Tips, Tricks and Writing Solutions from Sacha Black
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Welcome to Sacha Black's Strange & Unusual Newsletter


This month is sponsored by my very own fuck-it bucket and the fact I've been useless. I haven't managed to write a single WIP word for the whole of May. I've allowed the shit, stuff and things life just loves to throw at you, get in the way of my precious novel writing time. Naughty Sacha, *slaps wrist.* 

HOWEVER, I've been busy for a good reason. The Annual Bloggers Bash is nearly upon us, voting is now live and the event itself is just days away. If you haven't voted for your fave bloggers, then get your bootylicious botties over here.
This month we have loads in store, including:

  • A cry for help from me to you!
  • A monthly round of posts incase you missed them
  • Competitions
  • A double whammy on the best writing tool recommendation
  • We're solving 
  • Finally, I let you into a secret fear of mine in the unusual word of the month

If you like this newsletter, or find it useful, why not share it with someone who would appreciate it? Don't forget to add me to your contact list, otherwise I end up in your junk folder and that makes me cry.

Finally, what would you like to see more of? I want to make this newsletter as helpful as possibly. Drop me a line to let me know.

Book Updates - Can You Help Me?

I'm writing a non-fiction writing craft book on Villains, called 13 Steps to Evil. But that doesn't give away the content of the book. Which, as a non-fic writing craft book it needs to. So I need a subtitle. I've put a couple of subtitle suggests below, but I can't make my mind up. 

If you have a moment, drop me a line and let me know which one you prefer, OR let me know if you have a better suggestion (I'm open to ideas).

13 Steps to Evil...
  • The Ultimate Guide to Creating Villains
  • A Writers Bible for Writing Villains
  • Everything You'll Ever Need to Know To Create Superbad Villains
  • How To Create Superbad Villains
Reply, or email 
Competition Time

Competitions are a great muscle flexing activity and if your procrastinating from your novel, then you can at least be doing something productive. Each month I will post three competitions closing in the next month to six weeks. I like a little deadline pressure and no one enters them till the last minute anyway.

So June closers:

British Fantasy Society Short Story - 30th June Entry Fee £5, prizes: £100; £50; £20 plus extras
Brilliant Flash Fiction - 15th June, 750 words, Free entry, €50, €25, €15
Flash 500 - 30th June 500 words, £5 entry, Prizes £300, £100, £50

Monthly Round Up

This month's writing tips:

Need a bit of writing inspiration? Try this months Writespiration challenges:

For some strange and unusual wonderings that never fail to inspire stories, check these posts out:

Problem Corner 101 - Crutch Words

I've talked about crutch words on my blog before, here. By crutch, I don't mean your naughty bits. I mean the pesky words that have rampant sex in amongst your novel and litter their offspring through your beautiful story.

For me it's words like: that, so, look, eyes and deep. I cannot tell you how often I have to cut them out.

But there are two really nifty tools to get rid of them quick. One for the wordier people, a word frequency counter you can find here. Just dump each chapter in and check. 

Or for the more visual of you (like me), I recommend Wordle. It uses the frequency of word count to define the size of each word in the picture. Chuck in some colour and boom, a visual depiction of all your crutch words. A simple find and replace search will rid your text of them. You can find an example of what Wordles look like on my post.
This month is a double whammy. Two-for-one on writing tools of awesomeness.

The first is a service and newsletter combo. Joan Dempsey is a fantastic writer and creative writing teacher. I'm signed up to her newsletter, which you can do here: Revise With Confidence. She also runs courses and I actually used her critiquing service this month too. Her feedback was not only invaluable and insightful, but taught me a shit load too. Go check her out.

The second tool this month is actually a book. Specifically, 'How to Market A Book' by Joanna Penn.

I've been demolishing it in an attempt to learn everything I can about marketing. The book is a proper portion of awesome sauce. It's opened my mind to an entire world of marketing I had no idea about. Not only does it cover practicalities, like categories, meta data and KDP, it also helps you form a marketing strategy. Even a seasoned pro would get something from it. If you haven't read it, you should.

You can get it here. 
Writespiration of the Month: 2 Sentence Horror Story
I love a quick challenge. Why not try this one: 2 sentence horror stories.
When I was a kid, I got sick and hallucinated for 3 days. As a result I now have Trypophobia. It's a fear of lots of tiny dots. Ridiculous I know. But check out these DISGUSTING sweat inducing photos. *shudder*
Wonder of the Month: Flat Earth 
This month I am taking you back to one of my more controversial wonders. Flat Earth. A concept that still boggles my mind. Check it out here. Keep an eye out for part 2 where I interview the founder of Flat Earth, Mark Sargent.
Writing Challenge

This month's writing challenge is to use the image above. I am obsessed with disaster and destruction, probably the reason I love dystopian fiction so much. But this photo really got my juices going. That actually sounds minging. Sorry! You know what I mean.

Let me know if it inspires you too, or if you fancy a different kind of challenge next month.
"Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work"

Stephen King
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Sacha Black Author · Hertford · Hertfordshire, sg13 8by · United Kingdom

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