Quick Tips for Short Story Success

(From the Web Editor)

1. The main character should FACE a problem/challenge and not BE the problem. Having a main character who is deeply flawed and whom you will “fix” though the story plot does not work for young people. It feels lecture-some (at worst) and fails to connect with the reader (at best). Like adults, young people like main characters they can relate to and admire. And just like adults, most young people do not consider themselves selfish, mean spirited, or spoiled. Sure, some actually ARE…but they still think of themselves in positive ways. It’s just human nature. So if we create main characters who are selfish, mean spirited or spoiled – we create characters that the reader cannot connect with. And that makes a story fail.

2. The main character should face a problem/challenge that cannot be ignored. Your main character needs to have pressure to act. And since you’re creating an admirable character, the character will act in a way he believes/hopes will solve the problem in a positive way. For instance, if your main character faces the problem of having something in his room in the dark, that’s not something he could ignore. He couldn’t just roll over and think…well, whatever it is, I’ll just ignore it. Kids aren’t wired that way. So he’d have to try to find out what’s in his room and do something about it. So create a problem that forces positive action. And create a character you like enough that you’re first choice for what he/she will do won’t be a spoiled child action.

3. The plot will follow the actions of the main character on the problem. Overcoming must not be easy. The main character needs to pull upon something positive in him/herself in order to solve the problem. He/she may need to be unusually brave, or unusually compassionate, or unusually clever (or some combination thereof). It is by pulling upon that reserve inside him/herself that the main character will grow and change.

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Your Author Website: Three Tips for Building Your Author Website the Right Way

If you’re an author who wants to actually sell books, a solid author platform is just as important as your ability to write. There’s nothing more important to your author platform than your website.

The fact is that you are a brand, and every successful brand these days has a website that reflects its values and operates as a means of engaging, retaining and exciting “customers,” which, in your case are your readers.

Whether you’re just getting started building your author platform, or you’re looking for ways to improve your ability to retain and grow your reader base, the following tips will help you get on the right track as you begin building (or rebuilding) your website:

#1 – Take Care of Your Domain Name

If you are the brand, the URL for your website should make that fact clear. That’s why we recommend using your actual name (or pen name if you write under a pseudonym).

You can search domain names to see what’s available by using sites like domize.com. Once you’ve settled on your domain, you can purchase the name — probably for just a few dollars a year — from sites like GoDaddy, iwantmyname or hover.

Now, you may be tempted to choose a domain suffix such as “.biz,” “.info” or “.me,” but we recommend choosing the “.com” option, if it’s available. Otherwise, you might lose some valuable traffic!

#2 – The Host with The Most

Once you’ve wrapped up your domain name, it’s time to find hosting so your site has a place to operate on the web. If this is confusing, think of it this way: your domain name is the website’s address; the host provides the actual home.

There are lots of ways to avoid paying money when it comes to hosting. For example, you could set up a free site on Tumblr, redirecting it to your own URL, but the goal here is to build a great-looking, professional website, not to pinch pennies.

We recommend using paid hosting services, such as those offered by BlueHost — a company that lots of authors have used to host top-quality sites without breaking the bank.

#3 – What Powers Your Website?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a web designer with vast experience using JavaScript, HTML or CSS. Therefore, you’re going to want to select a platform for your site.

There are numerous options available, but it’s hard to ignore the power, flexibility and ease of use provided by WordPress. It’s the platform that thousands of authors around the world have used successfully to build pro-quality websites that keep readers coming back. If you’ve been wondering how you can build a site that looks and functions great without having much (if any) coding experience, WordPress will give you the ability to build a gorgeous site in just minutes.