Today we tackled a topic that I (Johnny) have been wanting to get to FOR-EVAH for my own nefarious reasons, but that we haven’t been able to get to.
True to form, Sean and Dave tried to cockblock me out of this topic halfway through because they wanted to answer all of your called-in questions, but I PUT A STOP TO THAT BULLSHIT and cut them off. We got to a few of your questions, but we have an increasing backlog that will have to wait again… sorry. We won’t get to them next week, either, because we have a guest. Good thing I’m so apathetic and unsympathetic about other people’s issues. (I kid, I kid.)
Here are the questions we did get to:
• Do you need to read a lot to be a writer… and if so, should you “cram” before writing?
Short answer: You must read, but “cramming” all at once is a bad idea.
• How do you handle descriptions of characters? Is there a best order or way?
Short answer: Minimalistic description is the way to go in our opinion. this lets the reader supply his/her own description and hence feel like they’re a part of the story more.
• Are self-publishing awards worth it?
Short answer: No.
• What are the rules about exclusivity at different times with KDP Select?
Short answer: You can’t post/sell/make your work available anywhere during the 90-day period you’re committed to Select (including your website), but you can have it anywhere else before and after.
Then we got to outlining and story structure.
I started by relating a story about how I, by myself, recently wrote Fat Vampire 4. Compared to what Sean and I do with Unicorn Western, this was hard, because I have to outline the story myself instead of Sean giving me story beats. Since I’ve never been much of an outliner — and since working with Sean’s outlines has shown me how fast I can write when I DO have an outline — I wanted to learn more about it. And you get to listen in.
We then hashed this out from seventy different angles. Awesomeness then ensued.
We even get a step-by-step on Sean’s own outlining process in this one, which I’m going use the next time I have to do my own outlining. Good stuff.
To view the video version of this episode, go to: Self Publishing Podcast #43 – Outlining and Story Architecture