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Craft An Amazing Book

We all have a story to tell, but do you have book smacking you upside the head, begging to get out? Well, my darlings, you’ve landed on the right page. Here at wordy we want to help fulfill your dream of shifting from an aspiring author to becoming a published author. Whether that means traditional or self-publishing, we have the essentials at your fingertips. Don't sit idle, get in the know. What an aspiring author locks in their brain before they begin the book-writing journey is just as important as the magic in the middle, and the ending accessories one must consider.


Before You Begin - Nail the Basics

Believe in yourself and all you are capable of. That’s when the magic begins. Believing in yourself helps you move beyond doubt. Believing in yourself is vital to success, especially for aspiring authors who face an avalanche of rejection. The traditional publishing industry is difficult to break into. Self-publishing requires an even deeper faith in yourself.

Succeed at crossing off the writing-that-book from your bucket list. There’s plenty of room on the shelf for everyone. One must have discipline, a unique premise, and be able to bring a book from conception to bookshelf or E-reader.

All aboard the book must-haves writing train. Narrow down the essentials and execute them with care. This includes basic writing rules, a beginning, middle, and end, word choice variation, simple yet concise sentences, memorable characters, plots and twists, sufficient world building and settings, and short and sweet dialogue.

Learn all you can about figurative language and literary devices as well as basic grammar rules including spelling mix-ups, word confusion, and other parts of the English language such as dangling participles and unnecessary prepositions. Although you may have learned about these in school, a lesson refresher may be in order. Aspiring authors are sometimes surprised when they sit down to write. The way one speaks is not the same as what is acceptable to write.

Practice proper punctuation. Resist the urge to add gobs of exclamation points everywhere. Use them sparingly. If there are two exclamation points in my entire 100,000 word, WIP that's a lot.

Aspiring authors may find it helpful to begin with an outline of their thoughts. A book must have a beginning, middle, and end so if a sense of that is swirling around in your head get it down on paper. It may prove helpful as you begin to assemble your chapters. Outline plot, characters, and scenes as well if you’re an outline advocate.

Understand that first drafts are messy and yours will most likely not be an exception to that rule. It's okay.

Get in the know about show don’t tell. Sorting this out ahead of drafting saves lots of rewrites and heartache in the future.

Take a read on the wild side. Read different genres by different authors. Reading opens the mind, changes perspective, and allows one to dream. Reading helps one learn about different writing styles and uncovers the mechanics of writing. Reading helps plow through writer’s block and causes an tsunami of new vocabulary.

Think about creating a vision board then chase it with inspired action. Do all that’s possible to water the writing seeds you’ve planted and manifest your dreams.

Magic In The Middle

It’s time to become a writing warrior. Barrel through your manuscript like a badass. Settle into your writing skin and flair. Find enjoyment in your writing journey.

Choose the correct genre and stick to that genre’s word count. Although there are novels that bend and break traditional genre rules, it’s vital writers stay within a given set of parameters associated with said genre.

Keep a pad and pen handy to write down thoughts as they occur. If I’ve learned anything on my writing journey it’s that many, including me, will most likely forget the spark of wondrous and amazing ideas that zip into our heads, especially in the middle of the night. WRITE IT DOWN!

Writing style and voice must live throughout your chapters. Find yours then drag it into the light.

Squeeze in time to write when you can. Even 15 minutes a day can propel you WIP to a new dimension.

Try a writing prompt or two to practice writing. The more you write, the better your writing gets.

The first sentence of your book is your first hello-wave to an agent or reader. It must be as kickass as you can make it. Your opening sentence is all about drawing readers in. It’s about creating intrigue and questions in the mind of the reader. It’s your job to make them want to continue perusing your words to find out what your story is all about, and to figure out what’s going to happen. Make it concise and quickly summarize the plot.

Chew over correct sentence structure and maintain it throughout your narrative. Drafting excellent and succinct sentences for a fiction novel takes some practice. Though a sentence may appear grammatically correct, there is usually room for improvement.

Whether seeking a traditional publishing deal or pursuing the self-publishing route, your first chapter needs to shine with a bunch of essentials that leap off the page. Agents are scanning for certain elements, and they are experts at finding them or not. If your first chapter is missing the nitty-gritty, agents will cast it aside. If self-publishing sparks your interest, you must double-down on the idea of a spectacular first chapter so readers will keep turning pages.

Every story must have multi-faceted, unique characters with depth. In addition, character names should be chosen with care.

Be aware of correct dialogue tags and use them.

Avoid head-hopping, it’s confusing to readers.

Maintain the same tense throughout your narrative. If you're writing in first person, stick with that. If you're writing in third person keep to it. Newbies sometimes unwittingly switch tenses which is jarring to readers.

Research is huge. Don't skip it. Neglecting it will surely put off readers. They may not know exactly what the issue is, but they will know there’s an issue and that could stop them from reading further. Agents will absofriggenlutely know that research was put on the back burner in your book.

The right amount of description in your novel which includes describing characters is crucial. Too much is dullsville and wearisome, too little lacks imagination.

Along with description, it’s fundamental to include specific words. Name trees, food, clothes, houses, bodies of water, flowers, etc. Specifics aid in storytelling by keeping readers engaged and entertained. They help readers plunge deep into the tale and visualize what’s happening.

Include sensory details. These help writers show not tell, and transport readers into scenes. They see, hear, smell, taste, and touch everything the characters do.

Write with a rainbow of color. Use colors and color descriptions in your writing. Sprinkle the right amount of color to add richness and flavor. Douse your passages with fairy-inspired glitter and you’re left with sickly-sweet gunk. Strike a balance.

Refer to the five elements of plot. They are the lifeblood of your novel. Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Click the link to get the skinny.

Plots are tricky. Patch your story. Watch out for the dreaded plot holes and patch them. A must lead to B, B must lead to C, and C to D. You get the picture.

Shatter your writing goals daily and weekly.

Pick an appropriate title that embodies the essence of your book. Just as the opening line of your book must grab the reader’s attention, so should the title of your book. The title is the first thing a reader sees or hears. Make it count, my darlings.

Create a blog and/or author website. Newbies can crush it on social media and build a following. Agents want to see a substantial number of followers which may translate into potential buyers. Even if you self-publish you will need this.

After-Book Possibilities and Accessories

Be willing to give up the good to go for the great. You may be in love with your words and sentences, but that doesn't mean they convey the best of your story. Strive for better. Seek improvement with crisp, to-the-point sentences.

Learn how to self-edit or hire an editor. Watch out for predators. Hire someone reputable.

Your pitch matters. Whether you self-publish or seek traditional representation, your pitch must be stellar. If self-publishing is your jam, that pitch doubles as the summary on the back cover of your book.

Track down alpha and beta readers and listen to their feedback.

Take breaks. Eat good food, indulge in a long hot shower or bubble bath, take a walk in nature. Engage in any relaxing activity that gives you solace which will lead to a clear mind. Listening to music, the beach, and playing solitaire in my thang. Find yours.

Gain knowledge about your rights as an author. Yes, you have rights.

Be vigilant. Know before you submit. Are you submitting to the right agent who is accepting unsolicited admissions in your genre? Are you following their specific guidelines?

Whack the heck out of your debut novel. Trim it, delete confusion, redundancy, phrases with the same meaning, and busy words. Replace weak words with better verbs, ditch unnecessary prepositions, and dump should’ve, would’ve, could’ve wherever you can.

Don't compare yourself to other established or famous authors. Trust the word from the Wordy curb, these authors did not become famous overnight. I promise you, they went through many drafts and were most likely rejected by many agents.

Create a kick-ass author bio and have it at the ready. Keep it under 50 words and write it in third person.

Seek out other authors, professors, teachers, etc. to write blurbs for your book. This is especially relevant when self-publishing.

Construct a query letter and synopsis to send to potential agents. Don’t let the terrifying slush pile intimidate you. You are a writing warrior. Every query and synopsis you send is a lesson and a step in a positive direction.

If contemplating a prologue or epilogue, hit the internet to figure out if one or both of these are necessary, and discover how to compose them.

Be willing to mull over constructive feedback. If given in an appropriate fashion it can improve your novel. Use what works, disregard what doesn't make your cut.

Put a positive spin on rejection. Turn that bad-boy into a new rung on your ladder to success.

Remember, you are where you’re supposed to be. Relax, don’t push or stress over where you are.

Never give up. Failure is not an option.


Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.



Wordy is the get-in-the-know hotspot for writers. From grammar to publishing find info, tips, and inspiration to take your WIP (Work In Progress) to the next level.


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I co-founded and managed a successful author and writer group on Long Island for five years. During events with publishers and authors I learned what matters, what agents are looking for, and the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

I've gained a lot of tips and tidings on my writing journey and want to share what I know.

Besides my passion for writing, I'm a fitness enthusiast, and I love coffee, chocolate, and animals. I'm mom to two amazing young men, and I live on Long Island with my husband, four zany cats, and the sweetest dog ever.

Whether you're new to writing, ready to query, or about to submit your manuscript,  welcome, you've come to the right place.

About Me


Alyssa is Wordy's website administrator and tech guru. She holds a degree in Communication and has always enjoyed writing and marketing, both of which are highly useful skills for aspiring authors. 

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