Tag Archives: amazon rankings

Dual Perspectives: Should Characters Have Equal Time to Speak?

2 Feb

A few announcements before I talk about today’s topic:

February started off with a bang! The Amazon rankings of Minutes Before Sunset skyrocketed to #980 in Fantasy and #628 in Romance-Paranormal. To celebrate, my Author Facebook Page had a little sunset party. Thank you to all of those readers! I hope you’re enjoying the romantically dark tale. If you’re thinking about checking it out before book 2 releases next month, here’s the Amazon link. (Only $3.89 right now.)

After that, I was delighted again when The Fussy Librarian emailed me that Minutes Before Sunset has been added to their shelf. The website is totally free, and it is dedicated to emailing you with the ebooks matching your unique interests and content preferences.so check it out here.

I also did two interviews this week – one with Paris Carter, a fifteen year-old-boy from Georgia dedicated to book reviews ranging from genre and age group, and another with Ariesgrl, a blogger who brings children and adults happiness through good books. Click the links to check out the interviews. They both have fantastic websites that I recommend.

Now, today’s topic:

As many of you know, my published novels – November Snow and Minutes Before Sunset – are told from two perspectives, one boy and one girl. To make this discussion simpler, I am going to be concentrating on The Timely Death Trilogy, including Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise, but I will be referring to them as “MBS” and “SBS” as we continue forward.

Telling a story from different perspectives isn’t a new style. There are many novels written this way, one of my favorites being the Guardians of Time by Marianne Curley, but this style does seem to spark a debate – should chapters rotate from one character to the next? Should each speaker get equal time to speak? Should you show the same scene from two perspectives or never repeat a scene? These are a few of the many questions writers and readers have asked and answered. I am going to share my decisions in the hopes of clarifying why some writers choose what they do in dual perspectives:

MBS – as well as the entire trilogy – is told by Eric Welborn and Jessica Taylor. Believe it or not, they do not get to tell every other chapter (ex. Chapter one is Jessica’s, chapter two is Eric’s, chapter three is Jessica’s, and so on and so forth) and they definitely didn’t get equal speaking time. But this was done with a purpose in mind, and it does change in SBS.

Below is a page count chart for MBS. Blue is for Eric, and red is for Jessica. (We will get the change in SBS in a minute.)

Page count

MBS page count

As you can tell, Jessica only told about 40% of the first novel, while Eric told more. This was because of what the first novel is focused on – the Dark. Since Eric has more experience in the Dark, his voice came out more. He needed to say more, and I listened to him. This also brings up my main point: When the character wants to speak, I let them. They are in charge, not me, and that is the singular reason as to why my chapters do not rotate on and off. Jessica might have to tell three chapters in a row before Eric remembers he has a turn to speak up. This is the same reason that my second novel will not be told in the same way as the first.

Below you will see the page count for SBS. Purple is for Jessica, while green is for Eric.

SBS

As you can see, it’s a lot more equal, but Jessica tells more this time around. (Yay for Jessica!) This happened for many reasons that I can’t quite explain yet, but it mainly happened because SBS revolves around being human, and Jessica has more experience in the human world than Eric. (The third novel is focused on the Light, if you’re curious, but I’ll have to show that perspective later!)

Many writers and readers ask whether or not to show the SAME scene from both perspectives. Many say “no” for the simple fact that no one wants to reread the same scene, but I have gone against this. I had a repeating scene in MBS, and this is why:

The scene is first told by Jessica. She finds Eric sleeping in school, and he wakes up, and they make plans. At one point, she thinks he doesn’t care what she’s saying because he isn’t responding to her. Later, when the scene is shown from Eric’s perspective, we learn that he is talking to someone telepathically. So, he isn’t responding because he’s distracted – not because he doesn’t care. There are a few other things shown that explain how the two view one another, but I only want to concentrate on one. Telling the same scene from two perspectives can be confusing, but if done correctly, it can show a lot about how the characters think. If you’re going to do this, I recommend only doing it once or twice for effect reasons. (Plus, we don’t want to be too redundant.)

The other question I hear is, “Should each novel be told by the same characters?” I would suggest using the same speakers, only because your readers are probably attached to their voices and inserting a new one might be hard on everyone – writer and reader – but if it’s right for the story, go for it! Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a good example. Two novels of the trilogy are told by one character, but the last novel gives Hana a voice. At first, as a reader, I was thrown off, but I ended up loving it, and it was completely necessary for the story. I believe the fourth novel in the Twilight Saga did this as well.

Basically, if you’re considering writing in dual perspectives (or omniscient third) I would trust your characters to show up and speak when they need to. Don’t force one character to show up just because the other has been taking control for a while. Let them handle the flow. They’ll come through for you. They might even wait until you’re editing to come through, but they will. I, personally, think the characters normally know more than the writer, but that’s probably why I listen to them so much. It’s their story, after all.

What do you think? Have you ever written (or read) in dual perspectives? How did you handle it?

I do have to take a moment to express how excited I am for the release of Seconds Before Sunrise! I am glad Jessica gets more time in the spotlight, and I’m looking forward to other characters getting more attention – like Camille, Pierce, Luthicer, and Eu.

Again, thank you for your growing support! 

~SAT

Get your copy before Seconds Before Sunrise releases next month!

Get your copy before Seconds Before Sunrise releases next month!

December’s Website Wonders

23 Dec

A few days ago, I found out that Minutes Before Sunset hit #953 in Fantasy and #935 in Romance-Paranormal on Amazon. It’s very exciting to be in the top 1,000. Thank you for your support! I hope you’re enjoying the read this holiday season. 

Tis’ snowing here in Kansas land.

Tis’ snowing here in Kansas land.

Today is my half-birthday. I’m simply mentioning it because I LOVE half-birthdays, and I thought that I would celebrate today by sharing a bunch of exciting and helpful websites I’ve come across for readers and writers. (I always share them on my Author Facebook Page.)

I did this last month and randomly throughout the year, but I made the decision to share these articles at the end of every month. This is a little earlier than I’m planning, but I don’t want to interrupt the holiday season with the websites. The articles below are organized by Writing, Reading, and Articles to Spark the Imagination. I hope you enjoy them as much I did.

Writing:

The 20 Most Controversial Rules in the Grammar World: I would love to debate these.

Words of Wisdom: 101 Tips from the World’s Most Famous Authors: Very interesting to read. Creative tips, beginner tips, fiction tips, poetry, and more from Ernest HemingwayMark TwainAnton ChekhovOscar WildeE. B. White, and others.

Reading: 

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles: Free courses over information about the history of books and manuscripts, linguistics, foreign literature, ancient texts and more.

These Stereotypes About Book Lovers are Absolutely True, and That’s a Good Thing: very cute list.

15 Timeless Observations from History’s Greatest Dystopian Novels: there’s a reason these novels challenge the way a reader looks at society.

25 Banned Books You Should Read Today

Articles to Spark the Imagination: 

20 Abandoned Places in the World: Imagine what happened here. Imagine what could happen here.

17 Mysteries Awaiting Explanations: Maybe your novel will be the explanation everyone is looking for.

Join me on FB!

Join me on FB!

And, just for fun, someone added a few of my quotes to QuoTelly.com – Best Quotes on the Planet.

Hope everyone is staying warm! 

~SAT

Challenge Your Inspirations

17 Nov

Fact of the Day: this is my 200th post.

If you follow my Facebook Author Page, then you already saw the photo I’m about to share. But this is at the beginning for a reason:

Yesterday, after sharing my journal excerpt that inspired Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy), Minutes Before Sunset hit #586 in Books > Romance > Paranormal on Amazon.com! Thank you for sharing my dreams with me.

#586

#586

So, yes, thank you so much! It’s an amazing feeling to know my inspiration can inspire others, and that’s why I wanted to say this: although my dreams inspire me, you all are my ultimate inspiration. Your support, encouragement, and kind words continuously bring a smile to my face.

I know I often mention how inspired I am by dreams—how my novels are derived from my nightmares—but today I wanted to talk about four other ways writers can find inspiration. Who knows? Maybe you’ll try one outside of your usual inspiration and find a new love you would’ve never expected:

People:

Unless you’re a hermit, people are all around us. Society holds teachers, parents, kids, cops, doctors, hippies, and so many other kinds. And they can all be heroes. (They can also be villains.) I think psychology is one of the fundamentals to life—and it transfers to writing. Knowing how people work or where they come from can help create more realistic and rounded characters—especially if you get to know more unique individuals. Taking a moment to talk to someone you never thought you’d talk to might end up in a novel one day.

Events/Stories:

As a child, I clearly remember reading an article over an eight-year-old organ donor who saved ten lives. This story struck me as beautifully tragic, but it is so alike to the 2008 movie “Seven Pounds” that I wondered if maybe the writer saw an article just like I had. Basing a story off of news events is pretty common. But there are also tales, mythology, classical literature, legends, and more. Recently, for instance, I shared “6 Baffling Discoveries that Science Can’t Explain.” The point of this was simple: mysteries from real life can often inspire fiction or the famous Mark Twain quote, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

Traveling:

Most people wish they could do more of this, but it’s expensive and time consuming. If you can, great! Travel away. I find traveling to be one of the most energizing life experiences, but, like many, I can’t do it as much as I’d like. Thank goodness for the internet. The World Wide Web has hundreds—millions—of websites dedicated to traveling and/or learning about other countries. It’s not as authentic, of course, but it can spark the imagination. One of the best articles I read recently was “He Was Arrested 20 Times For This. But I Think It’s TOTALLY Worth It.” The article follows photographer, Dan Marbaix, as he travels the world, trespassing into abandoned locations. Just seeing these unsettling photos is enough to make your mind wander.

Drugs & Alcohol:

I am, by no means, encouraging this. Again, I am not encouraging this. I’m actually very against using anything that can be potentially harmful for inspiration. But, nevertheless, this is a commonly used tool. In fact, there are entire articles dedicated to this topic, including this one, “Top 10 Substance-Addled Writers.” Reasons for this seem to be simple: drugs altar the mind and body. It can often relax the creative walls artists put up. But I think there are better and healthier ways than this.

So what to do?

Try talking to someone you wouldn’t usually talk to. Try going somewhere you haven’t been before or somewhere you never thought you’d like to go. Read about cultures you’ve never been interested in. Or, if you have extra time and money, travel somewhere.

If you share your story and/or a unique idea in the comments, you might be the one picked to be a guest blogger!

~SAT

One of my “Highs” as an Author

14 Oct

When I finished my last post, I received so many heartfelt comments, and I want to first thank those fellow writers and readers for their kindness and support when it comes to one another’s difficulties being an artist. I am, once again, reminded of how influential and inspiring the WordPress community can be. Thank you.

Now, as I looked back on my post, I knew I had to do a followup post about my “highs” because I didn’t want to only concentrate on the negative. I wanted to show how exciting and uplifting being an artist can be. So I’m going to share three exciting events that happened to me this week and how they made me feel–with all of the emotions that came with them.

Minutes Before Sunset will officially be in a store.

That’s right. Fluente Designs, an upcoming store in Tullahoma, Tennessee, will have all of the AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. novels on their shelves. The photo below are the books that will be shelved. This is an amazing feeling as an author. I have to admit that I’m beyond excited for this. The owner has also agreed to an interview (so look out for that) and I’m looking forward to be able to share another artist with everyone. I also think it’s natural for me to also feel nervous about this. This moment feels like Minutes Before Sunset is creeping up, spreading out, and reaching more readers that I couldn’t reach without Fluente Designs‘ support. A big thank you goes out to Fluente Designs. Who knows? Maybe more stores will follow their lead. That would be breathtaking.

AEC Stellar's FB cover photo

AEC Stellar’s FB cover photo

My Stats Spiked

Minutes Before Sunset had the biggest spike in Amazon sales since the release in May. It was #9,308 in the Kindle Store, but it also hit #649 in Fantasy and and #407 in Romance/Paranormal, which I thought was awesome, because they are such competitive categories.

romanpara407 2

Although I’m truly happy this happened, I have to admit I have always tried to never pay attention to stats. I think they can bring people down a lot (because it’s much easier to go down than to go back up) so I’m simply trying to enjoy the moment while it lasts and hope that I can continue to see my novel get into more hands to entertain them. That being said, there’s a confusing emotion that comes with wanting to enjoy the moment and knowing you can’t stare at it forever (or even for the few days it lasts for.) So I patted myself on the back, smiled, and continued to look away from my stats, knowing it’s better to focus on my love for writing than seeing numbers rise, even though I am thankful for it. (Seriously thankful for it.)

Twitter Encounters 

I’m not sure why or how, but I logged onto my Twitter, checked my messages, looked at my interactions, and froze when I saw this:  T. Harv Eker, #1 NY Times Bestselling author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, quoted me on his page.

TJarvEker

Following that, Shawne Duperon, 6-time Emmy winner and founder of Project Forgive also retweeted the quote and tweeted to me.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.41.24 AM

Again, I have no idea how they got this quote. (It’s from November Snow, my first published novel.) But I can admit that seeing them on my Twitter Interactions made me rub my eyes like I’d stayed up too late and stared at my computer a little too long. I actually asked my father to read it to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, which, for the record, I wasn’t. (Whew.) They made my day. Not because they’re celebrities but because they both used that quote as a list of inspiring quotes to encourage people to get up and pursue their dreams, and my ultimate goal is to inspire people to follow their dreams. By using my quote to inspire others, T. Harv Eker and Shawne Duperon gave me an amazing gift without even realizing it: a deeper hope and belief that I can help even more people. And, for that, I thank both of them immensely.

It’s been a strange week for me as an author. I started off feeling down, then I defeated a down, and I was met with numerous 1175490_2091842814335_794178008_n“highs” I could barely believe, let alone comprehend. It’s honestly reminding me a lot of creating plots for stories: a road trip where we know where we start, have a destination in mind, and a few places in-between we think we might visit.  But, this time, I don’t know where I’m going or how / when / if it will end, and these in-between places are making me realize something about my writing career: I’m starting to become more excited about the fact that tomorrow might meet me with a new writing surprise. I guess you could say I’m shifting the gears, enjoying the ride, and seeing where it takes me. All with my cat in the passenger seat.

~SAT

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