Saturday, August 12, 2017

!!Exiles Release!!



It's here! It's here, it's here, it's finally here!!!


Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles, and I am absolutely ecstatic about it!!!! I only just discovered this series and the books have quickly climbed my Favorite Books list to Narnia level. This is one of the most fantastic Christian Fantasy series I have ever read and I have dubbed it re-readable! If you want to know more you can check out the official tour page where there will be links to tons of different bloggers posting different things from book excerpts to character interviews.

Today, I am going to introduce you to the amazing author herself: Jaye L. Knight

Question #1: What is the most important message you want people to hear through reading your book?


"I think the biggest theme and message in all my Ilyon Chronicles books is that no matter how bad things get, God has a plan and is in control. My characters face so many hardships and tragedies, but it’s all for a purpose in the end, even if they can’t see it at the time."



Question #2: What are some of your favorite hobbies? (Besides writing)


I’m really big into historical reenactment. I reenact either the French and Indian War or the Revolutionary War, depending on what I’m in the mood to wear. I have a group I’ve camped with for several years now, and they are like family. It’s something I always look forward to every year. Besides that, I just really enjoy outdoor activities.


Question #3: Why did you choose to write Christian Fantasy?


I got hooked on Christian fantasy when I first discovered The Lord of the Rings. Before that, I had been writing the usual stories about girls and their horses (yeah, I was a horse crazy teen). While I’ve done some historical fiction, I love the freedom of fantasy and being able to create my own worlds and civilizations.


Question #4: What would you say was the hardest part of writing the Ilyon Chronicles?


I’d say the hardest part is just that it’s such a long series. It’s the longest I’ve ever written. I’ve been working on it for a full six years now, and am still working on the last book. While I did get one other book written in the meantime, six years is a long time to devote to only one story. It’s a big commitment. I’m glad I didn’t know when I started what it was going to take to finish.


Question #5: Do you do all the editing, cover designs, formatting, and advertising yourself? Or do you have other people who come along side you and help?


I do my own cover design, formatting, and advertising myself. For editing, I have fantastic help from my group of beta readers. They’ve been invaluable to me. In the past, I have hired a proofreader, but since money has been tight, this time my mom skipped being a beta reader for me and was my proofreader instead.


Question #6: Is Jaye L. Knight your real name, or a pen name?

It’s a pen name. My real name is Molly. I originally chose to use pen names to keep some anonymity, but now it’s more about branding. I consider Jaye L. Knight to be my business name and have worked hard to build a platform and brand for it.

Jaye L Knight has truly inspired me to be a better writer and to pursue my goal wholeheartedly!

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About the Book
Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

Review

The only thing that made me put this book down was the fact that my eyes were burning from reading so fast and for so long! This is an absolutely fantastic book that I can't wait to add to my library. I'm usually a skeptic of long series because a person can only come up with so many ideas right? But not in this case. Somehow, Jaye made an edge-of-your-seat thriller with plenty of romance and enough adventure to keep me up until midnight, while still building the tension for the books to come! (I'm honestly a bit scared to find out! I'm getting my tissue box just in case!)

I would say that most of the focus in this book was on the character's relationships with each other and their arcs, which is fantastic because she writes characters that are deep and feel like real people, and less on taking back the kingdom. (Although they do their fare share) The story moves through multiple Points of View as it did with the preceding books, and I would definitely say that Prince Daniel's part was what pushed me to read just "one more chapter." So much happened with Prince Daniel that I was left completely stunned! I'm already chomping at the bit for the book 5&6 to come out!
But Daniel isn't the only one who has his life changed. Leetra and Timothy have their differences to overcome while Anne's resolve to refuse Trask's proposal is beginning to weaken, especially with the increasing pressure of the disgusting Goler. The many adventures will take you on a journey through the various cultures, from Cretes to Ryricks, with something unexpected at every turn! I never knew what was coming next.

Little Warning: Just beware, although the book is clean and nothing actually happens, there are some scenes were some Ryricks have evil intentions are desired upon Karyn.


All in all - this book deserves and exceeds Five Stars! If you have never read the series - or have read them and are thinking about reading Exiles - I can not recommend them enough! Everything about the books are amazing and I am so happy I found them and am able to spread the word so more people will hear about them as well!

Available now on Amazon!

goodreads

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th - 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.

3BookKindleSale

About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.








Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Best Things To Eat While Reading

Image result for cs lewis quote about tea
I know I'm not the only one who enjoys eating while reading. (or drinking tea for that matter) Some people I've met can't seem to read a book without a snack.
I've tried to eat just about everything while reading, and that includes things that a decent person would use two hands for. There are certainly some foods that are more manageable than others. Unless you are the Ninja of Food&Books, pizza can be a test that would certainly earn you a black belt. But there's also a bit of science behind which snacks you choose to eat. You don't want to eat something to yummy or else it will distract you from the book, or the book will distract you from enjoying the food.
So, if you happen to have a good book but no snack-ies, here's a nice little list to help you out.

Item 1: Chips/crackers
These are great because they don't make a mess. (As long as you leave out the dip. That can be a fun balancing game, but terribly distracting for you and probably the people around you as well.) There are many different kinds to satisfy your preferred taste - salty, sweet, nacho, or ranch. I mean, seriously, who can't eat an entire box of Wheat Thins at one sitting. I always laugh at the box that says, "Family Size."  Apparently I'm a family of one!

Item 2: Popcorn
It's like chips, but with butter! (Butter = Better. Right?) If you want to indulge a tad more, sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top to make a simple version of Kettle Corn.

Item 3: Dried Fruit/Nuts
This one you have to be a little careful with. It is way too easy to eat an entire bag of dried bananas and realize that it was probably the equivalent of eating 12 full-size bananas. But it's a healthy alternative to chips. If you're brave, try eating raisins and cheese together. It's one of my favorites!

Item 4: Smoothie/Tea
OK, so smoothie might sound a little weird to some people. But it's actually not bad! Especially if it's too hot for tea (I mourn the day when that happens) nothing beats an ice cold Key Lime smoothie.
But when the evening comes and things cool down, there's nothing like a nice cup a tea. Preferably  a very large one.

Item 5: Chocolate
Hands down, there is no argument that can deny the fact that Chocolate is amazing, rain or shine. But if you don't feel like gnawing on a chocolate bar, go for something simpler and get chocolate chips! It is a rare and special day in our house when a bag of chocolate chips remains unopened until the day it is placed inside a batch of cookies.

What is your favorite food to snack on while reading? I would love to hear about it because I have a good book to read and nothing to eat with it! (I ate all my snacks during my last book)








Friday, July 28, 2017

How To Get Widsom For Life

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Can anybody sympathize with me in this scenario?

It's a happy day and you wake up feeling great - the birds are singing and the sun is shining. You lay in bed contemplating the many wonderful things you can do when ... it hits you. Life comes and grabs you by the throat with a death grip. A thousand thoughts and questions swirl through your mind in a matter of 3 milliseconds.

Should I go to college?

What should I do in college?
What if I don't want to go to college?
What should I do for a living?
What are my future plans?
How should I manage my time?
Ah! You forgot to call that car seller! What if it's sold already?
Should I start looking for a better job?
Am I doing this whole Life-thing right?!?

 Somebody please raise their hand with me. *raises hand* 

Insecurity is a common struggle for many people. And for most, it can be linked with fear. The unknown can be a scary place. 
Whenever insecurity raises its ugly head, along with the overwhelming amount of decisions as its weapon, it can get really easy to start beating yourself up about everything and feel like a total failure. This life is way to much for us to handle on our own!
That's why it is so important to turn to the One who is outside of the present, and knows the future. And there is one thing that can help us more than any other - Something that is so valuable, it deserves the acute attention of every Christian.

Proverbs 1:7a

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,”
Here is where our journey begins. Without a fear of the Lord there is no desire to pursue
His will. Our lives should be filled, centered, saturated, guided, and molded by God. But this
isn’t the same fear that we get when we watch a frightening movie. This is a fear of His supreme
power compared to our insignificance. Our finite lives compared to His Omnipotence; Our broken
love for His ultimate Sacrifice. Without God, our lives are nothing. This should be our fear.

Proverbs 9:10b
“And knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
The next clue is Knowledge. Our fear of the Lord should prompt us to know His will,
which can be found in the Bible, and keep it in our hearts; although it is possible for someone to
have the facts, but not know what they mean or what to do next. (otherwise known as head
knowledge.) This leads to the next clue:

Proverbs 2:9
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-- every good path.

 
Understanding is a lens which brings our Knowledge into crisp focus and produces
principles. Like any classroom setting, you can know what the teacher is saying, but not
understand. It’s accepting what we learn as Truth. This is especially hard when it comes to the
bible and oftentimes, understanding doesn’t come until later. Occasionally God calls us to action
before we understand the reasons. Sometimes He calls for Faith before Facts.
Once all these clues fall into place, we get the key to living succesfully. When you fear the
Lord, seek His will, (understanding is more of a lucky bonus) than you get the prize.

Proverbs 16:16
How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!

Wisdom is when you put the Knowledge that’s in your head into your actions. It’s living
in the Spirit instead of the flesh. Knowing God’s will and putting it into action produces
Wisdom.
The Hebrew translation of the word Wisdom is 'The ability to live life skillfully.' God
desires what is best for our lives. He wants to see our lives used to the fullest. But that can’t be
done outside of His plan. When we are in tune with His desires, and put them into action, than
we shall live a life that is truly skillful and we will be satisfied to hear God one day say, “Well
done, good and faithful servant.”


So when those big decisions come hammering against your door, you can politely invite them in for tea because your God has all the games for the party figured out.

Have you ever had a time when you were overwhelmed with Life and God helped you through it? Feel free to share in the comments!







Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How To Write Accurately


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If anybody were to look at my google search engine they would probably lock me away and take my laptop. I could be googling anything from the meaning of a word to figuring out how long a dagger wound takes to heal.(Or where you can get stabbed and still live) It's really important that authors know what they are talking about, right?
Here are a few questions and random things I've had to google this last week.

1) The order of military ranks.
Answer: 
  • Lieutenant. A seasoned lieutenant with 18 to 24 months service. Leads more specialized weapons platoons and indirect fire computation centers. As a senior Lieutenant, they are often selected to be the Executive Officer of a company-sized unit (110 to 140 personnel).
  • Captain. Commands and controls company-sized units (62 to 190 Soldiers)
  • Major. Serves as primary Staff Officer for brigade and task force command regarding personnel, logistical and operational missions.
  • Lieutenant Colonel. Addressed as "Lieutenant Colonel" or "Colonel." Typically commands battalion-sized units (300 to 1,000 Soldiers),
  • Colonel. Typically commands brigade-sized units (3,000 to 5,000 Soldiers)
  • Major General. Addressed as "General." Typically commands division-sized units (10,000 to 15,000 Soldiers).
 2) What color can cats see at night?
Answer:  It's a common misconception that cats can't see any colors, only shades of gray. Humans are known as trichromats, meaning they have three kinds of cones that allow them to see red, green, and blue. Cats are also thought to be trichromats, but not in the same way that humans are. A cat's vision is similar to a human who is color blind. They can see shades of blue and green, but reds and pinks can be confusing. These may appear more green, while purple can look like another shade of blue.

3) What is a suede jacket?
Answer: Suede -  leather with the flesh side rubbed to make a velvety nap.
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4) What is a foray?
Answer:  A sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something; a raid.

5) How long does it take for a fractured rib to heal?
Answer:  A fractured rib usually takes at least 6 weeks to heal.

Making your book realistic requires research. It's time to own up to it: You don't actually know everything. (as nice as that would be) I have found that a really great way to learn more is to keep a notebook with me while I'm reading. The moment I come across something I don't know, a question pops into my mind, or I want to see if something is accurate I write it down so I can google it later. (That way I can finish the chapter!) It only takes a moment and your book and your IQ will be better because of it. 
Readers depend upon authors to know what they are writing about. We, as authors, are communicating to readers and helping them learn - even if they don't know it.

What is one of the strangest things you've had to google for your book or just something you wanted to know? I would love to hear it! Please share in the comments below!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Book Peek

Truth

I have finally been getting back into the groove of writing every day. (Now that life has decided to give back a little of the free time it stole from me) Honestly, a lot of it had to do with prioritizing writing above other things. *stares angrily at the Pinterest link*
As a treat for all my loyal readers, I've decided to post a small chunk of my book. Some of you may remember the beginning from my post Snagged a while ago, so you should enjoy seeing how the story continues.
As always! Critiques are welcome. In fact, they are requested! If you have a tip to share, a problem you noticed, or just a thumbs up, pretty-please share in the comments at the bottom of the post!

Chapter 1
Loriens


                Nobby’s heart pounded in his ears and his lungs burned with fire as he dashed through the shadowed forest. His soft leather boots made only the slightest thump on the marshy floor with each flying stride he made and his flight was as silent as it was swift. A patch of mist hovering low over the ground warned Nobby of the starving mud below. Rapidly counting the strides, he leaped over the mist and landed on the safety of firm ground. Nobby glanced back and saw several fleeting shadows following him like wraiths in the night. He snapped his head around in time to dodge another patch of bog. A fallen tree lay up ahead, its gnarled roots splaying in all directions like an overgrown palace. Nobby bounded up and slid down a root that led into a maze of dirt tunnels that barely allowed his slim form to slip through. He clambered up a web of roots and slid down to the other side in a desperate attempt to lose his pursuers. There was a loud scuffle and several hissed oaths because the pathway only allowed one person to go through at a time. Nobby changed his direction and grasped a low hanging branch, swinging himself into the tree. With the agility of a squirrel, he bounded from limb to limb; using only the sturdiest ones that wouldn’t shake as much. After a distance he dropped back onto the ground and continued to run. His legs felt like water and his heart was a burning ember in his chest. With a final burst of energy, Nobby swung himself into another tree and climbed up into the crotch. He sucked in several choking breaths before forcing himself to stay quiet. He shut his eyes to focus on steadying his trembling limbs that would shake the branch he was hiding in. He resisted the urge to pull down the black cloth covering his mouth and nose. His pale skin would shine out in the night if he pulled it down to gasp in fresh air.
                All was painfully silent for an eternity of time. Nobby’s eyes scanned the forest floor, picking out the areas of mist covering the bog that, in the daytime, looked like any other patch of marshy, moss covered ground. The mist, the key to avoided death by drowning, only appeared in the dead of night and evaporated in the morning– making the Murkwater Forest the most treacherous to anybody other than the Loriens.
                 Nobby tensed as a shadow silently drifted by underneath him. Judging from the broad shoulders and sturdy stride, Nobby suspected Garner was just below him. Another figure, slimmer than the first, joined Garner, and they held a hushed conversation. Nobby’s sensitive hearing picked up several words.
                “…Must have headed towards the Blackwater”
                The slim figure shook his head. “Would have heard him.”
                Nobby held his breath as the two figures looked around the forest. As long as they didn’t look up he would be safe.
                The rustling of branches behind him caused Nobby to jerk around just in time to see a third black figure pounce towards him. Nobby gripped a branch and let himself fall, only to be caught by his hand. His assailant, missing his intended target, fell to the forest floor with a thud and the other two figures looked up. Nobby hung precariously from one hand over thin air for a moment before hauling himself back into the branches. He considered jumping to the ground and fleeing on foot. A glance down made the decision for him. Too late. Garner and the other figure were already halfway up the tree while the third figure picked himself up and waited for him to make just that decision. Nobby slung himself through the branches, jumping from tree to tree. The next tree was a far jump and Nobby took it without hesitation. Suddenly his leg was caught from behind and his momentum stopped. Nobby fell to the forest floor inches from a section of mist and the air was forced from his lungs as his attacker fell on top of him. Before Nobby could catch his breath his hands were pinned and a dagger was at his throat.
                “Close. But no close enough.” A smooth male voice said from behind the black cloth that covered everything but his eyes.
                Nobby looked up into the eyes of his captor, whose razor sharp blade was dangerously close to slitting his throat. The corners of the bright hazel eyes wrinkled as the owner smiled. Nobby tensed as three more black figures joined the victor who pinned him down.
                “You don’t have to completely humiliate me, Twain.” Nobby gasped against the dagger.
                The figure sheathed his dagger and got to his feet, offering a hand to him. Nobby allowed Twain to pull him to his feet. His legs were still shaky from the flight and his lungs burned as his breathing gradually returned to normal. He ripped the cloth away from his face and inhaled the cool forest air.
                “You nearly gave us the slip going through the Tarn,” Garner said through wheezing breaths.
                The slim figure pulled off his hood and revealed his tan skin and black hair. “If Garner hadn’t insisted on going first we wouldn’t have lost him.”
                “That’s what you think, Varl,” contradicted the third, “You were the one that – “
                “Peace, Severin,” Twain said with a smile as he clapped a hand on his companion’s shoulder. All of them were nearly the same height except for Garner, who’s thicker build made him appear larger, but Twain was most certainly the shortest. “Nobby gave us all the slip quiet neatly. I just happened to be the lucky one in the tree when he took that foolhardy leap.”
                “Couldn’t you have avoided landing on me?” Nobby asked, wrapping his arms around his bruised chest. “I would never be able to explain a broken rib to Edmund.”
                The spark of Twain’s eyes shone around his massively dilated pupil, which looked eerily cat-like, as he grinned. “Be thankful I didn’t grab the hood of your cloak or you would have had to explain a broken neck as well.”
                Nobby rolled his eyes, which showed as much blue than Twain’s showed hazel. The extra dilated pupil enabled him and all other Lorians navigate the dangerous Murkwater Forest where no Human feet ever tread. The woods, blanketed in the midnight darkness, was a canvass of blues and greens to Nobby's dilated eyes.
                Twain looked up through the fluttering leaves of the trees. “The moon is going to sleep.”
                Nobby nodded and pulled his cloak back over his face, giving a farewell nod to each of his Lorenian friends. “I need to get back before the servants wake up and Edmund hears I’ve been out again.”
                Twain gave Nobby a backhanded slap on the shoulder. “You did much better tonight. Perhaps tomorrow Severin will deem it a good use to time to throw some knives around.”
                The Lorien named Severin folded his arms across his chest and glared. Twain spread his arms out in innocence. “That was meant as a compliment. We all know you could pick a crabapple off a branch while reclining in the grass.”
                The cold in Severin’s eyes eased a bit and he nodded.  Nobby thought he caught the faintest hint a smile tugging at the corner of his stoic friend’s mouth.  Garner, Varl, and Severin raised a hand in parting.
                “Cowritte,” they said in broken unison.
                Nobby raised his hand in return. “Cowritte, hu cwaik.”
                The three Loriens disappeared into the forest as silently as shadows.
                “Your forest navigation isn’t the only thing improving,” Twain commented approvingly. “Soon you will be speaking Lorenian so well nobody would guess you weren’t a full-blooded native.”
             Nobby turned and allowed a faint smile cross his face at the compliment. Twain, who had just pulled the fabric over his freckled nose, gestured for him to follow.
                “Come along, cwaik. I shall walk you to the Forest’s edge.”
                Twain began sprinting across the ground and swung into a tree. Nobby followed a few steps behind as they dashed from tree to tree. When they neared edge of the forest they dropped to the ground and walked until they could see the fields and dark silhouetted houses of Marlin. Nobby stopped and turned to his friend.
                “Tomorrow is a full moon. We will be able to see better while throwing knives.” Twain said in the typical blunt fashion that seemed to accompany the Lorien blood.
                Nobby nodded and grasped the hand Twain offered. Twain turned and vanished back into the forest while Nobby headed down the dirt road that skirted the village of Marlin. The fields were bathed in pale moonlight and the long shafts of wheat waved gently in the wind that caressed them. Nobby broke into a jog as the fields and quaint wooden cottages petered out into the cobblestone streets of Marlin Square.
                Nobby slipped into the shadows of a building and paused for a moment. He closed his eyes and trained his ear to sift through the night sounds until he picked out the gentle creak of leather and rubbing of gloved hands. A shuffled footstep pinpointed where the guard was standing. Nobby retreated and turned down another road where he knew no guards would be patrolling. He paused for a moment to think. It was probably about the third watch of the night - there would be guards stationed along all the roads leading home. Nobby ran to a dead end alley and shimmied up a pile of crates. He leaped up and gripped the corner of the roof. The wood nearly gave way under his weight as he pulled himself up. Keeping low to avoid being silhouetted against the sky, Nobby ran from roof top and rooftop. Several times there was a large gap over an alley. With practiced strides he cleared the daunting obstacle. As the houses grew farther apart he was forced to return to the ground. He was on the outskirts of town again and before him stretched the manicured lawn of Marlin House, belonging to Baron Gormon – the only home he could ever remember. Nobby avoided the main brick pathway that led to the Manor doors, instead slinking along the outskirts where a thick hedge walled in the grounds. He came to the far side of the house where ivy grew in a thick tangled web up the rock walls. Nobby dashed over and gripped a stout ivy vine. He shimmied up the ivy ladder until he was below a window. He reached a hand up and grasped the ledge, digging his nails in as he pulled himself up. Balancing on the ledge, he pushed the window inward before swinging his legs into the empty room. He listened for a moment and was satisfied with the silence that greeted him.
                After closing the window, Nobby shed his Lorien garb which included leather Baldricks, which held his daggers and knives, a Jerkin of dark oiled leather, his forest green cloak, Bracers, and the black scarf that wrapped around the lower part of his face. He sat on the edge of his bed to pull off his boots and unbuckle the sheathed knives around his ankles. Nobby gathered everything together and tied it in a bundle with his cloak before stuffing it on the top shelf of his wardrobe where the servants wouldn’t find while cleaning.
                Nobby closed his window and slid under the blankets just as the moon dipped behind the distant mountains. He collapsed against the pillows and his body gave into the exhaustion he had been fighting off on the journey home. He had slept a few hours before leaving and with another hour of sleep he would be back to normal. His Lorien blood worked in bursts of energy that hardly needed any sleep to fuel. But after the night’s chase through the forest, Nobby was completely spent. Sleep soon captured him and refused to let go even after the sun’s rays pierced the window’s curtains and fell on his face.
                A knocking on his door finally dragged Nobby from the arms of sleep. The door opened and Edmund strolled in. Nobby pushed himself out of bed and raked his fingers through his unruly copper hair.
                “You are about to miss breakfast, Nobby.” Edmund warned as he pulled back the drapes.
                “Too bright!” Nobby exclaimed and winced against the sun, shielding his eyes with his hand.
                Edmund crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at him with piercing blue eyes full of suspicion. Once Nobby was able to see against the sun he threw back the covers and swung his legs over the side of the bed. His toes tingled as they touched the cold wooden floor.
                “We have riding lessons after breakfast,” Edmund stated.
                Nobby nodded, jerking on his boots. As he pulled his white tunic over his head he heard Edmund sigh. “You were out again last night, weren’t you?”
                Nobby slipped his arms through his green doublet and began fastening the buckles, hoping his silence would give Edmund enough of an answer.
                “Answer the question,” Edmund demanded with a harsh edge to his voice.
                Nobby looked up at his brother. They stood nearly eye to eye despite the fact that Nobby was seventeen and Edmund a year younger; they were different in nearly every way except their blue eyes. Even that one similarity had its limits since Nobby’s eyes could dilate far more than Edmund’s.
                Edmund gave an exasperated huff and turned away to run his fingers through his wavy, dark brown hair. “Why do you still cling to that side?”
                Nobby threw his arms out. “Why not? I’m just as much a Lorien as I am a Human.”
                “But we live with Humans,” Edmund said, his voice rising ever so slightly.
                “Correction: You live with Humans. I, on the other hand, live in both worlds.”
                Edmund sighed in defeat. Nobby walked up and laid a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “You should come with me, Edmund. You are Lorien as well.”
                Edmund shrugged his hand off. “I don’t choose that side.”
                “If you have the freedom to choose, can’t I?”
                Edmund’s shoulder’s sagged and he slowly nodded. Nobby put his hand back on his brother’s shoulder and this time Edmund allowed it to stay there.
                “I don’t want to always have this conversation,” Nobby said, trying to dispel the tense atmosphere. “You are the only person who knows that I spend my nights with the Loriens, and that’s how it will always be. No questions will ever be asked and you will never be hindered by my actions.”
    Edmund glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. “That’s not what I’m worried about.”
    “You can try to pretend,” Nobby said, “But I know that’s what bothers you. I don’t want our life here to get messed up any more than you do.”
    “If the people ever learned that you went out with the Loriens.” Edmund didn’t finish his sentence, but the point was clear.
    Nobby nodded. “Nobody will ever know.” And awkward moment of silence reigned until Nobby said, “I’m starving.”
                The corner of Edmund’s mouth twitched up and Nobby felt his chest relax as his brother nodded again. He grabbed his riding gloves and cap off his desk before following Edmund out into the hallway. They walked down the carpeted halls lined with stone walls covered in painted pictures. Several maids, dressed in stiff grey dresses and starched aprons, bustled by to clean the rooms without making eye contact. Nobby flipped the soft green hat over his unruly hair as they neared the dining hall. He reached a hand up and pulled the corners of the hat low enough to cover the point of his ears. The points were subtle enough that people dismissed it as a deformity. But anybody who saw him dressed in his Lorien clothes would quickly discover the truth.
    Nobby could hear the clinking of dishes as he rounded a corner and came to the dining room where the servants were already setting the table. Baron Gormon, a pale, sickly man, who spent far too much time in his dungeon of a library studying absolutely nothing of any importance, sat at the head of the table peering at the breakfast preparations down his long and skinny nose.
                “It’s a pleasure to see you two have remembered to be on time for a change.” The Baron declared louder than needed. “Hurry and eat before the stable master rides without you. He is not as patient as I am.”
                Nobby suppressed his facial expressions as he and Edmund took their seats at the table. Thankfully, this condescending comment was all the Baron deemed worthy to say for the rest of the meal and Nobby didn’t linger any longer than necessary. He excused himself as politely as he could without sounded sarcastic and exited the dining room followed closely by Edmund.  They went through the heavy oak doors and into the intense sunlight that bathed the world in its warmth. The trees were just beginning to turn into the brilliant shades of Fall. Winter would set in soon. Then the Murkwater Forest would freeze and there would be no more midnight chases.
                Nobby put off these somber thoughts and followed the pathway to the far side of the grounds. Here the manicured lawns gave way to several large paddocks where horses grazed. They picked their heads up at the sound of his footsteps and nickered their greeting. Tethered to the hitch stand outside the stable were several horses belonging to village boys who were training under the Stable Master.
                “Come inside,” a deep and raspy voice called from the stable door.
                Nobby turned to face Peter Snade, the Stable Master and trainer. He had come to the village only a few years ago and had instantly begun training all the village boys who were big enough to draw a sword in the art of being a King’s guard. Baron Gormon had insisted upon Nobby and Edmund joining the ranks so there was little choice.
                Nobby after master Snade into the warm barn. Dust drifted through the air and Nobby stifled the urge to sneeze as he inhaled the scent of crushed oats, broken hay, and warm horses. Over a dozen boys, all around his age, stood in a military line against the barn wall. Nobby and Edmund joined their ranks, though their clothing distinguished them as higher ranking. Nobby caught the eye of Gary Whiliker, a blond village boy who spent most of his time ploughing the fields alongside his father. He was a bit of a troublemaker and fiercely set upon being a king’s guard. Gary acknowledged Nobby and Edmund with a barely perceptible nod as they came to stand alongside him.
                “Some of you boys from the village have your horses already saddled,” Master Snade grated. “Those of you who don’t will have to work double time to saddle up and get out into the yard. Those who are late will spend the rest of the day cleaning this barn until I can actually breath without inhaling half of mother earth through my nose.”
                Nobby couldn’t hold it any longer. He doubled over with the force of his sneeze and half of the line erupted into terribly suppressed giggles. When Nobby straightened he met Snade’s steely eyes.
                “Unless you’re volunteering now, Lord Gusto, I suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself.”
                Nobby bit his tongue to fight a snarky comment as Snade jerked a thumb over his shoulder in the direction of the paddocks. “Saddle up, soldiers.”
                Nobby, Edmund, and several of the other village boys entered the paddocks where the horses eagerly came to them. They nuzzled their pockets hoping for a carrot or a lump to sugar. Nobby selected a long-legged black gelding named Raven and slipped the bridle over his ears. He tied the reins to the wooden fence while he picked up the saddle and hoisted it across Raven’s back, cinching the girth tight. Raven tossed his head as Nobby swung astride. Across the paddock, Edmund mounted a grey mare with a testy personality. Nobby grew slightly concerned as Edmund worked the bit out from between the mare’s teeth.
                “There are many other horses in the pasture.” Nobby said as they rode out of the paddock to join the other riders alongside master Snade.
                “Don’t pretend you’re the only one who can ride.” Edmund retorted as the mare’s tail flicked irritably.
                Nobby shrugged and they pulled up in a line next to the other riders. Snade began laying out their riding course for the day. It was going to be a lesson in reconnaissance.
                “The only way to learn is through life.” Snade bellowed at them. “Several farmers have new livestock. Based off of your work yesterday you should be able to locate where they house them, how many there are, and who they belong too. I want you back before noon. The Loriens in the forests are getting more sneaky in their raids so we need to keep tabs on every single animal that these farmers have. As a guard you don’t have time to dilly-dally. All decisions must be based off of instinct. If you hesitate,” here Snade dragged a thumb across his neck.
                The riders nodded and Nobby felt Raven began to prance under him. Snade stepped back and pointed in the direction of the village. “Captain Nobby will take the outskirts with his men, Captain Trisk the middle ring, and Captain Peete, the town Square. Get out of here.”
                Raven lurched forward without the need of the riding crop and Nobby leaned forward to keep himself from being flung off. Edmund was only a stride behind him as they raced over the fields. Nobby glanced back with an ear-splitting smile as he cleared a fence into a local pasture. He knew exactly which farmer had gotten at least some of the animals. Yesterday while on patrol he had overheard farmer Hon talking about getting some piglets from his neighbor. Nobby caught sight of several riders branching off from the group. No doubt they were having similar recollections. Edmund and Gary still followed him as they thundered across the fields towards a little cottage not far outside of village. A grey haired man stepped out of the house at the sound of horse hooves.
                “We heard you’ve gotten new piglets,” Nobby stated in an authoritative voice.
                Hon’s eyes flickered between the three youths in unease. “Yes, sir, just got ‘em this mornin’. I hope there ain’t nothing wrong.”
                Nobby felt bad for making the old man nervous but he couldn’t slacken his posture.
                “As our rank demands, we are obliged to keep track of all happenings in the village of Marlin.” Edmund said crisply.
                Hon paled a bit. Edmund leaned forward on the saddle horn to stare down at him. “How many animals did you get?”
                “Just three, your lordship.” Hon stammered. “They’re housed in the barn as I speak.”
                Edmund sat back up and narrowed his eyes. Nobby stopped his from rolling at his brother. One of these days I’m going to put a pig skin full of air under his saddle so when he leans forward it will sound like there’s a pig in his pants. Nobby jerked the reins and tapped his riding crop to his cap before riding off towards the next house. They inquired at every cottage until they had gleaned every bit of information they could squeeze out. Nobby led the way towards the Square, where he hoped to meet up with Captain Peete. The shops that had been closed during the night were now open and people filtered through the streets. Nobby navigated among the people at a brisk trot. Several of the other riders joined him and reported their findings. Nobby’s eyes drifted over the crowds around him to see if there was anything out of the ordinary. As he analyzed each his gaze came to rest on a cloaked figure with a light brown beard covering his chin. Intense eyes stared directly at him from under the shadow of the hood. Nobby felt his skin crawl and he sidled close to Edmund without taking his eyes from the man.
                “He’s new,” Nobby muttered.
                Edmund followed his gaze until they rested on the cloaked figure. “Let’s go find out his business.”
                Nobby rode towards the man with Edmund close behind. When the man realized they were coming towards him he turned and fled into a side street.
                “Stop!” Edmund yelled as he kicked his horse into a canter.
                Raven needed no urging and Nobby yelled at the people to move. They rounded the corner and Reynold saw the tip of the man’s cloak disappear around another corner.
                “That way,” he yelled and spurred his horse onward.
                Nobby came around the next corner first and pulled is horse to a stop. The alley was empty and a dead end.
                “Impossible.” Edmund exploded as he stared around wide eyed.
                Nobby checked but there were no doors that could have allowed the man to slip through their net and nothing big enough for him to hide behind or in.
                “He was up to no good, I can assure you of that.” Edmund conjectured.
                Nobby gave a half nod. “Master Snade won’t be pleased that we let him escape.”
                “Escape?” Edmund snorted. “The wraith vanished into thin air. How could he expect us to trap a shadow?”
                “He was no wraith, Ed. Just a very good escape artist.” Nobby muttered.
                Edmund turned his horse around and rode back towards the square, still muttering under his breath angrily. As Nobby turned to follow his eyes fell upon the far corner of the dead end where two buildings came together to form a sharp corner. Along both edges there were deep ruts scraped into the plaster and the moss was worn away from a few areas. Reynold’s heart leapt in his chest. Only a Lorien could climb like that! But what was a Lorien doing in Marlin?






As I said earlier: Tips, suggestions, and approval/disapproval are all welcome!! Also, if you would like to read more of the story, let me know and I'll start posting more of it on my blog.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Trying To Be Good

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I realized that I have been very naughty. I haven't been keeping to my blog at all! (honestly, I actually forgot about it for a while.) Life has been crazy busy with trips, events, work, and finishing up school! And, to be honest, I haven't been writing in my book as much as I should be. As an author, I should be writing. That's kind of what we do. (hence the name)
But I'm back in the game now! And actually, taking a break from sitting in front of the computer allowed me to have time to think about the complicated parts in my story.
I know I've read a lot from writing websites that talk about always - ALWAYS - finding time to write at least a little every single day. But that may not be such a good idea. I know I haven't found it helpful. Because if I'm hitting a part of the book that just isn't coming together, sitting in front of a screen isn't going to help me. It just puts more stress because I'm staring at a wall of letters that fades into white nothingness knowing I need to write SOMETHING! (panic attack ensues!) I mean, does anybody besides me get tired from listening to the same song every single day? It wears you down until you want to throttle the speakers!

Taking a break is important, but it doesn't mean you have to completely ditch your book. (As an author, it's always in your head anyway.) I find that there are certain times throughout the day when I can think through a hard part of the book. Planning doesn't have to be done in front of the computer. Here are a few places and times that I get most of my brilliant ideas! (ok, brilliant may be too strong of a word. I think they are brilliant, but I'm probably biased.)

1: Doing Chores
I am the dishwasher in my family. And being the oldest of six means there are lots, and lots, and lots of dishes. This is a perfect time for me to work through some of the nitty-gritty things. I'm the type of person who will write the intense and exciting story line and totally ditch the details.
Author Tip: Try to ask yourself questions about your book. Questions like: "Why would my character do that?" "How does this scene help the story?" "How can I make this part with a lot of talking more exciting?"
Don't always go along with the first idea that pops into your head. There are more options for how a character can find out that the dying man he's holding in his arms is his supposedly-dead father. The dying guy doesn't have to say it through gasping breaths. That's been done way to many times.
 Writing:
2: Working Outside
Ok, so maybe not everybody spends 4 hours outside like I do. (I don't have much of a choice because my job is exercising horses, I have to be outside.) But most people go outside every now and then! I mean, tending gardens, mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, these are all great times to think about your book! Come up with different lands and areas that would make great settings for different scenes! Or keep asking yourself questions.
A book is not mere paper and words...:

3: Reading
I know this might sound a little weird, but sometimes a great book can spark new ideas! Or it can pose a new way of looking at something that you never would have thought of before and fits perfectly with your book! Learning isn't always from a textbook. A lot of knowledge is passed down from other people who have walked the path before you. If there is a certain way that you want to write, read a book that is written in that way. It will help get you into the mood or give you the intense feelings that you want to transfer into your book! (Just don't be a copy-cat because that's lame)
Robb Stark =( He will always be King of the North! Omg I'm still in denial about this. It so sad.:

What are some of the ways you come up with great ideas? Please share in the comments so other people can learn! Don't let Writer's Block get the better of you! And remember: Take a break every now and then. Shut the computer down and live in the beautiful world that God has put you in. No book can ever tell the story you are writing with your life.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Things You Think You Know




  Authors get really good at making readers believe on thing when it's really something totally different. Whether it's about the hero suddenly being the villain, or an apparently safe plan turning out to be a death trap. This is just another one of the things that makes books amazing!
But readers, did you know that authors themselves fall captive to the exact same problem? (Except it's not nearly as thrilling as the hero stabbing the ever-faithful friend in the back to turn the story around)

Here are five things that we, as authors, will tell you and what we are actually doing/thinking when you're back is turned:

Scene #1: Friend: "So, how is your book coming along?"
                Author: "Great, there is nothing like the thrills of writing!
Reality: At the moment my writing is going great! The scenes are fast and exciting with lots of inspiration for future scenes.
Same scene 1 week later: I am a failure at writing! Why did I ever think I could write something worth reading? 

Scene #2: Friend: "Shouldn't you be working on your book so you can finish it before your self-set deadline?"
                Author: "I"m taking a break so I can work through a complicated part before actually writing it down and committing."
Reality: That's elegant-ees for, "I'm procrastinating."

Scene #3: Friend: "How is that difficult part coming along?"
                Author: "Eh, it's nothing I can't handle."
Reality: I'm drowning in an ocean of doubt and misery with nothing but a boat made of Swiss Cheese. I don't even have any crackers!

Scene #4: Friend: "Did you make this character off of (insert-name-of-a-close-acquaintance-here)?"
                Author: "Oh no, I wouldn't do that."
Reality: Of course the character is based off of that person! But I would never say so because that character dies/is the betrayer/is the villain/or something else horrendous and I would be digging my own grave if I admitted that their character type was perfect for such a character as this!
Reality option #2: Mentally thanking you for such a wonderful idea!

Scene #5: Mom: "Did anybody take the ice cream/chocolate/coffee maker(and everything else that accompanies it)/chips/crackers/ect."
The question will vary depending on the author.
                  Author: "Check the top shelf."
Reality: Please don't let mom look under the bed! Oh please, oh please, oh please don't look under the bed. Or in the closet... or under the covers... ... ... Just don't go in my room!!  

So the next time you ask an author one of these questions... you know what, just don't ask an author these questions. You'll be doing us a huge favor!

All authors have awkward interactions with normal people - that's just the life of a person who lives multiple lives. Sharing those stories is a great way to make new friends and have a good laugh. Please drop a comment below if you have every had a funny author-problem story! (Nobody will tattle about the ice cream! Promise.)  

   


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Digging Deeper: Story Plot


  Alas, we have come to the final post in the Digging Deeper series! If you missed out on the last two posts you can see the first one about Characters Here, and the second about Worlds Here. In this session we will be taking a closer look at the one thing that really and truly makes a book: Your Story!

  This is an extremely broad topic, so I won't be able to touch on everything in a single post. Hopefully I'll be able to elaborate more as I walk the long road of writing my own book. But just based off of the experience that I've gained through publishing my first book, The Wings of Antheon, and reading so many other great books, I've learned some valuable tidbits on what makes a good story.
  The first thing I've seen that helps make a good story is having a unique story line. I have learned this through painful experience. Readers like to be challenged and surprised, so don't make a story line that can be predicted or guessed. If there's a hidden connection between two characters, don't hint at it over and over. Make it invisible until the last possible moment! Or, even better, drop a hint that reveals a little of the truth, but can be easily taken the wrong way.
  Readers also like to walk through a struggle with the character. As we talked about in the post on Characters, everybody struggles with something. What this something is, be it anger, jealousy, loyalty, or love, will affect how your story line is shaped because your character needs to overcome that struggle throughout the story. By creating a struggle you also have to create an answer. Once again, the Show Don't Tell comes into play. Your story needs to be the answer. This is called Experiments in Living. If your character struggles with overcoming her mistakes, let her see that it is a chance to learn by using the mistake to gain experience she would have otherwise never had. Maybe she could even use the experience to help a friend. If your character is always angry, let him hurt somebody he cares for and move through his emotions to see that blowing up never helps. Characters are not always perfect and your story line shouldn't be either. The world is not all butterflies and rainbows. It's usually in our darkest time that we see the light of truth shine the brightest.
  Another really exciting thing to weave into your story is a bit of history! Everybody likes a good backstory that makes the present one have more meaning. Whether it's a friendship with a mysterious stranger who is slowly revealed to be somebody far greater than they appear, or a war that is much more than an over-the-top argument, a backstory adds a new sense of meaning and depth to the entire story!
  These are three general tidbits that can be applied to any story - fantasy and realistic alike.
 You probably saw this coming, but here is the final checklist to make sure your story is all that it should and could be.

  1. Do your character's have a back story? Like I said before, this can add a lot more meaning to who they are now and how that affects the present.
  2. Do you have an overarching theme, like Jealousy or Anger, that is overcome throughout your book? Stories shouldn't always be just action packed adventures. They need a reason - a meaning - that makes the reader nod their head in agreement and gives them some food for thought. 
  3. Does your story have any unique turns? This is kind of hard to judge on your own, so I suggest asking a friend to be a beta reader. If they write back and say that they were surprised then great job! If they saw it coming, you might want to brainstorm about how you could make the turn less obvious.
  4. Is your story accurate with the era you're writing in? This is really important! If your story is written in olden day England, you need to make sure the form of speech, modes of transportation, and general feel fit into that era. This helps pull the reader back in time so they can understand the story.
  5. Are you enjoying your story as you write it? As I said in one of my first posts, your story should be as interesting for you to write as it will be for your reader to read! If you're bored, your reader is going to be twice as board as you are.
And that concludes the end of the Digging Deeper series! Keep checking in for new posts (hopefully) every week. For me, nothing happens until it happens so if I'm late, just rest assure that I'll probably have some kind of crazy story! (like getting dragged around by a horse. But that was yesterday so it's old news)

Have you ever read a story that surprised you or left you moved? Please drop a comment with a title of the book and what made it amazing! I'm always looking to expand my to-read list!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Digging Deeper: Worlds

Welcome back to the Digging Deeper series!

Last time we talked about how to create a character that was deeper than just the cartoon flick you read in the daily paper. But everybody has to live somewhere, which leads us to our next topic.
Worlds
    To start with, you have to know where on earth (or not) your world is!
Fantasy Writers: The job for you guys is actually pretty simple! Wherever you need a place to be you get to make it! No questions need to be asked at all. But this can get really confusing without a proper guideline. The answer: a map! (They aren't just used in the books you know.) Map making can be extremely helpful in organizing where all your cities are, the roads that connect them, major landmarks, and other important facts that give this world its authenticity. If everything just takes place in one city... you might need to get out more. With a map you can be realistic about how long it takes to get from one city to another and give the reader a chance to be familiar with their new home. 
Realistic Writers: The job for you guys is much harder! Unless you are writing a modern-day story, you're going to have to keep your book accurate. (Or just cross your fingers and hope nobody looks up the city you invented) This will require a massive amount of research, depending on what time era you are writing in. By sticking to the true nature of the country and its original names you are able to pull the reader back in time to a real world!
Both Writers: You can create a wonderful world by investing the time to make it real.There is a balance between describing the surroundings to give your character a backdrop and giving a geography lesson. On the one hand, you don't want to have your characters moving through an empty scene with just the few props they directly interact with; but you don't want to bore the reader so they skip to the next dialogue scene. If you just stick to the here and now you'll create this mental picture in your reader's mind:
 Image result for kipper the dog
When you want to create a world that looks more like this:
Image result for fantasy world
  This brings us to the next point.
  I'm just going to assume that at the moment you are sitting at the computer reading this post, (Just a wild guess) and if you were to look around you will probably notice a random assortment of items lying about. You might even notice something that wasn't there before! But all this is kind of irrelevant since you are trying to read this post within a decent amount of time. Congratulations! You have just discovered the next important key to creating a world. Sure, if you sit down and write down every nook and cranny that is in your character's field of sight, you're going to get a pretty detailed setting. (think Les Miserable) But not all of those things are relevant to the story. You're character most likely isn't investigating every corner of the butcher shop while he's talking to a persnickety butcher about a strange blue rock. (if you catch the reference, please comment!) There will be a few things that the character notices right away - like the bad lighting, the smell, or even the strange way the butcher keeps the shop - but he wont identify every pork chop on display or how many windows there are. 
   Giving the character a world to interact with draws the reader in so they can actually see what the character sees. But the way the character sees things will change depending on the mood the character is in. The same rain storm can be a dismal downpour for a heartbroken young man and a refreshing and life giving shower for a traveler crossing the desert. Same rain, different view. A bedroom can be a prison or a refuge depending on if they are locked in by their evil step-mother or hiding from the chaos of the family with six siblings. Everything is subject to how the character perceives it; and as the author, it is your job to step into your character's shoes to visualize it and write it down for your reader.
    Here is another simple checklist to help make your world real for you and your reader!
  1. Does your world have a capital city with surrounding tows/villages? (This applies to fantasy and realistic writers alike.) Everything has to have a home base, and obviously this is where most of the story will be taking place. But to make a true world there is more out there than what the village boy can see. Even if your story takes place in one city alone, bringing in a few travelers that mention other cities can help broaden the view.
  2. Is every town different? If every town offers the same stores and shops then the character should have just stayed at home. Some cities are more beautiful than others, while some might be more sketchy. Depending on how far your character travels the people might even change! (especially for fantasy writers!) 
  3. Are you paying attention to the weather? I know this might sound a little weird, but nothing gets more annoying than the book where it is always one weather. Changing up the forecast can present some great challenges for your character. Who knows! A heavy rain could cause a landslide that changes your character's whole life!
  4. Is your character noticing his/her environment, or are you sounding like a narrator? This falls back on that old and familiar saying, "Show. Don't Tell." I don't care how many times you've heard this said! Everything should be seen and perceived through the eyes of the character.
  5. Does the mood of the scenery change? If your story is starting to sound monotonous to you, it's going to bore your readers to tears! As the author, you should be one of the most interested people in this book! You already know everything about your book so make each scene give you that same heart thrill that the last one did or break your heart worse than before. 
  Take some time to give your book a fresh look every time to sit down to write! The story line is important, and so is the character, but they need a world for them and the reader to live in! The fog infested field ripe for battle may be setting your heart thumping with the next battle scene, but it will leave your character lost if you don't explain it!

Well, that's all for now! Stay tuned for the last post in this series. The story is next!

If you have any ideas and thoughts, please share! Wisdom and experience grow when they are passed along to others!
 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Digging Deeper: Characters

In my last post on my characters I touched lightly upon the seriousness of having depth and meaning in your book. So in this post I really want to drive that point home because depth has a very broad meaning. Whether it's talking about your characters, story plots, or (if you are writing fantasy) the world you created, you need to make it real! Planning is a huge aspect of this.
(I, personally, love to use Evernote to store all my everythings! From story plots and characters to the Lorien Language and clothing names, it's all there in one place.)
When you're writing, you're not just making a story (Although that's the main objective) you're taking the reader into a new world to go on a grand adventure! (so don't forget your handkerchiefs)
 Image result for bilbo i forgot my handkerchief
To start you have Characters:
    As soon as you start to write about a character, that person needs to become as real as your friends and family. Every little thing about them makes the character live and breath.
But it all has to be within the context of the story. You can't start talking about how much your character loves burritos in the middle of a complex dialogue that reveals the character's history. What you could do, is talk about how the burritos reminded him of his mother's cooking, therefor leading him into the deep waters of memory. Be complex. Don't distract.
You characters have a personality, a preference, and an objective that needs to influence every choice the they makes. This is where it gets tricky for the author. You have to literally step into your characters footwear (which changes depending on what time period, genre, and scenario you're writing in) to grasp who they are. You have to get into their head to hear what they are thinking. You are no longer sitting in your chair writing and thinking about what you might do - you have to be your characters and think of what they would do.

Because of reading...:
    That's why character arcs are so important. People who don't change never move any further than where they are right now, so your story doesn't progress and your characters remain as simply little puppets. When you write, don't just create a character - create a living person! Someone who can go through the same struggles we face in our day to day lives. If you're character struggles with loyalty, let them find somebody worth dying for. If you character struggles with doubt, let them find confidence!
   Here's a simple checklist to see how deep your character is.
  1. Is your character's thinking unique from your other characters? If it isn't, this is a good indicator that your character is blending in with the crowd, which is not a good thing. 
  2. Does your character have a preference? Everybody is on a side. Whether it's with the crowd, against the crowd, or on their own, your character needs to know what he/she believes in. Don't make a hamster running around in a wheel but never going anywhere.
  3. What is a random thing that your character does when he/she is nervous? When I read books that have deep characters, they all have that one little nervous quirk. It's just like real people. My brother waves his hands by his side when he's excited, whereas I tend to have a nervous leg twitch. 
  4. Does your character struggle with something? Everybody has a personal struggle that needs to be overcome. Whether it's doubt, stubbornness, anger, or fear is dependent on how you want your story line to go. The character's struggle needs to be overcome throughout the story and it is this attribute that shapes everything. Choose wisely!
  5. Last but no least: Is your character thinking and talking? It's far to easy to just go along with the story and never give a thought to your character's mental world. Or the opposite and they spend all their time thinking and never talking. In a stressful situation where there is nobody to talk to, the character can still think. In an intense scene between two foes, they should never stay silent. When something confusing comes up he/she needs to reason it out. When there is a quiet moment between two friends, they need to share their feelings. Writing out your character's thoughts allows the reader to step inside the character's head and so "become" that character. Making your character talk allows the character to guide the reader through the story and not have it told to them like a history lesson.
If one or more of these things is missing from your book, I highly suggest you step back and take a fresh look at your story. You may have all the in's and out's of your story so settled in your mind that it seems deep and perfectly reasonable; but to a fresh set of eyes where those details are not apparent in black and white, the story can seem shallow and weak. The reader will get a hint that there is something deeper, but will always wonder what unless you write it into your character's personality. (And trust me, that drives a reader crazy!)

Come back next week and we'll get into the complexity of creating a world for your character! (this applies to fantasy writers and non-fantasy writers alike!)

What attributes make characters real to you? Please drop a comment down below and share!




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thought Bubble ('s)

hobbit

Hello Everybody! 
(yes, yes, I know the gif is random. But it's the only one that shows what's going on inside my head)

   Once again, life has gotten in the way of my blogging. Between finishing High school, work, and other life-thingies, I haven't had a spare moment to write! 

   But that hasn't stopped my mind from thinking.
And thinking I have most certainly been doing.

    The only problem with being a sporadic - and slightly nutty - jack-of-all trades is that my thoughts can range anywhere from super depressing to an idea that could very well land me in the loony bin. (Unfortunately those are usually the ideas that sound like the most fun, so I do them. No, I am not insane) 
     So here you have 20 thoughts I think in a day.
Please Note: This post has absolutely no purpose outside of hopefully making you laugh and realize that writers might be as crazy as you think we are.

  1. How fast can I eat breakfast before work? (Ditched it and grabbed a granola bar to eat on the way)
  2. How much I would rather not get trampled by a horse. (Explanation of crazy thought: I'm a horse trainer/exerciser) 
  3. When on earth am I going to get the music that I'm playing for church. (*Computer goes Bing* "Aaaand there it is!") New thought: Dare I try and sing them?
  4. Character development for Reynold. (e.g How is he going to fall in love with a traitor, reconcile with his evil brother, deal with his dying friend, make peace with the mystrious Farlinians, come up with battle plans and nearly get killed, and a zillion other thoughts while I'm being dragged around by a horse. It's really rather invigorating.)
  5. Which characters should I kill in my book. (The mind of an author is a dark and twisted place)
  6. What I should do with my chainmail. (Explanation of crazy thought: I made a chainmail suite out of soda tabs. It took over 2,000.) 
  7. How long will it take for me to get the nerve to tan the deer hide in my freezer. (I need it to make a jerking for my chainmail.)
  8. Dare I risk learning to front flip on the ground? (Because doing it, and a backflip, on the trampoline is getting old.) 
  9. How can I satisfy my sugar craving without actually eating sugar? (Solution: Frozen fruit and cream. At least I'm not hungry anymore)
  10. I'll just cross my neighbor's creek to get to the barn. (This was a really dumb idea because the creek is still swollen from snow melt and moving at the speed of a small river. If you're thinking I fell in you can pat yourself on the back. Yes, I did fall in. Yes, it was very cold. And yes, I will probably do it again.)
  11. I really need to work on school and stop blogging. (I ignored that thought.)
  12. I need to finish my mom's Mother's Day present.
  13. I really want to read a book and pretend that school doesn't exist.
  14. Sugar craving is back.
  15. Realize that I speak the hardest language on the face of the earth. (I'm going my English) 
  16. Wonder what else I'm thinking about...
  17. What am I going to post next? 
  18. Which Parkour move would be the simplest to learn yet still look really cool? 
  19. I hate Algebra.
  20. I need to avoid the computer because it's addicting.

 So there you have it. Actually, those are all the thoughts I think before 12 and then I spend the rest of the day cycling through them a hundred times. Life is good!
Up next, though, I'm going to start a series on digging deeper into planning a book. (Something that has taken me several years to learn) Hopefully I will have that up next week. (But with the way my thoughts run I'm never sure until the day of!) 

Do you ever get any crazy thoughts? (Better yet, did you act on your crazy thought?) Feel free to drop a comment below!