I was sitting in the throne room contemplating the nature of the universe when I began thinking about prolific authors. It came to mind, because I’ve just finished my latest Magnus Opus (see below) and I considered myself a reasonably prolific author – 67 published works between 2010 and 2019. Of those, 50 are full-length novels and the other 17 are a mix of short stories, novellas and poetry collections.
So, how do my efforts stack up against other prolific authors? Mmmm!
L Ron Hubbard (1,084) 1934 – 1987;
Edwy S Brooks (800+) 1889 – 1907;
Enid Blyton (762) 1897 – 1968;
Barbara Cartland (722) 1901 – 2000;
John Creasey (600+) 1908-1973;
Isaac Asimov (506) 1920 – 1992;
Georges Simenon (500+) 1903-1989;
Alexander Dumas (277) 1802-1870;
Nora Roberts (200+) 1950 – still living;
Nigel Tranter (120+) 1909-2000.
Still a long way to go, I suppose. In fairness though, the majority of authors listed here spent their whole lives writing. Whereas, I’ve only been at it for a mere nine years!
Let me tell you about Down & Out Books! They're based in Tampa, Florida - it's hot there! In fact, Tom Gabriel, from my PI series of the same name, lives not too far away in St. Augustine - it's hot there as well. So, this independent publisher is run by Eric Campbell and he recently published a couple of anthologies, which were edited by Lawrence Kelter - yes, him of the Stephanie Chalice thrillers and a sackful of other excellent books. These anthologies were called The Black Car Business Volume 1, and you've guessed it: The Black Car Business Volume 2.
Volume 1 has the likes of Eric Beetner, J. Carson Black, Cheryl Bradshaw, Diane Capri, Jeffery Hess, Lawrence Kelter, Dana King, Allan Leverone, Simon Wood, and Vincent Zandri inside; and Volume 2 has Jonathan Ashley, Brett Battles, Kathy Bennett, Austin Camacho, Tim Ellis, Ty Hutchinson, Rick Murcer, Richie Narvaez, Gary Ponzo, Jeff Soloway, and Frank Zafiro filling up the pages.
Now, I'm not being altruistic about this post, you know. I'm sure you've noticed that in Volume 2 there's a certain Tim Ellis mentioned. Yes, that would be yours truly. Lawrence hasn't typed my name because he likes the sound of it. No, no! It's there because a short of mine called 'Windmills of the Mind' has been included.
I'm not saying you should rush out and buy both books, but in my considered opinion you'd be crazy not to. The stories are rich and varied, and both volumes have five star reviews. Happy reading!
Now, you're probably wondering why that might be, as I was. Well, my view, for what it's worth, is twofold - can you have a twofold view? Anyway, I think that Goodreads is a readers site that attracts readers, and thus reviews. I know, you're thinking "how insightful", but bear with me. Amazon is a buyers or sellers site, and reviews are product reviews. Whereas the reviews on Goodreads are reader's reviews, which are shared with other readers - there's a different emphasis, I suppose. Also, and here's the "two" of the "fold", on Goodreads you can just leave a rating 1 to 5 stars, which many people do. On Amazon, you have to say something.
I understand, you're in a rush, you don't want to leave without saying something, so you leave a quick rating. Hey! Life's a merry-go-round, a rollercoaster, a sturm und drang, so I understand. Much better a rating than an empty space, nothing, zilch. Also, people don't want to repeat what others have said, a rating is a rating, after all. And then, of course, and I've been there believe me, you've got writer's block. They want you to say a few words, say how wonderful the book was, or not as the case may be. For goodness sake, I just want to leave a rating - doesn't that convey my feelings? Why do you want me to write a critical essay? Well, if I can't simply leave a rating, then I'm leaving nothing. I'm just not in the mood to give you the gift of my words.
My understanding is that Amazon have bought Goodreads for a couple of bob. A bob was a shilling in old money for the uninitiated. If that's the case, then they ought to provide a link on Amazon to Goodreads, which would probably be in everyone's interest. There's a link back to Amazon on Goodreads, but not the other way round. Sort yourself out Jeff!
Seems to me, Amazon are missing out on an opportunity for people to read the reviews on Goodreads, and also to increase the Goodreads' membership millionfold - that's a few more than two!
So, that was the thing.
I hope it gave you food for thought?
I don't know what to say! If my prose is so "bad", then I'm never going to win the Man Booker prize once, never mind twice! I may as well throw my pencil and scrap of dog-eared paper in the corner and take up the ukulele. Although, my music abilities are probably as bad as my prose! Not only that, but there's a list on Goodreads of people who write good prose, such as:
F Scott Fitzgerald
To name but a few. I did notice, however, that my name was not on the list, which appears to support the contention that my prose is "bad". So, it must be true that I write "bad prose"! I have a miserable face now. Tears are sloshing in rivers through the living room (I haven't got a library unfortunately).
And then, a light bulb came on in my head. Don't ask me how it got there, or who switched it on, but it flickered into life like Frankenstein's monster. What if, there were degrees of prose from bad (1) to good (10)? Where would I fit on the scale? Closer to 1? Or, nudging Hilary Mantel? Well, we know that Hilary Mantel is a "10", don't we? . . . In fact, wasn't Bo Derek a "10" as well? Oh no! I'm thinking of something else - stifles mischievous grin.
Here's a blog entitled: "What makes good or bad prose?" by Marian Halcombe, and she makes some valid points. First, prose is subjective. One person's brilliant prose is another person's boring drivel, and I refer you to James Joyce on the above list as testament to that. Many people think his prose is unreadable. Also, it's interesting to note that Hilary Mantel has a number of 1 and 2 star reviews of her brilliant prose, so it's obviously not to everyone's liking. Marian (if I can be so bold?) identifies three qualities of good prose: Readability, vivid language, and distinctive voices for characters. Interesting! Some might very well agree or disagree with her. I would say that a hundred words in a stream-of-consciousness block of text over a page and a half puts me off reading a book. As such, I tend to write what I like to read. But then, don't most writers?
Another point worth making is that a number of those writers on the list write literary fiction. I write crime - police procedurals. That's not to say that I don't aspire to write half-decent prose, but I doubt emulating Hilary Mantel's prose would improve my sales!
Well, the last time I wrote a blog, it was the summer of 1966. I remember it well. Eusebio was the talk of the World Cup, and England had a football team. In fact, I think we won the World Cup that year, didn't we? Those were the days! I was thirteen - give or take a few inches. You had a choice of televisions - as long as you chose black and white, you could play footie in the street without getting run over by 4x4s, and you could eat sugar butties without being taken into care. Anyway, enough about my deprived childhood. The real reason I'm here, is to tell you about my new book - Dark Shadows (Josiah Dark #3). I think it's quite good, but the proof will be in the reading.
That's not the least of it though! Oh no! Not by a long stretch, not by a long walk off a short pier, not by my chinny-chin-chin. In the time it's taken me to complete this bloggy page, I've written another book. WHAT! I know! Call me a sucker for punishment, but there it is. Well no, it's not there - it's here: Wings of the Dawn (Parish & Richards #22). And here:
So, now I'm busy with my next book 'The Serial Killer's Apprentice' (Edge #1), and I have the urge to finish my Science Fiction book: 'Time's Arrow'. We'll see! One of the things I've noticed is that I think I can do more than I can. I think that's also is a throwback to my deprived childhood. My mother used to say that my eyes were bigger than my belly, and she was a wise woman for sure. Having said that, I don't think that particular saying applies anymore, because I have a bit of a belly, but my eyes have stayed the same size - go figure! Anyway, there was a time when I could put in a good 18 hours of work a day and then some, but now, with the passage of time, I find I need lots of sleep, and my head turn to mush if I try to work past eight o'clock at night. Getting old is about as much fun as an enlarged prostate. So, listen. I'll try not to leave it so long next time, but one thing I've noticed about this writing game is that it's addictive. Once I'm in the zone . . .
I bet you know that writing style is one of the most important characteristics of any literature work. Why read emotionless and gray opuses if there are hundreds and thousands of books that worth your time?
Today, I want to delve into the issue of expressiveness, and I hope you’ll be able to use my observations to the full advantage.
It is no secret that fiction style is quite different from business, journalistic, and any other. And these differences lie not only in the depth of vocabulary but also a large number of words that bring emotions. In this regard, fiction writing style resembles conversational speech, but what is permissible in the latter may not always apply to the literary work.
Besides words are referred to the concept, they also reflect the attitude of the speaker towards it.
Although an "emotional vocabulary" often suggests a certain assessment, it may be free of it (for example, interjections "Wow!" "Oh" etc.). On the other hand, words, where assessment is the lexical meaning, may not relate to the emotional vocabulary (for example, "good"). In the last case, the assessment is rather intellectual and logical than emotional.
The main feature of the emotional vocabulary is still the fact of imposing emotions on the lexical meaning of the word; that is expressing the attitude of the speaker to the phenomenon.
All words can be conditionally allocated into the next two big groups:
In fiction literature, the number of emotional words often exceeds the number of neutral words. Also, a neutral word can have several synonyms different in degree of emotional stress (for example, "misfortune – disaster").
Expressiveness is typical for many words and can take the form of positive or negative assessment. Moreover, it’s often superimposed on the emotional and evaluative meaning of the word. Of course, the emotional degree of a word depends on its meaning, especially when used as a metaphor.
But the main factor that determines the expressiveness is the context. It brings additional shades and sometimes can completely turn over the meaning.
Summing up all the above, I can safely say that by changing an emotional degree, you can play on the state of the reader. And, of course, you’re free to choose a set of linguistic tools depending on your needs.
The proper use of expressive speech is one of the most important nuances that form a personal writing style. I believe that the ability to play on words and thereby on the mood of the reader in many respects distinguish young authors unable to feel the context from pen wizards able to masterfully change the emotional angle.
I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors!
Lucy Adams is an outsourcer from best essay. She’s an author that never sleepsJ! Lucy is always in touch and ready to bring to life your craziest ideas. Feel free to send Lucy a few suggestions and let her choose the best one for the next research. Don’t miss the chance to start a mutually beneficial collaboration right now!
Descriptions are not just a way to transfer information and create bright images, but also a wonderful instrument to play with the dynamics of the text by changing the rate of development of the story. Undoubtedly, everyone who wants to become a pen wizard has to be well aware of how to manage the readers’ attention, alternatively straining and relaxing their attention.
I believe all descriptions can be conditionally divided into static and dynamic.
Such descriptive blocks significantly slow down the pace of the narrative. You can meet them in scenes with smooth and unhurried rhythm. They are photo-like and often presented in the form of a single paragraph without any active actions.
Delivering a massive descriptive paragraph, the writer usually has two purposes:
Well, detailed descriptions of the appearance, face, and manners of a person point to the fact that the author deliberately draws our attention to the character, and therefore, will use him in future.
Thus, please avoid thorough describing characters of the third plan which will be mentioned only briefly, and then disappear forever. Note that the reader trusts you his attention, so you have to dispose of it properly.
Dynamic descriptions are always associated with the rapid development of the plot. They are typical for motion scenes and scenes with dialogues.
Did you know that the pace of the scene is largely determined by the relation of the dialogue and narrative components? So please don’t run to extremes:
Dynamic parts composed of descriptions and sometimes empty dialogues are common in modern fiction. They are easy to write and perceive. Note that it’s not always convenient for the reader to put together a mosaic of scattered pieces of the description. Be sure to follow a description with actions rather than interrupt it.
Tips on Dealing with Descriptions
#1 Avoid too Much Look Alike Text Structures
Uniform shapes are the no.1 to avoid when building a large narrative blocks. Descriptions are not just chains of visual images! Not always the visual image provides a complete and correct view of the world. Be sure to work on sounds, sensations, and smells.
Also, be versatile. Even three sentences with similar structure evoke nostalgia, not to mention a huge paragraph that the reader will be unable to finish.
#2 Do not Overload Sentences with Too Much Sense and Too Many Facts
Your ultimate task is to make descriptions understandable and clearly conveying the atmosphere. That’s why I believe you should avoid too complex structures with a lot of figures of speech, tall talk, etc.
Did you know that the longest grammatically correct English sentence belongs to William Faulkner and is composed of 1,292 words?
#3 Repetition is Not Always a Mistake
I bet you’ve read some recommendations on avoiding repetitions and tautologies. It is believed that the one and the same word used in the neighboring sentences spoils the perception, so it should be carefully replaced with synonyms. In most cases, it is true. But sometimes the repetition serves as a powerful mean of expression that focuses the reader on a particular word or image.
#4 Get Rid of Wordiness
In the hands of a beginner, descriptions may turn into a swamp pulling the reader down. Working with descriptions, always try to get rid of superfluous words and clarifications. If the hero is scratching his head, do not write that he does it by his hand – that’s obvious.
Another variation of wordiness is long tedious descriptions of places, objects, and people that do not carry any meaning for the story. Why describe the corridor in details, holding the reader's attention for a long time, if the heroes will run through it for a few seconds and never return?
I am bringing to the fact that the writer must know exactly what he needs to describe. Paying a particular attention to this or that image, you focus the reader's attention and make it clear that the scene is really important. But when you scrupulously describe something, the reader gets overloaded and confuses between the important and unimportant.
#5 Use the Character’s Point of View
Working with descriptions, you should not break away from the other components of the text. The place of the description in the text and its scope should be consistent with the structure of the scene.
Usually, when we write the text in the third person, we unwittingly act as an independent narrator. In my opinion, in both first- and third-person narratives the author has the full moral right to build relations based on the opinion of the narrator. This allows you to turn the usual description into something completely new and unique. And, of course, reveal the image of the hero.
I believe the author should not be afraid to express personal views in descriptions, as well as add some colors and exaggerate. Pay attention to classics – is there a shadow of constraint in their work? Definitely, not.
Lucy Adams is a blogger from buzzessay.com. She’s a generalist that perfectly copes with a huge variety of topics. Lucy loves psychology, marketing, writing, education, and many other niches. Feel free to contact the responsible author and get your best blog post at no cost!
I know I haven't published a post for a while, but there's two reasons for that - First, the blog software is a bit flaky and crashes a lot, so it makes posting a blog more trouble than its worth. I've invested a lot of time and effort into this blog, so changing to something else is not really an option. Second, as you can see from my outpourings, I've been a bit busy:
Not that I'm complaining. In fact, the wife said to me this morning: "Do you enjoy it?" I answered in the affirmative. I mean, I get up at five o'clock (or thereabouts) eager to start writing. At night, as I'm drifting off to sleep, I'm thinking about where my characters are and where they're going next.
After finishing the novella: Murder Comes to Camelot, I've begun the next in the Parish & Richards series (No.18). If you're so inclined, you can read the first chapter of Evidence of Things Not Seen.
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.