Another Life, a Netflix Bomb

As a sci-fi writer on rare occasion, I will see what Netflix or the Sci-Fi channel has to offer.

It has been years since I sat and vegged in front of the TV.  With over 33 Novels, out there, I have a purpose for not wasting time watching mindless stuff.

The last sci-fi I watched that was worth my time was Arrival.  I loved the way the writers came up with depicting ‘outside of time and space.’  They were actually quite brilliant.

As of today, I made it through two episodes of ‘Another Life.’

There can only be two explanations for this writing.

A:  The writers are depicting what the world will look like if we keep dumbing our people down as we are currently.  ‘Astronauts’ by definition represented in this miserable excuse for science fiction would have to be morons.  They are almost as bad as sending monkeys into space.  At least the monkeys would not mutiny. Pffft!

B:  The writers are the monkeys, and are not only a product of common core but, have no clue what goes on to train to be an astronaut.   Never would anyone with mental aberrations ever go into a program like this.  Nobody in his or her right mind would breathe air on an alien world, which by the way would have been Effing cold since it was a rogue planet.  Depicting the moon like a red hot sun…huh?

Didn’t see it when they approached the planet?  What?  Wouldnt they orbit the planet first?  Doh!

This is no slam on the actors or producers, this is just horrible writing.  It is the defacto example of one thing we writers stay away from ‘but fortunately!’  Folks you might as well have brought out a flux capacitor that generates oxygen.

I was turned off by the first episode, but I was in hopes that the second might be better.  I don’t think I can watch a third. Nobody can be this stupid.   Truly, Sharknado is a better film than this. With that film, at least you were entertained.

Let me say something good.  The little girl is adorable, and her ‘father,’ his actions are believable thus far.  The puzzle of the artifact is this series glimmer of hope. Kudos to the writer who is creating that.

Currently, we have a ship full of morons competing to be Gilligan’s island in space.  All we need is the ‘professor and Maryann’….pffft

If this is what we can look forward to with Netflix creating material, it might be time to look elsewhere.

Disagree, tell me why.

I call them as I see them.  I wasted two hours of my life that I cannot get back.

-Chow

 

Dialogue and You

Many writers don’t understand how dialogue works in screenplays, novels or TV

How many of you are blogging to just pontificate?

Tonight I want to talk to the writers out there who are struggling with dialogue.

If you have not been introduced to the concept of the SFD allow me to ‘splain’ it to you.

The first thing you write is the ‘Shitty First Draft.’  Own it!

I wrote Under Roswell four years ago and just recently re-wrote it.  Writing over 30 novels since that one, I have learned a thing or two.  There is no reason in the world that book should now not be a real contender in the science fiction genre.  Before the re-write oh hell yes.

When you write something and cannot find fault with it, you are blissfully ignorant and that might be ok.

Firstly, when you write you need to create a character or characters that your readers will either hate or love.  They must relate to them or your story will go nowhere.  We do this through dialogue and by that I mean dialogue that ‘shows’ the story.

Dialogue is really about action, not backstory or characterization.

“Lexy you soppy bitch! You have been doing this same stupid drunk bullshit for years now.  Your life is spiraling down the tube and when you hit bottom, you will have pissed off all of your friends including me. When the hell will you learn to take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming everyone else?”

That dialogue tells you plenty, very cleverly I might add.  You the reader will read on because I have not said this:

“You know Paul, your friend has this drinking problem which has been going on forever.  Her car ends up with new dents every day, and she blames people hitting it in the parking lots.  She is constantly out of money calling on all of her friends for handouts.”

“Dave your right, do you realize that she has pissed off most of her friends that she had years ago?  Now when they see her number pop up they just ignore it.  You can’t blame them, really.”

“No, of course, you can’t blame them for Christ’ sake, nobody wants to listen to some drunk drone on about how she is a victim and have you got a few extra dollars they can borrow just to see them through to they find another job?”


Shit, those three bits of dialogue brought me down and I am creating it. How many books have you set down because of crap like that?

We feel sorry for Lexy but we can identify with her and can relate to the person who is frustrated with her trying to give her a jolt or perhaps is going to haul her sorry ass into some recovery program.  In the last exchange between Dave and Paul, we get bored rather quickly and depressed as these two guys are just jacking their jaws about their drunk friend.

Dialogue should be dynamic, moving fluid and action-filled.

When Dave confronted Lexy after tossing the bottle of scotch out the window, Lexy cried when she heard the glass bottle shattering on the street below.  She had sold blood to buy it, and he foolishly tossed it away!

Dave cares for her and is trying to make an impact.  We see her desperation when we learn she sold blood to buy scotch.

This subject may hit too close to home for some and for that reason, such a story might be of interest to those who are dealing with addicted loved ones.

That brings up the next point…Emotions.

I don’t give a flip how intellectual you are or what your IQ might be.  Your characters have to resonate with your readers and using large words that only a few might know is not the way to get there.  I am guilty of this to some extent, as I write science fiction.  In my latest novel which I am working on, I reference a Pulsar.  My audience will know what that is but, some of you reading this blog might not.

As a writer, you must connect with your audience and that means know who that audience is.  My science fiction audience I can use larger words with because they will most probably have that latitude in their vocabulary, and will not be slowed.

If I am writing for YA, I would probably guard against overly large words.  Writing for a 7th-grade education is probably one of the toughest things I do as a writer.  I am updating this blog, weeks after I wrote it, as I learned something else about this topic.

Some write for a third-grade education.  Huh?  Is that smart?  Do we want to make it too easy for our readers?  Personally, I think it is a sad statement that in order to sell our works we must keep it to a third-grade reading level.

One professor teaches that your readers are smarter than you are. “Cough … Bullshit!”

Some of my audience is smarter than I am, but…  I know, not humble…sorry I am not humble.

A smart writer knows who their audience is and writes for them.  Romance writers, for example, do what?  They put lots of emotion into their ‘dialogue.’  Why?  A large percentage of romance readers are who? Not men.  Erotica is probably men, a pure knight on the white horse coming to scale the castle walls and take on the kings men…that is going to be ladies.  Just the facts ma’am.

Yes dammit, we want to make you cry, or laugh.

So how does dialogue work with many characters?

Each character must have its own voice.  What do I mean when I say that?

Lexy is a person who took to drinking for whatever reason and now is near the bottom of the barrel. What happened to her that she did that?  Perhaps she lost someone important to her.

If we make the reader care about Lexy, then we have the emotional investment.  We also have to realize who the audience is and tailor the story for them.

For argument’s sake, if she were a street person who managed to be at the right place at the right time and found Mr. Right.  Yes, the pretty woman saga.  They are living high having a great old time until an old boyfriend finds her.  “Does he realize where you come from?  You better play this right you still owe me money.”

“I am not asking him for money Joey.  Look, what we had didn’t work out, I fucked so many people for you… now just let me be.  I have a shot at a life!”

“Bitch, you might clean up pretty, but you’re still trash from the south side.  You will always be trash, but you are my trash, and don’t ever forget it!”

Now we suddenly care about her.  We see that she is trying to pull herself out of the hole she has been in.  We want her and the rich guy to hit it off, and we love happy endings.

How will Joey play into this?

Each character has their own voice and they also have their own vocabulary.  I was at a seminar where we were told to actually do a Myers Briggs profile on each character and keep it handy so your Joey’s and Lexy’s and whoever is consistent not only with their vocabulary but their personality traits.

We can have Dave and Paul take Joey out and skin him alive but since this is a blog about ‘dialogue’ I will leave you the reader to come up with an ending.
“let me know how it turns out..” 🙂

Depending on what you are writing, whether it is for film or novels will depend not only on the amount of dialogue you write but, the kind as well.

I like internal conflict, science fiction type stories and I like naughty stories.  I write for the intellectual and I write for those readers who would like to bring some fantasy to life through my words.

If I were writing a screenplay, my dialogue would be different from that of a novel.  My story would be more action for the eyes and fewer words for the ears.

Instead of, “You know you want me.  You know you want to feel my flesh under your hands.  I don’t know why you enjoy treating me like that but when you do it just makes me so …fucking horny I can’t stand it.”

“You like it because you know you are going to get your reward.  You know I am going to fuck you so hard that you will scream for me to stop, and then you will beg for more!  What will you do for me? Will you submit to my ways?”

Instead of that, I would have this half-naked guy standing in a dimly lit room, with his foot on a chair.  The smoke from his cigarette would curl up past his chiseled chin.  His shirt would be unbuttoned and we could detect a bulge in his pants.  He might be holding a small leather paddle or possibly one of those lovely floggers that they sell at Adam & Eve.

As she walks into the room, she pauses to see him standing there.  The camera pans up from her ruby red high heels, up past her long legs to her short skirt.

The dialogue would now be something like this. “So you heard that I have been naughty?”

The rest would be action.

Who is your audience?

What kind of writer are you?

Give your audience or readers the credit they deserve in figuring out where you are going with the story.  Many of you still have your mind stuck in that last scene, don’t you?.

Read Nudist of Shangri-La if you want a naughty little romp with Judy dealing with her demons.

Screenwriting is about 80% writing for the visual effects, and 20 for us to hear or the audience to hear.

I think it would be fun to write a screenplay or even for a film.  Which are you? Are you a novelist or are you a visual person? I like the idea of film as that tends to be created more off the lot, or on location. I like the idea of filming on location and writing for that. Can you imagine the work that went into Lord of the Rings?

I have over 30 novels under my belt and have several projects in the works as I type this blog for you.  I think it important to give back to the writing community and that is why I do this blog.

Here I share my successes and failures.  I also try to educate you by telling you what I did to fix the screw-ups.

If you wish to contribute in any way, might I suggest that you share this blog with your readers, who you know might appreciate what I am writing?  That accomplishes three things.

  • You are paying it forward by assisting your followers or writers.
  • You are getting something out of it.
  • You are assisting me in getting some more followers so I have a valid reason to spend my time casting these pearls out upon the winds.

I have a day job and I write.  My goal is to have one of my novels, just one, go viral.

Many of you have already read my work and I do appreciate it.  Those checks that come in from Amazon around the world are the thing that keeps me pushing forward.  Running the analytics, I look at what is selling and what is not.  I then try to figure out why?

Under Roswell had lackluster performance, and I did not understand why until I read it again.

I had made many of the mistakes that rookie writers make.  I rewrote it from the ground up.  The story and the plot were too predictable, so I added a computer that has a loose screw, and is not exactly of good character.  This Robot can and does get into the heads of those around it, and has them do things that it can feel.  For instance, it had a couple make love where the computer could sense both of their orgasms at the same time!

‘It is an alien computer so our understanding of how computers work is not what the aliens created.’

Nothing like a little AI in the bedroom…LOL

As always I love feedback, comments and so on.

I truly am here to assist other writers so don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello.

Much love people.  It is late and I need to get up in the morning.  I have more to say on Dialogue at a future date.  If you find this interesting, please let me know.

Chow!

Interview with AuthorTWScott

Are we on the same page?

Hello… I hope you are doing well.

One of my followers wrote and asked me some questions.

How do you take an idea, to a published novel, that people will wait in line to buy?” 

I tell people all the time to write for the passion of writing, not for fame and fortune, as the latter is a road fraught with frustration and disappointment.  Since I started this journey, I have taken learning this craft to heart.

Years ago I used to play golf.  I sucked at it. However; business executives complete many business deals on those green stretches of land.  Needing to be ‘acceptable,’ I had to get my average score, 100 or lower.

Put another way, I had to be less sucky.  It didn’t hurt for them to win, but I needed to at least be a contender.

Finding a pro, I spent hours learning the game, body mechanics and so forth, until I identified my weak points, and I had a target.  Once I had an aim to shoot for (in this case my five iron), I went to a ‘par-three’ course and only used the five iron.  I drove, pitched and putted, with that five iron until it went from my worst club to one I was not afraid of using.

I take the craft of writing, painting, playing the guitar, and what have you, with that same raw determination.

I feel like a broken record when I say the following.  The novels I have written were fishing expeditions to see who bought what.

I enjoy writing, but after reading what I have over the years; I thought to make money with this talent was not a bad idea.  How?  How do you turn a passion into dollars?  I would argue that you follow the path I have been on.  Supply to the customer what they want.

E.L. James, author of 50 shades is worth 80 million. In this modern-day, what author does that and how?

I read her books as if taking apart a watch, which I must put back together.  What could I learn from her books?  Why are people buying them?

One of my twitter followers described herself in her bio as a “cyber slut.”

“What the hell, why does she do that?” I researched her, to find that she models on a webcam for men (or women) who will pay to watch her.

There is a somewhat darker side to this which I hesitate to mention.  Some people will pay per minute, to have the model watch them… perform…  I find this disturbing on the #metoo level of disturbing but… I am not judging them. I don’t understand that behavior but again…deny who you are, and your behavior can skew from your programming.

“Did I say programming…?  Another blog for another day but, yes I did…”

That is an underbelly of the internet I was unaware of but, it was also a story.  A story I wrote called Cyber Subs.  Cyber from the world of the internet, and Subs from the world of BDSM. (50 shades stuff)

Yes, that novel sells well, and it sells in the UK more than any other place.  “Why?”  If you folks know, give me a hint.  I suspect that it has something to do with our Puritan heritage, but I might be all wet.

The material sells it but, why the UK more than the US?  That is still a mystery.  That novel has been pirated, and you can find it on web sites in countries, which I cannot make heads or tails of the language.

Lesson One…

Always write under a pen name as your neighbors and friends might take objection to what you write.  You need to keep your private life, separate from your writing life until you are E.L.JAMES rich, then you hire security guards.  With that kind of money, your family will be in your back pocket…LOL, Those that still judge you, or who are jealous of you and speak poorly of you, are toxic, and you don’t need them in your life. True with me, your mileage might vary.

My passion is Science fiction.  Knowing physics and science, I can write a story that people will want to read.  My best-selling novel is The Saga of the Starduster.  That novel sells well around the world.  I incorporate modern-day issues, as our characters cannot have it too easy, or everything is lovely.  That is boring.  They must have challenges to overcome, and they must have flaws. It is also a wonderful way to “arc” your characters and your story.

*Of all the books you have written which one do you like the most within each style? 

Knowing I do not stay away from controversial subjects, in fact, I gravitate toward them in my writing, my favorite novel is a book about falling in love with another woman.

Donna lost her husband at a young age and withdraws from life and hides her emotions.  She conceals them behind her work as a tough bitch English professor until fate plays a role.  Diamond Joe is by far my favorite novel, of the over thirty on the market today. If you can handle two women loving each other, I recommend reading that one.  I am working on the cover art, so I will also offer it in paperback shortly.

Saga of the Starduster is wonderful in the science fiction genre, and I love Kelly McGuire in my action genre as Presidential Assassins.  While Diamond Joe is YA, the rest are Adult reads.

Many of you have discovered others that I thought were wonderful including The Girl Nextdoor. With well over 30 novels and that number grows quarterly you have plenty of choices to choose from.

*How many books have you written?

Well over 30, I am not even sure at this point.  When assessing who you are, “enlightenment” figuring out your gifts, and your shortcomings are paramount to growing as a human.  One of my gifts is, I write fast.  In the literary world, I am known as a pantster. Literally, it means I write by the seat of my pants.  I can do this as I write fast.  Those that are much more pragmatic, or dogmatic in their writing might be known as plotters, which means, they might want to use a program like Scrivener to keep their thoughts together as they write.

*Do you have a literary agent? 

No, I have spoken with several, and I have friends that are agents.  From the query letter process to a contract is a long road, again fraught with peril.

There are people in this trade who we call predators.  These people cannot make it as writers, so they use their craft to “assist others” for pay.  ‘Those who can do, those who can’t teach.’  I would remember that adage as I sought to purchase help. If they are worth their salt, why are they trying to earn money from you?

While I paint this picture with a broad brush, even the most skeptical among you know that there is more truth to that statement than fiction.

  • With an agent, it is all about “who they know.”
  • Do they know an editor that will take a chance on your work?
  • Does this editor know a publisher that when refined, will buy your manuscript?
  • Who have they published before?
  • An author should never have to pay anyone to get their work published. That rule is one worth remembering.

Not all that offer to assist you for money are predators but, buyer beware. The horror stories I have heard could fill a large book about what not to do.

Why do we call them predators?

They have us at a disadvantage.  Sitting through my first critique session I was coy knowing what to expect.  Other writers want to prove their prowess by ripping your shit apart. Not all, but many.  Especially if you are successful, they want to prove to themselves that they are better than you are.

(Think I am wrong?  I found a typo in Robert Mckee’s book Story. For a few seconds, it thrilled me, and then I was ashamed of myself for feeling that way.  We all do it.)

I know this about human nature.  On a return flight from California, I saw under me hundreds of wind turbines.  Creating a short story in my head called Tipping Point, that evening I wrote a ten thousand word short story in about three hours, created the cover art in another hour and published it that night before I went to bed.

I gave it away on Kindle unlimited for the value of the story, not the literary genius.  Yes, I did the basic edits but, not the fine detail one might do before submitting to an agent or publisher.

Many of you read it, and nobody said too much.  It was a lunchtime read.  I got some science geeks that read it, picking my story apart on the scientific claims, but nobody said anything about the literary constructs.

(Yes, the wind is a product of weather and from the sun, mostly, the jetstream is not, science geek people.)

I handed it to my cohorts in that format, not touching it.  Days later, they all looked like the cat that ate the canary as they approached the table waiting to pounce.  I knew what was coming but, this was a learning process, not so much for me, but for them.

Critique partners must be synergistic!

Creating a group of people who you can trust and work with takes time to build those relations.

One of them scolded me for publishing something so crude.  Another did not like so much of it, the paper was red.  FFS!… I chuckled to myself as this was not unexpected.  Drawing the ire of one, pleased me as the writing evoked emotions which all of your writing should, unless you are not writing fiction.

One of the others upon leaving the table said and I quote…”I thought they were far too nice!”

This was what I hoped for.  This person allowed their feelings to be exposed, and this is what needed addressing.

During this process, you do not want to tear down your fellow writers, but build them up. I always look for what they did correctly before I even think about making suggestions which I think would be helpful.  This is what any of your fellow readers, critiques etc. should be doing.  This is what you should do when you assist a fellow writer.

A few of them were not in the “how shitty is this?” camp, and offered some salient advice.  These people earned my respect that day.  Since then, the rest have but, it has been a procedure.  One advised me that the story deserved to be more than a short story.  Now you can read Earths Tipping Point on Kindle Unlimited for Free and it is almost 100,000 words if memory serves. Enjoy it!

Now, back to the main question of predators, we as the creators of our story don’t have the objectivity we need to discern our trash from our treasure. If we wrote it, then it is gold.  We know with the help of this person, we will be on the NYT bestseller list.  PFFFT!   Don’t fall for it.

Folks, I did not need the humbling by my friends at that table, what I needed was honesty.  I know that my work could use a fresh perspective, and that is why I offer you the reader the ability to communicate with me through the website, or this blog.

*Do you do your own marketing? 

Yes, I had to teach myself everything about it which, again if you read the first part of this response you know that it was from trial and error.  Social media is a critical part, and that is something you should be all over when you first think you want to write.

Marketing involves much more than social media.  They did not ask about cover art, and that is a subject tied to marketing and needs to be addressed, as it is paramount, your cover is of a quality that will sell your work.

*Are you self-publishing through Amazon or anyone else?

Yes, Amazon gets the bulk of my business, but I also do business with Smashwords.  Smashwords will upload your work to multiple different vendors including Apple, Barnes & Noble and the list goes on.  Smashwords is a booger bear to work with. Their interface (meaning your book formatting) must be perfect, and that can be tough.

The process is arduous, and their method of allowing your work into their “premium catalog” adds to the difficulty.  If I were them I would spend the money and time to fix their “meat grinder” as Draft to Digital has.  If you want to capture the market share, your interface must be easy to use, while friendly to the non-programmer. Amazon and Draft to Digital understand this.

We are writers, not programmers.  This again sets us up as targets for the predators out there who know how to format your novel to pass by the meat-grinder. I am a capitalist, but I don’t want to pay for services that I can do with a little time and patience.

I now use a program called Vellum, which by far is the best way to create and format your manuscript. Vellum only works on MAC which makes it an expensive proposition if you are a PC person like me.  I now own two Macs and several PC’s.

*Who does your editing?

Editors charge around $30 an hour, and there are several kinds of editors from line editing to compositional editing.  You could drop over $1000 to get a professional editor.  I would ask for references before I plunked down that kind of money.

There are multiple respectable tools on the market, starting with the grammar checker built into Word.  From there, I like Grammarly, and there is also a tool called ProWritingAid.

Nothing makes up for talent, and that you must gain from doing, and learning.  If your passion is writing, then prepare to be humbled as you forge your way through the valleys of despair and rejection, while looking for that one good phrase to encourage you to push forth.

Yes, that is a golf analogy…One good shot keeps you returning for more humbling, again and again. 

I try to get friends and family to read my work and comment.  Realizing they are not editors and might fancy themselves as grammar Nazis, there is a fine line between proper punctuation and your voice.  I would rather hang a participle than lose my voice.

*Are any of your books on audio?

Not yet.  If I find someone who can read well, with plenty of inflection, I might try to work a deal with them.  I know a lady who does voice work, and she and I are friends.  “It is not what you know but who.  Connections in this industry are vital.”

*Did you get your ISBN numbers on your own? 

No, they are expensive through Bowker.  Amazon and Smashwords will provide them, but there is a hitch.  Well, there are multiple hitches.  Smashwords will give you an ISBN that is only good on the Smashwords distribution channels.  Amazon will just provide you with one when you offer a paperback.  Again that ISBN number is only viable through Amazon sales.

Here is an update on the ISBN stuff: 8/26/19

Meta Data is part of the SEO and other invisible parts of the cyber world are tied to ISBN numbers.  Let’s say you allow Amazon to give you your ISBN for free.  No matter who searches on that ISBN number it will show Amazon as the owner, not you.

ISBN numbers are a racket in that they are very expensive and it is just a number.  There is nothing magical about it.

Since there can be multiple books with the same title the differentiator or unique searchable part of your novel is the ISBN number.  Check out the example when I google the ISBN of my best seller.

isbn image

You will note it does not say TWScott publisher it says Amazon.com

 

*If I remember you have three types of books – what are they and which do you like the best?

  • Science fiction
  • Action Romance
  • Adult, or what I affectionately call, Naughty Nighties

https://www.AuthorTWScott.com will take you to what they are, and where to find them.

I love them all but, the naughty novels are the most fun to create.  Science fiction is the most difficult to write but, the most satisfying, as I love to use my physics and scientific prowess to make sure that what I am putting forth, is not the “flux capacitor,” but actual science that might work.  As you know, some Science facts of today, started out in the minds of science fiction writers like myself.  The Geosynchronous Satellite is one.

*When you refer to the masses – who are they? Whose lives do you desire to touch?  

The masses are those of us who still read, vs. sitting in the front of screens while having their minds ripped from them through the dissemination of garbage, which impedes the thinking centers of the brain.  Even in my naughtiest of novels, I speak of enlightenment.  Who is that person looking back at you from that mirror?  Do you know him or her? Together, we explore that in story format.

I can write adult novels because we are all sexual beings, and we all have those desires that need to be sated.  Those that deny them, are the people are in danger of doing something terrible such as pedophilia or accosting Page Boys. Vows of celibacy, in my humble opinion, are setting them up for deviant behavior.  Some cultures deny human sexuality to where bestiality is ok, but acknowledging who and what you are is not. They created us to procreate, period. Our brains are wired for it, and to deny it is foolish.

One young lady was telling me she only dated Christian men…  “Why?”  Because they don’t think that way…!  “Where do you think little Christians come from?”  

Hormones and other chemicals like endorphins drive us. Those that read my novels learn many things about themselves while enjoying a story that takes them to another galaxy, or perhaps a stranger’s bedroom, or possibly over their lover’s lap. With a fair warning and a free percentage of the novel for their perusal, I offer no apologies.

The masses are your audience which each writer must identify.  Who are you writing for?  We have an idea who E. L. James is writing for but, how about Clive Cussler?  What about Agatha Christie or even Hemmingway?

If Hemmingway or even Shakespeare were to start out today, in this world of competition you and I have, would we ever learn of them? I would offer to you that there are many great writers out there, languishing in the millions of novels on Amazon that will never be discovered because they don’t understand marketing.

These same authors might also sit in slush piles waiting for an agent’s twelve-year-old to put down the smartphone long enough to read the query letter.

While some agents troll Amazon, and other e-sites looking for the next new voice, their inboxes are engulfed with query letters, and pitches from teenagers, to senior citizens who now have the time to write. It is neither a good nor a bad thing; it is a fact. You must stand out from the rest.  ‘How,’ is the question…

*What type of feedback do you desire from your readers? 

Honesty… If there are clear flaws, I would love them to contact me via the contact page on the website which many do, and visit with me.  In Diamond Joe, for instance, I had some severe age discrepancies I had to deal with.  Feedback is paramount to making any writer a better one.

I know an author who would not alter their work as they loved it.  The agent said, “next.”

The Saga of the Starduster had its first review which was one star.  Reading what the person wrote, it became clear he or she never read it.  They were, in fact, flaming it, as it offered too much competition for something they were writing.  Very sad!  The next review was five stars, and it looked like something I might have instigated, but I did not. I have far too much integrity for that.  Since it is still my number one seller years later, speaks to its validity as a contender in the field of science fiction, I think we can assume what I have stated is correct.

I would never pay attention to anyone who posted a review under a pseudonym. I would also never flame another writer’s work, no matter how bad it is.  I offer the reader a large part of the novel to read for free before they buy it.  If it were as bad as he or she alluded to, why would they buy it after reading 20% for free?

In the About the Author, after the Epilogue, I ask people to consider leaving a review if they liked it.  Contact me via the website if you hated it and tell me why.  While we never stop learning, we must strive to improve what we do.

*Do you have a group of people that support you in your writing – to read your drafts, to make suggestions, to encourage you when in doubt or feeling good at what you have written?

Yes, there is a group, but I did not always have that.  The feedback from readers was all I had to nudge me in the right direction.  Forging alliances with fellow writers has been the single most important step I have made regarding the craft of writing.

This is a two-way street.  Many forget about this, which is the downfall of so many groups.  We think about our needs first, and in such a group it is the needs of the many. When I assist other writers with their projects, it is not only gratifying on a personal level but strangely enough; I see things they are doing I also do but don’t see it in my work.

While this is a two-way street, I love the group, the writers and I enjoy our time together.  I also blog about things like this to reach the writing community around the globe.  A rising tide lifts all boats or ships, and that is something I find worthy of my time, talents and energies.

If there is enough interest, I will write about character arcs in a future blog.  You need to let me know if that is something that interests you, as these blogs take hours to produce.

My novels are inexpensive. If you are of the mind to, read them.  Feedback is critical to the process.  I have a day job, not rich from sales but I am humbled that many of you purchase my novels and read them.

-TW

Mars..Are we from there?

It would be fun to write a blog on the men are from mars and women are from Venus book. Different topic…

It is no secret that I am a science fiction writer.  If you did not know that, you are not reading things too carefully.  I was looking at this old picture of mars.

Mars-NASA

Here you can see what they are calling the Grand Canyon on Mars.

I would think this is more like the Marianas Trench on mars.

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It takes little imagination to see that there were once great oceans covering the red planet.

mars

  • What happened?
  • Was there life on Mars?
  • Did we come from Mars?

Whether we are descendants of the red planet or not I think it would behoove us to learn where the atmosphere on Mars went and where did the water go.

As I was researching this I found that scientists are finding plastic bags and other forms of trash in the Marianas Trench.  Just possible we should go look in the trench or grand canyon on Mars for trash or other signs of a past life…or the water…

Thoughts comments and conjecture on this subject are welcome here.

The revised version of Tipping Point now 92K words is on Amazon and it is a free read on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.  Jeff Bezos is getting a divorce and his ex-bride needs money…So read my books, and help her out… 🙂

If you like my novels please consider leaving feedback.  Once a book receives over 50 (feedbacks) Amazon actually starts to assist authors like myself at that point and suggest it to other purchasers.

-TW

Who are you?

Unless you know that person in the mirror the winds of life are carrying you.

I should be editing Tipping Point but, I am taking a break for a bit.  There are reasons, which I will share. As writers, we need to step away from it.  There are those who will toss a completed work into a drawer for a month or a year…. No, I am not one of those.

When I am not active on my blog, I am either working the day job, writing, editing or marketing.  I have told you repeatedly if you follow me here and you are a writer I will make it worth your time.

Here is the message for tonight that if you take to heart, you will be much better off not only in your writing or other creative endeavors but as a person.

“Wow TW, that seems kind of heavy.  Are you smoking something?  You in Colorado? Got extra?”

Tonight I want to talk about you.

Sitting through a critique session, I am so tickled with some folks who are giving a writer their best shot at an opinion.

“I did not like this.  That was cool. I like that.”

If you were a writer, and that is the feedback you received, would it be helpful?

No, not so much.  Why?

That is not a rhetorical question, it is a real question. Why?

As creatives, we are our own class of people in the first place.  I like creative people as most of them are intellectuals.  That means they think.  They have more going on under the hood. They are not usually the “Hold my beer and watch this.” Kind of person.

“I would challenge you to take this a step further.  Take your wife or husband or BFF and go spend a day at the art museum.  Most of them have benches where you can sit and admire the artwork.  Many art students will go sit and sketch the artwork as an exercise.”

“I don’t want you to sketch it; I want you to analyze it.”

“You don’t have to be an art major to appreciate art.”

Walk the floor and find something that speaks to you negatively or positively. When you see that something, stop, sit and study it.  “(SSS) stop, sit, and study.”

This is what you are looking for.  “Why!”

You are worthless to a writer if you cannot articulate your feelings to them.  If you are not in touch with you who are, then your opinion is meaningless to not only the writer or author, but it is not much value to you either.  “Joe six-pack, this applies to you too.  Why do I like this beer and not that one?”

I write about enlightenment, even in my naughty books, to set the stage for my readers to begin to know themselves. When you get into the habit of asking yourself, why you liked something or did not like it soon that will be a habit, which will serve you well.  That person who is looking at you from the mirror will be better able to deal with life if he or she knows themselves.

“I preached this to a young man over thirty years ago.  This person is now worth more than a million dollars and is happy.  He is happy because he knows who he is, and what he wants out of life and he knows why.”

“He was already wealthy blah blah…” No, he was in prison doing five to ten for armed robbery.

I worked in advertising for years.  When I first started, I was one that would FF through the commercials.  I soon found myself watching them with more fervor than the program.  Why did this one work, or that one didn’t?

There is this annoying commercial on currently that is for GMC trucks.  They have this tailgate, which unfolds and has a step for geriatric cowboys I guess.  The thing starts out with the truck on the hill and from miles around people are carrying tailgates from their competitors. That part of the commercial is forgettable.  The genius of the ad is the earworm.  “Na na na na.. hay hay goodbye..”

A commercial must be memorable.  Not only should you know the polar bears are drinking a soda, but you must remember that it is Coke.

When you can analyze a commercial and tell me why it works, you might have value as someone who can read a book, and offer constructive criticism worth listening to.

“I liked it, is worthless.”  Tell me why and be specific!

We know that adverbs are the path to hell.  I read them in books regularly.  Your average reader does not have any idea that eliminating them makes the text more readable.

When agents look at your books as you query them, they can tell if they can sell you to an editor.

Once you understand why you like or dislike something, you not only gain value as a writer but also as a person. You now have a little more depth than the veneer on your desk.  Blunt, you say?  Yes, it is.  Following me, you know that I am unfiltered and honest.

Tipping Point in its current iteration will not be up there much longer.  The novella will soon be replaced with an 86K word book that you will most certainly love.  It is free on Kindle Unlimited.  Read it before and then the after.  I think you will be shocked.

Much Love–TW

 

A couple of updates here.  The previous version of Tipping point is gone.  If you really want to see it let me know and I might find a way to get it to you.

The second update is about marketing.  I was watching a Trump rally the other night to see what the kerfluffle is about.  When a heckler did something to stop the president from speaking the crowd broke out in “na na na na na na hey hey goodbye.”

Think about that GM!  While you are laying off thousands of your employees your marketing firm is working for you.

-TW

How did I miss that?

Hello fellow bloggers, writers, and readers of blogs. Today I want to once again, address the art of analyzing someone’s work.

As an artist working with one of America’s most exceptional talents in the industry, I learned that my ego must not get into the way of my desire to learn the craft.  Transitioning from Bob Ross style paintings to portraits is a huge transition. This transition from painter to artist requires humbling, character evaluation, and yes, practice.

As artistic folks, we often skip over or try to jump over those first two.  In short, we let ourselves get in the way of our end goal.  You have no doubt heard the phrase “you are your own worst enemy.”

We walk before we run, and we crawl before we walk.  I write about enlightenment in many of my novels, even the somewhat naughty ones.  Why?  There is truth to it.

Too many times, I meet folks who are drawn to a group to be a writer, without a clue of how to string a noun and verb together in the same sentence. They read Harry Potter, and think they can do it too!

Maybe they can, and I would never tell them not to try.  I would suggest that they look at the trail blazed before them by some of the greats and, even the not so greats. How did they do it?

In our world of writing, we seldom have people who will objectively read our work and give it a fair hearing.  Objectivity with another writer is difficult for some reasons.

  • Did we like the Genre?
  • Do we like their style?
  • Are we a writer, and do we compare them to us?
  • What is our level of education?
  • What is theirs?
  • Do we like the person?

There are many factors that we could weave into this, but the truth of it is, that writing is subjective.  Your family might tell you “it was nice dear.”  They might say to you, straight up that it sucked, because they are jealous. Maybe it does suck.

Always ask why.

Here we run into the first problem. Ok, someone read it, and they offered you feedback. Was what they said motivated by any of the bullet points above?  Who knows?

I was reading a how-to book by a famous author and found a typo.  The voice inside my head said, “Ahaaa, I got you now Black Bart, you are flawed!”  * Immediately I scolded myself as that is the part of me that I try so hard to kill.  Why would I find gratification in an error made by “this person of notoriety?” This book went through countless edits and publishers how could they make this mistake.

Nobody is perfect. 

My short novel Tipping Point came back to me with red ink and grammar errors and stuff.

Some of these errors were because I wrote it and I knew the story so I assume like many of us do that so will the reader.  “That is what we are looking for in critique groups.”

You wrote it, so you are too close to it to judge it on its own merits.  Your fellow writers or critique partners, while they might be biased by some of the bullet points above, they might also have some valid concerns.  This is where you as the writer must; I repeat must put that ego in the barn.

Allow them to feel good about finding the dangling participle.  Who cares?  You submitted it for critique because you are humbling yourself to your peers.  That takes guts!  It takes courage!  It is a step to growth, not only as a writer but a human.  Allowing others to assist you also is a step for them.

You who follow me here can play along if you like.

I gave the group Tipping Point a work I did two years ago which started as a ten thousand word short story.  My goal was to write stories that people could read at lunch.  It has since morphed into 14K words, and from tonight’s session, I am told it should be a novel.

Currently, Tipping Point is on Kindle Unlimited so you prime folks can read it free.  In your Kindle app, you can make notes and so on.

If you are a writer, there will be value to you, as I will share all of the critiques on the blog once the project is finished.

Of course, in the comments, you can read what people say too. If you are inclined to learn along with me, please feel free to do so.

In the comments section, you can offer your feedback on the project as it goes.  With each iteration, I will upload it to Kindle Unlimited, and you can follow up there.

When you as a reader offer a critique of something, I am not interested in grammar, punctuation or dangling participles. (At this time.)

  • Did the story flow well for you?
  • Could you identify with the characters?
  • What did you like about the story and why?
  • What did you not like about the story and why?
  • Were the transitions easy to follow, and if not why not?
  • If you were the writer, what would you change to make it better?

After the story is put together, we can worry about the rest of the details like punctuation.

One of the people who read it said it pissed her off!  This truly made me happy.

Can you think of why having one of my characters piss someone off would make me happy?

Yes, one of our goals as writers is to pull emotions out of you as the reader.  I want you to laugh, cry, get angry and get happy throughout my stories. As a writer, I intend to grow learning from what works and what does not.

We are the sum total of our successes and failures.  If you sit there and never try, it is a life wasted.

I have over 30 novels selling well around the world.  Some of them I know sell for their subject matter alone.  Some of them sell because of my style.  Few leave feedback.

With this group and others like it, I intend to not only elevate my potential as a writer but as many of you that care to share the journey with me, through this blog and of course my website and novels.

As time permits, I will read your works and offer feedback, so there is that back scratching thing we can do.

Follow me on Twitter @authortwscott.com

www.authortwscott.com

Of course, follow me on this blog…

The more the merrier, tell a friend!

Much Love -TW

Critique-How, Why and are you Qualified?

Is your ego ready for this?

As a writer of over 32 novels and counting, I have not had the benefit of a critique partner, or group.

Grammarly and other artificial intelligence can only take you so far in the creative process.  Typos and other grammatical errors are inconsequential if your story sucks.

The problems are many, but mainly we writers are a solitary bunch.  Many days, if it were not for my business, I would speak with no one. My characters and stories become my life, as I am confident, do many of yours.  We sit here in solitary with the keyboard making its little clicking sounds as, “our music.”  That is ok to me, and probably many of you too.

“Is it really ok?”

First, we must recognize that we are social creatures and are meant to be that way to keep from being maladjusted in this world of other social beings.  Some of us live out in the country, and I envy you!

If you are reading this, you have the internet. With that tool, you no longer need to be an island all on your own.  We, you and I share a bond, the many do not share.  We share the passion for creating things with our minds.  We create realms, and people, and are very much like God him or herself. Yes, I did it; I assigned God a position in life by anthropomorphizing God as a being, like us.

With this internet and access to this blog and others like you, we, you and I can share stories or ideas.  You and I can, in fact, offer constructive criticism on your WIP.

When starting, your ego might be fragile, and it is ok to ask your partner to go a little easy.  I have stated in previous blogs, for the person offering the criticism to look for the good stuff and mention it, before you deliver the crushing reality of what they are doing wrong, “in your opinion.”

Allow me to emphasize that opinion part.

I sent a story out to my critique group which is comprised of all types of people.  The nerd among them who I respect, and care about, tore the story apart as the science in his “opinion” sucked.  The story was a romance based around weak science much like the flux capacitor. The science was, in fact, a focal point only to build the story.

In most romances, the characters are the focal point and the “event” is the supporting trope.

The others in the group loved the story.

As you think of your audience, you should also consider what they tell you from their viewpoint. As my mother used to say, “Consider the source.”

We will be talking much more about this in the future, as I very much like to pay it forward, to other writers out there.  “Yes, that means you!”

Along with this subject, I will be spending much more time writing about all aspects of writing.  Why?

As I learn, one of the best ways to cementing that knowledge is to “teach” it.  Why not teach you, my followers, if that sort of thing is of value to you.

As we move into the holiday season, many of you will have some time, and I pray that you use it to spend with family and friends.  We writers need to divest ourselves of the computer every now and then and live.  I know what I am asking because I would much rather spend time with my characters and you, then family.  Truthful I know, but it is what it is.

What can you do?

  • If you are not already a follower of me here, do that.
  • Offer some opinions on my writing here, if nothing else.
  • The novel I let the group read is Tipping Point, and it is free on Kindle Unlimited. Read it and give me some feedback before I re-write it.

Currently, I am teaching myself more about Dialogue, and I will be sharing what I learn with you here, as again, I am a firm believer in paying it forward.  Dialogue is the most essential part of your fiction, and if you blow it, you are wasting your time.

If you have a subject that interests you, let us know here in the comments.

Share this with your friends and followers as we strive to perfect our craft.

Much Love and Happy Holidays!  -TW