My writing journal for Saturday, September 27, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.
I started the morning off with the novella, working with the character arcs, so that they make sense. You need to show the characters’ changes as a logical progression.
Here’s why this is important. If your characters don’t act like real people — even if they’re little green men from the planet Zotekar — your reader gets bounced out of the story. Not only that, you can annoy the reader profoundly. He’s upset, but he’s not sure why, and he won’t buy anything else you’ve written. This will annoy you. :-)
So it’s worth getting the characters right. Mystery author Donald Westlake wrote a very funny novel called The Hook, about a bestselling novelist. From memory, in the first few pages, the main character can’t get his book character to behave logically. It’s worth reading; sadly there’s no Kindle version, so you’ll need to find it in your local library.
Onward, with the company history I’m ghostwriting. I manage another 1,300 words on that, and then it’s time for email. First Honey’s breakfast, and then my own, while writing email messages. Mailbox is amazing. I’m very pleased with it, because you can choose “Later” and set a time/ date for messages you don’t want to handle immediately.
Next, a little work on the ebooks I’m ghostwriting for a client. These are nonfiction, and their goal is promotion for the client. I need to write a couple more ebooks of my own, for the same purpose. When you’re ghostwriting, you’re like the shoemaker whose kids go barefoot. I manage 1,800 words. It’s going well.
Time for my walk. I need to clear my head of worries about the character arcs. The “boys in the basement” can handle it.
I’m back. I’ve been chatting with some authors who are trying to market their books, and are complaining that it’s hard. Yes, it’s hard. And it will get harder.
Book marketing: surviving the content flood
Bob Mayer talked about the “content flood and authors whining”. and I think he’s right. There’s more and more content (the Web, ebooks, television, games, movies, and on, and on.)
Your content, and mine, gets diffused if you like Mayer’s term, and I do. So how do you survive?
You start with the mindset that you’ll adapt. Unlike Hachette. Too many authors believe Hachette’s line of BS. This is fine for the whales. The big names will survive, no matter what. Lee Childs responded to Konrath, yada, yada. If you haven’t been keeping up with the Hachette/ Amazon thing, don’t bother. It’s tedious, watching publishers and their authors act like it’s 1994. Or 1954.
So, how will you adapt? Every author, and every writer for that matter, is different. What works for someone else may not work for you. Remember that the content flood won’t stop. Adapting to it means looking at what you want to achieve, at what you’ve got, at what you could develop and create, and making a plan. Then start working the plan. Adapt as you go along.
Realize that you can’t turn back the content flood. Once you’re convinced of that, adapting becomes much easier.
Back to real life. I need to read through the company history, and see what I have, and what else I need from the client. So I do that, and make some notes. Julia can arrange for a chat with the client next week.
Time for lunch, and for Saturday’s errands. All in all, it’s been a productive morning.
Back again very late. Time to do the daily review, and the word count.
I’ve got a couple of coaching sessions tonight, so it’s time to prepare for them.