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939 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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Has it hit you yet? You are an author. No. You're more than that. You are an indie author. You possess something authors working under the restraints of a book contract don't possess. You have freedom. Freedom to write and publish whatever you wish. There is no one to tell you no or question your every literary move. You are in complete control.


With this power comes great responsibility. You have a sacred contract to fulfill as an indie author and that is to take advantage of your freedom and honor your independence. Take risks. Give readers something they could never get from a traditional publishing house.


I'm not suggesting you arbitrarily take a risk. I'm suggesting that you not always make the commercial choice. Write what your heart tells you to write. In essence, be true to yourself. It's what will set your books apart from other authors.


You not only owe it to you and your readers. You owe it to the industry. Change is the key to not just sustaining the publishing industry. It's the key to growing the publishing industry, and if traditional publishers are sticking to formulaic storylines and cookie-cutter characters, there is only one place that all important change will come from, you and your fellow indie authors.


So, I ask you again. Has it hit you yet? You are an indie author, and that makes you a pivotal part of the entire publishing industry. The constant state of change needed to keep the industry relevant starts with you.


-Richard

 

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

 

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Living the Indie Author Dream

 

Your Job as an Indie Author

 

 

 

 

103 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, self-publishing, writers, publishing, writing
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You never know when you're going to meet someone who wants to buy your book, so it's good to always have a copy handy. But not everyone carries around cash or a checkbook, so I highly recommend the following three payment options:


  1. PayPal
  2. Venmo
  3. Square


PayPal

If you have a free PayPal account (www.paypal.com), others who have a PayPal account can send money directly from their account to yours without a transaction fee. They can also send money through a credit card, in which case you can decide if you or they pay the transaction fee. (This is a judgment call you will have to make.) With PayPal you can also send someone a "payment request" via email, which is essentially a stripped-down invoice.


Venmo

All the rage with Millennials and also free, Venmo (www.venmo.com) account holders can send each other money on their mobile phones at no cost by entering in the recipient's phone number, email address, or Venmo username into the Venmo app. Payments can also be made through the Venmo website.


Square

With a free Square (www.square.com) card reader that plugs into your mobile phone, you can swipe credit cards for a small per-transaction fee. As with PayPal, it's up to you to decide whether to pay the fee or pass it along to the buyer. In my experience, most people are happy to pay a little extra for the convenience of using a card.


If these options seem like too much of a hassle, look at it this way: You want to make it easy for those who express a sincere interest in buying your book to do so. Yes, they can always go online later and order a copy, but even those with the best of intentions can easily get busy and forget. I'd put that percentage in the ballpark of...very high. Why take that chance?


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

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Marketing tip: always carry a book with you

A holiday book marketing idea


292 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, publishing, writing, payment, promotions
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Learning the ins and outs of marketing a book can be a daunting task. There is so much to learn and so few opportunities to put that knowledge to use. It takes months to write a book and weeks to rewrite a book and get it ready for publication. That leaves you a relatively short amount of time to put your marketing acumen to use before your focus is shifted to your next book.


You need to keep your marketing mind sharp, and the best way to do that is to actively market a book, but it doesn't have to be your book. Why not use that marketing know-how and market a book for another indie author?  Partner with another author, and share your knowledge. Not for payment, but for the experience.


I know, I know. You have your own book or books to worry about. You have writing to do. You have a day job, a family, friends, etc. Who has time to help another indie author market a book?


Don't think of this as extracurricular activity. This is part of the education of an indie author. This is how you hone your skills and grow your marketing knowledge. This is how you help market your own book. This is also how you create a partner. Someone who will feel the tug to help you market your book when you publish your next tome.


In short, this isn't more work for you to tackle. This is an opportunity for you to sell more books. 


-Richard

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


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Uniting author brands

Selling others sells yourself

211 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing
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There's so much more that goes into being an "author" than just writing. There's also rewriting, researching, editing, proofreading, etc. Then there's the marketing side of things, which is a completely different beast. Social media alone can feel like a bottomless well of "things I should be doing."


My proclivity is to bounce around between various functions, a habit I'm trying to get away from because I'm much more productive when I focus on one thing at a time. For example, I've learned that if I'm writing a scene about a dinner party and stop to look up a lasagna recipe to make sure I get it right, BOOM! Suddenly I'm checking my email, looking at my Twitter feed, checking flights to go visit my parents, making a snack, etc. My momentum is lost, and I didn't even do it out of procrastination.


Does this happen to you?


One trick I've learned to keep myself focused is to use ALL CAPS to remind myself that I need to look something up later. For example, my pages might be sprinkled with the following:


  • INSERT SOMETHING ABOUT HOW TO PREPARE A LASAGNA.
  • HAVE I USED THIS DESCRIPTION BEFORE?
  • WHICH HOTEL IS ACROSS FROM CAESARS ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP?
  • DID SHE ALREADY WEAR THE PINK DRESS?
  • HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FLY TO PARIS?


In each of the above examples, if I'd stopped to look things up, I'd have fallen down the rabbit hole, guaranteed. By using the ALL CAPS technique, I can wear my writing hat now and exercise my creativity without interruption. Then later, when I'm ready to move to a new function, I can put on my research or editing hat, revisit those caps, and get back to work.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Three writing tips for aspiring authors

Writing tip: Start before you're ready

453 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writing, book_marketing, productivity
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Make a change

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 13, 2017

I have been experiencing a bit of a dry spell lately. To be frank, I have been inundated by stress. I have a strong suspicion that I'm not alone on this. We all face stress, and we all deal with it in different ways. Writing used to be how I dealt with it, but when you sit down at the keyboard and nothing of significance happens, a new kind of stress hits you, and it compounds your problem. Your confidence in your imagination begins to slip, and there is nothing worse for a writer to face than a lack of confidence.


Then a few days ago a funny thing happened on my way to total self-annihilation. I took a train trip. This is not my normal mode of transportation. I normally jump in my car and hit the highways, but it just made more sense for me to take the train for this particular excursion. As I sat in my back-gnarling seat, a flash of an image came to me. It happened quite by accident. I didn't take my seat with the purpose of jump starting my imagination, but there it was, a genuine story idea.


So, why did it happen? How did this story come to me? I can't say for sure, but I think it's because I made a change to my normal routine. I found myself in an unfamiliar setting, one where I lacked any kind of control over my environment, and my brain just sort of reset. That's the only way I can explain it.


Here's my advice to you if you are so stressed that you can't write. Make a change. One in which you give up control of your surroundings. One in which you are forced to be a simple "passenger." If my theory is right, your brain will reset, and your writer's block will come tumbling down.


-Richard

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


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How to Kick-Start Creativity

Write o'clock

662 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, stress, writer's_block
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Word count

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 8, 2017

Years ago I struck up a conversation with a writer who proceeded to tell me about her book. As I am wont to do, I asked her the word count of her manuscript. She answered, "Penguin." I should mention that she was French, and there was clearly a language barrier. After a long awkward pause in the conversation, I asked the question again and got a less satisfying answer. She didn't know.

 

I tell you this story to point out that if you ever talk to me about your book, I am going to ask you the word count of your book. To me, word count matters. It tells me a lot about you as a writer and it also gives me a little insight into your book.

 

Knowing the word count of your book, tells me you've paid attention to the construction of your book. Depending on your answer, it tells me if you've abided by the unwritten rules of word count when it comes to genre. It tells me how engaged you are as a writer. 

 

There are a few times where word count isn't a huge deal. If you've written an illustrated children's book, word count doesn't matter. If you've written a book of poetry, word count isn't an issue. The same is true of graphic novels, and a select few other genres.

 

Know the word count of your book, especially if you're going to spend an evening with other authors. If someone with a publishing background asks you how long your book is, don't give them a page count or number of chapters. And whatever you do, don't answer penguin. 

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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General Word Count Guidelines

Using Word Count to Stay on Track

778 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, genre, word_count, writing_tips, author_advice
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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is here! Aspiring authors around the world are challenging themselves to complete the first draft of a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. That's no easy feat, especially if you have a day job, but it can be done. The key is to put yourself on a schedule and stick to it.


For example, you could be:


A)   Writing 1,600-1,700 words each day, including weekends

B)   Writing 2,500 words each Saturday and Sunday, plus 1,300-1,400 words each weekday

C)   Writing 5,000 words each weekend, plus 1,300-1,400 words each weekday

D)  Pounding out 12,500 words each weekend


When I'm writing a novel, I give myself a daily word count quota, Monday through Friday, and don't let myself go sleep until I've reached it. That way I don't get behind and stress myself out. (I tend to get stressed out easily, so this approach works for me.) If I wrote on the weekends, my daily quota would be considerably lower, but I need that mental break to stay fresh and engaged. Other writers prefer writing every single day. Do you see my point? We're all different, and that's perfectly fine! What's the point of trying to conform to someone else's schedule if it doesn't work for you?


Some authors like to put a detailed outline in place first before they write a single word, while others say outlines are a complete waste of time. Again, I believe that you should do what works for your creative spirit and not worry about what anyone else says. Writing novels is an art, not a science.


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, please share your approach in the comments. I'd love to see how varied the responses are so we can all learn from each other!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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The Milestones You Should Track during NaNoWriMo

How to Write a Novel in a Month

 

390 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, nanowrimo, word_count, writing_strategy
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Setting goals

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 6, 2017

Before you set out on a journey, it's a good idea to know your destination, otherwise you'll never know when you've arrived. The same can be said about achieving your goals. You're never going to know if you've achieved your goals if you don't know what your goals are. It's just simple logic.


You can't develop a marketing strategy until you define what will make your marketing efforts a success. Well, you can, but you shouldn't. Not defining what your marketing goals are will leave you frustrated and unfulfilled. Marketing should be by the numbers. Meaning, decide how many friends and followers you want in your social media circle. How many books do you want to sell? How many views do you want for a video? Know how to define your success so you can celebrate and improve.


Don't choose arbitrary goals. As an example, don't simply declare that you're going to sell a million books and then design a marketing plan that you think will achieve that goal. That's not how it's done. Set numerous goals. How many friends and followers do you want to connect with in the next three months? How many groups can you join and promote your book over the next three months? How many videos can you produce and post over the next three months? Set a goal for every platform and segment of your marketing strategy. You have at your disposal a world of information. I am, of course, talking about the Internet. Do your due diligence, and find realistic goals. I repeat, don't set arbitrary goals.


Set your goals and know what you can count as successes along the way.


-Richard

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


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Setting Goals for Your Brand

A Marketing Calendar

478 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, marketing_strategy, setting_goals
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Set a goal

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 1, 2017

If you are reading this blog, there's a better than good chance you call yourself a writer. More than that, you love to write. It's a calling. We write because we feel compelled to do so. That doesn't mean we are always chomping at the bit to sit down and set words to page. There are times when we just don't have the physical and/or mental energy to do so. Let's face it, life is exhausting, and it can make finding the inspiration to write hard from time to time. The good news is there is a simple fix to those days when you just can't write. The bad news is it will take discipline.


Set a deadline. If you've ever participated in NANOWRIMO, you know the power of having a deadline. The key to making it work hinges on having a target word count. In the case of NANOWRIMO, the target word count is 50,000 words. It's a good start, and depending on the category and genre of your book, it's a perfectly acceptable word count. But if you're writing a fantasy novel, for instances, 50,000 words won't do if you want to meet genre expectations.


Once you have your target word count, set a daily word count total that is realistic. Only you know your schedule, so for me to suggest a daily word count would be arbitrary and unfair. My only suggestion is to not make it too aggressive, and when you reach the word count for the day, stop. Even if you have a flood of thoughts on where to go next in your story, stop. Walk away from a writing session knowing where you're going to start the next writing session.


To overcome those times you just don't want to write, give yourself a manageable deadline and feel the satisfaction of meeting your goal step by step.    


-Richard

 

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

 

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The milestones you should track during NaNoWriMo

 

Stage three of writing – the daily word count theories

 

 

 

 

547 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: publishing, writing, nanowrimo, craft, writing_advice, deadlines
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When's the last time you sent a handwritten thank-you note in the mail? When's the last time you received one? If you've sent or received even one within the past year, you're probably in the minority. So think about what a positive impression you can make by sending one when appropriate. Everyone likes to feel appreciated!


Here are some examples of where a physical thank-you note could (not will—no guarantees in book promotion!) make a difference in your marketing efforts:


  • A reviewer who has a mountain of books in her to-be-read (TBR) pile. A thank-you note for "taking the time to read my book" might bump your title to the top of that stack. (Note: be sure to sign the book too.)
  • The editor of an alumni publication that mentioned your book. Your thank-you note might open the door to other opportunities for coverage down the road, e.g. a profile, or an invitation to participate in a regional alumni event.
  • The organizer of a book club that has selected your book. People who run book clubs are usually voracious readers who love to talk about books - and about the time they got a real thank-you note from an author. The more people who talk about you and your book, the better.
  • The organizer of a book club that hasn't selected your book because there are too many books currently in front of yours. A personalized "thanks for considering my book" note might increase your chances of being the book club's selected read down the road.


Ask a hundred authors if there's a magic formula for selling books, and you'll probably get close to a hundred NO answers. But ask a hundred people if they like receiving thank-you notes in the mail, and I bet you'll get close to a hundred YES answers. So what do you have to lose? It certainly can't hurt, and, as a bonus, it feels pretty good to do something nice for someone else.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Use a personal touch when reaching out or following up

The power of a personal connection

585 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, thank-you_notes
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I am constantly in search of ways to build a brand. I come across article after article that breaks down the brand-building process into easily executable steps. I'm sure I've even written an article or two that features similar steps. Although, I hope I never presented the steps as easy. Granted, it's not rocket science, but building a brand is anything but easy.


One element of the process is particularly hard. Hard might be the wrong word. It is laborious, but it is a labor of love. I am, of course, talking about the quality of writing. Building a brand around a poorly written book is nearly impossible. I can sense some of you screaming, "There are plenty of badly written books that become bestsellers!" I agree, but those are exceptions to the rule, not the rule itself. An author who pens a poorly written bestseller or bestselling series rarely repeats the feat.


If you want a brand that will stand the test of time, you have to invest significant time into developing your craft, and you don't just develop your craft by writing. You develop your craft by studying the masters, attending workshops, mentoring other writers. You develop your craft by challenging yourself to grow as an artist.


A brand built on good writing has the potential to be more than financially rewarding. It can be utterly fulfilling. It is worth the investment of your time, and it will make the rest of the steps to building an author brand just a tad easier.


-Richard

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


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The foundation of your brand

That one thing

496 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, branding, author_brand
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My editor once told me that the way to write an interesting novel is to put a series of obstacles in front of the main character. A successful author offered similar advice: put interesting characters into an interesting situation, and you have the foundation for an interesting story.


These statements may sound simplistic, but they are also true. Challenges create conflict, and good stories need conflict. The way your characters respond to obstacles also shows your readers what those characters are made of, who they really are. That leads to emotional connections - positive or negative - between your readers and your characters, which keep your readers engaged. If they aren't engaged, they probably won't be your readers for long.


It can be trying to come up with obstacle after obstacle, but if everything came easily to your characters, where's the payoff for your readers? Without the struggle, what's the point?


When I wrote the first draft of my first novel, I gave it to a trusted friend to read. She told me that she thought it was funny, but she also said "Everyone is so nice." I took her feedback seriously and added in some not-so-nice characters to clash with, to present obstacles in front of, my main character. At the time I didn't realize that what I was doing was adding conflict, but in hindsight I get it.


"Seinfeld," my favorite TV show of all time, was famous for being "a show about nothing." That was a marketing stunt of course, because a show about nothing would be boring. The more things that get in the way of what a character wants, the more interesting the story. So torture your characters (figuratively or literally, depending on your genre), and see how they react. Your readers will thank you.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Quirks make characters real

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?

558 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, conflict, character_development
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I get that many (most?) people hate the "who vs. whom" thing, are convinced they'll never understand it, and wish it would just go away forever. If you fall into that group, here's a simple way to look at "who vs. whom" that might shed some light.


If in a similar structure you would use the pronouns I, HE, SHE, WE, or THEY, use WHO.


To illustrate, the following are similar structures:


  • WE live on that street. We are the people WHO live on that street.
  • THEY went to the movies. They are the people WHO went to the movies.
  • SHE will do a great job. She is someone WHO will do a great job.
  • HE wrote the novel. He is the man WHO wrote the novel.


If in a similar structure you would use the pronouns ME, HIM, HER, US, or THEM, use WHOM.


Again, to illustrate, the following are similar structures:


  • You can trust ME. I am someone WHOM you can trust.
  • You believe HER. She is a person WHOM you believe.
  • You saw THEM at the movies. They are the ones WHOM you saw at the movies.
  • You chose US to babysit your kids. We are the people WHOM you chose to babysit your kids.


While the above examples are straightforward, it's easy to get tripped up by more complicated sentences such as:


  • She is someone WHO I believe will do a great job.


It's understandable to want to use WHOM in this example, because it's followed by "I believe." But you're not believing HER, you're believing that SHE will do a good job.


Rearrange that sentence, and the correct answer becomes clear:


  • She is someone WHO will do a good job, I believe.


I hope that helps clear up the confusion!


-Maria

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


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Grammar Tip: Be Careful with Tenses

Why Good Grammar Matters

514 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar_tip, who_vs_whom
1

I know this a blog for authors, but allow me to jump into a discussion about a television show today. This show isn't just any show. It is perhaps the greatest show since Norman Lear's All In the Family. I am of course talking about Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad. Having binged watched the entire series three times, I feel like I have an intimate knowledge of each character, and as a result, I know why the show works.


It doesn't work because Walt is a genius who uses his brain to get out of the toughest spots. It doesn't work because Hank is a crack DEA agent with incredible instincts. It doesn't work because Skyler is a devoted mother who will do what it takes to keep her children safe. It doesn't work because Saul is the greatest legal mind in New Mexico. It works because Walt, in pursuit of doing a noble thing, commits horrible atrocities and ultimately puts his family in grave danger. It works because Hank is so single-minded that he bends the law to bring down the bad guys. It works because Skyler loses sight of the best way to keep her family safe and thinks she can safely manage a criminal empire.


In other words, it's the flaws of the characters that make the show so innovative and great. If they were good people who never violated common (and even uncommon) morality, the show wouldn't have lasted a full season. Remember that as you write your next novel. It's not the good that your characters do that sets them apart, it's bad they do in pursuit of good.


-Richard

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

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


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Character traps

Make Your Own Rules

558 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, character_development, character_flaws
1

Your author manifesto

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 11, 2017

If you've lost your way, it is time to take a stand. It is time to take ownership, to dive in head first, and shout out what you believe with passion and vigor...Well, don't shout it. Write it down.


Speaking as an author, I know how hard it is to build a brand and sell books. In a word, it can be daunting. You can get frustrated, even disheartened along the way when things aren't going as well as you imagined they would. This can lead to a lack of enthusiasm and focus. Your branding efforts will falter, and you may even be tempted to walk away from your dream.


Don't. Sit down and write your author manifesto. Turn that disappointment into passion. Why did you write a novel? What do you want readers to get out of books? Are you a storyteller that just wants to get characters from point A to point B or is there subtle commentary on the state of the world in your work? Write everything that writing means to you. Remind yourself why you devoted time and passion to writing your book. Feel that passion again.


You can do this privately or publicly. I leave that aspect of the manifesto to you, but be aware, if you choose to go public, you are inviting others to comment. That can be a vulnerable position. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a little nerve-racking.


Find that burning desire you once had to write your book again. Write your author's manifesto. 


-Richard


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


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Why did you write your story?

Quashing self-doubt



908 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: author, publishing, writing, draft, craft, branding
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