I was recently sent a link to this Movieline post quoting advice from playwright David Mamet on how to create DRAMA. He's talking mainly about plays and films, but he has some good advice for any kind of dramatic writing. His point about considering the scene as if it were a silent movie is something I've actually done in fiction writing! It works well for a dialogue-heavy or internal monologue-heavy scene.
Warning: Mamet's guidance is written ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS, so it's like he's screaming at you, which is a bit hard to take. Perhaps he just wanted to be DRAMATIC. In any case, I advise copying the text into a document and changing it to lower case. Your sanity will thank you.
If you're not in the mood for a lecture and would prefer a laugh, here's author Lynn Coady's advice for writing fiction, from making sure to include something that will offend your relatives to avoiding writing about symbolic dogs -- or dogs of any kind.
I recently read “Search Engine Optimization for Dummies” by Peter Kent, which I found surprisingly complex for something written for “dummies” (or perhaps this just shows how many brain cells I’ve lost since I was BRIEFLY an engineering major in college). However, the author repeated a couple of things enough times that they sunk in:
If you want your website to show up when someone googles you (this is the issue I was most interested in, because there are many Kathy McCulloughs, and I show up far down the page), you need to do two things:
1. Have other sites link to you that search engines have indexed (in other words you can’t just link to yourself from Facebook or your blog). And when they link to you, they need to have key words in the link. In our case the key words would be our name. So if someone is writing about you, you don’t want them to say “click here” or click on JK Rowling’s “website.” You want them to say click on “JK Rowling’s” website (where the item in quotes is the link. In turn, do this for others – make sure to have the link to their website or blog be imbedded in their name.
(This can also apply to having your book title show up higher in the search ranks, if the title is a common word or phrase. In my case, there is a Canadian speed skater named Delaney Collins – who knew?)
According to the author, website designers often don’t know this. You used to be able to just put key words between the title tags in the html, but search engines no longer think this is relevant, because it’s not a good judgement of your importance as a site – whereas being linked to is.
As to author Bettina Restrepo’s question re: coming up in searches for author visits, you also want to have key words (“author visits”) in text throughout your site. Text stands out if it is in bold, italics or bullet point lists. Key words are also good to have in blog post headlines (of course, you’d have to write a post about author visits in this case – better: write several). This is why blog interviews that I and other authors have participated in are showing up in searches (a great thing!).
I'm a novelist and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. Find details on this "blog" about my books and appearances. Want to reach me? You can Contact Me here.
What I'm working on now:
- A new YA novel
- A middle grade novel
- An original screenplay for the Disney Channel
Writing Book of the Month:
"The Comic Toolbox" by John Vorhaus.