Cover design for indie vs traditional published authors (why most books fail)

I haven’t talked specifically about cover design in awhile, and I usually ignore those raging Facebook diatribes where everybody has loud opinions and gives bad advice, but I got involved in one tonight that is important enough to share. The reason authors get their covers wrong is not just an educational gap. They’ve never designed a cover before, or studies design …

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How to “write to market” (plotting and tropes)

This sounds like tropes and elements, that are unique to genre. That’s half of it. Tropes should be sustained and elevated, same same but different. The other half is plot points which are pretty universal in commercial fiction: establish ordinary world before call to adventure, etc. you can hit a dozen very specific plot points without it ever seeming planned …

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The problem with Hopium

There’s an issue I haven’t had words for, until now, and it concerns “hopium” – the rational disconnect involved when you’re forced to believe in extraordinary results, despite all evidences to the contrary. The bigger this disconnect, the more brutal maintenance is required to keep up this level of optimism, but it’s a constant battle between motivation and belief. The …

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The Tomorrow War (plot holes & writing tips)

How to write a satisfying story… movie breakdown Halfway through Netflix’s “The Tomorrow War” with Chris Pratt, I paused to take notes. It’s a great example of “the thing it costs is the one thing the hero refuses.” I’m only halfway through but I can see where this is going. 1. early scenes establish hero’s relationship with this father: his …

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This is marketing – Seth Godin

A while ago I read Seth Godin’s This is Marketing; in this article I’ll try to parse meaning so you can apply his insights to your own creative projects. (Some of this may be paraphrased as I’m working off quick notes.) Firstly, Seth addresses the doubt and fear most creatives face around marketing their work: they just aren’t getting seen. …

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How to write a satisfying conclusion to your novel (final battle scene/character resolution)

After I finished writing BookCraft, I got a little obsessed with the particularities of writing a satisfying conclusion or resolution. It’s something I started noticing in TV shows and movies, especially: how the hero’s personal quest was deliberately illustrated with a hard comparison, a “before and after” that represented in a symbolic way the internal shift of change that was …

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Writing contests for authors (free editing!)

This is usually where I’d post a roundup of the best (FREE to enter) 2021 writing contests. But I’ve decided not to, because even though they’re great for traffic, there are several sites that have already put lists like that together – I’ll link to those at the end of this post. So, why write anything at all? Because, I’ve …

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