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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Going Round In A Loop: Why Repetition Can Sometimes Be A Good Thing.

I am reading a brilliant book at the moment by Chrissie Manby. And it's made me think how well the author uses repetition.

Repetition can sometimes be a good thing. The author doesn't repeat certain words or sentence structure but uses repetition to her advantage.

I first noticed the use of repetition when the author mentions the weather. If it is raining you get the sense something bad is about to happen to the protagonist. If it is sunny then the protagonist has a bright moment. Repeating certain elements within a story often make it a satisfying read.

Another thing I notice is how many books start off the opening chapter and the final chapter with a similar location or setting. It's as if the reader has gone round in a full circle following the protagonist's personal growth. If the author ties up all the subplots together then this also makes the reader feel like they've gone around in a complete circle.

So what do you think? Is repetition a good thing? Have you used it in your own writing?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Reasons Why Indie Authors Should Celebrate.

Last week I posed the question of whether it's better to be an indie author rather than a traditionally published one. This week I am stating why indie authors should celebrate their place in the writing world.

As their title suggests indie authors have the ultimate freedom and flexibility over their career. They can choose the genre they wish to write in. Some authors write in several different genres under different names. They can decide the length of their books, they have control over the book's cover design and they can choose the price of their books. As pricing goes indie authors can alter it from various different prices, enabling them to do promotions by giving copies away for free over a certain amount of time. They choose the retailers that they wish to place their books with, ensuring their work has maximum exposure.

Being an indie author allows you to instantly upload your work. If a writer chooses to go down the traditional route, they have to wait months if not years to receive a response from agents. But if they had chosen the indie route their book could have sold thousands of copies within that time frame.

Going independent also cuts out the middle man. Indies can make much more in royalties than a traditionally published author. Just because this author has an agent and publishing house behind them does not guarantee a higher income. These types of authors may make more in terms of their advancement but both agent and publisher take a sum of their royalties.

The publishing world has changed a vast amount in the last few years and I am so glad writers now have the option of going indie. It's virtually impossible for new writers to go down the traditional path of publishing because no one is willing to take a chance on an unknown author. And if a writer is lucky enough to be published that way their publishing house might only distribute the author's books within the same country. As the author of two ebooks I have been lucky enough to sell copies world wide through the use of the internet.

And as for being an indie author myself, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What do you think? Are you an indie author? Has it brought you much success?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Is It Better To Be An Indie?

I had a sudden epiphany last week. It came to me while I was browsing books by my favourite chick lit authors in my local library. I envied the success of these particular writers and wished I could have their good luck sometime in the future.

I then went home to look up their books on Amazon and Goodreads to see their reviews. And what I found shocked me.

These books weren't so successful as I thought they would be. Some only had 3/5 stars, and their ranking was also much lower than I had expected. I must have browsed over 50 to a 100 books in the space of an hour, thinking that just because the author had an agent and a traditional publisher behind them, they would be so much more successful than the average indie.

Now these writers have produced a lot of books over their career. One particular author has over fifty books on her author page, but her reviews do not reflect that achievement.

Quite a few said more or less the same thing - stating that she should not focus on how many books she can produce in one year, but she should spend more time on the ones she has written and focus on how to craft them better.

And do you know what ...? I agree.

This author is ridiculously successful but her writing has become so poor over the last few years. Her characters are flat and annoying, and her plotlines are ridiculous and far fetched. She has written a very popular series, and I think because of its success, she has decided to stick with all her old character types.

But then I wondered how much influence her publisher has over her work. She's probably under strict instructions to write more in less time and therefore produces a mediocre piece of work. She probably has an idea of what plotlines to write about and what her agent considers successful.

But my main point is: have the people in question lost touch with their readers reality?

The result is that the industry publishes a lot of books that in my mind would really struggle to sell if the author was unknown. And it's only because of their previous success that they manage to continue to write.

As an indie author myself I haven't got this added luxury. At the moment I am only writing my third book. Therefore my main goal is to produce the absolute best piece of work I can possibly write and to have it professionally edited. And to hope it sells.

But I did also realise another point when browsing these particular books. I have had the same sort of ranking in recent months. Sometimes my ranking has been even higher than theirs. So, as long as I keep writing I see a good chance of success.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Does Writer's Block Really Exist?

If you're a writer you will find many articles on this subject. And when you start your career you may struggle more with this problem than when you're an established writer.

During my four years as a writer, I haven't really struggled with this concept at all. There have been times where I've struggled to write when I have been stressed, rundown and tired, but this usually rights itself once I've had a rest.

So, how can you make sure you don't run into this problem yourself? I think many writers start out with an idea and are so enthusiastic about it that they start to write until they can't think anymore. They thought their idea was going somewhere until they stopped writing and now they have simply run out of ideas of what to write next. If this sounds familiar then I suggest you stop for a while and do something else, and then come back and brainstorm a few ideas to see if they can generate any further ideas.

While some writers can just go with the flow and have endless ideas coming to them, I think it's best to always have a loose idea of where you want your story to go. That way if you ever do have writer's block you'll always know where you eventually want to end up.

Another good way to overcome writer's block is to read other books. I know when I read I always seem to think up new ideas. But sometimes you just need to approach your story from another angle.
Maybe I haven't really suffered from this because I always write from an outline. Sometimes my outline is loose but sometimes it's compact.

So what do you think of writer's block? Have you ever experienced it? What are your solutions to it?

If you have another stressful situation to deal with in life I do not believe it's writer's block that prevents you from writing. I've just had a comment from a lady that has made me realise I should have made this point clear from the start. But if you struggle to write when nothing else is wrong then maybe you should try and rectify the problem.