This week I’m going to talk about word counts and what they could mean to you as a reader and as a writer.
What word count can mean to a reader:
How long is this story? Do I really want to read such a short/long story? Some like it long – they feel cheated by shorts and novellas; others want to get through a book in one night, or on the train ride home, so they shudder at epic word counts.
For authors, though, word counts can mean two things:
When it refers to real life, a Point of View is the “position from which something is viewed”. In story-telling, it translates into “who is telling the story?”Whose viewpoint is it? How much of it is biased because it is only one point of view? How much can a reader believe if it is coming from one ‘position’ only?Let me try and answer these questions.
This week I’m going to talk about how to write a midpoint that keeps the reader turning the pages.As the word suggests, the midpoint of a story comes right at the center of it.How should it be written?Why should we care?Regardless of what genre we write, the first quarter of the story is invariably where the characters are introduced to the reader and where the events that complicate the main characters’ lives take place.This part is the set-up to the second quarter of the story which highlights how the characters react to the life-altering events (job offer, job loss, tragedy, natural disaster, unexpected inheritance) that beset them.Their reactions drive the story forward – if they don’t react, there will be no story.
When there’s a romance brewing between two characters in a story, even in genres other than romantic fiction, readers will want the characters to, at the very least, kiss.
When I’m reading, I know that I always want that to happen – and I feel let down when a story with a promising slow-sizzle ends without a physically sensual moment. I’m sure the protagonists feel cheated too.
Have you heard of the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest?
It has been around since 1982 and it connotes a very intriguing challenge – participants must write an “atrocious opening sentence to a hypothetical bad novel” and the most atrocious entry wins a prize every year.
This week I’m going to talk about jealousy as it applies to authors.
Jealousy, as per Wikipedia “refers to the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, over relative lack of possessions, status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a comparator, a rival, or a competitor.”
Do writers experience “insecurity, fear, concern”? Sure they do, but it is usually over wondering if anybody is going to read their work or like their stories or come back for more.
Do writers experience “insecurity, fear, concern”…in reference to a comparator, a rival, or a competitor? I hate to say ‘hell, yes’, but I’m afraid it is true, so…Hell, yes!
The evidence that the green-eyed monster lurks in writing circles comes from the shenanigans that accompany literary contests where winners are declared based on the number of times the book has been downloaded and the number of positive reviews they’ve garnered.
The following image is a screenshot of a facebook post by a well-respected blogger who was appalled to receive an offer of the nefarious kind.
When authors start paying for downloads and reviews of one’s own books, and then offer money to bloggers and readers for posting deeply “deeply negative reviews” of other’s books, this is a sure sign of insecurity.
Just because there are vicious and deeply insecure writers out there, does not mean that jealousy is necessarily a bad thing. If one were to think of it as ‘literary envy’ instead of as ugly, toxic, painful jealously, it can serve a useful purpose.
It can make you want to be a better writer than you are already. It can make you want to connect with others who write in your genre – thus broadening your network of support and learning.
If you do ever feel green – and you will because you’re human after all – then here’s what you could do:
Smile. Not only because you’ve just confirmed that you’re human, but also because stretching those muscles prompts you to rearrange your emotions to match the smile.
Write something nice ‘about’ or ‘to’ the subject of your envy. Share in her success and maybe the success fairy will visit you too. Believe it! If nothing else, being generous in the face of all the greenness invading your soul will make you like yourself a lot more.
Read the work of the people you envy. You might find something about their writing style or their character development or dialogue delivery to inspire you.
Avoid negative authors who make you feel bad about yourself – even if they do this indirectly by bragging about their accomplishments (real or imagined) and their reviews (organic or paid for, who knows?).
Find a team of writer people, and non-writer people, and dogs, and cats who make you feel good and optimistic and positive and stick to them like glue. If, on the other hand, you do better alone, prefering to write in isolation, do remember to pop up once in a while to absorb the positive vibes of a supportive group.
Remind yourself that success is transient – it’s here today, gone tomorrow, so there’s little point in worrying endlessly about it. Besides, any day could be your day, so work away at making it happen.
No two writers are the same. Even if you envy another’s writing style, find your own niche through trying, and trying again. Keep at it. Hard work – and learning as you go – always pays. Be patient.
This week I’m going to talk about adding humor to your writing.
I can’t write a blog on humor with mentioning my favorite author.
“If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorous view of things. …making the thing a sort of musical comedy without music, and ignoring real life altogether.”
PG Wodehouse’s comic genius is something to aspire to; however, not all of us write comedies. What, then, is the point of adding a comic touch to our writing? Indeed, in that case, what is the purpose of this blog?