Relationships anthology cover update – any of these ideas grab you?

Do any of these images catch your eye? (Click the individual image to enlarge it.)

What about some of these mock-up covers? (Click the individual image to enlarge it.)

And what about that as a possible title?

“Hidden Gems” kinda indicates there’s something in there you’ll like, while still being obtuse about the nature of the stories – so the blurb will explain what they’re about.

 

What should the title be for an anthology about “relationships”? (And what should the cover look like?)

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your frustrated and confused host

We are about to start a new writing contest March 1st, and there’s a question that’s been bothering me since we concluded the last one.

 

What should the title be for an anthology about “relationships”?

And what should the cover look like?

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Hmm…

 

As you will recall, our December contest had a theme of relationships and we had some really great stories, but I am at a loss as to how to market that sucker.

 

no 1 bOur prior anthology was “scary stories,” and it was going to release in October, so that was pretty easy.

 

Relationships is a little trickier.

I guess it doesn’t have to be, but it’s got me stumped.

The stories aren’t necessarily love stories, and they aren’t necessarily… Well, they’re just all kinds of things!

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this is not right for our relationship anthology

Which is fine. As soon as somebody starts reading it they’re going to enjoy the rich tapestry of stories that are inside.

But what should that TITLE be, and what should that COVER look like – and more importantly, how do you market it?

Or do you market it?

 

Well, why don’t we do this:

 

You guys are pretty smart. Leave your suggestions in the comment section below and if you want to read the stories they are here on the blog (you have to put the titles in the search box, though).

 

And soon we will need to create a private Facebook group to talk about this stuff with all the people whose stories we put in the anthology… or maybe just add members to the Facebook group we made for the scary anthology, because those are some smart cookies in there, too. (I’ll just change the name of the group, right? Yeah…)

 

And then maybe we can start getting some ideas!

 

Feel free to comment below

or if you have any IMAGES you like that might be appropriate for a “relationship“ anthology, that incorporates maybe some of the ideas in the stories, used the “Contact Me” button and send them.

 

Or…

This might be a radical idea… I have seen things like collections by Mark Twain that say “Tom Sawyer and other stories” or something like that…

 

Maybe take the easy way out. Maybe take the first place winner and name the whole anthology after the winning story in the prior contest (“Flight Risk”) and have it be an additional pat on the back to the winner. Flight Risk And Other Short Stories.

Or does that sound like a battle of F-16’s? Or a video game?

And does that make everyone who is in the “other” category feel slighted?

Oh, a good story!

And… you.

Which isn’t the case, but you can see how an author might feel a bit miffed. Authors are a touchy group.

Anyway, I’m open to any ideas.

 

If we go with “Flight Risk and Other Short Stories, An Anthology” we could just put a picture of an airplane. That solves that!

Or not.

Seriously, give me your thoughts.

 

Maybe we could incorporate the relationship stories in with the mystery stories we are writing this month?

…or does that make it harder to come up with a title and cover?

Should we go with a title that doesn’t really mean anything, like Hidden Gems, and the cover could be a jewelry box?

What are YOUR thoughts?

Food For Thought (a.k.a. A Writely Kick in The Rear)

inspirationalquotesaboutlife23

It seems simplistic, but turn it around: Can you achieve it if you can’t dream it? If a goal or an idea is not a realizable thought in your brian, you won’t get there.

The dream comes first – then the hard work – but it starts with a dream. The hard work is what turns the dream into the reality.

Thoughts?

Come See Me At The Writing Workshop

FWA workshop

I’m at it again!

I’ll be presenting “Pacing” at the upcoming FWA Writing Workshop on April 28, 2018.

Yep. People are gonna pay to listen to me talk again – and you could be one! I’ll be dazzling attendees with my presentation, then dazzling the bartender – and possibly you – in the lounge afterward.

Seriously, I’m flattered to be asked to present these topics, and you’d benefit for attending.

Pacing

Story pacing—keep a reader glued to their seat and turning pages. (That one’s by me.) But I’ll be sitting in on some of these other workshops, too:

Arcs – by Jade Kerrion

All good stories are propelled forward by conflict and change. In this session, discover the importance and the difference among character arcs, story arcs, and series arcs. We’ll also discuss how to seamlessly blend all three into riveting chapters and page-turning stories.

Tropes – by Tracie Roberts

Tropes, when used appropriately, can help authors meet the expectations of readers and heighten the reading experience. In my presentation on using tropes in writing, I will explain the difference between cliches and tropes, assist attendees with identifying tropes and avoiding cliches, and model how to rewrite common tropes with a fresh twist. Attendees will have the opportunity to put into practice what they learn.

World Building/Setting – by Jennifer Siddoway

How to create a world your characters and readers will never want to leave.

Fee

Yep, you gotta pay. But it includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and beverages
$89.00 for a FWA Member & $109.00 for a Non-member

REGISTER 

Schedule

8:30 AM Registration Opens
8:55 AM Opening Remarks
9:00 AM Workshop
10:00 AM Break
10:15 AM Workshop
11:30 AM Lunch
12:30 PM Workshop
1:30 PM Break
1:45 PM Workshop
3:45 PM Closing Remarks/Door Prizes

Add an Interview

Interviews are only $25 and provide 15 minutes of one-to-one time with one of the presenters – like me! Focus Day registration required.

Come See Me At The Writing Workshop

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

FWA workshop

I’m at it again!

I’ll be presenting “Pacing” at the upcoming FWA Writing Workshop on April 28, 2018.

Yep. People are gonna pay to listen to me talk again – and you could be one! I’ll be dazzling attendees with my presentation, then dazzling the bartender – and possibly you – in the lounge afterward.

Seriously, I’m flattered to be asked to present these topics, and you’d benefit for attending.

Pacing

Story pacing—keep a reader glued to their seat and turning pages. (That one’s by me.) But I’ll be sitting in on some of these other workshops, too:

Arcs – by Jade Kerrion

All good stories are propelled forward by conflict and change. In this session, discover the importance and the difference among character arcs, story arcs, and series arcs. We’ll also discuss how to seamlessly blend all three into riveting chapters and page-turning stories.

Tropes – by Tracie Roberts

View original post 164 more words

What Makes A Good Mystery?

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your mysterious humble host

As many of you know, our March Word Weaver Writing Contest has a theme of MYSTERY.

Technically it’s “murder, mystery, suspense.”

Also, I’ve been asked to join a collection of bestselling mystery writers to pen a mystery for an anthology that will come out later this year.

COINCIDENCE???

Pfft. Come on.

So I thought I should explain what makes a good mystery. What’s expected? What’s not?

What do mystery reader fans EXPECT from a really great mystery?

Beats me.

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author Curtis Bausse, international man of mystery writing

So I asked Curtis Bausse, who writes them.

(I asked Lucy Brazier of the kinda mysterious PorterGirl series about it, too, but since she just did a guest blog post two weeks ago, I figured I’d let Curtis handle this one for us.)

And HE came up with this!

That Curtis is all right, let me tell you. He’s an amazing writer. His stuff has appeared in our Scary Anthology The Box Under The Bed, but that’s because he changed gears and went there. Usually he’s doing the cloak and dagger thing and writing mysteries. If mysteries have cloaks and daggers. Otherwise, forget that.

I should probably defer to him now and stop any further silliness.

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Look at all those books! That means he’s gotta be smart about mystery writing, right?

DAN: So, Curtis: what is expected of a MYSTERY NOVEL in today’s market?

CURTIS BAUSSE: Well, I managed to gather my thoughts together in one room to see what they had to offer. Bit of a motley bunch but here goes.

The tropes for mysteries are fairly established now, though that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t evolve.

They’re pretty closely connected to whatever subgenre the writer is going for.

I see two broad categories, depending on the main character:

  • police procedural or
  • private investigator.

Both of those could be more or less hard-boiled, depending on the amount of gruesomeness the writer puts in.

The PI category splits into

  • professional or
  • amateur sleuth, who may work with the police or not.

Within that, especially with the amateur sleuth, many go for cosy (Gang, that’s “cozy” in American – Dan) mysteries, with little explicit gore or violence, and sometimes based around a particular theme like cooking (so recipes are given) or handicrafts.

Those are the current approaches

very broadly drawn, and lines can obviously be blurred.

There are character tropes and situations, veering into clichés:

  • depressed cop,
  • corrupt cop,
  • feisty female
  • etc.

I’m not sure readers actually expect these but

it’s true that a familiar context allows them to get into the story more easily – they know where they are from the outset.

But readers are also sophisticated and anything that smacks of cliché will turn them off, unless the story itself is gripping or the writing riveting.

There’s room for humour

in all but the most hard-boiled, and readers certainly love that, when it’s done nicely.

The main genres and tropes have all been parodied, so that’s a special humour that can be great, though not easy to pull off. And much as the tropes are established, distorting or upsetting them can work well with readers who like that originality. It’s a fine line to tread between convention and originality, but the best stories are those that manage to achieve it.

An element of the classic whodunit remains at the core of mystery

and though readers have gone beyond that, they still love to be surprised at the end when the detective solves it – though of course, the clues that allow the solution must also be available to the reader along the way, even if given minor importance or mixed in with red herrings.

Sometimes the ‘who’ can be made clear early on

and the story is then about how the solution is reached.

In that case, the reader knows more than the detective – and the writer’s task is to handle that dramatic irony successfully. That sort of treatment is more a staple of the thriller – we see the baddie all along, getting ready to carve up the next victim, and in parallel we see the detective trying to get there before it’s too late.

So there are many ways of treating mystery, not to mention all the possibilities that open up if the meaning of the word is extended to include “mysterious.” Something to consider, but you might not want to take it that far.

Hope this helps. I haven’t read many mystery short stories, so it’s based more on novels, but I don’t see why it shouldn’t apply to short stories, too.

All the best,

Curtis.


Thanks, Curtis! Great job!

Gang, now I know what to do for the book I’m supposed to be writing – and you know some elements for the stories you’re supposed to be writing for the contest!

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Get to it!

Cheers!

Give Yourself A Pat On The Back!

people-2607201_1280We work hard at this writing stuff. We deserve a pat on the back once in while.

And who else is gonna understand anyway? Except other writer types?

The biggest things writers lack is confidence, and that starts by acknowledging that what we did is worth some praise.

Big or small, let’s talk about them all – and build that confidence we all need.

Applaud YOUR writing accomplishments for the week here.

Or praise another author friend who did something worth noting.

 

Imagine if you saw 10 other people telling you your accomplishment was noteworthy. What difference could that make in your writing the next week?

Let’s find out.