Serialization Storytelling- Part 2 Vella – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

By John Peragine

There has been quite the buzz about Kindle’s new offering- Kindle Vella. It has not launched quite yet. Insiders tell me it will be in June 2021. But, authors can start creating stories right now. So what is Vella, and why all the hubbub?

Vella allows you to create stories as a serial- that is, breaking them into episodes. While this is not a new concept Amazon Kindle has gamified it.

The Cover

One of the advantages of coming out with a series is that you can publish it quickly. The cover is no exception. You can use a simple picture that they display in a round porthole style. Nothing fancy, and you don’t need a designer to create it. You just upload, and you are done. The only drawback is that you only have one graphic for the whole series, and you cannot add any pictures to your story.

The Text

You have three choices for content. You can type the story directly into the box. You are limited to one font, but you have bold, italic, and underline options. The stories are read on Kindle devices, and so you could change the font as the reader. You can also cut and paste into the box as well. The third way is you can upload a .doc or .docx file. When I did this, I had to fix a couple of margins once it was uploaded. You can edit directly in the box.

Title

You create a title for the series, and then each episode has its own episode name. You also make a short description of your series. In addition, you are allowed seven story tags- these are searchable words and are very important for people to search and find your story. In addition, you can pick two categories (genres) for your story.

What I have found interesting is that each episode has its own ASIN number. So I anticipate that each episode will be searchable on Amazon- both as a series and as an individual episode. However, these stories do not have an ISBN, which makes sense as they are only digital and only available on Kindle.

Length

Each episode is 600-5,000 words. There doesn’t seem to be a maximum of episodes. They allow you to post content that is “not freely available elsewhere.” This means you can use already published work, but you can’t use work published elsewhere for free. Other than that, there are not too many rules concerning content. Every episode you create has to be approved by them, but it is not clear what they are looking for. I had one episode they would not publish without explanation. I changed the title of the episode, and it went through fine the next time.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

5 Ways to Keep Your Protagonist Proactive – From the Writers in the Storm blog

By Janice Hardy (@Janice_Hardy)

Get your protagonist up off the couch and into the story.

When I was six, I wrote a series called Dog City that followed the adventures of a team of dog archaeologists as they searched for a lost city of, you guessed it, dogs. It was all of four books, bound in aged cardboard from the backs of legal pads, and custom illustrated.

Laugh all you want, but that series had a more proactive protagonist than the “real novel” I wrote twenty years later.

Those industrious little puppers had goals—to find that lost city and fetch a rare magical item that would save the world from evil dinosaurs (it really should have been mailmen, right?). My “real novel” had a protagonist who was being manipulated by gods for a variety of reasons, and there was a prophecy she didn’t want to be a part of, and some romance, and an evil sorcerer, and a curse…you get the picture.

Even written in crayon, the dog story was better because it had a protagonist actively trying to achieve a goal and resolve a problem, and not just a protagonist who only acted when something else forced her to. My six-year-old self knew what the story was about and who was driving that story. My older self did not.

That’s the difference between a proactive and a reactive character, and why some novels flatline even though the scenes are filled with exciting problems.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

What Triathlons Taught Me About Writing – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

By Miffie Seideman

When people find out I’m training for another Ironman triathlon, they usually ask me why I would spend countless hours working towards a single goal that I might not even win (or finish?).

Wait until they find out I’m a writer!

Honestly, though, triathlon is a wonderful sport. It’s full of very supportive, if not competitive, people from all walks of life. It’s also extremely demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Yes, but writing and triathlon training are polar opposites!

Well, actually, I’ve come to recognize strong parallels between lessons learned in triathlon training and
my writing health- particularly over the last year. Hopefully, these insights will help you, too!

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Serialization Storytelling- Part 1 – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by John Peragine

One of the hot new forms of writing right now is serialization. This is breaking up a story into smaller digestible parts, much like episodes of your favorite TV series. While the trend is hot and fresh, the concept of serialization is not new. In the 19th Century, Charles Dickens wrote the Pickwick Papers. It was a story told in 19 episodes over 20 months. More recently, Stephen King wrote the Green Mile as a serialized novel.  Many other famous authors such as Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Atwood, and Harriet Beecher Stowe also serialized some of their stories.

In genre fiction, creating a series of books is often preferred over one-offs, but that can take years to produce. Consider if you could serialize each book into smaller episodes. You could release those episodes as you create and edit them. You wouldn’t need to do any fancy layout or covers, as many serializations are read through apps or online.

There are several benefits of writing in a serialized form.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Five Writing Tips We Love to Hate – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Eldred Bird

While perusing the Twitterverse recently, I happened upon a question that caught my interest. Author Jeff Richards asked, “What is your LEAST favorite common writing tip?”

We all have that one piece of advice that makes us roll our eyes when someone feels the need to impart that particular kernel of wisdom. Below, I’ve collected some of the most popular responses from Mr. Richards’ query. Everyone has their own interpretation as to the meaning of these gems. Let’s take a deeper look and I’ll give you my opinion (I’m full of them).

Write Every Day

“Write every day” is the one I hear most often and was also high on the Twitter list. The most common complaints about this piece of advice involve finding the time and/or the inspiration. Both can be quite difficult at times. You need to write consistently, but that may not mean every day in your particular life situation. I like to approach this tip more as, “Make time in your schedule for writing and stick to it.”

The truth is life doesn’t always give us a choice, so do your best and don’t kick yourself to hard when you stumble and miss a day or two (or in my case sometimes weeks). There are times you need to give yourself permission to say, “It ain’t happening today…”

Read the rest of this post HERE.

How To Build Your Own MFA Experience – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Tasha Seegmiller

I just finished my MFA at Pacific University. I had several reasons I went to get this expensive graduate degree, one which is obvious – I wanted to dedicate time to my writing. I wanted to get better. 

But it was expensive. Really expensive. 

And that is a significant reason why many people don’t seriously consider MFA programs. 

While I would never presume to state that that experience can be replicated in whole outside of the dedication that comes from a financial commitment, there are some key things I learned that I will bring into practice throughout my writing career. 

1. Read Well & Critically

If you have any desire to be published, it is essential to keep apprised of the books being published in your genre. That’s one of the first pieces of advice nearly every publishing professional will tell you.

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Showing Emotion: When, Why & How – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Laurie Schnebly Campbell

Some people read strictly for information. How to make a catapult or cassoulet. What dinosaurs evolved into. When to get the best deal on a new phone.

They don’t care about emotion in a book. So we don’t care about them, either, by golly.

We care about readers who want to know how these characters feel.

  • Readers who might never swear revenge on their mentor’s killer but enjoy knowing what that’d be like.
  • Readers who fell in love with their dream man way-back-when and appreciate re-experiencing that thrill.
  • Readers who like the tense excitement of meeting dangerous challenges without actually walking dark streets at three in the morning.
  • Readers who can’t let themselves cry over a personal sorrow but welcome the relief of letting go when a character suffers deep tragedy.
  • Readers who wonder how they’d react to some incredibly dramatic situation even though their daily life doesn’t offer any such thing.

Read the rest of this post HERE

10 Different Ways to Make Your Point – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Barbara Linn Probst

I worry, sometimes, that we’ve gotten in the habit of thinking of telling as the bad twin and showing as the good one—as if there are only two options and, of those, only one that the skillful writer would choose.

It’s more complex, however. And we have more options. Let’s take a fictitious story-moment and look at…

10 different ways to get a point across

Here’s the scenario:  Evelyn, our imaginary POV character, has just been blindsided and let-down by her friend Kerry. At the last minute, Kerry has reneged on a promise to meet Evelyn for lunch during her layover in Dallas, something that Evelyn was looking forward to. Although it’s hardly a life-or-death matter, Evelyn is angry and hurt. It isn’t the first—or second—time that Kerry has done something like this; Kerry’s casual sorry in response to her just confirming makes Evelyn feel devalued and dismissed, yet she keeps believing Kerry will keep her word because they’ve known each other since adolescence and, she thought, have a deep connection.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Memoir Writing 101 – Getting Started – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

By Linda Ruggeri

This post could also be called: What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Writing My Memoir. This is Part 1 in a three-part series.

As a nonfiction editor and writing coach, I often work with first-time memoir writers who have a story to tell and need help shaping it. These writer-editor relationships may last from six months to three years until what really needs to be said makes its way to the surface of a page.

Memoir writing is more than jotting down thoughts the way we do in a diary. In memoir, ideas need to be organized. Characters and themes developed. Context and sensory details added. Words, sentences, and paragraphs grammatically scrubbed and primed. Chapters need to work independently but also as a whole.

After our work together, it’s rewarding see how these clients have grown stronger as writers, how they’re now able to identify inciting incidents (yes, we use those in memoir too!), what matters, what doesn’t, and perhaps more importantly—from a business perspective—what the reader is interested in reading about versus what they think the reader is interested in.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Book Cover 101: Design Pitfalls to Avoid on Your Way to Bestseller – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Melinda VanLone

Whether you’re designing your own covers or hiring someone to do it for you, it’s easy to fall prey to some common traps along the way. Here are five pitfalls to avoid as you navigate the wild world of cover design.

Genre Misfire

A great-looking piece of art that doesn’t represent your genre won’t help you in the long run. If it tricks the wrong reader into thinking they’ve just picked up the romance of the century, only to find it’s a thriller inside, they won’t be happy no matter how pretty you make the cover. And it will lead to bad reviews. If you’re hiring someone to design your cover, make sure they understand your story’s genre.  

Read the rest of this post HERE.