How can I get readers to relate to a non-human character in a story?

 

I suspect it’s the ONLY way to describe a character because, as humans, we don’t know how to describe anything other than ourselves and, fortunately for writers, that includes a huge range of characters from the most lofty, nicest characters imaginable to the worst scum of the universe.

I’m trying to write a plot line for a book but I keep on overthinking it and eventually hating them. How do I see it through to the end?

2. Describe a second main character in the same way.

3. Describe any other MAJOR characters the same way. Don’t worry about secondary characters, keep a note pad handy to scribble a description as they appear in your story. (This will save time and effort if you never need that character.)

4. Write down the problem that the whole story revolves around. Again, no more than a few sentences, one is usually sufficient.

5. Write down when your main character(s) begin to engage with that problem. No backstory, no long, boring description of scenery, just jump right in with the action that pertains to the main problem of the story.

6. Write down the solution to the problem. This might take several sentences but usually only one or two.

8. Jot down a paragraph describing the scene that will get the story started. That’s number 5. This is the beginning of your story.

9. In a sentence each, describe as many scenes as are needed to get from number 5 to number 8. Number 8 is the ending.

One caveat: long stories need lots of scenes, short ones only a few. If you are writing a novel, look up ‘story-boarding’ and use that template to make sure your reader doesn’t get bored in the middle.

A second caveat: don’t overthink it. A scene can be described in one sentence and not need to be fleshed out until you are ready to write that scene. This way, you don’t get frustrated by trying to get every detail figured out in advance. And you’ll find that many times your story will change as you write it so not having gone into a lot of detail will mean you didn’t do a lot of extra work.

WHY WE WRITE

Did you know?

Written language was invented independently by the Egyptians, Sumerians, Chinese, and Mayans.

Written language was invented independently by the Egyptians, Sumerians, Chinese, and Mayans.

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Which just goes to show that people from many cultures in widely differing parts of the world have felt compelled to write for a very long time.

Including me, though I never realized that writing was a compulsion until I reached a place in my life when it wasn’t required to bring in a check, but rather was something I did ‘just because.’

Because I knew how to put a story together and how to create viable characters and how to weave words together to say something intelligible.

And so I still do it, even though I’ve reached the age of retirement. (Or passed it years ago.)

But that’s me and I’m not everyone and there are as many reasons why writers write as there are writers sitting at their laptops – or scribbling in their journals – or dictating into their speech recognition software gadgets.

So now you know my reason for writing.

What’s yours?

 

 

Can we change the order of writing the sections?

Writers can and do write in any order they feel like writing.

Most writers who choose to skip around and write sections out of sequence make sure that they first outline the complete work so they won’t be writing scenes that later must be eliminated or changed because they don’t fit.

They are more likely to be changed (instead of eliminated) because of changes in the story that the author didn’t anticipate when making the outline.

I once story-doctored a wonderful science fiction book that had sections that were moved all over the place even after the entire book was written and it worked for that book because they could be moved without affecting the story itself.

So go for it. Just make sure you don’t spin your wheels unnecessarily.

WRITERS MUST BE CRAZY

I definitely believe this, especially now. The thing is, I’m a writer.

But:

I absolutely cannot learn the technology behind internet marketing. I recently spent two days — two whole days — figuring out how to get a newsletter out using Mailchimp. Now, according to other writers, Mailchimp is easy to use. Takes a few minutes to get anything out, which is partly why they use it. (The other part is because there’s a free option.)

So how’s that for crazy? Spending two days doing what should only take fifteen minutes? Yet I did it because I was told that all writers need a newsletter.

Like I said, writers must be crazy.

Self Promotion

Self-promotion is on my mind a lot these days because the very first professional promotion of any kind starts April 8th for Spirit Legend, my third book, my fourth e-published anything. I never had to self-promote before because I sold my works to publishers and they took care of the rest.

My first foray into promotion uses the simplest promotional package I could find. I figured I’d start easy and gradually work my way up to complicated.  My experience with this simple package makes me realize what’s behind something I’ve noticed that puzzled me greatly.  Why many not-so-great books get wonderful reviews and sell well while other, possibly better books, don’t get reviewed and don’t sell at all.

The reason is simple.  There’s nothing easy about promoting books.  Nothing!

This first foray of mine into publicity doesn’t require me to do anything except spread the word about a Book Blast that starts April 8th and continues for a week.  I’m to name the book blogs that will feature Spirit Legend but that’s not hard, I have a list.  Then all I have to do is check the blogs on the days they are featuring my book and comment and reply to comments if there are any questions.  Which, by the way, the promoter said may not happen because it often doesn’t.

Sounds easy, right?  Wrong!  I’ve already learned that spreading the word isn’t simple.  I do know many places where I can post information of this kind, but each place has rules.  Different rules for different places and I’d better not break any of them!

So that’s where I am now.  Slogging through the muddy waters of mentioning my Book Blast.  That’s all I’m doing and I’m already lost.  I’m sure that when the Book Blast begins, I’ll find myself equally lost as I pick my way through the maze of book blog etiquette. And It’s possible that none of it will be worth the effort and expense.  Sales may not increase.  Name recognition may not be helped.

But no matter the result, I’ve learned something.  Authors who figure out how to work the system sell books while those who don’t know how to do it right sink like stones.  Now I know why a book I read by an author who can’t even write a sentence in decent English is not only selling very, very well, I know why her novel is being chosen as ‘best of’ in several categories. And it’s happening even though many reviews of her novel commented on the fact that her English is very bad.  Some reviewers were shocked and turned off by her poor grammar.

Yes, the story line of her novel is good. Excellent.  Still, with so many other books out there that also have excellent story lines and, in addition, are easy to read, I suspect that the reason she’s selling so well while others aren’t is that she knows how to self-promote.  She knows how to work the system.

I wish her luck.  I just wish every writer out there could learn those same deceptively simple skills.

Anyone out there know the secret?  If so, please let all writers know. Most of all, let me know in time to get things going for my Book Blast!