Bücherwurm… that’s German for “Bookworm” in German. In certain parts of Germany you might hear the phrase Buch Esser (Book Eater). We’ll get to the German connection in a moment but Bücherwurm describes Merri and me. We are bookworms.. eaters of books… all devouring devotees of everything worldly in print and now in digital form that we can get our hands on.
We enjoy the literary gluttony for more than the pleasure or what’s in them… we digest them to see how they are written… what and how they communicate and importantly how they earn.
My office is like a cafeteria for…
eaters of books. I am surrounded in my two hobbies reading and chess.
Super Thinking Plus Spanish teacher, Dr. Glenn Sterling, stops by to make his move for our game of chess.
This is one of my jobs… to write but let me hastily add that… if I were just writing… I could slow down. A good writer knows his niche… his characters, subjects and genre… plus formulate plots all day long and not give a hoot about others… who writes what. If that writer is good.
Merri and I also like to help others write and more importantly love the subject of how to earn through writing. This means we have to know… to seek … to understand more… and see better what captures all types of readers.
So I buy. I skim. I get caught up. I speed read… I pick up and I put down. I have books next to my bed. I have books next to my workstation. I keep books in the car. I have books besides all the toilets in our house. All my spare time… I am reading.
I buy books at library sales. My personal libraries are swollen. Books are falling out the door! I order so many books on my Kindle that Amazon.com gives me free books.
When I read I look for books that grab me. I do not look for reasons why a book is good or bad or well written when I start. I smile and start eating (the book) and my analysis only begins when I find myself sucked in… laughing, crying, gripping my chair… holding my breath… or not.
Then I ask… “Why?”
Whether I like the book or not if it is a huge success in the marketing place, I ask the question. “Why is this such a big success?”
Usually there is a common theme. The author creates a sympathetic character striving for a worthwhile goal.
This is why the book “Show Don’t Tell: A Writer’s Guide” by William Noble is always recommended to every subscriber in our Writing Publishing Course.
A recent lesson for our online Self Fulfilled course reviewed two books as case studies on how to move a story forward. One of the books studied was “Intrepid” by Bob Gandt.
Gandt later sent this note:
You’re right on target about the power of good storytelling, whether it’s history, fiction, or just plain reportage. The “what happens next” effect.
Here’s a quote from a master historian, Stephen Ambrose: “As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next.”
Keep up the great work.
This lesson reviews two novels to dramatic effect (I hope) of the difference between “showing and telling”.
Now let’s get to the German connection that started me thinking about being a Bücherwurm.
One of these case studies is written by an American, the other is written by a German. I leave you to search out which is which and I hope you’ll tell me your guess before I reveal all in the next lesson.
I give each writer 650 words or so to capture me… to set the scene… introduce the sympathetic character striving for a worthwhile goal and to get me ready to turn the page so I’ll be willing to read Chapter Two.
This is especially important at Kindle because Amazon.com often allows readers to have the first chapter free. If the reader falls asleep half way along in the first chapter… the chances of a sale dramatically falls!
Here is the first Case Study One story. I’ll reveal the title and author next lesson.
The day everything began – as I now know– started out horrible, which is to say rock-bottom, and I should’ve taken that as a warning. But in my own defense I’ve got to say, that’s how most days used to start. In other words, never before noon, a disgusting taste in my mouth, a thick, furry otter’s pelt on my tongue, construction worker’s in a race to pound the most nails into my head and the usual craving for a cigarette, a beer and a girl.
There wasn’t any beer around. I’d actually have had to stand up to get a cigarette and haven’t gotten laid for a pretty long time. As I lay there semi comatose for a little while, it suddenly occurred to me: I was frigging late. Most days that wasn’t a problem, but on this day I had an important job for an important man. I’d really wanted to do everything right, and now I’d overslept! I guess I was lucky that the pressure in my tailpipe interrupted my peaceful slumber. Of course, if Martin were here now he’d day it wasn’t pressure in my “bladder” since Martin likes being so precise. But at the time I would get to know him only a few days later under circumstances that were for me distinctly unpleasant, which is why my wording for biological imperatives was still pretty amateurish and, I now see, imprecise.
If I had suspected that this day would determine the course of the rest of my life, I’d obviously have stayed in bed.
But I had no idea, and even looking back I can’t see any signs that might have portended any impending disaster. So I got up and headed toward my demise just as blindly as I was shuffling into the bathroom.
Normally don’t risk looking into the mirror at this hour, but since I had something planned I eventually subjected my appearance to a critical review. Now I wouldn’t want you to think that I used to express myself in words such as “critical” and “review” right out of bed; I’ve added these words to my vocabulary only because of Martin.
I actually don’t think much at all right before a shower, and if I do, it’s only monosyllabic grunting and grumbling.
So I spent a while trying to blink open my eyes that were glued shut with sleep until I could make out where the mirror was hanging, but then I suffered a mild shock as the visage staring back at me came into focus.
As the image sharpened, my recollection of Bennie’s new knife returned. He’d been brandishing the thing looking for something to slice up and demonstrate how sharp the blade was. His hunting eyes landed-on me. I was standing within reach, and he grabbed my hair with his left hand and gave me a new hair cut in a lightening strike. Because I flinched-and only because of that, as Bennie later emphasized-the blade also slit open my left eyebrow as he finished my haircut.
So a thin stripe of dried blood trailed down the face in the mirror, from eyebrow to chin, and realizing this hideous continence was in fact my own, I freaked out.
I splashed a good deal of warm water on myself until I looked somewhat civilized again, although I had spent the past five years trying to shed this kind of civilization that was the result of growing up in my parents home. But my important job required an inconspicuous appearance, and so after showering, I picked out jeans, a dark jacket, and a wool cap that hid the results of the knife incident on my head pretty well.
A final review in the dusty mirror on my wobbly wardrobe revealed the image: a medium height, inconspicuous somewhat spindly fellow with longish hair that I pulled under my cap. Nondescript appearance, dishwater blond, straight nose, weak chin and slouchy shoulders. A Joe Schmo even the most curious witnesses wouldn’t be able to give a specific description of. And that’s how I wanted to look, because I thought that that would help me. What total bullshit!
Your assignment is to read this and Case Study Two and report your thoughts to Merri and me.
Case Study Two
Aspen caught sight of herself in the mirror as she jogged down the hall towards the kitchen. She stop and smiled, pulled her ponytail tighter, and rubbed her finger across her perfectly white front teeth. She was in such a good mood this morning. If you didn’t know her, you would think her age was about nineteen, when in fact, she was actually ten years old than that. Aspen was wearing shorts, a tank top, and was running around barefoot. She had just confirmed the tickets for her and her husband Josh’s dream vacation, It may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect vacation but to her and Josh, it was something they had planned for, and dream about every since they met in college eight year earlier.
They were both avid nature lovers, and their home reflected it. The two of them loved doing any type of activity that would take them outside.
Aspen truly had a green thumb and a flair for decorating. Not only was their house totally surrounded with hundreds of plats and foliage, entering their home walking into a jungle because plants were everywhere.
Friends and acquaintances would always need to touch one or two of them, just to see if they were real.
Aspen’s love of greenery has helped in the deciding of her chosen profession.
She has a degree in horticulture which helped her to start her own business.
Aspen supplied and maintained plants in offices, hospitals and restaurants. Over the past few years, she had acquired so many clients; she now had tow other people working for her.
Aspen and Josh made their home just outside of Evergreen Colorado. The town was named after a lake, which you could see from the picture window of their home. It was a beautiful place to live, and to raise a family. They hadn’t planned on having children too early in their marriage until one day, a little over five years ago, the stick turned blue and their lives would change forever.
When their son Joshua Jeffery Goodman was born, he weighed in at 8 lbs – 11 oz, and has been known as J.J ever since.
Josh, Aspen’s husband had come from money. He was born and raised in Boston and his parents were true blue bloods, He had grown up listing to Opera and classical music, Aspen on the other hand, had parents that were only sixteen and eighteen years old when she was born, and she grew up listening to rock and roll.
Josh lived in the same house all his life until he came to C.U for college. Aspen had lived in Montana, California,Oregon, Colorado, and Washington State. At one time her parents were part of the “Rainbow” group, a large community of hippies that travelled the country with no real roots, However as time passed, her dad found a job in Colorado, and they finally settled down there.
To their credit, even with no formal education, her parents had eventually done pretty well for themselves. Her dad Jeff, did landscaping for some pretty wealthy people all over the Front Rage, aspen’s mother Shelly had taught herself to make some wonderful silver and gold jewelry. She had her own little shop in Idaho Spring Co., but was also very successful selling her jewelry in quite a few nice shops around the area, such as Evergreen, Telluride, and even Estes Park. Aspen was very proud of both her parents.
Josh’s father Tim and Aspen’s father Jeff, could not have been any more different, but had bonded with each other immediately, Josh was very close to his dad, who was a down to earth man, with a funny sense of humor. Aspen’s dad would take Josh fishing, digging for artifacts in the mountains and panning for gold.
Although Josh loved his parents unconditionally, he had found a true friend in Aspen’s father, Jeff Tringo. Because Jeff felt completely accepted by Aspen;s parents, he lived anything and everything he did with her family. Aspen’s parents Jeff and Shelby were not able to help financially, but they showered them with love and acceptance, Josh, Aspen and their son J.J., were happiest when they were with Aspen’s parents.
End of Excerpt.
Learning how to earn through writing can create excellent profits.
The stakes can be high… rewards huge as an excerpt from the LA Times article entitled “Studios gorge on young-adult fiction amid success of ‘Hunger Games’: shows. (bolds are mine, the entire article is linked below).
Here is the excerpt: The back-to-back blockbuster successes of “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and now “The Hunger Games” have turned the hunt for fresh young-adult fiction white-hot in Hollywood, as studios try to turn what used to be a phenomenon into what might be a formula.
“Young-adult literature is a genre that takes place at a specific time in your life when everything seems to be high stakes,” said Erik Feig, president of production at Lionsgate, the studio behind “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight.” “If you set stories in different worlds with unique protagonists and an element of wish fulfillment, I don’t think people will ever be tired of it.”
Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of books about teenagers forced to fight to the death in an oppressive future society has become a new standard. That’s because unlike “Twilight,” which was a hit principally with girls and young women, “The Hunger Games” has attracted men too.
As a result, in Hollywood’s latest young-adult literary purchases, romance is out. Epic battles between good and evil, in which the fate of the world rests on a young hero or heroine, are in.
“The main shift from ‘Twilight’ is the desperation for the young male audience,” said Alicia Gordon, a literary agent at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. “That’s why we are seeing darker, more action-driven stories.”
Frenzied auctions are underway for books that haven’t even been published. Studios are paying as much as $1 million for the rights to adapt titles that are relatively modest sellers, particularly those featuring science-fiction, fantasy and dystopian themes.