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Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You From Idea to Publication

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You From Idea to Publication

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Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You From Idea to Publication

400 pages
4 hours
Jun 5, 2018


Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.
•Spark One: Being a Writer
•Spark Two: Story Essentials
•Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
•Spark Four: How To
•Spark Five: Character ER
•Spark Six: Editing
•Spark Seven: Publishing
•Spark Eight: Marketing
•Spark Nine: Writing About
•Spark Ten: Final Inspiration
With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey.

“Solid, sound basic writing book for the writing daring to be an author. The "10 Sparks" cover a wealth of topics with abbreviated, concise guidance, giving authors a fantastic place to check off all the necessities.” - C. Hope Clark, The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries, Founder of

Jun 5, 2018

About the author

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series and an editor for Dancing Lemur Press. She started her blog, Write with Fey, to offer aspiring writers inspiration, advice, and hope. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, and since then she has been a dedicated citizen in the writing world.

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Write with Fey - Chrys Fey



Dear Fellow Writer,

I’m happy you decided to pick up this book to learn and grow as a writer. We both know there are many books out there to help writers write a novel, create characters, publish, market, and so much more, but my goal was for this book to cover all of that. This guide has been a long time coming, and I am excited to finally present it to you.

When I started out as a writer, hoping to publish, I had no one to go to for help. I had to do it on my own, learn on my own, and fail on my own. Thinking of the countless writers out there feeling as alone as I did pushed me to start my blog Write with Fey. On January 6th, 2012, I published my first blog post. The post was about finding inspiration for a story, which I called a spark.

Sparks became an unconscious theme for Write with Fey. I say unconscious because I didn't have to think about it—my posts automatically became sparks for writers.













It was my hope to pass on sparks of inspiration and knowledge. I wanted to share the lessons I learned to help other writers find their footing in this crazy world of writing. I shared posts about editing, publishing, and marketing. Each one...a spark. The response I got for sharing this advice was well-received.

And when I say Write with Fey, not only do I mean to write with me, but to write with fey. What is fey? MAGIC! Writing is magical. We need to embrace that magic and infuse it into our beings, into our stories. Put your life, your world, your happiness, your sadness, your anger, your memories, your EVERYTHING into your stories. Your sweat, your blood, your tears, your hopes, and your dreams.

This is FEY. Use it...and write with me!

What This Book Is Not:

1. A how-to book that guarantees your success in X amount of time.

2. A textbook that claims to be all-knowing.

3. A rulebook that demands you follow it to the letter.

What This Book Is:

1. A blueprint for writers looking for assistance in writing a book from beginning to end.

2. A compilation of advice articles from one writer to another.

3. A detailed, in-depth list to aid writers with character development, scenes, editing, and marketing.

The tips and advice can be used as they are presented here or modified to suit your needs and unique writing style. And you certainly don’t have to apply everything you read here, such as what’s in the marketing section. Just try a few things and expand from there. In many articles, I say I’m providing tips/steps for you to consider. I say this, why? Because this book is a guide. Remember? I’m setting you up with suggestions you can use. I want to pass on what I’ve come to know, as I wish someone had done for me.

Before we get started, I want to first go over a few things that I believe are important for all writers to understand, especially aspiring writers taking the plunge for the first time.

Spark One: Being a Writer

What Do You NOT Need to Be a Writer?

1. A Degree in English Literature

I have a GED. I’ve never even taken a college course.

2. A Laptop

In the beginning, I only wrote in notebooks and then on my family’s clunky computer.

3. Money

Many times, I was poor, using coffee filters as toilet paper (because it was all I had), sleeping on the floor, being without cable and the Internet for over a year, and sometimes without electricity for a week. And, yet, I still wrote.

4. A Support System

Your family may not understand why you want to write, and your friends may laugh, but that’s fine. You don’t need anyone’s permission; write for yourself.

5. An Office or Desk

Write at your dining room table, at your kitchen counter, on the couch, in bed, in the bathtub! Write anywhere.

6. A Home

I was never homeless, but I sure felt like it at times. I lived with one sister then the other. I lived with my mom, and then we both lived with my sister. For years, I never felt like I had a home, a real home to call my own. Writing was my true home during those years.

7. A Critique Group, Writing Group, or Mentor

These groups are great, for sure, but they aren’t necessary to write. As far as having a mentor goes, you only need yourself. There will come a time when you’ll need beta readers, and writing friends are the best, but you don’t need someone to tell you how, when, or where to write. You don’t even need them to answer your questions. Many answers can be found in books and on websites—if you put in the effort.

8. An Interesting Life

You don’t need a bad childhood or a strange or broken family to write. Whatever you have is enough.

9. An Extrovert Personality

As a matter of fact, most writers are introverts. I’m an introvert. It’s true.

10. Love

You don’t need to be in love to write romance. You could write believable romances as someone who’s never been kissed. Believe it!

What Do You Need to Be a Writer?

1. Pen and paper at the least. A computer at the most. A typewriter will even work.

2. Senses

Do you have eyes? See. Do you have ears? Listen. Do you have hands? Touch. Do you have a tongue? Taste. Do you have a nose? Smell. Stretch your senses, explore with them, and write.

3. Thoughts and Emotions

To write, you need to think like your characters, and you need to feel to connect to your readers.

4. Courage

You’re going to be stepping into uncharted territory, escaping into new worlds, going deep within, facing your past, and defining yourself. It takes courage to go there. Writing about your pain and your truth is tough, but we can all do it.

5. Perseverance

You need to keep going, no matter what. I had wanted to quit many times, but the thought of giving up writing (my love) was too much, so I pushed through. I persevered. You can, too.

What Should You Know About the Writing Life?

1. Writing Rules Are Not Law

Don’t bow down to every rule you hear. Listen to it and ponder it. If it sounds right, use it. If it sounds downright silly, restrictive, or even mean, toss it. Writing rules are guidelines. You can use them or not. You’re the writer, so it’s your call. Along the same lines: Reject anything that says all writers should. No, all writers shouldn’t. Every writer is different. We have different processes, and we should never claim that our way is the right way. That’s just wrong. All writers shouldn’t write fast. All writers shouldn’t complete a novel in a year. All writers shouldn’t be plotters…or pantsers. All writers shouldn’t free write. Nope. Embrace your method and let other writers embrace theirs.

2. Writing Is Hard

There are times when I’m mentally and physically exhausted after a writing session. Being in our heads, creating characters and stories, is not easy. It takes time (years…a lifetime) and guts. It requires a healthy body and a calm mind.

3. You Will Have to Revise

Know this now. All stories are revised. Once. Twice. Thrice. Sometimes more. Set your finished work aside (one week to one month, or more) and then look at it again when time passes. Revise. Let others take a look at it. Revise again. It’s what we do, and it’s necessary.

4. You’ll Get Rejections

Writers are in the business of rejection, so we shouldn’t be surprised by them or let down by them. Editors, agents, and publishers can only select very few projects they like. It’s their process, and writing is ours. You received a rejection? Great. You’re doing your part. Keep working on it.

5. Your Life Won’t Change Drastically When You Get Published

You’ll still be you, only published. Your life will be the same. You’ll have the same car, house, and lover. You won’t feel any different after your excitement fades, just as how you never feel different on your birthday, supposedly a year older.

6. You won’t become famous or super rich. Very few of us do.

7. You Will Probably Experience Some Form of Blockage, Also Known as Writer’s Block

This occurs after you start writing. Suddenly, you may not be able to get to your writing chair or conjure the energy to form a decent paragraph. It happens, and it is surmountable. Ride it out. Look for another creative outlet. Take a nap. Explore. Try again.

8. You Won’t Get the Support You Want from Family and Friends

Most won’t buy your first book or read it, even if they are avid readers. I don’t know why, but they don’t.

9. Writing is the First Stage of Being a Writer

If you want to publish, you have to work at that, too. Then when you publish, you have to market your book. Most of the time, this is the author’s job.

10. You Don’t Have to Publish

There’s no law saying you need to publish the book you just wrote. For some, writing is the pleasure and having written is the end goal. Some feel pressured to publish, but publication isn’t a must. It’s a decision.

Save Your Work!

As a writer, you rely on a computer to get your work done and to keep your documents safe. But then a nasty virus compromises everything you’ve worked hard on. Don’t wait for a virus to attack—or for your computer to fizzle out and die—to take action to protect your documents. Do it now, so you won’t suffer any setbacks or heart-ache later.

Here are five techniques you can do to save your work and protect your computer:

1. Use Drop Box

Drop Box is a website you can use for free. All you have to do is sign up and install the Drop Box program to your computer or laptop. By following their instructions, you can link Drop Box to all of your devices: your work computer, home computer, laptop, and even your cell phone. You’ll get a nifty icon with a luminous, blue box. This box is where you can send all of your important documents. You can do this by dragging the document to it or by right clicking on a document and clicking Send to and then Drop Box. When you do, not only is your work automatically saved to your Drop Box file on all of your devices but to your profile on their website. You can easily access your documents by opening the Drop Box icon on your desktop or by going to their website. When you work on documents in Drop Box, it will be saved within Drop Box on all of your devices.

FYI: If you use the documents on your computer instead of the version that’s in the Drop Box folder, you will have to send those updated files to Drop Box again to save the current copy.

2. Email Your Documents to Several Accounts

This isn’t as easy as Drop Box, but it is another thing you can do to ensure your stories are saved. This technique is better for books that you have put on the backburner and won’t be working on anytime soon, though, as you won’t need to keep emailing yourself the same document every day.

3. Create Two Accounts on Your Computer

The Administrator’s account on your computer will be the only one you use to write with, and the other account will be used for the Internet. Doing this will protect your documents in case a virus compromises the account you use for the Internet. You will be able to safely delete that account from the Administrator’s account. I did this, and I’m glad that I did because I once had a virus that was so bad that I couldn’t even enter the account I used for the Internet. If that had happened to the other account, and if I had lost all of my work, I would’ve been devastated.

4. Paste in Your Passwords

Pasting in your passwords may sound silly, but I’ve had my Facebook profile and two of my email accounts hacked in the space of two months. I was even locked out of my Yahoo email account for several hours because of it. I found out that hackers can actually monitor your keyboard and steal your passwords. So, now I have a document on my computer with all of my passwords, and when I open my blog, emails, or Facebook accounts, I copy the passwords with my mouse and paste them. I’ve had no trouble with hackers since.

5. Use Flash Drives and External Hard Drives

You may wonder why you need to use a flash drive if you’re using Drop Box. Well, what if one day Drop Box goes away? What will happen to all of your documents? That’s why I still use flash drives diligently. You just never know what’ll happen in the future, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

6. Use Multiple Computers

Having multiple computers is a great investment. You can do most of your work on one and save everything you create there on your other computer, whether that’s a laptop or PC. This is great insurance in case one computer dies or the one you use the most gets a virus with devastating effects. Your work would be safe and you’d have another device as a backup.

Please don’t wait for something to happen before you take these steps. Do them now!

What Will You Enjoy About Writing?

1. Working with words—similes, metaphors, prose.

2. Being someone else, such as the protagonist in your story.

3. Stretching your imagination to create worlds and people.

4. Living vicariously through your characters and traveling far distances without ever getting on a plane.

5. Escaping your life for hours at a time.

6. Reading books for research and to grow your talent.

7. Lazing around in your pajamas while you write.

8. Venting your emotions and disguising them as your character’s emotions.

9. Working through your past. You can do this by giving your characters the hard times you’ve endured. It’s cheaper than seeing a therapist!

10. Setting up the happily-ever-after you wish you could have.

11. Having the creative freedom to play around with historical events.

12. Putting people who have done you wrong in your book and killing them off. Or at the very least lowering them a peg or two.

13. Getting to be the bad guy for once and put your characters through hell.

14. Watching movies and listening to music as sources for inspiration.

15. Meeting other writers and authors.

16. Learning new things that you wouldn’t learn otherwise.

17. Growing as a writer the longer you commit to it.

18. Exercising your mind.

19. Allowing yourself be you on the page, whomever you may be.

20. Being your own boss.

Now that you have realistic expectations and can look forward to wonderful things, let’s get started. Feel free to highlight parts you find useful, jot down notes in the margins, flag pages to revisit, and set this book on your desk so you can flip through it when necessary. Make this guidebook your own.

Happy reading.

Happy learning.

Happy writing!

Spark Two: Story Essentials

Catching a Spark

To write a story you need an idea; a spark that you can lay on a piece of paper to blaze into a book. An idea for a story can be anything. The sky is not limit, the limit is beyond it.

The idea for a story can be as simple as a young wizard boy (J.K. Rowling), a futuristic cop (Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb), or a haunted hotel (Stephen King). You could get an idea from your grandparents’ great love story or from a friend who just went through something good (or bad). It could be a memoir or a true crime that has always fascinated you. You could also get an idea from a bizarre incident, which is how I started writing.

When I was twelve years old, I sat down on a small grassy hill next to my house after a lone game of basketball. I was playing with the sharp blades of grass when my fingers brushed something stuck deep in the roots. I thought it could’ve been a lucky penny or a key to a secret place. Curious, I dug it out and looked at my find. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a penny or a key but a screw. The tip was crooked, and it was crusted with orange rust. For the strangest reason, while holding that pathetic screw, a story came to me about an extraordinary girl in an alternate world.

I rushed inside my house, grabbed an old notebook and a black pen, and ran back to that little mound of grass to write the beginning of that story. I wrote fiercely, trying to catch all the words stumbling around in my head, and I've written ever since.

As you can see, an idea and inspiration for a story (or a series of them) can come from anything. Don’t fight to find a story. Let it come to you instead.

If you want to boost the possibility of receiving an idea sooner rather than later, books and authors can be a great source of inspiration.

Who is your favorite author? Why?

Incorporate what you like about your favorite authors into your own writing. This is not plagiarism. This is how you can discover yourself as a writer.

What is your favorite book? Why?

Draw inspiration from your favorite book to bring your own story to life.

Some writers don’t like to read while they create, fearing they’ll replicate what they read. That’s all right. I find that watching movies aids me much more than reading a book, especially since I write thrillers with a lot of action.

Are you drawn to the romance genre? Watch your favorite romance films. Are you interested in writing a horror story? Watch slasher films. Remember this is research; while you’re munching on popcorn, jot down notes and ideas that pop into your head.

The news is another great source of inspiration. When I was re-writing my first book, I had collected articles from newspapers and jotted down specific notes that I found interesting. It’s a crazy world out there—use it! Watch your local news and read articles. You never know what may inspire you.

Once you open your eyes to the world, you will find writing possibilities everywhere. After all, the world is your writing tool.

Any experience you’ve had in your life can inspire a story, too.

When I was nine, I came home from school to find fire surrounding my home. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. To this day, I still fear fire. If I smell the unmistakable stench of burning brush in the air or see dark plumes of smoke close by, my heart hammers inside my chest. I looked fire in its flaming eyes that day, and it looked back at me. I used my memories of that day for a story.

TIP: Make a list of memories (good and bad) as well as experiences you’ve had. These can be added to a story.

One day, when you’re least expecting it (that’s when it always happens), your eyes will widen and you’ll think, That would make a great story! And voilà! Capture that spark with both hands and set it on a piece of paper to blaze.

The Best Plot of Them All

The stories of our lives begin the moment we are born, with our very first breath. Our childhoods and twenties are the beginning of our stories, and our thirties and forties are the middle of our stories. Our golden years make up the climax, and the end happens with our last breath. Every day we live, we are writing our own secret book. Just like our lives, every story has a beginning, middle, and end.

A plot contains stakes and conflict. What does your character have to lose? What does he/she have to gain? And what (or who) is threatening to take all of that away?

The beginning of a book is obviously the beginning of the story. This is the time to introduce the characters and to tell the reader what they need to know to understand the story, such as the main character’s past or information about the world.

The middle is where the reader knows all the characters and understands the story. This is where the plot is building to the climax.

And the end is the grand finale where the story ends (happily, with tears, or with a shock). Everything that has happened in the story now makes sense. You have brought the bad characters to their demise (possibly), and the main character has finally learned or conquered what he/she set out to learn or conquer from the start. Or if you're writing a romance, the two main characters are finally and truly in love. The end is always the moment the readers are waiting for with bated breath.

Universal Plots:

There are seven universal plots for stories: overcoming the monster, rags to riches, voyage and return, the quest, comedy, tragedy, and rebirth. You might be thinking, what about a romance novel? Well, these plots can all be twisted into something new. None of these plots stay exactly the same. That’s how we can have billions of unique stories.

When you look deeper, you can uncover many plots. George Polti, the author of Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, says there are 36 basic plots. On his list, my Disaster Crimes series would obviously have the disaster plot, but it also has the Obstacles to Love plot. See? Who says you can’t twine two plots together? That’s what subplots are for.

So, ponder your story idea and listen to some music as you drink a cup of coffee. Heck, drink a glass of wine or a nice cold beer, and let the beginning and end of your story come to you naturally.

The Four Main Points of View

After you get the idea for a story, it’s time to dig deeper into what it takes to create a story. The first step is deciding what point of view you want to use.

A story can be told from one of these four main points of view.

First Person: the author is the one telling the story and is essentially the main character. Readers get to hear the main character’s thoughts and see the world through his or her eyes. Stories written from first person point of view use I as the pronoun.

Second Person: the author is speaking directly to the reader, using you  or we.

Third Person: the author writes from an outsider’s viewpoint, telling everything that a specific character does, says, and goes through during the course of the story. They can even let the reader in on the character's thoughts. For this point of view, the author uses he or she.

TIP: You can have multiple perspectives for third person, but each scene should be dedicated wholly to one of their perspectives, no head-hopping. Indicate a perspective change with a scene break or with the start of a new chapter.

Third Person Omniscient: the author is writing from an outsider’s viewpoint, but they know what every

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