How Specific Is Your Story?
We don’t think in the abstract. If we can’t visualize it, we can’t feel it. Readers love to experience vicariously, and that is achieved with specifics. Every particular MUST pertain to the story. It not only has to tell us something we don’t know, but something we need to know right now.
A universal theme or emotion is only accessible through a very specific story that focuses on how it specifically affects one person.
Some specifics that you can and should include are:
The reader already knows what THE world looks like. What they are dying for is a glimpse of YOUR world. How do they get that glimpse?
What is your next step?
Is this overwhelming? Does the idea of being specific, but not TOO specific make your head explode? Do you want to be the author of the next best seller, but fear you won't meet your goals and expectations?
I'm hear to help.
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Using Bad Reviews As A Tool
Just remember, not everybody's going to like your stuff. - F.P. Spirit
The only author who has never received a bad review is an author who has never published a book. All published authors - new or famous, good or bad - have bad reviews. There is always haters out there.
I am one of those very few and fortunate people who are not bothered by bad reviews or mean comments. My mother taught me how to see it as feedback, and if there was nothing that I could apply from it, to mute it in my mind and ignore it.
One of my first 3 star reviews on The Dragon's Son talked about how my book was "too much like Lord of the Rings".
Okay. Good! That's a compliment to me. Thank you.
A 1 star review stated "the author clearly didn't know what the difference between steel and steal was".
Okay. I did a word search to see if there was an editing error. There was NOT an error anywhere. So, move along. Clearly the reviewer didn't know what the difference between steel and steal was either...
Another 3 star said that, while they liked the book, they didn't understand the point of the "random family" in the middle of the story.
Okay. After a quick read from a fresh perspective, I understand that I did next to nothing to show the reader why this "random family" was important to the story. They just existed as a bit of fun and games. So, I needed to rewrite a few chapters (cough-theEntireBook-cough) to make sure that it was clear why this family was important to the main character's story.
Granted, reviews can make a big impact on your overall rating on Amazon. You don't want to ignore the impact. That's why you should always assess what the reviews say, and fix what you can.
If your book is just truly horrible, admit it! Get some help to make it better (like, from a writing coach or ghost writer). Build a "street team" of people who you give PDF copies to in exchange for honest reviews. Reassess your story with each review/comment/ note from your street team to make it the best book possible. Then, once you are ready to republish it, ask them to leave their final reviews on Amazon to give your book a big, positive push in the rankings!
If you generally get good reviews, but have one or two haters who make your average fall to 4 stars or lower, then reach out to friends and family for support. Put the book on sale for them, encourage them to buy it while on sale, and ask them to leave some helpful reviews. That will push the ratings up just a bit to counteract the haters.
Also, you can reach out to "Bookish" accounts on Instagram that read books like yours. Offer a couple of them a free or discounted book in exchange for a helpful review.
Just as every book will have haters, so every book will also have lovers. You just have to find them, reach out to them, and ask them to support your baby. ♥
Recommended books with bad reviews
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As a writer, what is your next step?
Is this overwhelming? Does the idea of writing a pager turner sound impossible? Do you want to be the author of the next best seller, but fear you won't meet your goals and expectations?
I'm hear to help.
You can subscribe HERE and receive access to several free PDF books that will walk you through the steps of writing a compelling story with dynamic characters, PLUS be the first to get access to special coaching programs!
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I read my first Gothic Horror novel: “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
I personally am not into vampires. I don’t like them; they have gone from creepy and disgusting to just plain annoying in today’s world! So, when my mother suggested I read the old classic “Dracula” I was naturally leery. However, Dracula is now on my “Favorites” shelf and I think that it throws any other vampire stories I have read so far “into the mud”. I also think it was one of the most Christian books I have ever read, next to anything written by Frank Peretti. It surprised me that Bram Stoker actually depicted the vampires as demons, with no heart or mercy or pure thought, inhabiting a human’s body. Try to find that in today’s vampire stories!
However, before I would recommend Dracula for reading I would give a warning: it is a horror genre novel. It has some very gruesome, morbid parts and it does suggest some very mild sensuality in some parts that would be somewhat disturbing to a few readers that I know. But, if you can handle watching the news on TV or if you have read any of Frank Peretti’s books, I can guarantee you will be able to handle Dracula.
So now that I have that said and done, shall we move on?
It took about three chapters of for the story to really get rolling, but I must give the author some leeway because “Dracula” was written in the late 1800’s and does not follow the guidelines of today’s modern fiction: begin with a KAPOW that grips your readers on the very first page! Dracula actually eases mysteriously into the story, which was a nice change from today’s fiction.
Once I got past the first couple of pages, the story became very intriguing. I was amazed at how well the author tinged the story with deep mystery, really arousing my curiosity in the plot. This kept me turning the pages through the first part of the book.
The book is written completely in first person, being a collection of diaries and memoirs from each character involved in the story. I was certain that the first person narrative was going to drive me crazy, as it did in Mobey Dick, but it flowed smoothly in this book and made the characters VERY realistic. Again I was amazed at the author’s skill as he was able to craft each of the characters with such different personalities! I generally pride myself in staying detached from fictional characters in a story, but Bram Stoker’s skill in the first person narrative made it impossible for me to remain indifferent to these characters. In other words, I became attached to the characters of the story very quickly.
One of my favorite characters was Abraham Van Helsing. Caring, gentle, intelligent, crafty, and humorous, Van Helsing has a right to be one of the main heroes in “Dracula”. He is a brilliant Dutch doctor who is in England, trying to help his friends smoke out and destroy Count Dracula. Because he is a Dutchman in England this causes some humor throughout the book as his English is sometimes a little shaky and he gets things a little mixed up.
Midway through the story it became practically impossible to set the book down! The plot grew intense as the characters started making discoveries and finding out their foe, and the story started to roll very quickly as Count Dracula tried to destroy them and they quickly learned how to fight the demon back.
The ending seemed a bit rushed to me, but it ended better than I thought it would. I expected everyone to die and the bad guy to live on, as in many horror novels, but it was not the case and all the mystery and puzzles presented throughout the book were wrapped up very well in the end.
All in all, it was a very good book that I would recommend to most people, and I like it much, much better than any other vampire literature I have come across. Thumbs up for Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
“I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well.”
- Mina Harker - Dracula
Dragons In Our Midst by Bryan Davis
"...a contemporary fantasy story that inspires young people to dig deep within to find their God-given strengths and use them to overcome any obstacle. It’s a perfect blend of fantasy and science fiction with a Christian message."
There are four books in the series: Raising Dragons, The Candlestone, Circles of Seven, and Tears of a Dragon. In paperback, kindle, or audiobook, they are excellent books. Just pick one and get involved! Believe me, once you get started, you won't want to set this series down.
The beasts of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls. - Isaiah 43:20
Self-published author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion, she returns to this world just to play with her dog, blog about her fun, and coach people through writing self-doubt.
The First Book
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