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Messages - Paranormal Kitty

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Writers' Cafe / Content warnings?
« on: Today at 12:57:04 PM »
How do you know when you should use a content warning in the blurb and/or on the cover? I saw someone mention they put a warning on the front of the cover. Do you think they help or hurt sales, or do they do a good job of filtering out readers who would give bad reviews? Are they helpful or do readers perceive them as silly?

Also what do you think about the kind of humorous content warnings like at the end of the blurb on this one:

"PG-13 is fine. R is not. When was the last time you found explicit sex scenes in a PG-13 movie?

In reality, if we are only talking about one scene, I don't think it matters. Nobody at Amazon is going to read the book cover to cover and make a decision. But you should also be aware that if you PRESENT the book as PG-13 in ads and it is really R, you might end up with:

1. Bad reviews from customers who thought the book was PG-13 and didn't expect what they found and/or
2. Complaints to Amazon's Ad dept, which can prevent you from running ads in the future.

Are you saying that AMS won't allow ads for anything that would be "rated R" if it were a movie?

Writers' Cafe / Déjà vu or deja vu?
« on: April 16, 2018, 07:51:43 PM »
Should I spell it with the diacritical marks (yeah I know they don't show up on KBoards) or no? It's one of my chapter titles.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What will be in a vegetarian Mexican meal?
« on: April 16, 2018, 06:56:05 PM »
Well there are a lot of different foods eaten in Mexico...if you mean strictly traditional, it varies by region. There's a website that might help you, though not all of them are "traditional" if that's what you're looking for: There's the vegetarian section. Ensaladas are the top tab at the side; there's a chayote one on the first page. You could also do something like chile relleno instead of a salad. There is a cheese soup (caldo de queso) made in Northern Mexico which can be made vegetarian (but obviously not vegan) if you don't use chicken broth. Desserts...churros with chocolate sauce, chocolate cake (pastel de chocolate), hot chocolate (Ibarra and Abuelita are popular brands). Most Mexican recipes don't really "depend" on the meat component, so you could easily adapt them to be vegetarian. I wouldn't over-think it too much unless you plan on making a companion recipe book or something.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Forbidden words
« on: April 16, 2018, 06:30:56 AM »
Never heard of anything that says not to use any of those. Where did you read/hear it?

Well, on KBoards for one thing.,244881.msg3592580.html#msg3592580 First post top of page, "I was taught never to use the word because in creative writing, so that list is very useful. Thank you!"

A whole thread about removing "to be",256126.0.html

But this kind of thing seems to crop up wherever writing is being discussed. I even had a professor in college who didn't allow us to use the word "interesting". I just don't follow the logic of eliminating basic words from your vocabulary. Maybe it's a US thing?

Writers' Cafe / Re: City setting question
« on: April 15, 2018, 07:26:47 PM »
I don't think the geographical setting is the only issue with this. The differences between the USA and the other countries you've mentioned run deeper than that in my experience.

Even among different regions in the US, there are a lot of differences.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Scrivener alternatives?
« on: April 15, 2018, 04:01:15 PM »
I use Word, but all my chapters are separate documents. I didn't put it into one document until I started formatting. I would love to try Scrivener to see what it's about, but until they update the Windows version to support high-res monitors, I can't actually see anything about it.

Writers' Cafe / Forbidden words
« on: April 15, 2018, 03:50:52 PM »
No, not those kind. :) Why do some people say you are never supposed to use certain words, such as "because", "but", "to be", etc.? The list of forbidden words seems to vary by individual.

One of my series is truly a labour of love. I've stuck with it over the years, releasing new books for rusted-on fans, but I never expect it to find a big audience. It's just too hard to sell something which is a regular novel, with a plot and real characters and everything, plus that dreaded ingredient X ... humour.

If you sell the funny, there will be reviews from people who don't get the humour declaring it's not.
If you sell it as a regular science fiction series, people who aren't expecting the humour will not be laughing.

And if you set a comedy series in space, people will leave reviews declaring it a copy of HHG or Red Dwarf. (True facts: I never even saw Red Dwarf until after I released the seventh Hal novel. Back in the early days, my editor used to tell me I couldn't use X or Y plot ideas, because RD had already done it.)

I've only ever read the first two HHG novels, must be 30 years ago now, loved the TV series but hated the movie. And I've only managed to get through 2 Terry Pratchett novels.

With my latest series I went for 'wry humour' instead. I'm just going to sell it as a regular science fiction series, and let people enjoy the odd light-hearted moment. I've been wanting to write these novels for years, so I don't consider myself a sellout ;-)

Ah, you're not giving me much hope. I started out trying to write serious, but apparently I'm not capable of it. I haven't really decided whether to market on the humor aspect or not though.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Yet another request for a blurb critique
« on: April 14, 2018, 06:44:21 PM »
^ :) he WAS a sexy rocker guy. Problem is, he's lost his rock. Okay, I'm saving my pennies, but for after I buy a cover for my current WIP. Indie writing is an expensive endeavor and I need some return.

If I might make a suggestion, maybe for your next cover try not to give the designer too much input. Find a designer who does really good stuff in your genre. Then just give them the genre, brief synopsis and character description, and let them do their thing. Designers can sometimes get held back from giving the customer their best work when they get constrained too much by the client's vision. Remember you're paying for their artistic skills, not just their computer skills.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Wow, anyone not rorting the system???
« on: April 14, 2018, 05:17:31 PM »
Rorting...I learned a new word.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Yet another request for a blurb critique
« on: April 13, 2018, 10:05:45 PM »
I think your main problem is that your cover looks like an advertisement for some type of medication. Really, if you can possibly change it that would help you a lot. It needs a sexy rocker guy on it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Fair Use of Song Lyrics
« on: April 12, 2018, 08:30:49 PM »
I'd expect most would appreciate the song, as it's a romance, although the song itself is rather dark. I don't write happy romances. I like to make my characters suffer and bleed. The song will also play an integral role in the story it's to be introduced in as well as the ones to follow. I am therefore 100% sure I want to include it. I just need to learn how to navigate this new terrain I've found myself in.

(bolded for emphasis) Lordy, you are going to have bigger problems than procuring song lyrics. Don't put non-HEA stuff in romance categories or you will get chewed up and spit out in the reviews. There is a reason that authors who write non-happy-ending love stories don't call it romance. I know this is off-topic, but someone needs to tell you before you commit literary suicide.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Oxford comma
« on: April 11, 2018, 07:57:23 PM »
I probably shouldn't dare to resurrect this thread, but I heard something interesting earlier relating to this discussion. Apparently some people feel that the Oxford comma is being phased out, so perhaps part of the strong sentiments about it is that they're trying to hang onto it? I could understand that if they feel like their preferred style is under attack. And it does kind of make sense that it would be phased out in a global society where English is being adopted as the lingua franca since most (all?) other European languages consider it to be an error.

Eden can't actually use weapons (magically barred from using them). That's the main reason she doesn't look like she's fighting - she sucks at it (another creative choice, lol). She has a switchblade, so I could use that, but I wanted to differentiate, since it is a little less action-heavy. I forgot to mention that in my breakdown of "things that are deviating from normal UF tropes and reasons why this book may not be resonating." She also has one (mostly useless) spell. All of these are bizarre choices that I probably wouldn't recommend replicating.

That's similar to what I'm doing, but I'm playing it for laughs.

Writers' Cafe / Re: live what you write
« on: April 09, 2018, 06:01:22 PM »
Really hoping the shape-shifter crowd chimes in.

True story. My roommate in college had a boyfriend (later husband and now ex-husband) who really believed he was an astral werewolf. Like he would fall asleep, leave his body and enter a wolf's body.

Writers' Cafe / Re: New Cover Color!
« on: April 09, 2018, 03:41:08 PM »
Sorry, but the cover doesn't say "island adventure" to me. It makes me think of romance, an old-fashioned period, supernatural, magic, shapeshifters, etc. I think you've made the same mistake I did. You have a pretty cover that doesn't fit the genre cover conventions. I typed in "island adventure" into Amazon and didn't see any covers like yours. Our covers should be similar to others. Standing out puts readers off. Also, it's best not to base the cover on scenes from the book. We'd have to read your book to understand the cover.

I'd pick the blue colour because the green reminds me of toxic waste, nuclear weapons, etc. Plus blue and yellow contrast perfectly. The yellow blends with the green. Honestly, I'd start the cover from scratch. Just changing the colour doesn't make it look like an island. A woman looking out, searching, climbing, sailing, etc on or next to an island reminds me of island adventures. Your woman looks like she is going to a ballroom event.

I hope this doesn't come across as harsh, but I don't want you to make the same cover mistakes I did. You can see some of those mistakes in my signature.

From what the OP said in her other threads, it's a romancey fantasy. I don't think it's an island adventure like Robinson Crusoe or anything.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Can we talk about Flaming Hands?
« on: April 09, 2018, 10:34:43 AM »
If the symptoms persist, I would advise seeing your Doctor.  ;D

"Doctor, my hands won't stop glowing! What am I supposed to do?"

"Well, the good news is that it's not contagious. Bad news is...the universe has specially selected you to defeat the Queen of the Underworld."

Writers' Cafe / Re: How would you write it?
« on: April 09, 2018, 08:39:32 AM »
Personally, I wouldn't use the dialogue tag here since you have an action happening.

"Goat poop stinks." Stanley rolled his eyes. So did I.

I might also consider putting "so did I" on the next paragraph instead of in the same line as Stanley's dialogue and action beat. Like others said, you could also change "So did I" to "I rolled mine too" to avoid confusion.

"Goat poop stinks." Stanley rolled his eyes. I rolled mine too.

Writers' Cafe / Can we talk about Flaming Hands?
« on: April 08, 2018, 08:09:10 PM »
Flaming hands, magic hands, whatever you want to call it. How did it become so ubiquitous on UF covers? Love them? Hate them? Do they help sell your books?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cover Brag (UF)
« on: April 08, 2018, 02:02:38 PM »
Can't tell you how nice it is to see something different (and awesome) in this genre.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Oxford comma
« on: April 08, 2018, 09:47:31 AM »
Obviously you are unaware that the Oxford comma is the 11th Commandment, to be held sacred. After encountering an editor who believes that, I also believe it. It's so much easier and prevents so many arguments.

As to being taught not to use it in journalism classes, that is a result of the AP Style Guide. And as a former newspaper editor, I'm afraid that citing the quality of journalism students' English is a poor example of anything positive. :P

The Wall Street Journal, like most newspapers, does away with the final comma in a series, and it often makes sentences obscure. I think it's stupid to streamline a sentence by eliminating a mark that avoids making the reader goe back to decipher what was meant.

I always notice the absence of the comma, and it does make me think less of the author or publication who omits it. It's not quite on the level of Hay 4 Sale, but it's in the same general category of taking a shortcut that achieves nothing at the expense of exposing the writer to criticism. No doubt the number who'd notice is much smaller with each passing decade, but why do it?

After all, you won't irritate anyone by including it.

Yeah, I'm definitely the one being militant in this discussion...jeez.

Writers' Cafe / Re: ARCs for sweary books
« on: April 08, 2018, 09:22:11 AM »
I think you should just mention these things when you write to the ARC service. My next book's narrator drops the F-bomb a lot, and I said so to the ARC service. Don't want someone reviewing it who'll be offended, etc.

OP: I assume you wanted a serious answer to your question and not some jokes, funny as they are.

Yeah, I got a PM about a service I'll be looking into that takes content into account. I haven't completely decided about ARCs, but with all the posts about bad reviews, I was thinking it might be wise to have enough reviews that any one review wouldn't sink the overall rating too much.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Oxford comma
« on: April 08, 2018, 09:20:00 AM »
Interesting. I read this thread from the last page to the front. I was expecting a pretty divisive OP. But the OP wasn't like that...

Thank you. I don't know why everyone started jumping on me when I said nothing more controversial than what anyone else said. All the "this is why you should use it" posts that didn't even address the question were fine, but pointing out why a meme doesn't make sense is apparently "militant".

The trend is for minimal punctuation. I suspect in 50 or 100 years the Oxford comma may not be in use.

Most people run with what they were taught growing up. That's what's normal to them, and anything else seems wrong. To me, as an Australian, the Oxford comma is bizarre. No doubt if I grew up elsewhere, I would think not using it bizarre. Obviously, millions of people around the world manage to write effective prose using it/not using it's a stylistic preference/habit of no importance. It's just a historical accident in the same way that a comma is shaped as it is. A comma could just as easily be denoted by an asterisk.

Somewhere in an alternate reality writers are debating how many spokes an asterisk should have...

I don't think anyone has attempted to answer your question yet. Why do some people get so crazy about it? I have a theory.

Firstly, as always, it's only a loud minority who get uptight. Most Oxford comma users probably don't care. But, according to Wikipedia: In American English, not using a serial comma is often characterized as a journalistic style of writing, in contrast to a more academic or formal style. In terms of fiction, I think this breaks down to "commercial fiction" and "literature".

There's a minority within the "literature" camp who see their fiction as superior. Belittling people for not conforming to the characteristics of a "superior" style probably helps build their ego and cement their elitist standing. This is why they're so adamant on the subject.

Could definitely be part of it. One of the things that prompted me to ask this question was a post from a popular writer on Quora (if you're familiar with that site). It definitely had a strong air of elitism about it. Kind of funny since the author is known for kinky sex books that probably get looked down on by other "elites".

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cover I Made Vs. Cover I bought
« on: April 07, 2018, 08:11:15 PM »
Middle grade = YA, at least it did when I was a kid.

It doesn't anymore. Middle grade is for younger kids. Young adult is teens, but usually has crossover appeal for adult audiences.

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