Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Links of Interest

SALES NUMBER CRUNCHING USING BOOK REPORT:


FAIR USE MYTHS AND FACTS (PDF DOWNLOAD):


USING PETS TO ENCHANCE FICTION:


COMPARING CREATESPACE AND INGRAMSPARK ROYALTY RATES:


REVISION, CLARIFY TONE AND MOOD:


REVISION, FORESHADOWING:


REVISION, TELLING TOO MUCH OR REDUNDANCY:


REVISION: THE NARRATIVE FOCUS:


REVISION, STREAMLINE THE DIALOGUE:


REVISION, HOOKS AND PACING:


WILLS AND COPYRIGHT:


BOOK PIRACY COSTS $315 M ACCORDING TO DIGISALES:


PROMO, AN AUTHOR PHOTO THAT DOESN’T BREAK THE BANK:


WHAT TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR AUTHOR PHOTE:


THE AUTHOR BLOG, WHAT SHOULD IT BE ABOUT:


BLOG ANALYTICS:


RATCHETING UP THE TENSION:


FORENSICS, ARSON:


MAKING YOUR CHARACTER’S INNER DEMON WORK FOR  YOU:


REVEALING CHARACTER TRAITS:


CREATING FIRST AND LAST LINES:


HOW TO MAKE SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF WORK:


TESTING BOOK BLURBS RESEARCH:


BACKING UP USING THE CLOUD, A TUTORIAL:


EDITING YOUR EBOOK FOR DIFFERENT FORMATS:



Monday, March 20, 2017

Choosing the Traits of Traditional Monsters

When you write a story about monsters, legends, and myths, you have to decide whether you’ll use the traditional information or not.

Part of your decision will be determined by the choice of magic or reality.  Are your creatures real in the sense they make scientific sense and follow the rules of the real world, or are they magic based so they can break all the laws of science and the real world?

Another part of your decision is whether you embrace all the “facts” about your creature or not.

Take vampires.  Some of the common folklore traits are


  • They are undead humans.
  • Bright sunlight kills them.
  • A stake made of a specific wood will kill them if it goes through their heart.
  • They prey on humans by drinking their blood.
  • They have fangs.
  • They turn into bats or some other creature.
  • Their reflection can’t be seen in a mirror because they have no soul.


In a reality-based story, some of these facts can be worked with.  Vampirism could be a type of blood virus, for example.

Other facts like shape changing won’t work without some serious fudging of science, and the matter of changing mass must be considered.  If a vampire can change into a bat, the bat must weigh the same as the vampire so the bat would need wings as big as a small plane’s to get off the ground.  

And then there are facts that make no sense whatsoever in the real world or a world with magic.  

If a vampire can’t be seen in a mirror because it doesn’t have a soul, does that mean that your clothes, toothbrush, and the wall behind you in the bathroom mirror have souls?  

I don’t think so, either.  

In defense of those who came up with this silly vampire notion, until the last two centuries, most people didn’t have a mirror, and the mirrors that were around were tiny and blurry.  

If you decide to change any of the important facts about your vampire or other creature, you need to give the reader some reason for your decision.  Your vampire can tell his new ladylove that he’s perfectly capable of walking in the sunlight, and the belief that he can’t has been a standard misinformation campaign by vampires for thousands of years so they can walk among humans without discovery and can take prey during the day without the prey being aware of the danger.


Whether you use the traditional traits or not, be sure to think very carefully about them so they make sense within the world you have created for your creatures.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Links of Interest

STORY STRUCTURE, WHAT IT SAYS TO THE READER:


WRITER TAX TIPS BY CPA:


HOW TO ENGAGE THE READER, PART 2:


A FIRST LOOK AT KDP PAPERBACKS:


PROMO, FREE BOOK MARKETING TOOLS:


SECURITY FOR YOUR WORDPRESS BLOG:


HOW A CHARACTER DETERMINES PLOT:


THE ANTAGONIST:


THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:


EXPANDING YOUR THEME:


PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS:


A BETTER AUTHOR PHOTO:



REVISION, TIGHTEN THE CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS:


REVISION, BALANCE THE BACKSTORY:


REVISION, FOCUS ON POINT OF VIEW:


REVISION, CLARIFY THE THEME:


REVISION, DEEPEN THE WORLDBUILDING AND SETTING:


REVISION, REMOVING UNNECESSARY INFO DUMPS:


REVISION, CLEAN UP THE DESCRIPTION AND STAGE DIRECTIONS:


Monday, March 13, 2017

The Reality Sniff Test

The comic urban fantasy started out fun.  The heroine had been a demon slayer in her teenage and early adult life, then she’d put aside her slaying tools and become a wife, then a mother of two small kids.  She’d never told her husband about her Buffy the Demon Slayer days.

Then a demon shows up at her home and tries to kill her.  She dispatches him.  Another, more powerful demon threatens her children’s lives, and he’s also in her home.  

At this point, she decides not to tell her husband about the demons after their kids or about her past because it would be awkward.

This is the moment when I stopped reading.  The author had failed my reality sniff test.  

Sure, this is a comic urban fantasy, and readers know that the kids will be okay, and the heroine will win against the demons, but the heroine has done something that, in the real world, most of us would find selfish, stupid, and unforgivable.  She is risking the lives of her young children.  

Books aren’t bubbles that have nothing to do with the real world.  Yes, we will accept wild premises like ghosts, vampires, and demons, but most of us enter a book’s world with our own beliefs and views of the world, and the author who errs in those common beliefs because she thinks that we will put them aside in her book is often wrong and loses a reader.  

When you are writing, consider the reality sniff test.  Do your characters act the way someone in the real world would?  Is that behavior acceptable in the real world?  Does your worldbuilding make sense in comparison to the way the real world is?  Does your world/society fit a society from our past, or can it be imagined as real?  If the answer is no to these questions or other reality sniff tests, then you need to do some rewriting.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Cast of Thousands Syndrome

Have you ever been at a party or professional event where you have met a small group of the attendees some time back so you barely remember them, and there are dozens of other people attending as well?

You stood there with a glazed look in your eyes as you struggled to remember the names and relationships of the people you've already met while even more people are introduced to you, and you have to figure out how these people fit in with the first group.

A nightmare, wasn't it?

Yet many writers forget how hard it is to keep up with characters in a novel.  They insist on starting the novel with a group scene in which all the heroine's coworkers are introduced.  Each character enters the scene, does a little song and dance so you have some idea of who they are, then the next one enters and does the same thing.  By the fourth or fifth character, the reader is in shell shock if she's still reading.  

Then, the novel opens up, and even more characters are introduced.  

Other writers of series, particularly paranormal romance series, have an ongoing group of characters--usually the happily married heroes and heroines of past novels who have to have a cameo or minor role--as well as the new hero and heroine to include with their  short term bad guys and minor characters, but, wait, the author really wants you to meet the half a dozen new hunks waiting for their own novels, heroines, and happily-ever-after as well as the bad guys waiting in the wings for their comeuppance.   

Some readers can keep up with all these people, but most of us can't.  Many of us reach a point where there's so much character clutter we can't connect with the major characters and the main plot so we close the book and vow never to read another of them.  

How do you escape this cast of thousands syndrome?

First, you must realize that while you spend many months with these characters and know them very well, the reader won't.  

Keep the introductions to a very few at a time.  Secondary characters should only be introduced when they are needed in the plot.  Those officemates of the heroine may play big parts in later books, but only the wacky receptionist who will introduce the heroine to her new love interest and play clumsy matchmaker will be needed in this book so only she should be introduced.

As great as the other characters are and no matter how eager you are to introduce them, don't.  

If you have characters from other books, don't bring them back unless they serve a specific plot purpose.

If you have new characters for the next book in the series, don't put them in unless they serve a very specific plot purpose.

If you are lucky enough to have readers wanting to know how Lance and Patty from your first book are doing and whether their baby has been born, you can write a short story or novella about them as a freebie on your website.  Fans love that.  

Many of us don't love the author tossing these former characters into the current novel with no other reason than to please a few fans.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Links of Interest

REVISION, CREATING AN EDITORIAL MAP:


SIMPLIFYING SOCIAL MEDIA:


APPS, TOOLS, AND PLUG INS FOR AUTHORS:


GROWING YOUR AUDIENCE:


THE BASICS OF A CHARACTER ARC:


CREATING A REVISION PLAN:


TRICKS TO CREATING CLEVER PLOT TWISTS:


PROMO, EVERYDAY MARKETING TIPS:


LIST O’ LINKS, MANY MOTIVATIONAL:


PROLOGUES, THE GOOD AND THE BAD:


HOW TO SPOT A PUBLISHING PREDATOR:


REVISION, HOW TO ANALYZE YOUR STORY’S STRUCTURE: