27Feb/15

Why do authors of quality e-books sell their products for 99¢?

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A dispatch:

From the very appreciative D’lo. Thank you for supporting my writing and our Mad Mule blog.

 

This article is for the independent (self-published) artist/author who writes and markets his or her well-crafted imaginative work electronically.
As independent authors, we need to think of writing as a business enterprise. Writing for profit requires at least a minimum understanding of the basic principles of economics, specifically, supply and demand. The principle is this: If supply or demand is out of balance, then one will benefit from other, too much supply and prices drop, too much demand and prices rise. When there is an oversupply of e-books on the market, demand (the consumer) benefits from low prices. Conversely, when demand is high and supply is low, sale prices, as a general rule increase, and suppliers (the writers) benefit.

Indie authors today are experiencing a double whammy. There is an oversupply of e-books presently on the market while at the same time demand for e-books (all books actually), is declining.

Are you making a profit writing fiction?

We will use the minimum wage, $8.25 per hour, as the low-end compensation for writing a book. For me, writing, proofing and editing an 85,000 – 90,000-word manuscript takes anywhere from 1700 to 1900 hours to complete. An additional 60 hours, on average is required to develop the cover, format the text, and provide limited promotion. Total estimated time spent from concept to market, 1860 hours at $8.25 per hour = $15,345. This is the minimum amount of money we should expect from sales. If we sell a book at 99¢, it will take ($15,345/.99) = 15,500 book sales (in about six months), to earn minimum wage.
What is your current income per book over the last six months? The chances are, if you market your product at 99¢, you earn less than minimum wage. This marketing strategy based on volume is in my opinion, unobtainable for most independent authors.

Note: These calculations do not consider the value of money over time, i.e. the length of time the book is on the market before it reaches the 15,500 mark. Nor does it include self-published ‘paper’ books.

freeFree books should only be used as a promotional tool. If giving away books does not increase demand for your product, discontinue the policy. No exceptions, it only makes things worse, 99¢ books have to compete with free books.

images.Romance

The Market Niche

We know from available data that some book genres do better than others do. Why is that? Because they have a niche, a targeted audience. Look at the sale prices, on Amazon, for example, between non-fiction books compared to fiction novels. The nonfiction books, typically sell higher than fiction books. Why? The non-fiction book generally has a longer life (used as a reference book), and the book is directed toward specific readers. For example a how to book on self-editing targets readers that have a specific interest, in the product. In other words, supply is limited. Not many authors, compared to the rest of us write how-to books on self-editing. How-to books also have lasting value as a reference book and demand the for an informational book is typically steady.

Fiction, on the other hand, has a limited life, competition is fierce, and many genres are all lumped together in the e-book market. Sci-Fi competes with fantasy; literary fiction competes with general fiction, and then there are hybrid and experimental fiction that are very difficult to categorize. Romance is more specific and tends to target women. Thus, romance novels typically are more profitable (compared to sci-fi and fantasy) due to their specific genre (romance) and targeted market (women).

images-qualityDemand for books, across the board, is falling.

The fact is, demand for all fiction books, in general, is on the decline. This is due in part, to other sources of entertainment, which provide immediate gratification, i.e. TV, video games, movies, etc.

The quantity of e-books (supply) is on the rise, and many critics believe, and I tend to agree, that many aspiring indie-authors take short cuts and end up publishing second-rate work. The volume of both good and bad e-books is just overwhelming the market. Is Amazon going to do anything about it? Probably not. They, as well as other electronic book marketing platforms, use a volume-based business model. Profits come from all sales, (well written as well as poorly written books), so there is no incentive for them to change.

Book Marketing is the New Wild West- It is every man for royalty-free-clip-art-vector-logo-of-a-wild-west-cowboy-shooting-two-pistols-by-chromaco-4673himself.

That needs to change!
The days of individual (celebrity) writers are on the wane. We no longer have leviathans like Faulkner, Hemmingway, and Twain supported by giant publishing houses. Dominant publishing houses are declining. Agents are serving fewer and fewer writers. The whole book industry is struggling to survive. We, the independent authors and technology, are partly responsible for the decline of the industry due to easy printing and product oversupply. According to the Huffington post, agents reject 96% of manuscripts received. I guarantee the majority of those un-agented authors become self-published. Discouraging news isn’t it-

 

The Group Approach women-crowd-cartoon-characters-illustration-33547622

However, I believe we, the independent authors/publishers, (if we can ensure quality writing), are in a better position to gain momentum, and recover, than the old publishing establishment. The difference between us and them, I believe, is that we are more flexible, adaptable, and have the ability to change quickly-

That being said, the odds are still against us unless we unite.

I believe a turn around can be accomplished if it is a group effort. First, we must develop the genre related niches-our own following. Second, a united group of genre writers must write and market quality books (we cannot control the quality of all writers, but we can control the quality of our group of writers.) That will separate the good writers from the bad. Third, demand can be manipulated- It is called professional advertising, but we can’t do it alone. This kind of change may utilize volunteers (use Wikipedia as an example) to, organize, ensure quality (cover designers, editors and proofreaders), market, (web design, , social media, market expansion into video games, movies, and TV) among other venues to effectively sell products at a profit.

Or we can use a for-profit business model by charging membership fees. A self-sufficient writer’s co-op might be a practical solution. I am sure there are more options out there-we just need to find them.

blind-44cartoonThe Solution

Solutions are our current fantasies my dear Muleteers, fantasies that can and should become reality if we act prudently.

 

 

Form a Group – Somebody needs to do it. Will it be you?

Message me; I would like to hear your ideas.

Good luck muleteers; don’t give up- Keep up.

Definition of Muleteer:

Webster’s Definition of Muleteer: One who drives mules.

 D’lo’s definition of muleteer:

One who uses the conscious mind to drive the subconscious, (the mule) in imaginative writing. We call the process Plowing.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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24Nov/14

Recent Review of LIMBO on Amazon’s Kindle

firefly1 -cover=page -  Copy 700 x 850Here is a recent review on LIMBO

Tragic, and yet funny….

I’ve never read the epic poem, “The Divine Comedy” by Dante, but after reading “Limbo”, I suppose, “The Divine Comedy” would have been a more fitting title for the book. All great comedies are ultimately tragedies, and this is what this book is – a laugh riot that makes you cry.

 I think writer Donald D’lo has gone where no novelist has gone before, shedding light on a really sad psychological condition, but rather than reduce his readers to tears, he has tried to bring out the funny side of it.

I’ve never felt so bad for a fictional character as much as I did for Tim Townsend, the funny, but troubled man at the heart of this novel. His antics bring a smile on your face, but at the same time you feel a deep sense of concern for him.free_clipart_18_OK

I don’t know if this is the first book writer Donald D’lo has written, but it’s a very impressive effort. Look forward to more from this highly talented writer.

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03Nov/14

Speculative Writers – Helpful Suggestions

 

 

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We at the Mad Mule write under the umbrella of speculative fiction. It is, at least to this author, the most creative, and less restrictive of all genres, and it is the crux of our teaching, and coaching. Speculative fiction includes the subgenres science fiction, fantasy, horror, weird fiction, magical realism, supernatural fiction, slipstream, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history. Select your subgenre from the ones above or make up a new one. Pick the story that demands to be written set your mind, and time limits to complete it, and don’t stop, no matter what.

 

Here are few suggestions on how to successfully write a speculative novel.

 

  1. Plan to write a story in a speculative fiction sub-genre that you like. Make your project an obsession.

2. Begin with a character, make her different, make her exciting to your readers, give her faults and obsessions. Be descriptive-but don’t over-write. Allow enough white space for your reader to fill in images and character traits from his or her own personal background and imagination. If your character is non-human, it’s ok, give her recognizable human traits so that we as humans can relate to her. Get her to talk to you, learn her secrets (backstory), and show passion for her, either love her or hate her. Make her be loved or hated by your readers. This character, based on her personality and actions, generally will set the mood for the story.

3. Create a conflict, either externally or internally. This is what drives the story forward. The conflict creates action and reaction. It motivates your character and effects, in a direct or indirect way, all secondary and temporary characters in the story.

4. Push your character out into your imaginary world. Give her obstacles that she must overcome to succeed, give her failures and success, the more setbacks, the better. Don’t make it easy for her to achieve anything!

5. Make the story and your character believable. It’s ok to create outlandish scenes, characters, episodes, actions, even speech, but it has to be accessible to your readers. The audience must be able to relate.

6. Don’t make rules, they stifle creativity. Create guidelines, not outlines. You should create methods of reference after the first chapter is written identifying character’s scenes, locations, time frames, and plot direction. The purpose is to assist you in remembering past actions-what propelled your character to point in later chapters.

7. Set daily or weekly writing goals. It can be in the number of words written or (my preference), set a specific amount of time to write. Stick to your schedule religiously. Make it routine, do not waiver and do not fail. Your character can’t fail and neither can you. You as the Muleteer should be determined to succeed. You, the manager, the mover and shaker, the self-motivator can overcome any, and all obstacles to achieve your goal- Finish your work, and publish your masterpiece.

 

Here is an exercise you might enjoy trying.

Watch one of your favorite TV episodes. It should be one that you are familiar with, and one that you know well. Pick one character, any character in the show and make them your own. Change her, or him, or it, completely. Make that individual anything you want her to be. Now, in your mind insert that character back into the episode. Would the show be different, how would it be different, what does the new character bring to the show, does the mood of the story change, will the ending be the same or different?

While we are on the subject of starting and completing a speculative novel, I would like to introduce my second novel Blood Worthy. It is out on Kindle and will be out in paperback within a month. Let me know if you want a signed copy. Price $ 10.00 plus shipping.

New Book!

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BLOOD WORTHY is a character driven, uniquely told, and vividly portrayed Fantasy Novel about the Random Clan. The author, D’lo, with his unique gift of storytelling, successfully marinates tragedy and humor in this unparalleled story about a highly dysfunctional family.

The story, set in the rural South, in the mid-nineteen thirties, revolves around Odie Ray, his alcoholic father, and his quirky family. Odie Ray is an unusual child, born with a problematic destiny-a destiny so grim that his father, Cleo becomes greatly troubled by it. The constantly irate man, through abuse and exploitation prods Odie Ray in particular, but his other children as well, into peculiar, often eccentric, and illegal behavior.

Odie Ray’s mother, Nevaeh, tired of her husband’s unkindness seduces her nephew Harlow and escapes with him on a small motor scooter. Her sudden departure leaves the odd family completely under Cleo’s ominous care.

Alaba, a voodoo priestess, enters the story shortly after Nevaeh’s nefarious exodus. The voodoo princess ironically becomes Cleo’s lover, Odie Ray’s mentor, and the family’s mediator. During Alaba’s stay with the family, an ancient demonic spirit possesses Cleo. Odie Ray, determined to escape his brutal father and fulfill his destiny, leaves Battenberg Tennessee with Alaba. The pair travels to Louisiana, where, at a mysterious crossroads, Odie Ray’s ancestral prophecy ends with an intensely shocking confrontation between father, son, and family.

 

 

 

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05Jul/14

Writer’s Block, the Mad Mule, and Speculative Writing

 

What I want to talk about in this blog is writer’s block in reference to speculative writing. This narrative was written from an impromptu, thus paraphrased, conversation with a fellow writer and friend.

writing tips

My friend Bugs (you probably don’t know her) is a sci-fi writer. She said she hasn’t been able to write anything for weeks- Any suggestions?

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It happens quite often, some people get writer’s block more frequently than others do. I’ve even known of writer’s getting writer’s block at specific intervals like when completing a novel, they find it difficult to start another book. Also, I’ve found some writers have difficulty continuing past the first one-third of a rough draft. Others finish the first draft, but cannot bring themselves to edit and re-write the text.

How do You guys coach a client through writer’s block?

If you are aware of our writing system plowing, then you know MC900297189 (2)that there are two entities involved in writing. The writer/editor, and your subconscious, or mule. We treat the two separately when confronting writer’s block.

Why separately?

Because speculative writing, especially, requires the use of the conscious mind as well as the subconscious mind, both are interconnected, but the conscious mind has to be in charge of the writing process.

What do you think causes writer’s block?

There are many reasons for writer’s block, distractions, both personal and social, fear of failure or rejection, and or motivational issues like idleness and apathy. Whatever the reason, the administrator is responsible for overcoming writer’s block, and getting the project back on track.

If you, the administrator, suffers from one or more of the maladies that cause writer’s block, take a day off, only one day, then get back into your writing routine.

Whoa, but D’lo, I’m an imaginative person, and writer, a routine stifles my creativity.

No, no, no, you are an administrator in charge of your creativity. It is your responsibility to elicit creativity and construct the text. To accomplish that a writing routine is essential both for daily progress in your writing, and to overcome writer’s block. If you don’t have a routine make one. Schedule your writing for the same time-period every day. After a day off you should be able to focus on your current project. If you can’t, concentrate, just write, no matter what the topic just keep writing, within a short time you will regain your managerial skills, and your project will, once again move forward.

Now, if your subconscious, the creative part of you, is the problem, escort your mule verbally or pictorially to- Um, something that pertains to the story. Let’s say you want to write a scene about, shooting your stubborn mule, No, no, just kidding- Let’s try a scene where your protagonist travels to a Native American Reservation.

1377-1246309904fZzgStart your research, read to your mule, and show him videos and photos, about the subject. That information (food) will nourish your mule, and peak his curiosity. Then give him a number of abstract images, urge your subconscious, to produce something pertinent to the task.

Wait, hold on D’lo, how is all that bizarre, weird creative stuff the subconscious is supposed to come up with, relevant to the task?

That’s a good point abstract stuff is different. Perplexing images and mystifying information is more like stimulants rather than food. Abstract images cause your mule to react differently, in a unique way. It stimulates absurd, irrational, creative thoughts, which are essential for the success of a speculative writer.

Realism, (food), on the other hand, is the subject matter, the sustenance that nourishes you and your mule. Realism is the glue that connects you to your mule, and it is the basic building blocks for your characters, scenes, or episodes. It is what makes speculative writing believable.

That makes sense, but how does it relate to writer’s block?

Sorry, rambled a bit, to defeat writer’s block, feed your mule properly and appropriately, with information and images that are real and relevant, to the writing session. Apply the stimulus of abstraction, and voila, you have unique concepts for literary interpretation, and application by the administrator.

By using these simple suggestions, you can pen your way through writer’s block and return, once again, to the greatest thrill of all, original writing by way of innovation, and inspiration. However, if you’re still stuck-if you have chronic writer’s block, a writing coach or mentor may be the best solution.

 

Send  an email to dlo2802092@gmail.com if you would like to discuss writer’s block. Thank you for registering.

D’lo

 

 

 

 

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22Jun/14

Current Topic: The First Chapter

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Thank you for subscribing.

 

The first chapter, in my opinion, is the most important chapter in any book. In my years of writing speculative fiction, I have found that there are eight (8) essential elements developed and implemented in the first chapter that will help the author publish and sell his books, they are:

1.   Quickly introduce the protagonist. The protagonist is typically the main character.
2.   Develop a mood. Mood is a feeling that the author elicits from the reader.
3.   Create tone. Tone is the narrator’s attitude towards the subject or theme.
4.   Introduce the theme. The theme is the main idea of the story. It may be expressed directly or indirectly. The major theme should be constantly reinforced throughout the narrative.
5.   Develop the setting. The setting reflects the story’s time and place.
6.   Provide a hook. The purpose of a literary hook is to grab the reader’s attention and curiosity.
7.   Suggest a conflict. The conflict is a struggle between two opposing forces. The conflict may be internal or external. Conflict drives the story toward a conclusion or resolution.
8.   Establish the narrator’s point of view.

The following example introduces the protagonist, sets the tone and mood, suggests a conflict, and creates a hook, all in two sentences:
Typhus Darlene Moore carried two scars, one visible on her face, one hidden beneath her flowered blouse. Both injuries, still painful, were the result of an ancient love, and a primordial hatred.
In the first chapter, the author must create a protagonist that connects with the reader emotionally. In other words, the reader has to care about what the protagonist is doing, thinking, and feeling. The narrator should at minimum, give an indication of the theme, and of course provide the reader with the setting and at least a hint of the conflict. For example, let’s give Ms. Typhus Darlene Moore a theme. Vengeance drove her- and now the setting, to the darkest regions of the Brazilian rain forest.
The reader is now aware that an unknown antagonist harmed Ms. More, and she is in Brazil seeking revenge. It is apparent that the author is eliciting a sympathetic mood from the reader and establishes a foreboding and violent tone by using the words injuries, painful, hatred, vengeance, and darkest. Even the protagonist’s name, Typhus sounds ominous. The hook is applied by using curiosity and evidence of violence in the first two sentences and an indication of action in the third sentence. There we have it. Within the first three sentences of the first chapter, all eight elements are revealed, including point of view.

So, let’s discuss Point of View.

The narrator’s point of view (POV) is by necessity provided in the first chapter. The POV is the way the story is told and who is telling the story. There are three literary POV’s.
1.   The FIRST PERSON, where the character is telling the story. Here is an example, I wrote a book.
2.   The SECOND PERSON POV, sometimes called the omnipotent voice is rarely used in a novel. This POV speaks directly to the character and uses the pronoun you. Here is an example, you wrote a book.
3.   In the THIRD PERSON POV, the narrator speaks as an observer while telling the story. Here is an example, Charles wrote a book.

The most popular, and most versatile is the third person POV. First person is next, and second person in a long body of work is seldom used, and considered by most writers, the least versatile of the three POV’s. The POV is determined in the first chapter and typically remains the same throughout the narrative. If we analyze the three sentences of the first paragraph. It is evident that the narrator is speaking in the third person POV.
Why it is important to have a perfectly written first chapter that includes all of the elements that we have mentioned? Frankly, It’s all about selling books. At this point, there are two primary ways to sell books. Traditional publishing and independent publishing known as self-publishing. Traditional publishing requires a conventional publisher. Sometimes an agent is involved in the publishing process.
Charles has just written a book and decided to publish his masterpiece traditionally. What is the first thing his agent or publisher asks for? A sample of his work, which always includes all or part of the first chapter. That is why Charles has to WOW them, make them want the entire manuscript. Make them want to make money off his writing skills. The second method is independent publishing. Sarah wrote her masterpiece, but unlike Charles, she wants to sell directly to the reader. When buying an e-book, the reader looks at the cover. Reads the blurb, and if still interested reads a sample of the work, which begins, of course, with the first chapter. If the reader is hooked, she will buy it. The same goes for perspective purchasers in a bookstore. In almost all cases, it is the first chapter that sells the book.
In summary, establish a POV that best suits the narrator. Next, try to include all essential elements, if not in the first paragraph, then certainly within the first five pages of the first chapter. Lastly, remember the importance of the first chapter to agents, publishers, and readers. Edit, rewrite, and edit some more until the first chapter is polished to perfection.

This article explains what essential elements are needed in the first chapter of a book to achieve maximum impact on agents, publishers, and readers.

About the Author, Larry Boggan is a speculative fiction on-line writing coach and author.

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Reminder,  Buckskin or Palomino memberships are available if you would like to learn more about Speculative Writing. Go to Membership Option Page.

 

 

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12Jun/14

Developing a Protagonist

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I thought I would give a little insight into a simple and enjoyable way to create a main character. The protagonist is a fundamental component in my writing because I do not use a story plot. My characters, therefore, must drive the story forward through beginning, climax, to ending. At a minimum, the character must be interesting enough to catch and hold the reader’s attention. The protagonist I want to create, the really memorable ones, must do more than that. They connect with the reader emotionally, and that is what I have come to expect from good writers. An excellent example of an emotionally charged character is Ignatius Reilly, in John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer-Winning Novel, A Confederacy of Dunces.

Confederacy of Dunces

Confederacy of Dunces

When I begin to write a story, the first character that I create is the protagonist. If I do not have someone, or something in mind, I often search the internet for possible candidates. Today, I got lucky and found to my amazement, this unique character, Pan, the Greek God of Theatrical Criticism. Yes, yes, it’s true; I am not making this up, check out Wikipedia for the details. How weird is that? Not what you would expect, right. That makes him perfect as the central character for a tragicomedy.

The God Pan

Pan

Okay, okay, (I’m still chuckling about the goat-man God) – Pan is my main character, now, let’s embellish the leading character with a brief description.

Pan is a cloven hoofed, horned, musically inclined, fowl smelling (if anyone has been around a goat, you know what I mean), and sexually potent half-man, half-goat.

At this point, I have Pan’s physical description and his vocation. I am going to develop my character’s personality based on the above characteristics, abilities, limitations, and physical condition. His character traits will be displayed through scenes in my yet to be written story. Remember, writing without a plot means that the scenes will evolve as the story develops, in this case, around the protagonist, Pan.

Pan’s first character trait is ambition.

So, let’s start the story before Pan’s rise to fame. We find our animal-man-God, (Is that evolution?) in a garbage dump searching for food and items in which to barter and trade. Why in a garbage dump, you might ask. The answer is upward mobility. The man-goat has to be ambitious to move up to the lofty position of theatrical reviewer.

The second trait is self-awareness.

Pan, being half goat and half man, is unattractive. How did he get that way? Did his father, Hermes, become intimate with a nanny-nymph, (Nanny as in female goat), that is certainly a possibility and pretty close to one of the original mythological tales-  Or, perhaps a superior God cursed him. The curse idea, to me, seems to be a bit clichéd. I prefer the nanny lover. His, disfigurement in my mind, causes Pan’s emotional issues, especially concerning his unusual beginning (birth), his sense of belonging or acceptance, and his less than attractive appearance.

The musical facet.

Pan is often seen carrying a flute, which infers that he has musical ability. By brainstorming i.e. communicating with my subconscious, I found the following options were available to me: One, Pan is a classically trained musician thereby connected to the theatre. Alternatively, Pan, having a reputation as being a pastoral musician, is playing in a folk band. As the administrator of this narrative, I believe the folk band idea is the most appealing and supports Pan’s rural image.

The repulsive trait.

The man-goat stinks. What is the cause(s)…? Here are the possibilities: Pan survives in a garbage dump. He smells due to his environment, that’s a good idea, but his condition is temporary. Pan must move out of the dump and up vocationally to be a theatrical critic. The other option-the one I think is best for Pan is that the smell is inherited from his mother. This trait is considered to be unnatural by his associates and is a definite hindrance to his emotional and professional progress.

The dichotomy of love.

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Sexual potency, in most cases, is a desirable trait, but if one is as unattractive as Pan, wouldn’t being a hyper-sexual player be a curse? Rejection is painful to most men. Pan would be no different. The fact is that desire and repulsion is certainly an integral part of his story, and will undoubtedly become the story’s theme. Now for a girl. My imagination has provided me with a box of scenes in which to illustrate Pan’s dilemma. I selected this scene out of four or five possibilities- Pan meets a girl who is a famous theatre personality. She lives two lives, one in the theatre and a second life in strip clubs and whorehouses. The actress accepts Pan in the dark side of her life but rejects him in the side he wants to belong in, the Brightside, the human side. This scenario’s duplicity can also be considered a metaphor for Pan’s split physical appearance, i.e. part goat and part man.

The morality trait

I imagine a scene whereby Pan finds a discarded theatrical review in the dump from a famous reviewer. He claims the review as his own and mails it to an editor of an opinion column in a prestigious magazine. The act of Plagiarism gets Pan’s cloven toes into the theater’s door, and he starts his career dishonestly.

Of course, we could go on creating scenes that would continue to develop our protagonist’s identity, but I think these samples will suffice.

Remember, create a meaningful, and emotionally stimulating character. If you are not using a plot, and your story is thematically character driven, use the characters attributes to build upon and enhance your scenes. Most importantly use your imagination and have fun with your creation.

At some future date, I will demonstrate how I develop the antagonist, and other characters, as well as themes and threads that bind the story together in a nonlinear way. But, for now, that’s it. So keep writing, and remember if you would like to learn more about our imaginative writing method called Plowing, sign up as a Buckskin or Palomino Member  at www.dloonline.com

 

Written

By

D’lo

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10Apr/14

Mad Mule Info-Nation, News Letter #1

MM Forum

Newsletter #1

Mad Mule Info-Nation

Welcome to the Mad Mule Info-nation

A Speculative Writing Newsletter

Hi, my name is Donald D’lo, with me is my (imaginative mule), Denise, and our writing coach and instructor, Larry Boggan. We have several topics to cover in the Mad Mule Info-Nation that I think you will find interesting.

Let’s start with me-  D’lo.

I’m an Eidolon which allows me to stretch my own reality, as well as your creative sensibilities as a subscriber, into an intensely satisfying experience writing speculative poetry and prose.

Denise and I, in our pursuit of speculative writing, have plowed many a barren field which, I am proud to say produced, for the most part, delicious narrative fruit. It is the plowing system of imaginative writing that we love and are so proud of-

Okay, I’m getting goose bumps, let’s move on before I get emotional.

Our real joy truly is exposing other writers, those new to the trade and seasoned penmen as well, to the process of plowing. Thus, we created the Mad Mule coaching platform. You can find out more about PLOWING on our blog, D’lo & the Mad Mule. https://www.dloonline.com

Questions or comments? Email us, dlo2802092@gmail.com. – or comment on our blog.

Our little company is located in the high plains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have been with the Mad Mule since 2012. Denise, Larry, and I look forward to providing you, our imaginative writing family, with interesting information about speculative poetry and prose, as well as information concerning special events, seminars, classes, coaching, and educational services.

Thank all of you for your interest and support. Please let us know if there is anything, topically, we can provide in our newsletter to enhance your speculative prose and poetry writing skills.

Events

On April 19th 2014.  I will be attending, and supporting the 8th Annual Authors for Literacy Event. The event is sponsored by the Moriarty Community Library in the Moriarty Civic Center, 207 S. Broadway, Moriarty, NM 87035.

I will be signing my book LIMBO at the event, be sure and get your copy.
AND
Please support this worthy action in an effort to stamp out illiteracy.

Thank you for subscribing!

As a reward Limbo will be available on Kindle    FREE     from April 6th 2014 to April10th 2014.

Limbo, by D’lo is a Portal Fantasy with comic & tragic undertones.
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The protagonist, Tim Townsend, is a young, deaf, psychotic man that escapes the reality of a murder trial by traveling to strange imaginary worlds.

Current Topic Episodic Writing

By Larry Boggan

Episodic writing, as the name implies, is a style of writing that does not follow a preconceived plot. It is generally a goal driven story, with an unifying thread that connects episodes in a arbitrary yet cohesive fashion. The thread is thematic, and the story, because of its construction, relies heavily on dynamic characters whose conflicts and subsequent reactive decisions are paramount to the story’s message.

Conventional stories, unlike episodic prose, are based on causality, i.e. a prior event causes a subsequent event, then another, but episodic writing does not have to be in chronological order. It is not unusual in unploted writing for scenes to leap from past, present, and future points in order to reveal connections to back stories and future stories.

A good example of episodic writing is Cloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell, Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes, Saving Private Ryan, by Max Allen Collins, and many others. The key to episodic storytelling is to stay focused on the theme. The thread ties the story together. Take for instance, The Lord of The Rings, by J.R. Tolkien, the ring was the quest, and focal point of the entire series. In Saving Private Ryan, the goal was to find the young soldier. All episodes in both stories contained a unifying theme.

For episodic writing to be successful, relevance of the episodes regardless of the sequence or placement, are essential. The character’s risk, conflict, and imperative reasoning are engines that drive the story forward. The theme is the road that the story must stay on to reach a final destination.

So, my beloved muleteers, when you find that brilliant flash that illuminates the beginning of your story, weave the resulting thread through episodic events. Entwine the leitmotif through glimpses of relevant actions to answer the essential questions of how, where, what, when, and why. Continue to weave your theme until the goal is accomplished, and the story is finished. Episodic storytelling, if done correctly, will leave your audience mesmerized by a highly entertaining, spine stiffening, ricocheting, read.

Denise’s Contribution

An imaginative exercise
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Stretch your arms out in front of your body expand any two fingers on you left hand and see what lies between your knuckles. If it’s imaginary, name it. If it is real, try again.

 

 

A Request From the Mad Mule

Please submit your work.

We at the Mad Mule would like to see short speculative poetry or prose from our subscribers.

If inclined to submit, send your writing, less than 500 words, via e-mail, to dlo2802092@gmail.com.

The best work will be published in the next Mad Mule Info-Nation.

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23Mar/14

Coaching & Teaching Creative Writers- a Different Way

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Are you looking for a writing coach?

Welcome to the Mad Mule.

Hi, my name is Larry Boggan. I am a speculative writing coach, published author, and teacher. I teach and coach a writing process called plowing. As a writing coach, one of the most frequent questions I get from new as well as established writers is- What should I expect from a typical writing coach and how much will it cost?

Generally a (conventional) writing coach will:

1                     Help you set goals.
2                    Help you stay focused.
3                    Help you reach time specific writing goals.
4                    Help you overcome writing challenges.
5                    Help you improve your writing skills.
6                    Help develop voice, strong characters, etc.

This is a standard coaching service with a price range between $250 and $1000 a month, but what about something different? What about an imaginative writing coach that will provide all the above plus the following-:

Teach an imaginative writing course that runs concurrently with your coached writing project. The Imaginative writing program (teaching and coaching) begins with an in-depth analysis of you current writing style and skills. Once your specific needs are identified, I will administer one-on-one assignments and exercises intended to address your concerns as well as stimulate your imagination. The on-line course will teach you how to manage your creativity while developing the essential elements of your writing, such as character construction, setting, conflict, and theme. The class offers a non-linear modified episodic writing plan as you create your book of prose or poetry.

We specialize in speculative fiction and speculative poetry.

This is an unbelievable deal, but there is more, with the purchase of the $250 per month, Palomino Plan, I will provide suggestions for an e-book cover as well as guidance in formatting your e-book for Kindle.

The coaching, teaching, and e-book advice for $250 per month is a one time limited offer, so don’t wait. If you are serious about writing speculative fiction and or speculative poetry in a new and adventurous way then this service is perfect for you. Sign up now.

There are also lower priced coaching (non-teaching) plans, the Buckskin, and the Bay, which includes a free newsletter.

Check it out on D’lo & the Mad Mule, that is-www.dloonline.com.

Email me if you are interested in this innovate coaching and teaching process.

We use e-mail, telephone, and or Skype as a means of communicating with our current and prospective members. Larry would love to hear from you- D’lo too.

 

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08Mar/14

Welcome Larry Boggan Imaginative Writing Coach

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Larry Boggan is a master of the writing technique called plowing and is the co-founder and editor of the Mad Mule. He has published poetry in numerous college journals and literary magazines, as well as ghost written speculative fiction. He is an author, educator, writing coach, and speaker.

Larry has a BA degree and Master’s degree from Mississippi State University, an Education Specialist degree from The University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico.

Larry’s goal at the Mad Mule is to provide the best possible coaching for individuals dedicated to the art of imaginative writing. He offers a supportive and intuitive style of one-on-one coaching that makes the writer feel comfortable with the writing process.

The system of speculative writing that we use here at the Mad Mule may seem foreign to you at first, but Larry has developed an individualized program that will provide coaching and information about the process of plowing.

Join Larry here at the Mad Mule. Plow together and create something special.

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