Magical books

Posted in Book review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 17, 2017 by Kate Jack

No, I’m not talking about spell books, or grimoires, but fiction books in general. They allow access to adventures, mysteries and places the reader has never seen or experienced; the possibilities are endless. Of course speculative fiction, such as I write, allows the use of magic to enhance a sense of wonder and enthralment not perhaps available in other genres. The bonus of urban fantasy is that it also allows a combination of the real and fantastical.

 The Silver Flute Trilogy

An example of a mixture of the magical, mixed with realism, is one of the most unusual fantasy books I’ve ever read. Set in the 19th century this story is beautifully constructed, using a wonderful mixture of the author’s own characters and real, historical figures such as mad King George III and Lord Wellington.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

The story follows two English Magicians and their partnership as master and pupil, until a falling out sends them careening down divergent paths. The tale contains weird and wonderful creatures, from a world outside our own. There are elements of adventure, conflict, wickedness, tragedy, and reconciliation. To say that Susanna Clarke has produced a tale of wonder and enchantment, that completely draws the reader in, is an understatement. So it’s possible to combine genres successfully and satisfy readers who would not normally read historical fiction or fantasy.

The above illustrates that it’s perfectly possible to combine more than one genre and produce a book that will take readers’ breath away and send them spinning through a story that will immerse and engage with stunning effect.

Face booking

**If you liked this post, please give it a star rating at the top of the page**

When is a writer like a sculptor?

Posted in General with tags , , , on March 16, 2017 by Kate Jack

The answer is that every time a writer puts pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard, they are sculpting worlds and characters. Each time a story is moulded together, its creator is sharing their vision, displaying it to the world like a fine piece of art. 

And writers are artists, but instead of marble or paint their tools are words, used to create images in a reader’s head, sparking the imagination into life and filling the brain with strange, faraway places.

From the very first word written, until the end is reached, a writer endeavours to entice, to create emotions of love, hate, fear, and above all, draw the reader in. To imbue their words with life is an author’s aim and offers a special diversion to those who seek new horizons. 

tweeting

**If you liked this post, please give it a star rating at the top of the page**

Writer’s block…

Posted in Writing with tags , , , on March 15, 2017 by Kate Jack

… is an author’s worst nightmare. It’s when you’re bereft of inspiration and, no matter how hard you try, your imagination seems to have shut down. In fact the harder you try, the worse the situation can become. The emptiness echoes around your brain, spreading darkness and desolation, along with the odd tumbleweed. This in turn raises all kinds of doubts: Has your talent deserted you? Will you ever write again? The thought of not being able to create raises all kinds of fears and engenders a bleakness that fills your life with greyness.

I remember a post I put on my author’s page on  Facebook about writer’s block and someone commented on it. It was made, I suspect, by a rather brash young man. He stated there was no excuse for not writing – what a ridiculous, black and white thing to say! Authors do have a life outside writing and all the problems associated with day to day living: work, family, illness, breakups from the love of their lives, all of which can interrupt the creative flow. This naturally leaves people fed up and unable to free themselves from what seems like an unbreakable pattern. Kate Jack Author Page

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Writer’s block can be overcome. Personally I go on a reading spree, garnering inspiration from my favourite authors. I even mentally edit books as I read, and feel really smug when I reconstruct clumsy sentences and dialogue written by famous authors. This reassures me that even best selling writers can make small mistakes, so there’s hope for me. And if there’s hope for me, then there’s definitely hope for all you self doubters out there.

Inspiration will return, so never give up, never lose hope, but charge into the fray and write, write, write! 😀

https://goo.gl/IdfXVD AMAZON UK 

https://goo.gl/MweUOt AMAZON US

**If you liked this post, please give it a star rating at the top of the page**

 

 

What’s in a name?

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on March 14, 2017 by Kate Jack

There are various ways of choosing names for your characters. For example calling them after someone you know, or perhaps a TV personality, film star, or even “collecting” names from gravestones, or consulting the Yellow pages and even the telephone directory 🙂

I once worked as a data processor for a famous catalogue, recording the details of people who’d entered a competition the company was holding at the time. Wow! What a treasure trove that turned out to be! Not only were there unusual names aplenty, there was also a plethora of location names to inspire story lines. This proved a great resource, but not wishing to infringe anyone’s privacy, I always altered names slightly to produce my own version and never used anyone’s actual location details. Instead I’d combine place names to come up with completely fictional scenarios.

The first book of The Silver Flute TrilogyLand of Midnight Days, was set in a city. I deliberately didn’t give it a name, but garnered the details of its streets and buildings from locations in Liverpool city centre, my own home town. One of them was St Luke’s church, as pictured above. This building was bombed during the Second World War. It’s always fascinated me because the damage caused was to the interior only, leaving the outer walls more or less intact.

Once I’d created a backdrop, I then moved onto creating the occupants of my fictional city. I decided to call my main protagonist Jeremiah Tully  and gifted him with the ability to play the flute. The reason for this was because I love the 70’s rock band, Jethro Tull. Once I’d decided on the direction the stories were going to take, I thought long and hard about the other characters’ names and decided on a “biblical” theme, in order to enhance the epic feel of the stories. For example: Zebediah and Ezra are two of the names I chose. However, I didn’t want the narrative to be bogged down by too many elaborate names and most of the other protagonists and antagonists have ordinary names such as Joseph, Helen, and so on. I also made up the names: Thrace, Sylvan, Questial and Elawyn. Since I write YA urban fantasy, I had a fair amount of freedom to embellish my characters with wide ranging monikers. 

Of course it does depend, to a certain degree, what names can be used, depending on the genre you write in. That said, there are millions of “real-life” beautiful and unusual names to pick from, in order to make your characters memorable to the reader. Along with great, three-dimensional personalities, a writer can make a huge impression, enabling people to engage with your work.

The Silver Flute Trilogy

**If you liked this post, please give it a star rating at the top of the page**

 

Which is more fun to write…

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on March 13, 2017 by Kate Jack

…Heroes or Villains? 

Personally I love writing the latter. As writers it’s our job to produce characters that intrigue the reader, and to raise questions about them that lead the reader on, until they gain the answers. Yes, I do evolve characters that have no redeeming features at all, such as Ezra, one of the main protagonists in Land of Midnight Days, but I also like to create characters that, on the surface, could be bad, should be bad and maybe are. In other words, I like to insert a little bit of uncertainty in the readers’ minds. 

With Ezra there’s no doubt about his evilness, but his real persona is hidden quite deep. Why is he the way he is? Why does he follow a certain pattern? Why is he afraid of  a woman who appears to be no physical threat to him? The answers to these questions are gradually revealed, as the story progresses.

In the second book of The Silver Flute Trilogy Through The Gloaming, we come across another character, called Thrace. He is an enigma, within a mystery, wrapped up in a puzzle. He is a brother in the Dark Monks. However, despite his apparent calling, there is something sinister about him. His past is steeped in bloodshed, war, chaos and mayhem. So how did he become part of an order that seeks only to do good? Is he hiding from someone? 

Dawn Horizon, the third book in The Silver Flute Trilogy heralds the appearance of  Elawyn. Initially it’s unclear as to whether she’ll turn out to be good or bad. She’s bitter, resentful and petulant, with some reason. However, she does change over the course of the story, evolving as she becomes more familiar with her fellow travellers. But does she change for the better, or does she betray her companions and send them to their doom? She is beautiful, but does her beauty disguise a degenerate spirit, or is it an outward display of who she really is?

I had a great deal of fun creating these people, moulding them into what I wanted them to be. That said, some of them seemed to take over their own creation, sometimes turning into something altogether different from what I’d originally intended 🙂

So how did I decide on names, physical appearance, and character traits? Well, I created “character sheets” for each of them. These are basically lists, outlining all of the above so that I ended up with a vivid mental picture in my mind, each time I wrote about them. Character sheets are also handy to consult, if you’ve not written about a character for a long time. It helps with continuity, keeping the character consistent and three dimensional. 

So, my friends, go forth and create. People your worlds with unforgettable characters that will entrance, appal, cause your readers to love, hate and long to read more. But above all have fun doing it. 🙂

**If you liked this post, please give it a star rating at the top of the page**

 

The Silver Flute Trilogy

 

From your point of view…

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on March 12, 2017 by Kate Jack

From what point of view do you write? Your own, as the narrator? Multiple characters? Or first person? Personally I find it quite hard to write first person, as it’s too restrictive for me and it’s quite difficult to indicate what any of the other characters are thinking. Yes, you can use facial expressions, body language and so on, but for me I run the risk of becoming repetitive. I also feel that my hands are tied and become bored and frustrated as a result.

These days the fashion seems to be to write from a single point of view, rather than several, as this is supposed to confuse the reader. To change POV, the writer is supposed to move onto another chapter, or scenario to avoid this confusion. I find that opinion a little patronising, as I’ve read several books written from multiple POVs, within one chapter or scenario, and if it’s done skilfully, I find it’s not a problem to follow what’s going on. An example of this is the brilliant fantasy writer, Sir Terry Pratchett. He changes POV constantly, especially with internal dialogue, and he does it so well, there is no problem knowing who is “speaking.” Having said that, a writer has to be extremely clever to achieve this.

So from what POV do I write? Well, for the sake of my sanity, I usually follow the current trend, a single POV, only changing it in the next chapter or scenario. Why? Because I don’t have the skill to not confuse the reader. At one time I was “head hopping” by the second, this resulted in laboured narrative and dialogue, plus comments that my writing was a “headache” and reading it was like “wading through treacle ” A plethora of adverbs 

Why did I finally settle on my style of writing? It was all down to my university lecturer, when I was doing my MA in creative writing. He explained it like this: Imagine that each character is wearing a camera on their shoulder. When you are writing from that character’s POV, only indicate what that camera,  or the character, can see or hear. This helped me immensely and stopped me from making my character’s get inside each other’s heads.

So, whatever POV you write from, make sure it’s clear to your readers who’s doing what and why, and the world will be your oyster 🙂

tweeting

If you liked this post, please give it a rating at the top of the page.

A plethora of adverbs, adjectives, gerunds & so forth.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on March 11, 2017 by Kate Jack

Which one of these descriptive passages do you find easier to read? Which flows better?

Totally terrified, she ran through the forest of trees, her heart thudding loudly in her chest. Tripping and stumbling, she staggered onward, totally exhausted.

Filled with terror, she ran through the forest; her heart thudded in her chest. Tree roots almost caused her to trip, but she stumbled on, near to total collapse.  

They both say the same thing, but the first passage is slowed down by overuse of adverbs and repetition. For instance the word “totally” is quite unnecessary; either’s she’s terrified or she’s not.

“A forest of trees?” This is an example of repetition; the word “forest” is sufficient to describe the character’s surrounding.

“Her heart thudding loudly in her chest?” This is definitely overkill. The word “Thud” indicates that her heart is racing with fear and sounds loud to her, as it will reverberate in her ears.

“Tripping and stumbling, she staggered onward, totally exhausted.” This sentence contains two gerunds, words ending in ing, and the adverb “totally”, plus repetition in the form of “stumbling, and staggered.” 

When I first began to write, most of my descriptive passages were littered with overuse of adverbs, adjectives, gerunds and so on. They slowed the story right down and caused any readers I was lucky to get to give up. My writing was described as a “headache” and “like wading through treacle.”

Of course adverbs, etc, have their place; it’s impossible to do without them, but they should be used sparingly. The saying: “less is more” might be a cliche, but like most cliches, it’s also true. 🙂

 

https://goo.gl/IdfXVD AMZN UK 

https://goo.gl/MweUOt AMZN US

Being Author

Promotions, reviews and publishing-related services.

brittneysahin

Romance Author

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

Ecanus Promotions

Book Promotions

Nicholas C. Rossis

Award-winning, dream-protecting author

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

And, for good measure, a bit of Cooking and Eating

A Writer's Life For Me.

Blog of Author Mishka Jenkins

Reading Recommendations

Authors and their books - Great reading suggestions!

Be My Guest

Have a cup of tea with me and visit with my guests.

Finding Myself Through Writing

Writing Habits of Elle Knowles - Author

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

INDIE AUTHORS, RESOURCES, BOOK PROMOS, SERVICES, PLUS MORE

Viv Drewa - The Owl Lady

PA/PR, Indie Author and Blogger

Dream, Play, Write!

Today, make a commitment to your writing.

Creative State of Mind

A Blog by Tricia Drammeh

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement Book Review

With A.J and our WordPress Friends

Wild Geese Books

Jane Dougherty

Jenae's Words

A great WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: