Things continue here at a frenetic pace. After I finished off the first draft of WRITING FICTION FOR DUMMIES two weeks ago, just meeting my deadline, I then spent most of a week at a writing conference. It was great to see some of my loyal blog readers there, but when I got back, I already had a stack of chapters in my e-mail in-box with editorial revision comments.
So I’m now working on revisions. As I mentioned in my last post, the book is about 122,000 words, so it’s going to be a tremendously demanding job to get it all edited. I’m looking forward to getting the book complete and on store shelves (you can already see it listed on Amazon). The problem for me is that this book is one of three major projects I have going on right now, so I have very little free time.
When I get a chance to catch my breath, I’ll be back to a more regular blogging schedule. However, I thought I should post a quick note here to say that my latest column, featuring Sam the Plumber, is now posted online. Sam gave me a whole new perspective on the concept of “preaching to the choir.” I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on Sam’s thoughts.
Edwina Cowgill says
Excellent article! I loved the humor and yet Sam hit the nail on its head. When we give people what WE think they want, rather than what THEY want, not only are we not going to sell books, I think we have insulted their intelligence. We must know our readers – who is our market – and sell to them.
Thanks for sharing this article!
It’s amazing, and somehow encouraging, to hear that you are in the midst of revision with your editors – you who write so well and are teaching so many of us how to write well. It’s simply evidence that you practice what you preach. Thanks for taking us along on your ride and giving us a glimpse of the inside workings!
Donald James Parker says
Entertaining story, as always when Sam stops by to interrupt a good day. Those one star reviews are irritating and usually extremely biased or completely irrational. I take them with a whole salt shaker since a grain won’t suffice. If I read a good Christian novel which preaches to the choir, I’ll usually give it a four. One possessing the same quality but preaches to the world will get a five. Success in sales does not equate with ultimate worth of a book. Ultimately, just as with humans, God is the judge of the value of all human endeavor. If he gives me a five star review, I couldn’t care less about how many stars are lit up on Amazon.
You’re right about the choir though. There are no doubt some members of the group who need the preaching. Thee are two facets to faith, finding it and walking in it. Fiction can help Christians walk in our faith.
Donald James Parker
Author of Love Waits
Bravo, Randy–er, Sam.
The bottom line is to write the story God has given us to tell. Amen to the five star reviews from the Lord. We forget who we’re born to honor, please, and, well, work for, not to mention be obedient to. Yes, I ended with a lot of prepositions. Oh well.
Andra M. says
On a writing review website I received a one-star review. It hurt at first, but then I decided to see it as a badge of honor.
One stars can show our writing wiggled underneath the reader’s skin. It’s one of those precious emotional reactions all writers seek.
For instance, I wrote a novella, and gave a copy to my mom. A few days ago she told me she couldn’t finish it because the protagonist was gay.
My reaction? Good! It means the idea made her cringe a little, which was one intent of the story.
Sometimes we should make our audience squirm.
Sheila Deeth says
I love it whenever Sam puts in an appearance. But why do I keep reading things that remind me to wonder who I’m writing for and why? Is there a message somewhere? Perhaps I should call a plumber.
Emily Cotton says
I enjoyed Sam’s viewpoint, Randy. But then I’ve never subscribed much to the idea that one book is what changes a person’s life. Change is incremental — things reach a tipping point, and then the changee claims that the last item is what did it. There’s only so much a storybook can do, and if it doesn’t start by doing what it’s supposed to do — tell a story the reader wants to know — then it won’t get far enough to do even a tiny bit of anything else.
My one question for the writers who don’t want to ‘preach to the choir’ (myself included) have any idea what tune those they want to reach outside this proverbial choir want to sing?
Good to think about.
Gumbo Writers says
Just checking out your website for the first time. Really a pleasure to read and you have some great resources and advice here. Thanks.
Hannah L. says
Sam always manages to light up my day and remind me of important truths at the same time. Gotta love ‘im.
Tracy B. says
Ok, I’m not sure where these comments should go (1st time blogging), nor am I sure whether or not this question has been asked:
1) In your “Writing the Perfect Scene” article, you talk about Scenes, Sequels and MRUs (or whatever you wish to call them), and they make sense for character interaction. However, I was wondering were descriptive “scenes” fit into the story structure? In other words, you are describing what a person looks like, how the office is set up, etc. These aren’t “Scenes” as there is no goal/conflict/disaster, nor a “Sequel” as there is no reaction/dilemma/decision. (And before you ask, no I have not gotten hold of Swain’s book yet, and yes I realize that Scenes/Sequels/etc can/should span paragraphs.)
2)I’m also having difficulty with Step 3 of the Snowflake Method, specifically in regards to motivation and goal. I have some character I have been working with for many years and I know their history and personality, etc, but they’re not talking to me about motivations and goals (teenagers….). And can/do motivations/goals/conflicts/epiphanies change as the story does (original conflict leads to original epiphany that leads to bigger conflict and another epiphany, etc. or character starts off with one goal then changes/is forced into another goal, etc.)
For example: you have a character whose sole motivation/goal is to lie on the beach in Hawaii. Then s/he learns the beach is threatened, so s/he sets out to save the beach, only to learn later on that it is not just the beach, but the entire planet that’s threatened (and that’s the storyline of the book). So, when writing Step 3, is the motivation/goal “lying on a beach” or “save the world” or both in sequence?
I love Sam. Wish I had him or someone like him in my life. Thanks.
While we’re not really discussing any topic what do you all think of this…
a Successful doctor is forced to kill his daughter in order to save his son.
Or even the kick in the teeth technique…
a Respected doctor’s only chance to save his son is to kill his daughter.
What do you think?
Pam Halter says
Fingernail polish will dissolve Super Glue.
But Sam is right. Our book will never be finished if we don’t sit ourselves down and get it done. Self discipline ~ so easy to plan ~ so hard to do.
Now, where is MY Butt Glue?
Delightful story and a very clear message. I’ve been trying to find some “butt glue” that works. Unlike Sam, the people around me seem to be the solvent.