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Thursday, August 18, 2016

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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

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, August 18, 2016

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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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Hi again to all my family, friends, and followers,


I thought from now on, I should begin addressing these blog posts to my family members as well as everyone else. I'm sure 1 or 2 of them are following this, ha ha.


Today I thought I'd give you all a word of warning. This past week I read what I thought was a stand alone novel which will remain nameless, and author-less. For the most part it was somewhat boring in the first 4 or5 chapters, but it got more interesting as I kept reading.


The first thing this author did wrong was NOT starting with the main character getting into some kind of trouble, or "terrible trouble," as Dean Koontz often said in his book, "How to Write Best Selling Fiction." The story begins with a lot of background information, or an "info dump" as we writers call it. Maybe I could have tolerated it for a while, but it went on for several chapters. I was about ready to give up on it. The real story didn't begin until the main character went to a party where the hostess was someone who hated the MC and vice versa.


Now, that perked up my interest a little bit.

But the unforgivable sin she left with was ending the story with a cliffhanger, then told reader he/she had to purchase the sequel to find out what happened next. She dropped the story off right at the climax, leaving the reader hanging. Of course, I'm not going to purchase the sequel. The author blew it in my mind and I will probably never read another book of hers. I'm just glad it didn't cost much.


So, two words of warning:


1) Always begin your story with the main character being hit (figuratively) with some kind of "terrible trouble."


2) Never end a story at the apex of the climax with no resolution and expect the reader to purchase your sequel.


In my mind, it ain't gonna happen.


So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "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

Hi again to all my friends and followers. Today, I'm a little rushed. My family and I are close to leaving for a short vacation.


But, nevertheless, I feel an obligation to write something about the process of novel writing.


How many of you have suffered with "writer's block?" I know I have. But going back to Dean Koontz book on "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," he has some ideas that I've found helpful.


There are several ideas such as being relaxed when trying to come up with something to write, or read books of a similar genre, etc.

But the method that I think is most helpful to me is to go back a couple or so pages, begin reading and making some small edits along the way, and by the time you get to where you last left off, your mind should be back in the proverbial "groove."


I hope that helps some of you.

I wish I had more time, but even an author has to take some time off to regenerate his/her mind -- and that's another method that can work to crash through writer's block.

So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter, then PLEASE, write a review and post it on all the sites where you can find my book (especially 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 my posts. And also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and a few other places I can't remember. You can read some GREAT reviews of Bridgetown High on all of these sites if you need more info about Bridgetown High. And if you think of it, a review on Amazon or Goodreads, would be very welcomed.

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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

Hello all my faithful friends and followers. I appreciate the response I got from last week's challenge. Does anyone remember what it was? I know one person did - Thanks Don.
Today, I thought I would reiterate what I wrote several weeks (months?) ago. Over the past few weeks I've read some FREE novels that sort of appealed to me based on the title and a short blurb. With few exceptions, they all started out the same -- booorrrriiiinnnnngggg.

Like I stated several weeks ago, you need to build tension from page 1, the first paragraph, if you can. Then, by the end of the first page, the story line should be so engrossing that the reader can't put it down.

Without tension a book or short story is a waste of time for the reader. And that especially applies to books you paid good money for.

Right now, I'm reading a free book I got on Amazon. I'm on about page 10 and still can't see what the story is all about, let alone is the protagonist into some kind of terrible trouble.

People tell me that self-published books, such as the one I'm currently reading, have gotten better. I'm not believing that. So far, most of the self-pubbed books I've read all start of with the same problem -- booorrriiiinnnnggg. Like, why should I care about this protagonist?

You need to have something the protagonist needs, or is having trouble with from the first paragraph. So, how do you achieve that?

Like I said several weeks ago, have the protagonist in some kind of trouble, or as Dean Koontz says "terrible trouble," right off. Give the protagonist a challenge. Then, as the story progresses, as the protagonist tries to solve his/her terrible trouble, he/she gets deeper and deeper into more trouble until at the very end, the climax if you will, the problems are all solved.
Until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter, then PLEASE, write a review and post it on all the sites where you can find my book (especially 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 my posts. And also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and a few other places I can't remember. You can read some GREAT reviews of Bridgetown High on all of these sites if you need more info about Bridgetown High. And if you think of it, a review on Amazon or Goodreads, would be very welcomed.
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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR
Good afternoon to all my faithful friends and followers. Today, I thought I'd post a short note and brag a bit about some of my reviews. So far, I've gotten only 13 reviews for "Bridgetown High." If Amazon is going to put my book higher on their recommended list, I need many more, at least double what I have now.

So, if you haven't sent a review yet, I hope you will soon. It doesn't have to be long, for example, a reviewer named Clair wrote:

"Loved the book! Couldn't put it down. Stayed up until 3 am. I am familiar with the places Mr. West wrote about which made it even better! Very well written. I can't wait for his next book! Soon I hope."

Not long, but effective, and very appreciated.

But I've been thinking, I have somewhere around 250 consistent friends and followers. I think if everyone of you would write a short, honest  review like that, I think the sales of my book would soar. Here's the link to the book's site where you can post a review: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

If you read "Bridgetown High" and enjoyed it, please consider writing a review.

Thank you for your support,
Paul W. West, Author
Bridgetown High
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Hi, all my faithful friends and followers. I see my email list is growing (slightly, ha ha). Welcome to all of you.



Today, I'm going to talk (type) a bit more about Dean Koontz's recommendations, that being "clear, believable motivations."

I mean, if the motivations ain't clear, who cares? I think motivations are closely related to plot. They are what carry the story, but they also need to be believable.

So, how do you do that? In my novel "Bridgetown High," Mark's motivations are obvious. In Chapeter 1, page 1, he is viewing his family in their closed coffins and the longer he looks, the more angry he becomes, until at the end of the chapter he vows revenge against the person who killed them. Pretty clear? He's got a motive.

I've read some wannabe writers who just didn't have the motivations. It was more like reading a travelog. As the story went along, the motivations came but still a bit fuzzy.

To make my characters' motivations believable I use logic. I'm a stickler for logic. When beginning a story, I ask myself, why would each character think or act the way they do? And, yes. Each and every character needs a motive. Even minor characters can have a motive, though all the main characters NEED to have a motive, including the antagonist. In my novel it's Jeff (if you have read it you'll know what I mean).  Jeff has his motives too. He is from the poor side of town, falls in love with a beautiful girl, Genie, and hates Mark for stealing her away, though he doesn't understand why she would go with Mark instead of him. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but know there's motivation there.

Work on it. This will be your assignment for the coming week. I want you all to report back and let me know how you are including motives and how motive is helping round out your characterization as well as growing the plot.

In the meantime, if you are finding these little teaching sessions helpful (or not), please "Share" and "Like" this blog post on Facebook , and "Re-tweet" it on Twitter yet. Also have you signed up for my email letters on my Blog Site? This will help greatly with the sales (and I need your help here).

I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments to my posts. Also keep in mind "Bridgetown High" is still available on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes&Noble and a few other places I can't remember, and for this week only, it's on sale for $0.99 for the electronic copy. Also, you can read some GREAT reviews of Bridgetown High on all of these sites, but especially Amazon and Goodreads.
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