World Building 101

Using more than vision is a must!

I am taking a break from the world of the virus to talk about our world.  No, not the one with the virus, the one that we have in our minds.

I critique a fair amount of writing for peers, friends, and yes, even some family members.  A CP or critique partner is a two-way street and is invaluable to a writer.

One of the things I see most often is a flat world.  What do I mean by that?

I think examples go far beyond talking about them, much like showing instead of telling.  I am going to world build for you.  The first example is flat….

David followed the carnage throughout his realm. It was easy to tell where they had been by the sacked villages in their wake.  From the burned out buildings to toppled statues, whoever was doing this had complete disdain for the locals.

In this paragraph, we are introduced to David.  Who he is or his relevance to the story is anyone’s guess.  We can assume he is after the people doing this to the locals, but again we don’t know.  I do give you a clue to the hate by the toppled statues.  Burning their villages is one thing, but toppling statues shows us that there was more than purpose to the destruction.

Ok, let’s try again; this time, let’s show a little bit more.

Sir David left the castle in response to news from his realm.  Invaders had moved in from the West, showing total contempt for him, his kingdom, and his kind.

The scents of the pines were quickly replaced by the acrid stench of burnt wood, animals, and people alike.  The skies turned dark, the closer he came to the first village.  Once the pride of his kingdom, not one structure was left.  Even the sculpture, honoring his mother the Queen, lay in ruins with the head, smashed into a fine powder.  Charred remains of his people smoldered in piles of ashes of what used to be their homes.  Viewing the ruins through angry prisms of tears, he pressed on.

You will notice that both paragraphs relay the same information about the scene.  Except now in the second one, we learn who David is, who that statue was of, why it was so meaningful, and we learn more of the hate of David’s mother.  We still don’t know who the enemy is or why they hate his mother, but, we would turn the page to find out.

When world-building, you are a god.  This is your world.  You have the divine power to create as you see fit and destroy as you will.  If you want readers to be interested in your writings, remember to use as many of the senses as you can.

In painting, if you look carefully, you will see that white is not white.  If I am painting a lady in a white blouse or dress, you will find multiple colors in the fabric.  If it is a warm shadow, there will be warm colors, and conversely, a cold shadow will have more violets blues and so on.  Not only will there be many different colors but many different values.

When I write, I try to grab the reader by the …yes that.  I want to draw the reader in so they can smell the burnt flesh, or perhaps the aroma of the rose.

Much like the art, I paint my paintings and scenes with the same passion, and that means I use composition.  In a painting, I seek to draw the eye of the beholder in toward the center and have their eyes go more or less in circles as they see all that is.  How do we do that with our words?

We paint with our words.  All of the values and colors must be represented by our words.

Here is a trick that you might wish to use.  In your mind, when you are writing, you have an idea of what the scene looks like.  Many, even some of the great authors, do not do this justice.  Here is the trick.  By the way, if you want more of these hints, tips or tricks, hit that follow button.

The trick is to go out on Pixabay or just google a scene like you are trying to write and post it where you can see it.  Now, as you world build, paint that scene with words. Don’t forget the temperature, time of day, and for God’s sake, add smell or scent or odor in the painting.

One of the most powerful senses we have is the power of smell.  Unlike a painting, with my words, I can incorporate smell.  The sense of smell is one hell of a kick in the memory department.  If I mention the scent of toll house cookies in the oven, the odds are good you will dredge up some memory, hopefully, a happy one involving toll house cookies.  You might even remember eating the raw dough when your mother told you no.

If I mention biting into a lemon with the bittersweet taste, your saliva glands will more than likely respond, just by the mere mention of it.

When we write erotica or racy things, yes, in both men and women, things respond not only anatomically, but in your brain, chemicals are released.  That is what we are going for in our art, whether it be words or oils.

When you world-build or tell your stories, trigger those reactions that you want in your reader, so they become part of the story.  We wish to have them feel empathy toward your David.  Have them ride along with him experiencing all the disgust and scorn that he does.    Just maybe your David is riding on a dragon.  Maybe your David can shoot fire from his fingertips.  It is your world.  You are the God of your universe.

One last bit of advice I would leave you with during this blog entry is this.

Enjoy what you are doing.  Live in this world that you are creating.  Feel the cold air on your cheeks as you take flight on your magical beast.  See the forest below you, and notice the smoke in the distance.  Plan your strategy for taking on the vermin that dare to come into your realm.

Yes, I just made all this stuff up in about ten minutes or so.  I write about one novel every three months, give or take, and that includes holding down a full-time job.

Currently, I am 36K words into my newest novel, which is about a young lady who discovers through a vision that not only is she blessed with magical powers, but she is about to be forced into a confrontation with a government skunkworks program.  It would seem that the government is using genetically modified food to promote a unique genetic change in the minds of children to encourage telekinesis. They are unaware that what they are doing will turn an army of people lose on the world with powers the likes of which they have never imagined.  Bethany, my main character, is a witch that will soon be pressed in to service against a human-made evil.

The audience for this novel is the Harry Potter, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and the Spirited Away crowd, with a bit of Stranger Things added for spice.    I think the book will be about 80K words give or take, with options for more if the story takes off.

Follow me here for updates, as I work every day on this novel.  Unlike my other thirty-odd books on Amazon and Smashwords; I am going to attempt the Query process once again.  I will not make a job out of it, however.  Each letter takes no less than four hours, and that is at least a chapter in a new novel for me.  If, by chance, you are in this industry, and like the concept, save me the query process for a leg up on representing this novel.

Much love to you, my faithful followers.  BTW, I have taken the time to visit many of your blogs, I have commented on a few of them.  Hang in there world; things will get better.  –TW

 

 

 

 

Negative Character Arcs

Hello people, it is I, your humble author reaching out to you once again.  Many of you are writers or authors, and I want to pay it forward.  If you have followed me for any time at all, you know this about me already.

Character arcs are a considerable part of character development, which causes your readers to empathize with them.  Much like the big-eyed boy with the black rim glasses living under a staircase, we all loved him.  Why?  The author did a great job of growing him as well as the other characters around him.

One way we do this is with character arcs.  So, Negative arcs???

I get this question posed to me often.

If you first understand what a character arc is, you know that it is basically the growth or change a character makes during the story.

Your protagonist will probably believe some lie that possibly they learned sometime in their youth.  They have lived a lie, and somewhere in your story, their ‘truth’ is challenged.

A common lie is, they are not worthy of love.  Many go through their whole life because of their upbringing, believing that.  A little secret here, I was one of them.  Shhh, that is our secret, and a lie that I had to overcome.   Those horribly abused children you read about…That was me, and I would have loved the staircase vs. what I went through.

Anyway…

During the plot, they go through twists and turns and discover that their ‘truth’ is indeed false.  This can create a crisis for them, which is fun to write.  This would probably happen during the climax where they ‘shift’ their thinking.  Letting go of the lie and accepting the truth as their new mantra.  Because the lie and reality are probably apparent to your reader, they can empathize with your character, which will engender support for your writing style.

Yeah You!

What about a negative character arc?

There is the same lie, but the truth remains elusive and, the character now embraces their lie even more and spirals downward into less than proper behavior.  Breaking Bad is a perfect example of a negative character arc.

Had I not learned the truth, I dare say that drugs and alcohol might have been my undoing.  That would have been a negative arc.  Death can be part of a character’s negative arc.

In my novel, Presidential Assassins, Kelly’s arc is compelling.  Before going into the military, her stepfather met an untimely demise, after attempting to rape her.  While it appeared as an accident, this action put her on the radar of a group that works outside or above the law.

After her mother re-married…Kelly became a military brat, enlisting as soon as she could to get away from her parents.

She was a pilot in the air force, shot down and tortured by the enemy.  Kelly, unknown to her captures, is a real badass.  She learned as a military brat, at an early age that she had to be tough. When she saved a school friend from being raped by a gang of older boys, she came close to killing them.  Her friend brought her father back to the scene in the nick of time.  He stopped her from breaking their necks.  She had them all down, and now she was going to end their reign of terror, one at a time.

Realizing that he now had a debt to repay, he hatches a plan.  Taking the gangly redhead under his wing, teaching her his ways would benefit her.  As a master of martial arts, he teaches her discipline, among other things.  While some of her talents come from her heritage as a red-headed green-eyed Irish woman, the lethal talents were taught to her by this man.  She became a master.

Fast forward past the war and her time in the exchange program on an aircraft carrier, she finds a job as a reporter.

After an explosion in California, Kelly is sent to research who was responsible.  During her flight, the plane she is on is hijacked.  Guess who kills the hijackers and flies a shot up 737 back into Scottsdale during a storm.

This novel is so full of action you will not be able to put it down.

Kelly has what we call a ‘flat character arc,’ or possibly a slightly positive arc as she does adapt and change to the situations.  I say that because, in reality, she arcs positive, negative, and then just kind of flat because she is who she is.  She is dynamite with a temper to match.

I don’t care what your gender happens to be; you will fall in love with her.

There is a secret organization that controls world leaders, and she is recruited….That is about as much as I can tell you without spoiling it.

A flat character arc is one where the character does not change who they are.  Some examples of that would be Indiana Jones or James Bond. To a large extent, it is Kelly McGuire.

I will put a link to the book here, Presidential Assassins.

If you honor me by reading it, please let me know what you think of it.  This is an adult read. There are sexual situations, some violence, and people Die!

My friends, I hope that you are all safe, and staying inside, away from those who this virus could be fatal.  With 7.4 Billion people affected, and the world’s economy headed for the toilette, we will be talking about this in the history books for some time.

Much Love…Stay Safe…-TW

Hello World, How are you?

Things to think about as we sit staring at the same four walls for weeks on end.

Yes, it is another day here in Texas. I am taking a break from my day job to tell you all hello.

The stories I hear are heartbreaking.  So many good people are succumbing to this plague that was unleashed upon humanity.

I am not going to preach about God or Christianity here.  I respect you all way too much to do that.  I will tell you that there is lots of useful information contained in the Bible.  A book that I find the most issues with is Leviticus.  Still not preaching, I was thinking about the advice of what not to eat.

Some of our friends around the globe eat things that ought not to be eaten.  I am speaking about the wet markets not only in China, but many countries have them.  Whether the market was an accelerant for the virus, created in some lab or it jumped from creature to human there, had they not had this living petri dish of dead and dying animals for sale, we would not be in this fix.

If you think Levitical law was God’s actual words, beautiful.  If you, like I, believe that man had a hand in writing this, fine.  Some of the things in there just make sense.  Take a look for yourself.

Many of you are probably way too young to know who Red Skelton was.  He was a comedian in a time that you could be funny without using four-letter words.  One of his signature lines was..(Pretending he was a child)  “If I do it, I get a whipping…..I do it.”

I am confident that in writing, it loses some of its zing but, he was brilliant, and…there is a lesson there.

Unlike many of my Christian friends, I also believe Darwin knew a thing or two.  If we did not have air travel, those that practice unsafe and unwise habits would just go away.  They die off, leaving the strongest, fittest, and yes, the smartest, left to live another day.

The virus would not have left Wuhan or the Chinese mainland for sure.

Since we have air travel, just possibly, this is an argument for a governing body that supersedes other governments, much like we have in the states.  The governor of the state is elected and can be overruled by the federal government if they act ‘stupidly.’  We have a few right now that need to be overridden and voted out when the next election rolls around.

The wet markets are a scourge and stupid.  Just possibly, we need some international norms to follow if you want to leave your country.

Harsh, I don’t think so.  When this plague is over, ask those who lost loved ones what they think.  Ask the millions of people who are staring at four walls how they feel.  Ask the milllions who are now out of work if they think that things need to change.  How about the small business or large business people who will never recover.  This virus has had an effect on 7.4 billion people!  Ask them how they feel about wet markets.

With international air travel happening all day and night, seven days a week, practices like wet markets and biological manipulations of viruses must be stopped.

You who live in those countries are not who I am addressing.  The leaders of all of the nations are who I am speaking to.

Plagues like this one were avoidable, and if some common sense laws were followed, we would not be where we are today.

Having said that, I am working on a new series of, how to self-publish, that I will be releasing in the weeks ahead.

Many of you would like to give it a whirl, and don’t know where to start.  I have run the gauntlet and have it mastered, kind of.

With over 32 novels in markets around the globe, I must be doing something right.

Hang in there, I am thinking about you and wish you health and happiness.

Much Love -TW

 

 

Taking a break from Hell on Earth, and talking about writing.

Let’s control what we can and let the world take care of itself.

Hello fellow earthlings,   I know life has just sucked the last few weeks, and I feel that it is going to suck more before it is over.

Let’s break away from the news of the day and talk about writing.  I feel many of you that follow me are writers, want to be writers, or are authors who want to see how others do what they do.

With over 32 novels selling around the world, I have learned a thing or two.

Let me start by talking about the reasons to write.  I am sure I have addressed these before in a previous blog, but let me do it again for those who are new to this site.

The only reason for you to write is that you love writing.  Unless you work for a paper or some other institution that has hired you to write manuals or something, we writers write because we love to write.

If you decide to write a book because you want to live in a gated community on the ocean in California, or Kiawah Island or, perhaps, Martha’s Vineyard, let me just wake you the hell up.  Your first novel will most likely be horrible.  Sorry for the truth of it, those are the facts.  You can work and research your heart out, but your first work will suck.  …probably…

When I wrote my first few novels, I appealed to an audience that was not looking for literary genius.  My craft was not developed enough to appeal to a high brow audience.  What I was looking for is writing something that people would buy for a couple of dollars, and hopefully give me some feedback.

You see, the truth of it is, Beta Readers that are not your family are hard to come by, and you might have to pay someone to read your crap, and give you honest feedback.  Too Harsh?

We need to be honest with each other, and we must learn to accept rejection.  Rejection, no matter how hurtful, should be taken as part of the learning process.  Feedback is terrific, even if it sucks.  Only when we can step away from the forest of our writing, can we see the mistakes and missteps we have made.  Only then can we see the weeds.

My advice to you is to write your first novel, polish it as best you can and then self-publish it, and then beg for feedback.  Make it easy for them to go to an e-mail address and tell you how badly it sucked, and they want their $1.99 back.  If they tell you why and what is wrong, I would send them the $2.

Writing books is a labor of love.  Writing is hard.  As a writer, you must form a habit of writing, even if it means you climb your butt out of bed an hour earlier.   It is a lonely profession.  I work till three or four in the morning many nights.  Oh, and I have a day job.  ‘I love to write.’

There are times I don’t like it too much, but I love to write.

Form your habit and stick to it.  Much like exercise or following a diet, it is all about practice.   There is an advantage to writing early in the morning.  Your brain produces certain types of waves, and one of them are theta waves.  When you get up in the morning, you have more theta waves going on than during the typical day.  Taking a shower, your brain produces theta waves.  Ever wake up with an epiphany or perhaps have one in the shower…?  That is why.

I think the hardest thing to swallow is this; nobody cares.  Your parents will lie to you and care because you wrote it, your spouse really doesn’t give a shit, and your friends will manage to distance themselves from you if you require them to love your book.  Nobody cares as you do.  It is your baby, and you are the one that needs to love it, nurture it, and then send it out into the world to see what happens.

I have said this before too.  You cannot be a one-trick pony.  I know writers who have been working on the same book for tens of years.  OMFG…self-publish it and get on with it.  Amazon will make a few dollars off you, the government in the place the person is in that buys it, will get some tax money from you, and if you are lucky, you might make a dollar for your labor of love.

Most new authors who self-publish make about $10 their first year.   Damn, I know that hurts if you have never heard that before, but I speak the truth.

I know too many authors who pour a fortune in their book, ‘that sucks’ to have it professionally edited, pay to have a cover designed, and then pay people to market it.  I have read their books, and they suck.

  • I make a point to purchase books from new authors, that manage to sit inside the local book store.  Why?
  • I want to be supportive of them.
  • I want to speak with them and learn from them.
  • I get their signature and put the book on the shelf after I read it.
  • I can tell you after the first few pages if the book will hit or not, never missed once yet.
  • I want to encourage these authors to keep writing.  Don’t stop.

Study the craft of writing, read books like you are disassembling a watch, that you must put back together.  Examine the structure, story, and character arcs and ask yourself if you had written it, how you would make it better.  Do that with terrible books as well.   Where did the author go wrong?

The craft of writing is not something you can just do.  Unless you are ‘somebody’ and can afford a ghostwriter to take your crap and make it better, you need to learn the entire craft yourself.

That is why I trumpet the idea of writing for the love of writing.

As an artist, I thought my first painting was pretty good.  Today when I see pictures of it, I wish I could find it, I would burn it.  The same is true for my writing.  I have been writing since I was a kid.  That was more than a few years ago.

The practice is crucial and doing it because you love it is the only reason to write.  Once you perfect it, publish it on Amazon, or Smashwords, and see what happens.

If you follow me here, and if you would like some feedback, I might consider giving it if you would be willing to reciprocate.

I pray that you are all staying safe and staying home during these times of uncertainty.  Live in your worlds that you create, or read some of my novels, and live in one of my worlds.

Much Love -TW

Diamond Joe a Synopsis

Need a feel good story, this is it!

 

The horses finished in an upset as the favorite lost to a relative newcomer.  Samantha Thomas grew up on the farm but wanted so much more than slopping pigs.

Her dream was realized when a visitor in town learned of her love of horses.  Hiring her to train his horse, she eventually rode it in local races.  Before long, she and Thundercloud were making their way into the hearts and minds of other enthusiasts.

Riding the horse to victory, the owner sold the horse to visiting Prince.  The new owner, much like many in the stands, had no clue that the real gem was Sam, not the horse.

Diamond Joe, the man, was in the stands with his new son in law when Thundercloud came in from behind, pulling off an upset that would be history for years to come.  His daughter was also in the crowd, but she was only there for her husband, Steve, and her father.

After the death of her father, and a year later her husband; Donna sold her home and went to be with her mother.  Vera, her mother, passed from the flu, leaving her alone on the plantation. Dealing with a new horse that Steve, her husband, had purchased left her little time to socialize, not that she wanted to.

Teaching Journalism at the local university, Donna buried herself in her work.  The plantation was a respite from the real world.  When one of her students, an up and coming quarterback, argued with her about her draconian ideas on journalism, she saw in him the same spark that she had seen in her husband.

Dane showed an interest in her, which aroused the woman inside her.  Learning of his desire to date her niece, she put that fantasy on hold.  Hiring him to do some handyman work, Dane learns of her real love, the horse ‘Diamond Joe’ named after her father.

Not telling Donna the entire story of Sam, he alludes to her that Sam could train her horse.  Inviting Samantha to her place, Donna soon learns that love comes in all sizes and shapes.

Was Samantha interested in her money, or something else?

Read the story, tell me what you think.  I love this novel as have many of my readers.  Check it out.

While we are all on ‘time out,’ why not read a love story with horses and racing as a subplot?

 

Much love -TW

They Tell Two Friends, or is it Three? Patient Zero

Patient 0 How did this mess Start?

Using the tools at their disposal, Facebook has blocked and, in some cases, suspended the accounts of people who post things about the virus gripping the world.

I would suppose they don’t have the workforce to separate fact from fiction so better just to stop it all, keeping disinformation campaigns from spreading much like the virus itself.

Why; look at the store shelves.

Humans, like it or not, are not that far removed from our four-legged friends, and we can be manipulated to ‘stampede.’ Emotions and yes, fear is one of those emotions, and is a hell of a motivator!

Think not?

In the London bombing of a music concert, it was not the explosion so much as the trampling of others that did much of the damage.  That is why it is illegal to yell ‘FIRE’ in an auditorium.  People will react en masse as part of the fight or flight instinct.  Buying skid loads of toilette paper and hand sanitizer is just one example of how we can be herded.

This is a time for calm, rational thought and clear-headed approaches to daily life.  This is a time to rise above your ‘programming’ and think.

I would like to explain to you why it is essential to self-isolate yourselves.

I titled this piece ‘they tell two friends’ because you all have seen the commercial for a shampoo that by now is somewhat dated, but still an accurate metaphor for this virus.

Since we know that you can have the virus and not be aware of it makes this virus particularly dangerous.  Contracting it, you can go days before you are mindful that something is amiss.  By the time you decide to see your doctor or begin to suspect something is not right; how many have you infected?

Yes, you can be asymptomatic and still very contagious.

In medical parlance, it is referred to in this manner.

Scientists believe that each infected person will give or spread the contagion to three (3) people.  It is called R(0) or R naught.  That number is different for each disease in that it is the contagion efficacy or spreadability factor.

Covid 19 has a value of 3.  Other diseases have different values.

If you are number one, follow the steps.

  1. 1
  2. 3
  3. 9
  4. 27
  5. 81
  6. 243
  7. 729
  8. 2,187
  9. 6,561
  10. 19,683
  11. 59,046
  12. 177,147
  13. 531,441
  14. 1,594,323
  15. 4,782,969
  16. 14,348,907

As you can see, in just 15 short steps we are now at over 14 million people from just one carrier.

Why does it have this number?

This mutation of the coronavirus has an RNA strand that we have not seen before.  There are no defense mechanisms against it, other than your immune system.

In ‘nature’s’ world those creatures with compromised immune systems and by that it could simply be age, contract viruses like this, and die off.  Darwin knew a thing or two, whether you like it or not.

By the aged population dying off, they either assured enough food for the rest or became food for others.  In the world of nature, everything is recycled.  In animal pacts, the old or diseased were shunned by the herd.

Through medical advances, the average life expectancy of ‘mankind’ has gone from the mid 30’s to about twice that. That is all fine and dandy until we are faced with something that we don’t have a medical ‘fix’ for.

Doing your part to lower that R number is imperative to give our health professionals time to treat the infected and to develop methods for managing them.  Drowning in your phlegm is not a pretty way to go.  Early reports were that young people without underlying health conditions were pretty much immune.  Not so fast, we are seeing younger people in their thirties in critical condition.  Nobody is safe.

Italy is currently faced with the reality of only assisting those that have a good chance of pulling through while leaving those that won’t to drown in mucus.  I am certain Italy was not the first and will not be the last to make these gut-wrenching decisions.   If you have ever fished and watched a fish gasping for breath on the bank of the river, imagine that fish as a human.  Not a pretty sight.

Do your part.  Wash your hands, stay away from crowds, and resist the false narratives by the media who are using this as a political cudgel. They are shameless, pathetic weasels using fear to manipulate the mob.  Someone is pulling their strings. Someone with deep pockets is using this as a mechanism to effect change for some grand plan.

This is a time for calm, kindness, and grace.  Do what you can for those that cannot, and use common sense when you are out and about.  We are not animals.  We care for our own, and that means our parents or grandparents.

We will get through this and be the better for it.  The lessons we are learning today are eye-openers as to why we should not develop biological weapons.  Viruses know no boundaries when it comes to who they infect.  Race or other identity politically charged assaults don’t exist.  They are equal opportunity messengers of death and destruction, much like the atomic bomb.   The main difference is with biological weapons; it only takes one improperly placed safety device or one failure of a positive air pressure suit to release the genii.  The virus infects a worker, he or she leaves for the day, and you have patient ZERO.

With tens of thousands traversing the globe daily, the carriers are there.  The microscopic life forms that we carry with us (pathogens) are not detained at the borders.  They have no passports and like this virus can go undetected until it has multiplied by the tens of millions.

I shudder to think where Ebola really came from or H1N1 or even HIV.  I am a writer of science fiction, so I do think outside the box.  We have no idea what goes on in little laboratories in countries where money cuts through the red tape.  People are corrupt and stupid when it comes to weapons.  In my novel Under Roswell, I talk about it in detail, of course, in a fictional environment.

This is an excellent time to read, reflect, and stay safe.  If not lost in some novel, you might try picking up the Bible.  There are 66 books there that many, including myself, find comfort in.  Pray for wisdom for humanity.  We can do some pretty fantastic things, or we can destroy the world with the push of a button, or have some tired worker forget some safety protocol.

Much Love -TW

 

Ejecting your readers.

Oh man, I hate writing about this subject.  I am so guilty of this!

So here is the scoop, if you are an author, writer, or just want to be one, you should read this.

 

A few years ago, I wrote a tale about two young ladies who find love in each other’s arms.  That seems relatively innocuous but…I then bring in some forbidden love that rocks their world and changes the dynamics of the novel completely.

Kitties Titties and Winks turned out to be one of the naughty best sellers I have done.  Now we know who the readers of this novel might be.

Ok, I am not judging anyone.  I write this stuff for your enjoyment.  The story, no matter what, must hold your attention.  If you like me have ever been reading a book and the time slides past your bedtime, you know where I am going.  ‘Just one more chapter.’

To me, that is the mark of a good storyteller, I can’t put the damned thing down.  Fair warning I have learned this technique of the years and will be going back and employing it on earlier novels as time permits.

The problem with me is, I rarely ever hear or read a word that I don’t know.  Not bragging, I have something known as an eidetic memory.  If we are talking, I can recreate the conversation in reasonably accurate detail.  Usually, I employ this ‘gift’ when I hear a word I don’t know.

When I choose to use those words, guess what, I eject the average reader out of the story.  If I were to write: “Julie wanted to be pragmatic about the whole situation but, her husband’s gesticulations gave her a sense that he would be truculent if she pushed it further.   Vs. Julie wanted to be sensible about the whole situation, but her husband’s gestures gave her a sense that he would be hostile if she pushed it further.

Which one of those two sentences would you rather read?

I like the first one as there is not a word in it that I don’t use every day in everyday discourse.

Your audience, if they are being honest, would rather see the second sentence.

While we are storytellers, and yes, we have intellectual prowess over the average reader…probably…, the average reader is who we want to titillate with our tales. We don’t want them to have to work.  Our job is to entertain, not teach.

I would argue that our job is both; however, I want to write something that has appeal to most people.  That means my pretties, we have to write to a seventh grade, and some would say fifth-grade reading level.  More people watch TV than read.

Fair warning, where science fiction is concerned, I write for college-age people. If you don’t know a word, hit the little button on Kindle, and it will tell you.

We love our readers.  We genuinely do, but we have to strike a balance between pros that keep them turning the page and prose the have them put the book down as they don’t feel like learning new words. Your audience might just want to escape into your world that you have created.

Titties Kitties and Winks is an imaginary world where many of the rules of modern-day society are trashed, to give the reader a sense of what it is like to love another woman.  In this rags, to riches story, we get a sense of what people will do for money and what happens to them when they get it.  In short, the story is erotica but, much more than that, it is about love in a very unique setting.

Titties Kitties and Winks is not a literary work of art.  The imagery in the story will paint pictures in your mind that no matter your gender, you will enjoy it.

As I progress in the craft of writing, I will give you more hints and tricks via this blog.

Recently I re-wrote Land of My People.  The Novella went from 10 thousand words to over 20K.  No, I did not add more fluff; I put in more tension, conflict, both external and internal, and some backstory.  Much Love -TW

Marketing your Novel

Greetings, and welcome to yet another week. I know; it is Monday! I know you all are thrilled to be doing your thing whether it be in a cubical or on a plane. Some of us are sitting in a converted bedroom office on the phone, or tied to the keyboard manipulating spreadsheets to make sense of things.
When you are writing, you must first consider who your audience is. This is paramount as you are crafting a story to tell them. Who are the ‘them?’
When I was a kid and we did the sleepovers, I knew if I tried and made it spooky enough, I could make them scream. We all did it as we knew who the audience was. We knew they were impressionable.
As an adult writer, nothing has changed. I write different genres for different audiences. Scifi is my favorite, and I am pretty sure I can depict the audience. Thrillers are the same way, I know who you are. Naughty Nighties, one of my wicked favorites, is a little gray, several shades of gray, pardon the play on EL James stuff.
Adult erotica is just fun to write. It takes little research and a good imagination. I know who you are too and not only do I not judge you but, here is a cyber hug, just for you. And you…and you…yes you too.
One of my fans asked me why I write that kind of stuff. Because I can. Here is the real reason, and I won’t blow smoke up your…rear. E.L.James is worth over 80million for 50 shades. Guess what, that stuff is easy to write, and many of you know it because the market is full of it.
People like to travel a road less traveled. They might want to read about an illicit love affair that takes place on some island where the couple is stranded. That trope is so done to death but, add a twist to it. What if they are two men or women and they fall in love. What if the two are from wildly different cultures where the one might want to kill the other, but realizing he or she would be alone, they have to grow as a human.
Amazon tells me little in analytics, but it does tell me where the person was who bought the book or books. When I say ‘was;’ I am talking country. That is still nebulous information at best.
With Tweets, which I use vociferously, I can tailor them to the audience. Social media is free and easy to use if you put some thought into it. From hashtags to keeping your brand out there in front of them is essential.
Some programs will render analytics on your tweets. Which worked and which ones didn’t. Now take it the next step and ask why.
Your website is vital and you need to have one. Whether you have one novel or three hundred, you need a website. Because they want to sell that service, as it is reoccurring revenue, they have made sites simpler to create.
There was a day you needed an experienced programmer to make an excellent looking site. Not so much today. If you can use Word you can make a website.

That brings us to money.
When times are good, you spend your money on advertising, when times are lean, you spend your money on advertising. Budget some money for programs and things to make your job as an author easier.

No, I am sorry, you cannot only write a lovely story that will scare the snot out of kiddoes. You have to sell that story, and make me, or others like me, want to pay money to read it.
One thing I do which you might try is; make good ole Jeff Bezos more money by putting a good story on KU. No, you won’t get anything for it. It is like working as an intern to get your foot into the door. While Amazon will say it has millions on the pool and you get something for each page read trust me on this grasshopper, don’t count on it.
What you want to do is write a story that makes them want to turn the page and…makes readers want to know who you are and if you have written anything else.
That is the only benefit you will get out of giving your work away for free. If your story is forgettable than you are.
Now that I have dashed your plan of financial success on the rocks as you feel yourself sliding into the abyss of despair take heart. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Get Better!
When I started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to tell a story and write something that I would enjoy reading. I did. I love what I write but here is the kicker, as I have written over thirty novels I have improved my craft of writing by leaps and bounds.

Hell, I may even understand the comma.

I attend many writers’ workshops, and I pay attention to what they are saying. I have read more books in my life than I care to admit and when I began to write, I learned differently. Today I read like I am taking a bomb apart and I have to diffuse it and put it back together to be ‘my bomb.’ If that makes sense.
I also give back to the other writers out there, and that might include you. Instead of working on my latest thriller, I am casting pearls into the wind for you to grasp.
Everyone with a pen or keyboard thinks they can write. Truth told they cannot. I got stuck in front of a live TV not long ago where the mother on some sitcom was reading her own novel into a Dictaphone. Now I did not stay in front of the screen long enough to know the show or care but I did stay there long enough to know it was horrible writing.
When you go to the movies or sit in front of the TV, disassemble what is going on.

Analyze what the writers are doing with the characters.
• How are they building tension?
• What promises are they making the viewer or reader?
• How are they keeping the audience engaged so they will stay there through the commercial breaks?
All of this is terrific information to have in your quiver. When you pull out that arrow and want to target a plot point or snag your audience, you will know how to do it.
There is good news for you indie writers out there. There are actually agents who are brighter than most. They will look at the novels on Amazon, and seek out new voices to represent.
Jeff, you are making a killing on independent writers. How about you give them some free advertising for each novel that you host? I realize you want to make money on each and everything Amazon does including sending the file to the customer. Don’t you think giving some marketing assistance to your suppliers would help your bottom line?

Ok, that was my pitch to the richest man around. Doubt he will ever see it but, that is the way we do things in our world.

To my friends and readers, take heart. 2020 is off to a roaring start, and good things are happening.

In my next blog, we will play a what-if game.  I am making notes so I don’t forget.

Hit that follow button on Twitter and by all means here on WordPress.
Much Love -TW

 

Feedback.  How should you use it?

This is a cover I created for Diamond Joe.  The island  I took while on holiday, the ladies I drew as well as parts of the horses.   Diamond Joe should be a movie.  Too bad Hallmark does not do same-sex movies.

AHHHH!  I don’t want to market my books, I just want to write the damned things!

Sound familiar?

I am a natural-born storyteller.

As a kid, I was the one with the flashlight making up stories about the zombie bunny that would be all cuddly and cute when you were hugging it.  As soon as your eyes closed, the fangs came out!  The claws turned in to razor-sharp daggers that it would use to rip your throat out!

Can you imagine how many kids tossed their velveteen rabbit books in the trash after that little story?

Whoever heard of evil bunny rabbits? Gives all new meaning to biting the ears off that chocolate Easter bunny now, doesn’t it?  Die you SOB…you’re not ripping my throat out!

I always wondered why nobody wanted to sleepover at my house… Was it my breath?  Is it possible that my invitations to parties were not lost in the mail?  BOOO!

Stories are part of who we are.  If it were not for them, we would have no bible, no Jesus, no Zeus or Pele’.  We would have no folklore at all.  The magical kingdoms of the Scots, we would never know about.

While history is written by the victors, the stories that entertain, are written by writers.  That is right, baby, who is your mama!

Before the written word, they would lie around at night and look up at the skies and wonder what all those dots of light were.  From constellations resembling things they might recognize, much like clouds today, they made up stories.  Those passed down through the ages have most certainly changed much like the ‘telephone game, ‘but never the less, we have them.

This week I got one of my novels back from a beta reader who had some interesting comments.

Tonight I want to talk about feedback and how to use it.

Let’s deal with rejection first.

It is going to happen.  Those excellent agents must have material that they don’t have to sell.  It has to be so good that it pops off the page without even reading it.  There must be linguistic magic that enchants the person who even thinks about opening the e-mail.

“This is not the kind of thing we handle, or your book is not right for us.”

“Son of a bitch!  Let me take the old Underwood out and shoot the damned thing, and go back to waiting tables!  At least there I get a pinched ass for a few dollars, and hey…I get some attention.”

Ok, that might be a little on the extreme side.  I haven’t waited tables, while since I was a kid. I do have an old Underwood that actually works, but of course, I don’t use it either.

Rejections are a starting point. Here is how to handle them if traditional publishing is your path.

Send out your baby, gird your loins, and while you are waiting for the offer letters to come in like the proverbial tsunami, start another book.

Absolutely, positively, do not rest on your laurels!  Are you listening? Tell me, you heard that!

You spend your time writing your book, and you send it out after you have languished over every god damned word in the thing. Send it out and move on!  Do you realize that the average book is over 70k words and writers suffer over every one of them?  Is this the right word?  We agonize, trust me on this one grasshopper!

When you get the boilerplate letter weeks to months later, file it away, and send it out again.  Someone out there is looking for what you wrote and just possibly with weed so much more prevalent, you might catch them in a stoned moment, and they might laugh at your hook or characters and in a weak moment, they send you an e-mail with all kinds of miss spelled words telling you that you rock and please submit the entire manuscript!  Hey, it could happen!

On the flip side, you find the agent who is genuinely seeking what you wrote and is ready to do what it takes to sign you.

Happy days!  It could happen.

Tonight I just uploaded a new version of Diamond Joe.  After applying many things that I have learned over the years, I have made this lesbian love affair, an affair to remember.

That sounds tawdry, and it is not.

The beta reader told me that she loved the story and was amazed that my characters each had their own voice.  ‘Hello, they should have their own voices.”

This is a romance with romantic subplots, family issues, and oh yes, a racehorse!

What is not to love about a rags to riches story, where a young lady discovers who she is and better yet, captures the heart of a young rich widow, who has no idea that she would love another woman?

I walk you through the entire thought process, and I take you down the dark road of, ‘what if she is after my money?”

Oh yes, there are gold diggers out there, gay or straight or is it gay and straight?

This is a heart wrenching, feel-good story that they should make a movie out of but, Hallmark has yet to make a movie with same-sex couples.  Why is that?  This book would be such a killer hot movie.  Maybe Netflix should pick it up.

I am trying to figure out who would play whom…

Back to the feedback.  What you want from them is what they liked and what did not work for them.  That is all you want, as that is all you need.  If they start to tell you, it would have worked better if…Stop them!  You don’t want to know the ‘if’ part.  The reasons are simple.  If they render an opinion and you should be foolish enough to take it, guess what, it is now their story, not yours.

So ladies and gentlemen, if you read my novels and you should be so kind as to offer me feedback, just tell me what worked and did not work for you.  Allow me to figure out why.  I am the writer and in my little office, I am a god!

That sounds crazy but think about it.  I create worlds, people, places, and situations. I even create evil little rabbits.  That is what a writer does, and if you don’t respect any writer that you know, you might find yourself in one of their stories, tied to the bed, surrounded by hundreds of chocolate Easter rabbits, without their ears.  Since they cannot hear you, they will never know if you are loving, or hating your throat being eaten out.  It is just payback after all.

Write! Write! Write!

When I get a rejection letter, which I do on occasion, it just drives me to improve my craft.  Since they hardly ever tell you anything other than, ‘we don’t sell this shit’ (paraphrased,) you send it out again while learning your craft even better.  That is what drives me.  Yes, I would love to know what exactly they didn’t like about it but, it is probably their twelve-year-old child going through the slush pile while playing some game on their phone.

  • Put some magic in your hook!
  • Cast a spell on the reader.

Write something so overpowering that even the twelve-year-old will stop looking at the phone long enough to say ‘WOW!”

I have said it many times in different ways, you cannot be a one-trick pony.  Write your story, nobody is perfect and your story will not be perfect.  Send the thing out and start writing about evil little bunnies, or not.

If you are like me, you are on fire at the keyboard.  You can go hours without eating, or even thinking about food, as your characters are running through caves or jumping off cliffs, you cannot leave them!  Continue on, and don’t let the bastards or twelve-year-olds get you down.

Agents are always looking, even though they might profess to be too busy.  If they are good, they are looking.  You might try sending your queries to agents in states where pot is legal…I kid…nobody gives a damned if it is legal or not!

I am probably one of the few who has never tried it.  I don’t smoke, but I hear some gummies are to die for…Bwhaaa!  Are they rabbit gummies?

Much love peeps.  -TW

Writers Block

I wish I had a nickel for every person who has spoken with me about writer’s block.

I don’t believe it makes a difference if you are a plotter or a panster; at some time in your life, you will experience writer’s block.

How do you deal with the infamous blank page?

I find it useful to examine why I am drawing a blank, or my characters have stopped talking.  Many times it is that part of the novel that we all dread, the middle slump.  Since we all know we want to avoid that, just possibly, we put undue stress on ourselves and cause our stream of conscious to become, derailed.

Keep in mind that it is your SFD or $hitty first draft.  Only you will see it, read it, and know that your characters decided to go on strike.

Some causes for the strike can be that you don’t want to deal with this part of the story.  Maybe it is too close to you.  There are many land mines with writing, and I find it refreshing and often times cathartic when I work my way through a story.

If the words are not coming, turn off your ‘IBM Selectric’ and go do something else.  As an artist, I find if I am busy with some graphic, or a painting, my characters will want to see what I am doing and come out and play.

Now, why do you suppose that might be?

When we are between awake and asleep, in the shower and yes, doing something with our hands like coloring or painting, your brain produces something called Theta waves.  A different part of your brain is active and guess where the characters hideout?  Yes, you have knocked on the door, rang the bell and now you have huffed and puffed the proverbial threat, all while trying to color between the lines.

One thing that I find that assist me is I will put the project up, and work on something else, such as this blog.  Hours, days, weeks, and even months later, I will start at the beginning of the project and reread it.  There you will find the epiphany.  The Ah-Ha moment will become apparent and you will see where your GPS took you on a wrong turn.  You might have to scrap a few paragraphs or chapters, but that is how my process works.  In ten years, I have written well over thirty novels, so I must know something.

The literary process, to me, is the gold standard of how I wish to live.  How can I tell the best there while remaining true to who and what I am?  Truth over lies, love over hate and yes, and a dirty mind is necessary at times to keep it real.

We are the perfect juxtaposition of Jekyll, and Hyde, only most of us ‘hide’ that dark side while putting on our happy face.  In my books, I rip the Band-Aids off.  One of my critics told me that she did not like the F word.  Umm, don’t read it.  If my characters use that vernacular guess what, the F word is there.

Honesty, truth, and kindness will take you far in life.  Knowing who you are will assist you through those bleak times when the blank page is striking fear into your heart.

“Write the shitty first draft and own it!”

 

Much Love -TW