Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Links of Interest

FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE IN DESCRIBING YOUR CHARACTER’S ACTIONS: 


CREATING A HOOK THAT WORKS:


HANDLING MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES:


GETTING MORE READS ON YOUR FACEBOOK POSTS:


FORENSICS, DNA AND MULTIPLE RAPISTS:


CREATING A STRONG PREMISE FOR YOUR NOVEL:


WORLDBUILDING AN ARMY:


GRAMMAR REVIEW, THE PASSIVE VOICE:


THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A CRITIQUE PARTNER:


SELF-PUBS, GETTING THE FORMATTING CORRECT:


CREATING A REVISION PLAN:


CREATING A LAUNCH TEAM FOR YOUR BOOK:


ANOTHER REVISION METHOD:


BOOK MARKETING MISTAKES:


FIGURING OUT THE WHY OF THE SCENE SO YOU CAN GET IT RIGHT:


MOVING FROM SCENE TO SCENE:


USING HOOKS TO KEEP YOUR READER MOVING FORWARD:



Monday, February 23, 2015

So You Want to be a Published Author

GoodeReads has a blog article on a British survey that rates being an author as the most desired job.  Here is my comment.

When I tell people I am a published novelist, a vast majority tell me they will write a novel when they have the time.  

Most firmly believe that anyone can write a novel since celebrity idiots write bestsellers.  (They are ghostwritten by someone else.)  All they need to do is sit down and write to the finish which should take a few weeks at most.  They believe that grammar, punctuation, and spelling will be taken care of by some editor so they won't need to learn those skills.  The novel will then be sold almost instantly to a big publisher for a huge amount of money, become a bestseller and a major motion picture.

Sadly, these people don't have a clue and are shocked when I explain how many years it takes to learn your craft to be publishable, how many hundreds or thousands of hours you will be sitting on your rear in front of the computer while everyone else is out having a life and fun, and the classes you will probably need to hone that craft.  

Once you have a well-crafted novel, you will spend a few years, if you are lucky—most aren’t, trying to get an agent or editor to actually read some of your work. You will discover that you are not only competing with other new writers for a slot in a publishing schedule, but with writers who have been published multiple times.  

If you finally make that sale, you will most likely be given a pittance as an advance, the book will be thrown into the market with no advertising, no book signings, and absolutely no glamor, and you will be lucky to sell any other book because your book will probably sink like a stone into oblivion and you won't see another penny from it.  That is the fate of most first books.

Only a very few are able to escape that dismal ending to their dreams by making money and creating a true career as a writer, and the money is rarely enough to make a living so they need a supportive spouse with a lucrative job or a trust fund so they can afford to write full time.  

To be successfully self-published, you must hone your craft to the point that the traditionally published must achieve, then you must also develop the skills and soul of a used car salesman to shamelessly slog your books, and you must learn business skills since you are now your own business.

When I tell these would-be authors the truth of the matter, as I have learned being in and around the publishing business for over twenty years, they decide that they should buy a few more lottery tickets because they have a better chance at making big money doing that, and it's a lot less work.  


QUESTIONS, I TAKE QUESTIONS!  Contact me via the comments section of this blog or through my yahoogroups list.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Links of Interest

PLACES TO FIND CRITIQUE PARTNERS ONLINE:


WRITING A CHARACTER WITH QUESTIONABLE LOYALTIES:


WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START THE FIRST CHAPTER:


TELL YOUR CRITIQUE PARTNER EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT:


CREATING YOUR OWN PODCAST:


COPYRIGHT AND SETTINGS, HISTORICAL AND OTHERWISE:


CONTRACT CLAUSES, PROTECTING YOURSELF FOR AN EXCESSIVE EDITING CLAUSE:


THINGS YOU MAY BE MISSING IN YOUR STORY THAT WOULD MAKE IT BETTER:


SHOULD YOU KEEP THAT PROLOGUE?


AN INTRODUCTION TO SELF-PUBBING YOUR BOOK:


INSTAGRAM PROMOTION FOR WRITERS:


THE FIRST PAGES, GETTING RIGHT TO THE INTERESTING STUFF:


HOW TO SHOW WHAT A POV CHARACTER LOOKS LIKE:


TRANSFORMING THE BORING SCENE:


THINGS A FREELANCE EDITOR SHOULDN’T DO OR OFFER TO DO:


DIALOGUE PUNCTUATION:


AVOIDING OVERWRITING:


WAYS TO KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS THROUGHLY:



Monday, February 16, 2015

Character Change and Backstory

QUESTION: My main character used to be a bad guy, but now he’s not.  He’s gone elsewhere and changed his name.  How much of his past should I include?  Do I need to write scenes from his past?  Will readers believe he has changed?

If his past (backstory) is important, and it probably should be, you don’t have to include scenes of that past unless you think the reader wouldn’t understand him or his backstory is really complex.  Usually in a case like this, his past life must impact his present one, and backstory scenes are interlaced with the present day.  

Remember that every time a scene from the past is inserted, the reader stops dead to get his mind into the past then must stop dead again to get back in the present.  This kind of back and forth is not a good thing in popular fiction like fantasy.

Current TV shows that interlace the past and present are FOREVER and PERSON OF INTEREST.  This interlacing works better on TV than in novels because the viewer is used to sudden breaks in action courtesy of commercials. 

Backstory can be inserted easily enough during present time scenes through dialogue, thoughts from the main character, and events.   

He could be in a tavern to meet another character and hear a drunk nearby talking about his former identity's bad-ass behavior and think — “He'd piss his pants if he knew he was sitting a few bar stools away from me."  Then you could have another character say, "But (insert former name here) was decent enough.  He'd never fight around civilians and that time he rescued the child from the burning house instead of taking the money.  You wouldn't see (insert new bad guy's name here) do that." 

Sooner rather than later, you’ll also need to tell the reader why he chose to change.  Again, it need not be a huge info dump.  

As to whether readers will accept a bad guy as a good guy, part of this is determined by genre expectations from its readers.  A truly despicable character would never be accepted as a hero in a romance, but elsewhere readers have a lot more forgiveness about this.  In your reading of the genre you are writing, do you recall characters who switched moral sides and did it work and why?  

Two superhero movies I can recall where the bad guy turned into the good guy are MEGAMIND and DESPICABLE ME. The change in their characters was the story. 

And think also of Magneto in the X-Men series.  As a bad guy, he is morally and emotionally complex, and he's helped his former friend Charles Xavier more than once to save the day for everyone's sake. 

Usually, bad characters who change sides have already shown they are capable of good behavior with the bad behavior.  That makes it more believable.  A sociopath who changes to become a hero is totally unbelievable.  

The trick is making your character's choices and changes believable.  If you do, the reader will accept them. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Links of Interest

CREATING A PROMOTION PLAN:


STARGAZER OR NAVAL GAZER,  WHAT KIND OF CHARACTER DO YOU HAVE?


WHAT THE INCREDIBLE HULK CAN TEACH A WRITER ABOUT EMOTION:


TRIMMING YOUR NOVEL THE RIGHT WAY:


CHOOSING THE RIGHT SETTING FOR YOUR NOVEL’S CONCLUSION:


THE DIFFERENT WORLDS OF TRADITIONAL AND SELF-PUB PUBLISHING:


HOW TO WRITE A SUCCESSFUL SYNOPSIS:


RESEARCHING YOUR THRILLER:


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COZY, TRADITIONAL, AND AMATEUR SLEUTH MYSTERIES:


PASSIVE VOICE, WHAT IT IS SO YOU CAN AVOID IT:


HOW TO GET YOUR READER INTO YOUR STORY:


WOMEN’S FICTION, DEFINED:


WORLDBUILDING, CREATING A MAGIC SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOUR STORY:



Monday, February 9, 2015

Viewpoint in a Battle

You mentioned in your article on writing fight scenes that a good action screen should be told in the character's mind (viewpoint), but there's still a part which I hope you can clarify. 

I want to write an overview of what is happening during battle.  How do I do this?


One of the choices an author makes is what kind of viewpoint to use.  In a novel like a fantasy with lots of action, the advantage of using an omniscient viewpoint is that you can give an overview of a big battle.  The disadvantage is that all immediacy is lost because you aren’t in your main character’s head.  Readers today prefer the immediacy of third or first person viewpoint because they want to feel what the character feels, see what he sees, etc.  Omniscient is more cold, and closer to a camera watching the action.

You can’t switch back and forth between types of viewpoint at your convenience because doing this knocks the reader right out of the book, and that’s one thing you want to avoid at all costs.

If you use a single viewpoint in a big fight, you'll miss some of the action because one fighter can't see everything, but you'll have intensity.  If it is a long battle and you have more than one viewpoint character fighting, you can switch to the other viewpoint character in another scene. 

If you want the reader to know about what’s going on in the big battle, you can have your character end up on a hill above the fight so he can see how the battle is going, or he can talk to another character who relays this information.  

Study novels you've enjoyed where the novelist has really drawn you in during scenes like this.  Seeing how he/she did it is a master's class in writing. 

One particular writer who does great fight scenes and battles is Ilona Andrews who writes the urban fantasy series about Kate Daniels.  It is set in modern times, but the weapons are often swords, etc.  The author is a husband and wife team, and the husband is ex-military, and it really shows in the fight scenes.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Links of Interest

MAKING TWEETS EASIER:


HOW TO TELL IF THE EDITOR IS WORTH IT OR NOT:


TOO MANY VIEWPOINTS?


BOOK GIVEAWAYS’ PROMO VALUE:


CHARACTER TRAITS, THE BLIND SPOT:


WRITING ABOUT ISSUES:


IS BACK STORY SABOTAGING YOUR NOVEL?


TIPS TO STAYING HEALTHY AS A WRITER:


GETTING INTO THE STORY:


CREATING YOUR CHARACTER’S VISION OF THE WORLD:


REVISION, A METHOD:


HOW NOT TO GET YOUR BOOK LAUNCH WRONG:


WHAT BETA READERS CAN DO FOR YOU:


WHY MULTITASKING IS A BAD THING:


SOMETIMES YOU SHOULD TELL AND NOT SHOW:


CHARACTERS, THE HEART OF YOUR NOVEL:



Monday, February 2, 2015

The Writer and Taxes

For American Writers Only

Did you know that you don't have to make a profit to write off your
writing expenses?  You don't even have to be published or
contracted to publish.  

All you have to do is prove that you are a working writer.  This
can be as simple as having copies of your rejection letters.  

I'm not an accountant or tax attorney so here are some experts to give
you even more information on writers and taxes.


Writers and taxes, General Information:








Tax Tip Tuesdays, A whole slew of information:  


Deductions:


http://writersrelief.com/blog/2012/03/taxes-for-writers-expenses-that-you-can-and-cant-write-off/