Yep, I’m still around, and I apologize for the absence of late. I should finally be caught up with things (and cross your fingers, actually have a new job by the end of this week), and will/should begin to post again next week, just in time for the release of The Vengeful Dead. Really hate the fact I have not had the time to be here this month leading up to release date, but life throws curves on occasion and one must deal. So, hopefully more supernatural/writing posts soon, and perhaps a giveaway of some kind. Don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway over on goodreads. I’m going to give away five copies of The Vengeful Dead AND Deadworld if you have not read the first book in the series. Happy reading/writing everyone!
Busy this month looking for full time work and finishing off school term, which sadly means a light blogging month for me, which is exactly what I don’t want leading up to release day for The Vengeful Dead. In the meantime, I’m giving away 5 copies each of Deadworld and The Vengeful Dead over at Goodreads. You know, like a prize pack 🙂 I also hope I have time to get to the “extra chapters” I said I would write (and I plan too soon as I have time) that detail Nick’s initial run-in with Drake. Happy reading/writing everyone!
Well, almost. Editing this weekend, and then it’s turned in Monday. Very happy to be done with The Lingering Dead. Deadline hell was…hell. So, next week, back to blogging again, and I think we’ll have a giveaway for The Vengeful Dead. About time to have one I think. Happy reading/writing everyone!
If you happen to catch this today, my publisher, Kensington is giving away early copies of my next Deadworld book, The Vengeful Dead. If you use twitter retweet: We have early copies of THE VENGEFUL DEAD from J.N. Duncan available! RT for your chance at one bit.ly/nIPQ3Z
I orginally thought I would offer some writerly suggestions about the use of cliffhangers throughout a story, as they’re a significant element in the development of suspense, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s not so much the ability leave the reader dangling as it is to leave a crumb of information about what will be coming next. Cliffhangers rely on building up tension and then cutting the reader off at the point of resolution. To be honest, it’s kind of a cheap gimmick to keep readers turning the pages. If done well they can be effective, but they can easily be overdone. Besides, not every chapter can leave off with the main character dangling over a cliff, so to speak.
Chapters, at least for me, are self-contained blocks of the story. As such, they have a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a story within the story. So, in that sense, a cliffhanger is much like a story without a resolution. In a series, this is somewhat expected, and can be used to your advantage, since it’s not expected that every story thread will be neatly tied off by the end of each book. For instance, in Deadworld, Jackie and Nick’s relationship remains unresolved. It’s a long arc and can’t be resolved within the telling of eash story. In fact there are several elements within Deadworld that begin but come nowhere near ending by the end of the book. They are part of a bigger story being told over the course of several books. For example, Jackie and Laurel see something in The Vengeful Dead that disturbs them, but beyond that, nothing much happens with it. It’s more of an introduction to an element that will continuet o grow in book three, and hopefully beyond.
And back to cliffhangers. As they are typically thought of, I don’t believe it’s what we mean when talking about leading readers to want to turn the page at the end of every chapter. A chapter should complete an entire thought with regard to the story. If the resolution of the chapter was to learn a piece of information, the the character had better be learning that info by the end of the chapter. This is the ‘oh yeah’ moment I was referring to in the title of this post. It’s the point at the end of the chapter where the reader sees the reason for having read the previous 3-20 pages. At which point, comes the ‘but…’ There’s always a ‘but.’ And yes, it’s as basic as it sounds. The ‘but’ is your sound byte for what’s about to come. Whether it’s a sentence, a paragraph, or a page, it’s when the reader says, “Oh yeah, but look what’s coming up!” Storytelling is a dynamic craft. You can’t pidgeon-hole notions of writing to be a catch-all for everything. You don’t have to lay down an enticement for what’s coming with every chapter. It’s not always necessary. You do however want the reader to desire to keep reading. Hints are a good way to do this. There are other ways too, but dropping the crumbs is a reliable method for readers to see what the next meal is.
Happy reading/writing everyone.
Before you get your hopes up that this post is going to provide some expertly advice on promo, I’ll say write off here that this is for humor’s sake. Would that I could do great promo. It’s likely one of the hardest aspects of being an author. Most don’t like it. We aren’t the sorts who like to go about publicly displaying our writing prowess to others. We’re a humble folk. Well, most of us anyway. I’d just like to have people buy my books, tell others about it, and allow me to keep writing. If only it were so simple. These days, because publishers cannot afford to provide adequate promo and marketing to all of their authors, we get to do a lot of it on our own. We do signings, we blog, we have giveaways, do guestposts, and try like hell on very limited amounts of money to get some notice. If however, I had money, you’d likely see my book covers plastered on high profile billboards around the country, taking up full page ads in magazines and papers. It would be splashed all over the internet.
So, in the name of all things humor, I hired (with my scads of monopoly money) two ad agencies to place my book in a place to get me some notice, and here’s what they came up with. Needless to say, I’d go with number one. Happy reading/writing everyone!
Very excited to see an early review for The Vengeful Dead, the sequel to Deadworld. http://tympestbooks.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/the-vengeful-dead/ Looking forward to hear what other readers will think. Have a great weekend everyone. Happy reading/writing.