Friday, November 27, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- volume 103

I survived Thanksgiving.  Barely.  So I almost didn't get around to uploading today's writing links until the last minute. For those of you still braving NaNo, don't worry, it's almost over.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the links!


3 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chances with an Agent

The Big Reason Why Agents and Editors Often Stop Reading

How To Set Up Your Character's Final Test

7 Tips to Make the Most of Working with a Cover Designer

Disappearing Amazon Reviews: The Facts Behind Amazon’s Review Purges

Nanowrimo: Act II:2 Questions and Prompts
 A bit late considering there's only a few more days left in Nano, but good advice nonetheless.

Strengthening Our Observation Skills

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

One Writer's Thanksgiving List

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the States, I’d like to take a moment to give thanks for everything I’ve been blessed with in both my personal and writing life.

In terms of my personal life, I’m thankful for:

  • My family, 
  • My health,
  • Having found a new job when my previous one dried up back in September, 
  • My friends
  • All the little things that make me happy. 

As far as my writing life, I’m thankful for:

  • My critique partners, who point out the stuff that never would have occurred to me. I’ve learned so much about writing because of their efforts.
  • My online crit groups, who are often the guinea pigs lucky recipients of my terrible first drafts. 
  • An active imagination which keeps supplying me with new ideas for my stories. 
  • All the supportive writers I’ve met online, especially those belonging to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group
  • My family (again), who has been incredibly supportive of my writing habit, even if they can’t understand why it takes me so long to finish a story. 
  • And finally, I’m thankful for J.K. Rowling, whose stories started me down this path of writing. She turned me from being someone who hated writing into someone who now wishes he could find even more time to write.

So what are you most thankful for?


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Are You the Main Character, or Are You Along For the Ride?

I was plowing through my TBR writing links the other day when I came across this post by Randy Ingermanson .

Your reader is reading your fiction because you provide him or her with a powerful emotional experience. If you’re writing a romance, you must create in your reader the illusion that she is falling in love herself. If you’re writing a thriller, you must create in your reader the illusion that he is in mortal danger and has only the tiniest chance of saving his life (and all of humanity). If you’re writing a fantasy, you must create in your reader the illusion that she is actually in another world where all is different and wonderful and magical. And so on for all the other genres. 

 This isn’t the first time I’ve come across the theory that you become the main character when you read a story. Perhaps it's just me, but I never think of myself in that way. I may be right there alongside the main character, perhaps sitting in a comfy armchair inside his/her head, but I never feel as though I’m them. I may be able to relate to what they're going through. I might be able to imagine how I would feel if I were in the same situation, but I never feel like I’m falling in love, or I'm about to die. My job is to root for the character and hope everything turns out okay by the end.

For me, reading is like going to a movie. I live vicariously through the actors. Heck, I might even wish I were them for a little while, but I never think I am them. Since movie actors/story characters rarely do what I would have done in the same situation, there's little chance I could convince myself that we're the same person.

Admittedly, most of the articles I’ve read on the subject seem to match with the way I think, but I’m wondering about the rest of you.

Do you become the character, or are you just along for the ride?  Let me know.



But that's not all!

As a bonus feature, today I'm excited to reveal the cover for The Undead Road, an upcoming book by David Powers King scheduled for release in January.

And there's also a contest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Title: The Undead Road: My Zombie Summer: Part 1
Publisher: CreateSpace / Dashboard Books
Ebook Release: January 1st, 2016
Paperback: January 26th, 2016
Cover by Steven Novak


Nothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Berretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment.

Contest Details:

A while ago, David invited the blogosphere to let him turn one unfortunate lucky contestant into a zombie for The Undead Road. The winner was Ilima Todd, who is now the awesome author of Remake. The next installment of My Zombie Summer is underway, and David wants to do this contest again. Want to be in a zombie book? Not only is this your chance, but it is your choice!

Between now and next Wednesday, send an email to dpowersking [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line: Zombify Me! Contest. In your email, David wants you to tell him three things:

1: The name you will be identified as (example: your first name).
2: A description of yourself—the more detailed you are, the better.
3: How would you like the survivors to put you out of your misery?

Four casualties contestants will be chosen on Wednesday, November 25th. The most inventive or interesting entry will be zombified! The other three who are unlucky fortunate enough to survive will be given special honors. Winners will be announced on December 2nd on David’s blog.

Prizes? The winner will be zombified in the pages of My Zombie Summer: Part Two, receive a signed proof of the novel (when it’s ready), and a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card. The runner ups will receive a free ebook of The Undead Road for their Kindle (other platforms TBA).

Thank you for participating, and good luck!

About the Author:

David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to be a writer. He is the co-author of the YA fantasy novel WOVEN, published by Scholastic. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He currently lives deep in the mountain West with his wife and three children.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- volume 102

Whoops, looks like I missed Wednesday's post. Again. I'm not sure how I did it, but I made it through most of Wednesday without realizing it was Wednesday.  Kind of scary when you  think about it.  I can't blame  it on NaNo stress because I'm not participating in the challenge this year.

Anyway, I'm trying to squeeze in as much writing as I can these days, because Fall is still my best writing season, and Fall doesn't last too long here in Michigan.  In fact, I'm surprised the weather has stayed as nice as it has.  I don't want to waste a single moment of the wonderful weather.

Enjoy the links and have a great weekend!


Starting a Scene: Two Important Questions

Hagrid & Haymitch: 10 Traits of the Mentor Character Archetype

5 Ideas for Promoting Your Ebook Price Promo on Social Media

Revealing a Character's Past Without Falling Into Backstory

Understanding Copyrights for Anthologies

Nanowrimo, Week 2: Inciting Incident - Call to Adventure 

Suspense: To Be Exciting, You Need To Be A Little Dull

Friday, November 6, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- volume 101

For those of you participating in NaNo this year, congratulations for taking the plunge. Although I considered entering, I couldn't justify starting yet another story when I haven't finished the other two I'm working on right now. Still, I miss the excitement of NaNo.

Have a great NaNo weekend and enjoy the links.


Publishing a Sequel: 8 Book Marketing Tips You Need to Know

How to Set Up Pre-orders for Self-published E-Books

Move Over Barnes & Noble, Hello Amazon Brick-and-Mortar—Bringing Back the Bookstore Only Better

Nanowrimo: Act I questions and prompts Perhaps many of you are past Act I of your NaNo story by now, but I think this is still good information to have.

Amazon Lowers Kindle Unlimited Payouts

The Evolution of Your Hero

Five Ways for Self-published Authors to Use Video to Promote Self-Published Books

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Insecure Writer and Social Media

Today is November's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because I'll never be a social media maven--or even vaguely competent at it.

It's no secret that to be a commercially successful writer you have to be discoverable, because if readers don't know you exist, they won't know you have a book for sale. And one of the best ways to let them know you exist is through social media.

Unfortunately, I'm enough of an introvert that I'll never be completely comfortable with social media. I have gotten better at it over the past year, but I'm still only a dabbler on Twitter and I rarely remember to post on Facebook, even when I have something worthy of posting. My one and only success is this website, but how many readers find writers through their websites?  It's not that I don't care about social media.  I've collected so many links explaining the proper ways to use all the different varieties, I'll never have time to read them all. There are so many avenues out there—Amazon author pages. Goodreads profiles. Pinterest. Newsletters. Etc.

Perhaps it doesn't make much difference now, since my book isn't done, but sooner or later it will be finished, and then I'll  have to get serious about putting myself out there. But where will the time come from? I don't have enough to write as it is. My daughter has already volunteered to be my social media coordinator, but I suspect this is something I'm going to have to do myself.

How are you handling Social Media?