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EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

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 Hi again, y'all,

I think the title of this blog, "EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR," is so true. I know it was for me. It took me a long time to get published, plus it took the help of some fantastic writers and critique partners to get there. But "Bridgetown High" is the result. It's not well known, yet, but those who have found it, and read it, loved it. Have you gotten your copy yet? Remember you can get it in either Kindle (electronic) or paperback versions. Either version can be found on Amazon. Also, remember, the sequel I'm calling, "The Bridge Beckons," is in the works.

Well, today I promised you I would talk a bit about Dean Koontz's advice that we have "well-drawn backgrounds." Koontz goes into a lot of detail about this subject.

Consider, for a moment, that if you've never been to the place where your novel is set, how can you portray it adequately so that the reader feels he/she knows the place? If the reader can't picture the place/setting he's going to toss the book in the trash. I've had to do that when critiquing some novels by new writers (that wasn't the only reason, but a big one). I simply couldn't follow the story, or get set in the background. It just didn't seem real.

I struggled with getting the setting right until I set my book in someplace recognizable. But even more than that, I also did a lot of research into background setting. It starts with a "real" funeral parlor in a real town, that even if you'd never been there you can still see it in your mind. Then, I set most of the novel in the shadow of the Carquinez Bridge overlooking the small town of Crockett, California. The bridge plays a big role in the story line. Actually, the Carquinez Bridge (about 35 miles northeast of San Francisco) is quite recognizable to anyone who's crossed it with the huge C&H Sugar refinery at the base of the south end of the bridge. Then, the next, and probably the biggest setting, is the local high school, John Swett High School in Crockett. I had to reach back in my memory banks a lot to make sure the setting was accurate the way things really were back in 1965, when the book is set, and that has been a big draw to readers who have been there.

Now, if I hadn't set the book in these settings, I suppose I could have set it anywhere, as long as I did the research sufficient to portray the setting accurately.

And, that's where science fiction and fantasy come in. Most often, these genre do not have known settings and the author, not if not doing a good job at the descriptions, asks us to suspend disbelief.  To me, that's a tough assignment. These settings are most often totally made up by the author, hoping that the reader will follow the made up descriptions. Not an easy thing to do, but I applaud those who have done it successfully. Not being a huge fan of these genre, I frankly don't know how these authors do it. They have to completely create a new background and be true to it all the way through the story, and many times the background/setting becomes a character as well, with motives of its own.

That's all for today. If you have any questions, or don't understand something I said here, drop me an email (paulwwest@yahoo.com), or leave a comment on this blog or Facebook site where I also post these blogs.

So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon or Goodreads. Also have you signed up for my email letters from this Blog Site? I would love to see you there and have you introduce yourself and give comments, good or bad, to this blog. And also keep in mind "BRIDGETOWN HIGH" is still available on Amazon. Also, you can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. And keep in mind, if I ever get some free time, I have a sequel in the works.

(By-the-way, the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week.
Paul 

P.S. I have no idea who took that picture above, so I hope he/she doesn't mind my using it.
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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, April 20, 2017

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A great big "Hi" to all my faithful family and followers. Have you entered your email address into my blog site yet? In case you're reading this on FaceBook or Goodreads my blog is at www.paulwwest.com.


Today, I'm going to touch on the next thing Dean Koontz suggested to write successful, best-selling, fiction. That is, to have "clear, believable character motivations.


Seriously, if your characters aren't motivated about something, you don't have a story. So, what is your characters' motivations? Well, while I can't answer that for you here, I will toss out some of my characters' motives.


Starting with Mark. His motivation begins with wanting to get revenge against the hit-and-run driver that caused the accident that killed his family. But be sure, most, if not all characters have more than one motive. For those of you who have read BRIDGETOWN HIGH you'll quickly realize he's a typical teenager with those red-hot hormones that make most boys tick. While trying to get back to some sort of normalcy, he meets Charisse -- and he's gone. Of course, when he finds out who killed his family, there's a whole new set motives that I won't go into here, just to say that revenge plays a large role.


Then, there's Genie. Her motives, at first, are just to be popular and get a date with the handsomest guy in school. If you've read the book, you'll know how that turned out.

Then, Jeff. He's from a dysfunctional family and only wants to be liked, but his behavior as the school's screw up turns people off. Only by the luck of the Irish (Italian really) he gets a date with Genie, only to be robbed of his date when Mark steals Jeff's date. Can you tell me what motivation Jeff shows next? And it gets worse until the end when everything is resolved -- well sort of. That's when my new sequel will kick in.

I hope I've given you enough ideas about motives to get you to purchase the book.

So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon or Goodreads. 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, good or bad, to this blog. And also keep in mind "BRIDGETOWN HIGH" is still available on Amazon. Also, you can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. And keep in mind, if I ever get some free time, I have a sequel in the works.

(By-the-way, the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week.
Paul
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Hello to all my wonderful family and friends (and if you're reading this, you are one or the other in my mind).

Today, I have to brag, just a bit. Last week's blog post got nearly 1,000 readers. WOW! Now, if everyone would get a copy of my book, and sign up for my email, that would be wonderful.


Today, I want to cover the next thing Dean Koonts said is what the average reader demands if you want to write best-selling fiction. That is: "Colorful, imaginative, and convincing characterizations."


I remember when I first read that, I realized my characters were pretty much vanilla pudding. Mark was so, so, and Genie didn't exist, neither did Gary. As soon as I read that, I realized I needed to do something to make my characters people that other people would care about.


First thing I did was to I change Mark, making him more aggressive, more of a boy who would be tough in a fight, though the only fights he ever got into was when three other boys attacked him. In his big fight scene, Mark tries to fight, but with 3 on 1 that's kind of tough, and Jeff, the antagonist nearly kills him. You'll have to read Bridgetown High to see what I mean.

Second, I invented Gary. Gary is a colorful character, being a hippy and a draft dodger. In spite of that, to make him of value to the story, I decided to make him Mark's cousin, and that role plays in some serious interaction with Mark throughout the book, but mostly at the end. 'Nuff said for now.

Third, I created Genie, but she started out as a real problem to Mark. She went from a bad girl, a druggie, and a rape victim, to the pretty, sweet, talented girl with a lot of spunk and in the end, the girl who, due to her great love for Mark, took the bullet meant for him. Did she live or die? You'll have to read Bridgetown High to find out.

And, that brings me to Jeff, the hated antagonist. He's a poor boy from across the proverbial tracks. I spent a lot of time in his head, making him as real as I could. Through his head, and some of his friends, we learn to empathize and actually feel sorry, for him. We learn he lives in a broken home, had an abusive father, and so on. By the time I got through with him, most readers actually sympathize with him as well as empathize with him, though they don't condone his actions. Again, if you haven't read the Bridgetown High, Get a copy so you'll see what I mean.


There are other characters, of course, but I'll leave of their descriptions off for now. Just remember, your characters need to resonate with the reader. Brainstorm and see if you can't make your characters more real, and someone the reader can love, or like Jeff, someone the readers can hate.

Okay. So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon or Goodreads. 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, good or bad, 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. Also, you can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. And keep in mind, if I ever get some free time, I have a sequel in the works.

(By-the-way, the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week.
Paul
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Hi to all my wonderful friends and family. I hope your writing is going well.

Today I thought I'd cover two of Dean Koontz's requirements for writing "Best Selling Fiction." Note that he didn't say "Selling Fiction," or just "Fiction." The advice in his book of that title should garner best sellingdom. However, inasmuch as he wrote this over 30 years ago, like many of us, he didn't foresee the internet and the concept of self-publication. Those just didn't happen back when he wrote his book. Still, a lot of what he wrote will always stand the test of time, and today's blog entry will show how some of what he wrote in his book is still true today.

3) "A hero or a heroine or both:
I suspect most of you will go "oh duh." Of course you will want a hero or a heroine or both, but back when Koontz wrote his book, those of academia thought such devices were the works of hacks, rather than true novelists and some may still feel that way. I think we writers today have overcome that phobia, however. Just make sure your hero/heroine is realistic. Get into his/her head, like I tried to do with my characters in Bridgetown High. A lot of the critiques written about my book commented on how realistic my characters seemed.



4) "Colorful, imaginative, and convincing characterizations.
I think this goes along with #3 as you want all of your characters to be at minimum convincing. In Bridgetown High I even got into the head of the antagonist, Jeff Marino. First, the town where most of this story takes place, Crockett, California, has a predominant population of Italian descent, so I made Jeff an Italian. I also made Genie Lombardi, the heroine, Italian too. However, Mark, with a surname of Wilkerson, is more of English descent. But that's just the beginning. Jeff is motivated to win Genie's love and I get into his head to show that, but Genie is motivated to win Mark's love, and I show that. There's also another triangle, Mark is torn between two girls, Genie and Charisse, the school's head cheerleader, and probably the most popular girl in school, and I get into her deep thoughts as well. But that's still now enough. Mark is suffering the loss of his family. I had to get deep into his head so the reader can feel what Mark feels. I even got deep into Jeff's head so the reader can feel what Jeff was feeling. And, so it went with all my main characters. I hope you get the idea and that will help you in your novel writing.

So, if you like what I've written here, you should like my book, "Bridgetown High." Then do me a favor and get a copy of Bridgetown High and write a nice, 5-STAR review and post it on my Amazon page and/or Goodreads page, and I wish you happy writing of your own "Best Selling Fiction."

Thanks for reading this and I'll have more next week, God willing.
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Hi again to all my faithful followers.

Today I thought I'd delve into the second of Dean Koontz's suggestions for writing a good novel:

2) "a great deal of action."




Can you ever think of reading a novel that is full of hearts and flowers? After about the second page your reader is going, "ho mum. What's the point?"


No, a successful novel needs action, some excitement. A lot of literary novels shun action, but how many people read their stuff?


Koontz goes on to explain you need a villain, or antagonist if you will, plus a hero or heroine, or protagonist. That, then, emphasizes the need for a plot which we discussed last week to help the protagonist solve his/her terrible trouble. Literary novels seldom have a plot, again making them boooorrrriiiiinnnnnggg. By pitching an antagonist against a protagonist you build tension and excitement with lots of action.

I hope these writing tips help. Next week I'll give you more suggestions that I hope will make your fiction writing more exciting and, hopefully, salable. Until then, if you like this blog, or even more, my book, "Bridgetown High" do me a favor and write a 5-STAR review and post it on my Amazon page. It should only take 5 or 10 minutes. You can find my book at www.bridgetownhigh.com.

Also, to see some of the great reviews for Bridgetown High, go to my Amazon site: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ref=cm_sw_su_dp, or my Goodreads site at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26873370-bridgetown-high?from_search=true

Thanks for following me. See ya'll next week.

Paul W. West, Author
Bridgetown High
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A warmer "hi" to all my friends and family, even if you don't think you're my friend, you are. The weather here in Utah has been delightful, actually a bit too warm -- record breaking.


Over the past few weeks I've only given you quick and dirty advice about your writing. So, today I thought I'd get back to the basics and give you some of the solid advice I learned from Dean Koontz several years ago in his book, "How to Write Best Selling Fiction" (1972). It's a great book on the art and mechanics of writing best selling fiction. If you can find a copy (maybe in your local library???) get it. It's a bit dated, copyrighted in 1972, and went through a third printing in 1984. He wrote this a long time before the self-publishing craze we're currently going through. Still I think it's got a lot of good advice for writers today, advice that kept me going when I felt like giving up when I was writing Bridgetown High.


In Chapter 2, pages 13 - 14 of his book, he summarizes what makes for "Best Selling" fiction, and I think these bits of advice still apply. He says, "The average reader demands eight things of a novel:
1) a strong plot; 2) a great deal of action; 3) a strong 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."

Today, I'll only touch on one of these 8 items. I mean, if it took Koontz a whole hardback book to cover them, there's not way I can do more than one in this short blog. I don't pretend to think I can do any one of them true justice in this blog, but I will touch on my thoughts.

1) "a strong plot."

What makes for a strong plot? You can't believe how many of today's novels lack a strong plot. This is especially true of self-published novels, and why they might not interest an agent or traditional publisher. Frankly, I have difficulty reading such novels. They just don't draw me in.

A strong plot incorporates most of the other basics Koontz listed. I always go to my plotting advice where you need to have your main character (MC) in some kind of "terrible trouble," as Koontz calls it, beginning on page 1, paragraph 1, if possible. That way the reader begins to care for the MC from the first page. Then, as the MC tries to get out of trouble, their troubles only get worse. That is the beginning of your plot. I always try to write the ending right after I write paragraph 1. The reason for this is to focus your writing toward solving the MC's terrible troubles. You can certainly have sub-plots, and they help to make the story richer, but they all need to be resolved before you type, "The End."

I'll try to get to the other of Koontz's advice next week. Until then, if you like this blog, or even more, my book, "Bridgetown High" do me a favor and write a 5-STAR review and post it on my Amazon page. It should only take 5 or 10 minutes. You can find my book at www.bridgetownhigh.com.




Also, to see some of the great reviews for Bridgetown High, go to my Amazon site: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ref=cm_sw_su_dp, or my Goodreads site at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26873370-bridgetown-high?from_search=true

See ya'll next week.

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High to all my family and friends.


This past week has been a very busy one. So, I thought I'd ask what do you want me to tell you about the writing world.



There's so much to talk about, and over the past 30+ years I've learned a thing or two or three. So, contact me with some ideas of how I can help you in your quest to become an author. Like I said in earlier postings, I'm doing this blog to help you see what I have gone through to become a published author, and now all I'm going through to get my book to sell. The two ain't the same, believe me. I'm struggling to learn what to do just to get my book noticed. That ain't easy either. My publisher has done a great job of printing, editing, designing cover art, and promoting it to Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes&Noble, etc. There are other outlets they've used to sell my book, but I can't remember what they are.

Now, I'm still trying to get reviews. The ones some of you have done for me are great and I truly appreciate them. I have a rating of 4.2 STARS on Amazon and 4.5 STARS on Goodreads. I'm learning, however, that the more reviews you get on Amazon, Goodreads,  and Barnes&Noble, and the more "Likes" and "Shares" you get on Facebook the more likely you are to sell books. "Likes" let Amazon know how popular the book is on their site. "Shares" let your "Friends" know it's for sale and any other bits of information like this blog post. By the way, if you want to read the great reviews Bridgetown High has garnered so far go to this Amazon site: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ref=cm_sw_su_dp or on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26873370-bridgetown-high?from_search=true

So, if you like my book, "Bridgetown High" do me a favor and write a 5 STAR review and post it on my Amazon page.

Until next week, be thinking of what you'd like me to discuss about the writing profession and I'll try to answer as best I can.

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