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Fiction stories novels

Crowd fund your new novel or story this way

One of our occasional writers, Ivy Ngeow, also writes fiction. She has been published and won awards. This might smooth your way to a publishing deal, but the new way involves crowdfunding, or rather, pre-selling enough copies of the book (which is completed). It is set in Chicago, USA, and Macau near Hong Kong, China, and is set in the 80s, with Reagan the untried new president, parallels with Trump there.
Check out her entertaining video here on the Unbound site now >

Heart of Glass novel by Ivy Ngeow

Heart of Glass novel by Ivy Ngeow

The pre-sales have to reach a target, such that the publisher (in this case, Unbound, part of Penguin/Random House) can remove any risk. The book is only published when pre-sales have got to a level where they will at least make some profit even if nobody else buys the book. This is like the opposite of an advance, the writer has to do all the marketing and selling to get the book out at all. It seems to work though, as many interesting and successful books have appeared via Unbound.
Unbound have just had a massive hit with The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays about being an immigrant in the UK. And Robert Llewellyn, an actor from the SF series Red Dwarf, has had many novels out through them.
Ivy will be discussing her crowd funding techniques, using Facebook, blogging, email etc, on this site soon.
I am preparing a pitch video for my next novel now!

Check out Ivy’s new crime novel here on the Unbound site now >

New Top Writing Courses site from Story Software

I have put all our member’s only courses onto a new free site called Top Writing Courses > (opens in new window).

This has full courses with exercises by professional authors and scriptwriters. There are also several ebooks available of the courses and some other topics.

More details to follow.

How to write using Story Software – mini-mini, Ku Klux Klan costumes and Burkas

You might wonder where this blog is going with a title like that. Well, in the modern way, I apologise to everyone before I start, for whatever, whenever, whoever. So there!

I was chatting to a friend about Story Software and he noticed that many so-called ‘for writers’ word processors (those aimed at serious writers) have a blank slate/screen, with few or no buttons, menus etc. This is basically a simple or minified UI (user interface) so people can concentrate on the task in hand and not get distracted.

As a biological example, higher animals have a complex and expressive area for sending/receiving information (the face) and a simple UI for mating. The intense relationship between the two might be about information processing in tiers, complex to simple, but that is getting into Rudy Rucker territory.

In the writing realm, consider the over-crowded and ever-changing UI of all-in-one software like MS Word, and a paper and pen.

So to focus, simplify the interface.

Story Software tip: use the shortcut Ctr-Shift-A to get your current text box or image to expand to full screen. This still has the toolbar at the top but I am adding a ‘minify the minify’ option to remove even that. This will be in v2.3 and called the mini-mini button.

It is actually easier to edit text at 100% so probably better to make your main typing box full screen manually but whatever, there are many ways to get the same result.

A simple user interface seems to be especially appealing to Mac users, so on the Mac everything will also go white, apart from the text, which will go whitey-grey.

NaNoWriMo

Last week saw the start of NaNoWriMo the November novel-writing sprint. I am starting a new graphic novel, this will be blogged about on Story Turbo.

How to write: ideas:

Talking of minimal UIs, in the area of costumes, there is the Ku Klux Klan’s white tent with eye holes, and the black burka with eye slot (I suppose, dominance and submission).

Story starter: two characters, one in KKK garb, other in a burka: ‘eyes meet across a crowded room’. Write a story to get to that point, without offending anyone (unless you really want to).

The above story starter could lead to tolerance, intolerance, racism, anti-racism (set in a Council office), aliens (for SF), student fancy dress party (for coming of age), spanking (if you want some sales), a graphic novel with black and white illustrations, perhaps a bit of grey…

Writing Courses site, on the shapes of stories by Kurt Vonnegut, Houellebecq and Murakami

Just added a new blog to the Writing Courses site, on the shapes of stories by Kurt Vonnegut, with reference to Michel Houellebecq and Haruki Murakami >

So what should I write? A summary

This is a summary article of types of writing. It is written by our Fiction tutor, Karena. If you wonder what is the point of trying to write, read on…

Irina Hakamada - writer politician

Irina Hakamada - getting an award - politician and writer. Image licensed from Dreamstime, do not copy

We are surrounded by writing. Everywhere you look when you go out anywhere there is writing. You hear it on the radio, you hear and see it on television or in movies, and read it in books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, flyers, brochures, and all over the Internet.

Anyone become a writer with proper training and practice and guidance, and with the Internet, anyone can become a published writer. The Internet connects us all and allows us to share, but more than this it provides entertainment, information and news.

Somebody has to create all of that. The Internet is a voracious machine, gobbling up content as fast as people can make it. If you can learn you can write. If you can talk you can write. And no matter what you write, there’s a place for it.

See our general Writing Courses list >

So let’s look at all the different kinds of writing.

The first distinction is between fiction and non-fiction.

Fiction simply means that it is not all true. However, fiction is always based in truth or we wouldn’t bother to read it. Believability is a strong concern for fiction writers.

Non-fiction is, by definition, factual.

Between fiction and non-fiction the types of writing that are done today include everything that you see around you: books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, radio shows, comic books, animations, speeches, newspaper reports and articles, reports for industry the government or the people, children’s stories and kinds of content for the Internet.

Fiction

So what about the forms? Fiction has many forms.

Short stories may include postcard fiction, flash fiction or stories for film or plain old short stories for publication, or reading in a writers’ group.

Longer short stories are just called short stories. If it’s longer than a short story but not long enough to be called a novel, it is a novella.

Novels and novellas can be serialized and short stories can be grouped and presented like a serial with each using the same characters and different stories.

Non-fiction

This ranges from little pamphlets and cookbooks, how to brochures and articles for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, encyclopedias, and the Internet. Full-length non-fiction books can be written on literally thousands of topics.

Textbooks are special, since they usually include a number of exercises and assessments.

Coffee-table books are more illustration than text, but the text still has to be written by a writer. Some coffee-table books are the works of one person doing both the illustration and the writing. Usually they are a mix of photography or art, and writing. Layout is very important so a designer is also vital.

Academic writing is a genre all by itself, and includes research papers, theses, and dissertations.

Essays are written by school children of all ages. And also by newspaper and magazine columnists, some of whom are famous, win awards, and get huge fees. Essays can get syndicated and anthologised.

Drama and scripting can include both fiction and dramatised non-fiction.

Anything on television has to have a script. Even talk shows or discussion groups have to have a working script.

Then there are a number of different kinds of entertainment shows that draw on fiction. These include weekly series on crime, action and adventure, humor, serialized drama (soap operas), reality shows, made for television movies, miniseries’, romance, horror, science fiction and fantasy.

All of these are separated according to the audience at which they are aimed.

Television , broadcast or online, also has a great deal of non-fiction that must be scripted. This includes the daily news, documentary shows, self-help and how-to’s, children’s informational shows, nature and science shows and political messages.

Drama also includes skits for presenting live on stage, one-act plays and full-length plays, usually three acts. Two offshoots of these are the musical and Opera.

For the Internet, content ranges from hundred word articles to many-paged documents and books.

In addition, animations, movies, filmed informational shows, podcasts, blogs, informational booklets and ad copy.

It is tempting to include advertising copy (ad copy) as non-fiction, but that’s not always true. Ad copy is special and it has close connections to poetry, another odd kind of writing, because part of the aim for each is the same, to touch on a very deep level not with the words, but with the audience’s reaction to the words.

There are many other names for most of these things I have mentioned and some odd types of each, such as reports may be white papers, which are designed to sell, scientific research reports, or news reports, or any of dozens of other types.

Reports or White Papers are non-fiction, generally designed to inform or provide facts. These must be factual, but they are designed to get people interested in a company or a product.

So not only is the range of writing high, which requires legions of writers to supply it.

When you add the Internet to this mix the demand is far outreaching the supply.

So if you want to write, all you have to do is figure out what you want to write, why, and then get somebody to help you learn to do it.

If you don’t know what you want to write, try starting with what you read. What do you like to read? Maybe that’s what you should write.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to become the next Norman Mailer or Maya Angelou or any of 1000 other great writers, but we don’t spend most of our time reading them.

Think about what you read every day, and most of it is written by people just like you.

See our new courses on the Writing Course with Story Live free site:

Writing Course for Fiction & Narrative > and

Writing Course for Movie & Film Scriptwriting >

Also the general Writing Courses list >

Karena

New writing course online now with free option

We have just launched a new writing membership site. For users of Story Lite, you can use the new online version STORY LIVE.

Visit Writing Course with Story Live site to improve your writing >

The site has two courses in Fiction & Narrative, Movies & Film Script Writing, genres, many extras, forums, competitions, and coming soon, a social media system. More courses are also being added over the next few months.

The courses have top pro tutors who are all published authors and script writers.

We are also publishing an Anthology of New Writing which is a chance to see your name in print!

Story Live has up to 10 boxes which can be dragged about the screen. There is a secure account to save files to, and they can also be exported as usual to your hard drive. The layout can be retained for further use in Story Lite.

You can use Story Live online anywhere, on tablets like the iPad too, so it is a useful notebook for anything.

If you do a course, you can do your exercises online in Story Live and save online. Then save the file and send it on to your Tutor for feedback, essential for any course.

There is a free Silver level and a Gold level with a low price high value monthly sub.

Why not visit Writing Course with Story Live and improve your writing and have some fun too?

Top 10 uses for Story Lite productivity software creativity

We have just added a page of top 10 uses of Story Lite showing the huge range of things you can do with it. OK, in the realm of productivity and creativity software!

See Story Lite Top 10 uses for creativity productivity software >

Solar system Earth Sun to scale

Solar system Earth Sun to scale

Competition with winners and prizes – Story Lite, fiction, non-fiction, essay, story, writers, writing, bloggers, blogging, free

We are having a sort of test competition to see how it goes. The prizes are Amazon vouchers. Just send in your most interesting and original uses of the Story Lite software and we will decide.

You also get your work in Story Lite publicized on our website, so that is a bit of fame too.

We also have a points system running for entries in Facebook and Twitter etc, if that actually works. This is a trial.

We intend to have monthly competitions for fun prizes, perhaps even stretching to Kindles, Sony Readers etc once we get going.