Do You Have a Writing Platform?

What is a Writing Platform?

Writing for me is a multi-media experience. I like to start with a brain dump type of document on a very large piece of paper, like 22 X 16. I have even been known to tape two or three of those together for something much larger.

I begin with a central idea, in the middle somewhere. I draw lines out from that center object without much organization, and draw a circle at the end of the line. One circle might represent, say, characters. I will create more lines out of that circle one for each major character or maybe just groups of characters that will be broken down to the individual character. I write around the circle representing a character notes about the character. Physical characteristics, character traits, flaws, motivations, etc.

On a separate line coming out of the central idea will be setting. Lines coming out of that circle will be things like time period, physical characteristics, characteristics of people, cultures, other important details about where the story takes place.

On a separate line coming out of the central idea is plot or event flow. Events that make up the struggle of the protagonists, and the interplay between them and those that are opposed to them. What events have to come ahead of others. What needs to be communicated to readers and what needs to be held back. My story is developed over these lines.

I like to use sticky notes to start with, putting my ideas and developments around the central idea, and starting to create the organization. Now I can see what things I need to go together. Which characters? What settings? What pieces of the plot? What are the points of conflict? What has to be overcome for the protagonists to succeed?

A story is beginning to take form.

There is magic in seeing the “big” picture, and there is a part of me that relates to the physical aspects of designing the story.

However, for me the real magic happens when it starts to go into a digital form. This is where the framework and the platform come in. I used to keep everything in word documents. Then finding that I needed graphics, and quotes, and timelines, and so many details that I couldn’t find when I wanted them. I decided to start looking for a way to manage the whole thing. I found that way with Scrivener.

What is Scrivener

Some people want to call Scrivener a word-processor. Perhaps at the simplest level it could be thought of that way, but it is also a story organizer, a research keeper, a scrap book for story items, a book compiler, a book formatter, a complete desktop publishing warehouse!

It might seem a little daunting at first. It does have a lot of moving pieces, but it also has a few wizards to help you out. It is the only way that I know of to organize and keep track of everything for writing a full-blown story.

When you first get Scrivener, it looks like this. You can use the tutorial, the YouTube videos, and the user manual to get started.

Once you decide to on the type of book that you are writing, you can select amongst a number of options shown above. If you are writing fiction the template looks like this:

If you are writing a non-fiction book, then select the non-fiction icon to get a screen that looks like this:

There are so many options! Templates that will make writing your non-fiction book very formulaic. Kind of like painting by the numbers. I really like these templates and find them very useful for writing non-fictions books.

Getting back to fiction, my favorite use of this software, you need to select a name for the project and where to put it. Then it creates a template that looks like this:

Here I am able to write my manuscript chapter at a time, or write them in a much more eclectic way. I tend to jump ahead, then drop back as I fit in different pieces. I can also keep all of my research right here. I can type in my notes about characters, settings, and plot. I can grab screen-shots and pictures, and keep it all in one place. I have tried a lot of different solutions, but have never found one like this.

I really love Scrivener. I have found over my lifetime that the tools make the job. Writing is no different.

Go ahead and give it a try here:

Scrivener Software

Once you have scrivener up, here are some of the things it will help you do:

NOVEL FORMAT

Using the Novel format you can:
By default, when compiled (File > Compile), this project will generate a document in the standard manuscript format for novels.

The necessary settings are also provided to make it easy to compile to a paperback-style PDF for self-publishing or an EPUB or Kindle e-book.

Using the Template

Create a new folder for each chapter. You can add a title each folder with the name of the chapter. If you don’t intend to use chapter names, just use something descriptive that tells you what the chapter is about. (You do not need to—and indeed shouldn’t—title the folders “Chapter One” and so on, because chapter numbering will be taken care of automatically during the Compile process.) The first chapter folder has been created for you with the placeholder title “Chapter”.

Create a new text document for each scene inside the chapter folders. (Upon export, scenes will be separated with the “#” character for standard manuscript format, or with a blank line for other formats.)

Information about characters can be placed in the “Characters” folder, and information about locations can be placed in the “Places” folder. (These are just regular folders that have had custom icons assigned to them using the Documents > Change Icon feature.)

Character and setting sketch sheets have been provided which can be used for filling out information about the people and places in your novel. These are located in the “Template Sheets” folder. You should not edit the documents in the “Template Sheets” folder directly unless you wish to change the templates (which you are free to do – you may wish to customise the sketch sheets or get rid of them entirely). Instead, to create a new character sheet, click on the Characters folder (or wherever you want to create your new character sheet) and from the Project menu, select New From Template > Character Sketch. This creates a new character sketch document for you to edit and fill in with your character details. You can create setting sketch sheets in the same way. Alternatively, you can just click “Add”, or hit cmd-N, with the Characters or Places folders selected.

Pick up Scrivener here:

Scrivener Software

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The Shattered Lens

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First Person VS Third Person (POV)

First Person vs Third Person

Point of View (POV). The point of view simply means from who’s eyes the story is being told. Point of view can sometimes be difficult, because we tend to want to speak from a first person point of view, meaning using I or we. However, when telling a story, the first person point of view is mostly reserved for biographical types of information, or occasional interjection.

Having said that, the first person point of view can be good for non-fiction and teaching. Using personal experience and letting people know what you experienced and how it made you feel can create a bond between the reader and the writer. Using personal stories with the “I” point of view can be an excellent way of writing non-fiction and creating teaching materials.

Who’s Going to Tell Your Story?

The whole concept of Point of View is about who is going to tell your story. Choosing who will tell your story will make a big difference when it comes to the story itself.

The Second Person Point of View

So often we talk about first person and third person that we can forget that there is a second person. What is the second person point of view? Well, second person is something that you use all the time. You use it when you say “you.” That second person can be used when an interactive feel in needed. When you want to place your readers in the story as the main character. It isn’t something that can really be used with a novel, but can work well with a video game or interactive story.

The Third Person Point of View

The third person point of view is characterized by he, she and they. It is the typical point of view of most novels. Usually you need a story teller. That can be a character in the story, where every event, every feeling, every decision is made from the point of view of that character. This is a typical story telling feature. The protagonist doesn’t necessarily need to be the narrator or story teller. The story can be told from one of the minor characters point of view. Where they tend to express their thoughts or feelings about the protagonist and the action in the story.

In larger volumes, there may be several main characters. Different chapters can be written from the view point of each of these characters. Each character takes his or her turn with narrating the story. This type of expression works well with larger stories that have many points of interaction.

Using a Narrator

Sometimes the story calls for a narrator that is not part of the story. A narrator is usually a third party and might have more knowledge or insight than any of the characters. This type of arrangement works well for stories that the main character is purposefully unknown or perhaps discovered as the story unfolds. The narrator may have his own motives and may not have all of the knowledge or may purposefully skew the information in favor of a character or group. This constitutes a condition known as the unreliable narrator, where the narrator tries to persuade the reader to some opinion that may not even be logical.

Conclusion

Point of view will color everything about the story. Telling the story from the main character’s point of view or from a secondary person’s point of view will determine how events will flow and what the outcomes will be. Choosing the point of view may limit what can be told or described because the character or narrator may not have all of the information or may have ulterior motives for telling the story in a less than truthful way. Choosing a point of view and who will be telling the story is an important part of the progression of a novel and shouldn’t be left to chance. Make that choice and let it be a strong part of your story.

Keep up the good work writing.

Dean

Best 10 Children’s Books

In Kellee Giles’ epic novel Breaking Silence,  Taylor wanted to be the greatest writer in time, or in other words, the greatest writer of all time. I loved reading from a young age, and actually thought that I had found the greatest writer of all-time early on.

At about eight years old, I graduated from Dick and Jane books to what I figured was indeed the greatest writer of all time. Dr. Seuss, of course. I moved reluctantly to other authors and bigger books. I got married and life took on deeper meanings. My kids started reading and I was re-introduced to children’s books. 25 or so every three weeks, because that what we could check out of the library. It was wonderful, and I found a number of authors that I became acquainted with. Some I got tired of reading very quickly, but others, I found I could enjoy again and again. Here is my list of all-time favorites.

#10 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

I am Sam, Sam I am. Will you eat green eggs and ham? This classic masterpiece has been read to me many times by young readers just getting into reading. The rhyming and rhythm add to the story line and make the book fun to read. The book was written by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and was written to only include 50 unique words. It repeats words, sentences, and phrases to help young readers recognize the words as they read them. The over-all message of the story is one of discovery. That the protagonist resists trying the green eggs and ham through every effort that Sam makes to get him to give them a little taste. Finally, in desperation, the green eggs and ham are tried—and by pleasant surprise the protagonist likes them after he has tasted them. The story lets readers know that they can’t judge a book by its cover, so to speak. A great lesson, and a great read.

#9 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This children’s book has many levels of understanding. It is made for a slightly more advance reader than Green Eggs and Ham, but is filled with humor and with sadness. Max, the main character, dresses up in a wolf costume, is rude to his parents and sent to bed with no supper. His “escape” to the land of the wild things is a journey into his childhood thinking and experiences. The Wild Things he encounters are fashioned after his relatives. Max finally understands how much his family loves him and how hollow his adventures are, and makes his way back home. There are a lot of life’s lessons to be learned here, and it is an entertaining story.

#8 The Berenstain Bears, Bears in the Night.

The Berenstain Bears written by Stan and Jan Berenstain, and later by their son Mike have about 300 different books in the series. I like most of them. I love the memorable characters who definitely follow their prototypes in most every story. For all of their faults there seems to be a lot of love in the family. I like that every story teaches a lesson or moral. I have selected specific ones to try and teach specific lessons to my children and other children. I have a favorite. It isn’t the deepest, the longest, nor even teaches the best lesson. I think that I actually like it a lot because it is probably the shortest and the easiest to read. When I would get the “Daddy, read one more story,” routine, this was my fall back and my salvation—because it was quick. The bears hear a noise get out of bed with the lantern traipse around looking for the source of the noise. Find it, and are frightened running back to bed. It doesn’t have a lot of words, but it is fun, and quick to read.

#7 Go Dogs Go by P. D. Eastman

Dogs and cars fill the pages of this delightful children’s book. The words are easy and the sentences flow nicely. Dogs are given human characteristics and the illustrations make the characters come alive. The story is fast paced and really has not direction or plot, but the antics of the dogs doing so many human things is quite inviting. Dogs are shown racing, swimming, having parties, and just doing so many things. The pretend situations are funny and will appeal to pretty much any child. The words and sentences grow as the child gets into the book. I believe that starting with just a single word, the word Dog, gives any child the confidence that they can make an effort to read the book.

#6 Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb by Al Perkins

This book has fun rhyming, rhythm, and simple words, and is a counting book. It teaches words and numbers. I like the way that the book builds from just one to many. It sticks to monkeys and kind of focuses on the activity of drumming. It makes a child feel like they can keep adding to the new words and watch as the action and the scene opens up and gets bigger and bigger.

#5 The Snow Birthday by Brenda and Dean Giles

This book is for a little bit older reader. It has a great story line and a surprise ending. It follows a little girl who has a Birthday in the winter time and how her family helps her make that birthday special and memorable. It includes wonderful winter activities and the story line warms your heart.

#4 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Every home library needs a go-to-sleep book. This was a favorite for late night reads. The book talks about the house and the things in it and how everything was quieting down and getting ready for sleep. A very calming read that I thought helped get the kids ready for the goodnight moment. Very useful for parents.

#3 Duck and Goose by Tad Hills

Duck and goose contend over a ball, believing it is an egg. Each one considers themselves to be better suited to taking care of the egg. Over some interesting turn of events they learn that it is a ball and they learn how share and how to settle their differences. The illustrations are bright and colorful and I love the story line.

#2 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Harold is on a great adventure. He draws everything that he encounters with his purple crayon. Some things he draws with great purpose, and others just seem to happen. The story takes him far from home, but he gets back by drawing the moon as he sees it from his bedroom window, then drawing his bedroom window around it. I just love the imagination and the adventure of the story.

#1 Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite children’s authors, and I think he hits a home run in this imaginative story. I like the premise of the story, he says something like “You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes, you can go anywhere that you choose.” I think that is a real parallel to life, and the boy and the girl in the story do take imaginative adventures. This is one you will want to come along with for sure.

That wraps up my top 10 Children’s books of all-time.

 

Dean

Parents: You might also like:

Winning the Whining War

 

Breaking Silence (Now in Paperback)

Now in Paperback!!

In every story there’s always something that happens, that makes a person question who they are. In life there are ups and downs, romance and big fights. This is a story that has all of those things, but I want to focus on the things that people don’t really like to talk about, the sad stuff, the points in life that people tend to ignore, or want to forget, or even skip over completely. That is what I want to focus on, because everyone goes through it, even if they deny it. 

Get it Here

Chapter 1: The Meeting

 

My parents always taught me to be nice and smile at everyone, I had no idea it could completely change someone’s life.

 

Day 1:

The sound of my alarm clock blasting, once again, woke me up from my comfy bed. I looked at the time and it said it was six o’ clock, “if the sun’s not up yet, then why do I have to be?” I wondered as I lazily got out of bed and stretched. I put on jeans, a dark blue t-shirt, and my favorite Converse shoes. I raked through my dark hair, snagging on the ends that reached to the middle of my back. I hurried down the stairs and said goodbye to my mom, grabbing a granola bar on the way. Then jumped in my little blue jeep, and raced down the road.

The day went by in a blur; it was your classic high school that had boring white walls, with black soldier like lockers that lined the hallways. It had everything in it, that a normal school did; snotty cheerleaders, big jocks, and book nerds. I, however, wasn’t a cheerleader or a nerd; I just kind of blended in. People chatted before the bell rang to go to class, some people stood in a big crowd, others sat on the ground along the lockers. I tried not to draw attention to myself as I squeezed past the groups; I wasn’t very tall so people could easily squash me if I wasn’t careful.

I was a senior this year and I was looking forward to the only thing a senior looks forward to…graduation. I still had a while before that, but it was the only motivation I had, so I was sticking to it.

 

I finally made it to my class before lunch, English with Mrs. Tate. “Alright class, we’re switching seats.” Mrs. Tate said in a light tone. She was a quirky little lady, in her late forties with short blonde hair, and black square framed glasses that always seemed to bounce when she laughed. “Please sit where I call your name.”

She went down the rows saying names, when she got to the middle of the room, I heard my name. I stood up and was walking to my new seat, but stopped dead, when I saw the person that was about to be my new neighbor. It was Christian Lazarr, he moved here at the beginning of the year and everybody thought he was scary looking. He was tall and muscular, with pale skin, and dark black hair that hung in his ice cold blue eyes. He always wore black, and no one had ever heard him talk, and I mean no one.

I slowly sat down but he didn’t say anything, he didn’t even acknowledge me. He just stared at the desk; I could see why people were afraid of him. A voice inside my head told me maybe I should talk to him, but I instantly shook the thought away. There was no way I was going to talk to him, he could’ve been that creepy guy who murders you in the woods when your car won’t start. But a part of me wondered if he was lonely, he was scary looking but even scary people got lonely sometimes…right?

Breaking Silence by Kellee Giles (Hot new E-book)

In every story there’s always something that happens, that makes a person question who they are. In life there are ups and downs, romance and big fights. This is a story that has all of those things, but I want to focus on the things that people don’t really like to talk about, the sad stuff, the points in life that people tend to ignore, or want to forget, or even skip over completely. That is what I want to focus on, because everyone goes through it, even if they deny it. 

Get it Here

Chapter 1: The Meeting

 

My parents always taught me to be nice and smile at everyone, I had no idea it could completely change someone’s life.

 

Day 1:

The sound of my alarm clock blasting, once again, woke me up from my comfy bed. I looked at the time and it said it was six o’ clock, “if the sun’s not up yet, then why do I have to be?” I wondered as I lazily got out of bed and stretched. I put on jeans, a dark blue t-shirt, and my favorite Converse shoes. I raked through my dark hair, snagging on the ends that reached to the middle of my back. I hurried down the stairs and said goodbye to my mom, grabbing a granola bar on the way. Then jumped in my little blue jeep, and raced down the road.

The day went by in a blur; it was your classic high school that had boring white walls, with black soldier like lockers that lined the hallways. It had everything in it, that a normal school did; snotty cheerleaders, big jocks, and book nerds. I, however, wasn’t a cheerleader or a nerd; I just kind of blended in. People chatted before the bell rang to go to class, some people stood in a big crowd, others sat on the ground along the lockers. I tried not to draw attention to myself as I squeezed past the groups; I wasn’t very tall so people could easily squash me if I wasn’t careful.

I was a senior this year and I was looking forward to the only thing a senior looks forward to…graduation. I still had a while before that, but it was the only motivation I had, so I was sticking to it.

 

I finally made it to my class before lunch, English with Mrs. Tate. “Alright class, we’re switching seats.” Mrs. Tate said in a light tone. She was a quirky little lady, in her late forties with short blonde hair, and black square framed glasses that always seemed to bounce when she laughed. “Please sit where I call your name.”

She went down the rows saying names, when she got to the middle of the room, I heard my name. I stood up and was walking to my new seat, but stopped dead, when I saw the person that was about to be my new neighbor. It was Christian Lazarr, he moved here at the beginning of the year and everybody thought he was scary looking. He was tall and muscular, with pale skin, and dark black hair that hung in his ice cold blue eyes. He always wore black, and no one had ever heard him talk, and I mean no one.

I slowly sat down but he didn’t say anything, he didn’t even acknowledge me. He just stared at the desk; I could see why people were afraid of him. A voice inside my head told me maybe I should talk to him, but I instantly shook the thought away. There was no way I was going to talk to him, he could’ve been that creepy guy who murders you in the woods when your car won’t start. But a part of me wondered if he was lonely, he was scary looking but even scary people got lonely sometimes…right?

Discover The Magic

Writing a book can be difficult, but there is no greater disappointment than completing that book and seeing it sit on Amazon’s shelves without ever selling a copy.

Granted when someone is self-publishing, it is a two part project. One is to write the book, the other is to sell it. But, there is something about choosing a topic that has enough appeal to be sure that there will be sales of the book.

The magic is in choosing the topic, or subtopic. There are a number of places to look that will point out some of the popular topics, and give you a good idea of what to cover about that topic.

How and where to discover what people are looking for can be found in Discover Book Ideas. Take a moment to look through the table of contents on Amazon.

You too can Discover The Magic.

kindle-niche-book1

 

Niches

What are niches? When I was young my mother had a hutch with a number of little cubbies.  Each open rectangle she called a niche. She classified mail and other important documents and filed them in the niches. Some of those niches held a lot of documents, and others only a few.

Niches are little categories that have readers and customers. When you are planning to write a book, you want a book that will have a lot of appeal, but do you think that it is good to try to appeal to everyone? No, not at all! There is an old saying that goes something like this: Made for everyone and used by no one.

You absolutely can’t please everyone. So, you have to be selective. Choosing a niche is actually an exercise in choosing a customer. Find a group of people to write to specifically, ignore everyone else.

I know that sounds crazy–but that is the best advice that I can give you. For example, people who like romance probably won’t be huge science fiction fans, and visa versa.

Selecting a Niche

There a many ways to choose niches, but among the most important things to keep in mind is you want customers that really want to get a hold of your writing. If you select a niche to write about that solves people’s problems you will be selecting the right customers.

There are many places to look for problems to solve, but none will be as good as the problems that you have solved yourself. What problems have you run into? Have you had troubles loosing weight? How about issues with relationships? Have you had problems with pimples or other skin problems? Have you struggled with focusing your life or being creative?  If you have, then first of all realize that you aren’t the only one. Secondly, think about how it felt when you solved your personal problems.

Helping Others

If you have found a problem or two that you needed to solve, and have found a solution to, wouldn’t you want to share that information with others?

That is the kind of book that makes for the best reading. A book that describes things that you struggled with, the many things that you tried to solve the problem, and finally how you managed to come up with the right solution.

Conclusion

You can write a book that will be well received if you are willing to write about solutions to problems that people have. Those things are found in specific niches and have to be written to the specific audience that need that solution–it can’t be written generally. Writing generally is the fastest way to fail. You try to please everyone, and end up pleasing no one. Finally, if you can add some personal tidbits to the account you will create a bond with your reader and write the best book possible.

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Life’s Poetry

Do you like Adult Coloring Books?

If you do, then here is our gift to you!

FreeColoringBook.org/gift.

 

Creative Writing

Creativity in Writing

Everyone knows that Creativity is at the center of writing. I once read that every book that you read is just a different combination of the same 26 letters and some punctuation marks. Think about it! Everything comes down to how creatively you put it all together.

So here is a great boost to your creativity. A book about creativity that is geared towards authors. See for yourself:

                    Add the Creativity

Let your creativity soar!

“You’re Never Gonna Slow Me Down”

How to Remove Roadblocks to Creativity

Doubt, fear, and confusion are the anti-thesis to creativity. You must work to counter your own fears. Here is an activity that is a good way to remove fear and doubt, I call it “Counter Point.”

Crush Fear and Doubt with this counterpoint activity.

Write down every fear or doubt. Then write a counterpoint to it that answers every fear or issue.

For example:

Fear

I might as well not bring up my ideas, no one really listens to me any way.

Counter Point

I have great ideas. My ideas often make a difference. People will listen to me, and like my ideas.

 

Fear

This idea is so different that I’ll be laughed at if I suggest it.

Counter Point

Even if others reject my idea, they will respect those who try to show creativity and innovation. Others will see that I am trying to improve the situation. Sometimes the riskier the idea, the greater the reward when it works.

Fear

I’ll never be able to do it.

Counter Point

I’ll take it a little bit at a time. I’ll set up a schedule to do a little bit every day. When I see how much I have accomplished, I will be amazed.

Any time a doubt or fear raises up its ugly head, smash it flat with a counter point. You will be surprised at how quickly you will squelch those fears, and let your creativeness loose on your projects and problems.

I have read a number of books that promote one process or another for success in creativity. Most of these books have their own step-by-step process that leads someone to “creative” thinking. After trying many of them, and after watching how creativity works with me and with my teams, I now believe that creative processes are not linear. I believe that they have a tendency to bounce around and to take you on detours that zig-zag you from one activity to another.

 

To illustrate what I mean, my family and I have hiked many mountain paths. The paths that go straight up the mountain are exhausting, they are steep and very difficult to travel. When it rains, the water runs right down the path, usually digging out gullies and ridges that become obstacles in the path for future hikers.

 

This last year we were at Zion’s National Park, we hiked a path that lead to a destination called Angel’s Landing. One section of that path is a manmade section that is reinforced with brick and mortar. It is called “Walter’s Wiggles,” and it zig-zags back and forth 24 times from the bottom to the top of the hill-face that we scale at that point. While on that path, every corner seemed like a detour, it felt like such a burden sometimes to flow from one side to the other, but when you see it from a distance, you realized that each level is essential, and that each corner brings you closer to your goal.

Here is a page of resources that might help you:

https://www.facebook.com/Writersource

Other Articles

Is There a Little Writer in You Too?

Engaging Reading, Dragons and Magic

Why is my Book Taking So Long?

How to Sell eBooks

Life’s Poetry

Is There a Little Writer in You Too?

There is a saying that goes, “there is a story inside of everyone.” I see stories everywhere. People do and say interesting things everyday. I love going to work, going to the store, going to the park and interacting with people. What I find is that there is always a lot to listen to. Take the time to write down your interest, think about what knowledge you have that others might be interested in. You may be surprised that you have a book inside of you also.

young-writers

Do yourself a favor. Let that little writer out once in a while.

How do you know if there is a writer lurking within you?

How Do You Know If You Could Write a Book?

First of all, do you have hobbies, crafts, skills, or life hacks that you are just dying to share with others? Is there something that you are good at, that you could teach other people? Writing is first and fore most about passion. What are you passionate about? What can you talk about all day? Those are great things to write about. If you have an interest in something it is likely that other people share that interest.

Chris Anderson, the author of “The Long Tail,” points out that there is a market for almost everything. Digital books make it possible for millions of books to exist on Amazon and be there for anyone interested.

You just have to get that story out. What life experiences have you gone through that other people could benefit from? If you have learned something from those experiences, there are others out there who need that information and the knowledge that they aren’t alone, that other people have had those same feelings and found the same problems.

What Makes for a Good Book?

I was approached by a friend that said something to the effect that he didn’t want to put out the effort to write a book if it was just going to be lame.

The truth of the matter is, you have been reading books all of your life. You know what you like in a book and what you don’t like. If you start with the end in mind, starting with the what you want your book to stand for, then work backwards, you have a great chance of putting your story together. What do I mean by working backwards. Well, you know what you want the ending to be like. You are definitely going to hit the nail on the head. Now, what characters will you need to get to that ending? What characteristics will those characters need? What flaws will they need to overcome. The story has to have some friction and some struggle to make it interesting to anyone that might read it. What life experiences will push the characters to that final grand outcome? Now who are the supporting cast? Who will be there for the main character when he or she has to make the hard decisions. Who will be the antagonist? Who wants the same thing as the main character but for evil reasons?

Finally, what setting will put the protagonist in a position to need something that he or she just cannot have? It has to be something related to that incredible ending that you have already come up with. Why can’t he or she have what they want right now? Who or what is standing in the way.

Mapping

Now you can start to map out the main beats of the story. Match characters with events and with motivations. Create a flow chart for what needs to happen before the great ending can actually take place.

Think hard about the setting. Where and when you place the story will have so much to do with what the protagonist can and can’t do.

Now write the back stories to your characters. What are they like? What do they look like? What do you know about them or their behavior that will push them towards that final scene.

You have the makings of a great book. Dont let it set on the shelf for too long. start right away working on your book.

 

Here is a page of resources that might help you:

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Engaging Reading, Dragons and Magic

Why is my Book Taking So Long?

How to Sell eBooks

Life’s Poetry

 

Engaging Reading, Dragons and Magic

New title from Dean R. Giles

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014N2E9CU

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The Allure of the Trap

“Daddy, what are they doing?” asked Junior as he peered intently at the figures in the viewer.
“They are trying to make fire, little one”
“They don’t know how!” exclaimed Junior.
“They are primitive, son. Now be quiet, it is almost time.” Devon moved his head closer to the viewer and stared more intently at the center of the activity.  He could see that the fuels had been separated and were neatly contained.  The entire atmosphere felt completely austere.

“The humans have out done themselves.” he snarled.  “The fuels are so well separated and contained that there is no hope of a sustained fire. But, perhaps, if they are treated to a little spark, they may add more fuels and we could have a little blaze after all.” Devon struggled in front of the viewer, focusing his thoughts.  “No, no, NO!  It is hopeless. The fuels are so devoid of impurities, I can’t seem to align even a few atoms. Ooooh! It is so frustrating!”
“Daddy. Why can’t they just use their thoughts to make the fire?” asked Junior.
“They have puny little brains, they can’t project their thoughts at all.  They are very inferior.  Now go play, I am tired of all of the questions”
Devon jumped as a deep voice echoed through the room, “Observing the humans again, Devon?”  Devon spun towards the sound of the voice.
“Oh, Galaru, I didn’t hear you come in.  Yes, I am…observing them.”
“So, Devon, if these humans are inferior as you just mentioned, why do you keep watching them as if they might solve all of our world’s problems?”
“They just might, Galaru.”  Devon lifted his eyebrows to emphasize his point.
“Bah! What could the humans possibly teach us?” questioned Galaru.
“You know that there was once a fire-bridge that connected our world to the human world.”

“So I hear.” responded Galaru, “But I don’t know it for a fact.”
“It is not fiction. I have spent some years combing the records. It existed.”
“So you have found references to the fire-bridge in the historical accounts?” asked Galaru.
Devon answered carefully, “Yes, I have, although it is obvious that most of the references have been removed or destroyed.”
“What!  Removed or destroyed!” exclaimed Galaru.
“Contain your surprise, my friend.  It was done by the Elders long ago to hide their complicity in the war that resulted.” Devon contemplated on the role of the Elders, who destroyed the bridge because it threatened their control.  “You know there is only one viewer that shows any other world other than our own.  That is because, when the bridge existed, one of our forefathers placed the transmitter to the viewer there.  How else could it have gotten there?”
Galaru thought in silence pondering the meaning of Devon’s revelation. “Yes, I suppose that is the best explanation, but for all of these years, why hasn’t the bridge been rebuilt?”
Devon smiled condescendingly. “Because the humans can’t make the type of fire needed on the other side of the bridge. Oh, they have combustion fire that they use everywhere, but the kind of fire that fuels our fire-bridges is foreign to them. They are very close to producing it, they call it ‘cold fusion’”.

“Cold fusion?” gasped Galaru.

Devon laughed, “Why, even the very name of it is another testament of their inferior thinking.  Imagine, a fire that burns as hot as a sun, and they call it ‘cold’. Oh, I will never understand them.”

Galaru wondered aloud, “If the humans can’t make fire—then how did the bridge get there in the first place?”

Devon shrugged, “The speculation is that the original occurred naturally, perhaps as the result of a meteor striking the face of the planet and beginning a self-sustaining reaction.”

“Why do the humans struggle so much to make such a simple thing as fire?” asked Galaru.
“The puny-brained humans cannot see the structure of the atoms, they can’t align them with their minds and bring them together naturally to create the spark needed to begin the process.  Once the reaction is started, it would be self-sustaining, provided sufficient fuel were present.”

Devon focused on the viewer again and explained to Galaru, “When they are close enough, through the viewer, I can help them out a little.  I can align a precious few atoms for them, but the heat of the fire destroys their setup most every time.  They also keep the deuterium and the other resources contained so that the reaction has no chance of becoming self-sustaining.  So the burst of fire is so short lived that I can do no more than watch and curse.”
Galaru smiled a devilish smile, “So you ‘tempt’ them with success, however small it may be?”
Devon nodded. “Exactly. At every opportunity. There are many groups working on this cold-fusion scattered around their world.”
“How do you know where to look with the viewer to observe it at the critical times?”
“That is a gift from the viewer’s makers.  It must have been tuned to the original fire-bridge so that whenever the combination of atoms begins to make the precursors to fire, the viewer is pulled there immediately. I’m able to save the coordinates to look again at a future date. When there is nothing eminent to observe, the viewer is passive and I can will it to view whatever I want.”
“So,” mused Galaru, “they continue their search because of what you promise them in these fleeting moments of success?”

Devon chuckled. “So it seems.”

“Tell me, Devon, have they any chance of creating the fire?”
Devon nodded as he spoke, “They are clever, Galaru, I hold out hope for them in their quest.”

“Well, I wish you luck in your quest as well, old friend.”  After a bit of a pause, Galaru continued.  “I came over today with a bit more on my mind than just to reflect on your research, Devon.”

“I assumed as much,” responded Devon.

Galaru stood up straight and assumed an official air.  “Since you are a Chancellor to the Council of Elders, I have come to request that you sponsor my project to ‘grow’ our own herds and flocks in an attempt to make the animal populations larger on our world.”  Galaru also added, “This would not detract from what you are doing at all, Devon.”

Devon looked troubled, “I haven’t decided if I am in favor of that plan yet. How could I agree to sponsor it?”

“But Devon, my plan is practical, it has a chance of stemming the growing need.”

Devon snarled, “So you are saying that my plan is impractical?”

“No, no.  It’s just full of variables that we can’t control.  Human variables, Devon.  I know that without your support I can’t even get to present to the Elders. Come with me so I can present to the Elders.”  In a smooth and rehearsed voice Galaru persuaded, “At least come outside now, you haven’t been out in weeks.”

Devon sighed, “Very well, I’ll come outside with you Galaru, but I still haven’t made up my mind to support you in this.”

Outside in the glaring sun, Devon sighed again as he looked over his world, it seemed so barren compared to what he had been looking at in the viewer.  They walked for a time in silence. Devon stopped suddenly in his tracks.  “I can’t do this Galaru, our people are hunters, not farmers or herdsmen!  If we stoop to tending flocks we will be no better than those humans.”

“We can still hunt the raised animals, we can release them into the wild, it will be no different—except there will be a larger supply of animals”

Devon motioned with his hands, “That’s not all, though, the Elders will have their hands in this you know.  They will tell us when we can eat and what we can eat.  We will be slaves on our own world.”

“But we will still be able to live here, on our world, and raise our families, Devon! It won’t be as bad as all that.”  Galaru had raised his voice and was yelling.

“I won’t do it!” Devon yelled in response and began to turn around. “I won’t lower our people to become mere farmers.”

Galaru stopped Devon, “Well, if you won’t support me,  perhaps, the next Chancellor that I find will also be interested in your attempts to rebuild the fire bridge into the human world.  Understanding the elder’s hand in destroying it long ago, it may not go so well for you if they were to find out.”

Devon’s face clouded, “Are you threatening me?” he asked.

“Whatever it takes to get to the Council of Elders,” replied Galaru.

“You don’t have the stomach for this confrontation, Galaru.” chortled Devon.

Galaru roared, and swung a short, but muscular, and taloned hand at Devon.  It connected, ripping open a line of scaled skin on Devon’s cheek.  Devon jerked to one side and flipped his massive tail, attempting to take the legs out from under Galaru.  Devon’s quick response showed that he was not entirely caught off guard by Galaru’s sudden attack.  Galaru shifted his weight and took the brunt of the attack to the side of his body. Devon turned and extended his giant wings, he began to crouch for launching into the air. Galaru was waiting for this opportunity.  He launched himself at Devon, but not directly at his body, Galaru landed squarely on one of Devon’s outstretched wings.

Devon opened his gaping jaws and spewed scorching fire at Galaru, who had his wing pinned to the ground.  The fire enveloped Galaru, but his tough scaled exterior protected him sufficiently, and he walked up Devon’s wing, moving behind Galaru’s head to avoid a direct fire attack to his own head and face.  Devon roared, cranking up the intensity of the fire billowing out of his mouth, but he found himself at a great disadvantage.  Galaru clamped his massive jaws onto the base of Devon’s narrowing neck and began to apply pressure.  Devon stopped struggling and in a hoarse whisper blurted out, “just get it over with!”

Galaru released his hold and disengaged, with his head bowed, he humbly begged. “Forgive me, Devon, I just lost my temper, that’s all. I had hoped to blackmail you into supporting me, and I was wrong.”

Devon’s wrinkled face twisted into a smile.  “So you are a Dragon after all, Galaru, hot tempered, rash, and devious, all of the Dragon traits that I admire most. For my part in this, I only wanted to start a quarrel, because I hoped that you might disable me in the scuffle and take my place as Chancellor to the Council of Elders, then I could devote my time to this fire-bridge.  However, I underestimated you. Why didn’t you end my life and take my place as Chancellor when you had the chance?”

“Of course, it crossed my mind.  That course of action would have gotten me what I wanted, a chance to present to the Council of Elders—but my life would have been short and miserable afterwards, being the smallest and youngest Chancellor, I would have had to contend with every Dragon wanting the honor of a Chancellorship.”

Devon nodded his head, “you are wise, Galaru, you think things through better than most of us.  I will be proud to represent you to the Elders.”

Galaru beamed. “Thank you.” he replied with sudden relief. Then Galaru looked at Devon questioningly.

“If you don’t mind me asking, Devon, what will you do if you can help the humans recreate the fire-bridge?”

Well, first we will send enough Dragons through the bridge to secure it from the humans and from any meddling by the Elders, and then we will test the accuracy of the history books.”

“What do you mean?” asked Galaru.

“Well, we will find out if the humans are as tasty as they are clever.” responded Devon.

The sound of raucous laughter rang through the streets as the two walked towards the fire-bridge that would bring them to the Council of Elders.

This is one of the short stories in the book Continue reading here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014N2E9CU

 

Writing Prompts for Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block UUUhhhggggg!

Everyone has those moments when the ideas just aren’t flowing. Those moments can last for a few minutes or stretch on to a few years. Those times when creativity doesn’t seem to click in and focus seems impossible has been called writer’s block

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What to do about Writer’s Block

I find that there are a number of ways to fight writer’s block. My favorites include getting up and changing the scenery. Picking up something to read that catches my attention. Physical activity. Visiting Amazon and looking at book titles that I might want to read. I like to read biographies and inspirational quotes.

Writing

Sometimes writing that doesn’t involve what I am currently stuck on helps to oil the wheels and get the juices flowing.

I like to write in my journal, write a blog post, or write a letter that I have been putting off.

Writing Prompts

There is some controversy over using writing prompts. Some people see it as a waste of time, others praise them for the benefit. I am a middle-of-the-road kind of guy when it comes to writing prompts. I find them useful when the writing isn’t flowing, now days I tend to come up with my own prompts. I am usually working on a few books or works at a time. I try to imagine some off-the-wall scenarios that could relate to a back-story or situation that could occur in something else that I might be working on. I imagine dialogues from different points of view, or scenarios that could be possible if I changed a character’s roll or demeanor. I have often found that I like the new point of view, and found that the writing prompt helped me produce something that could be used later in another story.

That wasn’t always the case with me. Writing prompts were good exercises, and I used them often in my earlier writing. Here are some of my favorite resources for writing prompts:

http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/

http://awesomewritingprompts.tumblr.com/

http://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises

Here a a couple of books about writing prompts:

http://www.amazon.com/1-000-Awesome-Writing-Prompts-ebook/dp/B00JOVSYC2

http://www.amazon.com/000-Creative-Writing-Prompts-Scripts-ebook/dp/B0044DEL7C

Find what works for you. Write down what you try and how you feel afterwords. Improve your writing by reading and writing every day.

May your writing shine and light the world,

Dean R. Giles, Author

Other Articles

Why is my Book Taking So Long?

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Life’s Poetry

 

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