The Story Reading Ape’s Monday Funnies always make me smile. Thanks so much for the giggles, Chris!
You know the situation. A beta reader or editor says a precious part of your book has to go. You resist, strenuously. They fix you with an unforgiving eye and say: ‘kill your darlings’.
Sometimes we resist a change for good reason. The character/scene/description/flashback/whatever might be needed. It explains something, or adds resonance, or fills a gap in the story, though perhaps it doesn’t yet do its job. That’s fixable.
We also resist changes that will cause a hot mess, though we’ll probably make them when we’ve mustered the courage.
Those aren’t darlings.
What are darlings?
Darlings are things we cling to, with especial defiance, when we shouldn’t. They’re anything we’re keeping mainly because we like them, not because they are necessary for the book.
We all do it. We’ll do it on our first book and yea unto our umpteenth.
So why are darlings such a blind spot? Here’s my theory, from experience at both ends of the editing sword. Darlings carry emotional baggage.
- We might keep a darling because it’s based on something personal.
- We might keep a darling that’s totally invented, but it took a long time to draft or edit and because of that investment, it’s going in the goddarned book.
But look at those reasons. Are they about the reader’s experience? Or are they about us, the writer?
on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity:
Speculative fiction has a loyal fan base, so if you write science fiction or fantasy there are dozens of magazines that want your work! Here is a list of paying markets for journals accepting speculative fiction. Some have submission periods, so make sure you read their guidelines carefully. All are paying markets, and none charge submission fees..
This table is a bit daunting, but you can simplify your task by making a list of all the places you intend to submit. (Make a separate list for each story or article.) As you submit, make sure to keep track of where, when, and how you submitted (i.e. email, Submittable, online form, etc.).
If you want to get published fast, start with the magazines that accept simultaneous submissions, and submit to all of them. Once your work is accepted, don’t forget to withdraw it immediately from the remaining magazines. (If you have used Submittable, this is very simple. Just click “Withdraw.”)
I suggest you start with the pro markets. These are harder to get into, but if you get published in a prestigious magazine it will establish you as a serious writer.
Save the magazines that take reprints for last. You can submit to those after your story has been published elsewhere.
on Writers Helping Writers:
Because marketing is a challenge for many authors, Angela and I talk quite a bit about it, sharing tips on how to grow audiences on various platforms. One we don’t use is TikTok, and, frankly, we’d have no idea how to find readers there. Thankfully, Dominika Pin—a teen author with an impressive following there—has that info for us.
Almost every teenager in the United States knows about TikTok—the video-sharing social media platform with hundreds of millions of active users. And with the increasing popularity of the #BookTok hashtag, which readers use to talk about their favorite books, many YA authors are turning to TikTok to promote their work.
I began posting on the platform in August of 2020 and have since amassed nearly 225,000 followers (a number that is still growing by hundreds each day). TikTok makes it incredibly easy to go viral with minimal effort. Just one fifteen-second video can get you tens of thousands of followers; all you need is a decent strategy. Here are some tips that earned my videos millions of views:
- What is Kindle Vella?
- How does Kindle Vella work for authors?
- How do Vella authors get paid?
- Is Kindle Vella for you?
What is Kindle Vella? And Should You Join as an Author?
Amazon announced the launch of the new Kindle Vella program in April 2021, a few months before actually making it available to readers — already pre-loaded with hundreds of stories from authors.
Kindle Vella is Amazon’s foray into the “serialization market,” currently dominated by established apps such as Wattpad or Radish, and with a readership consisting mostly of young readers. So how is Kindle Vella different, and what opportunities does it offer authors? That’s what we’ll uncover in this post.
on Lit Reactor:
If you follow me on social media you know I love talking about publishing. I love talking about writing because writing is my life, but I also love to talk about publishing.
The difference is simple: writing is art, but publishing is a business.
If you’re serious about writing and publishing, chances are you already know about agents. If you don’t, here’s the 101: agents are folks who get your book in front of publishers and other folks who might give you money for it.
Yeah, they do a lot of other things, as you’ll see below, but that’s their bread and butter.
Because agents sell books to publishers, almost every writer out there wants, is looking for, or has an agent. Unfortunately, the thing I’ve learned after spending the last half decade talking about publishing online is that a lot of people are confused when it comes to agents.
So here are some things you should know about them.
Characters are critical for stories that resonate. Why? Because characters are the conduit that connects the reader and vests them in the story problem. They’re the emotional touchstone that allows for catharsis, because—when written well—it doesn’t matter if the character is a space alien or a federal agent, we (readers) can relate to them in some way.
We can’t empathize with technology, spaceships, magic, or nuclear submarines. Humans can’t bond emotionally to a place (without the characters as the connection).
For instance, we CARE about Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth because we care about Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf. And, because Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf care deeply for Middle Earth and the Shire…we do as well.
Story is like the wall socket that’s connected a tremendous power source. But, how useful would those wall sockets be if all the gadgets in everyday life didn’t have plugs? How useful would a bunch of dead gadgets be?
We cannot have story without characters and can’t, conversely, have characters (DIMENSIONAL characters) without story.
Readers read stories, but great stories read the readers.
***I know we’ve talked about all this before, but since I am pathologically honest, I feel the need to tell on myself. I cracked a back tooth and had major dental work last week. With all the drugs? I actually have a completely new post almost finished, but it’s been like pulling teeth…bada bump snare.
So please forgive the refresher.