Halloween with Auntie Acid and Maxine. Thanks for the giggles, Chris! Of course, these are offered by The Story Reading Ape! I’m spreading the smiles.
Writing the death of a much-loved character can be demanding and can leave you emotionally wiped out.
Did you know that there is another literary situation which can be just as challenging and one which can cast a nasty gloom over your writing life – deleting a character from your story.
I am not talking about deleting a random minor character; a fictional person who you created one day after too much coffee and inserted into the middle of your novel, just to beef it out (technical literary term) and then deleted them the following day after realising your stupidity. Sigh
No. I am talking about those major changes to a draft which result in you deciding to get rid of a key character.
I guarantee this fictional person will have been with you since the start of your story and someone who you have history with. You and this character will have been through some stuff; your rocky first draft, that dreadful second draft which no one liked, your third draft where you felt all hope was lost and the fourth draft which resulted in you wondering why the hell you had ever taken up writing.
You and this character will have shared story in-jokes. They will have been there for you during the bad times. You know them inside out and they are like a good friend.
The awful thing is that you know a change like this needs to happen.
I was just writing the other day about the 1339 monk who wrote about the discovery of America. Now, analysis of wood from timber-framed buildings in the L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland shows a Norse-built settlement over 1,000 years ago – 471 years before Columbus.
As the Guardian and Science News report, the Icelandic sagas – oral histories written down hundreds of years later – tell of a leader named Leif Erikson. The recent finding corroborates two Icelandic sagas – the Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Erik the Red – that recorded attempts to establish a settlement in Vinland. Also known as Leif the Lucky, he was the son of Erik the Red, who was the founder of the first Norse settlements in Greenland. According to the Saga of the Icelanders, Leif established a Norse settlement at Vinland, which is usually interpreted as being coastal North America, though speculation remains over whether this is actually the L’Anse aux Meadows settlement.
However, while it is known that the Norse landed in Canada, it’s been unclear exactly when they set up camp to become the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic, thus marking the moment when the globe was first known to have been encircled by humans.
Today once more I did what I rarely do: I re-blogged two posts in one. Derek Haines provided us with two excellent articles and I couldn’t decide which one to share. Enjoy both of them today.
on Just Publishing Advice:
After all the time it took you to write it, you now want to sell your new book.
Self-publishing a print book or ebook is easy. All you need to do is upload your book cover and interior text file. Within 24 hours, it’s on sale.
However, many new authors rush into publishing without giving much thought to how they will convince readers to buy the book.
The only way to self-publish a new book and have a reasonable chance of success is to plan well ahead. What you do before you publish is always far more effective than what you do after.
Positive writing always helps you communicate better with your readers.
All it takes is a few simple grammar or vocabulary changes, and it’s such an easy habit to adopt.
When we speak, we can use negative sentences with facial expressions that indicate a positive tone.
But in writing, you only have your words to convey a positive or negative sentiment.
Readers rarely pay much attention to the names of most book characters. Names tend to fall into the category of necessary detail. But authors have to put a lot of work into making sure those details don’t spoil the whole book.
Naming characters can be great fun. There are just a few little things to watch out for…
Characters with similar names
It’s easy to mix up characters with similar names. Having characters named Judy and Julie in the same book is a recipe for confusion.
Sometimes shortened names are absolutely fine. But sometimes it isn’t. This one needs thinking through for two reasons.
If the full name and abbreviated name are not similar enough, readers may think they are two separate characters.
If the abbreviated name is too similar to another character’s name, readers may think two different characters are the same person.
Check out these signs. I had a great laugh. Thank you for the giggles. Sharing!
on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity:
Here are four agents actively seeking writers.
Alex Reubert wants fiction that includes debuts, stories of love, family epics, and coming-of-age, at any age. He loves world literature and wants to see more books published in the U.S. that are not set in the U.S. He is eager to read and represent voices that have been historically de-centered. Thrillers and speculative stories that skew literary are welcome, as is any narrator looking back and trying to make sense of their life.
Tia Ikemoto is looking for middle grade, young adult, adult fiction and select nonfiction that speaks to a wide audience, upmarket & book club fiction, psychological and literary thrillers, women’s fiction, updated rom coms, blockbuster or high concept commercial fiction, and historical fiction that takes us somewhere else or teaches us something new. Nonfiction: Pop culture, narrative nonfiction, journalism, of-the-moment essay collections, and the occasional experience-driven memoir.
Mariah Stovall is actively seeking writers with strong voices and intersectional and interdisciplinary perspectives. She works on adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative nonfiction, essay collections and memoir. She’s most passionate about music, mental health/illness, Black America, linguistics, histories of objects and ideas, pop science, and deep dives into subcultures and social movements.
Natalie Edwards is seeking commercial, upmarket, and literary titles both contemporary and historical: stories of queerness and diaspora, hidden histories, workplace satires/sendups of #girlbosses, and anything that offers biting social commentary and disrupts conventional wisdom.
Always check the agency website and agent bio before submitting. Agents can switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements can change.
NOTE: Don’t submit to two agents at the same agency simultaneously. If one rejects you, you may then submit to another.
on Writer Unboxed:
Self-promotion isn’t the most famous naughty s-word, but it can still feel like a bad word to today’s authors. I hate self-promotion, you might say. I’m so sick of talking about myself on social media.With more and more options to reach readers directly comes an expectation that authors will do more and more to reach those readers themselves, often without publisher assistance.
So! How do you sell books without a single self-promotional tweet, post, or video?
Simple. In most cases, you actually shouldn’t be promoting yourself. If the goal is to sell books — or at least make people you don’t know personally curious enough about your book(s) to take action — you are not the product. “Buy my book!” doesn’t work if the reader doesn’t know you or know anything about the book in question.
Instead of self-promotion, think of the path to getting your book in front of readers on social media as a railroad track, with two parallel rails: be yourself, and take yourself out of the equation.
on Writers on the Move:
One of the first writers I fell in love with was Edgar Allan Poe. His gothic horror latched on to my mind. I was powerless to save anyone from going over the precipice. He not only got into the heads of his characters but also into the heads of his readers.
Using psychological information to reach out and grab your audience can create unforgettable characters that burrow into the psyche. Questions you can answer to create memorable protagonists and antagonists include:
on Elizabeth Spann Craig site:
A common writing misconception is that conflict automatically means reader engagement. After all, story experts are always ringing the conflict bell (me included), telling writers to include lots of it to make sure things aren’t easy for your characters. And it’s true; we should have lots of meaningful conflict in the story to ensure they are challenged, stressed, and forced outside their comfort zone.
But conflict alone won’t pull your readers in.