Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Power Of Myth-Part 1

I am sorry about this but I only made it through the introduction in the book "by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers" this week. I had planned to get through the second chapter but I didn't. I can say I'm looking forward to reading the book. Just reading the introduction told me it was my kind of book. It said that Campbell's works helped inspire the Star Wars stories and he became friends with George Lucas when Lucas "acknowledging a debt to Campbell's work, invited the scholar to view the Star Wars trilogy." Seeing how popular the series was (at that time it was just the first three movies) you can imagine how curious I am about what part this research played. I'm also fascinated by Campbell's idea that people don't really search for the meaning of life but that they really search for the "experience of life". This is definitely an interesting guy to learn from and I get a front row seat to the book, written in interview form. This promises to be a very interesting read and I could get a very different view of storytelling afterward, or at least a few ideas.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How To Publish Your Novel

In 5 Steps

Be sure your novel is amazing
Write a synopsis
Decide on a few agents, or not
Write some query letters
Don't wait around forever

Of course, you may not want to do all that so here is an article on how to self-publish an e-book with a link to self-publishing a paper book.

Due to pressure at work to get a huge certification done very soon, I will not have a lot of time to research my blog posts as I usually do. Last time I ran out of time like this, I shut down the blog for a month to get things done. I don't want to do that this time because when I get this certification done, I get to restart my fiction writing again. Thinking about that, I realized that I have a number of writing books I haven’t read yet. For the next month or two I will read through some of these books and tell you each week what I’ve learned and what I think of what I’ve read so far.

The first book will be Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. Based on a few televised interviews, Campbell talks about how modern people live out the themes of myths everyday. He believes that all stories are similar to the myths and legends of old and has devoted his life to comparing the myths of cultures all over the Earth.

While Joseph Campbell’s book may not exactly be aimed at writers and the second book on my reading list is. Christopher Vogler bases part of his idea in the book The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers that every story ever told successfully, from ancient myths to current movies, has been written with the same basic outline and characters. I’ve heard rave reviews of the books and think that reading these books over the next two months will improve my fictional characters and hopefully my storyline and plots.

I hope you join me as I review these books and learn new things as we go.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Self-Publishing An E-Book

Of course, going the long way of writing the book, deciding on a few agents, and sending out query letters before repeating the process a few times may be too long for you. You want to see your amazing story in print now. For those who wish to avoid the hassle of finding an agent and publisher, you can publish your own book. In this day and age of electronics, self-publishing is accepted more and more and may be a good way to set up getting an agent. Someone who has already sold a lot of self-published books would already have proven there is an audience for him or her and would be an easier person to represent than an author with only a few articles published.
It also may be the easiest way to get published. Now a days traditional publishers are having more and more trouble selling hard copies but self-published ebooks still sell. I can’t pretend to be an expert on this ever-changing topic so here is an excellent article on the self-publishing world as far as e-books. It also has a link to his article on traditional self-publishing a paperback book. I do plan to look into self-publishing something soon so I’ll let you know what more I learn but for now, enjoy the article and keep writing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What To Do Now That Your Query Is Out?

Now that you’ve sent out your query letter to agents, what do you do? Don’t just sit around twiddling your thumbs while you watch for the mailman and watch your inbox. Go take that trip you’ve waited for, go work in your garden or kitchen. Clean the house or watch that week long marathon you’ve been dreaming of. Do whatever it is you’ve been putting off while you perfect your novel. It may even do you good to start a new book. Those characters that kept bothering you but didn’t fit in your current novel have their own story to tell. Let it out and get immersed in a new story. Whatever you do, don’t keep rereading and rereading the same story trying to perfect it. Live a little and learn something new. Get your mind out of the story and relax. After a month, or at least a week, you can go back to your story and look at it again with new eyes. You need a new perspective and a less stressed mood to see things as a reader and not the writer. Start the process over again if you want or wait until your first round of replies comes. Some replies will probably come within days, others may never be replied to while others may take months to get through their pile of suggestions.

Just relax and remember that any rejections you get are at your writing, not you personally. Writing is a craft you learn, a technique you perfect. Most authors have gone years before they got published but they kept at it because they loved to write and they knew that one day someone would treasure their story as much as they did. Here is a good article on other famous authors who got rejected and how they dealt with rejection.

As a side note, don’t expect every agent or editor you send your query letter to will give you a reason why they don’t want it. Some will give you a critique if they have the time but many agents and editors (speaking for freelancers) won’t be willing to open themselves up to arguments from authors who think their work is the best the world has ever seen. If you want examples, read this article from an editor’s perspective. Once you’ve gotten the rejection letters, and you will probably get a few your first time out at least, read them and decide what next. You can send the editor/agent a thank-you for their time, which may get you a few brownie points in the future but probably won’t matter, you can throw the story away and start fresh in a fit of despair, you can relax, breath deep, and just accept that you aren’t a perfect fit for the person at that time, or any number of other responses. Arguing with an agent or editor is a sure way to be ignored in the future, at least by that person, but sending a professional thank you to someone who sent a critique is a must. Get known for being nice and professional and you may start getting more critiques, or you may still be treated like everyone else. It’s up to you to decide how you react, their words are merely their opinions and not the global opinion. Keep that in mind and you may become a published author yet.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best of 2011 Writer's Journey

The new year has come and the old year has gone. Before we say adieu to 2011, let's have a look at the things I talked about this year.

2011 I focused a lot of creating the right setting for your story.
Creating a Space Ship
Creating a Space Station
What to think about when setting your story in the real world and the partially real or alternate Earth

Next I wrote some writing techniques to help you actually write your story.

Now you have everything you need to write your story. Sit down and write it so you can make 2012 the year you write your best work so far.