Discovering a Story Everywhere

Archive for March, 2016

Too Many Writing Groups Aren’t Worth My Time

mice-800875__180It’s smart to join writing groups, virtual and real life. The problem is that I’ve found many aren’t worth my time. What’s up with all that? I have more important things to focus on.

Why aren’t they worth my time? Most do not fulfill the function they were designed for. A group that was formed to help share marketing tips isn’t doing its job when all people are doing are post and run spamming. Why participate when there are no marketing tips shared?

One group I joined was supposed to be a book club. They never talked about a single book except their own they were trying to sell. I was looking for an actual book club. That was so disappointing.

Also, with most any group there needs to be some interactions. I like to test the waters with different groups. I post a question and watch for people to answer. If no one answers for several days, I leave the group. When there are thousands of members and hundreds of posts a day, there should have been a response.

Sadly, I have left more groups than I participate in. I find very few that have any substance. That means I’m not getting what I need from others. Are you finding the same thing? Oh, I’ve tried to start my own group to fill that need, but few people interact even there. Unless it involves something completely over the top controversial, people remain silent.

 

The Need for Cheering Fans in Every Author’s Life

cheering-1031743__180Authors need a cheering section. Anyone striving for a goal needs one to keep surging forward. Know an author? Then get into their cheering section.

Let me tell you how my fans have helped me. I’m in the middle of writing a very large and intricate story. I shared a chapter at a time with a couple of my fans. Their comments helped to push me on to the next chapter. I wanted to give them more because they were enjoying it. I’ll finish the story and do my best because of them.

When an author feels alone in their writing, they become stagnant. They might take ten times longer to get something written than if they had a cheering section. That hurts. We don’t want that. We want them to be productive and happy.

So, become a cheering fan!

How? It’s really easy. Ask them on a regular basis how the writing is coming. Don’t ask them this every single day unless you are really close to them and can follow their moods. Why? Because if they are stressed, pressuring them about the writing might make it only worse and actually stop the writing flow. Not the intent of being a fan!

Get to know the characters. Ask how Joe Doe is coming along with his adventure or Jane’s romantic exploits. While the author might not give out extreme details as they are writing, they might share a few things and also get inspired.

Authors need to feel that people want to know what they are writing about. They want to know that there is excitement for their work. It is what drives them to keep writing. Even through the interactions of their fans, ideas for the story will emerge. They get inspired and write even more.

Ask them the status. Tell them how excited you are. Talk to others about it. Get the hype going. It benefits everyone in the long run.

 

The Art of Crafting Stories to Reach Unique Target Audiences

H P Lovecraft

H P Lovecraft

Stories are masterfully crafted pieces of art authors pull from the depths of their imaginations. While they are not required to publish them for anyone else’s eyes to see, publishing them does push their work out for specific people to read. Those who read the verbal art are categorized by age, educational levels, and interests. The target audience guides the writer, even on an unconscious level, to craft their piece to please a select group of readers as seen in two short stories, “The Wrong Grave” and “The Call of Cthulhu”.

In reading these two pieces, it becomes apparent that each one is directed at different audiences. Many audiences are directed based on genres. Romance stories are written in a manner that romance readers expect with love in the air through the pages. Historical fiction words are “imaginative stories with fictional characters and events in a historical setting” as defined in the Genre Characteristics chart. But target audiences can extend beyond mere genre and target the age level and educational levels of the audience. This is easily seen in these two short stories.

Gavin Grant’s “The Wrong Grave” is about a foolish teenage boy who passionately leaves his poems about his girlfriend in her casket but tries to dig her up later to retrieve them. He appears to have dug up the wrong grave and has a very unusual conversation with the dead girl. Determining the genre comes down to slightly horror but focused more on young adult issues. The target audience is not senior citizens or middle age parents or even women longing for love. Teenagers are the target audience and easily identified by the age of most characters, the topics discussed, and the language used in the text as in the following example from the short story.

Sometimes Bethany’s mother said strange things. She was a lapsed Buddhist and a substitute math teacher. Once she’d caught Miles cheating on an algebra quiz. Relations between Miles and Mrs. Baldwin had not improved during the time that Bethany and Miles were dating, and Miles couldn’t decide whether or not to believe her about Bethany not liking his poetry. Substitute teachers had strange senses of humor when they had them at all.

A teenager can relate immediately and feel comfortable with the writing.

H.P. Lovecraft targets a much more older and educated audience. His story is longer with characters of an older generation. He describes scenes and activities that would bore a younger person and uses words that would make most teenager’s heads spin: “falling suddenly, as witnesses said, after having been jostled by a nautical-looking negro who had come from one of the queer dark courts on the precipitous hillside which formed a short cut from the waterfront to the deceased’s home in Williams Street.” His words are crafted to draw from more experience and a larger vocabulary. Instead of saying that the object in the story was meant to be a picture, he forms: “above these apparent hieroglyphics was a figure of evidently pictorial intent, though its impressionistic execution forbade a very clear idea of its nature.”

Both authors realize who their target audiences are and construct words and phrases as well as scenes and characters they can relate to. Grant talks about teachers and how they act which grabs at a younger audience. Lovecraft uses larger words and scenes that would be construed as boring to a younger reader. Grant keeps descriptions short and sweet to get to the action while Lovecraft extends paragraphs to gather all the details.

Grant and Lovecraft know who will be reading their work and use the right languages to keep them reading to the end. They construct each sentence with the reader in mind. Their similarities are the foundation for their differences.

Works Cited

“Gene Characteristics”. Eastern Illinois University. Web. 11 February, 2016.

Grant, Gavin. “The Wrong Grave”. Kelly Link.com. Web. 11 February, 2016.

Lovecraft, H.P. “The Call of Cthulhu”. H.P. Lovecraft.com. 20 August 2009. Web. 12 February, 2016.

Learning my Target Audience

tiro-160574__180This is very hard for me to be precise with. My stories cross genres and audiences. I am driven my the story. It is not uncommon for me to have a story that is directed to young adults in the works while I am working on a mystery novel for adults. So I have to step back and reassess my writing.

I look at the genres I write: suspense, romance, mystery, historical, and a little bit of everything else. A common thread in all of them is a sense of mystery and suspense. Every story I write reveals a little bit of these. So it logically shows me that I tend to write more toward the suspense/mystery audiences. I will focus on them for this piece.

According to the Genre Characteristics chart, mysteries are “Imaginative stories dealing with the solution of a secret, problem, or crime, and involving suspense or intrigue” that involve “suspense…cliffhangers… foreshadowing…detective stories and spy novels”.

My target audience wants to sit on the edge of their seats. They don’t want the story to flow slowly and at a pace to easily put them to sleep. They want to have to turn the next page to find out what is going to happen next. They expect loose ends from chapter to chapter. They want questions to create bring about more questions. The target audience wants hints dropped that could lead them down a multitude of paths. The stories have to follow a certain pattern, but the pattern also opens a small window of flexibility to keep their imagination targeted.

It is a good thing that I love to write cliffhangers. In fact, I like to end books in a series with a cliffhanger. The result has been bad reviews from people who cannot stand to end a book without everything tied up in a nice little bow. That is okay because others love it. They are the target audience.

Too often, I have reached out to the wrong audience. I have focused more on avid readers who read a variety of genres instead of the ones who read that specific genre. I need to redirect my focus to those who like what I like to write.

 

Works Cited:

 

“Gene Characteristics”. Eastern Illinois University. Web. 12 February, 2016.

 

When Your Family Isn’t Behind Your Writing

monkeys-1187571__180Being a writer is not a bed of roses. You don’t have all day to write. You don’t have immediate success. You don’t have everyone you know supporting you. That includes the family that loves that you. Sadly, too many authors find that the ones who support them the least are their family members. They either might ignore your writing or they try to tear you apart. Yes, too often your family is your most toxic stumbling block.

One author has her family asking her when she’s going to find a more productive hobby other than her writing. She has several books published and brings in a couple of hundred dollars a month on book sales. Her own, grown children refuse to talk to her about her writing. They think it is a fad that will die out though it has been going on for several years. Her best supporters can be found online and most have never even been met.

Another writer has her closest family members telling her she is foolish to continue writing. While she has a full time job that is not writing, she is making headway in a successful writing career. But her family is not with her as she hasn’t won the New York Bestseller slot yet.

My family is a mix. Some family members read my writing, but they refuse to tell others about it. Some read it and want more but never say anything more until a new book comes out. And then there are those who turn their nose up at my work. They’ve quickly let me know that my writing doesn’t interest them. Funny how one of them think she has supported me more than anyone. Not! My own children have never read my work and my husband has only read one chapter. Now, they do support me in giving me time to write and letting me bounce ideas off them. But it is the ones who want nothing to do with my writing that hurts the most. Oh, well.

So, what do you do if you find yourself in any of these situations? You find a support team outside of your family and move on.

Most of best supporters can be found online and halfway around the world. They are people in the same position as me who cheer me on. I cheer them on. Our support really helps each other and produces more work. They have become my family. Remember that family doesn’t have to be blood related. They are those who come around you during the good times and the bad times and are always there for you.

Who is your family who supports you?

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