Series Part 1: What is the Thing about a Good Series?

In college, I remember falling in love with Harry Potter. Due in part largely to the movies since I discovered the books much later. I remember always feeling eager to move on. Then when that part was over, I had to find something else to sustain me until the next book or movie came out. But what is it that sustains us? Or drives us to be one with the characters. To feel as if we too are a part of the frame. In essence, what keeps us yearning for more?

It could be the overall story and the story world, but to a great extent I think like with anything else it all starts with character. There stands Harry Potter with his books. There stands the Dursleys busy going about their business, while Harry with his oversized glasses is forced to stay in the room beneath the stairs until a letter arrives summoning him to a magical school called Hogwarts where he will find friends he would  otherwise have never known.

Harry's Letter

Harry’s Official Letter

Maybe it is the child in us, in search of an adventure who presses the covers open wider and dares to take a look. Or maybe it is the adult in need of some reprieve who also yearns to be taken on some adventure. Yet even if we are drawn there or taken kicking and screaming like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone, eventually that is where we will land.

In that strange kingdom (e.g Dorothy and Toto – the Wizard of Oz). We are drawn to the things that frighten, surprise, amuse and intrigue us. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We are drawn in by the story world and the cast of characters and the problems that are to be overcome.

frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Google Image

For what is the hero without a problem? Or quest? Or journey? Think of Luke Skywalker on his quest to rescue Princess Leia, become a Jedi and defeat Darth Vader. The Jedi. Series give us people fighting for things. Trying to overcome some disaster. Or running away from some burden or hurdle. Either way, we are intrigued. Something moves in us and as such we follow.

Like the pied piper leading away the rats. Or children. The Pied Piper of Hamelin. We too are led away by the storyteller. Writer. Director. Producer.

(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Google Image)

So are you crafting a good story? Are you being interesting and intriguing and suspenseful? Write with the reader in mind. Be vivid in your portrayals of the world and adept in your creation of characters and their emotions. Show the things that they encounter. Draw the reader in as you want to be drawn in and only pull back when you are ready to leave them. Then bid them farewell. Adieu. Until the next book or story or world…

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Supporting Your Author Friend

Support, support, support!

Laura Best

This post could have been written by my family and friends. It’s all about how to support your authorly friends out there, and since my friends and family have been awesome enough to support me through the publication of two books I wanted to let others in on their tips for supporting an author friend. (I bet most of them didn’t even know they had such tips!) Through the years my friends and family have come up with some ingenious ways to put the word about my books “out there.” I thought I would share these with everyone else out there who would like to know ways to support a certain author but are a bit uncertain about how to do that. Believe me there are plenty of ways, and my friends have done a super, stupendous job.

1. Buy the book-— A lot of my friends bought the…

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Why Should You Publish in Ebook Format?

Do read!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Frankly, I’m surprised this is even asked anymore. And yet, I did encounter the question a few days ago. I consulted Author Marketing Ideas,  Vox.com and, of course, Author Earnings for some interesting statistics on ebooks.

EBooks are on the rise right now. Having an eBook allows you to offer your audience a new way of reading your book. Nowadays it seems just about everyone owns a tablet or some kind of eReader and prefer to read on these devices.

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books from vox.com

The healthy state of the book market owes a lot to ebooks, as the trendlines are negative for print. The data about e-book sales and print sales are never fully clear, but we do know that total book sales in 2013 was almost $15 billion, according to the Associations of American Publishers. That’s a 14% increase since 2008. E-books accounted for $3 billion. If we took…

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Fellow author tries out crowdfunding with Pubslush

Check this out! Help if you can.

Michelle Proulx - Author

Just checking in quickly this dreary Monday evening to let everyone know that a fellow self-pubbed author — Anthony Wade — is trying out crowdfunding for his book Grandfather. Click the image below to check it out!

Untitled

He’s using Pubslush, which is a crowdfunding platform specifically for books. Read more about it here.

Anyone had any experience with Pubslush? Thoughts on Pubslush vs. IndieGoGo vs. Kickstarter? Thoughts on anything slush-related?

Stay excellent, my friends!

Unrelated media of the day:

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/2DrKHkW

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2014 A Year in Books

2014 hasn’t ended as yet, and already I find myself in a reflective mood. Truth be told I haven’t even considered possible new year’s resolutions or cleaning (since I do that routinely), but I’m going through the 70 plus books I’ve read in search of additional insight and tips.

 
So, how do you know when you’ve found a good book? Usually you end up reading it again, to see if the juicy parts are just as meaningful. Anyway here’s my line up:
1. Essentialism (Greg McKeown)- A great book, that tells us to do most of the things that we know we should do, but often don’t. Like pare down to the essentials. Focus on the work.

essentialism

2. Fire in Fiction (Donald Maass) –  Does just what the title says. This book shows you how to improve your writing technique, how to learn new skills by reading different authors across various genres.

fire in fiction

3. Pure (Julianna Baggott) – A fantastic novel with well-crafted characters, whose names are interesting: Pressia, El Capitan, Glassings, Partridge and Bradwell. Who knew using the present tense could be so evocative. I enjoyed the characters immensely. The novel reminded me of a great movie with an ensemble cast like Schindler’s List. Or Chicago. (Insert your own movie here).

Pure
4. The Devotion of Suspect X (Keigo Higashino) – A while back, when I lived in Japan, I was intrigued by a television series called Galileo, about a University professor who was helping the police. Now seven years later two of the books (that led to the serithe devotion of suspect Xes) have been translated into English. What I love about the books other than the fact that they are detective mysteries, is that sometimes a translation can show you how easy it is to explain things in a novel, if the writer just takes their time. What I’m referring to here is what W.S. Merwin referred to as knowing the limits of your language, his advice for poets. Here though it can also refer to the vocabulary needed to tell your tale. Check it out for yourself. Is there anything you’ve read in another language and then explored in English, or your own language, if English is not your mother tongue?

        

5. The Maze Runner (James Dashner)- I know it’s been adapted for the screen but I still haven’t seen it as yet. MazerunnerAlthough I’ve watched If I Stay and the Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both of which made me feel totally gutted, in a good way because the stories were adapted well. Anyway, The Maze Runner was intriguing. I liked not knowing the whole story, and having to discover everything along with the characters, be it their environment and personal things about their life. In this respect, it reminded me of False Memory (Dan Krokos), where Miranda North had to figure things out for herself. As your write your story, consider the predicament of your main character. What is he or she trying to figure out? And how are you getting the reader involved?

 

6. Uguglieslies (Scott Westerfeld) – Tally Youngblood is an intriguing character. What else can I say, I like Pretty Town and the fact that she was trying to chase after some boy, Peris who had been made handsome. Other than that there were diverse character, an intriguing setting and genuine friendships.

 
7. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (Holly Black) – A few people I know didn’t quite get it but the book struck a chord with me. I get howthe coldest girl in coldtown Tana yearned to be reunited with her mother and in the end tried to do what was best for her sister. After all life is full of trade offs. And surprises.

 

THE TAKE AWAY :
This year I’ve managed to read more books, maybe next year I’ll have read more, somewhere between 100-120. Recommendations anyone? I’m not trying to go for gold, it’s all about pacing.
Whether you’ve read a few books or many, kudos to you! Remember part of being a good writer means we have to be even better readers. So, I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog thus far and will be back next year. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to blog about, possible topic or book suggestions and I’ll see what I can do. Have big dreams, set them down in writing. And ladies and gentlemen, after you’ve indulged a bit and spent some time with your family recommit yourself. Get back to work.

Help Penguin Random House #GiveaBook – 25,000 Books!

Help give a book!

BookPeople's Blog

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The folks at Penguin Random House have a launched a new campaign this holiday season to donate books to children here in the U. S. It’s called #GiveaBook, and it’s quite simple: every time someone posts a message to facebook or twitter with the hash tag #GiveaBook, PRH will donate one book to Save the Children. Their goal is to donate 25,000 books to young readers this season.

There’s also a video challenge, in which you can share the book you’re giving this season and challenge your friends to give books, as well. The San Diego Book Review created this handy infographic to help with the process:

give a book video challengeMany authors have already accepted the challenge, including National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, who explains in her video why it is perfectly accept to give a book to a writer:

For more information, visit the #GiveaBook facebook page. Get started…

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