The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 27: Discussing “Bullies, Bastards & Bitches” by Jessica Page Morrell )

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 27

Remember that one time you were bullied in school and thought, “One day, Billy Bob, I will have my revenge. In fiction!”? And remember when you sat down to write that revenge story and realized you know nothing about Billy Bob but for his bad breath and powerful hand on the back of your head as your face went into the toilet bowl, wondering if maybe his bullying wasn’t even his fault (even though he was totally acting on self-will)? Did you suddenly think that writing him as a one-note monster might’ve done him a literary injustice, even though he probably deserved all injustices heaped upon him?

Is it possible that, in your tale of epic revenge, you actually wanted to get his character right because getting him wrong would make you look like the bully?

Then welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week’s book, Bullies, Bastards & Bitches by Jessica Page Morrell, is right up your alley. And before you ask, yes, that is the title, and you probably do want to get a special cover for it if you choose to read it in public, if you’re so inclined.

Do you think your villain is too mua-ha-ha and you want to motivate him more realistically? Then this book is right for you. Is your antihero too good to be considered dangerous or “anti” anything, and you’re afraid of Superman’s ego taking over? Then this book is right for you. Is your femme fatale a little dainty and nice and in need of some mud on her face? Well, read on, friend. This book is also right for you.

Heck, if you just want to write a compelling character who lives left of gray and don’t want to mess it up, then this book is right for you. Check out my video on the topic to find out more.

And the story above is an example, not a memory. Hopefully it’s not a memory for you, either.

Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction

by Jessica Page Morrell


Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 304 pages

·  ISBN-10: 9781582974842

·  ISBN-13: 978-1582974842

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; 58736th edition (July 28, 2008)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

Book Trailer: The Computer Nerd

A couple of months ago, I revised my novel The Computer Nerd with new content and an updated paperback edition.

Well, this week, I finally did something else I’ve wanted to do for a long time: I put together a trailer for it.

I might be biased, but I think it’s a good one.

If you haven’t checked out The Computer Nerd yet, you can visit one of its official pages right here to see what it’s all about.

Note: I haven’t updated the book’s information on this site since the revision because I’m moving all of my official book pages to my author site later this summer. But you can still learn plenty from the content that still remains here.

In the meantime, why don’t you check out the trailer?

Thanks for watching,

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources ( Episode 26: Discussing “The Compass of Character” by David Corbett)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 26

Aloha, hola, and hello. If you’ve stumbled onto my corner of the Internet, then welcome. Please take a look around. Consider hanging out for a while. Maybe leave a comment or two. And while you’re here, take a look at the book I’m writing about today.

Welcome to The Writer’s Bookshelf.

This week, we’re continuing our discussion about characters and the things that make them worth rooting for, this time with a more central focus on a particular character need: motivation. Our book this week, The Compass of Character, is a challenging one, but if you can digest its wisdom into bite-sized pieces, then you’ll walk away with a clarity you might not have had before. Clarity about what?

You may finally figure out what the heck your characters actually want.

Yes, it’s a much harder subject to crack than it sounds on paper. It’s still one of my weaknesses. But I’m the guy who stares at a restaurant menu for fifteen minutes, trying to decide between a plain chicken sandwich and a spicy one. It’s always about the details, right? So, this book is necessary for anyone who believes a good character motivation is to “succeed” or “not die” or “pay his taxes on time.” And this video will discuss it in greater detail if that sounds like the very mystery you need to crack today.

The Compass of Character: Creating Complex Motivation for Compelling Characters in Fiction, Film, and TV

by David Corbett


Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 288 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1440300860

·  ISBN-13: 978-1440300868

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (November 19, 2019)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 25: Discussing “Creating Characters” by Writer’s Digest)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 25

Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. If you have no idea what this series is about, then you’re in luck. Today marks our 25th episode, which means you now have 25 opportunities to catch up. Congratulations! (I realize that still doesn’t explain what this series is, but discovery through investigating the archives is half the fun, with the other half being that I outright tell you the answer. But discovery is the weightier half of fun.)

Anyway, this week, we’re discussing character creation at its most fundamental, through the wisdom of a book written by not one, not two, not three, but a bunch of authors, in the form of essays and chapter excerpts from other books, compiled into a single digest of useful information from the masters of writing digests, the editors of Writer’s Digest Books. That book? It’s called Creating Characters. And it’s about what it says.

So, yeah, this one is a can’t-miss. Or, I guess you have free will, so this is one that you shouldn’t miss.

Seriously, check it out. I did. In fact, I checked it out specifically for this series, which hopefully you’ve figured out by now if you’re new to the show.

But again, it’s about creating characters, as the title suggests. And it leaves nothing out. Or, at least nothing you’ll miss.

Okay, the stats follow. Enjoy. And, don’t forget that there’s a video attached. You should watch it.

Creating Characters: The Complete Guide to Populating Your Fiction

From the Editors of Writer’s Digest


Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 352 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1599638762

·  ISBN-13: 978-1599638768

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (November 1, 2014)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here. Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 24: Discussing “A Writer’s Guide to Characterization” by Victoria Lynn Schmidt)

Title Image for The Writer’s Bookshelf Episode 24

Did you check out last week’s 45 Master Characters and decided it just wasn’t enough information? You needed more power? Then this week, I’ve got great news.

Victoria Lynn Schmidt’s other book on character creation, A Writer’s Guide to Characterization, is this week’s subject of The Writer’s Bookshelf, and it’s one you should check out if you want to build your story around archetypal characters while figuring out how to place them. Who should be the protagonist? Who makes for a better side character? Should those two people really be lovers? This book will tell you if they’ll have a happily ever after or a battle of the flying frying pans.

It also talks about animal archetypes, you know, for completion’s sake.

Check out the video, then check out the book, then put it all to good use.

A Writer’s Guide to Characterization: Archetypes, Heroic Journeys, and Other Elements of Dynamic Character Development

by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Amazon Author Central Page

Note: Author’s website seems unavailable.

Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 224 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1599635577

·  ISBN-13: 978-1599635576

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; 8.1.2012 edition (August 27, 2012)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and do all of the things that convince me you like this kind of information and want more like it.

Book Report vs. ScribeCount: Tracking and Comparing Book Sale Reports and Royalties in the Indie Publishing Market

An important part of building an author career is to track your marketing efforts against your sales and royalties. For some, this is a numbers utopia, full of such wondrous operators like plus signs and dollar symbols. For others, it’s the antithesis of using words to create a fake reality, creating instead the type of dread that only writers can fear: “Ah, numbers! Get them off of me!”

The good news for both camps is that using traditional spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel (superior) and Google Sheets (inferior) can save an author loads of headaches when the end-of-the-year financial reports are due to the accountants. As long as the author doesn’t mind spending the final week of the year cross-posting payment information and marketing bills from his bank to his spreadsheet, then this system works perfectly fine.

But the better news is that, for those who like simplicity and free time, there are apps available that you can access on the fly whenever you want a quick report on your daily, weekly, or monthly sales progress, as well as handy little CSV icons you can click to export that same information to a ready-made spreadsheet, perfect for that accountant you’d rather not talk to.

The decision on which apps to choose comes down to which platforms you want to track (like Amazon or Google Play), which information you want to collect, how frequently you plan to check, how much privacy you want as the app runs, and how much you’re willing to pay for the privilege of making your accountant’s life easier at the end of the year.

It also depends on whether you want just financial reports or if monitoring incoming reviews and ratings reports are important, too. Oh, and sweet graphics might also play a role. Both apps have that department covered pretty nicely.

Demonstration of Book Report and ScribeCount in action.

In the above video, I discuss the pros and cons of using one popular reporting app that’s been an indie author favorite for several years, Book Report, and one up-and-comer with HUGE potential for usefulness and longevity in the market, and one that I’ve become an instant fan of the moment I heard about it, ScribeCount.

If you have time, check them both out and see if they can change the trajectory of your author career for the better. Likewise, if you’re not an author but you want to know what it’s like to become one professionally, and you’re curious whether it’s a life you want, then this also applies to you.

And don’t forget to leave a comment below if you have anything you’d like to add to the discussion.