How Dare They Steal My Idea! – Guest Post Written By Jaq D Hawkins

Author Jaq D Hawkins published a guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog about author’s ‘stealing’ each other’s ideas – unconsciously and unintentionally – and still it happens… Read the post, it’s enlightening!


Ever think of a great plot and put it aside while you finish your current work in progress, only to find that someone else publishes something based on the same idea before you can get your version out?

I think this happens to all of us at some point. I don’t mean someone actually steals the idea, but someone totally unconnected to you thinks of the same idea independently, sometimes even a well-known author.

It can be frustrating, especially if it’s a big name author who gets the same idea as you and releases it sooner, but it’s also a great endorsement of the idea itself! So what do you do when this happens?

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A Writer’s Guide… to Writing a Character with Depression – On Ari Meghlen’s Blog

Ari Meghlen published a fascinating and educational blog post, written by Tobias Salem of writing about a character with depression. I found the post very useful and highly interesting. Thank you Ari and Tobias.


Since I don’t have a guest post today, I thought I would put in one of the A Writer’s Guide articles I received since this series is going to be put on hold for a while, I wanted to share the last few I had.

This is part of the series of blog articles called “A Writer’s Guide…”. The purpose of this series is to give detailed information on skills and occupations that writers can use when creating characters.

Check out today’s article by writer Tobias Salem is on writing about a character with depression.

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Depression

by Tobias Salem

Writing DEPRESSION

It makes sense that, as writers, we may be expected or feel compelled to include accounts of psychological illnesses in our fiction. Maybe, like me, you are dealing with your own mental illness.

Or, perhaps, it’s your partner, parent, sibling, or child. After all, an estimated 25% of the global population will contend with a mental illness at some point.

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Authors: Taking Charge of Our Future in a Time of Uncertainty – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb provides us with an amazing blog post about authors taking charge of our future in a time of uncertainty. Thank you for a great post, Kristen! You’re amazing.


Authors have certainly endured our fair share of upheaval. We witnessed a business model that had barely changed in over a century collapse in less than a decade.

Many of us felt the initial seismic activity back in the 90s when the big-box stores obliterated the bookstores we’d known all our lives. Witnessed the places we learned to love reading shutter one by one.

Those aisles where we daydreamed that maybe…just maybe one day WE would be on those shelves? Vanished.

We retooled the dream. Imagined our books in large hardback displays in the front of a Barnes & Noble. Or, perhaps on a kiosk next to the coffee bar at a Borders.

Then that went away as well.

Now, thrust into a digital age where anyone can be published and it seems there are too many hats for one head? It’s hard not to get discouraged.

But, writers are a tough breed.

 

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Writing Tips: Eliminate Redundancies in Your Writing – by Melissa Donovan

Melissa Donovan published a very educational blog post about the elimination of redundancies in our writing. Thank you very much for your hard work, Melissa. That post is very helpful!


Writers are human, and sometimes we make mistakes. You’re probably aware of the most common mistakes in writing: comma splices, run-on sentences, mixing up homophones, and a variety of other broken grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules.

In my coaching work, I’ve noticed another common mistake: redundancy. Sometimes we use repetition effectively, but most of the time, by saying the same thing twice, we’re littering our writing with unnecessary language, or verbiage. If we remove the excess, we can improve our writing by making it more concise.

Understanding and Identifying Redundancies in Writing

Dictionary.com defines redundancy as a noun meaning “superfluous repetition or overlapping, especially of words.” Its cousin, the adjective redundant, means “characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas” or “exceeding what is usual or natural.”

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You CAN Tell an (e)Book by Its Cover – Written By David Kudler

I found a really fascinating blog post, written by David Kudler, where he writes about book covers. Thank you very much David.


While the truism “You can’t tell a book by its cover” holds true in most of our lives, one place where it doesn’t, ironically, is in publishing.

Oh, it’s still true — the cover doesn’t necessarily communicate what’s inside (though it should). But potential readers ignore it almost universally — especially when it comes to ebooks.

The cover is the first and (in many cases) most important piece of information those readers get about a title. This time out, I’m going to look at what should go into designing a cover that works for, rather than against, your ebook.

The Cover’s Job

Whatever format a book is in (print, audio, or ebook), the cover has a very important job — apart from and in addition to being visually attractive. As readers of TheBookDesigner.com probably already know, that job falls into several very important parts. It must communicate:

  • The genre/subgenre of the book
  • The tone of the book
  • The subject matter of the book

A cover makes a promise. It tells the reader very clearly — through words, but also through design — exactly what they’re going to read.

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Thirteen Reasons Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers – Written By Kristen Lamb

 

Kristen Lamb, in her own inimitable way, published a blog post comparing authors with serial killers. I love Kristen’s posts, her fantasy, her creativity, and her humor. Wonderfully done, Kristen!


Writers really are a strange breed and just so y’all know? The normal ship sailed without you a long time ago so relax. Your family or friends might not ‘get’ you but your fellow writers do.

I love being a writer. It’s a world like no other and it’s interesting how non-writers are simultaneously fascinated and terrified of us. While on the surface, people seem to think that what we do is easy, deep down?

There is a part that knows they’re wrong. That being a writer, a good writer, is a very dark place most fear to tread.

Happy Friday the 13th! *evil laugh*

In fact, I believe somewhere at the FBI’s BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit for the non-writers), there’s a caveat for the profilers. If they think they’ve profiled a serial killer, they need to stop and double-check to make sure they didn’t just find a writer.

Hint: Check for empty Starbuck’s cups and candy wrappers.

Writers, if you are NOT on a government watch list? You’re doing it wrong.

Seriously. I once spent an entire afternoon googling Fort Worth hotels to find the right one with a balcony to toss someone off of. I was like the Goldilocks of Murder.

Nope doesn’t face a street.

Not high enough to be fatal.

Don’t want them landing in a pool.

Apparently, ‘normal’ people do not do this, which is why being normal is totally boring and for luzrs 😛 .

So, before friends and family turn you into the FBI, here’s a handy list of ways we writers are often mistaken for serial killers.

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A Beta Reader Is Not An Editor

It seems there is the one or other author around who either don’t know what the job of a beta reader is. Also, some authors don’t want to pay for an editor and therefore try to ‘use’ the beta reader to get the editor’s job done.

From what I learned in my ‘long’ career of two published books (and a few lined up)… my order of ‘writing and publishing’ is the following:

  1.  Drafting
  2.  Copying out
  3.  personal editing #1
  4.  personal editing #2
  5.  professional editing (proofreading)
  6.  filing for copyright
  7.  sending the manuscript out to the beta readers
  8.  having the book cover done
  9.  possible corrections when getting the manuscript back from beta readers
  10.  publishing

At times the corrections, added paragraphs or even pages, demand a second round of proofreading or editing.

Now, what does the beta reader do?

Beta readers are helpful people around you – can be friends, co-workers, family members. They are asked to read the book pre-release. Often they are asked to review the book online, just after release. Most beta readers are very happy to do so in exchange for the book.

Every beta reader works differently. Some return a paper manuscript with scribbles all over the place…, some send an email with a few ideas, suggestions or remarks, some send texts whenever they discover something. When I beta read, I write a list and later send that list by email. So far, I never discovered a huge plot hole, but I found the one or other ‘thing’ that bugged me and that I had to let the author know about. Many other beta readers do the same thing.

There is one thing beta readers don’t do: they don’t correct typos and grammar. That’s what’s the editor is for. I’m not saying they always are perfect, and should I catch a forgotten typo, of course, I will tell the author about it. But I’m not actively looking for them.

I am lucky enough to have a beta reader who is sweet enough to actively look for typos and grammar problems that escaped my editor’s attention. The one or other author might be just as lucky. But generally, beta readers are not here for editing!

They should return your manuscript with a bit more than ‘I liked it.’ You want to get their notes. You want to hear about their feelings… when did they laugh? When did they cry? What scared them or amused them? Did they enjoy the read, and would they recommend the book? According to them, what age range is the book for (if you’re writing Young Adult), and what did they not like so much?

Did they discover something about the plot they didn’t like? Do they have questions about the story, the plot, or the characters? Is there anything they discovered that isn’t right?

Let me give you a couple examples. One of my last beta readers told me that she loves my book, and she finds ‘Sundance’ as a character very interesting. However, she misses Katie, the ‘Soul Taker’ and wishes her back. She is an exceptional beta reader and informed me about several other things that I later corrected. (I did not write more ‘Katie’ into the second book since that is ‘Sundance’s’ story).

When I was beta reading for a male author, I discovered a wardrobe flaw with one of the female character’s ‘undergarments.’ I told my fellow author about it, and he corrected that.

We all were grateful to have our beta readers. It is important to us having people with open minds paying attention to our stories. And we always hope we don’t ask too much.

Thank you, beta readers, for helping us with your time, your efforts, and your honesty. We need you!