, October 6th.

If you can’t make it to the live broadcast, you can watch all of our back episodes in our video archive. Also, don’t forget that you can get our podcast feed on iTunes or Soundcloud. Subscribe to listen to our entire audio archive!

Show Notes: Hooking Readers with Gripping First Chapters

We had a fantastic First Draught yesterday night talking about hooking readers with gripping first chapters. Alyssa Cole and Lindsay Emory shared their techniques and thoughts about emotional impact, tone, and characterization. We also broke down the beginnings of their books Radio Silence and Sisterhood is Deadly, respectively.

Here’s the full video of the show:

About midway through, we mentioned the Tom Hiddleston, Cookie Monster, delayed gratification video while giggling a lot. If you’re curious, here it is in all its glory:

(Confession: Julia actually had to stop and rewatch this as she was writing up these show notes)

The show is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Please take a moment and leave us a rating or review on the podcast as it helps other writers find us!

Curious about some of the books we mentioned during the show? You can click on the covers below to find out more details.

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Show Notes: Surviving RWA

RWA15The women behind First Draught are thrilled that RWA Nationals is almost here! We had a fantastic time talking to Katie Dunneback (@younglibrarian) talking about what first timers can expect when they head to the big conference. We covered common questions, planning workshops, hitting signings, social life, and also staying healthy throughout a really busy few days.

The show is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Please take a moment and leave us a rating or review on the podcast as it helps other writers find us!

And in case you’re looking for a few other RWA prep resources, check out these links:

Erin Knightley’s famous conference packing video

Julia’s recommendations for bars around the conference hotel

How do I get to the conference hotel?

Gail Carriger’s 10 conference commandments

Alexis’s Packing List from RWA 2014

Alexis and Mary Chris and our sometimes guest Anne L. Parks will be hosting the Surviving Self-Publishing When the Success Is Slow to Come workshop at RWA on Saturday from 3:15-4:15 PM. They’d love to see you there! Here’s a quick description of the workshop.

You did what you were supposed to: you wrote a novel, had it edited, polished it to a shiny gleam, added a fabulous cover, and hit publish. But the readers and money didn’t come. Three indie authors talk about managing your expectations and persevering to write the next book. Get strategies for staying positive and celebrating little wins in a publishing landscape where there is no magic formula for success.

Alexis and Julia both have serials releasing this month. You can click on the cover images to learn more about these books!

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