The American/English Spelling Technique

It is important to know the nature of the English language…

The English language is broad. Being the second-most spoken and most diverse language,  it comes to no surprise that it differs from region to region. A person from Portland, Oregon will likely understand what a person from London is saying, but they might speak in a different accent and even a different dialect. It is important to know the nature of the English language as a writer.

One thing I had to be aware of when writing dialogue is the accent the speaking character will have. In The Tales of Draco, I use the typical American spelling (honor, color, scepter, etc.) in the narration because the main character speaks in that accent. But I use English spelling (honour, colour, sceptre, etc.) for characters with foreign accents, though that doesn’t necessarily mean the character’s accent is English. The spelling can also be changed in a way to put emphasis on how a character pronounces certain words. An example of the American/English spelling is used for Clipper. Clipper speaks with a Canadian accent, and words are spelled in the English style in Canada. Even though Clipper’s accent slightly differs from Jacob’s, it is still similar; so I still use American spelling for his dialogue. This contrasts with some of the dwarves and other characters where I use English spelling.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I use English spelling, it doesn’t always mean the accent is English. I use this spelling to indicate that the accent differs from Jacob and Clipper’s accents. You’ll see this American/English spelling more in future books in the series. When a character has a foreign accent, I use English spelling, even if the accent isn’t English. Sometimes the spelling will change in another way depending on the accent; it isn’t always English spelling.

I’m not saying the American/English technique is the correct way to add accent in dialogue. I’ve read plenty of books that use one type of spelling, even in dialogue. I just use the American/English technique in dialogue, depending on who is speaking. I only use American spelling in the narration.

If you ever decide to use the American/English technique, just remember to do it appropriately. Be aware of how you spell words in dialogue and most especially in the narration.

Inspiration and Literature Progression

As important as I believe inspiration is, it can be a little hard to understand.

I personally believe inspiration is a wonderful thing. It is what moves the good in humanity forward. I have plenty of inspiration while I’m writing in The Tales of Draco, and I have seen readers become inspired by my work.  As important as I believe inspiration is, it can be a little hard to understand.

One thing I like to do is not reread books I’ve read in the past, but analyze them. I study the story’s structure, the sentence structure, and what works and what doesn’t work well in the story. I don’t do this to put that story’s work in my own. but learn from it.

When you want your story to have creativity, you have to be careful with how you interpret inspiration, or else your story may just be a bland rip-off of something successful. You won’t be seen as the next J.K. Rowling if you just copy the exact same plot. Creativity comes if you study what worked for that particular book. Your readers may want something similar to an earlier and more successful book, but most don’t want the same story retold. For example, if you are writing in the genre of fantasy, it is good to incorporate elements that fantasy readers will enjoy in a brand new adventure that they have never endured before.

I have been inspired by other authors and I do have their writing influence my own writing, but I don’t want my series to be the next Lord of the Rings. I want it to be The Tales of Draco. When you want to be inspired, you must “use” the author’s work, not “take” it. Inspiration may be hard to interpret, but it is something that every one of us has. And it is not just in writing, but in everything we do.

The Art of Theatre…

The last few weeks have been quite interesting. I had two book events, a presentation and a signing, at a school. What made the scheduling a little difficult is that I was performing in Les Misérables. My time was pressed, but I had a lot of fun.

I enjoy writing. It is a part of my life. But another thing I also enjoy is theatre and music. Acting on stage involves the work of literature, just like writing. In Les Mis, I played the Bishop of Digne, a beggar, and, ironically, the student Joly. The play had great feedback from the audience. I have been in about eight different plays now, performing various characters from the Magic Mirror on the Wall to a cowardly knight.

The reason why I explain my interest in theatre is because it is something I enjoy when I’m not writing. Many authors have other things they enjoy doing. Some are into art, others are into crafting. There are many things that I enjoy doing, including being the field of theatre. It is actually good for an author to have other hobbies and desires. These hobbies can help clear your mind and even aid in your writing talent. They can also help you overcome writer’s block. Theatre is literature and is something I will continue to be involved in.

Medieval versus Renaissance

Many fantasy writers try to recreate a Medieval setting. However, many of these settings are actually in a completely different era in history.

When we think of a typical fantasy story, we often think of dragons, knights, castles, and damsels in distress. Basically, the setting is comparable to Medieval England. As I’ve explained before, this is because this type of fantasy has its roots in Medieval England with the stories of King Arthur or Beowulf. In recent literature, many fantasy writers still try to recreate a Medieval setting. However, many of these settings are actually in a completely different era in history. The Renaissance came after the Medieval Era. This is when literature really began to move forward once again.

The Medieval Era didn’t really mean the end of advancing technology, but it was clearly a time of slow progression. Books were rare and expensive because they were difficult to make. After the terrible Black Plague, a new surge of energy swept over Europe. Technology advanced at an extraordinary rate. This was when the printing press was invented. Books became more common. New stories had biblical and mythological inspiration. This is the setting that many fantasy stories today come from.

Of course there are books and movies that have a true Medieval setting that are put together quite well, but more than few have a Renaissance setting even when many believe it is Medieval. Think of Beauty and the Beast for example. The main character, Belle, loves to read. We learn of the grand library in the beast’s castle. That gives us evidence that this was a time that books were common. We also know that Belle’s father was an inventor. The elements in this story come from the Renaissance.

It’s no crime to have either a Medieval or a Renaissance setting, though they can be overused. One thing we can learn about these two time periods is how important literature is to our society. It was during the Renaissance when we had great writers like William Shakespeare. The Industrial Revolution gave rise to the age of Romanticism with writers like Mark Twain and Nathaniel Hawthorne. There is yet another golden age of literature that began in the twentieth century that continues today (the twentieth century was called the century of the book). This shows us that literature plays a huge role in moving society forward. It is through words that moves civilization forward.

Clipper’s Role…

A supporting character who was Jacob’s best friend and another dragon was something I thought would help the story a lot.

As I was plotting out Rise of the Dragon, I obviously wanted a faithful protagonist. Who doesn’t? But even when the novel was still in its infant stages, I already wanted a supporting character. I thought the story with Jacob by himself would be somewhat interesting, though I didn’t think it was enough. A supporting character who was Jacob’s best friend and fellow dragon was something I thought would help the story a lot. I didn’t want Jacob to be all alone. This is where Clipper’s role comes from. Another thing that I wanted Clipper to do is to be more than just a side character. I wanted him to have a major roll (just not as big as Jacob’s).

Creating supporting characters can be a little tricky. You don’t want them to be there just for support. All you will have is a supporting element, not a supporting character. At the same time, you want the story to follow your main character. Creating Clipper was slightly difficult for me because of the story’s structure. I wanted one main character, who was Jacob. What I tried to focus on was Clipper’s self-awareness and his personality that is similar but not identical to Jacob. That way Jacob could be more independent as the protagonist. This is why Clipper treats his temper differently from how Jacob does, for example.

After I developed Clipper’s character, I had a lot of fun with him. His dark-red scales and sabered teeth show that he is different from Jacob, but he shares enough traits. Having Clipper as a supporting character who is friends with Jacob felt so much better than having Jacob go about his adventures alone. And it doesn’t end with Clipper. Characters like Chang, Sally, and even Reno also had to be distinct and I had fun with them too.

Creating a character’s personality was very fun for me. I enjoyed creating Clipper’s role as well as Jacob’s and other characters.

The Importance of Reading…

A good reader is also a good writer.

There are some helpful elements that can really help an author unlock his or her greatest potential. A good author should write often, of course. But one of the most important things an author should do is read. Reading is what moves literature forward.

There is a broad range of what an author can read, and it can influence what the author will write. For example, I love reading fantasy books. It’s one of my favorite genres along with classical fiction. I enjoy entering other worlds and experiencing things I could never experience on a daily basis. I will constantly return to books about dragons, adventure, and magic. It’s what gives the adventure to me. And because I love reading in the realm of fantasy, I also love to write in the realm of fantasy. Just remember, write about things you love. I love reading about dragons. That is why The Tales of Draco is about dragons.

Believe it or not, if I had not read some of the books I enjoyed in the past, I doubt I would have written The Tales of Draco. So if you ever decide to write a story, one of the best exercises for you is to read. Reading will give you inspiration. It’s inspiration that will move literature along. A good writer is also a good reader.

Reason Behind the Dragon

There is a reason behind the fact that the protagonist is a dragon.

Being a fantasy novel, it comes to no surprise that dragons are in The Tales of Draco. Many other fantasy novels have dragons as key characters or simply used to support the magical world that we as the reader is not used to experiencing every day. In The Tales of Draco, dragons obviously play a big role. There is a reason behind the fact that the protagonist is a dragon.

Believe it or not, my view on dragons has changed significantly over the years. When I was only a few years old, many movies that my parents would watch that had dragons scared me. Even one of my favorite shows I watched as a child gave me nightmares. But despite the fact that as many times these fantastic creatures frightened me, there were a few television shows that had dragons who did not scare me as much. With that working for me, I eventually overcame my “dracophobia”. Before I knew it, I loved reading about dragons. Both the European and the Asian style of dragons would fascinate me.

When I began thinking of the storyline for Rise of the Dragon and the rest of the series, I tried to think of different ways on how my story could differ from any other fantasy book. This was when I noticed that dragons in fantasy were usually the main antagonist or a secondary character, depending on the book. I had never read a book where a dragon is the main protagonist. With this realization, I asked myself what the life of a dragon is like. What are a dragon’s common thoughts? What are his urges and instincts? I was then thinking about the philosophy of humans overcoming natural instincts. Thus, I decided that dragons in The Tales of Draco were naturally evil, though this evil can be conquered. With this wonder of what a dragon is thinking, this is also why the book is in Jacob’s point of view.

With these reasons, I decided to make Jacob a human who becomes a dragon. That way, Jacob can describe his feelings and thoughts in a way that we as humans understand better. It is not easy overriding a dragon’s instinct. And Jacob may even have to fight against this instinct as an outside force.