Applying Information Theory to RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’s Phenomenal Success (And Why You Should Join!)

By Danica Cornell

The early part of the 21st century has been hailed as the Information Age—and with good reason.  The advent of high speed Internet access has enabled us to live in a time when information, learning, and the acquisition of new skills are readily available to billions worldwide.  And with so many tapping into this wellspring of data and knowledge, it’s not an overstatement to say this disruptive technology has had transformative socioeconomic impacts globally—the likes of which haven’t been seen since the industrial revolution.

As a science fiction writer, UFO researcher, futurist, and nanotechnology business owner, I end up spending a considerable amount of time on the Internet.  I’m talking, a lot.  So it’s not surprising it was through some research I conducted a few months ago, that I was able to make the connection between information theory and RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC). 

Say what?

It may sound strange, but time and again, I’ve found myself drawing parallels between the evolution of this illustrious organization and of all things, information theory—or more specifically, to a term used by information theorists known as phase transitions (PTs).  In short, a PT is the movement of a disordered state  into a an ordered, productive, and beneficial state.  (I’m using “disordered” loosely here, as even in RRBC’s formative days, things were never truly disorderly.)

I know, I know.  Applying information theory to a book club of all things sounds a little over-the-top.  Simplistic.  Maybe even downright laughable.  But stay with me, because as we explore this concept further, I think you’ll see this idea is anything but simple.  Or ridiculous.

A Brief Moment in Time

One can only speculate about whether or not President, Nonnie Jules was thinking about the idea of PT when she formed RRBC at the end of 2013. However, since the club’s inception, it’s become increasingly likely; (statistically speaking) that RRBC would experience such a phenomenon.  And in fact, it already has!  Allow me to explain…

In its earliest days, RRBC was like most new organizations: random-appearing from the outside and sensitive to small internal and external variations.  In other words, to the casual observer, the first few weeks at RRBC may have appeared disheveled.  But, it’s precisely during such initial states when literally anything and everything is possible!  In fact, RRBC’s writer-members will likely appreciate that the Board’s first interactions tended to mirror the steps many authors experience during a novel’s conception:  the initial spark of an idea followed by excitement/enthusiasm; the focusing of efforts; and lastly, getting to the task at hand—which, as every author knows, is when the hard work really begins!

For those more comfortable with structure and routine, the “chaotic” nature of such an undertaking may feel disconcerting until  you consider that RRBC itself could be viewed as a disruptive innovation because of its potential to displace or transform established book clubs which offer fewer services/support to their members.  In other words, just as high-speed Internet access transformed global communications, RRBC could have a similar transformative impact on the indie author community—especially as its membership continues to grow over time!

Information Sharing and RRBC

Things get really interesting—at least in terms of information theory and PT, as we look beyond RRBC’s very early days.  That’s because with each new RRBC member who becomes indoctrinated into the Club through information sharing, (via a variety of Internet-based communications) they’ll learn about our culture of writing, reading, and reviewing books, as well as that of Profiling, Promoting, and Propelling our fellow authors.  This means that over time, a growing number of members will continue to engage in this type of behavior, which represents a PT, which is to everyone’s benefit!

Another way to look at this is, if the basis of every society/group/organization is information, then RRBC is the perfect example of how organizations can apply information optimization in transitioning towards a more orderly and productive state.  The fact that RRBC has achieved a PT in less than a year is a testament to its strong leadership along with its awesomely wonderful 500+ members!

That being said, hold on to your hats, because with regard to relevancy and excitement, all of this is about to take a quantum leap…

Writing and the Distribution of Wealth

Ultimately, most writers come to realize they acquire readers through their own actions which include: the quality of their work; their marketing efforts; and the connections they make within the industry.  With this in mind, many may be under the impression that in terms of acquiring readers and reviews (what we’ll term here as wealth), writers tend to follow the Gaussian or bell curve, which is used to describe distributions in nature.  However, instead of the Gaussian curve, what’s typically seen in such groups is what’s known as the Power Law.  Simply put, this means more often than not, the number of “wealthy” writers is very small, while the number of “poor” writers is large.  Make that colossal.  Why?  It seems that wealthy writers gain more wealth in a manner that is multiplicative, rather than additive.

Okay, let’s backtrack for a second.

If you think of book clubs in terms of societies consisting of authors and readers, and if you consider that most societies are either very connected or unconnected—what’s termed as small world networks, then the multiplicative effect of the Power Law makes more sense.  The reason for this is because highly connected (better informed and better aligned) book clubs—like RRBC—will yield the best wealth-building results over time for their members.   By the way, it’s interesting to note that the Power Law is used to explain many different types of social phenomena, including one many people like to talk about these days: the rich getting richer!

Why Authors Should Consider Joining RRBC

  • Active, well-informed, well-connected membership;
  • Awesome Mentor Program;
  • Writing and Other Cool Contests;
  • Extensive Twitter support through our Tweet Support Team and general membership;
  • The option of promoting your blog and website on Twitter by using our club’s hashtag;
  • A virtual V.I.P. Lounge for our most supportive members;
  • A Conference and Book Expo scheduled for Summer 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri;
  • Numerous author promotional opportunities including “SPOTLIGHT” Authors; Member of the Month, Books of the Month, #PUSHTUESDAY and #PUSHWEEK Winners;
  • And so much more!

Your Personal Invitation

With all of this in mind, I’d like to personally invite you to visit RRBC at http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/ and tell them Danica sent you. And while you’re at it, please check out all of our members’ fabulous posts for our Blog Recruiting Day Contest at http://wp.me/P49Fi9-GG and vote for your favorite one!   🙂

Coming Up…

Before I sign off, I’d like to add that I have some thought-provoking posts related to UFOs and extraterrestrial/ interdimensional beings in the works.  This is an area I’ve extensively researched for my DARK STAR series, and as such, I truly believe these topics are worthy of serious discussion and debate.  I hope you’ll come back and join me for what promises to be a lively and spirited exchange.  Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by my blog today!

Until we meet again…

Happy reading,

Danica

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’s PR/Marketing Director.  She’s also the author of the DARK STAR Sci-fi Series, a UFO researcher and futurist, nanotechnology business owner, and dog lover.  To learn more about Danica and her work, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

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CONNECT WITH DARK STAR’S BELOVED CANINE CHARACTER, “HENRY”!

Henry’s Website Page        

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Guest Post: SHATTERED DAYDREAMS Blog Tour

Hello Everyone!  Today, it is a distinct  honor and privilege to introduce all of you to a dear friend of mine,  Author, Nonnie Jules.  Nonnie, is not only a talented writer, she is also the Founder and President of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!  Take it away, Nonnie…   

Hi and welcome to Day 6 of my SHATTERED DAYDREAMS Blog Tour!

Before I get started, let me give you a little background on me first.  My most important job is being a Mom!  It is the hardest and yet the most rewarding job one could ever hope to have.  (Men, so sorry you will never get to experience what I’m talking about).  After having produced two of the most special daughters in all the land, I knew that I would somehow become an advisor to other parents, so becoming an author of Parenting Guides, was almost a given.  That was my niche but I also wanted to tell another kind of story.  It was still going to be about children, but it would have a darker side to it, while still conveying a message that I wanted to bring attention to.

In November, 2013, I published my debut novel “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND.”  Now, I know most of the novels you probably read are romance and fantasy, light, airy tales, but this one was going to take you to a place that some of you had never been, and unfortunately, some of you have.  This story was going to pull you down before it brought you up.  It intentionally was meant to make you cry before it made you smile.

DDNF1 - Copy

We all have a purpose here on earth, even child molesters, murderers and the other monsters who offer nothing but horrid havoc to our society.  And although I don’t know for sure WHAT their purpose could possibly be, it is my belief  that GOD makes no mistakes, so in my mind, they are here to teach us lessons…to keep us on our toes, to remind us to be more mindful of our children and loved ones.

The mother in DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND, missed the mark on all of the above counts.  She was truly one sad excuse for a parent.  Actually, I count her among those monsters mentioned, and from this point on, you have my permission to refer to her as anything other than a MOTHER.

Today, I’d like all the focus to be on the book trailer for DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND.  If you haven’t seen it before, please, take a look and take in the message that’s being conveyed.  Let it resonate with you so that you are moved to join my crusade to stop the abuse of our children.  If you have seen it before, please take the time to click the link, share your comments and LIKE it before you leave.  Whatever you do, you’re already so appreciated just for stopping by.

I thank you so much for having me today.  I ask that you follow each leg of my tour (click HERE for the line-up) as each day I will offer a bit more insight into the lives of children who are abused, as well as the mothers who sit back and allow it to happen, or are the culprits themselves.  I will also share excerpts from the book for your reading pleasure.  Ladies and Gents, this week, you’re invited to partake of SHATTERED DAYDREAMS, as shared through the eyes of my main character, Maiya James.

If the EXCERPT above peeked your curiosity for more, please pick up your very own copy of “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND.”  The content inside is enough to put you on the right track if you even remotely resemble (God forbid), this kind of mother.  But if you’re just in the mood for a really good read, I guarantee, you won’t go wrong with this one!

From this day forward, let’s do our best to ensure that all the Maiya’s of the world are taken care of, loved and protected.  Dani, I love you for always welcoming me to your blog!  I can’t visit here often enough but that’s only because you always make me feel so welcome.  Guests, please share your comments below.

BOOK TRAILER

AUTHOR BIO:

Nonnie Jules is the mother of two beautifully kind daughters, who along with the help of her husband, have turned out to be two of the greatest assets to this world.  THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS is her first published piece of work and two weeks after publication, it hit Amazon’s Top 100 list, where it reached the #7 mark.  With all the violence which is being exhibited by some children today, it is her vision and goal to get THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…into the hands of everyone who breathes around a child.  She feels the only way we can make this happen, is if we are all working from a common blueprint.  Ms. Jules strongly believes that every opportunity we are given with a child, should be a teaching one for us and a learning one for them.

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So far, Nonnie has authored two other books:  a novel which she released in November of 2013, entitled “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND” and “SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS!” where she shares her no-holds-barred style of teaching us all about support and social media.  Her second parenting guide {THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO BULLY-PROOF KIDS} is due for release the beginning of January, 2015 and the sequel to her debut novel, DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, shortly after.  (Both have been delayed due to her extensive workload with Rave Reviews Book Club).

NJ Cover Design-1 (1)

She is a fan of the well-written word, and so along with 3 partners, she started 4WillsPublishing Co. in November, 2013 to assist other writers in putting out their best work ever.  By December, 2013, she had founded the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB where in less than a year, the membership has rapidly grown to well over 500.  If you’re not a member yet, this is your personal invitation to JOIN US!

As you can see, she is an Author on the move and if you’re interested in keeping up with her, here is her contact info:

Twitter:  @nonniejules

Facebook:  Nonnie Jules, Author

Blogs/Websites:

4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com

BooksByNonnie.wordpress.com

NonnieWrites.wordpress.com

AskTheGoodMommy.wordpress.com

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:   

Danica Cornell is the PR/Marketing Director for Rave Reviews Book Club who’s busily penning the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.  To learn more, please visit Danica’s website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

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Danica Cornell is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

An Interview with FSF Net Author, Lauren Lynne

Hello Everyone!  Today, I’m delighted to present my recent interview with the lovely and talented, Lauren Lynne, author of The Secret Watchers series!  Lauren and I happened to meet a few months ago through the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network.  During this time I’ve grown not only to respect her as a writer, but I’ve also come to think of her as a friend.  So, without further ado, here’s, Lauren…

 

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Lauren, it’s wonderful to have you as a guest on my blog!  Can you tell us a little about your latest book?  My latest book is Perceptions, the fourth book in The Secret Watchers series.  I am writing book five right now.  The protagonist is Owen Ryer.  The series begins when Owen is an average eighth grader until one day it all changes.  Owen has a special ability he never knew he had, but figuring out how to use it is the least of his problems.  By Perceptions Owen is a junior in high school, his grades are slipping, he’s having girlfriend problems and people are trying to kill him.  He is used by people who should be helping others and has to face the darkness he holds within.

Perceptions front cover

NOW AVAILABLE!

Sounds like a great read!  What inspired you to write this?  My day job unexpectedly took a sharp decline in hours and I was left feeling frustrated with lots of time on my hands so I just started writing like crazy.  It was a great way to turn all the angst around.   I have always enjoyed young adult books but as a teacher and parent I wanted to keep up with what my boys were reading so if they read it… I read it.  The exception was Twilight – they won’t touch it but a friend gave it to me.  I liked it and when I discovered that Breaking Dawn, part one, was out in theaters I thought I better get caught up.  I loved what they had done with Jacob in the films; he was my favorite in the books, so my idea for Owen kind of began with him.  I wanted a humble hero, who cared for others more than he should sometimes.

Was writing this book an enjoyable experience, or did you find it difficult at times?  I wrote book one, Visions, in about six weeks.  It has taken me longer to write the rest.  Visions began as a stand-alone but I quickly realized that Owen’s story could not be done in one book I stretched it into a five book series.  I had never published before so it took me a year after I began writing Visions to release it to the public.  There is so much to learn about the publishing business.  It makes every day an adventure.  Now I have to fight for my writing time.  I often have more ideas than I can get down.

Care to talk about your protagonist?  How did you dream him/her to life?  I touched on this briefly but Owen is an interesting guy.  He is a bit of my own boys who were thirteen and sixteen when I began writing.  Owen is also a mix of many of my favorite young adult heroes from literature.  I wanted a protagonist that young people could relate to and would genuinely like despite his faults.  It was also very important to me that he have problems like kiddos in the real world.

What projects are you currently working on?   I am madly writing book five, Destiny.  I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the characters I’ve come to love so in the future there will be other Secret Watchers books where some of my fans and my favorites will return in minor roles.  I have also started work in a new genre.  It’s a dystopian with a female protagonist.

Do you consider yourself to be a self-conscious writer?  Why or why not?  Interesting question.  I started out that way and was afraid that people wouldn’t like me.  I thought that I was a failure if I didn’t get all five star reviews.  Now I know better.  Today I write for me and my fans and if someone is a hater, that’s their choice because the only person I can ever really hope to change is me.  So… it’s okay if someone doesn’t like my books because there are plenty of other folks who do and they are the ones I really care about.

As a writer, are you a fan of the close-up view, like exploring a microcosm, a subculture?  Or do you prefer the wide shot—looking at an entire cosm, culture?   Strangely, I would have to say both.  To date, the books I have published have been from the protagonist’s perspective but you can experience the world around him from his point of view.  His life’s experiences skew his view but you can still experience his culture, class, ethnicity, etc.

What kind of environment do you write in?  A noisy café, a quiet library, at your kitchen table?  I do my best writing at the computer in my home office.  Don’t let that fool you – as a busy mom holding down two jobs and trying to write, I take a journal wherever I go.  In other words you can find me writing almost anywhere including, as a passenger in a car.  I just have to be careful because I get really motion sick.

What was the first thing you ever wrote?  How old were you?  I have almost always been a writer; I just didn’t recognize myself as one.  When I was in about fourth grade, I started a mystery version based around the filming of The Wizard of Oz.  My grandfather was part of the sound department at MGM and worked on the film so I’ve always had a special place in my heart for it.  I also read a book called Murder on the Yellow Brick Road by Stuart M. Kaminsky which also made me want to write something during the time of the filming.

Is there a difference between Lauren the writer and Lauren the person?   Nope.  That’s it… nope.  What you see is what you get!

What about Lauren the person versus Lauren the public figure?  Is there a difference there I try really hard to be the same person no matter what.  I try really hard to stay positive and encourage others.  It’s too much work for me to try to be a bunch of people.  It’s enough work just to be me.

What other writing have you done?  I have written curriculum for grades 4-12 and for adult learners.  Let me tell you… fiction is LOTS more fun.

What is the best and worst part of the writing process for you?  I love the writing so much.  Going over my work with my editing team is okay.  I love them dearly but the writing itself is magical.  I also love bouncing ideas off my kids, their friends and my students.  I want to make sure that Owen and my other teen characters have the right voice.

Do you plot your novels (or plan your books) ahead of time, or do they unfold as you write them?  Both!  Visions began with very little planning; I just let it flow.  Once I was past the first book I couldn’t do it without the big picture.  I even put notes to myself highlighted within my writing so that I don’t lose track of time.

How do you go about creating dialogue?  I write from my characters head.  I imagine what they would say to another character.  When one of my boys or their friends says something I really like, I ask if I can use it and then I weave it in.  “Don’t flip a biscuit” is a phrase that my younger son used on me one day when he thought I was overreacting, so I had to reuse that.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters or do any of them have traits you wish you had?  I wish I was as brave as Owen and Lucie are.  I wish I was as smart as Marlo.  The characters that I am most like are Owen’s mom Lila and his friend Sarah.  Sarah was originally crafted after a dear friend of mine who was a grandma and Boy Scout volunteer while I was working with the Scouts for my own boys.  She had such a wonderful way of looking at the world.  I asked her if I could use her and she said yes.  Now Sarah is more like me because my model has moved to the coast and we don’t see each other as often.  The story also changed and I needed to make her a little younger than we had first intended.

Do you believe writers are born…or made?  I believe the best ones are born but I would never count out someone who wanted it so badly that they were willing to really work for it.  Right now, my writing isn’t work – it is my passion.  Life makes us who we are but we still somehow come into it with preferences.  I don’t think you can force writing to make you happy.

What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?  I am reading Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg’s The Heist and I am rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.  Why such fluffy stuff?  One, I love it and two, it gives me a break from heavy stuff like Learning in Adulthood and Learning and Change in the Adult Years.

Do you have any advice for those toying with the idea of becoming a novelist/writer?  Keep your day job but heck yeah, give it a go!  You may find you love it.  At least get that story down – it’s good therapy!

How many hours a week do you work these days?  At which job?  Ha!  It is all over the map.  I am a substitute teacher and I work for an organization that helps improve out-of-school time education.   Around my teaching of students and training of adults who work with students, I write.  Between them all I probably put in around seventy hours a week.

It’s been suggested that as a group, writers tend to be elitists.  Do you agree with this assertion?  You find elitists in every group, not just among writers.  So yeah, there are some but I’m not one and I know you aren’t so there you go.  It’s not just the two of us either.  I have met some of the most wonderful, charitable, helpful and friendly people since I started writing that I can’t imagine my life without them.  We are team indie and we are what we make of it!

What is your view of brand management?  Is this a positive or negative aspect of an author’s work and is this something you’re personally comfortable with?  I feel like it is very important to maintain your brand, to stay true to who you are.  I try to keep my work and sites no more than NC-17.  I never write anything that would embarrass me if my parents, children or students read it.  I try to remain true to myself.  I’ve made some mistakes along the way but each day is a new chance to do better, right?

Is there anything you’d like to add before we conclude this interview?  Big hugs, Danica, and thank you so very much for having me.  Happy writing to you and to you and all your fans… follow your dreams, you never know where they may lead you.

The pleasure was all mine, Lauren.  Thanks for dropping by today!

 

Author, Lauren Lynne

Author Profile 4

Where to Visit Young Adult Author Lauren Lynne and The Secret Watchers Series:

You can visit Lauren at http://laurenlynneauthor.com/

Website http://thesecretwatchers.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheSecretWatchersSeries

Facebook http://facebook.com/LaurenLynneAuthor

Twitter http://Twitter.com/LaurenLynneYA

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5808133.Lauren_Lynne

Pinterest  http://www.pinterest.com/laurenlynneYA/

Add me to your circles http://plus.google.com/+LaurenLynne/about

Email laurenwrites@thesecretwatchers.com   

LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lauren-walker/4a/3/bb4

Tumblr http://authorlaurenlynne.tumblr.com/

Instagram http://instagram.com/laurenwritesya#

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtts8vMLY9fFREf8HRY6nbQ

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:    

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the President of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc., who’s busily penning her forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.  To learn more, please visit Danica’s website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

DARK STAR I The Assassins (2)

 

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Danica Cornell is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club and the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network.

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FSF Net

Deconstructing My Writing Process

By Danica Cornell

Many thanks to my dear friend, Enn Kae, (a.k.a. @zeekworldnet on Twitter) for inviting me to share what goes on behind the scenes in my creation of the  DARK STAR sci-fi/fantasy series.  I’ve decided to use this unique Q & A opportunity to describe step-by-step, how it is that I go about writing a novel.  And while I’m aware many authors undoubtedly dive in and immediately begin their manuscripts, I’ve learned that in my case, a lot more structure is required.  🙂

How do I start my writing projects?

1.  The Spark

For me, every major writing project begins the same way – from a spark of an idea that sets my imagination ablaze!  These “sparks” can come from anywhere:  Movies, news stories, books, billboards, songs—the list is practically endless!

2.  The Think Tank

Once I’ve settled on a story idea, I make a point to write down everything that comes to mind.  In other words, the Think Tank step is basically a non-linear, highly chaotic, stream-of-consciousness, brainstorming exercise designed to generate additional ideas and research questions.  All I can say is, it definitely works!

3.  The Master Organizer 

Thankfully, coming up with sci-fi story ideas, (including characters and sexy, futuristic technologies) has not been an issue for me.  I mean, not at all.  Instead, my challenge has always has been in finding ways to sort through and organize all of my Think Tank material.  Fortunately, I’ve learned to accomplish this task by separating all of a story’s related ideas into the following five categories:  Story, Story World, Technologies, Characters, and Research.  The story’s title is used to create a folder which houses all of these five items.

4.  Playing God by Building My Story World

Once my materials have been organized, I set out to create my story world.  This is accomplished by imagining the time and place my story will occur (i.e. the month, year, geographical location, weather, etc.).  I also consider the different cultural groups within this world, (i.e. wealthy, impoverished, those with top-secret security clearances, alien species, etc.).  With my story world in focus, it’s a lot easier for me to see the backdrop for conflict as well as the story’s theme.

5.  The One Sentence Summary/Storyline

Now that my story world has been formalized, I set about the task of writing a one sentence storyline/summary, which serves as the foundation for keeping my ideas in check.  (I cannot over emphasize how important this step is for my uber-creative brain!)

6.  The One Paragraph Three-Act Structure

Looking at my one sentence summary and Story file, I begin to loosely map out my tale by way of the three-act structure.  The result of this exercise is one paragraph, briefly describing my story’s three disasters:  The call to action, the disaster to support the middle, and the final disaster to force the story’s end.

7.  Character Creation

Referring to my Characters folder and three-act structure, this is when I start bringing my major characters to life.  The beginnings of this process are admittedly humble and include naming each character and defining their role (i.e. villain, hero, etc.), ambition, story goal, conflict, lesson learned or change in character.  Afterwards, I’m able to craft a character summary.  Even as a beginning writer, I’ve come to realize I’ve already had a lot of these points figured out ahead of time.  So far, this step has merely helped to crystallize my ideas.

8.  The Short Synopsis

At this point, I construct a short synopsis, (approximately one page in length, maybe two) using the one paragraph, three-act structure as a scaffold.

9.  Character Expansion

Armed with a clearer vision for my story, I now set about the task of expanding my characters by way of character sketches.  This is where I fill in the blanks with regard to each character’s backstory, ambition, story goal, conflict, lesson learned or change in character, and character summary.  This is also my favorite step in the planning process, no doubt because of my background in psychology!

10.  The Long Synopsis

For me, the long synopsis is the most challenging step of all!  Moreover, since its function is to capture high-level details, I strive to keep the long synopsis to roughly five to six pages in length, going back and forth between characters and plot.  Also, if I haven’t already started my research (often related to advanced technologies), this is definitely the time I’ll buckle down and get serious about gathering any necessary facts and figures.

11.  The Character Bible

A couple of days later, (after I’ve calmed down from the long synopsis!), my next step in the planning process is to create a character bible from all the information I’ve assembled.  This will include everything from each character’s date of birth, middle name, physical description, education and work history, any disabilities, their greatest fears, dreams and hopes, as well as their history (backstory).  Many of these ideas have already been generated as part of the character expansion, so I simply transfer this information and fill in any remaining blanks.  

I should probably mention, the reason I take the time to create a character bible, is to help insure my characters come off as conflicted and flawed.  I’m specifically looking to create characters with competing values and ambitions.  There must be a reasonable dose of intra- and interpersonal conflicts, otherwise the characters will emerge as flat, boring, and frankly, unbelievable. Furthermore, if any character doesn’t meet my rigorous sniff-test, I go back to the drawing board–and will keep doing so, until I get them just exactly right.

12.  The Scene List

Next, using my long synopsis, I focus on generating a scene list—what I consider to be the second most challenging step in the entire planning process.  The scene list is basically a simple outline of how the story is planned to unfold.  (Generally, there’s a scene containing a goal, a conflict, and a setback.  This is then followed with a scene containing a reaction, a dilemma, and a decision.)  Additionally, this is also when I finalize my decision regarding what point of view I’m going to use.

13.  Scene Analysis

Before beginning my manuscript, I analyze each scene to make sure I have a goal, a conflict, and a setback followed by a reaction, a dilemma, and a decision.  Additionally, I’ll once again look at my three disasters, to be certain they are doing what they’re supposed to (call to action, support the middle, force the story’s end).  This may result in some rearranging, but I’ve learned the hard way, this step can save me a lot of time later on!

How do I continue my writing process?

Thus far, I’ve been editing as I’ve been writing.  And while this may not be the preferred method for many, as a beginning novelist, this approach has helped me to refine my voice through a lot of experimentation.  It’s also taken me about four times longer to wrap up this project than it normally would’ve, I’m sure!  But in all honesty, I’m okay with this. Why?  Because for me, learning the writing process and putting out a quality product are the only two things that matter.  Everything else is secondary.

How do I finish my writing projects?

Before I reach the point of being psychologically ready to hand my manuscript over to an editor, (and/or beta readers) I need to be certain my manuscript is in the very best shape I’m able to attain on my own.  To reach this point, I carefully scrutinize my story, using a detailed checklist I’ve created.  (As of this writing, accidental head-hopping is my number one writing boo-boo.)

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.

Before I sign off, I’d like to share with you the following time-saving list of transitions. By the way, I keep this list on my desk at all times and use it quite often!  And for those of you who may be new to writing, transitional words and phrases allow writers to express different ideas in ways which are clear to readers.   Okay, so here it is, as promised:

Danica Cornell’s List of Transitional Words and Phrases

 Showing continuation:

  • Again
  • Also
  • And
  • Besides
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • Moreover
  • Coincidentally
  • Next
  • Undoubtedly

Showing contrast:

  • Although
  • And yet
  • But
  • Even so
  • However
  • Nevertheless
  • Nonetheless
  • Notwithstanding
  • Still
  • Though
  • Whereas

Showing illustration:

  • For example
  • For instance
  • Likewise
  • Second
  • Similarly
  • First
  • In the same way
  • To illustrate
  • Third

Showing conclusion:

  • All in all
  • In brief
  • In conclusion
  • In summary
  • Therefore
  • To summarize
  • What this means is
  • Finally
  • Thus so
  • As a result

For those of you who have additional helpful writing tips/techniques, I hope you’ll feel comfortable sharing these here, so we may all benefit from your knowledge and experience.  Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my post, and I hope to see you again real soon!

Until next time…

Happy writing,

Danica

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell holds a BA in Psychology from Argosy University.  She is the visionary president of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc., who is busily penning the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.  To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

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Danica Cornell is proud to be a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and the Fantasy Science Fiction Network 

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Shining a Spotlight on RAVE REVIEWS’ “SPOTLIGHT” Chats

 

 

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Written by Danica Cornell

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, there’s a pretty good chance at least some of you are familiar with Rave Reviews Book Club’s (RRBC) “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  But, for those who don’t yet know about these chats or why they’re so beneficial for authors, then this post is for you.

“SPOTLIGHT” Chats, (also referred to as Twitter Chats, Twitterviews and Live Tweet Chats) are an exciting new program we’ve designed at RRBC as yet another way to Profile, Promote & Propel the careers of our indie author members!  Simply put, these chats are live Twitter interviews, (conducted by yours truly) which are designed to drive the conversation around the author’s brand – and they do so in a manner that’s both fun and effective!

Here’s How it Works

With “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, folks can join the conversation by directly tweeting their own questions to RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, using #RRBCSpotlightChat in each tweet.  Participants may also respond to other people’s tweets and even retweet throughout the chat.  As you might imagine, all this buzz helps to generate even more visibility for our “SPOTLIGHT” Authors, which has the potential of increasing their book sales and following!  Simply put, “SPOTLIGHT” Chats truly put the “social” back into social media marketing on Twitter, and they do so in a way that feels like chatting with friends!

The Buzz Before the Buzz

In order for RRBC to launch the best possible “SPOTLIGHT” Chat, there’s a bit of preparation that goes on behind the scenes.  For example, prior to a scheduled chat, RRBC’s Governing Board announces the event on our club’s social media accounts.  Of course we also appreciate the support of our members and friends in helping us spread the word, too.  As RRBC’s Marketing Director, I can tell you; this kind of coordinated effort really works!

Tuning in to Twubs for Twitterviews

Believe it or not, we’ve learned through experience that the best way to conduct a Twitterview, is to do so while using Twubs—a handy dandy social media marketing tool, if there ever was one.  Twubs provides a fast, free and easy way for folks to join in on RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  And as someone who’s had more than her fair share of tech issues, I can honestly say, there’s nothing complicated about Twubs—it’s completely intuitive and user friendly!

Why Use Twubs?  

Twubs takes care of the two issues most often seen in Twitter-conducted twitterviews: The time lag experienced between sent and received tweets, and the difficulty in following a conversation.  Anyone who’s ever tried to follow a live tweet chat on Twitter will undoubtedly appreciate how Twubs eliminates these issues altogether!

How to Get Your Very Own “SPOTLIGHT” Chat!

By now you may find yourself wondering, “How can I get in on all the excitement?”  Only RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB members are eligible to be interviewed in “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  Of course members and non-members alike are welcomed and encouraged to join in on these conversations.  After all, when it comes to “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, the more, the merrier!

***

For more information on, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, including how to become a member, please visit our website at: http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/join-here/ .

To join in during our “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, please go to our Twubs page at:  http://twubs.com/RRBCSpotlightChat.  (“SPOTLIGHT” Chats are announced ahead of time on RRBC’s social media accounts.)

 

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CONNECT WITH RRBC:

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Facebook

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ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

 Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the PR/Marketing Director for RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by COOL GEEK BOOKS.  To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Blog:  http://danica-cornell.com/

Danica’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/danicacornell/

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/danicacornell

Google +:   https://plus.google.com/+DanicaCornell/posts

About.Me:  http://about.me/danica_cornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

The Superhero

By Danica Cornell

Here’s a question: What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time? Is it shooting pool? Going to a ball game? Writing? Those who know me best would probably tell you that learning is hands-down my all-time favorite pastime—with writing coming in a very close second.

Looking back, my thirst for knowledge started quite early. As such, I figured out that in order to avoid getting beaten up on the playground, I had best conceal my geek-like tendencies from the other kids. Thankfully, this plan worked out quite well—that is, until Christy came along.

Much to my chagrin, this mammoth-sized third grader saw right though me, promptly informing our classmates that I was in fact, The Teacher’s Pet. As you might imagine, it was at this point when I began to experience a long-held and long-feared universal kid-truth: There’s nothing quite like facing the stomach-churning glares of the less intellectually endowed, to make a Teacher’s Pet hand over her lunch—especially if those glares come from a girl who happens to be a lot meaner than you.

Not to mention, a lot bigger.

There’s no point in denying it. Christy’s acid tongue and sheer girth terrified me! And it was because of this fear that it took me an entire year before I decided I’d finally had enough. An entire year! That’s like a hundred lifetimes to a kid! Nevertheless, by the time I turned nine, I’d grown fed up with going unfed at lunch. I was determined to man-up and face my nemesis head-on.

And so it went. The exact time and location where my archenemy and I would face-off was set without debate or delay—along with a few ground rules: No biting, scratching, or hair-pulling. And above all else, neither of us could rat the other one out. Amazingly, in about half the time it took to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we’d gotten it all settled: In 24 hours, the colossal showdown would take place. (Now that I think about it, it’s a little ironic we weren’t able to resolve the lunch-issue in a similar manner!)

As it turned out, it didn’t take all that long for the tough-talking, lunch-stealing, Christy, to hobble away with more than a little blood gushing from her nose! I distinctly remember listening to her uncontrolled wailing in the distance and wondering why I’d allowed myself to endure an entire year of hunger-inducing harassment. As my new reality began to sink in, it occurred to me that in confronting the evil Christy, I had acted as bravely as any of my favorite comic book superheroes!

Minus the cape, of course.

What I didn’t realize is that when it comes to navigating through the fog of war, even the most accomplished of superheroes can eventually find themselves facing the consequences of being on the wrong end of a fist. My rapidly swelling and blackening eye was proof positive; I was no exception to this rule!

But from my perspective, none of that mattered. As far as I was concerned, my David vs. Goliath moment had been well worth a bit of physical discomfort. After all, tucked away in the far corner of the school’s playground, I had bravely stood up and fought for what I believed in. Cocooned within a sense of intention and purpose, I was now surrounded by a swarm of children—most of whom congratulated me and agreed Christy had had it coming for a good long while. It was a magical feeling. I was brimming with a newfound sense of hope and justice, basking in the glory of my hard-won elementary school kid status—

For all of about 15 seconds.

That’s when the teacher I’d nick named, Mrs. Piranha, appeared. Of all the adults in the school, it was she who could strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned of trouble makers. Parting the sea of kids with a level of efficiency I’ve not seen since, she grabbed me by the elbow in a way that suggested The End Was Near. Now parading me in front of God and everyone, The Piranha and I made our way across the playground and into the aging, brick building that housed The Principal’s Office.

Maybe being a Goliath-defeating superhero wasn’t so great after all…

In hindsight, the whole thing was really quite a spectacle, but it was probably the best outcome I could’ve ever hoped for. Sure, I got in trouble. But I’d also earned the respect of my peers – something which served me well throughout the rest of my elementary school career. But perhaps even more noteworthy was that I finally got to tell my side of the story. The principal actually cared about the fact that for the last year I’d been feeling as though my life had been spiraling out of control. He understood my need to seek justice and take back my power. And through it all, through my discussion with that empathetic man, I could feel myself changing. Growing. Evolving.

In the end, my punishment really wasn’t all that bad. I was made to endure a highly uncomfortable phone call home to my mom, plus I apologized to Christy in front of the whole class—all while sobbing, mind you. Interestingly, Christy’s reciprocal apology was equally heartfelt! And while were never really friends, we did manage to reach some kind of equilibrium in our relationship—a kind of mutual understanding, I suppose.

I have no idea whatever happened to Christy, but I am grateful for the valuable lessons she taught me: Whether a superhero or super geek, I have the right to be me. I have the right to be happy. And I definitely have the right to eat my lunch in peace. Now that I think about it, maybe being a geek isn’t so bad after all!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Danica’s Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

 

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

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Not A Famous Writer

Please help me give a warm welcome to my friend and RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB colleague, Bruce A. Borders.  For those of you who don’t know Bruce, he’s the very talented author of a number of books, including one of my favorites, Over My Dead Body.  Take it away, Bruce!

By Bruce A. Borders

First, I would like to thank Danica for inviting me as a guest on her blog. I appreciate the opportunity!

Odds are, you have never heard of me. I’m not a famous writer—yet! I’m still one of those authors who write simply for the love of writing. Good thing too, or I probably would have quit years ago!

Part of the joy of writing, and usually my goal, is to make people think, or laugh, or elicit some sort of emotion, such as anger or frustration—not directed toward me, hopefully. Then, through reviews, email, and comments on social media or blogs, readers provide valuable feedback that lets me know how I’m doing in that regard. No matter their opinion, I like hearing from readers; their thoughts, and questions. And, sometimes there are lots of questions. I thought I’d answer a few of the more common ones I’ve received about my book, Over My Dead Body.

 

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NOW AVAILABLE

The question I get the most is if it’s a true story. The short answer is no. But like many tales of fiction, it does have a basis in reality. I used several news stories I’d heard for the setting and the plot, then added my own details to finish out the story. As I moved forward with the rewrites and editing, the book took on a life of its own and the original stories gave way to a single narrative. This may not be the so-called correct way to write but it worked well for me.

A lot of readers also want to know if the book is based on what I would do in a similar situation. The answer to that is a definite yes! Not only is the story based on what I would do, it is exactly what I would do. That’s what provided the impetus and motivation to write it.

If you haven’t read the book, and are now squiting at the screen, wondering what in the world I’m talking about, here is a short description.

 How far will a man go to protect his family? When the director of Child Protective Services uses his position to exact a personal vendetta in removing three-year-old Ashley from the Blake’s home, Jeff Blake, a financial advisor, responds to the threats in the only way he feels he can – violently. By the end of the short encounter, three people are dead and Ashley, the daughter, is still taken and placed in temporary foster care, so the tragic fiasco gained Jeff nothing. Or, so it seems. Matters are further complicated when Amy, the wife and mother, winds up for a brief stay in a mental ward due to the trauma she witnessed in her home. It seems as though everything is against the Blakes. Understandably, the police, as well as the Courts, are not too concerned with the needs of the family. Complete with many twists of fate, the story looks at the common problems of a typical family caught between love and the law.

I tried to write the book, especially the opening chapter, as if I were Jeff Blake. The news stories I’d heard spanned a few years so, I’d had plenty of time to consider what my response would be. That part of the book was very easy to write. Admittedly, it’s probably not the wisest response and I’m under no illusion that things would not bode well for me in such an event, or anyone, for that matter, who reacted in a similar manner.

From the comments I’ve received, I think most readers would agree, the book describes a typical father’s reaction, and initially, I marketed the book to fathers. However, thanks to feedback from readers, as well as comments from friends and family, I discovered that women, particularly mothers, connected and reacted to the book much more passionately than fathers. Not that fathers didn’t like the book, or that they disagreed, but their response was more matter-of-fact. “Yeah, that’s what I would do too,” I heard more than once—seemingly without much emotion.

Mothers, on the other hand…

Mothers were extremely emotional and far more vitriolic with their fiery reaction. They were out for blood! And calling for the head of anyone who would dare think they could use a position of so-called authority to go after a child. Remind me to never make a woman angry!

Another question that often comes up is if I plan to write a sequel. Well, originally I hadn’t. I think the story definitely ended in the book. But after the response from all the female readers, I have begun to consider writing a similar book with the mother being the one who exacts the vengeance. I think there is a strong potential for quite a compelling story in that.

Problem is, I’m not a woman. Or, a mother. I’m not sure I could write through a mother’s eyes. Not convincingly anyway. And I’m not sure how readers would respond. They might not be interested in a guy’s portrayal of a vindictive woman. Sure, a well-known author might get away with it, but me? I’m not so certain. After all, I’m not a famous writer—yet!

 

CONNECT WITH BRUCE:

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Bruce’s Website:   http://bruceabordersbooks.weebly.com

Over My Dead Body is Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J5U2UL8

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/over-my-dead-body-bruce-a-borders/1105621591

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s writing, her nanotechnology start-up, and her support of UNICEF, please visit:  www.danicacornell.comDanica Cornell is a proud member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

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