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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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, March 30, 2017

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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.

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