Monthly Archives: March 2016

The problem of book theft …

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I remember when this happened. I wrote a letter to the company also and asked them to remove my books. They did, but as you said one goes down and another pops up. Thanks for sharing and I’m going to pass it along.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Close to two years ago, I discovered that my eBooks, both of them, were being listed for sale on a site about which I’d never heard before. They were not under contract to sell my eBooks nor was I receiving any payment for the nearly 1000 times the site reported my novel had already been downloaded. There was a link on the site authors could write to, if they felt their copyright had been infringed. So I wrote, asked them to take down my books, and … nothing happened. That’s when I contacted my friend Tim Baker, whose books were also listed on the site, and he wrote this blog post about our experience. Many of our friends also took up the cause, sharing this blog post and following up with more information as they heard of it – good friends like Chris Graham who blogs as The Story…

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Show Me!

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Show Me!

Helpful blog that needs to be shared.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Kristine Carlson Asselin

I’m often asked to present my workshop on the differences between “showing” in your writing vs. “telling” in your writing. I thought I’d share some of that workshop here, for you!

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Have you ever been told that you “tell” too much in your writing; that you need to “show” more? What does that even mean?

“Show, don’t tell.”

When an agent or editor says this about your writing, they mean:

  • Don’t just tell me the story…show me, using your words.
  • Place the reader INTO the story. This is especially important in first person POV—but also equally important in close third.
  • Use the senses to bring the reader along for the ride. Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell.
  • Use specificity

For example…in my first draft of a YA contemporary romance, I might describe the love interest this way. This is Telling:

  • I watched John walk into the…

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6 Steps for Writing a book Synopsis

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snopsisSince Princess Adele’s Dragon has now been published I have to write a synopsis of the story.  I decided to look for some help and found this blog by Marissa Meyer. It broke the synopsis down into easy to handle pieces. I hope you find it helpful.  Shirley    http://amzn.to/25lUOYM
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Confession: I enjoy writing query letters. I know that most writers loathe them, but I always thought the query letter was a fun challenge. The challenge of trying to distil your novel down to its essence, giving just enough information to draw the agent or editor into the story, but without giving away so much that the manuscript loses all sense of mystery.

However, I feel quite differently about the second-most dreaded item of many submission packages: the Synopsis.

The book synopsis is that three- or four-page snapshot of the book, that essentially tells your story from beginning to end while seemingly stripping it of any intrigue, humor, or emotional resonance. To me, writing a synopsis that could leave a reader still wanting to read the actual manuscript always seemed like a much bigger challenge than the query letter.

Unfortunately, it turns out that getting published does not necessarily mean we don’t ever have to write a synopsis again.

Last January, when it came time to my agent and me to start talking with my publisher about My Next Book (which was the Super Secret Project I wrote during NaNoWriMo last November), the submission package we pulled together was remarkably similar to the package we’d used to sell the Lunar Chronicles:

– A pitch letter (similar to a query), illustrating the concept and major conflict of the book.

– The first 50 pages, edited and polished to a glowy sheen.

– The synopsis of the book (although some plot points are subject to change).

So rather than whine and complain about how much I hate writing synopses, I decided to take the opportunity to embrace the synopsis writing challenge, and figure out a process for writing the synopsis that didn’t seem quite so painful and intimidating and, in the end, left me with something I was pleased to show my editor.

I’m not allowed to really talk about my new project,* so I’m going to use examples from the synopsis I wrote for CINDER way back when.

Step 0: Write the book!

If the book isn’t written yet, I feel like you’re writing an outline, not a synopsis, and I’ve talked about outline writing at length in previous blog posts. For the purpose of this synopsis-specific guide, let’s assume you have the book drafted out, or even completed.

Step 1: Skim through the manuscript, noting the important events of each chapter.

Try to boil every chapter down to just one or two sentences. What is the point of this chapter? What is the most important thing that happens?

Some chapters will be significantly longer than a sentence or two, particularly the opening chapters (as they tend to introduce a lot of information about the world and the main characters) and the climax (which could revolve around lots of complicated reveals and twists).

And yes, include the ending! From who wins the final battle to whether or not the protagonist hooks up with the love interest in the end. One of the main purposes of a synopsis is to show the full arcs of your plot and subplots, so don’t leave out those all-important resolutions.

Step 2. Embellish the beginning.

Just because you can’t use pages and pages to set up the world and protagonist’s character in the synopsis doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the reader a little bit of foundation to stand on. The first paragraph of the synopsis should give the same basic information you convey through the book’s first chapter: where and when does this story take place, who is the protagonist, and what problem are they facing right off the bat?

xample: LINH CINDER is a cyborg, considered little more than a technological mistake by most of the society and a burden by her stepmother, ADRI. But her brain-machine interface has given her a unique skill with mechanics, making her, at sixteen, the best mechanic in New Beijing.

Step 3: String your short chapter summaries together, using standard synopsis formatting.

Here, it will begin to look like a story, but an incredibly sparse and drab one. Don’t worry about that. Just focus on getting all the technical formatting stuff figured out, so you don’t have to re-write it all at the end.

Standard Synopsis Formatting

– Written in third person, present tense, regardless of what POV or tense the book is written in.

– The first mention of each character’s name is put in all-caps (so that they can be easily spotted).

Example: When she arrives home, she discovers her two stepsisters—arrogant PEARL and vivacious PEONY—being fitted in ball gowns.

Step 4: Read through, with a focus on plot.

Distilling each chapter down into just a sentence or two can lead to lots of apparent plot holes and lost information. Read through what you’ve written and check that every event in the story naturally leads into the next. Imagine beginning each sentence with a Because / Then structure, and insert further explanation or character motivations as necessary.

Example: Cinder is worried that if she doesn’t fix the hover, Adri will sell off IKO to pay for the repairs herself. That night, Cinder goes to the junkyard to find replacement parts…

(Could be read as: Because Cinder is worried . . . then she goes to the junkyard…)

Step 5. Read through, with a focus on character arc.

Now that the plot makes sense from beginning to end check that you’re adequately showing how your protagonist evolves as a result of the events in the story. Do readers get a sense of who they are at the beginning and how they’ve changed by the end? Look for those Big Moments in the story that change your protagonist’s attitudes and goals. Indicate how those moments effect the protagonist emotionally, and show how their goals and motivations change as a result.

 

Example: Without Iko and Peony keeping her tied to Adri, Cinder vows to fix up the abandoned car she saw in the junkyard and run away.

 

Step 6. Trim and edit.

Now that you have all the necessary information read through a few more times and trim it up as much as you can. Be ruthless when it comes to removing excess words and phrases that don’t help you tell the story. Choose your descriptive words carefully, ensuring that you’re using words that carry a lot of weight. My book synopses for CINDER and New Secret Project both came in around the 1,500-2,000 word range, and that’s not a lot of room to work with! So edit, edit, edit.

I’m Having a Celebration

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Princess Adeles Dragon3It’s done and finally gone live on Amazon.  My new ebook Princess Adele’s Dragon. It has taken me a little over a year to get it completed. If you like fantasy and Gothic times you will like this book.

Princess Adele sets out to save her and her brothers Kingdom from a beast that threatens their way of life. What she encounters is totally unexpected and sets her on a new path. If you like gothic times with Kings, Princess’s, Castles and bad guys then you will like this young adult fantasy. You will fall in love, hate the bad guy and fight a war.

There is a read inside option on Amazon. Click on this link and it will take you right to it.

http://amzn.to/25lUOYM    If your Kindle Unlimited you may read it for free. Be sure and leave a review even if you didn’t like it, but I know you will 🙂

Have a totally blessed day and let me know what you think.

Shirley

Do you think your novel could be a novella?

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This is an interesting blog, but to me 60,000 or 80,000, it’s just a book. Why do we need to differentiate?

This is something I’ve considered.

Maybe I just need to wrap things up and call it a day.

Writing a novel is a daunting task. A finished novel, after editing and cutting, will be about 60,000 words. Which means I need to write about 80,000 or more. Gotta give the editor plenty to slash out of the manuscript. Sigh…

So maybe I should consider changing my goal.

Have you ever considered the novella?

There is a lot more wiggle room regarding word count, with a novella. Usually between 30 to 60,000. With fewer words, comes fewer characters, fewer scenes, and fewer conflicts. Story structure is still very important but with the novella things happen fast. There isn’t time to drag out the tension nor room to waste words. 

No, we must get to the point quickly, leading the reader to the climax with little detours. 

How would you go…

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7 Signs a Person is Suffering from Author Fatigue

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I think I know these feelings. Great blog.

Legends of Windemere

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Does this really need an intro?  Sure most, if not all, of us have been here at some point.  This is possibly a new thing I’ll do from time to time, which was inspired by John W. Howell’s Ten 10 Lists on Mondays.

  1. You start dreaming about editing and it steadily becomes a nightmare.  Their, there, and they’re attack out of the shadows.  You’re strapped to a chair and forced to watch all of your greatest typos play out in front of a giant crowd.  Also, you’re naked and the dog ate your manuscript.  Not sure where the dog came from, but it looks remarkably like your old English teacher who swore you wouldn’t be able to write your name much less a novel.
  2. You sit down to write at the laptop and blast away an epic chapter that is the best you’ve ever done.  Your…

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The Right Decision (I Hope)

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Hello everyone and happy Sunday. I’ve been busy this morning trying to write my Amazon description for Princess Adele’s Dragon. It’s not the easiest thing to do.
 
I also made a decision today. I’m going to rewrite and retitle The Tower. That was the first book I wrote back in 2010. I can’t believe what a terrible job I did. It’s a great story but it’s poorly written. The nice thing is I can actually go back and read it and pick out all the mistakes.
I’m not kicking myself around because I like to.  It’s nice some people can put out their first book and it be wonderful from the start. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those people. When I first wrote the book I made the statement about what a learning experience it was from beginning to end. The nice thing is I can now look back on it and continue to say it was/is a learning experience.
When I was writing The Tower, I think I fell into every pit other others said to be careful about. I was one of those people that I knew what they said but apparently I didn’t know what I was looking at. With practice, the writing skill grows and I’m happy to say mine did.
I’ve learned over time that people are not always honest with you about your work. It does great things for your ego when someone says they read your story and it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s what they think you want to hear and apparently it is.
I can’t tell a soul bought the book from Amazon or if they did they kept it a big secret. Now you know why I made the decision. I want to put out a better product and I would like to sell some copies.  Am I making the right decision?Thumbs up

Meet The All Authors Family: Beem Weeks

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Greetings Beloveds,

I decided to take the month of March as a sort of introduction to All Authors. That is to say, I want you to meet each member that composes the All Authors P&P family. Today my guest is Indie Author, Columnist and Radio Blog Author Interviewer, Mr. Beem Weeks.

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Beem Photo Cropped Color Edit

Author Bio

Beem Weeks is the 40-something-year-old indie author of several short stories, poems, essays, and the historical fiction/coming-of-age novel Jazz Baby. A divorced father of two grown children, Beem has lived in Florida and Georgia, and is currently calling Michigan home. Among his literary influences he counts Daniel Woodrell, Barbara Kingsolver, and Stephen Geez. He’s been writing since childhood, having co-authored a play he saw performed by and for classmates and staff during his time in fifth grade. As a teenager and young adult, Beem wrote concert and record reviews for a small publication. Journalism had been…

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