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If you want to be a published author, you’ll need to find a way to make your characters realistic and convincing. This includes adding flaws, believable conflicts and plausible reactions. It also includes having empathy for your characters regardless of how different they may be from you.
Know What it Means to Really Be Empathetic
Empathy is defined as being able to read others accurately. People who possess this quality are capable of more than merely sympathizing. They tend to understand the motivations of others. These characters are usually highly intuitive.
The first thing you want to do with your characters is humanize them. This means giving them emotions such as courage, frustration, desperation, excitement, etc. You also need to remember that human emotion is not always blatant. If your character is terrified because her best friend is being rushed to the hospital, she won’t necessarily become hysterical while explaining her own motivations. People in shock tend to become unresponsive and somewhat frozen at first. They may then try to distract themselves with some insignificant and repetitive act. Often, tears only come slowly.
Add One Flaw That Gets in the Way (or More!)
Give your character a personal flaw. Maybe it’s something major such as an addiction or a narcissistic personality. On the other hand, it could be something minor such as being constantly disheveled.
It’s also possible to make flaws attractive. For example, have you ever known someone voluptuous who exuded confidence about his or her appearance in spite of being routinely put down for being overweight? You could instill that trait into one of your characters.
Make sure not to use the flaw as an afterthought, though — that’s a quick way to get weak or boring characterization. Instead, try starting with a flaw and building your character around it.
Make Your Characters Three-Dimensional
Minor characters may come and go rather suddenly without giving the audience a chance to know much of anything about them. You do not want to do this with your main characters. Flesh them out.
Place your protagonist in a conflict that demands growth. You don’t want to make the challenge too easy. After all, without change, there is no plot. You should put a major conflict at the forefront of your story. It will set the tone from the outset.
You won’t engage your audience unless you add depth and humanity to your characters. This means considering things like whether a character has a vocation, is religious or displays personal idiosyncrasies. In fiction writing, characters often seem to develop voices of their own. The strong ones tell you what they’d do in a given set of circumstances.
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There are seemingly already enough obstacles to becoming published as an indie author, so it’s understandable that getting reviews may seem like adding another challenge. Reviews help set your published work apart from others because they help give it legitimacy. Though this is not an exhaustive list, mentioned here are some effective ways to help you receive reviews for your published work.
Use Your Own Website
When you have your own website, you can control what content you do and do not have on it. You can provide digital downloads of your books and either sell copies at a discounted price that is determined by you, or you can give away copies for free. The great part about having your own website is that by investing a little money in a domain name and using a turnkey program like WordPress, you can be online within a day and distributing your book all over the world. You can also be a guest blogger on other sites and link back to your author page.
Look to Relevant Influencers
Ask for an honest review of your book from someone who is at least fairly well-known and whose opinion is respected. 80% of consumers trust online reviews, and if they’re already following an influencer they admire, chances are they’re going to trust their opinion on your book. Use this trick to help validate your book with a review that your readers will likely take seriously. Publishers do this by getting reviews from other authors that readers love and respect. You can try to start there as well.
Give Away Free Copies
Sometimes you have to essentially buy reviews for your book by giving away free copies in exchange for an endorsement of your latest work. Though from a money standpoint it may seem like you have earned negative income by forking over a certain number of copies, you have in fact enabled other readers who are otherwise interested but not sure to go ahead and spend the money for a copy of your book. Think of this in much the same way as many popular brands giving away free product to consumers and thereby turn guinea pigs into the pied pipers who bring loyal readers marching to your online presence.
Pre-Sell Your Book
Sometimes you need to run a pre-sale opportunity to launch your book, and this can end up working in your favor because you have a chance to validate interest in your book before you commit fully to writing it. This gives you an opportunity to solicit ideas and feedback from your early bird participants to write the book they want to read and thereby receive the glowing reviews necessary to keep your book ratings high. To best implement this, you will need to run the pre-sale for a short time. Two weeks is common. It is a good idea to collect email addresses in the process. This allows you to keep contacting your list contacts to achieve a high conversion rate. Be firm about the cutoff for the pre-sale out of respect to those who took advantage of it.
With some creative thinking, you can achieve your dream of being a published author. For some, this will bring legitimacy to your writing talents. Getting started always seems to be the most challenging part. If you give it an honest try, though, you can achieve great success as an author. You have chance to differentiate yourself from others who have self published by taking extra steps to obtain reviews of your work. This is a good way to increase your chances of being successful when you publish.
If you’re looking for someone to review your book, let us help!
The last few blogs have been about exercise, and that is going to continue. Mostly because at my work, we’ve begun our version of the Biggest Loser and there are paid time off we can earn if we can lose a percentage. That inspired me to write another post about the subject since it has become a part of my life.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not an exercise guru. I find myself staring at the equipment or contemplating how to convince myself not to run. It’s still a struggle for finding the time and the energy to do it with all the other essential things in my life. That is why I’ve decided to try and see some easy exercises that I can do in my house.
Going back to a YouTube channel that has shown me some pretty good moves in the past. I found the following video that is simple, quiet (cause I’m the first one up and don’t want to wake up the kids) and comfortable to do.
One of the things I like about this one is that it does not take up a lot of room to do and it does work the upper body. It looks simple, but I found that after a while, my arms would get heavy which would add to the challenge of doing it.
I like to meld this one in with my old military routine of push-ups, sit-ups and mountain climbers that work the lower body. It’s cold at present, so I have not tried doing this before or after running just yet.
Why don’t you take a look at this and some of the other exercises on the site? I know I found a bunch that was helpful to my situation and I know for me, it’s always good to keep up the workouts.
In June of 2018, I suffered a mental collapse brought on me by stress and an undiagnosed mental health condition. It had caught me by surprise that I had gone from going along to massive mood swings, mild paranoia, and hyper-alertness. By August, my beautiful wife convinced me to go to the VA and speak with a mental health professional, and it turns out that I had Bipolar disorder. Since June, my life has completely changed.
In 2010, I served eight months in Afghanistan and to put it mildly; it was packed full of stress, anxiety, and sheer terror at times. Since getting married and having children, I have always struggled with my temper.
June was a turning point for both good and bad. I had come home from work and collapsed in my chair and suffered a fit of sheer fury for no reason which slammed into a high manic state which scared me. Susanna, my sweet, long-suffering wife, talked me through it and told me with no uncertainty that I needed to speak with someone and recommended the Veterans Affairs. She thought it was the best choice as the visit would be free (due to me having a combat badge from the war) and they would be more understanding of the things that I experienced.
My doctor found that I was Bipolar and that what I thought was part of the PTSD was something entirely different and that I had to change a lot of my life around to consider this. That was why I disappeared; I needed to figure out how my online presence was going to be now that I know what’s going on and have the support to get through it.
Why Am I Saying All Of This?
Mental illness has been shoved in the corner far too long which has allowed horrible people to treat those with mental illness as second class citizens that should be locked away and forgotten. Because of people spending so many years refusing to talk about mental health, it has been regulated to the world of mystery, and when someone mentions it, others get uncomfortable.
I’m not going to do that. It’s a part of my life I now understand as best as I can, and it’s something I will talk to people about if they want to listen. If it makes someone else with a mental illness comfortable and to know that I can relate as much as feasible, then I feel that I have done something right.
If anyone watched my Twitter feed, they would have seen the gift I got for my wife as a thank you which turned out to be so much more. Susanna and I have liked the Teen Titans show, and I found that my favorite voice actor who voice Susanna’s favorite character Raven (this would be the wonderful Tara Strong). I discovered that Ms. Strong had a profile on Cameo and requested her to do a positive message from Raven.
What we got not only helped cheer my wife up but made me realize that other people understood. Ms. Strong could have done something basic, but the recording felt like she took the time to figure out what Raven would have really said.
So, besides making me realize that I’m not alone in supporting those with mental illness (and making sure I’m an ardent Tara follower), I knew that it was essential to speak out and that’s what I’m going to do.
What is the future?
I’m coming back. There are a lot of projects that have sat on the shelf for half a year, and it’s time for me to get them done. I have a few more novellas, adventures, and even a program coming out soon. There is also the new Star Traveler #4 book in the work!
Thank you for listening and make sure to look to those with illnesses and let them know they are safe and supported.
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If there is one thing for sure, it has been a while since I posted anything. Life has continued to be a bear to the point it has inflicted damage on my participation in NaNoWriMo and all my other projects. So why am I writing? I’m writing because I need to and I wanted to share with you. That’s what a blog is for.
Health and exercise have been a major focus of mine because it is one of the few things that is keeping my stress in check and keeping me from losing it. Not only that, I’ve now got a desk job, so the old days of burning of them calories while working in a warehouse are long gone.
I think it was a post ago about an exercise website that I learned about and found another great exercise regimen that I am hoping will take care of the weight that I have gained from sitting at a computer and staring at it. It’s called “7 Day Weight Loss Challenge, Lose 10 pound in 1 Week”
Here’s the video:
The best part about it is that it can be done from one point in the house without having to go out in the cold and run (it’s getting closer to winter here and running in the cold is not fun).
It reminds me of a lot of the exercises that I did in the military when we alternated our running day. Getting a hold of this video brought back a lot of nostalgia and saved me from having to dig through my records and finding the steps. The nice thing is that I won’t have to do squats in the middle of the pouring rain!
Go ahead and give it a try, I found it very challenging and you can always add it to your regimen you already have something else you do. Do you have a specific exercise that works well for you? Why not tell me in the comments below!
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It has been a little bit since I posted that I was going hiatus, but that didn’t mean I was not going to keep writing. Having opened up as much free time as I have has led me to think a lot about the things that I could do to help with the stress with family life and also with just trying to keep work/life balance from collapsing.
When I was in the military, one of the things that I used to do is run when I was stressed as it allowed me a simple challenge and it really battled the anxiety and stress that came with my job. Nowadays, I don’t have as much time to run and decided that having a desk job was not going to make me any healthier. It was one thing when I worked in a warehouse but those days are gone. I’m at a desk, and I like it.
So, I decided it was time to start looking into exercise health options that would be great and wanted to share with you one that came to my attention that, after trying for a few days, has been helping me out a lot.
I know a lot of us authors and millennials have to deal with a lot more stress than we once did and I thought an excellent regimen that I could do at the house before or after work that wouldn’t take away from my family was the thing.
One thing that grabbed my attention was a seven-day regimen that focused on losing body fat that I have happily put on consuming soda and fried foods. I’m not blind, I know that my eating is one of the areas I plan to work on next. The exercise set that I found was the 7 Day Challenge To Lose Belly Fat created by Roberta’s Gym. I’m not a fitness expert nor anyone with training, but I found the exercise to be very robust and challenging. I actually tried it for four days before I got distracted by life and could not keep it up.
I do not know if you’re looking for a new in-home exercise, but I thought maybe anyone who is reading my blog might be willing to try it. Sitting at a desk both professional and personally can take a toll and finding something that can fit in my schedule is a godsend.
What do you think? Do you have an exercise you want to recommend? Do you want to keep up on all the little things I write? You can also do that by joining my newsletter. Promise, no spam!
For easy viewing, I also embedded the video for you to see:
I never wanted it to happen, but there is nothing I could do about it. I am going on hiatus. For the last two years, my life has become more and more stressful with family health issues, my own personal and professional responsibilities and the inevitable appearance of burn out. Writing has become extremely difficult, and even this blog post has drained what little creativity I have.