Author’s Corner: Creating Believable Fantasy

Creating Believable Fantasy For a work of fantasy to be believable and engrossing, it must be plausible to the reader. Too much detail can become boring and make the reader think he's back in school being harangued by a tedious teacher. Too little detail, and the author is asking the reader to take sometimes giant leaps of faith in strange situations, and this often undermines what is already strained credibility. When I wrote the fantasy thriller “Blood Lake” (Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal, … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: How to Write a Book When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

I want to write a book ... You remember when this big idea first hit? Maybe you were browsing for books, waiting for an author’s autograph, or sitting in stupefied awe after finishing a great novel. The idea took root and then, bam, you’re rushing to a stationary store to buy all the notebooks, pens, sticky notes, and highlighters you can carry. You browse online for writerly things, like a cute laptop mug that says, “Writer at Work.” The moment that mug arrives, you’re filling it with pencils … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Indie Book Marketing

Indie Book Marketing I hope everyone is having a good beginning to the New Year. I’ve mentioned before, if you write because it’s your hobby, you don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about marketing. However, if you’re writing to sell, you need to publish so your book can be accessed by as many people as possible. You need to have clear goals at the start because marketing a book effectively requires planning and energy. It involves attracting and engaging your target … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: When Social Media Hurts

When Social Media Hurts I was reminded by comments in a recent writing group discussion, that authors must be mindful of their social media endeavors. I agree. You need visibility for your work. Every product needs some form of marketing to garner recognition. When I first started as an independent author, the prevailing wisdom said you needed to be everywhere, from social media platforms to public speaking events. It was all supposed to gain exposure and give the appearance of … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Flawed Characters

Flawed Characters Create Meaning A plot with underdeveloped characters is little more than light and sound. No matter how well explosions and spectacle may be reported, story is ultimately about character. And, it is flawed characters that are most believable. After all, no one’s perfect. It’s easy to think that the surface events of a story are its point, but “drama” doesn’t mean anything without a specific person for it to happen to. Even the most dramatic prose relies on … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: How to End your Novel

The Ending of a Story There are three parts of a story that are difficult to write: the beginning, the middle, and the end. I don’t say that to be funny. Each part has its own special set of challenges, but today I want to talk specifically about the function of a story’s ending. Whether or not a story works depends on how well its beginning, middle, and ending hang together. When viewed in this manner, it is quite clear that all three parts are equally important. Indeed, the ending, … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Don’t Sink Your Novel

Is your opening just a floating voice? While you may not want to (and probably shouldn’t) bog down the narrative with nitty-gritty details of where your main character is standing at any given moment, you do want to give your reader some idea where he is. The opening pages of a novel are probably the most important pages you'll write. They need to strike a balance between information and intrigue. Author R.L. Herron By that I mean, you certainly don’t describe every flower … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Questions to Ask your Characters

The most important part of your novel is the part that will never be seen by the reader. The part’s just for you … the part that only you know. Well, you and your characters. The Character Study There are so many ways to do a character study – a letter your character writes to a friend, a confession your character makes to his therapist, or a list of things you want to know about him. However, you cannot write a good novel without knowing who your characters are, inside out. Author … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Quit Worrying About Making It Big

Everyone makes mistakes … even seasoned writers … but that's okay, because each mistake is a great learning opportunity. I must be getting smart by now, because I’ve made plenty of my own errors over the years. I’ve had a bundle of mishaps, including the error of using too much exposition, or too little. Neglecting research, or researching too much. The one I’ve been thinking about this week is the mistake writers make by worrying about what happens when they make it big. Have you … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: The Importance of a Character Profile

One of the most important elements in a story is characterization: making the characters seem vivid, real, alive. One technique many writers (myself included) use with success is to create a character profile for the main characters in the novel. The purpose of a character profile is twofold: to assist the writer in creating a character that is as lifelike as possible and to help with continuity issues in the story. Many bestselling authors have stated that they came up with the basics of … [Read more...]