Great Writing Groups To Join On Facebook

If you’re looking for some Facebook writing groups with lots of great writers, here are my favourites.

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Terry’s November Watercolour Writing Newsletter

November 2016.jpg

Read the first chapter of The Moon King here 🙂

Check out my writing tip videos:

Here’s the link to last month’s watercolor newsletter

That’s all this month. Happy Writing!

From Terry!

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How Much Time You Need to Spend Promoting Your Novel

How many agents have you queried? One?

If it took you a year to write your first novel, then why wouldn’t you spend at least a year promoting it? The writing industry is extremely saturated, so finding an agent or publisher is all about persistence.

Kim Liao even suggests aiming for 100 rejection letters every year, because being persistent enough to get 100 rejections will also lead you on the path to getting an acceptance.

I haven’t found an agent for my first novel yet, but chipping away at that dream every day (47 rejections and counting!).

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Terry’s October Newsletter

October 2016.jpg

Read the first chapter of The Moon King here 🙂

Check out my writing tip videos:

Here’s the link to last month’s watercolor newsletter

That’s all this month. Happy Write-o-ween!

From Terry!

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Your Villain Is Just the Hero That Succumbed to Her Own Weakness

Having trouble writing your villain?

When I wrote my first novel, I focused so much on building up my main character that I seriously neglected my villain. Turns out my villain was as flat as a board and it seriously impacted my story (not in a good way). It wasn’t until I thought of my villain as the hero of his own story that I was able to make him come to life.

If you’re struggling with writing your villain, maybe this tip will help.

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Three Ways to Improve the Introduction of Your Story

If you’re looking to improve the first few chapters of your novel, here are three impactful ways that I’ve found make my introductions much more compelling.

Happy writing! 🙂

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One Thing That Will Put You Ahead of 100 Other Writers Every Day

“I want to write a novel, but I just don’t have the time.”

That’s what I hear from people after they find out I wrote my first novel.

Novels don’t just happen. They take a lot of persistence and super hard work:

  • Waking up early to write before work.
  • Saying no to hanging with friends.
  • Cancelling weekend plans.
  • Pulling your hair out over plot points.
  • Contemplating life for three hours in the shower.
  • Crying (lots and lots of crying).

But I know that every time I spend even just 1 hour writing, I’m doing what 100 others aren’t. And that’s putting me ahead of the game, little by little.

If you’re thinking of writing a novel, I encourage you to sit down, open a word document, and just start typing 🙂

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The Simple Test That Will Tell You How Compelling Your First Chapter Is

deathIf you think the first chapter of your novel could use some improvement, there’s one simple test that can tell you how to make it better.

Kill the main character at the end of your first chapter.

This will tell you how compelling your first chapter is.

Write something like, “Jim slips off the bridge and falls to his death.”

Now your main character is finished. He can’t achieve any of his goals.

Next, list out all the consequences that come into effect since the main character can’t achieve their goals.

If the list is short and lacklustre, it’s a good sign that your first chapter has room for improvement.

The consequences matters because they give the reader an idea of what’s at stake. The larger the stake, the more compelled your reader will be to find out what happens next.

A great example is Katniss Everdeen from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

Let’s kill her at the start of the novel and see what happens.

“The train to District 1 crashes and Katniss Everdeen dies.”

Now what consequences come into play if Katniss can’t accomplish her main goal?

Main Goal:

  • Take her sister’s place in The Hunger Games and survive.


  • Primrose will be taken to The Hunger Games instead and Primrose will surely die because she’s young and doesn’t possess any archery skills like Katniss.
  • Gale will be heartbroken now that his crush is dead.
  • Peeta will be heartbroken now that his crush is dead, plus he’s going to die himself in The Hunger Games without any purpose to live any more.
  • Katniss’ mother will likely have a heart attack because Katniss is dead, and now Primrose will be sent to The Hunger Games and die too.

The consequences of Katniss’ death are very high and the reader doesn’t want any of those things to happen. The reader eagerly turns each page to find out what happens next, because Katniss must accomplish her goal above all cost.

A great thing about this test is that you can keep killing your main character at the end of each chapter to see if the consequences are still high enough to keep the reader engaged.

As in The Hunger Games, each chapter proves to test Katniss’ ability to survive and raises the consequences even higher:

  • Katniss becomes a symbol of hope to all the Districts, she can’t die!
  • Katniss respects Rue’s death, she can’t die, because of the huge emotional pull Katniss’ action has on the reader now.
  • Katniss develops conflicting feelings about Gale and Peeta, the reader must know who she chooses.
  • etc.

A lot of emerging authors don’t realize that the consequences must be clear from the start. It’s why most first-time novels don’t make it. It’s why mine didn’t.

When I finished my first novel, The Moon King, I used the first few chapters to introduce the setting, characters, and the main character’s goal, but I didn’t spell out the consequences until later chapters.

The initial feedback I got was very telling. It was to the effect of, “The first half is boring and drudges along, but the second half is super exciting and I couldn’t stop reading.”

Now that I’ve learned about building up consequences right away using the “Kill the main character” test, I’m editing my first few chapters to be much more compelling.

If you think that your first chapter could use some improvement, simply kill the main character and list out the consequences that you’ve written about so far.

If there aren’t many, or they aren’t very high, then you may need to do a rewrite.

Here’s a simple template you can use to do the test on your chapters (it’s a downloadable word doc)

Happy writing!

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4 Free Tools to Help You Find the Perfect Agent

Heyo! If you’re looking to get your work published, you already know that you have to go through an agent first.

Here are 4 free tools that will help you to find your perfect agent!


This is what you want to use to find an agent.

Not sure how to find an agent? Start with Simply choose which type of genre your manuscript falls under and will instantly pull a list of hundreds of agents looking for your type of manuscript.

It’s super simple to scroll through agents at a glance, or read more about each agent in their profile. Perhaps the most helpful thing is that lists each agents’ requirements and links directly to their website.


This is what you want to use to keep track of which agents you’ve contacted.

This website is awesome. It has pretty much every agent you could hope to find on the internet. What’s also even more awesome about it is that it allows you to track who you’ve queried, and what their response was.

Before I stumbled across, I was keeping track of all my query letters in excel. I had columns for agents’ names, emails, requirements, what I’d sent them, and their response. does this all for you in an even more simple way.

3) Twitter #10queries

This will let you see agents critique query letters.

#10queries is a great # to follow on twitter, because agents use it to critique their slush piles of query letters. They’ll usually write a few words about what the query is pitching and tell you what they like and don’t like.

I use it to see what types of things agents are looking for and also what to avoid.

4) Twitter Pitch Parties

This is what you use to get in touch with agents as fast as possible.

During a pitch party, you tweet a one-sentence synopsis of your novel and include a certain #. During the pitch party (often just one day), hundreds of agents will peruse the tweets associated with the # and favourite the pitches that they like. If they favourite yours, it means they want you to email them directly with your full query.

This is the fastest way you can get in touch with agents, without waiting for them to go through their slush piles.

Carissa Taylor keeps an ongoing calendar of upcoming pitch parties on her blog. I suggest scrolling through her list and seeing if there are any coming up that you can participate in.

Happy Writing!

Finished your first manuscript?

killer queryYou need to know how to write a killer query letter!

  • Learn the 3 step process
  • Know how to format your query in a professional manner
  • Read examples of other killer queries
  • Plus tips & tricks to get ahead & more! 


2015 is OVER!

Heyo my fellow writers!

If you’re like me, you’re reflecting on everything you’ve done this past year.

For me, I think this is my biggest year of accomplishment yet. I hope it sets a precedent for a super successful 2016!

This past year, I discovered what I really want to do with myself. For years I’ve dabbled in many different arts. Here are just a few of my hobbies over the past few years:

  • Kick boxing, soccer, softball, archery (got pretty good at getting a bull’s eye!)
  • Painting giant murals, sculpting horses, high-fashion photography with amateur models from Model Mayhem
  • I produced three Short films, and created over 50 stop motion animation
  • Plus, I took up calligraphy and I’m half way through a writing a Tome of Wizard Spells

But, after all these activities, meeting new people, learning new skills, and trying different things, only one thing has stuck with me: writing.

Writing! I didn’t think I’d ever be a writer, especially after spending years perfecting my craft with Stop Motion Animation. But writing it is.

After writing crept up to my window at night, snuck through the crack and slipped into my head unnoticed, I’ve taken it up as more than a passion.

And this is the year that I really kicked off my writing career. Here just some of my accomplishments (even meagre as they seem, they’re baby steps to something greater!)

  • I finally took the novel I’d be casually working on over the past 10 years more seriously and finished it
  • I wrote nearly 50 short stories and flash fiction pieces and sold 4 of them (not to mention that I’ve been rejected dozens of times!)
  • I self-published my own book, got it to the top seller in its category while it was free, and then sold nearly a dozen copies
  • I started a patreon and have $23 of support for each of my flash fiction pieces I post
  • I created my first course on how to get an agent
  • I got over 300 followers on my Twitter account
  • I joined a writing group that meets every two weeks to critique each other’s work
  • I also started this blog!
  • And last, but not least, I’ve improved my writing GREATLY

My gosh, I’m certain there’s even more. But what I’ve learned is that you don’t get anywhere without hard work and persistence. I hope I can keep up in 2016!

Let me know what accomplishments you’ve made this past year too!

Happy Writing!