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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

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Hi, all my friends:

Today I thought the first thing I want to do is differentiate between "writer" and "author." Maybe you all know this all ready, but just to be sure, an "author" is a published "writer." Now, in my mind, I struggle with what constitutes "published?" There are those who are self-published and those who are published by a traditional publishing company, I'll leave that question up to you.

OK, now back to this week's lesson.

Before I do that, I need to ask, is there any aspect to writing fiction you would like me to cover? Let me know in the comments below.

Now, back to my subjects from Dean Koontz.

I've touched on some of the eight things he thinks the average reader demands of a novel: "1) a strong plot; 2) a great deal of action; 3) a hero or a heroine or both; 4) colorful, imaginative and convincing characterizations; 5) clear, believable character motivations; 6) well-drawn backgrounds; 7) at least some familiarity with the rules of English grammar and syntax -- the more familiarity the better, of course; 8)a style which embodies at least a trace of lyrical language and as many striking images as possible, for good writing is always vivid and visual."

I think I've covered #1 #2 and #3 pretty well. So, I'll try to cover #4. In my novel "Bridgetown High." I think my most colorful character is the antagonist, Jeff Marino. He's a scumbag, for sure. He loves to drink and he is addicted to his smokes. He absolutely hates the protagonist, Mark Wilkerson, because Mark won their love interest, Genie Lombardi, away from him. Jeff goes to great lengths to win Genie back, all to no avail. When his best friend dies, Jeff becomes real to the reader as he mourns over him, and as I wrote that scene, I even felt bad for him. I think Jeff is the most well-drawn character in my book. If you haven't yet, you need to get a copy of Bridgetown High and see what I mean.

When creating characters, don't hesitate to develop him/her as fully as you can.

So, good luck with your writing. And if you have something you'd like me to cover, please ask. I can't promise I can answer everything, but I'll try.


And, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Re-tweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review of "Bridgetown High" and post it on my author page at Amazon.

Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments to this blog. And keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available at Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and several other places I can't remember, both in kindle e'book, and paperback, which I recommend. You can read some GREAT reviews about Bridgetown High on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about it

See y'all next week,
Paul W West, Author
Bridgetown High
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, September 22, 2016

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Hi Gang. Welcome to today's bit of wisdom. Well, if you don't agree with the wisdom part, at least welcome to my blog, he he.

Today, I thought I'd talk about the importance of having a story question from page 1. I just started reading a murder mystery novel by Kim Smith, a good friend of mine. Her novel is called Disk of Death. She has come a long way in her writing from when worked together in my critique group -- now defunct.

Like I said last week, she begins her book of with the main character, Shannon Wallace, into some terrible trouble (you'll have to read the book to find out what that terrible trouble is). Then, the story question. How is she going to cope with her new life's situation. Then as she tries to cope, the trouble only gets worse and the reader wonders (story question) how can things get worse?

That is a good example of what I was talking (writing) about last week, and Kim does it well.

So, make sure when you begin your novel that you follow that example. Otherwise, you'll loose your reader before they get to the bottom of page 1.


For those of you who have read "Bridgetown High," do you think Mark Wilkerson's terrible trouble, though seemingly solved, can get any worse? I'm working on a sequel and Mark will be in worse trouble than he, and you readers, ever thought. Keep posted. I'm aiming for submission to
agents and/or editors by next year (oh, and by the way, I have no idea where this photo came from, so I hope the person who posted it on Facebook won't be too upset).

Good luck with your writing.

And, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Re-tweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review of "Bridgetown High" and post it on my author page at Amazon.

Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments to this blog. And also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available at Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and several other places I can't remember, both in kindle e'book, and paperback. You can read some GREAT reviews about Bridgetown High on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about it

See y'all next week,
Paul W West, Author
Bridgetown High










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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

Good afternoon, all my family and friends.

Today, I thought I'd talk about a different aspect of writing -- beginner's faux pas.

Recently, I have been purposely reading books by self-published authors. I'm doing that in an effort to find good, well written, literature.

Frankly, I'm not having much success. I recently joined a web-based book review site in hopes they might review my novel, "Bridgetown High." I really need reviews on Amazon and thought this site may provide one or more (preferably more). I volunteered to do some reviewing in return.

Honestly, it's a bore.

Almost all of these books by self-published authors (and I'm using that term "authors" loosely) begin with a huge info dump, all the background, on the first two or three pages. Then they SCREAM "Look Ma, I c'n rite." The books are full of misspelled words and punctuation errors.

Then, as I read on, the story lines do tend to be well thought out, and somewhat entertaining, but there are always inconsistencies that drive me crazy, making the read not as enjoyable as I expect.

For example, in the book I'm currently reviewing, the main character says she's 14 years old. Then, in a later chapter she says she's been doing something (I won't say what to not give it away) for two years, making her 16. Then she goes back to having the girl be 14 again. Near the beginning she gives her life's story, thus far, which goes pretty smooth. However, she gives that same story at least 3 other times - boooorrrrriiiinnnnngggg.

I don't mean to be critical, but I'm trying to warn you, regardless of how you want to be published, self or traditional, don't do what this lady, and many others like her, have done. Get a good editor, beta reader, or at least a good critique group. I believe you can be successful which ever route you choose, but get the professional help you need.

Keep that in mind when you are writing your best selling fiction.
And, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review of "Bridgetown High" and post it on my author page on Amazon.

Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments to this blog. And also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available at Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and several other places I can't remember, both in kindle e'book, and paperback. You can read some GREAT reviews of Bridgetown High on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about it

See y'all next week,
Paul W West, Author
Bridgetown High
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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR 

Hello to all my Friends and Family.
Today I thought I'd write a bit more I'm extracting from Dean Koontz's book, "How to Write Best Selling Fiction." He suggests "The average reader demands eight things of a novel:" and he proceeds to list them. One that I think is paramount he lists as second in his list: "a great deal of action."

Have you ever read a book that just makes your eyes glaze over and instead of "I couldn't put it down," you say "I couldn't keep from putting it down." I recently read a book like that. It's written by a great, self published, author that I admire. But one of her books just put me to sleep and after about 10 chapters of boredom I had to give it up. I may take it up again if I find nothing  else to read. Some books are so filled with internal dialog (thoughts) that nothing ever gets accomplished.

If you want to write a best selling book, it's got to have some action, or as Dean Koontz said, "... a great deal of action."

In my novel "Bridgetown High," I tried to put some action, if only in dialog, into every scene.

I also read a "how too" book by Jack M. Bickham. The title of his book is "Scene and Structure." If I only got one thing from his advice it's that for every scene, such as a fight, argument, chase scene, etc., you need to have a sequel to unwind, so to speak. He calls that "Strucure." He explainns, "Structure is nothing more than a way of looking at your story material so that it's organized in a way that's both logical and dramatic." And that brings up another subject for another day (logic).

So, I wrote "Bridgetown High" with both ideas in mind, action and structure.

Keep that in mind when you are writing your best selling fiction.

And, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review of "Bridgetown High" and post it on my author page on Amazon.

Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments to this blog. And also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available at Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and several other places I can't remember, both in kindle e'book, or paperback. You can read some GREAT reviews of Bridgetown High on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about it

See y'all next week,
Paul
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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

Hi, to all my family and friends (note I didn't say "followers." I think if you are following me, you are my friend).

Today, I want to pose a question, and I hope you will all take five minutes and give me an honest answer.


My novel, "Bridgetown High" has garnered some great review on Amazon.com, and many of you have asked me to write a sequel, and some have even suggested turning "Bridgetown High" into a movie.


So far, I've written more than 30 pages of the sequel, but it's not coming easy. I probably need a good critique group to encourage and help me.


When I wrote "Bridgetown High," I never intended it to be the first of a series. I had two other books in mind that I was having fun with. One I titled, "GERTA!" and the other, "Johnny Sweeting's Story," (for lack of a better title).


Gerta is set in the early 1950s and is about a poor disadvantaged girl that no one likes. It's primarily about bullying, but the main character grows to love her -- as a friend.


"Johnny Sweeting's Story" is set in 1910 and is about a young man from the coal fields in Wyoming who accidently kills a co-worker. He has to flee to California to escape being jailed and hung.


My question to you is, which would you prefer me to write?

  • A Bridgetown High Sequel
  • GERTA!
  • Johnny Sweeting's Story

I apologize that I do not have any tips about writing this week, but I do need your help in exchange for the advice I've given you over the past several months.


So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review of "Bridgetown High" and post it on my author page on Amazon.

Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments to this blog. And also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available at Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and several other places I can't remember, both in kindle e'book, or paperback. You can read some GREAT reviews of Bridgetown High on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about it

See y'all next week,
Paul

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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR
Good afternoon all my family, friends, and followers. I hope everyone is busy writing your "Great American Novel."

I've quoted Dean Koontz on my blog several times, and thinking you, or I, can ever think of writing the "great American novel," is absurd, but I'm sure some writers are pompus to think they can do it. Think of some of the great novels you've read. They are worth trying to emulate, but don't beat yourself up if you come up short. Just be glad you can write something people will like to read.

Some of you might recall my quoting of Dean Koontz as he quoted his high school teacher who said the following: 
"The average reader demands eight things of a novel: 1) a strong plot; 2) a great deal of action; 3) a hero or a heroine or both; 4) colorful, imaginative, and convincing characterizations; 5) clear, believable motivations; 6) well-drawn backgrounds; 7) at least some familiarity with the rules of English grammar and syntax - the more familiarity the better, of course, and 8) a style which embodies at least a trace of lyrical language and as many striking images as possible, for good writing is always vivid and visual."
Let's take a quick look at number 1. a strong plot.
I've talked about this several times now. A strong plot is essential if you want to have readers. It begins with (as I've said before) getting the main character in "terrible trouble" on page one, paragraph one.
As he/she tries to overcome the terrible trouble, he/she gets deeper and deeper into trouble as the story develops. There can be side stories, other characters with plots of their own, but the main character's troubles have to be uppermost in the reader's mind, and must relate to the main story somehow. As the story progresses, with the MC getting deeper and deeper in trouble, it eventually must come to a head, or climax, where the MC overcomes his "terrible trouble." I've read some novels that, after the climax, go on and on for several chapters. That's when I put the novel down and forget it. After the climax, the denoument, as it's called, can't be more than a chapter or two to resolve all the loose ends.

So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon. Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments to this blog. And also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and several other places I can't remember. You can read some GREAT reviews of Bridgetown High on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about Bridgetown High.
See y'all next week,
Paul
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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

Hello again to all my faithful family, friends, and followers.

Today, I thought I'd talk about the need for a hero or heroine. As Dean Koontz put it: "Your lead character doesn't have to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and he doesn't have to stop speeding bullets with his bare hands, but he darn well better know the difference between right and wrong, and he better be kind to animals, and it sure wouldn't hurt if he brushed his teeth regularly."

Ha ha. In other words, he/she needs to be real. He/she needs to have faults and strengths just like everyone else.

In my book, "Bridgetown High," the main character, Mark Wilkerson, has his faults. His story begins when he's mourning the loss of his family and wondering who killed them, and what he would do if and when he ever found out. He is angry. He wants revenge! But deep down inside he wants to have a normal life again. He wants to love and be loved, and in the end he learns forgiveness and wins the girl he loves.

In contrast, Jeff Mario, the antagonist, is also real. As you read it, it becomes clear that he is from a broken home. He wants to be accepted, but because he dresses in dirty clothes, few, if any of his fellow school mates like him. He is also angry, deep down inside, and acts up as a result to get some kind of attention. He also has his heroic qualities. When Genie, the girl of his dreams, is being teased to tears by another boy, Jeff comes to her rescue even though the other boy is much taller and stronger.

If you haven't read "Bridgetown High" yet, I hope you will get a copy and enjoy it. I had great fun writing it, and I'm having fun writing the sequel.

By the way, if you are interested in reading it and writing a review, I will give you a free Kindle copy.

Until next time, I'll say happy writing and reading.
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