Sorry, if you’ve been feeling neglected lately, but you are far from forgotten. I’ve been thinking about all my writer friends very hard and working every hard to finish the book that you’ve all been waiting for.
Write Better Fiction, Faster
Sell More of What You Write
The revolutionary fiction writer’s manual
for writing better, faster fiction that sells
For a hint of the challenges in writing this book, read the bit below titled “Ants in Heaven”.
Tackling this subject has been like dealing with a mystery, inside an enigma, covered with a veil of half truths.
And yet the writing of fiction is essential to the very survival of a culture.
Our “stories” are how a culture defines itself. They are how we attempt to understand where we’ve come from, where we are and where we are going.
At any rate I’ve been hard at it, learned some incredible things in the process, and now (after tearing it up and starting over again at least 10 times) the book is almost ready for release.
I think you will be astonished with more than a few things you learn in this book about writing fiction.
Below are some of my recent blog posts for those who haven’t been keeping up.
PS. I’ve also created an affiliate program so that you, my friends, can get validated with cash for referring the book to your friends.
No worries it’s simple, painless and easy as pie.
Keep an eye on your mail box. Announcements coming very soon.
From Richard’s Blog
Art for Art's sake
The creation of art solely for ones own gratification is a cowardly intention; born out of fear at best or a complete lack of understanding of the purpose of Art itself.
Art for Art's sake - is the sound of one hand clapping, the flight of a wingless butterfly, a soundless singer, or a waterless well - an oxymoron.
Follow the Money
If one wishes to understand Politics (perish the thought) one must understand History and to understand either one - Follow the Money.
And what, you may ask; does either have to do with writing fiction?
And I would answer - Everything!
As storytellers Mankind and his relationships with himself, his fellows and life itself are our paint brushes and the canvas of his struggles and his follies are illustrated on the backdrop of Economics, which is Politics, which is History.
Mankind is our subject - and to understand him we must understand what he has done and why.
PBS sponsored a remarkable video series by Niall Ferguson called "The Assent of Money".
It's the most enlightening perspective on history I've seen in a long time. Fascinating. Watch The Assent of Money It will take the mystery out of money.
No worries - it's completely free. You don't even have to sign up for anything.
Known by their Words
Much wisdom has been thought and taught by many great men.
But still mankind creeps along with one foot in the dark of ignorance or the grave of self destruction.
Is it that we don't listen, or is it that listening, we fail to understand?
Our condition is not for lack of collected wisdom; our libraries groan under the weight of knowledge.
Our condition is not for the lack of good intentions; men and women of good will abound.
There is one cause and one alone.
There among us, lurking in the shadows is a worm, a disease of doubt and criticism that poisons everything and everyone he touches. And in the half light that surrounds this fountain of hate there are those few who fear their own intentions and thus the intentions of their fellow man; and so promote and spread the disease.
They fear their fellow man, and wish to control his every move, because they fear themselves.
A man who seeks to control his fellows, desires so only because he fears himself. He has glimpsed the dark shadows of his own soul and believes that all men's souls are just as tainted as his own.
Shun the fellow who speaks ill of man, and who preaches the fall of mankind, for you can know by his protestations, he only speaks of the very thing that he wishes for the most.
The Man in the Arena
One of the best descriptions of the qualities and heroic nature needed for a good protagonist comes from none other than Theodore Roosevelt.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better."
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
Teddy's "man in the arena" (or woman as the case may be) - isn't that the kind of person that we want to be. And that's what a "hero" is - someone that is just like our readers or like the person they wish they could be.
Ants in the Heavens
Writing non-fiction is 1,000 times harder than writing fiction.
Stories by their vary nature are linear. Storytelling presents a linear sequence of occurrences. A story must progress in an; a, b, c, d, e, f, g, etc., fashion because not only is the story linear but our method of communicating stories is also linear.
Subjects however, by their vary nature, are non-linear. And non-fiction addresses subjects rather than stories. But a non-fiction narrative (like storytelling) is a linear communication methodology.
So, with non-fiction we have this interesting dichotomy; trying to describe the multifaceted, multi-relational set of data points that comprise a "subject" with a simple two dimensional, linear communication system.
No wonder, computer manuals are such disasters that no one but pocket protector clad geeks can stand to read them.
Given these limitations, it's a wonder that we manage to understand anything let alone communicate about them.
Sometimes I feel like an ant trying to describe the heavens.
Learn What You Write
"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say." ~ Sharon O'Brien
Writing, as I like to say, is a cognitive process. What you write about you learn more about.
18 Elements of Fiction Writing
The elements of fiction are the fundamental principles of writing effective fiction
Permalink -- click for full blog post "18 Elements of Fiction Writing"
What is a Story?
A more accurate definition of story would be:
story - a narration of a fictional nature; consisting of an introduction leading either to an event (or two causally related incidents, culminating in an event) and ending with a conclusion of the premise of the narration.
(Usage note: The two basic story structures are: the "short story" consisting of an introduction, event and a conclusion, and the "long story" (such as a novel, play or feature film) consisting of an introduction, first incident, second incident, event, and conclusion. These two structures are also referred to respectively as "One Act" and "Three Act" stories however, it can be seen that the One Act story consist of three, and the Three Act story consists of five major components.)
(See - special definitions of 'incident' and 'event' as these two terms are not synonyms.)
(Note: this definition will not be found in any dictionary; however, it is quite workable. All dictionary definitions [even the oldest ones] were found to be partially or completely unworkable.)
"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone."
"That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop." ~ Vita Sackville-West
Creativity vs. Self-Doubt
Everything in life is writable about if you have the guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath
Into The Darkness
"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all." ~ Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977
Easy Doesn't Mean it's Good
"It just flowed from my pen, keyboard, etc."
Variations on the above include "The story came to me in a dream", etc.
Just because it came easy doesn't make the story, or the telling of it, any good. The average self-published book sells only 10 copies. There are only three reasons for such poor performance.
The story isn't very good.
The telling of the story isn't very good.
The author doesn't know how to properly promote the book.
Spending thousands of hours and dollars promoting a poorly done book (even if the author knew how) won't do any good.
And even great writing if devoted to a poor story won't cut it.
The place to start is with a great story.
Only to the degree that one has a good story, properly structured, to start with; is there any chance in the world of getting the other two components right.
The seed or bright idea for a story might very well come in a flash of insight, a dream, or a snatch of conversation at a cocktail party. But to become a "good" story these little ideas need to be designed into a well structured "story".
A well executed story development and design process yields a working blueprint for a good story and the most effective way to "tell" that story.
With a good plan, of a good story, and even decent skill to execute the telling of it, the author can come up with a good saleable book.
Without the above; publishers wont buy it and self-publishing is just a waste of time and money.
Self-publishing is fine and I highly recommend it. But the author must get the services of a professional editor - or suffer the embarrassment of a book that no one will buy, let alone read.
But before making that investment the prospective author should invest some time and money in learning how to Conceive, Design and Compose a novel that will sell.
The question is - are you writing to be read or to stroke your own ego?