Friday, January 27, 2012

5 More Writing Tips Any Writer Can Use

Hi everyone!

Last week I promised more writing tips, well here they are! Whether you’re a beginning writer, an established author, or somewhere in between, keep these suggestions in mind as you work on your next project.

Reading Aloud is Fundamental: Before you send out your story, novel, query, or anything, make sure you read it aloud. When you read something aloud you’ll hear the words/narrative/dialog that don’t “work” or sound awkward. (And you’ll catch missing words.) If you find yourself stumbling over a sentence or phrase, it might need to be edited. Go slow and read every word. You won’t finish reading your novel aloud in a day, but the results are worth the time you invest in the process.

Give Me A Description: Use the 5 senses to enhance descriptions in your writing. Colors, smells, taste, the weather, food, (or anything) can be used to make a character or a setting stand out.

The living room smelled like a combination of wet dog and old lady perfume.

Claudia looked like she’d just eaten a lemon.

Only Aunt Patty would wear a hot-pink polka-dot dress with lime green shoes.

Color can help set the mood or tone of a story or reveal more about the characters. A room decorated in pinks and pastels with white wicker furniture probably belongs to a woman in a romance story. A room with red walls, black curtains, and silver candlesticks is most likely the setting for a horror story (or belongs to a romantic vampire!).

Rejection: It Really is All Subjective: All editors are not created the same. If you send your story (or query) out to 5 people, you’ll get 5 different opinions. (Although not every editor will share his or her feedback with you.) Rejection is hard to deal with, but as a writer you have to understand that the editor is rejecting the story, not you. Why? Sometimes you’ll never know. You might get a photocopied form letter that tells you nothing. Other times you might get a cryptic line about “not what we’re looking for” and sometimes you’ll get a paragraph with some explanation (weak plot, characters are not interesting, etc.). The important thing to remember after you’ve been rejected is to keep going. If the editor made suggestions (change the ending, add more dialog) consider the comments and either make the changes or don’t. (It’s your story.) But keep writing and submitting.

What’s Where?: Keep a list of when and where you submit your writing. Note the title of the piece (or query subject), date, and publication. This way, you’ll know what’s where and how long ago you sent it. This is handy in case you need to follow up on a wayward query or submission. I also make a list of places to submit to next, (just in case of rejection) so I’ll know where the story is headed.

5 Simple Rules of Writing: Learn these now and save yourself some angst:

  1. There’s no secret or magic way to get published. You must do the work, write the story, and submit, like everyone else.
  2. Write the best story you can and submit it to the proper markets.
  3. Everyone gets rejected – it’s not personal.
  4. Not everyone will like what you write. Develop a tough skin and learn to take negative reviews or criticism in stride.
  5. Keep writing no matter what. Be persistent and follow your dreams.

  I hope these simple tips have helped motivate and encourage you as you work on your 2012 writing goals! Next week, excerpts from an interview!

Until next time,
Kelli A. Wilkins

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - BIG Jan/Feb Issue

The Official Newsletter of Kelli Wilkins
BIG January/February 2012 Issue (Vol. 5 Number 1)
Hi everyone! Hope the new year is treating you right. Before we get started, I’d like to thank everyone who joined my blog, signed up for my newsletter, and followed me on Twitter in 2011. As always, feel free to forward this newsletter to your writing groups, social networks, and friends. I look forward to chatting with readers and other writers in 2012!
Let’s begin with a review the best of 2011:

KELLI’S GAY ROMANCE: Kelli’s first gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released by Amber Quill Press’s Amber Allure line in May. Set in a Caribbean resort, this contemporary follows the budding romance of two best friends. This novella also got great reviews!
“4 Gold Crowns! Four Days with Jack by Kelli A. Wilkins is a great story about best friends Jack and David. Two friends who have been in love with each other for years, and, for various reasons, afraid to let it out, finally give in while on vacation. David and Jack are beautifully created. They both have their faults but love each other enough to want to try. Kelli A. Wilkins’ Four Days with Jack is a great story about accepting who you are and going after what you really want.” - Jaymes, Reviewer, The Readers Round Table (Read the full review here:
“Four Days With Jack was exactly as promised. Hesitation, longings, risks, fears, and in the end, taking love the way it comes. The sex is hot, the characters likeable and the writing was easy to read. The peaks and valleys of the story come from David and Jack coming to terms with their relationship. Their secrets are exposed but those secrets and actions come with consequences. Their journey is a pleasant read and one I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well.” – Seriously Reviewed (Read the full review here:
I thought that (Kelli) Wilkins did a very good job portraying the confused David and the wary, but hopeful, Jack. David’s inner turmoil and fears about outing himself were so heartbreaking. I definitely felt for him. Overall, I believe that FOUR DAYS WITH JACK is a strong romance with very likeable characters. I’m quite glad that I went ahead and read this story. I learned that as a romance fan I can definitely appreciate and enjoy those that feature two male heroes. FOUR DAYS WITH JACK is an emotional, yet sexy coming-out story about two men finally opening themselves up to the possibility of a great love. It was an excellent introduction into the world of m/m romance.” – Jennifer, Reviewer, Romance Novel News

IT’S NOT ALL ROMANCE: Kelli’s flash fiction horror story “Death is Just a Tick Away” appeared in the premier issue of Dark Moon Digest e-Magazine. The magazine is available in Kindle ( and Nook (B& formats.

Here’s the link to order a Nook version:

The story also appeared in the Frightmares: A Fistful of Flash Fiction Horror paperback anthology published by Dark Moon Books. The story is based on a real superstition! The link is:

 CATS & HORROR: Kelli’s horror story, “Just an Innocent Little Cat” was published in DARK THINGS II: Cat Crimes: Tales of Feline Mayhem and Murder in December 2011. The character of Chester is based on a real-life orange cat. All proceeds from sales of this anthology go to several cat sanctuaries across the USA.  Buy a copy (or three) on Amazon. The book link is:

Kelli’s Writings are on Amazon: Did you know that all of Kelli’s writings are on Amazon? (Romance, short fiction, anthologies, horror, non-fiction, and everything else….) Visit her author page and catch up on books you may have missed. The link is:

Something to Think About
It’s nearly February, the time of year when thoughts turn to romance and love. March is just around the corner, and everyone’s getting ready for spring….so naturally writers are thinking about…Autumn? Halloween? Yes, believe it or not, some publications are already planning late summer or early autumn issues. What’s the rush, you ask? Most magazines work on issues two to three months in advance, while some plan anywhere from six to nine months ahead. 

What does this mean for writers? Well, if you have a great seasonal/holiday story (or article) waiting to be sent out, don’t delay! (As a general rule, I submit seasonal stories six months in advance of the holiday.) Depending on the publication and the rules about simultaneous submissions, you may have only one shot of submitting your seasonal story this year. By sending it “early” your story has a good chance of falling onto the editor’s desk when the editor needs it, and it could very well be accepted into one of the coveted seasonal slots. In some cases, (if your story is rejected quickly or you learn that a publication has folded), submitting early will allow you to send the work elsewhere within the proper timeframe. With a little advance planning, you could see your seasonal work published sooner than you think!
Something to Write About
Are you working on a seasonal story and don’t know it? Whether you write romance, horror, or mystery, your story has to be set at some time of the year. Spend a few minutes and think about all the sensory details of the season you can add to any piece of writing. (The crisp crunch of oak leaves in autumn, a fresh-cut grass smell, icy blasts of December wind, the salty taste of sweat in summer….) But don’t just focus on the weather. Each season/holiday has its own particular sights, sounds, and smells. And don’t overlook tiny details such as flowers, insects, and animal life. (I once tossed a book across the room because the author had tulips blooming in September!)

Writing exercise: Pick a holiday/season and write a little story around it, using as many details as you can. Consider breaking away from the “traditional” seasonal stories (not every horror story happens in October). For example, why not set a romance at the beginning of the new school year? How about a terrifying tale that takes place on the 4th of July? (Preferably one that doesn’t involve frogs - that’s been done.)
You might be amazed at what you come up with, and you could turn a writing exercise into your next submission!
I hope you enjoyed this issue of Kelli’s Quill! Feel free to share it with friends. Next time, I’ll share some writing tips and an excerpt from an interview!
Happy Reading,
Kelli A. Wilkins