First, the definition of Archetype: a very typical example of a certain person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) It derives from the Greek prefix, arcke, which means primitive and the root, topos, which means a model. So ‘a primitive model.’ So it is like the rough sketch of a character. Archetype sounds a lot like stereotype and I think the two words often get confused, so many think an archetype is a bad thing. The stereotype definition is: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) The definitions are very similar, but the difference is the oversimplification and generalization. Plus, stereotypes are often offensive or demeaning in nature. For example, all boys love sports and girls love dolls. Today people love to stereotype millennials as spoiled, whiny, entitled brats. The good news is that it seems many writers love to turn stereotypes on their heads and push people out of those preconceived notions. As writers, we have immense power to influence how people think and what to highlight about our society. “With great power comes great responsibility” (Uncle Ben, Spiderman) So choose wisely what and how you write. Done right, an archetype is a good starting place. The problem comes when a writer doesn’t add layers. Those layers of personality add depth and prevent the oversimplification of the character. Read more...
Do you ever fear that you will run out of ideas? I am not one who has a million ideas jostling for paper time. I have a number of unfinished short stories that could use my attention. But I'm not busting at the seams full of ideas... yet when it comes time to write, I don't usually have too much trouble coming up with a story. You might be like me, or you might be the kind of writer brimming full of ideas. Both are okay. Both come with their own set of problems. Often people full of ideas have trouble focusing on one story. They will often have stacks and stacks of unfinished stories. We'll talk about that another day. Today I want to focus on idea generation and brainstorming. Often my best ideas don't come while I'm at my desk; they come in the shower or in the car. If you are curious about why, check out this article. In pre-pandemic days I used to drive to work for 40 minutes with traffic, which gave me a lot of time to think. Exercise is a good idea generator, unless like me, you are allergic to exercise.
What is a setting? Your elementary school English teacher probably said it’s the where and when of a story. True. But as a writer, we know that the setting is more than just the where and when. The weather and social climate can also be part of the setting. It can be to mood and emotions that the characters can’t express. It can be pure beauty, when a great writer and reader are paired up. The setting can speak to our souls as much as any character. It can make the reader long to live in that little cottage in the woods surrounded by fairies or in the bustling 1920’s city of Chicago. The setting can be so alive that it feels like a character in and of itself.
Today I have a guest author for this post. Maggie Foster is a member of my writing group and a dear friend! I interviewed her for my book, From Rough Draft to Published. She mentored me through publishing process. She writes mysteries and currently has four books out. Linking an eBook Series Using KDP CONGRATULATIONS! You have a book (or two, or three) in a series, published through Kindle Direct Publishing and available on Amazon, and you know your readers will want an easy way to find the rest of them, no matter what book they pick up first. The keyword in that sentence is, “easy.” Now that Indie Publishing has taken off, some experts estimate there are more than two million new books published every year. That’s a lot of books for a reader to wade through to find yours. Luckily, KDP anticipated the need and has developed a Series Page for authors to use to link books in a series. What’s more, it’s automatic. You don’t even have to set it up yourself.
I was able to get an ARC of Quintessence through NetGalley a month or so ago. I read this book and it is one of my new favorite books! I reviewed it a couple weeks ago here. Are you more of an outliner, discovery writer, or in between the two? I’m an in-betweener. I used to be more of a discovery writer, but now that I’m often writing on a deadline, I can’t be quite as footloose and fancy free. Usually, I think for a long time before I write anything. I just turn over ideas and grow the plot and get to know characters in my head. Then I do some experimental writing to search for the tone of the story, which is very important to me. I usually write third-person, but each story has its own voice and feel. After that, I’m ready to outline. I leave lots of room for the characters and plot to breathe, and I’m not afraid to change the trajectory of the story. My outline helps me see where I’m heading, but I like to blaze the trails as I go. How long ago did you start writing seriously to get published?
I saw this anthology on Netgalley and hello…dragons…so I was all in! The release date on this book is July 7th 2020. As I read this book, I thought a lot about what I like and don’t like about short stories. This book contained a few that I didn’t care for and several that I loved. All were well written of course, but some stood out above the others. So I analyzed them and came up with 5 things I believe make a good short story. I’m sure these are not all the qualities of a good story though. You might like short stories for another reason. If so, let me know!
How do you begin a story? Not in the sense of create, but where do you start? I was always told to start in Media Res. Latin for in the middle of things. There are countless ways to start a story. I'm going to talk about a few ways to start, but this is by all means not exhaustive. When I'm wanting to strengthen a skill, I look to mentor texts. So let us take a look at some excellent stories and see how they begin.
I saw that an Instagram friend of mine was doing a 90 Days to Your Novel challenge thing, based on this book. I was intrigued. I mean, who wouldn't want to write a whole novel in 90 days? Can you really do that? Would it be any good? I know there are indie authors out there that crank out 4-5 novels a year. Something I've learned in the last year is that consistency and frequency really help when it comes to growing a following. For example, I started this blog in August 2016. Then, I decided to start grad school to become a librarian. So, from June 2017-Aug 2019 while I was in school and working full time as a teacher, I posted infrequently. Since August, I have (for the most part) posted every Friday. The number of followers since then has nearly doubled and views on the website are way up. I expect by the end of 2020 the views will more than double from last year. BUT that is not nearly important to me as quality content. I try to be consistent. But sometimes I've got stuff going on in my life (my MIL and my Stepdad passed away in the last 9 months) that prevent me from writing quality content for you, so I skip a week or two. Maybe that hurts the SEO, but I refuse to put junk out there attached to my name.
I’m almost at a loss for words right now. For the last few days/weeks/months all my time after work has been on this project. One of the major things I set up was a Writer’s Resources Vault for people who get the book and sign up for the blog with their email address, they can access a vault full of resources I mentioned in the book. Such as these documents that I’ve created…
Today is the day! You get to see the cover of my new book! I can't wait any longer, so here it is!