Category Archives: genre writing

Why Can’t I be As Successful As Rowling or King???? (Or, the reasons why you’re not successful yet)

sucessThere are many writers out there who are feeling discouraged.  Why can’t their work be recognized by others?  No one’s buying or reading; or, they have only a few buyers/readers.  Rejection after rejection keeps hitting the email box.  What are they doing wrong?  What aren’t they doing right?

Realistically, you can’t (although it does happen) expect fame/stardom over-night or instant recognition for a work well-done.  Like Rowling or King, success didn’t just come.  It took several years.  Hundreds of rejections.  Eventually, it came to pass.  For these two, they made millions (both in dollars and in fans); but for the rest of us, success comes in various sizes.

So, why aren’t you successful?   Hmm…success means different things to each writer.  It could mean selling 1,000 copies of your memoir.  It could mean earning more than $3,000 each month through various copywriting projects.  For another, it could mean having thousands of followers/subscribers on a blog.

Here are some general reasons that I’ve come up with (feel free to add your input!):

1. Your craft/niche may not be developed enough. Write. Write.  And, then write some more. Learn what your weaknesses and strengths are, and how to play them up or down.  Find your voice.  This will set you a-part from the others.

2. People may not know you’re out there.  Start a blog and write about the things you’re passionate about.  Check out other writers’ blogs and web sites, and comment on their posts/articles.  Many of them will return the favor.  Seek out guest blogging and interview opportunities.  In a nutshell, this is called networking.  Marketing.  The more you put yourself out there, the more people will take notice.

3. The world isn’t ready for you (yet).

4. You may need to start at the “bottom” and work your way “up.”   You have a science-fiction novel that you love to have published, but no one and I mean no one is looking at you or your manuscript.  So, you really enjoy writing science fiction.  Try writing a few short stories in this genre, and then find small magazines/ezines to publish them. Get your name out there with a few minor publishing credits.  This will help improve your credibility as a serious writer.

I’m sure there are many other reasons, but these are probably some of the major ones.

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A Call for Guest Posts

thArtistic Crossroads is looking for guest bloggers!  If you’re interested, visit the Guest Post Guidelines page.  Any topic related to writing is wanted.

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Can You Tell Me?

This appears in the opening paragraph of which famous science fiction book?

 

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad’Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV.
— from “Manual of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan”

 

 

If you know the answer, post away in the comment section below!

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A Question For Those Who Write Serial Fiction

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What Is Science Fiction?

I searched the internet for the right definition of what Science Fiction is; but, there were very few choices to pull from.  Here is one I liked:

“Science fiction allows us to understand and experience our past, present, and future in terms of an imagined future.” —Kathryn Cramer, The Ascent of Wonder (1994)

Let’s turn to Wikipedia to look more closely to what “science” entails:

” ‘Science’ refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally explained.”

In order words, you need to have physical evidence to support that this particular hypothesis is true, and not junk science; however, not everything can be physically proven.   In the past (not so much now), this was where philosophy came in; hence, could this hypothesis be “logically and rationally explained” by using observations and assumptions that could be supported through experimentation?

Science fiction is different from Fantasy in that it is based on possibilities, whereas Fantasy is well, not  (entirely) possible.

For those who grew up during the 1950s and 1960s, how many Science Fiction stories have you watched (Star Trek anyone?) or read where certain technology has been taken and made into reality today?   Does any specific gadgets come to mind?

Those who write Science Fiction are fascinated with the seemingly unlimited possibilities, with what mankind can accomplish when using various forms/areas of science whether it be for good or for evil.  There are those who write to explore the many possible outcomes through alternate worlds or timelines (what would our world be like if Germany had won World War II?), or explore the consequences of various types of technology (what would our world be like if computers took over, and mankind became either slaves or extinct?).

Science is a very broad field which provides writers with almost endless choices for story ideas when writing fiction.

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Cast Your Vote!

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Horror Fiction Notables

Here are some of the most notable horror fiction out there:

1. The Watcher by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

2. The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft

3. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

4. The Island of Doctor Moreau By H.G. Wells

5. Dracula by Bram Stoker

6. Afterward by Edith Wharton

7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
In your opinion, what makes a story a horror fiction?

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Interview: Mel Trent

For this blog’s next interview, I’d like to introduce Mel Trent, author of Patient Zero as well as several other science fiction and poetry books.
 If you were to introduce yourself to a group of strangers, what would you say? Probably nothing!  I’m terribly shy.  I wait for others to make the first move.  It also depends on the situation..
How long have you been writing?  26 years.

What do you write?  Poetry and urban fantasy with occasional forays into science fiction and more traditional fantasy.

Did you always believe you were meant to be a writer?  Or was it an accidental discovery?  I don’t believe I was meant to be anything, as that implies a kind of predestination I don’t buy into.  I was always passionate about reading.  I started writing because I loved telling stories.  The passion for writing solidified when I read Stephen King’s It.  I guess that makes it accidental.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kinds of music?  Yes.  All kinds—classic rock, rap (in small, very specific doses), heavy metal, classical, country (again in small, specific doses).  It depends on my mood, rarely on the mood of the story or poem. Sometimes silence works, too.
What do you consider yourself: introvert, extrovert, ambivert? Total introvert.

What seems to be the recurrent theme(s) in your stories?  Anger. It’s a powerful motivator, and the outcome of actions based on anger can go either way.
If you could be any character of any books, who would it be?  It’s almost impossible to answer this with one character, so I’ll go with my current fictional crush – Istvan, from Kathe Koja’s Under the Poppy.  He’s charming, he’s gorgeous, he’s talented, he’s smart, he’s
tough, and he has a hot boyfriend.

 You consider yourself as: poet, writer, author, essayist, screenwriter, blogger, or more than one of these?  I usually stick to the term writer.  It’s simple and direct and encompasses many things.

Do you name your Muse(s)?  No.  He’s just Muse.
Which do you prefer: traditional, self publishing, or both?  Both have positive attributes, both have drawbacks.  I think it depends on what your goal is.  Self-publishing through Lulu has worked for me just as a way to say, “Look, I wrote an actual, physical book!”
What is the one advice you would offer to a new writer?  Be a student of the craft—write and read everything you can, and never stop being a student.
Do dreams inspire your writing ideas?  Absolutely, but more so as single images than as a whole. Dreams, when I try to narrate them, lack real narrative structure.  Images from dreams, such as a group of men plugged into some kind of power station to act as human batteries (used for the last NaNoWriMo I participated in), are easier to work with.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Let’s see.  I see myself being five years older.  That’s about it.  I don’t plan well.  I don’t
know what I’m doing five minutes from now much less five years.
Who is your favorite author? Why?  There are many, but Samuel R. Delany might be at the top of the list.  You don’t see the gay black man’s perspective in science fiction, and I love the fact that he’s willing to take a good hard look at gender, equality, sexuality and
humanity while wrapping it all up in science fiction packages that are every bit as well written as any “literature.”
What is your favorite quote? Why?  “If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate, and you would begin to die, act
crazy, or both.” –Ray Bradbury.  Because for me it’s very true, although sometimes, I like to let the poison build for a few days before I let it out.

Thank you for visiting us, Mel!  :)

Want to read more about her?  Visit her blog, The Thoughtful Trickster.

Also be sure to check out Mel’s storefront at Lulu for Patient Zero as well as all her other books!

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What Makes A Book “Cult Fiction”

What seem to be the common characteristics among books that attained “cult” status?    From everything I’ve read about cult fiction, it’s the readers who determine whether a book is cult or not as “cult fiction” seems to be a reader-generated genre rather than industry-generated.

Now, what does that really mean?

Industry-generated genres would basically encompass specific areas such as Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Drama, Mystery and Romance; and, in each of these areas can be further broken down into subs such as Detective Mystery, Paranormal Romance, and etc.

Whereas a cult book can come from any given areas above but had somehow garnered a following not because of its genre or plot or characters, but because something within its words, whether intentional or not by the author, grabbed a hold of its readers and they suddenly want to eat, drink, and breathe anything and everything that has to do with this particular book.

Thomas Reed Whissen in his Classic Cult Fiction: A Companion to Popular Cult Literature described the process of how a book becomes cult fiction:

“…these books had, in some mysterious way, been written exclusively with them in mind. They would become wildly enthusiastic about a current favorite, reading and rereading it, borrowing and lending it, broadcasting their enthusiasm to others, discussing it eagerly among themselves, carrying copies around with them, adopting the attitudes expressed in the book, speaking its language, affecting its pose, proselytizing its message. Gradually the book would catch on–to the surprise of everyone, including the publisher–and become a bestseller. Printing after printing would be exhausted as the word spread and curiosity grew.

People who ordinarily did not read were reading the book. People who told themselves they ought to be reading something else were reading the book. Critics could denounce or ignore the book, and curiosity would only mount. And if, as sometimes happened, the book was condemned–or, better yet, banned–excitement would intensify. Eventually the fever would break and interest decline, until the next cult book came along. These books, books of such intense and immediate appeal, inspired their generation, and to read them today is to gain tremendous insight into an era that continues to intrigue, baffle, even exasperate not only cultural historians but those who were cult followers themselves–not to mention those who merely lived through it and were never quite sure just what was going on.”

Whissen later went on to say that an author can not intentionally write a cult book:

“What distinguishes cult literature from other literary genres is primarily that a book acquires cult status on the basis of reader response rather than the author’s intention. Whereas an author can deliberately intend to write a novel of mystery or romance or fantasy, no one can set out to write a cult book intentionally. Whether or not the book becomes a cult favorite depends entirely on factors no author can control. The reading public will make what it wants of the book, and if it chooses to ignore a book, there is no way that book can inspire a cult.”

So then, are there any common attributes that are shared by various cult books?   Again, I haven’t been able to find any definitive answer to this.  Since cult fiction is basically a reader-generated genre, the attributes and reasons a book strongly resonate with its readers are as varied as the personalities and interests of its readers.  I believe that these attributes are more likely psychological ones rather than physical which make it that much more difficult to nail down specific elements that make up what is known as cult fiction.

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5 Tips On How To Keep Your Readers Coming Back For More

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How do you write a serial fiction that will have readers coming back for more?  Here’s a list of ideas that I’ve found that worked for others:

1. Post new chapters/sections in a timely fashion.  Don’t wait several weeks or months to post a new entry to your story.  Readers don’t like to wait very long to see what happens next.

2. Show, don’t tell.  Make your story come to life in a reader’s mind by showing what happen.  Allow the reader to lose her or himself in the world you created.

3. Try to end each section or chapter with a cliffhanger.  Give your readers no choice but to come back!

4. Make sure each entry is as free of grammatical errors as possible.

5. Find ways to make your story original.  Try something that few have dared to do.

Can you add other ways that would help increase the success of a serial fiction?

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Ways to Advertise Your Web Fiction

Okay, you started a web serial so now, how do you go about letting others know it exists?  One of the reasons you started this was to gain readers.  Right?

Here are a few possible ways:

1. Facebook

2. Twitter

3. Your personal or writing blog

4. Enlist it with the Web Fiction Guide

5. If you’re a part of a writing community, you can let your fellow writers know that you started a web serial and would welcome any comment and/or feedback.

For those of you who have successfully launched your web fiction, share with us (newbies) any other ways we can increase our readership base.

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Zombies!!!

Okay zombie lovers!  If you’re looking for some interesting reading in zombie gore, this list is for you!

Zombie Blog

The Zed Word

Zombie Research Society

If you’re interested in writing zombie stories and poetry, look into this up and coming ezine:

Z-composition

Know of any additional cool zombie sites? Feel free to post them in the comments!

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A Possible Serialized Fiction Of My Own

Ever since I heard about Yesterday’s Gone, I can’t stop thinking about starting my own serialized fiction.  I have had several different ideas in mind, and instead of doing each one of them separately, I’m going to combine them all into one. 

So far, I’ve spent this weekend drafting up the summary for the entire storyline; I’m now working out an outline for each ebook.   And there will be several.  Each ebook will average between 25 to 50 pages; the inaugural book will probably be the shortest of which I will also offer as a freebie to hopefully stimulate general interest.  

The genre of this series will be a combination of science fiction and YA, but mostly fantasy with a good dose of horror sprinkled in.

Stay tuned for future postings on this project!

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Serial Fiction: What are your thoughts?

Is serialization of your work a good idea? Is this something new in the publishing world?

Serial fiction is really nothing new. In the past, this was popular mostly in the form of comics. Stephen King’s The Green Mile was a serialized work of fiction. I think you get the idea.

Currently, there is a new series that is starting to gain in popularity called, Yesterday’s Gone. On Amazon, this ebook series, as of today, ranks 44th for Horror fiction. Since New York Times recently started to include ebooks in their Best Sellers list, it may not be too long before Yesterday’s Gone finds its way there.

While you’re still pondering on my questions above, go ahead and read this guest post by one of the authors of the series, David Wright.

What are your thoughts on serialized fiction? Would this be something you would try?

 

(Originally posted on my other blog, A Writer and Her Adolescent Muse)

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Defining Speculative Fiction

There seems to be various definitions of what speculative fiction is, but listed below are a few of the common themes I pulled from them:

1. It can be any genre or any format (including art) which includes a “fantastical” element to the overall story/picture

2. Deals with the hypothetical or more commonly, the “what if.”

Many, not all, seem to agree that speculative fiction is not purely fantasy.  Spec-fic (as it’s also known as) must be believable; in that this could happen.  After all, you’re speculating, exploring the many possibilities of a given event or idea.

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