Sunday, June 15, 2008
The ABCs of Writing Fiction Sections M - P
M – MySpace and Other Networking Sites. I’m not computer literate, so my sister made my MySpace page last August. You can probably find a teenager willing to do yours. During this past year, I have met many wonderful people and I was introduced to promotional opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise found. As a result, I would highly recommend MySpace for promoting your book. You can’t beat the price: zero dollars. I haven’t had time to spend on the other sites, but just from loop chatter, I don’t believe they have as much activity. If you have a contrary opinion, leave a comment about your experience. My only warning is not to take time away from your writing to network. Writing comes first.
When I began my MySpace journey, I realized it wasn’t easy to find “Friends” that might be interested in knowing my book existed. I realized a need and began to fill it. I contacted Romance Readers, Writers, Reviewers, Publishers, Librarians, and Booksellers to collect their live links for other writers and readers. On my personal blog, http://www.suspensebytina.blogspot.com/ there are now 1,000 live links to assist you in collecting your MySpace friends. Simply scroll down the blog to find the links, click on one and it will take you to a MySpace profile page, click on “Friend” or “Add” to ask that person to be your friend. Then go back to the blog for the next link. You need to have a MySpace page to do this.
N – Nora. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a speaker say, “Don’t head hop your point of view,” and a writer will answer, “Nora Roberts does it all the time.” Nora makes so money for the publisher, she can do whatever she wants. You will also hear many times, “Learn the rules before you break them.” This is good advice. One year, I was judging a major romance contest and it became apparent that breaking the rules can have a negative impact on your book. I saw manuscript pages bogged down with tons of introspection, flashbacks that stood out because they were obviously there to dump back-story, etc. Successful writers learn how to break a rule without the usual negative impact on the story. So, my advice is to stick to the rules until you are a multi-published author with years of experience behind you.
O – Own Your Domain Name. Even if you don’t plan to create a website yet, you should buy your domain name now. There are bound to be other writers, or Internet surfers, with similar names who could take your favorite http://www.com/ if you don’t grab it first. When I Googled my penn name, I discovered there is a former Playboy model who goes by Tina LaVon. I believe she may already have that domain, so I bought SuspensebyTina instead. There are a lot of Tina’s out there, so I was lucky it was still available. I bought mine through Yahoo. I've heard many writers buy theirs at Go Daddy.
P – Plotter vs. Pantser. Which are you? Does it matter? It only matters that you have found a method that works for you, so when you have deadlines you can work quickly enough to meet them. My first manuscript was a pantsing attempt. I meandered, had fun, got rejected (No surprise there) and put it away. With my second, third, and fourth full manuscripts, I plotted the whole thing with colored Post-It Notes and classroom butcher paper I bought from a teaching store. It covered the whole dining room wall. Lots of Fun. I’m visual so every strand in the story was a different color and at a glance, I could tell where I needed to add romance, the villains POV, or character development. The fourth manuscript was Liquid Hypnosis and it sold to The Wild Rose Press. My current manuscript is Desperate Homeowners. I started out as a pantser, hit a wall after chapter three, and had to plot the rest. I believe you need to plot most of a mystery to make sure you scatter the clues for your readers, but don’t let anyone force you into being a plotter, panster, or a mixture. That’s like telling a painter how to create his masterpiece. You have to do what works for you.
Remember to follow your own instincts.
Successful authors write and submit often. So, why are you still reading? Go write!
Posted by Tina Swayzee McCright at 11:56 PM