Tag Archives: tips

How to Show and not Tell Intelligence

Although the concept of intelligence and what exactly it means for a person to be intelligent are the subject of considerable controversy and debate, it’s widely accepted that intelligence is valued in our society. In fact, if you’re a sapiosexual, you find intelligence as the most sexually attractive feature in a prospective partner. I’m not going into the evolutionary theories for this (including that intelligent men have a higher sperm count and women intuitively understand this and so are drawn to them), so you’ll have to take my word for it. Intelligence is attractive, and a trait we see in many a hero (and villain in fact). In the landscape of writing, this is a trait you can harness to add layers to your character.

Although every psychologist who has endeavoured to define intelligence has come up with their own definition, intelligence is broadly understood as the ability to perceive or infer information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviours within an environment. The key as a writer is to create a character who presents as intelligent in a plausible manner. Sure, you can slip in their above average IQ scores as they munch over breakfast, or point out they have seven PhD’s, but what if your character is an adolescent? Or what if they live on the planet X where IQ tests aren’t used because the sentient species have acknowledged the limitations of cognitive testing?

What if you want to show, not tell?

Well, you’ve come to the right blog post. I undertook some research, and along with my professional understanding of intelligence (IQ testing is a regular part of my practice in schools), I considered it in terms of character development. If you’re looking to craft an intelligent character, then check out the following traits (quick caveat: they don’t all have to be present for a person to be considered intelligent, but each of these traits are understood as strong indicators of above-average cognitive capacity):

High Verbal Functioning

People with a high IQ have strongly developed verbal skills. Your character is likely to be able to verbalise meaningful concepts and express themselves articulately and maybe even eloquently. This means dialogue, internal and external, is going to be important in representing an intelligent character.

Strong Reasoning Capacity

A person with high intelligence is able to detect underlying concepts and relationships, and use reasoning to identify and apply rules. Abstract thinking is a strength, as is attentiveness to detail. Many detectives in crime novels demonstrate strong reasoning capacity, and every time they solve the murder by linking the dots that seem to live in different postcodes we’re wowed by their intellect.

Good Memory

Intelligent people not only notice this nuanced information in life, but they also maintain this information in conscious awareness. This process, which requires attention and concentration, allows them to manipulate and play with said information in their mind. I’d rather not recollect the amount of times I’ve looked like I’ve lost valuable IQ points because I can’t remember the of age of my firstborn child!

Fast thinking

Smart people are fast thinkers. They can do all of the above, and they do it quickly. They are able to scan information accurately, make decisions, and implement those decision rapidly. These characters will drop one-liners in the blink of an eye, or be the first to recognise that the name of their victim isn’t on the list of missing people following the earthquake that levelled New York.

 

But it’s important to note that high intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean your character is any of the following;

Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence; the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically, is quite different to cognitive intelligence. Whilst people who do well on standardized tests of intelligence tend to be more successful in the classroom and the workplace, emotional intelligence is correlated with better social relations, better family and intimate relationships, and better psychosocial wellbeing.

Think of Sheldon in Big Bang Theory—with his borderline autistic tendencies, he’s an accomplished physicist, but he’s socially inept and emotionally naïve, which has been mined over 11 series of hilarious interactions. It’s worthwhile to consider whether your character has both of these qualities.

Wise

You’ve probably heard the saying there’s knowing that a tomato is a fruit…and understanding a tomato doesn’t belong in a fruit salad. In the same way, intelligence (knowledge of information and using it adaptively) isn’t necessarily wisdom (the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, and insight). Your character may have acquired the knowledge (impressively and quickly), but wisdom is the proper use of that knowledge. Whilst trawling the internet I found this little nugget: Intelligence is knowing that Frankenstein was the doctor. Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein was the monster.

Nice

Just because your character is smart, it doesn’t mean they’ll be nice. In fact, intelligent people can be less trusting and less compliant with rules (think of Tony Stark in Ironman; he’s brilliant, but socially irreverent to the point of egocentrism). Intelligence can give rise to suspicion (and if were to extrapolate that, to conspiracy theories), selfishness (you just need to read Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene to know selfishness is smart), and subversiveness (which could be a good thing in your story, but also may make them unlikeable).

Emotionally Stable

Intelligence doesn’t equate with emotional stability, in fact, it’s possible that higher IQ is linked with higher incidents of some mental health diagnoses (including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia). Although the link isn’t clearly understood, it’s probably not important to our story building motivations. What is important, though, is to understand that your character may be in the top two percent of the IQ bell curve, but their physiology and environment (e.g. a traumatic childhood) will also play a factor in their emotional life.

By Tamar Sloan
Source: psychwriter.com.au

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How to Become a Writer: Where to Start

If you want to become a writer but feel uncertain how to begin, you are not alone.

Writing, and especially fiction writing, can seem like a mysterious art, even to those who practice it. So if you’re starting from nowhere, it may take some work to convince yourself you can do it. Yet, in all honesty, becoming a writer is not a difficult matter. To become a best-selling novelist or win the Booker Prize may be difficult. But to become a writer or even a published writer is relatively easy.

Recently, I received three emails from people, each of whom want to become a writer. They all expressed very typical concerns. Below is what they said and how I would answer them.

Incidentally, I don’t pretend my advice on this subject is brilliant or original. There are no magic answers to these questions, only the same simple answers that have worked for most beginning writers.

The Student Writer

Here’s what the first person wrote in an email:

I found the articles on this site educative and inspiring. I am hoping to be a writer too but am still in school. please advice me on what to do.

I’m not sure whether this person is in high school or university. But it doesn’t matter. Here’s what to do if you are in a similar situation. Simply put, the best thing to do if you want to become a writer, regardless of your age, is to write regularly. Even if you write for just 10 minutes a day or one day a week. Even if you have to get up an hour before everyone else to get some quiet time.

The hard thing in the beginning is to make yourself devote time to writing. Yet writing is something you can only learn by doing – just like riding a bicycle or skiing. Some people have theorized that it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill. Writing is like that. And the more you write, the better you get at it—the greater your sense of how words should flow as they express thoughts, observations, and feelings. There are no shortcuts here. You just have to keep doing it until it becomes as natural as walking.

Remember too that a writer is simply someone who writes. If you are writing, you have already become a writer. The readership comes later.

The second thing that will help you become a writer is to read a lot. To some extent, it doesn’t matter what you read – anything from comic books to popular magazines is more grist for the mill. However, it cannot hurt to delve into the classics. There is a reason the great poets and authors are revered. The more of their language you can get into your head, the better.

When you feel ready and have a small body of work you feel good about, seek out other writers who can help you. Share your work and get their comments. If all they do is criticize and tear your work to shreds, don’t give up. Take their advice to heart and try to do better. Eventually you will get more compliments than criticism.

Once you reach the stage where you are getting positive feedback, look for places where you can publish. Maybe you start with a blog or a student newspaper. Today there are many more places online than ever before where you can publish your words. Eventually, you may find people who will pay you.

Bonus Video from ClueTV: Neil Gaiman

Stuck at the Idea Stage

This person is in the grip of an idea, but not sure what to do with it:

i want to write a book and i have a title but don’t have any clue at all about how to get started. i need some advice badly.

The person didn’t say if they want to become a writer of fiction or nonfiction. A title isn’t much to go on either, but if it’s an idea that won’t let go, it is a good starting point.

If you’re at this stage, I suggest you try to flesh out that idea. Play the part of an objective observer and start asking yourself questions about the title. Any questions will do. Invent answers that feel right.

After doing this for a while, you should have a better idea what this book will be about. At that point, I recommend you make some kind of an outline. If this will be fiction, perhaps start with the 8 Elements of Plot. If the book is to be nonfiction, try to come up with a one paragraph summary of your topic and the core message of the book. Decide who will be your audience. You want to tell them something they will be glad to know. Then decide on the arguments, evidence, ideas, information, etc. you need to prove your thesis. Those may become chapters. Doing some research on your topic will give you more ideas.

Once you have an outline you are happy with, you just have to start writing. Maybe the first draft won’t be any good. That’s all right. Just keep writing until you have a complete draft. Then go back and revise, rewrite, add new chapters, cut ones that don’t work, etc. Share your words and ideas with other people and get their feedback. Maybe it will take you ten drafts to get it right. That’s okay. It’s a learning process.

When you work on your second book, you will have an easier time because you already know what has to be done and that you can do it.

Bonus Video:
Important Advice from Ira Glass On How to Become a Writer

Child Writers

The third email came from a professed child:

hiya, I’m 11 yrs old and I really want to write a novel, even if I do get it finished, do you think that the publisher will except me as I don’t want to do self publishing.

Sometimes our most profound dreams and ambitions come to us at 11 years of age, before adolescence overshadows them. I myself first wanted to become a writer when I was 11. I taught myself to type on my father’s old manual typewriter and spent many evenings churning out science fiction short stories. It was a much more rewarding activity than many others I could have pursued at that time.

My advice to anyone this young who wants to become a writer is that, if possible, you should follow that dream. You’ll be very glad you did. Even if you never become a professional writer, you will become a better writer. And writing is a skill that is more valuable than most people realize, no matter what your profession.

It’s also important to remember that getting published isn’t everything and that writing a novel can be a fun activity even if it never gets published. Artists often make hundreds of drawings and paintings before they sell one. Great actors often start in amateur theatre. Similarly, writers often have to write several “practice novels” or short stories in order to develop their skills.

Besides, some people have published books at a young age, so who can say what will happen? Whether a book gets published depends on many factors, including the quality of the writing, the subject matter, the publisher’s preferences, what’s popular at the time, etc. Luck plays a big role too.

So if your dream is to become a writer, start by writing for your own enjoyment. Later on, you can look for a readership.

Also, you and your parents should check out the Young Writers Program at NaNoWriMo. It’s an annual fun challenge in which you try to write a novel in 30 days. You decide what length of novel to go for. They have a great workbook full of helpful advice on planning. You can challenge your friends to see who can write the most words before the contest is over.

You don’t have to show anyone what you’ve written unless you want to, so no one will criticize your novel. It’s all about quantity, not quality, and having fun.

And the best part is that you will become a writer over the course of the month.

So grab the pen. The empty page is waiting. You have nothing to lose, and much to gain…

By By Glen C. Strathy
Source: how-to-write-a-book-now.com

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Giving A Voice To Indies

A new organization is being formed which is aiming to give a voice to indies – the Indie Author Support Network. The idea was proposed by indie author Marie Force, and it’s still at the very earliest stages, but what I’ve heard so far is very promising indeed – particularly that it will be exclusively focused on high-level advocacy and interfacing with retailers on issues which concern indies.

I’m not a member of any writer organization. I joined one here in Ireland when I first returned home, but didn’t renew after they wouldn’t even take the most basic stand against a local publisher who wasn’t paying his authors.

I know people join organizations for lots of different reasons, whether that’s continuing education or competitions or even just the social/networking aspects at conferences, which are desperately needed in such a solitary profession, and I think those needs are pretty well met with the various genre-focused organizations out there, and NINC too. However, advocacy has always been of most importance to me and I think there is a critical need right now for a very focused group which specifically speaks to the rather curious set of issues that indies are dealing with in 2018.

And most of these issues stem from, or are exacerbated by, a lack of representation. We are a huge chunk of the market now, but we don’t have a seat at the table or a voice in the room.

While I’m a huge respecter of the work Victoria Strauss and the rest of the Writer Beware team have done on behalf of all writers (and the SFWA in setting that up and its partner orgs in helping with logistical support), as well as the work that the Alliance of Independent Authors has done in building an all-encompassing indie writers’ organization, I think there is a very specific gap right now for a group exclusively focused on high-level advocacy for indies, one where institutional energy is all directed towards that one task.

Over the last couple of days, Marie Force has been gathering expressions of interest to form just such a group, one that would interface directly with retailers. She has already spoken with KDP about dealing directly with the group on issues of common concern, and they seemed very positive about the idea.

Despite some rumors flying around, there is no specific agenda in place yet – the organization is still being formed and that conversation is yet to be had. That said, there are a whole bunch of issues right now that such a group could conceivably tackle.

(These are my own personal opinions/priorities/preferences, of course.)

A lot of the issues today stem from Kindle Unlimited. I’m not pro- or anti- KU personally. My books are wide, but I manage marketing for someone else who is all-in with KU (and does very well out of it too). But there’s no doubt that KU has had a dramatic impact on the market and raised issues which need to be addressed.

There is a chronic lack of transparency in the program – leading to issues like authors getting page reads retroactively reduced, with Amazon refusing to furnish any kind of reasonable explanation for same.

The compensation system at the center of KU is a relatively new model in publishing, and it has had many unpleasant side effects such as making the Kindle Store a giant target for various scammers, and Amazon’s response seems to vary between doing nothing and allowing things to spiral out of control, to nuking from space and hitting a lot of innocents.

Amazon’s TOS also needs to be a whole lot clearer on a range of things, so authors have absolute clarity about what is permitted and what isn’t. And there needs to be some kind of proportionality in any sanctions handed out – right now we have the crazy situation where an author who openly admitted to clickfarming his way to #1 gets the same sanction as an author who did nothing wrong but was targeted by a third-party.

The one-size-fits-all punishment of rank-stripping seems too onerous for the latter and too light for the former (IMO, YMMV).

On a personal level, I feel like many of these issues were flagged by the author community when KU first launched, and if we had a voice in the room back then, perhaps many of them could have been avoided too.

There are a lot of organizations out there already doing great work in various fields, but this feels like the right idea at the right time, something that isn’t necessarily in competition with the likes of NINC or RWA or anyone else, but a really focused group exclusively dealing with indie author advocacy.

And if you are interested too you can join Marie Force’s Facebook Group – the Author Support Network – or express your interest at IndieAuthorSupportNetwork.com. Marie Force is looking to gather expressions of interest from 1,000 indie authors before April 30 to see if this idea has legs (and she was halfway there after just 12 hours).

I’m excited to see where this goes.

Source: https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/giving-a-voice-to-indies/

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10 Success Tips from Stephen King

Last month, I shared J.K. Rowlings top tips on writing and success, and it was a tough choice between her and Stephen King. Those two write such wonderful books because they understand love and fear. Have you read Stephen King’s On Writing? Seen The Shawshank Redemption (my favorite movie ever)  or The Green Mile? King is a writer who sees the visceral underbelly of courage and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Here is his “Top Ten” list for writers:

1. Love what you do.

Really, y’all. Why would you do this writing thing if you didn’t love it? Most people don’t line up for the chance to rip their hearts out and show it to friends and strangers. But we do. We not only rip our hearts onto the page, we fight to make that painful process sound like something others may actually want to read. Why would any sane person do this kind of work unless they loved it?

King’s take: “For me, not working is the real work. When I’m writing, it’s all the playground…”

2. Be yourself.

Many years ago I heard literary agent, Natasha Kern, speak about writing. She said, “Every time you put words on the page, you are shouting out, ‘this is who I am.’” Terrifying thought, isn’t it? It’s enough to put you off writing if you let it.

Be who you are and write your truth and your voice will come through. Jill Marie Landis described “voice” to me like this: “Imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop, telling your best pal a story. Your story, your hand gestures, your expressions – they all have rhythms that are uniquely you. That’s voice.” Your voice will permeate everything you write.

3. Explore new ideas.

Don’t worry that it’s all be done before. Your story hasn’t been done before because only YOU can tell it. It’s that voice thing again. The imaginative one-of-a-kind lens you see the world through filters your words into your own one-of-a-kind story. Even if you’re exploring what King calls “the three stories shared by all horror writers,” your take on it will be different from anyone else’s.

4. The good idea stays with you.

Are you one of those writers who always wants to chase the shiny new idea “before it flies away?” One of the most amazing things about creativity is that the stories you are meant to write stick around. They kick at your brain and your heart until you let them out into the world.

This is why we are writers…we’re the designated vaults that hold the stories. We are the ones who care enough to put those stories into words for others.

Note: I’m not talking about those times when you are wading through the pit of despair in your current WIP, wondering when you will get back to “the good stuff.” Everyone goes through that phase, when the shiny new idea seems like a cup of cool water in the middle of a sweltering desert.

5. Love the process.

This bit of advice cracks me up. I don’t know any writers who love the whole process. Maybe they love the beginning and end, but they detest the middle. Maybe they love to plot, but hate to finish. Or they love to write but would rather go to the dentist than revise.

Whether or not I “love the process” pretty much depends on which day you ask me about it. But I always love the words. I always love the process of finding the best words, of teasing out the theme to a story and discovering what I really want to say.

It’s okay if you don’t love the entire process, as long as you love some piece of it so much that it becomes the carrot that draws you through the crappy parts. If you can’t find that carrot for yourself, talk to a writing friend and have them help you find it. It’s there, I promise you.

6. Learn from rejections.

Rejection is something all writers must deal with. Our own Laura Drake went through 417 rejections before she sold. Four. Hundred. Seventeen. That takes stamina and some pretty thick skin. I love her post, Don’t Give Away Your Power, where she discusses how to manage rejection.

7. Look for ideas you enjoy.

King says he never wrote a book where he wanted to say goodbye to the characters. You will be spending quite a bit of time with these people and if you aren’t having a ball, it’s unlikely the reader will either. Your goal is to create worlds and characters that nobody wants to leave, including you.

8. Find your creative process.

The biggest step, at least for me, is putting the booty into the writing chair. Not the social media/blogging/day job chair, the story chair. Stephen King likens the first ten minutes of writing time to “smelling a dead fish or walking through a monkey house.” If you stick with it, he insists that “something will click and lead to something else that sucks you down into the story.”

So, my take on his advice: Butt in the story chair. Stick with it for at least 15 minutes.

A bit of advice from Laura Drake: She has a saying: Nobody gets it all. Stop being greedy, thinking you need that elusive more to be a writer. You were given everything you need to tell your stories. Dig deep and find a process that helps you get the story out.

9. Pass something on.

Frankly, this is the essence of WITS to all of us here behind the scenes. We pass on knowledge because we think it’s important. Whether it’s knowledge, time, or simply a post, it’s important to share your abundance with others. Teach a class. Volunteer. Sponsor NaNoWriMo. Or, like Harley Christensen and Elizabeth Craig, curate knowledge for other writers and share the best damn tweets in the Twitterverse.

King makes an excellent point: it’s not like you can take it with you when you go.

10. Tell great stories.

Read a lot, write a lot and learn. Those are the activities you must engage in if you want to tell great stories. Stephen King writes to entertain himself, but he also never forgets the reader. His take on opening lines: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”

Sources:

Stephen King struggled with depression, poverty, addiction and self-doubt, but he kept writing. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to getting words on the page? Which of these ten bits of wisdom do you struggle with the most?

By Jenny Hansen
Source: writersinthestormblog.com

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25 #Tweet Ideas To Help #Authors Fight Follower Fatigue

From Duolit, a helpful article by Toni (The Geek).

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I’ve developed a dangerous addiction.

There’s a local ice cream place that has stolen my heart. It’s called Cold Cow, and those magical folks give you a RIDICULOUS amount of the creamy, delicious treat for startlingly low prices.

For just $4, I get a HUGE bowl of vanilla ice cream piled high with cookie dough (straight out of the Toll House tub), Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Oreos. 

Do your teeth hurt yet?

Now, I understand that Cold Cow is definitely an indulgence, but it’s one I fully commit to enjoying each and every time I sit down with my tanker-truck-sized bowl.

No matter my excitement, however, something strange happens after I dig in.

The first bite is ridiculously awesome.

The second bite is really good.

After the third bite or so, it still tastes wonderful, but each subsequent bite never lives up to the same level as the first.

It’s like my taste buds get fatigued from processing all the awesomeness.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

No matter how amazing something tastes, if you taste it over and over again the flavors will never live up to that first-bite magic.

Taking the analogy to book marketing, fans get the same way when it comes to your social media updates. If all they read are the same types of updates (even if those updates are ridiculously awesome) they will eventually lose interest.

I see this problem most often on Twitter. Authors alternate between one or two update types (most commonly a link to buy their book and an excerpt/review) which will tire out even the most ardent fan.

Honestly, though, this update repetition isn’t necessarily your fault. I get it: sometimes, it’s simply difficult to think of anything else to write about.

Well, I’m here to fix that (yay!) I’ve put on my thinking cap and come up with 25 different tweet ideas. That way, if you tweet 3 times a day, you won’t have to repeat a tweet type for over a week. Pretty awesome, right?

25 Types of Author Tweets (with examples!)

I know you’re eager to start changing up those tweetable topics so, without further ado, here is my mega-list of unique tweet ideas:

  1. A genuine recommendation of a fellow indie author’s work
    ex: “Just checked out Killer Shine by @ShanWrites and LOVED IT! My review: http://amazon.link”
  2. favorite recipe or food-related advice
  3. fun photo (your workspace, pets, lunch, whatever!)
  4. link to a blog post on a topic both you and your readers find interesting (be sure to @mention the author if he/she’s on Twitter)
    ex: “Doing 1, 5 and 10! –> 25 Summer Decorating Ideas by @ShanWrites: http://link.y”
  5. personal shoutout to a (single) follower
    ex: “A big welcome to the gals at @Duolit — Mountain Dew is my fav, too!”
  6. An excerpt from a positive review of your book
  7. Your take on a trending topic
  8. thought-provoking question
    ex: “If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which would you choose? #amreading”
  9. Live-tweeting during a TV show or event
  10. personal thank you for a fellow, reply or retweet
  11. link to sign up for your mailing list
    ex: “For exclusive excerpts and giveaways, join my Readers’ Club: http://link.y”
  12. Reply to someone’s tweet with your own thoughts
  13. Share a short, interesting musing from your day (if you have kids or pets, these practically write themselves!)
  14. Share the logline from your WIP
    ex: “What I’m working on: Single mom/waitress by day, time-travelling superhero by night. Sound interesting?”
  15. The link to your most recent blog post
  16. Share your #1 desert island book and why you chose it
  17. Start a conversation with someone using a relevant hashtag
    ex: “@SomeoneElse That dinner sounds amazing! How did it turn out? #amcooking”
  18. A link to download an excerpt of your book
  19. Take part in a Twitter chat (check out this mega-list of chats!)
  20. tantalizing quote from your book
  21. Thoughts on what you’re currently reading ( be sure to mention the author if he/she’s on Twitter)
    ex: “#AmReading Storm of Swords by @GeorgeRRMartin and just got to the Red Wedding. OMG!!!”
  22. Your favorite quote of all time
  23. link to a news story/blog post about you and your book
  24. Your thoughts on a topic of interest to you and your readers
    ex: “Hitchhiker’s Guide was WRONG?! I don’t buy it — what do you think? http://link.y”
  25. Give away a free copy of your book to a random follower

4 Terrific Twitter Tips (say that 5 times fast!)

Phew! Those topics should keep you busy for awhile, huh? Before you jump into crafting those tweets, however, I’d like to share a few general Twitter guidelines to keep in mind:

1. Keep Tweets Short

I know, I know, that’s kind of obvious, right? After all, you’re automatically limited to 140 characters when crafting your tweets. It’s actually in your best interest, however, to keep your tweets even shorter than that.

Limiting your tweets to just 120 characters makes it easy for your followers to retweet your updates without having to do any editing. Take 5 seconds to check the character count before tweeting to make sharing your content as easy as possible!

2. Don’t sound robotic

Take advantage of the fact that you’re in charge of your own promotion by making it clear that your tweets come from you — not a publisher or ghosttweeter (that’s a thing, right?)

Craft each and every one of your tweets to sound personal and engaging to your followers. For example, instead of sharing the title of a blog post, write (briefly) what it’s about before including the link (check out #4 and #24 in the list above).

3. Emulate, but stay true to yourself.

There are some awesome author-tweeters out there (not that I’m biased, but our own Shannon @ShanWrites does a great job) and you can certainly learn a lot by following them and checking out their tweets.

When it comes to planning your own, however, don’t be tempted to copy what you see. Make your tweets reflect your personality and appeal to your fanbase, not the fanbase of another author!

4. Reply to replies.

When you’re starting out on Twitter, make it a point to reply to every single (non-robotic) mention you receive.

This simple act can earn a new reader or make a connection that will benefit you in your author career. Aside from that, it’s just good manners to take the time to reply to someone who takes the time to mention you!

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7 Movie-Title Mistakes #FED_ebooks #writer #indieauthor #screenplay

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7 Movie-Title Mistakes

 

One does not rely on the entertainment industry to model proper grammar and punctuation, but is it too much to expect that movie titles make grammatical sense? Evidently, it is; filmmakers and film studio marketing staff have more important things to do than ensure that titles correctly use hyphens and apostrophes, appropriately employ punctuation marks, and form verbs properly, as these movie posters demonstrate.

 

An early poster for The 40-Year-Old Virgin omitted the first hyphen, resulting in a title that didn’t make sense. If it were plural, it could refer to twoscore twelve-month-old babies, but that’s rather complicated. Fortunately, later versions were corrected, and moviegoers were left with a comforting correlation between a photograph of Steve Carell’s dorky-looking title character and a that-figures movie title.

 

The title of the horror-comedy Eight Legged Freaks appears to refer to an octet of people who may be otherwise abnormal but are equipped with legs. However, as an epithet for unusually large and aggressive spiders (apparently based on an ad lib from the star of the film, which originally bore the title Arac Attack), it should read Eight-Legged Freaks; the wordseight and legged must — outside of Hollywood, that is — be hyphenated to signal that they combine as a single term modifying freaks.

 

Shrink, shrank, shrunk. Shrink, shrank, shrunk. I always have to look that kind of stuff up — a strategy the makers of this film could have easily employed to produce a grammatically correct title. Depending on where Rick Moranis’s character is in the child-miniaturizing process at the pertinent time, the title should be Honey, I Will Shrink the Kids, Honey, I Shrank the Kids, or Honey, I Have Shrunk the Kids.

 

This man belongs to the ladies. He is in their possession. Ladies claim ownership of this man. He is a ladies’ man. Ladies, is this your man?

 

A citizen who abides by the law is a law-abiding citizen; law and abiding are connected by a hyphen to show that together, they describe the particular type of citizen ostensibly featured in this film (in reality, the protagonist is a law-flouting citizen — but that’s Hollywood for you). The lack of a hyphen is excusable in display type on a movie poster or in the film’s credits, but when it is omitted on promotional materials as well, the producers are not law-abiding filmmakers.

 

When you plan to resign from a job, it’s customary to give notice two weeks in advance of your planned departure date. You give a notice of two weeks. The two weeks “belong” to the notice, so it’s “two weeks’ notice” (or “a two-week notice,” though the other form is much more common).

 

This title is a question. The source material for the film is a novel titled Who Censored Roger Rabbit? So, why does the movie title not include a question mark? Some sources claim that filmmakers have a superstition that titles so adorned do poorly at the box office. Tell that to What’s Up, Doc?Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and, more recently,O Brother, Where Art Thou?, among others. This film did very well, but I think would have been just as successful with the perilous punctuation mark. Defenders will say the title is shorthand for “Find Out Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” but that requires logical contortions not even the rubber-limbed title character can manage.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com by Mark Nichol

 
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Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

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What Makes A Bestseller? #FED_ebooks #Author #Writer #Indieauthor

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THE 21 KEY TRAITS OF BEST-SELLING FICTION

Do you wonder want readers want? In today’s writing tip, you’ll discover the 21 key traits of best-selling fiction excerpted from The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.

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 The 21 Key Traits of Best-Selling Fiction

  • Utility (writing about things that people will use in their lives)
  • Information (facts people must have to place your writing in context)
  • Substance (the relative value or weight in any piece of writing)
  • Focus (the power to bring an issue into clear view)
  • Logic (a coherent system for making your points)
  • A sense of connection (the stupid power of personal involvement)
  • A compelling style (writing in a way that engages)
  • A sense of humor (wit or at least irony)
  • Simplicity (clarity and focus on a single idea)
  • Entertainment (the power to get people to enjoy what you write)
  • A fast pace (the ability to make your writing feel like a quick read)
  • Imagery (the power to create pictures with words)
  • Creativity (the ability to invent)
  • Excitement (writing with energy that infects a reader with your own enthusiasm)
  • Comfort (writing that imparts a sense of well-being)
  • Happiness (writing that gives joy)
  • Truth (or at least fairness)
  • Writing that provokes (writing to make people think or act)
  • Active, memorable writing (the poetry in your prose)
  • A sense of Wow! (the wonder your writing imparts on a reader)
  • Transcendence (writing that elevates with its heroism, justice, beauty, honor)

To sell your fiction, you must pay attention to the Key Traits of Best-Selling Fiction. FYI, the twenty-one traits are arranged in a kind of rough order.

 Appeals to the intellect. The first five: utility to logic. To you, the writer, they refer to how you research, organize, and structure your story. These are the large-scale mechanics of a novel.

Appeals to the emotions. From a sense of connection to excitement. These are the ways you engage a reader to create buzz. Do these things right, and people will talk about your novel, selling it to others.

Appeals to the soul. Comfort through transcendence. With these traits you examine whether your writing matters, whether it lasts, whether it elevates you to the next level as a novelist.

Where do the 21 key traits come from?

They come from the most prolific, most complete, most accessible, most reliable survey of book readers in the world. They come from my study of the thousands of reader reviews on Amazon.com.

 Reliable? Yes. Why? Because most reviewers visit a page to write reviews based on their emotional reactions to books. They either love a book or hate it. They were either swept away by the characters and story and language. Or they felt cheated by the author. Either way, they have to speak out.

You can duplicate my research. I analyzed reviews of bestsellers, the good reviews, the bad, and the ugly. I found patterns in the way people responded and sorted reader remarks into categories.

Go ahead. Find the best-selling book in the area where you want to write fiction. Find your own patterns in the first two hundred reviews. I’d be astonished if they were far from my list. These are readers telling writers what they want—or in the instance of a bad review, what they don’t want. You can learn a ton from this kind of market survey. Give it a go.

Then get to writing to satisfy your readers.

Source: http://www.writersdigest.com

By: Courtney Carpenter  – August 8, 2012 

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market

First Edition Design eBook Publisher Aggregator Master Distrbutor