Test screening is to films what beta reading is to books. In film, studies are being done on technology that can gauge a test screen audience’s neuro and biometric responses. Suffice it to say, when this technology proves viable, I will not be able to afford it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a way to know which parts of my books make people laugh, cry, or want to throw their e-reader against the wall. Click the title above to continue reading.
There are no books traditionally published in the modern era without paragraph breaks or negative space. And so it follows, that if readers appreciate negative space in books, they appreciate it elsewhere, as in every representation of your author brand (with the exception of book covers and related print materials such as bookmarks.) Click the title above to continue reading.
I noticed recently that Sylvia Plath, in her novel The Bell Jar, favored verbs as delivery vehicles for metaphor. Don’t get me wrong; the woman could work a metaphor along the syntactic spectrum, but the verbs really stuck out for me, and it occurred to me that in my own work, which contains a fair amount of metaphorical language, I hadn’t yet mastered Plath’s skill with verbal metaphors. Hence, this post in which I workshop one metaphorical image using different parts of speech and different phrase types. Click the title above to continue reading.
Easily avoidable misunderstandings as a device to create conflict, whether reading or watching it, I dislike this so much, it elicits an eye roll from me every time. The conflict just doesn’t feel logical. And because I’m aware that I don’t like this, I’m (hopefully) careful not to let this or any other of my literary pet peeves happen in my own writing. Click the title above to continue reading.
As a frequenter of book readings and author workshops, I’ve sometimes noticed a moment when the author loses part of their audience, the part that cares about how the author is reacting to questions. Perhaps the author becomes dismissive, defensive, passive-aggressive, or skirts the question entirely. Below is a list of common question types with example answers that can leave an aftermath of negativity as well as alternatives to keep audience members in that book-buying zone. Click the title above to continue reading.
I feel like it’s the job of every high school math teacher to drone on about how no matter a student’s desired profession, they’ll need math, and it’s the job of every right-brained student, myself included, to believe that teacher is lying through their teeth. Years later, I found out that marketing is intertwined with so much math, I had to take seven courses steeped in numbers before they would give me my diploma. Click the title above to continue reading.
With only two characters, we can get away with less dialogue tags and cues—also referred to as character, emotion, or action beats—because if we know who’s speaking first, we can intuit that the next pair of quotes encloses dialogue from the only other character in the scene. But with groups of more than two speakers, scenes can become cluttered with dialogue tags and cues, which can make a passage more stilted than it needs to be. Here are three techniques that can help. Click the title above to continue reading.