Of Pen and Ink – Story Gap

I mentioned Robert McKee’s story when I did a piece on Beats, Scenes and Sequences. Now I’d like to address another aspect of writing: The Story Gap.

The Story Gap is what McKee calls the gap between a character’s actions and the world’s reactions. This is yet another thing that I try to ensure is happening when I go through to check that my scenes are turning. In essence, this should have a place in a good scene without too much extra work on your part.

I’ll let Robert put it in his own words via the YouTube video.

See More

Of Pen and Ink – The Ever-Changing Anatomy of Creativity: Part 2

I’ve discussed this once before, when I talked about how my main novel started as a fiction submission for Wizards of the Coast’s shared world book line.

Now I’d like to talk about how even the story line itself has transmuted considerably. Since my protagonist has his origins as a character I created for a roleplaying game, it’s only natural that he was in his prime. Twenty-three, I believe, in his first inception, while I was only 15. This makes sense because in a fantasy roleplaying world of danger, an adventurer has to be old enough to hold his own. So his original story line was thusly based off some of his pen and paper adventures, including an antagonist that mirrored his personality. (A little cliché, looking back – probably inspired by the similarities and disparities between Drizzt Do’Urden and Artemis Entreri, from R. A. Salvatore’s books.)

See More

Of Pen and Ink – The Math of Self Publishing

Let’s talk numbers – yes, not everyone likes math, I get that. But this is money numbers. Some people like money, right?

For self-published authors, a concern that often arises is, how do you price your products? I’m not going to go into much on the ins and outs of book pricing. All I will say is that you should avoid undervaluing your work. Provided you’ve thoroughly edited your book, worked it to ensure that the plot devices and reader interest is there, then selling the digital version at .99 cents is cheating yourself and promoting the idea that your (and other authors’) blood, sweat and tears should be sold on the cheap.

On the other end of the spectrum, eBooks should be significantly less expensive than paperback or hardcover copies. $15 or $12.99 for an eBook is the equivalent of information-highway robbery. The comfortable zone is probably somewhere between $2.99 and $9.99, and that’s all I’ll say.

Now, on to some math. I use some of my college accounting class know-how when I play with numbers on my own. Something that is important to me when looking at a venture is the Break Even Point, or BEP. BEP is a calculation of approximately how many copies or units you would need to sell to break even (pay off your costs) on a project. At the true BEP you haven’t made a profit; that comes at points above the BEP. Conversely, below the BEP and you are still in red ink, the dreaded loss. See More

Of Pen and Ink – Beats, Scenes and Sequences

A question emerges, and I have to ask it not only of myself, but of others: We often use the term scene when we talk about our stories. But do you write your fiction novel in scenes, sequences and beats?

Screenplays are assumed to be written thus, but I often wonder about other forms of story. They can all share some of these traits and benefit from them, as pacing and development is as important in a book as it is in a movie or play. But in a novel – as with any form of story – what comes first? Form or function? See More