EVERYONE WANTS TO BE AN AUTHOR

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Hi Gang,


How is your writing going?


I thought today I would talk about antagonists, or the bad guys and girls.


A lot of the time, I read stories that don't describe the antagonists beyond maybe facial features, body build, and maybe skin and hair color. They also usually give the antagonists a motive for why they are antagonists, but that's it.


While these things are important, there should be much more in depth descriptions. In my novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH, I went into a lot of descriptions of Jeff Marino. I not only portrayed him as a bully, but also as a poor boy from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks, a boy with no family life, his mother works two jobs just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. He has only one friend, Bobby Baker, who tries to help. Jeff has one great passion, Genie Lombardi, a protagonist. He is in love with her and she becomes the reason he hates Mark Wilkerson (the main protagonist).

As the story unfolds, Jeff looses Bobby to a horrible accident (you'll have to read the book to find out how). I described in detail how he felt, how he mourned for his best friend, almost like a brother. He then goes through what I think is a metamorphosis. He begins to blame everyone he associated with, especially Mark. He even blames Genie who dumped him for Mark. In short, I describe what's going on in his mind, how he changes and wants revenge.

If you're serious about writing, take my advice when it comes to the antagonist. Get into his/her head to make him/her real, to come alive on the pages.

Good luck. I hope that encourages you, not discourages you. For me, writing is in my blood. I just can't quit. I hope my next novel, a sequel to BRIDGETOWN HIGH, will be as well written.
So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog/message, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" or "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon. I need all the reviews I can get to make this book a success. 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 at Amazon. You can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. Almost everyone who has read it, loved it.




(By-the-way, if you are reading this on my blog (www.paulwwest.com) the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week, and happy writing.
Paul
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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, June 15, 2017

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Hello, all my favorite boys and girls.

Are you ready for some more of my wisdom about writing?


Well, I don't know how much is wisdom and how much is desperation, ha ha.


When I began writing fiction, the first thing I did was go to the library to see what it had in the way of  helps. I searched the card catalog (this was before the spread of the internet) for "How to write" and found several great books on the subject. Books by Dean Koontz, Jack Bickham, Ronald Tobias, among others I can't recall right now. To me, the best was "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," by Dean Koontz. That may be the reason I quote him so much.


As I thought about a story line, I realized I needed to do some research. The first things I consulted, believe it or not, were my high school year books. Since I'd decided I wanted my novel to be set there, I wanted to make sure I described things as accurately as I could. Several of you have commented in your reviews how they could visualize the places and events I described in "Bridgetown High." Then, knowing I would likely portray kids with drugs, I did research into drug addiction and effects of taking mentamphetamines with alcohol. That research brought me to write one of the most dramatic scenes in the book, but it also let me know when I've overdone it.

Here is an exerpt of that scene. To give you a bit of lead up, Alan had bought meth and stole some beer for a drug party. Then he and Jeff, Genie, and Chris went for a joy ride across the Carquinez Bridge. There's more, but I have to keep something for you to wonder about, he he he. I also won't give you the outcome of this little chase scene, he he he. Enjoy!



“No! Bobby, no!” Chris yelled as Alan leaned over the steering wheel so Bobby could push the door open and get out.


Bobby didn’t answer. Then Genie saw the pistol in his hand.


“Bobby,” Chris screamed. “Where you get that?”
 
Chris grabbed Bobby’s shirt as he climbed out, “Bobby, No! Don’ do it. Get back in here!” Tears were streaming down Chris’s face as she tried to hold onto his shirt, but he pulled away from her. Then she screamed again, this time in Spanish.

“Bobby,” Genie screamed too. “Get back in here. You’re going to get hurt.” She wanted to say killed, but couldn’t bring herself to say it.



Horns blared as cars passed, barely brushing past Bobby and Alan’s open door. He dodged one car, then another, then dashed to the front of Alan’s car, then to the narrow sidewalk.


Chris reverted to English. “Bobby! In the name of God, get back in here. You acting crazy,” she yelled at him. “You loco man!” But he just stared down at the ship under the bridge. “You going get kill out there,” she kept yelling. “Please! Get back here. Oh, my God, Mother Mary, and Joseph!” Chris and Genie made the sign of the cross together.

“I got to see this too,” Jeff said, as he pushed Linda’s seat forward and climbed out to join his friend.

Genie dropped her face into her hands, forgetting for the moment her migraine. Then popping noises made her look up again. Bobby was shooting at the ship as more cars passed by, honking.


Alan rolled his window down and shouted, “Get in, quick! Cops are coming!”


Genie glanced behind them and saw the red flashing lights from an approaching squad car. Above the noise from the stereo, she could faintly hear the wail of its siren. She prayed the officer would stop them before somebody got hurt.

Jeff jumped back in next to Genie while Bobby ran back around the front of the car. As he darted to the door, another car passed at that same moment. Genie felt and heard the hard, dull thump, and she and Chris screamed as Bobby’s body hurtled into the air, into the path of another car.

Genie’s stomach wrenched as Bobby’s blood splattered across the windshields of both cars and his body bounced again on the pavement where another car screeched to a halt over his lifeless body.

Bobby’s gun slid across the freeway toward Alan’s car. He opened the car door to retrieve it and tossed it to Jeff. “Here. Hold on to it.”


Traffic on the northbound span came to a quick halt. Through her tears, Genie could see the highway patrol car struggling through the tangled traffic. Please hurry! she prayed.

Alan swore and stomped on the gas pedal, peeling rubber.


“Alan, stop!” Chris screamed, slapping the back of Alan’s head. “You leave Bobby. You can no leave him. Stop!”

“No way,” Alan said, ducking forward and swearing. “He’s dead. We got to get out of here before that cop gets us.”

At the toll booth at the end of the bridge, two black-and-white highway patrol cars waited with red lights flashing, ready to intercept Alan.

Alan swore again as he hit the brakes and spun a sharp left. He slid into the turn out before the toll plaza’s office building. It was designed for people to turn around if they’d gotten on the bridge by accident. Alan skidded on some loose gravel, then merged with the southbound traffic back to Crockett.

While Chris screamed, Genie glanced out the back window again. As she hoped, the officers had joined the chase.

Turning back to the front, she held on tight as Alan cut in-and-out of traffic again. He had a crazed look in his eyes.

The bridge, cars, and everything passed in a blur. Alan was going to kill all of them. Genie knew it.

All the while, Linda just stared out the front window, a blank expression on her face, while Chris screamed at Alan, in Spanish again.
 
Genie was too frightened to speak, or even scream. She knew Alan wasn’t in his right mind, and she struggled to keep bile from rising in her throat.

Jeff, bouncing in his seat, yelled, “Turn off, Al. I know a place we can hide in Crockett where they can’t find us.”

Alan cut across two traffic lanes in front of other cars that honked as he did, and veered off onto the exit.

The highway patrol cars were a half-mile behind them. Please hurry! she prayed again.

Alan and Jeff both swore and Genie looked back to the front. A county sheriff’s squad car was blocking the end of the off-ramp, a deputy stood beside the car with his gun in one hand, and a high-powered flashlight in the other. He aimed both it at Alan.


Alan targeted his car to the rear end of the squad car, like a demolition derby, and stomped on the gas pedal. “AAAAAHHHHH!” he screamed.

Genie dropped to the floor and Chris fell on top of her, still screaming in Spanish. This was it.

Genie felt a strong jolt and heard breaking glass and clashing metal. Unable to control it any longer, she vomited on the floor, then felt the car accelerate again. It wasn’t over.

Chris fell silent for a moment and sat back up.

Ignoring the sickening slime on her hands and chin, Genie crawled back to her seat, too.


The hood of Alan’s car was crumpled, but the collision hadn’t been enough to stop him.


Genie looked out the rear window as the squad car’s gas tank exploded, and the sheriff’s deputy ran from the flames.


Chris prayed her rosary in Spanish, and Genie decided a prayer wouldn’t hurt her either. Dear God, help! She couldn’t think of anything more to say, but kept repeating the words in her mind, genuflecting with each repetition.


So, did you enjoy that? There's more like that in the book, "Bridgetown High." Check it out.

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Hello to all my friends and family.


This week's post will be short. My work's computer caught a virus and died. It had been slowing down little by little until I called the doctor (techie) and after a lot of work in his part, he pronounced it dead.


So, no tears were shed when I was told I had to get a new computer. The new one is great. Much faster, a lot more memory (doubled, actually) and has the latest and greatest Windows operating system. The drawback is that I have to reinstall all my programs and settings. I have a lot of those things and after 3 days I still can't get a lot of them operating. So, with that in mind, I need to work on that instead of writing this blog post.


Sorry.

So, instead of writing about my writing, I'm going to post another review of Bridgetown High.

Enjoy!

Here's one I especially love. Love to laugh off, that is:

"Teen drama.
on January 1, 2017
"This is not what I was expecting, just teenage drama. You may like it, but I'm not wasting my time."
She gave me 1 star, ha ha ha. You got to love it.
So, until next week, keep working on your novel and take a minute to read mine, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/. Thanks.
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Hi everyone. When I started writing Bridgetown High, I suppose it could have been labeled contemporary young adult. However, over the years it has slowly become historical. The 1960s is probably no longer an era in which young adults are interested. I realize that, and accept my fate.

Over the years, as I wrote a bit at a time, trying my best to write a novel people would be interested in, I tried to bring it up to the contemporary level. I rewrote the entire book as if it were taking place in modern times. It just didn't work. So, I decided to try to write to the baby boomers as a nostalgic look back to a bye-gone era, and that is who is primarily buying my books.

Another problem I've run into, is not so much the age group, but what today's youth want to read - Fantasy and Science Fiction. Those genre do not attract me at all, though I have to admit I read all the Harry Potter books.

So, my advice to all you wannabe authors, if you want to be successful as an author, you might just have to write to the masses. Young adults want Fantasy and Science Fiction. Adults tend to read a lot of romance stories. Keep that in mind when you write your novel(s).

In the mean time, thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed Bridgetown High. If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon.
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Hi Gang,


Sorry last week's posting was a bit short, but I hope you enjoyed the review I posted. Most of my reviews have been a lot like that one.



Today, I want to give you more advice about becoming a best selling writer. In Dean Koontz's book, "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," Mr. Koontz suggests we write in "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."

So, what does all that mean?

Lyrical language. What does that mean to you? I'm not sure, exactly, but I'm sure it doesn't mean to write poetry, though I've seen some writers such as Ellen Hopkins who have done just that, i.e. wrote novels in a poetic style, and were very successful at it. But I think Koontz meant to write in a voice that belongs to your characters, not you the writer, i.e. make a boy sound like a boy and a girl sound like a girl. That's not always easy to do. In my novel, "Bridgetown High," one of the characters is a 1960s hippie. He tries to use a lot of hippie slang, "like wow," and stuff like that. I also have a Mexican girl who speaks broken Spanglish, and two who are from Italy and also speak broken English. In another book I'm writing, many of the characters are Irish and Scottish. I have to admit it ain't easy to mimic dialectical speech, and I'm not sure I always succeeded, but I haven't gotten many complaints, except for my 60s hippie, but I think in that instance people just don't remember how hippies/beatniks sounded back then. Quite annoying really. Actually, I've gotten many compliments on how I handled all the ohter dialects.

Striking images. What does that mean to you? Again, I'm not sure what Koontz mean by it (it's been a long time since I read the book), but I think he meant to describe the setting faithfully. Don't use it to excess, however. You don't want to interrupt the story with a ton of descriptive language or even back story. Don't spend a half dozen pages describing how the clouds are floating overhead, or how the trees and grass, or buildings look. More, how they make you feel. The setting can be like a character, setting various kinds of moods.

Play with these ideas. It's actaully quite fun to let you left brain go off on a fictional journey of its own. It's liberating

Just so you'll know, I may not be writing in this blog next week. I have a convention with my day job I need to attend to. But keep in mind, my book is still for sale in Amazon if you haven't got your copy yet.

Have fun with your writing, even if you think you can't, or don't want to. It's like a beautiful butterfly, the more you let it go, the more it will return (or something like that, LOL).

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Hi to all my family and friends.


Today, I'm a little short on time to write a blog posting. But I ran across a review a lady gave me for Bridgetown High. In case you are undecided as to whether or not to buy a copy of my book and read it, maybe this review will help you decide.


on February 14, 2017
Author Paul W. West, a great author and wonderful storyteller; this book is great for teenagers too. On that point is no cursing, nor sexual content, just a downright nice read that brings the reader back to the 1960’s. The characters are filled with emotions that truly stand out, especially, Mark Wilkerson, who bears a terrible sum of guilt which leads to some scary moments. I found this story to be an overall great read, very realistic in many ways and would make a great movie! Highly recommended.
You can read more review like this by going to Amazon and Goodreads and searching my name, or the name of my novel.

Next week I promise I'll get back to my review of Dean Koontz's book "How to Write Best Selling Fiction." Until then, have a wonderful week.
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Hi, everyone.

A good friend of mine recently disagreed with the title of this blog. He said, he doesn't want to be an author. Well, I think he just hasn't realized it yet.


This week's blog/news letter will be short. I recently read an article on how to gain followers and boost book sales, and I'm needing to digest it before I do much more.

In the meantime, I'll give you another bit of wisdom from Dean Koontz. This one will be short and sweet: "You must have at least some familiarity with the rules of English grammar and syntax -- the more familiarity the better, of course."

I can't express how important that is if you expect people to read your stuff. I think that is the biggest reason I give for poor reviews when someone asks me to review their novel. I recently reviewed a science fiction novel that was almost unreadable due to poor grammar and syntax. I struggled through the first 4 or 5 chapters and just couldn't go on. I had to tell the poor author the bad news that he needed to get with a good critique group, or at least go back to school and learn English (which was his native language -- well I didn't really say that to him). That book was almost as bad as the book I reviewed about a killer who was the protagonist and got into several gun fights with numerous other bad guys and even though they're only feet apart, and both fighters took several bullets, neither of them died. Duhh!

It's gotta make sense. But that's another issue called be logical.

Well, I need to quit for today. I don't know if any of you took advantage of my give-away last weekend. No? I didn't think so. I wasn't made aware my publisher was doing one until it was practically done and too late to announce it. Sorry. Keep posted and maybe another one will come up soon.

In the mean time, thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed "Bridgetown High." If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon.
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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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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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Hello "EVERYONE." After reading my blog messages, do you still want to be an "AUTHOR?" I hope so. It's an exciting journey. Often frustrating, but even if you never get published, it's a rewarding experience.


For those of you who are new to following me and who I am, I wrote the selling novel, Bridgetown High. Today, I thought I'd tell a little bit about the novel and maybe encourage you in your writing, that if I could write and get published by a traditional publisher, maybe you can too.

BRIDGETOWN HIGH is a suspenseful look at how conditions were in the mid-1960s. The Vietnam War, drugs, alcohol, teen romance, first loves, etc. A lot has changed sine then, but in the long run not much has really changed if you compare both eras.


It's a story about Seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson who has no memory of the fiery crash that killed his family on the Carquinez Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now living with his grandmother and burdened with guilt that he may have helped to cause the accident, Mark vows to find the hit-and-run driver and take his revenge. But, the only detail he remembers is round taillights swerving in front of his family’s car. He is shocked when he notices that Jeff Marino's car, has identical taillights—and a suspicious dent in his rear fender. Jeff Marino is the school's bully. Now Mark wants revenge more than ever… On the other hand, Jeff believes Mark is an anti-Vietnam War activist like Mark's cousin Gary and despises him for it. To make matters worse, when Jeff’s girlfriend, Genie Lombardi, dumps him for Mark, it kicks Jeff’s hatred for him to a dangerous new level. Lies and threats escalate, until drugs and alcohol, and a shocking death, send Jeff over the edge and his campaign to get Genie back, any way he can, turns violent. When Mark’s memory starts to return, it leads to a terrifying confrontation between Mark and Jeff. Will Mark finally prove the identity of the guilty driver? Or will he and Genie become one more tragedy associated with the Carquinez Bridge?

This book took me quite a long time to write, edit, re-edit, re-re-edit, and once more, edit. I actually tossed in the garbage can several times, but I still believed in it and just couldn't just let it rest. Finally, after hundreds of agent rejections, I found Limitless Publishing who was willing to publish BRIDGETOWN HIGH. I can't say they will publish your novel, but it's worth a try. I'm willing to review your book, if you want, and decide whether or not to recommend your book to them.

I hope that encourages you, not discourages you. For me, writing is in my blood. I just can't quit. I hope my next novel, a sequel to BRIDGETOWN HIGH, will be as well written.

So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog/message, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" or "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon. I need all the reviews I can get to make this book a success. 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 at 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 my novel. Almost everyone who has read it, loved it.


(By-the-way, if you are reading this on my blog (www.paulwwest.com) the above blued words are clickable links. Just hold down the Control key and click on the blue words.)

See y'all next week, and happy writing.
Paul


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 Hi everyone, that includes you if you're reading this, ha ha.

Today, I thought I'd share with you an experience I had the last couple of days on Facebook. My sweet sister (and I mean that truthfully) posted the following note on my timeline:

"Truly can't wait to see everyone's response...I think it will be interesting to see how we are all connected. Since life is not only made of photos, I'm going to get into the game called "a reunion of friends." The idea is to see who reads a post without a picture. So, if you are reading this message, make a comment using a single word about how we met. After that, copy this message on your wall and I will also leave you a word. Please, don't leave a word and then not bother to copy the text. You'll ruin the fun."


So, as instructed, I copied and pasted her note on my Facebook timeline just to see what would happen. I didn't expect much. I mean, after all, who wants to admit they know a poor author? What transpired after that was truly amazing. I heard from true friends and relatives I haven't heard from in years. I had no idea they were following me. Go ahead to my Facebook page and see what happened. Go ahead and post something more there if you wish. I'd love to hear from you even if we've never met in person. I even made contact, somehow, with the John Swett High School Library (where I went to school, see photo). I found friends I hadn't heard from since high school.

I just hope that will translate into sales.

Go ahead and start your own chain. Follow the instructions my sister sent me. It's fun, and I got a lot of free publicity for BRIDGETOWN HIGH, he he he.

Okay. So, until next week,  as always, if you like this blog/message, please remember to "Share" and "Like"it on Facebook , and "Tweet" or "Retweet" it on Twitter. Then PLEASE, take five minutes to write a review and post it on Amazon. I need all the reviews I can get to make this book a success. 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. You can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel. Almost everyone who has read it, loved it.

(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 great family and friends. Can you feel it? Can you feel Spring coming on? Boy, it's a wonderful feeling.

So, how are you coming with your own writing? Are you working on a novel? Let me know so I can help you. I'm very willing to review some chapters you might be having trouble with (I know, I know, you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition). Did you know that? Well it's kind of an archaic rule, so most of us writers ignore it - but to me it still sounds wrong.

So, today I thought I'd talk about a subject you hear a lot about in the writing world, that is;
 "WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW"
That sounds obvious, but I think we all need to learn about that rule. Let's take a made up example. What if you want to write a murder mystery, but like me, you grew in a small town, and lived there all your life. Murders have never happened there. But that town is what you know best. Can you make murder a subject in that town? Maybe, maybe not. So, you need to set you novel in some exotic place where murders happen all the time. But you don't know anything about all the exotic places you see on television, or in the movies.
So what do you do? 
Well, in today's technological world with the internet, you can "know" all about those places, IF you are willing to do the research. You can't cheat because your readers will know and will not read your novels again, maybe not even finish reading the novel they're currently reading.

But some writers get around that by making up make-believe worlds by writing science fiction or  fantasy. And maybe that's partly why I'm not all that crazy about those genres.

So what if you want to write a novel set in modern day, in a known place?

Again, the internet is a great resource. With Google Earth you can zoom into most places around the world and make a place you've never seen, become real to the reader.

In my novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH, I have to admit, I cheated a bit, but not really. I made a small town community of four towns the setting for my mystery/suspense novel with the Carquinez Bridge the main character. The towns of Crockett, Rodeo, Tormey, and Port Costa, are real town in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the high school where most of the drama takes place is a real school. I grew up in these places and with a little additional research, was able to "show" the towns the way they looked back in 1965.

So, unless you live in an exotic location, or you can make your small town come alive, do your research. Even if your world is made up, you have to make it seem real.

Okay. 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, 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. You can read some GREAT reviews of BRIDGETOWN HIGH on Amazon and Goodreads in case you need more info about my novel.
(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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