Guest Post: Character Driven vs. Plot Driven Writing By Michael Phillip Cash

 Let me just say upfront that I know there are some diehard readers who insist on either character driven stories, while others crave books that are plot driven. Readers have strong opinions and authors should listen to their readers.

Character driven books are just what they sound like – the book concentrates on the characters themselves. Their inner turmoil, needs, wants and transformations (or lack of) are what compels the reader to read on.

Plot driven is more about the story plot. The emphasis is on action, twists and external conflict is what moves the story along. Characters are impacted and affected by the world around them and this often means they must make split decisions in order to survive and thrive. A sort of amusement park ride scenario is happening and your characters must hold on for dear life.

So where does The Battle for Darracia fall on the “driven” side? Well – I’d have to say both.  My goal was to create really strong characters with specific goals and a whole lot of integrity and thrust them into a quickly changing fantasy world where they’d transform, evolve and adapt just as quickly. To me, this is the best way to keep readers involved in the story and hopefully wanting more.

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About Michael Phillip Cash

Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His novel The Battle for Darracia is a three-part saga and is available on Amazon.

Michael’s novels are best-sellers on Amazon under their genres – Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense, Ghost, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. Michael writes full-time and lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wonderful wife and screaming children. You can follow him @michaelpcash or connect with him via his website.

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Buckaroo Buckeye by Kristin Anderson Cetone

Book Title: Buckaroo Buckeye: A Little Nut with Big Dreams
Author: Kristin Anderson Cetone
Illustrator: Nadia Komorova
Category: Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7), 36 pages
Genre: Friendship, Social Skills & School Life, Bullies, Growing Up & Facts of Life
Publisher: KLAC Enterprises, LLC
Release date: September 1, 2012
Tour dates: May 21 to June 15, 2018
Content Rating: G

 

Book Description:

Winner of the Mom’s Choice Silver and OneBookAZ Awards!

There’s a new cowboy in town! Hit the trail with Buckaroo Buckeye, a lovable little nut who falls from his tree in Ohio, as he dodges the bumps and bullies along the way in a magical journey to find his true place in the world.

Created by Reading Specialist Kristin Cetone, Buckaroo Buckeye teaches children 4-8 to: • Learn to ignore bullies
• Improve their self-esteem
• Connect with reading
• “Dream, Believe and Achieve” no matter their size!

Your child will be inspired by Buckaroo’s determination in this touching story with unforgettable characters illustrated by Nadia Komorova. Get yours today!

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Guest Post

How did you write this book did you plot or write by the seat of your pants?

I started my book by writing the text.  I knew the story I wanted to tell.  I wanted to create my own unique character.  As I thought and thought, it dawned on me that a tiny little buckeye nut seed had a connection to the story of all our life journeys of self-discovery.  Just as the tiny buckeye nut seed holds all the hopes of a tree to sprout and grow mighty and find its special place in the world, so do people.  We all start from a tiny little nut seed that houses our hopes, dreams, and passions.  Just as a well nurtured and fed tree grows strong and mighty, so will we with proper guidance and nourishment from members of our family tree and our life experiences. I needed the words to encourage my young readers, especially those who struggle to read, to follow their dreams and passions, to find their special place in the world.  Don’t give up!  Rise above the bumps and bullies along the way!  But, I knew that ultimately it would be the illustrations that brought my character and story to life for the young reader.

So, I sat down and sketched my own vision of my character based on a real buckeye nut.  Then I had to bring this nut to life in a more human way, so readers could connect.  My character had to have a name?  He had to be adorable to look at.  I brainstormed with my husband one evening and my character’s name was born!  Buckaroo Buckeye to represent my love for the old wild west.   I sketched pictures for each page of my story.  Now it was time to find an illustrator who could take my visions and artistically and realistically develop the pictures for my picture book.  I had an editor review my words.  And off to the printer my book went.

Up Next for Kristin is to develop a STEM curriculum guide to accompany Buckaroo Buckeye that draws science, technology, engineering, and math together with literacy.  I am also developing some products that connect to the stories of my characters from my recently released ‘tree-logy’ of three sequels.

 “Success comes from a tiny ‘seed’ within each of us.  This tiny seed contains our hopes and dreams and passions in life.  When we receive encouragement and nourishment from family, culture, education, and life experiences, the seed will sprout and grow mighty, and rise above the bumps and bullies and setbacks along the way.

 Discouraging words…discourage dreams,

Encouraging words…sprout dreams,

Parents plant the seeds.”

`-Kristin Anderson Cetone

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr

Book Title: Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult fiction, 400 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: November 17, 2017
Tour dates: Dec 4 to Jan 19, 2018
Content Rating: PG + M (Please be aware that TWOFER MURDER is a murder mystery. There are depictions of murder and some violence–though easy on the gore contents. No f-words but there may be some mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as “damn”, “hell” and “Oh God!”. Some depictions of brief sexual content (kissing). No drug use or underage drinking among the protagonists.)

 

Book Description

Twofer murder? What’s a twofer murder?

Twofer Murder is a treat for fans of best-selling author Lauren Carr’s fast-paced mysteries! Lauren’s latest novel contains the main characters from her three successful series: Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go away for a fishing weekend only to get caught up in the murder of a journalist investigating fraud at a timber company. Meanwhile, the ladies are spending the weekend in the presidential suite at a posh resort where Jessica Faraday is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late grandmother at a murder mystery writers conference. But before they have time to get their facials, they get wrapped up in their own real mystery when an up and coming author ends up dead!

Lauren Carr’s Twofer Murder is a 2-for-1—making it a must-read for any mystery fan!

To read more reviews, please visit Lauren Carr’s page on iRead Book Tours.

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Guest Post

Ten Tips for New Writers

By Lauren Carr

So you want to be a writer?

Maybe you have “write a book” on your bucket list. Or maybe you’ve had a story idea floating around in your head. Or maybe, just maybe, you have a personal story that you just need to tell the world about.

Whatever the case, you want to give this writing thing a crack, but other than sitting down at a laptop or keyboard and typing out words to form sentences, you aren’t quite sure what to do to complete not just a book, but a book that someone will want to read from beginning to “the end.”

Okay, here’s ten tips to get you started. Granted, these tips aren’t all you need to know. So don’t just read these and think that’s it. There’s still more that you need to learn in order to become a professional writer. But, these tips are enough to get you started and hopefully help you to finish your book.

  • Become a Reader. Some writers, especially those who don’t have much time, can easily slip into the routine of writing, but not reading other writers’ works. This is a mistake. Just like how athletes watch others to study routines and techniques, you can learn from reading other writers’ books—even bad ones.

I had a friend who had an issue with how she handled backstory. I had explained the issue to her more than once, but she didn’t get it until she read a book by a writer who had the exact same issue. As soon as she saw another writer do it, she realized exactly what I had been telling her. That fixed it.

  • Commit Yourself. No, I don’t mean check yourself into a mental hospital because you’re crazy for even thinking of being a writer (though I do have some relatives who might disagree with me on that). I mean, commit yourself to not just starting to write a book, but finishing

I’m telling you right up front that if you want to write a book, there is going to be a point (usually around page 40) where it’s not going to be fun anymore. If you are serious, then you need to make a commitment of working on it even when it’s not fun anymore.

  • Make Time for Writing. If your lifestyle is like most of ours, you have a busy life with a real job, family and friends. Part of making a commitment to being a writer is making time to actually write. You are not going to be able to write a whole book by typing out a sentence here and there during commercials while watching television. You need to carve out at least a couple of hours of time to devote to it. There are a ton of articles on the Internet about how to make time for writing. Check them out.
  • Write Every Day. Even when the words aren’t coming easily. You’ll be surprised how much good stuff you will end up keeping, even though they did not seem that great when you composed them. Writing is a skill. As with any skill, it improves with practice.
  • Set Deadlines. I find that I write more and better when I have a deadline. But make your deadline realistic. Unrealistic deadlines (like to write your whole book during your one week vacation) will only frustrate you. A good deadline is 500 words a day. There are many writer websites and communities where you can join other writers to hold each other accountable to write every day.
  • Make Your Readers Care About Your Characters. Have you ever read a book and gotten up to page twenty or so and thought, “I don’t care what happens to any of these characters?” At which point, you stop reading. You need to make your readers care about what happens to your characters from the very beginning. You do that by giving them some redeeming qualities.

I once edited a book which opened with the protagonist raping a woman. The story was about the transformation of this character from a despicable evil man into a born-again Christian. Unfortunately, the main character had no redeeming qualities until that transformation more than halfway through the book. Therefore, the reader wasn’t going to care enough about him to read beyond the opening chapter.

On my suggestion, the writer inserted a prologue of his protagonist on his deathbed, giving the reader a view of him after his transformation, making him more sympathetic to the reader. The rest of the book became a reflection of his life.

  • Do Your Research. I once read a murder mystery, set in present day, in which the detective arrives at a murder scene, takes a deep drag on his cigarette, and then tosses it down next to the dead body. It wasn’t just as mystery writer that I screamed, “No!” Any fourth grader knows nowadays that the detective had contaminated the murder scene.

Failure to do proper research can make writers lose credibility with their readers. Many new writers refrain from research because they fear that it will squelch their imagination. On the contrary, research can open other doors for possibilities that you may never have imagined. For example, in my Thorny Rose Mysteries, I have a “character” named Nigel, the smart house computer who provides security and other services for Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton. Every technical service that Nigel performs in the Thorny Rose mysteries is available with today’s technology. My inspiration for Nigel came while researching smart houses and home security for the rich to include in the Faraday-Thornton home. As I learned more, a few simple computerized devices grew into a whole intriguing character who has become a fan favorite.

  • Use Adjectives And Adverbs Sparingly. Writing legend Elmore Leonard said in his Ten Tips for Writing to not use -ly words at all. While I don’t refuse to use them at all, I try to keep away from them. Most of these descriptive words are cliché and can make your writing seem amateurish. Not only that, but if you think about the passage where you are sticking that word, you will find that the context itself will describe the scene, making the word unnecessary. For example, if your scene is a couple fighting after the wife has discovered that her husband is cheating on her, then you don’t need to tag their statements with the word “angrily.” The reader is going to know that the wife is angry.
  • Kill Your Darlings. The point to this tip is to make sure every section and chapter moves your reader toward the conclusion. Portions of books that fail to do this are called “darlings” because brilliantly written passages are like children to most writers. They become your darlings and unfortunately every good writer has to kill a few to save the whole book. As you become more accomplished at writing, you will come to recognize darlings before you take the time to create them.

The beauty of the digital age is that you can save your darlings and put them in a “cut scenes” file to use in a future project. A large portion of my third Mac Faraday mystery, Shades of Murder, is made up of a subplot that I had cut from an earlier book.

  • Get Out of the House. Now that I have told you to commit to your book and to write every day, I’m telling you to get out into the world and meet people. Writing can become a solitary exercise and it is very easy to get sucked into your literary world to the point that you don’t get out to experience life. I have that problem myself. Sometimes, my husband has to drag me away from the laptop, leave my characters in the middle of a gun fight, and go to lunch.

Walking away from your laptop does make you a better writer. It is a big world out there filled with interesting characters and a planet filled with inspiration. Even if you already have your plotline written in your head, who knows, you may see an intriguing character sitting across from you at the diner who will be the perfect red herring in your plot twist.

So there’s ten writing tips to get you started on that book. The only question now is “What are you waiting for?”

Start writing!

 

 

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Blog Tour: Moxie’s Problem by Hank Quense

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unnamedTitle: Moxie’s Problem (Book #1)
Author: Hank Quense
Pages: 294
Genre: Fantasy

Book Description:

Do you enjoy untypical coming-of-age stories? Well you find one more untypical that Moxie’s Problem. Moxie is an obnoxious, teen-age princess who has never been outside her father’s castle. Until now. The real world is quite different and she struggles to come to grips with reality. The story takes place against a backdrop of Camelot. But it isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe. So, all bets are off!

Purchase a copy on Amazon.

 

About the Author

HankHank Quense writes humorous and satiric scifi and fantasy stories. He also writes about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 14 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a series of two humorous novels that take place in the Camelot era. 

He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.


Visit Hank’s websites: http://hank-quense.com/wp andhttp://strangeworldsonline.com/wp

Questions for the Author

  1. Have you always enjoyed writing?

I can recall writing short, satiric cartoon stories as a junior in high school. Id send them around the classroom to my friends who would get in trouble because laughing in class is frowned upon in a Jesuit prep school.

2) Who is your favorite author?

In fantasy/scifi, Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett, Chris Moore and Douglas Adams. In historical fiction, Bernard Cornwall.

3) What book genre do you adore?

Satiric or humorous scifi and fantasy. There just isnt enough of it. Im attempting to fill the humor and satire gap with my fiction. Continue reading