Hello, bloggers!!!

Today, we’re doing something different. Most of you know, I’m a writer. And I’m working on my first novel, hoping to have it done within the next few months. (Fingers crossed!)

Well, there’s a great deal of learning to do at the beginning, as I’m sure most of you can agree with. SO I am using today to ASK QUESTIONS. These, of course, aren’t only for me. But this will help anyone just starting out. And hopefully, you’ll have fun with it!!  🙂  You’ll find the questions below. Answer as many as you would like in the comments section. As I said, this *I’m certain* will benefit not only me, but many of us new writers. So thank you!!!  🙂

And, as always, thanks for stopping by and showing your support!!



1) What is your favorite inspirational quote?

I do adore quotes! I may do a blog post, solely about quotes one day!

2) What does your writing process entail?

3) What should be included between the covers of a book? (Besides the story, of course.)

4) How should the table of contents be formatted?

5) Is it important to name/title your chapters?

6) How many chapters are too many?

7) I once read that each chapter should have the same number of words/pages. How important is this?

8) How do you create your characters?

9) Can you have too much dialogue?

10) What are your tips for descriptive elements? (For both setting the scene & describing the characters.)

11) Where does your book cover design come from? How do you create the idea?

12) Does adding an epilogue to your first book interfere with creating a second?

13) What’s the one major piece of advice you would give to a first-time novel writer?

14) How did you select your editor and/or publisher?

15) What’s your best marketing/promoting tip?

16) What’s the biggest lesson you learned from your first book?

17) Have you ever participated in a Writers’ Retreat? What was your experience like?

18) Any last notes or words of inspiration or encouragement you would like to leave?


9 thoughts on “#AmWriting”

    1. I think the cover should be simple, but also be a little gift to the reader for actually reading the book. Once they’ve done that, the cover makes sense. To someone else it may not look like more than a pretty picture, but a reader will “get it”.


  1. Is it important to name/title your chapters?
    This depends on the genre or the story. I named each chapter in my novel because I felt it added to the story to come. It seems to me that most fiction books these days have only chapter numbers.

    How many chapters are too many?
    It’s less about how many chapters, and more about how many words, because chapters can be any length within the book. I understand there are industry standards of common sizes, such as 75,000 being a decent first novel. Of course, we all see that the big name authors get to write much longer versions of the their stories as their careers go on. The importance of chapters is adding a break to change setting, time, mood, etc.

    I once read that each chapter should have the same number of words/pages. How important is this? Interesting. Where does this come from? I don’t think this is important.

    Can you have too much dialogue? Only if it starts to get meaningless to the story.


  2. For the cover art of Darkly Dreaming I asked artist Owen Claxton to take the basic format of Flaming June, by Leighton, the most serene and beautiful picture, and then give it a vampire twist- most importantly have her stare, dreamless, out of the cover at the reader with the same beguiling gaze as her cat by her feet. I was lucky enough to have made contact with Owen a year or so ago when I bought some of his art work. He was a delight to work with. I sent him the paragraph I’d written to describe Rae’s transformation one she has been infected by the vampire virus, and his art work captured her how I had imagined her perfectly. I love my art work so much that when my publisher asked me to think of the gold ticket prize for the draw that everyone who preorders Darkly Dreaming is entered into, I knew immediately that a limited edition print of the art work signed by me and the artist would be the perfect prize. Of course I’ll need a copy too 😉 Have a look ad see what you think: Can you help me get my first novel published? I need 250 preorders by 15 July 2014. There’s a sample chapter and all the details of the benefits of being a preorderer on the link below. Thanks 🙂



  3. Hi Marlena!
    Stopped by to check out your blog, and decided to answer a few questions.

    What’s the one major piece of advice you would give to a first-time novel writer?
    Hire the best editor you can afford, and kill your darlings (William Faulkner). I’ve read toooo many new authors that hold onto unnecessary material. It makes a story drag and liable to lose readers’ interest. A good editor will whip flabby manuscripts into shape and weed out those ‘darlings’ that just don’t help your story.

    What are your tips for descriptive elements?
    I like to know what a character looks like when I’m reading a story, the factual details, but I also enjoy when the main character(s) describe there feelings about other characters. It gives me a truer sense of the character, inside and out. But as far as locations, unless it’s important to the story, I prefer a streamlined version of where the scene takes place. Give me some sights, sounds, smells, but don’t bog me down by a lot of descriptive prose. I tend to use this line of thought in my own writing. My feeling is every reader comes to the story with their own mind’s eye. I feed them a bit, let them detail the rest.

    My book, Saving Toby


      1. Pleasure- I’m glad you love it too. It was dangerous when I uploaded it on vista print though! What started as an order for some business cards ended up being over £100 on all sorts of prettinesses like mugs and pens and keyrings. And that was with 50% off! Good luck by the way- and thanks for sharing your journey.


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