I Bought A House

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Buying a house is like writing a book. You look and look for that right house/story. You find one and start the process, only to find out “bad choice!” Or, worse, someone already got to it first. Eventually you do find the right fit, then you commit yourself for a long while. Now after doing a Buy/Sell Agreement or finishing that last chapter, you need outside help. In come: helpers (in the form of loan assistants and title company or critique partners and beta readers)! And you wait for them to approve, to make changes, to tell you “you got this,” because all along you’re thinking that you don’t “got this,” and that it could all fall to pieces. You’re afraid to fall in love with what you are pursuing because it could disappear.

Fate has it that you did it!! You signed a tree-and-a-half of papers, or you finish your book and editing process (yay for you!)…. But now you are in for the long haul. A whole new challenge has arrived.

With a house, you are tied to it forever (it feels like) and have to fix things when they arise. I had a leaking toilet on Move-In day. Last night, we discovered the roof is leaking into our entryway after a torrential rain. I made the commitment and I will bear the fruits of it, or the labor. I’ve only lived in my new house two weeks and my coffers are already empty. But I love my house.

With a completed novel, now you have to decide what to do with it. Is it really finished? Like really, really? If so, do you go traditional route or indie for publication? Do you build an online following? Do you wait wait wait some more? And you finished this novel, meaning you put in the commitment already and more commitment will be needed to publication if that’s what you decide to do. But all in all it’s great! What an accomplishment to finish a story. (FYI I haven’t completed this part, close, but not quite there. I did buy a house though.)

Have you bought a house? What was your experience?

And likewise, have you completed a novel? And what was your experience?

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Remodeling that Novel

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Fixing a novel is like remodeling a house. It takes time, energy, and experience. Sometimes it even takes money to fix a book, by hiring an editor.

As you look at a house/your novel, is it on a solid foundation/plot? How’s that location and setting? With the changes you make, will people like it? Will you like it? Is it functional or all a cluster mess?

What parts do you want to change? Most houses and novels could use improvement. Even if it’s just a little attractive paint. Or an entire remodel.

The two biggest selling points of a house design are kitchen and bathroom. What about a novel? You need an interesting plot and intriguing main character. How can we make those better?

Can you sell this thing when you are done polishing it? Do you even want to sell it or just keep it forever?

Finally, will it look good enough after its finished to be worth your efforts?

What Drives Your Character?

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Does your main character have to be the best at what they do?

In The Maze Runner, the main character was a fast runner, with an exceptional amount of figuring out what on earth was going on with the maze and why were they there. He was driven. Maybe he wasn’t the fastest, smartest guy, but he had that extra drive that made him interesting and special.

In the Harry Potter series, the main character was a smart kid, and pretty talented. I wouldn’t say he was exceptional though. He did surround himself with the right people, friends, mentors etc. I think bravery was his best attribute and the drive to do the right thing.

In Divergent, (I’ve only read the first book) Tris isn’t athletic at first, but she has that drive to be something greater than her boring life at Abnegation. She wanted something and nothing would stop her. She was driven.

These are only a few examples of characters who aren’t the best at what they do, but they have the drive to succeed and do whatever it takes. Damn determination! In real life, I see very talented people with zero drive, and not so talented people with a great drive. Who succeeds here?

For myself, I have a great drive for certain things. I have my hang ups that get in the way though. And things can take so long to come to fruition. So my drive wavers when results don’t show up quickly. I enjoy stories with characters who are driven because that’s what I want to emanate in my own life!

Beginnings

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In my previous post, I mentioned I’m not the greatest reader because my attention span is limited and I’m a busy person. I set down many books because they trip me up and slow me down, or just plain confuse me.

First and foremost, I don’t want to be bored by a book. I could attribute this to living in an age of instant gratification and movies that are POW! right in your face, non-stop action. Books should be the same, right? I just want to be entertained. That’s why I read.

Other things also cause me to set down a book. In the first chapter, I look for these things that will trip me up. I have personal problems about prologues, so all of those books are out. Too many characters and too many people talking can really throw me. I also like having the scene/setting set up so I know where we are, what world is this? Who is the main character? I want to know the basic setting, but for it to be exciting enough to keep me reading on.

These are a few things that trip me up at the beginning of a novel. If I’m not getting it right away, I’m not going to keep trying to get it throughout the rest of the book.

Do you have things that trip you up when you rest a novel? Or am I just being too particular and missing out on some great books?

Conducting Marketing Research on Amazon

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This week I’m going to talk about how I am doing research on what makes a successful novel, in my opinion, by looking at what works and what doesn’t. Also, taking an overall view of my approach to novel writing and getting published in today’s market. It’s my way of procrastinating on my WIP, but gaining as a writer as a whole.

I conduct marketing research on Amazon. I have a smartphone with a Kindle app so it is convenient and easy for me to grab books off Amazon and read them on my phone.

Before I go further on this subject, a truth must be told: I’m a terrible reader. I’m very picky and if a “rule” is broken, I’m done. I rarely get through an entire book. I’ll set them down halfway through if I lose interest. I barely get through page one of most books.

Four purposes of marketing research, my new rule is to give a book one chapter. If I’m not captured by then, I set the book down and move on. Also, I analyze why I stopped reading the book and not make those mistakes myself.

Why I can’t finish a book and am super picky? Because I’m a busy momma and writer with minimal free time in my day, and a book I read better be worth it! So I’m ruthless. The reasons I throw aside a book might not be valid for other readers. To each their own, I say!

My research is done by grabbing the FREE books off of Amazon and giving them their one chapter. I also look at their book dedications, promotional tactics, subject matter, and writing style. One could do this at your library too. It’s an inexpensive way to gather info on the current market. I don’t know what will come of my research, but I’m taking note.

What makes you set a book aside? Have you conducted marketing research and what approach did you take?

Novel Beginnings

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Starting a novel can be a daunting task. There are many approachs to take. It would help to plan out the entire novel and all the characters and plot twists. My experience has been backwards. I’m a pantser. I’ve winged it for most of my novels. The story doesn’t reveal itself until midstream and then I have to go back and fix the beginning. I’ve made rookie mistakes in my current novel: the first three pages are all narrative backstory, there’s no action, I just tell how my character got to be where she is when the story begins.

How I’m fixing this: planning. I have to pull up my sleeves and look at the whole picture of my story. What elements will draw the reader in and keep them intrigued to read on? To gradually show who my character is through their actions and the way they view the world around them. It’s so much easier to just tell everything, it takes a bit more craft to create an engaging story that people will enjoy and want to read!

I’ll keep editing. I’ll keep learning and reading. I’ll keep letting people read my work and give advice. I’ll keep making it better. Writing is a journey. A long one.

How do you approach your novel beginnings?

6 Aspects of Being a Novel Writer

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Being a novel writer has it’s pros and cons. Here are a few. Add to the list if you please!

1) No guarantees on ever making a penny with your writing. The money you make may never amount to the time spent working on your WIP.

2) Telling people you are a writer who doesn’t have anything published, and non-writers can’t understand why you haven’t published yet. Having to explain why, and they still don’t get it. The reasons being simply I’m not ready to publish. I don’t have a piece ready for publication. Period.

3) Having to pay bills by doing a day job you don’t enjoy because you haven’t made money from your writing passion, thus leaving you unfulfilled, aimless, and ________ (that’s for you to fill in).

4) Spending all your waking hours plotting, scheming, analyzing, writing, editing, brainstorming, etc. about your novel. Consequently, not doing other things… Or when you do those other things you feel like you should be working on your story.

5) Having copious amounts of either “I’m the best writer ever!” or “I’m the worst writer ever.”

6) Knowing even though you are broke, working a job you don’t enjoy, and being cursed by a story that must be told, you still can’t imagine the world any other way than you writing that novel. You are compelled to do so and nothing will stop you.

So here’s to all the angst-filled writers out there! I, too, feel the pains and joys of novel writing.