October 22, 2013

Help for Writers in the WHW Amazing Race!

Rusted out car in the desert with text: Need Help? Check Out Writers Helping Writers

Remember when I mentioned last week that The Bookshelf Muse had become Writers Helping Writers?

And how the phenomenal Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi behind the site had two new books coming out this week: The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus?

And how they were going to have a great kickoff for their releases that would help other writers?

Well, that time is here! *smile* And I have a review of their new books down below.

Announcing the Writers Helping Writers Amazing Race!

To celebrate the release of their two new writing craft books, Angela and Becca are hosting a race, and not just any old race either. It’s the…

Writers Helping Writers Amazing Race

WHW Amazing Race logo

Yay! Er, wait… What does that mean?

Just like how the Amazing Race TV show is all about teamwork, the WHW Amazing Race is the same. A huge group of writers (me included!) is volunteering their time this week to see how many writers we can help.

Writing is hard. Pitching is hard. Marketing is hard. Heck, it’s all hard. But maybe with a supportive group at your back, it won’t be as hard.

Get feedback and assistance this week on all things writing. Create the perfect hook. Make your first page compelling. Craft an amazing 25 word pitch. Knock out a query that will blow an agent’s mind. On and on it goes.

Writers can ask for help in 10 categories:

  • 1st page critique
  • 1 paragraph hook critique
  • Query letter critique
  • 25 word pitch critique
  • Tweet exposure
  • Mini Blog review
  • Book exposure on your blog
  • Request a future guest post
  • Ask a Question
  • Social Media help

Sounds amazing, right? *smile* Just go to the WHW Amazing Race post and fill out the form. The form will be open until October 27th, 2013 for any writer to request help in any of the categories.

(Note: You’re allowed to request help in as many categories as you wish. You’re guaranteed to receive help only once, but we’re aiming for more.)

Don’t miss this opportunity to request help from other writers. Did I mention there are Celebrity Racers too–amazing authors and editors who know their way around a first page. Maybe one of them will help with your request!

Angela and Becca want this to be huge. All of the Racers want this to be huge. Seriously, we’re aiming to help 2000 writers in one week. And we want to help you!

Even after you enter your request for help, be sure to stop in at Angela & Becca’s new Writers Helping Writers website every day this week so you can enter their daily giveaways. They’ve lined up one-on-ones with agents and other prizes I’m not allowed to spill the beans on yet.

My Special Offer to My Readers

If you let me know in the comments below that you’ve entered a request in the WHW Amazing Race, I’ll help you with one of your requests—even if one of the Racers has already helped you. I want to make sure all of my readers receive help.

So enter the WHW Amazing Race, and in the comments below, let me know the name you used in your Amazing Race request. Then let me know which category you’d like to receive my help on. If I can, I’ll fulfill your special request to me. Ta-da! Bonus help.

Get the Scoop on the New Character Trait Books

Positive Trait Thesaurus coverAngela and Becca never cease to blow me away with their awesome help for writers. In addition to the WHW Amazing Race, this week also marks the release of their new Character Traits Thesaurus books.

The Positive Trait Thesaurus leads off with helpful tips on writing characters worth rooting for and then dives into the psychological background on how positive traits develop and how we can use them in a character arc. A section even shares how villains can have positive traits too. The appendices include bonus character development tools for making a well-rounded character.

The Negative Trait ThesaurusNegative Trait Thesaurus cover opens with insights on how flaws make our characters believable and create the necessary journey and conflict for our characters’ arcs. Additional tips help with making non-cardboard cutout villains and avoiding other issues when designing our characters’ flaws. The appendices dig into our characters’ needs and those false beliefs I posted about a few weeks ago.

That doesn’t even count the trait entries themselves, with details on possible causes, associated behaviors, thoughts, and emotions for each, along with the good and bad aspects of that trait. Each trait also includes examples and suggestions on conflict.

I love Angela and Becca’s The Emotion Thesaurus, so I had high hopes for these books but didn’t see how they could live up to the ET. I’m happy to say I was wrong. These two additions are fantastic resources for writers. *smile*

Do you have any questions about the WHW Amazing Race? Do you have any questions about the new books? (Since I have them in my hands already, I’m happy to answer questions if you’re on the fence about purchasing them.) Are you entering the WHW Amazing Race? If so, leave your name and the primary category you want help with in the comments, and I’ll give you bonus help if I can!

WHW Amazing Race Logo Photo Credit: Tharrin

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Comments — What do you think?

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Sarah Kunz
Sarah Kunz

Hello, Jami,
I entered a request in the WHW Amazing Race. I used my name Sarah Kunz in the entry and I would love help on a first page critique. Wow! This is so amazing that all of you are doing this! What a fabulous thing to do! Thank you!

Siv Ekman
Siv Ekman

I agree wholeheartedly with you about The Emotion Thesaurus being wonderful. I got that for Christmas last year, and … I don’t really need to think about what I want this year. 🙂

This WHW Amazing Race is almost too good to be true. Of course I entered (in two categories), even though I’m not very far ahead in my writing – and though English is my second language. I used my name Siv Ekman, and sent it just a few minutes ago. If you give me feedback, I honestly don’t care which catergory you choose.

Thank you!

April Bradley

Fantastic, Jami! I can’t wait for my new copies to arrive in the mail. I put in a request if you have the time. Now, I’m off to re-read more of your posts for November. Thanks so so much! April

marilyn forsyth
marilyn forsyth

Hi Jami,
Firstly, I’d like to tell you I find your blogs absolutely invaluable. Thank you so much.

With regard to the WHW Amazing Race, I used my name (Marilyn Forsyth) and asked for some feedback on my first page.
Many thanks.

becca puglisi
becca puglisi

Jami, this is incredibly awesome of you, to add extra feedback to your followers who enter the race. Very cool. And thanks so much for volunteering to help. It’s exciting to see how many racers we’re able to help :).

Shah Wharton

Hey Jami! Love it when you pop up in my mail box 🙂 You keep on givin! I entered the other day with my name Shah Wharton. I’d really love more on the first page critique please. *Big Grin!

I adored the first in this series and have already requested the next two in my Christmas box (yes, they looked at me strangely, but hey!)

Thanks so much to ALL of you for being so marvellously generous. X


[…] Are you rushing over to sign up to Writers Helping Writers? […]


[…] Writers Helping Writers Amazing Race is still going strong, where an army of writers are trying to help as many other writers as we can […]

Laurie A Will
Laurie A Will

Hi Jami,

I’ve entered the WHW amazing race! What a great opportunity!


A.G. Zalens

Hi Jami,
I saw your blog post and entered the race. I’m glad I got in on it. I have already received a wonderful critique. Thanks for the information and for helping out writers.

I entered under this same name and would love any help you could offer. It’s really generous of you to offer your help.

Diana McDowell
Diana McDowell

I’ve entered the WHW amazing race! It makes me nervous, but I hit “submit” for a first page critique.

This is such an awesome opportunity. Thank you.


Taurean Watkins

I took part and asked for a review of my blog, and I found out it’s not as rough as I thought, but I do have to resize some fonts in my posts. That said, it’s hard to find a balance between fonts that speak to my brand while avoiding the “Hard to read” problem. It took hours to find the fonts I used for my blog’s logo, because I wanted to look child-like and that (Given my niche) could’ve written it, but many were too small (Even sized up) or too stylized to read, and I tested it out on my grandmother’s iPhone at times to see how clear it was to read on a mobile without excessive pinching and zooming. Eventually I want to have a mobile version of the site and the fonts I find need to look great on both. For blog posts, I tend to stick with the Georgia font as it’s easy to read and I like the typography of it. Classic without looking to typewriter-like like Courier or even Times New Roman, which I hear is not a great font for blogs, though I still use it for query letters and manuscripts unless specified otherwise by who I submit to. But I sometimes highlight things at the start and end of a blog post with “Comic Sans MS” since it fits the cartoony nature of my site and when bolded it stands out when I give particular information. The second biggest issue is…  — Read More »

Taurean Watkins

An aside: I could really use new eyes on some videos I did recently for my upcoming novel Gabriel- (The MC) (The Antagonist) (The MC’s Mentor) My original videos (Linked above) were a bit longer because I was going for character immersion, but was told by someone more experienced in video than I might’ve been overreaching in parts (I’m not sure how my more condensed videos have gone over yet…) The point of trailers is to create intrigue, but I don’t think I revealed the whole story in the videos I’ve done, but I was more concerned of being too convoluted, because as the author I know the whole story, but lay readers don’t, and as we’ve discussed via comments “Intrigued is GOOD. Confusion is BAD. So NOT the same!” This is the part of content creation I dread. Brevity. I don’t want to bore people and drag on and on, but I’m not minimalist by nature, I have to WORK at it, Jami, and I frankly was taking the “Just do it!” mantra you and others often sing gospel about and (While I did plan it out) had to throw some caution to the wind just to not talk myself out of the idea. I think part of this (Besides the learning curve of creating video) is just because I struggle with how much to share to avoid the “Huh?” factor since my book’s not coming out for a bit, but I still want potential readers…  — Read More »


[…] new books, The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus, contained tons of new character development tips that I’ll definitely be using for character creation. But I wondered if the new books could […]

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