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Cara Cilento

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  1. It is not a secret that the tried-and-true strategy of using cliffhangers at the end of your chapters or scenes is a surefire way to make a reader turn the page; in fact, it is one of the most effective ways. And why shouldn't it be? Life is a cliffhanger. In fact, Pops, in Secret Life of Pets went so far as saying "Every breath is a cliffhanger." No truer words have been said. Everyone everywhere albeit a car chase or a contentious meeting or even making a simple decision about what to eat can be a cliffhanger. It all depends on how you write it. However, what many authors fail to comprehend is that the cliffhanger conclusion is only one part of the puzzle. The cliffhanger is the hook that gets the reader to flip the page. It's a lot like fishing. A writer casts the line with a lure and bait. but if you don't have a strong line to support reader across the gap and a sinker that pulls them deeply into the next scene or chapter, your reader likely to squirm free and swim away. So how do we do that? Your hook is the cliffhanger that occurs at the conclusion of each chapter, and the sinker is the first sentence of the next chapter. If done correctly, they will establish a connection for the reader, allowing her to flow easily from one point to the next as she moves through the text. Sounds easy, right? In order to successfully make that link, you must first effectively structure the cliffhanger, and then you must firmly ground your reader in the scenario that comes after the cliffhanger. This implies that she needs to be oriented right away, and then she needs to be pulled down into the water like a sinker on a fishing line. The scene that comes after a cliffhanger will either be situated in a new time or place, or it will switch to the point of view of a different character. It is essential that you immerse your reader in the new circumstance from the very beginning of your piece, in the very first paragraph. The most effective way to accomplish this is to rapidly develop point of view while making use details, details and more details! For more information: https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/20574-the-art-of-the-cliffhanger/#comment-28819
  2. In today's world, the age-old proverb "Don't judge a book by its cover" is rarely put into practice. What factors influence a customer's decision to click or to go on? In the war of thumbnail covers that is taking place today, one way to get noticed is to use visual aspects to develop a design that is intelligent and stands out from the competitors. Applying these strategies to your next cover design could help you increase sales and raise your visibility: The first impression is the most important. It is important for a book, regardless of whether it is exhilarating, romantic, or reassuring, to include visual signals that are connected with the book type. The appearance of self-help books and the emotions they elicit in readers should be very different from those of romance or suspense novels. You will obtain insight and clues on how to design a book cover that has all of the appropriate "feels" for the category and the expectations of the readers if you examine other books that are in the same genre as yours. It is acceptable to be original or distinctive, but you shouldn't wander too far from the people who are likely to become your customers. The best way for an author to achieve their ultimate goal of increasing sales is to attract the attention of their target demographic and encourage them to continue reading. The layouts are calling. The layout is made up of the fundamental components that make up the composition. A well-balanced and well-ordered layout guides the viewer's attention through the primary components of the cover design, which ought to captivate even in thumbnail size. Choose either typography or pictures to serve as the guide in establishing a visual emphasis that expresses what the book is about; utilizing both could dilute the visual effect. The idea is to have one visual focus. The use of graphics in a supporting position that is less obvious helps the impact that typography has, and vice versa. Take care not to bombard the reader with an excessive number of design components; white space is equally vital and contributes to an increase in readability. Images compel. Capturing the essence of the book in a single image that is both appealing and memorable is a great way to draw attention to the cover of your book. Just a few clicks are all it takes to get fantastic artwork, graphics, photography, or typography. Stock libraries are an excellent starting point for any project. Research the copyright and licensing requirements for each and all photos you use, regardless of whether they are royalty-free, rights-managed, or free. Use your imagination. Combine many photographs or utilize them in a creative manner. It may be more expensive, but the visual impression will be more polished and professional if you use high-quality photographs that attract attention and are remembered. The way that typography looks. Typefaces generate feelings. Some of them have an old-fashioned or contemporary vibe, while others have a sweet or savory flavor. They not only boost visibility but also provide readers with a significant amount of information regarding the contents of a book and make a visual impact in comparison to other titles. A cover design must have appropriate typography in order to be successful. In addition, it should contribute to the overarching concept of the cover as well as the genre. Think about the size, weight, and style of each typographic element before moving on. The title of the book should be the typography element that takes up the most space on the front cover, unless the author is really famous. It is best not to use more than two different fonts, and you should prioritize readability above employing fancy typefaces or effects. Feelings can be conveyed through color. Color is a powerful tool for expressing feelings, creating an atmosphere, and rapidly getting a message over to a potential reader. The meaning changes depending on the shade. Red is commonly used in thriller novels to express a sense of urgency or danger, while purple alludes to mysticism or magic, and cheerful yellow evokes the feeling of reading a book on the beach during the summer. Color possesses the ability to guide our gaze and demonstrates to us where we should look, what we should do, and how we should understand something. The psychology of color is almost always dependent on the surrounding environment. When used in a different context, the phrase "thriller novel red" could also refer to love or romance. By doing some study beforehand, you can ensure that the colors you choose accurately convey the tone and subject matter of your book. The design of a book cover necessitates that each of these aspects work together to create a coherent and engaging design that conveys the message, "Pick me up and read me." Your book is the product of considerable time, thinking, and effort on your part, and it ought to be noticed.
  3. Most people decide how good a book is by its cover. You worked on a book for many years. So, it needs a cover that does the story you wrote justice. The cover of a book should be made in a way that makes the reader want to read it right away. The summary on the back of the book should make the reader want to open it and read what's inside. This means that your book's cover has to be beautiful. It should not only be interesting to the readers, but also fit with what is being said. Now that you've finished writing your book, it's time to pick the right cover for it. This article is for you if you are worried that you might make the wrong choice. Today, we're going to give you some tips on how to pick a great cover for your book. So let's get to the details, shall we? 1. Get ideas: Look at what sells to get ideas. Go to your favorite bookstore and look at all the books on the shelves. Bring a pen and a notebook. Look at the book covers and write down what grabs your attention. More importantly, look at the covers of the books that your target audience loves. Choose the parts of these book covers that make them stand out. Look for the elements of design that fit your story: Go to the shelf where you want your book to be and use your designer eye to look for things that make it stand out. Read the most recent releases to find out about the latest design and technology trends. Make a book cover that fits with what's popular. Bring new ideas to your genre by comparing it to others: Most of the book covers for books in the same genre look alike. Even though the main parts change depending on the story, most of the time the colors are the same. It's like how different brands build their identities with color schemes. But it doesn't hurt to try something new with your book cover. To do this, you should compare your genre to others in the same category. Try out other types of music as well. For instance, the covers of fantasy books are a mix of photos and drawings. Often, the covers of crime novels only have a picture. Also, the titles of fantasy books have a lot of style. On the other hand, the fonts on the covers of crime books are clean and sans serif. Explore sub-genres: You can also look at sub-genres to come up with more ideas. Also, think about the latest design trends. For example, modern dark fantasy book covers are often made up of photos that look very real, while traditional ones are mostly made up of paintings. Some crime-mystery books have covers with pictures. Keep your target readers in mind: You should also think about the age of the people you want to read your book when choosing a cover. If you want to reach young children, a painted cover with a character drawing will do. One of the best examples is how the covers of Harry Potter books for kids and for adults look different. Don't forget about the winners of the contest: This is my favorite. The winners of recent book cover design contests can also give you great ideas for how to design the cover of your book. You can also look at the personal lists that experts or avid readers of your genre have made. Keep in mind the following: While adjusting to the latest design trends, don't forget about your best-selling items. If your book is like a best-seller from the past, choose a cover style from the past. In the end, the design of your book's cover should show what the book is all about. It should fit your story and hook the kind of readers you want to get. For more on book covers, please read https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/17620-friday-speak-out-how-i-got-a-book-cover-i-loved/#comment-25864
  4. I find that the possibilities within paranormal fiction are endless. For example, a ghost can linger on our plane of existence in order to wrap up any unfinished business they may have before moving on. Their unfinished business could result from a traumatic experience in their personal lives, or even their death itself. The classic trope is usually that the ghost was once a person who was slain, and now they haunt the location where they were killed. And it goes without saying that they won't let up until they have the satisfaction that justice has been done. Simple. What if the ghost was kind and good-natured as they were in their corporal life? They may choose to remain on earth because they willingly do so in order to assist in the care and provision of loved ones who are still among the living after they have passed away. They could warn the lovers of an adversary or inform the next victim before plotting their revenge. The ghost doesn't even have a personal connection to the main character at all. It's possible that the protagonist will get hurt because of the ghost's haunting. For instance, a ghost may be destined to continue haunting the location where they died until they can discover the name of the person who murdered them. Therefore, anytime anybody goes to the location, the ghost appears in all of their gruesome splendor to plead for help, terrifying the living daylights out of whoever is present at the time. I know that is a bit dramatic, but it has been done. The majority of ghosts search for answers, for justice, and for a conclusion to their unresolved issues. But let’s be honest, some ghosts are just jerks. They were bullies in life and death, or these ghosts have become so bitter as a result of their plight that they have given up all prospects of ever finding peace. All they want to do is cause as much anguish as they themselves have experienced. So now that you want to use a ghost in your work, it needs a physical setting. If you don’t ghost hunt like me, you may want to use the old tried and true locations where ghosts are found. Many supernatural ghosts are said to haunt (or be "connected to") one of several distinct categories of items, including the following: A room, structure, or location where they passed away. I have investigated homes, prisons, asylums, battlefields, and hospitals to name a few. Within an item that held significance for them or played a significant role in the manner in which they passed away. The most common objects that I found to have attachments are dolls, masks, jewelry, clothing, and portraits. Wherever the person they are attached to happens to be. If the person who is haunted is very unfortunate, the ghost may be able to materialize at virtually any time and in any location. For example, I have been on investigations at various locations, and entities from one location will follow the investigator to the next and call them by name. Obviously, the entity that can follow a person is pretty impressive. An entity like that should have a remarkable skill set. They should be able to pass through solid matter, enter people's dreams, possess and control other people, manipulate physical things like electricity, or take on a physical shape. These abilities must be consistent throughout the novel or develop over time as the entity grows more comfortable with its abilities. But how does my antagonist get rid of it? Well, that’s assuming your antagonist wants to rid themselves of it and that the entity is not the antagonist. You probably already knew this, but in order for a ghost to be laid to rest, their unfinished business needs to be taken care of first. You must: Discover the cause of their deaths. Put their killer in jail Reveal the secret that died with the ghost.
  5. As some of you may already be aware, I am a fan of the paranormal. I am an avid ghost hunter and paranormal researcher. I collect haunted objects (yes, I willingly bring haunted things into my home) and the three-book series that I have been crafting for the past two years, is based on the paranormal. I am a voracious reader of ghost tales, and I have just recently researched Native American belief systems and their link to the paranormal which greatly helped me to establish my beliefs on spirits. In my last post, I gave four tips on how to write about paranormal experiences. What I would like to do in this piece is talk about the function of a ghost or entity in your writing. I like to break down ghosts/entities into four different categories: 1. The Plain Old Run of the Mill Ghost. This is the spirit of a person who has passed away but was unable to move on to the next life. It does not break its bonds with the physical world. 2. A Haunting Apparition This is a physical representation of the protagonist's disturbed psyche, and it torments them in the following ways: a.Dreams that keep coming back. b.The recollection of prior humiliation and traumatic experiences brought on by a current event. c. daydreams d. hallucinations, either auditory or visual in nature e.When viewed from the outside, the protagonist appears to have paranoid thoughts; yet, the protagonist believes that their encounter with the haunting is all too genuine. This is by far, my favorite spirit to work with when I write. It lends itself to many subplots and can be a gateway for genre overlap. For example, thriller or crime novel can easily be transformed into a paranormal tale by a tormented soul. Take for example, Odd Thomas. An unassuming fry cook can save hundreds of people because of his paranormal experiences. 3. A Haunting Run of the Mill Ghost This spirit is a combination of the Haunting Apparition and the Plain Old Ghost. It's possible that the protagonist is being followed by a true ghost, but it's also possible that the "ghost" they see is only a representation of their guilt and terror brought on by a break from reality. You are probably saying, “Fantastic, Cara! Now, how do we use them as tools in our writing?” I am so glad you asked. Ghosts and the paranormal is a fantastic way to reveal our own biases and shames, as well as the anxieties that are prevalent in our society at the time of the writing. This is something that is sometimes done on purpose as a socio-cultural metaphor however, the author must take great care not to malign any one person or group as being monstrous, transgressive, and/or frightening. Yet ghosts and that paranormal can be, when done correctly effective representations of the past returning to haunt us. They can be the perfect symbolic exploration of what it is like to confront and triumph over adversity. They can be the manifestation of: lingering and hidden embarrassments The consequences of our actions Our own trauma Therefore, the more you are able to incorporate one or more of those themes into your narrative (either through the past of the protagonist, the ghost, or both), the more emotionally and psychologically resonant it will be with the reader. In short, ghosts and the paranormal have a strange position in our thoughts; despite the fact that they are terrifying. They convey an underlying sense of optimism because they imply that there is life after death, that there is still a chance for justice to be done, and that we will one day be able to find rest and tranquility in the hereafter. Writing about the paranormal brings a unique emotional value that is both reassuring and terrifying. I find the paranormal endlessly intriguing and the possibilities for storytelling are unlimited.
  6. So you got inspired to write another novel. Maybe it was just a title and a concept. Like maybe you were drifting through a grocery store and saw a person mopping up a spill in aisle four, but like you, no one could figure out how the spill happened. Suddenly, it hits you, a story about a prankster child with telekinesis sitting in a grocery cart; but as you write it, it ages into a novel about a lonely teen gamer who plays out a fantasy world in his parent's basement. But it’s not quite coming together... So the self-doubt and all the questions ‌creep in. Did I write enough? Too much? Where am I going with this? Then you ‌bang your head against the wall and throw your hands up in the air, defeated. You throw it in a drawer never to see the light of day. Heather Webb asks you to look at your own writing process. Enjoy! https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/16903-your-writing-process-says-you’re-a-failure/#comment-25118
  7. My wife is a paranormal investigator and works for a company that runs ghost hunting events... The last three weeks have been interesting for sure. I took my kids on vacation, which resulted in me taking a vacation from writing. I enjoyed being unplugged from my keyboard and so did my kids. In this newly found freedom from the keyboard, my wife approached me with, “Hey, I need some help at work. Do you want to come?” My wife is a paranormal investigator and works for a company that runs ghost hunting events. I have gone with her before but this time it felt different. My creative juices started to flow. So, we left to first stay at an abandoned asylum and then at a historical landmark on the East Coast. For those of us who have experienced an unusual or paranormal experience, we may have contradictory feelings about whether or not we should tell other people about it or whether or not we should keep it to ourselves. It may be quite cathartic to share your tale, and many individuals have found that writing about their experiences with the supernatural inspires amazement and intrigue in readers who like reading about the paranormal. To explain a supernatural experience, however, requires more than just asserting that the doll moved on its own, as some people have done. In order for your audience to follow along and be attracted by what you have to say, you will need to structure your account like a tale with a beginning, middle, and ending. In the case that these occurrences did in fact take place, the task at hand is best approached in the manner of a memoir, which requires creative skill. In light of this, the following are some pointers for writing about genuine paranormal experiences: 1. The tone and the atmosphere There is a strong emphasis on atmosphere in scary stories. Even while some supernatural tales may have comedic or humorous parts woven into them, the general tone and atmosphere of the story should be solemn in order to have the creepiest possible impact. Your narrative should be filled with an eerie, bizarre, and terrifying atmosphere, but it shouldn't be so dramatic that the events come across as funny, disruptive, or incomprehensible. There is a very thin line that separates campy from creepy. It is helpful to read your tale out loud in order to get a sense of where your writing is taking you. A compelling tale is one that is bizarre yet realistic. 2. Exhibit and explain The piece of advice "show, don't tell" is perhaps one of the most poorly phrased pieces of guidance given to writers. A more useful piece of guidance would be to "primarily show, but tell sometimes." This is especially important to keep in mind while writing about interactions with the otherworldly. When should one give a description, and when should one show? Please fill us in on what transpired. When discussing the real supernatural occurrence, be sure to provide specific facts. It is not necessary to use metaphors or other flowery language in this context. Keep your statements simple and to the point. These parts of your tale shouldn't leave anyone scratching their heads. Describe to us how you were feeling. Although the presentation of your information must never be muddled, it is OK for you to be confused. Perhaps not all of your readers have had experiences with the supernatural, but all of us have felt things like fear, rage, loneliness, despair, and so on. Because of this, it is essential to incorporate a human dimension. It's possible that the reader would never believe in what terrified you, but if you can convince them that you were afraid, then you've already achieved your goal. 3. Use all five senses You are familiar with the five senses: touch, smell, sound, and taste. These five senses are essential. Use them. The more you do, the more genuine and interesting your work will appear to the reader. The use of the senses is very effective when describing a location, establishing an atmosphere, providing information to the reader, or demonstrating to the audience how you feel about something. So, explain how the temperature dropped or raised, talk about the tapping in the walls, describe the shadow or the orbs slinking around the room, the lavender perfume in the master bedroom, or the strange taste that you get when you inhale the dust kicked up from your feet. 4. When you get to the scary part, slow down. Take some time to reflect on your experience. Write down if there is a significant emotion attached to it. When writing about real-life paranormal encounters, do not simply describe how inanimate objects moved on their own without mentioning anything else. Describe the situation...all of it. So, there you have it. My four tips for writing about a paranormal experience from a person that has had paranormal experiences. Please add that sense of reality to your tales. I know it is so much simpler to suspend one's disbelief in a narrative that took place on the other side of the world but once you have that experience, the other side isn’t that far away.
  8. As writers, we all know the tried and true formula for building protagonists. We also know that the story is driven by choices the protagonist makes and the consequences. But how does the protagonist make those decisions? How do you depict the internal struggle of choice? It is important for readers to not only recognize these transformations but also understand how the story's events affect the characters. The writer must make the implicit explicit, otherwise the reader cannot infer character traits or recognize a character's growth across a story. Readers must be aware of the underlying reasons why characters change. Of course, there is a formula for that as well, but it is not without fault. David Corbett goes into detail in his article below. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/16744-emma-vs-hamlet-two-approaches-to-dramatizing-character-change/#comment-24958
  9. A villain, or as writers say, the antagonist, has goals and actions which challenge the protagonist, the hero. Together, the hero and the villain drive the storyline. A villain, unlike a hero, is frequently driven by a desire to perform acts of cruelty and depravity. They are the story's hostile force, challenging your hero and creating the tension. But what does it take to make a great villain? Most great villains have a set of features. First, a villain must have a strong bond with the hero. Their innate antagonism to them aids in the development of the hero's character. Second, every villain must have his own set of morals. If a villain in your novel spends a significant amount of time killing people, you must offer him or her plausible motives for doing so. Make the reader realize what desperation or belief has brought him to this point. After all, every villain considers himself to be the protagonist of their own tale. Third, a villain must be a worthy adversary. Your hero's nemesis should be a formidable and deserving foe. They shouldn't be too weak to be defeated, nor should they be too powerful to be defeated only by chance. Fourth, the villain must have an intriguing backstory. A good villain should have a compelling and plausible history. A memorable past helps us to relate with and even sympathize with the evil, in addition to generating a deeper and more three-dimensional adversary. Lastly, villains should be entertaining. Let's face it: our favorite villains have attributes that we love to despise, whether it's their dark sense of humor or their loathsome worldview. In his article, How To Write an Effective Villain, Michael Neff explains it all. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/18113-how-to-write-an-effective-villain/#comment-26340
  10. When writing your manuscript, you are supposed to write it in chronological sequence, right? The events of the narrative are retold in the sequence in which they occurred in the story. We trace the cause and effect of each event and the results of each event until we get to an endpoint that leaves the reader satisfied. But what if you want to modify the timeline of a narrative and retell the events in a different order than they occurred in the original story? Hmmm…a nonlinear timeline? Preposterous! But there are a variety of reasons why a writer can choose to narrate a narrative out of chronological sequence. Let’s look at them. Nonlinear timelines show character growth. Because of the contrast between many individuals, the nonlinear narrative has been employed to illustrate character development and progress. Nonlinear timelines show a stream of consciousness. The ideas of the protagonist are communicated directly to the reader without the need for extra commentary. It's as if you're able to read the character's thoughts. Because the characters cycle between memories in their minds and also address what is occurring to them in the present, this contributes to the nonlinear storyline of the novel. Putting the reader straight into the head of a character helps the reader develop a deep sense of empathy for that person. Nonlinear timelines present questions in the mind of your reader. If done well, it will keep them interested with your story for the rest of the chapter. Because they move about in time, nonlinear narratives can generate story problems by demonstrating the result of a cause that the audience hasn't yet witnessed. So how do we write these nonlinear timelines? I present to you Sarah Zachrich Zeng. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/19380-how-to-write-a-novel-with-a-mind-bendingly-complex-nonlinear-timeline/#comment-27550
  11. "Third-person point of view" refers to the way we describe events in a work of fiction or nonfiction through the use of third-person pronouns such as "he," "she," and "them." Third-person point of view may be divided into categories: 1. Third-person objective: The facts of a story are conveyed by an observer or recorder who seems to be unbiased and impersonal in his or her reporting. 2. An omniscient third-person narrator not only provides the facts, but he or she may also interpret them and describe the thoughts and feelings of the characters. 3. A narrator who provides the facts and analyzes events from the perspective of a single character is referred to as third-person limited. 4. The use of a "multiple" or "variable" third-person point of view, in which the viewpoint switches from one character to another during a narrative. In the article: Four Levels of Third person POV, Michael Neff presents to you four levels of third person. They are: The Author-POV or APOV, refers to the author, the detached or "omniscient narrator" who steps in now and then to set the scene or make artful commentary at the right time (just *please* don't address the reader directly because that is so irritating and breaks the reader's immersion into the fictional dream). 3POV Distant or 3POV-D occurs at such time the narrative focuses on specific characters and we watch their actions like a live camera actively filming them. 3POV Close or 3POV-C takes us into the character's head and camera viewpoint shifts to the character, i.e., we see or experience, for the most part, only what the character is viewing or experiencing. 3POV First-Close or 3POV-FC dives deeper into the character's head and effectively mimics first person POV, but naturally without the usual limits of first person POV because the author can cut from the 3POV-FC and pull all the way back to APOV. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/15644-four-levels-of-third-person-pov/#comment-23937
  12. Recently, I wrote about log lines. Remember those? The one to two sentence summaries that draws the reader in and describes the major tension of the tale? I’m sure you do and if you are like me and the rest of the writers out there you know that the finest loglines stand out, grab our attention, and are brief. I am placing emphasis on brief because it’s the most significant portion. Why? Because, it's crucial to focus on the key elements that make your characters and story unique. Not only that, but since your story only exists in your mind’s eye, you must set up the goal and how your character will achieve it. Did I mention you should do it in two sentences? Check out this post by Sue Bradford Evans on the long and short of it. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/16009-athe-logline-short-and-agonizing/#comment-24377
  13. With the seasons changing, I have started to emerge from my winter routine and return to my porch sitting and coffee drinking in the mornings. This morning there was a fox in my yard. He was happily frolicking until he saw a bunny. Then, to my surprise, he played with the bunny. I thought to myself that the bunny would surely hop away, but it didn’t. I thought he would run under the eight-foot monstrous fence my neighbor put up to keep the fox, deer, and other woodland creatures out, but he didn’t. Instead, it stood there, while the fox swatted it and sniffed it. He was passive about the entire situation and resided on whatever was to happen would happen. There was no active engagement, there was no reaction, nothing. I was confused and so was the fox. The more he tried to swat and bounce, the less the bunny did. It was amazing for sure. So, where am I going with this? We have all encountered the problem of a passive protagonist at some time in our lives, whether we are aware of it, or it is pointed out to us by a beta reader or an editing professional. But is your protagonist actually passive? And if your protagonist is, then what is wrong with that? Here are two fantastic reads on passive protagonists. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/20166-seeking-vs-suffering-the-secret-of-passive-protagonists/#comment-28422 https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/19906-active-protagonists-are-a-tool-of-the-patriarchy/#comment-28145
  14. If one of your objectives is to begin submitting your masterpiece to the marketplace, you'll come across terms like "hook," "logline," and "pitch" along the way. The terminology originates in the film business, but we use them in the book industry as well. So, what are they? Are they're catchy phrases for a synopsis? No, not at all. Although the lines between the two are frequently blurred, these are the fundamentals: LOGLINE is a concept that was traditionally reserved for scripts, but has recently begun to make its way into the literary realm. It comprises of one or two phrases stating the story's premise. That's it. Short sweet and to the point. A HOOK, on the other hand, is longer. It is usually a paragraph or two that introduces the characters, the idea, and the conflict, similar to the blurb on the back of a book jacket. When submitting a query letter to an agent, editor, or reviewer, the hook should be the most important part of the letter. Here to help you right outstanding hooks or log lines, is Michael Neff. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/15606-loglines-and-hooks-with-core-wounds/#comment-23899
  15. The final step towards obtaining literary representation is – you guessed it – obtaining literary representation. Once you've completed your writing project and wrote up your query letter, the next step is to seek the elusive agent. Querying agents is when you send an email with your pitch to the people you believe will be the best representatives of your work to the publishing industry. The procedure should not be nearly as intimidating as writing the manuscript itself – but it does not imply that you should rush through it without giving it careful consideration. Initial impressions are extremely important, and the agent querying procedure is the greatest illustration of this. You must be eloquent, succinct, and persuasive, not to mention completely on top of your game, when it comes to who you select to contact, how you address them, and how you come across in your email correspondence. When you start sending out emails, it's critical that you pay attention to the details. A minor grammatical error could mean the difference between your dream agent opening the word document containing your work of art and them simply passing it by without even looking. But no pressure, right? Here are three tips to get you started! https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/19624-3-things-to-remember-when-you-query/#comment-27817
  16. Last week I talked about a book pre-launch and some of the recommended steps for making it a success. So, let's have a look at a few ideas for putting together a public book reading that will truly impress your audience, so when it comes time for the reading, not only will you be well-prepared and find it more pleasurable, but you will also be able to really shine! https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/19691-event-tips-n’-tricks-for-the-vain-shallow-andor-insecure/#comment-27894
  17. Whatever year it is, what's going on in the world, or what the latest marketing fad is, your book launch has just one genuine goal: to sell books. The goal of your book launch is to reach the readers who will gain the most from it. Why? Because those are the people who will be interested. They'll be the ones talking about it, reviewing it, and sharing it. Those readers are crucial in ensuring that your work receives the attention it deserves. Cool new marketing tricks and sponsored advertising have their place, but the best—and most effective—promotion you can ask for is word-of-mouth advertising from your own readers. That's why the most successful book launches focus on the readers who will benefit the most from the book while ignoring the others. In reality, the whole book launch, including the months preceding up to it, is about serving your book by attempting to reach a critical mass among your target demographic in order to generate word-of-mouth promotion. If you succeed in this, the formula will shift after the launch, and your book will begin to serve you. It will cause others to talk about you and contact you. They'll see that you're the right person for the job. That's why the work you put into a book launch is so important: it ensures your success and that of your book. Therefore, the pre-launch is just as important, if not more important, than the actual launch. I hope you find these tips helpful. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/18772-a-pre-launch-playbook-for-debut-authors/#comment-26940
  18. I am not a football fan. I don’t understand it. To me, it looks like a bunch of people mottled together on a field chasing a brown fly. I am not like that with all sports. I am an avid wrestling and MMA fan, but football never spoke to me the way wrestling and MMA did. So while other people are preparing platters, trays, and snacks for parties, I am typing away honing my thoughts on why I never joined in the football fanaticism. Much like authorship, I realized that it had to do with how I perceive individualization and relevance. As authors, we strive for both. We want our unique voice and to persevere over time, just like wrestling and the martial arts have. So how do we, as authors and creators, do that? Well, maybe the answer will be in the half-time show that features hip-hop legends that made us bounce our heads in the 80s and have our kids doing the same today. We want our masterwork to be just as significant in ten years as it is now. If we're being honest, we want to think that our hard hours of research, writing, rewriting, blood, sweat, and tears will outlast us and continue to fly off bookstore shelves long after our great-grandchildren have passed away. But will it as time marches on? One way is to change with the times and write for the visual age and if you are already writing screenplays adapt to a novel. Think of it as two sides of the same coin, since visual and written storytelling has become so intertwined. If you are toying with the idea of transitioning from screenplay to novel or novel to screenplay, here is a jumping-off point. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/15469-screenplay-into-novel-will-you-listen/#comment-23750 https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/21326-tell-dont-show/#comment-29646 https://screencraft.org/blog/five-differences-between-novels-and-screenplays/
  19. The construction of a romantic suspense book is key to keeping readers engaged. In a romance book, the protagonists' emotions, wants, doubts, and personalities are the building blocks of the love tale. Conversely, a suspense novel builds tension piece by piece by using facts, innuendo, atmosphere, and action. When you combine the two, you get a romantic suspense novel. Sounds easy,? Not so. The blending of the two must yield a multi-layered tale in which seemingly unrelated threads are intertwined, not just two storylines running parallel. Readers expect a romance novel to have a continuous, evolving relationship between the covers. Between the pages of a suspense story, we expect to find something unknown – a suspicion, a mystery, or a threat. Outside tension is therefore as important and its building must be as careful as that of emotional and sexual tension. But how do we do that? Here are some tips from Meg Tilly. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/19172-rules-for-writing-romantic-suspense/
  20. I was sitting at home during our Blizzard of 2022 in the Northeast channel surfing. I got bored of hearing the hazardous conditions, so I moved on. This time I found a channel talking about hazardous conditions that affect writers, readers, and society in general. The surge of book banning for objectionable content. It appears that people abandoned their pretensions to be protectors of free speech in the wake of the rush to suppress “alternative agendas”. It was startling. Further, most people interviewed in the segment felt that some required school reading was part of a bigger campaign against them meant to degrade their child’s moral fabric. I was blown away. Now, this is not to say that some parental shock isn’t understandable, but as being an educator for over twenty-five years, parents can opt-out of reading material they feel objectionable. It appears that the reverence of free speech has fallen out of favor and this increasing moral panic underscores the need for protections of the First Amendment. In its absence, the question of who has the right to speak becomes merely a question of power. Which brings me to my next thought….self-censorship and the author. Some authors may become more mindful about what they say as a result of their concern about receiving unfavorable reactions to their books. The phrase I have heard most from colleagues has been “They told me it was not authentic” as it relates to the author writing from a perspective of a character they do not share life experiences with. Ironically, I have been told that as well… from an agent who was straight, in their twenties, and commenting on my manuscript about an Italian-American woman coming out in the 1990s. I guarantee you, the book was authentic. I lived it. So, then what is the definition of authentic, and who defines it? The writer? The author? The audience? The First Amendment means that authors should be able to write anything they think is worthy of writing, even if it defies society's established norms or guidelines with the stipulation that the writer must commit due diligence and research into the topic they are writing about. In his article,Flights of Self-Censorship, Porter Anderson discusses the quandary of self-censorship. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/19523-flights-of-self-censorship/#comment-27709
  21. Wrestling season is in full swing. If anyone out there lives with wrestlers, you would know it takes commitment, discipline and a huge support system. I have two wrestlers in my home and have been there for every weigh-in, win, loss and injury. Recently, I was at one of my son’s tournaments and I watched him on the mat. He pinned the first match, loss by decision the second, then loss by pin in the last. Afterward, we packed up and went home for a steak dinner because win or lose; he wrestled his heart out, and he had to do it again this week. As I drove home, I thought about how my boys’ wrestling career was like writing. Where else do you voluntarily get beat up on a regular basis by critics and naysayers and go back for more? Wrestlers put everything into a match just like writers put their everything into their book. Each rejection from an agent feels like a pin or a crushing loss with three seconds left on the clock. Yet we, like wrestlers, keep going back for the love of it. Further, every wrestler has their own style, their signature move that leaves fans cheering just like a writer has their own special something that they bring to a book that leaves readers wanting more. It’s those nuances that drive us and keep us going toward the finish line. After all, like they say in wrestling, victory is a marathon, not a sprint. In her article, The Main Ingredient, Jeanine DeHoney talks about what makes writing uniquely yours. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/16250-athe-main-ingredient/#comment-24538
  22. My last post was my take on revision, but what's the difference between revising and editing, exactly? "Self-editing" is a term used to describe the process of revising. When you sit down to review your first draft, you will make a list of the things you would like to modify. This is referred to as the revision process. Editing is the process of hiring someone to provide a professional viewpoint to a piece of writing and ensure that it is clear and accessible to others. You must understand the distinction in order to know what to do and in what sequence to do it. Initially, you revise (work on it yourself until you've made it as excellent as you possibly can), and then you edit your work (bring in a professional to make it better than you can). Realizing the distinction allows you to focus your attention on the most important parts of the paper and ensure that it contains all you meant to express. In this article, Barbara Linn Probst goes into the three aspects of revision. It’s a keeper! https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/20322-three-aspects-of-“revision”-reworking-refining-and-revisioning/#comment-28594
  23. It’s done. You finally finished that first draft after weeks, months, or even years of work. It was certainly difficult, and you probably pulled out your hair a few times, but it’s done. Hopefully, you took the time to rejoice, because now comes the unpleasant half of the process. The revision. If you are like me, then the purpose of the first draft of your story is to finish and complete the story arc. It won’t be perfect because, by definition, it’s a draft. The characters need to be developed some more, and the world building needs tweaking, but the bones are good. With a revision, your aim is to produce the best version of your tale imaginable, which is much more difficult. Getting through one more draft isn't enough either. There will be multiple drafts with multiple revisions. Seems impossible, right? With a plan in place, you can do anything, no matter how daunting the task may appear at first glance. Having a plan for revising your work may make all the difference in the world. So, what’s the plan? Take a break. Let your draft sit for a while. Look at it with fresh eyes. Revise in Stages. Working from beginning to end is a huge undertaking. If you revise in passes and focus on one critical element, it will make the process easier. For example, Pass 1 can be specifically focused on plot, Pass 2 can be character development, Pass 3 can be dialogue and so on. Take notes. As you pass through your work, take notes on what needs to be developed. Let your creative juices flow as you fill in the gaps that you find with each pass. Ahh...but you are asking...What am I looking for? What is something I should revise? I hear you loud and clear. To help you out, I listed ten questions to ask yourself. Are my stakes high enough? The stakes are inherently tied to your main character throughout the novel. Make sure your main character always has something to lose. Is my plot believable? A believable plot is paramount to having a credible story and satisfying ending. Are my character motivations clear? Character motivation matters because it affects how characters react to the conflicts or forces acting against them. It also affects how the reader will interpret the resolution of the novel. Does my opening have a hook? Without the hook, there is no reason to keep reading the novel. It should be clear and present within the first chapter, ideally the first sentence. Does each chapter drive the plot forward? Chapters have purpose, my author friends. Each chapter is integral to the plot and story arc. Make sure each chapter conveys the message of the story. Does the ending complete the plot? The ending should not have left any lingering questions unanswered or loose ends, unless it is part of a series. Does the pacing rise and fall? Pacing impacts your story's tone, develops ideas and themes, and allows readers to connect with your characters and events. It should ebb and flow with the story’s events so the novel flows seamlessly, Is it organized? Whether you choose to write linearly or non-linearly, the timeline is a road map for the reader. It gives them a clear understanding of how the story will progress and conclude. Is the dialogue natural? Write dialogue that is casual enough to be believable but polished enough to be readable. Do the descriptions use all five senses? Immerse your reader in the novel’s world wholly and completely. After these ten questions, you are probably ready to hit the ground running on your draft. As you go through your passes, you will find more questions to ask yourself. The ten questions are just the beginning of a world of opportunities available when you revise your draft into a masterpiece.
  24. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the coronavirus has put important life events such as weddings, anniversary celebrations, rites of passage, family gatherings, graduation ceremonies and retirement parties on hold. This holiday season, even though the nation was open for business, people were sick, parties were canceled, and businesses shuttered due to lack of staff. In my area, 30% of Broadway plays are closed due to illness, subway lines are shut, and so are some big box retailers. I was in awe of the lines of people attempting to get a COVID test and even more in awe of the fact emergency medical clinics were closed due to COVID outbreaks within the clinic itself. My social medial blew up with pictures of friends and family quarantined at home because they were sick. It had, but to a much lesser extent, pictures of friends and family who went out on the town but then posted pictures of themselves five days later quarantined at home. It seemed 2022 limped into existence as Omicron was thieving more time from us and had added to the spoils that COVID-19 had taken already. I hope you enjoy the article “Lessons Found in the Lost Year”, by Erika Leodice to remind us to approach setbacks with grace and how to use obstacles as propulsion to drive us forward. https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/17001-lessons-found-in-the-lost-year/#comment-25219
  25. Everyone has a point in time where advice was bestowed upon them, and they never forgot it. They refer to it and pass it on and on. To me, the best advice ever given was when I asked for someone to give me an opinion about a manuscript chapter and they uttered, “So what?”. I remembered my reply too. “I beg your pardon?” To write a compelling novel, you must not only come up with an intriguing idea, believable characters, high stakes, and conflict that propels the protagonist toward his objective, but you must also understand how to create a scene that compels readers—and fill your book with them. That is far more difficult than many people believe. When creating a scene, many authors must consider the scene’s purpose and where it fits in the overall novel. Hence, “So what?”. What is your “what” or your purpose in the chapter? In his article Writing Novel Scenes A to Z - Drama, Sex, and Sass, Michael Neff guides us, point by point, through an organization process. I hope you enjoy! https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/15612-writing-novel-scenes-a-to-z-drama-sex-and-sass/#comment-23905
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