Monday, February 3, 2014

Hook the Skimmers

Congratulations! An editor loves your prose. You’ve sold your story. Feel wonderful. You should.
After the euphoria collapses, you wonder when the fan mail and comments will start pouring in. Experienced authors acknowledge, selling the story is only one of many steps necessary when building a fan base.
Selling your story to readers begins before you get the editor hooked. You must write your story for your market—the web skimmer. Most magazines publish or advertise stories on the web, and most users of the web skim. Close to 80% of all people visiting your story or story’s advert will skim the page, rather than read the page.
Gaining readers is the act of converting skimmers into readers through a three step combination of hooking them with a great title, convincing them to read on with an engaging first sentence, and pulling them into the story with a compelling first paragraph. I’ve heard this approach summed up with the words, “Catch, grab, and keep.”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Passive Stories

Passive voice and passive sentences ruin great plots. They lack power and authority. Timid writing bores readers. For this discussion, I lump passive sentences and passive voice under the single term of "passive sentence". 
Passive sentences do not engage readers. Active sentences engage readers. This leads to editors rejecting stories, and readers yawning. Then, authors are stumped as to why people don’t like their story containing a wonderful plot.
As I see it, three types of passive sentences sneak into stories. First, sentences that should seethe with action become passive. Second, authors choose the wrong subject for their sentences. Finally, descriptions slow down the action.
Fixing passive sentences filled with action, simply requires removing the form of be. For example,

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Writing for the Singularity

Anyone that writes science fiction knows that the biggest challenge to writing sci-fi is that if it is near-future science fiction, the science fiction elements can turn into science fact before the story gets published or much press. I can't even believe the number of Star Trek like inventions that have surfaced in my lifetime. I expected most of this to never see the light of day during my lifetime.

The more savvy science fiction enthusiasts will point out that we are approaching what is referred to as the singularity. Comparing scientific research to a house fire, the singularity is the point where scientific discovery explodes in much the same way a burning room experiences flashover. At the point of singularity (and after) it will be impossible to humans to keep up with learning everything that is discovered. Computers will likely take over the scientific discovery process leaving us well in their dust.

I'm sure science fiction will become even more difficult to write at that point.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Books, Prompts, and Tips

Lots of authors looking to submit stories to my science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories blog have also wanted help with their writing. This writing blog is designed to provide that help. Expect a large variety of helps ranging from writing prompts, book reviews, and writing tips.

I look forward to years of sharing with you and hearing your feedback!