Saturday, October 31, 2009

Create your own book trailer

Today’s blog is actually about another blog that I follow titled My Writing Masquerade, penned by T.K. Richardson, a talented writer and member of Agent Query Connect.

Her prose is infectious and in her own words:

These short stories are snapshots of life. It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words, but I say a thousand words can create a picture so vivid, layers so complex, that it can be remembered long after the image has faded. As a writer, a storyteller, an addict of words, these stories-- all captured with the lens of my imagination-- will hopefully resonate with you, the reader. I hope you enjoy them.

Both her blog and web site represent excellent examples of pre-marketing her newest complete YA novel, RETURN THE HEART. I enjoin all of you to check out her latest blog post, Make your own book trailer. Ms Richardson explains how easy it is to use Microsoft’s free Movie Maker program to market your own book. Last night I followed her advice, visited the internet and gathered a few free pictures. Later I used the program and made a simple slide show with written comments. I was impressed with the results. Now I can create a book trailer for my own SiFi/Fantasy MYSTERIOUS GIFT.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Agent Query Connect / Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and YA ResourceNetworking

Since this blog site is focused on Science Fiction and Fantasy writing I want to introduce you to a writer's site that I am a member of and interact with. Agent Query Connect. The writers group I belong to is called Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and YA Resource Networking. Click on groups and work your way down to the Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and YA Resource Networking group. You must request permission to join this group (hint, press the request button). If your writing interests are the same as the group you will not be denied entry. The founder and energy behind this phenomenal group is Clippership.

When I first heard her name I imagined an old salty sailor, with a pipe in her mouth and her hair blowing in the wind. Since joining I have found her to be a true friend and an accomplished writer. Her comments about my first attempt at writing a SiFi/Fantasy novel, pointed out my weaknesses and at the same time she gave me a pat on the back.

The other great benefit to joining this site is the members. I am amazed at their energy and writing skills. All levels of writers are represented and their comments are priceless. We do have our fun and contests and the comment section is filled with wisdom and mirth. I can truly say this site helped me to finish and edit my first novel, MYSTERIOUS GIFT.

Agent Query Connect has many other groups and assets for the writer no matter what your genre is. There is a group for critiquing query letters and another one titled First Page Critiques. The feature I enjoy using is the quick agent search. I can enter a genre, click the button and within seconds I am looking at a list of current agents.

If you write Science Fiction/Fantasy novels then I recommend that you check out this group.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is it cool to post online sample chapters of your work before submitting to it to an agent/publisher?

The Lyons Literary LLC Agency (see blog archive for original post) posed a question on their site. Do free online sample chapters sell books? It’s a short article (my favorite kind) backed up by a comment section and a link to the Libre Digital web page. Notice, I said a short article, but with long arms reaching deep into the traditional publishing and book promotion market.

I followed the link to the LibreDigital and discovered that this is a company that boasts over 500 million page views of online book samples/chapters. They also hold book chapters for major publishing houses, authors and social networks. Some publishers are using their web site to promote upcoming books.

Libre Digital research shows that an average book purchaser spends over fifteen minutes reading sample chapters of books online. The number of pages they read before deciding to purchase the book is forty-six. Yikes, that means I would have to put six chapters of my current WIP online.

Comments on this article ranged from, I wouldn’t have purchased this book if I could not read a few sample chapters to you try shoes on before purchasing them, so why not read a few chapters of a book you are contemplating buying. The consensus of the commenter’s was that it is all right to put sample chapters online for everyone to read.

I agree that a sample chapter (or two, not six) will help sell e-books. It makes sense for a reader to want to read some of the author’s words check out his voice and read what the hook is. Add to this discussion the fact that more and more authors are putting up sample chapters on their WEB and BLOG sites. Are they giving away the store? Not according to Libre Digital and echoed by Lyons Literary Agency. They claim that books are selling. Not at record rates, but the way is now set to sell e-books and advertise books ready for publication. It’s the new wave of book marketing and as all things new will catch on as time goes by.

What are your thoughts on putting sample chapters online for all to read?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two Setting World

Can you have two different settings in the world you create? This is exactly what the reader experiences in my DARKSIDE OF THE MEDALLION trilogy. One setting is ancient, filled with cities, religion, temples, gods and two different races of characters. The other setting is alien and futuristic. It consists of cities, spacecraft, Cyborgs, alien races, advanced technology and a shower with a force field that keeps water from spilling onto the floor.

How do you blend the two settings together? In my novel I use Seth, the ancient Egyptian god of chaos and evil, as the common thread that ties both settings together. Seth controls one entire alien race, forcing them to conquer all habitable planets. He also must defeat Jen, the Udorns and other ancient gods if he is to claim his title of supreme god, ruler of all. The stakes are set high for my protagonist. If she looses against Seth it means she is dead and eventually the human race will become slaves to Seth.

I created a two front war, one using ancient warriors and weapons and the other futuristic, using alien technology. My protagonist, JEN, brings the reader into both settings. As the story unfolds, the reader learns that neither front can help the other. It wouldn't be realistic to use a spacecraft to destroy an invading army of dead Egyptian-like warriors. The reader would feel cheated and probably toss the book into his slush pile.

The answer to the question, can you have two different settings in the world you create, is YES. This can be verified by looking at our own world. Suppose you wrote a novel based in Sao Palo Brazil. You protagonist must go on a trek into the deep Brazilian jungles and find a missing anthropologist. Your protagonist is surrounded and captured by a tribe of natives that have never seen a white man, used a phone, listened to music from a radio and think that passing overhead aircraft represents the wrath of the gods. There are many possibilities her for a great, two setting, story.

Let me know how you handle a two setting world.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Possibilities for Publication continued--Place/World

Let’s continue our discussion of your SiFi/F world. You remember--the place you fashioned for your story. The place your reader escapes to--explores and marvels at your creative talent. What makes your world work for your story? Does it have snow capped mountains or hot dry wastelands, cities with glass spires or small towns with a pub, indigenous people and strange critters?

When I read a good SiFi or Fantasy book I am whisked away to a different place and time. Sometime to a different planet where I meet alien races and ride in spaceships to the outer edges of the universe. Remember the Star Wars saga with many different planets, aliens, spaceships and creatures. Each planet and alien race was described with such detail that the reader (or movie viewer) was completely drawn into the author’s world. This is your job; to draw your reader in and make him/her believe that somewhere in time and space your world exists.

One of the problems authors often encounters creating their place is too much description. Not only does it tend to slow down the story it also forces many readers to skip to the good stuff, the action, conflict and the ending. What techniques do you use? Do you draw a map first and describe the setting or blunder in sprinkling cities, people/aliens, mountains, rivers as you need them?

I use a combination of short description through the eyes of the protagonist and a term I coined called reader discovery. When my protagonist travels through my place, the reader discovers, at the same time, what my protagonist sees (point of view description). My world is not only made up of solid objects it also includes sounds, smells, colors, animals; the list goes on.

When we build our world we need to show the reader that it is different from the one he/she lives in. We tend to think in the present and as such tend to write with the same technology. Imagine an alien who lives 120,000 light years from earth using the same toaster or toilet you use back home. Not to convincing for your reader. How about using a shower, which has no doors and uses a force field to keep water inside? Now we are getting somewhere. We do not have anything like that on earth and at the same time it is believable.

I would like to hear from you. How do you build your world (place)? How is your protagonist affected by the world you have thrust him/her into?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Publications for Writers

I decided to break up my blog into several topics. Yesterdays post was designed to get the reader to question my comments on writing. Today’s post falls under aids for the writer such as books and magazines. What does a novice writer have in common with a published author? Hint we both love to write is not the answer I am searching for. We both have and use publications written to help the writer improve his/her craft.

The word publications include books on writing, reference books for writers and writer’s magazines. Even the dictionary defines publication as the act of making printed material, especially books (Encarta Dictionary: English (North America). The internet has changed this definition to include eBooks, eZines and videos. The following list includes the books and magazines I own, have read and use to hone my craft.

1. Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2001, ISBN: 0-89879-995-3 (hardcover), ISBN: 1-58297-182-X (paperback).
2. Handbook of Novel Writing by the editors of Writer’s Digest. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2002, ISBN: 0-89879-831-0 (paperback).
3. The Writers Handbook 2004 by Editor Barry Turner. Published by Macmillan, UK, (Look for the newest printing).
4. Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. 13th printing, University of Oklahoma Press Norman, IBSN: 0-8061-1191-7 (paperback).
5. The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron and the Editors of Writer’s Digest. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2007,ISBN: 1-58297-159-5 (paperback).
6. Book Proposals That Sell by W. Terry Whalin. Write Now Publications, Nashville, TN 37222, 2005, ISBN: 1-932124-64-0 (paperback).
7. Universal Keys for Writers by Ann Raimes. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston New York, 2003 (Look for newest printing).
8. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2008, 7th printing, ISBN: 978-1-58297-294-7 (paperback).
9. On Writing by Steven King. Pocket Books, New York, 2002, 16th printing, ISBN: 978-0-7434-5596-1 (paperback).
10. Poets and Writers Magazine by Poets and Writers, Inc. .
11. Writer’s Digest Magazine by Writer’s Digest.
12. The Writer Magazine by Kalmbach Publishing Co.

This is my list of books and magazines. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass is an outstanding book. From the book: Insider advice for taking your fiction to the next level. My copy is dog-eared and underlined in red ink. He talks about setting the stakes for your protagonist, time and place, characters, plot, contemporary plot, multiple viewpoints, subplots, pace, voice, endings, advanced plot structures, theme and breaking out from the pack. Well worth reading and having a copy on your bookshelf. A few of the above books I purchased on eBay at a substantial savings. The remainder I bought from Amazon in their used book section. The books that are described as like new are in excellent condition. I will be glad to answer any question about the above publications. What writing books do you have and use?

Keep your pens filled with ink and keep writing.
David Ferretti

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Posibilities for Plublication

Possibilities for Publication

Welcome and thank you for reading my blog. Warning, if you become a regular reader you might get excited and begin writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (SiFi/F) novels. So who am I to write such a blog? Good question, if you ever find out please let me know. I have been searching for an answer for years.

I titled this blog Possibilities for Publication because in SiFi/F anything is possible. Wow, what a profound statement. Do you believe it? Let’s take the anything is possible phrase and talk about it. If you are writing a novel can you weave anything you think of into your story without dire consequences?

In an orderly world everything happens in a logical manner. If you write about this type of world anything you make up must meet the accepted norm for your world or your reader will not believe it. In the worlds of science fiction or fantasy the same rules apply. I do not recall Frodo from the Trilogy of the Rings ordering a hamburger. Why, because it would not fit into the world J.R.R. Tolkien created. The same logic must apply to anything you or I write. The phrase anything is possible is correct as long as your SiFi or fantasy world permits it. The good news is that you are the world’s creator. This puts a heavy responsibility on you.

The science fiction or fantasy world you dream of for your novel must be constructed using your descriptive words. Now I will date myself. Many of you will not remember the days of radio. Yes those days of yesteryear without TV or Mp3 players. Radio programs brought all of our entertainment into the house. I remember the advertisements some of which made my mouth water. Coca-Cola comes to mind. The announcer would talk about the product and at the same time open a bottle (yes we had glass bottles) next to his microphone. The sound of the liquid splashing over ice cubes was enough to make me rush to the refrigerator and grab…you guessed it, a Coke. Now apply this same principle to your descriptive writing when you describe your novels world and you will have the reader turning page after page. A good exercise would be to take the above Coca-Cola scene and put it into words.

Your job, should you accept it, is to create a place (another word for world) that allows your readers to escape to and believe all of it. Another question is what makes up a place? We will discuss this next.