Simplicity & Books

Keeping up with book trends and sales? Don’t worry. We are too. There will always be highs and lows, one extreme to another. This isn’t really a trend but just a little something we noticed in the office. Everything is so simple.

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Sure, writing the book isn’t simple…getting the book to be noticed by an editor/publisher isn’t simple…the process of production isn’t simple…but when the final product of the book is in the author’s hands or a trusty reader’s yearning finger tips…do they just look at the cover and think, it’s so simple? We’re referring to the cover art itself. And because we came across a list of books in which the title said, “Most Beautiful…”, we thought it was about time we sit down and chat about cover art. Again.

Calling something beautiful is subjective to the writer of the article. Some of the titles on this list have been hyped up and plastered all over the internet, they were bound to become bestsellers. But there was one common thing among the covers we needed to stress. They’re so simple. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity but the simplicity of these books has helped bump up sales revenue. Many fiction titles are beginning to look…uniform. Once again…there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s getting money in someone’s pocket, regardless.

We’re not here to dictate what you should do with your book. But if you find yourself in need of change and you could envision a bit of abstract art or an object as the cover of your book, then maybe it’s time you send out a few emails to the cover designers out in the world. You may appeal to a new crowd looking for the simple covers that get them wondering what the heck the cover is trying to tell them.

Thank goodness we live in a digital age where all we have to do is delete and upload a new image.

Save or Delete?

Have you ever sat down to work on your writing project and thought, I’m not into this like I was three months ago? And how you want to dedicate your time to a work-in-progress that you actually care about? Or do you feel as though you’re working on a project and it feels forced? Are you asking yourself: should I save or delete?

Here’s what we have to say: don’t abandon a project simply because you’re not passionate about it. Some writers burn themselves out trying to write what they think needs to be done. Other times, it’s a lack of inspiration. What should you do if this happens to you?

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Our favorite suggestion is take a nap. All jokes aside, rest your brain and focus on other activities you like. Napping could be one of those things. Don’t question if you want to save or delete a project. If you’re ever leaning towards the delete option, we recommend still saving the work someplace where you can’t visually see it. Mainly because if you stumble across it later on, you may spark new interest and inspiration.

Bottom line is: give yourself a break. Stop thinking too much into it. Save it. Don’t delete.

Real Endings Need Love Too!

real boy.gifWe’re not saying there are fake endings floating around in the writing world but what we are trying to say is realism is a wonderful way to end a book. Seriously! To remind your reader their head shouldn’t be in the clouds will have them feeling a lot.

Take a moment to think about a not-so-happy ending you read and stuck with you. There’s a reason why you remember it…it’s memorable due to being different than all the rest. We also want to mention: these endings don’t have to be sad, necessarily. Just real.

Sometimes people like the chaos and fire-burning-everywhere ending to a book they’re invested in. Or the cookie-cutter romantic, hero saves everyone at the end of the day. It’s about preference.

Or shock value.

You choose.

Age of Escapism

escape.gifWith the end of year in sight, we tend to highlight expected sales trends of the upcoming year. We’ve seen high sales in politically-driven pieces, success behind female leads, and diversity taking the reigns.

Say hello to our oldest and dearest friend, Escapism. Too dark? Fear not, we mean well with this. Listen here: escapism isn’t a new concept. It’s been around forever. Since entertainment conception came to fruition, to be exactly. It’s a drive for many to pick up books and escape to another world, where chaos can be mended.

To say the least, the consumption of books may rise when we think about what’s going on whenever we turn the news on. With this chaotic day and age, there may be an interest in any genre, really. As long as there is provided escape to a new world.

Help provide the escape for potential readers. Provide the bridge between their reality and your fictional world. Get to writing.

Falling Down An Unwanted Hole

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When reading any story, there’s bound to be a plot hole we encounter or fall into…no one is perfect. Not every loose end will find its tie; it’s a matter of picking and choosing which ones to leave.

Some plot holes could be used later on in the series…even if it was just an accident. While editing your manuscript, if the plot is disturbed greatly by the error, fix it. Does it ruin one sub-plot? Revisit. If it can be manipulated later on, maybe it’s not really an issue at all.

Listen to your beta-readers, your editors…If it proves to be a serious problem, you’re not going to have that groundbreaking novel you had hoped for.

Mood Rings

We’re not going to talk your ear off about how mood rings are real and they need to be taken more seriously…no, instead, we’re going to talk your ear off about colors and symbolism in your writing.

Using colors to accentuate the mood you’re trying to convey in your scenes may help your form of story-telling improve. It could be your main character can now see surrounding characters’ auras and the auras tell your character how a particular person is feeling. Or quite possibly there are colors within a room to set a mood in which your character is about to enter.

Use this color bar image we found on the great, big internet to give you a start on what sort of colors to use in your writing!

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Head Count

We’ve talked about killing off characters more than once on this blog…but today we’re discussing how many characters you should keep ALIVE to complete your tale.

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First of all, you need your protagonist. Usually there is only one of these but sometimes there are more. It takes a certain type of writer to have more than one protagonist.

Character count: 1

Next up, we have the deuterangonist. Or more commonly known as the sidekick. Let the confusion start here. Limit your sidekick to a single being, or two. To this we say: have fun. They’re very important characters who need to be just as well-crafted as the protagonist. If you’re still getting the hang of writing, stick to one.

Character count: 2

The antagonist becomes our next character to focus on. Don’t be fooled though; the antagonist doesn’t always have to be another person. Your protagonist could have very real inner demons they can’t shake like struggling with mental health, addiction…and so on. This should almost always be a single thing. Think of it as your target that you’ve zeroed in on and need to destroy. Your protagonist would think the same thing.

Character count: 3

Love. If your character finds their love along the way, there’s another character to include on your list. The love interest character could cross over in being a deuterangonist. There’s one less character you have to flesh out!

Character count: 3-4

If your main character is on an epic journey for the books, a mentor is always a plus. Most characters aren’t all-knowing and if they are in your book…well, this is about to get awkward. Keep a mentor down to one…they usually get killed off at some point.

Character count: 4-5

Secondary characters matter, as well. Two of these slightly developed beings in your story would be enough. Your subplots usually revolve around these characters and they contribute to the main plot line with the protagonist.

Character count: 6-7

Last but not least, we have the tertiary characters. These are the characters that aren’t really talked about in great detail but they’re still contributing to the protagonist’s journey the number to this is subject to the kind of story you’re writing.

Then you’ll have flat characters that aren’t too important at all. These are the characters your protagonist comes across in passing.

How many characters do you limit yourself to in your writing? How many do you think is appropriate?

Nope, Nope, Nope.

Have you ever looked over your old work and thought, What in the world was I thinking?

We know how that may feel sometimes, so we thought it was about time we helped you embrace the cringe with some memes


should not.jpgImagine this: you start reading some piece written three years ago and your first thought is…No. No. Why? No.

Cheers to feeling that way. Just so you know, you should not have done then.

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Sometimes, with re-reading old work, people get inspired to re-write it. Which leads us into our next meme: the lengthy process that goes along with it.

You never know how long it’s going to take, but you know it has to get done sometime or another. Once it is done, though…you realize you’ve lost track of reality.

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One of my personal favorites is when you notice how many times you used one specific word. For me, it’s just. For others, it’s that. You never know what word you actually lean on until you type it into your word finder and it pops up over 500,000 times throughout your entire manuscript.

 

Meanings Here and There

A lot of prominent writers (the ones who land traditional pub deals, go on talk shows, get to see their books become films…) tend to write with deep meaning between the lines. A writer can use ways to create meaning behind the face value of the story using symbolism, their protagonist, and general commentary on society outside of the fictional tale.

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Research becomes a writer’s best friend in this scenario. When research is applied to the writing, particularly in the setting, creates meaning for the story as a whole. Knowing where your story will take place will help narrow down symbolism as well. Check out folklore, mythology, any literary history of the country you choose. Even names contain meanings sometimes.

You also have to keep in mind that your subconscious will become more apparent in your writing and the only person who will notice is you.

Re-read your draft and see if you’ve executed the story and given the deeper meanings justice. And if you haven’t, well…what are you waiting for? Get back to it!

Take A Breather

We always need a friendly reminder to not rush.

If you’re a bit slower on the creation process, don’t let outside influences push you to think you’re not writing fast enough. With speed, may come plenty of plot holes, missing events or a lot of fluff. Readers can easily be turned away.

Take your time building your story, creating your characters, and finalizing the setting. Don’t let your writing fall victim to the speed demon wishing to take control within you!

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