Tag Archive: challenges

Clean Fantasy and Boring Cover Syndrome

Since recently subscribing to a number of clean fantasy authors’ newsletters, I’ve come across a disappointing trend. A lot of clean fantasy books have really unimpressive covers. You know the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and that’s great in principle, but when it comes to books, readers really do judge books by their covers. As a reader myself I can attest to this. Heck, it’s why I’m writing this post.

I love finding clean fantasy books. They’re rare, and thus they’re hard to find. *thinks of all of the fantasy books she’s read that have been almost clean, but not quite* We need more authors of clean fantasy (or clean anything, for that matter), and we need those authors to step into the reader’s shoes and think about whether or not the cover they’ve chosen will draw someone’s attention or if it will just be overlooked on the bookshelf or as a reader’s scrolling through Amazon or whatever. If your goal as a clean fantasy author is to bless your readers with something they can easily trust to not have sex scenes or language or whatever else we don’t want to read, bless them by making your book stand out on a shelf, too, so that they can actually find it to read it. Maybe these books are fabulously written, but I’ll never know because the cover doesn’t make me interested enough to even look.

Now, this is not to say that all clean fantasy books have boring covers. I know several authors who write clean books and have wonderful covers (Wayne Thomas Batson, Miranda Marie, Jonathan Rogers, Evan Angler…), but it appears that as a general rule, clean fantasy has dull covers.

As a reader and author of clean fantasy, I just want to ask a simple favor of any other clean fantasy authors out there: Please pay attention to your covers. Please put effort into them. The Book Cover Designer has fairly affordable pre-made covers, if you want to start there. Since I’ve only ever bought one cover I can’t attest to anywhere else, unfortunately, but look around. Find something pre-made or get something custom made, just give thought to your cover.

NaNoWriMo Resource Round-Up

With NaNoWriMo beginning tomorrow, I thought I’d post a collection of helpful articles pertaining to the survival of this insane quest we’re undertaking.

 

Word Hunter’s NaNoWriMo checklist.

How To Win NaNoWriMo with a Publishing-Worthy Novel by Tomi Adeyemi.

Write a Book In a Month – NaNoWriMo Secrets by Angela Booth on Fab Freelance Writing.

NaNoWriMo: Seven Steps to Set Yourself Up for Success on Writer’s Relief.

What’s In Your NaNo Emergency Kit? by Teri Brown on the NaNoWriMo blog.

6 Tips to Add to Your Writing Cheat Sheet by J.C. Lane on the NaNoWriMo blog.

How to Survive and Conquer NaNoWriMo by Jenny Bravo.

NaNoWriMo Checklist on Author Zoo (this is from 2014, but it’s not year-specific.)

The Stages of National Novel Writing Month (for a bit of humor. This one is obviously from 2012, so just pretend the number at the end says 2018.)

 

I hope these are helpful, and if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo let me know in the comments! If you’d like to add me as a writing buddy on the site, my username is Arya Shadeslayer, and you can find me at that link there. :)

Life of a Teenage Homeschool Writer

I’m a teenage home-schooled writer, and I know at least some of those who might be inclined to read my blog are as well, so I thought I’d share what joys and struggles I’ve found this brings, and then if you’d like you can share your own joys and struggles in the comments.

First off we have teenager. I’m in my mid-teens, which is annoying because I’m old enough to want to go places and not quite old enough to be able to get myself to those places, and since my mom is chronically ill and I have younger siblings it’s not a viable option to get her to take me to things. I’ll be very excited when I can get my license. Some of the things I’d like to be able to drive myself to are choir events, writing group meetings, bookstores, and coffee shop writing sessions, among other things. I always see advice for writer’s block suggesting going and writing at a coffee shop or someplace like that and I hate it just because I can’t do that and I would love to be able to. I hate having to inconvenience people anytime I need to go to something because I can’t drive myself. One more year… Being a younger-middle teenager also means that I have no income currently other than allowance (yes, I still get allowance), so I can’t take writing courses or save up my own money for an editor for my book very easily. However, teen years tend to be the cutoff for a lot of things, and you can only join them once you’re a teenager (e.g. camp, my writing group,

I’m also homeschooled, which is great because it means if I can get my schoolwork done quickly I have more time to do things like write or chat with friends (those are basically the only things I do because… I can’t get to anything. And I have very few friends. And I’m not good at much/don’t like much.) Anyway, the point is, I have more free time if I can get my schoolwork done. I’m not stuck in a classroom for eight hours, sometimes already done with my assignment and just waiting around for others to be finished and class to end (I’m not being proud here. I went to a school-ish thing and was ahead of everyone in one section and just had to wait for the next step because people were still working on the last step. It was boring waiting and I wished I’d taken a book.) It also means that my writing can sometimes count as schoolwork.

As a writer, I do a lot of wri… never mind. I do a lot of procrastinating and pretend I’m writing, and wish I was writing, and continuously tell myself I should be writing while continuing to do whatever it is I’m doing to procrastinate. One downside to my current writing process is that when I’m stuck on both of my current projects I feel like I don’t have anything else to work on (except short stories, which I’m doing a lot of lately because of my Short Story Sunday blog series), so it’s hard to find something to write. *glances at huge “pending” folder* Oh come on, don’t look at me like that. *cough* Yeah, so that’s tricky currently. I’m waiting for outside feedback on The Dark War and I’m just going through writer’s block on The Heart of the Baenor. *wishes she could write in a coffee shop and see if it helped* I guess now it’s time to work on the short story for next Sunday that I’ve written about… five paragraphs for.

What are some things you struggle with or like about being a writer/homeschooled/teenager?

A New Story Idea and Planning vs. Pantsing

Hey guys!

I’ve spent the last couple of days planning out a new trilogy that I sort of started a few weeks ago, but before I decided to tangle all their plots together and make them all overlap (which is definitely the fun part!)

So remember Heart of the Baenor, which I wrote for Camp NaNoWriMo? Well, I plan on finishing that next month for July Camp, and then I’m starting on this new trilogy, which takes place three years after HotB. The first book focuses on Catessa in a new place (I won’t say too much more to avoid spoiling anything), and she’s one of three MCs, each in a different of three countries that are at war with each other. Anyway, Catessa catalysts the war, but not on her own plans.

The MC of the second book is the king’s Paladin in Mandoria (I know that country wasn’t mentioned in the Deep Worldbuilding Project. It decided to spring up after that and will take a little bit to get caught up to its neighbors), who has just inherited powers she doesn’t feel ready for, since her mentor recently passed away.

The MC of the third book is going to be my first character with a negative character arc, and she both excites and terrifies me. She’s a shapeshifter, one of very, very few in Themar, and she becomes friends with the prince of Roenor after she steals his crown (long story which will be explained in… the story.)

These three books are all taking place simultaneously, which makes it crucial for me to plan everything out pretty well in-depth so that I don’t mess anything up, and stick to that plan with every bit of willpower in me (but since it’s a really cool plan anyway it might not be so hard. ;))

The temporary title of the series is The Dark War Trilogy, which I like more every time I say it.

Planning this is a really interesting experience for me, since I don’t have a lot of experience with planning. I’ve been a pantser, or at the very least a plantser, for the majority of my writing “career.” I’ve planned a couple of books with the Hero’s Journey method, both of which are very old and I cringe to read, and I outlined HotB before I started it, but for the most part I don’t tend to plan much. Well with this one I’m working on a timeline (Aeon Timeline has been extremely helpful), and I’m going to write an outline, which may be similar to the one I did for HotB with just short explanations of key scenes in each chapter, or it might be more detailed.

Putting together a timeline has been a lot of fun, because I’m playing around with precision in the timing of things. For instance, two characters lose people they care about at the exact same time, and then end up talking about it (which will be a very tense conversation), and then splitting for a few days before one of them comes back a lot harder. And all of the assassinations that happen take place at the exact same time of night. All the successful ones, anyway. Being precise can be very, very fun, and I can make my characters suffer more with more precision, lol. #LifeofaPSK

I haven’t planned quite enough stories ahead of time to say whether planning or pantsing works better for me, but I’ve been more excited and had more motivation on the ones I’ve planned beforehand lately. It could just be coincidence, we’ll have to see, but I’m going to continue planning things for a while and see what happens, I think.

‘Til next time!

Deep Worldbuild Project Part 6: History

Well, this post could be interesting. I don’t usually go real deep into the history of my countries. Aside from the one world in which most of the history is told in the series, so… Yeah. But before we move onto that I’ll give you the link to the past posts, in case you missed them. You can read them all here.

And now we start our history lesson. *takes a deep breath* Here we go.

Backstory first… Yep, backstory to backstory. This is already such a clear, concise post. Oh dear. Well, Themar is in a star system I created quite a while ago called the Alleruus System. In it are the majority of the rest of my story worlds. So, yeah. Backstory of backstory is now done. Now we get to the actual backstory. (I apologize for my rambling. Tired brains are not the best for clear writing. Please bear with me.)

In 4,000 BE (Before Execution), the Alleruus Star System was created. That comes with a whole bundle of planets, countries, peoples, etc. At this point, only the Morressir and the Dwarves lived on Themar. On other planets were humans, Elves, other Dwarves, etc.

For four thousand years the Morressir live in peace with each other, even though they’re probably at war with the Dwarves for a great majority of that time. I just don’t see the Morressir and the Dwarves getting along. They’re so entirely different that I can’t imagine they’d even try to find one thing in common. (I’m making all of this up as I go, so you’ll get a small look at my thought processes and whatnot. We’re learning this all together. :))

Then in about… 10 AE? The Elves from Titania (a rinky-dink, nearly forgotten world of mine) discover that they can create ships that can travel through air and space (because apparently their scientific advances are a lot faster than ours). They call them, creatively, airships. *gasp* So creative, right?! Yep, definitely tired brain. And I’m going off-topic yet again. I apologize. Anyway, these Elves decide to do some exploring and find Themar. They take a liking to it, and to Roenor and Adrelia in particular, they name them (apparently Hurg and Kira weren’t satisfactory, they had to rename them Elvishly. Elvishly? Yep, that’s a word now. Okay.

Anyway, they had some wars with the Morressir and Dwarves, of course, since they didn’t want to give up their land (who does?), but they eventually defeated the Dwarves and came to an agreement with the Morressir, because the Morressir are actually a very peaceful culture. They can be very stubborn, but they’re peaceful. So they were happy to make an agreement with the Elves. I’m repeating myself and being redundant. And I did it again. Oh well.

There was tension between the Elves and Dwarves for several hundred more years (until about 712 AE), during which some humans from Titania decided they wanted to move to Themar, as well. More conflict! That’s always fun. Anyway, they shoved the Elves out of the way, which meant tensions between their two races, as well. So at this point, the Elves like neither the humans nor the Dwarves, the Dwarves don’t like the Elves or the Morressir, and the Morressir pretty much try to avoid everyone. And humans honestly don’t really care, as a group.

So several hundred years later, in about 1420 AE, people are finally (mostly) at peace, and everyone’s (usually) happy. Hooray! Cheers all around!

And I’m thinking that the story that spawned in my brain will take place in approximately… 1994 AE? That’ll work.

Anyway, this is obviously a very loose history of the planet Themar, and I may or may not dig deeper later. I apologize for my rambly weirdness and invention of new words (actually, I’m not sorry for creating new words. Creating new words is awesome.) Thank you for sticking with me to the end despite my tired brain. Hopefully some small fraction of it actually made sense and you were able to learn something from it or at least enjoy it.

Bye!

(P.S. No one who looks back on this blog will ever think it was run by a professional. Oh well. It’s not run by a professional, so we’re all good.)

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