Tag Archives: categories

A working bachelor

I spent a major portion of my time finishing a book for a friend. I sent some remarks that might be helpful, and got a positive response back, i.e. we’re still friends. (It’s a great story.)

I looked at the answers to my blog question and everyone seemed to like the vignette posts. I took the time to make a new category called Short Stories & Vignettes. Then I added the category to three old posts. I also updated my “about me” page to explain the new category. It was time to shake things up around here. These will probably never outnumber the Muse posts, but I think they’re fun. I’m trying to work up some creepy Halloween shorts to post during October. They will go in the new category. (Covertly, I have a place to remind myself of my good ideas.)

After that, I started on a new story called The Playground. This one is about a creepy social network for kids. It’s going to be somewhere between science fiction and paranormal. I need some technology, and some boogie men both.

It’s easy to write while I have an outline. I haven’t outlined Act II yet. This story requires me to get a feel for the characters and let the plot free flow. When I finish Act I, I’ll probably come to a screeching halt. Today I managed 1592 words. This isn’t very good by my standards when I have an outline, but I only had a half day. Without an outline, I have a hard time managing 500. Maybe that will get the Muse off my back for a little while.

It feels good to be writing again, even if most of it turns out to be crap. That’s what rewrites are for.

Meanwhile my editing has been completely abandoned. The dwarves and centaurs are sitting around picking their noses. I may give them an hour of my time before bed. Maybe I can get through a chapter or two. I entered into a conversation with a cover artist, but we haven’t decided on anything yet. I’ll keep you posted on this.

Someone finally used Amazon Unlimited to download one of my books, (Arson). After I finished my happy dance, I said a little prayer that they will read 10% of it so I can see how the rest of the system works. Who am I kidding, I want them to read it all and enjoy it too. Thank you whoever you are. You’re about to learn how to start nefarious fires, and how Spanks underwear work. It’s a great combination; enjoy.

I think Amazon Unlimited is a great setup for voracious readers. At ten bucks per month you can download up to ten books per month. That’s a lot of reading if you choose 99¢ books. If you choose something from one of the big five, you might see savings on the first book. Best of all, the authors get paid. They just need to get off the stick and make it available internationally. People like Karen read and review a ton of books, it’s a benefit to Amazon to make it available to these international readers.

“Alright, get off your asses you dwarves. It’s time for some serious work.” Catch you bloggers later.

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Quick question for the blog world

Are you guys enjoying my little vignettes? Most writers have too many ideas, and maybe mine aren’t all that interesting. I think all writers have voices calling to them to tell a certain story.

I’m toying with the idea of posting more of these. They’ve been well received, and it wouldn’t be all that often. I might post some short fiction sometime soon too.

If the regulars think this is a good idea, I’ll add a category and make them easy to find. Right now I’m off to run some quick errands.

Let me hear from you, and I’ll check in later.

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Genres, and why isn’t there one called guy fiction?

S. K. Nichols blogged today about her desire to write a story outside her usual genre. I commented and support her doing it. You can, and should, check out her post here. I’ve had genres on my mind lately too.

I stay in the science fiction, fantasy, paranormal orbit with my writing. Many people who read one, will occasionally read the others. It isn’t quite as big a leap as getting from western to erotica.

Common advice is to pick a lane and drive in it. Maybe I just have a hard head, but I don’t exactly follow that advice. If others did every time, we never would have gotten Pillars of the Earth, and I loved that story.

What is a genre anyway? My story, Arson, is science fiction because it’s futuristic, has aliens, and involves technology that doesn’t exist. There is also a murder mystery and a bit of romance involved. I wouldn’t call it erotica by any stretch, but sex plays a role. What hole to you shove a pentagram shaped peg into?

I also wrote Will ‘O the Wisp. This is a paranormal story about a fifteen year old girl. It will be suitable for a younger crowd.

Maybe I’d be better off to focus my stories and only write towards one goal. I just can’t do that. People are more complicated than simply saving the princess. Life gets in the way and creates its own obstacles. Life happens to my characters.

I like to make comparisons to film. I’ve watched Arnold Schwarzenegger lop off Thulsa Doom’s head and pitch it down the stairs. I’ve also seen him scurrying about town trying to buy a special Christmas toy for his son. If actors can be versatile, I think authors can too. Arnie never took on a special stage name for different roles.

Think about Tom Hanks. I suffered in outer space with this guy. I also fell in love with Meg Ryan along with him. Guys can enjoy a broad spectrum of stories, and we can write them too. Panama is paranormal, but is also a buddy story like Hank’s Woody is to Buzz Lightyear.

I think the genres are there to help readers shop. They really aren’t there to pigeonhole authors. Right now I have two science fiction stories, and one paranormal story published. The next one on the backlist is going to be a fantasy. After that is another paranormal story, but suitable for kids. Is that one going to be paranormal or young adult?

I noticed there are several categories directed toward women readers. There is romance, chick lit, paranormal romance, erotica, and most urban fantasy. Why is there no guy fiction? Movies produced in that style always seem to sell well. The publishing world needs a “Yippie Ki Yay, Motherfucker” category. It would certainly help me shop at times.

Sometimes I want to read about not only defeating evil, but kicking it’s ever loving ass into next year and mopping the blood up later. What category is that one? For a while I was reading Warhammer books about Gotrex and Felix, because there wasn’t anything else that fit my needs. (They aren’t that good, but they filled the need.)

I decided long ago to write the stories I want to read. I’m versatile, so what? There’s a bit of ass kicking in some of my stories. There’s a strange romance in one. If I ever write about the couple in Africa it might require a consultation with Meg Ryan, or Drew Barrymore. I’m a guy, but I’m a complete guy. Sometimes I want blood on the streets, and sometimes I want to wake up on a boat with Kathleen Turner. If I feel like writing it, I’m going to write it.

I can’t rewrite the categories single handedly. I suppose I need to learn more about them and place my stories to their best advantage.

I will continue to write what I’d like to read (and I read broadly). I may never sell in the millions, but it’s who I am. You’re welcome to tag along.

What do you guys do? Do you stay with one category and master that one? Are you more like me, and change it up on occasion?

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Blogging Tips (so far)

I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time now. At (almost) six months of blogging, I didn’t feel like I had the standing to post any blogging tips. Then I realized that many blogs fall by the wayside. In this respect, I’m already a veteran, so here it goes.

We’re all here for a reason. Some of us are building a platform to market a product. (Like this blog) Some are here to interact with the world. Admit that you had a reason for starting a blog. It doesn’t matter why – you’re here now. Focus on your reason and put some thought into what you want out of this.

After you have some focus, remember that every post should not be about that reason. I hate the word “followers”, but I’ll use it since everyone knows what I mean. Followers like people first and foremost in the blogosphere. Once they are interested in you as a person, they may become interested in following you.

Here’s an example: Many authors post a chapter of a story every week. This is certainly generous, but if the first time I cruise past it’s chapter 26, I’m probably not interested. When there is no other content, I’m gone, and I’ll bet many of you are too.

I get turned off by those who say buy my product, buy my product with every post. I assume others do too. I try to limit the posts about what I have available. I’m not afraid to include a link when I mention my first self published book, Wild Concept. See how it comes out in blue letters. You can read right through it if you’re more interested in my post than my product. I’ll go full tilt at “buy my book” once in a great while, but not every post.

Regular readers will recall tales about my pets, sourdough cooking, craft beer, chicken under a rock, and even a dream about cast netting for shrimp. Put some of yourself into your posts. We connect with people first and foremost. While this is a writing blog, you can bet there will be a post the next time I make sauerkraut.

Write original content. My focus is on writing and I want to connect with readers and other writers both. I appreciate some of the re-blogs I find and check many of them out. On the other hand, I’ve unfollowed several who don’t do anything but re-blog other people’s work. You need some original content. More than 60% I’d say.

My mother taught me, “if you would have a friend, be one.” This means you have to be a good blog citizen. This is a huge part of blogging. Read other blogs, make comments, answer the comments you receive. I spend at least an hour every day reading blogs. (Sometimes much more time.) When I like something, I say so. If I have something to say, I comment. This brings about the best part of blogging. You’ll make friends.

Let’s talk about Gravitars. This is the little calling card you place when you like someone’s post. You need one. Don’t be the guy with the little quilted pattern for more than a couple days. Use a graphic that catches the eye. I find myself drawn to faces and cartoons. Maybe that’s just me, but there it is. Cartoons are simple and show up in the fingernail sized image you place. This may come across wrong, but I’m drawn to pretty faces too. I’m not pretty, so I use a cool old inkwell that has turned purple over the years. It’s against a simple background so it shows up in the tiny graphic.

You need to have your blog site in the Gravitar link. People will click on your Gravitar, with the intention of visiting your blog. If the link is missing, you’ve just missed a reader and potential follower.

Post frequently. This doesn’t mean your blog should devolve into Twitter. I don’t need a picture of every meal you eat. You ought to be posting at least weekly. Three or more times a week is even better. I was really worried about over posting when I started, but my gauge is different than the world at large. I tend to get more views and followers when I’m here regularly.

I didn’t intend to touch upon tags and categories, because others have done this so well. Why you need them and how they drive traffic. I’m going to talk about categories anyway, but from a different point of view. I post about a variety of things. I use categories to break it all up. This is for the convenience of my followers.

I’ll use my Muse category as an example. Some people like the stories about my Muse and story characters. This is where I post word counts, new writing things I’ve learned, writing struggles, etc. All of these posts go in the Muse category so people can find them. A new reader might not care about making chicken under a rock, or my old pit bull. On the other hand, if that’s what they want, the Muse category keeps those filtered out of the other categories.

This is one I still struggle with, but I’ll put it out there anyway. Use an interesting, but accurate, title. I follow so many blogs that I have to browse. If the title is kind of mediocre, I may surf on past. A good title tells me when to stop by, and when to surf past too. Here’s an example: I’m not a poet. I don’t have that gene, and I usually don’t get it. Now I follow a lot of poets, and sometimes I’m in the right mood and try to get onboard. Poets are very creative folks, that’s why I follow them, and I click on every non-poetry post they make. Therefore; in a round about way … a good non-poetry post will hook me and reel me in. This also goes back to posting about more than your core intent.

Don’t make me click on something to read the rest of your post. This comes up rarely, but I get hooked and open the post. If I only get three lines and “click here to read the rest of this post” – I don’t.

The lifespan of a posting is about eight hours. There’s not much you can do about it, so if it doesn’t get a lot of love, just move on to your next post

If you want feed back or comments, ask for them. Even that doesn’t always work. (Like my post yesterday) Just post something else and move on. If nobody was into it, its lifespan was only about eight hours anyway.

We are almost all bloggers. I’ll bet 90% of your readers are bloggers themselves. We all have one thing in common, and it’s a good idea to post about it on occasion. A post about blogging is usually pretty popular.

I don’t worry as much about length as I used to. Short posts are almost always good. We have short attention spans in the 21st century. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid longer posts. You just have to write about something interesting. I follow Joe Konrath, because he’s very prominent in the self publishing world. I like his posts, but he couldn’t limit himself to 500 words if his life depended upon it. I find myself skimming his posts for the good stuff. This is a long post, and I’ll bet many readers skimmed over stuff they already knew. (Admit it, some of you did.)

This post has gone on long enough, and I don’t want your eyes to glaze over. I hope it helps some of you, and these things have worked for me. I owe my regulars a couple of short posts, and I’ll deliver.

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Weekend Wrapup

I remain terrified of blowing up your timelines. I want people to enjoy these posts, but I don’t want to become a pain. I’m getting less concerned. Some very successful bloggers post several times per day. I write in fits and starts, why would my blogging be any different?

I got a visitor from Finland, rock on Finland. I get pretty excited whenever a new country checks in.

I’ve decided the lifespan of a post is about eight hours, tops. Posts that are older don’t get a lot of love. I’m perfectly fine with that. Blogs provide the same kind of immediacy that the evening news does. If anyone wants to read about Lorelei and the unique characters, I placed them all in a “Muse” category that will filter them down.

Doubt, the raven, caused me to rewrite a section of my work in progress. I think it’s better than it was before, and it may improve further in the rewrite phase. My word count is down a bit, but it was time well spent. As of today, I’m at 9375 words.

Will ‘O the Wisp, is looking like it might be suitable for a younger crowd. I’m fine with that, personally. Not every book needs, or benefits from blood, gore, and sex. I’m not afraid of those things, they were all in my last one, “The Cock of the South”.

I think adult issues are tools to be used when it suits the story. I want to use the right tool for the job at hand. Will ‘O the Wisp is not that job.

This is a question for the fellow writers out there. I write about my personal journey using fictitious characters. Since this could be considered fiction, does it count toward my weekly word count? I’m not really keeping score, it’s just a topic for debate. This little blog could use some debate.

I’m discovering a ton of new blogs. Some of you are awfully talented and professional. When I check out the Gravitars, I keep seeing the same people. We’re obviously the cool kids, come join us.

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