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Posts tagged ‘series’

Introducing Unfamiliar Races to Readers

I’ve been working hard on the new series (Sizael). I’m happy to say I’ve got a beginning I like and a direction that works. However, one thing I did find myself having difficulty with was introducing a race that is unique (at least in name and culture) to this series’ world. That of the Jateri. Essentially, they are horned humans, and are considered relatives to humans.  I’ve been writing for Sizael since 2008, so the Jateri and the other race I have created for them is nothing new to me, yet writing the first book of a series is proving to be interesting because I’m having to approach these races and other unique elements with the idea of introducing them to the audience for the first time.

 

In the end, the first Jateri was referred to as a, “horned Jateri” until two paragraphs later when my assassin character (the main protagonist) could take a moment to absorb what the Jateri looked like. It’s then that the race is explained in the narrative. It’s interesting returning to a world you started to create years before and writing books for it with the intention of sharing them with others, just due to the challenges that comes with introducing elements specific to your series’ world.

Have you ever had this experience before? How did you deal with it? Share in the comments and you’ll be put into a draw for a special blog interview!

Definitely a New Series

Back in 2008 (technically 2007), I created a roleplay forum called Sizael. The world was of my design, the game mechanics also. Last December, I closed it down due to various difficulties I had been battling for 14 months or so in regards to running it. I never intended to write books for it. It was created solely to be used in a gaming format.

It wants to be used though. I started writing today at work (I have honestly nothing to do today) about a character I created near the end of Sizael’s life called Dimitri, a master assassin and a subtle member of the Resistance. It’s helping me to feel the way – will there be books or won’t there be? I think there most definitely will be! My old characters are resurfacing, areas and lore I created are quickly adding depth and a need for action into the piece I’m writing, and I’m having loads of fun!

Some might say, “that’s dangerous – what if old members complain you’re using an idea or place they created?” It’s simple really – I’m only going to use the bits I created. Like for example, Dimitri, the Imperial Palace of Justice, Fraelin and the Fraedab War, Boxien, the Sizael-styled druids, amigari, Caften City and so on. Players’ contributions were that of asking questions to me about something, and/or creating areas within areas I had already fleshed out myself a little. So in that respect, there is nothing for anybody to worry about – I’m only using what I created (in other words, the official lore and my own characters).

Sure, I was even thinking yesterday, “I’d love to bring it back properly, as it was intended,” but it is the end of that phase of Sizael’s life. There is not the desired memberbase within the R.P. community anymore as there once was. Many have become lazy or rulebreakers. Not like a few years before when Sizael had it’s “golden years”.

I just felt like sharing this with you all. It was an old and cherished project of mine, and just because it encountered difficulties in achieving a the sort of memberbase it needed to function at the end, that doesn’t mean my project, this whole world I created, should just crumble into dust. My characters, and even a few new ones are revelling in the chance to be written for again, and I love the world I created.

A Visible Shift in Energy & a Potential Change

Hi guys!

Since my last article, in which I decided what my writing goals are, I’ve noticed a positive influence on my writing habits, including returning to writing daily. The goal in particular that is helping me is the daily goal of one thousand words a day (which I only count if they’re in something I’m writing for my books or one of the pieces I do set between them for fun and exploration). I think this is in part because I am a fairly competitive person, and I like beating myself too!

One thing that has caught my attention though is the possible change to my main series. When I set the goals on the 27th of this month, I started writing a piece for fun and to give myself something to flex the skills on before committing to any of the books and series I’ve already worked on or have at least a basic idea for. This piece of miscellaneous as I call them, is set late in the main series around the same year as book twelve. It feels almost like it could be the beginning of the series, as crazy as it sounds. The potential change is interesting, but I do not want to just ignore the books that came before it. I know book two has always had a potential for being scrapped completely, but the others? I like them, and others like them. The downside to toying with this idea and continuing to write this piece of miscellaneous as if it were the start of the series and not just a piece I started for fun and practise, is that there is a lot of ‘telling’, explaining in the narrative of the back stories of each character. For my books before, this was utilised when acceptable in case somebody ever picked up a book without reading the others (thereby making it possible to start reading wherever you liked in the series). Now there seems to be too much.

As a result, I’ve been considering my writing goals. One of those was to looking into self-publishing as a viable option, and to ask self-published authors lots of questions on the subject, at the same time, I recently read an article on Kristen Lamb’s blog about the power of three and freebies. Admittedly it wasn’t the sole subject of the blog post – it is titled as, ‘Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors’ (link is below).  It struck a chord with me though. Perhaps, what I could do, was provide some of the books before it for free.

I was at my parents’ this Christmas, and I decided to try out Google’s Play Books  whilst there – it is available on my Android Phone and Samsung Tab 3 for free, and is actually one of those apps that you cannot uninstall that comes already installed on the Android devices. I downloaded a few of the free books and have enjoyed reading them on both devices. I am still a lover of paperbacks – they don’t need electricity to run and it’s more comfortable and fun to snuggle up to a corner of the sofa with a paperback, but it was nice having a decent few books for free on my phone. Due to my being intrigued by the idea of ebooks being available on my phone and tablet, I then downloaded the Kobo app onto both and have multiple samples to read through. Though I can’t seem to find the free books on Kobo that it is supposed to have (perhaps because I am only using apps to read their publications), the idea appeals to me to do the same; to offer the earlier books for free, but to make sure there are other books available for purchase or free download as well.

This has resulted in some changes to my plan. The first in the series is going to be re-read by myself, without being able to edit it (another of the goals) during that time like I normally do. If I still enjoy reading it, I then have to make the decision whether I want to edit it or to keep it as it is (as I am worried about one element of the series’ world that does not feature as strongly in the other books of the series). After that, I will prepare various copies of the manuscript as per various publishers that allow self-published writers to submit their works to them (like Kobo or Amazon’s Kindle for example). At that point though, I won’t be publishing yet. I’ll then jump over to book two and do the same with that as I did the first. Both will be free to download, with the third book I publish being sold.

As a result, in a round-about way, this miscellaneous piece that I did because of my goals has helped me prepare a rough plan of action. It’s nice having one! Before, when I was intent only on publishing through traditional means, there was no master plan, just this:

  1. Get an agent.
  2. Get a publisher hooked.
  3. Use all of royalty to promote the first book.
  4. Keep writing.

It is strange to think that through reading Kristen Lamb’s blog article and writing this piece because of one of my goals, that I now have a solid plan as a writer, but the goals haven’t just done that. I’m treating my writing more like a career path again, like I did when I was in college. Though I won’t be quitting my office job any time soon (and neither the web hosting and online services I provide), it feels good to be in this mindset again – to be taking my own writing seriously again. I suspect that the miscellaneous piece won’t be the first in the series with this new plan of mine, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep writing it!

Are you a writer? Have you had any experiences similar to this? Please share in the comments!

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The link to Kristen Lamb’s blog post mentioned above.

Continuing to Write!

It’s been ages since I posted! My apologies for that!

This year has proven to be a little hectic – in April I went self-employed, which comes with various additional tasks you have to do on a daily basis (not to mention a lot of maths), and with that, I also found time to put into my writing and reading.

I’ve been continuing to work on the new version of the first book of my fantasy-crime series, and though it is slow going (I finally decided the talking cat secondary protagonist would stay in with only two small parts to play), I am slowly progressing. I have a new opener that I like for the main female protagonist, and am currently in the process of writing the scene where she meets the main male protagonist in the series and her future husband (and then ex-husband).

I’ve noticed that some days my writing lacks description, seemingly slipping into the newer style of almost no description to help the reader visualise the scene. This trend has appeared not just in my writing, and has appeared because of social media. As it’s not vanishing any time soon, it begs the question: is less description better for my writing?

I think, personally, that it might not be. I enjoy reading my writing better if there is just enough description that it helps to paint the scene around. There’s nothing wrong with the other way, but I now have two new authors I like that have never once described their main protagonist, other than one having a moustache. It’s a bit off-putting for me not to know what the characters of these other writers look like, so I will ensure my writing keeps some description in.

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