Tag Archives: writing

Don’t Neglect the Background Characters

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“Are you ready to rock! Umm…Hello?”

Introduction

You’ve developed your plot, you have your characters ready to go, you’re secondary characters are standing in the wings, and your settings are all created. As you write your story, you feel like something is missing. Or rather, someone is missing. In the movie industry they are known as “extras”.

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“Wait, where are the others?”

When I wrote The Askinar Towers trilogy I neglected background characters in most of the story. Yes, there were also patrons in the Floor 17 Café as I had mentioned them; there were other citizens of the town of Rising Falls and the village of Greenblade Valley. But what I seriously overlooked were the people inside the towers themselves. Four towers are featured with a hundred floors in each, all-glass walkways that connect the towers, and elevators in each tower. Yet when my main characters went from one floor to the next or crossed the walkways, they didn’t pass anyone!

Oftentimes when we are writing our story we focus on our MC (Main Character), the supporting characters, the setting, and the plot itself. We overlook those bit players who round out the story. Even if none of them have names, there should be people present in various scenes. Just because your MC and his companions are driving from Phoenix to Tucson always keep in mind that there are others on the road with him.

 

“He was there, here’s further proof”

In book 1, Nexus of the Worlds, my characters are being chased by someone they refer to as the Robed Figure. Nothing could be seen of this individual; no hands, feet, or face. By the end of book 1 they learn that it he is a shapeshifter who prefers the nonhuman disguise of a raven.

In book 2 my characters find themselves in 1970s Washington D.C. in time for the presidential inauguration. The climax of the scene is on stage when not one but three people who look like President-elect William Franklin. The characters conclude that one of the three was the shapeshifter and to create further proof, I added the following scene…

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As the crowd departed from the steps of the Capitol building, a worried mother was trying to drag her daughter back to the car. “I’m tired of your little games,” she said.

“But, I swear mamma!” cried the little girl. “I saw the president turn into a large black bird and fly away!”

“You’ve been out in the cold too long,” the mother said. “We need to get you indoors.”

 

From this scene, featuring two extras, we see additional proof that one of the three presidents was indeed the shapeshifter. It may not have been necessary, but it added a little humor to an otherwise intense scene.

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“You mentioned them in book 1, where are they?”

In Vol. 2 of “Happy to Serve”, my current WIP (Work In Progress), the Floor 17 Café provides live entertainment sometimes on the weekend. At the very end of book 1, the maître D and new owner, Maurice announced that they were going to feature one 4th year student from the Academy of the Seven Spires each month to entertain and help them improve their skills and get them a gig or two to mention on their resume or letter of introduction.

I wrote the first draft of Vol. 2 last November and shelved the project for several months to attempt other writings. When I started to look over book 1 and then moved on to book 2 I got the motivation to continue the work. It was then that I noticed the omission of those 4th year students. I featured another guy, Vincent Singer, who was a 4th year student and then graduated, but I forgot what Maurice announced.

I created two new characters to fill this idea and even though they have names and bard skills, they are nothing more than background characters because they will be mentioned but not necessarily seen. That is where background characters can play a special role. Not only do you have a performer come in but you’ll have more characters in the scene to watch that performer. Perhaps one of them is an owner of another tavern who wants to book that singer for his own place. Maybe the singer’s mother is there and is upset because she believes her child is wasting her time performing when he should be on the farm helping with the chores. And so on.

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Three Simple Words and other suggestions

One of the easiest ways to get your readers to understand that there are others present in your scene is a simple phrase like, the crowd roared. Three simple words to let the reader know that your characters aren’t the only ones present. Whether they are in a stadium or a theater, this phrase will serve as a simple reminder that extras are present.

In Happy to Serve, the entire book is a series of blog posts from Chuck the Waiter. As entertaining as the characters and the storylines were I always felt something was missing. When I looked at real blogs a great idea hit me. I needed a comments section to have characters make reference to the post. In addition to the standard characters in the Floor 17 Café, I created a series of others who weren’t necessarily patrons but who worked in one of the towers and faithfully followed Chuck’s blog. I had Brenda the librarian who had trouble getting away from her work to visit; Teven, a Money Exchange teller who worked for the Askinar Towers Bank and Money Exchange; and a person known only as KittyKat98. She started out as a fan and by the end of the book she became an obsessive stalker. She will go on to appear in book 2 as the villain.

Some ideas for your own background characters would be: a guy who’s car broke down on the side of the road and is fixing a flat or talking to the tow truck driver, a mother coming out of a grocery store with a full cart and two crying children holding on to her jacket, a funeral procession going through as your MC is waiting at an intersection, a group of construction men taking a short break on the side of freeway.

As stated before, these characters don’t need names, and don’t necessarily need to speak, but their presence lends to the setting and prove that your MC and his companions aren’t the only ones present.

 

 Conclusion

For further ideas and suggestions of background characters, check out the Urban and Rural setting Thesauruses by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. We’ll look at improving your settings in a future article. What do you do to create background characters? Is there a phrase you use or have read that instantly signifies people? Share with me what you’ve used in the comments section below.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

 

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Taking Things for Granted~ WB1

 

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(World-building, part 1)

Introduction

            Have you ever played SIMs computer game? It’s an opportunity to further the lives of pre-made characters and create places for them to live and hangout. It’s like being a god of your own world; you help them get a job, make friends, and basically live their lives. But sometimes things happen because you’re not paying enough attention and accidents occur. I had one character wet the floor because she needed to use the bathroom and I didn’t see it right away. I took it for granted that she would do this on her own.

A while back I wrote an article called “The Writer and the God Complex” in which I discuss how our characters seem to take on a life of their own and for as much as you want them to go here and do this, they want to go there and do that. This article is on building the world itself and how we take certain things for granted.

 

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Yeah, but what’s the source?

A couple months ago I began a new writing project I’ve dubbed DWC. I don’t want to give away the title as I fear someone will steal the idea and get stories out before me. As I began to create the characters, the concepts, and the little village where they all lived; I got to thinking that I haven’t researched World-building (WB) very much.

Yes, I already have books published and, if you read them closely, you can tell that my WB skills are lacking. So I went in search of articles and sites to help me with this information. I’ll share what I found at the end of the article.

The name of the village where my characters live is called Caldera Falls. Naturally it’s named after a waterfall that’s at the north end of the village and there is a mill at the bottom that uses the water to turn its wheel. I decided that the water ends in a pool and then creates a nice stream that runs through the village and dumps into a body of water called Farewell Bay.

So then I ask myself, where does the water come from at the top to spill over into the falls? The answer is nowhere to be found. In fact, I really didn’t want to answer that question. I thought it has a falls; the village is named after it, so leave it alone! But I couldn’t leave it because I just know someone who reads my story will ask that very same question. That forced me to find an answer. One of the articles I found talked about water runoff and the drainage situation and I’m thinking, “That’s too real!” But I then realized that this is what I’m after.

 

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Ditch the Plateau

Another idea I had was to make the capital city, Ciudad, reside on the top of a plateau of a mountain. It looks out over the rest of the area called, Alderman Valley which features Caldera Falls and two other towns. However, the question arises: Who is going to climb up the side of a mountain to get to the city after pulling into the docks of Farewell Bay? Again I wanted to refuse to answer this question because the plateau idea was neat. I even had an idea of an elevator on the side of the mountain facing Alderman Valley where people could go down and get to the towns there. Of course they can completely bypass the city and travel around the mountain, across the sand, and over to Caldera Falls. So I decided to ditch the mountain but I’m keeping the name Alderman Valley and having it to be a misnomer when it was discovered and no one bothered to correct the error.

 

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Town Boundaries

Another item I tend to overlook is boundaries or city lines where one town ends and the next begins. Out here in The Valley of Arizona you can go through three different cities in just a few minutes and not even know where one ends and the other begins. Primarily, it’s because you don’t have a Welcome to Mesa sign at every area when you cross one to another. I thought about just making the grass a slightly different shade of green for this town compared to that town but that was fairly lame. Given that Alderman isn’t that big, putting up signs to announce the arrival in one and the departure of another was a little too much.

Then I hit upon a unique idea. Since I was thinking about the source of my waterfall, what if the river to the falls broke off and travelled down the side of the hill and created a line that separated Ciudad from Alderman Valley. That’s an interesting way to create a border without stating the obvious. Since the village of Greencrest is dominated by orchards, how do they get water for the trees? So I had the river branch off and created all of the borders for Alderman Valley. This way when you crossed the river you knew you were entering the next town. Problem solved!

 

Suggestions for World-building

  1. When doing research for building your world, don’t assume you have to include everything you read about. It’s one thing for you to know it’s there in your world but you don’t have to mention it in your story.
  2. Design a type of map to know where businesses and homes are located. You don’t want to say your characters when north to the tavern in one chapter and then south in a later chapter; even though they left the same place each time.
  3. Study maps of cities and countries to get an idea of borders and the “lay of the land.”
  4. Make a checklist of things you want to include in your world so you don’t forget them. However if they don’t fit, don’t force them. You’ll upset yourself and your reader.

 

Conclusion

Make an effort to build your world so you know where things go and how people get there. In future articles, we’ll discuss other ideas. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or ideas from you own world-building share with me in the comments below.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

World-building Sites and Articles

Here are just a few places to research to give you an idea of how to build your own world:

World Building Academy— This site has been very helpful! You can sign up for weekly tips.

Inkwell Ideas–A collection of articles to help you flesh out your world.

Fantastic Medieval Ships— Does you world have a large body of water? You’ll need ships!

Medieval Demographics made Easy–What’s the difference in size between a village, town, and city? Here’s some help!

Writers, Take a Moment

Introduction

When you begin your writing session, do you simply sit down at the computer and write? Do you know exactly what you’re going to say and how to say it? Not everyone can do that and I personally wouldn’t recommend it. Before you begin, take a moment to focus on the task at hand.

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Going to the Movies

Growing up in a small town in the 70s, there was only one place to go to see movies. That was the Ritz Theater downtown. When my sister and I were old enough we were allowed to be dropped off at the theater, go in and watch the movie, and then be picked up at the end.

Before the main feature they would run a cartoon which I thought was always neat! It was like free entertainment. Of course when my mother was a child, she saw trailers of upcoming movies, serials, shorts, and cartoons.

The point of most of this; especially the cartoon and the trailers, is to allow people to get to their seats and get comfortable before the main attraction. Adjust your body, maneuver drinks, snacks, and children before you got to the main feature you paid for.

Writing should be viewed the same way. Before sitting down to the computer or that blank page, you should take time to get yourself situated. Allow yourself that period of adjustment from the Real World to the Fantasy World of your story. Even if you’re writing non-fiction, it’s still your world in which you are entering.

 

Suggestions for transition

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  1. If you listen to music while writing, select a couple of songs to play just prior to writing. It allows you mind to leave one world and enter the next.

 

  1. Use the time to fix yourself a snack. Brew some coffee or tea, gather some cookies or veggies, and find your stash of chocolates.

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  1. Review your notes. Look over your notes from your previous writing session to find out where you left off and prepare your mind for writing. Don’t re-read what you last wrote; at least not much if you do. Too much re-reading will cause you to begin the editing stage.

 

  1. Maybe take a walk around the block, down to the mailbox, or down to the corner convenient store. Although this is suggested for writer’s block, it can also be a good transition period before writing as well.

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  1. If you live with people; family or roommates, take the time to announce you are going to write and don’t want to be disturb for the next hour or so. It is always good to allow an hour in case a problem arises that needs your attention.

 

Conclusion

These are just a few ideas that you can utilize to take a moment to prepare yourself for writing. If you have any other suggestions place share them in the comments below. I’m always interested in other ways to pause before I begin a writing session.

And, as always,

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

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ANNOUNCEMENT:  This Wednesday I’ll be taking part in the release of a new book as part of a blog blitz. I’ve never done one of these before but thought this would be an interesting experience. Come back Wednesday and check it out and then share it with others on various Social Media Outlets.

 

Buy my Book, Read my Book

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Introduction

You just published your first novel and you do the promotions properly. You don’t spam people with “Buy my Book” but cleverly promote it while talking to your potential readers. Sales start pouring in and you eagerly begin your next book. However, there’s one problem; there aren’t any reviews.

 

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Buy My Book!

Before I published my first book in 2014, I studied other authors’ methods of promotion as well as read articles on how to develop my Writer’s Platform. One of the main things I learned, above all else, was not to use the phrase, Buy my Book. It sends the wrong message to your potential readers. In a way it almost sounds like a threat: Buy my Book or else!

However, I see this kind of promotion going on throughout Twitter and Facebook and it seems to work, mostly. But I choose not to do it as I know better. I joined the site called Readers Gazette and they promote my books for free. Every time they promo my books, I’ll take and share it and add a little teaser from the story or create a clever way to promote it.

One of the ways that I promote book 1 of my trilogy is by using this phrase on Twitter:

2 girls, 4 towers, 1 magic key, endless adventures.

 

You would think that this would be enough to entice someone to buy the book but apparently not. Amazon lets you know when a book has been purchased but they don’t tell you which one. And unless, you have enough people to buy one of your books, you’ll never know how many of each is being purchased.

 

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Read my Book

A couple years ago I did a giveaway of book 1 as part of an author gathering. I gave away five copies of my book and the response was very positive. However, that feeling of happiness soon dissipated when that positive response was followed by: I have a lot of books on my TBR (To Be Read) list, but I’ll get to it. Two years later and still no reviews, no comments on my Author Page, nothing.

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The Ever-growing TBR list

I’ve had people claim they’ve read my book and when I ask them to post a review they act like they don’t have time. I’m thinking you’ve had time to read the book, why not take a couple of minutes to write a couple of sentences in a review. Before I continue, I am guilty of not doing the same but I will get those reviews written—eventually.

I’ve convinced family and co-workers to buy my book but some say they are too busy to read it, while others say they’ve started reading it and like it so far, yet, no reviews. No comments at all.

 

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Review my Book

When no one reads your stories it becomes very discouraging to an author. They can’t gauge what works and what doesn’t. They can’t decide if they should write the sequel or write something else entirely. I’m struggling with that very dilemma right now.

In addition to my trilogy, I’ve written four short plus a collection of blog posts by a character featured in the trilogy. They only reviews I’ve gotten are by: My cover artist, an editor, and a friend. Nothing from my fellow authors whose books I have read. I always thought it was an unwritten law that if you help out an author by reading one of their stories, they’d read one of yours. Guess not. I have hundreds of ideas for future stories but struggle with which way to go as I don’t know what’s worth writing.

I understand people don’t want to spend their hard earned money on an unknown author’s book if they know there’s the possibility of them not liking it but that’s the chance you have to take sometimes. I’ve read several books by people I didn’t know and absolutely love their work; sometimes better than the big name authors out there.

One of the reasons I provide short stories, and at only 99¢, is so readers out there can get an idea of what my writing is like and not have to spend a lot of money in doing so. Oftentimes, I find writing short stories easier as I can spin a good tale in a small of amount of space as compared to a full length novel.

 

Conclusion

I will continue to write stories; even if no one reads them because this is who I am and I have stories to share. I can’t think of ever stopping because it would hurt too much not to write. Fellow authors know this feeling.

So when you buy a book please read it and then give it a review. If not on an official page, like Amazon, send it to the author instead.

Do you review books after reading them? Or do you space it and move on to your next book? Share your comments below.

 

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

The Window of Opportunity

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Introduction

When Opportunity knocks I’m usually in the bathroom or at work and I’m almost always missing the visit. However last week, when it came along, I opened the window and shouted, “Don’t move I’ll be right there.”

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A Startling Announcement

On Wednesday I shocked my friends on Facebook that I was quitting writing for the time being as my books were going nowhere. However, this announcement was misunderstood as I didn’t announce it properly. I was getting comments about take a breather, sit back, and you can get going again. Only two or three people actually got the initial idea as I explained it further in the comments section.

What I meant was, since I no one was reading my books and reviewing them, I had nothing to gage my future writing on and therefore I thought, “What’s the point of continuing if no one will read them?” I have had a few sales of my stories but yet people tell me that they just don’t have time to read them. Really? My books aren’t that long or complicated. I have three short stories available that could be read in about twenty minutes or so.

 

What about Giveaways?

Yes, I have given my books away as a promotion for myself through other Facebook pages. The response I get from them is, “I have a lot of books on my reading list right now, but I’ll get to yours.” How many is ‘a lot’? I’m not trying to turn this post into a rant; I just want you to know the frustration I am feeling. Yes, I know all writers go through this. What irritates me the most is that I’ll support another author’s work; read and review it, but not receive the same in return. I get that you are too busy writing but how is it that you’re able to praise other writers’ works but not mine?

A New Opportunity

As I stated before I’m not giving up writing totally and to be honest I just couldn’t anyways. It’s a part of who I am. Even if I’m not writing things down on paper or on the laptop, I’m writing in my head. Since March 2016 I started writing poetry in conjunction with this site on Facebook called Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam. I was pointed out to me by a fellow writer and I decided to visit. I hadn’t written poetry since high school, about 30 years or so, and even then it was mostly sonnet-based verses.

The page is rather simple: an image is posted on Saturday and you have roughly until the following Wednesday to post a poem that was inspired by the image. From there it is voted on and the winner is announced on Thursday. My first attempt, The Green Blade Witch, actually got me the win. Not bad for being 30 years out of touch.

From then on the creativity that creates poetry was awaken within me and I participated almost every week. Then early last week I was told that the page had disappeared. I was heartbroken as I found something that, not only was I interested in doing, but something that could keep the writer in me writing. I contacted the administrator of that page and asked if one of us could take over. She and her associate were too busy to continue the page and so she handed it over to me! Thank you Opportunity!

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New Year, New Writing Possibilities

            With the new year beginning, this gave me the motivation to make new ideas come to life via the poetry page. So for now, this will be my muse for the next few months or so. I’ll still be working on my other projects; either by typing them on the laptop or just writing them in my head. But with this poetry page I want to turn things around for myself and head in an entirely new direction and see where this adventure will take me. I have have plans to publish a collection of poems that are Fanstasy-based and from there we’ll see where ‘the road not taken’ leads me.

Conclusion

Where is the New Year taking you? Are you on track in your writing life or has something occurred to encourage you to take another road? Feel free to comment and if you get the chance visit us on the poetry page over at Facebook!

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Happy Adventuring!

Chris

D.I.Y. The Writer’s Platform

 

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Introduction

This week we are going to look at what is known as The Writer’s Platform. We’ll answer the questions: “What is it?” “What’s involved in making one?” “Do I need one?” And “How soon should I make one?”

This idea also works for other businesses as well. Anyone who is to looking to have a presence online to draw people to their company or service would do well in learning about the platform idea.

What is a Writer’s Platform?

If you think of it as a physical thing, a platform is a raised area like a stage which would put someone, in this case the writer, above the crowd to be viewed by everyone at once. Online, it’s a central point to attract fans and future readers to one location to get to know you as a person and what you’re up to in the world of writing. From that point, you can direct them to other points of interest that are a part of your platform.

Usually a Blog is the center of a Writer’s Platform; a place where a writer can share articles and ideas about the writing and publishing industry, projects they are currently working on, and general knowledge of “Who you are” and “What makes you tick.”

From there you can provide links that lead people to other social media sites to see photos, further articles, and give your readers a chance to actually interact with you on a regular basis. The more a reader gets to know you as a person, the more they will be interested in buying your books and telling others about you.

The number of social media sites to have depends on what kind of presence you want online and how much time you have to spend at each place. The more sites you use, the more time will be required of you, so don’t spread yourself too thin. Otherwise, someone might post a question on one site and you might not see it for a week or more if you don’t frequent it very often. Smartphones are very handy to provide you with notices of when some comments on one of your pages and it keeps you in the loop as it were.

What’s involved in making one?

 Social Media

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            As we stated previously, a blog is a good focus. A lot of writers that I know of use WordPress.com for their blog posts but you don’t have to join it because we do. There are a variety of places where you can set up a blog. Just make sure that you post regularly and commit to doing it for as often as you say.

There are a few that make blogs posts daily, some weekly, and others monthly. I chose weekly as I don’t have enough time to write daily, since I have a job to make a living. I wouldn’t recommend monthly as a lot of your followers make lose interest quickly awaiting your next post. Here’s a link to my blog. Of course, if you’re reading this article you are more than likely already there.

 

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Facebook

In addition to the blog, I would suggest having a presence on both Facebook and Twitter as they will establish who the REAL you is. I would also suggest an author page on Facebook where you can post updates concerning your writing as well as excerpts from upcoming projects. Individual profile pages only allow a maximum of 5000 friends whereas a page gives you millions. It depends on how many people you expect to follow you.

Don’t deny future readers access to your personal profile as this proves you are a real human being. Sure they may not be interested that Junior is finally potty trained or “if your boss looks funny at you one more time…” The idea is to let them know that although you are a writer, you have everyday accomplishments and problems just like them. As the old saying goes, “I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like you.”

Here is my Facebook Profile Page and My Author Page.

 

Twitter

Twitter

On Twitter you can post, or rather, tweet things as a writer would. With the limited amount of characters allowed per tweet, this is where you want to focus more on your life as a writer as opposed to the fact that you and your “peeps” are hanging out at the mall. You can provide story updates like: “Finished first draft, now comes the editing” or “I can’t believe I had to kill off Ol’ Doc Bradley, I may cry for days”.

You can also find a lot of fellow writers on Twitter and find out what they have to say, make comments, and Retweet their Tweets to show up in your feeds. More writers prefer to be on Twitter as it encourages people to come to the point whether asking a question or making a comment about what you just said. Here’s my Twitter Account.

 

YouTube

YouTube

Creating a YouTube channel has its advantages for writers as they can post trailers they’ve designed for their books or upload videos of themselves talking about their writing process or giving writing tips about what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. You can also save a collection of your favorite songs/videos to show people what you listen to while writing or you can show people what a soundtrack for your latest novel would look like if it were turned into a movie. Here is my YouTube channel.

 

Pinterest

Pinterest

This site is a place to collect pictures, sayings and motivational quotes all one a page known as a board. Think of it as a bulletin board where you pin different things that mean something to you. I have one called the Writer’s Platform and post pictures of my cover images, inspirational pictures, quotes from writer’s, and other helpful writing tips. The only drawback to this page is that I can’t get pictures lined up in the order that I want them. If anyone out there knows how to do this please share in the comments below. Here’s a link to my boards on Pinterest.

 

Instagram

Instagram

A couple months ago I signed up to be on Instagram hoping to attract more people to my books. This site is for photos mostly and the occasional mini-video; anything that you can post straight from your phone. You can’t update from your laptop, I’ve already tried.

The focus here is to show people pics of yourself, plus book covers of current and/or upcoming releases and further helps prove that you are real person.

I’m not 100% sure if I’ll stay with this or not but time will tell. I may give myself until the end of the year and decide then. Here’s my Instagram account.

In addition to these, I’m also on Google +, LinkedIn, and Goodreads. However, I don’t frequent them as much as I’m not all that familiar with them and I haven’t benefitted from them as much as I have from the other media site. That’s not to say that you won’t have any luck with them. As I stated earlier, just be careful as to how many sites you want to be on so you don’t spread yourself too thing.

NOTE:  In regards to all of these accounts, I would highly recommend that you use your name or pen name for both your screen name and online handle. Remember, you want people to find you, the writer, not Lovehandles46.

Writers Platform

Do I need a Writer’s Platform?

In a word, Yes! With the creation of self-published sites where you can do the publishing yourself, and with the concept of E-books, a writer’s platform is very necessary to get the word out that you are an author and you have books to be read.

Social media has become huge in the last ten years or so and without a presence online it’s impossible to let people know who you are. Even if you are publishing the traditional route, you can’t expect them to do all promotions for you and your book. You’ll want to make the effort yourself to establish an online presence. Furthermore, with you in control of your own presence you can decide how often you post and make comments online. Once your book has been out for several months, or even years, a publishing company will not promote you as often as you’d like.

When should I create my platform?

This question has been debated for quite some time and I’m surprised that there are people still asking it. My advice is to create your platform long before the first book is published. You want people to get to know “YOU”, the author, first. That way when you book is ready for purchase; you’ll already have a line of people ready to buy when it becomes available.

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Let’s look at this through the lens of a historical landmark event. Everyone is familiar with the moon landing in 1969. We are introduced to the astronauts, we follow them to the rocket, we cheer the liftoff, and then we rejoice as it lands and the astronauts walk on the surface. The significance of this (besides the event itself) is that we know a great deal about it before long before the rocket leaves the launch pad. In a speech on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy promised we would put a man on the moon before the decade was over. That was eight years before it happened.

Now, let’s suppose that you, the author, are an astronaut, and your book is the moon landing. NASA is your publisher (traditional or self-publishing). Your platform then is the announcement to the country that you are heading to the moon writing a book. The news travels around from one person to the next, interviews are posted in papers and on television online, and this leads up to your departure into space book release day. If you release the book first and then develop a platform, it’s the same as landing on the moon first and then telling everyone about it. Imagine the disappointed astronaut on the moon’s surface jumping up and down and waving his arms at the people on earth—and nobody is paying attention.

Conclusion

Even if your book is already out, don’t despair about the writer’s platform. Get one together and get the word out! Make sure you focus as much on yourself as you do your book. Personally, I’d rather have fans of me who will buy my books, then fans of my books. There is a difference especially if you write a series. Once your series is over, fans of your books may not follow you to your next novel or series. They may just sit back and hope you will put out more books based on the series. I want people to be fans of me and read everything I write regardless on the genre.

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned from it. Please share with me in the comments below of your own platform experiences or your concerns. Feel free to follow me on social media and get to know me more than what you have here.

Happy Adventuring!

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Chris

The Askinar Towers: Flash Fiction–2

Once again I am sharing some flash fiction that I wrote inspired by a character seen in Chapter 15 of book 2, “Sibling Rivalry”. If this were an actual part of the story it would take place towards the end of the book around chapter 26. Enjoy!

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Better With Bacon

Russ Richards and his family had just finished with Floor 91 when they wearily boarded the elevator to Floor 92. The baby strapped to Russ’ back was fussing.

“Can we stop and get something to eat?” asked Joanne, his sister. “I believe Jacob needs a fresh diaper and could do with some formula.”

“If there’s a place here on Floor 92, we’ll stop and eat. Maybe even get a little rest.”

“After the ogre tribes we countered on Floor 91, I’ll be happy to rest anywhere,” said Andy, his brother.

“Including a Roadside convenience store that smells like microwaved burritos,” added Steve, his uncle.

“We have just a few more floors to cover and then we’re done with the Tower of Water,” said Russ.

“True, but according to those girls we met, there are still three more towers,” said Andy.

“All in good time,” said Russ.

The elevator arrived at Floor 92 and the doors opened. Beach Boys music was heard as they stepped into a diner.  The décor was out of the 1950s with posters of music groups of that era. The metal top counter was shiny and clean as if it was never used. A couple were sharing a soda in a corner booth.

BWB Rick

A young man came out of the kitchen chomping on some bacon. He looked up at the people who’d just arrived. “Welcome to ‘Better With Bacon’! Every meal is served with a side of bacon!”

“Do you have a bathroom?” asked Joanne.

“Yes, just on over there by the front door. I’m Rick, by-the-way. Please seat yourself.”

Joanne took Jacob and went to the bathroom, while Russ, Andy and Steve took a seat at the counter. Rick came back around the counter and handed them each a menu. “Coffee?”

“Please,” said Russ. The other two nodded in agreement.

“First time to the diner?” asked Rick.

“Yes! We’re on a mission to create a guidebook for this tower. What all is on this floor?”

“Just this diner and a small park on the other side of the parking lot.

“What’s the special?” asked Steve. “I don’t see it on the menu.”

“Ah, well, today’s special is ‘I can’t Believe I’m not Dead Yet’.

“Sounds, uh, interesting,” said Andy. “What’s in it?”

“Bacon wrapped in bacon, dipped in bacon grease, deep fried, with crumbled bacon sprinkled on top.”

“Served with a side of bacon, right?” asked Joanne as she came out of the bathroom.

“That’s right!”

“I can feel my arteries hardening already,” said Andy.

“Oh, that’s tomorrow’s special. You should come back then,” replied Rick.

“Seriously?” asked Joanne.

“No, not really. Tomorrow’s special is Bacon wrapped Steak, dipped in bacon grease, deep fried and topped with crumbled bacon.”

“And served with a side of bacon,” said Joanne, Andy and Steve.

“What’s it called?” asked Russ.

“The Heart Stopper,” replied Rick with a smile. “It was called the Major Coronary, but the burger joint on Floor 93 tried to sue me for infringement because they had a burger of the same name.”

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“What’s the name of this burger joint?” asked Joanne.

“The Meat Grinder. Their special of the day today is, Cow Meets Grinder.”

“What’s in it?” asked Andy.

“How should I know? They’re my rival, after all. Of course, with the name, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that burger meat is in it.”

“Personally, I could do with a burger,” said Joanne.

“I agree,” added Steve, then turned to Rick. “No offense.”

Rick shrugged his shoulders. “To each his own, come back for breakfast when you can.”

“What’s the breakfast special?”

“Rick’s Scrambled Omelet,” he replied.

“Served with a side of bacon I assume,” said Joanne.

“No, it comes with sausage.”

“Really?” asked Andy.

“NO! Of course it comes with bacon. This is ‘Better with Bacon’, after all!” Rick stormed off into the back.

The group quickly got up, returned to the elevator, and went up to Floor 93. Russ jotted some quick notes about Floor 92 as he waited for the doors to open.

“Maybe we should have looked at the park,” said Steve.

“Why?” asked Russ. “A park is a park. I’m sure there was nothing spectacular about it. Besides, I really didn’t want to hear about bacon anymore.”

 

At Floor 93, the doors opened to reveal a small restaurant styled like a meat locker. As they came out of the elevator car, a young man came out of the kitchen.

Burger Rick

“Welcome to ‘The Meat Grinder’. I’m Rick, your host and owner.”

“Weren’t you just down in the diner of ‘Better with Bacon’?”

“Who me? No, that guy is so ten minutes ago. I am the future!”

The End

I hope you enjoyed this story. I hope to share more pieces of flash fiction in future blog postings. Eventually I’d like to put  them all together and create a book, but time will tell. Please share comments that you might have on this story. To buy copies of my trilogy, see my author page at Amazon.com. If you want other links, please state you interest in the comments section below.

 

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ll be sitting in the Red Chair for an interview this Saturday with Lucy Mitchell AKA The Blond Writer.