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Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs: 24 June 2017

Best of the Blogs: the best posts I’ve read this week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.

Although mostly on writing, thanks to the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop hosted by Raimey Gallant. (Click here to read my contribution to the blog hop).

Writing

Passive Voice

What’s The Deal With Passive Voice, from ML Keller, is one of the best posts I’ve ever read on passive voice—what it is, when it’s bad, and when it’s not so bad (hint: it’s not removing every was or to be from your manuscript).

Point of View

Point of view is a huge issue for writing. With beginners, it’s understanding that third person is not omniscient, or that headhopping an issue. (Adding a *** every three lines doesn’t make it a new scene with a new POV character.)

In Deep Point of View, K Kazul Wolf shows how to write deep point of view. As she points out, it’s nebulous and hard—it’s moving beyond ‘rules’. You can make a ‘rule’ not to use filler words. But it takes skill and hard work to move from “they fought” to showing the reader the fight.

Micro-Plotting

Micro-plotting is David Farland’s term for ensuring you’ve got all those nitty-gritty details in your story that ensure your readers are engaged with your character, and that your plot makes sense. Confused? Read the post.

Writing Christian Fiction

Blog posts from Mike Duran at deCOMPOSE always get me thinking. In The Importance of Implicit (v. Explicit) Christian Content in Fiction, he explores the trend for Christian authors to write for the general market. Duran introduces Holly Ordway’s idea of a “two-step conversion”: moving first from atheism to belief in God, then to embracing Christianity.

He points out that many Christian novels focus on this second step (or feature characters who are already Christians), and don’t address the necessary first step. Duran says:

While a work of fiction may not explicitly articulate the Gospel, it can still contain implicit elements which engage a person’s imagination and move them forward in their spiritual pilgrimage.

Not Writing Preachy Characters

It’s not just Christians who overdo the preaching in their writing. In this post (also from the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop), Raimey Gallant shares Five Ways to Temper the Preachy in Your Plot. She’s not talking about religious preaching, but about the issues preaching—the environment, assisted suicide, political views …

I can think of a general market romance author I stopped reading after her novels detoured from straight romantic suspense with a touch of comedy to romantic suspense with a heavy dose of gay rights. I could have lived with a gay couple (hey, I can skip pages I don’t want to read). What I couldn’t live with was the preachy telling. Remember the show, don’t tell rule? Well, this author switched to tell, don’t show, and it did her message no favours.

I’ve recently read a Christian romantic suspense novel where the heroine was All About The Issue in a way which made Erin Brockovich seem like a disinterested lightweight. I couldn’t like the character even though I agreed with her stance, and that made it impossible for me to enjoy the novel.

Marketing

Craft Your Self-Publishing Plan for Success: Tips From an Indie Author is an outstanding case study from author Laini Giles, visiting Your Writer Platform. Giles takes readers through her publishing objectives, and how she worked to achieve them. What I thought was especially clever was how she identified her target audience, then marketed to them—including attending events her target reader would also attend.

One learning point: for all her success, she wishes she’d started building her email list earlier.

Productivity

Book coach Nina Amir is also a Certified High Performance Coach. This week, she gives solid tips to reaching your writing goals (and not making excuses).

What blog posts have you read this week that are worth remembering?

Best of the Blogs: 8 April 2017

Best of the Blogs from Christian Editing Services

Best of the blogs: the best posts I’ve found this week on writing, editing, and marketing your books. Plus two I wrote. In case you missed them.

Writing

Mike Duran has a new project in the works: a companion to his non-fiction book Christian Horror, this one examining Christian Science Fiction. I love shows like Star Trek, Stargate and Star Wars (see a theme, anyone?), and I’d welcome more quality science fiction that reflects Christian beliefs. What about you?

Donald Maass visits Writer Unboxed to share Casting the Spell—a new way to look at look at your opening lines and ensure they hook your reader.

James Scott Bell visits The Kill Zone blog to give us advice that’s halfway between writing and editing: Don’t Kill Your Darlings—Give Them a Fair Trial!

Editing

I guest posted at Seekerville this week, sharing steps in revising and self-editing your fiction manuscript: Creating Diamonds from Coal. The first step is putting on the pressure.

The second step is examining the stone—especially your use of point of view. I shared on Understanding Point of View here on Wednesday, and I’ll be looking at interior monologue and showing, not telling next week.

If you’re one of those readers who don’t like waiting for the end of a series, then I’ve got you covered: sign up to my mailing list via the link at Seekerville, and I’ll send you a free pdf with the full series of blog posts.

Marketing

Author newsletters. We all have one (or think we should have one). But what do we write about? In this week’s Business Musings, Kristine Kathryn Rusch discusses what she sees as the two major types of newsletter—the chatty fan newsletter and what she calls the ad circular. Which do you write?

Perhaps more important, which do you prefer to read?

By the way, if you’re interested in my author newsletter, here is the signup link: Iola Goulton Author. I email about once a quarter.

Inspiration

Kathy Harris visits the American Christian Fiction Writers blog to ask Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations? She encourages us to focus on what we have achieved, rather than on the endless to-do list we’re stressing over.