The Collectors Case for April 2017 has the theme of “Fantasy & Adventure”, and featured “Lord of the Rings” and “Dungeons and Dragons”, with the chance for a Mystery Pop and/or a Sean Astin autographed print. Pretty awesome stuff! Don’t forget to check out the link in the description box of the video if you’re interested in checking out The Collectors Case for yourself!
Tag: Lord of the Rings
Titular First Impressions….Titular…*snerk*
A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.
98. Choosing a title.
There are many aspects to writing that are difficult, frustrating, and sometimes downright miserable. Choosing a title is not one of those things. Oh no. Choosing a title is so, so much worse.
The title of a book is the most immediate of first impressions. It (along with the cover of the book) is the first thing a prospective reader will see, and with that in mind, you have to determine what exactly you want that reader to think when they first look at your book. A terrible title could completely destroy a book’s chances of being picked up, browsed through, purchased, and read. Imagine, for a moment, some alternative titles for your favorite books. Would you honestly have picked up that same book if it had had a ridiculous title? Can you imagine purchasing The Lord of the Rings, for example, if you knew nothing of it beforehand and it’s title was actually A Really Long Journey? What if The Chronicles of Narnia had been titled, Stories About Another World? What if Dracula had been titled, A Very Old Vampire?
These are extreme(ly silly) examples, of course, but never-the-less, you must agree that many an attitude can rapidly change about the readability of a book if you fail to title it properly.
Take, for example, my current work-in-progress, Parallels. This story, at it’s heart, is about a young woman who is pulled into an alternate universe – a parallel world, if you will – and discovers that she has been drawn there to save it from an ancient evil. I began writing this particular story almost ten years ago. It is the work that I’ve mentioned before…the one that I’ve re-written so many times that I’ve never gotten anywhere near to finishing it. When I first started this story, it was my intention that the world the woman comes from and the one she travels to would be very different, but also have many parallels between them. It was my intention that as she travelled along on her journey she would regularlty become confronted with people and places that mirrored the world she grew up in, which would force her to confront many personal issues. However, as the story evolved, was rewritten, changed numerous times, and eventually became the piece I’m working on today, that no longer became the root of the story. Yes, the two worlds are still parallels, but not nearly as much so as I had originally imagined. There are only a handful of these parallels left in the story I’m writing now, and that got me thinking that perhaps the title didn’t make much sense. Then I started really thinking and it occurred to me that even if the title did make sense, it’s really not a very catchy title at all, is it? Tell me truthfully now, if you were browsing through the fantasy section of your local book store and came across a book with the word “Parallels” emblazoned across the cover, would it catch you? Draw you in? Would you even notice it?
Now perhaps some of you can say yes to these questions. Perhaps even many of you can. But that is the hell an author has to go through when choosing a title : relentlessly wondering if it’s the right one.
Now maybe the title will just come to you and you’ll know, inside, that it’s the right one. Maybe you won’t even be given the chance because your publisher will retain the right to title your work as they wish (does this happen? I honestly don’t know). Or maybe you’ll be talking about your book someday and someone will say, “You know what you should call it?”, and it will be the greatest title ever and you’ll hug them and kiss them and be their best friend forever.
But chances are you’ll be like me, bashing your head off a wall, thinking about what a stupid title you’ve chosen and desperately wracking your brain for another. Many people have a very difficult time choosing a name for their baby. It is really no different for an author naming their book. So think about it hard, consider all the angles, and when you figure out the best method for making your final decision, please feel free to come back to this blog and let me know.
Going Beyond Your Depths
A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.
90. Adding depth to your writing
Oh man, this post could go in so many different directions depending on how we think about the word “depth”. My brain is beginning to hurt just thinking about it. Couple that with the fact that I’ve never so much as submitted a manuscript to an editor, agent, or publisher, and I find myself wondering if I’m really one to talk. But as with several of the other posts I’ve written in response to the 101 Blog Post Ideas, I’ll go ahead and give you my thoughts and opinions, and you can take them for what they are. For additional info, I suggest wandering over to Kristen Lamb’s Blog. She’s written advice on almost every aspect of writing and she’s about as close to an expert as I’ve ever come across.
So…depth. There’s no doubt about it, you want your writing to have depth, but that’s a fairly broad term. Are we talking about emotional depth, depth in the plot line, or depth within our characters? Are there other forms of depth we could be considering? Probably, but these three are the ones that come to mind right now, so let’s talk about those.
First of all, emotional depth and character depth, which actually go hand-in-hand. Maybe this isn’t an important aspect to all readers, but for me it’s an absolute necessity. If I, at some point during the reading of the story, do not feel emotionally attached to a character (not necessarily the main character) then I feel like the author has not done his or her job. If the book in question is part of a series, failing to make me feel emotionally invested in a character will result in my failing to continue on to the second book in the series. That’s not to say that every character has to have an elaborate back story that endears me to them, but someone in the story has to make me care about them. Otherwise why do I care what happens to them? This sort of depth is best achieved, in my opinion, by finding reasons for your readers to bond with your characters. Harry Potter gains our empathy because he’s an orphan and we feel sorry for him for having to grow up with his awful relatives. Eddard Stark gains our approval because he’s an honorable man who cares deeply for his family and finds himself in a difficult situation that pulls him from them. Frodo Baggins has us rooting for him because he’s clearly the underdog with no discernible skills or abilities. Your characters have to have both upsides and downsides, merits and faults. The main reason that so many people hate the character Bella Swan is because she’s too goddamn perfect. Even her “faults” are played off as things that make her more adorable and endearing to the other characters. It pulls the reader away because you find yourself wanting to see her fail just to prove that she’s capable of failure, and that’s not a great way to think about the character who is meant to be your hero. Your characters have to be human (even when they technically aren’t) or else your readers can’t get inside their heads and feel for them, become them, and find themselves desperate to see them succeed.
As for depth of the plot, this is something that will vary from book to book, genre to genre, but the basic element remains the same. You do not want your story to be predictable. Now obviously a psychological thriller is going to have a lot more plot depth than a supernatural romance, but the point is that you have to occasionally give your reader something surprising or upsetting. If your reader is constantly thinking “this is what’s going to happen next” or “this is totally the big reveal” and it turns out that they’re right, that’s not a good thing. Sure, some level of predictability is to be expected, and there are always going to be those readers who somehow always seem to know what the author was thinking while writing the story, but most readers crave some kind of mystery to their books. You don’t want to be able to figure out exactly what is going to happen because otherwise you could just write the story yourself. One of the reasons the A Song of Ice and Fire series is so interesting is because it constantly has you guessing. You’re never quite sure who is a good guy or a bad guy, or what might happen next, or what just happened ten pages ago for that matter. You don’t have to create a labyrinth of mystery, confusion, and intrigue, but you have to give your readers something worth looking forward to. Reveal a good guy to actually be a bad guy or vice versa. Throw in something magical or otherwise supernatural just because it would be surprising and interesting. Kill off a character that the reader would have thought was important or had become attached to (this one doubles for emotional depth). Keep your readers guessing, basically, because that’s what keeps them moving on to the next page, and the next, and the next. Why do you think so many television shows end on a cliffhanger every single freakin’ episode?
In general, when writing your book, think about what it was you liked about the books you’ve read. Think about the types of things that made you like the characters, what events made you gasp or cringe or cry, what about the story made it impossible for you to put the book down. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and that all the different types of books have already been written, and any truly good author will tell you that part of being a writer is stealing from other writers. Use those concepts to figure out what is good about other books, and to imbue your own stories with those successful elements. Build depth by learning to recognize it in the writing of others. And when in doubt, remember what I always try to remember: if my writing doesn’t affect me, emotionally and mentally, then how can I possibly expect it to affect others?
I Write Like…
A while ago I stumbled upon this website, I Write Like, and just recently a fellow blogger linked to it and brought it back to my attention again. The idea, basically, is that you copy and paste an excerpt of your writing to the webpage and it analyzes it and tells you which author you write like. It analyzes based on word choices and writing style (which I’m assuming refers to sentence structure or some such); I can’t imagine that it’s terribly accurate, but it’s still interesting to see who you get. 🙂
For my zombie novel, Nowhere to Hide, I got Charles Dickens, even when I had the site analyze super-creepy and/or gory scenes. It has me very interested to actually read some Charles Dickens that isn’t Oliver Twist. o.o
For my Final Fantasy fanfic, I got Edgar Allan Poe, which just fathoms me. I could imagine getting Poe for my horror novel, but for a video game fan fiction? Wuh?
For my supernatural romance, tentatively titled Moonlight, I got David Foster Wallace. I have no idea who this is, so I’m going to have to do my research, but if his writing is anything like mine in this particular piece, I’m very interested already. lol
I analyzed several different scenes from my fantasy epic novel because it’s been written and re-written so many times that nothing fits together properly anymore. I got Jonathan Swift and Ursula K. Le Guin for two of the scenes, neither of whom I’ve heard of so again I must do my research. For another of the scenes I got Stephanie Meyer, which has prompted me to re-analzye my own writing stat.
The bits and pieces of what will someday be a space fantasy gave me Anne Rice. I know Anne Rice, of course, but I’ll have to read some more of her work to actually get an idea of whether this is accurate.
And finally, my Chrono Trigger fanfic gave me…J.R.R. Tolkien. o.O I, uh…totally can’t see it, but thanks for the compliment, I Write Like! lol
The thing that really amused me about this was that – with the exception of the aforementioned fantasy epic – I tried multiple scenes of each work and got the same results regardless, so there must be something there that the site is seeing. Very interesting. Now if only I could glean some of the success of these famous authors! lol
15 Day Book Challenge – Day 7
Day 7- Favorite movie adaptation of a book
Tough one. There are so many to choose from. I loved the Harry Potter movies, but some of the book-to-movie adaptations did annoy me. The Shawshank Redemption was pretty good, but I felt it was a little drawn out. The Lord of the Rings movies were amazing, but I don’t feel I can judge on the book-to-movie issue as I never managed to actually grit my way all the way through the books.
I guess I’ll have to go with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I actually saw the movie before I read the books, but when I finally did read the books I realized how much work must have gone into making that story half-understandable for the movie. The books are awesome, but in a way that makes your head want to literally explode, and the movie managed to capture some of that while still being a semi-coherent story. Plus, come on…singing dolphins.
Weekly Word Count and Kreativ Blogger Award
Okay, let’s get my word count accountability out of the way because my first week wasn’t so hot:
In my defense, I spent the time between approximately 9 am Monday and 8 pm Tuesday on a shopping trip with my husband’s mother, aunt, and grandmother. Yes, I willingly went shopping for two days with my in-laws. Unprecedented, I know. 🙂
Yeah yeah, no excuses, I know. I’ll do better this week. 😛
Now on to more important things! I’ve been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by miss amyauthorblog. I had actually noticed a few other blogs posting their own acceptance of this award and was wondering what it was all about, so I looked into it. Basically, from what I can figure, the idea is to “award” several blogs that you personally enjoy and think deserve some kudos, and in turn those bloggers give their readers some random facts about themselves and pass the torch on. So without further ado, the Kreativ Blogger Award rules:
1. You must thank the person who gave you the award.
And of course I thank you very much, amyauthorblog of Pen Names and Other Escapes! I honestly couldn’t have expected to find something like this in my comments so soon after creating my blog! Thanks again, and everyone go check out her blog! Her bathtub post this morning cracked me up. lol
2. You must list ten facts about yourself.
- I’ll be 28 years old in just a few days, and I still don’t know how to properly apply makeup. It’s never been something I was good at, and since I don’t generally wear a lot I never bothered to learn. I struggle to get my lipstick on without getting it all over my face, and when I wear any kind of powder I just sorta…brush it everywhere and hope for the best.
- I have two cats (once three) even though I’m allergic. I’ve always been a huge sucker for cats, so they make me stupid. Though once these two are gone I don’t think I’ll ever get another one. Once you have a kid running around, dealing with cats just seems to become an annoyance.
- I’m a huge nerd. I love Star Wars and have more recently gotten into Star Trek as well, there are still a few anime shows that are dear to my heart, and I could watch movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter over and over.
- I think Plants VS Zombies may be one of the greatest games ever. Can you say digital addiction?
- I was a cheerleader for a year in high school. Those who know me and didn’t actually see that period of my life would never guess, I promise you this.
- A while back I got into writing fanfiction, and with some amount of devil’s advocacy from my best friend, I ended up writing a slash fiction between Sirius Black and Remus Lupin (Harry Potter characters). I posted it on FanFiction.net and to this day I randomly get reviews on it. Part of me honestly believes that nothing else I ever write will be as enjoyed as that silly slash fic.
- If it were nutritionally logical, I would probably drink nothing but chocolate milk.
- I prefer to wear jeans and t-shirts/tank tops all the time. I hate wearing things that are uncomfortable, and I rarely find skirts and the like to be comfortable.
- I could sit with a coloring book and a box of Crayola crayons and be perfectly content for hours.
- Alternatively, I could easily sit in a room full of Lego blocks and just build towers and let my daughter knock them down all day. 😀
3. You must tag other bloggers to nominate them for the award and let them know that you’ve nominated them.
I’ve seen several different bloggers who tagged different numbers of people. Since I’m actually pretty new to blogging seriously and I don’t follow a lot of people, I’m just going to tag a few of the ones that have captured my attention since I started my blog:
Have at it, fellow bloggers! 😀