On Becoming the CEO of Fictionary

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Canadian author and CEO Kristina Stanley sharing her remarkable life-long journey.

Here’s Kristina!

I’m very pleased to be invited onto Joanne’s blog to share my life-long journey of reinvention.

This is the story of how I went from a career in telecommunications to working in a ski resort to becoming an author to being the CEO of Fictionary.

I’m an author who loves to edit, and I believe today’s author must also be their own structural editor.

The difficulty with structural editing is the time it takes and the cost of an editor. So I asked myself: What if I could speed up the process, spend less money, AND write better fiction?

To answer these questions, I reinvented myself into the CEO of a software company.

What is the Fictionary?

Fictionary in an online tool that will help writers turn a first draft into a great story by becoming their own structural editor. It’s a serious tool for serious writers who are willing to evaluate each scene from a big-picture (structural) point of view.

With Fictionary, you can focus on character, plot, and setting. Fictionary helps you evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on the overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first and guide you through the rewriting process.

Why a structural editing tool for writers?

Creating Fictionary began when I finished the first draft of my first novel. I just didn’t know it.

By then I’d read over 50 how-to-write and how-to-self-edit books. I’d taken writing courses and workshops and had 100s of writing and editing tips swirling about in my head.

I knew I had to begin the editing process and improve the quality of my draft before sharing my work, but I didn’t know how to go about it.

My Worries:

How was I supposed to remember the torrent of advice and apply it to each scene? A spreadsheet, that’s how!

I created a spreadsheet with a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene structure. Then I listed the different writing advice I needed to consider for EVERY scene. I ended up with over 75 “key elements of fiction”. I used the reports from the spreadsheet to visualize my novel.

Did Fictionary Work For Me?

After the hard work of self-editing and rewriting my drafts, the high quality of my fiction was validated when my first two novels were shortlisted for prestigious crime writing awards and I landed a two-book deal with publisher Imajin Books.

My first editor said: “If every manuscript was this good, my job would be so easy!”

The next exciting moment came when DESCENT, my first novel, hit #1 on Amazon’s hot new releases. Descent was published by Luzifer-Verlag in Germany, and I’ve sold the audio rights to Auspicious Apparatus Press. Imajin Books also published BLAZE, AVALANCHE and LOOK THE OTHER WAY.

Building Fictionary

I wanted to share my process, so other writers could benefit from an immediate approach to self-editing and rewriting first drafts. But who would want to use a spreadsheet? Perhaps a fun, fast tool that helps writers visualize and self-edit their novels would be better.

I joined forces with author Michael Conn and business specialist Mathew Stanley, and we formed a company called Feedback Innovations just to build this tool for fiction writers.

You can find out more about Fictionary at https://Fictionary.co

Advice For The Second Act

Like Nike says, “Just do it.” It may be intimidating. It may seem like hard work. But the satisfaction of starting something new is worth it. I believe anyone with a bit of grit can reinvent themselves.

What Writers Are Saying About Fictionary!

“I have used Fictionary to revise my current work in progress, entitled MindField, an espionage technothriller due out in early December 2017. My feeling is that Fictionary helped me to improve the manuscript significantly, and I will use it on all my subsequent novels. I am trained as both a novelist and screenwriter, but I focus exclusively on producing novels. And, that is where Fictionary is most useful. The toolbox within Fictionary helps a novelist see exactly where their work is weakest and strongest, and pushes me to work on fixing my problems.”
D.S. Kane, Amazon Bestselling Author

Turn Your First Draft Into A Great Story

If you enjoyed this blog, sign-up for our posts and receive a $10 discount coupon off your first month of using Fictionary.

Bio

Kristina Stanley is the CEO of Fictionary.co. Fictionary is an online tool that helps fiction writers turn a first draft into a great story.

She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series, LOOK THE OTHER WAY, and THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES. She’s published by Imajin Books and Luzifer-Verlag.

Her short stories have been published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and The Voices From the Valleys anthology.

Joanne here!

Impressive! Thanks for sharing and best of luck with all your future endeavors.


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How Toastmasters Helped Me Find My Writing Voice

When I retired from teaching in 2008, I was determined to create an oasis of calm. Three decades of teaching mathematics to adolescents had cured me of any “yang” tendencies. Or so I thought. After several months of luncheon dates, book club meetings, afternoon yoga sessions, and large blocks of reading time, I found myself suffering from “yin” overload.

In short, I was bored.

I toyed with the prospect of launching a second act as a writer and spent considerable time preparing for my new career. New business cards. New computer. And dreams of a runaway best-seller.

One problem – my underdeveloped writing muscles refused to budge.

On a whim, I visited Royal City Toastmasters. Not knowing what to expect, I relaxed when I saw twelve people in the room, most of them women. I felt an instant camaraderie with the group and volunteered to participate in Table Topics (one to two minutes of impromptu speaking). As I stood in the front of the room, I received many encouraging smiles. I took several deep breaths and started to share an anecdote. At one point, everyone started clapping.

Continue reading on Kristina Stanley’s blog.