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442 Posts tagged with the books tag
1

Even back when blogs were called "online journals" people used their own private little chunk of Internet real estate to showcase their fiction. "Flash fiction" found a forum in which it flourished, and with the advent of sites like Twitter, shorter forms of fiction called "micro-fiction" also took hold. Some writers simply seem to enjoy the challenge of writing an entire story in as few words as possible.

 

But blogs, both the micro and macro variety, also gave birth to an entirely new way for writers to build audiences for their long-form work. Writers, new and established, began to serialize novel-length fiction on their blogs and social networking sites. The premise for serializing is simple: you regularly post a segment of your book on your blog or wall or account until the entire book is posted. Those who have utilized the practice have found benefits besides just attracting readers. Many of the readers they've attracted have provided invaluable input and constructive criticism. These new readers have become the first leg in the word-of-mouth campaign for the print or e-book version of the novel. In short, readers of serialized novels online tend to take ownership of the story because they've been there since the beginning.

 

With that being said, serializing a novel on a blog or social network isn't for everyone. Some writers worry that giving books away for free in such a forum is a mistake that will deter book sales. They reason that readers will not buy a book when they can read it for free online. My own personal belief is that a reader is more valuable than a sale in the long run. Readers, no matter how they came to read the book, will spread the word for you. Over time, readers will help generate the sales you desire.

 

Here are few tips on how to serialize your long-form work on a blog or social network:

 

  • Keep your posts brief. I personally think 500 words is a good word count to shoot for. Any longer and you risk scaring the reader away before he or she starts reading.
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  • I recommend ending each post with a hook or cliffhanger. Give your online readers a reason to return for the next post.
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  • Give yourself a posting schedule for your story. At least once a week is ideal. The same day of the week each week works best. If you can post it at the same time of day, that would be even better.
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Serializing a novel takes a certain degree of patience from the author. You're not always likely to get feedback, or you may be deterred from posting a segment that you feel isn't as interesting as previous posts or upcoming posts. You have to proceed with an almost noble sense of faith that you're creating both a compelling story and a loyal following.

 

What are your thoughts on serializing work? Would you ever try it?

 

-Richard

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

 

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Need to Blog, but Short on Time?

Authors' Four Structural Essentials for Blogs

2,688 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, blog, blog, blogging, blogging, branding, branding
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I have a confession: I can't stand the book As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. I know it's a big faux pas for a writer (especially a writer who hails from the southern states) to not like a signature work form one of the literary masters, but I can't help it. I like what I like, and what I like, most of all, are stories told from very few points of view. As I Lay Dying is told from the perspective of fifteen different characters.

 

To me, reading is an intimate affair. When I read, I hear the voice of the narrator in my mind. I make a connection with that narrator. It doesn't matter if it's told through first person or third person omniscient point of view; I find the consistency of tone and perspective soothing. I can handle a switch here and there, but when too many voices tell the story I start to feel like I'm losing the intimacy of the moment.

 

In my early writings, I switched points of view fairly liberally. It was an easy way to transition from one scene to the next. In other words, I used it because I was being lazy. Now, I'm not saying other authors who use this device are lazy, because many are probably using it for creative purposes. However, I can definitely say that I wasn't. I was using it because it saved me from thinking too much, and that's never a good reason to do something, especially if you're a writer.

 

Oddly enough, I feel like limiting myself to writing from one or two points of view helps me develop all of my characters better. You would think the opposite would be true - that writing from several characters' points of view would give me the opportunity to get to know those characters better - but that's not the case. I think it all goes back to the intimacy element. I become so familiar with a single voice that it gives me the ability to become totally immersed in the character's world. I see the character interact with other characters. I extrapolate their feelings and intentions from limited points of view.

 

This isn't to say that my way is the "right" way, since it has a lot to do with preference. Some authors can make multiple points of view work quite well. I know I can't, but what about you? How do you approach a story - from one, two, or many points of view?

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Point Where a Bestselling Book Lost Me

When Writing, Don't Outsmart Yourself

1,790 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writers, writing, characters, craft
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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

 

How to Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project - GalleyCat

Thinking of using crowd-sourcing to fund your next book? GalleyCat has some advice for you.

 

Top Tweeters for Writers to Follow on Twitter - My Name Is Not Bob

Twitter can be confusing if you don't follow the right people. Here is one blogger's list of top Tweeters for writers to get you on the right track.

 

Film

 

PREVISUALIZATION: The Film BEFORE "The Film" - Microfilmmaker

Do you know what your film looks like before it's a film?

 

Ten Ways to Stand Out In This Crazy "Film" Biz - Truly Free Film

Indie filmmaker Ted Hope maps out the steps you can take to get noticed in the film industry.

 

Music

 

2011 Music Marketing Trends You Need to Know About - Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

It's never too early to get started on those New Year's resolutions. Baker gives you the marketing trends to look for in the coming year in a two-part video series.

 

Break Down Song Elements to Isolate Playing Problems - Music After 50

Sometimes you just have to take it one note at a time.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - December 14, 2010

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - December 7, 2010

1,622 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, twitter, twitter, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers
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LinkedIn is known as the social networking site for professionals. It was started in 2002 by Reid Hoffman as a business-to-business communication tool. Today, it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon that is utilized both large and small companies to find talented employees, conduct market research, create effective business-to-business collaborations, and network with others in any number of business fields. It is a highly active community of business professionals. Here are some of the latest statistics:

 

  • LinkedIn currently has an estimated 50,000,000 unique monthly visitors.
  • The most current numbers reveal that the age group with the biggest presence is 35-49.
  • Men make up 52% of the members.
  • LinkedIn has the most affluent members - 38% earn $100,000 and over.
  • 41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business with it.
  • 27% of users have graduate degrees (by comparison, 21% of all Internet users possess a graduate degree).

 

Now, obviously since LinkedIn caters to a professional audience, it's not the best social network for most children's books and fiction authors. However, if you've written a nonfiction book covering any aspect of business, or a particular industry or skill, then it is the perfect place for you to build your word-of-mouth campaign. You can be slightly more aggressive with your marketing tactics in this environment than a network like Twitter and Facebook, since this site is more about building contacts than it is about finding friends. The social aspect is a little more formal here, and you should gear your communications with that in mind. Communicate with others on LinkedIn with the same respect you'd show a coworker in an office environment.

 

A few tips for using LinkedIn to build your brand and promote your title: Fill out your profile completely, leaving no stone unturned, when you're trying to establish your professional credentials. Create a fan page or group for your book or brand. Become a fountain of useful information by posting links to helpful articles pertaining to your subject and interests. Create and share poll results. Include a link to your blog from your account. Join industry and alumni groups related to your area of expertise, and participate in the discussions there. Use the site to find other experts in your field and build a cooperative network. You may even be able to find vendors and contractors that can act as a referral network for you.

 

Some have said they prefer LinkedIn as their social network of choice because there's less "noise" in this channel. It's a businesslike atmosphere where members are serious about growing their industry contacts. If you're the author of a business-related book, LinkedIn is probably one of the best ways to utilize your online time.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Social Networking Tour - MySpace

Social Networking Tour - Twitter

2,394 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, networking, promotion, promotions, branding, social_media
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Literature's Version of the Shell Game

 

Let me see if I can explain this without my head exploding. ABC has a television show called Castle. It's a story of a mystery writer who uses his connections with the mayor to get placed with the city's homicide division to help break writers block. It seems the fictional author from the show, Rick Castle, has been very busy in the real world. He has two bestselling books centered on the story of a mystery writer named Jameson Rook who uses his connection with the mayor to get embedded with the city's homicide division to break writers block. Confused? Here's an excerpt from a New York Times story on the topic.

 

The hitch is that Jameson Rook is real, at least in the sense that a character with that name exists in two tangible, best-selling books - "Heat Wave" and "Naked Heat" - that are attributed to the author Richard Castle. In a bit of old-media marketing ingenuity, ABC had its corporate sister Hyperion publish the made-up novels its fictional character was fake-writing. The actual author has not been disclosed, though suspicion has alighted on the show's executive producer, Andrew W. Marlowe. Given the secrecy, the body dispatched to show up for book-promotion events belongs to Mr. (Nathan) Fillion (the actor who plays Richard Castle on the television series).

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Fake Writer, Real Books? That's 'Castle'

 

The Coen Brothers Get Gritty

 

How do you tackle the remake of a classic western featuring a Hollywood icon? If you're the Coen brothers and the movie you want to remake is True Grit, you turn to the book to do your own adaptation of Charles Portis' novel, ignoring the 1969 film altogether. At the time, many felt the early film was a reflection of the old Hollywood, and it was used as a political football during the Oscars to push an underlying political agenda by both sides to bolster their opposing Vietnam War-era views.

 

At its release on Dec. 22, "True Grit" becomes the last major entry in a crowded Oscar race that already includes contenders like "The Social Network," "The King's Speech" and "127 Hours." But that is counting chickens. There is an old Rooster to fry. The Coen brothers' film is bound to rouse memories of an earlier picture, another Oscar race. John Wayne, well past his prime, won his only Academy Award for portraying Rooster Cogburn. His selection fiercely split those who felt justice was thus served from those who viewed this original "True Grit," released in June 1969, as the last gasp of a Hollywood stuck in its own past.

 

You can read the entire article on The New York Times' website: Coen Brothers Saddle Up a Revenge Story (or Two)

 

Holiday Cheer is Here!

 

It's that time of year where we watch the temperatures drop, the malls fill up and the music in all public places turned to anything with a holiday theme. We humans are nothing if not musical about our holidays, and Billboard has done a rundown of the top 100 songs with the most holiday cheer. Is your favorite on the list?

 

December is here, and 'tis the season to turn up those winter-, Christmas-, Chanukah-, and other holiday-themed tunes. With that in mind, Billboard's chart team has figured out the 100 hottest holiday songs (based on a formula that blends sales and airplay data for the period of Oct. 5, 2009 through Jan. 3, 2010, as measured by Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS, respectively).

 

You can see the entire list on Billboard's website: 100 Hot Holiday Songs

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - December 10, 2010

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - December 3, 2010

1,467 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, book, book, book, music, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, filmmaking, writers, writers, writers, films, films, films, musicians, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, filmmakers
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As a storyteller, one of the best compliments I get from readers is that they found something I wrote clever. It makes it seem like everything I write is well thought out and carefully conceived. And, it is partly true. At some point while I am writing, I will take the time to assess the story to see if it makes sense. After all, it's easy to lose track when you're writing tens of thousands of words that are supposed to form a coherent story.


The dirty little secret, however, is that my outlines are just skeletons of the story, and not even full skeletons. There are plenty of bones missing. When somebody points out something clever in one of my stories, I can almost guarantee I didn't plan it that way. It just unfolded in the moment. Finding those moments is the key.


You know how I find those moments? I keep it simple. It's that easy. I am amazed every time I sit down and write and the dots start coming together. Some seemingly insignificant character trait turns out to be a very pivotal tool to further the plot, or a childhood memory that I used to set the mood turns out to be the twist I needed to move into the conclusion. In my opinion, orchestrating elaborate plot schemes can sometimes lead to a writer outsmarting himself to the point where "clever" becomes "confusing."


You want to surprise your readers and you want to entertain them, but it doesn't take plot twist upon plot twist to do that. Forcing it can complicate your story and leave you with plot holes. Mostly, it just takes characters with whom your readers can identify. Keep your writing simple as well. Tell the story without the words getting in the way. If you do an internet search for "writing rules,"you will likely get a number of lists of dos and don'ts created by a gaggle of famous and not-so-famous authors. You'll find advice on the use of adverbs, adjectives, character names, etc. If you take all the lists and put them together, you'll discover most are saying what I'm saying here: keep it simple.


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


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Can Your Book Title Affect the Way You Write?
Embracing Inspiration from Real-Life Moments

1,795 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, book, book, writers, writers, writing, writing
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Third on our list of sites we're examining in the social networking blog series is MySpace. Once the top social media site (yes, it was even bigger than Facebook), a few people out there have declared MySpace "dead" on more than one occasion. Well, I'd argue that for now at least, it's a member of the living dead. It has actually had somewhat of a resurgence as of late, and it's trending back up towards the number two spot on the list of top social networking sites. A few of MySpace's vital statistics:


  • MySpace currently has an estimated 90,500,000 unique monthly visitors.
  • The most current numbers reveal that the age group with the biggest presence is 45-54.
  • Women make up 64% of the members.
  • Fastest growing age group is 18-24.
  • The average user spends more than 23 minutes per day on MySpace.
  • Gets 100,000 new users a day (by comparison, that's 1/3 of Twitters current rate of new users).


To many, MySpace is the musicians' social network. They do seem to have a large number of musicians who utilize the site more than any other group. It might be because they developed an easy way for bands, songwriters and musicians to upload and share their music long before any other social network. Now, ironically enough, you can join MySpace by allowing the social network access to your Facebook account. That's right, two competing social networks have teamed up in order to share information back and forth.


There is no magic bullet here on how to market your brand. You handle it like any other site. They have an excellent search function that allows you to find members who share your interests, personal or professional. Just remember the gold rule here: it's built on a "social" platform. If you're too aggressive with the sales pitch, you're likely to turn off all those potential recruits for your word-of-mouth campaign.


You can utilize mass messaging techniques to let your MySpace friends know when and where you're going to be making a personal appearance, or let them know when you've won a competition, or send them the latest review of the book. All you're really doing is keeping your "friends" in the loop about what matters to you: your book. The newest addition to MySpace is a share button that allows you to not only post updates on your MySpace wall, but simultaneously post them to Facebook and Twitter, as well. It's truly a system built on synergy.


It's true that MySpace doesn't have the membership numbers that Facebook has, but I think with the new cooperative relationship they have with both Twitter and Facebook, it's a valuable asset in your social networking strategy.


-Richard

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


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Social Networking Tour - Twitter

Social Networking Tour - Facebook

1,551 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, marketing, marketing, promotion, promotion, social_media, social_media
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Reading Out Loud

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 8, 2010

Sometimes I get into the middle of a book project, and the words become all jumbled in my head. There doesn't seem to be any real reason for it, but I just can't untangle the words and write anything that is remotely useful - or even coherent. What's my remedy for this frustrating impasse?


I print out the pages I have, find a time and place where no one can hear me, and I read what I have written out loud. It doesn't matter if I have 10 pages or 100 pages; I always start from the beginning and read every word. I'll change the tone and timbre of my voice when reading the dialogue of the different characters. I'll try to meet the intensity of each passage with my voice. It helps me get unstuck. When I read aloud, the story is outside of my head; I see it as a mental 3-D imagining of the story, and it helps me move my writing forward.


I searched the internet recently to find out what other writers thought of this strategy, and found, not surprisingly, that I'm not alone. Reading aloud is a common practice. Here's what James Chartrand of the blog Men with Pens had to say about the strategy:


Reading aloud is a valuable exercise to improve your writing. Your words become crystal clear, and they'll convey a more powerful, effective message that gets you better results. Here's why:


You'll spot paragraphs that end abruptly. You'll notice transitions between ideas aren't as smooth as you thought they were. You'll hear if your introduction sounds weak or choppy, and you'll discover whether your wrap-up encourages conversation or just stops it cold.


The real benefit of reading your work out loud is that it gives you the opportunity to totally immerse yourself in your story. When you're reading aloud, you're engaging more of your brain to relive your story, and you have to work really hard to become distracted.


So the next time you're having trouble cranking out the prose, find your spot, say it out loud, and say it proud. You may laugh at yourself a few times, but I promise, it's a good feeling to know you're jumping into your writing with everything you've got.


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


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Creative Writing Exercises
A Self-Published Author's Tough Choices, and Having the Freedom to Make Them

617 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, writers, writing, writing_process
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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


Definitive List of Clichéd Dialogue - Dark Angels Blog

You look like you've seen a ghost...or maybe you just read another tired cliché. Note to self, read Dark Angels' list of clichés very carefully.


No, and Furthermore - Edittorent

Ever have trouble ending a scene? According to Jack Brickman, the best way to end a scene is to ask yourself one question.

 

Film


Open Source Filmmaking - Will It Blend? - Mat Tyler

Ever wonder what this open source filmmaking stuff is all about? Mat Tyler gives a great example of how the process works.


How Producing for the Web Can Fit into a Filmmaking Career - Broadcasting Ourselves

This is an interesting interview with a production company called the Bajillionaires Club. They got their start producing videos for the web, and they've gone on to do TV and corporate production.

 

Music


A Sample Music Business Plan for Your Band - eleetmusic

Now this is a great use of the internet. The band Northern Southerners gave eleetmusic permission to post their business plan for the betterment of bandkind.


Singers with Breathing or Rhythm Issues: Dance! - Judy Rodman

Having trouble getting the singing groove? Voice coach Judy Rodman thinks that dancing is the perfect remedy.


-Richard

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


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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 30, 2010 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 23, 2010 Edition

1,358 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, music, music, filmmaking, filmmaking, production, production, movies, movies, writing, writing, musicians, musicians, filmmakers, filmmakers, singing, singing
2

For a while now, I've had a theory that I write better when I know the title of the book I'm writing. It sounds weird, I know, but for whatever reason, I can crank out the pages with a lot more confidence when I've committed to a title. I thought I was alone until I read this quote by Irish novelist Roddy Doyle:

 

Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it. Dickens knew "Bleak House" was going to be called "Bleak House" before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy.

 

So there it is. I am not alone. There are several reasons why I think naming your book early in the process helps you write.

 

  • A title sets the tone of a book for the reader and writer alike. When you know the title of the book, it helps you capture the mood of the work as you write and keep a consistent voice throughout.

 

  • Setting the title helps you visualize the book as a completed piece. It's something I learned from my time in athletics. We were instructed to visualize the game - play by play - before we even put our uniforms on. In essence, we played the game twice. When I have a title for a book, I am able to visualize characters, scenes, dialogue, a bound copy of the book, etc. In many ways, this can make actually writing the book seem more like a mere formality.

 

  • Knowing the title inspires you to write. There's something about knowing the name of your book that makes you want to sit down at the computer keyboard and create the content for that title.

 

If you're stuck on that next book idea, start brainstorming titles on paper. Write without thinking. Take a walk, and pay attention to your surroundings. Stroll through your local bookstore, and look at titles in your genre. Your title should speak to you and give you the inspiration to write. And if you end up changing it later, that's okay, but coming up with a title to guide you from the start can get you on the right path to writing and finishing your book.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Your First Line Can Help You Sell Books

The Importance of Endings

9,301 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, title, title, title, craft, craft, craft
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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

 

Character Building Workshop - Writer Online

An interesting online questionnaire about the characters you create. It's a great tool to help you develop multi-dimensional characters.

 

Pumping Up the Plot: 6 Vital Signs of a Healthy Plot - Beyond The Margins

Does your plot add up? Are you writing for the sake of writing, or is there purpose to your prose?

 

Film

 

Robert Rodriguez on How Technology Has Changed Filmmaking - Gizmodo

Everyone's favorite rebel with camera, Robert Rodriguez, dishes on the current state of filmmaking. His first feature was shot for $7,000 in 1992, which he thinks is about 10 times more than what he would need if he shot the film today.

 

How George Lucas Changed Special Effects in Filmmaking Forever - Techland

What do you do when you're a young filmmaker and the technology doesn't exist to create the special effects you need for your film? If you're like George Lucas, you invent the technology.

 

Music

 

5 Music Video Sites for Independent Artists - Indie Music Tech

It turns out there's more to the online video world than YouTube. Indie Music Tech shares five video sharing sites geared toward the indie crowd.

 

Back in the Groove, Like Riding a Bike - Music After 50

Just because the real world comes calling when you're younger doesn't mean you can't step back into the music world at a later date. The passion never leaves the true musician.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 23, 2010 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 16, 2010 Edition

1,336 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, music, music, films, films, musicians, musicians, craft, craft, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Finding the right ending for a book can be a difficult task. For me, it's not just a matter of wrapping up the story in a neat little bundle to make the reader happy. As an author, I want to create an ending that will make readers want more when they've finished the book - an ending that will make them hop on the internet to search for more about me and my other titles. In short, I think the ending of your book is almost like the hook you create to inspire your audience to read more of your work. I will agonize and rewrite and lament every syllable of the last sentence in an ending. I feel that if I've done this right, it will create a fan, but if it's done incorrectly, it will leave me with a reader who is likely to forget my name the second he or she has read the last line.

 

I feel just as strongly about the ending of chapters. I know, as a reader, I'm more inclined to continue on to the next chapter if the previous one ended with an unexpected twist or an unanswered question. If a writer can plant a seed of doubt at the end of the chapter that makes me question the direction I thought the story was about to take, then I'll keep reading on to either clear up the doubt or adopt a new set of expectations for the rest of the story. This "cliffhanger" strategy is a way to keep the story compelling. Chapters don't need to include their own individual sets of conclusions. The author's only real obligation is to make sure chapters contribute to the overall conclusion of the book.

 

My favorite kind of chapter ending is that of the open-ended variety. It sets up coming conflict without revealing too much. It may even hint at an unexpected element to be introduced in the very near future. It's all about teasing readers so they just won't be satisfied until they read a little more.

 

How about you? How do you like to end a chapter? And when do you know a chapter is done?

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Your First Line Can Help You Sell Books

The Point Where a Bestselling Book Lost Me

2,285 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, books, books, books, authors, authors, authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, craft, craft, chapters, chapters, chapters, chapters, chapters, ending, ending, ending, ending, ending
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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

 

Anatomy of a Best-Selling Novel - Structure Matters - Kristen Lamb's Blog

Story structure isn't just a convenient tool to write a great novel. It's also the best way to engage your readers.

 

Character Planning: A Little about Backstories and Inner Demons - Procrastinating Writers

A good story is driven by characters. Good characters have a history and inner conflicts the readers may never see.

 

 

Film

 

Ambition and Film-making - Film And Misanthropy

A blogger and filmmaker makes an excellent case to go ahead and write that big budget screenplay. Don't let the lack of money affect your story.

 

Why a Few Awesome Scenes Are Not Enough in Sci-fi Flicks - filmcritic.com

Sci-fi guy John Scalzi asks the question: Can a great scene save a bad movie?

 

 

Music

 

Stomach Bug and Have to Sing? - Judy Rodman

Vocal instructor Judy Rodman gives some excellent tips on how to power through a stomach virus and still make your gig.

 

Free Music Marketing Tip Sheet - Bob Baker's Buzz Factor

Music marketing expert Bob Baker is giving away a free six-page PDF of his tips for marketing your music and band. Why? He wants to know what you think of his ideas.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 9, 2010 Edition

Tuesday's Blog Roundup - November 2, 2010 Edition

1,296 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, books, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, filmmaking, filmmaking, promotion, promotion, story, story, characters, characters, musicians, musicians, craft, craft, screenwriting, screenwriting, filmmakers, filmmakers
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Rejection (No, This Isn't About My Dating Life)

 

Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of rejection. Sweet? I mean it. If we're never rejected, how else are going to prove people wrong? All the greats faced it. Lincoln lost five elections. Michael Jordon got cut from the high school basketball team. The Beatles were told by a record company they'd never make it because they were a guitar band. The "experts" get it wrong all the time. Want more proof?

 

Stephen King's first published novel sold four million copies in paperback. And garnered 30 rejections from publishers. One of them wrote, "'We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell." Tired of rejection slips, King reportedly threw the manuscript into the garbage - but his wife fished it out again, and he decided to try one more time.

 

You can read about other famous authors and the rejection they faced on i09's website: 15 classic science fiction and fantasy novels that publishers rejected

 

Go Ahead, Make My Day...with a Memorable Line from a Movie

 

The New York Times is wondering where all the memorable lines from movies have gone. And I'm wondering if we were really better off when everyone was telling their co-workers to "talk to the hand" or replying to praise or acknowledgment with a "Yeah, baby." I love a good movie line, but there are times when hearing "we're going to need a bigger boat," grates on you just a tad. Here's an excerpt from the article.

 

It may be that a Web-driven culture of irony latches onto the movie lines for something other than brilliance, or is downright allergic to the kind of polish that was once applied to the best bits of dialogue. Thus one of the most frequently repeated lines of the last year came from "Clash of the Titans" which scored an unimpressive 28 percent positive rating among critics on the Rottentomatoes.com Web site after it was released by Warner Brothers in April. "Release the Kraken!" thundered Liam Neeson as Zeus - spawning good-natured mockery on obscene T-shirts and in Kraken-captioned photos of angry kitty cats.

 

You can read the entire article on the New York Times' website: Longing for the Lines That Had Us at Hello

 

Sometimes Showing Fans Appreciation is Hard

 

There are fans and then there are superfans. The two are similar in that they love and appreciate your work, but fans leave it at that. Superfans take real personal interest in your work and, in some ways, take ownership of your success. To truly make it big, you need the superfans. Make no mistake about it, you do owe them a debt of gratitude, but how far should you take your gratitude? According to singer/songwriter John Roderick, it's a tough line to draw in the sand.

 

Superfans want access, but bands, especially bands on tour, have to CONTROL access to themselves...Time is limited and demands are high. As bands get bigger, the demands increase and the time available shrinks. Access to the band, especially the kind of unmediated and casual access a superfan treasures, is one of the first things to go after sleep and good nutrition. It's never apparent to the fan how much energy it takes a musician to sit and have a relaxed one-on-one with them... before... a show.

 

You can read the entire article on Hypebot's website: The Hard-Knock Life Of Superfans And Musicians

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - October 22, 2010

Weekly News Brief - Books, Film, Music - October 15, 2010

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Since one of my favorite holidays is upon us, I decided to dedicate this blog post to the movie that shares the holiday's name and sensibility: John Carpenter's Halloween. I realize it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I consider it to be an important component in the development of my storytelling abilities, especially when it comes to building suspense. The movie is full of solid story-building elements that I try to incorporate in my own writing. Read on for lessons from Halloween that you can apply to your own writing.

 

1. A well-defined backstory - Michael Myers suffers a psychological break as a young boy that drives him to murder his family on Halloween. He's institutionalized and raised in an asylum until he escapes on Halloween to return to the scene of his breakdown.

 

The Lesson: Carpenter gives us a clearly defined backstory, which can be summed up simply and definitively.

 

2. A strong protagonist - Laurie Strode is sweet and innocent, but once her survival instincts kick in, she'll stop at nothing to defend herself and the young kids she babysits.

 

The Lesson: With Strode, Carpenter demonstrates his character arch skills by taking her from a harmless schoolgirl to a ferocious fighter. Your characters work when they experience growth.

 

3. A sympathetic bad guy - Yes, Michael Myers is a psychotic monster with a butcher knife, but there are moments that indicate he is still a small, scared child at heart. He's done terrible things, but he's sick.

 

The Lesson: Carpenter lets us know that Michael does not understand the world like everyone else, and he kills because his mind is diseased. The audience screams when they see him on-screen, but they also can't wait to see him on-screen. If he were not so well-defined, the story wouldn't work half as well.

 

4. The secondary characters - Halloween has excellent secondary characters to propel the story forward. Michael's therapist, Dr. Sam Loomis, provides an ever-present foreboding to the story that keeps you looking over your shoulder. The sheriff is a no-nonsense lawman trying to keep a town safe and raise a teenage daughter. The two kids Laurie ends up babysitting are adorable enough for the audience to fear for them.

 

The Lesson: Carpenter didn't just make Halloween about Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. Stories can't just be about the protagonist and the villain. There has to be a world around them full of people you care about. If there are developmental interactions with secondary characters, then the relationship between Laurie and Michael becomes much more interesting.

 

5. The conflict - This is as simple a conflict as you can get: Michael wants kill Laurie and those she cares about, and Laurie wants to keep everyone alive. It's a desire to kill versus a desire to survive.

 

The Lesson: Carpenter includes coming-of-age subplots that give the story depth, but he never loses sight of the fact that the story is really about good versus evil. The simpler you make your conflict, the easier it is for the audience to get involved in the story.

 

6. The unknown - The greatest part of the story is that Carpenter gives us just enough information about Michael Myers that we're fairly sure we know where he's going to pop out, but he doesn't give us enough information to eliminate all doubt. We know he's in the house, but we don't know where in the house. We know he's outside the window, but will he crash through and grab someone, or move into the shadows and wait for his victim to come outside? We know he's been stabbed, but is he really dead? It's a brilliant game of cat-and-mouse that happens inside the viewer's mind.

 

The Lesson: Carpenter never lets you feel safe. He's constantly challenging your understanding of his style and the characters' actions. To keep your audience on edge, you have to tease them. Create behaviors that make them think they know the character, and present them with enough opportunity to prove or disprove their suspicions.

 

The great thing about this structure is that you can apply these lessons to virtually any genre and be well on your way to creating a compelling story.

 

How about you? Is there a particular movie or book that you feel taught you some valuable elements of writing and storytelling?

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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