I just read the all-inclusive edit of the first book in the Outlander Series, written by Diana Gabaldon.
I just read the all-inclusive edit of the first book in the Outlander Series, written by Diana Gabaldon.
That many of my readers only know me by my blogs. So, in deference to my usual Blog, I am responding to requests of more information about myself, my goals, and family.
I am an avid reader of helpful articles on writing from many sources—some are bloggers happy to share their knowledge; magazine articles, the opinions of successful authors, and the internet. All have helped me and continue to educate and guide me to move forward as an author.
I can listen to most any kind of music, old and new and enjoy it all; love live theater, dining out, not much of a sports fan, except figure skating and college football. All in all, I love to be entertained.
I have three beautiful grown daughters, and three amazing grandchildren, two boys and one girl. My first name is Pauline and I used my mother’s maiden name as my pseudonym. Standing behind me, in the photo shown, is Dean and Max, and next to me is Kaelyn. My life is full and busy keeping up with the three of them, and I cherish every minute of it. Also, I can’t forget my dogs, both from shelters.
I have written four books to date with a fifth in its final editing stages. I began my first book as a teenager, writing about growing up in the Bronx, in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. I sent it to a well-known publisher in New York, and it was rejected because they did not believe I brought my characters to life. Years later, I re-wrote the book, having had a few more life experiences, and self-published it. “Jack of Hearts”, was published as an e-book and then printed. It did well and I was proud to have completed one of my goals.
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Books are a fantasy series, based loosely on Irish mythology, titled Hidden Hills. This led to many believing I am committed to writing only fantasy. I do love magic, and the supernatural, but I also love a good romance, an exciting action novel, mysteries and definitely anything having to do with space, and science fiction.
My latest is a romantic novella with a paranormal touch. The first four can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other e-book sellers. My novella “Steered by Destiny” will be available very soon.
In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. http://firstname.lastname@example.org
First: Decide whether to create your character from inside out (first person) or outside in (third person). If writing in the first person, you have access to your character’s appearance, thoughts and events. If writing in the third person, the reader is detached from the character and relies on others for information.
When introducing all characters, especially your main character, your Second action is to apply the five W’s: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY and WHERE. Remember, every character has a purpose; is driven by circumstances, and wants something. If the five W’s do not apply to all characters, consider not naming or omitting them entirely. (Characters do think, feel and act, like real people.)
WHO is your character—male or female, age, occupation?
WHAT is the purpose, need, or circumstance?
WHEN does your story begin—year, period of time?
WHY is character taking the course of action?
WHERE does your story take place?
Other traits to consider when introducing characters: Is your character capable of surprise, or disappointment? Are your main characters convincing or always not clear about what he or she wants?
When working I n the first person, because you have access to a character’s thoughts and actions, you can create a rich, imaginative, person—observing their every move and reaction. Hint: In describing appearance, why not give your character one distinguishing feature—one your reader can relate to.
EXAMPLE: “When first we meet, I tend to give the impression of weakness and vulnerability, but once you know me, you will find I am a strong- and resilient individual, determined to have my own way.”
When writing in the third person, you introduce your character by reporting a first impression given by another. However, you can use the same dramatic descriptions of appearance and actions.
EXAMPLE: “When first meeting Alison, one would consider her weak and vulnerable, but later find she is of strong character, resilient, and determined to have her own way.”
I have used both first person and third person, and while I find third person easier, I love having control of the inner thoughts of my protagonist, something a person on the outside cannot see or feel.
Like this post, or have suggestions?—Send me your thoughts, and what you want to read next.
Blog –May, 2017: HOW TO BUILD A FICTIONAL CHARACTER
Happy writing, Paula
No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader― Robert Frost
DOES THE FIRST LINE OF YOUR STORY POP?
Do you want the opening line of your novel to stimulate the reader to continue? If the first sentence of your novel is boring, then the reader will put the book down, never to return.
So, put away the proverb. Erase it from your mind, because First Impressions do count, when writing.
There are many great works of literature that offer a peek into the story with their opening sentence. One you will surely know is a classic novel, written in 1859, that is still being read and discussed by university lecturers: A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
To this day, it is quoted over and over; remembered by all because it told you just enough to peak your curiosity. Your first sentence should suggest something about your story, be it character driven or driven by the plot?
If it is character driven, a wonderful example is LORD JIM, By Joseph Conrad, which was published as a serial between 1899 and 1900.
“He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.”
The first sentence could be an introduction to the plot of the book like 1984, written by George Orwell, and published in 1949:
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
Many novelists begin their story without putting down the first sentence. Knowing how important that first sentence is causes many to think and re-think before taking action. Sometimes, getting into the story, leaning more about your characters or where the plot is taking you, may alleviate any discomfort and allow you to return to the beginning, to put that first sentence down.
Happy Writing, Paula
”The course of true love never did run smooth”—-SHAKESPEAR On Valentine’s day everyone thinks of Love and Romance. Whether young or old, the day invokes memories.
If you are a Romance Writer, you are always interested in learning more about how to move your readers from a first kiss, to a breakup and finding a new love. As an author, you try to find a new approach to an old story. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after—End of story. Or is it?
Most books, regardless of genre have an attraction somewhere on the pages, even if it is a sub-plot. As a writer, it is your job to make your readers care about your characters, their lives, and their relationships with others. Only in fairy tales do the characters live happily ever after.
Boy meets girl. She is beautiful, smart, and well endowed. He is handsome, brilliant, and successful. Perfect!—Right? NO! Everyone has faults, problems, and dreams. So must your main characters. Give her some quirky habits. Allow him to have secrets.
There are subtle techniques to keep your readers interested. Special words help your readers turn the page (She heard his footsteps advance toward her and her heart jumped with excitement) Or, whisper into your reader’s ears to trigger a memory.(He heard a familiar voice and a pit formed in his stomach).
But, let’s talk about writing an actual romance. We can convey love without saying a word. That is where the “show, don’t’ tell” comes in. A touch, a look, the memory of a shared experience, can say a lot. There is no need to say the magical three words. Writing about Love is difficult. You have to work harder to convey it without saying it.
Another question: How to create suspense through flirtations? To be a good writer, one must learn to be both a seducer and a lover. Begin with flirtations, luring the reader into your world. Is she a teaser, promising much but giving little? Is he not what he seems? Learn to master the art of dangling a carrot before your reader. Plant the idea and your reader will crave the answer. There should be tension, and anxiety between both characters. Without it, your reader will not experience any pleasure at the end of your story.
This is a condensed version of a wonderful issue of Writer’s Digest, for February, 2018. If you do not already have a subscription, you are missing a great magazine.
Happy Writing, Paula
Remember the last time you searched for something on-line, typed in your word or phrase, and lots of options came up? Those were keywords your browser found by roaming the internet. Not all words are ranked high. Why? As you can guess, rankings are determined by how many times a keyword appears in either an advertisement or on a landing page on your website. Even Posts are searched.
Example, say you are writing a romance novel. If you search the word “ROMANCE”, you will find, in Amazon, many books about Romance—too many. It would be difficult to find your book. So, you decide you need to narrow the search, and select “Historical Romance”. Even though Amazon does list sub-categories such as: (Victorian, Scottish, Time Travel, etc.) What if you still need help in finding the right phrase or keywords so your romance novel stands out?
Begin, by making a list of all the words and phrases used in your book. Go page by page; chapter by chapter and write down what you think. Then list them on a piece of paper. Ask yourself, what is special about your book. What does it say? Is its’ strength your plot or characters or events? Write those words down.
Then check Amazon for its rankings, using the list of words and phrases you have written down. Go to: http://www.amazon.com Select kindle store and type in your first word. Write down suggested keywords.
Then try Google. It will evaluate and suggest keywords used by advertisements on book campaigns. You will need to set up an account with Google. It is easy and fast. When asked: your product category is Books & Literature. By the way, Google is free.
Most writers agree both Amazon and Google mirror the same keyword rankings. It does not hurt to compare them.
I want to thank Bookbaby.com for its wonderful booklet on Unlocking Your Amazon Keywords.
DEFINITION OF ALGORITHM: A logical step-by-step computer program —a flow chart— a system—a set of rules…
An article written by Joel Shurkin awakened me to such a possibility. Scientists at Stony Brook University, in New York, think a computer program might predict successful books and recently, using the computer Algorithm, found that the program had about 84 per cent accuracy when applied to published books.
In a paper published by the Association of Computational Linguistics, “the writing style of books was correlated with the success of the book”. They used a process called statistical stylometry, a statistical analysis of the literary styles of several genres of books and identified characteristic stylistic elements common in successful books.
Some of the early finds by the scientists amaze me because they found journalists tend to use more nouns, pronouns and prepositions than other writers and in doing so, are more successful. ——– Both Hemingway and Charles Dickens began their careers as Journalists. To further excite me, a computer scientist at Israel’s University developed a program that tells whether the author is male or female 80 percent of the time.
Is it possible, Editors will now use an algorithm program to determine a books success or failure before they print? Wow!
There are more findings and observations in Mr. Shurkin’s article—too much to elaborate here, so give it a read. I think you will find it as interesting as I did.
For reading, go to “American Institute of Physics”