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The New Guy Writing Fiction

If Fiction is your forte, this is the forum for you. This is the place to share information and get help on the road to writing the next great novel.

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Accord64
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The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Accord64 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:45 am

Hello! :)

I'm new to the forum and write fiction with a Christian worldview. I try to center on a good story while incorporating Christian characters and/or principals without trying to be preachy. I'm trying to engage both Christian and mainstream audiences, so striking a balance that appeals to both is quite a challenge.

I have also been hanging around a couple of mainstream writing forums for the past few months. One is populated by members who I hesitate to call authors because of the untamed and anonymous nature of the forum. The other is far better moderated, but most of the authors there seem to write erotica. Both places have been a good resource for technical information for self-published authors (like me), but they are not places to seek advice and camaraderie in Christian values.

In general, I think there's a lot of talented writers out there, but their work is often marred by objectionable plots, questionable (or offensive) moralities, and a general appetite for bizarre dysfunctional characters & situations. In short, a lot of well written material that has the nutritional value of junk food (or worse) for the soul. I guess I'm trying to swim against that tide by trying to write viable alternative material.

I self-published my first novel earlier this year and plan to a second (unrelated) one soon. I'm not trying to self-promote here, but I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who is trying to achieve the same goal.

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Kiwigirl » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:24 am

Hi,

I write fiction and non-fiction, but my latest work is my longest and it's a jolly good story (I say that tongue-in-cheek because a story isn't much good without being jolly good) with the intention of readers thinking it was a great story, but then perhaps having them left curious to know more about the sub-theme. I'm aiming to be published mainstream rather than self-publishing. The whole marketing bit leaves me cold, even though I know I could do it. Would rather write the story, lol.

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Accord64 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:01 pm

Kiwigirl wrote:I'm aiming to be published mainstream rather than self-publishing. The whole marketing bit leaves me cold, even though I know I could do it. Would rather write the story, lol.


I understand what you mean. After a few months of slugging it out in the self-publishing arena, there are times I envy those authors who have signed with large publishers. Publishers bring a wealth of marketing expertise and access to numerous markets. I'd just love to have access to their professional editing staffs as I continue to pick out errors I missed in my already published novel. :oops:

On the other hand, I have read numerous accounts that it's very difficult to get a publishing deal these days, and if you're fortunate enough to get one, it's not likely going to be very lucrative. Not that I'm out to get super-rich, but I'd like to someday be able to make a living as an author. When I look over the typical self-publishing rates per eBook (up to 70% per sale on Amazon vs. less than 20% through a publisher), the entrepreneur in me says: "I need to find a way to make this work!"

So my writing takes on a three step process. 1. Writing. 2. Editing/test reading (followed by rewrites and more editing). 3. Promotion.

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Kiwigirl » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:00 pm

Editors these days more often than not don't edit. In fact, sometimes I think all they do is write contracts and bung the story off to the self-publishing printers. I'd hire an editor if I were you.

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby pheeweed » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:19 am

Accord64 wrote:Hello! :)

I'm new to the forum and write fiction with a Christian worldview. I try to center on a good story while incorporating Christian characters and/or principals without trying to be preachy. I'm trying to engage both Christian and mainstream audiences, so striking a balance that appeals to both is quite a challenge.



Welcome to the forum. You'll learn a lot about writing and publishing here. I'm a writer with only a little experience, but some of it is in writing book reviews. As a Christian reader, I'm not necessarily looking for a Christian novel. I'm looking for a well told story with compelling characters and a few surprises in the plot. If it has a deep theme, even better. I think your goals would achieve that. But you should know that a lot of Christians are part of the mainstream audience, and we're looking for mainstream books that aren't "junk food." Writing for the mainstream audience with a Christian worldview will give us that.
Phee
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"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Accord64 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:04 pm

pheeweed wrote: As a Christian reader, I'm not necessarily looking for a Christian novel. I'm looking for a well told story with compelling characters and a few surprises in the plot. If it has a deep theme, even better. I think your goals would achieve that. But you should know that a lot of Christians are part of the mainstream audience, and we're looking for mainstream books that aren't "junk food." Writing for the mainstream audience with a Christian worldview will give us that.


Good to know, thanks. Information like this helps me to better focus my promotion efforts, as well as future writing projects.

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby DearGod:WithLove » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:13 pm

Hello & welcome!

I to have self-published and found some errors after having been published! There is such a need for editing. If you can afford it in the future, get an editor to look at your manuscripts. But, Amy is right (write! LOL) very often an editor will do nothing more than to push it off to someone else. That is why I will HIRE an editor next time around. It is so difficult for me to pick up my own errors, espcially with Dyslexia.

God Bless you~
Psalm 119:105 ( KJV) "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

I love you Lord...Blessed is your name~

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Accord64 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:24 pm

DearGod:WithLove wrote:Hello & welcome!

I to have self-published and found some errors after having been published! There is such a need for editing. If you can afford it in the future, get an editor to look at your manuscripts. But, Amy is right (write! LOL) very often an editor will do nothing more than to push it off to someone else. That is why I will HIRE an editor next time around. It is so difficult for me to pick up my own errors, espcially with Dyslexia.
God Bless you~


Thanks for the welcome. :thankssign

No argument from me that an editor is important. My challenge was to have my novel edited with no budget to hire an editor. So I found a couple of people (with a good eye for editing) willing to read/proof/edit. They did a pretty good job, but obviously didn't catch everything. I also complicated things (besides writing a 130K word novel my first time out) by accidentally not saving a set of edits after making them. Ouch. Lesson learned on handling file versions.

The good thing about eBooks is that you can easily upload new versions with corrections - and move on.

I also recently found a very generous author/publisher/editor who is reading through my novel to help me find the last of the edits. It was helpful to hear that the edits he found have been minor and sporadic. But it still drives be crazy that mistakes were still in there! I tend to be a perfectionist that way.

Someday if my work starts generating enough in revenues, I pray I can hire a good editor.

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Sparrow » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:17 am

I find that same problem with being able to afford and editor, and as a freelance editor myself, it's hard to find the balance of getting me enough money to pay my bills and still giving as much of a discount as I can to the writers I know don't have much money. I had a good friend who was an editor give me a discount on editing for my completed novel. I decided to go ahead and pay for it even though I'm pretty good with grammar myself (being an editor, lol) and even though I'm planning to get it traditionally published, and I'm glad I did. She was able to catch some storyline things the other beta readers had missed, as well as typos and such.

I write similar to you in that I tell the story and have the faith be there if it's a part of the story but work hard not to force it or have it be preachy. A lot of my short stories don't have anything specifically Christian or faith in them, but are just told from a Christian world view. So far both my books have some Christianity in them. My first novel is about siblings running away and they aren't Christians so it doesn't have anything religious in the first part and then gradually adds a little as they become curious about their Creator. I had trouble with the conversion scene because I started with it vague so it wasn't preaching, but then it seemed like I skimmed over the important stuff. I finally worked out what hopefully is a very natural and staying true to their characters dialogue that I think works well. If I accomplished my goals, it's not boring for those who already know the gospel, and not preachy for those who don't.

Who did you use to self publish through? I run a collaborative fiction group, Peculiar People, and I've published our books through Lulu and then recently switched to CreateSpace since it's cheaper now. They are so much easier and less expensive than the subsidy places. I did our first one through Xulon and they were fine but so expensive. Once I figured stuff out I realized I could do all that myself except the cover and I found someone to do that for me. Actually now I've learned how to use PhotoShop and can even do some of that myself.
Amy Michelle Wiley
Check out my booklet, Bring Your Writing to Life: a writer's guide to "show; don't tell". Buy it here.
My Website, Sparrow's Flight

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Accord64 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:28 am

Sparrow wrote:Who did you use to self publish through? I run a collaborative fiction group, Peculiar People, and I've published our books through Lulu and then recently switched to CreateSpace since it's cheaper now. They are so much easier and less expensive than the subsidy places. I did our first one through Xulon and they were fine but so expensive. Once I figured stuff out I realized I could do all that myself except the cover and I found someone to do that for me. Actually now I've learned how to use PhotoShop and can even do some of that myself.


I initially released as an eBook only through Amazon and Smashwords (who distributed to Apple, B&N, Kobo, Sony, etc). I initially shied away from on-demand printing because I didn't feel I could attractively price a book that would make it worth the effort.

After receiving some feedback, I found that Christian readers seem to have a wide disparity of choice in reading mediums. While some had adopted the newer eBook medium, there's still a significant number that preferred a "good 'ol fashioned printed book". (Note: While I hope to appeal to a mainstream audience, I knew that my book would likely start with Christian readers, and work out from there).

So I recently started to work through Createspace (between re-editing and writing another book). It took a bit of time to conquer the learning curve behind formatting a printed book, but my first proof arrived a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit that it was an unexpected joy to hold my book in print for the first time. I didn't expect to have that reaction, and my formatting choices looked great. The physical book itself (materials, binding, etc.) was of good quality, and not unlike the many professionally published of similar size in my bookshelf. Some minor tweaks were needed and a second proof is currently en-route to me. If all goes well, I'll have it up for sale this month.

Not sure how many copies will sell, but it turned out to be a no-brainer to have it offered in print. My next book will hopefully be released as an eBook this month too, and I plan to have that in print much sooner.

Covers - Ah, covers. I'm in a similar predicament. No budget for a professional, and my skills are mediocre. The best I could do was to come up with something that was doable - until a time comes when I have a budget for it. But that's risky. Once a book is out there, it becomes recognized by it's cover. Any changes down the road can lead to confusion, particularly as it (hopefully) sells more. I also wrote in a genre in which I wanted to stay away from the cliched sci-fi "geeky" look. So I tried to go with a minimalist generic look that would be easily recognizable. I suppose time will tell if I made the right choice.

So is "Peculiar people" a description of the authors in your group, or the name? Or both? :wink:

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Sparrow » Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:13 pm

Accord64 wrote:So is "Peculiar people" a description of the authors in your group, or the name? Or both? :wink:

Both. ;) Writers are an odd bunch, and Christians are called to be different, so it is a perfect name for my group. It's from the Titus verse that in the King James version calls us to be "peculiar people." You can check us out at http://www.peculiarpeoplebooks.com

Your book ventures sound great. I love Smashwords and Createspace.

If you want me to play around with some things for the cover of your next book, I can do that for a nominal fee. I can't do incredibly complicated things, but I do have the nicer software and a basic knowledge of how to use it, so that allows me to do a lot of layering and fading and cropping and some helpful things like that.

Here are a couple of covers I did for myself just for the fun of it (these books will be traditionally published, hopefully, so the publisher will make different covers).
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Reaching Sky smaller.jpg
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Amy Michelle Wiley
Check out my booklet, Bring Your Writing to Life: a writer's guide to "show; don't tell". Buy it here.
My Website, Sparrow's Flight

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Arpy » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:26 pm

I just noticed this thread. Welcome to the forum, Accord64, and I am very much of your style myself. Especially about not being 'preachy'. :wink: I wish you all the best. (And I completely relate to the 130K word novel. I have one like that too. But it's not published yet.)
Arpy

I write adventures, historical fiction, war stories, fantasies, psychological and spy thrillers.

IN PROGRESS:
Snaga - fan fiction fantasy
Emira - action adventure
Confessions of an Evil Genius - psychological thriller
The Play-Actor - sci-fi, historical, psychological spy thriller
Dreamreader - YA psychological thriller
A fantasy without a title
RECENT DRAFTS:
Royal Opposition - action adventure

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Accord64 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:26 pm

Sparrow wrote:Writers are an odd bunch, and Christians are called to be different, so it is a perfect name for my group. It's from the Titus verse that in the King James version calls us to be "peculiar people." You can check us out at http://www.peculiarpeoplebooks.com


Looks like an interesting (and productive) group. You must be having a lot of fun with it.

If you want me to play around with some things for the cover of your next book, I can do that for a nominal fee. I can't do incredibly complicated things, but I do have the nicer software and a basic knowledge of how to use it, so that allows me to do a lot of layering and fading and cropping and some helpful things like that.


Thanks for your kind offer, but I'm already finalizing the cover for "Dover Park". It turned out to be a lot easier to come up with cover ideas for - particularly ones were I could utilize family photographers. It's always nice to be able to work with material that doesn't need to be purchased, just acknowledged. :D

Arpy wrote:I just noticed this thread. Welcome to the forum, Accord64, and I am very much of your style myself. Especially about not being 'preachy'. :wink: I wish you all the best. (And I completely relate to the 130K word novel. I have one like that too. But it's not published yet.)


Thanks for the welcome! I started writing 'Chasing Redemption' a little over 15 years ago. It's been a on-and-off effort over the years, with countless revisions. It really stunned me the day I had my software do a word count. I never thought I'd ever write something that long.

I recently pulled out the earliest hand written drafts. I had a good laugh at how embarrassingly heavy-handed I was with the preaching - As though I thought people would just drop to their knees and come to Jesus after reading it. :lol: Not to make light of that ultimate goal, but needless to say, I toned it down a couple hundred notches. :oops:

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Arpy » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:45 pm

OK, 15 years ago I couldn't even write my name, so I can't relate to that! However, I know about the revisions and revisions and revisions. I have one going right now which should only really end up about 65,000 words (if current trends continue) but which I've re-started over seven times. And reading what I wrote on it three years ago has the same effect on me. Except it's not so much the preaching as the over-all amateur sound of the style.
Arpy

I write adventures, historical fiction, war stories, fantasies, psychological and spy thrillers.

IN PROGRESS:
Snaga - fan fiction fantasy
Emira - action adventure
Confessions of an Evil Genius - psychological thriller
The Play-Actor - sci-fi, historical, psychological spy thriller
Dreamreader - YA psychological thriller
A fantasy without a title
RECENT DRAFTS:
Royal Opposition - action adventure

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Re: The New Guy Writing Fiction

Postby Sparrow » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:42 am

Glad you've got a cover you're happy with. That's so fun to have family pictures on the front. :D

Arpy, I guess if you are writing for kids or teens, then having amateur-sounding writing might not be all bad, depending on whether it's just plain bad writing or if it's just young-sounding.
Amy Michelle Wiley
Check out my booklet, Bring Your Writing to Life: a writer's guide to "show; don't tell". Buy it here.
My Website, Sparrow's Flight

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