Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nook links are updated

They're the D2D links now.  I haven't closed out my account with Nook Press, but I'm planning on using D2D for the foreseeable future.  Barnes & Noble still seems to be trying to figure out what kind of company it wants to be.  It's chaotic, and I don't want to deal with them directly until they get themselves sorted out.  I'd love for them to really put some effort into competing with KDP, but they haven't shown much interest in doing that yet.

I updated the Buddy file to include D2D's new-release notification thing.  I don't know if the link will change or not.

The holiday season is in full swing.  I like the holidays, but I sort of hate them, too.  I never get much done in December.

At least we got some rain.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

First draft is done

I met my self-imposed deadline.  The first draft of Neutral Ground is finished.  It came in at just under 79k words.

Now I'm going to try to enjoy Thanksgiving.  No writing or revising or anything.  And I may take Friday and Saturday off as well, just because.

Come next week, I'll get back to the Free Space trilogy.  I'm not looking forward to it.  I've been working on those books for two years now, and I'm ready to be rid of them.  My goal is to get all three polished and ready to publish by the end of the year.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Don't kill off the cool guy

Sometimes we authors decide to get a little too edgy for our own good.  We want to shake things up, or surprise the reader, or whatever, and we kill off a beloved character.  We think we're oh-so-clever.  When fans see a beloved character die, their reactions are often not pleasant.

I read a book series once where the author killed off the coolest character in book three or four (can't remember which).  After that, the series was bland and boring.  The protagonist was a good guy, mostly, but he just wasn't cool.  He wasn't badass.  I learned a lesson then as an author: don't neuter your book of its most interesting character just for the sake of shock value, or to artificially raise the status of the main protagonist, or for any other reason.

Remember: you can always take a character off-stage for a while.  There are many ways to do this.  But death is sort of final.  Don't kill off the cool guy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Three elements of a good hero

Some fictional heroes are good.  They resonate with us and inspire us long after we have finished reading or watching.  Luke Skywalker, for example.

Other heroes aren't so good.  They're forgettable or, even worse, turn us off to the point where we abandon the book or walk out of the theater.

So what makes the difference?  I think it's three things:

1.)  The hero should be a decent human being.  He shouldn't be a dick.  He shouldn't be cruel.  He should have a conscience.  He should be motivated by positive, uplifting desires, what is best in all of us.  Basically, he should be a role model, more or less.  Most readers would rather be inspired than stare into the abyss.

2.)  The hero must be sufficiently challenged.  If the obstacles of the plot are too easily surmounted, then the story is boring.  Anyone can "overcome" when it's easy.  Heroes overcome when it's hard.  That's what makes them heroic in the first place.  If your hero never fails, or never gets injured, then you're doing it wrong.  Luke Skywalker got beaten and knocked out by Sand People, was thrown across the cantina by ruffians, got zapped by the Force-training remote on the Falcon, and was strangled and half-drowned by the garbage monster before he actually accomplished anything important.  In short, he took his licks.  Make sure your hero does, too.

3.)  The hero must solve the main plot.  Too many books end in cliffhangers nowadays.  I don't like it.  I think it's disrespectful to the reader.  If a reviewer mentions that a book ends in a cliffhanger, then I won't download the book.  It's as simple as that.  I want stories with beginnings, middles, and ends.  If you must have a hook at the end for the next book, then do it in the form of an epilogue.  But always solve the main plot.  Give the reader a satisfying conclusion first.  Then you can hook him for another book.

These seem like pretty simple criteria.  And I suppose they are.  But I'm constantly seeing authors who flout one or more of them.  Those authors are often oblivious as to why their works aren't more popular.  I think such authors would find that adhering to these three rules would make a world of difference in their books' success.

I've been guilty of breaking these rules myself.  Writing good craft is a never-ending struggle.  But I know my weaknesses, and that's the first step in overcoming them.  Hopefully my readers will think I've succeeded.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Going indirect to Nook

I'm going to streamline things a bit.  I'm going to de-list from Nook and then re-list via Draft2Digital.

Monday, November 14, 2016

I wish I'd gone to this school

I could have been a rock star.  :(

That aside, these kids are pretty awesome.  Check it out:

The kid on the drums is a maniac.  In an awesome way, I mean.  :D  \m/

Thursday, November 10, 2016

In remembrance

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Production has faltered :(

It's the election, mostly.  It's too distracting.  I can't focus on anything anymore.  I spent most of tonight killing bloons instead of doing anything worthwhile.  That's the kind of mush my brain has become.

The good news is that I'm about at the halfway point in Neutral Ground.  Word count is somewhere around 43k, I think.  Poor Jerry is in a tough spot.  He's been ordered to do something that is basically suicidal.  But a Rifleman does his duty, regardless of the risks.  For Homestead!  :D

Another person volunteered to beta read Hostile Planet.  I'm pleased.  Can't have too many betas.  Well, you can, I suppose, but I'm not in that position yet.

I finally figured out how to make folders in my gmail inbox.  Google calls them "labels" instead of folders, but they're basically the same thing, it seems.  I feel like an idiot for not figuring this out sooner.  :S

So that's where I'm at now.