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682 Posts tagged with the writing tag
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Make a Living with Your Writing - The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn reveals how she turned a passion for writing into a writing career.          

                           

Practice the Process - Retinart

To get good at what you do, you have to know how you do what you do.          

 

Film

                                                        

From the Archives: Famous Filmmakers - Huffington Post

Three filmmakers, known for taking risks, sit down with HuffPost Live to discuss the art and business of filmmaking.        

                                          

DIY or DIE: 10 No Budget Filmmaking Musts - Indiewire

Simple ideas that help you stay under the smallest budget. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music Marketing with YouTube: Four Ways to Beef up Your Channel - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

The power of video has long been a marketing asset for musicians.  

 

The Many Hats of an Indie Musician - Day in the Life of a Commercial Musician

It's a juggling act, but you get to do what you love.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 8, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- May 1, 2015

1,550 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, marketing, selling, music, author, self-publishing, promotion, movies, writers, writing, promotions, musician, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, practice
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In our second stage of writing a book, we need to establish the miles you'll be logging on this journey. We've discussed word count on this blog before in a number of different ways. Today, we want to establish what your final word count will be, or if not establish, at the very least, estimate.

 

Wait, you say, I've only just begun. How can I possibly know how many total words my book will be? Establishing a word count goal can be tied to many different factors. Genres adhere to unofficial word count parameters. The type of book – novel, novella, or novelette – comes into play when deciding word count. Are you doing a novel and releasing it in a serialized format? That can impact your total word count on a per release basis. You are a factor in establishing a final word count. Are you on a timetable? Do you have an outline that maps out plot points precisely, and in order to keep to your vision, a certain word count works that breaks the unwritten genre rules?

 

Unfortunately, there's no formula for coming up with a definitive word count, but I will say that every time I've set a word count total, I have either reached that total or surpassed it by 10-15 percent. There's something about knowing how far you need to go that allows you to find your pacing.

 

If you want to make an educated estimate, you can search this blog or the internet for word counts based on genre. That is your best place to start before making your final decision.

 

-Richard

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

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General Word Count Guidelines

Stage One of Writing a Book: Idea Exploration

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In stage one of marketing a book, we covered sharing your journey and building your community through journaling. For stage two we'll focus on reaching readers outside of your community. This is something you should do before you've finished writing your book. In fact, this is something you should ideally do when your book is still just a spark of an idea. If you've already begun a book, it's not too late to jump on this strategy. Even if your book has been published, you can do an outreach and set the wheels in motion for your next book.

 

The good news is the outreach stage is not rocket science. It will take some research on your end, but the payoff is worth it. You need to be a voice in your genre. It's time to start reaching out to blogs, online magazines (e-zines), mainstream websites, etc. Be an active member in their online communities. Add value to the conversations they start. Better yet, contact the editors and volunteer to provide posts and articles to help bring traffic to their online presence. Be visible, and be vocal.

 

Remember, you're establishing a brand – your brand as an author. Present yourself in a compelling and clear manner that will establish your reputation as a good writer with something valuable to contribute to the community. Most of all be respectful of other members of the community. Allow for criticism and disagreement with your contribution without argument. Respectful counterpoints are fine, but terse, sarcastic responses to such feedback can be devastating.

 

Stage two of marketing a book: Outreach. Find those communities outside of your own that cater to your genre, and start participating as a community member.

 

-Richard

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

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The Art of Commenting

Today's New Media

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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

The Path to Success - The Passive Voice

Indie superstar Joe Konrath shares his path to success.          

                           

This One Trick Can Revolutionize Your Writing - Enago Blog

A trick than can help any writer of any stripe.          

 

Film

                                                        

Watch: 90-Minute Masterclass with Legendary Director Werner Herzog - The Playlist

An in-depth Q&A with the legend of cinema.        

                                          

Notes to Screenwriters: Advancing Your Story, Screenplay and Career by Authors Barbara Nicolosi and Vicki Peterson - Film Courage

How to implement feedback and make your screenplay stronger. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Practice Logs and How to Include Ear Training in Your Daily Music Practice -Easy Ear Training

Tracking your learning-by-ear progress.  

 

Three Things I Disagree with Speech Level Singing about - How to Sing Better

Should singing be as natural as speaking?   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- May 1, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 24, 2015

1,465 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, filmmaking, author, promotion, movies, writers, directors, writing, success, films, directing, musicians, social_media, singing, practice, writing_practice
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Let's turn the strategy of compartmentalizing to the writing of a book from beginning to end. As I've stated before, reaching a goal is much easier when you break the journey to that goal down into manageable parts.

 

Writing a book begins with the idea. Stephen King calls this the "What if" moment. Essentially, an idea for a book comes to you when you start exploring the possible outcomes of that "What if" question. What if an elderly fisherman in a small boat in the middle of the ocean hooks a fish too big to bring in? I'm not saying Hemingway started with that premise, but that's one way to find the meat and bones of The Old Man and the Sea.

 

You are going to run into fits of inspiration and mountains of frustration as you develop your idea, and if you're like me, that's exactly what the beginning of your book is, an idea. My projects don't usually turn into books until I hit page 40. That's usually the point where the confidence kicks in and I feel like I know where the "What if' is going, and depending on the book, it may take me months to get to that benchmark.

 

The inspiration and the frustration have to be approached with caution. Both can burn you out if you don't control them. Hemingway himself suggested to stop your writing day when you know what's going to happen next. In other words, don't write until the inspiration is gone. And certainly don't stop writing because you feel frustrated. Write anything, even if it's horrible, to break through to the other side.

 

The first stage of writing a book is exploring an idea. Exploration means you will take wrong turns. You will make mistakes. You will doubt yourself. That's okay. You'll find your artistic groove if you keep exploring.

 

-Richard

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

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Embracing Inspiration from Real-Life Moments

The "What If" Notebook

3,313 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, idea_exploration, what_if
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Today we start a series on the five stages of marketing a book. I've always been a fan of compartmentalizing a goal in order to make it less daunting. Cutting things down leads to better planning, which leads to greater success. Our first stage is a way to keep yourself on point and accountable, all under the watchful eye of your public.


 

Find a space in your online presence and commit it as your little plot of virtual real estate where you will keep detailed records of your progress. This is where you are going to say all those things aloud, in public, that you mumbled to yourself in front of your computer as you typed out your masterpiece. Call it an online journal or artist's confessional. Call it anything you want except unimportant.


 

Self-examination is vital to your growth as a writer. Most of us wait until the end of a project to reflect on how we reached our goal. By that time our reflections have turned into happy memories of accomplishment. Journaling while you write allows you to see all the impossible obstacles - before and after you triumphed over every one of them. It will inform you on just how resilient you truly are and how small the impossible really is.


 

It will also serve as a guide for other aspiring writers and help build a community of supporters around you. They will lend you encouragement and inspiration as you overcome the struggles. When the book is available for sale, they will more than likely want to see the results of the journey they were a part of and join you in a victory lap.


 

So, there we have it. Stage one to marketing a book: Keep a journal and start it now.


 

-Richard

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

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Keep a Brand Journal

Reverse Journaling for Your Brand

5,662 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, jounaling
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Book Titles That Sell, Productivity for Authors and Marketing for Introverts with Tim Grahl - The Creative Penn

Book marketing expert Tim Grahl discusses strategy with Joanna Penn.         

                           

Measuring Social Media ROI by @nblackburn01 - BadRedhead Media

Tools to help calculate your social media return on investment.         

 

Film

                                                        

Lights, Camera, Athens: The Art of Filmmaking - The Red & Black

How a small town fostered a filmmaking community in its midst.       

                                          

Indie Filmmaking - Making Money vs Passion Projects -Flickering Myth

How working on both will help you keep your sanity and pay your rent.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

How to Engage a Live Music Audience - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Advice on how to make your live performances audience-friendly.  

 

The Best Way to Learn Guitar - Guitar Coach Magazine

For beginners just learning and masters wishing to hone their skills.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 24, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 17, 2015

441 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, film, author, writing, plan, guitar, films, musicians, social_media, audience, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy
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You write with passion. You rewrite with purpose. That is to say, your first draft is spun with reckless abandon. The words click onto the page as fast as you can tap your fingers across the keyboard. They are delivered from a place that is located deep within the right hemisphere of your brain. You write what you see. You don't think about what you write. Rewriting? Not so much.

 

The left hemisphere of your old grey matter gets involved during rewrites and starts to apply logic to the free flow of thought that had created such a beautiful, wandering mess. Your top priority during rewrites is to keep everything that has a purpose in the story. Everything else, no matter how well written, must go.

 

While all the elements of a story are interconnected, as you rewrite, you might want to give each chapter a "Purpose Rating" and grade each element separately on a scale from one to five. Anything that gets less than a three should be cut.

 

Establish your "Purpose Rating" by considering these elements:

 

  • Plot purpose: Does the material move the plot forward or shed light on certain story elements that solidify the foundation of the plot?

  • Character purpose: Does the material give relevant insight into aspects of character? Does it give your character depth that steers away from clichés? Does it provide a compelling piece of character development that is unexpected and new, without being distracting?

  • Setting purpose: Does the material set the proper mood? Does it paint a picture that fits the theme and genre of your story? Does it break the rules without disrupting the story?

  • Dialogue purpose: Is the material necessary? Some dialogue is used as an "exploratory" device. Meaning, when it was first written it may have been connective tissue for an upcoming subplot or character revelation. In a lot of cases, those future elements either never materialize or are eliminated. Be on the lookout for these holes.

  • Subplot Purpose: Is your subplot a minor detour from the story or a complete diversion? If it's too far removed from the plot, it's doing more harm than good.

You will find that rewriting is a much harder process than writing. It should be. You're applying logic to an artistic endeavor. You have to be ruthless in your cuts. Applying a "Purpose Rating" may help you look at your story more objectively.   

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Two Mistakes Indie Authors Should Avoid

The Purpose of Subplots

5,744 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writers, setting, writing, characters, drafts, plot, dialogue, rewriting, writing_help, subplot
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Last year I watched the Oscars with two friends. At some point an award for writing was presented, and while I don't remember who won it, I do remember what he said, because I burst out laughing.

 

He said something along the lines of...writers hate themselves.

 

My two friends looked at me in surprise, so I explained to them that I found the comment hilarious and true. Not that I hate myself all the time or anything, but since I became a published author I've definitely experienced the occasional spell of self-loathing while working on a book. Crippling, almost paralyzing self-doubt taunts me in the form of these kinds of questions: Is this terrible? What if my fans hate this? Where is this story going? What am I doing? What business do I have trying to make a living as a novelist?

 

My friends were shocked to learn this about me. They think my life is perfect. (Ha.) Don't get me wrong. I love being a full-time author, and I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished. I'm also well aware that there are a lot of people out there who would cut off a limb to be in my position. However, when I was trying to get my first novel (Perfect on Paper) published, I remember thinking that once published, writing future books would be easy because I would feel like I had made it. Unfortunately, I was dead wrong. Perfect on Paper reached #2 overall on Amazon, and here I am, seven books later, still racked with self-doubt. Maybe it's that sense of insecurity that fuels the creative process and pushes me to tell good stories, but it certainly wasn't something I expected to last this long!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Give Author Modeling a Try

How to be a Confident Writer

2,140 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Toni Morrison: Write, Erase, Do It over - The Book Deal

An interview about writing with the legendary author.           

                           

New Trends in Book Marketing: Mobile, Millennials and More - Publishing Perspectives

Is 2015 all about the phablet when it comes to marketing your book?         

 

Film

                                                        

The Complete Mark Duplass Filmmaking Bible on Becoming a Successful Director - No Film School

When it comes to independent film, Mark Duplass is in a league of his own.     

                                          

Five Screenwriting Lessons from Quentin Tarantino - Film Slate Magazine

Tarantino, the master of Macabre Noir, shares his writing secrets. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Sample-Based Synthesis - Bit by Bit - Audio Fanzine

Converting analog signals to digital.  

  

Twenty-Five Tips from Music Marketing Experts for an Indie Release - Solveig Whittle

Indie artist Solveig Whittle shares the tips she's uncovered from industry experts.   

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup- April 17, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 10, 2015

1,543 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, book, music, self-publishing, promotion, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, director, musicians, filmmakers
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The Plot Plight

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 22, 2015

My favorite book is an obscure title first released in 1933 called God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell. Well, it's obscure now. When it was released, it was actually both a commercial hit and the subject of controversy because it was deemed vulgar by some. By today's standards, it's not nearly as provocative as it was in the 1930s.

 

I write about it today because I can make the argument that the book is without a main plot. The catalyst for the action in the beginning is the patriarch of a deeply impoverished family's obsessive search for gold on his dying farm. It's a fruitless endeavor that ruins the farmland. This search for riches serves as a backdrop to the lives of the family members and the hardships that weave them together. There's an illicit affair that tears the family apart. There's a strike at a nearby cotton mill that ends in tragedy. There's a murder. The book is basically a scrapbook of events that paints the sad portrait of a family plagued by poverty. The futile search for gold is less a plot than it is a shadow cast by the family's endless misfortune.

 

A plot is described as the main event of a book that gives a story meaning. Other events, subplots, give a story depth. My dissection of God's Little Acre has me questioning my sanity. A book, I've been taught, must have a clearly defined plot. I've been encouraged to establish the plot early in a story. And I've been told repeatedly that a book cannot end without some sort of resolution to that plot. Caldwell did none of those things in God's Little Acre, but he managed to write a compelling, truly enriching story. How is that possible?

 

So, here's my question to you, dear writer, what is your philosophy on plot? Where is it established in your story? How clearly defined is it? Can you think of a book that contains a muddled plot, but still manages to deliver a gripping story?

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Importance of Plot Points

The Purpose of Subplots

1,530 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, writing, characters, plot, development, craft, writing_tips, plot_point
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Sometimes when people find out that I'm an author, they ask if I write under my own name or if I use a pseudonym. Given how hard it is to generate awareness about my books using the name I've had my entire life, this question always makes me laugh. However, I do think for some authors a pen name isn't necessarily a bad idea, so I thought it was worth writing a blog post on the subject.

 

If you've already published a book, then you've learned first-hand how much effort goes into promoting it, no matter who your publisher is. And if you've read my blog with any regularity you'll see that many of my suggestions for book marketing involve tapping into personal and professional networks. College alumni magazines and alumni groups, fraternity/sorority connections, business associations, social media accounts - these all offer receptive, credible channels for getting news about your book out to the world. If you try doing that under another name, you're going to run into some obstacles. How would you contact your college alumni magazine, for example? It's certainly doable, but it would take a lot more effort. And what about your author website? Or Facebook fan page? Author headshot? Author bio? Twitter account? Email address? Creating all of that for a fictitious person is possible, but it sounds pretty time-consuming to me.

 

However, I do think using a pen name could be a good idea in the following scenarios:

 

  • You write erotica or a variation of and prefer to keep it on the down low.
  • For whatever reason you don't want anyone in your personal life to know you've written a book - yet, or maybe ever.
  • Your book includes personal experiences too painful or intimate to present as your own (e.g., a memoir).
  • You're well respected in a certain field or industry and prefer to keep your writing life separate.
  • You just want to test the waters without worrying about being embarrassed if your book flops (completely understandable).

 

I'd love to hear from those of you who write under a pen name. Do you agree with me?

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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The Brand and the Pseudonym

An Author by Any Other Name

2,167 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, pen_name
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I had a conversation with an individual organizing a marketing campaign for an upcoming play at a local theater. I've been to more than my fair share of plays. I've seen productions big and small, but I had never been exposed to what it takes to market a play. It was fascinating to hear all the ideas. I, of course, wondered if any of the ideas could be applied to the marketing of a book.

 

Most of what we talked about was venue specific, so it wasn't applicable to an author's needs. But one idea struck me as fairly universal. The theater discussed the possibility of "adopting" a charitable organization. While part of the proceeds from ticket sales would go to the charity, they would also include the charity's information in the program, make a direct pitch to the audience before each performance, and give the organization a prominent presence on the website, Facebook page and newsletter. While the strategy was designed to give the charity exposure, it would inevitably give the theater a brand boost, and it would build positive community equity that could be used to attract corporate sponsors and a wider audience. In essence, both sides win.

 

Authors could use a similar strategy. While the payoff wouldn't be associated with a venue-based event, it could be tied to a time period. For example, you could designate a week to providing exposure for a local or nationwide charity you feel passionately about. A portion of your proceeds that week would be donated to said charity. You would devote a week of blogging, Facebooking, personal videos and so forth to your charity. You could make it an annual or biannual event. You could even volunteer to write a piece for the charity's blog or newsletter.

 

If this is a strategy you wish to pursue, the most important piece of advice I will give you is to choose a charity you feel passionately about. It will make the work and effort you put into the strategy that much more rewarding. If the charity has a tie-in to the story in your book, that is an even bigger plus.

 

-Richard

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

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Giving Back: A Cautionary Tale

Form an Author Co-op

1,524 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, promotions, charity
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We all know subplots are basically a device to give your story a word count that will make it a book-worthy document, right? Wrong. Subplots weren't created to fatten up stories to please consumers. At least, they shouldn't be.

 

Here is what subplots can really do for your book:

 

  • Subplots allow you to add depth to your characters. Your plot may revolve around a murder mystery, but a subplot involving a troubled marriage or a struggle with alcoholism gives you the opportunity to dive deeper into a character's life. Your characters have a place in your plot and can even drive the plot. Giving them subplots gives them their own place in the story.

  • Subplots can serve as a thread to tie books in a series together. A subplot that snakes through the background of one book can grow into the main plot for the next book. It gives your story layers that can shift from book to book.

  • Subplots give your story a reality that would otherwise be vacant. Real life is messy. Books are a series of carefully constructed events. Subplots give the illusion of chaos. They make things seem real-world crazy and messy.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't use subplots to beef up your book. I am, however, suggesting you don't consider upping your word count as beefing up your book. Readers will see it for what it is: padding. Subplots should be used to give your characters and story depth. That is how you beef up your book.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Turning Subplots into Plots

The Importance of Plot Points

5,652 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: books, writing, characters, craft, writing_style, writing_tips, writing_advice, pace, plot_points, subplot
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Are you ready for the big screen - err, small screen - tiny, even? The Internet has given rise to storytelling in the form of online video. Some of these stories are doled out over several short videos to form a web series. Independent producers and uber-fans have taken their favorite books and turned them into popular web series. They range from literal adaptations to quirky, re-imagined versions.

 

Beyond giving you a unique take on your indie novel, a web series gives you another avenue for marketing your book and a new pool of fans to join your community. Here are my five rules for creating a web series:

 

  1. Keep it short - Chances are, in the beginning at the very least, your series is going to be a passing object of curiosity. People aren't likely to devote a half hour or even 15 minutes to watch your series. My advice is to keep the run time of each video in your series under five minutes.

  2. Keep it tight - With the innovation of smaller screens on handheld devices, long shots have lost their effectiveness. Details get lost on those itty-bitty screens, especially for someone with aging eyes like mine. Keep your shots as tight as you can while still allowing for the necessary action.

  3. Don't forget the sound - Bad audio on a video production will kill even the greatest cinematography and render your impeccable story unwatchable. Even casting a great actress like Meryl Streep won't save your production if your audio is subpar. Don't skimp on sound equipment. Get the best you can afford.

  4. Lighting - Even the camera on your mobile device is fairly sophisticated and can adapt to various light situations, but that doesn't mean you should take lighting shortcuts. A consistent look to your production is crucial for a web series. A lot of that signature look comes from the lighting. Take your time, and do it right.

  5. Cast - If you can't act, don't cast yourself in the series. Find people in your area who can not only act, but are willing to take direction. This is your series. Take charge.

Web series are becoming more popular every day. Now is the time to evaluate your material and determine if it can be adapted to short, episodic videos.

 

-Richard

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

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Social Networking Tour - Facebook

Build Your Brand with Original Content

1,907 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, web_series
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