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Messages - Matt Gilbert

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Would you respond to this 1 Star review?
« on: October 31, 2017, 04:48:27 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions, all. This was bugging me all night, probably more than it should have. I only have five reviews total on that book, and one of them being a 1-star impacts the rating pretty heavily. It would be one thing if it was from someone who actually hated the book, but to have it get pummeled by someone who hasn't even read it is really disheartening.

I did report it as abusive, and given that some folks already responded, I'll stay out of it. I definitely don't want to offend anyone or end up in a  p*ss ing contest.

Hopefully he will change it, or amazon will take it down.

Writers' Cafe / Would you respond to this 1 Star review?
« on: October 30, 2017, 05:27:38 PM »
I know the general thinking is never to respond, but I'm trying to decide if I should give the guy a link or no?

What are your thoughts on the item description text on, for instance, Amazon? So far, I have just used the same wording I put on the book's back cover.

Writers' Cafe / Blurb, Back of the Book, Ads, Product Descriptions
« on: July 06, 2017, 07:59:56 AM »
As I move toward finishing the third book in my series, I am in process of updating covers, blurbs, back cover text, amazon page text, etc., and I realize I am not 100% on where best to use each form. The "Back Page" is easy enough, but the others seem a little nebulous. Should blurbs be very short, more along the lines of ad text? Do people make their 'blurb' a little longer, and use it as their description text on amazon et al, or do they perhaps prefer the back of the book text for that spot? Something else?

I understand there are no particular rules here. I am interested in what most people do, and why, so I can better decide what works for me. (Yeah, I might be an ok writer, but I suck at this whole marketing thing and have a lot to learn.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writing descriptions - how do you do it?
« on: June 30, 2017, 06:44:03 PM »
I barely describe anything at all in a zero draft. Naked nouns, like stage direction. I might cut the whole scene later, so it would be a waste of time to agonize over the decor.

During revisions, when I know what's staying structurally, what props I need now AND later, how a setting is going to "age" with repeated use, precisely what mood/tone I need to establish, whether any kind of symbolism would support the story, and how much weight to give each occurrence, then I feather in only as much description as I think is necessary to achieve the desired effect. I hate reading irrelevant detail, so I'm stingy with writing it. My editor lets me know if readers could use a little more and where I can afford to stick information for the sake of "color" without bringing my pace to a dead stop. (Frankly, if I can't find something with more subtext than "color," I err on the side of ignoring that editorial recommendation.)

My philosophy is this: the more words you give a description, the more importance it takes on (word weight). If I read half a page describing a clock, that clock seems significant. I'll be waiting for the payoff from all that setup, whether it's the key to solving the murder or the first in a series of time-related symbols. I will hold that expectation in my mind, and if that lavishly depicted clock is never mentioned again, I'm going to be mad about the writer's failure to satisfy my expectation. I strive to avoid writing things that irritate me as a reader, and description for description's sake is one of those things. If I put a clock in a book, it's going to do something other than report the time or it will get cut before publication for being a waste of words.

Very much this way for me. I find in the first pass, I am mostly in the characters' heads. Sometimes I need a prop, and hey, suddenly there's a table. Physical description is a weak point for me, and I find it difficult to get right at the best of times. It's much easier for me to add it after everything else so that I can focus on it. I use it for balancing places where I have too many lines of only dialog, or when I realize a character would take special note of something and it would form an image in their mind, at which point I use it to highlight their personality, what they would notice, etc. IMO, different characters take note of different things, and I try to take that into account. A warrior might notice details of weapons, whereas a laundry maid might focus on what sort of clothes people wear, curtains, etc.

In theory, anyway. As I said, it's not my best skill, and as a reader, I am easily bored by too much description. I am much more interested in characters' thoughts and motivations, but I try to bear in mind that the characters are going to be motivated by their surroundings and perceptions of the world around them, too. It's definitely a place where I have to put in extra effort.

One *million* dollars (with pinky finger). Sorry, I have no clue, but I couldn't resist.

That's a dream job though.

My day job is in video games. Be aware, the "dream job" thing is anything but at times, and in addition, the people on the other end of the negotiating table are well aware that many newcomers have this notion. The video games industry is rife with crushing hours and low pay for those trying to break in and get a shipped title on their resume. Depending on the management and producers' philosophies, they may or may not expect noobs to work for peanuts, weekends, etc., without any extra pay The "coolness" of working in video games if often used as a negotiating point and later, as a lash.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What does a 3-star review mean to you?
« on: May 01, 2017, 08:55:08 PM »
I just received a 3-star review on a romance that I released. The reviewer ended by saying that it was a good book, yet they left a 3-star. That's the only review I have so far on that book. I'm just wondering how do you feel about getting a 3-star? What does a 3-star really mean to you?  Confession: I feel bad about getting the 3. Don't know if I should be feeling that way or not.

My very first review on my first novel was three stars, but the words matter. The reviewer disliked where the story went in the end, and felt things were incomplete, but stated the writing was very strong and the characters well developed. I am still very proud of that review, despite it being the lowest.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trilogy vs. Series
« on: May 01, 2017, 08:16:29 PM »
Hello :)

I am getting ready to put a new book in a new series out. I keep flip-flopping between labeling the series title a Series or a Trilogy.

I've seen Chris Fox advocate for writing in trilogies and I've seen Patty advocate for writing in I'm tempted to call it a trilogy. After-all - then I get to write in a new series that much quicker if I'm only writing 3 books in the series. But that also eliminates writing more in that series if I wanted to.

Just wondering what the collective wisdom is of writing a trilogy vs a series.


There are at least 87 ways to do it, but why not get both? My plan is a series of trilogies, separated by a span of time. One could read any of the trilogies and feel they had a complete story, but there is still more story before and/or after to tell.

I assume you're allergic to the word "said", since you did everything you could to avoid it. You don't have any dialog tags. Of all the examples, the only one I like is:

He set the glasses down in front of her. "Put these on and follow me."

I like this form best, especially if there are more than two speakers. In general, I can follow a 2 person convo just as alternating lines, but if a third person is involved, I greatly prefer the speaker being signaled by some action or description. "'Foo!' said Bar" bugs me with more than two. It makes me wait until after I have processed the dialog to be certain who was speaking. I prefer "Bar rolled his eyes. 'Foo!'" in that case.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Good guys vs. Heroes: Which one is for you?
« on: March 02, 2017, 07:32:01 PM »
I'm honestly not a fan of the "hero" in fiction. I don't write heroes. I think it's unrealistic, even for a fictional universe, to expect a pure-hearted prince riding a white stallion with a longsword to ride in and save the day.

I'm into the concept of gray characters myself; they have good and evil sides to them, and are capable of doing good or bad things. This makes them less predictable and more interesting to me, and the fact that gray characters, unlike heroes, can lose makes them more dramatic to an audience IMO.

It seems I'm not the only one, either; the traditional hero is appearing less and less in fiction I've read. Maybe the anti-hero genre is picking back up again, or maybe readers prefer gray morality vs. back morality rather than white knights vs. black dragons?

What is your preference in this area?

Every one of my characters thinks he (or she) is the 'good guy'. Even the villains.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Story Story Marketing
« on: March 01, 2017, 08:12:31 AM »
I have a couple of novellas and shorts, and honestly, I have no clue how to promote them. I can't make enough off of sales to really justify advertising them. Right now, I just have them up there in the hopes that people who read the novels might be interested, more of a a 'for the love' than out of any expectation of profit. If you do come up with good methods, I'd love to hear.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Anyone Play Games?
« on: February 15, 2017, 04:23:43 AM »
Games are together time for me and the family, so yes. (They were also my day job for decades, so I have a great excuse.) We all play minecraft still, and the wife, father-in-law and I have been doing a lot of 7 Days to Die. It's been a long time since I was blown away by a new game, though, partly my being  jaded, partly modern design philosophy.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bullying on KDP Community threads
« on: February 01, 2017, 06:18:23 AM »
I definitely noticed that. Seems like some folks there are just waiting with sharpened knives to carve up some unsuspecting victim. I don't post there much, for fear of getting yelled at.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is anyone writing interactive stories?
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:08:07 PM »
I just started looking at ChoiceOf stuff a couple months back. The wife was interested in it, and the first thing I noticed was that the script format seemed pretty gnarly for non-technical people. Since my day job is a programmer, I actually wrote a windows tool to organize things, edit, link choices, and export to their script format. Had enough fun writing test material that I think I'll probably try my hand at it soon. Not much time between the day job and the next novel, though.

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