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Last week, I attended CraftFest and ThrillerFest VIII, an annual event hosted by the International Thriller Writers (ITW) in New York City. Hundreds of writers packed the educational sessions that featured tips from bestselling authors and experts. Here are some things I learned about writing and marketing:

 

From Steve Berry, author of The King's Deception

  • Every single story must have structure. The beginning, middle, and end are equally important.
  • The beginning (Act 1) should be 20% of the book. In it, you establish character, conflict, and the crucible (the thing that gets a character to do what they'd otherwise never do).
  • The middle (Act 2) is 60% of the book. It should be a series of complications.
  • The end (Act 3) is 20% of the book. It includes the crisis point (the moment when everything comes to a peak) and the conclusion.

 

From Michael Connelly, author of The Black Box & The Lincoln Lawyer

  • If you want to write series fiction, forget about writing a series and just focus on writing one book. If you concentrate on not sowing seeds for future books, those seeds will be sown anyway.
  • If you have momentum as a writer, the reader will have momentum with your passages.
  • The history you create for your character will help you create future books. Layer in the character's past to plant seeds for your series (but don't get bogged down with backstory).
  • The best part of writing is that first draft, but then you have to assess what you have. Rewriting really makes books come together.

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The team with Michael Connelly

 

From David Morrell, author of Murder as a Fine Art & First Blood

  • Be a first rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of another author.
  • Writing is a vocation, not a profession.
  • For setting, choose a location and mine it for everything it can give to you. Forget about sight and concentrate on feeling. When someone says writing is one-dimensional or flat, it's because the writer is relying too much on sight, almost like looking at an image on a movie screen. If you incorporate two other senses, you'll create more textured details and make readers feel like they're more in the setting.

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David Morrell signs books

 

From Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, authors of Two Graves

  • Getting a writing partner is like getting married; that's where the real work begins. (D.P.)
  • Find a writing partner whose experience, knowledge, talent and discipline matches your own. (L.C.)
  • You need to be able to take criticism and have a thick skin. Check your ego at the door. (L.C.)
  • Rather than assigning chapters, assign sequences to each other. Then you can merge them and revise so there's no change in prose style and they're seamless.
  • With a writing partner, divide everything 50/50. But you'll always FEEL like you're doing three-quarters of the work. (D.P.)

 

From Leonardo Wild, author of Artificial Self

  • When you are writing, you should analyze what subtext you'll be bringing out in your turning points. You can achieve subtext by microdetailing, omission, or hinting.

 

From M.J. Rose, author of Seduction

  • No book is dead anymore. Every book is new to a reader who's never heard of it.

 

From C.J. Lyons, author of Blind Faith, winner of ITW's Best eBook Original Novel award

  • Every author has the chance to become the CEO of his or her own global publishing empire.
  • Here's the secret: Write a great book. Give your readers time to find it and tell their friends. Repeat.

 

From Kristen Lamb, author of Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World

  • If you're a novelist, you're a storyteller. "High-concept" blogging is universal, emotional, and it gives the reader something to contribute or take away. It has a higher potential to go viral than just posting about the writing process or "buy my book." You'll also be able to reach past the small pool of avid readers into the much larger pool of people who read more casually.
  • With a blog, you're creating something personal, emotional, and becoming a friend. If you can hook someone with a 500-word blog, it's not a stretch that you'll hook them for 50,000.

 

From Meryl Moss, founder/president of Meryl Moss Media Relations

  • Figure out how the material in your book relates to what people are passionate about out in the world. That's what you should blog about.
  • When marketing, build from the inside. Getting your regional audience excited about your book is still a good idea.

 

From Douglas E. Richards, author of Wired

  • People think that giving books away means less sales, but that's not true. You never run out of purchasers, and those people will lead to word of mouth. Everybody doesn't have to love your book, but the people who do must love it so passionately that they tell all their friends about it.

 

From Dana Kaye, publicist

  • When reaching out to the media, you should be thinking creatively. There are more ways to pitch yourself than just saying you're an author. Don't dismiss your background, hobbies, or day job - they're interesting and could be media pitches.

 

From Kathleen Murphy, media specialist

  • Get to the point within a couple seconds when working with the media. They won't have time to read long emails.
  • Video and audio is where everything is going on social media, especially video. The media and readers need to hear and see you.

 

It was great fun seeing so many authors networking, sharing stories, learning from one another, and getting advice from bestsellers. You may want to consider joining a similar organization that gives you the chance to collaborate with your peers. Next up, you'll find us at the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta July 17-19 and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in Seattle July 25-27.

 

Are you part of any writing organizations?

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-Amanda

Amanda is the editor of CreateSpace's educational resources and social media channels.

 

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The London Book Fair, Starring Authors

BEA Part of It: Book Expo America Session Takeaways

1,736 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, author, promotion, writers, writing, craft, social_media, trade_show, conference, thrillerfest, craftfest
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Ways to Use Pinterest for Book Promotion - Duolit

Is it time for authors to start pinning?

                                                    

Exclusive Dialogue: When Readers Don't Know What Your Characters Are Talking About -Wordplay

Is it ever a good idea to keep readers in the dark when it comes to conversation between characters?

 

Film

                                                        

How to Succeed as an Independent Filmmaker - good in a room

Sheri Chandler, online marketing expert for filmmakers, shares her keys to success for indies.

                                          

How to Promote Your Film Online -Film Shortage

Making the film is the fun part. Selling it is the real work.

                                    

Music

 

Tips on How to Make Electronic Music - Musician Makers

Before the machines take over the world, they'll get down and rock a little.

 

Music Crowdfunding without a Fanbase -Hypebot.com

If you don't have fans yet, how do you get people to fund your first album?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - June 28, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - June 21, 2013

1,474 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, music, filmmaking, promotion, movies, films, book_promotion, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, independent_film
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I often hear from authors who are frustrated because they aren't getting much traction with their book marketing efforts. However, when I dig deeper, I usually discover that their "efforts" haven't amounted to all that much. They just don't realize it.

 

Here's an example: a very nice man wrote a book about Jewish history, and he wanted to speak at synagogues to help promote it. He conducted an outreach campaign but said he got very little response and was quite discouraged. When I asked him for details about what exactly he'd done, he said he had emailed five rabbis and that two had expressed tentative interest and would let him know. Nearly two months had passed, and he hadn't heard from them again.

 

His strategy was a good one, but he made two big mistakes in his execution:

 

1)    Contacting five synagogues is not enough!

 

When I was an indie author, I contacted hundreds of organizations about my book. Only a small fraction got back to me, but over time I was successful because I cast such a wide net and kept at it. If I had stopped at the first five, I certainly wouldn't be where I am today. Just like sales, book marketing is often a numbers game.

 

2)    It's up to the author to follow up.

 

Even if two of the five rabbis expressed interested (and 40 percent is actually a great response rate), it is highly unlikely that either of them will get back in touch. Why? Because they are busy. People are busy, and despite their best intentions, the vast majority of them will flake if you leave things to them. It is critical to understand this. They may indeed be interested in whatever you are proposing, but it is up to you to keep the ball rolling.

 

If you keep at it over time, you'll be more successful in your efforts. I promise!

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

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Passive Marketing is Important Too

Marketing: Begin with Your Strengths

7,515 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, author, promotions, branding
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

What's the 3-Step Process to Marketing Your Book? - BadRedhead Media

A book release strategy from the 'marketing' point of view.

                                                    

21 Ways to Launch a Successful Virtual Book Tour - The Future of Ink

Author D'vorah Lansky shares 21 articles that are the basis for her new book about virtual book tours.

 

Film

                                                        

How to Secure a Shooting Location -Filmmaker IQ

Watch as indie filmmakers set out to legally secure a location for their short film.

                                          

Are You Good In a Room? -Joke and Biagio                 

Just because you're an indie filmmaker doesn't mean you don't have to pitch your film.      

                                    

Music

 

Music Industry Networking Tips - Musicgoat

Sometimes success really does hinge on who you know.

 

Voices and Allergies...Practical Tips To Quell the Mucous Monsters - Judy Rodman

How to avoid letting that cold invade your music.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - June 7, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - May 31, 2013

1,713 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, film, networking, indie, movies, writers, business, writing, films, craft, filmmakers
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How Not to Market

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 20, 2013

I spend quite a bit of time perusing websites and blogs that cater to indie authors. I'm always on the hunt for marketing ideas that will help catapult me into the upper stratosphere of book sales. Over the course of a few hours of searching, I usually find, at the very least, one or two strategies that are worth further investigation. I rarely come away bothered by a piece of advice, but I have to say this latest adventure into the world of marketing for indie authors left a bad taste in my mouth.

 

This marketing advice was not unethical. It won't sully an author's reputation should it be revealed he or she was using the strategy to sell books. It simply requires the author to abandon his or her style and preferred genre in order to capitalize on buying trends. The marketing expert in this case was recommending that authors examine a number of bestseller lists, find the types of books that appear there most often, and write a similar book.

 

What bothers me about that particular strategy? Call me naive or ultra-idealistic, but I believe writing should be done out of passion, not out of an effort to cash in on a trend. When authors write to chase the trend, they usually write without authenticity. Readers know when they're being pandered to, and those authors will probably leave them with an unfulfilling reading experience.

 

As in most areas of the entertainment culture, publishing trends are fleeting. By the time you finish your book that has the look and feel of the bestseller lists you checked weeks or months ago, there's a new trend on the horizon. You may have even wasted a lot of time on a type of book readers are now sick of seeing.

 

My advice? Write what moves you, not what you think moves readers. In the end, you'll have a book you'll be proud of and readers will enjoy.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Build Your Brand with Original Content

Catching the Vanishing Idea

3,398 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, author, promotion, writers
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The life of an indie author is sometimes challenging. I don't mean that in a negative way; life in general should be filled with various challenges. For the most part, challenges help us grow and learn, but some are more daunting than others.

 

The most seemingly insurmountable obstacle that indie authors face is time. It takes time to write a book. It takes time to edit a book. It takes time to market and sell a book. Sometimes, all that time requires a mixture of will power and faith to survive. The will power helps you endure the months ahead of you, and the faith gives you hope that there will be a payoff if you keep plowing ahead.

 

An easier path to take might be NOT to focus on the distance you have to travel to reach your destination. Instead, compartmentalize your journey and celebrate small victories. Write 1,000 words and celebrate. Edit 20 pages and celebrate. Sell your first book and celebrate. 

 

It may be cliché to say, but it's true: the journey is far more important than the destination. If you focus on what you haven't accomplished, you'll most likely miss opportunities to enjoy the milestones that get you closer to your destination. Those milestones are big deals, and they are worth celebrating. With each book you publish, you'll find other milestones to celebrate. 

 

Denying yourself the right to recognize your accomplishments along the way can turn you bitter and derail you altogether. You won't get to your destination because you will have given up long before reaching it. So, here's my advice: block out the distance you have to travel, and just enjoy the journey. 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Are We Tortured Artists?

The ?What If? Notebook

776 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, independent_publishing, craft
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Lessons Music Business Can Teach Authors - Beyond the Book

Can you become a successful author without finding fame?

                                                    

How Fiction Authors Can Steal Marketing Ideas from Their Non-Fiction Friends -Duolit

          Nonfiction authors have the benefit of a built-in audience. Turns out, fiction authors do, too.            

 

Film

                                                        

Your Movie Facebook Fan Page Is Not Big Enough - Filmmaking Stuff

Succeeding in filmmaking goes beyond making a great film. It requires rabid fans.

                                          

10 Lessons on Filmmaking from Director Ken Loach - Filmmaker Magazine

You can't bring your ego when making a documentary; it has to be about the subject matter.            

                                    

Music

 

Don't Make This Music Publicity Blunder - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

It's not about you; it's about who you're marketing to.       

 

For Music Discovery, Definition Often Varies - Hypebot.com

The way people find your music has changed drastically in the last few years.                 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - April 19, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - April 12, 2013

778 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, film, indie, movies, writers, promotions, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media
2

Last week, I found myself across the pond for The London Book Fair (LBF). It's a truly global exhibition, with people from all over the publishing world converging on Earls Court Exhibition Centre to talk books. CreateSpace had a booth there, and the staff who attended spent three days talking to authors about indie publishing. 

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Greetings from London!

 

A Lot Can Change in a Year


This was our second LBF, so it was interesting to see how conversations and attitudes have changed in just the past year. Many of the authors I talked to were already self-publishing, and they asked insightful questions about building their businesses as author entrepreneurs. Even those who hadn't yet launched their indie careers had already done their research and were at the show to examine their book publishing options. Here are some of the overarching themes I observed at LBF:


  • All About Authors: Plenty of authors attended the show last year. But this year, they were the stars, especially those on the indie or hybrid publishing tracks. LBF had more programming aimed directly at helping authors succeed this year, and the Authors Lounge area of the show was consistently packed. There really has never been a better time to be an author.

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Authors TJ Cooke, Mel Sherratt, and KDP's Daniel Cooper at an Author Lounge presentation


  • Digital Is Where It's At: The Digital Zone area of the show features the latest advancements in the publishing world, including indie publishing. Last year, this area had a solid, if somewhat quiet, presence, but 2013's Digital Zone was at the center of the show buzz. Publishers Weekly observed the same thing. With independent authors, self-publishing, eBooks, and emerging technologies consistently on the rise, my guess is LBF will give this area even more attention next year.

 

Next up, you'll find CreateSpace exhibiting at Book Expo America in New York City. If you plan to attend, stop by our booth at #DZ1757 to say hello! Until then, you can always find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Cheers!

-Amanda

Amanda is the editor of CreateSpace's educational resources and social media channels.

 

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BEA Part of It: Book Expo America Recap

London Calling: The Book Fair Recap

1,333 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, trade_show, recap, lbf, london_book_fair
1

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How WOOL Got a Unique Publishing Deal - Huffington Post

A self-published author called the shots and created a phenomenon.

                                                    

The Biggest Danger to Anyone's Writing -Virginia Quarterly Review

Do you have to struggle to be an artist?             

 

Film

                                                        

Peter Fonda: Independent Filmmaking Takes 'All the Heart You've Got' - Daily Camera

The man who brought you Easy Rider says it's not easy being an independent filmmaker, but it is so very rewarding.

                                          

Conversations in Film: Making Your Feature Film - Austin Film Festival

Independent filmmakers discuss what makes a great story and the struggles of making an independent film.

                                    

Music

 

Equipment Required to Setup a Home Recording Studio - Noise Addicts

If studio time isn't in your budget, maybe a home recording studio is. 

 

9 Tips for Singing Better High Notes - Judy Rodman

Have you mastered the art of forming vowels vertically?       

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - March 15, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - March 8, 2013

710 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, music, film, movies, musicians, craft, filmmakers
2

More Word Mix-ups

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Mar 19, 2013

A few posts back, I pointed out some common words and phrases I've seen writers get mixed up. Today I'd like to point out a few more:

 

What they say: That sweater really compliments your hair color.

What they should say: That sweater really complements your hair color.

 

What they say: The tickets to the show were complementary.

What they should say: The tickets to the show were complimentary.

 

What they say: I was just laying around doing nothing.

What they should say: I was just lying around doing nothing.

 

What they say: There are no acceptions to that rule.

What they should say: There are no exceptions to that rule.

 

What they say: You must except what they are saying.

What they should say: You must accept what they are saying.

 

What they say: The affect of the storm will be significant.

What they should say: The effect of the storm will be significant.

 

The above mistakes are minor on their own, but if you make too many of them, it's going to create a negative impression on whoever reads your book. That's why I strongly recommend hiring a copyeditor if you go the indie route. (I also recommend hiring a creative/developmental editor. See my post about the difference between the two.) If you can't afford a copyeditor, ask a friend, preferably one who is super particular about syntax and grammar, to do it in exchange for a nice dinner, spa treatment, etc. That way you can focus on the intended meaning behind your words and let someone else focus on the details.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Does Grammar Matter?

Everyone Needs an Editor!

936 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writers, writing, grammar
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.


Books/Publishing


Indie Authors Share 10 Golden Nuggets of Info: The ONE Thing That I've Done to Get More Readers - 30 Day Books

The readers are out there. Finding them is the trick.


Getting Lost in a Novel Means You're More Empathetic -NBC News

Maybe our marketing efforts should strike an empathetic chord in order to reach empathetic readers. 


Film


Screenwriting Tips for Low Budget Filmmaking - Filmmaking Stuff

Sometimes you have to be more creative by scaling down your imagination.


How to Get Emotion into a Scene - Projector Films

Can the Plutchik Wheel help you infuse your scenes with emotion?


Music


Promoting a Concert - Musician Coaching

In the world of music, a live performance is still your most valuable marketing tool.


How to Write an Incredible Hit Chorus: Songwriting Tips - Musicgoat

Memorable songs usually have a strong, stirring chorus.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - February 15, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - February 8, 2013

500 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, films, musicians, filmmakers
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In last week's post, I offered three tips for getting that manuscript done. Here are four more:

 

1. Be flexible.

 

If you thought your novel was going to go one way but find it unfolding in a different way, just go with it. This approach will result in a more believable story, as opposed to something forced or far-fetched. 

 

2. Use sticky notes.

 

You never know when creativity will strike, so it's important to jot down an idea the moment it enters your head. My short-term memory isn't great, so I carry around sticky notes to write ideas down as soon as they occur to me. I've learned from experience that if I don't do this, there's a good chance the ideas will be long forgotten the next time I sit down to work on my book. I don't use every idea from those sticky notes in my novels, but I certainly use a lot of them, so I know from experience that this tactic works.

 

3. Try voice-recognition software.

 

For those of you who hate the idea of typing your thoughts into a computer, why not speak them? You'd be amazed at how much you can capture - quickly - with speech-recognition software. This is a great idea for non-fiction authors who know their material inside and out because it's part of a business practice, regular speech/presentation, etc.

 

4. Be persistent.

 

Yes, an entire book seems like a lot. However, if you write just one page a day, in less than a year you'll have an entire book. One page a day. You can do that, right?

 

Yes, you can. Now's the time to get started!

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Four Forms of Creativity Fuel

Can Visualization Help You Finish That Manuscript?

1,887 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writers, writing, craft
3

A while back, I wrote a post stating that I am not my characters. What I tried to impart that day is that I am not a murderer or a mythical beast or a hired gun living 75 years into the future, but sometimes my stories call for those things. A few writers countered that they felt an author should become their characters in order to write them effectively. They take a kind of "method" writing approach to creating their characters. It's a valid technique, and I'm not here to knock it.

 

However, I do feel that I need to expound upon my philosophy behind character development. When I write, I like to pretend that I am sitting in my office with the main character. The character paces behind me while I type away on my keyboard and record what they are saying. I am never the storyteller when I write my books. I am simply a reporter taking an eyewitness's testimony.

 

Like any good reporter, I keep my emotions out of it. I don't judge any of the events or the characters. I simply present the story as it's presented to me. That doesn't mean I don't feel connected to these characters or don't feel the emotions they're feeling. I do. Deeply. But using the reporter method has allowed me to shut down that part of me that would hesitate to do what's necessary to tell a story. Storytelling can be an ugly, sometimes offensive business. On occasion, it is necessary to dip deep into the dark side of life in order to make a point. I have a hard time going there without censoring myself, but when you censor yourself as an author, you're not telling the real story; you're telling the safe story. As the reporter, I free myself of the need to censor the story and simply tell the whole fictional truth and nothing but the fictional truth.

 

I realize my "reporter" method isn't right for everyone, and I can respect that. In order for art to evolve and grow, it must be approached from different perspectives, and I won't proclaim my technique as the only or even the best technique. But, if you're stuck on a particular story because you just feel like you can't go where it needs to go, I encourage you to try the "reporter" method and remember to write without judgment.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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The Basic Elements of a Character Arc

Use Emotion to Propel Your Story

1,001 Views 3 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft
3

When people find out I've written four novels, they often ask, "How in the world can you write an entire book?" For many aspiring novelists, the idea of writing hundreds of pages is so daunting that it keeps them from writing even one, which is a shame.

 

Here are some tips for how to get it done:

 

1. Set a dedicated time each day to write.

 

When people say they don't have time to read, exercise, work on their novel, reply to emails, etc., I never believe them. The simple truth is this: If something is important to you, you make the time for it. So if you want to write a book, set a designated time each day - even it's just an hour - and write. No excuses.

 

2. If you get stuck, edit.

 

When I can't think of what to write next, I often go back and tweak what I've already written. That way, even if I'm not advancing the story, I'm making the most of the time I've set aside to write. However, be careful not to do this too often and/or let it turn into a crutch that keeps you from moving forward. If you take a deep breath and concentrate, you can usually come up with something new to put on the page.

 

3. Don't wordsmith; highlight and move on.

 

If you're satisfied with the general content of a scene or chapter (e.g. your two main characters get into an argument over dinner) but aren't entirely satisfied with how it reads, highlight the section and move on. It's important to keep the story moving when you're feeling it. Then if you get stuck later, you can employ tip #2 above and put that creative energy to work on the highlighted areas.

 

In next week's post, I'll offer a few more tips on how to get that manuscript done.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Should You Write Daily to Write Well?

The Rituals of a Writer's Life

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I don't write children's books, but my friend Raymond Bean does. He's the author of the popular Sweet Farts series, so I asked him to share his thoughts on the genre. Here's what he had to say:


I teach 4th grade by day and write children's books by night. I spend my days helping young readers sift through the book baskets and find the gems they'll want to read. Reading, writing, and sharing with my target audience has taught me a ton about the likes and dislikes of young readers.


Obviously, just like writing for adults, there's not a one-size-fits-all formula for kids. Taste in books varies wildly. I aim for the reluctant reader - the kids who read a few pages of a book, put it back, and repeat. They have a hard time finding a book they're willing to read to completion. They're finicky, set in their ways, and (in many cases) avoid reading like the plague. Of course, not all young readers are reluctant; in fact, most aren't. But if you aim for them, the eager readers should be a cinch!


Writing for kids is a blast. Relax, have fun, and trust your instincts. Here are three tips:


  • Kids love illustrations! It fascinates me how even the most basic illustration can really grab their attention. Adding just a few to your book can go a long way.


  • Your title and cover MUST get their attention. Some kids pick books up and put them back so fast the human eye can't even track it! Whether they're flipping through the book basket at school or clicking away on their e-reader, you've got seconds to get their attention. You might have the best book they'll ever read, but if your title/cover is weak, they'll never know it because they won't turn the page. When I wrote Sweet Farts the working title was Wind. I don't think it would have reached as many readers if I hadn't changed it.


  • Keep it real. It doesn't matter if you're writing realistic fiction or far out sci-fi. Keep your dialogue real. Dialogue that doesn't ring true with kids is a death sentence. If there's one place I stand my ground during editing, it's dialogue. I've had editors suggest changes in dialogue that make sense for adult work, but for a children's book it needs to stay. Your 10-year-old main character can't sound like he's pushing 40. If your dialogue is off, kids will drop your book so fast they'll be in the kitchen munching on Doritos before your book hits the bedroom floor.


I don't use illustrations in my novels, but Raymond's second two points are right on the money for writers of all genres, not just children's book authors. To learn more about his books, visit www.raymondbean.com.


-Maria

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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What is a Young Adult Novel?

Advice from New York Times Bestselling Author Guy Kawasaki

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