Tag Archives: adverbs

News About Lita Burke

Writer Tips for Tweeps: Check Out #LitaLikes

If the tiny twitter writer tips were magical lights, they would look like this.

Tiny twitter writer tips surround Lita like magical lights

For all the Gentle Readers who are on Twitter, Lita Burke has started a hash tag with indie writer wisdom just for you. But do read on, even if you’re not on Twitter–I’m talking about writing tips today.

About #LitaLikes

Here in December, Lita started a series of every-other-day tweets using the hash tag #LitaLikes. These are “tiny twitter tweets” (assonance rhyme intended–apologies–couldn’t help it today) with Lita’s quick tips, advice, and peccadilloes about writing.

Lita will post these hard-learned nuggets of wisdom until I have disclosed all, or an angry mob of orcs chases me away from the computer. The advice bits will be tips about editing your own fiction, the mechanics of eBook formatting, and Lita’s preferences about fantasy worlds and their story-people.

If Gentle Reader likes these, but you aren’t on Twitter, see the most recent #LitaLikes in the Twitter feed on the homepage sidebar of this blog. If you are on Twitter, here is Lita’s Twitter Page.  Feel free to Follow. If you aren’t on Twitter, and want to catch of Lita’s tweets from the source, here is the Twitter Home and instructions on how to become a Tweep–won’t cost you a cent to join. Gentle Reader can also catch my Twitter feed on Lita’s Facebook Page.

Take a Look at #LitaLikes

I suggest all writers print out their stories and read them off of paper for self-editing. Looking at your words on a different medium gives your eyes a fresh perspective.

How I go on about too many adjectives and adverbs spoiling a perfectly good story. Catch Lita’s rants about these fiction no-nos in earlier posts for Killing Me Softly with Adverbs, and That’s No Moon. It’s Excessive Adjectives.

As writers self-proofing our fiction, our eyes skip over typos and grammar flubs because somehow we just don’t see them. Word can speak the text out loud. Lita catches her literary badness using this technique. It is now my last self-editing step before beta readers.

I’ve gushed over my love of fantasy maps before in 6 Critical Elements for Fantasy World Building.

Remember, Lita posts to Twitter several times a day. Be sure to follow the latest about Lita’s fantasy worlds, get the scoop on the latest status for Lita’s stories, and keep the angry orcs away from my door.

Mixed Emotions About Indie E-book Pricing

eBook Pricing for Indie Fiction (Part 1)

Don’t look so confused. Let’s talk about indie eBook prices.

I have struggled over the past year to find specific, helpful information for indie authors in pricing their eBooks. Woo boy, have I gotten an earful.

After hours of searching and fighting off discouragement, I want to share what I’ve found, plus suggest how to take the mystery out of eBook pricing for new writers. I made some mistakes, and I hope these blog posts will steer you away from those traps.

This is the first of two blog posts. See Part 2 here. Today, I will summarize what I’ve learned from reading other indies on eBook pricing. In my second post, I’ll present a pragmatic framework that any new author can use as a guide for eBook pricing.

Let’s get started the usual way with a Google search. A look-see on “indie e-book prices” returns advice in  these categories:

  1. Price what you think it’s worth
  2. Wait forever before you make any money
  3. Big Name Author comparisons

I could easily add dozens to this list. Recommendations from indies fall all over the board, showing that a “best practices” book price list hasn’t emerged from the fray. Indies are a helpful, talkative bunch. Let’s look closer at what other indies say in these three areas.

Price what you think it’s worth

What? Put a mundane cost on my masterpiece? Buy my début eBook novel for twenty bucks! What a steal at this price. I spent four years of working on it instead of watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island. Twenty bucks are a bargain for my sacrifice.

Here’s the reality. Understand that you want to price the book to sell to the audience who will take a risk reading an unknown. For a début indie author, the price of your book will be much less than you think it’s worth. Sorry for the bad news.

Wait forever before you make any money

Define forever. A while? Sure. Define “any money.” Frankly, selling a couple of books a month still thrills me. I keep showing up every work day at my muggle job, too. I try to not be a mercenary with my writing–this patient approach keeps me sane.

Write for your love of telling a story well. Keep learning writing craft. While you’re building your sales momentum, improve your product quality by learning better skills with:

Big Name Author comparisons

I don’t understand why début indie fiction authors compare their eBook prices to Stephen King. Or J. K. Rowling. Stephenie Meyer. And so on. Wonderful stories from all these folks. Telling no secret here, they are financially successful with their fiction. We are starting out. Apples and oranges comparisons.

I beg new indies to stop flogging ourselves with Big Name Author comparisons. Save your angst and write it into your stories about moody boy heros heading off to the goblin wars. If you must make comparisons, make yourself a magical curios proprietor just opening up a little hole-in-the-wall shop. Look at all the lovely stories you’re going to sell–over the long haul.

In Part 2, I will humbly suggest an indie eBook pricing framework.

That’s No Moon. It’s Excessive Adjectives.

The best part of writing is describing story people and their world. They talk to me and I write down their words: the breezes cool the sweat from my face, garments are satin against my skin, and frying griddle cakes slow me when I walk by their favorite breakfast spots.  To bare all in this blog, I now admit…brace yourself…I enjoy reading (and writing) delicious adjectives. Just don’t give me too many at once.  Let’s look at some examples:

Bad: She was a blond flirt and a clear-skinned, blue-eyed, girl-next-door, wholesome beauty.  Better: The astronaut removed the mirrored helmet, tossed her head to clear blond bangs from a flawless face, and flashed baby-blues.

Bad: The Death Star was huge, gray, lurking, evil, and dimpled like a moon.  Better: Laser cannons dimpled the space station’s drab surface.  Luke mistook the monstrosity for a small moon.

Bad: Doctor McCoy’s response was full of illogical, long-winded, whiny, and judgmental scolding. Better: McCoy let loose an emotive scolding.  Spock arched an eyebrow.

Strings of adjectives dilute the description.  I also put too many adjectives in my own first drafts. When I clean up, I use the best one and cut the rest. Sometimes a strong verb hides as an adjective (see dimpled in the second example). See my earlier post about adverbs for more about the advantages of using strong verbs.

Beware of excessive, pesky, tenacious, scruffy-looking, and stinky adjectives. (See? take ‘em out…)

Killing Me Softly With Adverbs

Today, I want to discuss a pet peeve–adverbs. When I find adverbs propping up weak verbs in the indie stories I read, it makes me want to sit down with the author for a chat. Here’s what I’d say: find your adverbs and get rid of them. Then replace the weak verbs with stronger ones. Your readers will thank you. Let’s look at some examples:

Bad: He walked slowly home. Better: He ambled home.

Bad: Gandalf gently threw a spell at the orc. Better: Gandalf tossed a spell at the orc.

Bad: Harry spoke softly to Ron. Better: Harry whispered to Ron.

Adverbs are tenacious. They find their way even into my rough drafts. But many adverbs end in “-ly”, so I use Word’s search function to find “-ly” words and repair the adverb damage. Even a master storyteller warns us:

The road to hell is paved with adverbs. – Stephen King, On Writing

Please write cautiously, craftily, and responsibly. (See? icky!)