About This Writing Stuff…

This week, Chuck Wendig and Kristen Lamb eviscerate Huffington Post for exploiting contributors. Kathryn Craft encourages writers to consider how much they’re willing to give away.

Eric Wecks ponders a better info dump while Chris Winkle guides us from concept to story and Larry Brooks leads us even further to story structure. Jane Friedman explains the purpose of author websites, and Konrath dissects Lee Child regarding Amazon’s brick and mortar bookstores.

All that, and a little more. Enjoy!

***Please note that this will likely be the last installment of About This Writing Stuff for at least six months as I have become far too busy. My publisher and I are releasing a new anthology in July, I have a novella coming out after that, and I am writing the first draft of a science fiction novel.  

Additionally, I need to pass two more Microsoft exams to achieve my MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert). I work in the IT field and–as with writing and most other areas of life–continuing education is critical to success and longevity.*** 

Scream It Until Their Ears Bleed: Pay the Fucking Writers by Chuck Wendig

Shame on You AOL/Huffington! NO More Literary Booty Calls by Kristen Lamb

How Much Will You Give Away? by Kathryn Craft

Info Dumps Aren’t Evil by Eric Wecks

Lee Child on Amazon’s Real-Life Bookshops-and Why We Should Be Worried by Lee Child

Fisking Lee Child by Joe Konrath

How to Turn You Concept into a Story by Chris Winkle

Let’s Address a Common Misunderstanding About Author Websites by Jane Friedman

A Kinder, Gentler Perspective on Story Structure by Larry Brooks

Visiting the Oldest Bookstore in America–and its Resident Ghost by Gregory Lee Sullivan

Coming Soon: The “Write Stuff” Writers Conference in Bethlehem, PA!


Write Stuff 2016 Conference

About This Writing Stuff…

This week, Rachel Thompson offers sage advice on book marketing while K.M. Weiland and Jami Gold talk story structure. Gwendolyn Kiste gives us the low down on how to properly share your Amazon links.

Mary Carroll Moore provides wonderful tips on using sensory details to engage readers’ emotions. For a little fun, comic-book industry veteran Paul Kupperberg delves into the novelizations of A-list superheroes…and B-listers, too!

All that and a little more.  Enjoy!

This is Why Your Books Aren’t Selling: 4 Ways To Improve Now and These Are the Reasons Most Authors Fail at Book Marketing by Rachel Thompson

Indie Bookstores are Back with a Passion by Francis X. Clines

How Writers Ruin Their Amazon Links by Gwendolyn Kiste

Using Ebooks to Understand Story Structure by Jami Gold

Planting Sensory Details-What to Use, When to Use It-for Emotional Impact in Your Writing by Mary Carroll Moore

Your Book’s Inciting Event: It’s Not What You Think It Is and How to Study Plot and Character in Your Favorite Stories: 5 Easy Steps by K.M. Weiland

How to Overcome Procrastination and Finish Writing Your Book _ Part Two by Jan Yager

Is Self-Publishing Coming of Age in the Digital World? by Dougal Shaw

Capes, Cowls, & Costumes 4: Stars and Second Stringers by Paul Kupperberg

Book Review: Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Secretary General Stormgren of the United Nations finds himself in a unique position as ambassador to the Overlords, a group of enigmatic–and seemingly omniscient–alien beings whose ships have hovered over Earth’s major cities since their sudden arrival five years before.

Stormgren is regularly flown to one of the vessels to meet with Karellan, the apparent leader of the Overlords. However, Karellan conducts each encounter from behind a one-way mirror and thwarts  Stormgren’s attempts to catch a glimpse of him.

It is not for another fifty years before Karellan reveals himself to the human race. During that time and shortly after, the Overlords bring peace and prosperity to the planet, ushering in a golden age for mankind, but also a stagnation in science, art, and general cultural development.

Over time, most of the Earth’s population becomes complacent and docile, as there is no longer a need to work for a living or struggle to make ends meet. However,  a small colony forms on a remote island called New Athens with the purpose of maintaining independence from the Overlords and continuing the pursuit of art and culture.

It is around this time when the children of man begin to manifest extraordinary and frightening mental abilities. What does this development mean for the future of Earth, if indeed there is one?

What is the ultimate objective of the Overlords and are they, in fact, serving an even more powerful master?

Childhood’s End has become one of my all-time favorite science fiction novels. One of the golden age masters, Clarke adroitly covers a century of humanity’s relationship with the Overlords without losing momentum.

As with most films that find their genesis in a novel, the contrast between Clarke’s vision and SyFy’s lackluster mini-series are evident.  SPOILER ALERT, but some examples include:

Stormgren (Mike Vogel) remains through far more of the series than he did the novel and dies of a slow, debilitating illness caused by his repeated flights from Earth’s surface to Karellan’s ship. This did not occur in the book.

The scientist character of Milo Rodricks (Osy Ikhile), who stows away aboard an Overlord ship to become the only human to see their world, was named Jan Rodricks in the novel and did not actually step foot on the Overlord’s home planet, but rather, one of their moons.

In the book, Jan had no girlfriend. Thus, the scene in the mini-series where the Overlords return Milo/Jan to Earth after his 80-year expedition and present him with the levitating, preserved corpse of his girlfriend was new for the film and utterly pointless to the story.

The ultra-religious character of Peretta (Yael Stone) did not exist in the novel, nor did anyone fire a gun at Karellan (brilliantly portrayed by Charles Dance). The fact that the SyFy film decided to focus rather heavily on the destruction of religion was a departure from Clarke’s novel, which devoted hardly a page to this.

The mini-series attempted to condense a century into six hours, all the while adding unnecessary characters and subplots and failing to clarify the main plot.  Still, kudos to the SyFy channel for attempting to return to its roots. Childhood’s End was a refreshing and intelligent change from such tripe as Sharknado, various reality shows, and WWE wrestling (which has been thankfully moved to USA).

Childhood's End Book Covers


About This Writing Stuff…

This week, Kristen Lamb wants all artists–especially burgeoning writers–to be PAID for their work instead of being promised “exposure” by those who would take advantage.

A.S. Winchester would like to remind us that writing is hard work while Jan Yager and James Scott Bell offer advice on how get the job done. Conversely, Jordan Dane explores roadblocks to progress. Are you ever “too old” to start writing? Keith Cronin doesn’t think so!

Questions about branding? Joe Moore has some answers.  Want to run a Goodreads giveaway? Let Cynthia help. Robyn LaRue begins a series on depicting accurate crime scenes and Jo Eberhardt believes in supporting characters.

All that, and a little more. Enjoy!

A Culture Addicted to FREE–How FREE is Poisoning the Internet and Killing the Creatives by Kristen Lamb

Writers Are Not Lazy! by A.S. Winchester

How to Overcome Your Procrastination and Finish Writing Your Book – Part One by Jan Yager

My Top 12 Most Common Obstacles a Writer Faces by Jordan Dane

What’s Your Brand? by Joe Moore

The Ten Events of the Highly Successful Writer by James Scott Bell

Crime Scenes for Writers: Introduction by Robyn LaRue

Filling the Silence by Donald Maass

Too Late to Start Writing? by Keith Cronin

Culture Shock: A Window to World-Building by Gaëtane Burkolter

Writing Supporting Characters that Matter by Jo Eberhardt

Five Tips for Running a Giveaway on Goodreads by Cynthia

Please note that this weekly collection might be placed on hiatus yet again compliments of an overwhelming workload both at my day job and, happily, in my writing life. If this occurs, it will only last perhaps a month.

I am working with my publisher, Firebringer Press, to release volume two of our Middle of Eternity anthology series by July. The first volume, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity was released in 2014.

Further, my paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters will be released in both ebook and audio formats later this year. The audio will be recorded by yours truly so I expect that shall cause another blogging hiatus down the line.

However, I promise it shall not be a yearlong absence as in 2015. I do enjoy culling these articles from the interwebs and presenting them to you in the hope that you find them as educational and enlightening as I.


The Great Philadelphia Comic Con!

I shall be sharing a table with the redoubtable Joseph F. Berenato, author and pop-culture expert, at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con, April 22-24, 2016 in Oaks, PA!

Celebrity guests so far include Bruce Boxleitner, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby, Tim Rose, Glenn Morshower, and more!

I will be there only on Saturday, 23 April, as I have a conflict on Sunday. Please stop in and check out this most excellent convention!



About This Writing Stuff…

This week, my publisher and writer pal, Steven H. Wilson, is interviewed by fellow podcaster James DeRuvo about copyright violations and the CBS lawsuit against Star Trek: Axanar.

Over at Mythcreants, Chris Winkle provides his POV on viewpoint characters. Writer Beware’s Victoria Strauss examines the Author Guild’s recent efforts to improve publishing contracts for authors, and on Writer Unboxed, Steven James encourages us to abandon strict adherence to outlines and write organically. In the Kill Zone, Larry Brooks dismisses the plotting vs. pantsing debate in favor of using the process that works best for you.

On the technical side, we get some tips on Ebook formatting and importing files into Scrivener while Chris Musgrave reviews popular writing software.

Finally, in light of the upcoming Suicide Squad film from DC Comics, Bob Greenberger discusses the recent reprinting of the 1980s comic book series, which he edited, and his contribution to a character’s backstory.

All that, and a little more. Enjoy!

doddleTALKS TECH: Steven H. Wilson and the Axanar Copyright Debate  via James DeRuvo at doddleNews

What’s Out There For Me? Part One by Chris Musgrave

Importing Files Into Your Scrivener Project by Gwen Hernandez

How to Pick the Best Ebook Format by Daniel Berkowitz

Dirty Little Secrets About the Story Development Process by Larry Brooks

How to Abandon Your Outline to Improve Your Story by Steven James

The Fair Contract Initiative by Victoria Strauss

Choosing Viewpoint Characters by Chris Winkle

I Appear to Have Been Reprinted by Bob Greenberger

Amazon Considers Opening Hundreds of Bookstores by Leena Rao

Three Brilliant Publishers Doing Things Differently by Matt Goolding