Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Five R's to make Creation Easy

There are so many wonderful tips out there.  This one is again from Trent's Smart Writer Newsletter.  He really does some great stuff.  Coming up with blogging ideas is what stumps me, but writing novels never has me running out of ideas.   But doing these five R's might help some of you readers out there, so here are some great ideas.

Content Creation Made Easy

Are you struggling with creating consistent, quality content?

If you are not a professional copywriter, coming up with new content regularly can be a difficult task. Many people get writer's block or their brains freeze up while staring at a blank screen. However, to be a successful Internet marketer, you must create fresh and interesting content regularly. Otherwise, your traffic will dry up and hard-earned subscribers will lose interest.

How do you overcome this challenge?

Content creation doesn't have to be hard. Just follow my 5 Rs of content creation and things will start to flow a lot more smoothly.
Even before I open my trusty word processor, I head over to Google's Keyword Tool. I use it to research key words/phrases that people are using to search for answers to their particular problem.

I start with something related to a subject that I'm interested in writing about and get ideas from there.

For example, "content creation." That led me to other popular search terms like blog content creation, content creation help, online content creation etc.

Without first researching your topics, you'll find yourself running out of ideas to write about and/or guessing what your readers would be interested in learning. You'd be surprised how many different suggestions and variations you can get from your initial thought after doing even the smallest bit of research.

Google is not the only source for content ideas. Visit popular forums and read what questions people are posting there, things that are related to your topic. You can also try Yahoo! Answers.

Bottom line - better content comes from better research.
Creating an outline first is how I always start my content creation. It helps me to get my thoughts organized and to rearrange ideas until I feel good about the flow of my content.

Then I expand the bullet points into complete paragraphs. An outline also creates a roadmap as I progress from chapter to chapter until I finish my report or e-Book.
Adding some personal experiences helps to humanize your content. No one likes to read text that sounds like a sermon.

Share stories or provide examples like I have done above to make it more interesting and help your readers connect with their own situation.

Revealing a bit of your personal side or personality is very important, especially if you are writing about a technical topic. A picture is worth a thousand words and can quickly simplify a complex concept that otherwise would take you many words to explain. Studies have shown that people retain information quicker and longer when you engage their visual senses.
If you are going to edit your own content, then read your text aloud. I print my copy and then read it back to myself. This forces me to read every word rather than allowing my mind to autosuggest words that are not there.

Don't just rely on the automatic spelling and grammar checker. For example, no software in the world can flag the error between their and there. Here are some more common mistakes; lose and loose, it's for its and further vs. farther.

I use a professional copyediting service to proof read my final manuscript before I publish it into an e-Book. Believe me, it is well worth the expense.

If you can't afford the cost, have a friend who has never seen your copy read it and allow them to critique your content freely. You don't have to accept all their suggestions but at least you'll have the benefit of another pair of eyes having reviewed your content.
Our brains have two parts - the left side is analytical and the right side is visual and tends to see the whole picture. Use both sides of your brain when writing content - but one side at a time.

Let the right half of your brain start writing as the creative juices flow. Don't interrupt it by stopping to correct errors (other than obvious typos).

Once you have your first draft completed, allow the left side of your brain to take over and start being critical and analytical as you go over your copy.

Rearrange words, paragraphs and maybe entire chapters until you feel comfortable how each paragraph and chapter flows into the next respectively. This is where you need to wear your editor's hat rather than be the creative writer.

Don't be afraid to tear apart your initial outline if you think it will improve the product. Just be careful that perfectionism doesn't stop you from launching your masterpiece altogether.

I realize the above 5 Rs may seem a bit daunting at first, especially to the inexperienced writers out there. But with some practice, all this will become second-nature and you'll be creating content like a professional copywriter in no time at all.
By Achinta "Archie" Mitra.



Friday, June 10, 2011

Guest Post by Benjamin Sobieck

Flawed P.I.s, Gotta Love 'em: A Guest Post by Crime Author Benjamin Sobieck

I've been lucky with my invented PI characters.

First there's Jack "Keeper" Marconi, former prison warden turned private dick who specializes in chasing down escaped convicts, especially the ones who like to murder cops in cold blood, like in THE INNOCENT, or the bad guys who murdered his wife in GODCHILD.

Then there's MOONLIGHT FALLS and the forthcoming MOONLIGHT RISES from StoneGate Ink. Richard "Dick" Moonlight is a former cop and suicide survivor who has a little piece of bullet lodged inside his brain, right smack up against the cerebral cortex causing him at best the occasional blackout or memory loss (especially during times of stress...in other words, all the time), but at worst, the very serious possibility of coma and/or death should the bullet shift. He also always seems to be making the wrong decisions, more often than not, when it comes to women. In a word, he's an easy lay.

What's my point?
When it comes to the PI thriller market, you can't dish up the same old/same old anymore. You've got to give the reading audience a character who will stick out from the crowd and at the same time be believable in all his or her, unbelievableness...if that makes even an ounce of sense.

Up and coming crime fiction star and CLEANSING EDEN author, Benjamin Sobieck, follows the line of the fallible PI pretty closely in the form of Maynard Solomon in a short he did with famous blogger and blog talk radio host Giovanni Gelati for Gelati's ever growing Trestle Press. "Who Whacked the Blogger" is fun, violent, warped, and just plain funny. It's also crafted by two dudes who love their work and make it show. Check out the story anywhere where E-Books are sold.

Mr. Ben...It's time to give us the low-down on Maynard...

11 reasons to enjoy Maynard Soloman

Now before you roll your eyes and say, "Another serialized PI? Puh-leez," I want to tell you why Maynard Soloman is different. I, too, had read a million incarnations of Sam Spade. Maynard Soloman might've worn a fedora, but that's where the similarities end.
Here are 11 reasons Maynard Soloman is worth a look.
1) He was forced into retirement from his career as an investigator for the Obscenities Division of a local police force. He got stiffed on some medical bills, so he has to keep working. Which is why he...
2) Bought a Winnebago. Not only can he see the country (a staple of any retiree's dreams), he uses it as a...
3) Mobile office. He bought a police scanner and spray painted the words "Maynard Soloman Investigation Services" on the side. He's not too worried about the 'bago looking junky because...
4) The Winnebago takes a beating in every story. In "Who Whacked the Blogger?" he had to outrun a competitor when chasing an ambulance containing a potential client. In "Maynard Soloman Solves the War on Drugs," some punks break windows and spray paint graffiti on the side panels. That had Maynard...
5) Cursing in his own special way. A typical Maynard line would be, "Some punk-ass fruit bats spray painted the 'bago with a gal-damn penis." He's got a potty mouth rooted in a mix of early 20th Century cuss words and his own inventions. "Fruit bat" is someone who is both fruity and bat-shit insane. He also invented...
6) The 'nard Bag. As he can't afford an extra large sleeping bag, he invented the 'nard Bag. Simply pick out a pair of the largest sweatpants you can find. Cut the legs and sew them together so there is only one leg. Says Maynard, "It's pure mollycoddling." He enjoys stretching out, especially when...
7) He has health problems. It's an overarching theme across the stories. It's not clear yet what they are, but Maynard knows he can't outrun time. Speaking of time...
8) Maynard is clueless about technology. It's always baffled him. In "Who Whacked the Blogger?" his client runs a blog. Maynard spends most of the time trying to figure out what that means. He's also behind on...
9) Crime trends. In "Maynard Soloman Solves the War on Drugs," he is solicited by a teen to buy some cold medicine for him. Maynard becomes suspicious when he hears the medicine must contain pseudoephedrine. "Sounds like a fake drug to me. Are you trying to play a prank on me?" Maynard says. Of course, readers know pseudoephedrine is kept behind the counter because it's used to make meth. But the clueless Maynard Soloman thinks he...
10) Knows everything. He's absolutely convinced the world is much stupider than he. It's the big dumb world's fault he can't walk up to a drive-through and place an order. He can see the obvious answers when no one else can. That's why he can be so bold as to proclaim he's solved the War on Drugs in, "Maynard Soloman Solves the War on Drugs." But he's not so bold as to...
11) Use weapons of any kind. He was denied a concealed carry permit, probably related to the messy forced retirement situation. But he says the real reason is, "I cross too many state lines in the 'bago. Don't want one of my old police buddies to throw me in the slammer."
I hope you'll check out Maynard Soloman. I had a ton of fun writing him. More adventures are on their way. In the meantime, check out "Who Whacked the Blogger?" and "Maynard Soloman Solves the War on Drugs."
For more on Benjamin Sobieck: http://www.crimefictionbook.com/


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ghost Inside and Out

I'm gearing up to release Tawny's Ghost, last year's Utah RWA Golden Pen winner.  Along with that I'm looking for other people to share real live ghost stories with me.  I know the inspiration for my book came from living in a haunted house, (an old farm house, not a rundown mansion) where all of us had experiences with the ghosts.  It was unnerving for some of the family, but interesting to me and quite the rush once in awhile.

Ghosts aren't scary, they're just people like you and me, but sometimes the unexpectedness is what gets you.  My ghost had certain ways that he thought his house should be, and by golly don't you new people change that.  Also, I'm sure often times he was lost, or he'd lost something inside the downstairs closet, and his nightly riffling through it made sleeping a bit rough. 

Share your stories with me.  I'm eager to hear them and include some of them in my promos for the book.  Also, I'm selling necklaces like in the book.  The stones (crystals) have powers to help you contact the other side.  If you're interested contact me, some of them are pictured at joyspraycarbooks.com. 

Let's see how many people are out there that have their own hauntings to rave about.