Tuesdays With Story
July 31, 2012
“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”- Vladimir Nabokov
Fifth Tuesday sets a record . . .
Seventeen of our writers wished and wrote for the Fifth Tuesday challenge. That’s the highest number in three years. Can we beat that in our next challenge set for October 30? If you write, sure.
The stories have been posted on both our web page and our Yahoo group, so call them up and enjoy them.
We gathered Tuesday evening for the first time at the Panera store’s community room on University Avenue. Good food, good friendships, good times. The music over the P.A. was competition, though, but said one of the managers, the store will be remodeled this week and that problem will be fixed. The music in the community room will be on a separate control so it can be cut out when groups meet there.
Spike Pedersen provided the value-added package for us, taking the group through the processes he’s gone through to get his novel, First Light, ready for publication as an e-book and a print book. Spike is an indie author, so he’s his own publisher. He hired an editor to help him tighten his writing, and a cover designer, book designer, and copy formatter to do the technical work of getting his book ready to upload to CreateSpace for the print book and Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords for the ebook. There’s a cost for all that, Spike said . . . $3,000.
Put it on your calendar now . . .
Our next Fifth Tuesday is October 30. Second-and-fourth group hosts. Ben LeRoy, one of our early leaders and publisher for Tyrus Books, will present our value-added package.
Who’s Up Next:
August 7: Lisa McDougal (chapter 4, Follow the Yellow/Ben and Krista), Pat Edwards (chapters 5-6, Our Soul), Pam Gabriel (film script, part 4, “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt”), Judith McNeil (short story part 2, “The Man with the Broken Heart”), Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 10b, The Cheese Logue), Aaron Boehm (film script, part 3, “Stealing from Yourself”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 7-8, Rage).
August 14: Rebecca Rettenmund (outline for The Cheese Logue), Terry Hoffman (chapter, The Great Tome), Kat Wagner (chapter, Revolution), and Jen Wilcher (chapter, The Hogoshiro Chronicles).
August 21: Elisha McCabe (draft, Recycle), Andy Brown (chapter 2, Lo’s Quarter), Millie Mader (chapter 37, Life on Hold), Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 11, The Cheese Logue), Aaron Boehm (film script, part 4, “Stealing from Yourself”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 9-11, Rage).
Writers Mail editors . . .
Andy Brown, is our editor this month. In September, it’s Clayton Gill.
Writing Craft . . .
15 Ways to Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing
Steve Thompson, Yahoo! Contributor Network http://voices.yahoo.com/15-ways-improve-setting-fiction-writing-371057.html?cat=4 Jul 25, 2007
Setting is arguably one of the most important aspects of fiction writing because it makes the story real for your readers. Setting is defined as the time and place at which an event occurs, and all of the details that might describe those characteristics. Creating a setting for your fiction writing takes imagination, creativity and knowledge. Following are 15 ways to improve the setting in your fiction writing:
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Weather
Weather is one of the most overlooked parts of setting because we don’t think about it much. Most authors will describe a rainy day or a particularly hot evening, but other elements of weather are ignored. To use weather effectively in your fiction writing, spend some time watching the Weather channel on television. Familiarize yourself with different types of weather in different areas of the world, and learn the names of weather-related phenomenon. Remember, the weather doesn’t have to be remarkable in order to deserve recognition.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Streets
The streets in the city or town in which your story takes place can be great cornerstones for a realistic setting. Fiction writing is all about creating a world that seems to exist to your readers. If the setting is a make-believe place you’ve created in your mind, you can feel free to name streets whatever you’d like. If, however, your fiction story takes place in Chicago, you need to familiarize yourself with the actual street names (and the directions they run).
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Architecture
Every city or town in the world has its own unique blend of architecture. Visit Web sites like greatbuildings.com to get an idea for the different types of architecture that exist, then decide what types will be appropriate for the setting in your fiction writing. For example, you might talk about the Baroque buildings in Italy or the Neo Classical stylings of the county library.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Furniture
No two homes ever have the same blend of furniture and the type of furnishings in a house or apartment can speak volumes about the characters who live there. For example, a down-on-his-luck private detective might live in a studio apartment with a thread-bare couch from the 70s and an apple crate for his TV stand. That would paint a much different picture than if you described a four-bedroom penthouse with a Baker loveseat and fine art on the walls.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Landscaping
One of the best ways to invoke a certain impression of an outdoor setting is by describing the landscaping. Perfectly manicured lawns with cobblestone walkways will elicit a different response from overgrown hedges and weed-riddled yards. It will help if you learn how to identify different types of plants and landscaping tastes.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Metaphors
Any ordinary setting can be improved by creating a metaphor out of it. For example, endless acres of wheat crops might resemble the waves of a gently rolling ocean at certain times of day, while several authors have compared a particularly clear sunset with an abstract water-color painting.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Juxtaposition
Juxtaposition occurs when two objects are placed side-by-side or at close physical proximity, sometimes for comparison. For the purpose of your story or novel, you can use juxtaposition to describe important objects so that the reader has a frame of reference. For example, if the tops of trees soar higher than the tallest building in a community, the reader has a pretty good idea that the trees are old and tall without having to say so in as many words.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Random Objects
I believe I’ve mentioned this point in a previous article, but I want to cover it again. Setting doesn’t always have to be about the most obvious descriptions; you can impress upon the reader a realistic vision of your setting by focusing on seemingly insignificant objects. For example, the main character might be focused on the barely perceptible ticking of a clock on a shelf, which might indicate that he’s pressed for time. You’ve killed two birds with one stone.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Reflections
This is considered by some to be a cheap trick, but it has its place in fiction writing. When you’re writing from the POV of one character, you can’t very well have him describe himself. A way around this is for him to catch his reflection in a mirror or window. In order for this to work, however, there must be something remarkable about his appearance – either in general or in relation to how he normally believes he looks.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Seasons
In addition to writing about the weather to establish the setting, you can also reference the seasons. An oak tree is going to look very different in the spring from how it looks in the winter. Referencing the season can give you a reason to comment on the grass, the temperature, the precipitation and any number of other random things.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Speed
In many cases, your setting will not be one specific place because your character is on the move. When he or she is driving a car, flying in an airplane or sailing on a boat, you can describe the speed at which the vehicle is moving to clarify the setting.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Impressions
This tool for creating a setting is useful mostly when writing for the first-person POV. The main character comments on something within his or her line of sight (or hearing or smelling or touching) that invokes a strong memory or emotion. This can also serve to further your plot while giving the reader a clear understanding of the setting.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Food
All of us love food and your characters have to eat sometime. When they sit down at the table for a meal, you can describe the food in exquisite detail. You might comment on the spiciness of the salsa, the saltiness of the French fries or the sweetness of the cake. It is also important to describe the mood of the meal; a family of six sitting down for pizza is much different from two lovers enjoying pasta by candlelight.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Texture
Soft as satin; hard as steel; rough as tree bark; we use texture to identify objects in our everyday lives, so why not in our fiction writing? Don’t forget that you need to give your reader an exhaustive understanding of the setting, so don’t leave out the sense of touch to define an object or person.
Improve the Setting in Your Fiction Writing: Colors
I don’t just mean talking about the blue sky or the red blood or the yellow sun. Take the time to learn the names of seldom-used colors and use them to portray the very essence of a color used in the setting of your story. Metaphors and similes work well for this purpose, as well.
Self Publishing . . . more on Spike’s value-added topic . . .
Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
The Benefits of Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing
Modern book publishing offers authors more opportunities and a wider array of options than ever before. Innovations such as eBook publishing and POD (print-on-demand) services have allowed authors who are unable to interest a traditional publishing house in their book idea to pursue publication on their own, using either a Web-based publishing platform or a custom printing service. Traditional and self-publishing each offer specific advantages that authors should weigh to determine which arrangement would work better for them, based on their individual needs, goals, circumstances, and skills.
Advantages of Traditional Publishing:
1. Compensation: According to WritersServices.com, traditional publishing houses typically pay their writers an advance on the royalties they expect a title to earn, followed by the balance in actual royalties based on sales. Royalties can range anywhere from about 7.5% to about 15% or higher and are usually set by the publisher. Many writers prefer receiving this lump sum up front and consider it one strong advantage of traditional publishing companies.
2. Editing Services: When a publisher accepts a book manuscript for publication, its in-house editor completes a thorough edit, which relieves the author of the expense and/or responsibility of handling this crucial aspect of the publishing process. Most publishers require their editors to hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, and preferably one in a related field, such as English or Journalism, ensuring competent editing.
3. Publishing and Printing Costs: Traditional publishers cover all printing and publishing costs and assume all the risks of publication, which can prove a significant advantage to an author, since costs can range in the thousands of dollars, according to professional writer/editor Lillie Ammann’s Self-Publishing Primer.
4. Publisher-Initiated Marketing: Traditional publishing houses generally handle book marketing, though most expect their authors’ cooperation in publicizing, promoting, and marketing their titles.
5. Perception/Legitimacy: Many people perceive traditional publishing to be more legitimate than self-publishing. They often assign greater credibility to titles released by a major publishing house than they do to those published by an unknown or less well-known author. This is partly due to the poorly edited books many self-published authors release on a regular basis.
Advantages of Self-Publishing
1. Publication Speed: Self-published books can be brought to market in several months or less, whereas print books can take as long as two years to reach their market. eBooks are fastest of all, with the complete process sometimes taking as little as a few weeks. The Internet has significantly sped up the book-publishing process.
2. Author Control: With electronic self-publishing, authors retain complete control of the planning, editing, publishing, and marketing process. Book format, cover design, and other such critical decisions are made entirely by the author. POD publishing, however, typically offers less control.
3. Retention of Rights: All rights to truly self-published books belong to the author, which means the author can do whatever s/he desires with the book at any time, rather than having to work within the constraints set by a publishing house. With POD publishers, author rights can be somewhat limited.
4. Online Marketing: In late 2010, Cisco Systems predicted that the number of Internet users would rise to 25 billion by 2025 and will by then have produced $3 trillion in revenue (http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2010/ekits/Evolving_Internet_GBN_Cisco_2010_Aug_rev2.pdf). With growth like that, book marketing will become easier than ever before. The above report also considered the Internet to still be in its youth – or even its infancy – since almost five billion people have never “surfed” the Web and fewer than one-fifth use the Internet regularly, creating a huge amount of untapped marketing potential
5. Virtually No Excess Inventory: Today’s popular POD custom printing service option allows independent authors to print books as needed rather than creating large press runs that could potentially leave them with stacks of unsold books. Printing books individually, when ordered, also prevents authors from having to ship and store large numbers of books.
Book publishing has changed a great deal in the last decade, and most people believe that change has been for the better. Self-publishing has empowered authors in new and exciting ways, while still leaving the door to more traditional publishing methods wide open for those who prefer to pursue them.
Jessica Wiener is an expert in the online printing industry. When she is not writing for http://www.print360.com/, you can find her cooking up a storm in her kitchen.
“New” F. Scott Fitzgerald story . . .
The New Yorker magazine has published a 1936 story by the famous American author of The Great Gatsby which has never been published before. Here’s the link to Thank You For the Light.
Great words . . .
From Word Spy Paul McFedries:
n. The snatching of a person’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
Nabbing electronic devices isn’t new. But lately it is growing “exponentially” according to a 2011 report from the New York Police Department. The lucrative secondhand market for today’s niftiest handsets has produced an explosion in “Apple picking” by thieves. A used iPad or iPhone can fetch more than $400.
– Rolfe Winkler, Fighting the iCrime Wave, The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2012
The robbery rate is running higher this year on the Chicago Transit Authority system, new data show, and police link the crime increase to “Apple picking” by young thugs stealing smartphones from passengers.
– John Hilkevitch, Smartphone thefts boost CTA robbery rate, Chicago police say, Chicago Tribune, July 11, 2011
The interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, calls it the “iPhone effect,” and the police talk of thieves’ “going to pick apples” on the Métro.
– Eldritch, ‘Apple picking’ plagues Paris metro, The Apricity Forum, January 9, 2011
Notes: Note that the earliest cite is just an illegal reprint of a New York Times story. However, the Times article doesn’t use “Apple picking” in the title, so the stolen version gets credit for the earliest use. (Although I note with some satisfaction that the user who stole and reprinted the Times article has been “banned” from the forum.)
Related Word: iCrime
The Last Word/Food for Thought:
“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” ~ Neil Gaiman