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

Advertisements

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.

The Laws of Magic…

Like the laws of physics, there are laws of magic.

Being a book about dragons, it comes to no surprise that The Tales of Draco deals with magic. This is most visible with Jacob’s run-ins with albores and sorcerers. This may raise many questions concerning the rules of magic in this particular story. Are there limitations to this magic? And just how powerful can someone be if they have the right magical powers?

The element of magic in Rise of the Dragon is not quite drawn out in full detail. This is because Jacob Draco and his friends are new to this whole deal of magic, as is the reader. Jacob learns about things like albores and Master Scepters as he is introduced to them. They were never explained to Jacob beforehand. Therefore, he is not exactly an expert on the subject. Just as if you are reading the book, Jacob has to learn along the way. He doesn’t know everything about magic, but he’ll have a lot to learn.

Like the laws of physics, there are laws of magic. I prefer using the term “law” rather than “rule” simply because I feel that magic is not just an excuse to make the plot flow better, but rather it is a part of the physics we know of. Like every other expense of energy, the magic in The Tales of Draco has limitations. Just how far these limitations may go, that will be revealed in later books as Jacob continues to learn about them. He has yet to unlock the secrets of knowledge concerning magic.

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!

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.

The Library: A Place of Significance

Libraries are important in the history of civilization.

If you ask any author, most will say that libraries are great places. A library is one of my favorite places to be. Not only are there many books to read, but a library is a place of knowledge. Especially today, libraries are places of many resources. What should be known is how important libraries are in the history of civilization.

Libraries have been around for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Greece and Egypt. In those days, people were willing to travel hundreds of miles to visit a library. Stories and records of the great people in history were at the travelers’ fingertips. The long trip would be worth it. Today, we don’t have to travel mile after mile. But the reason why we visit a library is the same. A library is the sanctuary for literature.

When you look back in history, you may notice how big a role literature plays in the evolution of civilization. Ancient nations flourished in golden ages of literature. Think of ancient Greece for example. Greece was a nation that revolutionized the world at the time. At its height, stories of Greek heroes were being told and written down. Some of these stories are still told today. Now think of the Renaissance. It was an era of expansion and a renewal of culture. This was when the printing press was invented. Books were created by the thousands. Civilization advanced forward at a fast pace.

It comes to show that books are important to society. We will slip in an age of darkness without it. And libraries are the core of literature. They are significant pieces to our civil lives.

Animals and Dragons; a Connection

I love animals. They fascinate me in many different ways. I’m always interested in how diverse our world is. You may ask what this has to do with The Tales of Draco and, particularly, the dragons in the book. The truth is, it has a lot to do with the elements in the book. My fascination of animals has a big influence in The Tales of Draco.

For instance, Jacob Draco’s interest in animals and his life on the farm play a big role in the plot. This is what drives him and Clipper to begin their major experiment in Rise of the Dragon. As dragons, they discover their own natural gifts such as using their claws, charging with their horns, or breathing fire among many other things.

So are dragons in The Tales of Draco technically animals? You could say so, in a way as if you classify humans as mammals. Marissa Durfee, my sister and main illustrator, once said that dragons are human, just a different type of human.

We humans have our own knowledge of good and evil, so do dragons. But when you look closer, animals are more like us in many ways. Animals bleed, think, feel, and hurt just like humans do. I’m not saying that I’m against rightful hunting or the use of animals for farming. I’m saying that we should acknowledge their existence. Respect to animals can help us respect ourselves.

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.