Hooking your Reader by Kristi Bradley

Just as a fisherman needs a hook to catch fish, writers need hooks to catch and keep readers. To do this, start and end each chapter with something meant to keep the reader reading to reach THE END. There is no need to ask a literal question at the beginning or end, but leave the reader with questions so they are compelled to turn pages to find the answers.

This can be a challenge, but it’s not as hard as you might think. My favorite first line is also the last line and the first chapter in Stephen King’s Needful Things.

You’ve been here before.

There you have it, the need to turn the page to find out why you’ve been here before.

Look, don’t stress yourself with this process. Write the story, then go back and work on your hooks. You might find they write themselves. Pay attention to best-selling authors and how they do this. You probably weren’t even aware of the author’s hook hooking you until you’d been hooked.


Returning to the Basics by Pat Sawtelle

From time to time juggling all the parts of my life with the intrusions from beeping technology gets to be a bit much. At these times, I stop to remind myself to revisit the simpler ways of life and relish their purpose in providing balance and clarity to my world.

The unusually cold weather last winter forced me to leave my laptop home leaving me to use pen and paper to craft my stories and make my to-do lists. Each stroke of the pen took me back to the beginning of my writing where I filled a spiral notebook with my thoughts and dreams of Vampires, Shape Shifters, and the world of magic.

This return to the basics brought clarity to my thoughts, settled my mind, renewed my creativity, and drew me outside of my box. Generations of people, both ordinary and famous, have written in journals documenting their thoughts as the written words provided clarity to their troubles.

If the stress and uncertainty of life are weighing you down, I recommend using a pen and paper to empty your mind giving it permission to expand and explore new ideas that could improve your life and lighten your heart. Happy writing!

It’s All About Writing: Getting Started

Authors Kristi Bradley and Pat Sawtelle cover some of the basics of writing. The first in our series, we gave out a lot of information and learned a lot about being on video. As you enjoy our information we promise later videos do get better!

It’s All About Writing: Getting Started on YouTube.

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Catching What the Writing Muse Flings at You (Part 2) by M. B. Weston

Writer’s Hack 2: Use DropBox (or any other form of google docs/cloud storage). As mentioned earlier, I keep my writing files in Dropbox. I can access them on my smartphone, tablet, and any computer with internet access. Better yet, the original documents are stored on my hard drive. DropBox acts as a backup that I can access anywhere.

Writer’s Hack 3: Your smartphone’s Notes app. I’m not as familiar with Androids, but iPhones come equipped with the Notes app. It’s really simple. Open app. Click the Add Note symbol. Write a note. Close app. I use Notes during those times when I don’t have internet access, but I need to get that scene in my head written down somewhere. (A little celeb tip: you can also type out a paragraph, take a screenshot, and use that as an Instagram post…) Watch for Part 3 and keep writing!

Haunted New Orleans Videos

Explore communicating with the spirits of haunted New Orleans with 2 episodes of Haunted New Orleans on the Dark Oak Press and Media YouTube Channel.

Part 1 – Kalila Smith, author of Searching For Spirits: The Ultimate Guide for Ghost Hunters talks about the spirit board. Phillip, Psychic, of Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo talks about tarot cards and spirit boards. Hester Evie tells the story behind the Myrtles Plantation haunting.


Part 2 – Andrew Ward and Sara Leiken tell of the haunted International HS New Orleans. Kalilia Smith explores an office building haunting and insight into using communication boards.

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What’s the Difference in Style and Voice? by Kristi Bradley

I personally don’t find much difference in style and voice. Both set you apart and make you unique. Both include word choice, tone, context, purpose, and sentence structure. How you craft content is your style. Voice is your unique way of saying things. An author’s written voice should be as recognizable as their spoken voice.

Clear as mud?

Well, let’s muddle things up more and pose the subject of character voice.

They have a voice, too????

Of course. It must reflect their personality and attitude. They, too, will have their own unique word choice, tone, context, purpose, and sentence structure. After a few chapters, the reader should be able to tell who is speaking in dialogue even when they haven’t been informed by a tagline of he/she said. Their speech pattern tells all.

So quit worrying about style and voice and get your words on the page. Style and voice will appear in time. You don’t have to search for them. They will find you.