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Messages - ThirdWish

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Thanks for everything you offered in the podcast, Amanda. Over the years, you've been more open than many and straightforward about your process. It's very much appreciated.

Take a look at the 2009 book by Robert Crais--LA REQUIEM. It was groundbreaking at the time for his use of first and third. The POV choices serve the narrative structure of a story from the past T-boning the present day of the story. It also works by highlighting what one character *thinks* he knows or assumes compared to the hidden reality.

Piggybacking on other suggestions -- what about using either a silhouette that reads "detective" or a shadowy figure that gives the same impression. Something along the lines of:

Or use a full body shot in a similar look. Then add space with a stars/space/city on another planet background?

That way you're signaling character and genre and skimming over distracting or off-putting detail.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Did you read any books on writing?
« on: May 15, 2018, 09:31:28 am »
I think I first read this advice in something by Joan Didion (don't remember where), which is to do a type-in of a favorite author. It's a way to take yourself inside the words in a different way and use that writer as a personal coach. Kind of a 'Julia and Julia' approach.

re:  the idea of storytelling as "you got it or you don't."

Cannot count the number of times I've heard this from teachers and writing coaches. Over time, I've come to disagree with it profoundly. IDK why it's so popular or widely considered common knowledge. My disagreement grows from learning story the hard way. Writing in general always came easily for me. Storytelling -- conceiving and structuring story--was the hard part on my path.

Good stories are built. The process can be learned. Anyone who's willing to do the work and stay the course can learn.

This is not to say that there aren't writers with the X factor whose work is transcendent and will stand the test of time. I'm talking about mere mortals toiling in the word mines :-)

Writers' Cafe / Re: I need an Intervention!!!!
« on: May 12, 2018, 09:54:42 am »
Spent so long in the trenches of Unfinished ... At one point, I had about half a million (completed!) words in one series. Sadly, that mass quantity didn't add up to even one full book. So many cool ideas! And characters! Oh my, and what a mess.

I also spent way too long studying at the feet of successful pantsers (Whole Language advocates) who said, "Keep going. When you're done, you'll be able to look back over the whole story and see how to organize it." For them, it worked. For me, not so much. Completion never happened. If I'd kept doing that, I'd be living in a van down by the river, still writing and hoping and never finishing anything.

What changed things: structure.

It was like creating my own 12-step program. I had to surrender my addiction to writing in general and my love of all things new and shiny. I had to admit there was a higher power and its name was story structure. In the process, I discovered that if I attempted to adopt more general, less specific story models -- the ones that encourage writers to create a hybrid of planning and pantsing--my bad habits returned. Usually with a vengeance.

I'm NOT saying pantsing is bad nor am I saying some production and story models are better than others. Self-knowledge makes all the difference. In my case, giving myself any room to pants was like plopping a big ol' bottle of Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve in front of an alcoholic. Mayhem resulted. It's also a matter of scale. Some writers may feel a bit lost in the process of writing a book or three. Happens. If you've got TWELVE in the works, I'm thinking we might have the same addiction.

The single most helpful book/story structure model (for me) was John Truby's book, The Anatomy of Story. IMO, nothing else is even in the ball park.

Edited to add:  One reason (for me) the generally good advice to "pick one book and finish the darn thing" didn't work was that I wanted/needed/felt like I was on a mission to write this whole thing (whatever that whole thing might be). If I didn't get the characters and scenes and bits and bobs that would, eventually, make up the grand scheme, I'd fail. The whole thing would fall apart. Therein lies the clue to the answer, which is structure. The larger your vision, the more structure is your friend.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Six-Figure Backlist Write to Market Strategy
« on: April 14, 2018, 02:26:16 pm »
Thanks for posting. Very inspiring :-)

Bumping this because I found an answer to a question someone asked upthread about uploading to Instagram from a desktop. (Mac only answer, but I'm guessing there's a way you can do something similar with Chrome or Firefox).

1.  In Safari Preferences > Advanced > hit the tick box for "Show Develop menu in menu bar"  (at the bottom of the screen)

2.  Then go to Instagram and load your page.

3.  Safari > Click Develop tab in menu bar > User Agent >  Safari -- iOS 11.0 -- iPhone

4.  Reload the page. Now you will see the mobile version as if you were on your phone instead of your desktop/laptop browser.

Writers' Cafe / Re: trad publishing called and I picked up the phone
« on: March 20, 2018, 09:47:20 pm »
Congrats! Hope it's everything wonderful for you  :)

In the dim and misty past before indie publishing, I heard a then-top agent say New York had a formula regarding hard cover to audio. For a hard cover book to be successful in audio, they needed audio sales to be about 4% of hard cover.  Maybe they're still using that number and working backwards?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Thousand Words a Day Club 2018
« on: March 04, 2018, 08:48:31 am »
Writing's a muscle, it's no different than going to the gym everyday. You can't look at someone who has a bodybuilder aesthetic and not understand that they're in the gym everyday and their diets are beyond strict. No matter what angle you try to look at it, there is no easy way, it's just hard work. Writing's no different. It helps that I'm at a point in my series where I don't have to constantly world build and come up with new magic systems and that my characters are completely rooted in their personalities. I'm in a constant state of flow because I don't have to stop and think, "How are the characters going to react in this situation?" "What is this place and how does it throw a wrench into my game plan?" I was never really a fan of starting new series so that's why I built just one. I didn't want to start from zero lol, so I figured out a way to implement any new "shiny object syndrome" idea that may potentially cross my path.

Thanks  :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Thousand Words a Day Club 2018
« on: March 04, 2018, 08:20:30 am »
It's fiction. A serial. I have only ever written one series and right now I'm retinas deep into the project. Around 14m words. I type fast. Around 155 wpm on a keyboard. 88 wpm on my phone. But typing fast means nothing if I can't pull the words out of my head that fast. I usually average about 6k an hour, give or take and only write between 4am to 8am everyday. I was a developmental editor for a really big video game company and I handled all the franchises' third party novels. Between quest design and quest text, story elements, cinematics and visuals, there was a point where I was writing on average 500k a month. During crunch time and deadlines, there was a point where I was writing a million words a month for six months straight. When I left, I just kept up the habit up. Got tired of making other people New York Times bestselling authors and wanted to do it for myself lol.

In the name of all the werdz we hold dear, could you please unpack this part:  ["pulling] the words out of my head that fast." Beyond habit and lots of practice. I suspect it has a lot to do with your time as an editor and mastering structure and the art of plot. Right? Wrong?

Because I also love how Amanda often points to beliefs about how much we can produce as being just that--beliefs and artificial limitations. The kind of production you're talking about smashes more barriers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I can't keep a straight face in my writing...
« on: March 03, 2018, 09:03:55 am »
Watching Netflix the other night--a good show and one I was into--yet my mind kept drifting back to a scene I'd revised earlier. One where my goal had been to amp the tension and suspense, make all the werdz tighter and more lean. My brain fixed on one particular line of dialogue I knew was out of place. Had to go back and look at it before I went to bed. Why? I really liked the line. It had made me smile while I was writing. Fun in all the ways I like fun. The line was not, however, anything my manly-man-uber-guy character would ever say.

As a result, that sentence had to die because it failed in the job at hand, which was to AMP the tension and suspense. Had it been a moment of humor to provide contrast in a dark or suspenseful scene, it might have worked nicely (and if voiced by a more appropriate character).

If you keep going to humor, does that humor serve and support the narrative drive of the story? Or does it undercut narrative drive? Because narrative drive is what sells books.

FYI:  there's a montage of scenes in one of the later episodes of the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (on Amazon Prime) where the main character revises the order and delivery of her 'tight ten' minutes of standup, each time seeking the bigger laugh, a more effective structure.

Writers' Cafe / Re: its crazy how much they want to record Audio books
« on: December 16, 2017, 03:12:51 pm »
Some perspective from a writer who has also narrated quite a few audiobooks:

A narrator takes the story you, the author, created and runs it through his or her body at a word-by-word, second-by-second, level. That's an intimate thing. Literal. Physical. Tactile. It has to be that way because an audiobook is an intimate experience for a listener, as well. When a listener hits 'play,' he or she will have the experience of a soft voice in his or her ear for hours on end. How many actual humans would you allow to stand about six inches from your body and whisper into your ear for hours? Not many, I'm guessing.

Narrators who do a great job are living your story and bringing it alive for readers. That's no small thing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon, how much would it cost?
« on: December 03, 2017, 11:59:16 am »
Get thee to Amazon or your local bookstore or library and pick up a copy of The Copyright Handbook (Nolo Press) and read it with a highlighter handy (not the library book, obviously :). When it comes to copyright, every writer needs to know the law.

My .02:  as a child psychologist, I'm guessing you spent your educational and professional life in a field with defined steps and process. Take this course, do that workshop, keep up X number continuing education hours, achieve that certification by a specific date, and so on. My daughter is a brand new MD and we've often talked about how her life since high school has been a seemingly endless path of specific steps.

Self-publishing is about as far from a defined path as you could find. I'm guessing the lack of defined, specific, digestible information about what to do, when to do it, why to do it, is driving you a bit batty. Welcome to this world. :o

1.  Give yourself a break. All this stuff is new. Even the way you'll proceed -- no matter how you proceed--will be different from your previous career.
2.  Find a way to give yourself the time you need to learn, which will be unique, depending on your circumstances.
3.  Step one in the learning process is learning how to sift, filter and evaluate your sources. Perhaps you've written a rubric or criteria or two in your career? Write one now based on where you are and keep updating it as you learn.
4.  All this stuff is figureoutable.

Best of luck! Sounds like you've made a stellar start  :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trying not to take things personally...
« on: November 08, 2017, 08:11:35 am »
I don't have any issues with your cover, and I'm a Joe Hill-Blake Crouch-sort of supernatural thriller fan. IMO, it's a taste issue, but I don't think your cover is out of line for your genre.

If I were in your shoes--two things:

    Punch up your blurb. Too wordy.

    Your reviews. 89% very positive. Of your two critical reviews (as I write this), only one is actually critical. The other says s/he wanted to put it down, but couldn't! That's gold, man.

WRITE MORE BOOKS. Let your new releases do the heavy lifting.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Devastating critique from my own dear Mama...
« on: October 19, 2017, 01:43:44 pm »
The first cover says paranormal to me with the moon, bats, and glow, plus the figure looks like a kid, which makes sense if you're targeting MG. With better typography, it could work, IMO. Maybe even use the background of book 1 for books two and three for cohesiveness while differentiating two and three with details.

Lots of good advice so far on the blurb. FWIW, I think you have a wonderful concept that just needs better presentation.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Indie Romance Authors Private Mastermind Group
« on: September 30, 2017, 04:42:37 pm »
Ditto on the awesomeness of this idea. I have a love/hate relationship with the genre that kind of reminds me of my previous life as an actor. It drove me nuts, so a friend of mine suggested walking away. If I couldn't give it up, I'd have to find a way to make it work. What I discovered was that yes, I could walk away from acting, and life was better for it. Writing? Writing romance? ((sigh)) Apparently, I'm here for long haul.  8)

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