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813 Posts tagged with the writing tag
5

There are times when I don't tell the entire truth when people ask what I do for a living. I will simply answer, "I'm a freelance writer," and leave it at that. I just don't want to hear myself talk about my books yet again because when I do go into the "author mode," I hear the words coming out of my mouth, and I sound like a guy who's self-promoting, and the word "undignified" pops up in my mind.

 

The fact is that I'm behaving like an idiot when I refuse to take an opportunity to talk about my books. I'm an indie author. Indie is short for independent. Independent means self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-supporting?the list of "self" coupled words goes on and on. If I'm not going to talk about my books when I'm given an open door to talk about what I do for a living, then I'm not really fulfilling my role as an indie author. It's not undignified to talk about my books. It's more or less a job requirement.

 

Even if your status as an indie author isn't your full-time occupation, it's still a business venture that you've entered into. You are no less an indie author with a total of $50 in royalties than if you're reading this blog post on the yacht you purchased with your royalties. So, if someone asks you what you do for a living, and you're a full-time accountant, is it okay to say you're an indie author because that's what you really want to talk about? Sure, just answer their question with a question. "Do you want to know what I do for a living or what I live to do?" It turns a mundane question about careers into a bigger discussion about dreams and aspirations. As far as I'm concerned, that's a much more fascinating conversation to have.

 

The point is you should take every opportunity you can to talk about your books. You're an indie author. It's your job.

 

-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

Evaluating Yourself as an Indie Author

4,957 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writing, business_plan, craft, indie_publishing, indie_authors, marketing_advice
1

The other day I walked by a secondhand store that had a big pile of used books out front. Taped above the stack was a sign that said the following:

 

Book's 1$

 

Ugh. This made me sad, particularly so because they were selling books (not book's), which are filled with words (not word's).

 

I'm not sure how it happened, but the misuse of apostrophes is everywhere these days. Here's a quick refresher course on how to use them:

 

Apostrophes denote possession or a contraction:

 

  • This is my friend Gloria's book (This book belongs to my friend Gloria)
  • Bad grammar is my friend Gloria's pet peeve (My friend Gloria has a grammar pet peeve)
  • My friend Gloria's going to be upset when she sees that sign (My friend Gloria is going to be upset when she sees that sign)

 

If you want to denote a plural, just add an s

 

  • These books are for sale
  • The Smiths are on vacation
  • There is one Gloria and three Michaels in my grammar class

 

Note: Its vs. it's is a special use case as I explained in my past blog post.

 

Note: Some English words such as cactus or fungus have plurals that don't take an s (cacti, fungi), but this is the general rule.

 

I know grammar is a foreign language to many people, but it's important to use apostrophes correctly in both your manuscript and your marketing materials if you want to be taken seriously as an author. It may seem like a small thing, but trust me, people notice. Just ask my friend Gloria!

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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IT'S Just an Apostrophe, but Don't Discount ITS Importance

More Grammar Pet Peeves!

2,054 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, possession, grammar_tip
1

Unfinished and Happy

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 29, 2014

I just finished the first draft of a project without actually finishing it. That is to say, I got to the conclusion of my main conflict, breathed in a feeling of accomplishment because I felt it hit the mark in every way, and then I wrote an ending I now hate. It's just wrong. The tone doesn't fit. The dialogue isn't in keeping with the rest of the book. It's just an ugly mess, and I don't care. In fact, I'm thrilled.

 

I'm not required by law to publish the work as is. I am free to change not just one word or two but all the words in the entire manuscript that don't belong. It took me a long time to come to the realization that I'm not judged for anything I write that isn't read by the public. Given that, I just write it badly in order to let it breathe a little.

 

What do I mean by "letting it breathe"? I mean a story can grow stagnate if you refuse to move forward unless you write it perfectly the first time. Forcing yourself to sit at the computer and painfully hammer out word after word at a snail's pace leads you down a path of resentment and bitterness for the story you once felt so passionately about. If you give yourself permission to write badly when you get stuck during the first draft stage, the story takes on a shape and form that you can tinker with, turn upside down, and rearrange until it's not an ugly mess.

 

If you find yourself unable to come up with the perfect ending for your book, don't. Come up with an imperfect ending. Finish it without actually finishing it. It's just the first draft.

 

-Richard

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

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How to Get Through the First Draft

After the First Draft

2,373 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, prefect_ending
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Lessons Learned from 3 Years as an Author-Entrepreneur - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn describes her journey since leaving her career as an IT business consultant and becoming a full-time author. 

                           

What Does Editing Look Like? Behind The (Crime) Scene at The Editor's Screen - The Book Designer

A detailed look at what an editor actually does to your manuscript.       

 

Film

                                                        

How to Get Noticed as a Filmmaker - Filmmaking Stuff

Make your own breaks.    

                                          

Podcast Episode 41: Writing and Making a Feature - Projector Films

Two writers talk about the challenges, disasters, and triumphs they experienced directing their first film. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Alternative Music Venues: Where Else Can You Play? - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Bars and weddings aren't the only places to play..

 

Music-making Advice from Musicians That Non-musicians Might Find Useful - Music Thing

A fun tool to help musicians and non-musicians find inspiration.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- September 19, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- September 12, 2014

1,705 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, music, filmmaking, editing, promotion, indie, movies, writing, advice, inspiration, musicians, filmmakers, author_tips, editing_process, music_venues
3

I'm not always a great story planner. More times than I care to admit, I just write without a formal outline or even a specific trajectory for a story. I just follow the creative mojo percolating in my gray matter. In perhaps the greatest example of an oxymoron, here is my plan for writing without a plan.

 

  • Meditate - Before you sit down to write, dedicate 20 minutes to quietly ruminate over the story. Limit the amount of light in the room. Find a comfortable chair. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, and focus on one element of the story in your mind's eye. Don't force an outcome or direction. Let your imagination take over. Things may get wild and go completely off track, but that's okay. You're not committing anything to paper. You're just looking for glimpses of logic in a storm of creative thought.

 

  • Journal the chaos - Keep a notebook and pen next to your computer (or have an extra notebook if you write your first draft by hand). This notebook is your story journal. Since you're writing without a plan, you want to track all the comings and goings of characters and plot twists. A quick and concise reference of what you've already written can help you keep things moving along a consistent arch. Just because you don't know where you're ultimately going with a story doesn't mean you shouldn't keep track of where you've been.

 

  • Leave things undone - This is the Hemingway method of writing. You should end your writing not knowing what's going to happen next. Don't give into the temptation to write until you can't contribute another thought to the story for the day. Leave when the thoughts are still anxious to jump onto the page. This will give you the perfect element of story to meditate on the next day and give birth to that storm of creative thought.

 

This is what works for me when it comes to writing without a plan. If you have a plan for not planning, I'd love to hear it.

 

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Organized or Unorganized?

Increase Your Productivity with Interval Writing

5,986 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, publishing, writing, story, fiction, drafts, craft, writer's_block
1

I recently received an email from a self-proclaimed "branding specialist" with the following subject line: Your invited: 7 Steps to More Dream Clients (workshop)

 

Needless to say, I did not open the email.

 

The workshop in question might in fact be excellent, but because of the grammatical error in the email invitation, my inclination is to think that it probably isn't. This is just another example of why it's so important to make sure your promotional materials are error-free. People are busy, so if you don't make a good impression immediately, they quickly move on to the next thing.

 

As an author, it's even more important to get your grammar right in your promotional materials because you're positioning yourself as a professional writer. If a potential reader (or reviewer, or book club moderator) sees errors on your website, author bio on Amazon, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, etc., what are they going to think about the book itself? If they see you've mixed up your and you're in the description of your book, will they want to read it? I probably wouldn't. And unfortunately I'm not alone in that way of thinking. Most readers care about grammar.

 

If you're confused about the difference between your and you're, here's a quick refresher:

 

YOUR means BELONGING TO YOU:

This is your book

Your writing is really powerful

I plan to be at your house by noon

 

YOU'RE means YOU ARE:

You're invited to my house

You're welcome to come by anytime

You're probably sick of the way I drone on and on about grammar (but I won't stop - ha)

 

You want to give your book the best chance possible of succeeding, right? So take a few extra moments to make sure your grammar is correct. It's well worth it!

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Grammar Gaffes of Olympic Proportions

Just Say No to Random Capitalization!

2,201 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, grammar_tip
0

I've become obsessed with crowdfunding projects as of late. It's something I've always wanted to attempt one day. It's a prospect that scares and intrigues me all at once. It's scary because if you fail, you fail in a very public arena. It's intriguing because if you succeed, it gives you a platform to draw more attention to your book.

 

Here are three elements of crowdfunding that I've observed over these several months of obsessively following projects here and there:

 

1. You aren't the focus - If you ask for people to financially support your project because it's something you've always dreamed of doing, no one beyond family and close friends will donate. The more you make the project about you, the more people will skip getting involved. The project, in this case, is related to your book. Keep the focus on your book.

 

2. Always be thankful - Be grateful every step of the way. When you appreciate the individuals who are supporting your crowdfunding project, they'll get enthusiastic. They'll be more inclined to spread the word and help you find more supporters for your project.

 

3. Simple and quirky wins - The quirkier the creative project the better. People like to talk about quirky projects. The more people talk about your project, the more people want to be involved. It's just the nature of the unusual. The trick is to keep it simple at the same time. If people don't understand what you're trying to accomplish, they're more than likely going to reject any involvement in your project.

 

If anyone out there has gone the crowdfunding route for a book launch or film based on your book, I'd love to know what your experience was like.

 

-Richard

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

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Social Networking Sells Your Brand

Take Control with Marketing Central

2,126 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, crowdfunding
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Ways to Beat Average - with Missy Tippens - The Seekers

The temptation to settle for a good word choice instead of the perfect word choice is always present when you're working on a book-length project. 

                           

6 Steps to Overcoming Social Media Writer's Block - Digital Book World

How to get over those moments when you just don't feel like promoting yourself on social media.       

 

Film

                                                        

Cameras Don't Make Movies, People Do - The Black and Blue

It's all about knowing how to use the camera you have.    

                                          

The Creative Process According to Francis Ford Coppola - Filmmaker IQ

The filmmaking legend says the writing is the most challenging part of filmmaking. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music Publicity Tips: Three Great Pieces of Advice - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Let them know you're a perk, not a pest.

 

If Not Now, When? - Start Singing NOW! - From the Front of the Choir

There is no time like the present to go after your dreams.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- September 12, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- September 5, 2014

1,897 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, music, filmmaking, author, indie, writers, writing, films, social, draft, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, singers, writer's_block, music_piblicity, creative_process
2

I think we have to come up with a different word for what we all do. We don't just write. We invent. We research. We consume large quantities of coffee. We battle angst and doubt over every little word. And we spend huge chunks of time reading what we've already written. At least I do. In fact, when all is said and done, I would say that I have spent more hours reading a book I've written than I have actually spent physically writing it.

 

If I didn't know better, I'd say all this reading is a waste of time. But I honestly don't think it is. Reading and re-reading a novel as I'm writing it burns a story into my brain. The more I read the pages I've written, the more attached I become to the vision of it. Eventually, that vision more or less grows on its own.

 

I can't say for sure, but I think this organic growth of story happens in the re-reading of it every day because the tone of the book becomes second nature to me. I absorb the tone and keep it consistent throughout the writing.

 

Tone is perhaps the most underrated aspect of a story. With the wrong tone, a story goes nowhere. Without a consistent tone, a story goes nowhere. Reading material I've already contributed to a novel helps me fine-tune and keep the same tone throughout a story.

 

As far as finding a different word for what we do, I have no idea what the solution is. I'm thrilled to be labeled a writer. I just wish people understood that the act of writing is actually a very small part of what we do. We are, in essence, storysmiths.

 

-Richard

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

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Avoid Gratuitous Material

Change It Up!

4,847 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, book, writers, publishing, writing, story, draft, craft, tone, character_development, writing_tips, character_arc, author_advice
0

Testify!

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 15, 2014

I recently read an excellent book by an indie author, and I let the world know about it. I posted a review on my blog, Amazon and Goodreads. I posted about it on Facebook. I basically shouted from the mountain tops about the book.

 

I didn't personally know the author of the book. I wasn't compelled to act the way I did to help out a friend. I wanted people to know about an excellent story that was masterfully written. If I had done this in a church, it would be called testifying. And that's exactly what I did.

 

The author reached out to me a few days after I binge-reviewed his book. Turns out, we have a lot in common, and we've since become very good virtual friends. This new connection has introduced me to some of his readers, and they've now expressed an interest in reading my books. Some of my readers have contacted me and thanked me for letting them know about this author's book. They felt the same way about it I did.

 

I decided to share this experience with you as a case study of what can happen when you testify about a good book written by an indie author. I did what I did for no other reason than I read a good book. The indie author reacted the way he did for no other reason than he was appreciative of my efforts to let others know about his book. Neither one of us had ulterior motives, but yet, we both benefited from my enthusiastic review of his work.

 

If you've read a good book by an indie author, let the world know. You'll be surprised how much you'll gain by doing so.

 

-Richard

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

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The Three C's of Brand-Building

Make Some Noise

2,253 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, promotions
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Use Visual Marketing to Sell Books  - The Future of Ink

Have you been paying attention to your color palette?  

                           

How to Write a Novel with the Snowflake Method - The Creative Penn

Writing styles and methods are as unique as snowflakes.       

 

Film

                                                        

3 Ways to Rent Great Cameras & Cinema Gear with No Insurance - Noam Kroll

Noam Kroll has a workaround on how to rent high-end equipment without insurance.

                                          

Who Else Wants a Film Production Checklist? - Filmmaking Stuff

The plan that will help you get your film underway without all that chaos. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

3 Singing Exercises to Improve Your Vocal Pitching - Easy Ear Training

You've got to exercise those vocal chords to find the perfect pitch.

 

10 Music Bloggers Who Write about New Artists - Entertainment Divaz

Got a new release coming out? Here are some bloggers who may want to know.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- September 5, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- August 29, 2014

1,774 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, promotion, movies, publishing, writing, book_marketing, films, musicians, social_media, vocal, film_production, visual_marketing, film_camera, new_artist, sell_books
1

Affect vs. Effect

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 9, 2014

A single letter separates affect and effect, but that one letter makes a big difference. Here's a quick explanation between the two words:

 

Affect is (usually*) a verb. It means to have an impact on something, to influence, or to produce a result. Here are some examples:

 

  • This rain is going to affect our crops if it doesn't let up soon.
  • Please don't let her bad mood affect yours.
  • One minor traffic accident affected the schedule of everyone on the freeway.

 

*I say "usually" because in obscure cases affect can be used as a noun, meaning an emotional response ("a blunted affect"). I rarely see this usage, however.

 

Effect is (usually**) a noun. It means a result or consequence, an influence. Here are some examples:

 

  • The effect of all that rain was a spoiled crop.
  • Her bad mood had little effect on yours.
  • The effect of one minor traffic accident was a lot of missed appointments.

 

**I say "usually" because effect can also be used as a verb when it means "to bring about." A typical phrase in this use case is when someone (usually a politician) talks about "effecting change."

 

I know this can be complicated to wrap your head around, and I promise you're not alone if it's giving you trouble! I've found that a good trick for remembering the difference between the most common uses of affect and effect is this:

 

Affect begins with an A, and effect begins with an E. A comes before E in the alphabet, and you need to AFFECT something before you can have an EFFECT.

 

I hope that explanation is effective!

 

-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, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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I Hope This Piques Your Interest

More Word Mix-ups

 

4,714 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, grammar_tip, affect_vs_effect
1

Letting Go

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 8, 2014

A few books ago, I killed off a major character. I killed him in an awful, despicable, horrible way. He wasn't just a major player in a story line that spanned five books; he was a beloved character, by readers and by me. Shortly after I published the book, I got some angry e-mails from a few readers. They couldn't believe what I had done.

 

What they didn't know was that it was not an easy choice to make. I knew a full year in advance that the character would die. When the realization came to me, I literally had to sit down. I didn't want to do it. This character was an anchor for another character. He just made everything feel like it was going to be all right. Why did this particular character have to die? Because my protagonist needed to grow. He needed an obstacle that would fundamentally change him. Dealing with the loss was the most logical way to get him to that place of change.

 

I knew he was going to die before I started writing the book. It was on my mind night and day during the weeks that led up to the scene where the deed would be done. On the day I wrote the wretched act, I paced the floor in between writing stretches, and then when he was gone, I walked away from my computer in total mourning. I awoke the next day fully convinced I couldn't go through with it. I was mad for thinking I could. I sat down and read the scene. It crushed me, not because it was well-written, but because I knew I was going to keep the scene.

 

That feeling of loss and bitterness I felt was necessary. It was something I had to experience because my protagonist was experiencing it. It's not easy letting go of a major character, but if the story calls for it, it has to be done. You have to let go.

 

-Richard

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

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Write an Obituary for Your Characters

Defining Characters through Action, Not Description

1,917 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, character_development
0

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

 

Books/Publishing

 

Quick Tip: Conduct an Author Website Audit - All Indie Writers

Is your website working for or against you?  

                           

3 Ways to Pare Down Your Prose - Beyond Paper Editing

Some advice for nonfiction authors.      

 

Film

                                                        

6 Filmmaking Tips from John Cassavetes - Film School Rejects

The art of improvisational filmmaking.    

                                          

How to Generate a Sticky Story Your Audience Will Love - Filmmaking Stuff

Do you know the core of your story? 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Sing - The Definitive Guide - From the Front of the Choir

It all starts with opening your mouth.

 

Studio Headphones: Tips for Best Use - Judy Rodman

Don't forget the value of ambient sound during a recording session.  

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- August 29, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- August 22, 2014

1,971 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, selling, filmmaking, editing, indie, help, writing, nonfiction, social_networking, social_media, audience, singing, author_website, music_industry, filmmaking_tips, headphones
0

As writers, we want to make an impact on readers. We love to make readers sit up and re-read a passage because it was so moving or unexpected or – dare I say it – brilliant. What we don't want to do is write something that removes the reader from the story. If you include an element in your book that has no value other than to get a rise out of readers, that's referred to as gratuitous material, and it can kill a story.

 

Normally we associate gratuitous material as being overtly violent or sexual in nature. But, in this context the word literally means "being without apparent reason, cause, or justification." It can be applied to any component of a story that interrupts the flow of the narrative. Readers can be so disenchanted by gratuitous material that it can damage your brand.

 

As the author, you may not always be sure if what you've written is gratuitous or not. I've struggled with identifying gratuitous material in my own writing more times than I can count. It's happened so often I've developed a quick questionnaire to help me determine if the material is of a gratuitous nature. It's so quick, there's only one question.

 

Does the material make the story better?

 

I don't care if it makes it more shocking. That's not better. By making it better, I mean, does it compel the story forward? If it does, then it belongs. The nature of the passage doesn't matter. If it's a step toward the natural conclusion of your story or an important revelation of character, then it is not gratuitous.

 

What about you? How do you decide if something you've written is gratuitous or not?

 

-Richard

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

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The Power of the Mindless Task

A Satisfactory Ending

2,411 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, book, content, readers, publishing, writing, story, craft, writing_tips, author_advice
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