Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Shelfless Book by Bob Mayer and Jen Talty

Last year, I had the privilege of listening to Bob Mayer speak at the Desert Dreams Conference on Independent Book Publishing. This field is growing fast so I admit I'm curious to learn more. I purchased the book he coauthored with Jen Talty, The Shelfless Book. I recently began reading my copy and have found it to be quite interesting. One piece of advice he gives to all experienced writers is to rely more on Beta readers (readers who don't write) to give feedback on your manuscript and not critique groups made up of writers. I am lucky I have people I trust to look over my manuscripts, both writers and nonwriters.

If you are interested in learning more from this NY Times Best-Selling Author, I suggest you pick up a copy of one or more of his books on writing.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Larry Brooks Workshop

Yesterday I attended a workshop presented by Larry Brooks. Other members of Valley of the Sun Romance Writers and I agreed it was one of the best workshops we have ever attended. He has a clear, precise, no nonsense approach.

Larry went over the difference between a story idea, concept and premise. Later, he went over the six core core competencies needed in any good story: concept, character, theme, structure, scenes, and voice. He believes an author can "break out" if one of these elements is "other worldly compelling." He went on to describe each element. He spent hours on structure.

If you ever have a chance to attend his workshop, I highly recommend you do. In the meantime, you can check out his blog  He also has two books available: Story Engineering and Story Physics.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Promo or Write

I had an interesting conversation with some writing friends this past week. They believe traditional publishing is on its way out and authors should publish digital books either by self-publishing or through ebook publishers. They also believe you need to promo several hours a day to get your name out there. We've all heard the stories of writers who spent all day promoting and landed deals with the big publishers. But are there too many writers saturating online promotion sites now because they heard those stories, too?

I have to admit, I felt tired just listening to them. Like many other writers, I work full time, write after work, and then take care of things at home before crashing in my bed for the night. If I promo for hours a day, I wouldn't have time to write, or I wouldn't get enough sleep and would burn out. Don't get me wrong, I do have my Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I just don't live on those sites.

It was also interesting that we shared ideas on where they promote, but neither could be sure just how successful that promotion was. We have a friend who makes much more money self-publishing and she doesn't promote nearly as much as they do. We all agree that some sites for promotion are mainly writers promoting to other writers.

So what do you do? I think every writer needs to follow the path that is calling to them and see where it leads. I for one do not want to lose the love of writing by worrying over how many times I tweet each day.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Can A Book Be Too Intense?

The answer is yes. If you've seen the movie The Place Beyond The Pines, you might understand what I mean. I had read a review in our local paper which echoed the same sentiment, but I was willing to risk seeing the movie because the trailers caught my attention. Although the plot was interesting and the acting was good, I wanted the movie to end sooner than it did. The reason was the film was intense from beginning to end. I had been taught from my writing groups with Romance Writers of America to give your writers an emotional break after an intense scene. During this break, the characters reflect on what is happening and perhaps set a new goal. These breaks may include a touch of humor - anything to give the reader a chance to relax and breathe before you send them into another intense scene. The reader should experience a roller coaster ride of emotion. Can you imagine staying on the free-falling Tower of Terror ride at Disneyland for two hours straight?