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 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.
Thank you so much for the Monday Funnies, Story Reading Ape. What would we do without them? I love to spread the smiles as often as I can.
Many of you have recently received emails from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) announcing that Amazon is changing file requirements for KDP ebooks. As often happens with change, there is some confusion about how this will change how authors and publishers will upload their ebooks to KDP leading to questions and concerns.
“After June 28, 2021, we will no longer support MOBI files when publishing new or updating previously published reflowable ebooks. Instead, use EPUB, DOCX or KPF formats, see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. MOBI files are still accepted for fixed-layout ebooks.”
What Does That Mean, Exactly?
Thank you, Andre Clayton for a great blog post about naming our fictional characters. We all have been there. And for all of us it’s always interesting to find out how other authors are doing it!
on The Write Life:
When you start writing your story, how long does it take you to come up with character names?
Choosing the perfect name for your protagonist and antagonist can take ages, especially when you’re not sure how to start.
I’ve been there. After wasting days staring at a blank computer screen, attempting to come up with names for all of my characters, I developed with some helpful naming strategies. And I’d like to share them with you!