Author’s Advice Pt. 10

It’s NEVER too late to start over.

Are you working on a piece you’ve just lost all love for? Are you writing something that you really didn’t want to write in the first place? Do you really not care whether your newest piece get’s done or not?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, STOP! Close out of what your writing and hit the delete key, or tear the paper up. It may hurt at first and you may see it as time wasted, but it’s better than completing a project you really don’t feel enthusiastic about. Often it’s best to just admit defeat and start over.

I know it’s hard, but don’t look at it as time wasted, look at it as you just discovered one way to write the story that won’t work. So now you know not to go down that road again. Nothing a person creates with their own two hands is ever a waste of time, remember that.

Author’s Advice Pt. 6

Leave the politics at the door.

I was initially hesitant about writing this one, running the risk of being ironic, so I’ll apologize in advance if any of my own political beliefs make their way into this post (I am trying hard to prevent it!)

Now what do I mean by this? Well put it this way… have you ever gone to see a musical artist or comedian who stops right in the middle of their act and starts talking to you about how they hate (insert politician) and how people who don’t agree with/like the candidate they do are (insert misogynist/racist/lacking in nationalism/or is some other way prejudice)?

Sadly I have… a couple of times and it happens whether you’re on the left or right side of the aisle. I remember the entire time thinking ‘Shut up and play! I didn’t pay to listen to this crap!’).

Another good example is the Cracked.com Facebook page. For a few years now, I have tagged that page so that it shows up on my Facebook news feed… however I’ve been considering changing that recently given the large level of one-sided political viewpoints that have begun to show up on the page (which claims to be Comedy with a college education.) since it’s popularity picked up.

To me, this is like buying an awesome book about dragons, reading a few chapters, getting hooked, and then seeing that right in the middle, the author stopped writing the story in order to voice their opinion on a specific issue having NOTHING to do with the story.

Now does that mean we can’t put our personal/political beliefs in a story? No, not at all! If writing politics is your medium, or if your songs/jokes are about politics, all power to you. The rest of us who write on specific topics also include our personal beliefs in their books, but we do it in a different way.
Example:
Magnifica tackles racism and violence against women in a few chapters, but it does so by including those themes into the story and I made a special effort not to sound preachy when I wrote it.
The stories of the X-Men deal with prejudice and they do it in a very clever way as well. Marvel is famous for its low-key political commentary.

My point is, if you want to put your opinions and beliefs in your medium, please do so, but do it in a way that incorporates it into your medium. People who go and listen to you sing about love and life don’t care who you vote for, people who come to hear your comedy routine about crazy Sci-Fi themes don’t care about who you think they should vote for, people who buy your book about dragons REALLY could care less about your opinions on Bush or Obama.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have an opinion or voice it. Anyone who knows me and is a Facebook friend, knows that I am very outspoken when it comes to politics, but would you know that by looking at my book’s Facebook page, or this blog (before now)? Nope. Why? Because people don’t come to my blog or page to read about that. They come to read about elves, romance, angels, and other fantasy.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Take them for what they’re worth.

As always, I’d like to encourage discussion on blog, so please feel free to post a rebuttal, or a reinforcement, etc.

Catch you all on the flip side,

-Jim

Author’s Advice Pt. 6

Leave the politics at the door.

I was initially hesitant about writing this one, running the risk of being ironic, so I’ll apologize in advance if any of my own political beliefs make their way into this post (I am trying hard to prevent it!)

Now what do I mean by this? Well put it this way… have you ever gone to see a musical artist or comedian who stops right in the middle of their act and starts talking to you about how they hate (insert politician) and how people who don’t agree with/like the candidate they do are (insert misogynist/racist/lacking in nationalism/or is some other way prejudice)?

Sadly I have… a couple of times and it happens whether you’re on the left or right side of the aisle. I remember the entire time thinking ‘Shut up and play! I didn’t pay to listen to this crap!’).

Another good example is the Cracked.com Facebook page. For a few years now, I have tagged that page so that it shows up on my Facebook news feed… however I’ve been considering changing that recently given the large level of one-sided political viewpoints that have begun to show up on the page (which claims to be Comedy with a college education.) since it’s popularity picked up.

To me, this is like buying an awesome book about dragons, reading a few chapters, getting hooked, and then seeing that right in the middle, the author stopped writing the story in order to voice their opinion on a specific issue having NOTHING to do with the story.

Now does that mean we can’t put our personal/political beliefs in a story? No, not at all! If writing politics is your medium, or if your songs/jokes are about politics, all power to you. The rest of us who write on specific topics also include our personal beliefs in their books, but we do it in a different way.
Example:
Magnifica tackles racism and violence against women in a few chapters, but it does so by including those themes into the story and I made a special effort not to sound preachy when I wrote it.
The stories of the X-Men deal with prejudice and they do it in a very clever way as well. Marvel is famous for its low-key political commentary.

My point is, if you want to put your opinions and beliefs in your medium, please do so, but do it in a way that incorporates it into your medium. People who go and listen to you sing about love and life don’t care who you vote for, people who come to hear your comedy routine about crazy Sci-Fi themes don’t care about who you think they should vote for, people who buy your book about dragons REALLY could care less about your opinions on Bush or Obama.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have an opinion or voice it. Anyone who knows me and is a Facebook friend, knows that I am very outspoken when it comes to politics, but would you know that by looking at my book’s Facebook page, or this blog (before now)? Nope. Why? Because people don’t come to my blog or page to read about that. They come to read about elves, romance, angels, and other fantasy.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Take them for what they’re worth.

As always, I’d like to encourage discussion on blog, so please feel free to post a rebuttal, or a reinforcement, etc.

Catch you all on the flip side,

-Jim

Author Advice Pt. 5

One thing I’ve had to continuously tell myself over and over again is not to write with a bad attitude. I’m not kidding, if it’s time for you to write and you’re mad, annoyed, or just upset about something it’s not a good time to strike the keys. Stop, put the laptop down, and go do something else.

The problem with writing while angry is that unless it’s a seen that calls for anger or sadness, such as a character dying or a loss another character suffers, it is unlikely that any good will come from writing.

It’s tough to put the pen down, believe me I know, but once a bad attitude enters someone’s writing, it can be hard to continue or complete it. Writing can become a chore at that point and no longer something the writer is enthusiastic about.

Author Advice Pt 4

Rules of grammar and spelling…

I have a feeling that this one will get me a few rolled eyes, but we all remember or… partially recall studying where to place comma’s, how to punctuate, and how to spell. This is all stuff we know.

However, are those rules solid? Must they always be followed? Absolutely not!

You’re going to find in your writing that, when building a sentence to describe something that is ongoing that a rule or two may need to be bent or twisted. Maybe there is a scene that requires you to create a word like ‘deindustrialization’ or something like that. Dialogue is a perfect example of this. Nowhere else will you see more run-on’s, sentence fragments, or words misspelled. Why? Because that’s how some people talk.

Now, does this mean that the rules can be ignored completely? God no. Bad spelling and grammar will turn your reader off quicker than a poor plot ever could.

It’s important to know the rules, but it’s almost important to know that there are gray areas. A good example of the gray areas is when you’re writing in the past tense and trying to figure out when to use the words laid, lay, lied, lie. If you google one of those words and look at any grammar site, you’ll notice a good deal of discussion and disagreement on when to use each.

So I guess what I’m saying is follow the rules, but be conscience of when you can’t follow the rules and find a way to work around them that doesn’t degrade your writing.

Thanks all for me. Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Author’s Advice (Part 1)

The best advice I can give to any new authors out there is probably going to surprise everyone:

Completely disregard what your potential audience may want.

Yup, you read that right. I’m giving you permission to be completely selfish with your writing, because it’s just that; YOUR WRITING! The characters you create are yours, the world you set them in are yours, you are God in that world and no one can tell you what to do with it… (Unless they bought the rights and are publishing it for you… then you may have to change a few things, but for the most part, it’s still yours.)

When you write, don’t write for what you think people would like or base what you do with a character on whether or not it’s PC or what is considered ‘right.’ There are no rights and wrongs in writing. You are free to do what you want. This advice came to me when I was watching some of the interviews and documentaries following Lord of the Rings. I don’t remember the man’s name, there was an interview with a man who worked with J.R.R. Tolkien on Lord of the Rings. He mentioned how Tolkien was often dismayed over not really being able to find any stories he liked reading. Finally he decided that if he wanted a good book out there to read, he’d have to write it himself.

I took that comment to heart when I set to write my very first full length novel. A lot of my short stories were well received, but too many of them fell flat. Upon looking back at them, I realized that I had spent too much time trying to anticipate what people would like. I was being a fool. So I turned around and started writing things that I like, things that I would want to see happen in a story and characters that I could attach myself to.

Before I knew it, I had my novel written. I gave it to my toughest critic (my wife) and she loved it. (My wife doesn’t sugar coat things, she tells you if she doesn’t like what you’ve done. I’ve had a few stories axed due to her review). Within a few months it was polished, I had a cover ready, and my work was being submitted… a few weeks later I scratched one of my life-long goals off of my list:

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My cover artists

They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover and that’s good advice… but a good cover helps whet interest and attract an audience. I’ve been fortunate to work with some truly incredible artists who have helped bring my work to life.

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Cover Art by Christina Pankievich
My cousin and a truly wonderful artist. She was nice enough to take care of the first cover for me and I am greatly appreciative.

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Cover art by Helder Olivier

Another great artist. When my cousin was unavailable to do the cover, I put a post out on my facebook page for a graphic designer and he immediately came up. He was a wonderful person to work with, his art is terrific and, as you can tell from this, he has quite the pension for jewelry design. I highly recommend checking out his page!
Helder‘s page

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Cover art by Brett Warniers.

Every artist that I have worked with over time has been an absolute joy. Last and by no means least is the insanely talented Brett. His cover art broke the simplicity mode that I had confined myself up until now, thinking that it was the only way to attract attention… I was wrong and he showed me that.
He came recommended by a close friend and after seeing his other work, I could not refuse his talents. His work really speaks for itself and he has accepted the monumental task of creating the cover for the biggest work I’ve ever put out: Divinity. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

Brett’s Page

Tina is unfortunately (or VERY fortunately depending on which side you are on) very busy with other projects and doesn’t have a page anymore. However Brett and Helder are accessible through their pages and their art work is well worth the money! You will not be disappointed.

Today I have a special feature here for your enjoyment. This has been a long journey that took inside a year to accomplish. I have this showcased over on my design blog along with this one. The purpose of this spotlight isn’t to ramble on forever like I do occasionally. My friend Alfredo Pachicano and […]

via #Christian #Fantasy Author Spotlight: #Cover #Reveal — K.M. Jenkins

#Christian #Fantasy Author Spotlight: #Cover #Reveal — K.M. Jenkins

Soul Siphon Update!

Ugh! It’s so difficult to keep up on my blog while working on my book. I’m not even kidding!

That said… we do have an update! First off, I’d like to give a special shout out to a truly skilled writer that has taken on the dubious task of editing my book, you all know him as Eric, or Eric79. Eric has been a great help and, though we’re an Ocean apart, I’ve come to call him friend. So thanks for all your help Eric, your edits have turned a good story (your critique) into something that I’m hoping my readers will find great.

Another piece of good news on the development front is that we’ve found and hired a new illustrator to take on the cover, Jabari Weathers. Some of his dark imagery caught my eye and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. He has been both understanding a very professional.

The book is slated for an April 2nd release date, but we’ll see if we can keep to that.

Synopsis reminder:
“A starved child, an assassinated soviet soldier, a woman abandoned on the streets of Hong Kong, a victim of history’s most mysterious killer, and a young man who never asked to be thrown into the middle of a spiritual war.

They reside in the shadows and other dark places, waiting for those who would inflict pain and suffering on the innocent. An unlikely group, with one thing in common; death. Each with powers that reflect the way they died. Corban found himself thrust into the fray with this group of anti-heroes.

Cursed with unstable powers stemming from a fatal demonic possession, Corban must unravel the mystery behind his death. As more information comes to light, Corban begins to realize that nothing in his life was what it appeared to be and the price of victory may be his own soul.”


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Traitorous Main Character

So you’ve written your story. Your characters are beloved, not only to you, but also your reading audience. Well now you’re writing the next part in your series and are ready to do the unthinkable…

You’re going to have one of the characters turn on the others. One of your main good guys is now to become a villain and not just a villain, but one who was the cause of much of the turmoil that the other characters have gone through.

So how do you do it? Up until now, this character has been close to all of the others. They have become well-liked, and your audience has grown attached to that character. How do you suddenly make them the object of scorn?
Well it may not be as difficult as you think and it may not even be necessary. Let me explain…

If you’re going to paint the person as a straight villain, the shock and surprise alone should be enough to turn your readers against the character. If you’ve written it right, your readers should feel just as betrayed as the characters that they are reading about. Having the ability to make your readers relate, and even feel the same emotions that the characters are is a staple of a truly gifted story teller. Just make sure that you provide an alternate view of the events from the past stories so that everything fits into place. This is absolutely essential if the villain role is going to stick.

Above, I said that it may not be necessary to make the traitor the object of scorn. Indeed it isn’t. If you refer back to my Character Complexes thread, you can read up on how to create a villain that may not necessary be evil. Maybe this traitor has family that they are looking for, maybe they’re turning on their friends for what they perceive to be the greater good, or maybe there is a payoff at the end that is enough for the traitor to sacrifice their friends.
The point is, just because the character is no longer a good guy, or on the same side as the main characters, doesn’t mean that they’re bad. Quite the opposite, it just means that their circumstances have changed. That character can still be relateable and even likable.

Now, does that mean that this character won’t come back to the morally ‘right’ in the story? No, there is no rule in place that a character can’t switch sides.

So just remember when writing a traitor, it may be better and even easier at some points to not paint them as a straight villain.

Thanks and catch you all on the flip-side,

Jim