Learning our Culture: The Role of Fiction

No blog can come close to addressing the richness that Fiction alone has contributed to our lives.

Here’s an interesting factoid related to F-I-C-T-I-O-N. All the great literature of western civilization is Fiction. How about that? There are a few exceptions, such as Churchill’s writings, Gibbon’s The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, and some others.

Practical nonfiction is designed to communicate information when the quality of the writing is not as important as the content. Therefore, what has crowded great library shelves, even when literary works were on scrolls, has always been Fiction.

Take a step back in time about 3000 years and consider the epics of Homer, The Odyssey and The Iliad. This famed narrative poet was reporting what had taken place several centuries before his own time, creatively recounting events of history, blended with mythology, in order to tell a more compelling story.

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Characters in Fiction–The Letter C takes the Cake! Part 1

These blogs that lightly touch on the Wonderful Art of Fiction don’t presume to cover everything or examine all aspects in the depth they deserve. The Writers’ Table is highlighting the passionate, distinguishing attributes that separate fiction from so-called nonfiction. Knowing even some of these differences gives authors incentive/promotional tools for marketing our art. As we work our way through the acronym F-I-C-T-I-O-N, the letter C  has much to offer.

C is for Characters. Without characters, a story would be events, dates, and outcomes. In other words, the same as nonfiction and not very interesting. Characters bring a story to life and permit the Reader to engage with other real people. Many Writers prefer a character-driven storyline. How would a particular person act and react in a given set of circumstances?

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Wrapping It Up & Winding Down

Here most writers’ coaches and writing teachers would talk about the necessity of devoting yourself to your craft. That is the most important message of all; I’ll echo those sentiments heartily.  However, if you’ve arrived at this point, really ready to publish, I  presume that you already have done that and your manuscript has been through umpteen revisions.

When you’re ready to publish, you’ll not have just finished typing “The End.” [Read more...]

Myths, Legends, and Misunderstandings, Part 2

What follows over the next several blog posts is based on a compilation of queries I’ve received, usually away from my blog so as to guarantee anonymity (something which  I heartily respect). They’re problems people have shared with me while other parts of the post are based on personal experience. As much as I would like to, I will mention no specific names of publishers.  It’s just the ethical way to go.

I had my book e-formatted for $475. That must be a top-notch job—isn’t it? With what I paid for the service, it must be guaranteed high-quality.

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The Mythical Agent and The Book Tour

Agents exist, so that’s not the mythical part. The myth exists in the minds of writers, especially those who have written (or have almost written) a first novel, that as soon as they type the words “The End” an agent will swoop in like a magical fairy and—presto!—with a wave of a wand, that writer and his/her book will become famous.

Next, of course, your agent will arrange a booksigning tour for you….

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If You Want to Really Stand Out

 Standing Out Even More….

If you want to stand out from all the others, those 700,000-plus print books that are published each year and the 30,000-plus titles uploaded to e-publishers each month, you will need to work at it.

Today I’ll be using some material borrowed from one of my favorite web sites, Jerry Simmons’  http://www.WritersReaders.com. The newsletter from this former NY publishing executive is posted approximately every two weeks and contains a wealth of good, solid advice.

 If you’re going to stand out, many of your decisions must be made before you even decide who to publish with.  Your choices are that critical and will effect everything that follows. [Read more...]