Fiction Addiction: How Great Storytellers Put the “Meth” into “Method” – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen informs us with her new post about how great storytellers put the ‘meth’ into ‘method’. Thank you, once again, for your educational blog post, Kristen.


Fiction, when crafted to hit that psychic sweet spot, is highly addictive. Which is why soap operas, daytime shows (e.g. Judge Judy & Dr. Phil), and ‘reality’ programs are all going strong with no sign of slowing down.

‘Days of our Lives’ is more like ‘Decades of Our Lives.

Drama is always in demand. In fact, we’ve even added a brand new term to our cultural lexicon to reflect this modern reality—‘binge-watching.’

Between Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Google Play, and the bazillion specialty channels delivered via Roku? Then add in all the devices where audiences regularly inhale ebooks, podcasts, audiobooks, blogs, videos, etc.

Let’s just say cultural appetites for stories in all their forms—from hard-boiled documentaries (Making a Murderer) all across the spectrum to the epic high fantasy fiction (Game of Thrones)—has never been so insatiable.

***I know we’ve spent the past couple posts deep-diving the publishing industry, and I PROMISE to blog about other changes ahead. Alas, I figured it was time for something a bit lighter, and yet still salient to being successful in this industry.

Good news is that audiences crave stories, and they are always hunting for their next fiction addiction no matter WHAT is going on in the publishing world.

Continue reading here

Bad People Make Better Stories: Crafting the Perfect ‘Unlikable’ Character – Written By Kristen Lamb

Today I found a phenomenal blog post about crafting the perfect ‘unlikable’ character in a story. Kristen Lamb published a blog post in her own inimitable way, to teach us how to create a character that makes our story interesting. Thank you, Kristen!


Bad people make better stories. Why? Because I cannot say this enough, ‘Fiction is about one thing and one thing only—PROBLEMS.’

Who better to create a lot of problems than damaged, broken, unlikable, foolish and possibly even unredeemable human beings?

***I use the term ‘human beings’ for all characters because aliens, otherworldly beings, and any ‘thinking’ creature will possess anthropomorphic (human-like) qualities.

So why do ‘bad people’ make better stories?

Perfect people, first of all, are unicorns and don’t exist. Secondly, they are boring. Thirdly, we can’t relate to them because we aren’t unicorns (just deluded we are ).

What’s the story killer with perfect people? To be blunt, these characters have nowhere to grow. Since ‘perfect people’ handle every crisis with a level head and can be trusted to always do the right thing, the reader won’t ever worry.

If the reader never worries, guess what kiddies? You don’t have a story, you have a lot of words.

Villains are a whole other post. So is the Big Boss Troublemaker (our core antagonist responsible for creating the overall story PROBLEM).

Continue reading HERE

 

5 Newbie Mistakes that Will KILL a Perfectly Good Story – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb provides us with 5 newbie mistakes that will kill a perfectly good story. I, once again, want to thank Kristen for all the knowledge and experience she constantly shares with us. We appreciate it so much, Kristen!


We all make mistakes, especially when learning anything new. Writing is not immune to process. Contrary to popular belief, writing great stories is HARD.

It takes time, devotion, training, mentorship, blood, sacrifice and the willingness to make a ton of mistakes. This means countless hours and probably years of practice (which also means writing a ton of crappy books/stories).

As I mentioned in the last post, George R.R. Martin didn’t become a legend because of his marketing abilities and mad HootSuite skills.

No, he’s a master because he’s practiced and honed raw talent until he could create a series that’s become a global phenomenon.

Same with J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and all the other ‘greats.’ They didn’t begin as legends. It took time, practice, and a fair share of ugly drafts and stories.

With practice, we learn what works, what doesn’t, what sizzles and what fizzles. We find, develop and mature our writing voice.

Read the entire blog post here

Flawed Characters vs. “Too Dumb to Live”: What’s the Difference? – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb published a phenomenal blog post about flawed characters and the difference to “Too Dumb To Live”. Thanks for another educational as well as entertaining post and your wonderful humor, Kristen!


 

Which is more important? Plot or character? Anyone currently doing NaNoWriMo is all, “WORDS! ONLY WORDS MATTER NOW! Get off my case, Blogger Chick. I’ll figure out plot and character later.”

*awkward silence*

To write great fiction, we need both. Plot and characters work together. One arc drives the other much like one cog serves to turn another, thus generating momentum in the overall engine we call “STORY.”

If we goof up plot? Readers/Audiences get confused or call FOUL. Watch the movie Ouija for what I am talking about *shakes head*.

Goof up characters? No one cares about the plot.

New writers are particularly vulnerable to messing up characters. We drift too far to one end of the spectrum or the other—Super-Duper-Perfect versus Too Dumb to Live—and this can make a story fizzle because there is no way to create true dramatic tension.

To continue reading the entire blog post go to:

https://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/11/flawed-characters-dumb-characters/

Targeting Readers: Audiences Have Evolved & So Should Marketing – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb, author, teacher, blogger, and my favorite “Social Media Jedi” informs us about ‘targeting readers’. This is a very educational blog post, definitely worth reading!


How many times have we been told we should be targeting our readers, audience, and customers? Am I the only one disturbed by this advice? Targeting seems like it should involve a Predator Drone…or at least a trebuchet.

For the record, I imagine many authors would view sales (and targeting) with far more enthusiasm if book launches involved a trebuchet.

#MaybeJustMe

In the olden days—before Web 2.0—the world was vastly different. It was a horrible existence rife with uncertainty, anxiety and dread.

Case in point, for most of the 20th century, if the phone rang? WE HAD NO IDEA WHO WAS CALLING.

Planning a Friday night? Want to watch a movie at home? You had to bribe that pimply-faced kid at Blockbuster to squirrel away the NEW RELEASE of Speed 2 before they were all gone. Then, after you watched Speed 2 and wondered why Hollywood didn’t just…STOP?

YOU COULD ONLY COMPLAIN TO PEOPLE YOU ACTUALLY KNEW.

To continue reading this article go to:

https://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/07/targeting-readers-ineffective/

Want to Stand Apart from Countless Other Books? Write a Better Story – Written By Kristen Lamb

Read the advice Kristen Lamb has on writing a better story. Thank you very much for all your efforts, Kristen!


Last time, I brought up a subject I never believed would warrant discussing—cockygate. I wish this was the first time a writer did something epically misguided to gain advantage. Some drama to sell their ‘story.’ But, I’ve been around too long. Seen too much.

Yes, I was there for the BIG BANG (dot.com implosion). I also witnessed Web 2.0 shoot out of the dying Web 1.0’s ribcage then skitter up into the vents.

Where did it GO? What is it up to? What does it WANT?

Good Question

As early as 2004, I projected the digital tsunami that was going to obliterate the world as we knew it.

Why is ‘Age of Aquarius’ suddenly stuck in my head?

Anyway, it began with Napster and Tower Records, then Kodak, blah blah and starting in 2006 I began blogging and predicting the next industry to fall…and the next…and even how and roughly when it would happen. All along I insisted publishing and writers needed to be prepared because we were also in its path.

Over the course my first years as a ‘social media/branding expert’ (an occupation widely regarded as a made-up job like ‘unicorn groomer’) I noted a trend.

Pretty much every year, new and evolved ‘bright idea fairies’ (BIFs) hatched with frightening regularity. This trend continues because shortcuts are tempting. Um…cockygate.

Enough said.

To read the entire blog post, go to:

https://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/05/write-better-story/

Conflict: Elixir of the Muse for Timeless Stories Readers Can’t Put Down – written by Kristen Lamb

Author Kristen Lamb writes about conflict and why it’s important for our stories. Thank you very much Kristen. I’m learning so much reading your blog and I’m convinced I’m not the only one.


Conflict is the core ingredient required for story. It is the magical elixir with the raw power to transform a story we think we’ve heard a million times before into something wholly unique and mesmerizing. FYI, there are no new stories, only new ways of telling the same stories. Just getting that out of the way.

A Thousand Acres is basically King Lear on an Iowa farm, and Avatar is Pocahontas in Space. I could give a zillion more examples but won’t.

In fairness, this makes our job simpler. We really don’t want to create a story no one has ever heard before. Not only because it’s pretty much impossible to do in the first place, but it’s also highly risky even if we managed to pull it off. Why?

Because the story ‘never before told’ cannot possibly resonate emotionally. Humans have no emotional touchpoint for something they’ve never experienced…ever.

Resonance is Critical

Love gone wrong? Betrayal? Messed up family? Righting wrongs of the past? Clearing one’s name from being falsely accused? Rebuilding after a loss? Finally earning approval, love, or acceptance? Impacts of abuse or addiction?

This stuff we get.

 

To read the entire article, please go to:

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/02/24039/

What Chef Ramsay Would Say About Writing – written by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb, one of my favorite writer’s, an amazing teacher, fantastic blogger and wonderful person, writes about current struggles in her writing profession.


The past few months have been tough. I’ve struggled with being down, depressed and stuck in a rut. The writing profession I once loved just had lost its…sparkle. In a recent post, I believe I voiced what many writers have been feeling:

Don’t know about you, but I dreamed of book signings, launch parties, my novels on pretty displays in an actual store. I imagined a real book signing with devoted fans I’d be able to meet face-to-face. Those were the dreams that kept me going in my darkest hours when it made no sense to keep on writing.

I don’t think a single one of us fantasized about favorable algorithms, a massive mailing list with a solid open rate, or a depressing spot for ten copies of our book on a Costco bargain table. And I sure as hell never dreamed of working like an organ-grinding spider monkey for fractions of KU pennies.

None of us did.

I never minded learning and doing the business of my business. I embraced branding, blogging, social media, SEO. But something was just…off. Something I couldn’t articulate. Leave it to my subconscious to kick me in the @$$ and have the answer…in a technicolor dream (okay, nightmare).

Last night *deep breaths* Chef Gordon Ramsay royally chewed my @$$ out at…a writing conference.

Bear with me, this is bizarre but salient.

To read the entire blog post, click here:

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/01/what-chef-ramsay-would-say-about-writing/

Three Ways to HOOK a Reader & Never Let GO

Kristen Lamb published a post on how to hook a reader and never let go. Thanks for your excellent guidance, Kristen!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Randy Heinitz via Flickr Creative Commons. Image courtesy of Randy Heinitz via Flickr Creative Commons.

How do we sell our stories? That is the big question. It is the reason for craft classes and editing and cover design and agents and editors and all the time on social media. And while platforms and covers and algorithms do matter, there is one tried and true way to sell more books.

Write a great story.

And not just any story, but a story that hooks from the very beginning and only continues to hook deeper.

Think of great stories like concertina wire.

The danger of concertina wire is not just in one hook, but hundreds. And it isn’t even in the hundreds of hooks. It is the tension created by the coiled structureIf a person is snagged even a little, every effort to break free (turning a page for resolution) only traps the victim deeper in…

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How to SELL Your Book—First, What IS It?

One of my favorite writers, bloggers, teachers and amazing human being, Kristen Lamb, has published a blog post on “How to sell your book” – and how to find out what it is.

Additionally, don’t miss: W.A.N.A. offers a new class “How to Maximize Your Earning Potential as a Full-Time Author Learn from Hollywood Producer Joel Eisenberg”

Isn’t this phenomenal? Check it out. Thank you so much, Kristen!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Before we get started, a quick announcement. I want to let you know that I begged, pleaded and bartered for Hollywood Producer Joel Eisenberg to offer a Master’s Series and being the AWESOME human being he is, he is doing How to Maximize Your Earning Potential as a Full-Time Writer just for us. This is three two-hour classes learning from a big name in Hollywood in your own home and it is recorded if you can’t make it live. He normally runs this series for $399, but he is super helpful and generous and giving it to us for $199.

The film industry is BOOMING and filmmakers need writers who can create excellent content. Joel is going to teach you how to tap into that massive emerging market.

Valentines Day gift. *wink wink* Just sayin’.

Okay, let’s sally forth…

One of the reasons I love blogging is I get an…

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