The Challenge: #7X7X7X7

One of my TwitterFriends, that magnificent bastard Argyle Hartley, recently invited me to take the #7x7x7x7 challenge. I have magnanimously accepted! The rules are: you post the next 7 lines after the 7th line on the 7th page of a work in progress and then invite 7 other writers to do the same.

Sounds pretty simple, so here it is. 7 lines from my adult, sci-fi comedy serial, Champ McKay, Texas Space Ranger.

The woman laughed. “Well, Ranger. You aren’t in Texas anymore. You are a little out of your jurisdiction.”

“My jurisdiction extends out into the territories too,” I protested. I wasn’t about to let this purple woman confuse the issue.

She nodded. “That would be very well and good if we were in the territories, but I’m afraid we are not. In fact, it is safe to say, you are nowhere near your legal jurisdiction anymore.”

The snake man laughed at that but stopped when she gave him a warning glance.

“Well, where in the hell am I?”

“Ranger, you are in the headquarters of the Orion Rangers. We are the law in this sector.”

There you have it. seven lines of the first episode of Champ McKay. Now I have to challenge 7 other writers.

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Busy Brain

Being a creative person is usually a good thing…except when I have too many ideas percolating in my brain. Then, being creative merely means I’m a person with insomnia. I go to bed, try to shut down and my mind kicks into overdrive.

Sleep? That only happens after every idea and scenario have played themselves out.

To make matters worse, the ideas really aren’t ones I can use. At least, not right now. I already have more projects on the go than I probably should. More new ideas just add to the angst I feel at not spending more time writing on the ones I have.

And they distract from the stories I’m trying to write; all that brainwork isn’t helping me move forward on current stories.

<le sigh>

The only thing I’ve found that works is to let my brain run its course, jot down notes and keep rereading my other works-in-progress to try and reboot things.

How about you? Does this ever get in the way of your writing?

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I love hearing from my readers but…

This is one of those phrases I never thought would end in the word, “but”.

And even though I have said those words, the “but” is a soft one. Still, it is important to explain why I have caught myself saying those words on more than one occasion.

As a writer I love hearing how people are enjoying my work. As a writer who is trying to make a living writing, hearing this doesn’t help as much as you might think.

While it does serve to motivate me to write more, the unfortunate truth of the situation is, me knowing you liked something I did doesn’t spread the word. It doesn’t let other readers know you like my work and why.

That’s where reviews become so very important.

For example, Scouts of the Apocalypse has earned me several emails of praise and more than a few verbal comments. Unfortunately, there is only one solitary review up on Amazon (as of this date) and none on Goodreads (unless you count my own).

That means anyone who stumbles upon the book will likely pass right on by never knowing how good (or bad) the book may be.

I think it was Paul E. Cooley who said, reviews are the only real way to get new readers. I would agree with that, at least where Amazon, Kobo, and other online retailers are concerned.

That is why so many authors are willing to give away free copies of their books in exchange for reviews. The review is much more valuable than a single sale; it might actually generate more sales. And if those folks who purchase the book also leave reviews it can make even more sales happen.

And so on.

So, please. Go out right now and write a review for whatever books you have read recently (whether they are mine or not although I hope mine are included). The review doesn’t need to be long and in-depth. A one line review saying you liked the story, characters, setting or whatever along with your number of stars helps immensely. (*Note, reviews that are not helpful, e.g. “Book sucked.” are not really wanted. If you didn’t like something explain why, please.)

***

As I was writing this, it occurred to me that part of the reason people don’t write reviews is they may not know what to say. For those people I have created a short, sweet review template (see below). Fill in and pick the thoughts that work best for you.

I recently read BOOK TITLE by author name and loved it/liked it/was okay with it/disliked it. I found the characters to be interesting/boring/two-dimensional/well-rounded. The storyline drew me in/didn’t engage me/was lacking/was totally submersive and I couldn’t stop reading/couldn’t keep reading it.

I recommend you read it too/avoid it like the plague.

You can mix and match any of the above, add your own or simply finish with a comment about what was special about the book.

I hope this helps and please, for the love of all that is holy, put reviews up! :)

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