Common themes for your protagonist and antagonist

A rather tongue in cheek checklist of the most often used characteristics for leading characters in novels.
ProtagonistAntagonistchecklist

Feel free to add more in the comments.

GIVEAWAY – WIN A SIGNED COPY OF FETISH

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M by Merita King

Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M

by Merita King

Giveaway ends September 12, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Mourning the loss of honesty

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It seems that every day I have reason to be a little more dismayed at how rare a thing honesty is. Everyone is out to screw you somehow, to part you from your money without thought to the quality of what they’re offering in return. Be it goods or services, quality is at an all time low today and I am constantly amazed at the generally shoddy quality of everything offered to me by individuals and large conglomerates alike.

Am I the only one left alive who still strives for excellence? Am I the only perfectionist left on planet Earth? Not that anything I create or do is perfect, but I STRIVE for it, I genuinely want it for everything I ‘put out there.’ Everyone else it seems, is either just too lazy to bother doing something well, not good enough at what they’re doing to do it well, or they knowingly don’t give a shit and actively try to get away with the worst possible quality for the highest possible price.

Today’s consumers are not entirely blameless either. They routinely accept shoddy workmanship and are happy to receive bad quality goods or services. Everyone is creating some crap for sale these days and it’s all badly made and over priced. I’ve seen some horrific shit for sale on Facebook, shit I’d be embarrassed to offer for sale. Companies big and small are expecting more from their customers and yet provide less and less themselves. No one seems to take a pride in producing quality goods and offering quality services anymore. We’re dumbing down in all areas of life and I for one do not approve.

I want a tattoo. I want a small design with some writing encircling it. Simple you may say. Yes, but they can’t do it unless I produce a photograph of the design I want for them. I’m not a qualified graphic designer with access to Adobe Photoshop software and I don’t know anyone who is/does. Not only must I produce the full design for them but they still expect me to pay them for doing it? What the actual fuck?

Twenty years ago, ten years ago, this would have not happened. The human race is no longer evolving. It’s going backwards and will soon be climbing right back up into the trees again.

We have lost control of our book details at Amazon

I noticed today that we are no longer able to log into our books’ details via Author Central at Amazon. We can no longer do any of the things we used to be able to do, like change the blurb, add a bold tagline, make sure the line spacing of the blurb was right, add a character outline or a review. I used to do all those things but now I can do none of them. I have no access to them, other than via the publishing platform dashboard, which does not allow me to bolden or underline, and always removes line spaces.

Just another of the rapidly increasing number of reasons never to publish with amazon ever again. I never have any of these problems at Smashwords or Lulu.

Fuck you Amazon, fuck your owners, fuck your governors, fuck your shareholders, fuck your grandmothers, and fuck the horse you rode in on.

I’m not horrible and it’s official

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53 years ago the world was a different place. Things we take for granted now either did not happen then or were as rare as hen’s teeth. We have evolved so much since I was born 53 years ago; our knowledge is greater now than at any other time in the history of mankind. We can do so much now that seemed impossible then. We understand so much more now and are able to make people’s lives so much better now than we could back then.

When I was born, kids with ‘difficulties’ had to clearly show 9 particular symptoms in order to be given an official diagnosis of autism, and even with that diagnosis, there wasn’t much real help available. If, like me, you didn’t clearly display all 9 symptoms, you were stuck with the label ‘problem child’ and had to deal with it however you could, which was usually not very well. Mother always knew I was autistic but without that official diagnosis, I was just another weirdo, the problem child, the horrible child who embarrassed everyone. However firmly you know in your gut what your problem is, unless you have it validated by those who know, you grow up believing you really are just a horrible person unworthy of friendship.

With the passing of the years, the medical field has increased its knowledge and understanding of the way we humans work and Autism is treated much more effectively. Diagnoses are more accurate and the help available is not bad, especially for children diagnosed today.

Finally, after 53 years, I got my diagnosis. Having what I always knew to be true, validated is a substantial comfort when you’ve spent half a century being told you’re just a horrible person who is unworthy of friendship or love. I am not labouring under the misapprehension that I will be snowed under with offers of help that will suddenly net me dozens of friends and invites to parties. No, I’m many things but stupid is not one of them. I’ve spent too many years without any help, learning to cope alone or just withdrawing when I can’t, to believe any help is out there for me now.

What it does give me is the chance to say, “No, I’m not a horrible person. I have autism.”

Wandering thoughts of a Writer

I have the honour of having my new book featured on the blog of my friend and fellow author Rebekkah Ford, author of Beyond the Eyes Trilogy and Tangled Roots. She has a great blog, with loads of interesting interviews, book spotlights and articles. Hop on over and have a browse.

Book Feature – Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M – click here

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Observation exercise for character development

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There’s no getting away from the fact that your story will need people. You will need to invent characters to populate the imaginary world within your stories. Making them honest and believable can be hard; I’ve read books containing characters that seem like robots, so devoid of honest emotion are they. So what can we do to make our characters more real? You practice observing real people, that’s what.

Go into the busiest part your nearest big town or city, find a seat, sit on it, and watch. Have a notepad and pen with you, and an ipod if you must. Watch the people passing you by and ask yourself questions.

What is their mood? How do I know this? What gestures and facial expressions are they making to show me their mood? What is their gait like? Write down the mood you think the person is feeling and everything they’re doing to show you that.

For couple or groups, watch how they interact. What is the group dynamic? What place do each of the people hold within the group? Who’s the leader and who’s the wallflower? What are each of the participants doing to show you all of this? Their facial expressions, gestures, gait, tone of voice, speed of speech, words used (if you can hear their conversation). You can even write each of these things down as a keyword if you find it hard to remember what to look for.

If you see a couple arguing, fantastic. Note those expressions, gestures, voice characteristics etc and see how they differ from the other people you’ve watched. Parents with children will have another unique set of expressions, gestures and voice characteristics. Are they telling the kids off? How are they showing their frustration, irritation, anger?

Groups of youths will interact different from senior citizens, groups of men will be different from single women, police will be different again, stall holders, newspaper salesmen, market traders, every person will have their own unique set of facial expressions, hand/arm gestures, body movements, and voice characteristics to show you their moods. By watching, asking yourself the right questions, and making notes, you will build a valuable store of information to help you show your characters’ moods and interactions in more believable and true way.

This may seem like basic baby-steps kind of stuff, but it’s amazing how little notice we take of each other these days. Our society has become so insular and self centred that we have forgotten how to interact with each other. Everyone seems to be texting or talking on their smart-phones and everyone’s head is permanently turned downwards to look at the little screen in their hands.

We’ve forgotten how to recognise the non-verbal language of our own species, and this is a simple way of getting that skill back again.

Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M

I am delighted to announce my brand new release.

Volume 4 of The Sinclair V-Logs is now available in both paperback and ebook.

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Many thanks once again are due to JL Stratton for his considerable expertise in producing this cover.

We all have dirty little secrets, don’t we?

When Sam Sinclair is called home to help solve the murder of a fellow law enforcer, he assumes the motive was revenge. Within hours, this case quickly becomes everything but straightforward. As the evidence points to deviance of the most horrific kind, they realise that a new breed of killer is stalking the streets of Sam’s home city. Fear grips the people of Alimenika and even the most hardened of criminals are terrified into silence.

A fetish is just harmless fun, until someone dies of course and as more victims come to light, Sam and his team must delve into the darkest side of man’s nature before they can hope to stop this monster’s reign of terror. Swept along by the most unsettling case of his career, the killer’s insidious influence makes Sam doubt himself as never before.

As his personal life is turned upside down, he suddenly becomes the killer’s latest plaything. Unable to free himself and battling the rising panic, the accusation of his own deviance forces him to examine his actions during those terrible four hours, almost twenty years ago.

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For all purchase links, click here. To read excerpts, click  here. 

Fetish is registered with Authorgraph (formerly Kindlegraph) and you can get your personalised copy via the widget to the right.

The bubble has to burst some time soon

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Have you ever blown up a balloon and reached that point where you know it’s gonna go bang any second? I think we’re approaching that point  in the literary world. When I say ‘I think,’ I actually mean I hope.

The whole, review, sock puppets, paid reviews, fake reviews, deliberate bad reviews cycle is fast reaching the point where the literary world will just implode. Then there are the overpriced promo sites, like that really well known one that costs hundreds of dollars for one day’s promo, whom I won’t name because they haven’t paid me hundreds of dollars for ad space here on my blog. They require your work to have reviews, sometimes a minimum number of them at a certain star rating or above, and can still refuse to accept your work at all. So you save for months or don’t bother to pay your credit card bill, then use the money to apply for an add at that book promo site or others like it. What are you going to feel like if they refuse you because you haven’t the right number of reviews, or perhaps they just hate your cover or notice a spelling error in your blurb? You’ve just flushed several hundred dollars down the shitter. If I lost so much money like that, I think I would either commit murder or suicide.

You can buy reviews on various selling websites. Fiverr is a well known one where you can purchase book reviews. It’s dishonest to get reviews this way, but I’m sure the vast majority of reviews you can see on Amazon, have been purchased. I’m not yet that desperate, but I can’t guarantee I won’t get there.

I hope the bubble bursts soon. We need the floor to fall out from under the whole self publishing world and the entire thing to be reformatted. Rebuild it from the ground up, with concrete rules that are heavily enforced, even some legislation in law would help keep things in line.

This can’t go on, or I can’t. One or the other.

The passing of the pen

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Since man first began recording his language in written form, the pen has been an integral part of life. Whether that pen take the form of stone tools, wooden sticks, paintbrushes, quills or what we recognise as a pen today, man has used an implement for marking down a physical representation of the sounds he makes when he speaks. When I was a girl, there was no way life could continue as normal if pens and pencils suddenly disappeared from the face of the Earth.

When I was at junior school, we were taught to write with pencils, with the promise of graduating to pens when we ‘went up’ to senior school. It was a signal that you’d grown up when you used a pen at school instead of a pencil. The other important right of passage was going from what our teachers called, script, which was non joined up (non cursive) writing, to ‘joined up’ (cursive). I can remember one of my first year senior school teachers commenting to me her surprise that I was not yet writing ‘joined up’ like the other kids, and how embarrassed I was.

Part of our learning was concerned with the physical act of writing. We were taught to write neatly, how to do the little tails on the lower case letter a and how to form a proper lower case s. It was regarded as important back then, when writing and writing implements were an essential part of life. No one ever imagined things would change.

Not so now.

For the first time since man hunkered down in caves and grunted to each other, we live our lives without pens. We have laptops, tablets, ipads, desktops, smartphones but no pens. Thankfully we do still need to understand written language, but we don’t actually write it any more, and that is sad. The standard of written language I see every day on social media is appalling, with text speak making up the majority of it. It seems the vowel is fast becoming extinct as our way of expressing ourselves evolves. Even our kids use keypads at kindergarten.

What’s even sadder is that no one seems to mourn the passing of the pen. Fountain pens are now sought after as collectors items and few shops sell them.  They are thought of as intriguingly retro, humorously victorian, and fascinatingly steampunk, but never useful. No longer will you see a man with a small blue stain on the bottom of the breast pocket of his shirt, nor anyone with a similar blue stain on the inside tip of their middle finger. Most probably won’t even understand what I mean by that last sentence. Those few writers who do still write with pen and paper are thought of as weird. We smile at their funny habit that prevents them from writing as fast as the rest of us. This should not be so. Using a pen takes time. As you write, you think about what you’re writing. That investment of thought means you have a real ‘connection’ with what you’ve written, more so than you ever do with typed words. It’s a subtle thing, but profound.

We can’t move backwards. Nor can we un-invent technology. We can however, make an effort to keep hold of what is important, and the ability to write down your language is more important than you know, especially in this nuclear age. Just think, if they drop the bomb and we lose all our technology, how are you all going to survive if you have no pens and don’t know how to use them?