Showing posts with label hint. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hint. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Prologues - Are They Important?

http://www.jamiegreybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Picture-8.png

I've been receiving a lot of messages and questions from family and friends who gazed upon the book that is Dragon Tooth, and the first thing that comes to their mind is: why is there no prologue? Isn't that essential? 




Well, I thought I could discuss it in this week's post (I know I missed a post last week, I'll make it up to you I'm sorry) so here goes.

The short answer is: yes and no. Basically, prologues have developed this sort of reputation that they are used by authors simply to 'info dump' the reader and get them familiarized with the world they're creating, and this couldn't be further from the truth.

First, you have to consider if your story even needs a prologue (I hear you... 'but Mo, how on dear planet Earth am I going to explain my world then?' I'll get to that in a second). The thing is, most books can do without it, and a good question to ask yourself is "if I take the prologue away completely, does it change or alter anything important?" if the answer is no or even a maybe, then yours is not that important.

Second, don't get me wrong, it could be used to drop the reader in the world and have them hooked straight away from that, or completely turn them off by it. The prologue has to add something to the equation, whether it happens way in the past, or way in the future.

One of the techniques I've seen writers often pull, is that they'll have the prologue take the reader through a very important event lore-wise and that without reading it, the true ending would not be unlocked. How? Let me explain with an example:

Let's say, your story revolves around Simon, who is a good old fashioned hero who goes on an adventure to save the princess from the evil dinosaur Bibo (just go with me, right). And the ending would be Simon butchering Bibo and saving the princess, but at the end, the princess notices a scar shaped like an 'S' around his neck and asks him about it, to which he replies "It's an old wound that you don't need to worry about."

Perfect right? Yep, except for the part, that in the prologue, the princess's grandfather summons a witch to predict the future, and the witch says "Your granddaughter will perish at the hands of S".

Now, who was the bad guy? And just who exactly was this... Simon fellow? It offers a lot of perspective to the story, and trust me, while some may not make the connection, others will. Readers are exceptionally smart and will pick up on every little clue you leave them.

So, that's it for this week. If you enjoyed going through this, I'd appreciate it if you could share and spread the word, it really helps.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Emerging Authors and Bookstores - Don't fall for their tricks!

http://www.restaurant94labourgogne.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/1.jpg


Alright, I feel it's only fair to begin this post with a disclaimer: All the names, examples on this post are a work of fiction... I am a writer and have a very vivid imagination, that is why everything might seem real.

It's been about two months since I released my debut novel Dragon Tooth, and ever since then, I was working on getting it in local bookstores in my country. But before I talk about the progress and what recently happened, I feel like am obliged to give you a little background of where I worked before to establish some sort of credibility.

I have been working as a Business Development Manager at the company that I left back in February in order to focus full time on my writing, and before that I was a Sales Manager for around a year and a half so, I know -what we in the industry call- sales bullshit when I see it.

So! You've successfully published your book! What's next? Oh right, getting the damn thing in stores (sometimes, it might happen magically, but other than that you're going to have to contact them yourself), and this could actually prove a bit challenging.

First thing that you have to understand is that your local bookstore is a business, and sales is what drives businesses nowadays and not good intentions. Pause for a moment, right after you get the shiny email telling you "you need to confirm that you consent to our trading terms before we go ahead any further with this" and just analyze it correctly.

If you have a publisher, DO NOT supply them with copies directly no matter how profitable you think it is. You might think "but what could go wrong?" the answer: everything.

Just hold on, and let me explain. The first thing you have to pay attention to is the credit period and the selling term. If I'm not mistaken, you'll probably see a 90 day credit period (which is totally normal by the way, don't worry), but the most important thing is the selling term. Pay careful attention as emails are considered official and can be upheld in court so don't go around saying "yes" in any way or form.

You see, what most bookstores will often do is slap a contingent on the deal that they will only pay you for copies that were sold, and the ones that weren't will be returned to you. Now, stop and consider this for a second. First there is a 90 day credit period meaning you will only get paid after every 90 days, and then a selling term which dictates that they will only pay you for copies that were sold.

Get the picture yet? Seriously, I don't wanna risk getting sued, but if this helps someone along the way and stops them from getting scammed by these dirty sales tricks, then I'm all for it. As a final note: NEVER directly supply copies of your book. You have a publisher for a reason (even if you are self published using any platform out there, they will take good care of you and won't fall for tricks).

Please pass this along if it helped you or offered insight.

Until next time,
Write on.

Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Tips For Aspiring Writers

So, I've been working since 2013 on a short novel called "Dragon Tooth" and recently finished chapter 4 out of 6 planned. As I gave this to a few close friends to see what they thought of so far, I've had a lot of questions about the experience of writing this since 2013. Normally, the first question raised is "Are you nuts? Since 2013?" and my answer is yes, but... it comes with benefits as well. I thought I would share with you a couple of tips for anyone who is thinking about/is writing a novel.

1- Plot it all out. Often, writers do the mistake of taking the story for granted thinking "It's all in my head". Well, you're wrong and it shouldn't be just in your head. It'll all be incredibly easy once you plot it all out and write it all down. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, just the basics of how the story begins, progresses and ends. A writer should always know how their story will eventually plan out.

2- Do NOT edit what you write. Okay, I have to explain. Writing and editing are two different things, and they are different. Of course you should get it edited but not as you write. Concentrate on getting the novel done FIRST and then go back editing it as much as 2 or even 3 times. What this does is, it builds a strange trap for the writer that whatever he is writing needs to be edited and often hinders the process of getting it done. Yes, your un-edited copy will suck, but that's the beauty of it, you're not supposed to show it to other people until you have edited it at least 2 times.

3- Create compelling characters. Readers have many different tastes because they are different human beings naturally. Your novel can't be the same guy but under a different name everytime. Have someone wicked who lies, cheats, and even kills people just because he feels like it. Then give yourself the challenge to humanize the character in a way that readers will show sympathy towards him for being who he is!

4- "Show and don't tell". Okay, this is one of the golden rules in writing, and it doesn't matter if it's a script, a screenplay OR a novel. One of the biggest mistakes amature writers make is how they actually describe actions and emotions. They TELL the reader what the character is feeling instead of showing it. Example? Here:

"The man quickly stood up and punched the wall." - Weak.

"The man pulled away from his chair in an instant, clutched his fists and drove them into the wall. Cold sweated, there he stood." - Yes!

Notice how you get to FEEL the emotion and not just read it? Also note that we could add more dramatic effect while describing the action afterwards.

5- Too much dialog! Never think that a good story has good dialog alone. A good story consists of believable characters, where they each have charactaristics, motives and hidden goals or agendas. The reader should understand the point of the dialog. Never forget that its a very important tool writers use to explain the world or the struggle to the readers. Yes yes, here's your example:

"Why are you doing this?!" Person A said.

"I want to go south, because the princess is there and I want to save her, I thought you knew that" Person B replied.

"But you didn't answer the question, why do this?"

"Because there is something more to this than you think."

Okay, that wasn't so bad. But what if we actually use words to explain more about the hidden motive that you and I both know Person B has?

"Why are you doing this?!" Person A said, as he kept eying PERSON B.

"To save the princess. Why else?" Person B replied with a tone that brook no argument.

"You're not answering the question Person B...", Person A said.

Person B turned his face and a smirk wore his face as he exited the hall.

Muuuch better. A little mystery is always healthy and will do wonders to the story. It's always better to give the reader the ability to invest emotionally in the characters. Who would they root for? Person A or Person B? What is Person B trying to gain by saving the princess? All these are healthy questions that the reader will think of, and of course if you can instil an idea in someone's mind, you can easily break it afterwards.