Statistics

If you’re a writer, whether published or unpublished, you know by now that the market is cyclical. What was hot a couple years of go–sparkly vampires–is no longer the in Product Detailsthing. No one knows what the next big trends will be? (According to LitRejections, Harry Potter was rejected by twelve publishers and that’s not taking into account how many agents rejected JK Rowling.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by [Rowling, J.K.] Or how long the run will last.

This makes it hard to also know what books will fall out of favor. Several of my mystery/thriller writer friends and I have discussed the fate of our genre. With the increase of *worldwide terrorist attacks from 391 in 2015 to 759 attacks just between January 2016 to June 2016, it worries us as to whether or not readers will want to read  mystery/thrillers/suspense novels anymore. So far, I can’t find statistics to point in one direction or the other, which is frustrating. However, my friends and I decided to heed the advice of several agents, which is write what you love and ignore the trends.

 

 

 

*WPA statistics

Women Crime Writers

As I type this the Olympics are in full swing and there is an uproar, rightly so, over the way the media is treating the female athletes. If you don’t know about it, it is in regards to their degrading comments that have nothing to do with the women’s athletic abilities.  Sadly, this is not new for women.

Not for women athletes.

Not for women crime/mystery/thriller writers.

Recently, an article in The Atlantic declared, rightly so, that women writers are dominating the crime/mystery/etc. market with books that have twisty, emotional characters that reek havoc on the supporting cast. The author, a male, admitted to reading and enjoying these type of novels. It’s nice to see that these writers are receiving some of the attention they deserve.  I can only hope this continues and translates to better book contracts for women authors.

 

Highest Paid Authors

I have a confession and admitting it will not make me popular with quite a few people, but that isn’t going to stop me from writing it here.

I’m a huge fan of James Patterson.

I know. I know. I can hear you booing loudly. But even if you aren’t a fan of his writing (which I am), you should at least respect his business acumen. He has turned his writing into a serious business. Yes, I know he hires “coauthors” and they do most of the writing, but once again, it should be admired that he has figured out how to make it in this tough business.

If you don’t believe me, check out this article on GallyCat. It listed the 12 highest paid authors and James Patterson made number one on the list, beating out the competition by $75 mil. That’s right, he blew away the next author on the list by almost 40%. So boo all you want, he’s laughing at all the naysayers as his bank account grows.

Summer’s Gone

Goodbye summer and hello to the new school year. The youngest two Dahl children went back to school last week and the oldest returns this Thursday, her last year at middle school. Next school year, I’ll have a kid in elementary, middle, and high school. So, I’m going to enjoy the simplicity of only dealing with two school calendars this year.

How To Write Action Scenes

If you can’t tell by now, I love the Writer Unboxed blog. I always learn something from their posts and so it’s no surprise that I’m passing it on again today. Guest post author, Jessi Rita Jones, writes that “action scenes need to pop.” That these scenes are not as “forgiving” as other scenes and need to deliver. Read the post here. My two favorite tips:

  1. Too much focus on the character’s pain.
  2. Side-ways moving action–“The action must rise or escalate in tension…”

Best Mother’s Day Gift

This week, I received feedback from an agent on a full manuscript submission. She shredded it mostly due to errors that if I was willing to have it professionally edited she’d take another look. The high note was she loved the premise! Yay for that. The letter hit me hard as I have two critique partners edit my manuscript and because I try to send out my best work. Always.

My wonderful hubs and I talked about it. We discussed that maybe I needed the extra help because I don’t know what mistakes I’m making and neither do my CP’s. But I knew the cost would be out of our normal budget and so I didn’t even ask if I should pursue that avenue. Imagine my surprise on Mother’s Day when he gave me money to get my manuscript edited. Yes, I cried and gave him a big hug and smooch. He’s so supportive and I feel lucky to have been married to him for the last eighteen years.

I hope all Mothers had a wonderful day yesterday.

Outlining A Manuscript

My sister is thinking of writing a book herself and wanted me to take the James Patterson class with her. I’d told her no because I’d heard that it was basic and more for beginners. I figured I was a bit past that. However, when I was forced to stay off my feet for six weeks, I relented and agreed to take the class with her, assuming that it would be good practice.  And win me brownie points in the awesome sister department.

We made a pact to take all of the classes and to complete all of the assignments. I dove into it with the excitement of a soggy pickle, but I stuck with it.  To my astonishment, I learned something. There’s a class dedicated to outlining and I really wanted to ditch it. I’m a panster and I’ve tried every way to outline. I know it would make my writing go smoother, but every time I tried, my mind would go blank. One time, I tried to think of a different ending for a manuscript that I’d already completed and I couldn’t come with a single thing for three weeks. Finally, I parked my butt in the chair and pounded out the new ending. It’d had taken the actual act of writing to massage my brain into providing the answer. So, I wasn’t going to even try outlining like the homework asked, but I’d promised my sister and I like to keep my promises.

It takes James Patterson months to outline, but the lesson didn’t require us to come up with a whole novel, only to try brainstorming scenes.  According to Patterson, he doesn’t always use all of the scenes. He picks which ones work and which ones that don’t. He also goes rogue when writing so it’s a loose outline. I looked at the example provided and started writing scenes down. Amazingly, in two weeks, I had enough scenes to string together that I thought worked. Now, I’m in the process of writing the story. And it’s easier. I have about two hours everyday to write and usually, I’m lucky if I get a thousand words typed. This week, I wrote over twelve thousand words, averaging over two thousand a day.

This has proven so helpful that I’m already brainstorming scenes for my next WIP. We’ll see how it pans out, but I’m hoping outlining will become my new norm.

 

 

Writing Books

Recently, I was forced to slow down and take things easy, which left me plenty of time for reading. Mingled in with quite a bit of thrilling fiction were six books on writing. The first one I read told me I could write a book in one day. Unfortunately, that author was telling people how to publish, badly, an e-book on Amazon. I don’t recommend this to anyone. It’s a horrible idea and was only pubbed by the author so s/he could steal money from beginning writers. However, there were two books I loved. The first one was Janet Evanovich’s How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author and James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel from the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers, and Everyone in Between.

The last one is the one I keep referencing as I’m writing my new WIP. I love his mirror moment where the main character has a “moment” in the middle of the novel where s/he looks at the forces against them. Either they asses what type of person they are or have become or for plot driven fiction they look at the odds against them, which must be horrible, and wonder how they’ll survive. This point helps the writer plot/write on either side of the moment. The author should know from that spot how the character will over come or give into the odds.  If you’re writing from the beginning you know you have to get your character to that point. It makes it seem so simple and it gives such depth to the story. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend you do.

What are writing books that you love or books you’ve read that you can now see that mirror moment?