The Over-used Trope for Character Development

Over the weekend, I watched Good Will Hunting. No, I’ve never seen the movie before even though it was released in 1997. That was the year I was working 40 hours a week at a garden centre, giving birth to my first child and settling into a new house, so I didn’t watch much of anything.

Throughout the movie, I was waiting for the inevitable. I say inevitable because many of the books I’ve read and the movies I’ve watched the past 20 years have used death to jolt the main character out of their ‘destructive’ daze and into change for the better. I’ve seen it so many times, I can often pick which character will be sacrificed for the good of character development. If it’s a character I’ve invested emotion in, I pull back before the death, knowing it’s coming. If I’m unaware, it feels like a betrayal by the writer.

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Amazon Reviews

EllsworthWe all know how important reviews are for authors and books. They can help sell a book, and they can help deter others from buying a book. Some authors call reviews the life-blood of sales. However, I’ve visited a few book-sellers’ pages and looked at popular books and found no reviews—not one. I know they sold well, so why wouldn’t they have reviews?

Reviews sell books to a certain audience, but not to the readers who don’t go online and seek reviews.

Readers look to reviews for an honest assessment of the story to help them to decide if they want to read the book or not. When there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of reviews for a book, there’s usually a wide range of ratings. I’ve seen popular books with many four and five star reviews, but they also have one-star reviews. That’s because one book doesn’t please everyone.

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Publishing 101: Reviews

Publishing 101During the Draft to Book in 30 Days challenge I’d like to try a few new ideas I’ve seen other writers/publishers implement. One of those ideas is to get quotes for the back cover or an inside page of the book. I’m going to take that a little further and look for reviews before the book is published.

So…I am wondering if anyone is interested in reading Fowl Summer Nights and providing a review I can post on my website.

Above each review will be a short (two to three sentences) biography to introduce the reviewer. The bio can contain one link to a website, blog or Facebook page. If the reviewer is a writer, they can mention a title or two of the book(s) they’ve written. If the writer wishes, they can send along a photograph of themselves to accompany their biography. Images of a book will be permitted in place of the reviewer’s image, but I’d prefer a picture of the person, so I can ‘meet them’.

If a book image is submitted, it cannot contain graphic sexual content. I have an eleven-year-old over my shoulder most days, so I don’t post anything to my website that I don’t want him to see. I have the right to refuse book covers I deem inappropriate for a young audience. An author photo would be more appropriate under these circumstances.

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The Importance of Good Editing

EditingEditing. That’s the mammoth task every writer must face in the process of publishing a book. I know some writers don’t bother—you can easily spot their eBooks like you can an elephant in your corn chowder—but editing is the one essential task that must be done and done to a specific professional level to gain success and respect in self-publishing. It can’t be half-assed, sped through or done with no knowledge on how to do it.

Readers will notice. Other writers will notice too. Even my ten-year-old can spot a spelling mistake.

Unedited books also become fair game to reviewers. Some will politely tell the author there are mistakes or that “this is a good first draft” or “it has potential”, but most will not be so kind.

Here are a few actual one-star reviews from Amazon

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