Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop Tension and Conflict

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the 6th post of this new series!

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

I’ll focus my entire series on self-editing. Here is what I’ve covered so far in the series:

  1.  Why Learn To Self-Edit
  2. Characters In The Context of Editing.
  3. Emotional Impact of Setting
  4. Opening A Scene
  5. Purpose of a Scene

Today’s topic is TENSION & CONFLICT in each scene

Tension and conflict will keep your reader engaged in every scene.

 

Tension is the threat of something bad happening.

 

Tension can be subtle or in-your-face.

Subtle Tension: Imagine one character is hiding a secret that could destroy his life and another character is about to accidentally spill the secret. The reader will feel the tension if you’ve set up the scene so that the reader knows the second character can’t keep a secret.

In-you-face Tension: A woman is thrown off a boat at sea. The tension comes if the reader cares about the character and wants her to survive. Or the tension could be she’s an evil woman who is about to destroy the world, and the reader doesn’t want her to survive.

 

Conflict is the fight that is actually happening. A physical fight, an argument, a battle to win a race.

 

Conflict can also be subtle or in-your-face action.

Subtle Conflict: Imagine a couple having dinner with friends.  The wife is describing an event that happened in the past. The husband says, “Honey, that’s not what really happened.” The wife grits her teeth and smiles. She re-tells the story the way her husband wanted it told. She’s angry but hides it from others a the table. There is a silent argument going on between the couple.

In-your-face Conflict: Imagine that same couple having dinner in a restaurant. The woman knows her husband is having an affair but hasn’t let on yet that she knows. The husband’s mistress enters the restaurant, and he winks at her. The wife loses control, grabs her drink, runs at the mistress, and throws it in her face. She attacks the woman and knocks her to the ground. That is direct conflict.

Do You Have Tension or Conflict in Every Scene?

 

Use both conflict and tension in every scene and keep your reader engaged. You don’t need both in every scene, but you should have one in each scene. For your work in progress, review each scene and list what tension or conflict is in the scene.

How does your manuscript measure up? Are you using tension and conflict to your advantage?

 

Need More Self-Editing Advice?

BIG-PICTURE Editing
If you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing 15 Key Elements of Fiction To Make Your Story Work and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.

Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.

 

Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?

Why not try Fictionary?

A new online tool for serious fiction writers. Turn your first draft into a story reader love by becoming your own structural editor. Fictionary is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

AVAILABLE FOR FREE TRIAL NOW 🙂

With Fictionary, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on the overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Fictionally will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Fictionally helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Fictionary will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…

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#Read about Guest #Author Kristina Stanley | Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Taught by my dad to ski at Camp Fortune near Ottawa, Canada, I’ve spent a good part of my life on the slopes. Winter is my favorite season. I know that sounds crazy since I’ve spent 9 years living …

Source: #Read about Guest #Author Kristina Stanley | Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Mystery Mondays: Lyn Horner on Formatting & Publishing on Amazon

Today on Mystery Mondays we have Lyn Horner here to give us an in-depth lesson on how to format and publish your book on Amazon. This is a great resource if you’re about to embark on a self-publishing journey.  Thanks Lyn!

Over to Lyn…

Formatting & Publishing Your Book on Amazon

by Lyn Horner

Many thanks to Kristina for having me on her awesome site. I’m a self-published author with 15 books on Amazon. Some authors hire a service to format and upload their books to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing platform, but I do it myself. Today I’ll share what I’ve learned about the process.

**First, make sure your book meets Amazon’s content and quality guidelines.

 Then prepare your manuscript:

  1. Back-up your book file onto an external drive or one of the cloud backup sites (or both.) Copies can be a life saver if anything goes wrong during formatting.
  2. Combine your chapters. If you normally save chapters separately, you need to combine them into one document. Insert a page break at the end of each chapter to prevent them from running together in the uploaded book.
  3. Remove page numbers. Kindle books are reflowable (viewable in different font sizes). Page numbers would cause problems. Also remove any headers with the book title, your name, etc.
  4. Your font style must change sizes easily on a variety of devices. Times New Roman 12 pt. works well. Enlarge font for chapter headings.
  5. Remove paragraph indent tabs to avoid uneven indents in your ebook. To remove, type one tab at the top of your document, select and copy it. Open Find in the Edit menu. Paste the tab you copied into the Find box. (Word won’t let you type in the tab.) Open Replace in the Edit menu but leave the box empty; click Replace All. This will remove all tabs from your document.

To replace indents, select one whole chapter at a time, except the chapter title. Go to Indents and Spacing in your Paragraph drop-down. Set your first line indent at 0.5″ (default width) or smaller if preferred. Click okay. WORD will indent each paragraph for you. This does not cause problems with the Kindle conversion.

  1. Do not double space, no double line spacing and no double spaces after each sentence.
  2. Do not underline to indicate italics. Just italicize the word. Be sure to italicize foreign word. They will be underlined in red by the Word spell checker, but those lines will not show in your uploaded file.
  3. Indicate scene breaks within a chapter by centering three or four asterisks, pound signs or other symbol on a line between scenes. For point of view changes in a chapter, I simply insert a blank line. I want readers to know which character’s POV they’re in.
  4. Front and Back matter: Create a title page at the start of your book. See published books for style ideas. Add a copyright page after the title page. Again, see examples in published books. Next, add a dedication page and/or preface if you wish.

End your book by thanking your reader for purchasing it and include live links to your Amazon author page, website, social sites, etc. Then add a brief author bio and review snippets if you have them. Place a page break at the end of each page in your front and back matter.

  1. Amazon wants a table of contents (TOC) even in fiction ebooks, allowing readers to navigate easily. Some authors don’t include one, but I do. Each chapter title in the TOC must link to that chapter in your book. I also include links to my front and back matter pages. Find instructions for creating a TOC in your Word program.
  2. Create an HTML copy. You can upload your book as a doc or docx file, or in html format. To do that, first save your formatted book as a Word document first, in case you need it later. Then hit “Save As” and choose “Web Page, Filtered” as the file type. This converts it to an HTML file.

 

Another option is to have your book converted to mobi, the Kindle format, by a professional service, but it’s not necessary in most cases.

Okay, your book is ready to upload. Now what?

–Use your Amazon account to sign in to KDP or create a new one.

–Make sure your browser is updated.

–Go to your KDP Bookshelf. In the “Create a New Title” section, click +Kindle eBook and

enter your information for each section:

Kindle eBook Details: Enter title, description, keywords, categories, etc.

Kindel eBook Content: Upload manuscript and create your cover. (That’s a whole different post.) Preview your eBook to make sure everything looks good.

Kindle eBook Pricing: Select the territories where you hold distribution rights. (In most cases you should select Worldwide.) Select a royalty plan and set your list price.

  1. Click Publish Your eBook. Wait ’til your book is live on Amazon, then celebrate!

WHO IS LYN HORNER?

Lyn in cat shirt cropped.2Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband and several very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate, action packed love stories, both historical and contemporary. Her Texas Devlins series blends Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the mysterious. This series has won multiple awards and nominations.

 

Lyn is now writing book 7 in her Romancing the Guardians series. These books combine her trademark psychic phenomena with chilling apocalyptic prophesies and sizzling romance. All feature suspense and adventure in settings ranging from Ireland to Texas, the Navajo Nation and other exotic sites.

Profiling Nathan

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]Nathan Maguire just wants to make a living inking tattoos in steamy Tampa, Florida, but a serial killer is murdering young women near his shop. Latino gangbangers are giving him trouble. On top of all that, he’s a covert Guardian of Danu sworn to protect one of seven ancient scrolls containing apocalyptic prophesies.

When sexy FBI profiler Talia Werner delivers a message from one of the other Guardians, Nate instantly distrusts her. No one outside the top-secret group is supposed to know they exist, but despite his suspicions, a fiery attraction ensnares the pair. Then, to save Talia’s pretty neck, Nate must help catch the murderer. His psychic gift may come in handy.

 

Five Star Review from mystery author Craig A. Hart

Lyn Horner doesn’t waste any time getting into the meat of the story with this book. One thing that bothers me about a lot of writers is that they take forever to get to the actual story–not an issue here!

I also enjoyed the characters. Nathan Maguire, a psychic tattoo artist, and Talia Werner, a sexy FBI profiler are both larger than life and help move the story along.

The story itself is a good mix of romance and murder mystery, so there’s something for everyone! Horner also does a good job of creating some great Florida atmosphere, although early on in the book, I got hungry for a Cuban sandwich and had to stop reading to eat something!

A great read!

Profiling Nathan buy links:

US Amazon     UK Amazon     CA: Amazon     AU Amazon

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/Y3aotC

Lyn’s Romance Gazette: (http://eepurl.com/bMYkeX

Lyn Horner’s Corner: (http://lynhorner.com)

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Celebrating LOOK THE OTHER WAY with Imajin Books

Every month my publisher showcases the top selling books from Imajin Books.

August was an awesome month for Look the Other Way and Avalanche. Top Bestselling eBook, 2nd bestselling paperback, and top selling author overall. I feel like I won the lottery.

Can I just say the smile on my face is huge? I feel so lucky that Imajin Books took on Descent in 2015 and has kept me on as an author.

 

Imajin Books Aug 2017

Thank you, Imajin Books, for your continued belief  in me.

That’s all for today’s happy dance. Thanks for indulging my little bit of happiness.

Mystery Mondays: Amy Reade on Setting

HighlandPerilToday, we are celebrating tomorrow’s release of Highland Peril by author Amy Reade.   Congratulations, Amy!

Amy hosts a fabulous blog called Reade and Write. Today she’s talking to us about one of my favorite subjects: SETTING.

Setting the Scene

by Amy Reade

Whether I’m on a panel or at a book signing or visiting a book club, one of the questions I’m frequently asked is whether I consider setting to be a character in my books. I get the question so often that I’ve started putting it in the back of each book as one of the discussion topics.

Here’s my short answer (and yes, I’m answering a question with another question): would the book be the same if it were set someplace else? If no, then I would consider the setting a character. If yes, then setting is probably not one of the characters, however important it may be.

Novels with a strong setting tend to be my favorite books. The main reasons I read are to learn and to be entertained. When a book has a strong atmosphere and sense of place combined with a strong plot, not only do I lose myself in the story, but I also get the opportunity to learn about a new place (or learn more about a place I already know). This is even true for places that don’t actually exist, such as a fantasy world or a fictional town. Two examples that immediately spring to mind are Hogwarts (from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series), and Loch Dubh (from M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series).

So how can a setting be a character? Let’s break down some of the qualities of well-drawn characters. Such characters generally have at least three components: personality, emotion or lack thereof, and the ability to change or move the plot along.

In some books, setting has those same three characteristics. Personality, emotion, and ability to move the plot forward can be indefinable when applied to a place rather than a person, but they are easily understood through examples.

Just as with a human character, a setting’s “personality” is its essence. Personality includes a place’s heritage, its culture, its climate; in other words, its specialness. Take, for example, a book set in New Orleans. New Orleans is a place of music, of storied cuisine, and of sultry heat. In any book I’ve ever read that takes place in New Orleans, at least one of those three components are essential to the plot. Such a book could never be set in Chicago without losing its essence.

And how about emotion? In much the same way a human character expresses emotion, a setting can be cheerful, spooky, stormy, listless, or almost any other adjective you can think of. This notion can be applied equally to any setting: towns and cities, houses, islands, boats, schools, hospitals, mountain tops, etc. You get the point.

When I think of a setting’s emotion, often what comes to mind is weather. Weather can play a huge role in a story—think of how wintry weather and blizzard conditions can affect the outcome of a particular plot. That same plot isn’t going to work as well if it’s set in a place where there are no blizzards; in other words, the frigid, blizzard-prone setting is essential to the story.

And when it comes to moving the plot forward, setting has the ability to do that as well as any character. In my first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House, the main character, Macy, can’t swim. The setting of the story is the Thousand Islands region of northern New York, on an island. When a person who can’t swim is put on an island, you can imagine the dread that can develop. And that story couldn’t have taken place, say, on a busy barrier island along the eastern seaboard—it had to take place on a small, isolated island in a region where the weather can be harsh and unpredictable. Just like a human character. There are several instances in Secrets of Hallstead House in which the direction of the plot is determined by the very nature of the island setting.

Now for my favorite part of this post. I’ve made a short list of some of my favorite books which feature setting as one of the characters. Though you may not be familiar with all of them, you are no doubt familiar with most of the titles. I am confident you’ll agree that setting is one of the main characters in each of these books. Remember, ask yourself this question: could this story have taken place anywhere else without losing its very essence?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: the setting is an absolutely essential part of each of these books, both of which take place in the American south. I would go so far as to say these books wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the American south.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: the setting of this book, the Cornish coast of England, is reflected in every action the characters take. Just like the characters, the cliffs and moors, the mansion, and the grounds in Rebecca are stormy, moody, and dark. The book would be fundamentally different if it took place anywhere else.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri: everyone knows the story of the little girl who went up the mountain to live with her gruff grandfather. The mountain is as important to the book as the main characters: Heidi loves the mountain just as she loves her grandfather and her friend Peter; the mountain provides a stark and necessary contrast to the bleak city where she lives temporarily. The story just wouldn’t be the same if Heidi lived in an area that was simply rural without being mountainous.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg: if you’re not familiar with this book, the majority of the action takes place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The main characters, a brother and sister, run away from home and live in the museum for a time, trying to solve a mystery they find there. Whenever I think of this book, it’s the museum that comes to mind, not the human characters, not the mansion in the suburbs where they find someone who helps them in their quest, not the streets of New York City. It’s the museum—a setting-character if ever there was one.

Black Amber by Phyllis A. Whitney: this book, probably my favorite of Whitney’s works, is set in Turkey. The plot and setting are inextricably linked—you can’t have one without the other. The story wouldn’t be the same if it were set in, say, Michigan (not that there’s anything wrong with Michigan).

Finally, to my new book, Highland Peril, which comes out tomorrow. As in all my novels, the setting in Highland Peril is one of the book’s most important elements. The main characters live in a little village called Cauld Loch, and though I had to send them to London and Edinburgh for short stints, they always return home to the Highlands. The beauty, the majesty, and the rugged landscape are as important to the story as any character. If you get a chance to read the book, I hope you’ll agree.

Please share your thoughts about books with setting-characters. What are your favorites? Which ones stick in your mind?

Kristina, thank you so much for having me here today. I love the Mystery Monday posts because they make me think, and I hope I’ve done that for your readers.

Who Is Amy Reade?

Amy M. ReadeAmy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, and recovering attorney. But she also writes (how could she not write with that last name?) and is the author of The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross) and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

Where Can You Find Amy?

Website: www.amymreade.com

Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/AmyMReadesGothicFictionFans

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Instagram: www.instagram.com/amymreade

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

And Finally, Where Can You Buy Highland Peril?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uaP5dq

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2uzgzcD

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2v9ooHB

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2vKh6Hh

iTunes: http://apple.co/2ePwnTf

Independent Bookstore: http://www.indiebound.org/book/978151610018

Thanks for reading…