I used my time at the beach last week fairly well, if I do say so. I managed to read about 85% of a book in about six days, which is a much faster clip than I usually make.
The Island by S. Usher Evans is the first in her Madion War Trilogy, which I picked up at Awesome Con in April. After talking with the author for a few minutes, I decided to buy all three books at a discount.
I’m not a huge gamer. The most recent systems in our house are a Gamecube, which I’ve had for over 15 years — maybe 20, which is scary — and a PS2, which we just took from my in-laws’ house because my brother-in-law didn’t want it anymore.
However, there are a few games that I will always love to play. The main one, if you hadn’t guessed, is World of Warcraft, an MMORPG that first came out in 2004. I started playing in 2005, and I played off and on until about 2014.
Once again, the drums of Warcraft are beating in my heart, and I’m probably about to start playing again. There are a thousand reasons why I love this game, but the primary one is my love of exploring this world.
August was yet another slow month on the writing front, but I feel like a lot happened this month. I was in Chicago for two days, which seems like several months ago, and we traveled basically every other weekend we had.
I got Click. directly from the author after I won a contest on his site. I was the first to comment a random word from a video he posted, proving I actually watched it.
Click. is an exciting and action-packed story that’s easy to digest and hard to put down. As is typical with Siler’s stories, the dialogue is snappy and sarcastic, with one-liners and pop culture references peppered throughout.
I got a very interesting email today from my editor. Most of our email exchanges have to do with my writing, as you might expect, but we’re old friends from high school, so sometimes we email just to catch up and ask each other why we haven’t hung out in months.
This morning, she emailed me to say she would be teaching a creative writing class this year — she teaches high school English — and she wanted to know if I would come in to talk to her kids.
This one was a sub-headline, but I still have issues with it.
Want to learn how to write good headlines? Check this out. Perhaps it’s time to write a post about creating good sub-headlines…
What this sub-headline does right:
Tells us the author’s purpose for writing the book… I guess?
What this sub-headline does wrong:
Takes a cliche expression and makes it blander.
Doesn’t actually tell us anything about the book.
History repeats itself, if we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it, etc. This sub-headline is essentially those cliche phrases except worded more poorly.
We can glean from this snippet (and the headline if you saw it), that this is for a historical novel. What type of history? That’s a mystery! (Not even the headline made that clear.) Maybe this book is really a detective caper where we have to guess which historical event it’s actually talking about, giving us clues along the way, but then there’s a big twist at the end!
The sub-headline of a press release is supposed to provide those little extra details that are just too wordy for a short snappy headline.
Here’s the how Google populates the press release I sent announcing that WoEM had been published. See that smaller text beneath the main headline? That’s officially called the meta description, but for a press release, that’s where the sub-headline would populate.
My sub-headline isn’t perfect, but it provides at least a little extra information. Notice how Google truncates it after about 150 characters? That makes it even more important that you front-load that summary with information that potential readers can act on.
What could be done differently:
Just rewrite the whole thing. Replace it with a description of the book, perhaps an actual piece of advice that could be taken from this mysterious history lesson. Or maybe tell us When and Where the book could be purchased.
As it currently reads, this sub-headline is effectively wasted space.
Plotting the first draft of a novel can be difficult. Oftentimes, you’re not sure exactly where the story is going until you get there. Weaving together multiple characters, their micro-conflicts, and the larger plot is impossible unless you already know how the tapestry should look.