Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.



THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Rebecca Buckley's Blog
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Making it real!

Making it real is what the writer does with his characters. That is, if he wants it to feel real, having the characters leap off the pages so the reader feels as if they're in the room with him, or he's right along with them on their adventures or journeys. How do we do that?

Well, first off, with your main characters, whatever the number (I usually have six, amounting to three couples), create a different personality and characteristics for each of them. The easy way to do this is to make a characterization journal with page headings using names, or you can do it with index cards. For instance: John, Mary, Richard, Rhonda, Gerald, Louise. If you use index cards, you can have multiple cards for each character, and when you need to refer to them you just go to the index card holder and flip to the name for instant information.

Now on each page or card describe the characters: physical descriptions, favorite clothing, quirky habits, whether they are slow moving or fast, chatty or not, loud or on the quiet side, and so forth. Descriptions. The reader must be able to instantly visualize the character every time he reads his name or reads about him.

Next what are your main characters' goals and ambitions in life, in love, businesswise, and family? What do they think about? How do they express themselves? How do they behave in stressful situations, happy situations, sad, etc.? Are they highly emotional or hide their feelings?

What about their history and early life, their childhood? Were their parents loving, were they raised by one parent, or by grandparents, or on a farm, in the city? Big family, only child? Was there alcoholism, physical or sexual abuse? How were they affected if there was abuse or otherwise?

And so on.

Get to know each and every main character's heart, mind, and soul ... so the reader will be able to tap into that source through you. And the more you know the innards of your characters, you can't help but put it to paper as you are writing. Make sure you do. Share that information with your reader through the character's thoughts, dialog, and actions AND through other character's observances and interaction.

So, make it real ... regardless of the genre. Your characters must be believable in all facets.

Friday, May 13, 2011

MUST HAVE BOOK PROMOTION TOOLS

I've talked about this before on previous posts, somewhere in time. But I just want to reiterate once again and possibly give you information you haven't heard as writers.

First of all, these are the imperatives, as far as I'm concerned. If nothing else, please do these things for yourself:

1. Create an author website
2. Create an author's blog
3. Create an author Facebook account
4. Create an author Twitter account
5. Create an author's page on Amazon

If you do nothing else, this will get you out there and make yourself known and broaden your base of readers, thereby increasing your book sales.

Let's take them one by one. Today, let's talk about number one: Create an author website. This will be the only of the five that will cost you. But it can be minimal, depending on how you approach it.

I would suggest . . .

First go to GoDaddy.com and purchase a domain name. That will be your address (URL) on the Internet and will come up in searches for your name. So use your name or your penname as your URL. For instance, mine is www.rebeccabuckley.com . My publishing companies are www.rjbuckleypublishing.com and www.orangeflowerpublishing.com . The simpler the better, be specific. Don't make it difficult for potential readers to find you. Being too clever or cutesy can lose potential readers and buyers, they won't be able to find you. So use your name as your domain name.

Now, you might want to also create a website for each of your books, in addition to your primary website which will have all your books and everything about you. For instance, if your title is "Brownout", then you'd purchase the URL www.brownout.com . But if you have quite a few books, it could be a time-consuming task. So to start with just purchase your "name" domain name (URL, Internet address).

Next, on GoDaddy, you can actually begin creating your website right there, immediately. They provide that process for you. Or you can go to other website-maker sites and create from templates that are provided. Do searches on "how to create a website" or "website templates." Here are a few easy do-it-yourself website companies:

www.freewebs.com
www.intuit.com
www.weebly.com
www.webs.com
www.wix.com
www.yola.com

Some authors hire website designers because they just don't want to deal with it, depends on your budget. Some write their own html (the source code that creates the page) and upload their pages using CuteFTP, which is what I do. I purchase templates or get free ones, download them to my computer and then through WORD notepad, I create my pages, using CuteFTP to upload them to my FTP space parked on GoDaddy.

CuteFTP is a program that makes it sooooooooo easy to upload revised pages to your FTP space (which is the space parked on GoDaddy if you use them as your host). Your FTP space would be your domain name, for instance, mine is ftp.rebeccabuckley.com. That's where all your web pages are stored so when searchers type in www.rebeccabuckley.com ... they will be essentially directed to your homepage in your ftp space. And, CuteFTP makes it easy for you to upload or delete files in your FTP space. Check it out.

Now if you use a webpage maker, an Internet company who handles all that for you, then you wouldn't need CuteFTP. You'd upload and make changes through their website.

Whatever direction you go, however, it is a must to have a website. You have to do it. Do your research.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

DO YOU INCLUDE NEWS OF THE DAY IN YOUR NOVELS?

Whether you're writing period romances, historical fiction, or contemporary novels ... do you include the news and headlines of the day in your stories? For instance "Bin Laden is Dead"? Or do you focus only on your characters' stories, not the periphery real-life happenings in that time-frame?

In one of my novels, I did include the death of Princess Diana in a flashback, my character remembering where she was that week, which fit into my story, but in all honesty, I must say I haven't used any other current events in my novels. In my latest novel, I have used the Russian diamond industry vs DeBeers controversies, but it is part of my characters' story. It just happens that two of my major characters are involved in that industry. But what I've written is fiction. And I'm not giving my opinion or preaching about any of the above. As a fiction writer, you're walking a fine line. Keep it interesting and fresh for your readers. Write an essay if you want to drive home an opinion.

My thoughts are that including the visual of real places and settings is plenty to please the senses in the reality respect, and writing the feelings and thoughts of my characters provides glimpses into their personal surroundings. So I don't narrate and preach boring opinions of a political or newsy nature to my readers. People can read history books, newspapers and the Internet, and view TV news for all that. But I do write, like I said, what is going on in my characters' minds, which sometimes includes a bit of history, and I write what is happening to my characters. That is what fiction readers want to know. And it must relate to the story unfolding.

I read somewhere that "Fiction is much more effective when it poses questions than when it tries to provide answers."