My NaNoWriMo Tip #23: Make sure your plot isn’t half-baked!


PieBook
It's NaNoWriMo Month! (National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you.

Here's Tip #23, for Friday, the 23th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too. The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 


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My NaNoWriMo Tip #13: It’s called Hero Love


Nano14
It's NaNoWriMo Month
!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #13, for Tuesday, the 13th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 

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My 10th NaNoWriMo Tip is here…

NaNo10

It's NaNoWriMo Month!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #10, for Saturday, the 10th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 

HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

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NaNoWriMo Tip #8: Better late than never…

NaNo8

It's NaNoWriMo Month!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Sorry I'm late with today's tip, but I had to finish up on my own daily word count (3,500…Ouch!)

Here's Tip #8, for Thursday, November 8th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 

HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

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My NaNoWriMo Tip #7: How to fix a dud chapter.


NaNo7
It's NaNoWriMo Month
!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #7, for Wednesday, November 7th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 

HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

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My NaNoWriMo Tip #6!

NaNo6

It's NaNoWriMo Month!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #6, for Tuesday, November 6th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 

HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

AmazonKindleButton 

 

And then there were five (NaNoWriMo tips)…


NaNo5
It's NaNoWriMo Month
!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #5, for Monday, November 5th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 


HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

 

 

http://www.authorprovocateur.com/2011/11/nanowrimo_tip_5.html

Game of Tomes

TheWayWeWere

As a novelist, I have to keep abreast of the distribution and marketing issues that affect books.  Even if you aren't part this world, you'd have to have been on an extended vacation (say, to Mars and back) not to know about the creation and sale of eBooks (digital books), and how this new format has as changed the publishing industry.

In this letter to its members, Scott Turow, President of the Writers Guild, explains how the Department of Justice's suit against five major book publishers and Apple may in fact financially undercut authors in two ways.

First, should it strengthen the largest book retailer, Amazon, eventually authors may get paid even less for their books.

Secondly, they'll have less places in which to distribute and promote their books. 

For midlist authors such as myself. ePublishing is a mixed blessing. Those books which were abandoned by their original publishers can find new lives–and readers–when an author publishes his or her backlist. And those books which publishers have passed on can now find the readers we authors feel they deserve. In fact, I've had good friends make more money self-pub'ing than they ever made writing for traditional pub houses.

If you keep the book locked away in a drawer, what chance will it have to find an audience?

On the flip side, the creators shouldn't be making less money on their product than the distributor.

Competition is good for everyone: publishers, authors, readers, and booksellers. Which begs the question:

What is the fairest way to split the revenue of a book between the author (or author and publisher) and the retailer?


— Josie

 

Dear member,
 
Yesterday's reports that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers and Apple is grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture.
 
The Justice Department has been investigating whether those publishers colluded in adopting a new model, pioneered by Apple for its sale of iTunes and apps, for selling e-books. Under that model, Apple simply acts as the publisher's sales agent, with no authority to discount prices.
 
We have no way of knowing whether publishers colluded in adopting the agency model for e-book pricing. We do know that collusion wasn't necessary: given the chance, any rational publisher would have leapt at Apple's offer and clung to it like a life raft. Amazon was using e-book discounting to destroy bookselling, making it uneconomic for physical bookstores to keep their doors open.
 
Just before Amazon introduced the Kindle, it convinced major publishers to break old practices and release books in digital form at the same time they released them as hardcovers. Then Amazon dropped its bombshell: as it announced the launch of the Kindle, publishers learned that Amazon would be selling countless frontlist e-books at a loss. This was a game-changer, and not in a good way. Amazon's predatory pricing would shield it from e-book competitors that lacked Amazon's deep pockets.
 
Critically, it also undermined the hardcover market that brick-and-mortar stores depend on. It was as if Netflix announced that it would stream new movies the same weekend they opened in theaters. Publishers, though reportedly furious, largely acquiesced. Amazon, after all, already controlled some 75% of the online physical book market.
 
Amazon quickly captured the e-book market as well, bringing customers into its proprietary device-and-format walled garden (Sony, the prior e-book device leader, uses the open ePub format). Two years after it introduced the Kindle, Amazon continued to take losses on a deep list of e-book titles, undercutting hardcover sales of the most popular frontlist titles at its brick and mortar competitors. Those losses paid huge dividends. By the end of 2009, Amazon held an estimated 90% of the rapidly growing e-book market. Traditional bookstores were shutting down or scaling back. Borders was on its knees. Barnes & Noble had gamely just begun selling its Nook, but it lacked the capital to absorb e-book losses for long.
 
Enter Steve Jobs. Two years ago January, one month after B&N shipped its first Nook, Jobs introduced Apple's iPad, with its proven iTunes-and-apps agency model for digital content. Five of the largest publishers jumped on with Apple’s model, even though it meant those publishers would make less money on every e-book they sold.
 
Publishers had no real choice (except the largest, Random House, which could bide its time – it took the leap with the launch of the iPad 2): it was seize the agency model or watch Amazon's discounting destroy their physical distribution chain. Bookstores were well along the path to becoming as rare as record stores. That’s why we publicly backed Macmillan when Amazon tried to use its online print book dominance to enforce its preferred e-book sales terms, even though Apple’s agency model also meant lower royalties for authors.
 
Our concern about bookstores isn't rooted in sentiment: bookstores are critical to modern bookselling. Marketing studies consistently show that readers are far more adventurous in their choice of books when in a bookstore than when shopping online. In bookstores, readers are open to trying new genres and new authors: it’s by far the best way for new works to be discovered. Publishing shouldn’t have to choose between bricks and clicks. A robust book marketplace demands both bookstore showrooms to properly display new titles and online distribution for the convenience of customers. Apple thrives on this very model: a strong retail presence to display its high-touch products coupled with vigorous online distribution. While bookstores close, Apple has been busy opening more than 300 stores.
 
For those of us who have been fortunate enough to become familiar to large numbers of readers, the disappearance of bookstores is deeply troubling, but it will have little effect on our sales or incomes. Like rock bands from the pre-Napster era, established authors can still draw a crowd, if not to a stadium, at least to a virtual shopping cart. For new authors, however, a difficult profession is poised to become much more difficult. The high royalties of direct publishing, for most, are more than offset by drastically smaller markets. And publishers won't risk capital where there's no reasonable prospect for reward. They will necessarily focus their capital on what works in an online environment: familiar works by familiar authors.
 
Two years after the agency model came to bookselling, Amazon is losing its chokehold on the e-book market: its share has fallen from about 90% to roughly 60%. Customers are benefiting from the surprisingly innovative e-readers Barnes & Noble's investments have delivered, including a tablet device that beat Amazon to the market by fully twelve months. Brick-and-mortar bookstores are starting to compete through their partnership with Google, so loyal customers can buy e-books from them at the same price as they would from Amazon. Direct-selling authors have also benefited, as Amazon more than doubled its royalty rates in the face of competition.
 
Let's hope the reports are wrong, or that the Justice Department reconsiders. The irony bites hard: our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition.
 
This would be tragic for all of us who value books, and the culture they support.
 
Sincerely,
 
Scott Turow
President
[Feel free to forward or comment. Here it is at our blog: http://tinyurl.com/759tfls]
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My NaNoWriMo Tips: You can read them here, in order…

RockBottom RemaindersEvery day through November, I've been supporting those participating in National Novel Writing Month by launching posts on creative writing tips (usually by 12 noon PDT) that will help them reach their goal: writing 50,000 words in their novel.

Here are their links:

Tip #1: Treat writing a if it is your career.

Tip #2: Outline the plot of your story.

Tip #3: Don't give up!

Tip #4: Meet your word count first; then edit.

 

Enjoy,

Josie



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NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Chapter doesn’t work? Fix it in “post.”

THE-HOUR
Both my husband and I have broadcast backgrounds. One very important lesson we learned in those previous gigs serves us well when we're editing text articles or, in the case of National Novel Writing Month, novels:

Should you feel something isn't working on your project, you can always fix it later.

Broadcast producers can always rely on post-production: the time spent in the production booth, editing the footage shot or recorded for the project. If, while shooting the segment, what you're getting on camera runs too long (exposition; needless scenes, etc), or the subject stutters or talks too much (dialogue) — you rarely say "Cut" and start over. Instead, you'd wait until you were in the studio and saw the raw footage to determine which scenes needed to be trimmed.

The same goes for your manuscript. You job over the next few weeks is to put the story on the page. Afterward, you'll go through it page by page, chapter by chapter. If something reads false, go ahead and chop and dice it, until it reads to your satisfaction. 

This won't happen in second draft either. You'll go through several drafts before you're truly pleased with your work.

Even after it sells to a publishing house (YES IT WILL SELL; YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT) you'll get notes back from your editor on how a scene or character should be tweaked. Then it will go through copy edits, where someone with a better grasp than you of grammar and syntax will take a shot at it, as well.

Because when it's ready for its public debut, your readers deserve the best story possible.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All rights reserved.

The photo above is from the BBC TV series, THE HOUR, which is one of my favorite shows. It looks at broadcast journalism in London, during the 1950s.

_________________________________________

READ YESTERDAY'S  TIP, HERE…

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I've got a question for you, and be honest: How many times do you read a chapter before you write the next one?

— Josie

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #6: When your “backstory” should be the story.

HarryPotter

During National Novel Writing Month, many an aspiring novelist will start with a great character. He will know his hero backwards and forward, as if he is his very best friend.

He'll describe how the hero looks, down to the cleft in his chin. He'll know about his childhood, his teen angst, his tribulations and his desires.

But now that it's time to give his hero something to do, the writer stalls out.

Why does this happen?

Because in this case, the backstory is the story.

So why not move it front and center?

If you can answer yes to these four questions, then the Muse is trying to tell you (HELLOOOOO!) that the better book to write starts where your hero first intrigued you:

1. When describing your book to others, do you find yourself spending more time describing your hero's past, but get stuck on telling what will happen to him in the book?

2. Is half of what you wrote in your synopsis his backstory?

3. Did it take all of Chapter One to describe your character before you realized you had nowhere to go with Chapter Two?

4. Do you find yourself rewriting the details of your hero's past, because it's more interesting than considering his future?

Take a broad hint: There is gold in the hills of his backstory.

Harry Potter is a perfect example of this. Can you imagine if J.K. Rowling had started her epic story with, say, Book 6 The Half-Blood Prince — when Harry was already at Hogwarts and just realizing his true role in a world turning darker, more sinister? Surely this book in the series and the seventh, could  have been tweaked to stand-alone…

But consider how much was gained by knowing so much more of Harry's backstory.

That's because it was never just his backstory. It was the story.

Bottom line: start at the real beginning: when you first realized that your hero intrigued you.

Maybe it was when he did that old-soul thing at age three. Or when he had his first kiss. Or when he accidently drove his parent's car into the lake.

Not all stories were meant to start where we want them to begin. Sometimes they start earlier, or later.

If you start your story at a point that is most interesting in your character's life, your readers will be sucked along on his journey, too.

So take them along for the ride. 

It ain't the prequel. It's the beginning of a wonderful friendship between your hero and your reader.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All rights reserved.

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP HERE…

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I've got a question for you: Which character's backstory would you have liked to have read about, as a book?

For me, it is the character of Ethan Gage, in the wonderful historical suspense series by William Dietrich. We know that Ethan once studied under Benjamin Franklin. it would be a hoot to see his antics stateside, before we're introduced to him in Napoleon's Pyramids.

— Josie

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #4: Meet your word count first; edit it later.

JacksonPollock
One analogy about the tips you often hear regarding National Novel Writing Month is to imagine your your sentences as strands of spaghetti that you toss onto the wall of your manuscript.

As with any wall that gets covered with wet noodles and tomato sauce, at some point it either looks like a mess—

Or, like a work of art. 

After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Remember: you are your own Jackson Pollock. This project is just the first of your many masterpieces.

You'll have a natural inclination to go back, re-read it, and edit what you wrote.

Don't.

Why? Because the whole purpose of NaNoWriMo is to put as many words on the page as you can in these precious thirty days.

If you''re spending an hour — or worse yet, a full day — honing a specific page (or paragraph, or sentence) you will NEVER make your word count. The sheer weight of writing — and endless re-writing — are like ankle weights strapped onto a marathon runner: well before you reach the finish line, you will collapse in exhaustion.

Right now, you have only one goal: those 50,000 words, which is about two-thirds or half a standard manuscript submitted for publication, depending on the book.

After your thirtieth day, having reached your 50,000 words, most definitely you should re-read your story.

And re-read it again. And again.

And rewrite it. Continually.

Take note of misspellings, phrasing that is awkward, scenes that are deadly, and characters who don't move the plot forward.

The time you take to reshape your manuscript is what makes it a masterpiece, not how many words it is, or that you even finished it.

Your characters have to be engaging.

Your plot has to challenge them, give them moral dilemmas.

Your story has to be satisfying to your reader.

But your first step is to move that story from your head to the page.

Because ultimately, others want to read your masterpiece, too.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP HERE…

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Okay, now, tell the truth: Are you meeting your word count? And tell me why, or why not…

— Josie

 

Your Right to Read…and Write

Billofrights01
The following news article, from the Associated Press, reports on a very sad and shameful situation. As a U.S. citizen, I'm appalled at all recent government attempts to whittle away at my privacy. For me, reading is indeed an intimate affair. Ands a writer who purchases many new and used books for research purposes too, both online and off, I can only thank God for judges, like Judge Crocker, below, who still remember the reason for our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.  Please read it, and pass it along…

Josie





Feds Cancel Amazon Customer ID Request


Nov 27,  3:58 PM (ET) / Associated Press

By RYAN J. FOLEY

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Federal prosecutors have withdrawn a subpoena
seeking the identities of thousands of people who bought used books
through online retailer Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), newly unsealed court records show.

The withdrawal came after a judge ruled the customers have a First
Amendment right to keep their reading habits from the government.

"The (subpoena's) chilling effect on expressive e-commerce would frost
keyboards across America," U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker wrote
in a June ruling.

"Well-founded or not, rumors of an Orwellian federal criminal
investigation into the reading habits of Amazon's customers could
frighten countless potential customers into canceling planned online
book purchases," the judge wrote in a ruling he unsealed last week.

Seattle-based Amazon said in court documents it hopes Crocker's
decision will make it more difficult for prosecutors to obtain records
involving book purchases. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said
Tuesday he doubted the ruling would hamper legitimate investigations.

Crocker – who unsealed documents detailing the showdown against
prosecutors' wishes – said he believed prosecutors were seeking the
information for a legitimate purpose. But he said First Amendment
concerns were justified and outweighed the subpoena's law enforcement
purpose.

"The subpoena is troubling because it permits the government to peek
into the reading habits of specific individuals without their knowledge
or permission," Crocker wrote. "It is an unsettling and un-American
scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of
law-abiding citizens while hunting for evidence against somebody else."

Federal prosecutors issued the subpoena last year as part of a grand
jury investigation into a former Madison official who was a prolific
seller of used books on Amazon.com. They were looking for buyers who
could be witnesses in the case.

The official, Robert D'Angelo, was indicted last month on fraud, money
laundering and tax evasion charges. Prosecutors said he ran a used book
business out of his city office and did not report the income. He has
pleaded not guilty.

D'Angelo sold books through the Amazon Marketplace feature, and buyers paid Amazon, which took a commission.

"We didn't care about the content of what anybody read. We just wanted
to know what these business transactions were," prosecutor Vaudreuil
said Tuesday. "These were simply business records we were seeking to
prove the case of fraud and tax crimes against Mr. D'Angelo."

The initial subpoena sought records of 24,000 transactions dating back
to 1999. The company turned over many records but refused to identify
the book buyers, citing their First Amendment right to keep their
reading choices private.

Prosecutors later narrowed the subpoena, asking the company to identify a sample of 120 customers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber dismissed First Amendment
concerns in an April letter to the company. He said D'Angelo – not
Amazon – was the seller and prosecutors needed proof he sold books
online.

Crocker brokered a compromise in which the company would send a letter
to the 24,000 customers describing the investigation and asking them to
voluntarily contact prosecutors if they were interested in testifying.

Prosecutors said they obtained the customer information they needed
from one of D'Angelo's computers they seized early in the
investigation. Vaudreuil said computer analysts initially failed to
recover the information.

Still, Crocker scolded prosecutors in July for not looking for alternatives earlier.

"If the government had been more diligent in looking for workarounds
instead of baring its teeth when Amazon balked, it's probable that this
entire First Amendment showdown could have been avoided," he wrote.

The company asked Crocker to unseal the records after D'Angelo was
indicted last month. Crocker granted the request over the objections of
federal prosecutors, who wanted them kept secret.

"Shining some sunlight on the instant dispute reassures the public that
someone is watching the watchers, and that this district's federal
prosecutors are part of the solution, not part of the problem," he
wrote.