More on Mad Marketing Skills

I just read an interesting post about marketing by Laura Wolfe:

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so if you’re interested, go there (after reading here, of course).

Three things I would like to add to Laura’s words of suggestions using friends to help you market (buy a book as a gift, give a review, etc.). Mine are more like a pre-list:

  1. It helps if you have friends (and/or family), the more the better;
  2. The writing has to be very, very, very good; and
  3. Start local (local bookstores, schools, libraries, etc.).

Also, if you don’t have a book published (yet), it’s never too early to start beefing up on your mad marketing skills so there’s no fainting or panic on your book release day.

Oh, and keep on writing!

Old Friends — True Characters

This past spring, Chris, an old high school friend, discovered during a regular mammogram check up that she’d developed cancer. Although she has an exceptional support system with family and doctors, like any reasonable person facing the unknown, Chris wanted all the support and prayers she could muster. She contacted seven high school classmates to form a Circle of Friends around her, and let us know at the same time what is happening to her.

Even though it’s been decades since we’ve seen each other, even though we seven come from different family units, different faiths, different life experiences and philosophies, we wholeheartedly agreed to support our friend Chris through group on-line communication.

We are so unique from each other, it makes me wonder how we were ever friends in the first place. And yet, we were. And yet we are.

When I develop characters in my books, I sometimes pick traits from true characters–people I know. Someone who is bold. Someone who is betrayed. Someone who did something out of character (so, what lies beneath?). Also, I consider how characters view each other. Do they see someone who is unafraid on the outside, yet the character is actually terrified on the inside? The person’s reaction to conflicts (like cancer or life or death, or someone with an alternate view) prove a person’s true character. Observation and thought not only gives understanding in real life, but is wonderful writing fodder.

Though all the trials of life, and through all our differences, we in the Circle of Friends remain friends How contrary this is to the faceless Internet strangers who so easily stir up word-trouble with their comments. Can your characters be distinct enough from the others, yet retain their individuality, and yet be able to change? Ah, the wonderful challenges of writing!

Today’s Writing Challenge: Pick two of your characters. Make a list of five inner traits which make them unique. Pick two of the most polar traits between them, then put them into a situation where these differences cause feelings to escalate, i.e., conflict–something every good story needs today. Write a scene how they work out (or not) their differences.

Have a great writing week.

Day 22 NaNoWriMo — Lost Friends’ Encouragement and Characterization Ploy

Literature Blogs

Okay. Twenty-two days into this challenge and I just decide today to procrastinate in yet a different way. Isn’t it amazing what variety procrastination can take on when you really, really want it? I checked my NaNoWriMo mailbox this evening for the first time this month. I discovered four unread messages, two from the first week of November. (BAD Sandy! Way to turn away writing friends!) Thing is, one friend wrote me three times, each time not only encouraging me, but telling me how I encouraged her by my word count — although I’m still behind about 3,000 words from the daily count. I’m around 33,500 words, and may have yet more in me later tonight. I’m thankful for friends who do not give up on me even when I’ve been ignoring them.

Group hug to my writer friends, old and new.

Half of writing is just sitting down and doing it, which is what this month is all about. The other half is hard, hard, hard work of plotting, characterization, twists, word craft.

I got rather excited this weekend with this brilliant new idea. Because many of the writers I know doing NaNoWriMo are cheating — as in, not doing straight writing from beginning to end of story in novel format — I decided my 12-year-old MC needed to write an autobiography for his English class. Very cool. I found that he wrote his autobiography in his own voice. His family filled in. His hobbies and interests developed. Then I had him talking about his best friend. I thought to myself, “Gee, they’re in the same English class.” So there came another autobiography through this very different voice. WHAT FUN! I was on a roll. I’ve done two other autobiographies, and can hardly wait to do more. I have in my possession lots of characterization lists and charts and prompts, but this autobiography thing was slick. Plus, it gave me lots more words which I’m using for my word count, even though they probably won’t go into the story as is. (Cheating, but it’s still about the story, you know.)

I’d like to say that I’m ready to type away for the rest of the night and get caught up to today’s count, but supper and a DVD with DH is calling. BTW, that is not procrastination; family always comes first. Feeding the writer now and then isn’t such a bad idea, either.