The Writer's TavernJun 24, 2021
Edgar Allan Poe and Lewis Carroll team up to solve a murder?
What if Edgar Allan Poe and Lewis Carroll teamed up to solve a murder? Intriguing, isn't it? That's what Melanie's new alternate history novel is about, titled A Most Malicious Murder. Be on the lookout for it sometime near toward the end of June 2021. Meanwhile Jerry has a new book that just hit the shelves: Typewriter Repairman, a fun character-driven fantasy set in 1982 about a magic typewriter that you can use to rewrite history -- with disastrous consequences.
Bribe your Gods
Bribe your gods, or your muse, or whatever it is that brings you that holy stream of creativity, because really, they need something in return. Money doesn't grow on trees, right? Why should inspiration? You have to feed and nurture it.
Scrivener 3.0 for Windows ... finally!
Scrivener 3.0 for Windows is finally out of beta and Jerry has been using it on his gaming laptop, but even though he's having no trouble with the software, he's struggling with his current work in progress. Melanie is struggling with hers, too, for somewhat similar reasons.
How about you? How's your current WIP doing? Let's all share and help each other out.
Fiction Writers are Voyeurs
Part of being a fiction writer is to be a creator of characters. Part of creating a character is to study people.
Beware of Toxic Writer Trolls
Around the 18 minute mark in this episode Melanie brings up an important point: be aware that there are people out there who get off on making other writers, especially new writer, feel horrible about their own writing, and despite what they may tell you, they're not doing it to help you as much as they do it to tear you down to make themselves feel better. This is different than someone giving you honest feedback that you've asked for. In this episode we hope to help you know the difference and not let them mess with your mind.
Knitting A Plot Together and Books To Help Write Books
In this episode Melanie discusses the problems with writing under stressful situations (she lives in Texas, which is still a mess due to the recent Winterpocalypse), and they both share some of their favorite books that help writers write about specific subjects (things like creating a mythical society, scientific accuracy in astronomy, and how to get regency romances right).
Inspiration for Characters (and other things)
A very cold edition of The Writer's Tavern! Melanie is prepping for some frigid Texas weather, and meanwhile Jerry is staring at 0° on his thermometer and telling tales of sliding around out of control on neighborhood streets. Meanwhile we still write stories, because that's what we do. Writers always write.
So ... about book covers...
Deconstructing your favorite TV shows for plot and character development; the importance of book covers (hint: they may be as important as your story and prose, if you're concerned about actually selling copies); and cats vs. inflatable beds. Because, you know ... cats. Of course, cats. We are writers, after all.
Writers With Socks!
Dragons? Check! Selkies? Check! Rogue coffee robots? Check! Socks? Double check! Okay, we're good to go. Press play now.
A Plot No One Would Have Believed
In this episode, Jerry knocks out a writer's block using a bottle of absinthe and Melanie puts her sales in overdrive using one simple trick.
Melanie Shares a Life Lesson about Preorders During Christmas
Unless you are a glutton for punishment, Melanie urges you to not do what she did. Plus, Jerry learns some interesting tidbits about scheduling and maybe getting a personal assistant.
Ten-Thousand Words A Day
Errant muses dropping better ideas on your head when your work is already in progress and you have a deadline? We hear you. We feel your pain.
Writer's Block and Polyamorous Relationships
Jerry doesn't know if it's actually "writer's block" or if it's just a case of seasonal writer's avoidance, but he's not getting much done. Mel is, though, and she's writing some very sexy stuff with lots of lovers, and she and Jerry kind of take a deep dive in the whole idea of multiple partners and whether or not it's more natural than having a so-called "atomic family."
Virtual Reality and Fiction Research
Melanie is ready for Christmas and she's on the nice list. Maybe. Jerry is also ready for Christmas and is on the naughty list.
Writing and Plotting and Booktubing with Izzy's Ink!
Melanie and Jerry are delighted to have the up and coming booktuber Izzy from @Izzys_ink_ as their guest here in The Writer's Tavern. Subjects include the challenge of writing a story in a setting where you can't visit for first hand research (thanks to the pandemic); inspirations and origins of becoming a writer; and of course, the ins and outs of being a booktuber on YouTube. Also Melanie is participating in Romancing the Runoff and you can snag some sweet merch from her -- as well as amazing offering from others such as time with an agent, and even a show runnier!
Writers always write. Right? Right!
Deep into NanoWriMo, Mel and Jerry discuss the unexpected treasures that pop up when you force yourself to write through a transition instead of jumping from one scene to another. Also they talk about some talented booktubers, two of which are @izzys_ink_ and @ladyhalftone ... and then Mel and Jerry discuss whether or not they could do something like that.
If the Universe is a Simulation, Please Unplug Me
We skipped a week because of a pandemic emergency, but we're back now, and apparently living in a science fiction world.
The Sweet Spot for Pricing Books?
Price your digital copies too low, and you might make sales, but they may never get read. Price them too high and you pass the pain point and encourage pirating. Where's the happy medium where you actually make enough money for it to be worth your time and effort? Or, do you even care? We want to know...
Yes, You Are Worthy
The ins and outs of producing a newsletter for your readership, and why you should do it, and what to avoid. Also Mel explains to Jerry the difference between having readers subscribed to your newsletter, and readers who are subscribed to your blog. (Even if your blog subscribers get the blog posts in their email, there's still a reason to also do a newsletter.)
Book Marketing: Websites, Covers, and Ads ... and Cats
Should you make an author's website? And what should you put on it? And how can you keep it "fresh" in the robotic eyes of the Google bots? We also have some very valuable tips for indie authors about book covers, and also some great inside info on running ads. Readers, you may be interested in this inside info as well ... and also, we talk about cats. Cats are always relevant. Meow!
You've Been Smut-Boxed
What happens to your book on Amazon if they arbitrarily decide to categorize it as "erotica?" Also, Melanie tells the tale of why she made the jump from traditional publishing to indie publishing (Melanie to Jerry: do NOT refer to it as "that Amazon thing!") and Jerry asks the question, "How much does an author's photo influence book sales?" Remember, if you have an answer or comment, you can send us voice messages via WritersTavern.show.
Special Guest William Ledbetter
Its writer's tavern talk with Nebula Award winning author and aerospace engineer William Ledbetter! We chat about what it was like to win the Nebula and how it's changed his writing career, as well as having his novel Level Five published as an Audible Original. We also chat about book conventions during a pandemic, video games and other distraction, and -- among other things -- character creation and bourbon. But, not creating characters with bourbon, just ... bourbon. And absinthe. And Scrivener (we always seem to end up talking about Scrivener). There's also some marketing talk, and Melanie gives some really nifty tricks which she's using right now and that are bringing in book sales. So come on in, get yourself some grog, and pull up a chair for a fun and informative chat with our buddy Bill!
Tools of the Trade: Word Processors, Note Keepers, Databases
Typing, scribbling with a pen/pencil/stylus, or dictating into a microphone?
Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Scrivener, or Google Docs? Microsoft OneNote, Apple Notes, or Evernote? Roam Research, or Walling?
How about Otter AI?
What are your favorite tools of the trade?
Problems with Plotting during a Pandemic
More than ever, just about all fiction writers currently face something that has plagued Science Fiction writers for years: how do you keep a story from being overtaken by actual events? Even considering how quickly you can now go from final draft to publication, writing something set in "Present Day" forces you to predict the future at a time when you don't even know what life is going to be like a week from now.