Thursday, February 16, 2017

Using Amazon Free Samples to Better your Writing

I have a confession. I may or may not be addicted to those free samples on Amazon. You know, the teasers you can download to convince you to buy the book? 

It’s a great marketing tool, and an awesome way for readers to decide whether or not they want to invest in the characters. For writers, it is also a fantastic way to really study the beginning of the competition. 

When I read these beginnings as an upcoming author, I like to look at the first line and see if it hooks me. Examining the sample allows me to figure out the best way to convince a reader that my words are worth their time and money. How does the author make the character or their plight memorable enough to warrant further reading? What unique features of the world or magic system (I love fantasy!) or government or society are highlighted so the reader is immersed? How can I apply those calculations or techniques in my own writing to make my agent able to sell my books to editors who can sell them to the public?

Do you utilize those Amazon samples as a reader or writer? Or do you study the beginnings and blurbs of books you buy? Have you ever done this to improve your writing and/or marketing strategy? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Study on Tragedy in Modern Literature and Drama

A few years ago, I did a shout out across the interwebs about modern novel tragedies. My latest (and still latest) project was going to be unique. I'd been reading young adult novels in an effort to understand the dynamics involved compared to the middle grade I'd been writing before and realized that mine would be unique simply because almost all YA had the hero's journey as its plot arc.

Mine flipped it on its head in the form of a tragedy.

At that time, I did some research, but I was caught up in the fervor of free writing the draft, my favorite part.

Now I'm in the trenches of my least favorite part.... editing.

And I was at a stand still until recently, when I watched this very helpful video on Youtube by lfrankers. Not sure exactly what she said that I'd never heard before, but between watching this and looking at a list of tragic movies in the last two decades, I understood this on a whole new level:

In Tradegies, the purpose of the character has to be stronger than the outcome, even death.


Some movie examples:

Man on Fire: The protagonist purpose is to save the girl he's supposed to protect. He trades himself for her, and dies to save her.

Blood Diamond: Leo D sets out to become famous, but ends up dying in order to save his partner so that his partner can save his own family.

Gladiator: Maximus wants to avenge his family. He battles and destroys all those involved, even though it means he dies at the end.

And we all remember the Titantic.

Some more recent literary examples:

We Were Liars: The entire time, the main character is trying to fix her family. Slowly, though the reader realizes something isn't right. Eventually, we learn that the protagonist has gone insane after the tragedy of the fire in which her and her cousins were trying to fix the family.

Of Scars and Stardust: Older sister acts as detective to find the wolf that killed her sister. As she finds more clues, she falls deeper into insanity. By the end of the book, you realize the truth is she was insane all along and she killed her sister. She's put back into an asylum.

What does this mean for my editing?

It means I'm excited because I finally figured out two very important things that will guide how I rewrite Rudger's Story.

1. His motive: To be a leader that unites the two races of his world.

2. He'll have to get there at the expense of his character, losing someone close to him, and losing his sanity.

In order to accomplish this, I'll need to up the tension of his guilt as he makes bad decisions, up the animosity with the current leaders that don't treat the other race well, and Rudger will also need more pressure from his family.

This also means my beginning needs a complete overhaul. But I already knew that!

Please comment and tell me a recent tragic novel you've read, or what you've learned during some of your own editing. I'd love to hear from you and I will write back!

Or CLICK HERE to Tweet:

"What @egmoorewriter learned while #amediting + recent tragic reads. join the discussion! Pls RT! #amwriting #tragedies."

Monday, February 6, 2017

Discussion:Hello new writerly friends! Let's swap ten things.

I've had a lot of new friends via the #Nanobloghop subscribe to my social media and blog. Until now, most of my readers have been writerly friends I've met face to face or critique partners that I've been interacting with for years. It's been a pleasure to connect with so many creative, amazing people walking the same walk I am, word by word.

One such friend is Wendy Knight, and in her welcoming email for her e-newsletter, she offered ten fun facts about herself and encouraged us to respond with ten things too. I sent her a list and it sparked a really fun conversation that made me smile.

I want to reciprocate that on this blog post. So here are the ten fun facts about me that I want to share!
  1. I love almost every green vegetable and know how to cook most of them from raw state.
  2. I'm not a huge animal person, but I can sit and chat with the elderly all day, every day.
  3. I could live on ice cream, tea, and red meat. 
  4. I deal with depression, and am so thankful for my religion and family for helping me through it.
  5. I have a husband, six chickens, two daughters, two dogs, a cat, and most recently we've added an adorable bunny named Oreo to the hobby farm.
  6. I love fishing. This may or may not be due to my love of the water, and most certainly is due to my father being a fishing tournament champion.
  7. I gave up coffee six, no - seven, times since December 31st. It's a problem.
  8. My family and I are big puzzle people. There's almost always one on a surface somewhere in my house. Its a wonder we don't lose pieces, but it rarely happens.
  9. I'm a health and wellness advocate, and use holistic medicine as much as possible. Need herb or vitamin suggestions? I may have an answer. Curious about essential oils? I'm an open book with lots of resources. Want some interesting stories about healing a body with food? I've got a heap... starting with healing my body from hormone imbalance and fixing my body to get pregnant.
  10. I solemnly swear I won't judge anything you say or do, or I will at least see situations from all sides. I always do. It makes decisions hard sometimes.

Please comment with one or more fun facts about yourself, or ask me questions about one or more of my ten things.

Let's not just click the like, tweet, and subscribe buttons! Let's encourage each other, share our success, our experiences, and our words! We can start right here in the comments of my blog! I'd be honored!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Storystorm Part 2: Some Ideas Deserve a Drawer

Well, for my second year in a row, I've completed #Storystorm. Technically, last year it was #PiBoIdMo. The general idea is an idea each day for a whole month.

I'm super excited about a dozen or so of those ideas.

And then there are the other ones.

You know, the ones that deserve a drawer and a bunch of brainstorming. The obscure, the odd ball, the flashes of brilliance that are ridiculous when you think of them and add them to your list but may later be the masterpieces you initially imagined they'd be.

Here are a few of mine for 2017:

Cutting wood - learning the value of hard work
Human squirrel
Mikayla's pile of blankets
Little glasses

So if they deserve the drawer put them there and slam it shut if it makes you feel better.

Just be sure to pull them out once in a while and see if they are ready to show off their shine.