Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

When Things are Dramatically Complete

March 20, 2020

Photo: Kromlau Bridge (also known as Devil’s Bridge) in Gablenz, Germany

I don’t think anyone would argue writing fiction, whether it’s a novel or a short-story, is a craft. One that requires an adept handling of many elements. But what does adept handling mean?

Every author is different, of course.

Lately, like a lot of folks during this coronavirus scare, I’m stuck in the house…and I’m writing. I think it’s worth mentioning again that I don’t write to an outline. In other words, I don’t plan ahead before drafting my stories.

The reason?

It’s simple. I don’t want to know beforehand what’s going to happen. If I know the direction it’s going to take, it probably won’t be a good book, because I write to find out what the characters have to tell me.

If I already know, it will bore me…and I’ll likely bore the reader, too.

I shoot for an organic development that leads the characters, and the reader, to a place where each character, for better or worse, is somewhere new. Sometimes, like in the picture above, that might seem like it’s right back at the beginning.

But, if I’ve done it right, they are there in such a way they have grown measurably, and perhaps actually know that place for the first time. Dramatically, they are complete.

It’s Never One Size Fits All
But keep in mind that in fiction, just like in life, one size never fits all. Even the blank spaces, the things that are left unsaid, should be unspoken for a reason.

I’ve been writing for years, but I’m still amazed how stories evolve as you work on them. For instance, some of my writing comes out in long bursts of prose, while some seems to go on the page at a plodding pace. It can be frustrating.

However, regardless of the pace, I always consider two key questions: What is absolutely necessary to telling the story and, perhaps more important, how can the author know this?

A good story is an emotional labyrinth, after all, a maze you find your way through as the characters tell you about it. Well-done stories can transport readers and ignite imaginations…but crafting them is easier said than done.

The imagined world you create in your writing can be liberating. It can also be a daunting challenge. After all, if you plan to welcome readers into that world of your creation, it has to be somewhere they, as an audience, will want to live…at least for a short time.

Focus on the Details
World-building does not mean you have to throw everything about day-to-day reality out the window. Always remember…no matter where they are, people are people.

Build your stories around a core of realistic characters and relatable behavior, and it will make your imagined world that much more captivating. The more you can strategically and artistically throw in such content, the more engrossing your world will feel to readers.

Few things turn a reader off faster than a world that doesn’t make sense or, worse, refuses to play by its own rules. After all, readers give an author the benefit of the doubt when they suspend disbelief and allow themselves to live in your world.

Making the imagined worlds internally consistent is the responsibility authors owe them in return. As the writer, give yourself space to explore and discover your new world in the same way your readers will when it’s their turn to experience it.

Believe me, it will be an immense benefit to your efforts.

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The book-signing scheduled at the Leon & Lulu Books and Authors Event in Clawson on March 22, 2020 has been postponed. Please check their website for updates.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

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You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Do You Know the Most Important Thing About Storytelling?

November 25, 2019

readerPhoto Courtesy of Pexels

As I get ready to go full tilt into the holiday season with my family, I thought I’d mention one more time, to every wanna be writer out there, the most important thing I’ve learned about being an author.

It’s important to understand there is a difference between a good writer and a good storyteller.

A good writer is focused on the literal qualities of writing, but a good storyteller is someone who tries to see and appreciate the story in everything. As you can imagine, when you have a more open mind towards what is a story, your skills associated with storytelling improve, because you’re challenging yourself.

Write Often
The truth is, you cannot become a good storyteller unless you practice writing and telling stories often. How often you should write is up to you, but it should almost always be more often than you think you’ll be comfortable with.

For instance, I write a little almost every day. If writing every day feels like a challenge to you, please keep in mind one of the key benefits in writing often … whatever that might mean for you … is making a conscious effort to think about your stories. One of the biggest benefits I saw in my writing life came from writing daily.

Fairly quickly, I realized I didn’t write daily because I had inspiration, or always knew what was happening next … but because I was forcing myself to think about my stories. This, in turn, led to me thinking about my work and finding solutions in my subconscious. So, first and foremost, I suggest you ask yourself if you’re writing often enough.

Read a Lot
No matter what type of writing you do, you absolutely need to be reading. I’ve said this before, too, and it’s not an option. In studying the prose of others, you can learn how to craft a beautiful sentence, to pace a story, and create abstract meanings with personification, paradoxes, and other literary devices.

Finally, good prose teaches storytellers how to break all conventional rules and structures, and still tell a believable story, which is why you should always be reading regularly.

Look for the Story in Everything
As a writer, you should look for the story in everything. In doing so, you’ll often find solutions for your characters that didn’t seem to be available at all. You will discover they really are out there, waiting for you to find them.

Take some time to people-watch. Listen to the way they talk. Not only will it help you craft believable dialogue, I’m convinced you’ll find, within a few minutes, you can create an entire scene just from two people together.

Once you learn to pay attention and discover these everywhere stories, you’ll never be short of ideas, and your readers will find it hard to put your stories down.

Keep writing, and have a safe and happy holiday season.

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I will be joining other local authors signing books from 10:00am-4:00pm at the Rochester Hills Public Library Author Fair on Saturday, November 30, 2019.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

How Are You At The Fine Art Of Table Sitting?

June 17, 2019

What Waiting for Customers Can Feel Like (Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

Most indie authors have attended a literary festival, or an organized book-signing. It’s an integral part of the way the book-selling game is played. I’ve gone to a lot of them, and I often think I’ve seen it all.

For instance, I’ve seen writers trying to attract readers with giant bowls of candy (OK…I’m guilty too).

I’ve even seen authors dress in character costumes and props. At one event I attended there was a man dressed as a pirate, right down to the tri-cornered hat, sword, telescope and eye patch. I didn’t find out how many books he sold, but he certainly attracted attention.

However, most authors are not nearly so outgoing. Most of them are introverts, not necessarily all that comfortable connecting with people and selling themselves.

I’m the first to admit it can be tough. You have to be engaging, but not pushy. There’s a fine art to it. An eye-catching display can help, if it’s not too gimmicky (I like to use a plain white table runner, with my name and the prize medallion from one of my books on it).

I also always have bookmarks that display all my current books and where to find them outside of the event. They give the links to my web site, my Facebook page, other social media and this blog.

Conversation is Key
But even more important than accessories and links, is conversation. If you’re able to force yourself to be a little more of an extrovert, you’ll often find yourself in fascinating exchanges, first with the other authors around you, then with readers.

There’s a special reason I think it might help to chat with other authors at the surrounding tables before the event gets underway. Networking with those other authors may actually help you to sell your own books!

You may not have the specific genre someone is looking for, but if you could suggest an author who might, you’d be surprised how often that is reciprocated.

Be honest about your own book’s content, and if another author has something you know is closer to what a customer is asking for, direct them to it.

Also, be prepared to tell others if you’ve read an author’s book. A sale can often be helped along by someone saying, “I’ve read that. It’s really good!” It also opens the door for other introverted wordsmiths to recommend you.

A positive, outgoing attitude is necessary to sell books. You don’t want to seem like part of the furniture, because conversation is what converts to cash.

Have your own elevator speeches ready, be friendly, and you may discover a passion that exceeds your anxiety about standing beside a table in the public eye for hours.

You may be a fabulous writer, but who’s going to know it, if you never sell a book? It can make your day seem like a solo afternoon looking down a cliff.

So, make eye contact, be energetic, smile and look happy. You may even sell a few books.

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I’ll be moderating the Rochester Writer’s Group Meeting at Barnes & Noble in Rochester Hills, Michigan on June 18. Then I’ll be joining other authors signing books at Detroit Festival of Books at Eastern Market in Detroit on July 21 and at SterlingFest in Sterling Heights, Michigan on July 27.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered. So, please, let me know what you think.


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