The first was from Erika Timar, who applies her experience in creating characters as an online RPG gamer to writing fiction in Character Creation—Building From Cliches. She points out that readers like familiar characters because they are relatable … and relatable is the key to being marketable.
The second was from editor ML Keller, on Correctly Using Author Intrusion. It’s a form of telling, but as I discussed in my own post this week, telling isn’t always bad. I would point out that her examples were older novels. Do you know of any contemporary novels that use author intrusion well?
Other excellent writing posts …
Award-winning author Rachel Hauck visited Novel Rocket to share The Secret To Powerful Stories. How does your novel rate against Rachel’s criteria?
In Five Tips for Organising Subplots, KM Weiland gives three types of plot, four types of subplot, and her five top tips. Her main point: there are no subplots, just plots.
Finally, Kristen Lamb visits Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers to share about Flashbacks: when is a flashback not a flashback, and the difference between a flashback and a parallel timeline.
What great blog posts have you read this week? Share in the comments.
Best of the Blogs: the best posts of the week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.
Point of View
One of my personal bugbears when reading (and editing) is novels which headhop. In this excellent post, Most Common Writing Mistakes: Head-Hopping POV KM Weiland explains why headhopping is a bad idea … and how it’s often a symptom of a bigger problem:
it’s also a sign the entire narrative—all the way down to the structural foundation of the plot—lacks focus.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch discusses Rip Van Winkle Syndrome among writers—a summary of how the business of publishing has changed in the last decade. Anyone who hasn’t kept up might feel like Rip Van Winkle did after waking from his twenty-year sleep.
Emilie Hendryx visits Novel Rocket to share 3 Ways Your Cover Sells Your Novel. I have to agree: people do judge books by their cover. There is a new release I keep seeing promoted on blogs and social media. I know from the title and blurb it’s supposed to be historical fiction with a romantic element. Maybe I’m the only one, but the cover image reminds me of Cruella de Vil … not my idea of a romantic heroine. No, I’m not going to share the name or author.
David Gaughran shares 9 Ways to Improve AMS – Amazon Ads for Authors. It’s a combination of instruction on how to use Amazon ads, and how Amazon could make their advertising more user-friendly i.e. encourage advertisers to spend more money by providing clearer information on how to get a positive ROI.
I don’t have any books for sale on Amazon, so my experience of Amazon ads is solely as a potential Kindle book buyer. Almost all the books I check out are Christian fiction, so I’d expect the advertised books to be Christian fiction—or at the most edgy, fiction written by Christian authors for the general market. But that’s not the case, and I guess we can thank EL James and Christian Grey for that. I wonder if these authors realise they are wasting their time and money?
And Judith Briles visits The Book Designer to warn us to Beware of Sharks in Publishers Clothing in light of the recent demise of Tate Publishing (of course, if you’d downloaded my free guide to Christian publishers, you’d already know how to tell a shark from a minnow. If you haven’t downloaded it … sign up to my email list in the box on the right).
The best posts I’ve read in the week to 21 October 2016 … on writing, editing, marketing, and an update on the Amazon book review situation.
I’ve got two posts this week looking at different aspects of point of view. Both posts give lots of great advice on how to use deep POV to improve your “showing”.
First, Carol J Post visits Novel Rocket to give four tips to Elicit Greater Emotion Through Deep POV. Great post, although I have to say I don’t like Novel Rocket’s new web design. Scrolling down makes it look like those background pages are turning, and make it difficult to read the actual post (or am I the only person with this problem?).
Self-proclaimed Kindlepreneur Dave Chasson gives his advice on Selecting the Best Book Editor. He does an excellent job of briefly summarising the four main levels of book editing (in my experience, most novels need all four. Yes, this is four separate edits, although not all need to be from paid editors). I also agree with his “what to look for” list.
What I didn’t agree with was his idea of an editing test—not because I don’t want to take a test, but because I often find authors can’t accurately gauge the level of editing they need, and tests like this won’t tell them. His test is a 1,000-word article. Not a 90,000-word novel. It completely misses the many intricacies of fiction, which include:
Point of view
Plot and structure
Showing, not telling
If a fiction author picks their editor based on a test like this, I have no doubt they’ll come away with a polished manuscript that has all the essentials of grammar, punctuation and spelling right (although he’s still wrong on one point: CMOS 7.58 clearly says “either italicized or enclosed in quotation marks”, with “or” being the operative word.. Italicizing “and” enclosing in quotation marks is unnecessary emphasis).
But a polished manuscript could still be a rambling unstructured mess of headhopping and telling that doesn’t obey any of the current “rules” of fiction.
Instead, I prefer Dave’s other suggestion of getting sample edits from potential editors. Comparing different sample edits will confirm what level of work needs to be done, and help you decide who is the best editor for your book.
Yes, I offer a free sample edit of up to 1,000 words. A sample edit means we both know the level of work the novel needs, and how much I’m going to charge for that.
As you’ll remember from my post on 7 October, Amazon have recently revised their Reviewing Guidelines, and the changes have been causing consternation around authors on the interwebz (mostly from people who didn’t read the full Amazon article, which explained authors and publishers can still provide reviewers with Advance Reader Copies).
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