A little Perspective goes a Long Way

POVI’ve discussed this in the past, but you know how much I love revisiting things I’ve talked about before. Here’s the thing, we work in an ever-changing industry, one where you can never stop learning. Sounds like a doctor’s office. Yet it’s true. It doesn’t mean that what was discovered yesterday is less important, it’s just not as current.

And things that you think might remain static, guess what? They can change too. Just like that. Take point of view for example. When I was in high school and even my early years in college, there were only three: first, second, and third person.

Sounds simple, right?

Wrong.

Yes, I said that’s wrong. Now, if you’re a fiction writer, no need to fret over second person point of view. It isn’t really used for fiction. More for essays and writing along those lines. So for our purposes, I’m only going to discuss the other two.

Except it really isn’t just two points of view. In fact, first and third are really four points of view.

Let me explain.first-person-narrator-definition-and-example_copy_122178

First person is pretty straight forward. Everything in the story is told from one person’s point of view at a time. If I have a story with Emily and Jack and the story is told in first person from Emily’s perspective that means that everything the reader knows is only what Emily knows. Not only that, but it also means the reader only knows what Emily can see, feel, hear, or smell. All knowledge that is gleaned is from what Emily has already experienced, can identify for herself, or has been told by someone else.

Simple, right?

While it might be easy to understand first person, third gets a little more complicated. There’s third person limited, third person omniscient, and a most recent addition of third person deep.

Third person limited is just as easy as first person. They are almost the exact same. The only difference is that the perspective isn’t “I,” it’s all “he” or “she.” All of the information that the reader gains is the same, but there is the unspoken presence of a narrator. Most often the narrator is viewed as the author, but not always. third_person_limited_thumbnail_122069While that would be a great discussion, it is something I’ll save for a later date. Back to third person limited. Everything the reader learns is told from one person’s perspective by this unspoken narrator. And typically the entire story is from the same person’s perspective or the main character.

Here’s an example of the difference.

First person: “Swallowing my nervousness, I walked up to the door and knocked.”

Third person limited: “Stroking up some courage, Emily walked over to the door and knocked.”

See the difference? Okay. Moving on.

Next, we have third person omniscient. The basic principle is that the narrator is God. Again, the story is told in “he” and “she,” but every character’s thoughts are known by the reader. If done correctly, the story will still move smoothly and flow well together, especially since this omniscient presence can go from one paragraph to another with two characters and reveal each character’s thoughts.

Here’s two examples:

From The Cost of Fame by Shay Stone

“Richard called after her, ‘Do me a favor, Alexandra? Remember this moment. My guess is you’ll be thinking a lot about it in the weeks to come.” Without turning around Alex held up her middle finger and continued on her way.

‘God, I love that fire in her,’ Richard remarked to Chase who looked a bit like a deer in headlights after witnessing their exchange. Steed pointed to a drink. ‘This one’s hers?’”

In the first example, you get a bit of Alex and Richard. Even though Alex walked away, the action didn’t stop. The reader sees, knows, hears, and smells it all.What-is-Third-Person-Omniscient-1

Here’s another one.

From Light in August by William Faulkner

“‘They?’ the man said. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Well, if Jefferson aint too long about it.’ He shifted his grip on the old man’s arm. ‘Where do you want us to put him?’ The woman moved then. She descended the steps and approached. ‘We’ll tote him into the house for you,’ the man said.

‘I can tote him,’ she said. She and Hines were about the same height, though she was the heavier. She grasped him beneath the arms. ‘Eupheus,’ she said, not loud; ‘Eupheus.’ She said to the two men, quietly: ‘Let go. I got him.’ They released him. He walked a little now. They watched her help him up the steps and into the door. She did not look back.”

There is a rather obvious omniscient narrator here directing our attention to what the narrator feels is important.

Both are third person omniscient and yet both are different. Again, not something I’m going to discuss further here.

With all of that said, only one remains: third person deep. If you’re saying, “I’ve never heard of that before,” then my response would be, “I’m not surprised.” I only learned of its existence in the last few years. And if you’ve read my previous discussion, then you’d know I describe it as first and third omniscient got drunk one night and had a baby, which leads us to third person deep.

Third person deep is told from one person’s perspective at a time. This may be limited to one chapter and/or one scene. Whether it is one or the other, it is all from that one character. We get their internal thoughts like we do in first person, but it’s all told in third person. At the same time, we will get someone else’s thoughts in the next scene or chapter, kind of like we do in omniscient. Oh, and that pesky narrator … they are practically non-existent.

teaching_point_of_viewThe concept behind third person deep is that you get more show and less tell in third person. Makes perfect sense, right?

If not, let me give you some examples and show you what I mean.

From Avenged by Krys Fenner 

“‘Not trying to keep me away, are you?’ Miah grabbed Bella by the waist and pulled her close. Caressing her cheek, he pressed his lips to hers, kissing her like he hadn’t seen her in months.

The kiss stole her breath away. She hated lying to him.  Part of her wanted to drop the bullshit and tell him  the truth right then and there. If only she had a better idea of what exactly she was getting into. Keeping him safe required she proceed with caution. Hopefully, she wouldn’t irrevocably damage their relationship in the process.”

From Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

“‘We need to get out an APB.’ Was that his voice? It sounded hoarse, like he’d been to a football game and screamed for two hours. ‘White male, six-six, two seventy. Dressed in black leather, wearing sunglasses, shoulder-length dark hair.’ Butch threw out a hand, steadying himself against the building. ‘Suspect not armed. Only because I stripped him. He’ll be restocked within the hour, no doubt.’

When he stepped forward, he swayed.

‘Jesus.’ José grabbed his arm, holding him up.”

horace1
Courtesy of BrainyQuote.com

Between these two examples, I hope you get the picture. If not, think about it like this, the reader is entirely inside the character’s head as if the character is the narrator, except everything is told in third person as if the narrator is an outside person. That probably sounds way more complicated than it is. Hmm, let’s try this. God is the one telling the story, but he is limited to one person at a time. Make sense?

Good. Now, you have a better understanding of the difference between these four perspectives. As for choosing one to write in, well, I can’t do that for you. I can only tell you I’m bias toward Third Deep. Go figure. To find what works for you, you’ll have to find what you’re comfortable writing in and then practice until the sun goes down and it gets as close to perfect as possible.

Because no one is perfect.

Fountain of Knowledge

howtochange_750xx2714-1527-0-142It’s well known that the publishing industry is ever-changing. It has come a long way since its inception hundreds of years ago, which means there is always something new to learn. And if you’ve been following my blog over the last several weeks, I have had a lot of guest authors sharing their experiences and their knowledge. Let’s face it, no one person can know it all.

That has been one of my primary reasons for hosting various guest authors. They each had something different to contribute. One person spoke about how social media gave her support, all because it allowed her to find other authors. Another person offered advice from her own experience as a foreign author. Someone else spoke about what it took for him to accept himself as an author. And another talked about what it took for her to get back to writing after a tragic accident.faq

We all come from different walks of life and we’ve all had different experiences. That doesn’t mean we all can’t learn from each other. I read each and every article before I shared it with you all. With every article I learned something. Something that I hadn’t come across before or maybe that I’d only heard about, but never really dug into. At the same time, I managed to meet some great people.

With that in mind, I wanted to keep going along those same lines and share what I have learned over the last few years of my writing career.

  1. Join a writers group. This isn’t just so you can get exposed to other genres and meet other authors, but because it’s a great way to improve your own writing. It also helps teach you how to give proper feedback. And who knows, you may even find another author to work with later on down the line.
  2. Make it habit to go to at least one writers conference every year. Writers who teach the workshops or seminars in these conferences haven’t just made it a career, they have succeeded in making money. Social media conceptThese are also excellent opportunities to network. And some offer more than just workshops. Some conferences have literary agents and/or publishers who schedule interviews.
  3. Share your knowledge. Help other authors by sharing what you’ve learned. It doesn’t just give them a helping hand, but it also helps you network. In the business, networking is crucial. And sharing your knowledge is a great way to build it.
  4. Read, read, read. This probably sounds like a given, but you’d be surprised at the number of authors who don’t read. That is no way to learn anything. This includes keeping up with what is current, not only in this industry, but in your own genre.
  5. Do your research! I cannot stress this enough. And this is SUPER important if you plan to get traditionally published. You don’t want to query a romance agent if you write Science Fiction.
  6. Start building an audience first. Okay, yes, you need to write the book, but that doesn’t have to come first to build an audience. build-audienceYou could blog about a hot topic that you know about, do book reviews, or talk about something that people can relate to. No matter the direction you go, this builds an audience so that when you finally have that book in your hand, you have people who already enjoy your work and are likely to buy it.
  7. Social Media is a must. I get it if you are one of those people who absolutely abhor social media, but we are in the age of digital. If you’re not on social media and interacting on social media, then you’re only hurting yourself. It isn’t just a place to find an audience, it’s a place to network with other authors, publishers, agents and bloggers. And if you want to be traditionally published, both agents and publishers look to see what kind of presence you have online.

This may not seem like a lot, but I promise it’s a great starting point. And if you’d like to learn more, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter which includes writing tips, book recommendations, upcoming events and more.

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Help an Author Out

Guest blog by Shay Stone

ShayStoneHelp an Author Out: 11 Things You Can Do to Help an Author

It’s finally here! For months you’ve listened to your author friend talk about her book. You’ve seen posts about late nights spent writing, teasers about the plot, and snippets of her work. She’s talked about one man so much, you though it was her new boyfriend, only to find out it was a character in her book.

She’s gone home early because inspiration hit, broken plans because “she has to get this chapter done,” and arrived late to events because she was up all-night writing and overslept. You’ve noticed her house could use a good cleaning and the copious amount of coffee she drinks coupled with her failure to change out of bed clothes is starting to concern you. And seriously, what is going on with her hair? Did someone steal all the brushes in the house? Honestly, you’re surprised she has any hair left with how much she talks about tearing it out. I mean really? How hard can formatting be? At this point, you’re questioning her sanity and starting to think the book is a myth.

And then she announces its release.beawriter

Hurrah! You’re so happy for her, and even happier that she finally ran a comb through that hair. You hope her book sells a million copies. You wish you could do something to let her know how proud you are of her and help her book succeed. But what can you do?

Well, if you really want to help, there’s a few things you can do.

  • Buy the book (obviously). Despite what many people think, authors do not get free copies of books. Don’t feel slighted when they don’t go around handing them out free. They are trying to make a living or very least, break even.
  • Write a review. There is a plethora of authors and millions of books for readers to choose from out there. A testimonial that someone not only read the book but gives it a ton of stars and recommends it, can go a long way towards getting another person to purchase it. Think about it. review-an-authorIf you’re trying to decide between two products at the exact same price, are you going to go for the one with no reviews or several? Reviews sell books.
  • Share their posts. Research shows most people have to see something 3-10 times before they buy it. Maybe it slips their mind. Maybe they get busy and forget about it. Maybe they are waiting for pay day. Whatever the reason, repetition works.
  • Tag your friends in the author’s posts. When someone is tagged in a post, they tend to pay more attention to it. If you have friends that read or know someone that reads the author’s genre tagging them could lead to potential sales. And tagging them in the author’s post could encourage them to follow the author as well resulting in future sales. If you don’t want to tag the author’s post, make a post of your own and tag people.
  • Recommend the book to any reader groups you know. Whether you meet in person or belong to one on social media or have a friend that belongs to one, having someone the group knows and interacts with regularly goes further than having a new author pop in and recommend it themselves.
  • Buy their books as gifts. If you know someone that likes to read the author’s genre, buy the books as birthday or Christmas gifts.
  • Offer to be part of their street team. Street teams are volunteers that promote the author and the author’s work simply because they love the author’s books and believe in them. They are essential to an author’s success. hand-holding-book-gift-woman-s-31446233They may hand out bookmarks or other swag provided by the author, leave comments about the books on blog sites, write honest reviews on large platforms like Amazon and Goodreads, and tweeting or post on social media about the author’s books and events.
  • Share! Share! Share! Whatever the author shares about the book, share it. Teasers, guest blog posts they’ve done, book links. I can’t tell you how many times I have written “PLEASE SHARE” in big letters on a post, yet I still have people sending me a private message saying, “I saw your post. Would you mind if I shared it?” You don’t have to ask permission. We want these things shared. Please, for the love of everything holy, share them!
  • Recommend their book. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, or if you are standing in a line and you hear the person behind you is looking for a good book, recommend it.Share
  • Ask your library or local book store to carry it. I know the library may seem a little strange since the author only gets paid once for that book but think about it like this: A patron reads the author’s book and likes it. They go out and buy it for a friend or two and maybe even buy the author’s next book for themselves. Some people won’t spend money on a chance. If they get to see the author’s work, they may become a fan in the future.

Thank-You-PNG-800x500_cKNOW HOW MUCH WE APPRECIATE YOU!!!!! No one person can do it all. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army to get an author noticed and make them successful. Every time you share a post or recommend us, you are telling us, “I believe in you.” We couldn’t do this with out you and we know it.

If you’d like to learn more and follow Shay Stone, you can find her on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her website.

Outtakes – They truly exist

B-outtakes

Every book, play, movie, and song has an outtake. Something that just didn’t make it in. Either because it slowed the work in question down or it simply did nothing for the piece. Either way, they all have them. And in some cases the outtake is funny, which makes it more of a blooper than an outtake.

As I’m working on the third book, Avenged, in my Dark Road series, I thought I’d take a timeout and share an outtake with you from Book One, Addicted. ebook (1)It isn’t funny, but I do happen to think it was insightful. If you’re one of the many fans of Gervasio, you’ll see why. And yes, he’s the bad guy, but I promise, I won’t judge.

And away we go!

“Where the hell was she? His angel had been prompt with everything else in her life. What could’ve prevented her from leaving the school? He couldn’t walk inside. He’d been too recognizable. One of his facial features made him hard to forget, unless he’d drugged them ahead of time. He ran a finger over the scar down the right side of his face. Patiently he’d waited since the Fourth of July party. All of the other girls he’d ever taken, he hadn’t spent so long away from them. Usually he had them again within a matter of days, maybe a week. But his angel, she was special. She was unique.

Bella traipsed out of the school, backpack over her shoulders. Beautiful as ever. Long sleek midnight black hair braided all the way down to her ass. He recalled how soft and luxurious it felt against his skin. And the smooth silkiness of her freshly shaven legs. He’d held them apart as he nailed her. Too bad she hadn’t been awake for any of it. A depraved smile tugged on the corners of his lips as memories flooded his brain. This time would be different.

4Who the fuck was the guy she’d stopped to talk to? Gervasio snarled and gripped the steering wheel. It was the only way he’d stay put and not jump at the opportunity to rip the guy’s throat out. Instead, he inhaled deeply and eyed the motherfucker. Details. He had to be to able to articulate them so his crew could find out who the shit-bag was.

Roughly six foot, maybe two or three inches over. Give or take. Short brown hair. Dressed in slacks and a polo. Fucking nerd. Probably wore loafers. Not that he could tell from this distance. Certainly not Latino. No tan at all. Great, some white piece of shit. Had to be in his late teens. Maybe in college. And based on how the close the guy stood to his angel, he wanted Bella for himself. Too bad it wouldn’t work out well for the fucker.

Gervasio dug his cell phone out of his back pocket and pulled up the camera. Both the guy and his angel headed in his direction. Taking a moment, he used the phone for something other than a call. Snapping a photograph of the dickhead alone, he texted it to his second in command and then punched in a number.StalkerNote4_SAdkins

Two rings. “Yes sir?”

“I send you picture. Do search. Want to know who he is. I take care of rest.”

“Yes sir.”

He closed the phone and tucked it in his back pocket. Time for his plan to bet put into action. Without a second thought, he ignited the engine of his black sedan, a Chrysler 300C to be exact, and took off.”

Has his creep factor changed at all?

Thoughts? Feelings? Opinions? Feel free to share. I’m open to it all.

The Chaotic World of a Writer

become-a-writer-they-said

The first time I saw this meme, I laughed. At least until I realized this was my life. I’ve shared pictures before of my writing area. It hasn’t changed much. It’s still a huge mess, but I can find everything. Most of the time.

I kind of miss the old mess. Even if it gave my mother room to mock me.

But, things had to change. Finding a new place to write and write comfortably got me to thinking over the last few years. My room has become my sanctuary. And yes, it’s still a mess. But it’s my mess. Maybe it does make my world seem a little chaotic, but who’s life isn’t from time to time. Really it was all this chaos lately that got me to thinking; am I still a writer? Or has that feeling disappeared?

Questioning how I felt about the novelty of myself as a writer made me go back. And I mean really far back. Over the last twenty years, I’ve had various ideas as to what constitutes a writer. Sadly, none of them have amounted to my reality. Of course that could have something to do with having only spent the last five years truly focused on my career. Or that I’m actually doing it, which means I now have experience I didn’t back then.

nancy drew

When I was 16, I thought maybe I could be the next Carolyn Keene. I love a good mystery, but I was horrible at solving them. I could create some, but I usually gave the ending away too quickly. So it would never come as a surprise. Plus I kind of fell in love with the idea of taking on the hard issues of life. I’ve faced a few myself and wanted to be able to share that experience with other people.

A way to let them know they weren’t alone.

 

An A, my first, on a creative writing assignment my junior year of high school confirmed this was my calling. However, I wouldn’t publish my first book until almost 17 years later. In 2013 I produced “Dark Road Punished.” Based on some guidance from a fellow author, Colleen Hoover, I’d decided to go the route of self-publication.

Now, I’d dipped my toes into the wonderful land of rejection before I’d even considered self-publishing. Mostly because my teenage belief came rearing it’s ugly head. As a teenager I’d believed that the real writers got published by a known company. And self-publishing, well, that was reserved for hacks. Obviously this isn’t true. In fact, a lot of well known authors either go with small publishing companies or self-publish. One of my favorites, Colleen Hoover, falls into the latter category.

I thought, hey, it can’t hurt. Especially since the company Colleen had suggested was free. Every person’s favorite word. This doesn’t mean I spent nothing. I could’ve tried for completely no cost, but I wasn’t just investing in my novel, I was investing in myself. I was too smart to go entirely free. Just not smart enough.

Let me explain. I had a good editor, but if I’d been smarter, I would’ve taken it a couple steps further. There are two types of editors: copy and content. I got lucky and found someone who did a little bit of both. But I was impatient and I wanted to rush the process. I should’ve really read what I’d written. If I’d done that from the point of view of a reader, I may not have been so quick to publish. Not to mention I invested absolutely nothing in the cover. Needless to say, my first book didn’t go very far. I sold a few copies, but gave more away than I sold. I did get some reviews, both positive and negative. But it didn’t fly off the shelf like I thought it would.

Taking it all in, I wised up. I took my book off the market and started working on the prequel. Yes, I wrote backwards. Movies are known to do this more than authors, but it happens. So I began what I initially intended to be “Dark Road Awakened,” later titled “Destroyed.” I hadn’t written much when I found my current publisher, CFA Publishing & Media. Here’s where things get, interesting. I submitted the three chapters I had of DRA without the expectation of a quick response. After all, even the rejection letters I had gotten had taken weeks to come (including the one I received by e-mail). I’m not positive on the timeframe, but I believe only three days had passed when I got the response. And it wasn’t what I’d expected.

She’d loved it. At the time, I really thought she was crazy. I hadn’t finished writing the novel. I was inexperienced. I had no real following. As a writer, I was going to take a lot of work. But I was so excited! A publisher liked my writing. Maybe I wasn’t completely on board with what I’d written, but she was a publisher. (This should’ve been my first sign.)She knew about these things. Right? So I climbed on the train and off we went.

Now, one would think by this point, I’d have this writing thing down pat, right? Wrong! I made several bad decisions. One, I quit my job. (I now had no income, but my book was going to make me money, right?) Two, I committed to two release dates, only a couple months apart from each other. (I’ll rest when I’m dead.) Three, I came up with some concepts for the covers. (Which I’ve recently changed because they weren’t comprehensive.) Four, advertisement should be easy. (My part was just to write, right? Again, wrong.)

The moment of wisdom I’d had a few months before had exploded. This isn’t to say I lost my mind, but looking back I really do wonder if I was absolutely insane. Unfortunately, or maybe I should say fortunately, I wasn’t. I had simply gotten stars in my eyes. Here’s the thing. We can’t all be Stephanie Meyer or E.L. James. Overnight sensations are going to happen, just not to everyone. Instead, it’s probably better to be more like Stephen King who almost quit writing Carrie; or J.K. Rowling who sold her first Harry Potter novel for around $2000 (yes, U.S. currency); or Colleen Hoover who took her time in building her audience.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00006]I’m not planning to forget anything I’ve learned over the last year. But I’m keeping some other things in mind as I finish my third novel, Addicted.

I write about rather difficult topics: rape, suicide, drug abuse, recovery, loss of faith, death, stealing, teenage pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, and more. People won’t immediately jump on the bandwagon to support these books.

While I’ll be taking a plunge into Romance and Fantasy this year, I’ll take my time with every book I write.

The old adage, “The early bird gets the worm,” it only works for the bird, not for a writer. The process cannot be rushed with any hope of success.

Every story will go through thorough editing several times over and it won’t be released until it’s absolutely undeniably ready. If I don’t love it as a reader, how can I expect my readers to love it? (I love my final version of “Punished,” wouldn’t change a thing, except the grammatical errors. Pet peeve.)

If I don’t want to waste my investment, I’ll do as much right as I can the first time around. And I’ll remember I’m worth more than free. (No need to take it off the shelf, redo it, put it back out in the market just to do it all over again. Like I did with “Destroyed.”)

Lastly, I’ll go back to that moment when I felt like writing was my calling. Because I loved creating something that will stand the test of time. And THAT is what makes me a writer. Chaos and all.

Giveaway Preview for Blog Tour

In less than two weeks there is a blog tour scheduled for Destroyed.

DestroyedTourBanner

From now until the end of the tour Destroyed will be discounted by 15%. Get your copy now.

Throughout the tour I will be doing several giveaways. Check out the tour link for the stops and see how you can enter to win.

Below is some of what you can win.

One of three Grande Prizes. Each Grande Prize includes a copy of Destroyed & Punished, a t-shirt for Destroyed (design preview shown), plus more.

GP1 Tread Carefully on the Sea by David K. Bryant, signed copies of The Voices in My Head & The Voices in My Head II by Jerry Don Nicholes Sr. and an After bookmark.

GP2 After by Andree Robinson Neal, Exodus Left by Kathleen Gafney, & a signed copy of Patches by Elizabeth Grace.

GP3 Signed copy of Alter Ego by Tory Allyn, signed copy of Hands on Health by Paula M. Youmell, gift certificate for Early Morning Coffee & Donuts by Paula M. Youmell, Chemo on the Rocks by Becky Durkin, and an After bookmark.

11171703_10101711278626054_1736151705_o Preview of the Destroyed t-shirt design. (Share your favorite phrase or quote from the book and also be entered to win a free t-shirt.

Covers for “Destroyed” and “Punished” Revealed

I love opening up an unexpected e-mail with good news! It’s like getting a present just because. Yesterday, my publisher told me the cover for Punished would be available next week. Then today, I got an e-mail with the cover. I was so excited by how perfect it was that I decided I couldn’t contain my joy. I had to share this news! Alas, here they are – the covers for Destroyed coming out October 17th, less than 7 weeks away, and Punished coming out December 5th.

DestroyedCover                            Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]