Is it true that there’s little to no money in writing fiction?

Sadly, that’s true. I read somewhere that the average fiction author earns $5,000 a year from his/her writing.

However, the e-market is changing everything, including the potential for making as much money as you are willing to work for.

And I do mean work. Two kinds of work are involved and each is equally important if you wish to make more than $5,000 a year.

The first kind of work is the actual writing. Write what people want to read that you can write well enough that they will want to part with some of their hard-earned money to read it.

The second kind of work is marketing because the today’s market is so over-full of fiction, both e-published and bricks and mortar, that getting your wonderful work noticed by enough people to actually make money by selling it is very difficult indeed.

The bad news is that both are hard work.

The good news is that both are possible.

Every child should have wonderful memories of long ago days

One of the most important things about childhood is that you should always know someone who lets you play in their jewelry box. My favorite aunt let my sisters and try on all her jewelry, which we often took advantage of on a slow Sunday afternoon.

She had a mesmerizing pink pearl ring, lots of very long necklaces, and even a ring with a special, tiny storage compartment you could pop open. (We used that one to pretend to be a very elegant spy who put sleeping powder into villains’ drinks!)

And then there was her butterfly ring. It was a very delicate, thin metal band topped with one tiny butterfly done in metal and red stone.

I loved it. My aunt must have known, because many years later she gave me her butterfly ring for my birthday, and wearing it brings me back to my days as a little girl playing pretend.

So what memories of childhood do you cherish?

(thanks MissouriQuiltCo.com)

How does one express oneself in writing a science fiction novel with an original idea so that it can impact people and never leave their minds? Take the writing style of, The Martian, for example.

You write without considering that you’re writing for people to read what you write. That way you’re more concerned with what you write than you are with how you write and your writing will flow more naturally.

You also write without considering that you’re really writing, not for your reader, but rather for the editor or publisher (bricks and mortar or online) that will look over what you wrote and decide whether it’s worth publishing or not.

In other words, you forget all the rules of writing you learned over your long and arduous writing education and write what you want. How you want. Any way you want.

Then, when you’re finished —- (of course there’s a ‘then’) —- you go back over what you wrote and figure out what changes can be made so the result will be what people want to read and what those oh-so-important gate-keepers to the writing world will publish.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a way to make such changes and then you’ll have the best of both worlds, that of the professional who writes to give other people what they want while also writing for yourself.

If you can achieve those goals, you’ll have reached a plateau of meaning and elegance that few writers ever reach.

Good luck!

What is the best point of view to use when writing a multi-character novel?

  1. First, what’s the genre of the novel? Some novels are so often done in one view-point or another that stories written in any other viewpoint will be ignored. Not read.
  2. IF you have a choice because such novels can use any of a number of viewpoints, then you continue the process to figure out which will work best for you.
  3. Of course, the first step in the process is figuring out if there’s a particular viewpoint that you do best. If there is, then go with that viewpoint because, no matter what other viewpoint might seem best, any story is best told the way that works best for the writer.
  4. If you’re okay with any viewpoint, then look at your story. Check out the characters to see if one of them stands out from the others. Maybe because he/she is important, but perhaps because he/she is in the story in such a way as to be privy to most/all of the plot as it unfolds. If so, go with that character.
  5. Remember that the viewpoint character will slant the story one way or another. In other words, the story you end up with will be influenced by the viewpoint character. So a second thing to consider is what kind of story you want to write. Choose the viewpoint character that best reflects the theme of the story as well as being able to channel all the action because he/she is privy to most of the plot.

This works because I’ve never seen a story yet where all characters are equal in all ways or where the viewpoint character does not, in his/her actions and reflections, mirror the theme of the book.

When starting a novel, is it good to create an outline of ideas or just to write the ideas into the story and hash it out later?

Are you the type who jumps into everything you do feet first? Or the type who researches everything before making a move?

Which type you are tells you which way you should approach the craft of writing a story.

Personally, I started out by jumping in feet first but, over time, decided that I put less time and effort into a story if I research and outline first. So I made myself slow down and learn how to do just that.

I’ve never regretted changing methods, but what worked for me might not work for others. So do what feels right for you.

I’m writing a novel and I’m finding it hard to make my chapters long enough, I’m currently on a 2 page long fight scene to start my book and I want to to at least break 4 pages, any ideas?

Common problem. Trust me on that.

Take a walk. Get away from your computer and stop staring at that dratted screen.

While walking and enjoying the weather and the trees and the beautiful birds overhead, think about your story. Dig deeper. Get inside the head of each and every protagonist in that fight scene.

What are they thinking? Why are they fighting? Do they really care? Let your mind wander and come up with whatever rises to the surface of your thoughts and don’t question your thoughts, just go with them.

Then, when you return to that dratted computer, remember your thoughts and you’ll probably discover that you have a lot more to say because you know your characters in that specific scene much better than you did before.

Maybe you’ll now describe more action because you’ll know what kind of action your protagonists might engage in. Maybe you’ll slip in some mini-flashbacks here and there to tell your reader why and how they are doing what they are doing.

Or something else that I can’t even imagine but that you can.

Why is there a need of inserting sensory details in a creative literary work? How does it affect the interest or readers in a piece of work?

Because most readers have had similar experiences and the evocation of the senses brings back those experiences and makes the story more real, sharper, and more personal.

And that’s the goal of every writer. To bring the reader into the story.

In writing fiction, are flashbacks a good or bad way of revealing a main character’s tragic past?

Flashbacks work and are often essential for the reader to understand what’s going on and the actions of the character in question.

I learned what I consider to be a better way when writing short stories. Because short stories are short. Every word is important. Can’t waste words on long, involved flashbacks.

But a writer can do what I call mini-flashbacks. A sentence or two inserted in the middle of an action to give a reason for that character’s actions.

Such as a quick comment by a super-macho hero who’s burping a baby found in the middle of a battlefield while he sings a lullaby as bullets whiz all around that he was the oldest of six kids and knows all about babies and that they need security and burping. Does the job, doesn’t use up too many words, lets the writer get on with the story while keeping the character in character.

As someone born in 1996 how do I write a story set in the late 1970s?

The 1970s is a recent enough period that many people from that time are still around and in sound mental health. And most of them would love to sit around and talk your ear off about their lives.

Which is wonderful because you’ll get a real feel for that time.

And is terrible because you’ll only get a feel for their tiny part of that era.

So do your research and talk to people from that era and then take a mental step back and put it all in perspective.

Then look at the story you’re telling and use whatever helps. And ONLY what helps because it’s so easy — and literary death — to include too much detail. The background is only important to the extent that it helps tell the story.

Is it possible to write a novel or short story that doesn’t perpetuate stereotypes?

 It’s not a matter of stereotypes.

It’s a matter of whether the characters are described well or not so well. Good writing will turn them into archetypes and become the best and most representative of the group they belong to, whatever that group may be. Poor writing will make them stereotypes worthy of laughter and readers who put the book down without finishing it.

The thing is, if your characters are representatives of a group, they can be recognized easily and quickly by the reader and that’s a great help to the writer. Less work, less stress, fewer words for the reader to wade through to get to the story.

Use that quick recognition. It’s valuable.

Just make sure that you do your job as a writer well so your character is an archetype instead of a stereotype.