Tag Archives: Voting

Teachings from my Twitter Poll Story

17 Oct

It was noon, the sun was high, and I was standing on my back porch trying to get some fresh air during my lunch break when I heard strange music coming from the woods behind my house. Naturally, my imagination ran off with dreams of fairy parties and otherworldly adventures. It was a brief moment of respite in today’s ever-changing environment. 

Which is probably why I tweeted about it. 

(Okay, so I tweet about everything, but I digress.)

If you follow me on Twitter @AuthorSAT, then you’ve probably seen my Twitter poll story. If not, no worries! Here’s a link to the first part to catch you up. 

What is a Twitter poll story?

Basically, I write a little scene within Twitter’s 280-character limit that also sets up a question for readers to answer via poll. It’s reminiscent of the Choose Your Own Adventure stories that were really popular in the 90’s and early 2000’s. The biggest difference is that you don’t have to write the endings for the other choices; you only follow the path that the majority wanted to see. It reminds me a lot of RPG (role playing games) I’d play with my friends when I was young, or stories that we would take turns writing. (You email me Chapter One, I’ll then write Chapter Two, etc.)  

Writing those stories with friends used to bring me a lot of joy between classes in school, which is probably another reason I decided to run with this online. (A little bit of nostalgia goes a long way.) What I didn’t expect was to learn more about storytelling, reevaluate a current WIP, and have in-depth discussions with my writer friends—all topics I wanted to share with you all today.

There’s something to be said about being able to summarize your next plot point in 280 characters or less (and 2-4 choices in less than 25).

Every time I sat down to write the next scene, I really had to ask myself what could realistically happen next while also weighing its overall importance. If it was too easy to write, then the scene probably didn’t have enough risk. If it was too difficult, then I was probably getting ahead of myself. It definitely made me think about fluff. This goes for choices, too. 

Once I started expanding the story, I realized I wanted the votes to be as close to 50-50 as possible. Why? Well, mostly because it’s more exciting! The choices a character must make in a book should be difficult. Readers should be able to believe the character would make both choices, and those choices should make it so that they can’t go backwards and redo it. Basically, this is a great way to double check that your characters have agency. (They should be happening to the story; the story shouldn’t be happening to them. Though, it’s totally fine if a few scenes mix it up.) I only used two choices throughout this particular story, but I might try 3 or 4 next time!

In fact, I’m currently using this method to try and smooth out an outline for my new WIP.  

It’s been a lot of fun! And really insightful, too. 

My imagination can often get bigger than the story truly needs, and this has helped me make hard decisions about efficiency. It was also really fun! 

The most unexpected lesson? A story can benefit from playing into the readers’ desires. Not everything has to be shocking or a fresh, new twist. Sometimes, giving in to what the reader wants can be just what a story needs to feel alive again. In regards to poll stories in particular, involving readers can also be exciting. Along the way, I had a few readers comment with advice for the characters, and bringing them into the character’s thoughts made it feel like the readers were inside the story. (If only there was a way to do this with novels! If I ever get a series deal, I’m totally doing a giveaway for a character to be named after a reader. That’s a promise.)  

My Twitter poll story also caught the eye of some writer friends, and I was asked some questions that I thought would be fun to share:

  • How did you plan it? I didn’t! Not at all. I literally posted the first tweet from real life, and then just ran with it. I never wanted to get ahead of myself, because readers genuinely chose paths that I didn’t think they would follow (which was so fun to see)! 
  • What was the hardest part? Keeping my eyes off Twitter! Seriously, I was having so much fun, I just wanted to spend time on Twitter all day. 
  • Any tips for starting my own? Have fun. Make sure you can post around the same time every day, so that readers know when to check in for the next poll. I post on my lunch break M-F, and let each poll run one day. Let readers know when they should expect an update.

I hope you try this exercise with your WIP. If you create an online poll story, be sure to tag me @AuthorSAT! 

I’d love to follow your poll stories, too. (And vote!)

~SAT

Speaking of voting, the election is coming up! PLEASE VOTE.

Last Day to Vote

28 Jun

June 29 Update: Minutes Before Sunset won Book of the Month on Goodreads! Check it out here, and share your thoughts in an open discussion group. Thank you so much for your support, everyone! If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here, and I owe every delightful moment of excitement to you! Thank you!

If you follow me on a regular basis, then you already know what this is, but today is the last day to vote, and I had to share it. Minutes Before Sunset is nominated for Book of the Month on Goodreads, and I’m very excited and flattered to be a part of this competition, because it’s a physical gift for all of the hard work everyone has gone through to help me achieve this.

These are the current rankings (showing the top five):

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 8.33.45 PM

As you can see, Minutes Before Sunset is in first place with 53 votes, but every vote brings me happiness through the encouragement you all have shown. In order to vote, you either need a Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. When you click on this link, join “Making Connections” (top right of the picture) so it can register the vote. 

This is another reason I’m sharing this.

Making Connections” is a great group which allows authors and readers to connect and promote their novels. For instance, Book of the Month for August is up for nominations, and every month in the future will come after. There are also groups within the groups in order to talk about marketing within the indie publishing industry and beyond. Even if you don’t vote, I highly encourage checking out this group

This is the group’s direct description online: “Over 1000 books listed to Read & Review…..come join us. This is a place for Authors, Bloggers, Publishers, Reviewers, Book Tours, Giveaways, and Interviews to make connections, find followers, ask for help with Blog Tours, Interviews, or just need some help with your blog.”

Again, please vote for Minutes Before Sunsetbut I understand if you can’t. “Making Connections” is a fantastic meeting place for authors, and I hope some of you join. You’re always welcome to add me as a friend too!

Photo on 6-25-014

Bogart and I are working hard, and by that I mean I’m working hard and Bogart is working hard to distract me with cuddles. (Don’t worry; I love it.)

As I finish up the editing of “Seconds Before Sunrise” (Book 2 of a Timely Death series), I wanted to share something I received from a reader.

Upcoming author, Gregory Lamb, gave Minutes Before Sunset 5 stars and wrote this review: 
“I loved the character development. I think young adult readers will be able to identify with them. I’m looking forward to reading the the other books in the series.”

Read this rest here, and I’m looking forward to posting more in the future. 

~SAT

July 1: Winners

July 3: Holidays in Writing

Updates: Chapter Two, Book of the Month Nomination & New Cover Photos

6 Jun

June 8th Update: My Facebook Author Page went over 400 likes tonight! Thank you for the support, everyone! Your kindness encourages the future in the best way an author can hope for.

Just a reminder: I am going on vacation, and I will be back Wednesday, June 12th. Until then, check out my new cover photos on my Facebook pages, help me by voting for my novel in the “Book of the Month” nomination from Goodreads, and check out chapter two from Minutes Before Sunset.

Book of the Month Nomination:

Minutes Before Sunset has been nominated for “Book of the Month” for July on Goodreads. If you click the link, you can vote too by seconding Christie (message 19) or any of the others who’ve voted for me. I’d really appreciate the support!

Special thanks goes to voters and supporters: Christie, Raymond, Amber, Silver Wolf, Greg Kelly, Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie, Stephanie, Nadine, and Vickie Kayuk! I really appreciate the votes! They really help, and I appreciate all the support I can get.

Goodreads: 4.55 average rating, 11 ratings, 7 reviews, added by 34 people, 23 to-reads.

New Cover Photos: 

As many of you know, I have three Facebook pages, which include the latest updates of Shannon A. Thompson, Minutes Before Sunset, and November Snow. As of yesterday, I’ve updated the cover photos of Shannon A. Thompson and Minutes Before Sunset to represent that specific page more directly. They’re below, but feel free to click the links and “like” the pages!

Shannon A. Thompson Facebook Cover Photo

I chose this collage, because it includes my three publications, and I thought it represented my history and future. I love being able to share my works, and I cannot wait to continue to do so.

three3

Minutes Before Sunset Facebook Cover Photo

Before I had an “Available Now” photo, but it’s been one month, and I thought the cover needed a change–something directly about the novel while hinting as to what the book was about. If you’ve seen the November Snow page, then you may recognize this format: I used the cover with the most popular quote from Goodreads.

MBScover

Because I’ll be gone for one week, I thought I’d leave a sneak peek into chapter two of Minutes Before Sunset. Feel free to read it below. However, I want to clarify that the novel has indentions on paragraphs and such, but WordPress won’t allow me to add them. You don’t even have to open a PDF file! 

Chapter Two: Eric:

I was raised with three simple rules:

  1. Fight defensively and offensively.
  2. Under no circumstances is it safe to reveal your identity. (Unless it’s Urte, Pierce, Camille, or anyone else the elders deemed an exception.)
  3. Win.

The last rule is my favorite, because of the dishonesty. Win didn’t mean win. It meant murder. It meant I had to kill the second descendant, the power of the Light, and I had no choice. I would get blood on my hands.

I brushed my hand along the shivering trees as my gaze darted around the darkening forest. I rarely had time to leave our underground shelter and use my powers, and I didn’t feel like wasting my night chasing Camille around in the dark.

I threw my senses out around me. The forest reeked of evergreen and pine. I could feel every prickly leaf and see every shadow. From stump to stump, I searched the darkness for Camille’s body heat. No one could avoid my radar.

Bingo. I grinned as I locked onto a girl by the river. I sprinted through the thicket, pushing past scraping branches and leafless oak trees. As I neared the forest’s opening, my body sunk into the shadows, and my skin tingled as it morphed into the chilly air. It was the greatest feeling—other than flying, of course—and I relished in the moment. The blackness of night flowed with me as I floated along the trees, the leaves, or snow. I was enveloped in silk.

I only solidified when I reached the forest’s edge. Just as I thought, a girl stood on the river’s guardrail, but she wasn’t Camille.

She didn’t have Camille’s white hair or mischievous dark eyes. In fact, this girl didn’t even look Camille’s age. She was my age, and she had the dark hair, pale eyes, and the pale skin complexion that our sect had.

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

My fingers gripped my jacket as I moved backwards, trying to conceal myself in the darkness, but the girl spun around and stared at me. She was perfectly still when her purple eyes met mine. She didn’t budge. Instead, she pointed at me, and the dark magnetically trailed her fingertips.

“Who—” She stepped off of the railing, and her eyes widened. “Who are you?”

I put my hands in front of me and stepped out of the forest. This must be one of Camille’s illusion jokes.

“Who are you?” she asked, backing up against the river’s guardrail.

I didn’t respond. Instead, I flew through the shadows and reappeared in front of her. My body heat escaped me, and she froze, completely petrified by my closeness. I laid my hand on her cheek, expecting her to disappear like any of Camille’s illusions, but she didn’t. She was real, and we were centimeters apart, teetering over the edge of the river.

She didn’t move. I had the ability to hypnotize any shade, but I hadn’t used any power. She was shaking—shivering—beneath my touch, and her heartbeat thundered her energy through my veins.

How odd. She was powerful, yet fear suffocated every bit of her being.

“Shoman!”

A shout split the air, and I sensed a body rushing through the forest. Camille was coming for me. “Where are you?”

Reflexively, I released the girl and turned to the forest, waiting for Camille to appear. Over here, I said, sending her a telepathic message. Immediately, she appeared in a beam of light.

Her dark eyes were ablaze as she picked sticks and dried leaves from her glittering hair. “What the hell, Shoman? At least tell me where you are going if you want to be alone.”

“I was with—” I closed my mouth as I waved my hand towards the nameless girl, but the ground where she once stood was empty. Nothing. No marks or anything signifying her leave. She was gone.

Impossible. No shade had ever been able to stay off my radar, yet I hadn’t felt her leave. It was as if she had never been there.

“With who?” Camille asked, trudging up to me.

“Shh,” I held up my hand and threw my senses out.

Camille tensed, and her black eyes darted around. “What are you looking for?”

“Be quiet,” I said, spinning in tight circles. My senses were useless. Nothing was there. Not even a bat or a plane. I was being blocked.

I grabbed my guard’s boney shoulders. “Camille, who else was out here tonight?”

“No one. Everyone is at the Naming,” she said, rolling her eyes. “If you haven’t forgotten, you’re supposed to be there.”

“I don’t care,” I said, ignoring the ceremony of the last harvest. It was hard to forget. A thick layer of frost coated the dying grass, and I knew that the first layer had fallen yesterday morning. As the first descendant, I always went, but my father hadn’t in years, and I was beginning to forget the point.

Camille touched my arm. “Is something wrong, Shoman?” she asked, widening her eyes. “Was someone here?”

“No,” I lied, patting her palm. “Let’s go,” I said. I dissolved into a shadow.

Minutes Before Sunset is available as an ebook and paperback on Amazon (4.5 Stars from 15 reviews), Barnes & Noble (4 stars from 5 reviews), Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, Sony, and more. 

I hope everyone has a great week! I’ll try to send pictures from my vacation. If I don’t expect some on June 12th.

~SAT

Relax & Read: Dystopian Novels on Election Day

6 Nov

Happy Election Day !

I know you probably are getting enough election propaganda shoved down your throat, so I won’t dwell on the topic. However, I woke up this morning wondering what causes me to want to vote and what causes me to encourage others to vote (no matter which candidate they are voting for).

I realized it’s essentially because people die for the right to vote while others in the world are STILL dying for the right to vote. Sometimes, I truly think we forget how truly lucky we are, but, granted, I know voting is a RIGHT, which means you don’t HAVE to do it, so today, I racked my brain, trying to figure out how to link writing and reading to voting–and not just writing and reading, because we could pick up any newspaper today and read about the election–I wanted to  connect entertainment with the desire to vote.

SO…

I encourage everyone to read or think about a dystopian world in a novel they have read recently. For example, The Hunger Games, Matched, Delirium, The Maze Runner, and Wither. All of these novels are YA, yet they are set in a dystopian world where the citizens may not have rights. As a reader, you will be transferred there, and you will read what having no control over a leader may be like (even if it is fantasy). Like I said, I’m trying to link every day entertainment with the desire to vote, and reading a dystopian novel may remind you how wonderful living with rights may be.

Hopefully, these novels will not only remind you of your world full of rights, but they will also entertain you as they did for me. In fact, I will surely post reviews on all of them on here in the future, especially Delirium (because that’s one of my favorites).

So go out and read! (But don’t forget to vote!)

WATCH ELECTION DAY RESULTS LIVE HERE

Election Day 2012
This is ME–with my voting sticker after I voted!

~SAT

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