Inspiration and Literature Progression

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

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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.

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.

The Many Mysteries of Elsov…

In Rise of the Dragon, most of the book takes place in our world. The second earth, Elsov, is not introduced until chapter twelve. And even then, all that is known about this world is that there are fairies, nymphs, grøls, and bleakly explained regions (with the exception of Pearl Forest). If Jacob has many of his thoughts on Elsov after his vision, then why is there little information about this strange world?

One answer to this question is Jacob’s basic understanding of Elsov. When the story is in Jacob’s mind, it also follows his knowledge. After his vision, he knows little about the second earth. As Jacob tells his story, he won’t give anything away about his experiences until they come chronologically.

Another answer comes from the structure of the book. As the series unfolds, more information will be given about Elsov. If I give all the information (including the geography and the inhabitants) at once, then what? My intention for this world is to have its identity unfold as the series progresses. Regions and inhabitants will be revealed later on. In the upcoming sequel in The Tales of Draco, there are many more scenes on Elsov. I also have a map of Elsov that will be revealed in one of the sequels.

The first few books in The Tales of Draco take place in the first earth: our world. The next books, Elsov will play a much bigger role in Jacob’s life.

Is Europe Becoming a Cliché?

“This Royal throne of kings,
This scepter’d isle…
This blessed plot,
This earth, this realm,
This England.”

It seems in our fantastic literature, a European setting is what usually comes into our mind. This is with good reason. When I read fantasy books, I notice that the setting is often comparable to English, Irish, or Norse cultures. I actually quite enjoy this setting. I love reading about knights, castles, dragons, and adventures in lush countrysides. However, like any cliché, this setting can become too redundant in fantasy. The world is much bigger than a continent. I’m not saying that Europe is a bad setting. The Tales of Draco has its fair share of European influence, but I do not intend on having European culture be my only influence. I also love Asian, African, and Native American cultures as well.

So why is the European setting very common in fantasy? The answer comes from Medieval history. Many stories such as Beowulf and The Legend of King Arthur created the path for the fantasy genre to follow. These stories were created in Medieval England, so the setting followed. Even today, many settings take place in Medieval England; and to tell you the truth, the setting could introduce many other painful clichés. Even fictional languages have roots in Europe and before long, these fictional languages start to sound similar to one another.

If you ever plan to write a fantasy story, maybe change things up. Add some Chinese or Middle-eastern cultures. Taking a break from England once in a while may help your story become unique. You could even create a combination of cultures. When other settings are introduced, Europe can once again become the great setting for fantasy as it is and always will be.

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What’s Jordan’s Life Outside Writing?

When I budget my time, I can continue my schooling with ease without putting The Tales of Draco to the side. I still have plenty of time to write and edit. That is the reason why no matter what I do, I have dragons, dwarves, fairies, and other creatures flying around in my mind.

Every author has more to do than writing. For me, I spend as much time as I can writing and editing (I really need the editing) as possible. I avoid procrastination the best I can and try to make my work the best as it can be. My entire life is practically surrounded by dragons and magic. But I also have other obligations other than writing. I still go to school, work outdoors, and enjoy some leisure time. So what do I do and how do I get the time to do it? The best way to fit many aspects of life is time-budgeting. Here are a few things I do when I’m not writing…

  • School… As I have said before, I’m still in the process of education. I spend seven hours for five days a week in school, plus whatever homework I have. I love school. Learning is something that I have a passion for. If I was to say what my favorite subject is, I would say History or Fine Arts, with English and Science not far behind. As of 2016, I am attending West Side High School in Dayton, Idaho.
  • Theatre… For those who know me well, they may know I have a great love for theatre. I’ve been in many different stage productions since I was eight years old, from the magic mirror on the wall to General Genghis Khan Shmitz. I love the rehearsals, no matter if they are at three o’clock in the afternoon or six o’clock in the morning. It’s very exciting when I have to push myself to be in a stage performance. You’ll learn more about my life on the stage later, for I am going to be in another performance. As I enjoy writing and acting, maybe I could write a play someday?
  • Work… I live in Idaho, in a very “spread-out” town of less than 500 people. This is because its in a very agricultural part of the valley. I occasionally do farm work, but I mostly do yard or industrial work. One day I mow a pasture, the next I split and stack wood. It’s the life I live and I certainly don’t mind the work.
  • Walk/Run/Bike… With a very open region, I like to travel either on foot or on bike. Walking is very helpful if I every get writer’s block. The fresh air opens my mind. Sometimes I wander by the railroad tracks or up in the mountainous canyons. The paths throughout the Bannock Mountains are filled with a sense of adventure. What better way to get inspiration to write?
  • Basketball… I’m not a legend when it comes to this fine game, but this is still my favorite sport. I usually play for fun and not for competition. Basketball also runs through my family. My dad is 6’6” and could touch the top of the inner square of the backboard when he was in high school. My brother Christopher and I enjoy playing this game. I don’t play on any major teams though, but basketball is my favorite sport just the same.
  • Friends… I don’t really spend much time doing anything recreational, so doing things with friends every other week is something I always look forward to. My best friend and I occasionally play Minecraft or NBA ShootOut 98 if we find the time. Other times we ride bikes or bake something delicious.
  • Read… Being an author, reading is important. I usually read fantasy or science fiction or historical non-fiction. (Click here to see a few of my favorite authors…)

So these are a sample of things I do, but with another potential edition of Rise of the Dragon coming out, the sequel I’m currently editing, and the outline of the rest of the series, I cannot procrastinate. If you ever have a lot of things on your plate, budget your time. If you have to make sacrifices, so be it. I love theatre, but I usually perform about one production every year, maybe two. I don’t play on any major basketball teams, but I can still play on smaller organizations. When I budget my time, I can continue my schooling with ease without putting The Tales of Draco to the side. I still have plenty of time to write and edit. That is the reason why no matter what I do, I have dragons, dwarves, fairies, and other creatures flying around in my mind.

Where the series is going, cliff-hangers, and an update on the next tale…

Once again, there is adventure in our world and beyond, this time for different reasons.

If you have read Rise of the Dragon to the ending, you may have noticed that the book ends in a way that the story may continue. I did my best to avoid a cliff-hanger, but I want you as the reader to be excited about the next book. If you do find the ending to be a cliff-hanger, I apologize unless you prefer it to be that way.

There is a good reason why I didn’t want a cliff-hanger at the epilogue. For me, cliff-hangers need to be in the perfect spot in order for them to work. If it is at the end of the book, you are suddenly forced on a branch over the side of the cliff. As I read, I find it does build good intensity for sure, but my arms become tired as I wait for the next book… and so does the the excitement for what happens in the next book.

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I’m not saying that cliff-hangers are bad. When I’m reading and I come across a cliff-hanger at the end of a chapter, I really want to read the next. An end of a chapter or section is a better spot to put a cliff-hanger rather than the ending of the book.

…but that is my opinion. If you like cliff-hangers at the end of the book, go ahead and read the intense ending.

So what will happen to Jacob and Clipper after the events in Rise of the Dragon? That is a question that is not yet ready to be answered. However, I will give brief information on the next book. The next tale in the series is going to be called The Tales of Draco: The Six Pieces. Jacob finally discovers a way back to Elsov when he is given unexpected help. Jacob is anxious to return to help Treetop when she was taken by the ogres, find and reunite with his parents if they are still alive, and finally be home. Trying to find the way back, Jacob, Clipper, and their friends run into familiar and unfamiliar enemies alike. The quest back to Elsov is not easy. Also in the highly awaited sequel, Jacob’s true enemy is revealed and he will stop at nothing to educate Jacob that he has a great power not to be underestimated.

Many more questions about the strange world of Elsov will be answered and new creatures will be introduced. Once again, there is adventure in our world and beyond, this time for different reasons. The Six Pieces will not only be another adventure, it will be a new experience.