Nov 27 2012

Book Review: Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man

Posted by Mathias

The world is a dangerous place at night.  Demons (corelings) from the core roam free.  The only things holding them back are wards that must be meticulously cared for or else those hiding behind them become food for the demons.

The Warded Man by Peter Brett follows three different characters (Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer) as they grow up and mature in this world; each learning how to combat the demons in their own way.  At times, the story needlessly diverges from these characters and sucks in a few other, not even secondary, characters to provide some other points of view, but these are the three main characters.  These other POV characters appear for just a brief enough period of time that they don’t detract greatly from the narrative. (more…)

Jul 18 2012

My Rules For Writing Fiction

Posted by Mathias

I am famous for saying there are no real “rules” for writing stories. I realize that this irks the living Hell out of people who are trying to make a career (or a nuisance) out of promoting books detailing so-called “rules” for fiction writers, but I don’t plan on backing down. But I do have to admit that I do have some rules that I abide by. But I think you will see that there is a huge difference between my “rules” and those hard and fast declarations so many others want to spout on and on about.

So, let’s begin:

1. Write the story you want to write!

The story still has to be compelling and well-written (both subjective measures) to be successful. But if you don’t write the story you are passionate about, it will come through in the writing. Don’t try to write something just because the last blockbusting best seller was on topic X.

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Jul 09 2012

The Problem With “Young Adult”

Posted by Mathias

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am really frustrated by the category Young Adult, aka YA, in fiction. I swear, if you ask ten different people to define “young adult” you get ten different answers.

The basis is usually the same and the actual definition is that the story must appeal to a teenage audience and be marketed towards them. But then things diverge quickly from there. Some people claim that the main characters themselves must been teenagers (i.e. Young Adults). Some people claim that the characters don’t need to teenagers, but that they must deal with the problems teens face. Some claim that it is ONLY a distinction in how the book is marketed, i.e. to Young Adults as previously stated. Some people even claim that a story being written in cinema style third person omniscient POV makes a story YA.

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Feb 08 2012

Adapting On The Fly … The Winds Of Change Blow

Posted by Mathias

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I was almost finished with my rough edit of the first draft for Under The Darkened Moon when I stopped. I mean I was literally on the last chapter when I stopped.

Why did I stop? Because I decided to go all the way back to the beginning … and then some. I was not happy with the way the story started in Chapter 1. So I made it Chapter 2 and added a new Chapter 1 taking place eighteen and also fifteen years previously to add some context to the main character. This context and new chapter I believe will enable me to delete some of the text in later chapters which flushes out the backstory of the main POV character and make things flow better from start to finish.

We will see. A lot of cleanup is going to be needed because of this change.

Feb 02 2012

Using A Bit Player To Reinforce A Point

Posted by Mathias

I’ve begun to revisit my novel Under The Darkened Moon. I know I last said that I was going to do some free writing exercises and post them here. However due to some computer an server issues this past week getting online has been problematic.

So instead of pulling my hair out over those things I went back to something I already had started. I have nearly done a full rough edit of the novel, finding some major things that needed work including plot holes and inconsistencies you could drive a MAC truck through sideways and taken care of them. Other items I marked for review and further pondering. Now I am nearing the end of the novel and I am struggling with the way it was originally written. Towards the end of the novel I introduce a couple new characters who are just really bit players in the story. They are not there for the reader to become attached to. Although each has their purpose they roughly appear for no more than 50 pages of overall story.

One of these characters I introduce to show and reinforce in the minds of the reader the concept of the racism that exists in the world from humans directed at elves. Throughout the book up to this point the reader experiences this racism through the POV of the main character which is third person limited in nature. The main character’s friend who appears in many scenes with him serves as the major conduit for the expression of this racism throughout the novel previously. But by introducing a second character whom the main character interacts with on a similar level, while at the same time removing the original character who expressed these feelings, I originally felt that this reinforced this part of the story. It was meant to get the reader to understand that this racism is much deeper than just one particular character. While this is implied often throughout the story there is never the other heavy handed antagonist to reinforce it.

Now however I am not so sure about this tactic. This character’s part in the story is so small that it almost seems out of place and awkward. But at the same time it still seems to convey larger sentiments that I wanted conveyed.

I will have to ponder whether or not the introduction of this bit player at such a late point in the story is good for the overall story or not. I still think it is but I am not as sure of it as I once was.

Jan 20 2012

Authors Can Be Snippy And Petty

Posted by Mathias

One thing all authors should do is get feedback on their work. But, I will be honest with you, other authors can be one of the worst sources for feedback. I don’t know if they do it on purpose or subliminally, but I suspect it is a little of both when they give petty and meaningless critiques.

Not all are like this. Thank God!

But when I submitted one of my recent works to a group of fellow writers for critiquing, I got to experience those that are so shallow. One fellow author offered me no real critique of my work but instead insisted, repeatedly, that I was telling the story from the wrong point of view. When another author chimed in and told him he was being ridiculous in his critique and that the POV was fine, he began insisting that I use certain other words instead of the words I had chosen in a seemingly random fashion. Another author called that “silly”, saying that there was nothing inherently wrong with my word choices which were now under criticism.

After the whole event I learned that the noisy, other author critic was someone who was getting very bitter at not having been published in nearly a decade of trying. He often tries to change other authors into himself in terms of style. His style is not bad. But it just is not me.

Thankfully though the whole experience did yield some positive things that I was able to take away from it. But one thing I definitely learned is that other authors are not always good sources of critique.

Oct 18 2011

Changing POV At End Of Novel: Under The Darkened Moon

Posted by Mathias

I have decided for the epilogue of my novel, Under the Darkened Moon, to switch POVs. This is, of course, still a rough draft but I think it makes sense even though the entire novel has been 3rd person limited from the viewpoint of the main character to this point.

I want to pull back and go 3rd person omniscient to reveal things that are ok to reveal now that the story is over. Particularly the thoughts of the novel’s secondary character more in depth as well as putting the reader in the mind of a character who has been mentioned and referenced but never introduced until now and who has good reason to be introduced.

I wouldn’t consider changing POVs like this within the novel proper and suddenly but for the postscript, I think it will be ok and add to the story.

Aug 01 2011

Found: The short story I wanted

Posted by Mathias

Ok. I have some good news. That short story I wanted to write? You know, the one that instead turned into tens of thousands of words and what appears to be a novel? Well, I have found it within the plot of what I am writing.

It is going to require some changes to the longer story I have been typing out, but I think those changes are going to be for the better. Most of those changes have to do with the way magic is used in the world and a little bit of tweaking of the world history as well. It is amazing how thinking out a small part of the story to make it into a short story of its own allows me to see better ways to do other things within the main story itself. It also solves a couple conundrums I have been having with certain plot points. Putting the ideas for this story down have clarified a lot of the problems.

What happened was I was just free writing and jotting down notes yesterday when I was brainstorming some interactions between two of the novel’s characters. Out popped the short story in the form of a monologue by one of them.

Having happened long before this particular story, of course this short story does not fit into the novel’s full framework. The character’s summary of events in the novel does not tell the whole story so here is the chance for me to do that now and add some depth to this particular character, a female elf whose perspective and actions are only viewed in “Dark Moon” through the POV of the main character. So it has what I think is the makings of a good short story to work on.

It has taken a while to get there. But I have gotten there.

Title not decided on yet. Working title to be come up with.