I'm Just Saying…

January 25, 2016

Yes, I Want My Fictional Characters To Be Happy. You Got a Problem With That?

Greetings fellow Scribes and Bibliophiles!

Let’s get right to today’s topic, shall we?

As readers, we all have favorite characters we’re attached to:

Readers and characters.png

Whether it’s Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Sherlock Homes, or Gandalf… there are quite a few fictional people we would line up to spend some quality time with. We admire them, we like them, we get them. And we’re pretty sure they would think we’re awesome too.

As we read their story, we are invested with a deep desire to see everything work out for them. We want them to be okay. We want them to be happy. No, really. They have to be happy.

But what about the writer? We create our characters, live with them, spend time with them, day in and day out. We become attached to them. We want them to be okay, too. And yet, we know they can’t be. So what happens when it gets to this…

Writer and character

See, this is a problem. You know why it’s a problem? Let me tell you why. Because as human beings we all want this –

Cinderella_-_So_This_Is_Love_-_1

Not this –

belle crying gif

We dream of living a happy, pleasant, problem free life of this –

cinderella and forest creatures

Not this –

cloverfield 2

Unfortunately, writers are screwed. We know that to write a really good story you have to have emotional, nail biting, gut wrenching, on the edge of your seat, down to the wire, zero seconds to spare… CONFLICT. If nothing is at stake for your character, you get this –

Karl Urban yawning

and then this –

chandler sleeping.gif

And that’s not good.

So, if you think about it, since all human beings want only to be happy and avoid suffering, then the goal of the writer is to make sure your character doesn’t get the first one, and can’t avoid the second one.

Bummer.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I’m editing my second book of The Fixer series, The Killing Kind. And I started to notice that for all the problems I set up for my girl Katerina, they never really got in the way, they sort of went like this –

red sea.gif

And then I noticed her life was practically like this –

 

singing in the rain gif.gif

Not good. Not good at all.

But, I like Katerina. She’s a hard working, decent human being. She’s a good person caught up in bad situations. She should get what she wants. She should be happy.

Oh crap.

So I saw my problem. And I set to work fixing it. Katerina’s got a long, hard road ahead of her. But I’m hoping there’s going to be some happiness in the future for her. Seriously, seriously. We’ll see.

And now… for the shameless marketing portion of this blog:

The first book in the series, The Fixer: The Naked Man, is on sale now for 0.99 cents on Kindle , Nook , and Kobo

Catch up on what’s happened so far because this summer, Kat will be back….

Final Teaser _2 Killing Kind.jpg

Until next time….

J.

 

 

December 10, 2015

Shameless Marketing

Filed under: Books,Funny,The Writing Life — jillamyrosenblatt @ 10:17 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Marketing. *sigh* This is a bold statement, but can I just go out on a limb and say marketing is the bane of the writer’s existence. It’s the “fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench” as John McClane would say.

Let me tell you what happens…

I finish my book, The Fixer: The Naked Man, and I tell a friend, “Hey, I published my book, The Fixer: The Naked Man” and my friend is like

elaine pushing jerry gif

And my friend is really happy for me! Good, right?

So my friend goes out and buys my book, The Fixer: The Naked Man (yay!!)

And this is great, right?

There’s only one problem. There’s over 7 billion people in the world, 742 million people in Europe, and almost 319 million people in the US (thank you Google Search). I kinda, sorta hoped my book would be read by a few more people than my friend.

I’m really excited about my book (no, I’m not mentioning the title again. That’s obnoxious). Seriously, seriously. I’ve been living with these characters in my head and I’m very attached to them. Actually, I love them all, even the bad ones (you have to love them the most). So how do I let people know about these characters that I love because I hope they’ll love them too? Marketing.

I write. Writers write. We don’t market. I don’t market. I don’t know how to market. Who markets? *sigh* I’m sensing a “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” thing happening here.

When I’m writing my story, and I’m in the process, I’m like this

wb frog dancing

Ask me to start talking up my book and now I’m like this

still frog.gif

Bummer.

In my defense it’s not that I haven’t been reading about marketing. I’m trying. I really am. First, I read that you don’t sell a product. You sell yourself. Great. I’m a quiet introvert with a lower belly pooch who spends every spare minute locked in my room staring at a computer screen while my eyesight fades and my hemorrhoids bloom.

Let the marketing magic begin!!

However, lack of ability is no excuse for not trying…

When I started in screenwriting I learned you should be able to pitch your story in a sentence. Okay, here goes:

The Fixer: The Naked Man

A desperate young woman takes a dangerous job fixing problems of wealthy, powerful men.

How was that? No? Okay, try this:

Young, sexy woman takes a dangerous job fixing the problems of wealthy, powerful men who want to get into her panties.

Better?

I also learned you can use other titles in your pitch to explain your story. Okay, here goes:

The Fixer: The Naked Man. Think Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets James Bond- ish.

Anything? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I think the Internet is amazing, opening up the possibility to reach readers everywhere. Even so, trying to spread the word about a book feels a little like this

man calling out yodel

Sorry, I couldn’t find a gif of a man calling out.

The point is, I’m trying. Really. I even joined Instagram. No, there will be no bikini selfies.

You’re welcome.

So, now I’m considering the alternative: Shameless Marketing. A marketing that says nothing is off limits. I believe in this book and I’ll stoop to any means necessary to convince people they should read it.

Are you ready?

puss n boots gif.gif

Please buy my book so I don’t end up a crazy cat lady, alone and destitute…

Anything?

No?

Damn.

I did learn that book branding is very important. Do I know what that means? Yes, yes I believe I do. I believe it means that it’s necessary to be consistent with the book series’ covers and color scheme. So, I made a decision that all of the book covers for this series will stay with the black/red color scheme, so The Fixer series will be easy to recognize (I’m probably going to keep the silhouette design too).

So, here’s the cover:

The Fixer The Naked Man for coupon referral

And I want 10 points for remembering to put the cover in the blog post.

Thank you.

I shouldn’t admit this but I was going to end this post when I realized I hadn’t put in the links to purchase the book (paperback and ebook). That’s a -5 points. Here they are:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Okay, I’m going to get back to working on Book 2 of The Fixer series. It’s called The Killing Kind and it’s a full length novel.

Oh, wait. Sharing. I forgot to ask about the sharing. Right. If you like this post, can you please share and retweet. I would appreciate it.

And if you have any marketing suggestions you’d like to share with me… thank you.

Seriously, I hope you’ll give the series a try. I think you’ll like it. I hope you’ll like it.  And it’s received some really good reviews from people who are not my relatives.

Okay, that does it. We covered a lot. Do you think I’m getting the hang of this marketing business?

Yeah, me neither.

Take care,

J.

June 19, 2010

A New York State of Mind

Yesterday, I hosted a co-worker for his first visit to the Big Apple. I was happy to play the tour guide; I love New York City. Although I live a mere hour and a half away by train, I don’t visit nearly enough.

When I decided to use New York City as the backdrop for my book “For Better or Worse, I commented to my mother that I wished I could express what I love about New York so much. I never seem to be able to put it into words.

“You’re a writer,” she said.

Good point.

I’ve loved New York City since I daydreamed at 16 about moving there and working as a translator for the United Nations. If I recall correctly, there was a penthouse apartment in that daydream as well. Why not? That’s what New York is for, isn’t it? Dreaming.  

“The City” is the name given to New York by Long Islanders, implying a far away foreign metropolis, as if going into “the city” meant leaving the Shire for a trek to Mordor.  That’s why many of our parents left “the city” all those years ago; they were looking for wide open spaces, peace, and quiet.

You went to “the city” for the day, saw what you wanted to see, only to come home wanting to shower right away to erase the grit and grime. “Don’t sit on the furniture in those clothes,” my mother would always say, “you’ve been wandering around the city all day. Get changed and put those clothes in the hamper to be washed.”

I always loved Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That,” her beautiful essay on what she loved about New York and yet she left and what made her go.  Some come only for a vacation and take away  photographs and key chains for memories, like a visit to the circus to see something alien and fantastical. Others come and could never leave, feeling a break in the connection would injure their soul. Then there may be some like me. I have brief visits, a few hours of leaving my “real life” and visiting a dream, the dream of a life I wished I’d had, a dream that was only an hour and a half away by train. I always wanted to live in New York City but it never quite happened. I talked of it fondly as something I might do, but never quite got to, like a shopping list with items I continually forgot to pick up. Maybe that’s what is incomplete in my mind. I wish I had a living experience of New York that was my own, memories to write about. In the end, I think Joan Didion is correct. In its own way, New York is “a city only for the very young.”

So yesterday I saw the city as a tourist would. I took my acquaintance to The Empire State Building, then off for a ride on the Tour Bus. I saw the familiar sights, sights I’ve seen countless times: Herald Square, the Flatiron Building, the Bull down on Wall Street. We passed a little place downtown, Seňor Swanky’s.  I fondly remembered an afternoon years ago sitting with a friend at a table outside the restaurant. We drank too much Malibu and Pineapple, ate tortilla chips, and talked of all we would accomplish; writing for me, filmmaking for him. That’s what New York is for, isn’t it? Endless possibilities. I fell out of touch with my friend. I hope he achieved what he wanted even as I am still finding my way. Perhaps one day if I have a book signing in New York City I’ll feel as if I’ve arrived.

We visited St. Paul’s Chapel. For the first time I saw the memorials and keepsakes for September 11th and the days that followed. There were many people but there was not a sound in the chapel. Maybe sometimes there isn’t a way to express how you feel; you can’t put it into words.  Maybe everything you want to say is contained in the silence.

Later in the day, my co-worker did his shopping and I confess I caught a little tourist fever myself. The key rings and cups, New York logo t-shirts, even flip-flops . I had to control myself. I nearly bought a cup that had a climbing King Kong figurine attached. You can see why, can’t you? It’s so New York.

In my mind, when I wrote “For Better or Worse” New York City was one of the characters, not just a backdrop. New York is never just a backdrop. Without New York there wouldn’t be a story. Without the city they are living in, my characters wouldn’t exist.

As a writer, I tried to see New York through the eyes of my character.  I imagined it as a scene in a movie,  Elton John’s classic “Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters” playing in the background. Ian, new to the city, walking the empty streets of New York late at night, making his way down 7th Avenue, then standing on an empty platform in the subway station waiting for the train.

Maybe that’s not the New York experience at all. Maybe it’s what my co-worker said as we stood on the 86th floor Observatory of The Empire State Building. “We are so small,” he said. Yes, we are. Whether looking down from the 86th floor or standing in Times Square staring up at the towering billboards and blaring lights, we are tiny against “the city.” But we want to be part of it, all the same.

Yesterday, I got off the train around 6 p.m. and drove home. Sitting in my chair on my porch, I listened to the silence, watching  a baby rabbit root around in my garden. It felt good to be home. Today I’m up early, ready for my normal routine. But I think about when I’ll go back again, knowing when I get off at Penn Station and I approach the top of the stairs, I’ll hear the groundswell of noise, the blare of the taxis, the hum of “the city.” I hope it’s soon. I don’t like to stay away too long.

J.

April 21, 2010

It All Begins With a Question…

Secret Author Confession: one of the biggest fears I have as a writer is that I will run out of stories to write. That I will come to the end of a project and take a tiptoe through the tulips of my mind searching for my next story and find nothing but scorched earth and a stray weed. It’s so quiet you can hear the crickets chirping. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this nail-biting little problem… am I?

When I was finishing For Better or Worse I was already pondering what to do next. One idea will give me a straw to hang on to (and the eye twitch usually abates).  Two ideas and I can feel my blood pressure lower. Three ideas and I can put away the supersized Excedrin PM bottle. I’m going to be okay. 

To say I had three ideas is a bit misleading. Actually, I had questions. This may sound self-serving but when I write a book, I’m usually trying to figure something out that’s been bugging me. Writing the book may not give me any answers but I get the chance to explore the issue; and it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.

In Project Jennifer, I truly wondered if having a different name would have meant a different life, a different personality, a different destiny. Here’s a piece of trivia: I was originally supposed to be named Jennifer. My father said no to Jennifer and I wound up as Jill. I can only imagine the possibilities. “I could’ve been a contender”…

In For Better or Worse, I questioned the nature of power, emotional and psychological, in relationships. In short, the battle for the upper hand. So I wrote about three couples; one couple who fights over power, one couple where the husband has all the power (and misuses it spectacularly) and one couple that chooses not to fight over power. Who had the best relationship? Good question. I have my choice but readers may not agree.

For my next project I finally settled on Deciphering Bella. And what question captured my attention? In actuality, it’s a question born of a statement. A statement I had been hearing quite frequently. Lately, I keep hearing of couples having difficulties, I should say, one partner in the marriage is having difficulties, accident, illness, problems through no fault of their own and out of their control. The comment I keep hearing in regard to the other partner is “He (She) didn’t sign up for this.” My question: What does that mean? How much does a marriage partner sign up for? When is the point where it becomes too much? (That’s more than one question, I know).

Deciphering Bella is the story of Isabella Hitchens, a young woman recently married and settled happily, by all appearances, with her husband Mark. Shortly after the marriage, Bella begins to exhibit disturbing signs of emotional and mental instability, instability that is a result from a painful past she has concealed from her husband. Deciphering Bella is as much about Bella as it is about the marriage of Bella and Mark. Although I always have an outline in mind when I begin, a story changes, almost organically; it grows into something more than when I first began. As I write Deciphering Bella, I am interested to see how Mark handles Bella’s problems and what his response will be to the notion of “I didn’t sign up for this.” 

 As a writer, you always hope that readers will be as attached to your characters as you are. I am still getting to know Bella and Mark but I am already attached to them. I hope you will be too as you get to know them.

J.

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