Posts by ericjgates

Are Genre categories stifling your sales?

  WARNING: Do not read unless you have already eaten!   Forget what you ever thought you knew about books. Why? Because YOU don’t decide what you read… Empirical Science does! A sweeping statement, perhaps… or is it? Let’s examine one of the most frustrating problems an author can face in today’s writing paradigm. And before I continue, I should make clear I’m not talking just about Traditional Publishing. Now IMAGINE for a moment you find yourself in a supermarket; we’ve all been there, right. You entered without any clear idea of what you were going to buy; no shopping
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Who’s up for a fight? [Writing real fight scenes]

Recently I have been chatting with a friend and fellow author about writing fight scenes in her novel. Unlike most writers, this is an area that doesn’t give me too many problems, or at least, not of the same kind that they experience. Let’s lay down a few antecedents: I have been trained in 26 different fighting systems, holding black belt degrees in 14 of these, and a host of weapons during a long and interesting life. But my knowledge is not just theoretical. Unfortunately, I have had to use those skills on occasion… and I’m still here, so they
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Time for a Selfie! (A newbie’s guide to the Self-Edit)

I often use the analogy of movies when talking about writing novels because they do have a number of things in common. This is yet another, although here there is a marked difference. This is yet another one, although here there is a marked difference. Without a doubt this is possibly the most soul-destroying event any new writer will experience. When making a movie, the Director will film many takes that will not end up in the final version of the film. These could be because the actors made a mistake, burst out laughing in the middle of filming, or
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I think I should warn you about something…

In my last article about Show and Tell (here), I briefly mentioned Foreshadowing. I have been inundated by five emails demanding I explain a little more about this useful writing tool. So here goes… Many eons ago, shortly after the dinosaurs died out, I decided to become a writer. Little did I know what the future held in store for me… That’s foreshadowing for you. What have I just done? I have created tension, expectancy in my readers – yes, I’ve manipulated their emotional response again and pressed the ‘Reader Engagement’ button. Now that’s just one way you can use
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Let’s go to the Movies!

If you are new to this fiction writing business, chances are you will have heard a short phrase repeated frequently and cited as part of the MUST DO rules for authors. Yes, I’m talking about SHOW, DON’T TELL! If you are lucky, you have come across this gem of advice on a writer’s blog where they will have provided a few examples. Sometimes these examples are useful insights into how to put this into practice. On other occasions, however, the extracts only serve to confuse the matter even further because they are usually presented without any detailed explanation.   If
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Character Building

Novels are often described as being either plot-driven or character-driven. This is something that may confuse the aspiring or new writer. Surely all plot-driven novels have characters, and character-driven novels have plots. Often I feel that this description is applied when the reviewer comes across a character that stands out (so the work is character-driven) or not (plot-driven). I think this is a somewhat short-sighted approach – I’ve yet to meet an author who doesn’t try to make their characters believable. So let’s take a look at why some succeed and others don’t. First off, despite all the effort that
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Building a better Batcave (A long post about a VERY IMPORTANT issue. Sorry.)

What’s my worst enemy?   Backache? Stiff neck? Sore wrists? Stinging eyes?   Well… If YOU have these, perhaps  you have just come back from a night on the town where you either arm-wrestled a crocodile…    Or… You are a writer! No, I don’t mean someone who scribbles an email from time to time, nor an office bee producing memos for office bee colleagues. No. I’m talking about the word-zombies who sit in front of a keyboard for inhuman lengths of time pecking away at the keys as they brain-dump huge tracts of lies they call novels. Hello. My
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Originality – a writing challenge?

Like most writers, I have a small cadre of faithful proof-readers who are willing to battle their way through a Second Draft of one of my thrillers, hunting down any typos, missing punctuation, and plot points that just don’t work. Often, as they see I do listen to them, they proffer comments about the book’s theme. When I sent out the draft of ‘the CULL’, I was surprised that several of their observations coincided. They were all along the lines of “Not another bloody vampire novel. There’re thousands of them out there already. Can’t you write something more original?” That
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Book Reviews – a Master Class

I know that publishing something on here that a Member didn’t write is unheard of. Yet, in this instance I think this is justified. As you may know I run a blog where fellow authors post about writing-related matters. Today I have extended the scope of that blog to include other aspects of the current writing paradigm that are growing in importance for Indies. To that end I invited experienced book reviewer Jonel Boyko to write a post. Once you’ve read it you may want to draw it to the attention of all your readers and author friends. She’s hit
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Choose your background music with care!

Writers are visceral creatures. They stalk the blank pages of boredom populating them with sprites of creative wonder whose sole objectives are to entertain and stimulate the reader. However, as all scribblers know, sometimes they need a kick-start to get them in the mood. It’s well known how certain novelists sought inspiration in bottles; others have found that plunging into the depths of their own grief to be the fulcrum they need. Myself, I prefer other less harmful pursuits. My drug of choice is… music. We have all been moved by music at one time or another: the stirring in
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