Derek Murphy

Hey there! I'm a philosophy dropout and book cover designer with a PhD in Literature. After spending a decade as a starving artist, I vowed to create the life of freedom my restless spirit demands. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write young adult fantasy novels and do a few editorial critiques to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles. FREE GUIDE: Book Marketing is Dead.

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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Medium for Authors (sell books and make profit)

Real quick: Medium is a side-project by Twitter CEO that’s mostly unmonetized but gets a crazy amount of traffic; making it one of the biggest content sites on the internet. You *can* get paid by views under certain conditions and *some* writers are making real money ($1000~$10,000 a month) but it’s not easy to do so. However, it can be …

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