Does Amazon Hurt Author Creativity?

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I’ve wanted to post about this subject for a while, but haven’t gotten around to. It was only after listening to an episode of the Rocking Self Publishing podcast that the question resurfaced in my mind and I wanted to pen my thoughts.

First, this is NOT a gripe or attack post on Amazon. I use their Kindle Direct Publishing platform to self-publish my work, and I think they have done writers a great service by removing “gatekeepers” and releasing some great books that might otherwise have languished forever in some publishing house slush pile.

My concern surrounds the idea of book quality and how author creativity might actually be stifled by the cottage industries that have sprung up around the behemoth.

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Writing Tip – Using Story Beats — Joanna’s Story

Today’s post comes from author and blogger B.L. Daniels. You can check out his blog here. He has great content and advice, so I encourage you to check his page out! You can also follow him on Twitter @aggrokragg Authors tend to fall into two categories. “Plotters” and “Pansters”. Plotters attempt to formulate and outline their entire story or novel […]

via Writing Tip – Using Story Beats — Joanna’s Story

Pines (Wayward Pines, #1) Review

Pines (Wayward Pines, #1)Pines by Blake Crouch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had mixed feelings about this book, and like most other reviewers, I’ll try to explain my feelings without spoiling anything.

The majority of the book is decent. It starts with a compelling mystery that really hooked me. Roughly 40% of the story continues to expand on that, and it has a nice “Twin Peaks” vibe. Very ominous.

Unfortunately, that mystery eventually wears out its welcome and devolves into multiple extended chase scenes, along with some pointless flashbacks peppered in. This ultimately leads up to a reveal that is ultimately lackluster. Although I wasn’t as taken aback by the author’s style (intentional lack of pronouns, etc) as some were, what really stuck out to me was the weapon and vehicle details. The main character IS ex-military/secret service, but the explicit naming of some equipment and processes just felt odd and jarring to me.

Based on the reveal and ending, along with the teaser chapter at the end of the novel, I don’t plan to read any further into the series, which is a bummer because I thoroughly enjoyed the book when I started it.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Writing Tip: Character Arguments

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Today’s post comes from author and blogger Joanna Wallace. She gives us a great tip on using arguments to explore character depth. You can find more advice and wonderful posts about the writing process on her blog,  Joanna’s Story.

You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @JoannasStory

First, I’d like to thank Ben for allowing me to guest post on his blog. I hope you find this topic useful, to help create conflict with your characters. This exercise also helps pen dialogue and can add more depth to your story.  How do you achieve this? Make your characters argue.

People fight about anything and everything. It could be love, a disagreement, different viewpoints, what to make for dinner, chores, a life or death scenario, the list goes on.

Whenever I hit a snag, I’ll image my characters arguing. What do they fight for? How do they speak and act? Are they a pushover or do they stand up for what they believe in? This has helped me add plot twists as well.

Even if you’re a writer who likes to outline, create a new page and make them bicker with someone. It may tell you more about the character than you know. You could even speak the dialogue aloud. If you do this in a coffee shop, you may get some strange looks, but that’s what writing is about. Creating emotion and making the reader feel it. They also need to believe it.

Does anyone else use this writing exercise? Let me know what you think.

Thanks again to Ben for letting me post!

#NanoWriMo2016 But Not Really

nanowrimoIt’s November 1st, and that can only mean one thing. YARD WORK!

Wait, sorry, NanoWriMo, and yard work. If you’re active on social media, chances are you equate the second-to-last calendar month with dudes growing mustaches (WordPress auto-corrected ‘moustache’) to “raise awareness”, and tons of would-be authors telling you about their frantic race to create a 50,000 word novel.

I have participated in past NanoWriMo events, but decided they really weren’t for me. It’s an admirable exercise, and although on some level it sets people up for failure (see: 20% success rate) I think it’s important to recognize “the journey” and the act of putting effort into the craft. Does that sound philosophical and lame? Probably.

This year I’ve decided to follow along with the Nano craze in parallel, and utilize all the positive energy created by the community to spur me in revising my fantasy novel. Like some sort of literary psychic vampire, I’ll feed off their goodwill to gain power as I search for misplaced commas and erase adverbs.

The reason for this is two-fold.

One, I’ve learned as much about myself as I can from NanoWriMo. It’s just not my style, and I really want to accomplish some goals before the holidays arrive and eat away at my already diminished free time.

Two, I already have enough unfinished projects active, and I don’t want to add another (of dubious quality) to the pile. I’m a finisher by nature. I absolutely hate incomplete projects lingering around, so I’m going to turn this social experiment into lemonade and put a bow on this draft that’s been hanging around for months collecting dust.

Rather than unleash 1600 words a day, I plan to edit/revise around that much per day, which will put me to the end of my edit process with room to spare in case I get distracted by Xbox or something a few times.

Are you participating in #NanoWriMo2016? If so, let me know what your plans are, and if you’re reading this on November 28th, I hope you’re almost done with that novel!