Settings Sunday

There are characters that often go unsung in stories.

I’m referring, of course, to Setting, the surroundings that our characters interact with and among within a story. Without good settings, all you have are characters milling around talking to each other. If that’s what you’re going for, then bravo. If not, then let’s examine the importance of Setting in Storytelling.

1) What is Setting?

As I stated above, Settings are the surroundings that characters interact with and among. Settings are slices of the world they exist in. A room, a car, the pizza restaurant they eat at. Think of them as the stage backdrops to a literary performance, complete with sets, props, etc.

2) What qualifies as a Setting?

Anything can qualify as a Setting. In Corona, for example, I used a haunted Victorian Hotel as the setting for the story. In The Three Safeties, I used a variety of settings including a suburban home, a coastal Chesapeake Bay City, and a secret complex located in a warehouse, among others. In Vessel, underground cities, The Earth’s surface in Nuclear Winter, an alien planet and a couple of spaceships here and there. In Parallax, I pulled out all the stops and used the Milky Way Galaxy. There are no limits.

3) How important are Settings to a Story?

Settings are important because they literally add the world to stories. Even if for some reason, the writer decides not to describe a setting at all, they are still adding a setting because the reader will fill in the blanks with their own imagination.

4) How much description should go into a Setting?

I don’t feel that there’s an easy answer to this one except to say that in many cases less is more. You can go into intricate detail over it or you can simply describe enough to give the reader a general idea of where each scene is taking place. I don’t think there is a wrong way to do this.

5) How do I pick a good Setting?

A good way to decide is to remember these steps and let your imagination and creativity take it from there: Who, What, When, Where, and Why

6) A Pizza Restaurant?

Yes, I like Pizza. 🙂

As always, comments are always welcome and the books I’ve mentioned here are available on Amazon. You can find the link to my Amazon Author Page on the Right Sidebar.

Happy Writing!

Special Thanks to The UK

I’ve noticed some increased interest in Parallax and Vessel over in the UK and I wanted to take this moment to thank those who bought copies and are reading them on their Kindles. You guys make me feel a little like when Hendrix went over and made it big before returning to the US.

Thanks ever so much. 😀

Parallax and Vessel are available on Amazon for $4.99 and $.99 on Kindle, respectively.

A Question of Priorities

I use a system of priorities when determining what story gets worked on over another. Lately, my system has been a little wonky because I’ve been divided between generating more interest for Corona, Vessel, The Three Safeties, and Parallax in addition to working on Lights and Shadows and planning Parallax’s two sequels.

To tell the truth, it’s all starting to feel like work…

The New Direction was supposed to finalize the last major changes for my first four books, internalize and record the steps necessary, and then cut them loose in favor of the new material that needs to be worked on. By cutting loose, I don’t mean abandoning them. Instead, I am recognizing that every book has a limited shelf life out there and after a certain amount of time has gone by, it’s time to move forward.

Bottom Line is that I’m debating putting Lights and Shadows on hold despite the fact that it’s farther along than anything else I have going right now in favor of getting back to Parallax’s sequels or simply cutting down my book plan to one book for the entire year and seeing what happens. Nothing is etched in stone yet so I’m weighing my options while I still have a full head of hair.

In the meantime, all my books are available in Kindle and Paperback Formats on Amazon.com and Createspace.

Parallax Price Change

Earlier today I had a heated argument with someone close to me and while I love a good debate, I couldn’t deny that the points they made regarding the book’s pricing were very valid. Their points were as follows:

1) The price doesn’t reflect the quality of the work.

2) Lower prices mean lower royalties on Sales.

3) Lowering the price may present the appearance of not having enough faith in the material

4) Lowering the prices to encourage exposure isn’t a good reason. All I was doing was shortchanging myself in the long run.

If you recall, I made an announcement some time ago that I was lowering the Kindle Price from $4.99 to $2.99. The intention for the price change was to make the book more attractive to potential buyers. Well, dropping the price made no difference whatsoever and seemed to have the opposite effect among those who had previously bought it and contacted me about it wondering why such a drastic (their view) drop in price. My explanation didn’t appear to be satisfactory to anyone involved.

Then, there were the articles that came to my attention recently about customers demanding more free books and the backlash among authors who feel (rightfully so) that they should be paid for their efforts. While making money is low on my list of priorities, I’m not a fan of working for free.

I’m sure that you can guess where I’m going with this. Parallax is back at its Kindle Price of $4.99 and no more shuffling of the economic deck. If people buy it, they buy it. If not, then I move on to the next project. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

May Ambitions: Old Storylines

Now that May is upon me, I feel the need to wrap up some old storylines that have been floating around the blog for a while. Most of them were one-offs to experiment with certain story segments that I wanted to practice. Some, however, were intended to go somewhere but for one reason or another didn’t. I’ve gone back and selected three that I will be finishing this month in between Lights and Shadows and the Parallax Sequels:

1) Academy Days: This is the prequel series featuring a younger John Pratt during his time with the United Earth Union Navy Academy. It seemed a shame to only write three episodes so there’s more to come.

2) Dark Ocean: Originally, this was a bit that I did as a free writing exercise that I did in my “Story Time” post and I left it hanging. I don’t like hanging scenes.

3) Leviathan Sleeps: I’ll probably change a bunch of things in it to reflect The Stardivers Storyline that I was fleshing out in my Idea Folder. I might even change the title, but I haven’t decided yet.

The original posts are still archived, but leaving those particular characters in Limbo never sat well with me so it’s off to the races.