Friday, September 28, 2018

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 191

This Week's Writing Links
Photo Courtesy of Visual Hunt

The revisions to my recently completed fan fiction story are progressing nicely, thanks in part to the wonderful writers who volunteered to critique my chapters: Marirose Sanborn, Dawne Weber, and IWSG's very own, Loni Townsend.  Thanks so much!

Maybe this is a common occurrence during the editing process, but I find myself alternating between being pleasantly surprised by my words and wanting to burn them before anyone else sees them.

Fall has finally arrived and I'm stoked.  The cool weather always stirs my creative juices, which is good since I have another submission due to my critique group in a couple of days.

Enjoy the weather and this week's writing links! 


Then What Happened? 8 Things We Learned Writing Our First Sequel

How to Write a Novel Synopsis

9 Pieces of Bad Publishing Advice New Writers Should Ignore

Meet the Super Fan … the Secret Sauce Authors Want

Adding a Video to Your Book’s Amazon Sales Page

Five Edits to Strengthen Your Writing, Right Now

Author Advertising: Stacking Ads to Maximize Promotional Dollars

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Give Your Fight Scenes Meaning

Photo Courtesy of Visual Hunt

I’ve been stalled on one of my chapters for the last several months, much to the chagrin of my critique group. The reasons for this delay are many, but one of the biggest has to do with the action scene that occurs halfway through the chapter. My character has to fight her way out of the antagonist’s hideout and choreographing the sequence of events hasn’t been easy. What makes this especially difficult is that she has no real fighting experience. She’s taken a few martial arts classes, but she’s never been in a real fight before and I’m struggling with how to make her escape believable.

But this post isn’t about my writing dilemmas. I’ll figure the scene out eventually. But while studying other books and their fight scenes for inspiration, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Many of the fights scenes I’ve read lately seem rather superfluous. They don’t advance the story. The character doesn’t do anything differently than they did in previous fights. The reader learns nothing new from the battle. It’s as if the author simply decided it was time to amp up the excitement and threw in a gratuitous fight scene.

I’m still a newbie at this writing stuff, but it seems to me that every fight scene in a story should bring something new to the table. Perhaps the character comes up with a clever way of using their special talents to overcome the odds. Or maybe they use recently gained knowledge to defeat the antagonist in an unexpected manner. Or perhaps the character takes advantage of the setting in a new and novel way.

Brandon Sanderson does a great job of this in his book, Alloy of Law. Although the hero fights the same enemies several times throughout the book, each fight feels different, and the reader learns quite a bit about the protagonist and his special abilities through his choice of tactics.

To be honest, fight scenes that are little more than a stream of punches and kicks bore me, and I usually skim over them. What looks exciting on the screen can be dreadfully boring when put into words on a page. It’s the little details that are revealed during the fight that makes them entertaining. If your fight scenes are so generic you could switch their order of occurrence without messing up the story, then you definitely have a problem. In the same way that a story's pinch points pinch  are there to demonstrate the character’s growth over the course of a story, fight scenes should be used to show the character improving in some way. 

That’s my rant for the day.


BTW, another pet peeve of mine is when the author sets up and describes an upcoming battle as being nearly impossible for the MC to win, and then has the character win the fight using standard tactics and without breaking a sweat. WTH?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Insecure Writer and Social Media

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

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because I haven’t spent as much time on social media as I should, especially at this point in my writing career.  

I haven’t finished my first book yet, but this is the time I should be ramping up my social media presence.  If I wait until the book is ready to be published, I’ve waited too long.  In keeping with my New Year’s resolutions, I reached out and connected with other authors in my genre, but upon reflection, I haven’t done nearly enough to facilitate those connections. I read their posts and tweets, but don’t respond or retweet as often as I should. I need to develop a strategy and stick with it.  

Moving on to this month's question: 
What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I suspect I will probably self-publish. Not that I have anything against trad publishing, but the time frame for finding an agent and/or a publisher seems rather daunting. Not to mention that finding an agent and publisher strikes me as a crapshoot at best. And even were I to make it past these hurdles, it would still be years before the book was published. 

Marketing considerations: Whichever route I choose, I’ll still be the person responsible for most of the book marketing, so that’s a wash, but with everything I’ve read on the subject, one of the most important tools at a writer’s disposal is flexibility.  Flexibility to change e-book prices at a moment’s notice, the ability to give books away at strategic times. Deciding when to stay in Kindle Unlimited and when to go wide. I suspect publishers aren’t going to give me that kind of flexibility. Besides, I think most of my sales will come from ebooks, and most big publishers these days price ebooks higher so as not to cut into their print book business.

Cover design:  My book isn’t finished yet, but I already have a pretty good idea of what the cover will be.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on cover designs, so I’ll be hiring a cover designer who knows the fantasy genre and can guide me in the right direction. But if I were to go trad publishing, I wouldn't have much of a say on the cover.   Since this will be the first of hopefully many books, it's important to get the branding correct from the very beginning. 

Have a great IWSG Wednesday and be sure to stop by this month's co-hosts: Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!