Monday, February 27, 2012

How to develope characters for a novel

Author: Johnny Ray








I think all writers know how important it is to have characters come alive and become as real as possible on the printed page. But readers can tell in a second when a character is not authentic and does something out of character. This often happens when the writer has an opinion of the character and has not prepared the reader properly. Many times it comes from trying to make the story more interesting for the reader.

You have to know your character when you write. This includes knowing what they would and would not do, or what they are capable of doing. For example, you would not expect a New Yorker who has never been out of the city to suddenly be a bull rider in Texas. This is totally different from the New Yorker who suddenly inherits a ranch in Texas and has to go there to see what he/she now owns. Taking characters out of their comfort zone is what makes a story interesting, but leaving them in their own personality and as who they are builds credibility.

When a writer builds character sketches or outline of characters, it is important to know what they would do in a situation. It is nice to know something the character would never in their lifetime expect to do. The fun part for a writer is to place that same character in a situation where they have to do the unthinkable.

Another part of building a great story is giving the reader small tidbits of who the character is early. If the character is to suddenly run a marathon for example, then the reader needs to see that the character loves to run earlier in the novel and not have it given as a surprise at the end of the book. Another example is where she is capable of defending herself because of her martial art training, but nothing was said about that for the last three hundred pages, and especially if she is being abducted and had been acting like a weakling for most of them.

Many times in a novel, the characters evolve, but it is up to the writer to make changes to the story to make it realistic and interesting for the reader.

Johnny Ray

Award Winning Novelist

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About the Author

Johnny Ray is a full time, Award Winning Novelist and blogger Be sure to check out his bio and and novels on Amazon

Friday, February 24, 2012


I enjoy using various social media sites to connect with readers and make new friends. I also love to pass on articles I find that hep fellow writers. I hope you enjoy this one below

Johnny Ray

How Do You Build Platform Blogging About Fiction or Memoir?

Author: Nina Amir

I'm a big proponent of using blogging as a way to build platform for nonfiction authors. I speak about this quite often to my clients, many of whom come to me with book proposals that have empty platform sections. When I speak before groups, in particular writer's groups, I often get asked about how fiction writers can use a blog to build platform.

Interestingly enough, on my blog at, the other day a reader asked me the very same question. She wrote: "This may work for non-fiction but how would a blog work for fiction writers? I do have a blog where I speak about my own writing journey and process. However, I do not go into great depth regarding my two novels. How would I interest readers to my blog without posting the entire story line, chapters, etc?"

Given that so many nonfiction writers write memoir, which reads like fiction, I thought I should address this question. Here's how you use a blog to build platform or promote fiction or memoir:

* Blog about subjects related to your novel or memoir.
* Blog about your characters and their development.
* Blog about what inspired you to write to write the book.
* Blog about how your book BENEFITS readers.
* Blog about what readers learn from your characters or from the story line.
* Blog about the place or time period in which your novel takes place.
* Offer recipes that pertain to the place where your book takes place or that come from your memoir (experience).
* Blog about your writing practice or tools.
* Offer snippets of a new novel or memoir.
* Publish vignettes.
* Discuss little sections of your novel or memoir and how you wrote them or what they mean.
* Blog about how you or your characters continued to change after the time period covered in your memoir.
* Provide videos in your blog of places you mention in your book.
* Include interviews (audio) with the real people in your memoir.

I hope that helps. Blogging provides one of the easiest and best ways to build author platform today. If you blog often--3-7 times per week--you will find yourself developing a readership quite quickly. If you also include videos and audio in your blog posts and then post these to Itunes and YouTube, you will find your reach extending much farther.

If you want a built in readership for your book, start blogging today. You'll be amazed at how many topics you can cover that relate to your novel or memoir and successfully promote them in the process.

Article Source:

About the Author

Nina Amir is a speaker, author, editor, and writing and author coach who blogs at She helps aspiring authors turn their passion, purpose and potential into publishable products. Get a FREE special report (a $10 value) by joining her mailing list at CopyWright Communications . Register for a memoir workshop taught by Linda Joy Myers on 11/6 in the San Francisco Bay Area here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Picking an editor is not easy. I think the article below helps clarify what is involved.
Johnny Ray

How to Choose a Novel Editor

Author: Gareth Hoyle

So, you've written your novel. You're proud of it (and you should be). Your mother loves it (and she should do). But that doesn't necessarily mean your novel is yet ready to be taken to a literary agent or publisher. As a rough guide, agents take about 1 in 1000 manuscripts, so your novel needs to be excellent before you send it out there.

Perhaps, then, you need help from a professional editor.

1) Do I need a novel editor at all?

Maybe not. If you think your work is strong enough to publish without the help of a pro novel editor, there's an easy way to find out. Simply send your work to approx 10-12 literary agents and see what happens. If your novel is taken on, it's good enough. If it isn't, it's not.

2) How do I choose a good novel editor?

First off, you MUST choose a professional author for your editor. These guys are the experts at creating, shaping, refining, editing and polishing novels – because they have to do it with their own work. What's more, any pro author has proven their ability to write novels that are strong enough to sell. That's the skill-set you need.

Secondly, you should choose an author who has sold big books to big publishers. If an author has sold work to Random House or Penguin, that means they've excelled in the very toughest arena. If an author has only sold a collection of short stories to HereTodayAndGoneTomorrow Press... well, their skills may not be all that great.

Thirdly, don't make a couple of classic mistakes:

Using a novel editor whose background is in publishing only. Yes, I know they're ‘professional editors' – but remember what that means. Modern publishers only ever work on novels that have already been accepted by literary agents and which have been authorised for purchase by the publisher in question. That means the manuscript is already in excellent editorial shape, and the editor's job is about giving the novel a relatively light polish. Almost certainly, your issues are more fundamental than that.
Secondly, don't fall for the blandishments of an English PhD, a copyeditor, a qualified proofreader, or anyone of that ilk. 99% of first-time novels have some kind of structural or other pervasive issue. That doesn't mean they're not fixable – they mostly are – but it does mean it makes no sense paying for wallpaper until you've fixed the walls. That means you need a novelist with plenty of editorial experience.
3) Do I choose a company or a one-man or one-woman operator?

The advantage of having a solo operator for your novel editor is that your relationship is that bit more personal. BUT:

A larger company can select the right novel editor for you from a much larger pool of people.
A larger company will have much stronger connections with literary agents.
A larger company will therefore be the best choice for most writers.

4) Do I want to get advice on my novel, or do I want hands-on editorial work?

For nearly all writers, it will make more sense to get tough feedback on your work, in the form of a detailed editorial report from a pro novel editor. In most cases, if a writer gets strong, clear advice on what needs to be done, they'll be able to do it themselves. This isn't just creatively more satisfying, it's also cheaper. If you decide you want hands-on help, then most large companies can arrange this – but make sure you get a pro author doing that work on your behalf.

Article Source:

About the Author

By Harry Bingham, of the Writers' Workshop. Harry is a best-selling, prize short-listed author of novels and non-fiction, including the category-leading book on Getting Published. The Writers' Workshop's team of novel editors is second to none. Between them, our novel editors have written hundreds of books, sold millions of copies and won or been shortlisted for countless literary awards.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

My thoughts on the publishing industry

Have we seen a lot of changes over the last year? I think we all will agree that we have been overwhelmed at the least. And these changes have affected everyone from the Author, the Agent, the Publisher, the Distributor, and most importantly--the READER!

Everyone has the ultimate goal of selling a book to a reader. What is important to understand is that now everyone wants to control the process. It is assumed that the reader--he/she, on the other hand, just wants to find a good book that meets what they like to read and at the best price.

My projection is that we will see more detailed breakdown on who is responsible for generating the actual sale and that person, be it publisher, distributor, or author be more fully compensated for their work.

For example, if the sale results from an ad the publisher ran,the internet can track where the connection came form and give credit where it is due, but if the sale came from an interview the author gave, then the author should make a higher percentage.

Also, the ultimate voter is the one spending the money--the reader. The route the reader takes to find the book will determine who gets paid more. Readers can be very loyal and when they understand this, I think they will be on the side of the writer.

Your thoughts.

Johnny Ray