Now Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Everyone Wants To Be An Author

Comments

Hey, all my faithful followers and friends. Have you seen it? Go to my page at Amazon. Do you see it? The price of my novel's kindle version is reduced. Share this to your friends. I need to sell 10,000 copies by July 10th, the end of the promotion period. (DREAM!). Ha ha. Anyway, Share this with all your "friends" on Facebook and Twitter.


Today I thought I'd mention some more about characterization, but more specifically about building tension. You need tension or reading a novel without tension is a waste of time. You need to have something the protagonist needs, or is having trouble with. So, how do you achieve that?


First, like I said, having some kind of trouble, or as Dean Koontz says "terrible trouble." The beginning of that should begin, or be at least hinted at, from the very first sentence or paragraph, and should be expounded on by the end of the first page.


Another tool to build tension is in every scene -- in every conversation, be it protagonist versus antagonist, or even between friends.  Every conversation should be an argument, if you will. Not hateful or condemning, but disagreeing about something.

Take a look at "Bridgetown High." I've tried hard to make the conversations between characters in every scene, including the opening scene, a disagreement, or an argument, about something. In the opening scene, Mark is having internal dialogue where he feels guilty about what happened to his family. Then, he argues with his grandmother as he vows to get even with whoever killed his family.


I hope that's understandable. Anyway, as always, please remember to "Share" and "Like" this blog post 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.
More on:  , , , , , , , , ,

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, June 23, 2016

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Post a Comment

Hi again to all y faithful followers and friends.


Today I thought I might write more about what Dean Koontz's teacher told him when he asked what made for a great novel. Today, I'll talk about the 4th of the eight things he was told a novel needs: to be colorful, imaginative, and convincing characterizations.


In a lot of the reviews I've received for Bridgetown High the reviewer mentioned that they loved my characters, all kind of saying, "They are well drawn and convincing." So, what made them that way?

The first thing I did for each character was to get into his or her head. Decide what makes them tick. What are their motives? What do they want most? What do they fear most? Then, as situation changed, so did their wants, fears, needs, etc. I even got into the antagonist's head and made him, if not likable, at least sympathetic. I hope you are doing the same with your characterizations.

Some writers use a question/answer sheet for each character, writing these questions down. They also draw verbal descriptions of the characters. I don't go through all that, but I do have this all stored in my head. I'll admit that can be a little scary, however, unless you can remember what a character looks like or thinks from the beginning of the book to the end. In other words being consistent and track all the changes as you write.

In a review I received recently the reviewer said: "Well-drawn characters and exciting. I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. We meet seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson attending the funeral of his parents and little sister and learn they were killed in a car accident  on Christmas eve that he and his other younger sister survived. The story follows him as he deals with this immense tragedy by trying to find out exactly what happened and who was responsible. There is a message about forgiveness and healing in this book."

So, until next time, please "Share" and "Like" this blog post 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. 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.


I
Read More »
Hi, all my friends and followers. How is your writing coming? Have you decided on a title yet? I know, titles are not my thing either. "Bridgetown High" was a lucky decision. If you have a title, or at least a working title, please send it in the "Comments" below. I think others here may like seeing what you are working on.


When I say, "working title," it doesn't have to be what you'll eventually end up calling your novel. I think I must have used several working titles...


Mark and Genie
Sweet Revenge
The Bridge Beckons
Vengeance or Vindication
Bridge to Destiny
Retribution or Vindication

... and maybe a couple others I can't recall right off.

The point is, you don't need to decide on a title right now, and there's a strong possibility that if you go with a traditional publisher, your publisher will change it anyway. I guess I was fortunate. My publisher "Limitless Publishing" didn't change my title.

Hey, I got another great review. What do you think?

Review for Bridge Town High by Paul W. West

Well-drawn characters and exciting. I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. We meet seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson attending the funeral of his parents and little sister and learn they were killed in a car accident  on Christmas eve that he and his other younger sister survived. The story follows him as he deals with this immense tragedy by trying to find out exactly what happened and who was responsible. There is a message about forgiveness and healing in this book.

This is a good novel in the young adult genre and the author has a great understanding of the teenage years with all their complicated emotions involving friendships, love interests, and learning where one belongs in the swirling sea of on again-off again romances. I found the minute details of who was going to the Junior Prom with whom somewhat tiring, but I understand the method behind the madness

I liked the emphasis on forgiveness from a Christian standpoint. I enjoyed the parental wisdom of Mark’s grandmother, who courageously takes over the care of Mark and his sister while dealing with the death of her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild. She often quotes her mother and one of the best is “’what we see today as a tragedy, we may look back at tomorrow as a blessing’”. Of course Mark balks at this advice, but the reader hopes he will one day accept what has happened and begin to enjoy life again. He does, and the reader gets to go along for the ride.

The book is enjoyable and exciting. This book is worth the read and stays true to the genre with no profanity or sexual content, though some of the characters use alcohol and drugs. There is some violence, but no more than is seen in any television program. I highly recommend it for adults and young people alike.

So, how does that sound? I hope that will help sell a few hundred copies, maybe a thousand or more (just kidding)

So, until next time, please "Share" and "Like" this blog post 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. 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. In fact I just got another great review from a follower that should be posted in the next few days.
Read More »
Good afternoon, all my faithful friends and followers.


I hope you're all getting some good ideas to generate a great plot.


Today, I'm going to cover the next issue Dean Koontz's high school teacher taught him: "You need a hero or a heroine or both."

Can you imagine a story without a hero or heroine? What would that be? Boring! Jack London's novels "Call of the Wild," and "White Fang" had heros -- the dogs.

I suppose if you are writing in first person, the first person narrator would automatically be the hero/heroine. Or would it? I can imagine a first person narrator relating the story of someone else, probably from his memory of the circumstances that spawned the story. In that situation, the story is really being told in third person. Either way, you still need a hero or heroine. How do you decide who that is going to be?

In Bridgetown High, Mark is the first person we meet and the story pretty much follows his struggles through to the end. But there are other characters that we learn about as we read the novel. The main heroine in this book would have to be Genie. We watch her struggles too and care about what happens to her.

But Gary, Charisse, and even Jeff (the antagonist) have their stories that make us care for them as well. So, are they also heros or heroines? I purposely wrote a sub-plot for each of them that ties together with Mark's story in the end. So, while not being main characters, they still have their own stories and are heros or heroines in their own minds.

Does that make any sense? So, how can someone as despicable as Jeff be a hero? I went deep into his mind and found he has some deep-seated psycological issues brought on by his upbringing including an abusive father and hard working mother who never had time for him. Would you call him a hero? In his story, his actions are heroic in his mind.

For each of my main characters I've done the same, making them likable, or at least sympathetic. I think that is what made Bridgetown High the great story it is.

If you haven't done so yet, you'll have to read "Bridgetown High" to see what I mean. Please let me know what you think.
In the meantime, please "Share" and "Like" this blog post 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. 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. In fact I just got another great review from a follower that should be posted in the next few days.
Read More »
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR
 Hi again all my friends and followers.
How's your writing going? I hope you're hard at it.

Last week I talked about developing a strong plot. The next thing Dean Koontz's teacher mentioned was "a great deal of action."
You don't want a ho hummer. You want to make it so that your reader can't put the book down. How do you do that? Make each scene a conflict or resolution.
 Even when talkingwith a friend, you want your characters conversations to be conflicting. In my novel, I hope I've done that in every scene. If it doesn't have conflicting or resolving it's got to be boring. You want to keep your reader on the edge of her/his seat. In Bridgetown High, I've tried to make this a rule. For example, in the scene between Genie and Kathy, where Genie gets a huge crush on Brent Anderson, Kathy ribs Genie that she's always flirting with boys. To which, Genie tries to disagree, but goes after Brent anyway, thinking to herself that Kathy was wrong. She's just being friendly.

That's a minor example, but I hope  you get the idea.

At the request of most of my readers, I've decided to "try" to write a sequel to "Bridgetown High." However, I'm realizing the opening chapter is not what I wanted. There's little or no conflict, though there is a hint of trouble to come.
Also, the opening chapter should plunge the main character in some kind of trouble. I've probably said that before.

So, until next week, I'll quit for now. If you have any questions, please post them in the comment section below.

In the meantime, please "Share" and "Like" this blog post 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. 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.
Read More »
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR
Greetings to all my friends and followers. How's your writing going?

What? You haven't started yet?

Get going. Your story won't write itself (to coin cliche')

Last week I talked about Dean Koontz's 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 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'm only repeating it here in case you missed it and don't want to scroll down to last week's posting.
Let's take a closer look at the first thing she suggested -- "a strong plot."
This is essential. Without a strong plot you might was well be writing a term paper. So-called "literary" novels usually don't have much of a plot, if any, and they are usually boooorrring! And to some, they aren't really novels. So, what makes for a strong plot?

There are lots of ways you can spin your imagination. Some writers use plot wheels, plot cards, etc. As for me, I've mentioned this in earlier posts, one of my college professors taught me to begin with a strong scene in mind, one that places the main character in some kind of terrible trouble, then dream up an ending that wraps up all the loose ends. Ss you write, everything you write must work toward that ending. I have to admit, however, I don't have a strong ending in mind for my sequel to Bridgetown High yet, but I have begun writing the opening chapter. I do have an ending, just not one I'm super happy with -- yet. It will come.

Once you begin writing your novel, don't be afraid to deviate and let the story wander, as long as you can tie all the loose ends together by the ending.

When I began writing "Bridgetown High," I actually ended with what I had originally used for my opener. How did that happen? Long story, don't ask, but it worked. Then, as I got more and more into the story, a love story between Mark's cousin, Gary and Kathy, developed. Then Jeff was created who was overly jealous with anyone who had it for Genie -- especially Mark. Genie originally started out as a not so nice girl, but that changed as I got to know her better. Then, I developed another sub-plot with Charisse who Mark is crazy about, at first, but he eventually learns she's not the girl he wants for eternity.

All these sub-plots gave color to the story line, as these characters tended to take on a life of their own.

You'll have to read "Bridgetown High" to see what I mean. Please let me know what you think.

In the meantime, please "Share" and "Like" this blog post 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. 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.
Read More »
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR
Hi again, to all my faithful friends and followers.

So, how are you doing with your writing. Did last week's post teach you what not to do? I ran my review past the author of the novel I was reviewing and she agreed with my rating of 3 stars out of 5 and understood why: that I wasn't trying to be critical, but helpful. Maybe she's following this blog??? If so, I'd love for her to comment.


This week, I'm going to talk about what it takes to be a best-selling author. A long time ago, 1972, Dean Koontz published a very helpful book titled: "How to Write Best-Selling Fiction." I cut my writerly teeth on that book and wish I had a copy of it, even today. But I did take some notes that have helped me a great deal. Over the weeks I'll share some of them with you.

The first notes I have, 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 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 could write a college thesis on each of those subjects. Maybe I will go over them in greater detail in the coming weeks. I think they give a lot of food for thought - to spin a cliche'.

One thing Mr. Koontz didn't cover was how publishing has changed from the old find an agent who will find a publisher for you. Today, agents are still around, but difficult to find, and most traditional publishers these days require authors to do most of their own marketing, and independent self-publishing requires writers to do pretty much the same (a lesson I still haven't digested).

Take a close look at the list of eight things readers demand and see how they can help with your writing.
In the meantime, please "Share" and "Like" this blog post on Facebook , and "Retweet" it on Twitter yet. 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.
Read More »