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...]

Author’s Corner: Are You Wandering Aimlessly?

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been unbelievable, on so many levels. From the speed at which it spread, to the closing of borders, stores, schools and universities … and the cancellation of conferences, seminars, and businesses in general. It’s been a long, dark road. The discussions about opening up again are all interesting, but they are split between encouraging massive bursts of productivity and gentle, realistic spurts of things that are more manageable. So many authors I … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Why Does Your Book Pitch Matter?

Why Does Your Book Pitch Matter? When it comes to trying to sell your book, there’s a lot of noise out there. As a writer, I find I’m always listening to other people’s conversations. Don’t get me wrong … I don’t do it to eavesdrop … it’s just a habit I developed to help me understand how people really talk to each other. It’s enormously helpful when crafting realistic dialogue. I was at a writers’ conference, when something I overheard really struck me. While standing in the registration … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Believable Characters

How Do You Make Your Characters Believable? A story is a composite of myriad pieces: point-of-view, setting, theme, plot, action, conflict, character, pacing, dialogue and more. You need all of these parts to make good fiction work but, in my mind, none is as vital as character. No matter how we dress them up, stories will always be about people. The trick, of course, is making the people featured worth reading about. Readers want interesting plots, true. They want to be impressed by … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Plot vs. Character

Plot vs. Character The plot-versus-character debate is nothing new. Most indie writers struggle with it. I’ve never been one to work from a plot outline, but I’m also among the first to admit that a man sitting alone with his thoughts is a not an interesting story. It may be a colorful character study, but it’s not a story. Story is the intersection of character and plot. Your premise and plot twists might keep the reader turning pages, but you also need a character (sometimes several of … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: When Did You Start?

When Did You Start to Write Stories? I’ve been thinking about all the wannabe authors out there. I suppose it’s because I’m in the same boat with them. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I write because I feel the urge to put my stories down for others to read. It’s something I have to do. Have to … even though I occasionally wonder if I’m relevant. For instance, I often hear young people talking about what cool new music they’ve been listening to and, if they bother to ask me … [Read more...]

Author’s Corner: Creative Ideas

So, Where Do Creative Ideas Come From? The answer might surprise you. In Paul McCartney’s biography, he shared this secret: “… John often had just the first verse, which was always enough. It was the direction … the signpost … the inspiration for the whole song. I hate the word, but it was the template.” In other words, The Beatles, the most successful rock band in history, used a template to create blockbuster songs. They’re not the only ones. For instance, Agatha Christie, one of the … [Read more...]