How to Avoid “Dead” #Triberr Tribes and Easily Manage Yours: The Missing Manual

goldfish jumping out of the waterThis post is pretty much the Triberr user manual which desperately needs to be written and I often see asked for! Triberr is the best blog traffic and network booster I have come across (click on link above to learn about it.) Handled well, it is gold! These are the lessons I’ve learnt, which I often see questions on.

The most important one is “think community.” This is about give and take, not all about you!

Joining Tribes

If you are looking to join new tribes, or receive an invitation, always look at the member list. Avoid or leave them if:

1. There are many followers who haven’t been made into members. That is a sign the Chief is on the free Triberr plan and there is no room. You will see and be able to share everyone’s posts, they will never see or be sharing yours. If you have never been admitted to a tribe as a member, you can go into the list of tribe members and remove yourself.

2. The Chief hasn’t logged in for several months: no free-loading, or inactive members will be removed. Again, you will be sharing their posts, they won’t give a fig about yours. Don’t forget, people try Triberr and forget it or don’t like it. Each tribe has old members who have stopped blogging or moved on. They need weeding out. (It’s not a sign of a mean Chief, just a smart one!)

3. Look at how recently a majority of members shared. If there are quite a number of members who haven’t been sharing in around three months or more, that will be a very low value tribe. I have culled 20 tribes from my stream on that alone and it made no difference to the number of shares I received. Anyone who I would miss, was invited to my tribe.

4. If you hate certain kinds of posts, such as SEO, social media how-to, constant product promotion posts, or erotica, check out how much of that sort of content is in the tribal stream. You can mute individual members, but that may be the wrong tribe for you.

5. Tribes with fewer members in them can be more faithful than the giant ones. Don’t let the head count swing your decision. Look for activity.

6. I have always found that the best Chiefs are paying, Prime members. As we pay for the service, we make sure our tribes function! You can tell who they are as they will have tribes with over 20 full members in them.

7. Don’t feel pressured to share everyone’s posts, all the time and don’t expect the same from them. If, like me, you have a topic specific blog, as long as you share as many as you can and support members by following them on Twitter and visiting their blog, you are ok. One concern I see is members worrying about filling their social media streams too much with shares. You can set share frequency to combat that problem. Be generous, but discerning.

super triberrFor best effect, join as many tribes as you can handle and use autoshare for your favourites. Consider paying the $10 a month for Triberr Prime. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Triberr.

Remember this service is not supported by advertising, so pay for use is fair. I appreciate their Paypal option.

Did you know you can also follow individual members? If you know people who you just love to read and share, whether they are in a tribe with you or not, you can still stay in contact with them. Moving tribes won’t affect you.


How to Maintain a Tribe Effectively and Quickly

Chiefs, it takes very little time to maintain your tribe. New followers asking to be members I check out and add or reject as the notices arrive. Other than that, it is very low maintenance. Every few months, I see who is inactive, check and see what’s happening with them (in case their activity stats are wrong, as new Triberr features are added, some areas do become buggy); remove the “dead wood” and invite any new actively sharing members I now have the space for.

Set a specific goal or theme for your tribe. People will try and join without reading it, but if someone joins just to swell their numbers and not add value for everyone, you have good reason to refuse membership.

Sorry, you do have to keep a check on all those damn emails! I have learnt to skim them and just attend to the ones which apply to my three tribes. Also, crack down on members who use the message screens to further promote themselves in a spammy manner. You can delete those posts as Chief.

If your tribe is full, turn the settings to “Protect My Tribe” so you don’t get masses of frustrated followers you just can’t add. Sure, they may share your posts, but they soon lose interest as they realise they are being used.

If you start a new tribe, invite new active sharers. I have found no one wants to be a founding member in an empty tribe. It takes little time.

Lastly, if you want to stop using Triberr, don’t leave a dying, hanging tribe. Ask who wants it and then under the membership setting for that person, promote them to Chief. You can then opt to leave Triberr altogether, or stay in that tribe without worrying about it’s future.


REBLOGS WELCOMED

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Indie Authors: Should You Bow to Search Engine Demands?

IMG_0206My sincere apologies for this post coming out again, but my WordPress feed just stopped working, so promotion through Triberr and my blog just died. Some readers are accepting my RSS, others aren’t and I have no idea why. This post is being sent out again as I am desperately trying to fix the system myself. Feedburner appears to be working… Fingers crossed.

If it breaks again, ALL posts will cease until it is fixed and Support An Author Month will be moved from May to June. Please stick with me, I am working on it… despite the fact that I am supposed to be on holidays…

Hell hath no fury like technology.

Cate

 

There are many bloggers out there who still don’t know what SEO is. That is and isn’t a good thing. SEO is Search Engine Optimisation and for best practice, it is supposed to have a very large say in how you write book titles, web pages and blog posts. (There is an infographic explaining it at the base of this page.) A great idea? Yes, if kept in balance. There is one major worry with getting too carried away with it: you stop writing as yourself and allow yourself to be told what to do by a robot. Think about it…

Digital computations determine how easy it is for us to have our books found on Amazon, our Page posts read on Facebook, our web site or blog found on Google… They are awfully frustrating and if you want to claw your way to the top of the pile, you have to work – hard! You must sprinkle your keywords through your post, use meta tags on web pages, sprinkle matching keywords through your web pages, tweet, status update, Like, Plus 1, retweet, share and comment until your fingers fall off and your brain goes numb.

I did this asiduously throughout 2013 and got to the end of September and simply burnt out! I wasn’t tired of blogging, writing and people. It was those robotic demands that did me in. So I spent far less time on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. After reading a massive, endless stream of SEO and social media how-to posts, I came to the conclusion that as writers, we are possibly far better off writing in the attic, away from the computer and all this “wonderfully good advice.” Any available time I had in my week, was spent assuaging the gods of rank. So I quit! I’ve noticed that since I began to pull back in September, my visit stats and book sales didn’t drop much. They are growing.

1238999_450639671718505_835016741_nSo here is how I am now surviving online. I hope it inspires you and if you have further suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

  1. I will automate as many blog posts and shares as I can, so I can take time to see the sunshine and not be spending hours manually on social media. “I’m sorry Hal, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
  2. I will not read any more SEO and social media how-to posts or books: instead I will be myself and stay tapped into my innate creativity identity.
  3. I will not get trapped in worrying about my statistics. If I get 2 Likes on a post and someone was inspired: I aced it! That is my main goal: encourage, equip, empower. Not rack up fat numbers.
  4. I will write the blog posts which are close to my heart, regardless of what posts pull in the greatest number of readers.
  5. I will market my books with titles that make sense to the content of the book and are not used elsewhere. I will not calculate words on what sells.

In business, if something does not pull in sales, you stop doing it. Yet online, many of us tend to jump feet first into the latest and greatest next thing, perhaps in the hope it will propel us to stardom? That doesn’t work. It simply chews away more of our time and sanity.

It is all about sanity. If I have to mutiny against binary calculations, the numbers game and everyone’s marvellous advice, then I will. Join me… your creative soul is worth more than this.


If you want to know more about SEO, check this infographic from nerdyface.com

SEO_IG


REBLOGS WELCOMED

IMG_0204

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013 and adapted in 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Thinking Inside the Frame: Using Photographs to Tell Your Story

When I teach memoir writing, my students are mostly women. Whenever we have a male in the classroom, the whole dynamic changes. Often, they don’t want to get too touchy-feely or pour their souls out for a public audience. That’s fine. There are as many types of memoir, as there are memoir writers.

William-Yang-Exhibition-300x222

The exhibition.

In 2004 the Queensland Art Gallery purchased a collection of photographic images by the Australian society photographer, William Yang. These photos are a striking contrast to the gilt framed oils and quirky modern works throughout the gallery. They are a series of 30 black and white photographs, with one short paragraph hand-written under each photo: memoir in a new form… and even better, memoir in a strikingly simple and non-judgemental form. I took my class to view it, including our not so touchy-feely male (who was actually very warm and pleasant off paper.) Everyone walked out of the gallery inspired, considering how they could communicate conflicts and complex issues as easily.

William’s exhibition highlighted where his family had lived, their beliefs, their morals and their values. At no time was he ever judgemental about a family member or situation. He did release some skeletons from the family closet, but they were all his skeletons to set free. Out of respect, he waited until his close relatives were deceased before he did so. The picture he painted was realistic, but sensitive. I noticed that he honored his late mother in a simple and special way.

I was able to attend William's lecture at the gallery. He is inspirational in many ways.

I was able to attend William’s lecture at the gallery. He is inspirational in many ways.

As the Art Gallery owns the collection, they allowed me to take the photo shown above; but due to copyright, I cannot reproduce the works in an easier to see form. You can view their page on William here. Below is some of the text which was with the photos.

“In 1979 I had a bad case of hepatitis and I came back to the house of my mother to recuperate. My mother liked having me at home under her control. But I felt the life I had chosen to lead was not in Brisbane, and when I was half better, I went back to Sydney.”

“In his day your father was a very dashing man. He played saxophone in a dance band, and he wore silk shirts. He wouldn’t let me iron them, he did them himself. I couldn’t iron them good enough” I stared at my mother in disbelief. “He wasn’t like you know him.” She said.”

“Frances was my father’s favorite. She was the apple of his eye. I was my mother’s favorite child. There was a friction between my mother and my sister. They were both strong women.”

You can see how simple, but strong the message is. There are no angst-ridden emotional dissections, or lengthy one-sided speeches that could cause family arguments to erupt, or lose your interest amid the details. William got straight to the point. He chose the most important aspects of his family life and how they had affected him. That is always a safe place to focus on controversial topics: how they affected you, rather than who committed what sin.

So when you are writing, whatever your gender, use your freedom to be creative and original. Memoir doesn’t have to be a series of dates or plain paragraphs in a book. You can communicate through art, scrapbooking, photos, story quilts, music etc: it’s up to you. Any form of memoir should reflect your personality and interests in life. It should be representative of the main character: you.

It is your story to tell. Tell it your way.


Creative Commons License
This work, created and Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

#Search Engine Optimisation for #Indie Authors: How Far Should You Go?

There are many bloggers out there who still don’t know what SEO is. That is and isn’t a good thing. SEO is Search Engine Optimisation and for best practice, it is supposed to have a very large say in how you write book titles, web pages and blog posts. (There is an infographic explaining it at the base of this page.) A great idea? Yes, if kept in balance. There is one major worry with getting too carried away with it: you stop writing as yourself and allow yourself to be told what to do by a robot. Think about it…

Digital computations determine how easy it is for us to have our books found on Amazon, our Page posts read on Facebook, our web site or blog found on Google… They are awfully frustrating and if you want to claw your way to the top of the pile, you have to work – hard! You must sprinkle your keywords through your post, use meta tags on web pages, sprinkle matching keywords through your web pages, tweet, status update, Like, Plus 1, retweet, share and comment until your fingers fall off and your brain goes numb.

I did this asiduously throughout 2013 and got to the end of September and simply burnt out! I wasn’t tired of blogging, writing and people. It was those robotic demands that did me in. So I spent far less time on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. After reading a massive, endless stream of SEO and social media how-to posts, I came to the conclusion that as writers, we are possibly far better off writing in the attic, away from the computer and all this “wonderfully good advice.” Any available time I had in my week, was spent assuaging the gods of rank. So I quit! I’ve noticed that since I began to pull back in September, my visit stats and book sales didn’t drop much. They are growing.

1238999_450639671718505_835016741_nSo here is how I am now surviving online. I hope it inspires you and if you have further suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

  1. I will automate as many blog posts and shares as I can, so I can take time to see the sunshine and not be spending hours manually on social media. “I’m sorry Hal, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
  2. I will not read any more SEO and social media how-to posts or books: instead I will be myself and stay tapped into my innate creativity identity.
  3. I will not get trapped in worrying about my statistics. If I get 2 Likes on a post and someone was inspired: I aced it! That is my main goal: encourage, equip, empower. Not rack up fat numbers.
  4. I will write the blog posts which are close to my heart, regardless of what posts pull in the greatest number of readers.
  5. I will market my books with titles that make sense to the content of the book and are not used elsewhere. I will not calculate words on what sells.

In business, if something does not pull in sales, you stop doing it. Yet online, many of us tend to jump feet first into the latest and greatest next thing, perhaps in the hope it will propel us to stardom? That doesn’t work. It simply chews away more of our time and sanity.

It is all about sanity. If I have to mutiny against binary calculations, the numbers game and everyone’s marvellous advice, then I will. Join me… your creative soul is worth more than this.


If you want to know more about SEO, check this infographic from nerdyface.com

SEO_IG


REBLOGS WELCOMED

IMG_0204Note from Cate: this post was published last year under a different title, but there was a technical glitch and it never got proper promotion. As it received great comments from those who did read it, I have updated, improved and published it again.

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013 and adapted in 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

TRUTH BOMB: Sometimes (okay, lots of times) I Want To Quit

Cate Russell-Cole:

We have all been there… thanks Myndi for giving us reasons NOT to quit.

(Yes, I know I am on holidays, but this was too good not to log in and share!)

Originally posted on Myndi Shafer:

quitterLately I’ve been asking myself this question:

What would happen if I were to quit writing?

I think every writer gets to this point eventually (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). The new shiny has worn off. The over-the-moon-I’m-so-in-love-with-what-I’m-doing feeling goes away. Inspiration dries up to nothing more than a brittle bag of bones that if you shake together real hard might amount to a paragraph or two. And we’re not talking Hemingwayesqe brilliance that makes up for the scant word-count. We’re talking shaky drivel that makes I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGR look like soul-stealing genius.  

And so I ask myself, what would happen if I were to quit?

Life would immediately become simpler. I wouldn’t have to structure my days so intensely. Family time wouldn’t feel so urgent because writing wouldn’t be putting any demands on our schedule. I could cook and clean and play when I want…

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#Romance University for Writers: A Gold Class #Writing Site

Printhttp://romanceuniversity.org

Purpose: Dedicated to helping writers establish and advance their careers, introducing readers to a variety of authors, and delving into the ever-inscrutable male mind.

Monday: Crafting Your Career
Most writers begin writing because they love the process–using just the right word, crafting the perfect sentence, giving life to imaginary people. However satisfying the writing process, many writers begin to want more. The want people to read about and love those imaginary folks. Okay–they want people to pay to read about those imaginary folks. Join us each Monday at RU where we’ll discuss the business of writing or career topic. Visiting Professors (guest bloggers) often stop by the school to offer advice.

Wednesday: Anatomy of the Mind
This is the day we explore every facet of writing, reading, and men.

Friday: Chaos Theory of Writing
On Fridays, RU Faculty along with industry professionals and established authors will focus on the elements of manuscript writing. Tips to help you hone your craft and write a damn fine book. After all, it will be your writing that will catch (and retain) the interest of a lucky agent or editor.We’ll tap into our own experiences, share what’s working and what isn’t as we chase our dreams of becoming published authors. We’ll also discuss advice from our favorite writing reference books and websites. So join us each Friday to experience the chaos of writing.”

Gold class sites

Sanity Saving Blogging Resources

Be UniqueLife flies by at an insane pace… I constantly miss or have to dash past blog posts I want to and need to read. In case you missed it, here are the resources I shared during Blog Taming Month in February. A few extras are thrown in, just because I can… Happy scribing and remember, forget the musts, the have-tos and the myriad of experts. Your best success comes by being yourself!

Micro-Blogging: An Idea to Experiment With

Blogging Survival: Get Ahead by Scheduling

Services Which Make Your Blog Easy to Follow

Surviving BIG Blogging Mistakes

Blog Sidebars: Easy Ways to Add Whatever You Want

Are Your Blogging Goals Slipping? Help to Get Focussed Using Planners and Organisers

Building Community Spirit in the Blogosphere

Is Your Blog Trapping You or Helping You Fly?

Savvy Blogging Cover Image 2If you want even more… and why wouldn’t you? All blog maintenance and promotion posts here on CommuniCATE can be accessed by this category link. Or you can save yourself the trouble and download the free .pdf ebook, which saves you scrolling and reading through all those posts online. This is the download link. It is safe, with no strings attached and comes from my web site.

Chapters Include:

  • Blog Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight
  • Get Yourself A Second Brain
  • Slack, Fake and Egocentric Followers: How to Pick Them!
  • Blog Post Promotion on Social Media: Instantly Hooking Reader Attention
  • Sometimes, It Just Goes Wrong: When to Ditch!
  • The Best Kept Editing Secret
  • 10% On Top: Being a More Efficient Writer
  • Professional, Effective Author Sites: The Problems With Using Blogs
  • Cleaning the Cobwebs Out of Blogs: Reader Engagement and Content Value
  • Guest Posting as Advertising: How To Be Professional and Be Asked Back
  • Your Individuality is Your Greatest Asset: Writing and Marketing as You
  • Faulty-Tasking
  • The Road to Success is Paved by Free-Sharing

Have fun!


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

A Needed Reminder on the Rewards of Writing

We all stress as writers: bad reviews, low blog stats, poor interaction with readers, horrible sales figures, word counts not met, trolls and idiots, technological hassles… there are so many issues. For some reason we tend to focus heavily on them. Maybe the creative process just brings our insecurities to the fore?

While wandering around Twitter I found this profile which gave me a much-needed jerk back to reality.

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Guess which is more fun: it’s not hard. It’s the writing. That is why we got into it in the first place!

I decided to follow Mervat. I like her attitude and on bad days, I hope it rubs off on me.

Go have some fun.

 

N.B. This image was used without her permission, but Twitter is public. Please follow and support @miminov70


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

#Character Archetypes Treasure Troves for #Writers

I promised myself this year, that I would get back to fiction writing and I will… write that is… once I stop having a field day planning characters personalities, strengths and weaknesses; and plotting about how I can weave all that into plots.

Delve into the inspiring world of character archetypes and see what comes out. There are a few hundred to choose from and you will be intrigued by how assigning roles to people (especially couples), fuels ideas!

If you are asking, what is an archetype, here is the definition: a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology; mid 16th cent.: via Latin from Greek arkhetupon ‘something moulded first as a model.’

Original Source Embedded in Graphic

Original Source Embedded in Graphic


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

#atozchallenge Ideas ~ Hard Letters to Fill: X and Z Word List

XIf you get stuck finding A to Z Challenge topics for the letters X and Z, these may help. They come from my 1920′s Hordern’s Home Dictionary and some words are out of common use. These words are great short story prompts. Q words came out in yesterday’s post.

 X Words

- Xanthein: yellow colouring in flowers which is water soluble.

- Xantippe: an angry woman.

- Xiphias: a sword shaped comet, resembling a sword.

- Xylograph: a wood engraving, or impression from a wood block.

- Xylopyrography: producing pictures on wood by charring with a hot iron; poker painting.

- Xyster: a surgeon’s instrument for scraping bones (sorry, but you are always scraping the bottom of the barrel for X words as there are so few…)

Z words

Z- Zanella: a twilled fabric which was once used for covering umbrellas. (Remember, this is a 1920s dictionary.)

- Zareba: an enclosure against enemies or wild animals.

- Zax: an instrument for cutting slate.

- Zeitgeist: the spirit of the time.

- Zeugma: the connection of two nouns with an adjective or verb, suitable to only one of them.

- Zingaro: a gypsy (zingari is the plural)

- Zoanthopy: a psychological disorder in which someone believes they are one of the “lower” animals. (Lower may mean less intelligent.)

- Zoetrope: an optical instrument representing pictures as if alive. (Perhaps the early silent films were Zoetropes. Does anyone know?)

- Zonulet: a little zone.

- Zoograft: tissue from a lower animal, grafted onto a human being. (Use of pig valves in heart surgery would be a zoograft.)

- Zoolatry: animal worship (successfully achieved by cats in Egyptian times and they are still trying to bring this fad back…)

- Zounds: expressing anger or wonder.

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REBLOGS WELCOMED

Reading Challenges of a Visually Impaired Writer in the Digital World: Guest Post by Kerry Kijewski

Cate Russell-Cole:

This is an awesome post. Next time Dreamweaver nags me about some aspect of my site not being accessible, I will listen.

Originally posted on change it up editing:

I recently met author Kerry Kijewski on  my Facebook page . She commented that she really enjoyed the writing- and publishing-related posts on my page, but she couldn’t always access the links because she is blind. After some back-and-forth discussion, I learned that if I just added the links to the comments section, Kerry could access them with her reading software.

That conversation got me thinking about the other accommodations a blind reader/writer might need, so I asked Kerry to share her thoughts with us. Before I met her, I’d never considered how technology helps or hinders the creation and consumption of digital content. Now I know a bit more, and so will you:

I was born blind, but I had enough sight when I was younger to read and write large print. In the beginning days of computers I could use large print magnification programs. That seems like another lifetime to me…

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#atozchallenge Ideas ~ Hard Letters to Fill: Q Word List

QIf you get stuck finding A to Z Challenge topics for the letter Q, these may help. They come from my 1920′s Hordern’s Home Dictionary and some words are out of common use. These words are great short story prompts. The challenge also accepts poetry, quotes, photoblogs and artwork. It’s about creativity. Try and use 100 words or more.

What is the challenge? It is “the brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.”

Go to their site to sign up.

X and Z come out at the end of the week.

Q words

- Quardangle: a shape with 4 angles. In school, we used to assemble in the Quadrangle. Perhaps some school days topics?

- Quadrat: used in printing presses, this is the small piece of metal they use to make spaces between words. It is lower than the letters, so it gets no ink on it.

- A four leaf clover is a quadrifoliate. As is anything with four leaves attached to a common stalk. If something has five leaves it is a quinquefoliate.

- A quadrille is not just a dance, it is also four people playing a game with forty cards.

- Quaquaversal: inclined outwards in all directions from a single point; a pyramid would be on of these, or an inverted cone.

- A quarrel is also an arrow with a square head and a diamond shaped pane of glass. Arguments can also be included.

- Quasimodo is the first Sunday after Easter.

- A quean is a worthless woman; a wench.

- Quiddity: a trifling nicety; a captious question. An insincere, “How are you?” is one.

- Quidnunc: one that is curious, or pretends to know everything.

- Quirites were ancient Romans in their evil capacity.

- Quondam: a former friend.

- Quotidian: anything recurring daily.

Q-vs-Mankind-q-star-trek-12045646-640-614

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Writing Historically Based Books: Author Philippa Gregory

The-Other-Boleyn-Girl-by-Philippa-Gregory“Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a tv drama, and a major film. Now, six novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.” Sourced from her web site, http://www.philippagregory.com

These videos are on how she researches her books and is drawn to work on the main characters. It’s a fascinating process, which I enjoyed hearing about. If you are a lover of research or historical fiction, you’ll be inspired by watching these clips.

On Continuity in Creative Writing

Cate Russell-Cole:

As I am world building for The Chronicles of Mirchar, this is an issue which is coming up more and more and is critical to polished, believable writing. One other ingredient is needed too: don’t rush it! Writing a draft in a month is one thing, but it takes a great deal more to produce a novel. Many thanks to Victoria Grefer for her helpful posts. They keep saving my bacon!

Originally posted on Creative Writing with the Crimson League:

diary-srb-1118480-m One necessary component of engrossing, readable fiction is always cohesiveness: and today, as I edit “The Crimson League” for its second edition release this Autumn, I am thinking more and more about the role continuity plays in cohesiveness.

There are so many forms and levels of continuity. A large part of editing–not the whole, certainly, but a large chunk–involves keeping track of and maintaining, or improving, continuity. You could dedicate an editing pass or two JUST to continuity issues. And that’s what I want to discuss today: continuity issues.

What are the major things we authors can look out for as we edit a draft for continuity?

CHARACTER CONTINUITY: PHYSICAL TRAITS

Personality cohesiveness–asking yourself, “would this character, believably, say or do these things?”–is a different issue. I am talking more basic, surface-level things here.

  • Does a character’s eye color change from scene to scene?
  • Does a character, mid-scene, shift from…

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How NOT to look like a total loser on #Twitter: Social Media Professionalism

2014-02-24_08-58-36There are services out there which are incredibly useful to have, particularly if you like proper stats on where you’re at. However, openly advertising that you use these services can make you look like a woeful failure if you don’t have a massive following. For example:

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That was one of the more cheery ones I saw this morning. 224 people walking away is a lot! I would be worrying if these were my stats.

I see numerous notices like this go through my stream every day. They are auto-generated. All services spit out these ads. If I use one, I go into Twitter fast and delete them. Plus, if I pay to subscribe to a service, I will remove all automatic options to have these services air my private laundry at their will.

I would never advocate not using these sites to clean up your following. They also removed dormant accounts and have many benefits. They are too good to ignore. Benefits include:

  • Finding inactive users and your unfollowers.
  • Finding relevant users to follow.
  • Keeping track of how your social media updates affect your follower/unfollower stats.
  • Checking the relationship between any accounts and doing a whole lot more (for a price on services this good).

I would recommend you never auto-follow anyone using them though: not only do automatic DMs mean I know you are insincere and have never seen me; you also follow every spammer out there, thinking you’ve got great stats when you’ve only got snake oil merchants and porn…

So be aware of who advertises what in your Twitter stream and how it makes you look. You won’t be sorry you did.

P.S. May I present to you the other side of the argument? Note that when you have many followers, this isn’t an issue but if you have a small number, the above still applies.

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This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

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