Hello Book Brief-ers. Yesterday was my birthday.
And to celebrate my birthday, I have lots of giveaways planned for this week. There will be lots of prizes and lots of opportunities to win 1 2 or even 3 or 4 prize packs.
So here is the next giveaway!
And be sure to check out the previous giveaways from my birthday week:
Enter to win the entire Search and Rescue series by Katie Ruggle
Enter to win a signed copy of Dream Walker Lands of Mystica Book 1
Enter to win a copy of Illicit by Cathy Clamp
For Sale by Owner by Marlene Bateman
Published by Covenant Communications on October 3rd 2016
Genres: adult, contemporary, Romance
McKenzie Forsberg is headed home. She's quit her big-city job to return to her roots in the small town of Lake Forest. Kenzi hopes to buy her childhood home from her brother, Tom, as a way of revisiting the peace and security she's been missing in her life. But soon she is shocked to discover that the house has a pending sale, and Tom won't budge from the sale—not even for his sister.
Handsome widower Jared Rawlins catches Kenzie's eye until she realizes that he's the one who is buying her house—but he can only close the deal if he sells his own house by Christmas Eve. Jared is more than a little interested in Kenzie but has second thoughts when it seems that she may be sabotaging the sale of his home.
Slippery feelings of animosity and distrust ensue, with both Jared and Kenzie denying the chemistry between them. But then an unexpected discovery about their connected past puts a new twist in the dynamic. Now, can they put their differences aside and come to terms on a relationship that could last forever?
Some Practical Tips for the Beginning Fiction Writer
Guest Post by Marlene Bateman—Author of; For Sale by Owner
What It’s All About is “Who”
If you can’t create characters that are vivid in the reader’s imagination, you can’t create a great novel. Characters are to a novelist what lumber is to a carpenter. But fictional characters are not the same as flesh and blood human beings. Readers want to read about the exceptional, not the mundane. Readers demand characters be more handsome, ugly, ruthless, noble, vengeful, forgiving, or brave than real people. Create fresh characters that are not stereotypes. Add conflict into the dialogue. Character, not action, is what interests readers the most. It is the character that makes the action meaningful. For example, when Scrooge talks with his nephew at the beginning of A Christmas Carol, each vies for his own point of view and by doing so, each reveals his own character. There are three dimensions to every character:
- Physiological, is height, weight, age, sex, face, health, etc. Choose physical traits that affect the way a character would have developed since physical traits affect real people.
- Sociological refers to the character’s social class, what kind of neighborhood he grew up in, his politics, religion, the discipline he received. Human character is forged by the sociological climate in which an individual is nurtured.
- You must understand the dynamics of the character’s physiological development because that produces the conflicts and generates the narrative tension that your novel must have if it is to succeed.
The Three Greatest Rules of Writing Are Conflict, Conflict and Conflict
William Knott said, “The most elaborate plot in the world is useless without the tension and excitement that conflict imports to it.” There must be conflict between characters and this means insistence versus resistance. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the main character, McMurphy, wants to liberate the ward. Big Nurse does not, and does her best to maintain the status quo. That is conflict.
To strengthen conflict, you must equalize the forces of opposition. No one would pay to see Muhammad Ali fight a crippled midget. There can be no contest, no struggle, no story without evenly matched contestants. Good opposition requires that the antagonist counter each of the protagonist’s attempts to solve the problems with as much force and cunning as the protagonist exhibits. Be sure to give antagonists good motivation, give them points of view that are logical and reasonable so the reader can understand. Have well-motivated, well-rounded characters.
When a critic says a work is fast-paced, it is often because the writer keeps his characters engaged in intense conflicts and cuts directly into scenes with rising conflict. Inner conflicts make characters not only interesting but truly memorable. When a reader feels empathy with a character, it is because the character is in the throes of intense inner conflict. A character may be in pathetic straits but if he has no inner conflict, the reader will only feel pity, not empathy. Inner conflict confirms that the characters are involved, that something is at risk for them. The inner conflict needn’t be great, or the issues earth-shaking, they only need to be great in the mind of the character.
The Art of Great Dialogue.
Great dialogue expresses the will of the character indirectly. Characters who use indirect dialogue come across as more unique and interesting. Avoid direct dialogue, which expresses exactly what is on the character’s mind with no attempt by the character to demur, use subterfuge, lie, be witty, etc. Don’t answer questions directly.
Take time to brainstorm to try to come up with a line that is more clever and colorful. Most dialogue must be worked through to make it fresher, indirect, and more clever.
When looking over your dialogue, ask yourself:
- Is it in conflict?
- Is it trite?
- Can it be said better indirectly?
- Is the line as clever and colorful as it can be?
How to Satisfy Your Reader with a Great Ending
The point of a novel is the climax-resolution. To have a vibrant, vigorous, gripping novel, the characters must change as a result of conflict. No matter how well told a novel is, it is nothing without a good ending. The following five tips will help you develop a great climatic ending.
- Have a twist or a surprise. As a reader nears the end of a book, he knows things are coming to a head. Have a surprise, such as a protag stuck in a swamp, doomed, but in a burst of strength and determination, uses his belt to reach a tree branch and save himself. One example is when McMurphy is lobotomized, it looks like the rebellion in the cuckoo’s nest is over. The surprise comes when the Chief blasts his way out.
- Exploit powerful emotions. Reading is primarily an emotional experience. The reader experiences the emotions of the characters. The author’s object is to move the reader. At the climax, knock the reader over. When McMurphy is lobotomized, the reader is shocked. When Scrooge becomes giddy, so does the reader.
- Have justice prevail. Justice is vindicating the innocent, punishing the guilty and rewarding the virtuous. It is poetic justice when a man drowns his aunt in a bathtub, buys a boat with the insurance money, and drowns when the boat sinks. Readers crave to see justice done.
- Dig to find new facets of your character. Have your heroine finally wake up to the fact that her lover is a cad. Make it so the good guys finally escape prison camp. If the reader ends up cheering, you have created a truly magnificent climax.
- The climax should make the novel whole. While writing the book, you created story questions. After you resolve the core conflict, you must answer the secondary questions. Will the daughter continue to hate her father? Will the wife be reconciled to her cheating husband? You don’t have to answer fully, but most should be answered at least in part. A good climax leaves the reader feeling the story is finished. Scrooge has been transformed and will never be a miser again. McMurphy is dead, but the Chief has found his soul, escaped from the cuckoo’s nest, and is now free.
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BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent is a great read.