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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

 

5 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist -Wordplay

Author K.M. Weiland shares her advice on how to construct a plot twist.       

                                                    

Book Marketing Using Paid Advertising -Self-Publishing Review

A look at how paid advertising worked out for some authors.

 

Film

                                                        

The True Cost of Filmmaking in the 21st Century - James River Film Journal

What is the cost of shooting on film in a digital age?

                                          

How to Get Noticed As a Filmmaker - Filmmaking Stuff

Sometimes you just have to take charge.

                                    

Music

 

How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read - Bob Baker's BuzzFactor.com

Are hypnotic techniques the key to getting your email opened?

 

Mid-Year Music Industry Report, Social Media and Digital Music News -MusicianCoaching.com

There's no doubt about it, social media is changing the music industry.

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 2, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - July 26, 2013

1,903 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, selling, music, author, self-publishing, advertising, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, musicians, social_media
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I am messy. My car is a mess. My office is a mess. I'm not even sure I still have a desk anymore. My laptop is on top of something surrounded by...well, a mess. For years, I've gotten away with being messy because I'm creative. Sometimes I can even make it look endearing.

 

Here's the thing I've discovered about my own messiness: the mess is not part of the creative process. The mess is the result of the creative process. The more untidy my surroundings get, the less aware I am of the mess because I'm getting into the details of a story. 

 

On many, many, many occasions, the inkling of an idea will come when I'm cleaning up the clutter created from a piece I've just completed. It's as if I'm clearing away the old and making room for the new. What's really at play is my mind shifting focus, and in that shift, I usually find a new story.

 

Why am I revealing my sloppy side to you? Because I know a majority of you reading this are just like me. I know you look at your desk and roll your eyes and wonder where your breaking point is. You may even feel bad for the people in your life because they have to share your cluttered space. There might even be a small voice in your head telling you that you will tank your creative mojo if you clean. I'm here to tell you that the opposite is probably true. You will most likely reinvigorate your artistic spirit by allowing yourself to get lost in the mindless task of cleaning.

 

Look, I don't want to ruin your "creative mind" excuse for getting away with being messy. But, I encourage you to give a try. You just might be surprised by the doors it opens in that artsy brain of yours (and the people who live with you will be ecstatic). Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to find my desk.

 

Time to fess up: messy or clean? 

 

-Richard

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

 

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The "What If" Notebook

Embracing Inspiration from Real-Life Moments

1,821 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, writing, drafts, creativity, inspiration, craft
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Today, I'd like to address another common grammar mix-up. Fancy parts of speech aside, here is the difference between "there," "they're" and "their."

 

There refers to a LOCATION:

 

  • He is over there, next to the girl in the yellow dress.
  • You're going to Spain? I went there last year and loved it.
  • Are you from California? She is from there too.

 

They're means THEY ARE:

 

  • I think they're wonderful singers, don't you?
  • She told me they're on the road this week.
  • They're still on vacation, but I think they're coming home soon.

 

Their means BELONGING TO THEM:

 

  • This is their house, so please respect their rules.
  • She is their daughter, so they're clearly very proud of her.
  • It is their mistake if they get their/they're/there wrong after reading this post.

 

Authors should focus on getting grammar fundamentals like these right, not only in their books, but also in the marketing materials used to promote them (e.g. book descriptions, Facebook pages, author bios, etc.). These errors jump off the page at the reader and distract from the story or material, which is a real shame.

 

If grammar just isn't your thing and never will be, a professional copyeditor can help catch mistakes like these before your book goes to print.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Going Indie? Don't Skimp on Quality

Why Good Grammar Matters

2,542 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, grammar
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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 Your Summer Sales Sizzle by Getting Your Video On -The Future of Ink

Video works around the clock so you can enjoy the summer.

 

Film

                                                        

Smartphones: The Future of Filmmaking - Raindance Film Festival

A look at some films made with smartphones.

 

Top 10 Elements of Film Making - List Dose

Preproduction, production and postproduction in ten parts.

                                    

Music

 

Music Publicity: 10 Things to Do AFTER You Get It! - Bob Baker's BuzzFactor.com

What do you do with publicity once you get it?

 

3 Key Music Marketing Lessons Based On Eye Tracking Studies -Hypebot.com

Where the eye falls on a webpage can help you build a better website.

 

-Richard

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

 

 

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Weekly News Roundup - July 26, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - July 19, 2013

1,846 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, book, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, writers, publishing, writing, films, promotions, musicians, filmmakers, branding, social_media
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We are in an age of publishing that embraces the concept of speed. Manuscripts can be turned into market-ready books in hours. HOURS! To fully appreciate that feat, you must understand that the same process used to take months. The standard turnaround time for a manuscript to go from author's draft to a book sold via retailers was about 18 months. And this was in the not-so-distant past.

 

So, with a year and a half vanishing from the process of publishing a book, authors now have the ability to capitalize on trends like never before. The question is, should you? It is tempting. Let's say a western romance novel featuring two-headed aliens becomes a phenomenal success. Twitter explodes with tweets about this incredible novel. Facebook is flooded with status updates from fans of this new pop culture hit.

 

You're a writer. You know how to construct a good story. Why not sit down and write your own western romance novel featuring two-headed aliens? There is absolutely no reason not to...IF the genre speaks to you. If it reaches out and touches your artistic soul, go for it. If you feel that strongly about it, chances are you'd add something of value to the world of two-headed alien love stories. 

 

But if you decide to write such a story to strictly capitalize on the trend, I wouldn't recommend doing it. You'll put yourself in the position of faking it and most likely will create an imitation of the novel that sparked the trend. That has the potential to leave readers disappointed. 

 

Instead of attempting to capture a trend, why not start one? Use your talents and your passion and pour them into a genre that means something to you. Those kinds of stories will make a connection with readers and have a chance to become a trend all their own.

 

-Richard

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

 

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The Evergreen Era of Publishing

Short-Form Works: The New Author Strategy

2,923 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: publishing, writing, development, craft, writing_trends, publishing_timelines
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A good story has three main components that give it stability. There are countless minor components that give a story style and genre appeal, but as I've studied the art of storytelling, I've identified these primary components as the foundation of a good story:

 

  1. A likable protagonist - If you've crafted an engaging plot where every twist and turn is carefully conceived and orchestrated, it will be all for naught if your protagonist isn't likable. Notice I used the word "likable." In my experience, the most likable people (real or imaginary) are deeply flawed. They aren't perfect. They don't always make the right decisions. What makes them likable is their desire and struggle to be better.

  2. An unpredictable antagonist - Bad guys are truly terrifying when they are uneven. They dole out punishment in unequal measures. You never know if they are going to bring down the hammer or simply an admonishing glare. And it's important to note that your antagonist doesn't always have to be a person. It can be human, beast, disease or anything else you can imagine

  3. A well-defined conflict - A reader should be able to identify and describe the main conflict of a story in one concise sentence. "Michael loves a woman who is out of his league." "Susan faces a battle with stage 4 lung cancer." "Detective Franks hunts down a cunning serial killer." Of course there's more to your story, but this is the anchor conflict. This is how your readers will ultimately describe your story.

 

That's the crux of a story. Call it the three-legged stool definition. In order for your story to grab a reader's attention and keep your stool from tipping over, these three elements must be constructed with precision and care.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Is There Value in Formulaic Writing?

Keep Them Guessing to Keep Them Reading

57,781 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: writers, writing, characters, fiction, drafts, creativity, conflict, craft, character_arc
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Most Common Mistakes: When Your Scene Focuses on What Isn't Happening - Wordplay

If you're going to write about what your characters don't do, make sure it counts.

                                                    

How to Make Ordinary Characters Compelling -Writer's Digest

A character doesn't need unusual abilities or knowledge in order to be fascinating.

 

Film

                                                        

How Does P.T. Anderson Start Writing a Story? - Making the Movie

Paul Thomas Anderson discusses the coffee shop method for breaking through writer's block.

                                          

10 Tips for the Video Producer on Location in Summer's Heat - Videomaker

The dog days of summer are upon us. Do you know how to beat the heat so it won't ruin your production?

                                                                                                                       

Music

 

Co-creating a Fanbase with Music Curation and What Artists Can Learn From Bloggers - Hypebot.com

Sharing and cross-promotion can help you build your fanbase.

 

What Are the Benefits of Listening to Music? -Musician Makers

Music matters on so many different levels.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - July 12, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - July 5, 2013

1,908 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, music, film, indie, movies, writers, blogging, writing, films, filmmakers, social_media, film_location
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Last week, I attended CraftFest and ThrillerFest VIII, an annual event hosted by the International Thriller Writers (ITW) in New York City. Hundreds of writers packed the educational sessions that featured tips from bestselling authors and experts. Here are some things I learned about writing and marketing:

 

From Steve Berry, author of The King's Deception

  • Every single story must have structure. The beginning, middle, and end are equally important.
  • The beginning (Act 1) should be 20% of the book. In it, you establish character, conflict, and the crucible (the thing that gets a character to do what they'd otherwise never do).
  • The middle (Act 2) is 60% of the book. It should be a series of complications.
  • The end (Act 3) is 20% of the book. It includes the crisis point (the moment when everything comes to a peak) and the conclusion.

 

From Michael Connelly, author of The Black Box & The Lincoln Lawyer

  • If you want to write series fiction, forget about writing a series and just focus on writing one book. If you concentrate on not sowing seeds for future books, those seeds will be sown anyway.
  • If you have momentum as a writer, the reader will have momentum with your passages.
  • The history you create for your character will help you create future books. Layer in the character's past to plant seeds for your series (but don't get bogged down with backstory).
  • The best part of writing is that first draft, but then you have to assess what you have. Rewriting really makes books come together.

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The team with Michael Connelly

 

From David Morrell, author of Murder as a Fine Art & First Blood

  • Be a first rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of another author.
  • Writing is a vocation, not a profession.
  • For setting, choose a location and mine it for everything it can give to you. Forget about sight and concentrate on feeling. When someone says writing is one-dimensional or flat, it's because the writer is relying too much on sight, almost like looking at an image on a movie screen. If you incorporate two other senses, you'll create more textured details and make readers feel like they're more in the setting.

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David Morrell signs books

 

From Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, authors of Two Graves

  • Getting a writing partner is like getting married; that's where the real work begins. (D.P.)
  • Find a writing partner whose experience, knowledge, talent and discipline matches your own. (L.C.)
  • You need to be able to take criticism and have a thick skin. Check your ego at the door. (L.C.)
  • Rather than assigning chapters, assign sequences to each other. Then you can merge them and revise so there's no change in prose style and they're seamless.
  • With a writing partner, divide everything 50/50. But you'll always FEEL like you're doing three-quarters of the work. (D.P.)

 

From Leonardo Wild, author of Artificial Self

  • When you are writing, you should analyze what subtext you'll be bringing out in your turning points. You can achieve subtext by microdetailing, omission, or hinting.

 

From M.J. Rose, author of Seduction

  • No book is dead anymore. Every book is new to a reader who's never heard of it.

 

From C.J. Lyons, author of Blind Faith, winner of ITW's Best eBook Original Novel award

  • Every author has the chance to become the CEO of his or her own global publishing empire.
  • Here's the secret: Write a great book. Give your readers time to find it and tell their friends. Repeat.

 

From Kristen Lamb, author of Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World

  • If you're a novelist, you're a storyteller. "High-concept" blogging is universal, emotional, and it gives the reader something to contribute or take away. It has a higher potential to go viral than just posting about the writing process or "buy my book." You'll also be able to reach past the small pool of avid readers into the much larger pool of people who read more casually.
  • With a blog, you're creating something personal, emotional, and becoming a friend. If you can hook someone with a 500-word blog, it's not a stretch that you'll hook them for 50,000.

 

From Meryl Moss, founder/president of Meryl Moss Media Relations

  • Figure out how the material in your book relates to what people are passionate about out in the world. That's what you should blog about.
  • When marketing, build from the inside. Getting your regional audience excited about your book is still a good idea.

 

From Douglas E. Richards, author of Wired

  • People think that giving books away means less sales, but that's not true. You never run out of purchasers, and those people will lead to word of mouth. Everybody doesn't have to love your book, but the people who do must love it so passionately that they tell all their friends about it.

 

From Dana Kaye, publicist

  • When reaching out to the media, you should be thinking creatively. There are more ways to pitch yourself than just saying you're an author. Don't dismiss your background, hobbies, or day job - they're interesting and could be media pitches.

 

From Kathleen Murphy, media specialist

  • Get to the point within a couple seconds when working with the media. They won't have time to read long emails.
  • Video and audio is where everything is going on social media, especially video. The media and readers need to hear and see you.

 

It was great fun seeing so many authors networking, sharing stories, learning from one another, and getting advice from bestsellers. You may want to consider joining a similar organization that gives you the chance to collaborate with your peers. Next up, you'll find us at the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta July 17-19 and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in Seattle July 25-27.

 

Are you part of any writing organizations?

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-Amanda

Amanda is the editor of CreateSpace's educational resources and social media channels.

 

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The London Book Fair, Starring Authors

BEA Part of It: Book Expo America Session Takeaways

1,953 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, author, promotion, writers, writing, craft, social_media, trade_show, conference, thrillerfest, craftfest
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We have defined the term "evergreen" on this blog, but for those of you who need a quick refresher, it simply means that because of the digital environment, your book will never go out of print unless you choose to take it off the market. Indie authors are the benefactors of a segment of the publishing industry that no longer requires inventory in order for a book to be made available for purchase.

 

Why is that significant? It gives you the potential to earn passive income forever. "Passive" may be a little misleading because it suggests that you aren't required to do anything to sell books. I suppose technically that is true; you may sell a few books by doing nothing, but it takes something akin to a miracle for that to happen. By passive, I mean you aren't required to take a single order, package your book or ship it. That is all done for you. Your only job is to put your entrepreneurial energy into marketing and branding. Do you see the possibilities? This isn't a fleeting, get-rich-quick, money-making scheme. This is a long-lasting, income-generating opportunity. The more you participate, the greater your possibilities of success.

 

So the message here is don't treat the publication of a book like a sprint. This isn't about getting the word out about your book weeks before publication and then putting a lot of time and effort into creating buzz for a relatively short period after it hits the market. You are engaged in an endless marathon. This is about building a brand for yourself as an author with a growing catalog of books available for sale. In the film version of Glengarry Glen Ross, there's a memorable scene where the salesmen are taught the ABCs of sales. It turns out ABC is an acronym for Always Be Closing. I would like to impart upon you a similar sentiment.

 

In order to truly harness the potential of a passive-income environment, you have to consistently build your brand. It is something you never stop doing. You should Always Be Branding!

 

-Richard

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

 

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Passive Marketing is Important Too

Book Marketing Takes Persistence

2,321 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, branding
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Building Your Fanbase - The Book Designer

Don't put it off. Read this blog post now!

                                                    

Mining Your Central Plot Nugget: A Lesson in Writing from John Grisham -The Creative Penn

When a bestselling author speaks, it's probably best to listen.

 

Film

                                                        

Fail to Plan and Your Film Fails - Filmmaking Stuff

What you don't plan for can carry a heavy price. 

                                          

6 Filmmaking Tips Directly from David Slade -Film School Rejects

Words of wisdom from the man who brought you the horror classic 30 Days of Night.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

To Cancel or Go On with the Show When You Are Sick - Judy Rodman

How to save your voice and your relationships when the show just can't go on.

 

Success in the Music Industry -Music Coaching.com

This is part two of an interview with Rick Goetz about marketing tools for musicians.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - July 5, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - June 28, 2013

1,853 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: filmmaking, promotion, writing, music_marketing, fans, craft, social_media, producing, writing_advice
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The success of your story is weighted heavily toward one simple element: the likability of your protagonist. That's not to say the other elements of your story are unimportant. They matter, but they're meaningless if the character who's carrying your story is unlikable.

 

Likable does not mean nice or friendly or honest. Literature is chock-full of protagonists who haven't been particularly good people. If you knew them in real life, they might not even be the type you'd hang out with.

 

One of the best examples of this is Dexter Morgan, the forensic blood spatter pattern analyst and serial killer who first appeared in Jeff Lindsay's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter in 2004 (Dexter later became a hit Showtime TV show, now in its final season). Who among us would want to spend some alone time with a true psychopath like Dexter? I certainly wouldn't. Sure, it would be interesting at first, but it would turn wholly terrifying when you're struck by the realization that you're spending time with a man who remorselessly kills other human beings.

 

But here's the interesting thing: Dexter is without a doubt likable. Why is that? Has Lindsay hypnotized us into thinking his psychopathic protagonist is likable when he's really not? Is part of his appeal that he satisfies his bloodlust by killing really bad people? No, I'd say Dexter is likable because he wants to be good, but he struggles with it. In his own twisted way, he wants to do the right thing even if it is untoward and disturbing.

 

To make a protagonist likable, even one who's not a model citizen, give him an inner conflict between serving a greater good and satisfying his own self-interest. That sacrifice your protagonist makes to forego his or her own selfish desires and indeed serve the greater good is what makes him or her likable.

 

 

-Richard

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

 

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Character and Action

Elements of a Page-turner

4,252 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: action, writing, story, characters, craft, character_development, protagonist
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You may have heard or seen folks in the publishing industry use the term "evergreen" in recent years. I've even thrown it around without providing the complete context. A literal definition of "evergreen" involves nature; it's a term used to describe plants that maintain live, healthy leaves through all four seasons. Evergreen in publishing is a similar concept. It simply means your book, thanks to technology, will never go out of print.

 

To those of you new to the publishing game, you may be giving that particular notion a shoulder shrug. Big deal; it never goes out of print. But if we look at the not-so-way-back past, this is an incredible development in publishing. It used to be that in order for a book to be published, physical inventory of the book had to exist. Physical inventory meant you usually needed a large quantity of print books and a facility for storage. Factor in shipping and returns, and you can imagine the expense that went into publishing a single title. It just wasn't practical to keep most books in print for years at a time.

 

Hence the publishing industry would frontload a book with marketing dollars in order to recoup their costs as quickly as possible. There was a real sense of urgency to sell copies of a book in the early days of its publication. Only a select few made it to second print runs. Fewer still went through third print runs and beyond. In very rare cases, a constant inventory was kept for decades for some titles.

 

That's the old model of publishing. In today's world of print on-demand, books are evergreen because physical inventory is no longer necessary. It means books can be publicized way past their dates of publication. When inventory isn't an issue, you can still promote and sell your older titles.

 

You have entered the world of publishing at an incredible time for indie authors. Your book will never be out of print. It is something that has the potential to bring you passive income for years, even decades, to come. Welcome to the evergreen era of publishing.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Going Indie? Don't Skimp on Quality

Why Print On-Demand?

1,949 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, evergreen
2

Avoid Word Repetition

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 18, 2013

A couple weeks ago, I heard from an old friend who is in the middle of writing her first novel. She asked if I'd be willing to read the first chapter and give her my thoughts. I was reluctant to say yes because I feared a potentially awkward situation if I didn't love it, but she promised she wouldn't be upset and wanted my honest feedback. So I agreed.

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed her writing, and I found myself interested in the story. However, what jumped out at me more than anything else was the repetition of a particular word. My friend used this word over and over, once four or five times in the same paragraph, and as a result I found myself distracted and eventually annoyed.

 

We all have words and phrases that we like, but be careful not to overdo it. In my friend's case, she overused the word "bag" because her protagonist likes to shop for vintage handbags. I suggested she sprinkle in direct synonyms such as "purse" as well as indirect ones such as "number" or "gem" (e.g. "I found that beaded number and the little gem next to it online"). Mixing up the terminology will keep readers focused on the story, which is what makes for a good read.

 

When I mentioned the problem to my friend, she laughed and said she had no idea she'd done it. (By the way, this is why everyone needs an editor.) Her positive attitude also showed how important it is to accept constructive criticism and learn from it.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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How to Get Through the First Draft

More Tips for Completing Your Manuscript

7,979 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, craft, word_repetition
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

What's the 3-Step Process to Marketing Your Book? - BadRedhead Media

A book release strategy from the 'marketing' point of view.

                                                    

21 Ways to Launch a Successful Virtual Book Tour - The Future of Ink

Author D'vorah Lansky shares 21 articles that are the basis for her new book about virtual book tours.

 

Film

                                                        

How to Secure a Shooting Location -Filmmaker IQ

Watch as indie filmmakers set out to legally secure a location for their short film.

                                          

Are You Good In a Room? -Joke and Biagio                 

Just because you're an indie filmmaker doesn't mean you don't have to pitch your film.      

                                    

Music

 

Music Industry Networking Tips - Musicgoat

Sometimes success really does hinge on who you know.

 

Voices and Allergies...Practical Tips To Quell the Mucous Monsters - Judy Rodman

How to avoid letting that cold invade your music.

 

-Richard

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

 

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Weekly News Roundup - June 7, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - May 31, 2013

1,892 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, marketing, selling, book, music, filmmaking, film, networking, indie, movies, writers, business, writing, films, craft, filmmakers
1

There are words in my first book that I now wish I hadn't used. They aren't profane words. In fact, they aren't offensive in any way. They are innocuous words that serve no real purpose. In short, they are unnecessary.

 

As a young writer, I felt it was my duty to spoon-feed the readers the emotional statuses of my characters, which included piling on unnecessary adjectives, pronouns, and various other tools of the English language. I did this because I lacked confidence in my ability to leave things unsaid and still write effective prose. As I continue to write, I gain the confidence and courage to eliminate those words from my arsenal.

 

Here are some samples of how I may have written something in the beginning followed by how I would write it today. I think you'll see that even small changes can make a big difference.

 

  • Then - "Don't come any closer!" he exclaimed.

  • Now - "Don't come any closer!"

 

The simple use of the exclamation point eliminates the need to state the character exclaimed, shouted, or yelled something.

 

  • Then - It was a start-up company that was now worth billions.

  • Now - It was a start-up company now worth billions.

 

Sometimes you need the word "that" to connect two ideas, but more often than not, you don't.

 

  • Then - It was about 100 degrees.

  • Now - It was 100 degrees.

 

In this case, "about" is being used as a qualifier. Not only is it unnecessary, it can get in the way. You will be forgiven for making a definitive statement about your fictional world.

 

These are just a few examples of unnecessary words writers (including me) sometimes use. I will throw in one caveat: if you are using a first person narrator, these "unnecessary" words may indeed be necessary in order to establish your narrator's character. We don't speak in pristine perfectly constructed sentences, and it would be inauthentic for you to force your first-person narrator to do so.

 

How do you know if a word is truly unnecessary? I've found the best way to identify whether or not you need a word is to read the sentence out loud. Sometimes it's easier to hear what you don't need than it is to see it. Does the sentence still make sense without the extra word?

 

-Richard

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

 

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