Yurika S. Grant's Author Site

Monthly Archive: April 2017

The Horrors of Marketing

 

The Horrors of Marketing

Patreon is an excellent service that lets creators earn from their work, and – with any luck and a ridiculous amount of hard work – I hope to one day be earning a living from it, alongside other income streams (because having only one is never a good plan).

Still, while Patreon is indeed excellent… boy oh boy is it also hard to figure out good marketing strategies. I’ve been there a while and, admittedly, I’ve not done a brilliant job so far. I hate marketing, hell, I think most creatives hate it, it’s a hard thing to figure out and it takes time from doing what we actually love; creating.

There’s a reason the likes of Hollywood spend millions of dollars on marketing, because they know it’s key to getting butts in seats at the cinemas. But small-time creators like me don’t have the luxury of massive budgets for marketing our works.

But market we must, if we want to get anyone to read our books, listen to our music, or play our games, so that’s why I’m writing this brief post. To talk a bit about this most vexatious of topics, to try and give you some idea of the horrors creatives go through attempting to figure this stuff out. (more…)

Getting Started As A Writer

Getting Started as a Writer

How do you get started as a writer? Simple question with a simple answer: just do it. I realise this isn’t particularly helpful advice, however, so let’s expand the simple answer into something a bit more useful. I’ll link a few good resources, both free and paid, at the end of this post as well.

First, the most important thing: to be a good writer, you must be a good reader. This is an absolute truth of the writer’s craft, simply because without having read a lot of other authors’ works, how can you expect to write anything worth a damn yourself? So step one would simply be to read as much as you can.

Not only does reading the work of others – whether that be fiction, blog, non-fiction, or anything else – give you ideas, hints, and tips on how to write in the mechanical sense, the story and plot and structure side of things, it’s also a great way to learn new vocabulary and ways to form sentences that you may never have thought of.

But beyond this, it’s also important to learn how to be effective in your writing. Readers know fluff when they see it and padding your work out with unnecessary cruft will frustrate and annoy more than entertain. Trimming the fat and tidying your prose happens during editing, but you can save yourself time and effort in the long run by writing effectively from the very first word of your first draft.

One last thing before moving on: write down anything that pops into mind while reading! Story structure, interesting twists and turns, vocab, sentence structure, character traits or quirks, anything and everything you find of interest. Write it all down so you don’t forget it and can refer to it when you write your own works. (more…)

Character Variety

Character Variety

A veritable cavalcade of variety.

Let’s say I want to write a political thriller set, in part or in whole, in Hong Kong. It’s an interesting location because, while it is technically a part of China, it’s also an independent state with its own laws and cultural and societal pressures.

As such, one of the first questions I’d ask would be: what race should my main character be? Chinese? If so, are they natural-born? From mainland China? Grew up in Hong Kong but travelled the world? Or could they be an American or British or French or German person who simply lives there and ends up being involved in something rather more than they bargained for?

The story will largely dictate at least part of the answer to this question. If there is some overriding reason for the character to be a particular race, then I will make them a particular race and build everything else up from there. But let’s say, for sake of argument, that this is just some random, regular guy who gets caught up in a dangerous spy game. Does their race matter then?

The easiest test for whether a character’s race is important to the story is to simply change it. Make your white British newspaper reporter African-American instead. Does it change anything in the story? Or in your plans for the story? No? Then mix things up a little!

But if the answer is yes? That’s even more reason to mix things up! Having them be of a different race or ethnicity or gender or sexuality can change your characters in ways you might never have thought of. (more…)

Youthful Problems

Youthful Problems

Have you ever played Rise of the Tomb Raider? If not, no worries, there are plenty of examples of what I’m going to talk about in other media. Either way, in this game the main character Lara Croft talks about a MacGuffin that can unlock the secrets of immortality. She talks about how it would change everything, stop sickness and disease, and all the usual nonsense people think up in these situations.

So let’s think for a moment about why this line of thinking is naïve and catastrophically flawed. First, yes, the basic premise Lara is discussing here is correct. A fountain of youth or other immortality device would have the potential to change the world and, more appropriately, humankind. But for the better?

Hardly. It’s true that a variety of human maladies could feasibly be either eradicated or heavily improved by something like this. But given humanity’s bloody and unpleasant history, do you honestly believe this is the outcome we could expect? (more…)