Friday, March 4, 2016

Author Information Swap: Where to Find Industry News

So I've been trying to do more posts that have to do with publishing industry news. In the crazy world we live in, our business is always changing. As authors, we need to keep up with the ebb and flow of the tide. Otherwise, we'll be left behind. It's more than possible to make money publishing in 2016. (Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.) But you have to keep up with things or you'll soon find your revenue streams drying up, and you at a loss as to why.

Reasons to Keep Up on Industry Topics:

1. Constant Change - the publishing industry is in deep flux right now, and if you don't keep up with those changes, at least to some extent, you'll soon find yourself left behind.

2. Be an Expert in the Field - one thing that will give you a great deal of credibility as an author is to be in the know about the industry. If you're still preaching that the only way to publish is to find an agent and get in with the Big 5, people are quickly going to realize that your methods are outdated, and then you might lose writing credibility as well.

3. Smart Business Practices - Robert J. Kiasaki is a self-made millionaire, and one thing he preaches a lot is having a plan for both when the market is up, and when it's down. Most people only know how to make money in an up market, but if you know what you're doing, you can make money in a down market as well. So no matter what happens to the economy,  you don't lose. Stocks and bonds aside, the same is true of every industry. If print books aren't making you any money, focus on ebooks. If Amazon KDP isn't doing you any favors, try Amazon unlimited. Only by trial and error and keeping up on the newest techniques will you be able to constantly turn a profit and know what works for your novels.

4. Shortcuts to Marketing - Those who are up to date on the latest practices and technology are the ones who have an inside track to marketing. The author who sits at home going, "What's Amazon" is light years away from making a living as an author.

So keep up on the industry. It's one of the smartest things you can do for your career.

"But," I hear you say, "where can I get industry information?"

So glad you asked! I happened across a page this past week that has a list of sites that post industry news. I've visited most of them, but there were a few that even I'd never heard of before. And it's great to have such a list all in one place. So I bookmarked the page and decided to share it. These blogs/sites are active and I'd highly recommend you follow them. 

Visit for the list. 

(P.S. I actually got three posts up this week! Are you proud of me? ;D)

Are there any specific sites you prefer to visit to keep up on industry news?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Movie Review: Why Every Writer Should See "In the Heart of the Sea"

This is gonna be short and sweet! ;D

So I haven't been doing reviews much lately. I honestly just don't have the time, much as I wish I did. Most weeks I barely get a single blog post up. But I watched this film, In the Heart of the Sea a few weeks ago, and I loved it so much, I knew I'd have to review it.

And it really wasn't JUST about a great film. It was about how it relates to writing in general. This is a writer's movie. It tells the true story that an American literary classic, Moby Dick, was based on. But more than that, it ties in writing, authorship, inspiration, and chasing one's destiny (which just so happens to be writing) all in one film. There's some talk of Hawthorne in the show (A young Melville believes Nathaniel Hawthorne is a great writer and that he, Melville, will never equal him.) The film ends with a Hawthorne quote that just clinches everything, and totally made me melt. 

So we get a great adventure story that Moby Dick mirrors in many ways, but there's more gritty reality and historical detail to it. We also get a very understated discussion about why you should always write what inspires you, and chase your dreams, writing or otherwise. What haunts you, what you feel inspired to learn and/or write about, will become your destiny. Created, of course, by you. Because only you can write the way you do.

I'm not gonna do a super detailed review, except to say that had I had no complaints at all. Great story. Great historical aspects. Great acting.

This is a film every writer should see, because every writer will appreciate and be inspired by it. Highly recommended.

Have YOU seen In the Heart of the Sea? What did you think of it?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Good Monday morning! I hope everyone had a safe and fun weekend. Mine was stupendous! (;D)

So I'm kinda cheating today because I'm just putting up a picture, but I honestly think these twelve rules are very valuable and should be taken into consideration by every author. I definitely learned something reading them!

So read and consider. Then apply to your writing! And have a fabulous week!

Which of these rules is your favorite? Is there one you plan to start using?

Monday, February 15, 2016

4 Tips for Writing Unforgettable Argument Scenes

Pride and Prejudice epic argument (Pic Source)
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the best part of a story--be it film, movie, TV, or otherwise--is when the characters have a passionate fight? And I don't mean action. I mean an argument. The kind where they scream at one another for five minutes?

You wouldn't think we as readers would enjoy that, as most of don't enjoy engaging in those kinds of fights in real life. But story telling is different. These scenes, when done well, are the height of conflict. They're the height of the characters' passionate emotions and beliefs about something. They get our adrenaline pumping and make us excited to turn pages. 

In terms of masterful story telling, it can hash out conflict in a visceral way, give us the characters' points of view and beliefs in their own words (with the added bonus of intense emotion) and push them toward the next phase in their development, or the next turn in the story.

**Bonus tip: If you get stuck and don't know how the characters or the plot from A to B, consider a visceral, verbal, knock-down, drag-out scream fight. Even if you don't end up using it in the story, it'll do wonders for your creative juices.**

But how do we write these kinds of arguments? How do we make them really jump off the page and grip our readers by the guts?

Rocky III epic argument (Pic Source)
Here are some tips:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling

Gif Source
Good Morning, All!

This is going up a bit late today, but what can I say? Super Bowl Sunday means that, naturally, I'm gonna get less done than usual. :D (How did everyone like the game, btw?)

So I cam across these rules a while ago, courtesy of Pinterest, and I thought they had a lot of depth and value to them, so I thought I'd share them. And actually I'd say they're less rules and more like 22 pieces of writing advice from a very successful story-telling company. Keep in mind these are applied to mostly children's cartoons, but each and every one can be adapted for writing novels or any other kind of story you may be working on. My commentary is in the blue font. (Obviously, as they're from Pixar, I didn't make them up myself. Just for the record.)

1. Admire characters for attempting more than what their successes have been. Push them. Give them challenges.

2. Keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not what's fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.

3. Trying for theme is important, however you won't see what the story is about until you're at the end of the story. Got it? Now rewrite. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with trying for a particular theme, but don't force it. If you let the story and characters take you where they want to go, the theme will emerge naturally. And it may not be the theme you were originally trying for, which is often kinda cool.

4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day___. One day__.Because of that___. Because of that___. Until finally___.

5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You'll feel like you're losing valuable stuff, but it sets you free. In other words, tighten, tighten, tighten.

Monday, January 25, 2016

9 Ways to Improve Character Relationships

So last September I attended the annual League of Utah Writers Conference where I met Author Amy Jarecki, a romance writer who is most successful. I did some posts back then about what I learned from her, but one thing she suggested I do was read a particular book.

It's entitled Are You My Type, Am I Yours? by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele

I've picked it up several times since then but only finally got around to reading it recently. Basically this book talks about the 9 types of personality, how they interact, what their motivations are, and what types get along vs. what types don't. So you can use them in friendships of course, but it also shows what personality type each type usually chooses in a partner, and what they value vs. what annoys them in each of the other types. So you can use this to write realistic personalities for each individual character, but then can also contrast various personalities to come up with realistic personality clashes. (How many of us could do that off the top of our heads?)

This book is incredibly useful and fun to read on many levels. Not only will you find yourself figuring out what type all the people in your life are, but you'll also start assigning types to various characters, whether they're the ones you've written or just others in your favorite books and TV shows. 

The book also has a section on the 16 MBTI personality types, and then shows an intersection between that and the 9 named in the Enneagram.

So I'll go over these briefly, but to get a truly rounded picture, I would highly recommend reading (and buying so you can refer back to it as you write various characters) the book for yourself.

*Abbrieviations: WoT = Wheel of Time, TWD = The Walking Dead, AToTC = A Tale of Two Cities, GoT = Game of Thrones, LOTR = Lord of the Rings. (Sorry if you don't know the references. I stuck to people and characters that first jumped to mind when I read the book, or were put forth by the book itself. :D)*

Personality Types:            Motivated by:                                       Examples:

1. The Perfectionist     The need to improve themselves     Nynaeve al'Meara (WoT)
                                              and live the right way.                        Javere (Les Miserables)

2. The Helper                  The need to be loved and valued      Mother Theresa
                                              and express their love for others      Beth Greene (TWD)

3. The Achiever              The need to be well-regarded,          Steve Jobs
                                               successful, productive, efficient.      Perrin Aybarra (WoT)
                                                                                                               Tyrion Lannister (GoT)

4. The Romantic             The need to understand their          MANY writers, actors, &
                                               feelings, search for what is               artists fall into this 
                                               missing, what life means, and         category.
                                               avoid being ordinary.

5. The Observer               The need to know & understand,   Daryl Dixon (TWD)
                                                be self-sufficient, and not feel         Sydney Carton (AToTC)
                                                engulfed or invaded. 

6. The Questioner           The need for security. (Asks            Anna Karenina
                                                what-if questions, often negative   Sansa Stark (GoT)
                                                ones ie. what if something goes 

7. The Adventurer          The need to be happy, contribute   Arya Stark (GoT)
                                                to the world, and avoid pain.           Matrim Cauthon (WoT)

8. The Asserter                The need to be self-reliant,              Will Smith
                                                strong, and make an impact            JD Rockefeller
                                                on the world.

9.The Peacemaker         The need to live in harmony, to       Jimmy Stewart, Abe Lincoln
                                                merge with others and avoid            Samwise Gamgee (LOTR)
                                                conflict.                                                 Loial (WoT)

So this is really just an overview. If you want to create REALLY realistic interactions between all of your characters, I highly recommend studying this book. I already have big plans for what I've learned.

How do you take on the challenge of creating realistic personalities for your characters?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Funnies #11

Welcome to Friday Funnies! Because everyone needs a good laugh on Friday.

                                               Gotta have some sarcasm:
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For Game of Thrones fans:
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For Walking Dead fans (you 
remember my obsession, right? :D)
Picture Credit (this one's actually mine)
For Star Wars fans (what did everyone think of the new film, btw? I actually thoroughly enjoyed it):
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Just Cuz:
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Hope one of those gave you a laugh. (Which was your favorite?) Everyone have a great weekend! :D