Character names can add or detract from a story.
When you're writing and you don't know what a character should be named, don't let that stop you -- just insert NTK (name to come). Why NTK? It's a combination of characters that is rarely used so it make it easy to use the search and replace function to add in the name you come up with later.
I learned this too late, in the case of the sticky Bob. I used the name Bob for a character who I introduced in my second novel, Unexpected Impact, then decided to change his name to Chuck. I never realized how many words have "bob" in them until I tried to do a search and replace. I resorted to the old fashioned way, Bob by Bob.
After publishing, I got a note from a reader that pointed out several Bobs remained. It was nice of them, and I always appreciate hearing from readers! But it still was a bit embarrassing since I thought between myself and my beta readers, we had found all of them.
If you'd like to see who Chuck is (and check if you spy any remaining Bobs) click here for links to where you can buy the ebook. Or join my mailing list and I'll let you know when I have special promotions running. :)
Note: those are not what my nails look like. But the reading glasses are similar!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
I'm a fiction writer; I don't normally write poems but a had a bit of inspiration... see if you agree!
September 6th is National Read a Book Day. I hope you'll be celebrating with me. If you need reasons, here are seven:
Do you have another reason? I'd love to hear it. Please add it in the comments.
Thanks for reading -- enjoy your next book!
Photo credit: The READ picture is by Kristin Baldeschwiler, on Pixabay
I'm going back in time -- to ancient Greece -- for my next book.
Those who know me might remember my fascination with Greek mythology, I think it was in 5th grade. I've forgotten some of it (time will do that sometimes) so I had fun rereading Edith Hamilton's "Mythology". It was a little like visiting an old friend...
When reviewing a book, do you ever wonder how many stars to give it?
Many people have -- but don't let it stop you from leaving your feedback!
Here's what the stars mean for book reviews on Amazon, according to "Inside the Inkwell". I like their rating scale, so I'm reposting part of it with a few modifications and added thoughts.
Enjoyed the book in the way that it was meant -- it delivered what the description promised. It may have given you a break from reality, surrounded you with lifelike characters, or perhaps made you smile or learn something. If you really liked the book, in addition to rating it, you can check out the author's website to see if there are more books in progress.
Generally liked the book -- you like it, but an issue with the book detracted from your enjoyment. This issue could be too much repetition in the writing, an annoying plot hole, way too many typos, etc. You might consider being a bit kinder in your rating of a self-published book (especially a low-cost one) than one that has a larger publisher backing it. Be specific in your review and if it was a plot hole or something you didn't understand, consider emailing the author through their website or contact info at the end of the book.
Neither liked nor disliked the book—you are not sure if you like it or not. You might read it again if you were stuck in quarantine and this was all you had… (that may have been why you read it in the first place!) Anyway, be aware that this review hurts an author’s rating because some advertisers and listing services don’t allow 3-star books, so consider leaving no review if you are on the fence.
The book is plagued by serious issues and you want to prevent others from suffering.
For example, the book is marketed as "hilariously funny" but it turns out to be not humorous at all to you. Or there are typos on practically every page (lack of editing,) serious inconsistencies, or a glaring lack of research. Or you found the plot, characters, or setting tedious and a waste of time. If you are giving this rating, be specific about what bothered you, it will be helpful to other readers as well as the author.
Colossal failure. You really regret picking this book and would like your money and time back. It could be that there was no plot and it was so boring you couldn't keep reading. Leave this rating if you want to discourage the author from writing another book.
Does this sound anything like how you review a book?
Please add your comments below or join the conversation on my Facebook page!
Thanks for reading!
#bookreviews #books #readers #readersandreviews #authorsofinstagram
Occasionally, I like to feature a guest post on writing or books. I liked Jim Recklis' perspective on reading fiction -- and hope you will, too.
Reading Fiction Makes You a Better Leader
If leaders are readers, then what about fiction?
I am convinced many good leaders are missing out on the transforming power of story in fiction books. And I know of no one better to help me persuade the doubters and encourage those already won over than my wife. She led me and our family to love reading fiction. I am so grateful and you will be too.
Have you ever been completely captivated in the pages of a story and felt guilty for wasting time and being so “unproductive”? When reading a fiction book in public, have you wanted a “fake” cover so it would not look like you were a lightweight?
As an avid (and I mean avid) reader of fiction, I would like to challenge you to consider a different perspective, one that invokes the value of fiction to affect your skills and influence as a leader.
Perhaps in the pages and world of a fiction story, instead of losing yourself and wasting time, you are gaining new spaces of empathy and understanding? Maybe the struggles, pains, and joys of a character can shape your thinking and your actions more than you know. And just maybe a character’s wisdom and insight would lead to action on your part that transforms the teams that are under your management.
Storytelling is powerful.
Valuable instruction and practices can be hidden in the pages of fiction.
Story reaches us at a level that lessons, points, and advice rarely do and imprints the lesson and gives weight to the point. Story increases our capacity to “take away” the instruction being given. A well-developed character stirs our imagination and can take the role of mentor and coach.
In the pages of a book set in Montreal and Quebec, one such character has shaped my understanding of the best and worst ways leaders can lead and perhaps even shape the destiny of those on their teams.
The character is Armand Gamache and he resides in the novels by Canadian author, Louise Penny. Using the voice of Armand, Louise reveals a leadership practice that will impart the values of a healthy team better than hours of seminars and lectures ever could.
As head of the Quebec Surete, Armand is faced with competition, jealousy, and division among the team of officers that he commands. He frequently faces ridicule and spiteful reactions from superiors. Ongoing in the series and amid the plot lines, Armand pursues actions and attitudes to help him lead well amid division and conflict. He strives to create bonds that bridge gaps and foster trust.
Punitive means, didactic policies and harsh correction will not and have not succeeded. So, Armand chooses a path of identifying with failures, insecurities, and addresses each struggling recruit with the following succinct and unexpected words of insight:
We all need to learn to say:
"I am sorry."
"I was wrong."
"I don’t know."
" I need help.”
Pausing to let those words sink in, Armand suggests that If each one practiced the humility and strength of these four statements, there would be less competition, less division, and less tearing down. In contrast, such practices will engender more cooperation, understanding and supportive teamwork.
Imagine receiving this advice in person from a trusted mentor and feeling the effect of this humility and gentleness in your workplace.
Consider being the leader that speaks such quiet but powerful understanding and instruction.
Fiction broadens our perspective, enlarges our empathy and engages our imagination. We open to possibilities that we may resist if we encountered them as a bullet-pointed memo or powerpoint presentation.
We are changed by what we feel, experience and imagine far more than what we are told. Immersed in the plot and identifying with a character, we can “try on” new patterns and attitudes and consider changes in subtle but powerful ways.
As a leader, have you spoken any of Armand’s statements lately?
To someone that makes it difficult?
Which statement is the hardest for you to speak? Which is a bit easier?
Have you led by example to practice this kind of courage and humility?
Have you given your team permission to be so candid and vulnerable?
Perhaps a story set in Canada that has nothing to do with your everyday life could actually be the catalyst for change in your leadership.
Perhaps what you glean from fiction and story could transform your team, community and each place of your influence.
And beyond all that, perhaps you will really enjoy the “time away” from your work world and find re-creation in the pages of a story!
I appreciate my wife's insights gleaned from her love of fiction and our many discussions on characters and plots over the years. For research on the powerful effects on leaders who read fiction go here.
About the author: You can learn more about Jim and his leadership practice at http://rekliscoachingandconsulting.com/
Thanks for reading!
And don't forget to check out Nancy's newest book -- Out of the Shadows - Coming Home !
Available June 23rd in the Kindle store at the pre-sale price of only $.99. ($2.99 value).
General Nicolai Hewzenko has achieved almost everything he planned – he’s led a revolution, run a country and raised the standard of living for his people. Then he gets a tip and launches a daring rescue to find his long-lost daughter, Silvia. But for someone used to giving orders, getting to know a 12-year-old who is terrified of him proves far more complicated than planning the mission to rescue her. The psychologist he brings in to help turns out to be as vulnerable as Silvia is, while his challenges grow beyond his father-daughter relationship until his life’s work – and perhaps his life -- is in jeopardy. Can they free each other from the shadows of the past and find the love they crave?
On pre-order (special discount) at Amazon -- click here to get your copy today!
Here are some more small wildflowers -- hope you enjoy them. Also, if you know their names, please add them in the comments. Anyone who can name them all gets a free copy of my new ebook!
A while ago, I wrote a post about finding the blue button of happiness. It's an old post, but one of my favorites -- if you want to read it, you can check it out here.
In this time of social distancing and worry about the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have to look harder for things that make you happy, but they are still out there.
Sometimes, they can be really small things that you might normally overlook.
Like tiny wildflowers.
Some people might call them weeds, but I was delighted to see that our backyard had tons of tiny surprises this spring (beyond the daffodils, but I planted them so they weren't a true a surprise). With the help of a macro lens, I was able to see how beautiful these really are. I hope you enjoy them, too!
Insights on writing, characters, humor and other tidbits from the author of the "Scoops and Schemes" series of novels.
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