Sunday, September 27, 2015

Elements of Storytelling: The Plot Twist

The unsuspecting surprise, the destiny-changing revelation, the true villain’s arrival: the ways a plot can be twisted into a pretzel of surprises are many and varied. Yet they contain a few similar requirements in order to be successful.

First off, the twist has to be something that isn’t easy to predict if you want it to be a surprise. But, at the same time, it can’t be something just randomly tossed in (at least not in the final draft of your story). It has to be a logical part of the story’s progression. The audience has to think, after the initial surprise, Ah hah! I see!

A good way to insure this is to toss in a couple foreshadowing hints along the way. If the main antagonist is someone other than who the protagonist had originally thought, the protagonist (and audience) should still have at least heard about this “new” antagonist’s name at least once earlier in the story. If the big threat the protagonist must thwart turns out to be nothing more than a trap, or a red herring, or both, then before the trap gets sprung, there should at least be a couple hints in the story to at least make the audience (and preferably the protagonist as well) suspect that it might be. If the hero’s sidekick is actually a spy working for the villain, then toss in one or two clues to cause some suspicion (but in a “Nah! It can’t be” way).

Another thing to be careful with is to not throw so many plot twists in that you lose your audience. There is no magic number on that. No “five is good but six is bad” because six might be too few, or three too many. It all depends on the story and how well prepared you are when throwing in the   twist(s)—preferably prepared ahead of time, but at minimum before you’ve finished your final edits.

Oh, and uh, like with dating don’t be predictable with any of it. Yeah, I know, goes without saying….

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Author's Guide to Marketing With Teeth Now Available in eBook Format!

Seventh Star Press is proud to announce that the eBook version of Author's Guide to Marketing With Teeth by Bram Stoker Award-winner Michael Knost is now available in eBook format!


It is currently live on the following platforms:

Synopsis: Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth is a collection of essays and interviews on marketing and advertising for authors and books. Michael Knost has spent more than a quarter of a century in marketing, working in the radio, television, and newspaper industries, as well as serving as marketing director and chief marketing officer for several large companies, including those in the automotive industry.

Mr. Knost has taken the lessons he’s learned from his extensive experience and captured the best tips and advice for authors (or anyone in the publishing industry) who hopes to increase sales and/or name brand recognition. Each chapter covers a different subject with tips on theory and execution.

And let’s not forget the interviews. Michael is also including several with successful authors to learn about their personal marketing strategies—from when they began their careers to now. You’ll hear from superstars such as Charlaine Harris, Diana Gabaldon, Jonathan Maberry, Kevin J. Anderson, Lucy A. Snyder, and Dan Poynter.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Uncivil War, Peter Welmerink's Zombie-filled Conclusion to the Transport Trilogy, Now Available in eBook!

Seventh Star Press is proud to announce that Peter Welmerink's Uncivil War, the third installment in the Transport trilogy, is now available in eBook format!

Available now on:

Featuring cover art by Jason C. Conley, and interior illustrations by Tim Holtrop, the novel follows where the action in Transport and Hunt for the Fallen left off.

All is not well in the big city of Grand Rapids. Anti-Zombie Loyalists, loyalists of the late William Lettner, have set the city ablaze... Or so thinks the mayor, ruling city council and the military authority. Little do they know, a snake dwells in their midst, creating this chaos, planning an overthrow of the city’s leadership, with intentions much like Lettner: eradicate the non-living nuisances, and also any of the living who get in the way.

Battle will rage from Grand Rapids streets, into the UCRA enclosure where the city’s protected undead wander, to a small train station and military encampment in the village of Lamont.

And all is not well for Captain Jacob Billet. Coming out of a 3-month coma, he finds he has changed. Not for the better. With the deceased William Lettner dogging his every move, and knowing his days are most likely numbered, Jake just wants to make it to his old homestead before his condition sets him on a different, and very much undesirable path.

About the Author: Peter Welmerink was born and raised on the west side of pre-apocalyptic Grand Rapids, Michigan. He writes Fantasy, Military SciFi, and other wanderings into action-adventure. His work has been published in ye olde wood pulp print and electronic-online publications. He is the co-author of the Viking berserker novel, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, written with Steven Shrewsbury. TRANSPORT was his first solo novel venture. He is married with a small barbarian tribe of three boys.

Find out more about his works and upcoming projects at:

What others are saying about TRANSPORT:

...great cover...
...absolutely love the interior notch...
...impressed with the caliber of the writing in this one...
---Bee's Knees Review

...faced with the two most common threats in modern horror, zombies and basic human does not feel like something we have seen time and time again...
---The Rage Circus vs The Soulless Void Reviews

...far more compelling than most of the zombie stories you’re likely to pick up...
...a fascinating sign of where zombie narrative, road narrative, and narrative in general might be moving...
---L. Andrew Cooper's Horrific Scribblings

Monday, September 14, 2015

Elements of Storytelling - And Action!

Action: when you hear that word, I bet the first thing you think is Kung-fu fighting, blazing guns firing off far more than their magazines can hold, and cars that blow up in total disregard to the laws of physics. While the Action genre is rife with such things, even Romance requires that characters move around and do things—usually things that you wish you had the courage and/or physical health to do with your significant other… oh wait, that would be the Erotica genre, my bad.

But whether doing something cool or just picking up a coffee cup, characters have to do things. While not every action must be done with dramatic flair, sometimes a scene just requires something a little bit more than just “he walked down the hall.” Action can be used to describe character far better than just telling, and it can also enhance dialogue. Indeed, without action, you have no story. Nobody would be going anywhere or doing anything—kinda like The Great Gatsby.

Action is such an important part of a story that it’s almost impossible to move a story along without it. Don’t believe me? Try writing an all-dialogue story once and see for yourself how hard it is to avoid action. Now write a story with no dialogue and only action. Much easier to do, now isn’t it? The importance of action can especially be seen in film. Watch an anime short (like an Aeon Flux episode) that’s all action and no dialogue or read the famous Superman issue where Superman got killed. It can be done. It works. Now just try to find a film where there’s no action at all, and only dialogue. Good luck finding that, and if you do then try not to fall asleep through it.

Action can also be used as a means to hook the reader into the story. Opening a story with “he dove off the cliff, head first toward the onrushing river, with a smile on his face” can leave a reader asking, “Why did he do that?” And thus the reader will read further in order to find out.

And who can ever forget the old Western cliché of walking off into the sunset?

So make sure you put some action into that story, especially if it’s a long story. Otherwise, Cthulu will come and eat you.