Birthday Terror

October is the month of scary and here at Aussie Owned and Read we’re looking at all things frightening.

I’m not looking for singing or anything (🙂) but last week was my birthday.

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My terrifying Tasmanian Tiger cake

Not just any day last week but Friday…. Friday the 13th. In October. I was kind of expecting something bad to happen.

It didn’t.

(I was amazingly spoilt in fact, although I did get another year older)

However, it made me think of how often in books a birthday plays an important part and it’s not always a good one. A birthday is a time of change and in some cases of fear. Not just of getting old but of a shift, in society. In contemporary books that can be the shift of being able to drive or drink legally. Leave home, vote or leave school.

All of which can be a source of fear for a character (or a reader).

Then there’s becoming a wizard in a certain series.

Or perhaps a time of a choice that must be made and can determine one’s whole life like in Divergent by Veronica Roth. Then there’s Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins where every birthday gives you a greater chance of being selected.

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Are you afraid of a birthday?

Should a character be?

 

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction. My next book LAST DAYS OF US is out in Dec with HQ Young Adult.

In the here and now: Contemporary

This month on Aussie Owned and Read, we’re talking about different genres and what makes them awesome. Today I’m talking about contemporary, or books set here and now.

Something I particularly love about these books is that they feel like they could be happening to someone, somewhere right now! And depending on where they’re set, to someone I know. I love how they can touch on topical events and create brilliant discussion.

This is real.

Or, at least, someone’s real. And reading about other people’s real can give hope and teach tolerance and empathy and create understanding.

They can be light and wonderfully romantic.

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Confronting.

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Painful.

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Brilliantly aussie

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And wonderful books can be found both traditionally and indie published.

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Do you love contemporary books? Have a fave?

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

 

Point of View

Here on AOR this month we’re each looking at different elements that make up a great story. Point of view, or POV as it’s often referred to, is so important.

But first…. WHAT IS IT?

Simply, it’s the perspective from which the story is told.

This isn’t simply which character but rather the style/technique used. There are several common types of POV.

FIRST PERSON:

Here, the main character (usually) tells the story in the form of an ‘I’ narrator.

First person POV is used often in YA writing in particular because it has that sense of immediacy. however, it is important to note that the reader can’t know anything the character doesn’t see/hear/experience.

An example of a recent first person book I read and loved was ‘TRUST’ by Kylie Scott. It opens with a hold up in a convenience store and the POV makes the reader experience that drama along with Edie, the main character.

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THIRD PERSON:

Single – here, the POV is limited to one character but uses ‘he’ or ‘she’ or ‘it’ form. Again the reader is limited by what that character knows. Can choose to be ‘deep’ where we’re right in that character’s head or further away.

Multiple – again ‘he’ or ‘she’ or ‘it’  but can follow multiple characters in the story. It works best to change view points at obvious scene/chapter breaks.

Omniscient – again ‘he’ or ‘she’ or ‘it’  but now the narrator knows everything. Kind of a narrator god.

In the Harry Potter series, which is written in the 3rd person, we see most of the action from Harry’s POV and often experience his emotions strongly however we sometimes see from other characters POV too (eg at the beginning of each book).

 

SECOND PERSON:

This is the ‘you’ for of narration and is the most unusual in fiction.

I actually can’t think of a book I’ve read in 2nd person POV. I’d love to know if you have?

 

I think that different POV work for different stories and the best way to work out what is best for you to read and write is to try them out.

 

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

If I only knew…

By no means do I consider myself an expert at this but I have been writing for a while now and this month we’re sharing things we wish we’d known back when we were starting out.

  1.  The secret

Of course the secret is that there is no secret to any of it. There is craft and grind and learning and friends and showing up each day (or when you can). And I read this and was told this but I still thought there would be some magic secret that would make me a success.

Which brings me to:

2. Success

Enjoy the little wins. This is something I still struggle with. From the first opening the doc and starting (this is cool, lots of people are gonna write a book one day, to start even does man something I think) to writing the end there are so many wins.

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That’s before great feedback and crits, contest wins or even the day it’s published. I need to get better at focusing on each of them and worrying less about the things I want to improve. Don’t let worry steal joy.

3. The community

I didn’t realise I wouldn’t be alone. I’m super shy and awkward but people in the book community are so warm and welcoming and I’d like to still get better at this but they’re there to be embraced (metaphorically and sometimes even literally).

 

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

Romancing the Reader

This month on Aussie Owned and Read we’re talking about romance. I’m a romantic at heart, I love the happy sigh when my couple get together. I love the tension and the payoff. I’d probably see a romance in a book even if there wasn’t one.

But, I think there’s a special romance in reading and that’s between the book/author and the reader.

I’ve felt it myself, for the Harry Potter series for example. I have pop figures and a wand and socks and more because that world holds a romance for me that I’ll never lose. I’ve read criticisms of the books, even agreed with some but it doesn’t change the romance for me.

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As a reader and writer it makes me wonder what it is that creates the romance.

First there is the courting. The reader needs to be wooed and for that there needs to be an initial attraction. The cover and title help with this. Who hasn’t fallen for a beautiful cover? Then there’s the author themselves. Thanks to the internet a reader can feel they know something about the author, through their social media and also other books they might have read. There’s word of mouth and advertising too.

That’s all well and good to get you on the book date but what keeps you there and gives the reader that love affair with a book?

I think it’s different for everyone but for me it’s a little like a relationship with another human. Keeping me entertained, following through on promises and mixing things up enough I don’t get bored.

Anyone had a great book romance recently?

(you’ll know cos you’ve gushed to your friends and stared lovingly at it more than necessary)

 

 

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

Oops! I love the villain more!

This month we’re talking about villains. Something that I’ve always found interesting is that when you make a memorable striking villain, that has a decent enough goal to balance the hero and make them believable something strange can happen…

Readers fall for the villain!

Oops!

On this topic I straight away think of Harry Potter books and Draco in particular. Part of this is that he’s so well written and motivated and part of it is Tom Felton’s acting and portrayal that makes his Draco part of the character for me. There is a lot of fan-fiction written about this bad boy.

Draco_Mal

Tom Felton as Draco In Harry potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
PHOTO CREDIT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_Malfoy

 

Then there’s the Darkling in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. He is so bad he’s good and it’s not only Alina who struggles to resist him but the reader too (I mean is he that bad, really?). (mention to the Apparat here too).

Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer even has her own story (Fairest) in the series because she’s so complex and interesting.

They’re appealing and well driven I think the villain can become popular when the hero/heroine is genuinely caring for them. It’s hard, then, not to follow suit as a reader. It makes for excellent tension and a great read if, maybe, we’d like the villain to win just a little bit.

Who’s your loveable villain?

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

Five Book Marketing Tips You Can Try Today

We’re talking marketing for April and I immediately panicked and flailed. Then, I decided to consult an expert. When I think of YA authors who’ve done marketing well from the ground floor, I think of THE YA GIRL, Jennifer Bardsley.

I asked her for her 5 best Marketing tips… And as luck would have it, she was happy to share!

Five Book Marketing Tips You Can Try Today By Jennifer Bardsley
It would be fun to have a bank account stashed with cash, a nanny at the ready, and a private jet to shuttle me off to book conferences all over the world, but the reality is that when it comes to marketing my books, I need to concentrate on free things I can do on my phone while my kids are taking swimming lessons. Here are five strategies I’ve learned to help connect my books with readers:

Start a Facebook Page
Here’s how.
Post a couple of times a day.
Be brief and witty.
Provide entertainment and encouragement.
Don’t constantly sell yourself or your book.
Only do a “buy my book post” once every twentieth post.
Respond to every comment.
See my article in SCWBI: Tips for Building up your Facebook Author Page.
Read my article for Adventures in YA Publishing Facebook Rules are a Must Read for Authors.
Join the Bookstagram Community on Instagram
Heart as many posts as possible.
Leave as many comments as possible.
When a new account follows you, give that person lots of hearts.
Tag your location in every picture.
Watch for new hashtag trends.
Don’t share another account’s photo without permission!!!!!!!!
Read my article for Adventures in YA Publishing: Great tips for writers using Instagram.

 

Join the #YAlit Community on Twitter
Post a few times a day.
Retweet to make friends.
Only use two or three hashtags.
Organize your followers in lists.
Uses lists to engage with targeted audiences.
Use Manage Flitter to unfollow people who don’t follow you back.

Build a Newsletter Mailing List
Have a sign up form on your website.
Include a sign up at the back of your book.
Run a Rafflecopter to encourage subscribers.
Stay with MailChimp until you hit 2,000 followers.
Switch to Mailer Lite when your list grows beyond 2,000, because it’s cheaper.
Shoot for a 50% open rate.

JB

 

About the Author
Jennifer Bardsley writes the column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her novel “Genesis Girl” debuted in 2016 from Month9Books, and the sequel “Damaged Goods” came out in 2017. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 21,000 followers on Facebook, 19,000 followers on Instagram, and 11,000 followers on Twitter. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle in the United States of America.

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Website Twitter Instagram Facebook Goodreads

 

I love these tips and can’t wait to try them out! Thanks so much for visiting today!!

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.