Launch Pad Manuscript Competition.

So getting down to the wire for the final entry. Missed my deadline for the previous submission deadline because I was not happy with the synopsis. I feel better about this one and thought I would ask all for thoughts on how it sounds.

Some notes on the format.  First time a major character is mentioned, the name is all in caps,  JIM. Afterwards it would be normal, Jim.

Also this synopsis is to be one page only. Reluctantly, I have used exactly one page so adding more material is not possible unless I remove stuff.  I will include 48 other pages of passages from the book. The goal is to get them excited enough with the synopsis to read the rest of the submission.

The passages from the book are sequential but not a complete progression through the story. I decided to take passages that hopefully would show the action of the story.

Lastly, I do identify this as book one of a trilogy.  So hopefully that will help.

Thoughts?

 

Empires Fall Synopsis

For 30,000 years, Atlantis grew from small city to global empire. Poseidon blessed them with the secret of Aether, which powers their advanced technologies. First coming as friends and teachers, many considered them as gods. Soon they started to believe they were gods and friendship turned to lordship.

An alliance grew to stand against them, led by the Empire of Rama. The Gods of the alliance favored their followers with heroes of great might to combat the technologies of Atlantis.

For 10 years war has raged across the Ice Age world. In the last year, Atlantis turns to Aether weapons of immense destructiveness.

RISOR, a vailixi squadron commander, finds himself fighting the enemy and JANA, his political rival. Her animosity peaks as he questions the wisdom of her leading a WMD strike against the Rama Empire home cities. This led to the Rama Empire retaliating.

With cities being destroyed, Rama’s capacity for war diminishes. A last ditch effort by Rama sends, INDRAJIT, a hero of Rama, to the Arctic ice packs. His mission is to breach the ice walls, in the hope the flood waters would doom Atlantis.

Woken in the middle of the night, Risor and the citizens of Altai flee for their lives. The floods inundate the coastal areas of the world, ruining Atlantis and most of their colonies.

Atlantis demands a recall of most military forces to strike back. An act that would leave most colonies defenseless. Many colonies refuse the order and rebel. SHANDAR, another squadron commander, leads his people in open revolt against Atlantis. While Risor’s people decide to abandon their city and hide. In the end, they both realize they can not openly fight their former masters.

ROGAT, an infantry officer, takes charge of a group of survivors, abandoned by Atlantis and chased by the enemy. They are chased to a mountain stronghold, where they are trapped.

With the empire in chaos, LENA, the girlfriend of Risor’s lieutenant, has her colony attacked by Greek raiders. She is taken as a slave. After rebuffing the Greek leader many times, he gives her to a cruel ally. She is spared being raped or worse by an attacking Atlantean force.

Jana is sent to Altai and discovers that Risor’s people have fled. Her forces quickly find Risor and in the climatic battle, Risor’s people bring down her vailixi. She realizes it is him but is unable to do anything. His people escape and while Jana rages impotently, her master recalls her to Atlantis for a new operation.

Competition Time!

There are those that say, keep your projects (books, scripts, etc…) secret because you might fail. Then there are those that say announcing it will help push you to complete it because of the fear of failure.  I like the second way.

A writing competition is being sponsored by Launch Pad by the Tracking Board that is bringing together book and movie houses to review entries. Luckily, you do not need a complete novel to enter. Even more luckily for me, I have a pretty complete novel to enter.

So, I need to come up with a name for the trilogy, select 50 pages of text, from the novel, as the entry submission and put together a one page summary, novel and possibly trilogy. All before the 30th of June. Will find out if I was lucky by mid September.

So if you ever wanted to write a book or have one in the works or completed, check out the link. Wish me luck!

From the web: Reading Level of Writing

So I am cruising through entries in an FB group “Writing Fiction”, using my best procrastination techniques and I come across this blog entry from Shane Snow, “This Surprising Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write”. This article talks about how many of our great writers write at a middle school level for readability. This translates into higher comprehension and more enjoyment for the reader.

Basically don’t try to write to impress with big words that takes the average reader out of the story. If they have to try and understand the words then it is work and not fun.  The goal is to make it easy for the reader to comprehend the story and then visualize the action in their minds.  Make it easy for the reader to get into the story and stay there for as long as they are reading it.

Makes sense, right?

It is much more enjoyable to use your imagination to see “Chief Grog, swings his mighty club and with a booming thud smashes the knight backwards. The man flies back into the cavern’s wall and crumples to the ground.”

Than something like: “The leader of the orc tribe, Grog, uses a cudgel, in a round house swing, to impart a massively kinetic blow to the chest region of the hapless armored knight.  The forward momentum of the knight was viciously reversed, resulting in the man being thrown backwards, into the wall with bone crushing force.”

For many the second passage might be just as easy to understand. Some might even like the additional detail but it also takes more away from the imagination because it actually details more thoroughly what is happening. This additional detail, with the use of some words that might not be common enough, could stop the flow of the story for the reader and force them to confront the literary reality of reading a story, than living it.

I have read many blogs and articles talking about how the writer should just say enough to give the read the foundation to create the picture in their mind. I like this goal of striving for low detail scenes, for the reader to flesh out.

Well with so much energy going into a blog entry, I should be able to bust out the last few passages of book 1 of my trilogy.  Have a great weekend!

Log Lines for My Projects

So I have hit a writer’s block on my “When Atlantis Fell” novel. Instead of continuing to stare at the screen and hope the novel will write itself, I decided to try something else.

I have a few projects I am working on. Mostly at lunch, when I am bored of the Atlantis story or when I day-dream about the one of the stories and I just have to write something.

My exercise today will be around Log Lines. Why not try out a few log lines for each of the current works. A log line being a short 20-60 word description for the story. These are the first things that agents and producers would look at.  For many folks, consider it the elevator pitch.

While most of these are not ready for prime time, if any of them really strike you, please let me know.  Maybe the Atlantis stories are not the ones I should be primarily working on.

Title: When Atlantis Fell    (trilogy)

Book 1: A squadron commander becomes the unlikely leader of a break away colony from war ravaged Atlantis. The problem is Atlantis is not willing to let go and sends his rival to hunt him and the rebels down.

Book 2: The rebuilding of Atlantis brings about the death of many old ways. Some in the military believe that includes the emperor and the remnants of those who pushed for peace. The fiery commander who chased down rebels, will now lead the fight with the old guard.

Book 3: With the destruction of Atlantis and the new government installed at Luxa, the job of hunting down and retaking the rebel colonies is given to Jana. The rebels know Luxa will not let them go and decide to band together to attack Luxa before they are too strong.

Title: WormHole Earth Universe, no title yet.

She was just an astrophysicist working for the Explorer’s Guild, mapping out new star systems. Until she vaguely remembers discovering an alien race. Then her world becomes a desperate race to remember what happened and, hopefully, why someone wants to kill her.

Title: Empire Earth – working title.

Earth’s supposed friends are not so friendly, as found out by a young scientist on his way to a galactic academy for new space faring races. Unable to mind his own business, the scientist struggles to find a way to get a message back to warn Earth.

Title:  Saviors

They came and slapped Earth into order. They taught us many technologies and let us explore the nearby systems. Then the truth came out. They were running from a more powerful race and we were just cannon fodder to slow the enemy down. Until we decided not to be.

Title: The Last Artist

In the world of Kotor, artist can create masterpieces of magical power. Each one takes part of their soul and after the last one is made, they die. In time, unscrupulous nobles made artists create masterpieces for them with no concern for the artist’s life. So they went into hiding. One young swordmaker was discovered. He and his companions decided to stand and fight rather than run and hide.

Another Idea for Writing

How to get my works seen by as many people as possible?

I think this is a question that many writers face. The more you try to market your book the less time you have writing the next one.  Of course, the more you write, the less chance others will see your work. There are just too many choices out there.

You need to write a good story, have an eye-catching cover and tons of good luck.  What else can help?

Well, a marketing plan helps. Getting your book in front of as many people as possible helps. The more that see your work the more chance of having someone purchase your book. It is getting people to see your book, that is the hard part.

I am not an internet marketing genius and kinda lazy to boot. I have tried to build followings on Twitter or Facebook but do not seem to have much success. So I wanted to try another way.

I have submitted my story (revised) to Hollywood to see if that works. So far that isn’t working either. It is still only a few weeks since I submitted my query letter, so not sure where that leaves me. I thought that if I can get someone to go for my story, I might be able to sell more books.  That still might work but maybe in the future.

One of the things I have read many times from many writers was to keep writing. Write more stories to get more chances for a reader to see your work. If a reader enjoys one book, there is a good chance they might buy another and another. I like this approach because I can keep writing. I still need readers to find my stuff among all the others but this is more what a lazy person like me would enjoy.

Taking a note from a youtube video from S. J. Scott about using Kindle Publishing, the goal is to produce a lot of books and share the news. What I plan on doing with this idea would be to keep writing my full length novels but also take time to create shorter novellas/novelletes about some of the background histories.

With Atlantis and the Wall of Destruction, I mention that Atlantis has been around for 30,000 years. That is plenty of events to write about in short stories or novellas. I will take some of these stories and turn them into 20-60 page booklets that I can put out via Kindle Publishing. They will have under one dollar pricing and will refer back to the major novels.

Hopefully, if people like these stories, then they will continue to buy other stories of mine.  These smaller booklets will be part of my marketing plan to get readers to read the larger novels. I believe this strategy is something that many writers could do. Many probably have additional stories or plot lines that they removed from the published novel because of one reason or another. If afterwards, they develop those stories, then they could create additional income streams and have multiple chances for readers to see their work.

To summarize. Do no just write a story. Create the world and build around the main story you want to tell.  Use these other stories to add to your marketing efforts. On the ocean of books to read, one book is but a small ripple to notice. Many books becomes a wave that gets noticed.

From the web: Make unbelievable stories feel real

Strolling through the LinkedIn’s  Writers Hangout group, I found a post by C.S. Laskin, on her blog Live Write Thrive.  How Novelists can make unbelievable stories feel real, is a guest post by Michael Hauge.

He discusses how it is best to create a story where characters act like real people, even if in a fantasy setting. This will increase the believability of the story, as people can relate to the characters or problems they face. Even if the bully is a 15 foot giant.

The major points I got are:

1) Ground the normal character actions in stuff we would do even if surrounded in fantastic elements.

2) Never have an all powerful hero/character because hard for anyone to get connected and of course, what does the story really tell, if there is nothing he/she can not do.

3) Try to keep the fantasy items to a minimum to allow the reader/viewer to follow and understand these things without becoming overwhelmed.  Too many fantasy items all going on at the same time tends to confuse the audience and this add to the disbelief in the story.

A very good read, please check it out and use for your own stuff.

A little short story: For Me?

Here is something I did up for someone dear to me.  Hope you like it. Please let me know if you like.

For Me?

Tanya, a beautiful white swan, swam casually on the calm lake. Not always in the company of the other swans, Tanya liked to go her own way. She loved to go to the burbling pond on the other side of the lake because it was peaceful and many animals came there to drink. She loved to watch the other animals, wondering what their life was like.

Gliding effortlessly into the burbling pond, Tanya saw a duck, fish diving in the pond. Smiling and curious she moved towards the duck.

Hello, friend duck, you are wasting your time, there are no fish here.” Merrily she said.

Starring at her. the duck stopped, mesmerized by her beauty. Then quickly recovering. “Hello beautiful lady, there are, if you know where to look.”

No no, friend?????” She queried.

Jaime, my lady, and you?”

My name is Tanya. It is a pleasure to meet you. And you are teasing me Jaime, no?”

Would I tease such a beautiful swan?” Jaime asked innocently.

I think you would.” she giggled. Tanya thought, he is cute in a duck sort of way.

Yes, you are right. But truthfully, there are fish here if you look the right way.” With that Jaime, dove and in seconds came up with a small fish in his bill. Tossing the fish in the air towards Tanya.

Tanya caught the fish and with wide eyes. “That was incredible. And such a delicious small fish. Thank you Jaime.” She plunged into the water.

She came up, but with no fish. “Where are they? Are you tricking me? I did not see anything.”

Jaime laughed, “It takes time, my dear. You have to learn how to look and where to look.” He looked down, then dove. Coming up a few seconds later to flip another small fish to Tanya.

After swallowing the second delicious prize, “Will you show me how to do?”

Of course, it would be my pleasure.” Jaime cheerfully responded. “First you need to learn to see like a duck.”

See like a duck? How do ducks see?” She asked, honestly perplexed by his statement. Of course we see the same thing, right?

Look at that tree over there. The one that fell down. What do you see?” he asked.

Tanya looked at the tree. Of course it was a tree but she figured he wanted a different answer. She studied it for a minute and then smiling, said. “I see a tree. A home to many animals and bugs. I see the smaller birds and rabbits making homes in the wood or under it. I see insects crawling over it, termites eating it and mushrooms growing on it.” She finished feeling proud of her insight.

Wow, that was wonderful. I never thought of it that way. You truly have a different insight to the world.” He looked at her with admiration. “I am so happy I met you Tanya. You have taught me something today. Thank you.”

She smiled and blushed with his praise. Then tilted her head and gave him a look, “Okay now your turn Jaime. What do you see.”

A tree.” He said. Then she started to flap her wings in protest. He laughed and said, “Okay Okay, I was just teasing.”

She smiled. She was starting to like Jaime. He was not like the other swans or ducks that she met. He was funny. She shook her head then looked at him. “I am waiting.”

Clearing his throat, flapping his wings and then concentrating on the tree. Making a big show of things, in a comical way.

I see…. A sapling, small and delicate, stretching to get to the light. Slowly growing taller and stretching further and further from the ground. I see that young tree delighting in the squirrels and birds that rest on his branches. Being irritated by the rabbits that burrow under his roots but not overly, enjoying the little rabbits bounding over and under his base. I see that young tree grow older. Standing tall among its fellow trees. Feeling the breeze run through his branches. The sensual rains brush his leaves like the kiss of a lover’s gentle lips. I see an older tree, standing tall among his younger neighbors, enduring the cold of winter as he has done so many times before. Now blocking the ice cold winds from the sweet young trees around him. I see, now the wise old tree, despairing of another winter. Knowing his time is short on this wondrous earth.” Then quietly, “I see that great old tree, losing his fight to stay upright. Falling to the ground and hitting hard. Slowly, having his life drain away as the leaves and twigs flutter to the ground.”

That was beautiful.” Tanya said. She leaned over and nuzzled him with her bill and they floated there together, saying nothing and looking that the tree. Both seeing the tree in the way the other saw the tree. They stayed there until the sun started to go down.

I must go.” Tanya said.

I know, but I wish you would not.” Jaime whispered.

I will come again tomorrow.” Tanya promised and with another nuzzle she glided away.

Watching her glide away across the pond in the failing light. He whispered, “Could a swan love a duck.”

From the Web: 4 Self Publishing Problems and their Solutions

An interesting article from Author’s Publish

This article, written by Chantelle Atkins, is pretty spot on. Self-publishing is easy but has a downside as well. It is hard to get in front of readers. Spending money on editing, cover art or marketing seem to be a wise choice, if you can afford it but none of that guarantees your book will sell.

From my research, it seems that having more than one book (preferably many) definitely can help your sales. I have seen quite a few authors say that they do not use social media for more than announcing their books. They prefer to keep writing and put out more books.

I would say I tend to agree with them. I believe it takes a long time to build a large social media network. Yes, you can buy 10,000 followers for this or that but none of them are known to be interested in what you write about. If they are not interested then they might disappear, literally, overnight.

My plan is to use this blog and some social media to help get the word out. I will not blog all the time but try to get something out weekly, if I can. I am also trying to convert my book into a movie script. I think that the story is unique enough and hopefully developed enough to make into a movie.  Check out other posts on my blog to see how that is going.

As a newbie writer, I have no success to show if my plan works. Will this work for you? or will it even work for me? Nothing is ever guaranteed in life, except that nothing is guaranteed. If you are starting to write, then I would suggest you look at Chantelle’s article. Hopefully it will not crush your dream, just keep you from dropping everything and thinking you can make it easily.