Devotion…

Stay engaged.

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Some authors say they work from sun-up to sun-down. Others say they take no breaks. And some say they have other jobs while they write. This comes to show that each author is different in his or her approach.

There is no strict schedule that every writer must follow, but there is one thing that must be applied: devotion to the work. It doesn’t matter how you devote your time, just as long as the devotion is there. Have you ever read those massive books with complex stories and settings? Some of those authors didn’t just write and edit the story from beginning to end with no breaks (some say they did). Personally I work better if I take frequent breaks. I like refreshing my mind so I can go back into the story with a better approach. I’m not saying my way is correct, but it’s my approach to true devotion. Just remember to stay engaged in your work. Writing a story is not as simple as writing random words with a pencil or typing them on a keyboard. There’s more to it. It’s like any other job. Stay engaged. Stay devoted.

(Sorry if this post is shorter than usual. I’m currently doing some serious editing in my next book. It looks like there are some publishing options ahead!)

Keep Your Head Forward…

You’ll never know what you can accomplish unless you try.

Discouragement is a common emotion to feel in the writing field. It can happen to any author or aspiring writer. We have big expectations. It is easy to envision yourself as the next Charles Dickens or J.K. Rowling. When you begin your rough draft and you come across your first writer’s block, you may begin to doubt your primary expectations. You realize that it won’t be an easy journey. When you finish your manuscript, you try to have friends and family read it and critique it so you can get honest feedback. But those who say they would help you end up giving a mediocre response or don’t even finish reading your manuscript at all. Then you try to get your story published only to get rejected time and time again. And even if your story is published, you go through it only to find printing errors.

The writing process is difficult. Writing is no stroll through a daisy field, nor is it a trek through thorns. The path consists of all kinds of terrain. When things don’t go exactly as planned, you may feel discouraged. The trick is to not let it get to you. I would say that if you try hard enough, you’ll eventually fulfill all your goals. But that is sadly not always the case. However, you won’t get your best chance if you don’t try. Whatever is holding you back in your writing, find ways to overcome it. One of the best ways to do this is to take a little break. Go on a walk or talk with loved ones. Letting yourself go for a little bit can help you clear your mind. This is especially true if you are stuck in a writer’s block. Taking a break can help you sort things out in your mind.

Just remember, J.K. Rowling’s first novel has been rejected many times. During that time of her life, Rowling had many challenges. She was very discouraged by this. But she kept her head forward. She used her setbacks to her advantage. Her novel was eventually published and now it is one of the most successful books in history. Now your luck may differ from Rowling’s. You may reach all your goals, or you may not. But remember to keep your head forward. You’ll never know what you can accomplish unless you try. Don’t let your trials uphold you.

 

If you want to find help overcoming some common writing trials, click here to read about tips and benefits by Ryan Lanz.

To Become a Great Author…

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss

Each author has different tactics of writing. Some authors will work from sunup to sundown while others may have part-time jobs. Some may have a deep love for historical fiction while another has a deep love for romance. Of course, one specific set of writing methods isn’t the same among authors. However, there are some tips and habits that will be very useful to anyone who writes. They are important tips.

  1. Read. As I’ve said before: a good writer is also a good reader. Reading can introduce you to various structures of different stories. You can see what kind of books you like and which you don’t. Reading is the keystone of knowledge. Dr. Seuss once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
  2. Be Devoted. You don’t have to work from sunup to sundown everyday all week if you can’t. I don’t spend all day every day writing or revising. I like taking breaks to refresh my mind. That way, I can be mentally awake when I do write or revise. But you must always stay focused. Never procrastinate. Whether you are working on your book or not, write something every day, even if it’s in a journal. If you are one of those writers who like to work all day everyday, that’s fine.
  3. Respect Other People’s Work. This doesn’t mean you have to love everything you read. You can have honest opinions. But your opinion doesn’t have to affect your respect. I have met authors who’s books I don’t jump head over heals for, but I have much respect for the authors and their books. If you respect other people’s works, the more likely they will respect your own.
  4. Do Your Research. This applies to both fiction and non-fiction writers. A good story is believable. Whatever your subject, doing your research will make your story fly out of its pages.
  5. Have a Hobby. An author’s work is inspired. How can you be inspired if you have nothing to inspire you? Do what you love. Read (a really good hobby), walk, play football, build or craft things, help other people (another really good hobby), do whatever. If you do things you like, they can really help you stay focused in your writing. It will help you go far.
  6. Write Because You Enjoy It. This one is obvious, but important. You’ll have a much harder time writing a great story if you dislike it yourself. If you want to be an author, you have to enjoy what you do.

As you can see, there are only six tips above. There are more tips out there as well. Just remember that your work can be very valuable to the right people. These tips will help you become a great writer.

Pains and Rewards of Publishing

Do your research.

I’ve mentioned the sweat and tears that go into writing. The publishing process is a whole different story. Publishing is so much different from writing. It’s difficult in its own way. There are mainly three ways a book can get published. I’ll be talking about two of them: traditional publishing and self-publishing. These are two different breeds of sheep. But you must be careful because some of them may turn out to be wolves. There are plenty of scams out there and it can be a really messy situation to be entangled in one. If you are looking for a publisher, only go to ones that are trusted. Luckily, there are red flags you can watch out for so you know which publishers you can trust.

The most well-known method of publishing is the traditional way. This type of publishing may be the most difficult regarding the process of making a manuscript a book. First you need to finish your manuscript; never open yourself to publishers before your manuscript is done. Second, find a literary agent. This may be one of the hardest steps. To get an agent, you want to let him or her know that your work stands out and will be a true success. You have to write a query letter the agent know that. Query letters are really tough to write correctly. It’s a good idea to research how to write one if you want it to be successful. Once you get an agent, he or she will look for a publisher. Traditional publishing is hard, but worth it. This method can really get your book out into the world. Now you must watch out. There are plenty of scams out there who are preying on you. Never submit to an agent who asks for a fee to read your manuscript. Literary agents get paid only if you do. There should be no cost to submit your work. Be sure to do your research on whatever agency your looking into to make sure you can trust them.

The second method of publishing is self-publishing. Oh boy, here we go. Self-publishing is an easier way to get your book out into the world, but it is a real gamble. Unlike traditional publishing, you have to pay to publish the book. You also have to manage everything yourself, so it can be a lot of work. And like traditional publishing, self-publishing can be dangerous if you are not careful. Don’t expect that you’ll be a bestseller. It’s possible but unlikely. And remember, BE CAREFUL. It’s really easy to fall victim of scams or mere marketing schemes. Your consultant may get you to think that he or she will do whatever he or she can to make your book popular. The consultant may talk about sending your book to various places and invite you to travel around the world to big conventions. What the consultant might no tell you is that the expenses come from your pocket. These events can cost thousands of dollars. Many of these self-publishing companies aren’t evil, but they just play the dirty advertising game. If you plan to self-publish, remember what you are getting into.

There is no right or wrong method in how you publish your book. It’s okay to try and find a literary agent and use traditional publishing. And it’s not bad to self-publish your book. If you want to publish, find a publisher. All you need to do is know where you’re going so you don’t get scammed. Do your research and try your best, that is the greatest chance in having your book become successful.

I had my own method of publishing Rise of the Dragon. As of now, it’s self-published by iUniverse. But I’m not planning on self-publishing all the books in the series. The reason why I self-published the first book is so I know my strengths and weaknesses in my writing. I can get all sorts of feedback that can help make The Tales of Draco the best it can be. This gave me experience in the field of an author and I don’t regret doing this. But iUniverse is no different from any other self-publishing company. They give me all sorts of opportunities to travel around the world on book tours, yet they cost so much money. I don’t worry about these offers because I’m not officially using the self-publishing method for The Tales of Draco. I simply self-published for practice. But if you want to self-publish, that’s okay. There have been many books that were successful through self-publishing.

In the end, just be careful. Publishing a book is a very accomplishing task, no matter the method. There are many honest publishers out there who are waiting for new books. Do your research and good luck!

Words Can be Art

Literary devices are the paintbrush. The story is the painting.

We’ve all been taught this ever since we learned how to read. Letters build words. Words build stories. Most of us have also been taught how to make our writing come to life, how to add texture and all that. From my personal style of writing and the ways other authors write, this is very important to know. And it’s not just because we need to add literary devices everywhere. It’s just as important to keep an eye on your similes, metaphors, personifications, etc. so your writing doesn’t become distracting. This is especially true to fantasy/sci-fi writers, since these genres work so well with literary devices. But this can apply with any genre. It’s easy to get lost in how to describe your setting rather than the story.

I like to compare literary devices to salt and the story to a slice of bitter fruit. (here’s a metaphor here) The right amount of salt can really bring out the flavor of the fruit. But you may know what happens when you add too much salt. It’s even worse than adding no salt at all. You don’t taste the natural flavor of the fruit, you just get a terrible taste on your tongue that you want to wash out immediately. It’s the same for your story. Using literary devices can give flavor to it. But if you use too many literary devices, the story is no longer as flavorful to read.

As I have said, fantasy and sci-fi stories tend to use literary devices more often. This is for good reason. When done right, your literary devices can really bring your enchanting world to life. If not, you may sound like someone who is putting more focus on expressing the paintbrush rather than the painting. (oh great, another metaphor)

So there you have it. I hope you are not thinking that I dislike literary devices. Being an author of fantasy myself, I love adding similes and other things to give The Tales of Draco some flavor. It’s okay to add literary devices, no matter what genre you are into. Just remember to use these literary devices as the paintbrush to create your painting.

Moral Support

Characters are so important because they are supposed to be living beings like us.

I’ve enjoyed creating Clipper’s character. But creating other characters such as Chang, Sally, Reno, and others was a part of the fun writing this book. It’s true that characters are the most important part of a story. They need to be fleshed out in such a way. Characters are so important because they are supposed to be living beings like us.

Clipper has been a part of the story line for Rise of the Dragon since the very beginning. Never had Jacob been alone when the book was still in the form of an idea. They were the first two characters in the book. I eventually created their friends and the main antagonist. And I plan on introducing other characters in the future (I’m really excited for that).

Like anything that stands, there has to be some sort of support. The minor characters in The Tales of Draco are the support. It would be very hard to write about Jacob if he’s the all alone, having to learn everything by himself and having to fight an entire force of evil with no help. When you think about it, it would have been a very lonely experience. Not only does Clipper help by being at Jacob’s side, Jacob has other friends. Consider this moral support for Jacob. And that’s support that most stories (there are a few exceptions) depend on.

A Time for Action…

When I read a book, I often like a good action scene, especially when it moves the plot along at a comfortable pace. It’s also good to have a few down scenes as well just so the story can be easier to follow. While writing Rise of the Dragon, I really loved creating action scenes. Sometimes I would feel like I was there, observing the action as it unfolds.

But as much as I like writing action scenes, I also find it enjoyable to write down scenes, or scenes with less intense action. I believe it’s good for a story to have down scenes so there is more than just mindless action.

Some stories rely on action more than others. And they work in many ways. The important thing is, a story’s plot must flow at a good pace. There is a time for action, and a time for repose.