So you can read my books

Saturday, August 24, 2013


“All great and precious things are lonely.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
{Only 99 cents}
Current Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
To write of the lonely, confused wilderness of the heart is to touch each reader whose eyes linger on your prose
for that is the territory in which everyone sooner or later finds him or herself lost.
To be lost within oneself is an eternal prison
one can find what the heart knows to be the key. 
What is that key?  I could speak the word.  But its sound is meaningless.
As the sounds of all words are meaningless.
All we writers have words.  You wish to know the word that is the key?
 Love, you may call it.
 But we all know that word and have thought we have known it for a long time.
Yet if you think on it that word is like all the others:
just a shape to fill a lack.
When the right time comes, you won't need a word for that anymore than for pride or fear. 
Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.
You would write a novel that clings to the memory of the reader?
Create powerful conflicts.
Conflict is what keeps a reader turning pages, keeps her wondering, "What's going to happen next? How will these people ever work this out?"
You need tension, high stakes, crackling disagreements—not bickering over trivia.
To create powerful conflict, give your characters powerful, opposing goals. That'll give you plenty of real plot, so you won't have to depend on coincidences and misunderstandings.
Remember what readers want most: emotional impact.
Readers of popular fiction don't want to experience the events of your novel at a distance.  
They want to FEEL what's happening.
They want to laugh, cry, hope, worry. They want to get goosebumps when the detective in your mystery ventures into that dark alley.
They want to sigh when the heroine kisses the hero in your contemporary romance.
To achieve that, focus on the characters' emotional reactions to what's going on.
Constantly ask yourself, "How does she feel about this?" Then use vivid writing to make your reader feel those emotions.
Strive for more dialogue than narrative.
Editors—and readers—like books with lots of dialogue because they tend to have a faster pace.
 Narrative tends to slow things down and usually leads to telling instead of showing.
Don't tell the reader,
"He was poor. He had an education. He had a good heart, etc. . . ."
That's flat and uninteresting.
Instead, show the character's poverty in his clothes, his education in his speech, his good heart in his actions. Showing with action and dialogue creates vivid characters and a fast pace; telling only bogs down your story.

Control point-of-view.
You'll see ping-pong POV all the time in published books—
but editors are getting less and less tolerant of it.
Ping-pong means writing one paragraph in Character A's point of view, then one in Character B's, back and forth.
It's like playing ping-pong with the reader, and she's going to end up bruised and confused. If you must shift viewpoint, try to do it only once within any given scene.
Better yet, switch only between scenes.
By staying in one POV at a time, you help your reader identify with, and empathize with, your characters—and that's the secret to keeping her emotionally involved.

What do you think are ways to engage your readers?
What is your latest WIP
and how did it come
to you?
Have a rewarding weekend!


  1. Emotional impact - check.
    Are those your rankings right now? That is awesome!!

  2. Alex:
    Yes, those are my rankings now. I just idly checked this morning. And wow! Nice surprise, right?

  3. Latest wips? The second novel in my scifi story, and an alternate history novel. The scifi story originated from my imagination and after reading every hard scifi book that appealed to me, I read the old scifi masters, I read new scifi.

    The alternate history novel is one that's been brewing and I keep adding to it. It's one of the reasons I went to Paris.

    Congrats on the rankings! Word of your great stories must be getting around.

  4. D.G.:
    Great that you have a Sci Fi series going. Hard Science Sci Fi is challenging since Hard Science theory tends to evolve like a roller coaster sometimes!

    Your alternate history novel involves Paris? That's intriguing.

    It would be nice if word of my stories does get around. Cross your fingers. :-)

  5. Congrats on the rankings, Roland!

    I think Elmore Leonard had it right. To engage readers, leave out the boring stuff. My latest WIP deals with a protagonist struggling to chose between the life he always thought he wanted—the life that's expected of him, and the need to be free of those expectations.

    Of course I accidentally shredded all my notes for the book so instead of a WIP it's more of an WIR (Work in Reverse). :)

    VR Barkowski

  6. VR:
    I blinked my eyes and they changed! :-)

    Shredded all your notes for the book!? OUCH!! You are a trooper for continuing on.

    I wish you luck writing in reverse.