Discovering a Story Everywhere

Archive for November, 2016

5 Warnings Your Author Interviews Suck

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Author interviews rise and fall in popularity. They are mostly popular when the author is well-known. New authors get little attention through an interview.

How do you know if the interviews are getting attention? Mostly traffic and comments. What if you only get one of these or neither? It probably means that your author interviews suck. Here are five signs that you might need to change how you do author interviews.

  1. No one reads them

If you can’t get anyone to read your interviews, it might mean they suck. Yes, a few might stop on your page, but if they don’t stick around to read the whole thing, then you might need to revamp your interviews.

I found that I could get a handful of readers to my interviews, but they barely stayed two seconds. That meant my interviews weren’t worth their time. What was wrong with them? They were too much like everyone else’s.

  1. They all read the same

When you read all the interviews of one author, you might discover that they all are pretty much the same. Why would I want to read the same interview you are giving that another person did on the same author? Your interviews have to be unique. They have to stand out among all the other interviews.

Create interview questions that are not typical while keeping in mind that there might be people reading it who have never read any other interviews.

  1. You always ask the same questions

If you are asking every author the same questions, your interviews suck. Too many interviewers give the same set of questions to every single author they interview:

  • Where did you get the idea for your story?

  • How did you become a writer?

  • What are you working on now?

While these might be interesting questions,  maybe I’ve read the author’s answers in other places. I don’t want the same questions and the same answers. I need you to pull me in with something new and exciting. You might ask similar questions, but make sure you have more new ones than repeat ones.

  1. Authors avoid you

If you are having trouble getting authors to interview with you, it might be because your interviews suck. They don’t want to be connected to bad interviews. Reputation means a lot in any industry.

Authors only want to hook onto a rising and very bright star. If you are one that people don’t like or find boring, they will avoid you.

  1. Authors answer in as few words as possible

Your author interview questions need to be thought provoking for the author as well as for the reader. Too often, interviewers ask questions that can easily be answered in one or two words. You want to make the author give more than that. Ask interesting questions.

Author Networking Tip: Don’t be Needy

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Needy people are a turn-off. Few people like needy people hanging all over them. These are people who have to have attention on themselves at all time and can’t do anything without having their hand held. They need to have someone there for them. You don’t want to be needy.

Needy is a Turnoff

Very few people are drawn to the needy ones. In fact, they usually run from those people. Everyone has enough trouble in their life without having to add someone else’s. If you are constantly going to come to me about your relationship problems and talk of nothing else, I’m going to be less likely to want to be around you at all. If we are talking about writing or marketing and you go off about John not calling you again, I won’t want to talk to you about anything.

Most needy people have certain topics that they cling to and need everyone’s help on the subjects. They don’t ask once. They won’t let up which has people getting frustrated. You don’t want to be a needy person.

Show Strength

You need to show strength as you network. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about an issue you are having or ask for advice or help. It means that you can’t be always looking for it. You need to let others see that you can stand on your own feet. Those are the people they want to network with.

A strong person draws people in. They don’t have to be perfect, but they can’t be needy. We all feel we are needy enough already. Show you are strong and they’ll be graceful with your meltdowns.

Create Good Dialogue – Read

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Creating good dialogue is important in fiction work. Many times it is what carries the story or it is how clues and history are revealed. Dialogue has to be good when used by authors. So, how do you create good dialogue? Read a lot!

What You Find When You Read

Reading is learning. No matter what you are reading, your brain is soaking in all types of different information. It could be news, history, technical information, or…For a writer it could be learning how to write good dialogue.

As you read, you are exposed to the many different styles of dialogue. You’ll find dialogue that is written in colloquial words. You’ll find slang, romantic words, and drama galore. Every kind of dialogue exists out there for you to explore. You have to read them.

You’ll learn from those with more experience – the masters.

Learn from the Masters

How do the great ones write dialogue? You won’t know until you read them.

One of the greatest things I’ve learned about dialogue from reading great writers is how to make it flow amid the narration. There is an art to it that should flow seamlessly as you read. To learn how, I went to the books that I loved and that I knew had great dialogue.

When I say masters, I mean the authors who have hit the bestseller listings and won awards. The newer authors haven’t got the experience.

How to Add Emotion and Realism to Your Story

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Writing a story, an author has to find ways to add emotion and realism to what they are writing.  Without such attributes, the story would be one-dimensional and flat. Realism and emotion are vital.

What is Emotion?

Emotion is feelings. I think we all understand that, but we might not understand how that pertains to a story. Emotion in a story is what brings emotion out in the reader. For example, I cannot read Danielle Steele books. It’s not because they are bad books or that I don’t like them. I get too emotional when I read them.

What is Realism?

Realism is the ability of the reader to feel the scene around them. It is relatable. It is to describe a scene or emotions so real that the writer doesn’t have to allude to it or put up a neon sign. They can see it and feel it for themselves. It brings the reader into the story.

Benefits for Your Story

Realism is important for your story because it helps the reader feel like he/she is there. The idea of a story is to bring the reader into the word the author has created.  That means it needs to feel real.

What about emotion? You need to have that. Otherwise the story is flat and boring. Readers crave that emotion. They can relate to the characters.

How to Add Them to Your Story

So now we come to the big question: How do we add emotion and realism to the story? Very intentionally.

Emotion

Adding emotion can be added to your story in several different ways.

Facial Expressions 

If someone is angry, you can show it by how their face looks. Describe the frown or the smile. Emotion then fills the pages. The face can say a lot.

Action

The actions of a character tells the reader the emotions and even draws them into them. Are they sad? They won’t be skipping from point A to point B. They’ll drag their feet or have hunched shoulders.

Words  

What one says can add a lot of emotion. Use them correctly to set the emotional stage well. If someone wants to show another character they care, their words will reflect that.
Ambiance  

Think about creating a romantic dinner for two tonight. You will probably lower the lights and have candles. There could be music. You’ve created ambiance for your dinner. Now do the same for your story. Create the mood for the scene and even the characters by giving it ambiance. A demon lurking should be hinted at with shadows, natural quiet, or a strange smell.

Realism

It’s the little things that add realism to your story. Think about it this way. Telling a reader that someone is in a luxury car is one thing. Adding a bit of description makes it more real. Describe the leather seats. Give an indication of how luxury it is.

The more you can give the reader to make them feel as though they are in the story the better. Okay, let me correct that. You don’t want to give them too much. A description of the car for two pages is way too much. All you need is a little bit of the realism here and there to make it feel real to be as a reader.

Avoid Overuse of Adverbs

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Adverbs can be useful when they are not overused. Sadly, they are mostly overused. What authors don’t realize is that there are many verbs that are better suited for writing than the standard verb plus adverb combination. Why use the verbs? Well, they tend to be more powerful and descriptive.

What is an Adverb?

An adverb is a word that describes a verb, like the adjective is to the noun. If I quickly walked to the door, the ‘quickly’ is the adverb. You can usually tell an adverb by the -ly at the end of the word though that can be wrong in some cases, but overall they do end with -ly.

Why is using them so bad?

There really is no reason they are so bad aside from the fact that most authors overuse them and use them as a crutch to be lazy. Expand your vocabulary and find more powerful verbs.

The Alternative

What is the alternative? More powerful verbs. Remember that words hold power. They can deliver hard emotion and direct people down paths just from what is read or spoken. Expand your verb vocabulary and see what amazing new ways you can describe people and scenes.

I quickly ran.

Using ‘quickly’ seems redundant with ‘ran’. Running is pretty quick though there are the slower versions such as jog. Maybe I sprinted or rushed. I even could have darted toward the door. ‘Quickly ran’ is too juvenile. Mature it up a bit. Give the reader more to see.

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