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Airliner-Take-Off Let your book’s success take off

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Once more about Google+ : Google is by far the most popular search engine on the planet, and Google+  should be at the top of your list when it comes to digital marketing.  “How to Make Use of Google+ as an Author” was the title of yesterday’s blog post, with several links to other posts about Google+ advantages and displaying an info-graphic with 56!!! REASONS why it makes sense to be on the 2nd largest network in the world why it is worth to be on Google+ and get top Google search engine rankings. And still, I found a comment:
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“Is Google+ worth it?”
This question made me wonder … as I had the impression, the comment-er had only read the headline, and not the 56 reasons, nor the links I provided in my post. The question could also have been:…

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langstonhughesAs my publication date approaches, I’ve been thinking over my literary journey.

It feels like not so long ago, I was leaping and lurking between blogs, vlogs, and a plethora of other sites, sponging every bit of information I could in effort to learn how to do that one thing, that impossible thing that I now find myself on the cusp of–being published.

As I move forward, I’d like to reach back, grab what I’ve learned, and toss it to anyone who does not wish to know the answer to that question:

“What becomes of a dream deferred?”

I know there are thousands of talented, wonderful, helpful writers out there. I happen to come across several of their sites and tweets these last few years. And the advice I received has proven invaluable.
As a sort of homage to them, I’m posting links to the pages where I found this treasure-trove of knowledge.
The Daily Dahlia is a blog I regularly read. Miss D’s blog full of super-helpful goodness. I suggest thoroughly searching her site. Which, you can find here.
Brenda Drake is another wonderful blogger and author whose posts have been muey helpful. She also gets together with a lovely group of awesome agents to host a twitter pitch contest. If you’ve never heard of #Pitchmadness (aka pitmad) I suggest you check it out.
Nathan Bransford is another author who regularly throws bones to newbs like myself. He’s got lots of advice on do’s and dont’s.
Query Shark is one of those super useful sights that will help you with anything related to query letters. Be aware, though. SHARK is in the title for a reason.
  Kelsey Macke is another blogger whose advice encouraged and pointed me in the right direction. She also has rockin’ Vlog that you can find here. I suggest everyone watch at least one episode. She’s cute and quirky, and a real fast talker!

Through these sites listed above, you should be able to find enough resources to begin building your author platform. If you don’t know what that is, Look here. Or here. OR here.

Remember, even if you’ve been told no a thousand times, all you need is one yes.
You can never succeed if you stop trying. 

New-Girl-Nick-Miller

You must check out The Nick Miller Guide to Writing

Why?

Because I love him.

Enough said.

Creative

I like my plots the way I like my socks. Tight and free of holes.

  GoldmemberMeme

And, let me tell you, it isn’t easy.

I never really thought about ‘my process’ until this past weekend, when my husband and I had some friends over. I am one of those people who never really talks about their writing unless asked because I will go on and on and on until you are sorry you ever asked the question.

But, at somepoint during the many conversations, some unfortunate soul made the mistake of asking me how I come up with ideas for my books.

After the initial, “I don’t know,” it got me thinking about how, thus far, my stories have ended up nothing like the way they started out. And that lead me to the realization that I am an odd-builder.

Yes, I said odd-builder.

Let me explain it you you, reader, like I explained to my company:

I start with The End. It’s an image in my head, or a feeling that I get about a certain situation or story. Usually sparked by some event I read about or see taking place within the lives of people around me.

Then, I hit the internet. I search blog after blog, read endless amounts of advice on the creative process and the proper way to structure a story. But then, after a week or so–less if I’m really inspired–I remember that my brain won’t let me do it the usual way. I cannot tell you how many unfinished outlines I have stored in my computer.

Then, I jot down all the ideas about my ending (how it might have been reached and by whom) into a spiral notebook which then finds it’s way into my bedside table. It’s like binder after notebook after binder inside my nightstand.

This is my only form of organization when it comes to writing. Each idea, each plot, and character that graces the pages of my  books gets it’s own section in a binder. The binders are labeled with the wroking title and the notes on plot or character are tossed in there like a paper salad. It’s messy, but it works for me.

From there, I go back to whatever it is I am writing at the time. I try to finish one project before moving along to the next. This way I dont have a million manuscripts I feel pressured to finish.

Then, once I have had time away from the idea, I go back to my notebooks and re-read everything. If i am still stoked about the idea, I start constructing.

construction1

UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

This is where it gets a tad messy. See, I have my ultimate ending, but I don’t know who the characters are yet. So here is the place where I begin the inquisition. I ask myself

What events must happen for the story to reach it’s ending?

What motivates the characters to make the choices they must make to lead to the end?

What type of person makes those choices? A pschopath, a lonely girl, a guy who’s strapped for cash…the posibilities are endless.

Who do I want my character to be? What age and/or gender would fit best with the situations presented?

What traits do they have that I can relate to? What type of upbringing would they have that might influence their choices?

And the list goes on. These questions are also helpful when I reach that point in the story where I’m not sure what the character should do. I can go back to these questions and find an answer.

Once I reach a point of comfortable familiarity with my main characters, I begin free-writing. And through the process of turning on the voice in my head and letting it flow to the page, I find out who they really are, beneath the choices.

Well, that’s my crazy process.

What’s yours? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

GUESS WHAT??

In case any of you missed it!

Author A.R. Rivera

It’s one event in a string of events–probable, yet seemingly impossible. Am I better than I thought or simply lucky? Blessed beyond measure? Sure, but I’m no better than anyone else. It must be dumb luck. If that’s all this is, I’ll take it and relish every second.

This particular event started on a Monday morning. I was unpacking boxes–the hubs and I bought a house and spent the weekend moving and cleaning. I was very close to pulling my hair out, trying to simultaneously teach online home school without proper internet access. I was frazzled. Utterly exhausted, running on about four hours sleep over the past two days.

Then, came The Call. The Cold Call.

It was a woman. I remember, she said her name was Elizabeth. I don’t remember what I said to her when she told me how much she liked my book,  Between Octobers. I think I was having a…

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A Moment

Image

It was a swarm. A barrage of flashing lights. A storm that obeys no pattern, only a will to seek and deconstruct. It sweeps in, surrounding me. Like ants to a piece of candy, I am consumed bit by bit.

Someone must have called someone from the plane.

I walked as quickly as I could, kept my hat on and head down. Dealing with this part of the job is a delicate matter. They are the eggshells I must walk upon for the duration of this love-hate relationship.

They pretend to love me one day, so they can hate me the next. Build the facade and take it away. I can do no wrong. I can do no right.  

There are some who talk like they know me, pretend to care, and pay compliments while invading my personal space, trying to provoke me into conversation. Then, there are other who really don’t give a shit. They act the same as the first, but are a bit more open about the fact that they’re just trying to earn a buck. I hate them equally, but can, at least, respect the honesty.

Their questions, shouted at me from an arms’ length away, are designed to get a reaction. It’s best not to speak. 

They use high-speed cameras made to take pictures without pause. The concentrated lights are blinding.  

If I were to lay out, on a table, all of the photos taken by just one of the three-dozen cameras and sift through them, you would think that the simple act of me walking from the airport exit to the back seat of a waiting car at the curb took me twenty minutes instead of fifteen seconds. You would think I was here just to be spotted.

“Move, please. Out of the way! Get back—you’re blocking the car, ” Shouts someone. A few guys from airport security have moved in, pressing the mass of lenses back. They swoop in on either side, in front and back, left and right, trying to make a way for me to get to the curb.

I think Paparazzi is a preferred moniker, but really, the only difference between them and a stalker is a camera.

The stalkers move when they are told just to get in the way in another spot. They dart from a place directly in front of me to the doorway I am trying to go through, or to the car door being held for me, to the front of the car to get my photo through the windscreen; snapping frame after frame, ceaselessly. Every single second.

The flashing lights are disorienting. I press my hands to my face.

The car is running when I climb in the backseat. Marcus honks the horn, inching away from the curb.

They scatter like rats before we take off. Once we’re in a lane of moving traffic, there are at least five cars following us.

I lay my head back on the seat, waiting for the white spots in my vision to fade.

I have been thinking—dangerous, I know—none the less, I have. And this is what I have come up with:

Rome Was Not Built In A Day

When I’m reading, I have this image in my head—sometimes complete, sometimes not—of the characters, the way they look, the world they live in, and the cadence of their speech. As the story unfolds, I construct. I imagine their actions, their expressions, the rooms or scenery surrounding them, what they’re doing with their hands when they say something, and especially, the way they say said those somethings. (Every reader knows, tone is everything!) So I love it when the author uses meaningful description. i.e., details that would be important to the character.

But because of all this imagery, I tend to read a book at a more relaxed pace than other avid readers I know.

In fact, I am dumbfounded by some of you speed-readers out there. I have never been able to understand how a person can rip through a book in a day and be like, “oh yeah, it was really good.”

What the? Huh?

How in the world can anyone follow that string of words and make sense of them, paint the picture, feel the moments they create, and be done so quickly?

Maybe it’s different for me because I’m a writer and I tend to get stuck on the structure of a single sentence, or pick apart the way a character relays vital plot information. Or sometimes, I have to put the book down because I cannot understand how this imagined person I’m reading about can do what they did and still look at themselves in the mirror.

Yeah, I know they aren’t real people, but for the time that I’m reading, they are.

For Myself

Reading is an escape. I do it for me and I believe, at least I hope, it makes me a better writer.

Take my first novel, for instance. Between Octobers is my baby. I began writing it around Obama’s first run for the White House. I was entrenched in my manuscript while history was being made.

I was having trouble with structure, how to fit the chain of events together so that the reader would know what my protagonist, Grace, was facing right out of the gate, but I needed the events to be chronological, so everyone would hopefully understand her choices, even if they don’t agree with them.

But I wasn’t able to come up with the right composition until I read my first Nora Roberts novel, Public Secrets. And I can’t say exactly what it was that clicked inside me, but I was able to look at that book that was so unlike mine, and see the way it was brilliantly peppered with suspense, giving just the right amount of tension in all the right places….

And I had my “AH-HA!” moment. Then, I pretty much re-wrote my book.

My Hope

It is my hope that when all the wonderful readers out there in the ether find my book in cyberspace, that they will take their time reading it, absorb the world that Grace lives in, and take some time to understand her. I think it makes for a better ending when you take your time getting to it.

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