Monthly Archives: March 2015

Hi Ho, Hi Ho; To Work I Tried to Go…That’s as Far as I Got

Imagine comparing different trades to the world of writing. I, myself, was a carpenter beginning in my late teens, building houses and then moving to commercial construction. construction workerFrom there, I became a superintendent building everything from small businesses to office complexes. Never having considered this before, I can now see the similarities between constructing a building and a novel. First, a plan or a plot is necessary to begin both. Secondly, a carefully thought out process of constructing a solid foundation whether brick or paper is mandatory. This is true throughout the entire building progression until complete.

Of course, there are extenuating circumstances in both endeavors. Construction is wrought with change orders, as writing is wrought with changes of a different nature.

Working on government jobs, strict standards, including safety, must be adhered to. I was an easy person to work under until procedures I was responsible for were ignored. Depending on the day, after an offender had been warned previously, my demeanor was unpredictable. It could surface anywhere between a stern alert to threatening to remove the person from not only my job, but the face of the earth if they couldn’t follow my request. (All done in a sweet, calm, soothing voice, of course.)

In the construction of a novel, more liberties can be taken throughout its building process. For instance, a carefully constructed building maybe smashed to smithereens by a two hundred foot tall, furry, scaly, fanged creature with bad breath and heartburn. These two symptoms (brought on by an overabundance of ingested human body parts) caused such a nasty rampage.

Remember, my yelling at an uncooperative employee? This might have just as well ended in a similar fashion as the people munching creature (even though cannibalism is not a regular part of my diet.)

How about a writer verses a flight attendant? (Even though this is not actually a trade, it bears mentioning.)  Flight attendants take a lot of flak from unhappy travelers-everything from terrorists to screaming babies and intoxicated knot heads. Either the coffee is too hot or the water isn’t cold. So and so won’t come out of the bathroom and such and such reclined their seat too far. I don’t like chicken. Why isn’t there a movie on this flight? I don’t have a magazine. BoBo can climb on the wing, why can’t I? It goes on and on and on and on. I’m surprised when the phrase “going postal” was coined it wasn’t instead “going attendant.”

This, again, is a suitable comparison to the writing world. Authors take a lot of flak when they’re not handing it out in their writing. I’ve been transported to the mountain top with a stellar review, only to be shredded into small strips of hamburger by another reviewer.

Within my novels I’m constantly looking for different creatures to create and at the same time unique ways to destroy my creations.

So you see writing does pair up with other trades and occupations. Now that I’ve written this I feel as though I’ve done a great service for the working community. Exactly what this service may be I have yet to establish, but it must be pretty important because I wrote it.

Hopefully by next week I’ll have it all figured out. If not, it’ll be another one for the ages.

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Eden’s Wake

snoopyDear Followers and Readers,

I am thrilled to announce my latest novel  Eden’s Wake  (sequel to my first novel Rising Tide)  has been accepted by my new publisher Christopher Mathews.

Regards,

Lynn

 

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Monkey See; Monkey Do. Monkey Has the Sense to Run Away Screaming

Let’s say you’ve just completed reading the latest and greatest best-selling novel. What are you going to do now? You have several choices. Realize how bad your work is, writer_1369645drop into the depths of depression, burn all your manuscripts and/or never write again.

Use the excellence you have just experienced to inspire your own writing ability and pen a novel to rival the masters. What would this masterpiece contain? If we look back to your last read (the latest and greatest best seller) we find that it was written crossing several genre lines. Starting with mystery, plunging through steam-punk romance, taking a slight detour into the world of sci-fi and fantasy, and finally finishing with a bunny rabbit named Boo hopping through the pages of a children’s book.

First, you must decide which direction your plot will lead your protagonist and characters. Perhaps you will take your manuscript along a different course, one never seen in the literary world. How about three protagonists, four antagonists, two sets of Siamese twins, one male, one female and a mule named Scorch?

I can see the climax now. Just picture the final showdown…

The three protagonists unable to decide who is in charge form a blue-ribbon, fact-finding commission to rectify the situation. Four antagonists with no one to antagonize meet for drinks awaiting the commission’s decision. The Siamese twins left with nothing to do, decide to marry, the ceremony officiated by a cactus and witnessed by the mule. The four newlyweds and mule ride into the sunset having absconded with a sleigh and a pack of reindeer.

Of course, this is only a suggestion; it’s your novel so creative control falls upon your shoulders.

Now, if I was a bettin man, I’d wager that you might feel more comfortable writing within your genre. Since we have no clue as to what your genre may be, we’ll choose for you. We want something adventurous and heart pounding, but nothing that will keep you awake at night. It must be sensitive; yet, not enough to think the characters a cast of sissies; suspenseful with horror incorporated lovingly; and romantic without hugging, kissing or any other public displays of affection. And finally, who can resist a great “who done it?” That’s correct; a murder mystery with no one actually dead.

Once you choose your genre; you may begin your masterpiece.

Now, not to dissuade you in any way or hack into your enthusiasm about writing this amazing book, there are several things I would like you to know.

Once you complete the rough manuscript, you will spend months writing, rewriting, rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing and eventually proofread while rewriting and editing.

Then, you will spend enormous amounts of time and energy trying to interest an agent or publisher in your work. This isn’t very difficult, if your name happens to be Stephen King. You see, about a thousand new titles are released each day. Now, if you divide the number of agents and publishers by the number of authors attempting to garner their attention, the odds end up being a bazillion to one.

If you manage to catch someone’s eye and become published, you will once again spend enormous amounts of time and energy to market your book to the world. You will be vying for attention with well over a quarter of a million books released each year.

I’m glad I was able to share with you the delightful and positive aspects of becoming a published author. If there are any other ways I may lift your spirits or interject inspiration into your world of writing, please contact me through this site.

Good luck and happy writing.

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Sorry to be Such a Downer, But Sometimes it Comes With the Territory

“In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” This quote, uttered by Alfred Tennyson in his poem “Locksley Hall” written in 1835, still rings true today…or does it? Consider the differences from Tennyson’s time in the 19th century, through the 20th, and into the 21st century; a full one hundred eighty years.jack the ripper

  • The 19th century produced great literature such as A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • The 20th century produced literature of a different kind, but great in its own right, like Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and Needful Things.

 

  • 19th century bathing practices were mainly in cold water unless you had a way to heat the water before it went into the bath tub. During the summer, many bathed in open water. The poor would bath approximately once a week, while the more well to do, as much as twice a day.
  • 20th century, except for hot water, see paragraph above.

 

  • 1879, Joseph Lawrence develops Listerine.
  • 21st century, bad breath still exists.

 

  • 19th century, over 13 million deaths in major wars.
  • 20th and 21st century wars, claimed over 160 million lives.

 

  • In 1888, Jack the Ripper savagely murders at least 5 prostitutes in London.
  • 20th and 21st century, too many examples to mention; sadly, it not only continues, but escalates exponentially.

 

It seems the more civilized we become, the more barbaric our actions.

God help us all.

Just don’t be afraid to ask.

“The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie”  Griffin MIB III

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Carefully Begin your Beginnings and End your Endings Else you’ll Find yourself Drooling in a Corner

How do you envision ideas for your novels? Do you set in your favorite chair with pad and pencil in hand, writing down different plots until one strikes your fancy?homer drooling Perhaps you stretch out and let thoughts surrounding your particular genre rattle around until one shoots out that would make a satisfactory storyline. The dreams you have during your slumber; certainly a plot could be found amongst the strange goings on in that mixed up bag of sludge. You can stare at a blank page (which is my usual modus operandi) until something smacks you in the face. Then again, in this crazy world in which we reside, the most mundane of items or events may trigger an idea never before imagined in the literary world. When all else fails to formulate a starting point, maybe turn to mind altering psychedelic drugs…there’s bound to be something there to stimulate your cranial lobes, even if you write in crayon.

Once you have discovered your subject matter, there are many ways to begin. Some prefer to outline their entire story from beginning to end, stringently remaining within the confines of their outline. Others outline, but use it loosely, frequently straying in and out of their original storyline. I, myself, jump in, hang on, and let the story drag me along for the ride. And then there are those who have yet to pick out the correct color crayon.

After your plot is established, do you immediately introduce your protagonist and jump right into the action? (Once again, my M.O.) Perhaps you take a less invasive route and gather background information before you pounce into the foray. You may introduce the main players before you forge ahead into the meat of your story. Sadly, you may be unable to choose between the brown or salmon color crayon.

How do you construct your novel? Do you stick to each scenario within your main storyline until it’s finished? Maybe you spring back and forth between scenes, holding the main plot together with smaller subplots. (Me again) Your book may be a single story with a small number of characters requiring one intense scene to carry the entire plot. Well, isn’t this wonderful. I see you’ve melted the two crayons together to form the color puke.

Please allow me to retract a regrettable statement I made earlier in this post. Do not, under any circumstances ingest substances that will interrupt the normal operation of your brain. To take it one step further, ingest nothing.

Oh look, our friend has begun to pen his novel…What a wonderful opening  line. “Me gots purdy pinky toes!”

I can’t wait to read the completed work.

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Marketing Your Book is No More Difficult Than Balancing a Bowling Ball on a Ten Foot Stick While Standing on a Greasy Slab of Ice

There are literally hundreds of thousands of books published each year. Now if you happen to be fortunate enough to count yourself among this vast number; then, dust bunnycongratulations, you have a book in print. Having a book in print is something most people never achieve. So, you may certainly consider this a boon. Then again, even though you have a book in print, which is something most people never achieve, you may certainly also consider this a bane.

“How,” you ask, “can my masterpiece be both good and bad?”

Having a book among the published is a feat in and of itself… and that’s where it ends. Everything from there on out is to vie for the position of putting your book into the hands of the reader.

“How is this accomplished?” you inquire. ( In case you haven’t noticed, you ask an inordinate amount of questions. ) The only answer I can provide is, in a word, marketing.

Marketing can take on many forms: book signings, book tours, book clubs, social media, reviews and slinging books out of the back of a moving pickup truck. If you can think of it, you can use it as a marketing tool. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should. I believe my favorite form of marketing is word-of-mouth, although this can be fraught with dangers, pitfalls, and the usual lack of interest.

To begin with, there is good word-of-mouth where the reader cannot possibly say another positive syllable about your book. These type of reviews usually originate from the author’s parents, siblings, and close friends.

Then comes the author’s dismemberment and ground to a fine powder stage, the bad word-of-mouth experience.  This is where people who may or may not have  read the book cannot tolerate the family generated grandiose reviews and must trash your first round of positive opinions. These reviews will not only bring you back down to earth, but attempt to bury you, if you allow it do so.

At some point you will begin to receive truly unbiased opinions on your first novel. They won’t all be good nor bad, but a mixture of good, bad and everything in between, and isn’t this what you truly want?

You will most certainly include an email campaign within your word-of-mouth marketing strategy. This too can bring about good results or suck you down into the pit of what I have deemed “no sale retail.” The problem with email is if people don’t know you, they will more than likely delete your book pitch from lack of interest or fear of a virus.

I’m finding that consignment stores are a great place for your book to collect dust. You see, by introducing your novel to different types of dust bunnies and the like, you expose it to a more diverse group of dirt, than the limited types at home.

Hopefully, you get the idea of how to begin your own marketing plan, but be sure to put this plan into motion at least six months before your baby hits the shelves.

Let’s delve into a more unorthodox but effective way to sell your book. Being a new author, the brick and mortar stores are less likely to carry your book, so you’ll need to purchase a goodly amount from your publisher.

Walk into your neighborhood mega bookstore, carrying your box of novels, a chain, padlock and baseball bat. Chain the front door shut and threaten anyone who does not purchase one of your books with bodily harm. Of course, your bat, being made from foam, will cause no injuries unless your customer base discovers this to be true, then a prudent getaway plan should already be in place.

As you can see, with a small amount of thought you too can discover (along with established marketing methods) new and exciting ways to market your book.

It is true that some of these methods may land you in places you’d rather not be, such as in front of a judge or even in jail, but remember any publicity can be good publicity.

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