Writing Resolutions for 2018

Image result for 2018

Write something that makes a profit?! Okay, if we count my copywriting business, that’s ticked off. But there are areas I want to move away from and plans I have for 2018.

Look for work elsewhere. Copywriting, and especially using job bidding worksites such as PeoplePerHour and Upwork, isn’t sustainable for me. The pay is dreadful, and most of the small contactors want too much for too little. I’ll stay on the sites, but I’m not going to put the same effort into pursuing work there as the ROI isn’t worth it.

Author services. This market can only continue to expand. If the robots are coming for our jobs, then more people will have time to write, and they’ll need accompanying services, beta reading, editing, formatting and more. I’ve done more paid author services this year and I plan to expand my offering.

Check out AI. Artificial intelligence is already writing factual articles and sports reports. It’s even produced fan fiction. You can rail against it, or accept that it will happen and look for how you can work with AI. I’ve done this already through jobs where I’ve worked on AI translations to make them sound more naturalistic. Again, this is an area that will continue to grow.

Workshops. A friend suggested I think about running workshops. I hate the idea, as I’m an introvert, but resolutions are about moving out of your comfort zone, right?

Publish four books. Every success story in indie publishing points to proliferation (I flippin’ love alliteration) and the Amazon algorithm rewards you if you can upload something every 30 days. This can include short stories. I’ve got four draft novels that need tidying up. Edit, go forth and publish dear gel…

Ongoing development. I’ve taught myself a lot about book marketing, and especially online marketing but I’m no master of it. If you want to stay ahead, you must keep learning about this subject.

Sell directly. This year, I want to offer direct sales of my books. There are plenty of options, Gumroad, for example, or e-commerce via WordPress if I upgrade my site.

Happy New Year and thanks for following my blog. What are your resolutions, writing or not?

Picture thanks to Max Pixel free pictures.

 

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Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings, y’all! Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing my posts (and occasionally my books). May your holiday be fun and food-packed.

I’m a big fan of Prosecco and butterscotch chocolate, so with any luck there will be plenty of both tomorrow. The perfect Christmas dinner – 50 pigs in blankets, a mound of stuffing, some Parmesan-roasted parsnips, and then a head-long dive into the Quality Street tin. (Minus the strawberry and orange creams.)

All the best to you for 2018. I hope the year brings you health, happiness and success in your endeavours.

#amwriting Thrillers

I’m toying with the idea of writing crime fiction or a thriller next year, and this is my first attempt at a prologue. See  what you think…

Ailsa wishes they would just piss off and leave her alone.

They have pushed past the broken-down door into the living room—very solemn policeman one, very earnest policewoman two.

“Are ye on your own, missus?” says copper one and she bats back the obvious, “What dae ye think, Sherlock?”

He’s got that wee look to him. She’s seen it too often before. A guy who’s been telt he’s got to say this stuff and has no idea what to do.

She sits, her feet out on the coffee table, drink in hand. Am ah meant to be apologetic here big guy? She supposes she is.

Female copper sits down. Ah, this is supposed to be the one who works out your feelings for ye, apologises and says shite anyway.

And no’ be the one who feels the shite tickety tac its way up to your very lungs.

No one liked her, Ailsa, she knew. It is a rare moment of prescience. But now, aye? She has all the power in the world. They shift around in front of her, waiting for her to say something.

“What d’ye want?” she asks. They take that as permission to sit down.

“It’s Ailsa, isn’t it,” the woman says. A statement, not a question. “We need to tell you something.”

She knows what is coming. It was never going to be good news, was it—two cops, acting all serious and sad.

It’s about Ross.

Two weeks ago, she’d turned up at his door. “I’m pregnant. I don’t want it.”

The good thing about Ross was that he didn’t bother with the whole feelings crap. When she said she didn’t want it, he nodded slowly and asked her if she’d been to the doctor to ask for an abortion.

“Aye. It’s all sorted, one o’ thae medical abortions,” she said. “I take a pill. It comes out. Can you take me to the hospital?”

“Aye, fine,” he said. “When?”

And that was that. Her ex-boyfriend picked her up on the Thursday, drove her to the Vale, came in with her and waited while they gave her the pill.

All the staff thought he was the father. They were kind to him. He was, well he was like Ross was. Maybe the nurses thought to themselves, “No wonder she doesnae want his wean!”

They were wrong about a lot of things.

Trisha had never liked her. It wasn’t one of those ‘no-one’s ever gonnae be good enough for my son’ things. Trisha just sided with everyone else. Ailsa could count her friends and allies on the one hand; a hand that had lost fingers to frostbite, mebbe.

Ailsa picks up her phone. The whisky is doing funny things to her. Trisha, she decides, shouldn’t have tae deal with eejit copper one and two turning up at her house, so solemn, so can we come in, missus?

She dials the number, waits a beat, two, three until the phone is answered. Trisha’s an oldie. She doesn’t have a mobile phone, so she’s no idea who is calling her on the landline.

“Trisha,” Ailsa says, smiling to herself as she watches copper one and two cotton on to what she’s doing and move towards her, clearly intending to snatch the phone from her. She rushes her words from now on. “Ah’ve got the police here. Ross’s dead. Your son’s no more.”

©Emma Baird 2017

Pic thanks to George Hodon.

 

 

 

Wattpad Adventures Part Three

Hello new follower of me on Wattpad! I pounce on ‘em, as they are small in number. Then, I stalk them. The profiles, sadly, are often irritatingly vague.

Where are you from, I ask. Just out of interest.

(Is this getting creepy yet?)

Then, I think up questions I’d like to know the answer to. How did you find me? Why did you follow me? What piece of my work interests you particularly? Is there anything you hope to get out of our new relationship?

I debate which one I can ask without seeming like a neurotic nut job who gets herself instantly unfollowed. Maybe number three? With parts a), and b) why, why, why did you like it? And, was it only like and not love?

TBH, that is just the tip of the iceberg. What I really want to ask is, gosh how did you stumble upon me, given that I’m about as visible as a…not-very visible thingie. Then, did you think, oh wow, this SavvyDunn is one super-writery person! I really love her. I’m gonna recommend her to all my 950,000 followers, all of whom actually prefer buying books on the Kindle to reading them for free on Wattpad.

Ah, wishful thinking.

My newest follower number one is reading my erotica. So, having tried to write endless sex scenes and bored myself to tears with it, it now looks as if I might need to start dreaming up new ways for two people (or more) to get jiggy.

I don’t want my newbie to feel cheated. He thought he was getting loads of sex. Instead, my characters spend most of their time obsessing about life, love, work… oh, hang on a minute. Something sounds very familiar.

Newest follower number two is a 14-year-old girl. I guess she wants to read the books I’ve written that are aimed roughly at the YA audience (though YA also gets a lot of reads from older people, some 55 percent of readers). To keep her happy, I’m going to have to go away and think up more teen girl aligning with vampires nonsense.

To keep it interesting, I might need to try the reverse harem approach – one girl, three or four guys to choose from. The rules of the genre are that she never makes her mind up, not by the end of the book, nor even the series.

Or maybe I could just ask newbie one and two what they want. When you write copy for businesses, they generally tell you what they want you to write about. That makes it easy. When you’re writing fiction, you guess what people want to read. And not always accurately.

One of the UK’s biggest indie success stories, Mark Dawson, surveys his readers once a year to ask them what they want to read.

Anyway, back to my new followers. Another thing you notice about the young things is that they blatantly ask for follows, reviews, tags and comments back. I don’t do that kind of thing because I’m a) British and b) I’d prefer it came naturally, people who genuinely like and read my stuff.

And how’s that working out for me? Wattpad followers – seven in total. Time for plan B, eh?

Writing Erotica – Harder Than It Looks

Lousy pun above, hmm?! I thought I’d try my hand at some erotica recently. How hard can it be (sorry!), I thought to myself. No need to worry too much about a plot, just put in TONNES of sex and it’ll be fine!

There’s a real niche market for erotica on the Kindle. That’s why it was invented, really, so people could read dirty books during their commute and none of their fellow passengers would be any the wiser. All the best-sellers appear to be self-published, and their covers have a home-made feel to them. Writing erotica appealed to me, as it seemed like a low-cost way to publish and make money.

A few attempts later, and I take my hat off to the porn writers. I ran out of sex scenes to describe after the first four of ‘em, and I am bored, bored, bored. I don’t mind writing sex scenes, but I’d prefer to write just a few of them and scatter them in a book where they can be stumbled upon and relished for their scarcity.

Once you’ve done your four or five sex scenes, everything else feels repetitive, a rehash of sex scene one or two. And it all gets so contrived. Perhaps regular readers of erotica don’t mind the contrive-ity of it all, but it bugs me. You read something and think, “Oh for heaven’s sake, they can’t possibly have sex here or again!”

I keep thinking of that award that is given out to writers annually, the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction. (Though, luckily for me, it’s only given to high-brow fiction writers, and I don’t put myself in that category.)

This year’s contenders include this one…

He puts his hands on Bianca’s shoulders and slips off her low-cut top. Suddenly inspired, he whispers into her ear, as if to himself: ‘I desire the landscape that is enveloped in this woman, a landscape I do not know but that I can feel, and until I have unfolded that landscape, I will not be happy …’

Bianca shivers with pleasure. Simon whispers to her with an authority that he has never felt before: ‘Let’s construct an assemblage.’ From The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet

The Literary Review chose this one in the end,

The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen

On the stone porch, in the hot, mountain air, we grapple with our clothing, which, in the darkness, becomes as complicated as mountaineering gear. Her black shirt around her neck, mine unbuttoned, our shorts and underwear slid to our ankles, we seem to be moving at avalanche speed and also, unfortunately, with avalanche precision.

So, writing about sex is something most people struggle with. Interesting to note too, that the majority of this year’s contenders are men.

Will I continue to write my own erotica, the imaginatively titled Unnatural Desires? I’m loath to not finish something I’ve started. And a challenge is good, right?

Then, there is that demand thing. As I said, the bulk of erotica available on the Kindle appears to have been written by indies. Maybe the quality control element isn’t so essential here. That’s not to say there isn’t such a thing as well-written erotica, just that perhaps erotica readers aren’t so bothered by the narrative structure and character development?

We’ll see.

Do you have any examples of badly-written sex scenes, or contrarily are there are any writers you think create great sex scenes? I think Fiona Walker does them really well, for example. I’d love to know your thoughts.