How to improve your manuscript in leaps and bounds: an award-winning writer shares her secret

Award-winning author Liberty Henwick

Award-winning author Liberty Henwick

“Truth be told, after I reached 10,000 words, I was very disappointed that it was all over. I am convinced that this month will absolutely stand out as one of the high points of this year for me.”

This is what author Liberty Henwick said after winning an award in the 10K Novel Writing Challenge.

The “10K,” of course, is the month-long writing marathon (that starts March 1st!) where novelists of all skill levels endeavor to write 10,000 words and compete for a handful of awards.

So how did Liberty’s book become an award-winning novel, even before it was published?

Answer: feedback.

When writing a novel, it’s important to know what’s resonating with your readers, and what could use some fine-tuning. Once you know this, you can either make the necessary changes or revel in the praise you’re getting—but either way, you can rest assured you’ve got a great novel on your hands.

Fortunately, it’s easy to get feedback on your work! During the 10K Challenge (which you can sign up for now), our writers love helping each other out by reading each other’s work and giving their insights about it.

After all, nothing is going to be perfect the first time you write it, so this early feedback can be very helpful. In fact, it’s every bit as important as a foundation is to a tall building.

Liberty was kind enough to share what she learned about receiving feedback:

How to receive feedback:

  1. Have a thick skin and be willing to listen to the suggestions your readers make with an open mind, so that they feel at liberty to be completely honest. You don’t want them to hide the painful truths!
  2. Don’t take criticism personally, it’s not you, but your writing that is being critiqued. It’s likely that your work will need improvement—it will hardly ever be perfect the first time.
  3. You don’t have to take all advice on board. Sometimes you can stand by what you write if you feel strongly that there’s a good enough reason for it.

How to give feedback:

  1. Highlight any confusing passages and language that doesn’t make sense.
  2. Point out sections that are boring.
  3. Write down questions you have about the story so far that you’d like to see answered before the ending.

And Liberty’s parting words of wisdom to you, the writer: “Gag the inner critic and let loose the inner cheerleading team!”

Ready to get a jump start on your novel? Enter the 10K Novel Writing Challenge today!


It’s a writing contest! 350 words a day (for a month)

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Your writing future starts March 1st!

That’s the first day of the 10K Novel Writing Challenge, where you’ll write 350 words every day for the entire month of March. You’ll meet other writers, receive input and feedback on your work, and get a great head start on your novel!

Winners will have their work published in Books & Buzz Magazine so our readers can learn more about you! Several awards will be given to writers for promising works-in-progress.

350 words a day. Ready? Sign up for the Challenge now

Writers, registration is open! Join this 10,000-word Writing Challenge

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Registration is officially open for the 10K Novel Writing Challenge, starting March 1st!

Whether you’re brand new to this or have participated before, this is your chance to write 10,000 words and make some serious progress on your novel.

During the month of March, you’ll write 10,000 words, get feedback on your chapters, and meet other writers.

It’s a great way to buckle down on your book (whether it’s half-finished or currently a blank page). Come one, come all!

Several awards are also up for grabs, so you could come away from the Challenge an award-winning author.

Sign up today!

Writers, March bravely forward & Challenge yourself

Books & Buzz Magazine, February 2019, Volume 1 Issue 6

Spring, at least where I live, is just around the corner, but winter appears to be hanging on till the end, reluctant to release its grip. I’m excited for the last flakes of the season to fall, but as I write this, I’m still wrapped in a warm blanket.

I imagine you might be, too, so keep the kettle boiling, pour a hot cup, and join us for what I’m even more excited for: the semiannual 10K Novel Writing Challenge at ChapterBuzz! That’s right—it’s time to either attack that blank page or blow the dust off your half-finished manuscript and make 10,000 words’ worth of progress on it.

You’ll be in good company. As we speak, writers from all over the world are gearing up to jump right in and get a huge head start on their novels in next month’s “10K.”

Awards are up for grabs, too. If you happen to win one, you’ll join the very top echelon of ChapterBuzz authors, along with past award winners Kaitlyn Abdou, Dacia M Arnold, and Bexx Matthews. It starts March 1st, so be sure to get in on the action!

I know you’re eager to explore this month’s issue, so please welcome our contributors:

One of the toughest things to do in writing, according to professional book editor Michael Mohr, is to create strong, believable tension. But once you master these tricks, you’ll keep your readers hooked from the very first page.

Novelist Piper Punches talks about when she was writing her second book and a little voice inside her head kept telling her that “it was trash, and I wasn’t creative or smart enough to pull it off.” How did she get past this? I’ll let her explain.

Finally, around here, we can never get enough of author and poet Allison Marie Conway. Not only does she write our monthly Art & Soul column, she’s also gracing our cover this month.

Once you’ve read Allison’s secret to deciding what to do next (in writing and in life), be sure to read her feature interview article to hear about how she’s finding her truth every day, how she comes up with those gorgeous poems, and about her (very surprising) first word that she totally trusts her parents on.

(Quick note: if you’d like to be one of our featured contributors, please see our submission guidelines. I look forward to sharing your work with our community!)

Dig in! There are enough thought-provoking, awe-inspiring, smile-producing stories in this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine to help you forget all about those last few shivers of winter.

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine

You (and your friends) will love this Writing Challenge

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I’m getting really excited about next month!

March 1st starts the 10K Novel Writing Challenge over at our writing community website, ChapterBuzz.

As the person in charge of running the “10K,” I always look forward to meeting new writers and welcoming past participants. Throughout the month, I enjoy sending out e-mails of encouragement to everyone, featuring writers who are doing well, and seeing people’s word counts being posted every day.

But this Challenge is going to be huge. So many new writers are jumping on board, and I hope you’ll join us, too!

Be sure to tell your friends about it, and invite them to participate—so that you can all keep each other motivated during the month!

Just show your friends this link with all the info:

Starts March 1st!

It all starts with 10,000 words

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“The morning I opened the email informing me The Girl with White Hair had won an award, I was half asleep and squinting to read the screen. There was this pause where I processed it, followed by the biggest flood of relief and sense of achievement.”

This from novelist Bexx Matthews, past winner of the Most Buzz Award in the 10K Novel Writing Challenge.

She went on:

“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to work so hard for something before. I’d written for hours on the last night of the Challenge trying to hit that 10,000 word mark, and I am so happy that I managed to get through and finish.”

Now it’s your turn…ready to write 10,000 words in a month? Fans, Fame, and feedback await you in the “10K” this year. Learn how the Challenge can kick start your writing career

Hurry, starts in March!