Being a Better Writer: The Meandering Story

Today we’re tackling a topic directly. Head on. We’ll be discussing a problem I often see throughout literature, especially work from new writers or in the area of fanfiction (and both are probably bolstered by the fact that most television deliberately commits this act in order to pad out run-time).

Today, I want to talk about the meandering story: What it is, and how we can fix it. Because not only is it a problem that I see many young writers having a problem with, it’s also one that many of them don’t seem to know how to escape. The story meanders, and it wanders, and the writer, even if they see the hole they’re writing themselves into, doesn’t know how to get out of it. More often than not, it turns into a sort of “sand trap” for them, like a golfer, in which they swing and they swing, but the story just isn’t going anywhere.

And that won’t do.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into things, and take a look at how you can keep your story from getting bogged down in this same trap.

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Anniversary MEGA-Sale!

WHOA! Unusual Things has been on the web for one year this Wednesday! Which means sweet things for this week’s collection of posts, like a Reddit AMA this Wednesday to mark the one-year date!

But you saw MEGA-Sale and clicked this right? So a MEGA-Sale (yes, I’m going to keep capitalizing this like it’s the 90s) you shall receive! On everything. For the entire week. Over 320,000 words (1100 pages) worth of fiction.

That’s right, all through this week, starting today (Monday) through Friday, every single thing I’ve published is on sale. Starting at 25% off, and jumping all the way down to free. Had your eye on Dead Silver? Been waiting to snatch up a copy of Unusual Events? Now’s the time.

Hop on over to my Amazon.com page to check them all out at once (note, however, that due to a strange, and in my opinion dumb, quirk, that page does not show sales, you have to click each book to see the sale). Or, if you’re so inclined, use the Books page here on Unusual Things!

The clock is ticking, so grab ’em fast!

One Year Online?

You guys should just be aware that next week marks the one-year anniversary of Unusual Things, which means—of course—that there’s some special stuff floating in the wings. After all, the first birthday is worth celebrating, is it not? Especially with some of the accomplishments that have happened in that time. I won’t give all the details away just yet, since I’ll save those for next week, but I can at least hint at one of them.

The sale.

That’s right. I italicized that one. What would a celebration be without a sale? As I said, no details yet, but if you’ve been waiting on picking up anything, well, get your wallet ready.

Get some questions ready too, while you’re at it.

Was that more than one hint? Dang. I’d better call this good and run. See you all Monday!

Patreon Supporter Update

All right guys, just a quick update on the Patreon Side of things.

First of all, February’s Patreon Supporter Award is now up. I’m still not quite 100% sure how Patreon’s reward system works, but if it works the way I think it works, then those of you who have pledged your support this month can take a look at the reward, which is … an early look at some of my work on Shadow of an Empire! So if you’ve supported me this month, head on over to Patreon and take a look!

Now, second of all, if you are one of those Patreon supporters, I’m looking for a little feedback. Not on Shadow, no, but on how the Patreon experience has been treating you. I’ve not heard much about it since I’ve launched it, and all I’ve really done with it is make sure I’ve got the monthly rewards up. So for those who have been feeding me a few dollars here and there (which I am grateful for), how’s the experience? Should the rewards be going up at a certain time? Is the current system working? Are the rewards capturing your attention?

Let me know in the comments!

What Does It Really Cost?

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a wonderful little post questing after an interesting question: What does it really cost to make a game? Now, I know that may not seem fascinating to most of you, but I link it because it shares a lot if similarities with the ebook market and some of the problems the ebook industry is currently facing.

Seriously, go give it a look, and then think about the book publishing industry and buyer’s habits. We’re facing a similar problem, and one without an answer at the current time.

No One Really Knows How Much Games Cost @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Being a Better Writer: Likable Unlikable Characters

Welcome back to another Being a Better Writer post! I’ve got a lot to do today (tax season) so I’m diving right into this one as quickly as possible. Today’s topic comes from the request post I made several months ago (which I’ve been slowly digging through ever since), but it’s a topic that I’ve heard brought up before in writing panels as well as in other places. And it’s a good question, one every author will either probably consider or run afoul of in the course of their writing career. The question is: how do I write an unlikable character that the reader likes?

Now, some of you might snicker a little bit at that, but it’s a legitimate question. And, to be clear, we’re not talking about a villain here. We’re talking about a protagonist (or similar character). A protagonist who, for one reason or another, isn’t really the sort of individual we’d like to know or meet. And yet, for some reason, we’re still following the story. How do we craft a character like that? And, on that note, why would we?

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Being a Better Writer: Fanfiction – School or Crutch?

Don’t forget, Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection is out now!

This post was originally written and posted January 19th, 2015, and has been touched up and reposted here for archival purposes.

Welcome back, everyone! It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s the beginning of another week, and I’ve got news. Some good news. Good news I won’t give you the details of yet, (as I’m still waiting on a few specific ones) but still pretty good news. Okay, really good news. I’ll give you more later this week, but for now, let’s just say those of you who like going to conventions may want to keep February 12th-14th clear on your calenders.

Alright, that’s that. Now, without any further ado, let’s get to this week’s topic of choice! Fanfiction!

So, this topic might seem a little odd to a few of you, but it’s actually based on a question I’ve been asked several times over the last few weeks, both by those that write fanfiction and those who don’t. A lot of prospective writers—even those who have been writing fanfiction for some time—seem to have a question that goes something like this: Is fanfiction really the best place for me to be practicing and building my talents? Or am I wasting my time, or perhaps being less productive than I would normally otherwise be?

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