Tag Archives: novel

Inspiration – What Makes It Happen?

So, this is my first post on this blog for a year or more now. It’s interesting, then, that I should write something about inspiration as I have not seemed to have it for the past year or more. And while that’s not entirely true, I did want to sit back and comment on a few things that I think writers have some trouble with and some easy remedies as I have found that these things have helped me more than I know. Hence, the reason I am writing now.

#1 Problem = Coming up with Ideas

Whenever I tell people that I have written a novel they always ask me two questions to begin. (A) “What is your book about?” … And after I tell them typically the second question is (B) “How did you think of it?”

The second question is the one I want to answer here. To be honest, one of my best friends in high school had a collection of drawings of people and figures. I was fascinated with it and in middle school we went through the process of creating a card game from these figures based off of something like Yu-Gi-Oh. It was an interesting concept with it’s own twist. Anyways, these cards became the characters for a short story that I wrote in school. And then three years later as I was cleaning out my room in high school I found that short story again and I thought to myself, “Well, what would happen if I continued writing it.” So, after many many revisions and character additions and reductions, I arrived at The Trials of the Core by Michael E. Thies. My first novel.

And, although this may be self-explanatory, I wrote because I saw things. It seems elementary but if you take a look at any writer one of their greatest tools is the power of observation — to see something that is beyond the page or beyond the person in question. In Californication, for example, during the first season we see the author protagonist, Hank Moody (David Duchovny), tell a woman who she is based off merely the power of observation. She gets mad (because Moody is not very tactful) and storms off, but under that an analysis is that perhaps she was embarrassed that he was right about her. In the second season we see him shadow the life of a rockstar in order to write a book about him.

And that’s what we do as author, we observe. So, when I saw those drawings in my friends book of sketches, I saw more than just figures I saw people that were dying to come off of the page and hop into a story. And, now, I have actually gotten many inspirational ideas through sleep. I have crazy dreams, and I mean crazy dreams, that I wake up and wonder, “Well, what if that turned into a novel…” So, I jot down what I remember quickly into one of my notepads for writing and at a future date maybe I’ll get back to it and actually write a story or short story about it. Right now, I can’t, because I’m focused on Guardian of the Core but when I finish that series I will need something new to write about and who knows by then!

So, in essence, we get inspiration because we use our eyes and not just physical ones, but a mental eye (your brain as it dreams) and it’s imagination, as well.

Problem #2 = Coming up with sentences

Alright, another problem. Maybe you have a vivid imagination. Maybe you have an idea for a story. But, you don’t have the words. Where can you draw your inspiration from then? Well, I have had this problem, too, with inspiration. Honestly, this is how I solve it.

I read.

I remember that my writing improved so greatly after I started reading The Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin. After reading such a great book like that, it makes you want to write. It makes you want to see if you can craft a sentence as perfectly constructed as he does. At least, this was the side effect I had.

Even if a book isn’t necessarily good, like the book I am reading now, I still find it an inspiration, but an inspiration in a different sense. I want to write to write better. i see the flaws of that work and I write and make sure I don’t see any of the same flaws happen in my own book.

But, regardless of if it’s a good book or a bad book there are still ways that it can enhance your writing. Vocabulary, for instance, is something that is built through reading.

Problem #3 = Time for writing

This is probably the hardest issue to deal with. It’s true, there is just not enough time in the day. It gets more complicated when you have a family and a job. I am extremely fortunate that I have a profession, an English teacher, that allows me time for writing. In the States it would be during the summer when I don’t have the hustle and bustle of the school year to contend with. Now, while I’m over in Chile, it’s when I go on vacation to renew my passport. My mother came down to take me on a cruise from Valparaíso down around Cape Horn up to Buenos Aires. It was the best 14 days of my life. And, while on that cruise, I managed to write five to six chapters. I had never been more into my writing (besides when I’ve had to write for a deadline). It was fantastic and I wish I could live on a permanent vacation, but, alas, my books aren’t popular enough for that yet haha. But, maybe one day.

Anyways, like I was saying before, as a teacher not only do I get vacation time, but I get the luxury of being able to teach anywhere. I am currently taking a position to teach English overseas in China for a year, or more, and I’ll have lots of time to explore and write about the places I see. I am positive that Chile and my experiences here will turn up in my writing eventually. In fact, unknowingly, it already has, but it wasn’t as intentional as I would have liked.

So, what happens if you don’t have a profession like mine?

Then you have to go above and beyond in order to tackle this boundary to inspiration. Like the Corona commercials you have to “Find your beach.” Meaning, find a place that relaxes you and where you can write. Ideally, this is a beach, but not everyone has a beach in their backyard. So, without a beach, maybe you can have a beach be your writing den, or living room before the kids wake up, or the kitchen area. The idea is, though, that you need to create a routine that works for you in a setting that works for you.

Analysis 

For me, inspiration comes and goes like the wind, although I definitely do have more inspiration in any of the three situations I outlined above. Unless if I have to, I never force myself to write, because when I do it doesn’t come out as well as I want it to. That is why I stopped writing this blog a year ago when I was cranking out a post per week. Now, I want to continue but at my own pace, maybe at once every two weeks or once a month. I don’t know the exact time table but I had the itch to write a blog post today and that is what I did.

So, the next time you have any type of writer’s block, don’t feel that you have to write. It may be more painful for you to do so. Instead, perhaps try one of the methods outlined above, and then see how you feel. Welcome writing, don’t worship it or feel inclined to do it.

-Michael E. Thies

Chapter Reveal – Prologue

Hey everyone!

Okay, so it’s the beginning of the month again which means that another reveal in the book comes. Well, I have a special surprise for you today. Firstly, I would like to say that I feel comfortable saying that the title of the second book in the Guardian of the Core series is: The Curse of Pirini Lilapa (although I am going to keep you waiting for the cover).

Anyways, what I decided to share with you today is the Prologue to the story told from Guardian of the Core, Edwyrd Eska’s perspective. I hope you enjoy it. Comments and critiques are always appreciated as it is not set in stone yet.

_________________________________________________________________________

The strong breeze that had awoken the Guardian of the Core, Edwyrd Eska, died to sporadic, light strokes that massaged his neck. It was the grave of night, though a gloaming roamed, not willing to give up an inch more of territory to darkness. So sands glistened in the light and Eska could still see the mountains off in the horizon from the perch of his veranda.

A slap of wind hit him.

This is how it always happened when she wanted to see him. Eska clutched the gray orb necklace at his throat, remembering her present. It had come at a time like this 150 years before, when the suns were overhead just as they were now, in an event known as Pirini Lilapa or the Great Inferno. It had marked the fourth anniversary of the Great War, a war that had been so violent and terrible the Ancients themselves disappeared.

Another gust. Almost a howl as if she were growing impatient.

Why this night? Eska did not know. Perhaps it was the closeness of the suns. Perhaps it seemed only right after a day such as Coronation. His apprentice lay exhausted in his room as were the others. Eska turned around and looked at Tundra’s naked body, covered by sheets, lying in his bed underneath the gloaming light. She wasn’t pretty, there was a scar on her face and wrinkles and age took her beauty from her, but she was loyal, and to Eska that was beautiful. He maneuvered past his bed dragging his gloved hand along the bottom portion, feeling the rise of her legs as he passed her to exit his chambers.

Outside his estate, he walked upon the vast empire of dirten terrain. Only the stars gazed down upon him, only they watched him skulk through the night, guided by the faintest breeze. In this midway between dark and day the stars looked more like jewels. Perhaps godstones. Out of the billions of stars, one was his. And from that star he could make a wish. Any wish. He knew which one was his for over fifty years now, but he had never called upon it. What could he wish for that he didn’t already have?

When he took his eyes from the sky, he realized he was at the face of the Gamrol Cliffs. This is where the wind led him. This is where she called to him.

Eska climbed the boulders before him that secluded the entrance to the cave. Even though the area was isolated, here at the base of the cliff, the breeze intensified. It wrapped around him, billowing his cape and ruffling his silk clothes. Inside the cave the wind pushed him and heeded him down a path lighted with yellow moss and slimy with wetness.

“He’s here. He’s here,” the wind seemed to whisper.

Eska knew it wasn’t the wind though, it were the windies that floated by him, giving the illusion of wind. Berol, their leader, found him after he had traveled a quarter mile in and now found himself in a gigantic, spacious dwelling with stalagmites dripping cool blue in splats on the floor.

“He who can hold wind, what do you want on this late of night or early of dawn?”

The windy was a size and a half of the others but Eska still had to squint to make visible the fairy-like creature. Translucent wings and the pale blue body made him blend in with so much of the cavern. “She called me here. She wishes to speak to me. Let me see her.”

“As you wish, Guardian. The one who can hold wind.”

Berol let his mouth form into a type of howl and soon the whole cavern echoed their leader. Windies flew all around him in a blue tornado of action. For anyone not used to it they would have been thrown back by their raw power, but not Eska. The man who could hold wind only stood and watched as out of the tornado stepped a translucent woman of a flowing white robe, and blue curls that hung past her shoulders, bouncing with every step she took. The cavern was almost a vacuum now. The sudden change left Eska breathless. Although not as breathless as the first time he saw her. All the air had been pulled into creating her—Zeph. She was wife to the Ancient Bane, sister to Anemie of the Twelve and mother to Naydeia, rumored to have started a bloodline with Galan that merged the blood of both Ancients Lyoen and Bane.

“Guardian Edwyrd Eska…It has been too long.”

Her lips were lush with light blue, and her skin pale as moonlight. She was there, not physically, but through the power of her windies. He did not have time to go to her floating isle on Mistral tonight, but he needed to see her.

Eska used the necklace he wore to control what little air remained. Once he found the cadence to his breaths, he talked. “Yes, much too long.”

“I believe the last time we met under these circumstances was during Pirini Lilapa.” Zeph shuffled around him, walking on air.

“I suppose that is the reason you called me here tonight?”

“Yes. The fifth anniversary of the Great War arrives.”

“Last time you called to me as I sat alone in my room. A new Guardian of only thirty-five years to tell me and warn me and give me…” Eska pinched the necklace between his index and thumb to show her.

“And this time is not much different. Except for your age and experience. Deimos came into the world during that month…I only gave you the tool to stop it.” She walked around him, her white robe dragging on the air as if it were earth.

“The other Guardians…did you see them as well?”

“No. My eyes have only laid sight upon you Edwyrd.” She stopped in front of him and looked at him with dark blue eyes. A hint of purple hid in them as well. “And you wonder why that is?”

“Yes,” Eska admitted. He stood hands behind his back, not removing his gaze from hers until she started around her circular path again.

“They did not need the help which I bestowed upon you.”

“Why was I chosen though?”

“The Third One himself birthed a demon and only Ancient Power can fight Ancient Power.”

The Third One that is what he had heard sparsely from her the last time. Never once was the real name mentioned. Not once was it written in the history of books. Never once was it allowed to be said if myths were true. It referred to one being—The Third Ancient. Guardian Eska stood in silence as he let her thoughts sink down into his core.

“Some names are sung for sorrow. Others given for greatness. And yet there are those who are merely fit for fate,” Zeph said.

“And which of those am I?” Guardian Eska did not like the question, and knew he would like the answer even less.

“Fate,” Zeph responded cold and isolated.

“Is there anyway someone can change their fate?”

Zeph laughed, and twirled. Her gowns caught on her body and before he knew it she immediately stopped in front of him. “You who says you must learn to accept death. You ask this?”

“Death is not fate. So I ask you again, is there anyway someone can change their fate?”

“Everyone must die eventually, Edwyrd.” Her smile fell to a grim line. There was tension. And pause. Just long enough for him to feel his own mortality in the rise of his skin and the lack of air. Then she continued, “Unlike death, however, every man can mold the clay of his fate. Nothing is ever set in stone. The question lies in, why would you want to?”

“My role began with Deimos then?”

“No, no it did not. Your role is just beginning, Edwyrd.”

“And this?” Eska cupped the necklace in his hand, laying it out for her to see again.

Zeph came closer and laid her transparent hand on top of his. Somehow Eska could feel her. Perhaps he was the only one that could. He saw through the white her ghostly hand offered. He saw straight through her eyes that stared at him.

“The necklace is how it will begin.”

***No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system—except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Web—without permission in writing from the Publisher.***

My Life at the Moment…

It has been a LONG time since I’ve had a blog post. That is not good. It is something I am going to have to keep more on top of, but I want to explain why it’s been so long since I’ve had one, even though I’ve had a bunch of potential blogging ideas.

The busyness of life has gotten to me. I feel as though I am overwhelmed with all of the things that are occuring in my life right now. Let me tell you about them:

(1) Book 2 edits just got done and am patiently awaiting to see the reviews back from the editor. During this time I haven’t been getting done as much stuff on Book #3 as I would have hoped (in fact, nothing at all) So, I really need to start doing that. But, the things that eat up my time in this realm is reading other people’s works on Wattpad and being an active community member there and also writing short stories that will eventually be it’s own novel when I add them all together.

(2) School. Summer school has been really rough. I am taking 9 credits over summer and that is really really difficult. 6 of those credits have been all of June and so in July now I only have one course, so it should ease up a little but i constantly have homework in that course. I need to do well in those courses so that it can increase my ability to get a job at the end of college. That is my ultimate goal.

(3) A new career opportunity that allows me to get people in shape, keep me in shape, and get paid while doing it. It is a cleansing system that is so effective. I am only on day three but can already feel the positive benefits from it. The thing is, is that I don’t have time to recruit a lot of people because I’m so busy and I have so many other things going on, so I’m not exactly sure what to do about it.

(4) I’ve been out in the dating sphere in the last couple of months and that always takes up time and money.

(5) Finally I started a new job in June. This past month, since some people have either gotten fired or quit, they have increased my “part-time” status to “full-time” and that has been the main thing that has been killing me. It messes up my workout schedule (which, btw, is another thing that takes up time, but I have to stay in shape!) and it messes up all my other schedules including my sleep schedule because I am now napping at random times during the day.

(6) The rigors of every day life. I mean, is it fair that I am CONSTANTLY working on something? I don’t think so, and that is another large issue for me. I want to be social and hang out with people at the beach, or maybe just chill and watch netflix one day, but I feel as though I can’t because of all the other extra-curriculars I am involved in. It’s actually really stressful. I think I may need to cut out a few more in order to decrease my stress, but also I think buying a academic planner will be nice. I am going to get one of those today.

So, my decision for what I’m going to do now? Well, I definitely am cutting out drinking so that my 30-day cleanse product can be more effective. Also, it will give me much much more time to do things. I am hoping by cutting out that part of my life I will be able to stay more focused and motivated on the things I like doing. I hope that that is enough to keep me relieved and if not, well, then I’m just going to have to figure out how to do manage my life even more. I am not sure what is the next thing I would cut would be, but I definitely have a few of those things in mind. I will be cutting back my work availability to not do Sundays so that I have time to blog consistently. That should help for the moment! I am going to keep you all up to date on the posts that I would have mentioned and that were somewhat mentioned in here.

 

Supporting an Author

Hey everyone,

It is Christmas time. That means a bunch of things. It means, if you’re in college, you are on Winter Break currently and just got done with finals. (Congratulations I hope it went well for you). At any age it means celebrating time off with the family. In Wisconsin and the Midwest it means severe cold. Like, literally severe cold. Anyways, there is also one more thing it means that has been bred into us through years upon years of traditions. It means presents, family time, and a family dinner.

And, well, what better present than a gift from an author you know?! I have been in the process of getting my book up on Amazon, and guess what IT IS FINALLY THERE!!! Here is the link for that: http://www.amazon.com/The-Trials-Core-Michael-Thies/dp/0989566803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387576205&sr=8-1&keywords=the+trials+of+the+core+michael+e+thies

 

I was pretty excited about this. But, I also bought 1000 copies of my book in order to sell throughout the new year. And here is the thing I want to express with you, us authors are broke people, very broke, so every dime of support means something to me. If you are someone who wants a book for free because you know me, I’m sorry, that hurts me even more. This is a little bit of a rant, but imagine working on something for 6 years and putting countless of hours and money into it and people want to have it for free, when it’s only $15? That’s like 2.5 dollars per year that I’m earning (not per hour or day or month). I would consider that not the greatest of pay rates. Probably the worst out there.

Anyways, with these 1000 books I now need to compete with selling them through my website, www.guardianofthecore.com and with Amazon. Amazon, I found out, is offering my book for $11.03 with Free shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member. This is much cheaper than my 14.95 + flat fee of 6.90 for shipping. So, why should you visit my website and purchase books instead of going through Amazon? One word: Support.

And, now that I have these 1000 books, I need to start making some headway in selling them. So, here is what I am doing for the holiday season and beyond. I am selling my book for $12.50. No, that doesn’t beat Amazon prices at all. I am sorry, I will never beat Amazon prices, but I hope that if you are true supporters of me and the work and effort I have put into something for 6 years that the extra 5 dollars that you’ll spend on my book, purchasing it through the website, will not break your bank. Also, here’s another great thing that purchasing it through the website offers you and that Amazon cannot. A signature! That’s right, any book that gets ordered through my website (or directly through me if you come into contact with me via everyday life) will receive an autographed copy of the book. HOW AWESOME! If that something isn’t enough, you even get cool little “Guardian of the Core” bookmarks.

I don’t mean to call anyone out or make people feel uncomfortable lol but if there is one thing that annoys me more than other things, it’s asking for a free copy of my book. It’s not like I ask you for a free “insert service here”. Anyways, I’m not saying “BUY MY BOOK! IT’S SO AWESOME!” but, what I’m saying, is that if you do ever plan on purchasing it in your life, please order through my website to help support me more as an author than what Amazon would support me (since they take a % of my profit). And, if you don’t plan on purchasing my book, which is cool, reading isn’t up everyone’s alley, you can still support me by telling people who do read and that you know about my book. They are probably going to be bored over winter break so tell them about my book! It’d mean a lot to me. If they ask you for reviews you can show them this website: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18242825-the-trials-of-the-core

With all the said, thank you for reading. I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my rantish topic but I hope you all understand the position I am in as an author. It’s not like I get paid an hourly rate to do what I do. I hope you all have a happy holidays and if you purchase one for yourself, or your friend, I hope you enjoy it!

An International Review

Hey everyone,

So, more good news. Another review came in this one was from a, Nadia Batista, who lives in Portugal and has read my book. She gave it a ★★★★ 4 Star review on Goodreads. That is awesome on so many different levels. Hopefully it starts picking up some international steam now. That would be fantastic. There is a bunch of things that need to happen before that happens, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

With that being said, here is the link to the actual blog post. http://eu-e-o-bam.blogspot.pt/2013/12/li-ate-pag100-36.html  What I post below is the rough translation of what is posted in the blog post. Keep in mind that I do not speak Portuguese nor does my mom. She was a Spanish teacher for 35+ years and there are similarities between Spanish and Portuguese so that is why I say this is a rough translation. Where she got stumped, we went to Google Translation.

 

1st part – First sentence on Page 100:

-> “If water is blue, why must this one be red?”

2nd part – What does the book deal with:

-> Trials of the Core tells a story of six youngsters who compete amongst one another in order to become Guardian of the Core.

3rd part –   What have I found until now?:

-> You are going to enjoy the book more than one expects. In spite of that at times it reminds me of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, this is going to be quite agreeable literature.

4th part – What does the protagonist find?:

-> There is no protagonist in this story. Amongst the six competitors the story is told, not favoring one more than another. Now, how much to like all the characters…that is another story.

5th part – ??? No idea. Couldn’t understand this.

6th part – Are you going to continue reading?

-> Of course.

7th Part – The last sentence of the page:

-> “Everyone else had to travel by foot – but time was no issue for him now.”

 

I was very excited for this review. As a first-time author, not really knowing what to expect going into this whole process, I find it really really interesting that people from other countries are enjoying my books. That makes me feel good on a whole different level. Again, I think a big reason for this is because this book deals with the issue of self-realization which is an issue that is global, and not just in an isolated pocket.

Spread the word about, The Trials of the Core, to your friends. Also, don’t be afraid to check out the website at www.guardianofthecore.com.

Thanks for reading!

A Delayed December Launch :(

Hey everyone,

Alright so this is the saddest thing in the world to announce (at least for me) but I have been promoting my official book launch for December 10th, for forever now it seems. And alas, I do not believe it is going to happen (unless a miracle happens). In truth, I am not sure when it is going to happen anymore. How did this fiasco happen? Well, that, my friends and followers, is what I’m going to explain because I was quite distraught when I read the news.

So, with self publishing, we publishers have a few options to go with to let our books have the chance to be distributed nation-wide. Those options are CreateSpace (CS) or LightningSource (LS). There are probably others, too, but these two are the main players. Anyways, I went with LS because they offer a return policy, unlike CS, which is very important to get your books into bookstores, some bookstores are hesitant not to take books without a return policy because it is a rough economy out there. Also, LS does not put that they are the publisher on their books like CS does.

This July LightningSource split off into LightningSource and IngramSpark (IS). IngramSpark is where they transferred all of their self-published authors, like me! Now, this is fine, I don’t have a problem going with IS. However, I did not take time to read thoroughly the time delay it would take from the time it is submitted on IS to the time it actually gets put up on websites like amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. I though it would be an instantaneous process like LS, however, it is not. With that being said, I just approved everything a week and a half ago. This was all before I knew the fact thtat a new, never before published author like me, can expect up to 4-6 weeks to get out onto Amazon. Now, I have NO IDEA why the heck there is such a lag or delay in this process (it’s electronic after all). But, so far, my book is not up there yet, and I don’t really know when it’s going to be up there. So, if you were planning on buying the book, The Trials of the Core, on Amazon you will not be able to until I find out that it’s up there. When that happens I will let you know.

Anyways, there is my plight. So, maybe it’ll be up on Amazon tomorrow, but I doubt it. But, do not fear, there is still hope! You can order the book from my website, www.guardianofthecore.com and not only will you get the book sooner than what Amazon would deliver, but you will also get a personally autographed book, something that Amazon cannot give you. So, go there, check out the site, and if you feel inclined to buy, then go for it 🙂

For other aspiring authors out there who are reading the blog, keep this new timeline in mind when you are planning your book’s release date. I do not want to see any other authors affected by this like me.

Why I Can Never Compete in NanoWrimo…

Okay, this is a personal confession, although I am an author I have never competed in NanoWrimo. For those of you who do not know what this is it is New Novel November Month. Pretty much you write an entire novel in one month. I know, as an author, I feel ashamed for admitting the fact that I’ve never competed or done this, but I want to explain the reason why this has been out of my particular reach. Since it is now December I feel as though this is the perfect post because, alas, I did not compete this past November 🙁

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s my writing process. Especially for new novels. I am not sure if this is unique to me or if lots of other authors do it, so I am interested in hearing other people’s viewpoints on this. For first drafts of novels I HAVE to write it out freehand first and then go back and type up everything. I don’t know what it is, but that is how it is done for me. When I finish with a whole notepad of chapters, I plop it down in front of me, turn on my Pandora music and then type them all up just listening to music. The whole process is actually very relaxing for me. But, with this process comes twice the amount of work, I know. Trust me I have tried writing it all on the computer first, but it’s hard. I think this happens for a few reasons:

  1. With writing online comes all the distractions of online too. Too easily do I find myself checking my Facebook, or if someone posted a new comment on my novel on Wattpad.
  2. Staring at that blank screen just doesn’t appeal to me. The cursor blinking me and mocking me for having no thoughts to jot down. Something I cannot handle.
  3. With a pen in my hand I feel more of an author, you know? I see the pad I need to write and thoughts just come to me. It allows me to organize my thoughts better and rearrange ideas if need be by simply circling the passage in question and drawing an arrow to where I need to place it.

 

On top of my crazy writing process, I feel as though I shouldn’t be starting a new novel. I am honestly floored when I hear other authors who are working on 3 – 4 books at once. For one, how do you have that much time? And Secondly, how do you have that many ideas? It’s craziness. For me as being a series writer and currently working on the second novel in my series of either 4 or 5 books, I just couldn’t imagine starting a new storyline when I still have one unfinished. I know I’ll need a new idea eventually and I actually do have another idea for a story once this one is done, but I just can’t start writing a new novel when I should be focused on what is here and right now.

Now, although I do not participate in New Novel November Month, it does not mean I do not write constantly. My original goal was to have the first draft of my second novel done by the end of November. However, I was lazier in October than I should have been so now I am pushing that to end of December. For the past couple weeks in November I have been consistently writing one chapter per day in my second novel and am less than 20 chapters from finishing it (I think anyways).

Personally, that is what writing is, persistence. I really do appreciate what NanoWrimo does in encouraging authors to start a story, but here is where I think the program goes wrong. By encouraging to someone to write a whole novel in a month you are pretty much telling them “do not have a social life” or have less of one. That is the quickest way to get burnt out and when you get burnt out at writing you are officially done. You won’t want to come back to the keyboard or pick up the pen again. That is why, in my opinion, slow and steady wins the race. I make it kind of a goal to get a chapter done per day, even in revisions. If you did that you would have a great polished novel done by the end of a year. (With taking breaks too.)

By simply writing a chapter per day, you ease your workload and still can have a social life which is very necessary for authors—we are people watchers after all. It’s like when parents tell their children they can’t play video games until they get their homework done. For me, I can’t go out with my friends until I get at least one chapter done, and as long as I do that I know that I will have another piece of work coming out in a decent amount of time.

What do other authors think about these things? Do you have a certain process you take while writing? What is it? Do you participate in NanoWrimo? Have you been successful in it?

All pretty interesting questions that I would love feedback on. Take care and keep writing!

Happy Thanksgiving Shout Out

thanksgivingSo, as I’m sure many bloggers are doing this on Thanksgiving I wanted to make sure I take some time and thank everyone who has made an impact in my life over the past couple months. Below is a list of everything I have been thankful for as of late. This list isn’t all inclusive, just the ones that come to mind.

 

1) My family: I couldn’t be more thankful for them. Minus a small portion they have provided the means for me to make the dream of publishing my first book come true. Don’t get me wrong, I am still in so much debt that sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night but they considerably reduced it and are always my personal salesman always telling people about my book.

2) My friends: Over the past 2 months now I have gone through a large transitional phase in my life and I think it’s only going to continue to grow and no one has been there more for me than my friends. They have been reassuring me that the choice I made was a best course solution and have helped me cope with loneliness and have done many things to get my mind off of the past. Not only that, but they have supported me in my book endeavors too and, although I’m not sure if they are actually interested in hearing me rant all the time, they listen to me rant about the struggles of me self-publishing a book and the financial strain I feel at all times.

3) My readers: For those of you who have supported me and actually bought a book from me, thank you. For those of you who have not only bought a book, but have read it as well and have helped me get the momentum rolling with the book, an even bigger thanks. I truly hope you enjoyed it, and for those of you who haven’t read it yet, but have it, well I hope you like it. It was a project six years in the making and it’s always really scary pouring your heart and soul into something and then giving it to the public to judge and hope they like it. So far (knock on wood) it has gotten good reviews, but there is never any such things as too many good reviews. So, if you finish the book and enjoyed it please please please rate it on Goodreads and on Amazon and give it a good rating.

4) My future roomies at Whitewater: Although I haven’t officially moved in there yet, I am super happy of the place I have in Whitewater. It is perfect location to everything. As any transfer student is I’m sure living with random people you always wonder “Okay, are these people just going to stick around their friends, or be inclusive?” Well, I am super happy that my roommates are the latter. They are super inclusive and I think that is awesome and it only helps me get acclimated to the Whitewater community that much faster. I can’t wait to move in at the end of December and am even more excited to start the pursuit of my new career in English education when school starts again in January.

5) Supporters of my new career path: Speaking of being excited to start school again in January, I am also excited to see so much support I have gotten as I switch career paths. I am not saying marketing isn’t right for me, I love marketing and it’s been a blast really having first hand experience in marketing my own book, but marketing is a very hard field to get into right now. I am not saying education will be any better for me come Fall 2015 when I look for jobs, but I think I will be able to find a job. All of the people who I’ve told about this career path have told me that I would be an awesome teacher and it makes me reaffirm my faith that this path in my life is definitely the one I want to go down.

6) Finally, I guess I’m thankful for my book: I know, it sounds weird. But, let me explain. I am thankful for my book and everything that it has taught me in my life in the past couple months. A big saying in the book is “The Toughest Trials Test You Truest” and nothing has been a tougher trial for me than to take this large financial risk and publish a book. I think what is even tougher though is knowing that this is only part 1 in a 4-5 book series and that I continue writing. And, when you couple in the fact that I haven’t had as much support as I intended with this first book from FB friends or college friends it is really hard for me to continue writing and even think about launching the second book in 2015 (which is my goal currently) considering I’ll still probably be in debt with this first book if sales do not go the way I intend them to in the near future. Another important lesson my book offers, though, is the fact that nothing is impossible, only you decide what is possible and what is impossible so when you are feeling low, which is what I feel sometimes, you just say to yourself “I’m Possible” and continue pushing through. That is what I’m doing and hopefully it all works out for me.

Anyways, that is everything I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. If you are one of these people, you know. I truly appreciate every ounce of support I get whether that be in my career change, my new path in life, or my book. Thanks to you all and have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Ender’s Game: From Book to Movie

enders_game_2013_movie-wide

Alright, so I am disappointed to admit this but until the movie gained popularity, I had not read Ender’s Game even though it is considered to be a staple in the science-fiction genre. Needless to say, I bought the book on my Kindle and I read it before seeing the movie. I always find it fascinating when books get turned into movies and I think that is really any author’s dream (or nightmare if your book gets murdered as much as Christopher Paolini’s Eragon did). With that being said, this is my review of the book and movie as a conjoined identity.

Compared to the book, the movie falls short. Not even falls short. Falls into an ABYSS. It’s very sad to see such a great book that has a lot of potential to be a great movie, end up not being that great at all. I would have to say it’s the second word book-to-movie translation I have ever seen, behind Eragon (I’m convinced those people didn’t even read the book cause of how awful it was). Anyways, before you start criticizing me for badmouthing the movie, let me get a chance to explain the problematic elements the movie offered.

  1. I thought the movie was too short. I look at the time and it says that it was 114 minutes long, but it did not seem like that for me. I could have sworn it was only around an hour and a half and definitely could have been improved by being increased by at least another half an hour. If this length is correct than this movie suffers from misdirection in defining what is truly important in the storyline. Those are the next points that I will be addressing.
  2. Technically I guess the largest flaw of this movie is the fact that they did not describe the anscible or what it does. They make reference to it but do not make an effort to tell us what it does and simply assume that everyone watching the movie knows what it does. This I would consider the biggest flaw in the movie because it is the crux of the whole ending of the story! For those of you who haven’t read the book, the anscible is a device that allows people to communicate faster than the speed of light. This is the dues ex machina that allows Ender to control the entire star fleet at the end that are universes away. Also, when we find out that it was no simulation that Ender was facing, but the real enemy and the ansicble is the thing that made his directions seems to be in real time, it brings a certain sense of realism to the science-fiction element. With this element not being explained thoroughly we, as viewers, have no clue how this “simulation” ended up being real or how that can even happen without removing ourselves really really far out of the story (suspension of disbelief at its finest).
  3. The battles that made up a majority of the story, end up hardly making up any of this movie. Ender is shown doing one battle in the movie. Then all the sudden he is ready to take on a whole fleet of alien without any more training. That is too contrived. I understand you need to cut things to fit a book into movie form, however, a few more battles would have engaged the audience more and also would have shown Ender’s skills develop as a tactical genius. Plus, it would have created emotional unrest in us as we see all of his friends graduate (although we really know they just graduated to command school to where Ender meets them again). Because of this brevity we don’t get to see the strain it is putting on Ender and therefore cannot really connect with him as a character and so when he is having a hard time going to command school and needs to go home and his sister Valentine talks to him, we don’t really understand why he is so distraught.
  4. One last change that really made me upset is the fact that this “Giant’s Game” that is also a considerable part of the book, is skimmed over. The game is described in great detail but the “End of the World” part is not. What Ender struggles with is this, and he doesn’t struggle with it in the movie. In fact, he solves it the first time. And the “End of the World” that actually ends up being a whole different planet in the book, ends up being on the same planet where the Space Command School is set up. A site where they said they had traveled through all the tunnels and exterminated all of the “buggers” as they are called. Little do they know they missed one bugger and her offspring (which is going to repopulate the race that Ender just genocided). Okay, this may be believable if the fact that the place that they didn’t scope out fully is the one that is located as close to the Command School as possible. How does this one go without being looked at extensively??? Really??? Come on now producers, think that through!!!
  5. And finally just a few pet peeves that annoy me when it comes to translating anything from book to movie or tv show. Why do you need to change names if they are going to be the exact same characters? Granted this didn’t really happen a lot with Ender’s Game but there is a man named “Dab” who I am pretty sure isn’t in the entire book and just thrown in there as a filler character. But, for example, an issue where it becomes more prevalent is when Game of Thrones changed Theon’s sister from Asha to Yara (which I guess would have been too confusing with Bran’s wilding mentor Osha).

Now, as in any review or critique there needs to be some positive elements, right? Yes, that is right and Ender’s Game does have some moments of brilliance here.

  1. I thought the cast was appropriate minus Bonzo who I thought was going to be taller (especially since he’s older) than Ender. Also, I pictured him to be bigger. Was not expecting such a scrawny kid.
  2. I thought the fact that they did not choose to include the internet domination of Ender’s brother and sister is a good thing. I don’t think this really carried the book story any further and it definitely would have caused a drag in the movie if it were allowed to sneak in. That was an excellent choice by the producers.
  3. The graphics and animations were really well done. The buggers were shown very well and I though the “Giant’s Game” that Ender plays in the book was translated very well to the movie screen minus the fact that they didn’t go into enough detail with it.

All in all I would give this book to movie translation a 3/10. The graphics and cast are what got in the three. But not defining the anscible clearly and demonstrating a clear lack in Ender’s training which is probably 75% of the actual book just shows a clear negligence on the part of the producers. I would still have to say that my all-time favorite book to movie translations would have to be the Harry Potter series. The producers and directors did a fantastic job at those, and if my book, The Trials of the Core, ever gets chosen to become a movie someday, those are the people I would want to have it done.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you read the book? Have you seen the movie? Both? How would you compare the two?

What can be Improved Upon in English College Courses (Part 1)

So, there are a few things that have been bugging me for a while now. This blog post actually gets a little long so I’m expanding it into multiple parts. Part one talks about writing courses in college, although all of this can probably be applied to high school writing courses as well.  Part 2 will focus on courses I think that should be added to the college curriculum. And, who knows, maybe I’ll expand this into a part 3, as well, topic yet to be determined.

Firstly, why is there such a tendency to curb the way we college students write? I understand that different people have different taste in genres, but I believe each genre should be an acceptable format to write in during a college writing course. We come there to enhance our skills after all, not to write something that has no interest to us. I’ll use my college experience as an example here (and I know many colleges are focused around the same way), in my junior level creative writing prose course we were meant to have a portfolio at the end of the semester with 3 short stories in it. I had an awesome teacher who allowed us to write whatever we wanted. . . Initially, anyways. I decided I’m going to kill two birds with one stone and I’ll write a short story that coincides with my larger piece that I’m working on, my novel. I loved it. I had an awesome time writing it and I feel as though much of the class enjoyed it (that last part could be due to the fact that I consider myself a decent writer). Anyways, 2/3 pieces I wrote for that portfolio turned out to be short stories that supplemented my novel, The Trials of the Core, which is a fantasy piece.

In my senior level creative writing prose course my teacher strictly forbade anyone from writing fantasy short stories and decided to stick with literary prose. Okay. I don’t mind literary prose, I can write about anything, that’s what practice will get you, but if I had a choice what would I choose? Probably my fantasy stories and again work on things that are going to compliment me later in life. Now, the problem here?

The problem is that my senior level creative writing teacher forbade us to write on anything other than her specific interest even when we had two pieces we needed to turn in at the end of the year. My junior-level teacher did not. To me a solution could be that, yes, you can write a story genre specific to your choice, but then you must also write another story that is not in your typical genre. This forces us as writers and readers to do a couple things: (1) As writers, we find our voice in different genres. We are exposed to a wider range of writing, and as such, become better versed in all aspects writing. (2) As readers, we learn to look at different types of literature and judge it in the genre that it’s in. We see the shortcomings of a specific genre, and the strengths of another. We learn to analyze differently and perhaps even take what’s specific in one genre and merge it with another (for example, merging an idea of fantasy into magical realism). (3) As teachers, you should be able to discern good writing from bad writing no matter the genre. Even if it’s something you don’t typically read, you know a good sentence when you see it—it is not as abstract as poetry is in my opinion.

I am pro-fantasy writer, a definite advocate, and so I hate it when teachers tell me I can’t write a specific way and there are typically a few reasons: (1) Fantasy is about world building and you don’t have enough time to properly world build in a short story, (2) You need to deal with magic and supernatural elements, that again, take a long time to explain and not suited for a short story, (3) there may be creatures in it that we cannot suspend our disbelief to.

Great…

Here are some reasons why we should be allowed to write fantasy (but you can apply these reasons to other genres as well): (1) The ability to create a delicate plot structure. Just think about it, imagine how much planning and timing it takes for fantasy authors to juggle multiple plot lines in a single story. J.K. Rowling had 7 books in her series, Harry Potter, and although I doubt she had all 7 outlined when she wrote her first book, she had a good idea of where she wanted the story to go. As fantasy writers we need to think about things that happen in the first book that will affect the second book, third book, and so on. That is hard! And a reason why if we can practice that in short story format, utilizing the setup-payoff technique, we are going to be well off when we actually start our career after college. (2) World building. I don’t think there is another genre (perhaps besides science-fiction) that worldbuilds like fantasy does. This is a trait that can carry over to ANY GENRE. We as writers are writers, first and foremost, but I’d scoff at anyone who says that as a writer they are not an observer—a people watcher, a world watcher. If you can dream up or think up these fantastic settings that are, for the most part, imaginary just think about how well you will be able to do describing something that takes place in Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. The language we use is the same, the reality is that in most other fiction, it literally is reality that is the difference. It’s there. Tangible. (3) To further recognize how to deal with not only cliché characters, but hackneyed scenarios. This is huge in genre fiction. In romance you have the love triangle and the most known one is the High School quarterback dating the head cheerleader and then this other undiscovered girl comes in and attracts the quarterback and they fall in love. For fantasy it’s the idea that an orphan will be the one to save everyone. And so on and so forth for the other genres. But, writing these short stories in these different types of genres allow us to practice creating different archetypes of characters, because we don’t want the predictable love triangle. By listening to others’ feedback who aren’t maybe versed in the genre as much as we are, we get an outsiders perspective which might just be the thing we are looking for when it comes to changing up our pacing, style, tone or perspective.

Well, that actually happened to be a lengthier blog post than I intended it to be, but it needed to be said nonetheless. So, there you have it teachers and professors, don’t limit your student’s creativity just because you don’t like a particular genre. Instead, embrace it. Allow them to write perhaps one of there 3 portfolio pieces in a genre of their choosing but then encourage them to go outside their norms and write in something else. This will only create better writers, better readers, and better analyzers. We as students are thirsty for variety, thirsty for knowledge, and that sort of thing is taken away when our writing habits are dictated. I think Plato says it best when he says, “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” Know one thing, you know nothing, know many things, and you are on the write path.