Monday, June 18, 2018

Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 24 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge - Week 24 Results

Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 24 Results

Subscribers still steadily growing. Some from free ebooks as lead magnets. Some breakthroughs in writing production…

Metrics

Published Words Fiction:
– free – 0
– paid – 22715

Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – 3366
– paid – 0

Subscribers:

Mailerlite: 241, MailChimp: 3, Instafreebie – 359

– New Total: 2025 (had to jump up to my next range on Mailerlite…)

Book sales this week:

Amazon – 0, Draft2Digital – 5, Gumroad – 1 = Total Week’s sales – 6

Books published this week:

Story Hunted: https://calm.li/StoryHuntedB2R
Harpy: https://calm.li/HarpyB2R
The Ghost Who Loved: https://calm.li/GhostLovedLS

Analysis & Notes:

Subscribers rolling in steadily, average of nearly 40 per day.

I’ve been promoting my IF author sign-up list to all my completed giveaways to build this up. And this is getting signups – which is more networking. This list also gets a weekly email as I have something to share, telling them my upcoming giveaways. These are also on a page on my site: https://calm.li/InstafreebieResourcePage – If forums weren’t so time-intensive to get going, I’d set these up for them to be part of it and cross-exchange data. Probably ask them to send me links and giveaway data so I can put those on this page. I only send very tight data to these people, not salesy or anything (other than giving them a book on IF data.)

I’m setting up a private giveaway which will feature on my Free Books page, just with my Writing-Publishing How-To books. Another test.

I’m also getting ready to set up an ARC section, and perhaps making my books available through IF as ARC copies while they are on pre-schedule. I’ll sort this out this week and implement it for the next update. That would solve the problem of having books that don’t make it to through the system by the time I update the page. Pre-orders are probably the way to do this, and more than likely figuring out how to put a lag on thse books without slowing up my output. I think my collations (below) will give me this staggered leap to implement this.

Writing had a breakthrough this week. While I wrote and published four stories the week belore, this last week had “only” three books worked up fully from scratch. It took me four days, as one simply wouldn’t complete. All of these are over 6K words, meaning I spent most of those four days on just these. Most interesting is that they all dealt heavily with death – but as two were from the Ghost Hunter series, that’s to be expected. The fun one was Story Hunted, which was a piece of weird fiction, sitting right inside the mind of the author and actually tells how the story worked up as I wrote it. You’ll see that I resisted making it into a horror (as I am not interested in this genrs) although it is a mystery, but it turned into a romance by the end.

Collations are due this next week. I have several to create:

  • Ghost Hunters Anthology 2,
  • New Voices 003,
  • And probably collections for all four authors of what they’ve produced this first half.

So that’s 6 books I can crank out this week.

Now in this, I have to finish up the Ghost Hunters Salvation first half and compile that book out of its parts. So potentially, I have seven books to create and publish. All of them also become paperbacks, in addition to finding the books (like Harpy) that just edge over the line into being published that way. (Harpy took me most of two days to write, BTW, but was a late start due to editing on Story Hunted.)

That means I can publish 3 and put 3(4) on pre-order. If I work to get those collations done early this week, then I’ll be free to do my new writing toward the end. The Ghost Hunters Salvation would be best to build out to finish things up. So those will be the pre-order books.

As I do pre-orders, I’ll then make ARC copies available, hopefully making their opt-ins required and so building my ARC list.

Editing is simplifying. I simply edit it into shape and then read and note fixes on my smartphone. It turns out that about three read-throughs quit finding obvious errors. Just have calibre create the epub from either the text or LibreOffice file, import to my smartphone and I’m set. The difference in the screen allows me to focus on each work rather than slip into scanning.

This post is short this week as I have next year’s hay delivery coming some time soon, and that will cut at least a day out of my other production.

A note on Medium/Wattpad. While not this week (due to the length of the list below) I will be working up a way to get this done. Fridays are always conflicted with writing new stories. So I’ll probably start publishing on Tuesdays, as I’m sending out to my lists and usually aren’t in the middle of new writing. (See my earlier notes on why Friday was a key time.)

To Do This Week:

– New fiction: wrap up Ghost Hunter Salvation (probably a few chapters) Part I and publish.
– Collate New Voices 003
– Collate collections by pen name – Marpel is last, depending on GHSI above.
– Publish 3 collections
– Pre-order 3 other collections and also put them on pre-order.
– Pre-order GHSI and make this an ARC copy as well.
– Publish all possible long ebooks as paperbacks as well and order proofs.
– Catch up on all existing proofs to get these live on Amazon, etc.
– Look around to see if I can’t combine some other short stories to push some ebooks over into paperback range.

Whew. But if you look at how much of this is simply the simple editing job of assembling earlier books, it’s not that hard, actually…


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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 22 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 22 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 22 Results

Same old success, as usual. People still coming in and leaving, overall improving trends on subscribers. More improvements as the tests continue…

Metrics

Published Words Fiction:
– free – 0
– paid – 16478

Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – 4886
– paid – 0

Subscribers:
Mailerlite: 352, MailChimp: 3, Total – 155

Instafreebie – 500

Consolidated Subscribers:
— Start: 1634
– New Total: 1639
– Net: 5 added (Meaning: Instafreebie/Mailerlite interface is pretty efficient.)

Book sales this week:
Amazon – 1, PublishDrive – 0, StreetLib – 0, Draft2Digital – 3 , Lulu – 0 = Total Week’s sales – 4

Just to make things simpler, I’ll drop PublishDrive, StreetLib, and Lulu from my sales metrics. These should be monthly workouts, essentially as the main outlets are all covered by Draft2Digital as an aggregator, and my sales through these are from those main outlets, where they occur, almost always (chiefly public domain books that I can’t publish through Draft2Digital or the trolls at KDP.)

Books published this week:
Hooman Probe PartII: Salvation – https://calm.li/HumanProbeIISalvation
Becoming Michelle – https://calm.li/BecomingMichelle

Analysis & Notes:

Subscribers –

Weird thing happened on the subscribers. It turned out that by re-importing the Instafreebie list, I re-imported the people I had just deleted (instead of un-subscribing.) I re-import their whole list as they don’t always send everyone to my lists. In working this up, I discovered they do have a way to export just this last week’s subscribers. Good news.

(What’s interesting is that when you re-import subscribers you deleted, the records are still there. So they still show up on your segment that detects no-openers – how I actually re-discovered them.)

Now, Instafreebie says I got an even 500 subscribers this week. And that data on a spreadsheet tells me a lot about where my subscribers came from in the earlier week, like what books they chose, and what specific giveaway they came from.

This line is really efficient. With the 3 added from Mailchimp (via Zapier from Thinkific) I only found 1 other subscriber that had been missed. (And Mailerlite has a built-in way to import anything/everything from Mailchimp, so that’s another plus.)

When I looked up the new subscribers I’ve gotten in the last week that weren’t part of this readers group (Instafreebie subscriber list) there were only 10. But my other lists have grown, so this means these are cross-pollinating. The bulk of my list is these , although I have more of the rest than I started with from my December 2017 move to Mailerlite.

Another interesting thing is that I recommended my free courses to some special lists and got some sign-ups. Promoting to authors has added to another list, indirectly from Instafreebie (the authors I work with in my organized giveaways.)

Conversions –

While better, this is still an area of study for me. The conventional books in this area are filled with a lot of (surprise) conventional wisdom, and that seldom pans out.

I did work out a game that could result from small books that cover the five points needed to find more books to read. I haven’t been back to this project since I worked it up last week. But that is the core pain point (apparently) that the avid readers have.

Setting out a series of dollar books (and an optional $5.99 book they could buy to get the data right now) then makes them take the extra steps they need to start buying my books. This will take surveying on Amazon to see what people are looking for (and buying) to solve this. And that market survey needs to be done before I start to write.

It is working that by putting my own releases at the top of the “free books” page, I get people clicking on those books, and a few purchases. I also have to create a form (or link to a form/landing page) to put at the top of that page that will grab people who find it otherwise. That will take building a form and probably a simple landing page.

At least I’m thinking down this line.

Writing –

While I didn’t get started until Saturday (again) I did force myself to crank through two short stories this week. One Saturday, one Sunday (and finished on Monday am.) Those two would have set me up for publishing to pre-orders, only to find that D2D can’t submit pre-orders to KDP. While I’ve got a query in, this might mean I have to put the pre-orders in directly to KDP and so lose the updates from D2D except manually.

I’m shooting for 3 books this week, as I did last week. Figuring to get over that hump will then set me up for a decent amount of production this week.

Tonight, I’m pushing to get all this non-fiction done so I can get started tomorrow (although I’m getting distracted by a bull who leaves holes in fences for my other cows and calves to follow – currently my milch cow is AWOL, but I’m sure to find her tomorrow.)

Once I crack the pre-order scene for real, then I’ll be able to have a far more flexible schedule and experience the true joy of simply writing and publishing.

Schedules and Decluttering/Minimalism –

This brought home the point of King’s “On Writing” schedule. You write in its own slot of time. While I’ve tried the idea of having a second computer just for writing (and it’s actually a very workable system, but means a different desk and best is its own room) the alternative that also works is to simply minimize all the windows except for a simple text editor. And maybe a browser to look up details, but then minimize it when you aren’t using it.

While I like Google Docs to write in, it will interrupt you to save your work. But on the second-computer option, it’s pretty good for transferring files – instead of the old sneaker-net with a thumb-drive.

King wrote in the am, did email in the afternoon, and read in the evenings. A workable scene, as you recharge your imagination during the evening and then rise with stories ready for writing in the am.

Plan your work, work your plan.

Four Avid Reader Horsemen –

This is still on a front burner. Hopefully this week I’ll be able to dedicate Friday to simply publishing to Wattpad and Medium. I consider that LibraryThing and Goodreads are a bit overblown with the social thing. With my volume of publishing under pen names, I simply have to work a system up of updating my lists and making them available for discovery.

There was another kindred soul who wrote an article debunking social media as necessary for authors. He also said the same points of building a subscriber list and also networking with authors. Other than spending time writing, that’s the core factors to be working on. And is all I’m doing.

I have to get Instafreebie back to a simple minimum of time invested. (Probably by working up that daily schedule above.) It’s too easy to crank around and “twiddle-fidget” with things. The key is to get a system in place and use it consistently, persistently. That frees your time up for other things. Handling email at meal times seems to be a simple approach, and that takes care of a lot of the various announcements. I also have opted onto only two lists of authors (well, stayed on their lists.)

So most of my data comes in as “updates” from Instafreebie.

Right now, my free books page says I’m on 26 concurrent live giveaways currently. This is my usual Firehose treatment and testing of things. I also have three giveaways currently running that I organized, and another 8 scheduled within the next 6 months. That is extreme. And a great acid test. (Don’t try this at home without adult supervision.)

Public Domain –

What has become a fascinating side-bar is the idea that one could actually pitch public domain books to the Instafreebie audience and build a list of these that you could then port to more PD books and/or your own original fiction.

It would be another $20/month to set an extra account up on Instafreebie to get these subscribers flowing in, and then a workup of a backlist of books to interest them in. Technically, I could create a private giveaway that would run for months at a time and have all sorts of classics there. Each classic would then point to a page with low-cost classics for purchase in that genre as part of the book back-matter.

An interesting test. With gumroad, I would get 90% royalty on a dollar book, and make this an alternative to sending them to Amazon. Also, the books2read.com links could be configured to enable a big sales page of books, separated by genre (as series) so the reader could find the books they want. In those cases, they’d be sent to the other non-Amazon outlets which would be serviced through PublishDrive/StreetLib.

All the parts of this puzzle are there, it’s only a question of working them up. Probably publishing new editions of these classics – but most of them need modern genre-specific covers and engaging descriptions anyway. So I might as well publish them from scratch.

But not a front-burner item.

UPDATE: I wrote a post about cliffhangers, which also says you want to study perennial-sellers to improve your writing. The top public domain works are a great place to start. Dissect these at your leisure (suffering through the archaic prose as needed) so you can understand the greater theme involved and the ways it somehow touches the eternal soul of different generations. What you read is what you’ll be writing.

As far as reading the 90% crud of modern books, when you find yourself kicked out of a book and putting it down, backtrack a little to find what that author did in error. And if you find a book you can’t put down, then go back to it again and dissect it thoroughly – especially if you really want the next book in that series.  I claim a lot of books on Instafreebie in order to write blurbs for other authors (and so get blurbs written on my own.) Only a tiny few do I read all the way through. Again, this is the core problem of Avid Readers finding really good books. And probably a method to recommend…

But I should really take these Gutenburg top 100 for the past 30 days and sort them out 10 at a time. This would be the core of rebuilding my “Classics You Should Know” as a way to both train myself as a writer and also promote my own fiction, non-fiction, and courses. Plus, sell a lot of copies of these great classics. Read them, review/dissect them, podcast what I find. Put a link to the book club in the back of all these PD books. Help people improve their lives.

By the end of a hundred books (or so – many are non-fiction) then I’d have a great deal of information about the human experience and what makes a perennial-selling book/story.

A Breakthrough In How We Live and Think

The problem we all face, and what makes books so engrossing, is that we actually don’t think linearly. Our chain of thought is constantly interrupted by our unconscious bringing up related tidbits for us to review. So we’re busy working on something and get this idea from 12 years ago, or our childhood. Let alone someone emailing us or calling or texting. (Did I mention you should turn your phone off when you’re writing?)

Your thinking is not linear, but you want it to be, and this is how flashbacks work in books. And changing between viewpoints, and setting changes, etc. All of these are cliffhanger points, since we are so fascinated with trying to “make sense” of things and make them flow linearly. We want to build a system (mindset stack) that we can use to solve life’s puzzles.

Our fiction mirrors our mental process, which is scattered in the extreme.

A beautiful example of this is Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”. The whole book was aligned around an altered time-line, which then made sense of the world. The main character’s death wasn’t the climax, it was the birth of his son on a different world while a prisoner/zoo inmate there. Beautiful – concept, execution, everything.

Our best books aren’t linear, because our thoughts aren’t. Another reason to study the perennial-sellers.

Key points to concentrate on are Conversions and Syndication (get in front of more audiences.)

I did record a podcast episode this week and have someone who wants to work with me on a podcast series that would promote the courses I have. And be profitable for both of us. So some things are coming up. At some point, I would probably have to give in and invest in a half-hour webinar that would be a long sales letter. Or a launch sequence with a sideways sales letter of four videos total.

Not right now, though.

To Do This Week:

1. 3 books written and published. All on pre-order.
2. Newsletters to all my lists (tomorrow)
3. Set up and post serials to Wattpad and Medium (starting this Friday.)
4. Marketing homework on the Conversion puzzle.
5. If time, research Goodreads and LibraryThing to set up simple system.

 


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Writing Cliffhangers, Part III: False Trails and Red Herrings

Writing Cliffhangers, Part III: False Trails and Red Herrings

Writing Cliffhangers, Part III: False Trails and Red Herrings

Refs:

You can get quite a learning experience from studying texts about writing (and workshops and courses) from writers who are also-rans. And that includes reading their genre-specific fiction.

As Theodore Sturgeon points out, “90% of everything out their is crud.”

Further, the idea of “also-ran” comes from any race. There are first, second, and third placed runners. Everyone else also ran in that race.

When you study texts, find out if that author ever had a breakout book or several. Did you hear of that author before you found out they wrote a non-fiction book on how to write?

Like Stephen King’s “On Writing”.

Here’s some others I stumbled across:

  • Characters & Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card
  • Writing Popular Fiction, by Dean Koontx
  • The Craft of Writing Fiction, by Ben Bova
  • Writing to the Point, by Algis Budrys
  • Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury

And some essays:

  • On the Writing of Speculative Fiction, by Robert A. Heinlein.
  • How to Tell a Story, by Mark Twain
  • Not That It Matters, by A. A. Milne (just the essays on writing.)
  • Write It Right, by Ambrose Beirce
  • The Power of Words and Composition, by Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Pulp Fiction Formula, by Lester Dent

And some collections:

  • On Writing Horror, by Mort Castle
  • Writing Mysteries, by Sue Grafton

The point is that when someone had proven themselves beyond the scope of the rest who write in those genres, then they have a voice you want to hear. The reason for this is to weed out the 90% of dross so you can start your research.

Finding Real Research Nuggets

When you are researching to get to the bottom-core data, you are looking for just a few things:

  • Commonalities – where multiple authors are coming up with the same breakthrough (not just re-hashing conventional wisdom)
  • Systems – principles that mesh together to form a greater whole
  • Outliers – data that doesn’t show up anywhere else, but works like wildfire in a dry forest.

I followed and devoured multiple authors, and weeded through 227 books all about writing. The result was that short list above.

Among the worst books were by people who taught courses and made a substantial part of their income from it. Not that they weren’t right in what they said, but that they mainly re-hashed other material out there.

Here’s the point about courses (and workshops and lecture series): Over 97% of the people who sign up for a course do so because they are clueless. And will pay big bucks to get someone to teach them about it in simple steps. Delivering a bunch of courses or workshops on writing or anything else just shows that the person is really tapping into a huge market of uninformed people who would rather pay someone than do their own research.

Worse the results are 1 in 10,000 –

  • only 3% will finish the course,
  • only 3% of those will actually apply what they learned to result,
  • only 3% of those will become an exceptional success.

Courses are far more leveraged than books for income. And many authors turn to this instead of ever becoming a breakout author. It’s not the number of books an author has, and not the number of books that have hit the bestselling charts (not very unique in our Amazon days.) Those can both be accomplished by writers who specialize in genre-fiction.

The Limits to Genre Fiction – A False Trail

Authors like Dean Wesley Smith are prolific and also share their accumulated knowledge (for a price.) He’s undoubtedly prolific and this is how people follow him. He doesn’t particularly have a mailing list that I have found. But he does have a continuing set of workshops that are on semi-automatic, as well as a publishing company that cranks out his works and keeps selling them. (Much like L. Ron Hubbard’s Author Services and Bridge Publications Inc.)

And I studied and have referenced a great deal of DW Smith’s stuff (and separately analyzed and tore big holes in Hubbard’s scams.)

When I got to the end of Smith (after a couple thousand invested) I finally saw that I wasn’t learning any more. Practically, I was having to eliminate many individual datums I had learned as unworkable.  I got to the point where I was thinking independently and no longer relying on Smith’s digested experience (and opinions.) In both of these pulp fiction writers, you have to distinguish between opinion and workable truths. Opinion stated as fact doesn’t make it so. An ancient principle is: Truth is as valuable as it is workable. And implies you should test everything. Once one of their opinions is disproved, then any built-up credibility is cracked. (The main reason I tell you to test everything I say, especially because I said it. I can’t and shouldn’t try to live your life for you.)

Mastering pulp fiction writing is being able to break through your own self-created barriers to production. Anyone can learn to write at pulp fiction volume, but very few will stick with it. Hubbard, for instance, turned away from making a very profitable penny-a-word writing to making most of his money from his corporate cult, that principally relies on counselling services and courses that teach counselling – according to his trademarked vernacular.

Smith is far more honest, but can only take you so far. Because he prefers to write genre-fiction instead of becoming a breakout author. And while Smith can name-drop authors who write in this style or that, who are examples of various genre-specific styles, Smith is actually just being a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. That he shares with you for a price.

As an author, he has retired into training people with courses while he also gets his writing published. Nothing wrong with that. But remember, he’s a genre-fiction writer. He produces tons of work in a year and uses his production volume to sell his courses as an authority.

It doesn’t really matter how many genre-fiction books a person has written. All that proves is that they were a success at genre-fiction. And just for that/those specific genre(s) in that specific lifetime.

Blockbuster Authors – Red Herrings

While I want to talk about breakout authors, we first have to go through “blockbuster” authors.

Blockbuster authors are cross-genre. They write fiction which has a certain main genre, but also include structures of other genres. And that is the next step toward being a true breakout author, regardless of what your main preferred genre is.

There are also prolific blockbuster authors. James Patterson is one. Nora Roberts and Clive Cussler are also-rans at this. They have a following that makes most of their books into million-dollar sales giants. And their books are built on patterns.

Few of these write texts on how to write better. Patterson did a series of videos, but they were more a vanity memoir than useful.

One text recommended by DW Smith is Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. Frankly the vast bulk of this book is crud. Way past 90%. The really useful key data is in the second chapter. Here he gives his short list of what he considers is in a blockbuster novel:

  • high stakes: the individual at risk often represents not just himself, but a community, a city, an entire country
  • larger-than-life characters: in big novels the main characters do extraordinary things
  • a strong dramatic question: the ongoing central conflict around which its major characters interact, the main issue that drives and unites its myriad scenes
  • a high concept/far-fetched plot premise: radical or even somewhat outlandish
  • intense emotional involvement between several point-of-view characters
  • an exotic and interesting setting

Those six points define the runaway blockbuster. You’ll see them in all the million-dollar-selling books.

But that doesn’t make a true breakout author. We want to examine is how a prolific genre-author becomes blockbuster author, and then becomes a true breakout author.

What This Has to Do With Cliffhangers – A SideBar

Just to cut to the chase of all this. I was on the butt end of a disappointing six-week auto-workshop from DW Smith (not my only one, but my last one.) The videos had been recorded years before. But he promised that he had actually studied cliffhangers and was going to lay it all out.

As I covered before, he only gave lists of lists.

And resolved for me that the real cliffhanger ran on interrupting major changes in action, character, or setting. Too simple to state, and takes a lot of practice to perfect.

Smith missed this as he’s a genre-fiction author. He isn’t a researcher who looks for systems of principles. And I also found no one else out there had worked this out, either. They knew how to write cliffhangers, but had no simple definition for them other than lists.  Now you do. (See links above.)

One thing nagged at me, though. Smith mentioned a “theme cliffhanger” but then failed to describe it except in a few minutes of one video at the last week. Just tossed it off. Essentially, it consisted of interrupting the reader’s expectations for that specific genre. That really goes back to one of those three interruptions above, but would be genre-specific. Mystery-detective would be simple here. Like the sudden realization that the trail was a red herring specifically left by the antagonist/villain – right at the end of a chapter.

What you’ve actually got is a combination of a couple of elements at the same time, usually a pairing of action and character reaction. Those are more common as you look for them. The harder version is getting setting in there as well, which is probably a scene shift at the beginning of the next chapter (right at the point Holmes concludes his only action is to take Moriarty over Richenback Falls – the next scene is now back in their 221b flat in London where Watson is writing it all up, weeks later.)

If there is any sort of thematic cliffhanger, it would be where multiple combinations of the three elements are interrupted in the same scene ending. What would probably be more like this was to have a single scene (or several in sequence) where the three structural plots (action-adventure, romantic, mystery) all cross over close together or simultaneously. Typically, this is the crisis around the third act, just before the last set of commercials.

Meaning that there are four, five, or six cliffhangers to each TV production, depending on your script and shooting structure. But those are all short stories, including movies (which might rise to the length of a novella.) Novels can have cliffhangers at the end of each chapter and have a hundred chapters or more. Just those few principles gives you tons of study and practice to do. (You’re welcome.)

Genre-fiction writers and blockbuster writers aren’t generally known for teaching breakout-quality how-two books. Because they can’t teach better than they know.

And all I point out here is where the data points to. I’m still personally mastering genre-fiction myself. Your mileage will vary.

Teaching Yourself To Write Breakout Stories

A simple definition: Breakout stories are perennial-selling stories.

Take the top 100 of gutenberg.org downloads and you’ll find maybe 50 or 80 which are constantly downloaded. All their authors are long dead. Yet their books are downloaded regularly. Tens of thousands of copies every month (See List.)

Any author trains themselves by studying two types of books:

  • The books they love to read and read again.
  • Perennial classics that are always in demand.

To succeed in writing, an author has to read what they love, and love what they write. If you don’t like what you’re writing, then neither will your reader.

But your best writing will be found in the classics that keep being bought and read over and over. Even the well-proofread, but minimally styled books on Gutenberg.org.

That is the secret to becoming a breakout author.

This is the secret of Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, William Shakespeare, Arthur Conan Doyle, Louisa Alcott, Jane Austen, etc. Their books never go out of print. L’Amour was told this after he’d been writing for a decade – that his books are still in print. He and Max Brand (Frederick Schiller Faust) are still being printed today. As well as the other authors above.

L’Amour made a specific point of studying Shakespeare and the other classics in order to train himself how to write great fiction.

It’s not just getting your book onto Amazon as an ebook so it “never goes out of print.” Meaning we can refine this to mean that your book continues to sell well, being found by new readers, completely regardless of any marketing. (Ideally, tens of thousands every month, with no need to market…)

A tiny handful of authors have accomplished this. If you studied the top 100 books on Gutenberg, you’ll narrow it down to just the handful where you were thinking about those stories days after you finished the book. Now, if you take the Dorothea Brande (Becoming A Writer – book | course) method of analyzing them, then you’d be on your way to becoming a true breakout author. In your own lifetime.

A Study Prescription

Out of this we see a true training line-up:

  1. Train yourself as an author who writes and publishes regularly (See Heinlein’s 6 rules.)
  2. Train yourself to become a prolific author who writes and publishes routinely/daily.
  3. Train yourself to write and publish in the three physical plot structures. Then start combining these in your stories.
  4. Learn Endings and Beginnings (Cliffhangers) in action, character, settings, and in combination (thematic.)
  5. Incorporate the 6 blockbuster elements into your stories.
  6. Learn how the perennial-selling books were made by dissecting them.

Those steps, done consistently and over decades will ensure your success. Because like Dickens and L’Amour, it’s been done before and can be done again. Persistence is the trick.

 


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The post Writing Cliffhangers, Part III: False Trails and Red Herrings appeared first on Living Sensical.



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