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Messages - Becca Mills

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon adds 'Reviews that mention' keywords
« on: February 22, 2018, 02:32:32 PM »
Huh. Seems like a cool idea, but having fewer but more meaningful keywords might be better. I have ones like "soon" and "kept" and "please." Terms like those seem oddly low-value.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Feelin' down, and wondering "what is the point"?
« on: February 22, 2018, 02:27:33 PM »
It  becomes a problem when some people brand others as hobbyists because money isn't their first priority when they write. Usually the other side retaliate by accusing the authors making money their first priority as selling out and writing any old trash that sells.

It's not so much an argument about art as it is personalizing someone's opinion as being directed at you.

Badge me however you see fit, I couldn't care less. It's not as if my self image is affected by what someone I don't know and don't care about thinks of what I'm doing. The whole subject turns into a distraction from the issues we should all be thinking about, which has nothing to do with whether what we're writing is art and everything to do with making good decisions for ourselves.

Yes, I couldn't agree more. Some feel they're "artists," and some don't. Both are correct about themselves because there is no objective definition of what being an artist means. If you understand yourself to be an artist, you are one; if you don't, you aren't. There's nothing wrong with either way of identifying, and arguments about such terms are largely meaningless.

Writers' Cafe / Re: First ever Bookbub Tue 20th Feb [WITH RESULTS]
« on: February 22, 2018, 08:53:07 AM »
What a fantastic run this is shaping up to be! :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Feelin' down, and wondering "what is the point"?
« on: February 22, 2018, 07:52:52 AM »
Is writing an art? I couldn't say because I'm not entirely sure where the line is between creating something mundane or inspiring. It depends on my mood.

You can't even use inspiringness as a measure. Some of the stuff in major museums is downright boring (to me), but it's still art. It's not really a definable category, so everyone's free to draw their line where they want. But we should take an inclusive view of those lines, IMO -- that is, accept a capacious, amorphous category rather than trying to impose restrictions.

« on: February 21, 2018, 09:01:17 PM »

Writers' Cafe / Re: Psychological Thrillers All Women Protagonists?
« on: February 21, 2018, 12:40:59 PM »
ShaneJeffery, no further posts like the one I just deleted, in this thread or anywhere else on the forum. My goodness.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The word "stiff"
« on: February 18, 2018, 10:13:35 PM »
But "one werewolf stiff" makes perfect sense.

It sounds odd to my ear. Just not used to seeing an adjective before "stiff," maybe.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The word "stiff"
« on: February 18, 2018, 08:15:49 PM »
"one werewolf corpse"?

Like Rinelle, I don't read "one stiff werewolf" as "one dead werewolf."

Writers' Cafe / Re: A hot flash is not sexy
« on: February 18, 2018, 11:52:51 AM »
I'm pretty sure douche was used to mean shower for a long time before it took on its current meaning.

Ahh, I think it's a Britishism! From Merriam-Webster:

British : an abrupt often chastening shock to the nerves, emotions, or awareness
the icy douche (what he said about my work) - John Fowles

Writers' Cafe / Re: A hot flash is not sexy
« on: February 18, 2018, 11:38:10 AM »
I would actually assume that the person who wrote that is not terribly good at English. There are many English words that are used in other languages that don't mean in those languages what they mean in English.

It was a Harlequin romance, as I recall. Probably published in the 1980s. No other signs of ESL status, I don't think.

Dunno. It's sort of inexplicable.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Weird Review Issue
« on: February 18, 2018, 11:32:18 AM »
They used to have the top favourable review and top unfavourable review side by side at the top. A 3 star was considered unfavourable. That seemed to change some time ago. Who knows why.

That's still the case. You have to go to the see-all-reviews view to see them.

Yeah, I don't want to ask people to do anything negative because that can always backfire.

Just want to highlight that DCRWrites said this ^^^. We don't want to promote review manipulation of any kind here, including up- and down-voting, so please leave that review and his others alone.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A Few Entry Level Questions
« on: February 17, 2018, 07:03:40 PM »
Welcome to KB, and congrats on your book. :)

I'm planning on publishing on Amazon and putting my books on Kindle Unlimited. When I make a KDP account, should I register with my real name even though I want the books to be published under a pen name? Is getting your books on Kindle Unlimited difficult?

Not difficult -- KU is just a check box.

Your KDP account should be under your real name. Or if you've formally established a publishing company, you can set up an account for that. You'll need to input your bank account, tax ID number, etc. You can manage multiple pen names under the same KDP account.

If I want the book to launch on a specific day, when should I upload the book to Amazon? Because I've read that it's not instantaneous, so I should probably know how early I need to upload this.

Personally, I'd give it a couple days' lead time, though I haven't published anything in a long while, so if someone contradicts me, go with them! Tip: don't publish over the weekend if there's anything even vaguely risque about your cover, keywords, or blurb. The weekend crew at KDP is reputed to be more prudish than the weekday folks.

Those are the more important questions I have to ask. I have a few other ones if anybody has opinions, but I'm pretty sure these are debated on the boards fairly often.
-What site do you use for your mailing list?

Most people seem to use Mailerlite or Mailchimp. I use the latter. It's been fine. Tip: don't use a gmail account as your "from" email address for your mailing list.

-Do you find social media helpful in promoting yourself? I'm going to be writing Sci-Fi, and I'm not sure where that base really is on social media.

I use a Facebook author page. Strictly speaking, it's against Facebook's rules to use a profile for commercial activity. I don't use it to promote to new readers, but rather to strengthen relationships with fans. It's very effective for that sort of thing. Tip: don't make promotional posts about your books much. Post fun stuff that your fans will enjoy talking about with you.

-What things would you tell yourself if you could go back in time to before you published your first novel?

Build stronger internal story arcs. Write several entries in the series, so you can publish them in quick succession. Proofread more. ::) Study up on keywords and categories. Use a professional formatter.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A hot flash is not sexy
« on: February 17, 2018, 06:43:44 PM »
It means a shower in French, but I've only heard the other usage in English.

Same here. I figured some group of English-speakers somewhere must use it to mean "shower."  :o

Writers' Cafe / Re: A hot flash is not sexy
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:06:23 AM »
Oh, that's worse than the one where the hero compared the heroine to his horse. "Though of course he didn't have quite the same feelings for her as he did his horse."
I always thought "quite" was used to indicate "pretty darn close, but not exactly the same" so I was left pondering exactly how similar his feelings were. Wasn't quite sure I wanted to know.

Some decades ago I read one in which some truth or another struck the heroine "like a cold douche of reality." Which, in the context of U.S. usage, is a hilariously unfortunate choice of words.

Writers' Cafe / Re: F word
« on: February 17, 2018, 10:49:56 AM »
about as sexy as a hernia

Simile of the Month award duly bestowed.  ;D

Writers' Cafe / Re: F word
« on: February 16, 2018, 08:45:31 PM »
I don't remember seeing the f-word in a blurb for a fantasy book, in any subgenre. Doesn't mean it's not done ... there are an awful lot of books out there.

I doubt it will keep away the OMG-bad-words reviews. Sure, it'll steer some readers clear, but others might be offended by the blurb itself and one-star based on that alone. You can't win on this front -- those reviews are inevitable, and blasphemy gets them as much as or more than obscenity, in my experience. I bet I have a half-dozen of them.

The one thing ... if the cover is at all romancey, is there a risk of getting stuffed into erotica? I might be totally off-base with that concern, but I mention it because I remember you were feeling torn between PNR and UF, at one point, and some of the KDP folks make weird decisions based (from my POV) on not much at all.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Image for scene breaks in Word
« on: February 16, 2018, 11:48:35 AM »
If you're just going to upload a Word file, I'd stick to something simple like three centered asterisks, with a style set up to leave a little white space above and below.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Layoffs at B&N stores
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:59:49 AM »
I don't think indie bookstores will ever penetrate communities like mine (exurban sprawls with lower levels of income and education). And even if they did, there's no way an indie could duplicate the kids' section at a big-box bookstore. When I take my kids to B&N, it generates so much excitement about books and reading, and when your kids are at that age where they could begin identifying as serious readers, getting them excited about all those bright, beautiful covers and filling a basket with books ... it's just great.

Dunno. It's frustrating to hear B&N's most knowledgeable employees are being laid off. Surely that can't be productive, in the long run. But when your business isn't making money, there aren't a whole lot of good answers.

Sigh. There's a lot that's cool about the digital age. I've spent exactly zero seconds bemoaning the death of the card catalog and the proliferation of ghost malls. But the decimation of print journalism and the looming end of the bookstore are acutely painful to me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need help with a head
« on: February 15, 2018, 11:49:08 PM »
If you're not easily grossed out, you might check out body-farm images. Look for a several-days-old corpse and see what the head looks like.

IANAC (I am not a chemist), but my untutored reaction is that beer wouldn't be a useful preservative.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« on: February 15, 2018, 10:21:28 PM »
Everything you've just said is wrong.

lol...I kid, I kid.  8)

It's so interesting to hear that you liked the humor. I didn't really like the whole 'call waiting' thing at the beginning, it felt like something too 'our world' and not really Star Warsy - if that makes any sense. I do admit I laughed when I saw Luke milking that weird walrus thing, but after thinking about the movie I thought, 'what the heck was that, Rian Johnson'? lol He definitely has a unique take on things, I'll give him that.

It's funny, as much as I have a problem with different aspects of TLJ's plot, I loved the porgs! And my wife was absolutely beside herself with those things. She did a little mini "awww" every time they showed up on-screen. I was surprised as anyone that I really enjoyed the porgs, I didn't think I would, especially since I wasn't really a fan of the ewoks. Disney should greenlight the Porg Cinematic Universe...could you imagine? :)

Visually, you're right, the film is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I was really blown away by the look of the movie. I agree about the diversity of the characters too, always good to see, and I liked Kylo Ren in this as much as I did in the Force Awakens. Matter of fact, I like most of the new characters, though I wish Finn had been given more to do. Rose too for that matter. I wasn't really a fan of their trip to the casino planet. Didn't really like her last second intervention of Finn's heroic act either. Her line about saving the ones we love was kinda cheesy, but I guess, it is Star Wars we're talking about.

Gosh, that's interesting your take on Rey's parentage. I really disliked that part. I thought it would've been such a great moment if she'd looked into that reflective surface and saw Ewan McGregor's face looking back at her. I'd have jumped out of my seat. Given her roots it makes me wonder why she's so strong with the force with no training. She bested a wounded Kylo in TFA, more than held her own against Imperial guards and even got the better of Luke briefly on the island. It seems a bit odd, but I'd understand it more if she had Kenobi or maybe Darth Plagueis or something in her lineage.

Have to agree as well on Hamill's acting. He did great. Yeah, you definitely hit the nail on what disappointed me about the difference in this Luke and 70s/80s Luke, but I take your point on the darkness within a person and the complexity that can bring. Actually, that's what I like about George R.R. Martin's 'ASOIAF' where you have heroic figures who also have dark, troubling components to their characters. I'm a fan of that too, but I guess I wasn't ready to see that in someone like Luke Skywalker who I've always held up as a kind of straightforward Superman archetype. I suppose the original trilogy does hint at Luke's inner turmoil in episodes V and VI, but it's touched on so briefly and he winds up acting so heroically that I'd never taken those aspects as being core to his character, or perhaps as core to who he is/was.

You raise a good point about franchises changing with the culture and morphing into something else. I hadn't really considered that in all of my 'not muh Luke' disappointment. I'll be interested to see where they go with Episode thing's for sure, I'm rooting for more porgs in the next one.  :P

Well, maybe Rey will turn out to have special parentage. We shouldn't assume Kylo Ren was telling her the truth, eh? But yeah, there needs to be some explanation for her being such a natural with the force.

The casino-planet episode was the weakest part, I thought, but it did fit into a larger theme they were pursuing throughout -- failure. The principle characters failed, and failed, and failed. The plot was just a cascading string of fails. Sort of an ingenious structural device.

Maybe the Millennium Falcon is permanently infested with porgs.  ;D

Writers' Cafe / Layoffs at B&N stores
« on: February 15, 2018, 09:04:49 PM »
It looks like B&N stores laid off significant numbers of senior full-time employees this week, following poor sales over the holidays. Reported here. Bemoaned here. I'm so hoping they make it, not only because we want the Nook division to stick around, but also because I love going to our local store. If it closes, there'll be no replacement. I'm sure that's the case for many communities. :(

Writers' Cafe / Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« on: February 15, 2018, 01:59:10 PM »
I don't see why anyone likes those things. They're the new Ewoks. Cuter and less annoying, sure, but new Ewoks nevertheless.

The fact that the Vupltex (crystal foxes) seem to have no fans besides me, no merchandise, etc is a crime.

Oh, yeah, they were cool! :)

The Porgs just weren't in it much (unlike the Ewoks). And I liked the jokes about eating them.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« on: February 15, 2018, 10:56:38 AM »
I'll share a few of the things I particularly liked about TLJ. Going in no particular order ... the humor elements worked really well for me. The long build-up to the "yo mama" joke at the beginning? I loved that ... seriously, good stuff. Luke milking that ... um ... manatee/walrus/cow ... thing? That is my kind of humor. :D I thought a number of scenes were visually stunning. I really like Kylo Ren as a villain because I have no idea which way he's going to go, which was never the case with Vader in the original trilogy. Perhaps the end result won't be a clear victory for either light or dark, but something more mixed and interesting? That'd be neat. I liked the elements of TLJ that seemed to hint at a more complex vision of the dark side and its role -- not just as about fear, rage, hatred, but as something negative but nevertheless fundamental and necessary to life. Hardly a new spec fic trope, but one of my faves. I hope the next film does go in that direction. The diversity of the characters pleases me. Loved the addition of Rose to the ensemble. I thought most of the performances were very good. Mark Hamill's acting seemed hugely improved to me. Acting was, IMO, one of the weak points in the '70s-'80s films. I liked the somewhat baggy, episodic plot (though I do think it led to some plot holes). A lot of Hollywood storytelling is rigidly arc-y in a way sort of annoys me. This felt looser and less predictable, which I appreciated. The Porgs were adorable, yes, but there was blessedly little reliance on cutesie/goofy creatures. I liked that the Fathiers were powerful and dignified instead of cutsie. I love that Rey turns out to be a nobody; great undercutting of the "hidden savior son of the dead king" trope. I hope they stick with that. I can see the yawning discrepancy Hamill pointed out between the '70s-'80s Luke and TLJ Luke -- that "his" Luke would never consider killing Ben Solo because he's someone who believes in the good in people and never lets go of hope. I think that's probably right, and I can see why that inconsistency upsets people. But when it comes down to it, I like the Luke who *would* do what he did because I like dark, troubling heroes. Just a personal preference. And Hamill really sold it, IMO, despite not liking it. I suppose, in general, TLJ pushes past some of what I find frustratingly formulaic/simplistic when I rewatch the '70s-'80s films as an adult, fond as I am of them. The inconsistencies with prior world-building don't really bother me. I'm happy to see long-lasting properties like Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, etc. as rich patches of forest floor that blossom in different and sometimes competing ways as time passes and the larger cultures in which they're embedded change their identity, priorities, and values. I find that kind of culturally reflective slippage sort of cool, actually. FWIW.

ETA: And a nod to the Benecio del Toro character, the self-serving, amoral figure who *doesn't* turn out to have a heart of gold hidden beneath his apparent cynicism, thank you very much. Yasss. :)

I consider myself a pantser because no matter how well I outline, it gets tossed out the window as soon as my characters begin their adventure. This is because I don't really know them well enough until I begin writing them in situations. Then, I realize they wouldn't do that, or they'd do this, or new stuff pops into my mind that enhances the drama. About the only things that carry through the outlining phase are the planned character growth arcs and major conflict points.

I generally carry through a bit more than that, but yeah, still a pantser at heart, even though I now outline. The problem is that the specific ideas I have when I'm outlining tend to be awful. I study my outline for a scene before I begin writing it. The outline is often pretty detailed -- ten to twenty bullet points of what happens, what people are thinking while it happens, info that needs to be conveyed, etc. Then I spend a few days to a week writing and rewriting the scene. Then I scroll down to see the notes for the next scene and, in so doing, I see my notes for the scene I just finished. And I realize 1) they don't look much like the finished material because 2) they're awful -- stupid ideas that would've led to a boring and/or incoherent story. Apparently, for me, writing = thinking. If I'm not writing, I'm not really thinking worth a darn.

Dunno, Jenny. If you're like me, there might not be a way to increase your production rate. But give Libby's book a try. A lot of people seem able to produce great outlines, and if you can do that, you can save a lot of time.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Word Help, Please
« on: February 14, 2018, 01:37:43 PM »
Let's keep it on the family-friendly straight and narrow, folks. A couple posts have been removed.

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