Volume 1, Issue 3
Welcome to my blog. My blog discusses my journey through the sometimes dark and mysterious world of writing and publishing Christian fiction. Along the way I will discuss the status of my writing, include tips on writing, marketing and publishing fiction, as well as share inspirational stories from my personal life.
This blog is published on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month.
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In This Issue
- Status: The Void War:Invasion
- Writing Tip: The Structure of Fiction – Part 2
- Marketing: Social Networking
- Publishing: Vanity Presses
- Inspiration: In The Light of the World
1. Status: The Void War:Invasion
I was late putting out the Chapter 4 edit to my beta readers by one day. Following that I was sent to Fort Lauderdale for a conference and, unfortunately, I was unable to get much done during that time, so I am now behind on editing Chapter 5. I will put in extra time this week on editing to catch up. I still plan on finishing the edit of Chapter 5 on time and expect to be sending it to my beta readers on May 19th, 2014.
I continue to get excellent feedback from my beta readers; they are enjoying the story very much. I am hopeful that the finished novel will be a success and that this will be the beginning of a long and fulfilling career in writing Christian fiction.
Also, I am late putting out this blog. It is the early Sunday afternoon as I write this, the day after I was supposed to publish it. I apologize to my readers for my tardiness and I will try to prevent this from occurring in the future.
2. Writing Tip: The Structure of Fiction – Part 2
Last issue we talked about goal; in this issue we will spend a little time talking about conflict. If you look up the word conflict, you will find that it means a serious disagreement, an argument, a clash, or an incompatibility. In story structure it refers to the struggle the character goes through while trying to obtain their goal.
Conflict drives the story. Where would the story be if the character faced no conflict? The character needs to stop a doomsday device, but nobody attempts to stop him and when he arrives at the location where the device sits, there is a big sign above a big red button that reads, push to save the world; not very exciting. Without conflict, there is no story.
As you can imagine, the conflict is usually the longest part of the scene. Continuing with examples from my book, The Void War: Invasion, this is a portion of the conflict following the goal for scene two from Chapter 1:
A gust of wind came screaming across the rock face as he reached for the next hold. His body twisted and his right limbs were ripped from their holds; the wind slammed his back into the rock wall dazing him. The rebound brought him almost back to face the wall, but before he realized what was happening, the fierce wind slammed him against the wall once again.
This time, however, when he came back around he had regained enough sense to jab out with his right pincer in an attempt to grasp the wall and was lucky enough to get a grip on the rock and pull himself close to the wall. He locked his other limbs into crevices and held on as hard as he could until the wind settled to its normal, steady howl.
In this excerpt, we return to climbing a mountain with the character Miam from the last issue. I am sure you can think of a lot of possible conflicts a character might encounter while climbing a mountain. In this case, Miam’s enemy or source of conflict is the wind, which just about rips him off the mountain.
This is a good example of conflict as it points out that conflict doesn’t have to be between two characters. Conflict can between the character and the environment, another character, an animal, or even within himself. Anything that gets in the way of the character from achieving his goal is conflict.
A couple of things you may have noticed in this excerpt may seem a bit strange. Pincer? Other limbs? Hmmm, what is this Miam character anyway? Well, I don’t want to give away too much, but he is the alien antagonist in the story and is far from human.
In the next issue I will discuss disaster.
3. Marketing: Social Networking
Indie authors generally do not have the budget to advertise their books, so they rely on other methods to get the word out. One of the most common methods is social networking; facebook, twitter, instagram, blogs, and many other options. I am currently using facebook and my blog for my marketing needs.
I currently only have 36 followers, but continue to work on adding more every week. You may ask why I work on marketing if I have not finished my first book? Well, if I put out my book without marketing it before its release, there would be no market for my book. I need to find as many potential readers as I can before it is released, so when it comes out, many of those potential readers will buy my book and hopefully talk favorably about it to others, encouraging them to also read my books.
Using social networking to market an indie book may seem obvious, but what a lot of readers do not know is that traditionally published authors are in the same boat. Traditional publishers will not market/advertise your book unless you are a big name author such as Stephen King. So, even most traditionally published authors must find their own way to market their books or face failure. They also resort to social networking.
4. Publishing: Vanity Presses
Vanity presses are publishers that publish an author’s book in exchange for a significant fee. Most vanity press publishers do not care about the author’s writing and do not care about the author’s success. These vanity press publishers take absolutely no risk and no interest in the author’s book, they only take payment.
A writer writes a book, sends their manuscript to a vanity press with payment for x number of books, the press prints the books and ships them to the author. The vanity press may offer additional services such as editing and book cover art for additional fees, but once the books are shipped, the publisher has made their money and the business relationship comes to an end except for reorders or printing a new book.
Generally, vanity presses are a poor and expensive choice for an author. I cannot recommend there use. Independent publishers are completely different; there is usually no cost to the author and the publisher only makes money if the author makes money. It is a symbiotic relationship and last as long as the author desires. It is by far the best way to publish as an indie author.
5. Inspiration: The Light of the World
I have to share a God moment I had last week. I am a spiritual facilitator for our church’s Christ Renews His Parish men’s retreat team; we put on retreats twice a year. The spiritual facilitators rotate leadership responsibilities and, as it happens, the current team is my turn.
One of the responsibilities of the spiritual facilitator is to come up with the theme for the weekend and I chose to use “The Light of the World” and it comes from Matthew 5:14-16. At our last meeting, I told the team that I would reveal the theme at our next meeting on May 8th, 2014, but it didn’t wait that long.
I think the best way to reveal this God moment is to share the email I sent to my team, so here it is:
I had a God moment this morning I wanted to share with all of you. I know I said I would reveal the theme of the weekend at our next meeting on May 8th, but to share this God moment, I must reveal it now. The theme of the weekend is “The Light of the World.” Now for the God moment.
I receive daily emails from Good New Ministries (http://www.gnm.org) and one of those emails is called Daily Blessings and it is a quote from a saint, pope, or a doctor of the Church. Read what I found in my inbox this morning:
You are the salt of the earth! You are the light of the world! See to it that the people are edified by your example, by the purity of your lives, by the moderation of your conduct, and the brilliance of your holiness! God does not ask of you mere ordinary virtue. He demands downright perfection!
– Pope Saint Pius V (1502-1572), Feast Day April 30
A shiver went up my spine when I read this powerful confirmation of the theme. I will strive to live these words over the formation period, and I ask all of you, my brothers, to do the same. They say it takes three months to develop a habit, we have four and a half months until the weekend. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us develop the habit of being the Light of the World over the formation period? What kind of man would you end up being? How much stronger would your relationship with Christ be? How much growth would occur within you? How bright would your light be burning? Only you can answer those questions for yourself, but I know the world will be a much less dark place if we all develop the habit of being the Light of the World.
Your Brother In Christ,