Tag Archives: Twitter Chat

A Flawed Heroine is a Strong Heroine

Posted by November 12th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (November 3, 2011)

Bestselling authors Christina Dodd and Jeaniene Frost talk about how to write a strong, but flawed, heroine and why it’s important.

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteWhen creating a strong heroine, there’s a delicate blend of assets and flaws that must be found. She should be realistic and sympathetic, yet she also needs to be special, unique, and strong. But how do you know if you’re achieving this goal? What can you do to ensure you’re on the right track?


Like all elements of writing, mastering this mix takes time and practice. It also takes knowledge. So, we asked New York Times bestselling authors Christina Dodd (@ChristinaDodd) and Jeaniene Frost (@Jeaniene_Frost) to be our professional tag team and share with us their expertise on the subject.

Christina Dodd is the bestselling author of numerous historical romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense novels. Her heroines are always the perfect mix of strong and sympathetic. Don’t believe me? Just check out her “Scarlet Deception” series and you’ll see for yourself!

Jeaniene Frost is similarly skilled at writing the strong-but-flawed heroine. Her array of bestselling paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels portray female protagonists at their finest. Cat from Frost’s “Night Huntress” series is as imperfect and kick-ass as they come!

These two ladies–and our awesome participants–had so much to share with us in our hour-long Twitter chat:

@ChristinaDodd: Flaws are there for a reason. Strength is there for a reason. You as writer have to know those reasons/create story from them.

@Jeaniene_Frost: I first jot down my heroine’s fears and affections. What/who she loves most & what/who she fears most tell me a lot.

@Chumplet: Heroine can use her flaws to move plot forward. If she didn’t screw  up sometimes, there would be no crisis to deal with.

@jimnduncan: Yank the rug out from under [your characters]. Disable all of those props they use to keep themselves standing (emotionally)

@ChristinaDodd: A hero/heroine can do anything, no matter how stupid or trivial, if they’re well motivated.

@Jeaniene_Frost: A heroine’s strengths can become her flaws when they endanger the people around her, emotionally or physcially.

@Tina_Moss: As a reader I want to relate to the heroine and fall for the hero. W/hero’s flaws, I see fixes. W/heroine, I see a mirror.

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Bear in mind that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start on the last page of the PDF and work your way forward to the first page

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to participate!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

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Writing Historicals for the Modern Reader

Posted by October 31st, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (October 20, 2011)

Bestselling author Sarah MacLean and literary agent Sara Megibow discuss how to make your historical accurate and accessible for today’s reader

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhite Writing a historical novel of any genre is a challenge like no other. It involves hoards of research, keen attention to detail, and an accurate and vivid portrayal. On top of all that, you have to make the story and characters interesting and relatable to readers in today’s day and age. Like I said, not easy! But we’ve gotten some inside info and tips from the pros–Sarah MacLean (@SarahMacLean) and Sara Megibow (@SaraMegibow), who both have backgrounds in genre fiction and in history!–on how to tackle the big task.


Sarah MacLean is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling historical romance and young adult author. Her first bestseller, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake shot on to the bestseller lists with a vengeance and each of her historicals since have hit both lists and received glowing reviews.

History-lover Sara Megibow  is an agent at the Nelson Literary Agency, where she represents a variety of authors and
genres: historicals, YA, romantic fantasy, romance, and much more.

Here’s a little taste of what their Twitter chat had to offer:

 

@sarahmaclean: Making a book *too* historical can be a problem. Research can become an infodump fast.

@SaraMegibow: One reason I love reading historicals (YA, romance, fantasy, etc) is because it’s a mirror into a world I can only imagine.

@ECLamb: [Details should be] accurate enough not to call attention to themselves. Reader should never be pulled out of story to ask “What?””

@lilithsaintcrow: If you do not believe in your world and characters, nobody else will.

@sarahmaclean: If you break the rules [of the setting], you’d better know [the rules]. And know why you’re doing it.

@SaraMegibow: Personally, I wouldn’t shop a book set in 1963 as historical. I would shop as commercial fiction set in 1963.

@OliviaKelly: There is a fine line between making it sound authentic and throwing in historical terms just because you can.

@IsobelCarr: Good worldbuilding skills are just as necessary for realistic
historicals as they are for believable SF/F.

@sarahmaclean: Books are as much about the time in which they are set as they are about the time in which they are written.

@SaraMegibow: write a great book, do your research and read in your genre.

If you missed the chat, though, don’t worry! You can open or download the entire transcript as a PDF here. It will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start on the last page and work your way up to the first.

Thanks to all who took the time to share their experiences and advice!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

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That Tricky Revision Process

Posted by September 22nd, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (Sept. 8, 2011)

New York Times bestselling author and editor team Rachel Caine and Anne Sowards talk about how to take a good book and make it great.

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteYou’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your first draft, and it’s finally ready. Well, kinda sorta. Now, you just have to revise. Whether you’re a writer getting feedback from a community like Book Country or from a beta reader, a contracted author getting notes from his/her editor, or the editor in question, it’s a tricky process.


Not only is it a complex process, but everyone approaches revisions differently. That’s why we decided to chat with a New York Times bestselling duo–author Rachel Caine (@RachelCaine) and her Ace/Roc editor Anne Sowards (@AnneSowards) to get their take.

Rachel Caine is the New York Times bestselling author of 14 adult urban fantasy novels, including the “Weather Warden” and “Outcast Season” series, as well as 11 young adult novels in her beloved “Morganville Vampires” series (and more!).

Anne Sowards is the executive editor of Penguin’s Ace/Roc imprint and has helped grow some of the most well-known bestselling SF/F authors today like Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, and Ilona Andrews (in addition to Rachel!). With 15 years of experience at Ace/Roc, Anne certainly knows her stuff.

With the tips and experiences they have to share, you might figure out what kind of reviser you are! Check out these gems from the chat:

@AnneSowards: If you feel the first draft is perfect, sit on it for a while and then look at it again.

@rachelcaine: If I feel strongly about keeping something, I am suspicious of why I do. Often, that’s what needs cutting.

@mbrucebarton: A good self-editing technique: reread & write down what you learn about your own plot/characters on each page

@mer_barnes: Read aloud!! Esp works with dialogue.

@Chumplet: I get rather excited to see edits. It gives my book an anchor. I’m no longer alone, playing a guessing game.

@AnneSowards: An author doesn’t have to fix the book my way. They can say, Anne, your idea stinks. How about this?

@rachelcaine: As a writer, you fear seeing the editorial notes, but the trick is take things one comment at a time, fix, move on.

@mbrucebarton: Sometimes small issues are symptoms of the larger issues so I recommend starting with the BIG ones

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up.

Thanks to all who made this chat such a great success!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

 

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The Importance of Connecting with Readers

Posted by September 14th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (August 25, 2011)

Crime fiction author Lawrence Block and publicity maven Erin Mitchell chat about why–and how!–writers should interact with their fans. 

twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteGiveaways. Email. Book signings. Twitter. Newsletters. Facebook. Skype.


There are myriad ways for writers to connect with readers these days, but some tactics seem to work better than others. But no matter what track you take, one thing is for sure: interacting with your readers is key. When writers are genuinely involved, when they interact with fans, readers’ dedication always seems to grow.

So what can you do to reach your audience? How can you interact most effectively? On August 25th, we asked experts Erin Mitchell(@ErinFaye) and Lawrence Block (@LawrenceBlock) to enlighten us.

Erin Mitchell has worked as a book publicity specialist for 25 years, helping authors connect to their readers. She also connects on a personal level through her own blog, as well as participating in the group mystery blog, “Hey, There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room.” She also takes part in the growing #FridayReads trend on Twitter.

Lawrence Block is the bestselling crime fiction author of the beloved Matthew Scudder series. His most recent release, A Drop of the Hard Stuff, hit shelves in May 2011. Lawrence has taken to Twitter and e-mail like a fish to water, building his relationships with readers through social media and other online venues.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the chat:

@ErinFaye: Remember why people subscribe to newsletters: because they love your writing. And want insight into characters, too

@LawrenceBlock: Point to remember: what matters is the writing. if the other gets in the way, maybe it’s not such a Good Idea.

@BrendaCopeland: Readers are the best advocates for authors. Much better than marketing departments. And it all starts with what’s on the page.

@lilysea: I’ve been known to sneakily reposition a twitter acquaintance’s book at the bookstore for better exposure. Feel it’s a “friend”

@ErinFaye: Start with one venue, whether that’s twitter, fb or a blog. Trying to do all at once can be overwhelming

@LawrenceBlock: I answer every email, unless its from a certified PITA.

@zbarnes: I liked how @swierczy wrote post cards to reader who won a contest. Great way to connect!

@Chumplet: My one bookstore signing garnered sales & great conversation. Not easy to set up but I loved it!

If you missed the chat, you can view or download the entire transcript as a PDF here. It will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start reading on the last page and work your way up to the first page.

Thanks to all who took the time to share their experiences and ask questions.

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

Follow us on Twitter for more: @Book_Country

 

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Writing Likeable Characters

Posted by August 2nd, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (July 14, 2011)

Two authors and editors–Kelley Eskridge and Nicola Griffith–chat with Book Country about how to write likeable characters, whether hero or villain.

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Like with real people, all characters are unique–each one has his or her own voice, history, and motivation. And strong characters have even more in common: that is, they are all “likeable.” Whether it’s a character you love or one you love to hate, both flaws and redeeming qualities are necessary to create the essential connection between reader and character. But how do you strike that balance? What can you do to make a reader understand, relate, and care about your hero or your villain?

In our July 14th Twitter Chat, we asked these very questions of Kelley Eskridge (@kelleyeskridge) and Nicola Griffith (@nicolaz), two writers and editors with enough experience and expertise to blow your mind. Kelley is a New York Times Notable science fiction and fantasy author, a screenwriter, and chair of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. Nicola is a Nebula, Tiptree, and multiple Lambda Award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy, crime fiction, and more. But that’s not all–together they also make an unstoppable editorial team, running Sterling Editing, a freelance editorial, mentoring, and coaching service.

Just take a peek at some of the great tips from the chat:

@nicolaz: ‘Likable’ doesn’t mean ‘like what they do’. Means *understand* why they do it.

@kelleyeskridge: Filter every action through character POV. And make every scene have an emotional and action goal.

@mbrucebarton: Dialogue is key to moving character forward while also forwarding action

@ColleenLindsay: Agent @DonMaass has recommended giving your villain one character trait in common with yourself to make him more sympathetic.

@DanielleEBowers: Do things with your villain you’d never dare do in real life, but always wanted to.

@AdamDetritus: one way I remember a prof saying to build at least SYMPATHY is to never have coincidence actually HELP a protag

@kelleyeskridge: Good characters r not one-note songs. Falling from grace=more interesting than never having been there

@nicolaz: Most important ‘never’ is: never make a perfectly good or perfectly bad character.

We’ve also posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up.

Thanks to all who participated in this helpful chat!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

 

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Conference 101: Etiquette and Tips

Posted by July 29th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (June 30, 2011)

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Book Country talks to agent Jennifer Laughran about the DOs and DON’Ts of writers conferences and conventions.

If you’ve ever been to a writers conference or genre convention, you know they can be overwhelming. They are swarming with people from all areas of the industry and levels of expertise: editors, agents, published authors, marketing gurus, aspiring authors….The list goes on and on. And if you’re a first-time attendee, it’s even more intense. You don’t know the etiquette–what to prepare, how to approach people, etc.–and you don’t know what not to do. Even season veterans might not know for sure what’s expected and accepted.

So, on June 30th, in the midst of the Romance Writers of America’s National Convention, the Book Country team took some time to help you get a handle on it via a live Twitter Chat. Jennifer Laughran (aka @literaticat), an agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and a veteran of many writing conferences, graciously joined us to share her expertise as well.

Here are a few gems from the lively discussion:

@literaticat: I would much rather authors spend time just talking to me like a human, rather than trying to “pitch.”

@ColleenLindsay: DO: Bring sets of pages of your finished work with you to pitch sessions. You never know if an editor or agent will ask for it.

@mbrucebarton: The one thing that’s really not ok is pitching without understanding what the agent/editor does

@Book_Country: DO: Give editors/agents some personal time and space!

@EverettMaroon: Don’t expect every conference moment to be a selling moment. Remember you’re there to learn, too.

@literaticat: If I ask you “so what is your book about” – I’d rather you just tell me, than have a stilted weird speech prepared.

@ColleenLindsay: DON’T: Interrupt agent/editor who is having a conversation with someone. Wait for a natural break and then introduce yourself.

@mbrucebarton: Tip for cons: DO talk about the rest of your life and how you fit writing in. It’s humanizing small talk, and shows commitment.

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Thanks to all who made this chat such a great success!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

 

 

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