The Sweetest Sound

Since we live in such a technology-driven era, are there any writers out there who choose to listen to their favorite records while they type away?

dance.gif

I, for one, love to write with music to further inspire my story to unfold. Meaningful lyrics is a plus. Sometimes I’ll write a chapter entirely based on the lyrics to a single song. I don’t think I would listen to the same tunes between genres, though. I think it would mess with the flow of a story if I was blaring one of my favorite rap songs while trying to write a regency novel.

If I were to write a cute scene with my OTP, I would play Electric Feel by MGMT. I always thought that song (even though it’s about the guy’s guitar) really accentuated the relationship between two people. I could listen to it while writing a sensual sex scene, but it’s up to what mood I’m in. With a scandalous and steamy scene, I choose Love Lies by Khalid. Outside of the lyrics, I really like the flow of the song and I think it could really inspire a lot of…things.

Or I would definitely listen to the theme song to Pirates of the Caribbean by Hans Zimmer if my characters are on a journey to save some villagers from a fire breathing troll…that’s the perfect adventure song, in my opinion. Any film scores help me envision more action in some scenes. I end up imagining myself sitting among my heroes (or villains, no judging here) while the scene unfolds around them.

I’ve seen around the internet that some authors don’t like to listen to music they are familiar with. I didn’t see any reasons why, but I can assume that it might have something to do with being reminded of events or people they don’t want interfering with their art of writing. Rather than listening to their favorite album from 1993 (like me), they’ll listen to random songs that might inspire them to write but are not attached to!

As much as I might enjoy it, listening to music while writing isn’t for everyone. Sometimes silence can be the sweetest tune.

Interview with a Fictional Character

A great way to build realistic character development is to interview your characters. There are many different ways to go about interviewing a character. You could do a very basic overview (from the outside, looking in) and answer basic questions in a simple character template format.

Full Name

Birthday

Eye Color…etc.

So basic.

It’s like you’re filling out the census for them,  except you don’t have to worry about bubbling your answers in. . But, let’s say your character goes beyond that straightforward template, especially if it’s one of your main stars. What would you ask yourself about your character?

job-interview-gif.gif

Do they have a goal?

What’s their biggest flaw?

Do they have a religion?…etc.

You get the idea. We’re starting to dive a bit deeper here. Now you’re starting to take a step back and are starting to put yourself in their shoes to better understand their fictional life. They’re starting to come to life…THEY’RE ALIIIIIIVE!

Interview your character like I would interview Chris Hemsworth (as Thor) about Asgard or Gal Gadot (dressed as Wonder Woman) about forming the Justice League. Sorry (not sorry, it’s very relevant because of Infinity Wars) about the comic book/film references… moving right along!

Envision your character sitting across from you. Catch a glimpse of their mannerisms and body language in reaction to the personal questions you may ask.

Are you lying to yourself about something?

How did you meet your best friend?

What do you want your tombstone to say if you don’t survive this mission?…etc.

The more realistic the character becomes, the more you’ll question whether they exist or not. Make your reader believe!

A Tip A Day…

…Shouldn’t keep anyone away from your book!!! And if it did, then something isn’t right here!

Last August, we talk about a really important topic for authors. Everyone who has published a novel or series knows the importance (and financial contribution an author must make) of a jaw-dropping book cover.

If your sales are dropping, and they’ve been stagnant for quite a while now…consider pulling the artwork of your releases and asking your designer to update them! A brand-new look is like a brand new car – everyone likes the fresh smell, sleek exterior, all of those pretty things!

blind date.jpg
Unless you like a surprise, then maybe a blind date will surprise you with a visually appealing book!

It’s Like A Dating Profile

freaking out.gif
Let’s be honest, this is probably your face trying to narrow down the perfect author bio AFTER you wrote the perfect manuscript. NAILED IT!

Writing an author bio that intrigues people enough to invest in your product will serve as the bridge between you and your readers. Everyone can write the, “I grew up with my nose in a book…” and that’s where I found my inspiration to write type of thing. What people really like to see and remember is you- the actual witty and accomplished person that you are.  Your fans love your writing and they want to love you too.

So, let’s talk about some points you may want to consider sprinkling into your bio to make your fans giggle a little.

Don’t bore your fans with some jargon that doesn’t explain who you are outside of your writing life. If you aren’t a writing prodigy who rose to fame by writing a life-changing, coming-of-age novel, then I can safely assume you probably haven’t quite graduated to a full-time author quite yet. Tell your reader what you do by day and unveil your nighttime persona. Sometimes people like to see how dedicated others are to their craft, and we all know working full time can be tedious to a writer’s habits.

If you’re trying to reel in a new reader – it might be cool to give them a taste of your writing through your bio. Describe yourself the same way your narrator might, or make yourself into another character in your story (except that you’re not involved in the plot, just an innocent bystander). Paint a pretty picture (or ugly one, we won’t judge) of who you are or who your pen name is. Fans and readers alike would love to know the nitty gritty details.

Some people like trivia. Add a bit of trivia to your bio. Just like John Scalzi’s bio. It’s worth checking out.

I’ve heard here-and-there how readers like to see the relationship the author has with the publishing industry if that relationship exists. If you’re working as an editorial assistant and hid your manuscript in your file cabinet (with other author files, whoops!), I bet someone will get a kick out of knowing where your manuscript was written. Oh, and apologize to Sue or Greg (your boss, duh) about not turning your project in on time. They deserve the apology!

He Lives!

frankenstein.jpg
Art by Bernie Wrightson

Remember when Mary Shelley wrote one of the most well known monster tales of all time?

I sure don’t because that was 1818. But that being said, Mary Shelley created a man no one would ever forget.

Classic monster literature takes on several themes, some of which cross over into other. Most of the classic literature, like Frankenstein, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…they all seem to carry the weight of these themes.

The biggest one is enlightenment and science. Since these works were written during the Age of Enlightenment, pretty much moving away from the influence of faith to the influence of science, the emphasis on science and how it impacted those who practiced was reflected in literature. Each of the main three works mentioned earlier each show signs of science and enlightenment.

The other themes shown in these types of works are isolation, loneliness, and duality. Most of the characters embody the feeling of being isolated, being lonely, being helpless. Duality is mainly mirrored through Dr. Jekyll when turning into Mr. Hyde and in the idea of vampires, resting during the day and running amok and causing destruction when the night comes.

Do you have a favorite monster or work of monster literature?