Wednesday, December 31, 2014
First HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Okay with that out of the way, the website for this week is BookWorks. Why?
Because it offers so much. The blog is chock full of how to articles and info - a part of the self-publisher's association.
And there's even more - see that 'back to bookworks.com' button thingie at the top right? That takes you to the main site where even more helpful information for the self publisher awaits.
Go ahead, visit and explore - see what you can discover.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Have you really given thought to conflict? It’s the life blood of your story creation.
I mean think about it. When people have something exciting/terrifying/ dangerous happen to them and they survive to return home to their regular lives what do they talk about? Their regular lives of the out-of-the-ordinary thing that happened? The fact of the matter is, people generally relive those scary/exciting times even when it’s something they might like to put behind them (like a factory explosion, or wartime experiences of a soldier or the collapse of the towers on 9/11). Why are we like this? A psychologist might be able to tell you but I can’t. The obsession people have with thrills is something that’s been around forever. Consider the Romans, the Spartans…us!
But conflict isn’t just one person batting another over the head. There’s all kinds of conflict. And even if you’re the mellow sort who avoids conflict in your life, you can’t avoid it altogether because sometimes it’s brought to you. Additionally it would be silly to try to avoid conflict in your storytelling because you’d end up with no story.
So, let’s talk about the types of conflict. Convincing conflict for your characters.
There can be broad conflict with society. This happens frequently in science fiction or fantasy but it can be in the everyday world as well. It’s a situation where the protagonist doesn’t fit in. A ‘hero’ or ‘heroine’ your readers can identify with is like a fish out of water. Ender in Ender’s Game ends up in conflict with not only the aliens he’s out to defeat, but with the militaristic society he lives in. There are many others. Study them. Perhaps a character is mentally or physically different and doesn’t fit in Perhaps the character is out to change the society he or she lives in. Think about it.
There’s the good old fashioned conflict with an enemy. That enemy might be the next door neighbor or it could be Godzilla. Could be the evil forces in the Harry Potter Series or the master of the ring in Lord of The Rings. Could be Godzilla. Stakes in this kind of conflict are very high creating a very tense story. It’s a little more straight-forward than some as usually it’s pretty plain what has to be done, i.e. eliminate Godzilla. And, the good thing about this kind of conflict is your hero can be as bad ass as you like, fighting, killing, destructing and there’s no associated guilt so no extra stuff you as the writer has to work through in order for your hero to remain heroic and not wallowing in a pool of self-doubt and guilt.
Then there’s the conflict with a friend or loved one. Or the age old conflict between parent and child. Friends and relatives don’t always (read hardly ever) want the same things. And the results can range wildly from hurt feelings to murder. And, think Civil War, this conflict and result in heartbreak if brother fights brother or cousin kills cousin in a dispute. You can create all sorts of twists and turns when you delve into relationships and truly wring out a gripping story.
And, it’s not unusual for someone to have conflict with him or her self. The hero may not be certain as to what is the correct path. Should he kill Godzilla or is the monster an amazing gift which should be captured and studied? Or a character might be clinically mentally ill, suffering from any range of illness causing complications. Or she might be possessed if you’re going paranormal. Or the character may feel torn about a decision needed to choose between one thing and another; love or a career, an addiction or the path to sobriety.
And, don’t forget even though conflict can be as direct as hero vs. Godzilla, it can also be much more complicated just as life is. What happens to Godzilla when you involve a scientist? Or a politician who’s against whatever plan there is to kill the beast because it’ll affect his home turf? Or what if a kid loves the giant beast and is continually in the way, trying to prevent others from hurting it? It’s the ol’ what if scenario again. Play with it. Work with it. Just make sure the conflict you create is convincing and consistent with the characters you’ve created. How you’ve created your characters will be a major influence in this area. You don’t want the reader saying, “he wouldn’t do that!.”
And remember all conflicts don’t have to be major, but your reader has to be kept guessing, as to who’s going to win and how it’ll all turn out.
Go for it and come drop a few comments below on conflict problems you’ve experienced.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
All you Readers and Writers out there - have a fabulous Holiday Season!
Yep, it's true, I'm taking a break.
Wishing all my readers and followers and wonderful holiday season.
I'll be back soon with more posts and links for readers and writers.
Until then - may your New Year be fantastic!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Writer? Then this site's for you. Publishing And Other Forms Of Insanity - aka, Published To Death. A blog run by Erica Varillo, it offers lots of resources and tips - and lets you know what she did wrong along the line.
Articles, Links, resources you'll find it here.
Reader? If you want a glimpse into the writers world and the world of publishing - come on in, you'll find it eye-opening and interesting.
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Aspiring Writer? Well for starters I’d stop ‘aspiring’. If you’re writing you’re a writer. I’ve said it before so pay attention, I’m going to offer a few tips to those writers out there who are about to break into publishing and who are determined to keep on writing.
And speaking of determined to keep on, here’s the first tip.
Get used to rejection. Probably a lot of it. Not the best ‘holiday’ news, but there you are. Or, think about self publishing. BUT, and it’s a big but, if you go the self-publishing route, make sure that book is damn near perfect before you toss it out there via one of the publishing platforms like Amazon, Smashwords or some other. It’s always important, but even more important on the first go. If people read your book and find it loaded with typos and disjointed sentences, believe me they aren’t going to go for book number two. And even if it’s a great first book, it’s probably not going to do too well – unless you have a lot of promotional savvy and a good helping of luck.
And if you do self-publish and find incredible success (rare though that is) don’t think of it as just a springboard to the ‘big publishers’. Maybe you’d want to publish with them if they offer you a contract, but maybe not. Weigh your options and do your homework – do they really have something to offer above that great success? Seriously, self-publishing can make your work available all over the world but the ball is squarely in your court for everything; arranging publication, book cover design, promotion, everything. And on top of that you have to already have created compelling stories and you better be really good at sparking online interest. Hmmm, like I said, weigh your options.
Here’s Tip Two. If you haven’t been published and your confidence is not up to where it should be, fake it. Pretend. Develop another persona. Whatever it takes to pump it up and put that writing out there or pitch ideas. The ability to do many things online can help, but it’s best to develop that confident façade for the ‘in person’ times you’re going to have to pitch or talk to folks. Eventually it’ll be the real thing.
If you decide to publish with the big publishers you might run into the problem of exclusivity. That’s when that publisher wants exclusive rights to publish future works written by an author (you). This can be tricky, but if you need to get around that think about using pen names. That way, for Tip Three you can give a publisher exclusive rights to books by one name and perhaps go in another writing/publishing direction with another pen name. It also works when self-publishing in different genres or non-fiction vs. fiction.
Writing fiction and scripts? Cool. You have a pretty good grasp of writing with colorful abandon. Non-fiction? It still applies. You may not get as rowdy as you do with fiction, but there remains that need to keep the reader engaged. The writing can’t be dry as toast or you’re going to lose them. So, for Tip Four, add color, give detail as to what the driving force is, add insights from different perspectives, find ways to engage the reader.
And finally Tip Five – write, write write – then write some more. Just because a book doesn’t sell immediately don’t assume it won’t. Don’t let unpublished works take the wind out of your sales. Consider self-publishing. Keep submitting . Create more.
Now, didn’t that help? A pep talk right before the new year begins. Go get ‘em tigers!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Why To Read Books presents us with fun and fascinating lists of books to read. Lists such as 7 Great Book Titles That Make You Want to Read the Book, Best Sci-Fi Books: 7 Mind Blowing And Frightening Sci-Fi Books, Young Adult Books That Are Worth Reading, 7 Best Lines From Books Which Will Stay With You Long After You Read Them -- and others.
They're great lists for both readers and writers. There's a lot here and it's great fun to explore. You might even find some books you want to read. So go ahead, check it out, you know you want to. And after you do come on back here and let everyone know what lists you enjoyed the most... go ahead, look below, added yours to the comments.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
As writers we constantly think about things such as story, character development, arc, style, grammar and endless variations and extras. Bud underpinning all that has to be your basic every day stuff. From your writing fog you look up and say, what’s that?
What that is is how you pursue your writing work, how you write, how you treat yourself when you write.
Do you set daily priorities, know what you need to get done? Do you stick to those priorities, whether a daily word or page count or some writing business you need to get taken care of? Or do you allow yourself to get distracted by your email, the web or whatever? Email can be a terrible time sap, not just because you read it but because of what you allow it to do to you. You have to respond to this email, that one offers a special deal you can’t refuse, another is a friend texting to chat.
There goes your morning if you check your email before you begin writing. Seriously, it can wait. Ask those people closest to you who may email or text you to use some code word in the subject line that indicates an emergency – heck just use ‘emergency’ if they really really need you and not to use it unless it IS an emergency. You know your friends and who you can count on. Then quickly scan your email for that word in the subject line. Everything else can wait. I repeat, everything else can wait. Your writing time is your writing time. No calls, no web, no nothing but writing. If you can’t do this simple thing to help yourself or you can’t get cooperation, then I recommend you not check your email first thing – leave it until later. Remember something you need to do on Email? Jot it down. Yes, it can wait. Don’t let others decide how your day is going to go for you. Take charge and stand firm. Write.
Another thing, I hope you’re taking good care of yourself. How your mind works hinges on how you take care of your body and mind. It’s a shame I have to mention it, but coffee alone is not breakfast. To, eat well, drink water, exercise, skip the alcohol and caffeine (most of it anyway) and if you don’t think you’re getting enough of the right stuff in your food, add a good broad-spectrum supplement. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll feel better and think more clearly and that’s what writing is all about, right? Clear mind, great story.
And don’t forget to take breaks – often. We so frequently get wrapped up in what we’re writing we forget to simply step away from the computer, get a glass of water or cup of tea. Get up for heaven’s sakes. Stretch. Take a short walk if you can. Get a stationary bike (I did and love it for my ‘quickie’ breaks). I also walk up and down the stairs and do easy stretches in my office. It refocuses, makes me feel good, and yes, science is on our side in this, the person who takes frequent breaks outperforms the foolish folks who sit transfixed like lumps at their computers. Have an adjustable desk as well – what a great thing! I can stand or sit and the desk goes with me. A Varidesk.
Just got back from walking up and down the stairs a couple of times. So, what are you going to do? Got little tips for writers to keep moving? Share them in the comments below.