STATING YOUR OPINION: DO WE CARE?
The extremely prolific author Marie Force indicated in an interview that she wants her social media sites to be a place where readers can escape. They can disappear into the world of her fiction and get away from the stresses of their day. She writes to entertain and has always limited her personal opinion on controversial topics. NO political rants. She doesn’t want to offend her fans. Her books recently hit 10 Million in sales; Ms. Force knows how to sell books.
How refreshing! I just bought several of her books.
Which brings me to the dilemma I had faced just this week. After purchasing an author’s newest release, which I loved, I thought about posting reviews on Facebook and Twitter, and even considered featuring this book in a future blog. It really is an unusual, beautifully done book. I was so excited to share it with my followers. The problem is that this author’s Facebook posts are ALL political, and not the nice kind. Whether or not we agree on issues isn’t the point. I don’t want to offend any of my followers by sending them over to this author’s sites.
Every follower is a potential reader, no matter their background, religious leanings, or political convictions. I want them to buy my books. Period. I agree with Marie Force. The thought of offending anyone causes me stress, particularly in today’s world. Even the slightest, most innocent jokes are making people turn ballistic.
In this crazy world, will my readers reflect on the people I connect with and possibly reconsider their connection with me? Sadly, yes. My stories don’t have an agenda. I write for entertainment (mainly my own). I read fiction to escape. I listen to music for entertainment. That’s not to say we shouldn’t stand up for what we believe, but if you create products for sale is there a cautionary line to consider?
Just food for thought in this PC world. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment. I wish for you a productive week with lots of word filled pages! Thanks for following WordsmithSix.
Here’s the interview with Marie Force on The Self-Publishing Show Podcast.
And find out more at her website here https://marieforce.com/
FINDING INSPIRATION & MOVING ONWARD
Hello WordsmithSix writers!
Hope this finds you all safe and well. Are you starving for writerly interaction? I’m going crazy!
With writing conferences canceled, and my local WordsmithSix critique group taking a break over the entire summer, I really need inspiration. We love our families, but they have no clue why we spend hours at the keyboard. The two questions I continually hear are #1 What are you working on? AND #2 Are you cooking? Answers to the first question are hardly worth my time in explaining, but I do appreciate their interest. But it’s just not the same when a fellow author asks the question.
Thank goodness for email and texts. We have managed to type THE END on Book #2 in a new series working with my co-author who lives in Georgia. How in the world did we manage with snail mail and telephones in the olden days? My kids think I’m ancient, but it wasn’t that long ago.
Thank goodness for podcasts and online classrooms. With everything shut down, I have had more time to indulge in learning mixed with the writing. Have you looked at MasterClass.com? I’m watching David Baldacci this month. Wow! Price is based on an annual fee, or for a little more you can have unlimited access. You can also choose from Neil Gaiman, James Patterson (excellent!), Judy Blume, playwright David Mamet, Margaret Atwood, and more.
If it’s podcasts you like, my weekly addiction includes:
Thriller author J. F. Penn interviews influencers. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/
Mark Dawson and James Blatch, great interviews covering the business. https://selfpublishingformula.com/spf-podcast/
These are short and full of info. https://bookmarketingmentors.com/
The business of writing with J. D. Barker and J. Thorn. https://writersinkpodcast.com/
May you find enough inspiration to keep moving onward until we can come together once again.
THE BEST TIME TO POST
Opinions vary, but here’s a common sense look at some of your favorite sites and times with the most traffic.
Generally, the best times to post on Instagram are lunchtime (11am-1pm) and evenings (7-9pm). Post during off-work hours, however with everyone home during the pandemic you might be alright any time of the day or night.
According to a Buffer study, the best time to post to Facebook is between 1pm – 3pm on during the week and Saturdays.
The days that show the highest level of engagement are Friday through Saturday, as well as Wednesday. The best time to post, in general, is around 5:00 PM, which can be extended over several time zones.
According to HubSpot, the best time frames to post on Twitter are 8-10 am and 6-9 pm
Fridays and Saturdays may be the best times. This makes sense since people often use Pinterest to plan DIY projects, weddings, and home décor, and weekends are a good time to plan and complete these.
Join us here at WordsmithSix this month for posts about Social Media. Let us know your thoughts, too. Which are your favorite social media platforms to tell others about your books?
Now, more than ever before, authors can find and connect with their readers directly through Social Media. There are so many options. Start with the ones you like. If you’re not on Twitter and have no idea what a “tweet” is and how it would relate to your writing, don’t do Twitter. You’ll just come off as fake.
Readers love connecting with their favorite authors. I know that I do. I follow my favorite authors on all of their social media platforms. I seem to spend the most time on Instagram and Pinterest, but you can also find authors on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, Amazon Author Pages, and so many more. Here’s a great article I read last week on the BookBub Blog about how authors can use Pinterest. Click here.
A NEW DIMENSION
After looking back at some of my writing, I noticed that my characters were flat, and not because they’re typed words on a screen. No, they have no depth, no dimension.
As I start the new year of writing, I will create what I will call character interviews. In Gail Carson Levine’s book, WRITING MAGIC, she suggests making a character questionnaire.
Make a list of questions and fill in the answers such as: name or nickname, what type of being (human, alien etc…), age, sex, physical appearance and characteristics, family members and friends, pets, hobbies?
Then ask deeper questions like: What are my character’s talents and abilities? What are their faults, fears and good qualities?
If you have flat characters, try interviewing your character and give them a new dimension!
Rory C. Keel
UNFORGETTABLE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS
Here’s a list of a few unforgettable fictional characters that seem to have life beyond the pages. A great character isn’t always likeable, but one that can evoke strong emotion or a memorable experience for the reader. Are any of these your favorites?
Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Emma Bovary, Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
Prince Hamlet, Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
Frankenstein’s Monster, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Peter Pan, Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Just to name a few…
Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite, unforgettable fictional character. Thanks for following Wordsmith Six!
POSTCARDS FROM THE MUSE
One of my favorite movies is from the 80’s is The Never-ending Story. It’s a kid’s movie, but it’s really ageless because it’s so deep.
A beautiful world ruled by a child-like empress, who is dying. The only way to save her is to get in touch with an earthling child. And the only way to get in touch with an earthling child is to have a warrior child go on an adventure.
That’s the importance of characters in a nutshell.
Without good characters, there’s no point to even having a story. You may have a profound lesson to get across to your reader, but you won’t contact them if you don’t show them someone who could be them. For example, Bastian would never have learned his lesson if Atreyu had not taken on a dangerous mission, losing his horse, nearly losing his very own self, and then nearly being swallowed by nothingness. Bastian identified with Atreyu, and that’s how contact was made.
The way to make a character your reader will identify with is, first, know your audience. Who are you aiming for? What are the characteristics of that group?
Once you understand your audience, the research begins. I’m talking about people watching. Stand back in a corner and watch what happens. Listen to conversations. Watch body language and listen to their lingo.
Now, this is where your imagination applies what you’ve learned. Step into their head and watch the world through their eyes.
When I was in high school I did a little bit of theater. One of the things I learned is “putting on a character.” This is where you become them.
And this is where you make contact with your reader. And they’ll love you for it.