A Happy Thanksgiving holiday from my family to yours!
Getting my indy published book into libraries or to the chinese marketplace are two topics that have interested me as an author. I was lucky to find articles on these topics this week. In addition, there is a nice tutorial on how to make a 3D book cover and business related articles about being an authorpreneur. Enjoy the links!
You meet characters every day. They bump into you at the local Starbucks, say “Hi” to you on the street, join you on a park bench and start a conversation, help you find the turkey stuffing and olives in the grocery store. These are the characters that help flavor life.
They can also be the characters that help flavor story.
Your main characters—both protagonist and antagonist—go through a lot more to get into the story. Mine get sketched out for the basic personality and character traits, then go through a long, involved interview to fill in the areas the common sketch misses. No, I don’t directly use everything in the sketches and interviews, but they do help to define how the character will respond to events and other characters in the story. That all comes out in the writing.
But, secondary (or tertiary) characters have an impact, too. They are the ones that help trigger behavior from a main character, set a tone for a conversation, challenge a main character to action or decision. Because of this, they need to be more than just cardboard cutouts placed in the scene. They need a backstory of their own, a reason for being where they are in the story.
That person that bumped into you at Starbucks, what was the reason for that bump? Was it accidental or purposeful? Do you still have your wallet? Was this a chance meeting with a casual friend? Or, was that an alien in disguise who planted a tracker in your pocket? Answering these questions help give the secondary character a reason for being in that location and a motive for actions.
Answers those questions help the event becomes something more than just a bump and maybe some spilled coffee. It might be a harbinger of events to come. It might be the beginning of a critical conversation where the main character learns important information that changes his or her day or life.
Depending on your genre, secondary characters set tone and guide events in a story. It is easy—especially in first draft—to blast through an event and just give a character object a name and move on. But on rewrite, think about who that character might be, why they were in that particular place and had a specific impact on the story. Answer a few questions about that person, then color in their event better. Make it impact the main character more and give the story a stronger direction.
Take the scenario where the main character is sitting on a park bench struggling with life issues. Crushing mortgage, pending divorce. Or, maybe he or she just found a small, metallic, round gadget in a hidden place in a room in their old brownstone apartment, and is trying to decide what it is and what to do about it.
The person who comes to sit next to them on the park bench can have any number of reasons for doing so. Is this person a kindly pastor or rabbi who may know your main character and will offer words of comfort or advice? Will that pastor or rabbi challenge their past decisions and help them find the truth in their life?
Is it a street person at the end of their medication and may act unpredictably at certain triggers? The conversation can start innocently enough, but some response by the main character could trigger aggressive or dangerous behavior. Is the street person armed?
Or, it is the park bench visitor a man or woman in black who knows what that gadget is, that your main character has it, and wants to recover it because the fate of the world, solar system, or galaxy hangs in the balance? Will the person in black launch your main character on a star-hopping voyage across the galaxy, or into intergalactic intrigue?
The reader doesn’t need to know all the details about the secondary character, but you do. What you know about that person helps you use the proper words, generate the appropriate dialog, add the correct drama and suspense to move the story along its path. It colors the event. The result is that the reader gets a sense of the secondary characters and sees the reason and motivations that drive the specific events in which they are involved.
All it really takes is answering a few questions.
Guy L. Pace, born in Great Falls, MT, spent the bulk of his growing-up years as a nomad. He attended 21 schools throughout the Northwest before graduating from high school. Under pressure from the Vietnam-era draft–ended up joining the US Navy. He served on the USS Newport News (CA-148) from 1970 to 1973, including combat operations in Vietnam in 1972.
He was a Navy journalist, and after the service worked primarily in community newspapers as a reporter, photographer, editor and finally a managing editor. Through all that, he managed to complete his Communications/PR degree. He changed careers, getting into computer support, training, networking and systems, and eventually information security. He retired in 2011 after more than 20 years working in higher education. In 2013 he retired his Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification (CISSP).
He lives with his wife, Connie, in Spokane, where he gets to spend time with children and grandchildren, and ride his Harley-Davidson.
Follow Guy L. Pace on his website at http://www.guypace.com
Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sudden-Mission-Guy-L-Pace-ebook/dp/B013TJ1GPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442944755&sr=1-1&keywords=Sudden+Mission
Available on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sudden-mission-guy-l-pace/1122511241?ean=9781513700915
Available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sudden-mission/id1029988117?mt=11
Author Lynette White claims that she is a pantser (an author that writes “by the seat of her pants”), but don’t let that deceive you. Her stories are often multifaceted and very complicated. The passion she has for life is always found in her stories. I am honored to introduce you to this intriguing author here on No Wasted Ink.
My name is Lynette White. I grew up in Central Montana in a tiny town that still barely has 200 people residing in it. As the result of two failed marriages, I spent many years as a single mom. Raising my son was my only priority.
Ten years ago my second son entered my life. He was a homeless teen who had lost his mother to cancer, and his father was in prison. He was such a natural fit to our family that I can’t imagine him not being a part of it anymore. My two sons have found their companions, and I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters-in-law and three granddaughters. My fourth granddaughter will join us in January.
I am a restless spirit with a passion for life. I have had many trials, tribulations, and successes in my life. For the most part I am an optimist, and I still believe in the kindness of the human spirit. While I am forced to accept the evil in the world around us, I refuse to believe there is no hope for mankind.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always had a passion for reading and writing, but it wasn’t until high school that the flicker of passion touched me. Three decades would come and go after that spark, and even though I continued to write and read I never progressed toward publishing.
Five years ago I moved home to take care of my terminally ill mother. One night as we sat in the living I mentioned that I had written three books that I hoped some day would be published. I just had no idea how to do that. She looked right at me and said “We raised you better than that. Dreams don’t just come true. They require some elbow grease.”
I returned to Salt Lake after she passed and within months my life changed forever. Do I think she had something to do with it? Absolutely! Believe what you want, but I know our loved ones are very near to us after they leave this mortal plane.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was quite recently actually. Despite the fact I already had my published works in eight anthologies, a progressive novelette, and my first novel in print I still didn’t consider myself a writer. It wasn’t until February of this year when I sat on my first panels at a writer’s convention that I honestly considered myself a writer, but it was slow realization. Truth is, I was suddenly horrified as the people started to fill the room of the first panel. By the time I completed my fourth panel of the weekend, answered countless questions from attendees, and had the book signing behind me that it finally hit me. “I can do this. I am a writer.” It was powerful moment for me.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
Enemy Unmasked is the second book of the Destiny Series. In Enemy Unmasked the twin cities of Tarson and Salaria are at a crossroads. What started out as simple raids done by greedy thieves and Goblins is rapidly progressing toward war as a far more powerful enemy takes notice. But, this book has much more to it than the protagonist realizing the danger his cities are in. There are several enemies that are revealed.
What inspired you to write this book?
That would be my editor. You see, The Destiny Series was originally written as a trilogy. However, as my editor completed The Enemy Within she told me that it was too long and really needed to be two books. At that point we looked at the second book Darkest Night and it was decided that it was also too long. We decided at point to take the last part of The Enemy Within and the first part Darkest Night and combine them into one book. The trilogy became a series and the two books began to transform into Enemy Unmasked.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I do. I am primarily a pantser. I have the basic starting point and ending point then I go from there. However, I am also a theme writer. Everything I write, be it a short story or a novel, has a theme woven through it. There is always a deeper lesson to be learned, a transformation that takes place, and the enemy is not always the one the hero vanquishes. Sometimes the enemy is the person in the mirror.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
Carrying on with the theme concept. The first book in the series The Enemy Within deals with much more than the betrayal of High Priest. The characters face their own private demons. Part of the transformation of the second book was the characters not only discovering the High Priest is the least of their problems, but situations arise where they are forced to face those demons in order to come together and save the cities. I was nearly half done with the rewrite when I was inspired to name it Enemy Unmasked.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. The message I want the readers to grab onto is the power of the human spirit. That inner strength that each of us have to stand up and fight for what we hold sacred and those we love. In this book it is that strength that gives the characters the power they need to overcome their own weaknesses . They must realize that the only way they can protect the lives of thousands of innocent people is to stand together. That means that some deep wounds must be cleansed.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Experiences, no. The characters themselves, yes. Shadoe Van Ives, the protagonist, is the personification of my son James. Sander is like my father in many ways. Coriane is very much like me. None of the events have ever happened to me specifically, but the way the characters react to those events do reflect shadows of my life.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Tracy Hickman, Sydney Sheldon, Lee Harper, Rita Mae Brown, Raymond Feist just to name a few. Each one of them have touched me in different ways, but mostly it is the brutal honesty in their words that inspire me. When I read I like to make a connection with the characters, feel what they feel, struggle with them, and share in their successes. These authors can pen a story with such power that I have those experiences.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
Without question it is Tracy and Laura Hickman. I have been an avid fan of Tracy’s for three decades and now I have been blessed with opportunities to learn from both him and Laura. The Hickmans are great people and I am so happy to now call them friends and mentors.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Hairston Williams and his partner Aedo. I actually came across them on facebook and they showed me some of their work. I discussed what I wanted and they created a beautiful cover.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The same advice I know writers hear over and over ,but it can’t be emphasized enough. Write, write, write and when you don’t feel like writing sit in that chair and write . It is not just the talent that makes you a better writer, but the practice and the discipline. Like I tell the young people I give presentations to: a professional dancer doesn’t walk on to a stage and just dance. A professional athlete doesn’t pick up a ball and suddenly become a superstar. Years of practice had to happen before that dancer stepped on to the stage or the athlete entered the arena.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
First and foremost I want to tell my readers thank you for without you a book is nothing more than bound paper. For those who have not read my works yet I want to invite you to share in an experience that will leave you not only touched but thinking.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Cover Artist: Hairston Williams
Welcome back to another Monday of No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links. This week is a more general grab-bag of articles about publishing, keeping a journal, and writing faster. I hope you find them interesting!