Three Links 3/5/2020 Loleta Abi

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Three Links 3/5/2020

Loleta Abi


1. “I’m always amazed at the people who start giving me advice as soon as they hear I’m a writer. Even though I’ve been published for over 30 years, they’re always sure they know more than I do.

And it’s worse for new writers. They’re bombarded with advice from all quarters—family, friends, mechanic, hairdresser, and of course that know-it-all guy at work.

I don’t know why, but everybody who’s ever read a bestselling book seems to think they know all about the publishing business. They don’t do this with lawyers or dentists, but they assume writers are starved for advice on how to conduct their careers.

And the clueless advice givers are always so confident. They often scoff when you try to clue them in. They’re the perfect illustration of The Dunning-Kruger Effect.” Trust your gut when it comes to advice. There’s good and bad advice out there. It basically boils down to practice, practice, practice. Read, read, read. And you will educate yourself on craft.

2. “The next run of my online Pulp Fiction Workshop starts up day after tomorrow (March 5) and it’s got me thinking about pulp “master” Lester Dent again. The course centers around the famous “how to” article “Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot” in which the co-creator and principal author of Doc Savage (writing under the house name Kenneth Robeson) lays out how to write a six thousand word short story in the pulp style. There’s a lot of solid advice there for anyone looking to write entertaining genre fiction of any length. I’ve also posted and discussed a separate article of his on choosing names for your characters

Lester Dent had some useful things to say. I’ve used the “formula” (and you can read here about how it’s actually more like a recipe than a formula) myself with some success, as have people who’ve gone through that workshop.

But what about Lester Dent himself?

You probably don’t even know his name. You might have some passing familiarity with the character Doc Savage, but maybe not—he’s slipped into obscurity in the last, oh, maybe thirty years. Because Lester Dent wrote using a number of pseudonyms, in magazines that haven’t seen the light of day since World War II, you might even have a hard time tracking” I think we can learn from every author. Good and bad.


Research & Fun Tidbits:


2. “Today was my flex day. I started off with my usual surf through social media, read blogs, etc.

Then I turned my attention to the Lanternfish manuscript. I always read my last chapter before starting, and managed to correct a couple of typos. (Probably missed some, too.) I do this to get back into the story.

My goal was to have them sail away from their stop in Giapon by the end of the morning. I kind of made it.

This is because there was a lot to do. Serang needed to appoint officers on her inferior ship. None of the people aboard like each other, but she made a good start with them. Its sail pattern is inferior, and its going to have a hard time even keeping up with Lanternfish or La Girona, and they aren’t fast ships.

This led to some team building when a new sail pattern required construction of additional sails. They used people from all the various factions and Serang made them work together.”

3. protagonist is the reader’s doorway into your story. As author Florence Osmund shares, if you get readers to care about that character, they’ll stick around until the last page to see what happens.

hooking readers with characters they care about

There is no shortage of articles and books that have been written about how to develop the main character (protagonist) of your novel—how to make him or her believable, authentic, unique, interesting, motivated, dynamic, vulnerable, dimensional, and flawed.

These are all good characteristics to keep in mind, but if the reader doesn’t care about the protagonist, the story will likely be doomed.

In my mind, caring for the character means that if they were a real person, you would jump to their aid if they needed it. For readers to become engaged in the story—whether it’s emotionally or intellectually—they must care about the main character, his or her journey, and the outcome.

Good storytelling is key to developing a deep interaction between the narrator and reader, taking the reader as close into the story and its characters as possible. One could argue that characters are the foundation for the whole story—the vehicle through whom your reader experiences the journey.

Making characters feel real to the reader is extremely important—without believable characters, readers won’t have someone in the story to like, dislike, or care about in any way, making the other elements of the story irrelevant. An effective narrator/reader connection makes a story come to life, and it can be accomplished with a protagonist that readers care about.

So how does one go about creating a cherishable main character, one that readers care about? Consider the following strategies:”

Some Things More Serious:

1. “ The above doomy headline is intended to catch your attention. However, it is merely a reflection of a report released on February 19 by the Authors Guild called “The Profession of Author in the 21st Century,” written by Christine Larson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Colorado. (You can read the full report here.)

She wrote, “The days of authors supporting themselves from writing may be coming to an end. The changing economy of publishing today means that reliable income and time—the metaphorical room for writing—are increasingly out of reach for many authors.” In other words, you can’t make a living as a writer.

The Authors Guild highlighted four major takeaways from this 52 page report. [My thoughts are found below the list.] These are from their website:

  1. It’s harder to make a living as an author now than in the past. Indeed, writing incomes have dropped by 24 percent since 2013. Three major factors” I’ve read this before. I think it depends on the field of writing you go into. Literary vs. genre. Literary is harder to make money in, I think. Genre is so expansive. You can go anywhere. Tell any story. Stretch your boundaries.

2. “Well, here we go again.

That’s my reaction, after a brief few hours of panic, about the coronavirus. (Yes, I know it’s called officially called COVID-19, and I know why it’s called that, because I do read the science. But because everyone else is calling it The coronavirus, we will too.)

Why am I being blasé? I’m actually not. I’ve just lived long enough to know that every once in a while, world events (or national events) throw a curveball at the expected.

Right now, I’m most reminded of the days before 9/11 (and a note on terminology: we’ve had 18 September 11ths since that one, but everyone knows what you mean when you say September 11). In those days, the broadcast news media believed that a sitting U.S. Congressman had murdered his lover, an intern. She had disappeared, and an investigation into her disappearance revealed her affair with the congressman. Juicy stuff, perfect for tabloid journalism. Yes, many other things were being ignored, but we were able to ignore them, because, at that moment, the country seemed relatively stable.

Then we had the terror attack on New York, Pennsylvania, and DC, and by September 12, that little murder story had become such old news it felt like it belonged to another era. In fact, when the police finally discovered the intern’s body, it barely made the news at all…until it became clear she had been killed by an active serial killer, not a congressman.

Anyway. I’ve been thinking about that sudden press shift. All of us, in every country around the world, have been following some of our pet news stories, whatever they are, from the election here in the U.S. to Brexit in Europe to many, many, many other things.” I did my own post on this. It’ll post 3/8/2020 at

I’m fond of saying that if you want to find out who your friends are, throw (or be the star of) a bridal or baby shower. People you think won’t respond will come through amazingly, while a couple of people you were sure would come through remarkably won’t bother to send an RSVP.

Likewise, through my involvement in becoming a published author long ago and through friends’ experiences, I found that becoming a published author can also result in some surprises.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.

Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.

The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.

But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.

2.’m launching a new series today and delighted to have Kate Quinn here to kick things off. The series? I’ve asked a number of well known authors to reflect on their years of writing historical fiction. Some of these authors have been writing successfully for more than thirty years. Some are based in the US, others in the UK. And they all have wonderfully successful novels.

Today, Kate Quinn discusses several topics and offers an in-depth look at what it’s been like to switch time periods.

Changing Horses Mid-Stream: An Ancient World Author Jumps To The 20th Century

From 23-26 July, Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel – the legendary scene of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 – will welcome over 100 world famous authors for a celebration of the crime genre like no other.

Returning for its 18th instalment, the award-winning Festival is established as a literary phenomenon, attracting an international audience to see the best in the business and the most exciting new talent as part of an unmissable programme of creative workshops, once in a lifetime talks and unique panels.”

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