Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Links of Interest

CREATING AN AUTHOR BRAND:


KEEPING YOUR CAREER MOMENTUM GOING:


USING YOUR LOGLINE, TAGLINE, AND PITCH TO CREATE A STRONGER STORY:


THE CREATOR OF SMASHWORDS ON HOW TO PUBLISH AN EBOOK:


TIPS ON ORGANIZING YOUR OFFICE:


THEME AND CREATING A STRONG ONE FOR YOUR STORY:


ON SELLING YOUR EBOOK PRICES INTERNATIONALLY:


FORENSICS, YOUR DRUG HISTORY IN YOUR FINGERPRINTS:


30 DAYS TO A BETTER AUTHOR WEBSITE (I WILL NOT LINK TO THIS SERIES AFTER THIS):


WHAT TO DO WHEN AN AGENT OFFERS TO REPRESENT YOU:


WHAT DO READERS REALLY WANT?


THE HARRY POTTER LAWSUITS, A COLLECTION OF THE POSSIBILIES OF LAWSUITS IN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY:


HOW A BOOK BECOMES A MOVIE:


GENRE DOES MATTER:


A LIBRARIAN’S GUIDE TO DOING RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK:


PLOTTING 101, PLANNING YOUR PLOT:


HOW TO INCREASE YOUR SALES:


USING SIMILIES AND METAPHORS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR WORK:


THE AUTHORS GUILD ON LIMITING  HOLDING YOUR BOOK “FOREVER” IN YOUR CONTRACT :


SELF-EDITING TIPS:


RAMPING UP TENSION AND FASTER PACING:


I’M NOT A FAN OF FLASHBACKS, BUT IF YOU MUST USE THEM:



Monday, July 27, 2015

Writing a Memoir Blurb


QUESTION: Your article on writing blurbs was good, but it doesn’t really help me with my travel memoir.  Any suggestions?

The blurb article was aimed at genre fiction so I'm not surprised.  

First, study the blurbs of books similar to yours.  Those by the big publishers are your best source since the back cover copy is written by professional editors whose specialty is this skill.  Amazon is a good place to find them.  

What is it about each blurb that calls to you or makes you yawn?  

Are there certain words they use that says travel memoir to you and other readers?  

Do you see a formula like my character goal/personality formula that carries through many of these blurbs?  If there is, that's what you should aim for.

Once you have an idea of what your blurb should say, write it in the voice you used in your book to give it intimacy and to tell readers what they'll find inside.  

Find some beta readers who read this type of book and ask their opinion.  

If you haven't already, find some online site or listserv or whatever where readers of this type of book hang out to find beta readers.  This will also be your first go-to site to announce your book coming out.  

Make absolutely sure that your blurb has been checked over for grammar and spelling because any errors will be an automatic no-sale for many readers.

I hope this helps.  Good luck!


NOTE:  For other types of nonfiction, particularly self-help books, the blurb should tell the reader what the book can do for him, not what the book is about.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Links of Interest

CREATING A PROMOTION PLAN:


TURNING BLOG POSTS INTO A BOOK:


QUICK WAYS TO FLESH OUT YOUR CHARACTERS:


COSTLY MISTAKES FOR SELF-PUBS TO MAKE:


LOONEY TOONS GREAT CHUCK JONES ON CREATING CHARACTER AND STORY (VIDEO WITH SOUND):


CREATING THE OPENING HOOK:


IMPROVING YOUR EMAIL NEWSLETTER:


A SITE THAT DISSECTS BESTSELLERS FOR WRITERS (MUST BE A MEMBER OF FACEBOOK TO GO TO SITE):


THE PROBLEM WITH USING A FLASH FORWARD AT THE BEGINNING:


AN APP THAT HELPS YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT IS SELLING AT THE KINDLE STORE:


THE PROBLEM OF INTRODUCING AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER TOO LATE:


COMMON FIRST PAGES ISSUES:



Monday, July 20, 2015

How to Foreshadow

I'm sure you've watched a movie or TV show where a character is getting ready to open a door, and you just know that the killer is waiting for her. You scream, "No, no, don't open that door!"

How do you know something the character doesn't? Part of that is foreshadowing. The filmmaker has given you clues that the character doesn't have.

For a written story, an author doesn't have the luxury of using spooky music or atmospheric lighting, but she does have other tricks to give the reader the same sense of something lurking behind that closed door.

The simplest way to do this is to have more than one viewpoint in your story. For example, one character learns that the killer is going after your heroine, then when you switch to the heroine's viewpoint, the reader will be expecting something bad to happen.

You can also write from the bad guy’s viewpoint to warn the reader what he’s up to.

Another way is to embed a clue that the heroine sees but doesn't recognize as important because she's learning so much and being menaced at the same time. The reader will often pick up on the clue and recognize the danger.

A third way is to have your character more ignorant or innocent than the reader. A child may misunderstand a situation an adult would recognize as dangerous, and the person who refuses to believe a psychopath or monster is lurking will be easy prey in the reader's eyes.

A fourth way is a subtle use of language. Stephen King is a master of giving the reader the creeps when nothing appears to be happening but soon will. I recommend his ON WRITING which should be in your local library for more on the subject.

A fifth way is genre expectations. In a horror novel, the reader is expecting that scare so it takes almost nothing to make her tense as the character opens that door in the empty house that may be the killer's hiding place.

A common use of genre expectations is to set up a scary situation then let it fizzle, and the moment the character and the reader let their guard down, the killer makes his move.

Foreshadowing doesn't have to be about unhappy or dangerous things to come. You can as easily foreshadow happy events. The square shape in the hero's tuxedo jacket pocket may be a diamond engagement ring box, and he and the heroine are dining at a very nice restaurant, after all, so you and the heroine may be guessing which way the meal will end.

As an author, you must lay down the clues so the reader will think the worse or best of coming events.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Links of Interest

COMPOUNDING CONFLICT IN YOUR STORY USING “JURASSIC PARK” (SPOILERS) AS AN EXAMPLE:


THE VALUE OF BETA READERS:


ARE YOU USING TOO MUCH INTERNAL DIALOG IN YOUR FICTION?


NEGOTIATING A CONTRACT, PART 2:


KEYWORDS, CATEGORIES, ETC. FOR AMAZON AUTHORS:


WAYS TO CREATE CHARACTERS:


USING POV TO STRENGTHEN YOUR STORY’S CHARACTER:


AVOIDING DEAD END DIALOGUE:


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPAM AND PROMOTION:


CREATING A GOOD CHARACTER ARC AND AVOIDING A BAD ONE:


PARANORMAL SHORT STORY MARKET:


AUTHORS GUILD WANTS 50/50 ROYALTIES ON EBOOKS FROM THE BIG PUBLISHERS:


WORLDBUILDING, USING ANCIENT MAGIC:


USING SOME OF AMAZON’S MARKETING TRICKS:


A REVIEW OF JAMES PATTERSON’S MASTER’S CLASS IN WRITING:


WHAT EDITORS DON’T WANT TO SEE:


MORE ON GETTING SELF-PUBS IN LIBRARIES AND THE NONPAYMENT ISSUE:


THE ONE TYPE OF EDIT YOU REALLY NEED:


CONFLICT AND EMOTIONAL NARRATIVE AS PACING:


DENIAL AND BURIED SECRETS AS A WAY TO GIVE CHARACTERS DEPTH:


WHAT ISN’T SAID IS SOMETIMES THE BEST DIALOGUE:



Monday, July 13, 2015

Sex and the Single Alien

The sexy alien has long been a media staple, but it has never been an accepted trope in literary science fiction which has higher standards of accuracy.  

If an author tosses in a sexy alien who is not only sexually compatible but also offers offspring, she might as well give up any hope of having people who read "real" science fiction as readers.

Aliens, according to many scientists, probably won't look like humans. You can create a reason why aliens do look like humans if you want to. I did for my race, the N'Videri in THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN. (Note: ONCE is sf adventure/space opera so readers give you a bit more leeway than in standard sf, and I was counting on that leeway.)

In my worldbuilding, the N'Videri protected and nurtured those races who looked like them and pushed evolution for bipeds on certain planets so that they would have living camouflage for their own secretive presence in space. Humans, unlike many space races, were protected from conquest or self-destruction so they went safely into space.

It is extremely unlikely that a human and alien could produce a child. Human DNA has more in common with Earth grass DNA than it would have with any alien. 

Alien differences would also make breeding unattractive. For example, find two old pennies that are made of real copper. Wash them really well then put them in your mouth. The seriously nasty taste is what kissing Spock with his copper-based blood would taste like. 

Anything more than a small amount of copper is also toxic to humans and an effective, if hazardous, spermicide so there’s no way in heck that Spock would have been born even with scientific help.

Aliens that are essentially humanoid forms of Earth animals have their own problems. Fish reproduce outside of the body. (The female lays the eggs, and the male sprays his sperm on them then.) That's not exactly wild or possible sex for a human female. Lizards and snakes have a much cooler body temperature than we do. Part of the sexual excitement of the act involves heat.  A cold-blooded male in a hot-blooded female would be uncomfortable for both parties.  A hot-blooded male in a cold-blooded female might very well lose his erection because of the chill.

Aliens based on mammals have the danger of bestiality to be considered. Most of us are repelled rather than excited by reading about a human sexual encounter with a dog, big cat, horse, or whatever. Werewolves and other were-animals also have this problem unless they change into human form for sex.

I'm sure some people get their sexual buzz from all the above, especially in erotica which has little to do with logic or scientific accuracy and probably shouldn't, but any writer who wants their books read outside of a narrow category of readers has to consider such things.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Links of Interest

USING PARALLEL TIMELINES:


DOING A PHOTO SHOOT FOR YOUR BOOK COVER:


USING METADATA TO IMPROVE SALES OF YOUR SELF-PUBBED BOOK:


CHARACTER MOTIVATION:


HOW TO CREATE A SMARTPHONE “SHOWCASE” FOR YOUR BOOK:


HOW SELF-PUBS CAN HAVE THEIR BOOKS DISTRIBUTED TO LIBRARIES:


MAKING YOUR CRITIQUE GROUP FLOURISH:


MISPLACED MODIFIERS, THE SCOURGE OF MANY WRITERS:


SAVING A BUNDLE ON EDITING COSTS:


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CATEGORY ROMANCE AND SINGLE TITLE:


WRITING REALISTIC DIALOGUE:


GIVING YOUR CHARACTER A GOAL:


MAKING SENSE OF THE FIRST DRAFT:


CONNECTING PLOT POINTS:


WHEN THE STAKES AREN’T HIGH ENOUGH IN YOUR STORY:


WORKING ON THE SAGGING MIDDLE OF THE BOOK:


SELF-PUBLISHING PLATFORMS:


TELL BETTER, SHOW MORE:


THE DREADED DREAM SEQUENCE:


THE BIG PROBLEM WITH THE NEW AMAZON REVIEW ALGORITHM: 


SETTING THE RIGHT TONE FOR YOUR STORY:


THREE WAYS TO TEST TENSION AND PACING IN YOUR STORY:


BOOK MARKETING, STARTING WITH A SMALL GROUP:


USING LINKEDIN TO SELL BOOKS: