Research: Keeping the Backstory in the Back

libraryRecently I stumbled across this post for Stephen King’s top 20 rules for writers. I can agree with most of them, and one in particular about research really struck a chord with me for a couple of reasons.

18. The research shouldn’t overshadow the story. “Remember that word back. That’s where the research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it.” Continue reading “Research: Keeping the Backstory in the Back”

Top 10 Ways to Lose a Reader

top-ten-list-top-95717_960_720Or maybe that should be bottom. These are ten of the … what should I call them? Mistakes I commonly see in indie books. Pet peeves. Maybe just the kind of things that will turn me off when reading a book.

I’m no David Letterman, but we’ll try it his way. Continue reading “Top 10 Ways to Lose a Reader”

Do Your Readers Make It Past Chapter One?

Chapter One.

Probably the most rewritten chapter of any book I put together. Why do I stress so much about it? Well, it’s a make or break chapter. In those first few pages, I can either win my readers over or lose them forever. So how do we make sure our readers make it past chapter one?

Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far: Continue reading “Do Your Readers Make It Past Chapter One?”

Are You Pro Prologues? (Baby Got Backstory, Part II)

Last week we talked about backstory, how much is too much and nifty ways to use it. What about a prologue? Should you have one? Is it a great way to lay down a lot of background up front? Or will readers just buzz past it to get to Chapter One? Does all that backstory make my butt look big? No. Don’t answer that one.

However, there is no right or wrong answer about prologues. There is only Elmore Leonard and he is to blame. Well, not really. But that’s what happens when a popular author does something relatively bold – starts in the meat of the action and is successful at it – that gets writers thinking they have to do the same thing and readers thinking that most stories should start in the middle of a hostage situation. Continue reading “Are You Pro Prologues? (Baby Got Backstory, Part II)”