Friday, April 21, 2017

Writing Fiction: Name That Character

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


How do you name your characters?

Some popular authors have created unique names for their characters, while others have used common names. JK Rowling uses names like Dumbledore, Romilda, Lovegood, and Nymphadora. Stephenie Meyer uses Edward, an ordinary name, for the hero of the Twilight series, as well as other common names such as Jacob, Renee, Jessica, and Alice.

A name will have different associations for different readers depending on their own unique experiences. For example, one reader may think that the name Angie is associated with a fat, ugly girl while another may think of someone extraordinarily beautiful. It’s impossible, as a writer, to predict how readers will react to a name, but you can do some minor research to make sure the name you choose fits your character. Once you choose a name, try it out on friends, writing partners, or critique groups to get a feel of how people will react to the name.

Here are some ideas on how to find names for your characters:

Baby Name Book. These books are readily available and generally include the definition of the name as well as different variations. Many baby name books will include a list of the most popular names of a particular year or other time span.

Social Security Name Index.
Go here: www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames and it will give you the most popular 100 names of any given year. This is especially helpful if you’re writing a story set in the past. You can also determine the popularity of the name you’ve chosen for your character.

Use names of Relatives. You can search through family records and genealogy charts to find unique names.

Yearbooks. Find high school yearbooks and search through the pages to find names.

Phone Book. A local phone book can provide you with many names, both first and last. You can simply choose a page and see if any of the names on that page appeal to you.

Names You Wanted for Your Children. Many women who write tend to choose names for their characters that they wanted to name their children but were unable to do so.

Combinations. You can combine certain names and see if the name you’ve created appeals to you.

Your characters are your “babies.” Make sure you name them well.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Want a Successful Website?

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member


Here are some great suggestions that have served me well.

1. Make sure that you have the right colors in it. No wild colors. They make you look irresponsible and provide too much chaos for the eye. You will lose most serious buyers. Blue conveys trust, yellow attracts the eye. It is all right to use three to four colors throughout. If you market for children you can use more colors, but still don’t go overboard. It’s the parent you need to convince to buy your products.

2. Watch the terminology you use. If you use words that will identify you as an eighty-year-old, it may not greatly impress your younger buyers. Be professional and don’t use slang or mannerism.

3. Have a nice, professional-looking picture. Not too big and not too small of a head shot. Passport size works nicely.

4. Use words throughout the site that are eye catching and very searchable. This will bring more costumers to your site from search engines.

5. Each page should have buttons that call the reader to take action. Place "Buy here" buttons in the left hand upper corner and in a couple of other places on the page.

6. Make sure you have a page where you offer something for free. People love freebies and they will trust you more if you give them something for free. You could also use this page to have all your visitors sign in and leave their emails, then use these emails to keep in touch with your possible costumers when you have something else to offer. Alternately, have readers sign up for your emailed newsletter list.

7. Use top tabs to move from page to page. Keep it simple. If possible use one word on each tab. A semi-dark tone of yellow will make them stand out. Have an image of your book covers prominently displayed.

8. Be clear on what you are selling by using a catch phrase. If you are selling books, say so on the main page above or below the image of your book covers. Your catch phrase could be "The greatest fantasy book since…" or "This technology book will change your future," etc.

9. A page for announcement or events can attract your fans.

10. Make sure that you keep your site up to date. Change something on it every week. This will keep your frequent visitors interested. Otherwise they will stop coming to your site. List your events, or add a blog that you need to update every week. Remember that blogs don’t need to be very big; in fact many people don’t have time to read long speeches. Go for fifteen lines, and if you have more than that, divide it in pieces and add the next installment the following week. It's very important to tell your visitors when you will publish the next piece, and then deliver it on time.

11. A page with links will help to push your website up on the list of millions that exist in the web. Make sure you click in your links. If they are not working, contact the source and have them fixed as soon as possible. If they are no longer there, take them out.
~~~


Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Writing Fiction: Definitions

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


When you’re writing fiction, it’s important to understand some basic writing definitions in order to effectively write your story. Here are a few definitions to help you:

Protagonist This is the main character, the character who changes throughout the story. The protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be human, but the protagonist does need to grow and become different by the end of the story.

Antagonist This is what stands in the way of the protagonist accomplishing his story goal. The human antagonist doesn’t need to be a villain per se, only prevent the protagonist from obtaining his goal. The most interesting stories are those when the antagonist also has good qualities and may even struggle to fight the bad within him.

Plot The events that move the story forward toward its conclusion.

Story Goal The protagonist must have a goal. The goal must be important enough to the protagonist that he will sacrifice to obtain that goal. The goal must be obvious to the reader so that the reader will side with the protagonist in his attempt to reach his goal.

Conflict Each story must have conflict. Without conflict there is no story. Conflict may come in the form of man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. fate/God/the universe, or man vs. society. The conflict must affect the protagonist adversely.

Obstacles Closely related to conflict are the obstacles that the protagonist encounters on his path to reach his goal. Obstacles may be in the form of other people, time, the character’s own weaknesses, or anything else that prevents the protagonist from obtaining his goal.

Story Arc A fiction story must evolve, it cannot remain static. An entire book about mundane happenings would not provide interesting reading and probably wouldn’t even be published. The story must move forward and be active.

Scene A scene is moment-by-moment action. A scene includes everything that happens and brings the reader into the action of the story.

Sequel As opposed to a scene, sequel is the follow-up to a scene and  is when events are only summarized. Long segments of time can elapse in a sequel and the reader doesn’t experience the action as he does in a scene.

Once you begin to understand the mechanics, you can write fiction that has a better chance of publication.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A “How To” for Aspiring Authors

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member


What should you do when you want to write a book?
  • First thing “Keep your day job.” To publish and promote your books takes money and sometimes lots of it. Promotion may include travel, business cards, bookmarkers, renting tables at fairs, posters, and free copies for reviews, etc. Most reviewers will require one or more free copies of your book, and so will any contests you enter. You will also need to provide most interviewers with a free copy or your book.
  • Once upon a time the publishing houses helped you promote your book. In our day reality is becoming quite different. In many cases the author pays for tickets, gas, and hotels. If you write fantasy, you will want to promote your books in many fantasy fairs. The best ones will charge from $50 up to much more, often $200 for the right to have a table. This is without counting the need for someone to help you and the cost of food and gas.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get down to writing.
  • Make a habit of writing every day even if it is only for a few minutes or a few phrases. This exercise will keep you in tune with the story and your characters.
  • Have friends look at your stories for common grammatical errors. You can tell them that you will put their name in your book if they get it back to you in three weeks, as a way of acknowledging their work.
  • Join a local chapter of a writer’s organization and learn from them. Usually they have members that will coach you to be a better author, and you will always learn from others experiences.
  • Join a group of critics and submit chapters for their review. You have to learn to accept negative comments along with the good ones. Critique others’ books and read those submitted by and for other authors. I have learned a lot by doing this.
  • Register on sites that promote blogging and maintain an active profile. Start blogs so people can get familiar with your name or rather your pseudonym. Two blogs a week that are no longer than 15 lines is good.
  • Write articles and small stories to send to everyone who has a press (online magazines, newspapers, university presses, etc.) Keep a folder with all the articles or stories anyone has printed for you.
  • Start conversations with strangers and get adjusted to talking with them. (This is great preparation for when you have fans.)
  • Research everything. (You don’t want to write something misleading or wrong only to have it pointed out to you after your book is published.)

Try a few of these items every day until you can feel comfortable doing all of them. Writing a book is the easy part… getting it published and then promoting it once it is published is a different ball game and a very demanding one.
~~~


Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Writers Write

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


Do you really want to write?

That’s a question we all need to ask ourselves. If the answer is no, then you should find something else to do with your time. If the answer is yes, then you need to evaluate what that “yes” means.

Do you want to write when it’s convenient? When you have nothing else to do? Only when inspiration hits? Are you willing to sacrifice other things to write?

I’ve always wanted to write. I started in elementary school with a bound journal. My “book” was a mystery based on the Encyclopedia Brown series. I even illustrated it. Junior high hit me hard and I put aside my writing.

In high school, I took a creative writing class that triggered my desire to write again. But, when I went to college, I forgot about writing while I studied and then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

I married and started a family. While raising my young children, I knitted, crocheted, gardened, and took piano lessons. I then took a creative writing class at a local community college and realized that if I wanted to write, I had to stop waiting for the perfect time and just be committed enough to it to sacrifice the other things I liked to do. Of course, my family always came first (and still does), but I gave up knitting, crafts, piano, training horses, and scrapbooking to concentrate on writing.

I signed up for online forums, took online classes, attended workshops, and read book after book on writing techniques. I also read books in the genre in which I hoped to write. It took time, especially as I squeezed it in between raising my growing family and caring for my aging grandparents. It wasn’t easy, but I learned a valuable lesson.

We can make time for that which we feel is important. People will say, “I just don’t have time to write.” If you find yourself saying that, you may not be as committed to writing as you believe you are. We make time every day to exercise, watch TV, go to movies, play computer games, surf Facebook, write and read emails, or thousands of other activities that use up our time. Writing may mean giving up some of those things.

And, really, if you’re committed enough to writing, you won’t miss them.

Being a writer means parking your behind in the chair and writing. Day after day, week after week, year after year–even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard, and working through it all to your finished product. Writers write.

So, ask yourself, do you really want to write?
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to interview and be interviewed

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member


It is simple: be a guest on someone else’s blog or have a guest on your blog. Especially when your book is coming out. You can always find an author or someone extraordinary to swap interviews with. You want to choose those with many followers, but a little is exposure too.

Follow others' blogs before you ask them for an interview. It is good form. Follow people relevant to what you want to promote,: i.e., if you promote books, befriend some authors and a lot of readers.

Where to follow them? Facebook, twitter, Linkedin, Goodreads, Shelfari, but mostly on their blogs. Why follow them? Do unto others what you would like done to you. Help them and they will help you.

Now that you are friends, read their interviews, comment, and copy some of their questions and then make them relevant to the topic that fits your guest. In anther words, be inspired and write your own.

Keep a list of questions and answer them according to your expertise or what you want to promote. Then when someone tells you they have never done an interview, you can tell them that you have one handy and can send it to them. This also works for you. Answer the question yourself and you have an interview ready when someone wants to do yours and doesn’t know how.

Many bloggers struggle to find things to put on their blogs and they would love to have material ready to post. It helps you and them.

Here are some interview-making tips:


  1. Be professional and double edit your interview
  2. No negative talk or bad language
  3. Be timely
  4. Invite everyone you know and their dogs to go see it, when the post goes live
  5. Remember to go to the site where the interview is being hosted and make sure you leave a comment that says how thankful you are for being a guest
  6. Also go back often to answer any questions the visitors have for you.
  7. Do not forget to add live links to all the places your book is sold.
  8. Make sure you tweet the interview and put it on Facebook with a live link, all that week and every so often after that week.
  9. Be polite, but funny. We all love a good laugh.
~~~

Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Your Novel in One Sentence

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


Before you begin your novel, you’ll want to focus on the core of your novel.

One of the best ways to find the very center of your novel is to use only one sentence to describe it. This will not only serve to keep you focused on the story as you write it, it will also help you to pitch your novel to potential agents or publishers. Think of this one sentence as your twenty-second selling tool.

Try to boil the story down to one sentence. Though it may seem difficult, if not impossible, it is an excellent exercise for you to pinpoint the main plot of your novel.

For example, the one sentence for Gone With The Wind might be, “A spoiled southern belle must learn to readjust to life after the Civil War.” Of course, this doesn’t begin to touch on all of the subplots, but it gives you an overview of the story.

For the Harry Potter series it might be, “An orphaned boy discovers he’s a wizard and must use his newfound powers to battle evil.”

One sentence to describe Twilight could be, “An ordinary teenage girl falls in love with a vampire and must sacrifice her normal life to be with him.”

Learning to condense your story in one sentence is an art form. Research one sentence book blurbs in newspaper book reviews or on the internet to see how effective one sentence can be. Write your own one-sentence descriptions for books you’ve read. Once you have the hang of it, try it on your own novel.

Take your story-in-a-sentence and post it next to your computer or near your desk so you can see it while you write. You’ll find that it keeps you centered on your story.

If your focus is on traditional publishing, you’ll also find that you can use your sentence in your query letter when the time comes to send out your novel to potential publishers or agents. You can whet the appetite of industry professionals with a well-written sentence.

Go ahead and try it. It may take you an hour or it may take you all day, but see if you can describe your novel in one sentence.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.