Skip to content

Posts by TXRed

Some Semi-Random Observations

The observation-lemur observes.

I had not planned on releasing three very different books in the space of three weeks. In fact, one of them wasn’t supposed to be written at all! But the Evil Muse, and the success of what was supposed to be a set of stand-alone stories was such that I released a short urban-fantasy novel, the tenth Cat Among Dragons book, and the second Shikari book in three weeks.

So, what were the results? 1) A frazzled author. Read more

Where do You Shelve: Amazon Categories

I was poking around a few writers’ blogs that I know of, and found this really useful article about making the best use of categories on Amazon. You can now go up to ten categories, not just multiple key-words.

http://writersinthestormblog.com/2018/05/using-amazon-categories-to-sell-more-books/

Some Interesting Information…

One of the hotly debated topics around the publishing and writing side of the ‘Net is “Just how big is Amazon anyway, and is it a threat or a menace?”  OK, the last only if you are B&N or if you are a TradPub accountant trying to sort out what’s wrong with the bottom line.

Over at The Passive Voice, Felix J. Torres has some really interesting links and numbers. As it turns out, the ‘Zon’s not as big as it seems:

https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-dominance-of-amazon-needs-to-be-addressed-but-it-is-far-more-attributable-to-natural-circumstances-than-it-is-anybodys-fault/#comment-414693

Food for thought.

Help, my plot’s stuck!

That plot’s not going anywhere without some help.

Your hero is pondering something of world-shaking gravitas, and

Screech!

You hit a wall. Or your readers hit a wall (hopefully just your alpha readers). And you cannot unlock the scene for love, money, or little green apples. What do you do?

You can skip to something later in the story and write that, after marking your  file with [fill in]. You can go rotate the cat and clean the living room just to get away from the screen or notepad, but you must return to the work at some point in time. You could go to the old faithful “Just then, a shot rang out.” Or you can try doing the scene essay-style.

Read more

Folktales in Fantasy

Something fantasy this way comes…

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about using folktales in fiction, especially fantasy. I bought a CD of Songsmith, filk written to go with the novel of that title. The book was a collaboration set in Andre Norton’s Witchworld, and the songs are about events in the book, or are referred to by one of the main characters (a bard). Norton uses a lot of folk tale and historical references in the Witchworld series, but so deftly that unless you are really looking for them, you’ll miss how she weaves them in.

That’s what I want to focus on. Not on re-working fairy tales and folk-tales as Mercedes Lackey, Diana L. Paxton, Robin McKinley, and others have done, but using details from folk-tales and history as story elements. Read more

MICE is Nice: Event Stories

This seems appropriate, since a feast of the Western Church that is heavily event driven falls on this date this year. An event happens! The Yellowstone Supervolcano erupts! The guy who wants to rebuild Atlantis wins the lottery! An anvil falls on the road runner! Boy meets girl and…

An event shapes and drives the story. That event could be an unjust accusation that spurs the quest for revenge, or to clear the hero’s name. It could be a (un)natural disaster that leads to the search for reasons. It could be a girl meeting a boy and being spurned, then seeking to get even or to win his love. In the original Burgundian Nibelung Saga, cursed gold along with a betrayal and false marriage start the events that lead to disaster.

Read more

MICE is Nice: Character Stories

Character stories seem to be some of the easiest for me to write, at least until the characters flip me the Hawaiian Peace Sign and head off into parts unknown-to-author.

What is a character story? Oh boy, I’ve found three different definitions, and I don’t entirely agree with any of them. One, Orson Scot Card, says that character stories are driven by the character’s desire or need to change something about herself or her situation. An English textbook says it is any time an individual is the main plot driver, and an academic paper went so post-modern that I gave up trying to understand what the author meant once I got past “the main character is also the protagonist.” Read more