Saturday, April 26, 2014

What authors can learn from American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, and the Voice.

What authors can learn from American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, and the Voice.

What’s talent got to do with it?


Does the best singer win American Idol or the Voice? Is the most accomplished dancer the winner of the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With the stars?
            Anyone who is a regular viewer of talent reality shows knows this uncontestable fact: the most talented doesn’t always win. In fact, the most well executed dance or song, seldom wins. 
            What does win?
            The winner is the performer who is most popular, the one who captures the hearts of the viewers with both performance and personality.
            How does this relate to our writing?

            It’s all about entertainment!!!

A few ways to keep your work entertaining:

1.    Know your genre. Read, read, read. To entertain requires originality. If you’re afraid your plot is hackneyed, be sure to have a new twist on it. If you don’t keep in touch with others’ work, you’ll have no idea what readers are tiring of.
2.    Make your characters original. We’ve all met the perfect protagonist, the one with the super face, toned and buffed body, and excellent skills. Readers want characters that they can identify with—make then real.
3.    Make the first chapter exciting. I’ve deleted dozens of books I’ve downloaded because the beginning failed to be interesting. Make your first chapters pull the reader into your book and want to read the entire thing.
4.    Series books - Take time to learn how to make each book worthy of standing alone. Check for either too much or not enough back story.
5.    Be accessible to your readers. Have a presence on popular networking sites, broadcast your blog, and have a mailing list. Answer every personal message you get.
6.    Read reviews of books in your genre. Reviews will put you on the fast track to discovering what entertains your readers.

Dear readers,

I have to admit I watch American Idol. And Dancing With the Stars. Haven’t watched all the others regularly. It’s easy to grumble about the winners the public selects, so I gave some thought to what I could learn from the popularity factor. That is what inspired today’s blog. If you have any other ideas, please share them. I’m sure there are many more.
Thank you for following this blog.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pitfalls for the Older Writer

Pitfalls for the Older Writer

           How to survive writing after fifty


           Older writers do have advantages: more life experience to draw from, more free time, no 9 to 5 schedule competing with writing, and, writing for most older authors, is not something we expect to support us.
            The older writer faces a few problems that tend to be less challenging for his/her younger counterparts.

1.     Sit-itis – Sit-itis is a chronic disease, which, left untreated, will wreak havoc with things like overweight, arthritis, diabetes and circulation. Take time at least every half-hour to move. Finish a chore, mail a letter, anything that gets you moving for at least five minutes. Set an alarm if necessary.
2.     Techno-impairment – Unlike people who grew up in the last thirty years, we older writers didn’t touch a computer until we were in our forties, and then approached the experience as we would a trip to the dentist. If you don’t enjoy trial and error, take a class. Or enlist a younger relative to help out. Most senior centers have computer classes. Take advantage! Don’t let the cyber world pass you by or drive you to distraction. Exercise your brain a little, it’ll improve your memory.
3.     Peer dumping – Most friends will be supportive and encouraging of your writing career, but sometimes even the most well-meaning will give you a bad case of the ‘I shoulds.’ I should be out golfing, babysitting grandkids, traveling in a motor home, learning to knit, or playing cards at the senior center. Don’t let the ‘I shoulds’ get you down. Make time for the things you love to do, but don’t forget you also love your newborn writing career. Balance is the key!

Dear Readers,
It wasn’t until I retired from my full-time job that I began my writing career. An avid reader since I first learned to read, writing my own book is something I’ve always wanted to do. The things I mention here are those I struggle with. Let me know if I missed some that you find challenging.
I think the ‘peer dumping’ advice is good, writer or  not. We have many friends here whose life styles consist mainly of traveling, babysitting and social events. For me, that isn’t enough. I need to have a goal in life, something to be working toward. Once I accepted that, I was able to ignore the ‘shoulds’ and be happy doing my own thing.
Have a great week and don’t ‘should’ on yourself,