First Draft Fridays - Authors A.I.

Conversations about author craft

A regular open house for the author community

Books by Authors A.I. authors
A few of the books written by Authors A.I. authors.

By the Authors A.I. team

Author Brett Battles
Cheers to all the aspiring and published authors in the house.

Welcome to First Draft Friday! We have a big team of authors here at Authors A.I. with lots of opinions to share — and we’d like to hear from you! Please join us for our every-other-week online conversation about author craft on Facebook Live and YouTube Live. It’s open to all members of the author community.

Rather than doing webinars, we think it’s better to have a freewheeling back and forth. So we’ll do this as a live-stream on our Facebook group — please join our community!

Each month we’ll bring in guests — a fellow author, editor or entrepreneur — to talk about the craft of novel writing and storytelling.

There are lots of sites that can help you with your book marketing, and we encourage you to learn the inside tricks of self-publishing. But there are few places devoted to writing craft.

So please return here and we’ll list upcoming events on topics such as narrative arc, pacing, character development, writing tips — and lots more.

Upcoming First Draft Fridays

FDF #28: The Origins of Story Outline

Date: September 10th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Stefan Emunds

Details: Join us, Friday, September 10th, with guest author Stefan Emunds in a discussion with Alessandra Torre about the origins of the story outline. This is a FREE live chat, so please bring your questions and opinions to the event! In this First Draft Friday live video chat, Stefan will answer questions, and give you actionable tips! You’ll also receive a booklet which highlights the origins of story outline, the adversity cycle, and the story cycle from Stefan’s book, The Eight Crafts of Writing.

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FDF #28: The Origins of Story Outline

Past First Draft Friday Events

FDF #27: Working with a writing coach

Date: July 9th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author Dave Reed

Details: At 5PM ET, Guest author Dave Reed discusses how to stop the never-ending cycle of years of NOT finishing a book—with a little help from his friends. Hiring a writing coach can feel daunting and expensive and fraught. Learn the seven secrets to getting more than your money’s worth from a professional writing coach. This will be a free live chat, so please bring your questions and opinions to the event! In this First Draft Friday live video chat, Dave will answer questions and give you tips.

Author Dave Reed with Alessandra Torre

FDF #26: Unlearning Habits

Date: June 25th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author Michael Hurd

Details: At 12PM NOON ET, Guest author Michael Hurd along with author Alessandra Torre will discuss strategies and tips for transitioning from objective writing to subjective writing. Each form has its own rules, style, and yes, habits. Switching isn’t always easy. Your pre-read (beta) team could be one of your best allies to help you overcome, and unlearn those habits. Tune in and watch as Michael shares his personal journey from non-fiction to fiction writing. This will be a free live chat, so please bring your questions and opinions to the event! In this First Draft Friday live video chat, Michael will answer questions and give you tips.

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Author Michael Hurd with Alessandra Torre

FDF #25: Believable Fiction

Date: June 11th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author Fiona Quinn

Details: Guest author Fiona Quinn along with author Alessandra Torre discuss strategies for writing believable fiction. Writing your scene with confidence comes from having a good intellectual and sensory understanding of what your protagonist is attempting. Join us for strategies to get the information you need under your belt so your writing is seamless and authentic. This was a live chat. In this First Draft Friday live video chat, Fiona gives you actionable tips.

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Author Fiona Quinn with Alessandra Torre

FDF #24: The psychology of thrillers

Date: May 28th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author Andy Maslen

Details: At Noon ET, guest author Andy Maslen was back with Alessandra Torre to discuss more about unpredictable emotions, unstable characters, and undermining perceptions in psychological thrillers. In this First Draft Friday live video chat, Andy answers questions and gives you actionable tips.

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Alessandra Torre with Author Andy Maslen

FDF #23: The “unwritten law” of writing a Psychological Thriller

Date: May 14th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author Andy Maslen

Details: At Noon ET, Guest author Andy Maslen outlines the genre conventions, challenges and rewards of writing psychological thrillers from sympathetic victims to ambiguous villains. This will be a live chat, so please bring your questions and opinions to the event! In this First Draft Friday live video chat, he’ll answer your questions and give you actionable tips.

Author Andy Maslen with Alessandra Torre

FDF #22: Pantsing vs Plotting

Date: April 23rd, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author MJ Blehart

Details: At Noon ET, Author MJ Blehart will be comparing and contrasting the different approaches of writing styles between “pantsers” and “planners” and the pros and cons of both. This will be a live chat, so please bring your questions and opinions to the event! In this First Draft Friday live video chat, he’ll answer your questions and give you actionable tips.

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Author MJ Blehart with Alessandra Torre

FDF #21: How to Structure a Novel

Date: April 9th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author Jim Woods

Details: At Noon ET, author Jim Woods will show you a fun, simple way to structure your book. Learn how to create a compelling story that draws in the reader and keeps them turning the page. In this live video chat, he’ll answer your questions and give you actionable tips.

Author Jim Woods and Alessandra Torre

FDF #20: Creating side characters that shine

Date: March 26th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Author Cindy Skaggs

Details: At 5pm ET, author Cindy Skaggs will discuss using into secondary (or side) characters in your novel. Side characters can be instrumental in giving your book depth, opening up your fictional world, and can be a great place for additional plotlines and main character development to occur. In this live video chat, she’ll answer your questions and give you actionable tips on how to make the best use of these characters.

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Authors Cindy Skaggs and Alessandra Torre

FDF #19: Building a stronger editing team

Date: March 12th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Guest Marion Archer

Details: At 5pm ET, editor Marion Archer will discuss what you need to know about building in the right beta readers and developmental eyes, when to bring them on, and the importance of a well-rounded editing team. She’ll answer your questions and give you actionable tips on how to have a stronger editing team and process.

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Editor Marion Archer and Alessandra Torre

FDF #18: Writing in the Young Adult Voice

Date: February 26th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Guest Morgan Baden

Details: At 12pm ET, Author Morgan Baden will discuss how to nail the Young Adult voice in your writing. In this live video chat with Alessandra Torre, they will explore how tone and language can make or break an authentic teen voice, and learn what makes a book be classified as YA in the first place.

Authors Morgan Baden and Alessandra Torre

FDF #17: How hot should your romance novel be?

Date: February 12th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Guest Bron Whitley

Details: At 5pm ET, romance authors Bron Whitley and Alessandra Torre will discuss heat levels in different romance subgenres. Learn tips on building chemistry among characters in sweet and steamy ways, along with some do’s and don’ts of writing romantic scenes.

Authors Bron Whitley and Alessandra Torre

FDF #16: Increasing your writing speed

Date: January 29th, 2021

Host: Alessandra Torre with Guest Chris Fox

Details: Bestselling author Chris Fox discusses how to get the most out of your writing time by increasing your writing speed. Learn tips and effective habits to improve your daily word count.

Click here to download the handout.

Authors Chris Fox and Alessandra Torre

FDF #15: Forbidden Sins of Your First Page

Date: January 15th, 2021

Host: Editor and Author Tex Thompson

Details: Author Tex Thompson discusses some common pitfalls of a novel’s first pages, and how to kick yours into proper place. Learn about exposition, pacing, whether or not to use a prologue, and using unexpected emotions to hook a reader.

Authors Tex Thompson and Alessandra Torre

FDF #14: Writing mistakes to avoid in your novel

Date: December 11th, 2020

Host: Fiction Editor Susan Barnes

Details: Book editor Susan Barnes reveals the most common missteps that authors make. These mistakes can cause poor reviews, lost sales, and readers abandoning your novel midway through. In this half-hour event, Susan teaches how to avoid common pitfalls and what to watch our for when you’re writing and rewriting a draft.

FDF #13: Bringing your location to life

Date: September 25th, 2020

Host: Romance author Maria Luis

Details: On this First Draft Friday, bestselling author Maria Luis joins host Alessandra Torre. Maria shares how to use your location in the same way that you do your characters – to help bring your book to life!

Authors Maria Luis and Alessandra Torre

FDF #12: Self-Editing Steps for Authors

Date: November 13th, 2020

Host: Romance author Penny Reid

Details: Learning how to improve your manuscript is an important skill for any author to have. On this First Draft Friday, USA Today bestselling romance author Penny Reid and Authors A.I. CEO Alessandra Torre discuss self-editing. Penny will share the steps she takes in her own self-edit process.

Bestselling author Penny Reid and Alessandra Torre

FDF #11: Getting Cozy with Mysteries

Date: October 31st, 2020

Host: Mystery authors Sara Rosett and Tonya Kappes

Details: These bestselling mystery authors have an open discussion about writing in the mystery genre. They’ll share tips for appealing to mystery readers, what those readers expect in a novel, and what to avoid when penning a mystery novel.

Mystery authors Sara Rosett and Tonya Kappes

FDF #10: Four-Act Fiction

Date: October 16th, 2020

Host: Author Alessandra Torre

Details: Lou Aronica, Publisher of The Story Plant and New York Times bestselling author, and John Adcox, author and CEO of Gramarye Media discuss a four-act structure, and tips on how to use it in your fiction-writing.

Click here to download the handout.

Authors Lou Aronica, John Alcox, and Alessandra Torre

FDF #9: Skeletons in Your Plot

Date: September 25th, 2020

Host: Romance author Lucy Score

Details: Don’t have time (or the will) to create detailed book outlines in advance? Paranormal romance/urban fantasy author Steffanie Holmes will share her skeleton draft method. Steff writes a first draft for a book in a few days without any kind of plan or outline.

Click here to download the handout.

Authors Steffanie Holmes and Lucy Score

FDF #8: Flawed Heroes & Virtuous Villains

Date: September 11th, 2020

Host: Romance author Alessandra Torre

Details: Bestselling British crime and thriller author Andy Maslen discusses the art of creating complex, believable, three-dimensional characters, starting with your protagonist and antagonist.

Click here to download the handout.

Authors Alessandra Torre and Andy Maslen

FDF #7: The turn-key technique to creating memorable characters

Date: August 28th, 2020

Host: Romance author Alessandra Torre

Details: Where do you start when creating characters for a new book or series that your readers will love? Veteran authors Judith Lucci and Fiona Quinn — who have more than 40 bestsellers between them — discuss a little-known technique they use to harness memory, sensory perception and logic to build engrossing characters and scenes.

Click here to download the handout.

Authors Judith Lucci and Fiona Quinn

FDF #6: The secret sauce of great editing

Date: August 14th, 2020

Host: Fantasy author Charlie N. Holmberg

Details: What are the benefits of working with a professional book editor? Jason Kirk and Charlie Holmberg discuss how good editors can teach authors to “fish” and improve their self-editing skills with each succeeding manuscript. Jason is the award-winning editor of 100+ books with 20 years of editing and publishing experience.

Click here to download the handout.

Author Charlie Holmberg and editor Jason Kirk

FDF #5: Productivity tips for authors

Date: July 31st, 2020

Host: Thriller author Danielle Girard

Details: Legal thriller author Robin James has a special superpower: writing through distractions. She and Danielle offer tips on how to be more productive with your writing and how to power your way to success.

Click here to download the handout.

Thriller authors Danielle Girard and Robin James

FDF #4: Can A.I. make your next novel a bestseller?

Date: July 17th, 2020

Host: Alessandra Torre

Details: Matthew Jockers, PhD, co-author of The Bestseller Code and co-founder of Authors A.I., talks about how artificial intelligence can help authors enhance their storytelling and sell more books. Dr. Jockers is a pioneer in the applications of machine learning to the study of fiction. He is the creator of the groundbreadking new A.I. tool Marlowe.

Dr. Matthew Jockers talks with author Alessandra Torre about how A.I. can help authors in the rewrite process.

FDF #3: Using A.I. to help with story beats

Date: July 3rd, 2020

Host: Alessandra Torre & JD Lasica

Details: James Rosone, a bestselling military thriller author, recently turned to writing a military sci-fi series. He discusses how he uses an artificial intelligence to help his storytelling at key parts of the rewrite process.

Click here to download the handout.

Author James Rosone, Alessandra Torre and JD Lasica.

FDF #2: Nailing character development

Date: June 19th, 2020

Host: Alessandra Torre

Details: Romance author Alessandre Torre discusses how authors can flesh out their character development with veteran editor/publisher Lou Aronica.

Torre and Aronica discuss what goes into successful character development.

FDF #1: What are your biggest writing challenges?

Date: June 5th, 2020

Host: Alessandra Torre

Details: Romance author Alessandre Torre and historical romance author Cecelia Mecca discuss some of the top challenges they face as they write their fiction.

Here’s a 30-minute video of our kickoff First Draft Friday chat about author craft.

Have a topic you’d like us to tackle? Know an author who would make a good guest? Let us know!

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