How a Business Book Applies to Writing

Recently, I read The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. And even though it’s a tool hijacked by Amway recruiters,  it has some solid principles of good business strategies that I’ve always personally stood by. But what about the writing itself? Not so great. While it’s a world I don’t plan on entering, it got me to think about writing, and how if you want to use writing as a business (aka, make money with it) some of the ideas translate well to quality writing.

They have 5 laws of “Stratospheric Success”, which I’ll draw from to make “The Laws of Stratospheric Novel Writing”(No aliens required). To keep it simple, I’ll only use three. And like many laws, you break it, you buy it.

  1. Be authentic

As easy as this sounds, it’s one a lot of people have a hard time following. As a youngling, I was one of them. I remember writing stories growing up and being obsessed with the Flesch reading ease test and the grading level it gave in Word. But since this isn’t actual people, but a program (and an old one at the time), it’s not like it could actually read or interpret my words. So how do they do it? With MATH!

206.835 – (1.015 x Average words per sentence) – (84.6 x Average syllables per word) = Readability Ease

And for grade level,

0.39 x Average words per sentence +11.8 x Average syllables per word -15.59

So obvious, how could I miss it? 206.835, of course! Using MATH to figure out if words make sense! I wonder if the reverse is true…?

0x =   Sox Wow! It is!

And trying to adjust my writing to increase my grade level to make me feel smarter did no favors to the writing. Phrases like “As soon as he had a grand enough inferno initiated” for starting a campfire doesn’t do much good for he, the fire, or the reader.

This is often the case when authors try to write to please someone else. And whether that someone else is your friends, publishers, or an imaginary audience, changing to try to fit someone else’s ideals usually means lower quality for everyone. And if you don’t believe me, agent Chip MacGregor touched up on this in a recent blog post.

2. Take constructive criticism

This is mostly for trying to get your work published, since if you’re writing for fun or for yourself, who cares what anyone else says? Giant pizza-cats planning to turn the universe into a litter box from within the sun’s core? Sure.

But for query letters, competitions, and the like, if you want someone to look at it and they have an idea to improve it, it could be for the best. Of course, some people will find problems in everything, even Jack Black’s best song in the world. So when that happens, look back at number 1; are they trying to change the story to something that’s no longer yours? You might be better off ignoring it. But if they genuinely want to help you make your story better, keep the advice in mind.

3. Read!

While it’s true that a solid way to get better at your own writing is to read, there’s another reason for that. You want people to read your work, right? Other people want the same! Wow! What a coincidence!

Reading is in essence giving back to the community. Like taxes. Or something good that’s the same thing. Tom’s shoes maybe? No, more like stuffed gorillas.

Reading other authors helps in a lot of ways. It helps them feel valued. Or get a bigger paycheck. But it also helps you. You can get positive inspiration–things that you’ll want to add to your own writing–or negative inspiration–things you definitely don’t want in your own writing–that will improve your writing either way. Plus it can give your Netflix queue a break.

And always remember, vigilantes break the laws for the greater good!

Spam Can

Scam in the Spam Can

We all get scam emails, probably every day. And in the midst of winning foreign lotteries and lost royalty reaching out, there’s some real gems. While they’re trying to steal your credit cards, you identity, and even your dog, they might as well be a little more direct. They should try something like this instead:

From: <AmericanBanker911@hotmail.com>

Subject: Your Bank Account has Been Suspended

Dear Valued Member,

This email is to advise you that several invalid login attempts have been made at your online account at either US Bank, Bank of America, or Wells Fargo. To protect your privacy, the specific bank has not been identified and your account has been temporarily suspended.

In order for your account to be reactivated, please update your information by sending us the following information: Name of Institution, Username, Password, Mother’s Maiden Name, Name of First Pet, High School Mascot, and Model of First Car.

Your account is important to us. Please reply as quickly as possible so your account may be reinstated.

American Bankers Protection Union

Note: Attempting to log in to online banking before replying with verified account information will result in permanent termination of account and all funds within.

The most professional of writers

I got a writing job!

So it’s been a bit since I’ve been here. But for good reason. After devoting every free (and the rest of them too) moment of my time to writing, editing, and revising One Last Day, once it was finally complete there was a void. Of course, I’ve started working on a draft, but draft work isn’t nearly as intense.

Plus it’s time to get a house.

I did pretty good in school. And I have a degree, so figured I’d see if I can use it for something. Anyway, I weeded through some of those obviously fake jobs for a bit until I came across one that seemed legit. It paid a fair amount and didn’t need 56 years experience as a Dictator of a foreign Universe.

So now I’m a content writer, and I help make people get found on Google. It’s a good use of my skills and probably more useful than proofreading corporate pizza manuals.  Because I’m working full time and have to keep up on my own projects, I’ll probably be doing these posts once a week now. On Saturdays. (Or FAKE Saturdays since I can make them post whenever I want) But tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so, yeah. Next week. Plus the hinge on my metal keyboard laptop snapped off so I can’t open or close it, so it’s off to Repairland. For free thankfully. Buy them at Costco. Seriously.

No, I haven’t given up on being an author and I’m still going to write books. Always will. Hopefully it’ll work out eventually, and either way, I’ll be getting in a lot of practice. Because now I write for work. And then when I get home. Sometimes when I travel.

 

The Query Letter and Purpose of a Literary Agent

writingthedreamblog put up an excellent post today about Literary Agents and why aspiring authors might want to try for an agent instead of going straight to the publisher. I’ll be writing my own thoughts on this, but there’s some good advice here.



Hello, everyone! I just sent out my first batch of query letters to several literary agents (*crosses fingers excitedly*), so for this post I thought I would focus on the subject of literary agents…

Source: The Query Letter and Purpose of a Literary Agent

What To Do When You Sit Down To Pitch Your Novel In-Person

It’s always good to hear information from someone that knows what they’re talking about. And since I haven’t done the longer pitches, hearing how they work from a literary agent is probably better than any crazy theory I could come up with.



After attending conferences around North America for the past 6 years I’ve seen an array of pitching techniques. Some good. Some…not so good. I get it. It’s not easy to pitch your…

Source: What To Do When You Sit Down To Pitch Your Novel In-Person

The Two-Tiered Train Trip Tautogram

The Two-Tiered Train Trip Tautogram

Timmy traveled through the train’s Trough. The train’s Trough took these troubled travelers to their terminus.

Tommy traveled through the train’s Top Tier. The train’s Top Tier took these tony travelers to their terminus.

 

 

Timmy thought the train trip traversed terribly. Terrible, terrible, terribly trite! Timmy thought. Timmy thought that the train’s tycoon treated these trembling travelers trimly.

Tommy thought the train trip traversed terrifically. Terrific, terrific, terrifically tip-top! Tommy thought. Tommy thought that the train’s tycoon treated these trusting travelers thrillingly. Continue reading

The Writing Process: How Similar is too Similar?

Originality. That’s what sells. Tell that to the over 25 movie reboots/sequels and this hefty list of the same thing on TV in 2016. Yes, there’s a lot.

Blank Paper

A list of original ideas from Hollywood this year

Then there’s the argument that there’s only 7 plots. I don’t buy into that oversimplification personally, because really, there’s ONE plot. Yep, that’s it. Here it is: “There’s a conflict. It’s resolved” (NOT being resolved counts as a way of being resolved, strangely enough). So really, every story is just a derivative of Gilgamesh, because it was the first we know of to use the ONE plot.

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The Writing Process: How Many Times should you revise?

Of course, there’s no magic number. Hopefully, we all know that. But we can also agree, there’s one we can all agree on.

One greater Zero

Yeah, more than that.

The thing is, you have to come up with your own process. And sometimes it takes awhile for the Emperor to find his New Groove. It’s important though, to find what works FOR YOU. Not for J.K. Rowling, not for Stephen King, not that kid who got a point or two higher than you on his Biology essays, but YOU.

Continue reading