THE EXCITING JOURNEY OF Writing
a Fictional Book
"IT'S A LUXURY BEING A WRITER, BECAUSE ALL YOU EVER THINK ABOUT IS LIFE."
"IT'S A LUXURY BEING A WRITER, BECAUSE ALL YOU EVER THINK ABOUT IS LIFE."
Have you ever been a participant in "Three Card Monty," or stood near someone who performed a fantastic "sleight of hand" trick, leaving you to scratch your head in an attempt to figure out how they did that, or been outright lied to, the worst trick of all, but still a trick.
What do these have in common, misdirection. A simple definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary is: to send (someone or something) to the wrong place, or, to give (someone) incorrect information.
I came across this article, The Art of Misdirection, by Michael Kurland, of Gotham Writers.
He writes; Misdirection comes in three flavors: time (the magician has the silk artfully placed in his hand before he begins the trick). Place (your attention is drawn to the magician’s right hand, while the move is done by his left hand, or his foot, or his assistant). Intent (the magician leads you to the decision he wants in such a subtle manner that you will swear afterwards that you had a free choice).
What is the value to the writer—or, better yet, the story — of these techniques? We writers can use these methods to smooth the pacing of a story, to slide information past the reader without waving it in her face, to change the direction of a story in mid-page, and to plant clues that will lie dormant until they’re ready to sprout.
WHY DO WRITERS USE MISDIRECTION?
In another article from Bryan Klems, of The Writer's Digest the perfect response was:
Why do we use subtlety and misdirection in the first place? And do they really enhance the way we build action and suspense? The answers lie in the simple equation that becomes an element of the partnership we develop with our readers: The longer we keep our reader guessing, the more attention they will pay to what they are reading. And subtlety and misdirection are two of the most effective tools available to keep the reader guessing and reading. It’s as simple as that.
THE UNRELIABLE NARRATOR-
Excerpts from an article by Tracey Culleton writes:
The narrator in any story doesn’t have to tell the truth! However, one absolute rule is that you cannot cheat the reader. The clues must be there, so that after the reader finds out the truth, she can look back and acknowledge that the correct information was there. You can hide the information using misdirection.
Ms Culleton continues with a reference to J.K. Rowling
Another good example of an unreliable narrator can be found in the Harry Potter books.
Nothing is what it seems in the Harry Potter – Rowling uses narrative misdirection to brilliant effect. We see the world through Harry’s eyes but he often gets it wrong. In every book there is a character who is not as they appear, whose identity is hidden. YOU CANNOT TRUST WHAT YOU SEE.
In the first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, it’s Snape with his black hair, long face, he is the epitomy of evil. During the game of Quidditch, Hermione and Ron see him muttering a curse to hex Harry Potter’s broom. It is only at the end when Professor Quirrel reveals that it was he(someone we thought we could trust) who was hexing the broom, that we realise that Snape was actually muttering a counter curse, and we see that Snape has Harry’s best interests at heart.
How many times each day in our normal lives are we being misdirected? I am sure numerous times. Take a moment and think about how you might have been misdirected and consider how you could weave that into your next fictional novel.
Thank you for visiting
Yesterday, I came across a posting by Mark Manson that I found poignant. I would love to say that life is perfect, but everyone knows that is untrue. As I once wrote, "Life is great, until you have to live it!" I couldn't help but think about the following and how true it is for anyone who has ever wanted more out of life.
Today, I just wanted to share this with anyone who stopped by.
"Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes; what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days." https://markmanson.net/life-purpose
Thanks for visiting,
A doctor, a salesman, and a detective walk into a bar. The three of them sit down at the bar to order a drink.
The bartender approaches and places his hands on top of the bar, which all three patrons notice.
The doctor sees that the bartender has a deep cut on the back of his right hand and says, "Young man that is a very deep cut let me take a look at it to make sure it's not infected."
The detective looks at the hand with the cut and says, "That's an interesting wound that you have there, looks fresh, how did it happen?"
The salesman looked at the bartender's hand and asked, "Which hand do you sign with?"
Of course, it's not a great joke, if it were I would be making a living writing jokes! However, what I am attempting to illustrate is the perspective of a single situation by different characters in a story. I try to place myself in the heads of my characters. What goes through the mind of someone about to commit a crime, or through the mind of the police who try to solve that crime.
What goes through the mind of a child who sees a starfish in a tide pool for the first time, or dreams of pirates in her back yard? The employee who hates the boss or loves the boss or when a man and a woman meet for the first time and the reader hears his thoughts, which are totally opposite of her thoughts.
As the writer, I am given the responsibility of making the story not only interesting, but also funny, riveting, sad, happy, plus a thousand other emotions for the reader to experience. Without the thoughts of the characters being shared with the reader, I would be better off forgetting about being a storyteller.
Personally, I enjoyed Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the trilogy and the way Stieg Larrson wove the story. After you have read the books, if you have not done so, and if you like foreign films, get a hold of the Swedish versions, skip the American remake. Blah!! There are several other authors who I enjoy, many of them are small indie authors who have written good books, and are under $3.00.
I could go on, and one day I probably will devote a posting about other authors and which motivate me. On that note, it is important to read as much as one can in order to improve one's own skill and ability.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this post.
If there are laurels to live on, all are short lived. As I was writing My DIARY My LOVE, the first book, I simultaneously wrote a second book. I have set a goal of re-writing and re-editing this next book so that it is published by no later than September 10th, of this year.
Now that the excitement of publishing the first book has worn off, several challenges lie ahead.
First, thumbing through the 190 pages I realized that, as in a previous post, there is not enough dialog between the characters. The characters themselves were interesting, but I could also say the same thing about a day at the beach. It was interesting. There is a need to eliminate parts of the narrative and replace them with more character interaction. Will it ever be enough, it may be too much, who knows.
The work ethic that I personally set for myself is that I have to work every day for a minimum of three hours each day on re-writing the next book. This means dedicating another 120-130 hours. "Why," some of my friends have asked me. "Because, I want each book to be better than the last, until one day I personally have written the best book that I could possibly write."
I am not looking to be Hemingway; I'll leave that up to someone else, who is far more qualified, to hold on to that dream. Nor do I want to sit around a small table at a bistro in France with group of intellects discussing world issues. Although sitting at a small bistro is alluring.
It's hard work, and I know with each book, if I truly care, the work and the challenge will only grow more difficult. Nothing of value that we desire comes easy because if it did it really would have no value. I know that I am redundant, because I have written about pushing myself and the effort it takes to complete each book. The alternative is giving up, which is far too easy, and far less gratifying.
Another major consideration in the future is the option of exclusivity with Amazon/Kindle versus Smashwords and the several eBook platforms of distribution. It comes down to marketing ones product. I wish that I had the simple answer because if I did I would share it with others.
As I begin working on improving the second book and finishing it for publication I will share both the good and the not so good of the next voyage.
Another individual is William Morris. Yesterday, I was visiting a local bookstore and saw a book about William Morris. What caught my eye was the title "ANARCHY & BEAUTY WILLIAM MORRIS AND HIS LEGACY," by Fiona MacCarthy. For those not familiar with William Morris he was born in the mid 1800's and during his life was an English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist.
I realized that all artists, those who take their craft seriously, are anarchists in one form or another. The mind of artist works like no other mind. The serious artist is an artisan, but is also a craftsman who ventures out into the world with total abandon of the average and the determination to create something special. The thought alone goes against the fiber of the main stream. At first, there might be fear just in trying, but once the bug of desire sinks its teeth into the true artist then there is no stopping the creativity from flowing.
It does not matter which form of art the true artist uses to express him or herself, but what does matter is that they fight everyday with the aspiration to become the best that they can within their personal being. Tell me that does not go against the grain of today's society. Tell me that is not a form of anarchy.
To push one's self when the majority would rather surrender to mediocrity because they desire instant gratification, and to have the guts to destroy one's own artistic work only to begin again, knowing that the next time "it will be better."
To be the one who pours out of the tourist bus with the group only to stop and tie their mythical shoe laces, telling the others they'll catch up. Waiting for the right moment, when the crowd disappears around the corner so that the artist can venture off in another direction alone, as the explorer. True anarchy in the purest form.
The writer, sculptor, musician, poet, singer, painter, and all other forms of artistic expression live in a world unto themselves when they are creating, thinking, developing, and plotting. The finished work, the artistic anarchist's personal expression, is purely that, a personal expression.
For those who have always ignored the call of the artist within you, rise up and follow your desire, commit to yourself, work hard, and never give up. Be an anarchist.
To skilled writers, those who have published several books, they are aware of the importance of dialog in their stories. To myself, and hopefully a few other new writers, it is part of the ongoing process, or learning curve.
As I begin editing, re-writing, embellishing the next book, and eliminating various lines or sections of the book, I noticed how flat it was. It lacked the element of which we live every day. It lacked enough dialog to help move the story. It is easy to see, difficult to achieve.
I first finished the book a few months ago and put it down since My DIARY My LOVE required most of my attention. I am glad that it did, because when I went back to the second book I wanted to kick myself. It was a story that one would tell sitting around and having a casual conversation about nothing special. Why, because the characters lacked the ability to truly express themselves.
What happens when one of your characters walks into Starbucks and stands in a line behind six other people? The line moves forward and after 20 minutes, because the author notes the clock on the wall, passes. He orders his or her latte and as he picks it up he accidentally bumps into someone and drops his drink, which explodes when it hits the floor.
Okay, a page maybe, two barely, three there would be far too many words and most of us would put the story down. However, now add dialog that the character has with the person standing in front of him. Another individual, in the same line, overhears the conversation and a serious or comical argument ensues.
A normal event, getting coffee, possibly becomes a part of the book that readers find disturbing or hilarious or just plain enjoyable. I have already begun hearing from some of the few readers who have my first book and I am pleased with the comments about various events in the book that they found funny, which was my intent. It was very gratifying.
I have to credit some of my growth to YouTube. Why, because I listened to several well-known authors, giving several interviews, full of helpful information. I was never great at sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher, and maybe that's good or maybe it's not. Time will tell.
Regarding the ability to create dialog or improving dialog in a book, the most helpful information I have received personally has been listening to YouTube to Audio Books. For no other reason than to listen to the interactions of the characters and to mentally see how those characters come alive. I am not advocating for anyone to do this, I am just sharing my journey at becoming an author.
In a continuation of yesterdays post regarding social media, this is my ability to use it to the fullest. The following message is an advertisement.
"Folks, thank you for stopping by, yes I'm talking to you. Come closer to the screen, unless you have the magnifier on then step back."
Roger Hillstein is finding out life is meant to be lived. Stephanie is a little out there and after she meets Roger, she drives him crazy with her around the world antics.
You only have a little over 24 hours left to download FOR FREE, that's right, FOR FREE, a copy of My DIARY My LOVE. Because the book is a self-published ebook we are attempting to reduce the mythical inventory by at least 100,000 mythical books.
So folks, download two copies and use them as Virtual Reality Book Ends. Remember at 11pm tomorrow night, Wednesday July 13, the book will return to $2.99. We'll thank you in advance for getting your ONE copy, or two, or three.
Be the first at the beach, that when a complete stranger walks up to you and asks, "What are you reading on your Kindle, Nook, iBook, or whatever," you can proudly say "I put down Game of Thrones and now I am reading "My DIARY My LOVE" and who knows he or she may be MR or MISS Right. Don't thank us we wrote this book for you!
So, as usual we'll thank you in advance for stopping by.
Our society today has become far too dependent on social media, but yet, without it society would fall back into the stone ages. All the way back to the early 1990's or late 1980's. Years ago when I worked for an international company's marketing department, I was given an assignment and several days or weeks to complete the project.
If it was a new product, I had to find a market for it, and if I already had a market for it that meant that I had competition. Not every product ended up at a brain trust on Madison Avenue, because most companies didn't have the budget. The one I worked for was no exception. They picked their battles, but most marketing ideas ended up in a small room with myself and a few other people trying to figure out how to sell this, "can't live without it, they'll stand in line, I hope we can keep up with production," creation. (Very few great ideas made it past the first production run.)
Marketing today is a product unto itself. I am learning that real marketing is reaching out to a far larger audience who desire more information than just the product offered. Writing this post, placing pictures on Instagram, Facebook, etc, etc. The ability to self publish and distribute worldwide. I know that someone out there can tell me the attention span of the average consumer today versus twenty years ago, and I hope to one day find out.
Please do not get me wrong or misread this post. I am absolutely fascinated with the process. Yes, I wrote a book, plus three others, and I will publish them all within several months, but there is more to it than just writing a book.
The social media platforms that exist today are necessary and they must be used to the best of one's abilities. How fast is society moving today and how instantaneous do we desire information. If one chooses not to realize the importance of social media than one would be better served to stand on a corner with a folding table and hand out whatever it is that they are introducing to the world.
Today though, if one did stand on a corner and they were peculiar enough or entertaining, someone would take a picture of that person and post it with #entertaining, while another would post the same picture and say, #call the police.
The world is shrinking every day, and I truly appreciate that my book has already reached people in other parts of the world in such a short time. Thank you so much to those individuals and thank you to the pioneers who created a new world order called social media, which allows an indie writer such as myself, the opportunity to share my creations.
Thank you sincerely for visiting and reading this post,
Now that the book is published and is available on several platforms, I guess waiting around for the sales to roll in could result in a long wait. Is not the world aware of all the hours that I spent writing this gem? Early mornings, late nights, re-writing along with more re-writing. The store is open and the book is in the window. Oh-my, oh-my, where did I go wrong?
This level of self-anxiety is ill founded. I equate this experience to someone who makes great tasting ice cream in several flavors. However, his storefront is in an empty back alley four blocks from the main street full of foot traffic. No one knows the quality of his product because no one knows he exists!
Welcome to the next level of self-publishing. Until my friend the ice cream vendor becomes known for great ice cream, he has to stand on a corner, give away samples, talk about his product, and build word of mouth. If he is any good than little by little, his fan base will grow.
Going to Smashwords was not a bad decision, uploading the book to their requirements might have been a pain, but after a few tries we were successful. They in turn distributed the book to several platforms, iBooks/iTunes, Nook, and many more. Kindle, very easy, we uploaded to their platform without any real problems.
Giving a book away for free has not been as painful as I first imagined. On the first day, 34 strangers, no friends, downloaded a copy. It has slowed down on the second and third day, but SWWC, "so what who cares," the journey continues with one foot in front of the other. We will keep updated as to see what sales are like six weeks from this posting.
Currently, the next book is in re-write and will be out Sept 15. With another scheduled to be published in mid November, and the fourth will be out by March 1st. My friend the ice cream vendor found that the more flavors he had to offer, the bigger his business grew.
Again, thank you for visiting the website and taking a moment to read this post. A free download of the book is available until July 13.