Monday, March 28, 2016

Plots Are Us

Writers are often asked, “Where do you come up with ideas for your books?” I’ve been known to jokingly answer, “I buy them at Plots Are Us.” Wouldn’t it wonderful if such a store existed?

When I started to write my latest book, Affliction, I had a kernel of an idea, but not a complete plot. Just for fun, I visited an online plot generator and typed in "twenty-two year old woman," "stolen babies," "city in the mountains," and "Harley-Davidson riding boyfriend." Here's the result: A young woman is hiking in the mountains. She finds a baby hidden under a bush. She calls her motorcycle-riding boyfriend. He picks her up and they zip down the highway with the baby tucked between them. The End. A bestseller, for sure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
According to Webster the word plot means (1) a secret plan, usually evil or unlawful, (2) the main story of a literary or dramatic work, (3) a small piece of ground and (4) to mark on a map, the course of a ship. Now, we’re talking! Combine those elements and you’ve got a story to tell.

Plots are currently weighing heavily on my mind. I’m writing Allegiance, the second book in the Soul Seeker Series and kicking myself as I do so. Why? Because, in a weak moment, I decided the book needed three separate plot lines. Insane? Yes, I know. So now, all three plots need to be resolved in a realistic fashion. Adding to my dilemma is the fact that the story is in first person, which means the resolutions can only be revealed as my main character uncovers them. Trust me when I say I will never do this again. The good news is, I’m 2/3 done with the book. One of the plotlines has been resolved. Two to go. Providing I don’t go crazy first.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Save an Author, Write a Review

My new book, Affliction, was recently published and now appears on all the usual retail sites. Amazon, of course, is the biggie with millions of titles available for readers to order. So, the burning question in my mind as well as my fellow authors is: how do I make my book stand out? Other than spending a great deal of money on promotions, money with no guaranteed return, what’s an author to do?

Reviews. We all want reviews. Reviews are a writer’s lifeblood. If you type How To Get Book Reviews into a search engine, a dizzying number of articles pop up. I’ve read most of them and actually followed through on some of them. Join Goodreads and do a giveaway. Run a contest. Look for book reviewers on Twitter and Facebook.

Most writers, myself included, would much rather spend time writing rather than marketing our books. But, with the glut of books on the market, we have to be proactive, whether we like it or not.

So, my reader friends, you probably have no idea how important you are to all of us who spend endless hours writing our books. We need you desperately. If you have an opinion about a book you’ve just read—and I’m sure you do—take a few minutes, write a review and post it where it will do the most good. It doesn’t have to be perfectly worded or a prolonged re-hashing of the plot. A single paragraph will do. What will you get in return? The undying gratitude of the author!
If you’re a writer, do you have any tips for the rest of us? If you’re a reader, do you write reviews for the books you do (or don’t) enjoy?