Monday, August 30, 2010

Dialect in Dialogue

QUESTION: I want one of my characters to be a boy from England. How do I get the language and vocabulary right?

Like the US, Great Britain has regional accents and expressions, and their language and accent is also affected by class and education so you need to figure out where that British kid comes from and what his social class is before you start your research.

Most writers seem to forget about class and region when they write, and I always snicker when the housemaid is mistaken for a lady, or the Southern character doesn't sound or act remotely Southern or is from the wrong part of the South.

Take care, though, not to be so accurate that your character is unintelligible to most readers.

The trick is to give the feel and rhythm of the language without making the reader scratch her head over the slang and expressions.

The Internet is a glorious place full of resources and the ability to contact people from all over the world so you should be able to find someone to help you with the specific language and sound of your character. Ask around on reader and writer lists or among your Facebook friends for someone from that area. If that doesn't work, do some Google hunting.



~*~

WORKSHOP

Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Links of Interest

Everyone is on vacation this week so I have few links to share.

BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: Nine must-have clauses in a contract for digital rights.


http://www.michaelastackpole.com/?p=1626


ASK A FORENSIC MEDICAL QUESTION:


http://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/


CRAFT: Creating powerful endings to scenes.


http://odysseyworkshop.livejournal.com/38040.html


SELF-PUBLISHING: Why "Publishers Weekly's" new catalog of self-published books won't sell books.


http://behlerblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/pw-review-sellout-goin-k-mart/




~*~


WORKSHOP


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.


Monday, August 23, 2010

You are a Loser: Prejudice against Writers and How to Live with It.

QUESTION: When I tell people my first novel is being published by an epublisher, they make fun of me and ask me why I'm not with a "real" publisher. Ouch! This really hurts me. How can I handle the put downs?



I've been at this business for almost thirty years, and I am an ebook pioneer so I've seen it all. The first thing you need to know is that whatever you write, whatever publisher you choose, whatever media you write for will have someone making fun of you.


From your fellow writers and publishing professionals, you will face sneers and contempt. If you are e-published, if you write for Kensington rather than Pocket, or paperback rather than hardcover, or if you write romance or erotica or mystery or science fiction or any other sort of fiction, you are looked down upon by someone, and that person has no trouble telling you so.


From the real world of family, friends, readers, and strangers, people will sneer at you for all the above reasons as well as a few more. Most people think Michael Jordan worked hard for his craft and has a natural born skill, but writers just put words on paper and anyone can do it.

Over half the people who learn you are a writer tell you that they are going to write a book someday, and they think it will be published instantly. People believe that most celebrities actually write their own books, and therefore, if that idiot can write a book, anyone can.


The most important thing to know is that THEY don't define you. YOU define you.


I've discovered that my enthusiasm can win over those blank stares. The trick is to believe in what you are doing and who you are. If you give those people with sneers or blank stares the power to define who you are, then you've lost, and you are nothing.


Instead, believe in yourself and what you are doing. Writing is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and if you succeed, then you are a success. Glow with it, and no one can belittle you.


If you need a bit of ammunition to fight back the various prejudiced comments, I suggest going clicking on the labels "real books" and "the writing life" in this blog's label section.




~*~


WORKSHOP


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Links of Interest

TWEET WRITING SKILLS:


http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2010/08/tight-writing-for-good-tweets.html


PROMOTION: Using book trailers to their best advantage.


http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2010/08/10/5WaysToUseBookTrailersToDriveSales.aspx


CHARACTERIZATION: The danger of making a nice character appear unlikable at the beginning.


http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2010/08/you-never-get-second-chance-to-make.html


CRAFT: Trying not to repeat yourself in your books.


http://writerunboxed.com/2010/08/12/copy-cat


QUERIES: How individual should they be?


http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2010/08/individualizing-query.html


CONFLICT: What it is and how to create it.


http://www.genreality.net/conflict


REFERENCE RESOURCES: Reference books an author should have.


http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2010/08/reference-book-essentials.html


CHARACTERS: Writing a male character.


http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/2010/08/13/on-writing-convincing-male-characters/


WARNING: Bowker Manuscript Submission services isn't exactly what it seems.


http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/08/bowker-manuscript-submissions.html


EXCELLENT NEW ONLINE THESAURUS: Shows by context as well as by definition:


http://www.wordnik.com/thesaurus


CHARACTERS: How a murderer acts after the murder.


http://margotkinberg.blogspot.com/2010/08/soany-regrets.html


QUERIES: Some really useful tips. I even learned something.


http://fictiongroupie.blogspot.com/2010/08/lessons-from-queryfest.html


BALLISTICS FOR WRITERS:


http://clarissadraper.blogspot.com/2010/08/mystery-writers-guide-to-forensic_10.html


BULLET INJURIES: Info on what a person can do with a bullet in them besides die.


http://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/bang-you’re-dead-or-not/


PITCHING YOUR BOOK:


http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/2010/08/pitching-beyond-plot_09.html


PLOTS: Series of blogs on plotting. Includes the basic Georges Polti 36 dramatic plots.


http://msforster.blogspot.com/2010/07/devious-plots-part-1-if-stephen-king.html


HOW TO START YOUR MYSTERY NOVEL:


http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/How+To+Start+Your+Mystery+Novel.aspx


CRAFT: Writing a dynamic scene.


http://www.genreality.net/what-is-dynamic


MARKET WARNING: For Macmillian authors. The publisher is sending letters to many of their authors trying to force them into signing away ebook rights. They are also trying to circle around authors' agents by sending these directly to the authors. MORAL OF THE STORY: Don't sign or agree to anything without the okay of your agent.


http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/08/publishers-behaving-badly-again.html


CRAFT: Improving narrative drive.


http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2010/08/17/4WaysToImproveNarrativeDriveInYourStory.aspx


CRAFT: A gimic or gimics will not carry a story.


http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2010/08/gimics-dont-make-good-story.html


FORENSICS: DNA Analysis.


http://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/microfluidics-and-rapid-dna-analysis/






~*~


WORKSHOP


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.


Monday, August 16, 2010

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? 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.



~*~

WORKSHOP

Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Links of Interest

QUERY DATABASES: Electronic ways to keep up with your submissions.


http://www.sfwa.org/2010/08/5-resources-on-tracking-submissions/


PLOT AND CHARACTER:


http://www.blackgate.com/2010/08/04/on-writing-fantasy-the-plot-thickens/


THE PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF PUBLISHING:


http://editorialass.blogspot.com/2010/08/moonrats-rundown-of-publishing-options.html


PLOT: Using backplot to make a scene and plot point work


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/08/find-your-plot-fridays-back-fill-those.html


MARKETS: Dorchester drops massmarket books. The important info. and an excellent editorial on the fall out.


http://behlerblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/beagle-pass-the-dorchester-authors-a-margarita-please/


PROMOTION: Planning a book tour. (Real world, not online)


http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2010/08/planning-book-tour.html


PLOT: Yet more links to discussions of backstory.


http://blastr.com/2010/08/6-ways-torchwoods-new-sea.php


TIPS TO GETTING YOUR BOOK IN LIBRARIES:

http://www.amarketingexpert.com/7-secrets-to-getting-into-libraries/



THE SERIES SYNOPSIS: What you need to include while querying.


http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/2010/08/series-synopsis.html


DIALECT IN DIALOGUE: Can it be too much of a good thing?


http://writerunboxed.com/2010/08/05/a-wee-bittie-dialect/


PLOT: The plausible premise.


http://www.kathiswritingnook.com/2010/08/is-your-story-premise-plausible.html


GROUNDING THE READER: Getting your reader into the scene.


http://kidlit.com/2010/08/04/grounding-the-reader/


POINT OF VIEW: Staying in the reader's head.


http://terryodell.blogspot.com/2010/08/wrapping-up-pov.html








~*~


WORKSHOP


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.



Monday, August 9, 2010

Writing More Than One Genre

QUESTION: My first novel was science fiction romance, and I'm trying to sell it right now, but I've got this great idea for an urban fantasy. Should I change genres?



First, are you reading both genres? If you're not reading a genre widely, you shouldn't be writing it. That clever idea may be a dead cliche, and you won't know it if you aren't reading what's being sold.


If you are reading both, here's the rest of the answer.


Realistically, most of us don't sell our first book or our second so trying out different genres will help you find your strengths as a writer as well as your weaknesses.


Having a second genre we're good at also leaves us less a victim of the shifts in trends. For example, many historical romance authors who couldn't write anything else lost their careers when the market shifted away from historicals.


From a professional perspective, the advantage of writing the second novel in a different genre or subgenre is that you can market both books at the same time to different editors. Selling a book is sloooooow.


However, the difficulty with being a published author who wanders genres is that you tend to lose fan base every time you switch, and you have the double effort of attracting new fans in that new genre.


Many editors and agents don't want an author who keeps flitting among genre because they are harder to sell successfully.


A successful author, these days, builds their fan base with each new book and builds their income by selling their new fans the back list. This is particularly true for those who write a series or who publish with small press and epublishers.


The authors who successfully write in different genres start in one genre, build a strong fan base with five to seven books then start a second kind of book. They do a book in each genre once a year.


As examples, think Charlaine Harris with her Sookie Stackhouse novels and her GRAVE series, Jim Butcher with DRESDEN FILES and his traditional fantasies, or Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle with her Arcane novels in the past, present, and far future.


These authors' book series aren't drastically different, either. Many readers are comfortable reading urban fantasy and straight fantasy, or contemporary paranormal mystery and urban fantasy with strong mystery elements so both types of books keep the same core fan base.


SCHEDULE NOTE: My apology that today's blog was late, but I'm dealing with a family emergency. Wednesday's link collection may be late, as well.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Links of Interest

SELF-EDITING: The stages used during the self-editing process.


http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/2010/07/self-editing-my-guide.html


EBOOK FORMATS AND READERS: A primer on the ePub format standard and how to transfer an epub book into your ereader.


http://blog.laptopmag.com/epub-primer-everything-you-need-to-know-and-more


US LIBRARIES AND EBOOKS: A report on libraries and ebooks from the State Library Agencies.


http://www.teleread.com/2010/07/29/final-report-on-e-books-public-libraries-from-chief-officers-of-state-library-agencies-cosla/#more-45657


COPYRIGHT: Resources on copyright, fair use, public domain, etc.


http://www.sfwa.org/2010/07/5-resources-on-the-public-domain/


PSEUDONYMS: The joys and challenges of having more than one name you write under.


http://www.ninc.com/blog/index.php/archives/another-me#more-5746


ART GENERATOR LINKS: For creating your own online avatar, spiffying up your website, or redesigning your blog.


http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2010/07/genart-ten.html


CHARACTERS: Making a character relatable for the reader.


http://lyndaryoung.blogspot.com/2010/07/character-relatability.html


PROMOTION: Perking up your author bio.


http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/book_marketing_maven/2010/07/perk-up-your-bio.html


CHARACTERS: What STAR WARS teaches us about character introductions.


http://www.plottopunctuation.com/blog/show/what-star-wars-teaches-us-about-character-introductions


WRITING A SERIES: Tips.


http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/Some+Tips+For+Writing+A+Series.aspx


PACING: How to increase the pace in your novel.


http://alanorloff.blogspot.com/2010/07/eleven-times-faster.html


POINT OF VIEW:


http://thewritersalleys.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-my-pov.html


BUSINESS OF WRITING: Setting up your writing business.


http://chipmacgregor.typepad.com/main/2010/07/setting-up-your-writing-business.html


WORDPRESS PLUGINS: Ways to add neat extras to your Wordpress blog.


http://just-ask-kim.com/top-10-must-have-wordpress-plugins/


POINT OF VIEW: The advantages and disadvantages of different types of POV.


http://terryodell.blogspot.com/2010/07/more-on-point-of-view.html#more


RESOURCES: Fantasy resources.


http://authorculture.blogspot.com/2010/07/resource-round-up-for-fantasy-writers.html


COPS AND SUPERHEROES: This deals with comics, but it's good advice for the urban fantasy author, too.


http://www.superheronation.com/2010/07/25/13-ways-a-friendly-cop-can-help-superheroes/


BLOG PROMOTION: Tips.


http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-to-attract-readers-to-our-blogs.html


PROMOTION: Using Facebook tags for book promotion.


http://onlinepromotionmadeeasy.blogspot.com/2010/07/facebook-tags-subtle-but-powerful-tools.html


AGENTS: Online resources for finding an agent.


http://debralschubert.blogspot.com/2010/06/have-you-done-your-homework.html


PLOT: Creating an explosive climax to your novel.


http://thedarksalon.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-makes-great-climax-elements-of-act.html


CHARACTERS: What makes a bad guy bad?


http://writebig.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/what-makes-a-bad-guy-bad/


CHARACTERS: Questions to ask in creating a main character.


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/08/shes-such-character.html


MARKETS: What RWA National editors are looking for.


http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/08/rwaorlando-florida-day-2-after.html


REWRITING: Advice on how to get started.


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/08/re-write-wednesday-on-your-mark-get-set.html


CHARACTERS: Creating a character others refer to but isn't there. (Think the dead wife in REBECCA.)


http://writerunboxed.com/2010/08/04/there-and-not/#more-4486


AUTHOR GOALS: Pitching your project according to your writer goal. Long, but worth the read.


http://www.genreality.net/pitching-based-on-your-goals




~*~


WORKSHOP


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.