Skip navigation
1 ... 17 18 19 20 21 ... 30 Previous Next

Resources

443 Posts tagged with the books tag
0

I just finished the second draft of my latest book, and, like everything in my writing life, I found myself evaluating each process as I went along. I'm a strong believer in objectively observing yourself within the craft in order to get better at it. In sports, they call it developing the fundamentals.

 

What I noticed was that each process takes two different brains, and I own both of them. You can call the one I write with my "gut-brain." As odd as it sounds, I don't think with that brain. I write with that brain. I get things done with that brain. When I can't decide where to go with a story, I just let my gut-brain go.

 

The brain I use to rewrite is my "brain-brain." That brain is at odds with my gut-brain because a lot of clean up is required at the end of a gut-brain run. The brain-brain is the coach. It takes all that raw material and gets it into shape. It's ruthless. It's annoyingly strict and committed to making changes. It knows that the first draft is never perfect. Its job is to find the perfection in the mess and make a good book out of a good story.

 

I believe your job as the writer is to give the brain-brain very little input in the writing process and only give your gut-brain limited access to the rewriting process. Do yourself a favor and compartmentalize your writing life. Come at it with your two different brains. Give the right brain control at the right time and you'll be happier for it. And, in the end, you'll have a better book.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

A Guy, a Girl and a Bad Critique

AAUGH! Rewrites!

2,066 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, editing, writers, writing, craft, rewrites, rewriting
0

What a Boy Wants

It's no secret that young female readers far outnumber young male readers. The question is why don't boys read? Unfortunately, there is no universal answer. There are indications that it is a cultural flaw. Most boys are taught that physical prowess is much more important that mental prowess during their developmental years. Others believe that it's a simple matter of there being more reading material created for girls than boys. Here's more on the topic from The Tennessean.

 

You've got your typical boys. Then bring in Kelly Miller, assuming the role of the relentless eighth-grade English teacher. She's determined to buck the odds and get all her students - boys and girls - to meet a goal of reading 30 novels this school year. Miller knew the same general facts that had troubled Calame: Boys read less than girls. Surveys show they're more likely to have a negative experience with books. And boys lag behind girls in reading skills.

 

You can read the entire article on The Tennessean's website: How do you get boys into reading? Girls

 

Wheeling and Dealing, Hitchcock-Style

Even the great ones must make compromises and promises to get their films made. And there is no greater one than Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock had heard the story of a man, Manny Balestrero, wrongly accused of committing a robbery. He was brought to trial where a mishap with a juror caused a mistrial, and that's when the great director got interested in the real-life story.

 

As "Manny" waited for a retrial, the real robber was arrested while trying to hold up a grocery store. With that arrest, "Manny" was exonerated. After hearing the story, Alfred Hitchcock decided to make a film. He created The Wrong Man and wanted to make the film as real as possible. He approached Judge Groat (the presiding judge) to see if the Court Room in the Queens County Court House could be made available to film a portion of the movie - just as it had happened in real life. Judge Groat said, "Yes, but with one condition." That "condition" required Alfred Hitchcock to speak at a local Young Republican Club.

 

You can read the entire article on AntonNews.com: Remembering Alfred Hitchcock

 

A Voice You Should Know

Every once in a while, a talent comes and goes from this planet that is just too good to let go by without acknowledging. Sadly, Phoebe Snow succumbed to illness at the young age of 60 and passed away last week. For those of you who don't know, Snow was a singer/songwriter who broke onto the music scene in 1974. She had a deeply rich and beautiful bluesy voice that she showcased perfectly with her haunting and moving songs. She gave up music to care for her disabled child. Even though it was a decision that most likely cost her millions of dollars and elite stardom, she never regretted it. Though her life and contribution to music were far too brief, she still left an indelible mark. 

 

Ms. Snow was discovered at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village in 1972 by Dino Airali, a promotion executive for Shelter Records, based in Tulsa, Okla. Mr. Airali and Phil Ramone produced her first record, which included guest performances by Zoot Sims, the Persuasions and Teddy Wilson. Besides "Poetry Man," the most striking original song on her debut album, "I Don't Want the Night to End," is about a lover named Charlie Parker (not the jazz saxophonist), who had died. The introspective, quirky coffeehouse torch-singing of that hit was a style she later largely abandoned to pursue various hybrids of hard rock, soul and gospel.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' websiteHypebot.com: Phoebe Snow, Bluesy Singer-Songwriter, Dies at 60

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 29, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - April 22, 2011

1,345 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, music, music, film, film, reading, reading, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
0

I remember reading The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway years ago and being amazed by the incredible depth of the characters. It was unbelievable because the book uses minimal character descriptions, yet I felt like I knew the characters. I flipped through the book, and realized how Hemingway defined each character. He described each individual character by writing about the way they moved. He threw in the minutiae of everyday tasks to reveal who his characters were. I knew how they smoked a cigarette. I knew how they got out of bed. I knew how they conducted themselves at meals. I knew the characters because I could picture them doing basic, unspectacular tasks.

 

The art of character description was an invaluable lesson for me to learn at the time because I was just trying my hand at this thing called writing. I had penned a couple of short stories by then and after reading The Sun Also Rises, I wanted to burn them. My stories were chock full of - and ruined by - character descriptions. Readers knew the weight, height, hair color, and shoe size of my characters. I didn't give readers any room to use their imaginations. I was so specific it was almost as if they'd have to know someone who fit my very detailed description in order to connect with the characters.

 

For me, I learned a great deal about style after reading Hemingway's classic novel. Detailed physical descriptions don't define characters. In fact, they become flimsy and two-dimensional if you overdo it. I much prefer to build characters through their movements and actions. I believe you can tell more about a character by what they do than what they look like. I'm not saying your book should be completely without physical descriptions of characters. Perhaps a baseline description should be established and the rest should be left to the reader's imagination.

How about you? How do you tackle the issue of defining characters in your novel?

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Write an Obituary for Your Characters

Overwriting? Just Say It!

5,974 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, writers, writers, writing, writing, characters, characters, craft, craft, character_development, character_development
0

Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Confluence of Pleasures: On Reading and Tuna Fish - The Millions

An essay about those moments when the right book finds you at the right time.     

 

Nonlinear Reading and Other Things Print Books Do Better Than E-books - PWxyz

Is this a case where the "analog" world outdoes the digital world when it comes to nonlinear "technology"?   

 

Film

 

The (Dreaded) Silent Role - A MOON Brothers film

Actors who pass on parts because of lack of dialogue may be missing out on the chance to deliver an Oscar-winning performance.              

 

Beyond a Social Network - The Independent

Yet another article about the changing face of film financing and the world of crowdsourcing.   

 

Music

 

Is the Dedicated Songwriter Going Extinct? - digital music news

The music industry is seeing the demise of songwriting as a reliable source of income. Now, songwriters are being asked to diversify in order to make a living.  

 

6 Things to Help Your Music Marketing This Week - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Get your notebooks out. Bob Baker is cranking out the free marketing tips.     

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 26, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - April 19, 2011 Edition

1,415 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, book, book, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, reading, reading, acting, acting, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, songwriting, songwriting, social_media, social_media, crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing
0

This is a follow-up to my post titled He said I used the word "said" too much. Attribution in writing is an obsession of mine. To me, the word an author chooses to use to attribute dialogue to a character is a huge indicator of style. There is a temptation for some writers to want to mix things up. They come to the point in the writing day where they just can't stand to use the word "said" anymore. It's monotonous. It feels lazy. It even seems to lack any kind of creative challenge. But after grappling with this issue for years, I've come to the conclusion that using a substitution for the word "said" may not be the right thing to do. I say this as someone who's been guilty in the past of throwing in a number of alternatives.

 

It's common in industry editorial circles to rein in writers and nix all the surrogate words, inserting the old tried-and-true "said" in their place. Why? Here's Elmore Leonard's reasoning from The New York Times:

 

 

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with ''she asseverated,'' and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

 

 

In other words, it takes the reader out of the story. It took me a while to see it Leonard's way, but he's right. I just finished a new book, and I only used the word "said" to attribute the dialogue to a character. I did it consciously, and what I discovered was that it was far more creatively challenging for me to stick to this rule than to substitute at will. I discovered creative ways to structure the story that didn't require the dialogue to be attributed to a character; the speaker would be obvious to the reader from the flow of the story.

 

 

I'm not one to say outright that it is the mark of a novice writer to use alternatives for "said." I see it more as a matter of style; however, I'm now firmly ensconced in the "said" camp. If you haven't explored the issue, I encourage you to give it some thought. What is your preferred method of dialogue attribution?

 

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

You may also be interested in...

 

 

He said I used the word "said" too much

The Greatest Example of "Show It. Don't Say It."

2,177 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, writers, writing, craft, dialogue
0

Welcome to Tuesday's blog roundup. This is the day we shine the spotlight on bloggers and artists in the publishing, film and music industries.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Riverton Woman Says Editing 'Potter' Books Was Top-secret Job - SJ-R.Com

Sure she got to see the Harry Potter books before everyone else, but she couldn't tell anyone.

 

Is the Short Story Really the Novel's Poor Relation? - Guardian Book Blog

Do short stories have a place in today's world? Frankly, they may be more relevant today than at any other time.

 

Film

 

What if Star Wars Had Never Existed? - Guardian Film Blog

Would we even know what outer space looks like without George Lucas? Sure there was that whole Apollo project thing at NASA, but those spaceships weren't nearly as cool.

 

Independent Filmmaking - A Creative Labor of Love - Ai InSite

Studio films may have major financing, but independent filmmakers have much more freedom to make the films they want to make.

 

Music

 

Two Ways to Rehearse for Best Vocal Performance - Judy Rodman

Train your voice and your mind to get the optimum performance.

 

Open a Piano, Literally, as a First Step in Learning to Read Music - Music After 50

"Every Goat Breaks Down Fences." Trust me; it makes sense if you read the post.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 29, 2011 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - March 22, 2011 Edition

1,470 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, editing, editing, story, story, films, films, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, singing, singing, short_story, short_story
0

The Final Chapter

 

We've all been there. You fall in love with a book as you're reading it. It may even seem less like a book and more like an event. This book is your new favorite. You can't wait to tell your friends and family about the book, and then...you get to the last chapter and it falls completely apart. It seems to happen more frequently with books that cover social issues. The set-up is insightful, but the solution chapter doesn't hit the mark.

 

The weakness of last chapters is in large part a function of the sheer difficulty of devising answers to complex social problems that are sound, practicable and not blindingly obvious. Besides, those who give the most subtle diagnoses may not have the problem-solving disposition needed to come up with concrete, practical recommendations.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Why Last Chapters Disappoint

 

The Informed Audience

 

There was a day when filmmakers created a film and showed it to an audience that had no clue how movies were made. They didn't know the work that was involved. They didn't know the commitment it requires to take a movie from script to screen. They didn't appreciate the process behind making a film. Those days are gone.

 

While some see audience as the faceless mass waiting to be entertained or reduced to eyeballs needing to be captured, (Jay) Rosen points out that audiences now have the means and ability to make their own work...more people will have a newfound respect for those with talent (it isn't easy to create content worthy of an audience) and a network of creators can be harnessed to spread work much further than an expensive ad campaign can do.

 

You can read the entire article on ACTORSandCREW's website: Who Wants To Understand the Power of Little Networks?

 

All They Need is Love?

 

The Beatles were a legendary band because they got along so well, right? They created brilliant songs out of their utter love for each other, right? The music came from their heart, and their hearts were always working in concert to craft historical pop songs...right? Not really. According to a new book by authors Richard Courtney and George Cassidy, at least some of their collaboration was born out of strife.

 

THE Beatles were stymied. During a 1968 recording session, they couldn't find a suitable introduction to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," a song written by Paul McCartney. John Lennon didn't much like the song, and, after several hours, he stormed out of the studio. When he returned, he strode to the piano and banged out several chords, then added petulantly, "Here's your intro!" "All eyes shifted to Paul, expecting rejection, perhaps an outburst," according to a new book, "Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles." (Turner Publishing, $24.95). Instead, McCartney defused the tension with this: "That's quite good, actually." Lennon's chords, pounded out in a fit of pique, make up the song's now-famous opening.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Whisper Words of Business Wisdom

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 25, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 18, 2011

1,362 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, music, music, chapter, chapter, filmmakers, filmmakers, songwriting, songwriting, audience, audience
0

Could an E-book Look Like a Book?

 

There are those who are squarely in the print book camp. They are die-hard fans of the printed page and in most cases they loathe the e-book craze. And then there are the gadget guys and gals who love their e-readers. The very idea that they can download books from the internet from virtually anywhere at any time of the day sets their head spinning with sheer delight. The two methods of reading are separated by a great chasm of technology, but will that always be the case? What if a blank book with hundreds of pages of blank electronic paper could digitally morph into the book of your choice? Could e-books of the future look like the print books of today?

 

The object in your hands looks and feels like a book. The pages feel like paper. You flip through them, and all the words are there waiting for you; there's no waiting for a screen to refresh. The object might even be made, with a judicious dash of library-scented accord from my favorite perfume shop, to smell like the books you grew up with. You can make notes on the pages if you wish, provided you use the special digital pen attached by means of a thin ribbon to the spine.

 

You can read the entire article on The Millions' website: The Chameleon Machine

 

The Making of a Writing Partnership

 

The duo who brought you Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are back with a new comedy called Paul. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have been friends since 1993, and they've acted together plenty of times, but they've never written together before. They decided to put their science fiction geek credentials to good use and write the space alien send off. What they found is that being writing partners is different from being friends.

 

"It's very hard writing collaboratively," says Pegg. "When you have three ideas in a row which your partner has gone, 'Eh, I dunno,' you start to feel that it's personal." Frost jumps in: "Why do you hate me?" "Why aren't I allowed to have an idea?" continues Pegg. "The next thing you wanna do is just have an idea cause you haven't had an idea in 20 minutes. Even if it's not very good, and then you get annoyed at yourself for being petty and then there's 10 minutes of [cursing]." "Then someone will say, 'Cuppa tea?'" says Frost.

 

You can read the entire article on The Los Angeles Times' website: 'Paul': Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on droid noises, chest hair and pink-mist romance

 

Classical Music Hits the Pop Charts

 

At one time, the music of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms was the popular music of the time. In essence, they were pop stars. Today, our pop stars look quite a bit different. They wear crazy clothes. Sport crazy hairdos...okay, so maybe they're not that different. But music has changed, and the pop music of yesteryear is now the classical music of our time. They are of two different worlds and never the twain shall meet...not so fast. Alessandro Striggio's 1566 mass has hit the charts in the U.K.

 

Several years ago, the work, Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno, was rediscovered in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, where it had been miscatalogued. In 2007, it was given its first modern performance at London's BBC Proms. Now, a new recording of the work has made its debut on the pop charts at number 68, beating the likes of Bon Jovi, George Harrison and Eminem.

 

You can read the entire article on The Independent's website: Lost choral masterpiece finally finds a home... in the pop charts

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 18, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 11, 2011

1,425 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, technology, technology, writing, writing, e-book, e-book, classical, classical
0

There have been times when I sit down to write and jump off the tracks with a subplot or two. They take on a life of their own, and after hours - sometimes days - of working them into the main storyline, I realize I've just been wasting my time. Or have I?

 

Could that subplot have a second life? After all, it was compelling enough to toy with and develop. I felt that it had value at some point. So why am I now going to turn my back on it? That subplot could be the seed for a new book!

 

When you are facing writer's block or beating your head against the wall on what the plotline of your next book should be, why not visit the ghosts of subplots past and test their durability. Start by writing a one-page synopsis built around the subplot to see if you can build an entire story from it. No one is going to see this synopsis, so don't worry about typos or spelling or perfect grammar. Just let your thoughts flow.

 

Once you have a page, tear it down paragraph by paragraph until you have a single sentence that fully describes your subplot. If you have gotten this far, you have turned your subplot into a fully functioning plot, and you have your next book idea! You can even do this with subplots that you used for books you've already published. In this case, they will be building blocks for sequels.

 

The lesson here is don't throw any idea away. You never know when old, unused subplots, or even ramblings written on a cocktail napkin, will come in handy. Remember, even Mother Nature needs time to turn coal into diamonds.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 4: Reinforce the Muse, Develop Sub-plots, Map the Remaining Chapters

You Have More Than One Book Inside of You

903 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writers, writing, plot, craft
0

We've all been there, staring at the computer screen, our ring fingers resting on the 'L' key and ready to type, only to stop and ponder, "Should I use 'lie' or 'lay' here?" And there it is: another writer foiled by the often confusing and twisted rules of the English language. It's likely that if you ask three people when to use lie or lay, you will get three different answers. With the exception of using lie to describe an untruth, the two words are often misused. So let us strip away the mystery of the lie/lay conundrum.

 

Lie is an intransitive verb, meaning there is no direct object involved. For instance, you don't lie the object down. It is a complete verb. Lay is a transitive verb. In the case of a transitive verb, a direct object is required. You must lay the object down. Lay needs the object to be correct.

 

The real confusion starts when we look at the various tenses of the words. Let's break the two words down.

 

Lie

  • Present tense - Lie
  • Past tense - Lay
  • Past participle - Lain

 

Lay

  • Present tense - Lay
  • Past tense - Laid
  • Past participle - Laid

 

You can see why we writers get confused when the past tense of one of the words is also the present tense of the other word. What's a writer to do? Here are some examples to help:

 

Lie

  • I lie down every afternoon after lunch.
  • I lay down yesterday after lunch.
  • I have lain down after lunch before.

 

Lay

  • I lay the book on the desk.
  • I laid the book on the desk.
  • I've laid the book on the desk many times before. 

 

It's easy to see the difference in the two words in these examples. The forms of lie aren't followed by an object, while the forms of lay are followed by an object (in this case, a book).

 

To be sure, the lie/lay riddle isn't the only thing that trips writers up. The complexity of the English language, with all its exceptions, is the number one reason you should always work with an editor before publishing a book for public consumption. Mistakes are made by brilliant writers, but they can be avoided. If you'd like more information on the lie/lay puzzle or other confusing words, check out Grammar-Quizzes.com.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Does Grammar Matter?

A Good Writer Can Ruin a Good Story

4,131 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft, grammar, grammar, grammar, grammar, grammar, grammar
0

A Different Kind of Posting

 

An unknown writer in New York has decided to serialize his book by posting it one page at a time. I call that a fairly extreme tactic. What makes it more extreme is he isn't posting the pages on the internet; he's posting it on lampposts. Yes, you read correctly. Lampposts in New York's East Village are playing host to a single page from the unknown writer's book. Not everyone is a fan of the idea.

 

Although no author has yet publicly taken credit for the work, the East Village had no shortage of opinions about it. "Honestly, I don't like the idea. I hate it when people just post things everywhere," said Joe Curanhj, 42, owner of Stromboli Pizza, located right in front of the lamppost bearing Page 8. "They have the Internet, why don't they use that?"

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Post's website: 'Light' reading

 

Why Studios are Giving First-Time Directors $100,000,000+ Budgets

 

There was a time when Hollywood studio execs wanted their first-time directors to cut their teeth on small-to-modest budget films. It made sense. They didn't know what a new director was actually capable of, so they were cautious. But times have changed. Today, first-time directors are getting big budget films as their first gigs. Some budgets are even approaching $200 million. Why the change in philosophy?

 

During the past five years, though, technology has enabled rookie directors to hone their skills via FinalCut Pro, digital-video cameras and other state-of-the-art effects tools from a young age, prompting budget-cautious studios to salivate over what they can put on screen for a price. Gareth Edwards, for instance, made his indie sci-fi film Monsters for a few hundred thousand dollars, even though it looked much more expensive. He's now up to direct Godzilla for Warner Bros.

 

You can read the entire article on The Hollywood Reporter's website: Why the Studios Are Trusting Untested Directors for Major Jobs

 

All of a Sudden, Investors are Flocking to Digital Music Companies

 

Most articles you read about companies offering digital music downloads focus on their inability to make much of a profit. Finding investors for these companies has never been easy. Until now. For reasons unknown or not quite understood by many experts, investors are pouring some big money into some of these companies. Needless to say, it's a welcome development for most.

 

But more bullish investors point to technological developments and shifts in consumer behavior as signs that the business is about to turn a corner. These changes include the migration of digital media libraries from personal computers to the remote storage of the "cloud," as well as the explosive success of smartphone applications.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Investors Are Drawn Anew to Digital Music

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - March 4, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - February 25, 2011

1,347 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, digital, digital, directing, directing, filmmakers, filmmakers
0

Ahhh, week five is here. You've invested a month of writing and you've developed your story and characters. As they say in the writing world, you're over the hump. On this week's agenda: reading what you've written, listing the pros and cons in your work, and conferring with your reader.

 

Invest in printer ink - I know we're moving toward a more paperless society, yet with this particular phase of the writing process, I like to print out the pages I've written. I then find a spot where I'm alone and out of earshot of other human beings, and I read what I've written out loud. It usually takes a long time, and I may split the task up over a few days, but I stick with it until I read the last word. I also do it with a red pen in hand, and I cover these pages with so much red ink, they look like they're bleeding.

 

Strengths/weaknesses - After you've read and slashed your manuscript to pieces, it's time to look at it the way that a publisher would. Is the story, as written, worth investing your time? If you weren't the author and had money to invest in your story, would you? To answer these questions, make the reliable two-column list, where you write out the manuscript's strengths versus its weaknesses. Remember you're not looking at it as the author. You're looking at it as the publisher. Try to separate the emotional investment you've made as the writer of the manuscript from the contents of the manuscript itself.

 

Confer with your reader - During week two, we chose a reader to evaluate our work. It's likely the reader isn't up to speed on all the pages you've written thus far, but he or she has probably read enough to where you're able to compare notes with each other. Take your reader out to dinner and discuss the story. Make it a long dinner, because you may need to coax some things out of them. Giving criticism isn't an easy thing to do for most people, so make a promise to your reader and to yourself that you won't take negative feedback personally. If it helps, go to dinner and maintain the mindset of the publisher, not the writer.

 

We'll leave this series on the life of a manuscript here for now. You may be close to finishing, or you may be weeks away. Everyone works at an individual pace, and I'd like to stress that there is no right or wrong way to write a book. As far as I'm concerned, as long as you're writing, you're headed in the right direction. Good luck and happy writing!

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 4: Reinforce the Muse, Develop Sub-plots, Map the Remaining Chapters

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 3: Edit and Post the First Paragraph, Evaluate Progress, Tweet as Your Main Character

641 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, writers, writers, writing, writing, manuscript, manuscript, craft, craft
0

Wow! We're already on week four. For me, this is the first commitment benchmark. If I make it four weeks into a manuscript, I'm more than likely going to see it through to the end. It means I'm intrigued by how the story is developing, and like a reader discovering a good story for the first time, I'm compelled to keep going. Here's what's on tap for this week:

 

Reinforcing the muse - Something sparked you to begin writing this book...a moment, a person, a song. Whatever the muse was that got you going, take some time to reinforce it this week. Find a picture that represents the object that gave you the impetus to start writing this story. It may sound like an insignificant exercise, but there have been times when I've struggled to write another word (or the first word of the day in some cases). I've found that focusing on that picture that represents my muse sparks an image or idea on how to move forward. It's a great motivational tool.

 

Sub-plots anyone? - By now you may have noticed that a few unplanned sub-plots have popped up in your story. You may not even be sure where they came from - they just felt like organic elements to the overall story at the time you wrote them. This is a perfectly natural part of the writing process, but that doesn't mean they're a necessary one. And, if they're not necessary, you don't want them in your story. Take a careful look at these developing subplots and honestly assess their value before you go any further. Do they add to the main plot? Can they help you tie up loose ends, or give you that twist you were looking for? Be bold and brutal in your assessment of these subplots because they can make a good story better - or worse.

 

The road map yet traveled - You've got a good chunk of the book written. You've gotten some feedback from friends, followers, and family. You've picked apart your sub-plots. You're now ready to fill in the gaps on the remaining chapters. You can take the time now to create a fairly detailed road map on the remaining chapters. Once you do, you should notice the actual writing will proceed at a much faster clip. It's much easier to get where you're going if you have a map.

 

That's it for this week. Come back next week, when I'll talk about reading out loud, listing strengths and weakness, and conferring with your readers.

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 3: Edit and Post the First Paragraph, Evaluate Progress, Tweet as Your Main Character

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 2: Genre, Word Count, Finding a Reader, Announcing Intentions

1,630 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, writers, writing, manuscript, craft
0

As an author, the chance to speak to a group (large or small) is an incredible opportunity. It is in every sense of the word an "event," meaning it is out of the ordinary. People are taking time out of their day to come hear what you have to say about your book. This is your chance to connect with readers on a very personal level - a level beyond social media interaction and e-mail exchanges. It's an honest-to-goodness face-to-face meeting between reader and writer, so it's imperative you make the most of it.

 

I make the most of my appearances by bringing a haul of books with me to my speaking engagements. And you may be surprised that I don't offer these books for resale. I bring books as gifts for members of the audience. Here's why: it's important for me to make an impact with those who sit in a room for an hour or so to listen to me talk about my books and the publishing process. So, I reward them for their time. On the surface, it appears that I am losing sales, but that's not how I look at it. I'm making an impression (and an investment) that is adding more mouths to my word-of-mouth campaign.

 

As an example, I was recently invited to a speaker's night at a school. I brought a box of books with me, and I had a line of kids (my target audience) after the presentation all wanting a free signed copy of one of my books. I ended up running out of books, so I worked out a date with one of the teachers to return with more books. The teacher contacted me the next day and thanked me profusely. He said the kids couldn't stop talking about my books and the presentation. A few of the kids even sent me friend requests on Facebook a couple of days later. I made the connection I was after, and I left with new "recruits" to help spread the word about my books.

 

I count such giveaways as a marketing expense. It's all part of my strategy to gain as many readers as I can. I encourage you to give this strategy some thought for your next speaking engagement. You don't need to bring hundreds of books. Bring as many as you feel comfortable giving away. I've worked both extremes. I've given away 40-50 at events that cater to my demographic and a half dozen or so at events that don't draw big members of my readership. Ask the organizers what kind of crowd they are expecting and how many they think will be in attendance.

 

Your job as an author is to recruit readers. In turn, these readers will help you make sales. Good luck and happy recruiting!

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Preparing for a Personal Appearance

Four Tips for Real-Life Networking

1,900 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, book, networking, promotions, public_speaking, speaking, event
0

The Growing Power of Self-publishing

 

Evidence continues to grow showing self-publishing may not just be a viable alternative to traditional publishing, but it may actually be the preferable option. The hurdle to distribution now no longer an issue, many self-published authors are finding great success selling books, particularly ebooks. The latest superstar among the self-published is Amanda Hocking.

 

By May she was selling hundreds; by June, thousands. She sold 164,000 books in 2010. Most were low-priced (99 cents to $2.99) digital downloads. More astounding: This January she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles. More than 99% were e-books. "I can't really say that I would have been more successful if I'd gone with a traditional publisher," says Hocking, 26, who lives in Austin, Minn. "But I know this is working really well for me."

 

You can read the entire article on USA Today's website: Authors catch fire with self-published e-books

 

Selling Wine to Make Movies

 

Believe it or not, Francis Ford Coppola believes the Godfather films sidetracked him from the type of career he really wanted in film. The success of the first film in the trilogy made Coppola a hot commodity in Hollywood. The problem was he found himself being asked to make films he didn't want to make. His solution? Retreat to his winery, make some dough with his Coppola-brand wine and self-finance the films he wants to make.

 

You try to go to a producer today and say you want to make a film that hasn't been made before; they will throw you out because they want the same film that works, that makes money. That tells me that although the cinema in the next 100 years is going to change a lot, it will slow down because they don't want you to risk anymore. They don't want you to take chances. So I feel like [I'm] part of the cinema as it was 100 years ago, when you didn't know how to make it. You have to discover how to make it.

 

You can read the entire article on The 99%: Francis Ford Coppola: On Risk, Money, Craft & Collaboration

 

Opera Goes 3D

 

You know what would make theatre more real? Three dimensional images. I know the people on stage are already in three dimensions, but that's so 2010. What the black tie crowd really wants at the opera is Hollywood 3-D type effects. Or so Robert Lepage, director of "Siegfried," believes. In fact, he's banking on it.

 

Its use at the Met, so far, will be limited to forest scenes in "Siegfried." It will not be employed in the final work of Wagner's cycle, "Götterdämmerung." Inevitably, it will give more ammunition to Wagnerites and critics who view Mr. Lepage's sophisticated electronics as a distraction from the drama and the music. Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, said the 3-D effect only "adds to the visual elements" of Mr. Lepage's "Ring." Mr. Gelb said he was sensitive to the perception that technology was driving the "artistic product." In this case, Mr. Gelb asserted, "technology is in the service of art."

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: 3-D Comes to Met Opera, but Without Those Undignified Glasses

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

You may also be interested in...

 

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - February 18, 2011

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - February 11, 2011

1,440 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, books, books, authors, authors, filmmaking, filmmaking, self-publishing, self-publishing, e-book, e-book, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
1 ... 17 18 19 20 21 ... 30 Previous Next

Actions