Excerpts: Many Genres One Craft


Reposted from the MGOC site:

photo by Jason Jack Miller

EXCERPT from "Tomorrow's Kiss: The Duality of SF Romance" by Heidi Ruby Miller in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:

Romance and Science Fiction. Because the classification for either of these genres is open at best, deciding how to define the two when blended strains the mind. For this article we'll settle for an anemic definition: SF Romance presents a plot which relies on an alternative reality, usually brought forth through technology, as well an emotional journey of a couple or multiple couples.

With such an exciting and intriguing concept, why do Romance and Science Fiction readers have such a difficult time embracing SF Romance? The answer may come down to nebulous percentages. What portion of the plot, character interaction, and ending is SF and what portion is Romance? If a writer sways too much in one direction or the other, she fears losing part of her audience.

EXCERPT from "The Shifting Grail: A Quest for a Good Read" by Heidi Ruby Miller in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:

A good, believable grail should be evident to your readers immediately because character motivations provide the foundation for a gripping plot. (How much less exciting would Jurassic Park have been if there was no need to flee the island?) And, when other goals stumble in the character's way and need immediate action (the power outage to the dinosaur paddocks), look out, the grail shifts. The possibilities for reader engagement have just expanded ten-fold (like Dr. Grant riding the rapids to escape the T-Rex).

EXCERPT from "Be an Archetype, Not a Stereotype" by Heidi Ruby Miller in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:

Be a Hero/Heroine.
Don't be infallible or pretend you're the perfect man/woman…everyone struggles at something. Perfection is boring.

Be a Villain.
Don't be evil-for-the-sake-of-evil. Even a bad guy/gal gets behavioral motivation from somewhere. Access your daddy issues.

Be a Sidekick.
Don't show up the hero/heroine. I know it's hard, but you're only there to make them look good. Sorry.

EXCERPT from "I'll Scratch Your Back and You Promote My Book" by Heidi Ruby Miller in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:

Giving and receiving in equal measure.

I end my daily yoga sessions with this meditation, then try to put it to practice in all aspects of my life. And, as a former marketing director, I found out how important that philosophy is for promotional interactions as well.

There's a reason sayings like "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" and "you have to give a little to get a little" are so common -- it's because they're true. Think of situations in your own life. Aren't you more likely to help someone who either has helped you in the past or who will be there for you in the future? That balance makes us feel good. We don't like to be taken advantage of, but on the flip side, we gain satisfaction from returning a favor. Promoting your writing can bring about these same feelings while avoiding the guilt of egotism.

EXCERPT from "Touring Virtually" by Heidi Ruby Miller in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:

Real world book tours often cover large distances, making them expensive and time consuming, so most authors also choose to tour online by asking sites to feature them and their books according to a planned schedule. Here's how to set up your own Virtual Book Tour (VBT):

1.Decide how long and when you want to tour. Do this at least three months before the book's release date. If you have limited time, I recommend scheduling your first stop at least one week prior to your book's release, then continue through the first two weeks of its availability. If you can start earlier, however, you can generate more word of mouth and entice pre-orders. Why not make it a month-long celebration?

Heidi Ruby Miller pursued several career paths, just not at the same time, including contract archaeology, foreign currency exchange at Walt Disney World, secondary foreign language teacher, and Educational Marketing Director for a Frank Lloyd Wright House. Now she is adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their Writing Popular Fiction graduate program the same month she appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Her fiction is in various print and online publications. Among them are: Ambasadora, "The Islands of Hope" in Sails and Sorcery: Tales of Nautical Fantasy (Fantasist Enterprises Ed. by W.H. Horner), "The Surrender" in Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 (Ed. by Jordan Lapp, Camille Gooderham Campbell, and Steven Smethurst), "Mr. Johnson's Boy" and "Sounds in the Jungle" in Eye Contact. She is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, Broad Universe, and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Read her author interview series at http://heidirubymiller.com.


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