The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine

"Fiction Writing = Organization + Craft + Marketing"

The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine

 
Publisher: Randy Ingermanson ("the Snowflake guy")
 
Motto: "A Vision for Excellence"
 
Date: January 7, 2014
Issue: Volume 10, Number 1
Personal Site: www.Ingermanson.com
 
Circulation: 7355 writers, each of them creating a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
 
"Fiction Writing = Organization + Craft + Marketing"
 
 

What's in This Issue

 
1) Welcome to the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine! 
2) Organization: Knowing When To Not Quit
3) Craft: Your Hero Has Two Brains
4) Marketing: The Two Percent Solution
5) What's New At AdvancedFictionWriting.com 
6) Randy Recommends . . .
7) What Randy is Reading
8) Steal This E-zine! 
9) Reprint Rights
 
 

1) Welcome to the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine!

 
Those of you who have joined in the past month (338 of you signed up in December), welcome to my e-zine!
 
If you missed a back issue, remember that all previous issues are archived on my web site at: www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com/ezine/

 

2) Organization: Knowing When To Not Quit


The mark of a winner is quitting. When you’re working on something that’s wrong for you, then the sooner you quit, the better.

 

The mark of a loser is hanging on to some project that’s doomed to fail, letting it drag you down. When you do this, you’re stealing time from working on the project that could make you a big success.

 

The hard part is knowing when to quit. The harder part is letting go of something that’s a loser. 

 

Recently, a friend of mine recommended Seth Godin’s short book, THE DIP, which is about knowing when to quit. It’s a good book which you can read in less than an hour.

 

The full title and subtitle of Seth’s book is The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick).

 

Here’s a summary of the book, and then I’ll add my own thoughts at the end, because I don’t fully agree with Seth.

 

Why You Want To Be The Best In The World

 

As I’ve explained before in this e-zine, the universe is grossly unfair. It’s because of something called the Pareto Distribution. You might know it as “the 80/20 rule,” which works like this:

 

The  wealthiest 20% of people in the country have 80% of the total wealth.

 

But the 80/20 rule applies to that top 20%, which means that the top 20% of the top 20% have 80% of that 80%. When you do the math, it means that the wealthiest 4% of people in the country have 64% of the total wealth.

 

And the 80/20 rule applies to that top 4%. Doing the math yet again, the wealthiest .8% have 51.2% of the wealth.

 

You can keep applying the rule until you hit the very top of the pile. What you find is that it pays off massively well to be #1. Being #10 typically pays off far less. Even being #2 typically earns you only about half what you’d earn if you were #1.

 

The 80/20 rule is pervasive. It applies to cities, countries, corporations. It applies in professional sports. In the National Spelling Bee. In the music world. In the acting world.

 

And it applies in the writing world.

 

The lesson Seth takes from the 80/20 rule is that if you’re looking for the biggest possible score, then you want to be #1. You want to be best in the world in whatever you do.

 

Let’s be clear that what you do is typically defined by a niche market. You might write cozy Amish mysteries. Or steampunk romantic suspense. Or humorous vampire CIA thrillers.

 

The 80/20 rule applies to every niche. No matter what subcategory you write for, the rewards are greatest if you can be #1 in that field.

 

Which is hard. Nobody would claim it’s easy. It’s incredibly hard to be the best in the world. It takes a wickedly great combination of talent, training, hard work, and luck.

 

The point is that the rewards are wildly out of proportion to the effort. 

 

If You Can’t Be The Best In The World, Then Quit


It’s really hard to be the best in the world at anything. Insanely hard. 

 

For starters, you’re going to need talent. If you’re five feet tall and weigh a hundred pounds, you are not going to be the best linebacker in the world. If that’s your dream, then walk away, because you aren’t going to get there, no matter how bad you want it.

 

Second, you’ll need training. A ton of it. You’ve probably heard that it takes about ten thousand hours of practice to become world-class in anything. Malcolm Gladwell made this idea popular in his book OUTLIERS, and there’s a lot of evidence that it’s true.

 

Ten thousand hours takes five years, working eight hours per day, five days per week, fifty weeks per year. 

 

Five years, full time. 

 

Ten years, half-time.

 

Forty years, working one hour per day.

 

If you’re going to be best in the world at one thing, you don’t have a lot of time to spend on other things. You really need to put most of your eggs in one basket.

 

If you’re trying to be the best in the world at six different things, then forget it. You won’t live long enough. Walk away from five of those things and focus on one thing. The One Thing that you have the most talent and the most desire to achieve.

 

If You Can Be The Best In The World, Then Give It All You’ve Got

 

So let’s say you’ve decided on the One Thing you want to be the best in the world at. And let’s say you’ve dropped all those other things that are stealing time from your One Thing. 

 

So now it’s a shoo-in to get to be best in the world, right?

 

Nope. Wrong. Uh-uh. You still have to execute.

 

Now go put in your ten thousand hours.

 

And don’t just go through the motions on those ten thousand hours, because the competition is fierce. You need to give it your best effort. If you don’t, somebody else will.

 

There’s nothing magic about ten thousand hours of non-quality time. Ten thousand hours is necessary but not sufficient.

 

And don’t forget to be lucky, because luck often plays a crucial role in reaching #1.

 

That’s my best summary of what I got out of Seth’s book, THE DIP. But I have more to say.

 

Counting the Cost

 

A wise man once said that you need to count the cost before you go after something. And he’s right.

 

When you think about it, being best in the world at anything is insanely hard and insanely unlikely. Sure, the rewards are huge. But maybe you just don’t have the talent. Or the desire. Or the time. Or the luck.

 

Maybe it’s just not possible for you to be best in the world.

 

What then? Are you up a creek?

 

Not exactly. 

 

Goal-setting doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. The top writer in the world in any given year takes home somewhere between fifty and a hundred million dollars. Sure, that’s a lot of money, but do you need that much?

 

In that same year, there are a bit more than 100 writers who earn over a million dollars. 

 

This means that if you set your sights just a little lower, you increase your chances of getting there by 100.

 

Now here’s the important point. If your goal is to be in the Top 100 writers, you get there by following the same procedure as if you were shooting for #1. Here’s the procedure:

  1. Make a conscious decision that you want to be in the Top 100. (Or Top 1000, or whatever select group you want to be in).
  2. If you know that you can’t reach this goal, then walk away and cut your losses now, so you can focus on a goal that is reachable.
  3. If you know that you can reach this goal, then give it all you’ve got.

 

Getting Practical

 

The hard part is walking away from something that you’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money into. There’s something in each of us that doesn’t want to “waste” that investment. 

 

But the cold fact is that it’s crazy to keep pumping in more time, energy, and money into something that’s doomed.

 

When you do that, you’re robbing yourself. You’re making it harder for you to succeed in the One Thing that you could be excelling in.

 

It’s a tough decision to walk away from something. I’ve had to do it several times in my life, and it always felt like amputating a foot. 

 

Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. What’s the One Thing you have the best chance to excel in? Do you have the talent? Do you have the desire? Are you willing to put in your ten thousand hours to become great at it?
  2. What’s holding you back? What other things are cluttering up your life, keeping you from pursuing your One Thing?
  3. What are you going to do about it?
Here is a link to THE DIP at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
 

3) Craft: Your Hero Has Two Brains


How many times have you read a novel and been annoyed because one of the characters makes a stupid decision? You know it’s stupid. The author knows it’s stupid. 

 

But the character doesn’t know it’s stupid. She thinks it’s smart. She reasons it all out using horrible logic and comes to a stupid decision, because the author needed her to make a stupid decision so as to add some plot twist to the story.

 

What’s gone wrong is that the author got lazy. He knows that people make bad decisions all the time. He needs a bad decision to get his character in trouble.

 

And he lets the character use bad logic to reach that bad decision. He makes the character be stupid.

 

But that just makes the author look stupid.

 

It’s the wrong way to make the right thing happen.

 

Yes, you absolutely must throw your characters into danger. Over and over. Your characters must do stupid things.

 

But they’d better do them for the right reasons.

 

And yes, there can be a good solid reason for behaving irrationally.

 

I’ve just finished reading an amazing book on what makes people do stupid things. The title of the book is THINKING, FAST AND SLOW.

 

The author is Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who never took a single course in economics, yet won the Nobel prize in economics in 2002.

 

Kahneman has spent his long career studying why people do things. Why do they sometimes make irrational decisions? (The conventional wisdom among economists for many years was that people act in their own best interest. Kahneman and his collaborators showed that people often don’t.)

 

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW is the best nonfiction book I’ve read in the past year. If you’re a novelist and you care about how people think, you need to read this book.

 

It’s a long book, but it’s not hard to read. Prepare to be astonished.

 

In this article I’ll give you a few (a very few) tidbits from the book.

 

Your Intuitive Brain

 

Let’s switch gears for a second. Here’s a simple math problem for you:

 

 

Suppose you’re at the store and you see a baseball bat bundled with a baseball. The price for the ball and bat together is $1.10. You ask the clerk how much the bat costs all by itself. 

 

The clerk grins and says, “The bat costs exactly $1.00 more than the ball.”

 

Quick, how much does the ball cost?

 

 

Have you got the answer?

 

If you’re like most people, your mind’s first reaction, almost instantaneous, is to say that the ball costs 10 cents. That’s your intuition speaking.

 

And your intuition is wrong. The ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05. 

 

If you work this out with your rational side, it’s an algebra problem that takes a couple of seconds. 

 

But your intuitive side instantly barrels in, suggesting the wrong answer much faster than your rational side can do the algebra. Unless your rational side intervenes and insists on checking the answer, you’ll get the problem wrong.

 

More than 80% of US college students get this problem wrong. Even at elite universities like Harvard, more than half get it wrong.

 

The human brain is a funny thing. Your intuition is incredibly fast, but it can lead you astray without you knowing it. And this, I think, is a useful thing for a novelist to know when he needs to get somebody in trouble.

 

Daniel Kahneman’s book, THINKING, FAST AND SLOW, gives hundreds of examples of the strange foibles of the intuitive side of the brain. 

 

Would you rather receive $3400 right now, or $3800 a month from now?

 

Most people would take the money now. Their intuitive side wants the money right away, even though it’s rationally better to wait.

 

Your Risk-Averse Brain

 

Would you bet $100 on a single fair coin toss if the payoff for winning was $110?

 

It’s a rational bet to make, but most people wouldn’t. Their intuitive side is terrified of risk. If they take the bet, they could possibly lose $100, and human intuition is designed to avoid losing. The typical payoff that makes a human’s intuitive side happy is $200. That’s enough to balance out the fear of losing $100. 

 

Yes, the rational thing would be to take the bet if the expected win is positive. But your intuitive side doesn’t like it. The pain of losing is greater than the good feeling of winning.

 

This was one of the most surprising things I read in the book, because lots of people go to Las Vegas and gamble on bets that have a slightly negative expected payoff. Kahneman doesn’t discuss the psychology of this, but my best guess is that it’s related to the following fact.

 

The very strange thing is that people really like gambling when the payoff is huge, even if the odds are heavily against them.

 

Suppose you have a chance to win $100 million in the lottery. There are 200 million tickets, and each one costs $1. Would you buy one?

 

Most people would, even though the ticket costs twice the “fair” value. Why? Because the payoff is huge and the cost is low. Buying the ticket gives the possibility of radically changing your life. Your intuitive side loves possibilities.

 

Your intuitive side sees that you stand to gain $100 million and you stand to lose only $1. Your intuition doesn’t care a fig about the odds. The amount to gain is vastly bigger than the amount to lose. Decision made.

 

So why do people go to Vegas to gamble? Kahneman doesn’t say, but here’s what I’m guessing. Even though the odds of each particular bet are against you, it’s possible to have a long run of luck and let your money ride and come home with a big payday. It’s not likely, but it’s possible.

 

We’ve all heard stories of people who did it. So the trip as a whole has a possible big payoff, even though each individual bet is against you. And your intuitive side loves possibilities. 

 

In fact, your intuitive side is heavily swayed by the way possibilities are presented. Here’s an example:

  • Your surgeon tells you that the operation has a 99% survival rate. You feel highly optimistic, and you’re eager to have the operation. Because the doc focused on survival.
  • Your surgeon tells you that the operation has  a1% death rate. Oh my god! You have a 1 in 100 chance of DYING right there on the table! No, no, no! You’re scared out of your wits. Because the doctor focused on death.

Notice that the surgeon is giving you the exact same information in both cases. A 99% survival rate means a 1% death rate.

 

Your rational side gets this, but your intuitive side doesn’t. 

 

Yes, your rational side can talk your intuitive side off the ledge. But only if you give your rational side a fighting chance. If your rational side is out of practice or it’s been misinformed or it’s dulled by alcohol or it’s shouted down by your intuitive side or it’s smothered by lust, then you have all the ingredients you need for a bad decision.

 

Your Associative Brain

 

Your intuitive side is also very strong on making associations between words.

 

If you play a word game and happen to see the words “Florida” and “forgetful” and “bald” and “wrinkled”, then for a short time after you finish playing, you will walk more slowly than normal. You will act old, even though you didn’t actually see the word “old.” Your intuitive side does that free-association thing and it affects your body.

 

When you read a sentence that uses a lot of long words in it, you tend to disbelieve it more than if it were written using short words. Your intuition tells you that somebody is trying to snow you.

 

If you read a sentence that has an internal rhyme, such as “Woes unite foes,” you tend to believe it. Somehow the rhyme gives it credibility. And that’s bizarre. What do you think? Is it really true that “Woes unite enemies?” But that’s the same thing as “Woes unite foes.” Even though your rational side knows this, the rhyme still rings more true to your intuitive side.

 

Your intuitive side is eager to accept the easy answer. But here’s a strange thing. Remember that baseball bat problem? If you read that problem in a font that’s nearly illegible, your rational mind will have to work harder just to read the question. And you’ll be more likely to get the right answer. Just because the font is bad. Just because your rational side is more engaged in the problem.

 

Your intuitive side loves to jump to conclusions. Your rational side is perfectly able to check those conclusions, but it’s way slower than your intuitive side. Your intuitive side requires no effort at all. It’s always on, always tossing out answers. Your rational side takes time and effort to work. If you max it out, your intuitive side may just step in and solve a simpler problem. And you may not even notice.

 

This means that your intuitive side can quickly and easily leap to a wrong conclusion. Your rational side will have to work hard to check the conclusion, and it’ll take much longer. So a lot of times, your rational side just doesn’t bother to check.

 

Most of the time, this doesn’t matter. The reason you have intuition is because it’s often right, or close to right. Intuition is good. It’s just not perfect.

 

The Lesson For Novelists

 

When you need your character to make a bad decision, you can’t afford to let him use his rational side. You have to do an end-run around that.

 

You need to appeal to his intuition. You need to find a way to get his intuition to cheat him.

 

How do you do that? There are zillions of ways. Read Daniel Kahneman’s book, THINKING, FAST AND SLOW, and you’ll learn a few hundred ways. 

 

And once you’ve absorbed a few hundred examples, your intuition will be trained and you’ll be able to easily invent a billion ways to defeat your characters’ intuition.

 

Yes, really. Your rational side can train your intuition to get other people’s intuition to do an end-run on their rational side.

 

If that isn’t twisted, I don’t know what is.

 

Here is a link to THINKING, FAST AND SLOW at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

 

4) Marketing: The Two Percent Solution


Let’s say you want to double sales of your book this year. That’s a great goal, but probably impossible, right?

 

Not really. It’s actually quite possible if you break things down a bit and then focus on essentials.

 

The Three Phases of Marketing

 

Over the past year or two, I’ve written columns in this e-zine several times about the three basic phases of marketing:

  1. Attraction—people who never heard of you become aware that you exist.
  2. Engagement—they then learn enough about you to know that you have a book they might want.
  3. Conversion—they then pull out their wallet and buy your book.

 

The important point is that these three phases must happen in that exact order.

 

You have to attract a new potential customer before you can engage them. You have to engage them before you convert them. You have to convert them to get paid.

 

If ANY of these three phases is broken, then your entire marketing plan is broken.

 

So let’s assume that your marketing plan is actually working. You’re actually selling copies, and you just want to be selling twice as many per month, this time next year.

 

How do you do that?

 

How To Double Sales This Year

 

The good news is that you have many options to get there.

 

If you double the number of people you Attract, and if you continue to Engage them and Convert them just as effectively, you’ll double sales.

 

OR if you Attract the same number of people but double the fraction of those who become Engaged with your work, then you’ll also double sales.

 

OR if you Attract and Engage the same number of people, but double the fraction of those who are Converted, then you’ll also double sales.

 

You might also choose a balanced approach. Let’s say you Attract 26% more people, and you Engage 26% more of those you Attract, and you Convert 26% more of those you Engage. Then you’ll also double sales.

 

I did the math. 1.26 x 1.26 x 1.26 = 2.

 

That’s starting to sound more doable, isn’t it?

 

And you have a whole year to boost each of those phases by 26%.

 

That means that each month, you need to boost each phase by 2%. There’s a compounding effect here. A 2% gain each month compounds into a bit more than 26% in a year.

 

2% per month is very doable, isn’t it?

 

Getting Practical

 

How could you get there from here?

 

Make a list right now of all the ways you could Attract more people who never heard of you to your web site. I bet you can think of a dozen. Write them all down, even the bad ones. Get creative. Do a little research. Talk to some friends. Try for two dozen.

 

Now make a list of all the ways you could then Engage those people once they get to your web site. Again, I’d bet you could easily think of a dozen ideas and with a little work you could stretch it to two dozen. Sure, some of them will be bad ideas, but that’s OK. The point is that some of them are bound to be good. Just focus on getting them all written down somewhere.

 

Finally, make a list of all the ways you could Convert those people to paying customers. Good ideas, bad ideas, get them all down on paper.

 

If your mind is stalling out on any of these, remember that there are all sorts of books out there on each of these phases. There are all sorts of articles on the web. I’ve written a large number of articles on each of these phases over the years in this e-zine.

 

Now here’s the key thing. Sort each of the lists from best to worst. If your lists are very big at all, you’ll find some excellent ideas. Put those at the top. The bad ideas can drift down to the bottom where you’ll ignore them forever. A bad idea costs you nothing if you never try to execute it. A good idea earns you money forever, once you start executing it.

 

On the first Monday of the month, pick ONE idea from each list. You have three lists, so that means you have three tasks for the month. Do those tasks. That’s all. You don’t have to do anything else for the month.

 

Measure Your Results

 

For extra credit, figure out a way to measure the number of people you Attract, the number you Engage, and the number you Convert.

 

Measuring Attraction is fairly easy. Google Analytics is your friend here, or any other web statistics tool. You’re interested in page views and number of visitors. You want to see those numbers rising over the next year. All you need is 2% more per month.

 

Measuring Engagement is quite a bit harder. Google Analytics has some tools that might help—you can count how many people stay on your site longer than five minutes, for example, or you could count how many people view more than five pages on your site. Or you might just count comments on your blog. You’re interested in measuring whether people are actually interested in your web site. Again, all you need is a 2% rise per month.

 

Measuring Conversion is easy if you’re an indie author, because you can see your sales numbers directly on Amazon and all the other major retailers. 

 

It’s harder if you’re traditionally published, but you do get a royalty statement twice a year, and some publishers are now making sales data available online. And Amazon Author Central will show you weekly sales of paper books as measured by Bookscan. If you compare the Bookscan numbers to your royalty statements, you can figure out what fraction of all sales that Bookscan is reporting.

 

Now Go Do It

 

Attract, Engage, Convert. Improve each of these by 2% per month, and you’ll double sales in a year.

 

Want to give it a try for this coming year? You’ve got nothing to lose, and plenty to gain.

 

Give it a whirl and let me know what happened, next year at this time.

 

 

5) What's New At AdvancedFictionWriting.com

 

Writing Schedule

I’ll be visiting Las Vegas in a couple of weeks to do some last-minute research for my novel Triple Cross. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, and there are a few local color details I want to get right.

 

In the meantime, I’m working on formatting my City of God series of time-travel historical suspense novels. My graphic artist is working on a set of covers for this series. When it’s ready, I’ll release them.
 

Teaching Schedule

I normally teach at four to six writing conferences per year. In 2014, it looks like I’ll be attending five conferences, and I think that’ll be my limit for the year.

 

Why don't I teach at more conferences? Because teaching is an incredibly demanding blood sport and it sucks a huge amount of energy out of my tiny brain. I prefer to put my absolute best into a few locations than to muddle through at many.

 

Here’s what my calendar shows me for 2014:

  • In February, I’ll be teaching six workshops at the Writing for the Soul conference in Colorado Springs. Details are here.
  • In April, I’ll be on the critique team and teaching a few sessions in the Professional Track at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference in central California. Details are here.
  • In August, I’ll be teaching a six-hour course, “Passive Marketing 101,” at the Oregon Christian Writer’s conference in Portland. More details soon.
  • In September, I’ll be teaching a three-hour-plus session, “How To Be An Insanely Great Indie Author,” at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in St. Louis. Details are here.
  • In October, I’ll be attending the Novelists, Inc. Conference in St. Pete, Florida. No details yet.

If you'd like me to teach at your conference in 2015 or beyond, email me to find out how outrageously expensive I am.

 

If you'd just like to hear me teach, I have a number of recordings and e-books that are outrageously cheap. Details on the products page of my web site.
 
 

6) Randy Recommends . . . 

 
I don't take paid ads for this e-zine. I do, however, recommend people I like.
 
 
I'm a huge fan of Margie Lawson's courses, both the ones she teaches in person and the ones she sells on her web site at www.MargieLawson.com
 
Margie is a psychologist who applies what she knows about human psychology to writing fiction. I believe her material is brilliant. Check her out on her web site!
 
 
I've also become a fan of Thomas Umstattd's terrific uncommon-sense thoughts on internet marketing. You can read Thomas's blog at: www.AuthorMedia.com/blog
 
Thomas and his crew at AuthorMedia are the folks who reworked my web site recently, and I'm extremely happy with the results.
 
 
Please be aware that in this section I ONLY recommend folks who have never asked me to do so. Tragically, this means that if you ask me to list you here, I will be forced to say no. 
 

7) What Randy is Reading


You might be interested in some of the books I’ve been reading recently. I’m omitting books I started and didn’t finish. I’m also omitting books that were horrible but I read anyway. (There are certain aspects of the craft of writing that you can only learn by reading really wretched fiction and asking yourself what makes it so bad.)

 

Here are the good ones from December:

 

 

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. A fantastic non-fiction book about how the human brain makes decisions. You have two systems for thinking, a fast, intuitive, mostly accurate system, and a slow, rational, easily-overloaded system. The better they play together, the better your life. If you want to manipulate people, this book will tell you how, so politicians and psychopaths will love it. If you want to avoid being a manipulee, here is your chance to learn how the politicians and psychopaths are trying to work your brain against you.

 

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A classic novel that I saw listed super cheap on BookBub and grabbed because I had a terrible high-school education and never read any of those books that everybody is supposed to read. It’s New York in the 1920s, and everybody knows the mysterious Mr. Gatsby, but nobody knows the mysterious Mr. Gatsby.

 

The Dip, by Seth Godin. A non-fiction book by the world’s greatest marketer on how to become the best in the world at what you do. A fast read and well worth a read.

 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, by James Thurber. A classic short story that I read long ago, and grabbed when I saw it listed cheap on BookBub.

 

A Time To Kill, by John Grisham. One of the best-selling novels of the 1990s. I read it when it first came out and really loved it. When I saw the e-book available cheap on BookBub, my weak-minded intuitive brain insisted that I grab a copy. My rational side noted a few flaws on a second reading, but it’s still an explosive book about race relations in the South. A black man kills the two white-trash rapists who violated his daughter. Will an all-white jury convict him of murder?

 

David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell. A non-fiction book by an author who always has interesting things to say. This time, it’s all about the advantages that the small and agile have over the big and slow. Some lessons for indie authors may be hiding in these pages.

 

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. This has been my all-time favorite science fiction novel ever since I first read it. When the movie came out recently, a cheap e-book version was also published, so I grabbed it and read it again. This is probably my fifth time reading it, and it’s still a great read. I didn’t think the movie quite captured it, but movies hardly ever do.

 

Hidden in Plain Sight, by Andrew Thomas. A non-fiction physics book for regular people. The book is intended to clear up the connections between quantum mechanics and gravity, which is the BIG question left over from 20th century physics. I don’t think it solves any central problems, but it’s worth reading, especially if you don’t know much about physics and what it is we’re trying to understand about this pesky universe we call home. Is it true that there are zillions of parallel universes, or is that just another dumb idea that lots of smart people believe?

 

Sycamore Row, by John Grisham. The latest novel by John Grisham, set in the same Mississippi county as A Time To Kill, but much more recent. It stars the same lawyer, Jake Brigance. A wealthy white man has committed suicide and left a handwritten will that cuts his children out of any inheritance and leaves most of the money to his black housekeeper. Jake’s job is to fight the challenge by the brats, who want the money. But he’ll lose this case if the kids can prove that the old man was playing naughty with the woman. Who’s lying and who’s not?

 
 

8) Steal This E-zine!

 
This E-zine is free, and I personally guarantee it's worth at least 577 times the price. I invite you to "steal" it, but only if you do it nicely . . .
 
Distasteful legal babble: This E-zine is copyright Randall Ingermanson, 2014.
 
Extremely tasteful postscript: Yes, you’re allowed to e-mail this E-zine to any fiction writer friends of yours who might benefit from it. 
 
Of course you should not forward this e-mail to people who don't write fiction. They won't care about it.
 
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9) Reprint Rights

 
Permission is granted to use any of the articles in this e-zine in your own e-zine or web site, as long as you include the following 2-paragraph blurb with it:
 
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
 
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 7,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.
 
 

The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine is Published by:

 
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