Author Archives: Kay Keppler

About Kay Keppler

Kay Keppler is a writer and editor of fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northern California.

Author Branding

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How do (and how should) authors present themselves? It all depends on who you are and what you write. Elizabeth from Eight Ladies Writing has a few thoughts on this matter.

Eight Ladies Writing

brandA few weeks ago, we took a break from our usual discussions about the craft of writing to talk about social media and the business side of writing. Today, again driven by things that are going on in my day job, I want to continue that discussion and talk a little about author branding.

First off, what exactly is an author brand?

At its simplest level, an author brand is about communication. It is how your readers (existing or potential) know you and it’s what makes you stand out from all of the other writers out there.  You want readers to recognize your name and know what you write so that when you have a book out they’ll read it and then tell their friends, who will read it and tell their friends who will . . .

So I just need to write a good book (and another…

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Fighting Talk

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In building a world, how do you create scenes you have no experience with? How can your characters fight their enemy if you yourself don’t know how to fight? That’s what Jilly is doing right now.

Eight Ladies Writing

Fighting TalkIt’s been almost a month since a random discussion with my hairdresser inspired me to have a try at writing fantasy. My initial plan was to give it a couple of weeks and then decide whether to carry on. I’m pleased to report that while the story is still a hot mess of fragments, impressions and loose ends, it’s shaping up well and I’m absolutely loving it.

Last Sunday’s discussion about baddies was super-helpful. It gave me just the nudge I needed to figure out that my story does indeed have a shadowy Big Bad. I haven’t figured out the ‘who’ and the most fundamental ‘why’ of him yet, but I’ve figured out what he does, and it’s not good. It will probably take my hero and heroine more than one book to bring him down. There’s also a good chance he might be a stooge for an even Bigger…

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Under Pressure

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End of February, shortest month of the year, and one of the most stressful times in Japan. Everyone is under pressure. It’s smack in the middle of exam season, and for my daughter, the really important one is coming up next week. Kids are graduating in a few weeks, people are moving. Everything turns over between March 31 and April 1, but now is the darkness before the dawn. Nobody knows anything except “maybe.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoDh_gHDvkk

(a mashup of concert footage from Queen and David Bowie at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert; the mix is pretty close to the classic Queen/Bowie song, the description says)

It’s like the beginning of the third act in a novel…

Source: Michaeline: Under Pressure from Eight Ladies Writing.

Friday Writing Sprints – Welcome to the 60s!

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Sometimes all you need to spur creativity is to try a little exercise to get warmed up. Elizabeth, one of the Ladies over at Eight Ladies Writing, is doing Friday writing sprints to help writers of all kinds gear up for productive weekends (and Friday downtime). Here you have it: Random Word Improve.

 

Welcome to another installment of Random Word Improv, or as I like to think of it, play with a purpose.

Whether you wrote a lot, a little, or none at all this week, a few minutes of Improv is a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page. As a plus, you might just stretch your creativity in new and interesting directions.

All right, let’s get started. This week we have a 1960s theme going on. The words are meant to invoke images of free-love, Volkswagen minibuses, Woodstock, and the more positive feelings of the 1960s. What you choose to do with them is completely up to you.

Today’s bonus word is: counterculture. Today’s bonus phrase is: “can you dig it.”

[Check out] the rest of today’s randomly selected random words…

Source: Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Welcome to the 60s!

The Value of Persistence

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Roy F. Chandler standing next to a stack of the books he has written. Photo by Katherine R. Chandler/29 April 2009

Roy F. Chandler standing next to a stack of the books he has written. Photo by Katherine R. Chandler/29 April 2009

I envy writers who write fast and well, who don’t seem to have the creative issues I have. Two, three, four, five, six, or even more books per year for these folks seems entirely within their grasp. I can’t write that fast. I never have enough ideas; concepts don’t jump out at me. I’m not one of the writers who say, “I have so many ideas, I don’t know what to write first!” No. I say, “What can I write about next? Must cogitate.”

I’ve always thought that a person is either an imaginative thinker or not—that’s it’s a genetic trait, a gift. It turns out, that’s not true.

Researchers Brian Lucas and Loran Nordgren report in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that people underestimate how many creative ideas they can come up with if they continue to work on a problem, rather than give up after mediocre initial results. In fact, the most creative ideas arise after many other ideas have been considered and discarded. People who give up too soon don’t allow the best ideas to emerge…

Source: Kay: The Value of Persistence

Will They Live Happily Ever After?

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What makes a couple live happily ever after? What in their story makes you believe that they’ll survive the long haul? Read Elizabeth’s post over at 8 Ladies Writing.

Eight Ladies Writing

Rear view of a couple sitting on beach with woman leaning head on man's shoulderRecently I’ve been working on the contemporary romance story I drafted during November’s NaNo writing blitz. One of the areas that I’m struggling with is making my hero and heroine’s happily-ever-after believable. I need both my characters and their relationship to grow and develop enough so that there is no doubt that they will be together long after the book is closed and put back on the shelf.

To do so, I need to answer the question: What do you need to “see” during the course of a story that will convince you two characters are going to stay together?

It’s not a trivial question.

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