I’m thrilled to have today’s guest, Nicholas Rossis with us. Nicholas is an author, blogger and informer of all things Indie. He is the author of several books now, and has become a multi-genre author. Besides Perseus, his epic fantasy series, Nicholas writes children’s books, short story novels on speculative science fiction, and recently delved into writing helpful tips for writers with his new book Emotional Beats.
Today we’re going to get to know Nicholas a little better, and he’ll be sharing an excerpt of Emotional Beats.
Because of the way our brains are wired, readers empathize more strongly if you don’t name the emotion you are trying to describe. As soon as you name an emotion, readers go into thinking mode. And when they think about an emotion, they distance themselves from feeling it.
A great way to show anger, fear, indifference, and the whole range of emotions that characterize the human experience, is through beats. These action snippets that pepper dialogue can help describe a wide range of emotions, while avoiding lazy writing. The power of beats lies in their innate ability to create richer, more immediate, deeper writing.
This book includes hundreds of examples that you can use for your inspiration, so that you, too, can harness this technique to easily convert your writing into palpable feelings.
Get your copy of Emotional Beats Here
Welcome Nicholas! Thank you for taking some time out from your busy life to visit with us here today to share some of your nuggets of wisdom. Let’s get started!
You’re an author, blogger, father, and web designer; how do you manage to write so many books? Do you have a set time for your writing or do you squeeze it in?
I wish! No, I just squeeze it into any available moment. Thankfully, Electra, my wife, picks up any slack, or I wouldn’t be able to do anything at all. It’s like they say, behind every great man… or not so great, in this case.
Was there something in particular that steered you toward writing epic fantasy?
I’m only (half-) kidding, of course. Fantasy requires less research than historical romance, for example. Plus, it has epic battles and all kinds of things that excite the boy within me. For someone with as little free time as me, not needing to spend months on research is a great idea. Besides, it allows me to focus on what I enjoy most; character development and the story.
What sealed the deal, though, was the fact that fantasy, like science fiction and children’s stories, free my imagination in ways that other genres fail to.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I remember myself, I have enjoyed writing. At school, many of my classmates dreaded essay-writing, whereas my essays were usually read in class (right after I polished the teacher’s apple).
In 2009, I felt ready for a career change and decided to try my hand at professional writing. A Greek newspaper had a segment called 9, which included a short science fiction story each week. I submitted my story, not expecting much.
They published it, and sent me a cheque for 150 euros. I was ecstatic. Sadly, by the time I had written and submitted another couple of stories, the newspaper had run into financial trouble and discontinued that segment. So, I sent one of the stories to a short-story competition, and, to my great surprise, it won. The story was published in an anthology called Invasion.
Can you share some advice here for new writers?
Just do it! Too many people are afraid of making a mistake, or of what others will think. Believe me, I understand those concerns—I once compared publishing your work with running naked through the town square. And yet, it’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life. Just make sure you use a professional editor that you work well with, and whose advice you’re willing to take.
That, and don’t forget to have fun. If you do it for the money, you probably haven’t done your research. Being an author is a lot of hard work, and the reason everyone knows J.K. Rowling is that she’s an exception; not the rule. You have to love writing, as pretty much anything else pays better for less work.
You became a first time father last year, congratulations! Has becoming a dad inspired new ideas for your writing?
Thank you! Being a dad has deepened my understanding of certain situations. For example, two of my heroes on Pearseus become parents. I had written their scenes before becoming a father myself, and I had to imagine what that would feel like. At the time, I thought I was overstressing how much they’d worry about their daughter. Now, I know I haven’t stressed it nearly enough.
What’s your opinion regarding whether or not to keep your books in KDP select or to diversify?
I mentioned laziness (or, if you prefer, lack of free time) earlier, and it comes to play here as well, especially as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I’ve chosen to keep my books on Select because it’s the fastest way to organize everything, from publishing a new book to updating old ones to running a marketing campaign. I have now published over 10 books, and pretty much do everything myself, which already takes up an enormous amount of time. That has real impact on my writing career; for example, I organize far fewer marketing campaigns than I’d like. Were I to publish on different outlets as well, the amount of work necessary would multiply to the point where I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
I think it’s important that you know and respect your limits, and Select helps with that.
Please tell us a little about how you came to write Emotional Beats, which is a whole new genre from your other books. And would you please share an excerpt with us.
Emotional Beats was born out of necessity. My first drafts are full of telling and dialogue, with nothing in between but nods, shrugs, and frowns. Which makes for rather terrible writing.
That’s because I only care about telling the story. Turning it into an engaging read is left for the second draft. And that’s where beats come in.
When I first started writing, I struggled to imagine the right beat for every situation. So, whenever I came up with a great one, I wrote it down for future reference. I did the same when I read a beautiful beat by another author, and went, “what a great way to show X emotion.”
It wasn’t long before I started jotting down beats and ideas onto a helpful document, imaginatively enough titled “help.doc.”
Emotional Beats contains some of the best beats I have found or written. The idea is for writers to use these as inspiration when in search of the perfect dialogue beat. They can use them as a way to avoid talking heads; to color their writing; or as a shortcut to start polishing that terrible first draft. By building their own beats around these, I hope they find them as useful as I do.
As for an excerpt, I have decided to share with my blog readers the book’s contents for free (with the exception of the last part for copyright reasons), so I am posting one chapter each week. If you don’t want to wait, need it right away or simply want to show your love, you can buy it on Amazon. Personally, I’ve already ordered my paper copy, as this will allow me to flick through it whenever I need some inspiration. Besides, I’ve enrolled it on Kindle MatchBook, which means that buyers of the print edition also get the digital one for free. Even better, I’ve made it available on Kindle Unlimited so that anyone with a Prime subscription can also read it for free.
The first parts that have already been published refer to anger and desire:
Emotional Beats: Ways to Portray Anger (http://nicholasrossis.me/2016/09/25/emotional-beats-anger/ )
Emotional Beats: Ways to Portray Desire (http://nicholasrossis.me/2016/10/01/emotional-beats-ways-to-portray-desire/)
Do you think you’ll be writing more books on the craft of writing to add to the Emotional Beats book as a series?
Oh, absolutely! I have subtitled Emotional Beats, Author Tools Book 1, and that’s because I envision a few more non-fiction books on the subject. Although I’d like to focus on book marketing first, as I freak out when I hear the amounts of money fledgling authors throw away to promote their work. Now, I only have to find the time to write it!
Thank you Nicholas for visiting with us here today and sharing some of your insights and your new book with us. You are great sharer with the Indie community and I for one, appreciate how much research you do to find helpful articles, apps and information on best methods to help market our books. It was a pleasure having you here today.
Thank you so much, Debby! You, too, are a tireless supporter of Indies, and it’s wonderful to be here.
Nicholas is all around the Internet, but the best place to find him would be his blog,http://nicholasrossis.me/ .
Anyone interested in his books can check them out on Amazon:
Also, people can read Pearseus: Rise of the Prince, the first Pearseus book, for free on:
Other places to connect with him include:
Twitter – www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Rossis
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+NicholasRossis and
And visit his Amazon Author Page to view all of his books.