Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tribe Building Challenge Two

Authors Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper are at it again!  Tribe Building was a huge success and a ton of fun last year and it's starting up again.
Last year Swiftstorm was a major player in the challenge and we're determined to do it again.  I have decided to lead Swiftstorm in this challenge and I would gladly accept anyone wanting to join me.  Go to Wayne Thomas Batson's blog for more information on the contest.  Email me at if you're interested.
Tons of rewards such as free books, parties, swords (yes, I did say swords), and more!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Huge online party!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Know Your History!

Something fantasy and science fiction writers struggle with more than writers of other genre's is their history.  The history of a race.  The history of a world-or a galaxy for sci-fi.  The history of a person.  There's just a lot of history that goes into these two genres.
But what about one of the biggest rules of writing?  Show, don't tell-though I myself think rule, like all in writing, is meant to be broken.  We can't quite show the history can we?  Without doing flashbacks or just making our characters read a history book from the library, no, not really.  And both of these are, in themselves telling--tip #45--though they don't sound like it at first.
There is also the dummy approach in which you pretty much have your protagonist or another character be a dummy and have another character inform them on the history of something.  This can be used for explaining pretty much everything you deem that the reader needs to know.  But you have to be careful, too much of this at one time can lead to telling by itself.
However, often you don't even need to tell your readers the history.  This is where knowing your history comes in.
Many times, when you write the history of something in your novel your doing it for yourself.  You want to know what happened before your story takes place.  As well you should.  But don't put it in your book.  I would urge you to write the history in a notebook or on another file.  It might be helpful to just flatout tell the history like a history book would.  But don't publish it in your book.  If you know your history then it will come out gradually in your story.
That notebook or that file with the history may even some day become published depending on how well your first novels went.  Consider the Silmarillion by Tolkien.  Granted, he wrote the Silmarillion after the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings because his fans demanded it.  But the history wasn't in the novels.  One of the great things about Tolkien's books was the history.  But if you think about it, it wasn't in his main novels such as LotR and the Hobbit.  It was a side note, for people wanting to get even more of the background knowledge of his world.  And if you've read the Silmarillion you know that it's as boring as anything.  But it wasn't meant to be a page turner, it was meant to explain the background of everything.  I haven't had the chance to read the Histories of Middle Earth, but those are, I believe, about seven volumes of the little details, even more historically written then the Silmarillion. 
Anyway, back on topic.  Know your history.  When you know your history and can look at it, it comes out naturally.  It doesn't seem forceful, like your shoving it down your readers throat.  It comes out gradually and your readers don't even notice they're learning about it.  You don't force it down them because you already know it, and part of the reason you write the history forcefully is because you want to know about it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review-Swords of the Six

Swords of the Six is the first book in the series The Sword of the Dragon by Scott Appleton.  It is currently published by Flaming Pen Press, whose owner is actually the author of the book.  It is to be republished by AMG Publishers in Fall of this year.

Swords of the Six was a very interesting book.  The plot was fantastic, the characters were awesome, and the world building was quite mysterious.
Warning:  If you have not read this book and you dislike spoilers, then it
may be unwise to go further.
The beginning is what every author should strive to do, and every reader needs to have to continue reading.  A captivating scene.  I want an epic battle scene-but that's just me.  Swords of the Six starts out with a terrible battle between an army of men and a devious, black dragon.  When the armies of men fail, one man, the only loyal of the six, fights the dragon-Xavion.
From there the story jumps ahead, and I'm still not sure how many years pass between the prelude and the first chapter, but I don't think the author intended for me to know.
The great white dragon, Albino, brings life to six daughters who were humans in appearance.  After seventeen years he sends them on a mission to redeem one of the fallen six who preceded them.  The man-Letrias-refuses to be redeemed and kills himself, leaving one wish: That the girls bring his son to their father.
After giving the son to their father Albino, he sends them on another journey, one which they are not sure what they're doing.  He sends them to a forest far away and gives them a stone cave as their home.  Years pass and Dantress, the youngest daughter and the protagonist of the book, meets a young man named Ilfedo who she falls in love with and soon after marries.
Being dragon in everything but appearance, she is not allowed to mix blood with a human, and if she does so, must give her life to bring another to the world.  And so she does.  The baby's name is Oganna and Dantress dies after giving birth to her.  Once Ilfedo and his new sisters-in-law bury Dantress, Albino comes and gives the girls a mission as well as give Ilfedo a gift-the Sword of Living Fire.
So ends book one of The Sword of the Dragon series.
End of spoilers.
As you can see the book's plot was extraordinary.  I loved it.  Who would of thought of a dragon having six human appearing daughters?  It was pretty amazing plot-wise.
I did notice a few writing errors however.  There was a little to many emphasized words for my taste.  The thing about emphasis is that its not needed-at all.  You shouldn't need a special type of word to get a point across.  Italics come in handy at some points though, and I'm not saying you shouldn't use them.  I use them in my writing-they're just not something you want to use too much, else you diminish the value.
I also saw some printing errors that happened repeatedly.  I think the main things were the quotation marks.  They seemed to be on the wrong side a lot of the time.  When starting a quote the mark would be facing the side that the end quote should be facing and vice-versa.
The author did an exceptional job at describing.  I could see everything in my mind very vividly.  However, this was also one of the downfalls.  I caught myself not being able to focus on the actual story because of the great description.  I personally prefer story over description.
The world building was also phenomenal.  Even though I myself didn't know anything other then what the girls explored.  What made it great was when the characters talked about other places, but only hinted of their existence.  It left me wanting to know what else there was in this world.  I can't wait to explore the rest of the world in the books to come.
All in all, Swords of the Six was a great book.  For being a self published book it has made quite a bit of sales and is a great addition to the bookshelf.  I am eagerly awaiting Offspring, the second book in the series, as well as the republishing of this book.

Also you can see the artwork for book two here-click image to make bigger.  To discuss the books, writing, or pretty much anything you can go to the forum here.  However, to prevent spamming and to keep the forum safe, you'll need to email Scott Appleton before registering.