Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Links of Interest

FREE STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR BLOG:


WHAT SCENES BELONG IN YOUR FIRST ACT:


CREATING THE PERFECT ANTIHERO:


CHOOSING BETWEEN FIRST AND THIRD PERSON:


HOW TO DEEPEN YOUR WORLDBUILDING:


SCENE STRUCTURE, BEGINNINGS:


SELF PUBS, WHAT IS YOUR PRICING PLAN (FREEBIES):


CREATING A GREAT AUDIOBOOK:


FINDING AND WORKING WITH AN EDITOR:


PROMO TIPS FROM BOOKBUB:


WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DISCOUNT YOUR BOOK:


USING GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS:


CREATING A COMPELLING ABOUT PAGE:


A REVISION CHECKLIST:


CHARACTERS, TENSION VERSUS ENERGY:


IMPROVING YOUR TWITTER PROFILE:


IF BLOGS DON’T SELL BOOKS, WHAT DOES?


THE BENEFITS OF OUTLINING SCENES:


ARE PAID REVIEWS WORTH IT?


USING GOODREADS TO THE BEST ADVANTAGE:


REPORT OF AUTHOR EARNINGS, BOTH TRADITIONALLY AND SELF-PUBBED AND WHAT IT MEANS TO THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY:


WHY IT’S GOOD TO HAVE NON-WRITERS TO BETA READ YOUR BOOK:


CREATING AND USING A WRITER CONSORTIUM OR CO-OP:


FINDING NEMO SHOWS HOW TO CREATE GREAT CHARACTERS:


SHORT STORY CONTRACTS AND BOOK RIGHTS 101:


USING SEARCH AND REPLACE WHEN EDITING:


WRITING THE BOOK BLURB:


EMOTIONAL FIGHTING THAT WORKS ON PAGE:


FIVE COMMON PROBLEMS WITH BEGINNINGS:



Monday, February 8, 2016

Getting into Your Character's Head

Creating a character is a bit like emotional detective work. You need to deduce what has happened to this person over the years because of the situations they've gone through then decide how that has affected them and how they react to different things because of those situations.

Let's say that your main character is a woman in her late twenties who has had a relentless stalker after her for eight years. Every time the stalker finds her, he will hurt anyone close to her, he will destroy her reputation and her job, and he will generally make her life hell. The police have been unable to stop him, when they actually try, so her only recourse is to change her name and run.

Imagine yourself as this character on an average day doing average things like meeting new people. What are her thoughts?

You and I would probably be thinking very different thoughts meeting a new person as opposed to your heroine.

You and I probably don't have an escape plan if someone threatens us. Would your heroine? How would she live her life knowing she might have to flee at any moment? Would her apartment be filled with memory items? Or would it be fairly empty of personal stuff? Would it make her messy or neat?

If something unusual happens, would she immediately expect a threat?

In your plot, what characteristics will your heroine need to survive? What characteristics would make it harder to survive to add to the tension of the story?

These are just a few questions you should ask yourself.


If this is hard for you, try to think of a character similar to your major character in a book, TV show, or movie you've seen that really grabbed you. That may give you some ideas, too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Links of Interest

CONTRACTS, THE DANGER OF NON-COMPETITIVE CLAUSES:


SCENES, THE TRUTH OF CHARACTER ARCS:


USING KINDLE SCOUT AS A BOOK LAUNCH TOOL:


MANAGING THE PASSAGE OF TIME IN FICTION:


WRITING MULTIPLE POINTS OF VIEW:


USING ‘WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?’ TO PLOT:


HOW TO FIX A PROBLEM WITH BACKSTORY:


CONTRACTS, THE AUTHOR GUILD FAIR CONTRACT INITIATIVE:


DRAFTING IN LAYERS:


BASICS OF WORLDBUILDING:


USING A SCENE TEMPLATE:


LETTING YOUR NOVEL IDEAS SIMMER:


THE PROBLEM WITH NO CONFLICT BETWEEN CHARACTERS:


USING TWITTER TO CONTACT RESEARCH SOURCES:


BOOK GIVEAWAYS:


BOOK MARKETING TRENDS:


ADDING CONFLICT TO YOUR SCENE:



Monday, February 1, 2016

Stupidity as a Plot Device

Writers often use character stupidity as a plot device.  In some cases, usually in humorous writing, the character is ditzy (charmingly stupid).  That’s fine if that’s what you are writing, but it doesn’t work in most fiction.

Even smart people do stupid things on occasion.  We run the yellow light when it’s turning red or open our mouth when we should keep it shut at work or in social situations.  Momentary stupidity is common in life, and it can be used sparingly in fiction without the reader rolling her eyes.

Stupidity where the character has a chance to think about what’s she’s doing but does the stupid thing anyway always fails as a plot device.  The heroine who has been in hiding for years won’t choose to be at a televised event where she’s likely to appear on camera.  

If she does and is on the kiss cam, and the mob realizes she’s alive and comes after her, then that’s a plot contrivance, and the author has failed.  

If, however, she’s on the scene of a horrendous car wreck and is caught on someone’s cell phone camera pulling a child out of a burning car, and that video appears on YouTube or the local news, then the writer has created a legitimate reason for her to be found.  

Writer laziness disguised as character stupidity is never acceptable.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Links of Interest

FORESHADOWING:


IS THAT SCENE NEEDED OR NOT?


MAKING A CHARACTER MORE LIKABLE:


WHAT A GOOD SCENE NEEDS WITH CHECKLIST:


EVERY SCENE SHOULD USE THE FIVE SENSES:


HOW TO EDIT YOUR BOOK:


CREATING EMPATHY FOR YOUR CHARACTER:


MATCHING ACTIONS TO FEELINGS:


THREE WAYS TO KILL YOUR STORY’S TENSION:


INCREASING YOUR STORY’S TENSION:


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHOW AND TELL:


HOW TO WRITE A BATTLE SCENE, THE BIG PICTURE:


BOOK TRAILERS 101:


ONE AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE USING BOOKBUB TO ADVERTISE BOOKS:


COMPARING VARIOUS BOOK GIVEAWAY PROGRAMS:



Monday, January 25, 2016

Using a Letter in Narrative

QUESTION:  In my story, important information is revealed by a character reading a letter.  What is the most suitable way to write it?

I’ve written this kind of scene a number of ways.  

When the letter is being viewed by the viewpoint character and isn't terribly long, I've put the text in its entirety on the page but separated it from the regular text by having a space break above and below the letter and an inch-wide margins on both sides.  (The inch is from your normal margin, not from the paper’s edge.)  Some writers put this text in italics.

This method works particularly well when the content isn't highly emotional for the character.  It also works when the character is alone.

For longer letters, particularly those with emotionally charged content, I have a character read it aloud as dialogue to another character.  At certain important points where the character or characters are emotionally affected or the content changes things in a big way, I'll have the reading character stop and express an opinion, feelings, or questions.  A bit of dialogue/discussion between or among the characters will also break up a long monologue to make it easier for the reader to keep up and not be bored with too much information.  

When the character begins reading again, I say something like "Adam continued reading," or "Adam picked the letter up again and continued."

Normally, when a character quotes someone else, you use single quotes to denote it.

“Gramps always said, ‘You reap what you sow. boy.’”

If a character is quoting a letter, and the reader knows he is quoting it, you need only use standard double quotes.
For other types of text used in narrative and for paragraphing in dialogue, check out these articles.




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Links of Interest

FIRST SCENE STRUCTURE:


HOW TO AVOID THE SIX MOST COMMON PUNCTUATION ERRORS:


CRAFTING AN EFFECTIVE SETTING:


THE TRUE NUMBERS OF ROYALTIES AND ADVANCES:


WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU BUILD YOUR WEBSITE:


IS THAT SUBPLOT LEADING YOU ASTRAY?


WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER ASHAMED OF?


SCENE STRUCTURE AND CHARACTER ARC:


35 SYNONYMS FOR RAIN AND SNOW:


FINDING AND WORKING WITH BETA READERS:


THINGS FANTASY GETS WRONG ABOUT FIGHTING:


USING BODY LANGUAGE TO STRENGTHEN DIALOG:


BLOG DESIGN:


LONG TERM MARKETING MODELS FOR SELF-PUBS:


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SETTING AND WORLDBUILDING: