Poorly Written Headlines #2

This has been a bit of a slow week, so I thought I’d do another edition of Poorly Written headlines. It’s been a while since I did the first of these, so here’s a refresher on strategies to writing good press release headlines and sub-headlines.

What this headline does right:
  • Tells us the author’s name and book title (both redacted)
  • Tells us the genre: action thriller
  • It’s at least 63 characters long (depending on the real author and title length), but the phrase parallel universe would likely be cut off in listing pages, so all we’re really left with is the Who  and the What
What this headline does wrong:
  • Describes the book as taking place in a parallel universe

This headline is more of a statement than a news announcement. It reads as if it was pulled from a descriptive paragraph and slapped into the headline.

Why does it matter that this book takes place in a parallel universe? The vast majority of speculative fiction takes place in some form of alternate reality, whether it’s our universe with some weird shit happening, or a completely unique fantasy world.

Try searching for “parallel universe” on Google and you’ll get 500 million results. Add “books” to that search, and the top bar will show works by authors ranging from Pratchett, to Asimov, to Pullman. The book named in this headline is not competing with those names.

What could be done differently:

Basically, the back half of this headline is fluff; it has no real meaning, and it’s not doing the press release or the book it’s promoting any favors by being so generic.

Instead, the author could hint at why this parallel universe is interesting, or maybe provide a news announcement, such as the release date. Here’s an example without completely butchering the format:

[Author’s] exciting action thriller, [Book’s Title], will be Released this Summer!

It’s not perfect, but it provides some valuable information to the reader–they should check out this book and add it to their summer reading list.

What do you think? How would you make this headline pop more?

Steve D

Wattpad Friends!

I promise I didn’t forget to post today. I just neglected to. So in lieu of a post, I bring an update from the land of Wattpad, where you can read “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan” for free.

As of May 25, the five published chapters of my mythic fantasy series had a grand total of 9 reads and 0 votes. I was honestly considering whether it was worth continuing publishing on Wattpad once all 12 chapters were up.

But then I got an incredible comment from that nice user up there (comments are public, so I have no qualms about sharing them here).

Since then, my total reads have jumped to 17, with 1 vote on my first chapter! Hopefully, all those new readers continue onto later chapters, but it’s just a great confidence boost to see a random person enjoying my work and passing it on to his friends.

That’s it for now.

Steve D

Chapter 5 of “The Grand Mythos” is Live!

Chapter five of “The Grand Mythos of Úr’Dan” just went up yesterday. And I’m shortening my publication schedule again. Look out for the next chapter in just three weeks!

“The Blood Seas and the Womb of the Earth” is the longest chapter yet in my series, and I would argue the most exciting. A new character arrives!

Genre: fantasy, high fantasy, mythic fantasy

Chapter Blurb: The First Four Vai’ad have begun to shape the Void to their liking, but Go’Dan wishes to create new life. They will soon discover that by combining their powers, the Vai’ad can truly master their world.

Series Blurb:

Every world has its folktales, but even folktales carry a part of the truth. Follow the first beings in the universe as they try to bring order and life to their home. Witness the creation of the vibrant world of Úr’Dan, and the fantastic creatures who live there. Based on the unique fantasy universe of the novel, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento.

Go to Wattpad to read it for free: 

https://www.wattpad.com/735558922-the-grand-mythos-of-%C3%BAr%27dan-volume-one-1-5-the

Steve D

Blog Rewind: My Philosophy of Ice and Fire

Nearly two years ago, in anticipation of season 7 of Game of Thrones, I wrote a piece about what I view as the philosophy of the books and show.

At the time, I was excited to see how the show would tidily wrap up all of its weaving plot threads in two unnecessarily truncated seasons. Oh, how naive I was.

Still, it wouldn’t be ethical of me to espouse philosophical theories about a fictional universe and not actually revisit them at the story’s conclusion. Let’s see how my predictions panned out in the wake of the series finale!

Beware! Here be spoilers…

Continue reading “Blog Rewind: My Philosophy of Ice and Fire”

Abortion Rights are not about Your Feelings

Don't tread on me

They’re about autonomy.

Autonomy for a living, breathing woman to decide–for whatever reason or in whatever circumstances–that she does not want to carry a baby to term.

It doesn’t matter that abortions make you uncomfortable. No one likes abortions. Nor does it matter that it’s against your religion, your personal moral code, or your sense of decency.

If you argue that a woman does not have autonomy over her own body, you are arguing for the oppression of all women by the government–and worse, by your self-righteous moral code. It’s that simple.

And before you start, here are some preemptive reasons why you’re wrong:

  • Life does not begin at conception. An embryo is a collection of cells that is utterly dependent on the mother for its existence.
  • There is no clear line at which life “begins” in the womb. If the fetus is not viable outside the womb, then it is not an individual.
  • If you want to claim that a fetus has the full rights of an individual human, then you must also believe that fetuses should have social security numbers, health insurance, and be included in the tax code as dependents. Let’s go ahead and register them for selective service while we’re at it.
  • If all life is sacred, even in the womb, you would want to support services such as childcare, education, healthcare, and foster care for all of these children you are forcing women to carry to term.
  • A woman is not a vessel for pumping out babies. That is not her duty, responsibility, or privilege in society. Claiming such is misogynistic and oppressive, and the fact that anyone has to explain that to you idiots in 2019 is unconscionable.
  • Your religion does not dictate how others should live their lives. Move to Iran or Saudi Arabia if you believe otherwise.
  • If you honestly want to limit abortions, try providing birth control and female reproductive healthcare for ALL women. You could also stop with the abstinence-only sex ed bullshit.

In conclusion, you’re wrong.

Steve D

Misplaced Missive #174 – Lying From Me

Taking lies at face value.
How you don’t dare to delve deeper,
Into what is manifestly untrue,
Into prayers offered up to you,
Betrays the facade you fake,
A shallow reminder in every
Flippant remark you make.
I remain unsurprised,
Because it’s par for the course,
Your usual, enacted without remorse,
A flawed mask of insincere discourse. Continue reading “Misplaced Missive #174 – Lying From Me”