Character Creation, The How To #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I’ve been working on my story for a while, but am having trouble coming up with new characters. I was wondering if you had any advice about how you create yours? By the way, I am a huge fan of Vlad from Soul Siphon. I love how you made him a salty old Soviet Commie!
Thanks,
Ty

Hi Ty,

 

Glad you liked Soul Siphon. Thanks for your support. So character creation is always a tricky subject. How do you create new and interesting characters that are relatable.

Personally, for a while I just created blank slate characters and just have them grow as they react to different situations. This… worked for a little while, but honestly the characters were quickly coming out all with similar personalities. It became apparent that I had to try something else.

So in a few cases, I started creating characters that were similar to people I’ve encountered in my life. I tried to emulate people I liked in certain roles and people I didn’t in others. That worked for a while, but you have to be very careful. You don’t want to make it too obvious who you’re writing about… especially if you plan on killing off the character.

When I write about people from history like Mary Kelly, I do as much research as I can into their historical persona and build a personality for them based on their documented decisions and behaviors. This is actually really fun. Researching history is something I’ve always found incredibly rewarding. The result with Mary Kelly was a very dynamic character with over 100 years of bitterness and righteous anger to her name.

After a while, I decided to start creating characters with generic backstories and save them for future use. Jagger (Drakin), Vlad (Soul Siphon), Raiya (Drakin), and Andrea (Drakin), were all generic characters that I added more in depth back stories to and had them react to the situations as they came up. The story then began to grow around how these characters reacted to their situations.

So in the end… I really haven’t created new characters in a while. I have a whole library of generic characters saved and ready to go in whatever I start writing next. It’s not a bad way to go about writing.

I hope this helps. Readers, how do you create characters in your stories? Do you have any advice for Ty? Let them know in the comments.



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Social Commentary/Political Agenda in Writing, The Good and Bad. #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I’ve been reading through some of your posts regarding avoiding politics, and escapism in entertainment. You seem to be extremely anti-politics in your advice. You use Marvel Comics and others as your primary example, but you do realize that they have always been political, right? Most of the mediums and genres you’ve addressed have historically been political. So I’m not really sure what your gripe with them is.
Thanks,
Wil

Hi Wil,

 

You’re absolutely right, most of these stories have a moral/political message/social commentary, etc. Admittedly, it’s next to impossible to avoid in stories. Even if you don’t intend for your story to have any sort of message like that, one could be drawn from it.

When I first published my YA series Magnifica , I started getting emails from people who wanted to comment on my ‘handling of racial discrimination and bigotry’. I actually got a lot of positive feedback on how Lia’na was treated in modern society, which I was surprised about.
All this time, I’m sitting there scratching my head like, “That… wasn’t really the intention. Elves have traditionally been bashed, badmouthed, and mistreated by other species around them. I just put a modern slant on it.”
However, that’s what my audience drew from it.

So let me address your specific criticisms. You are absolutely correct on all counts that each of those mediums have inserted social commentary or political message into their writing. That being said, I invite you to pick up a copy of something like Mockingbird, or some of the newer X-Men and compare them to the original… even just go back to the early 80s during the Chris Claremont age.

Do you see a difference? The key to putting a message into your story is to do it in a way where the story doesn’t take a back seat to the message. If you write just for the sake of delivering a political message, nine times out of ten, you’re going to either bore or disenfranchise your audience. Yes, there are some writers that have successfully pulled this off, but a broken clock is right twice a day. That’s the exception, not the rule.

The difference we see is that when Claremont or Lee wrote their stories, they were aware of the message that they wanted to convey, but they also respected their audience’s intelligence. Not only did they show their perspective, but they demonstrated an understanding of the other perspectives as well. In the case of the X-Men, you saw how hatred and segregation affected mutants, you understood not only Professor Xavier’s position, but also Magneto’s. You understand both their philosophies, and it’s honestly sometimes to take a side.

On the other side of the coin, you’re also presented with understanding of why people fear mutants. You can sympathize with, understand, and even make the case for why they feel the way they do, even if you don’t agree with it. What’s more, when we start seeing projections of the future and the seemingly unavoidable wars that break out, the writers almost make the case that Professor X’s beliefs and goals may be little more than a pipe dream. In other words, the writers acknowledge the flaws in their own beliefs.

Now take that and compare it to what we see these days. Writers for movies, comics, and normal literature have decided in many cases that hammering in a political narrative is more important than telling a good story. They’ve done everything from breaking the fourth wall, to stopping stories just to have a character get on a soap box, to insulting the intelligence of their audience, to flat out drawing a line and saying that anyone who doesn’t agree with their… increasingly narrow view is the spawn of Satan (literally in a few cases).

This is not how you attract an audience, it’s not how you keep an audience, and it’s certainly not an advisable way to get your name in print. I cancelled my subscription to some of these comics because, while I agree with some (emphasis here) of the messages they’re trying to deliver, I felt like I was being talked down to and condescended. You can really sense the cynicism in some of their writings.

So Wil, I hope I answered your question. I’m not against having a moral or political agenda in a story or medium. I am, however, very much so against the way people are going about it. We’ve seen a lot of comic writers come out and bash fans saying that they don’t work for us… and yes, that’s true… you’re free to write whatever you want… but being disrespectful, condescending, and showing little understanding or tolerance of those who disagree with you, is a good way of insuring your unemployment or solidifying your status as a ‘starving artist’ for the foreseeable future.

Readers, what do you think? Leave your comments below!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Phoenix Effect: After Being Burned by Bad Reviews #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I’m really upset about the feedback one of my book has been getting. For the most part, the reviews have been constructive, but they’ve mostly been negative. The book in question is a sequel to one that got a lot of positive reviews. The story had a great following, but now I’m afraid the sequel may have ruined it. I was really hoping to turn this into an ongoing series, but now I’m worried that if I try to publish another sequel, no one will want to read it. Do you think I should abandon the series?
Thanks,
(Confidential by request)

Hi there,

Oh boy, that’s a tough one. My sympathies on the negative reviews, they’re always tough to get through. Fortunately for you, it seems like most of them are genuinely trying to help by providing you constructive criticism instead of your run-of-the-mill “This Sucks!” or “The Author Needs To Stop!” and so on.

At the same time though, the reviews with constructive and legitimate criticism are next to impossible to ignore, and I wouldn’t recommend ignoring them either. It’s a bit of a balancing act that you have to perform. On one side, write how YOU want to write. You don’t owe your audience anything on characters and stories you created. On the other hand, you have to remember that audiences vote with their wallets. So if you’re hoping to actually be able to sell the book, you do need to at least reflect on said criticisms.

For starters, I would read through them, find some recurrent themes. What are the major complaints about the story that people didn’t like? Did you do something that didn’t make sense? Is there a major plothole, or did the story simply take a direction that the audiences didn’t like?

When you figure out what the pattern of negativity is, you can go from there. Write down the primary complaints, keep them in your mind and then go back over your thought processes, experiences, and feelings when you were writing that book. Try to pinpoint what made you take the directions you did and where your inspiration came from.

Then you have to decide where to go next;

  1. You can invalidate the previous book. To do this, you need to retcon what happened in the previous book, but then have your characters find a way to undo whatever happened (time travel is usually a pretty good way of handling this), or you can do what Roseanne did and make the previous story a figment of someone’s imagination or something like that. There are some creative ways of doing this… but I don’t recommend it. This is a pretty shallow way of handling the problem and it’s something audiences can see right through.
  2. Stay the course. If you think you’ve got a solid story and that bad novel was pretty much just a way to bridge two good stories, then you have the option of weathering the criticism and pressing forward. I’d recommend a press release in this case. Actually tell your audience. A few simple words for example:
    “Okay everyone, I wanted to address the negative feedback I’ve been getting. I know a lot of you are concerned… look, all I ask is that you give the next book a chance. I promise that this whole thing is going somewhere and hopefully you’ll like where we end up. That’s all I can ask.”
  3. Change direction. Look at the criticism, see where things went off the rails for your audience and turn it around. Find ways to restore certain characters who were altered or end plot points that people didn’t like.

I wouldn’t worry about audiences not buying the book. The thing about readers is that they tend to be very forgiving, especially if everything ends well. In the end, you’re the only one who can decide which way to take the story. It’s your story and it’s entirely up to you.
If you think about it the right way, this could actually work out pretty well for you. Your story took a beating, crashed and burned, it disappointed your audiences and crashed and burned. Now imagine if it rises from the ashes and surprises everyone by being awesome? You play with their emotions and their lack of expectations make them love the story even more. I call it the Phoenix Effect. Your story went from being good, to crashing and burning, yet out of the ashes it is reborn more radiant than it started.

Anyway, I hope this helps you in some way. Hopefully you have a little perspective on where to take your story next.

Readers, do you have any advice? Let us know in the comments!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

My Biggest Obstacle in Writing #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I just started reading some of the advice you give out. I don’t really have a specific issue that needs to be addressed, but I was wondering what you consider to be the biggest issue you encounter when writing and how you overcome it. As a writer, I’m always interested in hearing about the experiences of other writers.
Thanks,
Lauraine

Hi Lauraine,

Always happy to share my experiences. So honestly, there are a number of issues that I encounter when I write. I can’t say that there is one particular recurrent issue that I encounter. Usually when I have an issue, I figure out a workaround that I can apply in future writing. However, I can give you an example of one I’m currently going through.

Between other projects, I’ve been working on a prequel to Magnifica. Whether or not I ever publish it, remains to be seen. I just really wanted to explore the story behind Toby and Lia’na’s parents and how their decisions landed their children in the middle of a struggle for survival. So the problem I’m running into is that I keep rewriting scenes that deal with norms of the 80s. It really hold me up from progressing further because I want to get the scenes perfect. I have very fond memories of the 80s and wanted to properly portray them in my writing. Sometimes when writing these scenes, I find myself willing to give almost anything to be back there again. This has unfortunately slowed the progression of that novel to a halt.

The only way to deal with it is to stop and either work on something else, or if I’m determined to get through the current chapter, sit back and flick on some calm music from that time period. Something that adds a little atmosphere to the nostalgia. It’s not perfect, and honestly that’s why this story has been ongoing for two years now, but it’s how I deal with the urge to constantly rewrite those scenes. Sometimes taking a break can also be helpful, but that only prolongs writing the book even further.

Anyway, hope this gives you some idea of what I encounter when I write. Readers, do you have a specific issue that you encounter when you’re writing that has proven to be a bane? Let me know down in the comments.

 



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

To Focus or Let Inspiration Roam Free #Writing #Author #Advice

How do you focus on one project at a time? My problem is I’ll be really into writing for one novel and I’m in it but then I lose my inspiration for it and I get inspired to do something different and I get into that but then I get inspired to do something else and it continues on where it feels really difficult to get anything done. So how do you focus?

Hi Sally,

I don’t.

No, I’m actually not even kidding about that. I am a total scatter brain with between 5-10 different processes going through my mind at any given moment. Believe it or not, the first two chapters of Drakin were written while I was finishing up Soul Siphon.

If you’re finding it hard to focus, forcing yourself to won’t solve anything. Unless you have some kind of major deadline coming up, I’d highly recommend against it. Whenever I’m writing and I find my mind going off in a different direction… either there’s a topic I want to blog about or a new story that’s just too good to pass up, I stop what I’m currently working on and spend a few minutes here and there working on that. Does it slow down production of my books? Maybe a little… but not nearly as much as it would if I tried to force my mind to focus and it’s slowed down because the juices have been diverted to other topics.

You can’t always control when your mind is going to get the creative juices flowing. It’s a reality that we all have to live with. There really is no point in fighting it. Make sure you keep yourself on a schedule and try to put some time into your current project every day, but don’t stifle the creative juices. This was a hard-learned lesson for me when I was working on Divinity. I ignored the creative juices to focus on what I was working on and the result was a bad case of writer’s block.

Some may say that this is bad advice, but from my perspective, I believe that it is better than the alternative. Stifling your creative juices will not get your story written any faster. However, keep in mind, this is just how I approach the problem. You may be different and creating a schedule and a place to hide away from outside stimulus so that you have to focus on what you were working on, may benefit you. Try various methods and see what works.

Hope this helps. Readers, how do you focus? Do you have any advice for Sally? Let me know in the comments.


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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Writing Advice: Granting Someone Else ‘Godhood’ #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I’ve been writing for years and have a book series out that I’m completely finished with. I’ve moved onto other stories, but one of my friends and a fellow writer wants to write a sequel to the series. He has a really great idea for a story set in the world I created, with both my characters and some new ones.
While I like his idea, I’m not too sure I want to hand the reigns of the novel over to him. I’m also not sure of anything legal I’d have to do, given that my stories are in print and copyrighted. Can you point me into the right direction on any of this? What would you do if someone wanted to write a sequel to one of your books.
Thanks,
Jackson.

Hi there, Jackson!
Good questions. All right… for starters, you need to do a little soul searching. Go back and read the books you wrote. Decide for yourself if you want to hand over the reigns and if so, do you trust that person to remain authentic to the story and the characters? Do you trust this person enough to become God of the world you created? Keep in mind, you’re not under any obligation to hand over anything to anyone. If you don’t want him touching your story or characters that’s the end of it. They’re in print and you have them copyrighted, don’t be afraid to say no.
On the other hand, if you’re done with the series and are interested in seeing it continue, a fresh pair of eyes can often breathe new life into your world. If I were in your shoes, it really depends. If someone wanted to write a sequel to Magnifica, Soul Siphon, or Drakin, I’d likely say no. I still have sequels (or prequels) planned for those. Some of which may not come to fruition, but until I make that decision, I’m keeping them close to my vest.
That being said… if someone wanted to write another installment in the universe that Divinity set up, I wouldn’t be opposed to that. I’d absolutely want to see what they have in mind before agreeing to anything, but as long as it was along what I had envisioned, I’d be fine with someone putting a new spin on it.

Now onto your second question… in terms of handing over the rights… It really depends on your situation. If you’re self-published and have the works registered to you, then you shouldn’t have much of a problem. If, however, a traditional publisher holds the rights to your stories, you may have a bit of an uphill battle ahead of you.

In either case, I’d recommend contacting an attorney with an expertise in copyright law. They can give you the ins and outs, and help you draw up a contractual agreement dealing with rights, royalties, and credit. That’s about all I can offer in terms of advice as this isn’t a situation I’ve encountered personally. However, if you’d like to talk about it more, please feel free to email me.
In the meantime, let’s open it up to our readers. What does everyone else think? Have you encountered an issue like this? How have you responded? Did you allow someone else to continue your story?


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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Telling a Story vs. Glorification #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I have a rather unique issue. I’m trying to write a story dealing with my grandfather. Let me give you some background.
My parents immigrated here from Germany, I’m a 1st Generation American. My grandfather was part of the North African Campaign during World War 2. He was a member of the Afrika Korps. My story is partially fiction given that I don’t know absolutely everything he did during the war. However, I wanted to tell his story as best I could, so I took a little literary license based on what I knew of him. I’m very happy with how my story came out, but I’m worried about publishing it, given that people might think I’m glorifying Nazis. What do you think I should do?
Thanks,
Francis

Hi Francis

(Geeking out, non-history buffs can skip this section).

Your grandfather was in North Africa???? Please email me! My grandfather was with the 320th Glider Division of the 82nd Airborne! I’d love the compare notes and share stories!

(Okay I’m done.)

So… in all seriousness… That’s admittedly a tough one. I can certainly understand your concern. The problem with who knew what/where/when and who participated in what is still a subject of heated debate even to this day.

So honestly, full disclaimer to my readers, I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened. My grandfather (as stated above) not only fought in the war, but also aided in the liberation of Wobbelin, which was a concentration camp that housed roughly 5,000 victims at its height. He never spoke about it, but I dug up as much information as I could find. The Holocaust was a terrible tragedy that can never, and should never be denied.

That being said… the first thing you want to do is go through your book and see if, in your opinion, you’re glorifying anything or anyone that shouldn’t be glorified, in your opinion. If yes, my advice would be to consider a rewrite. If not, then I would say go ahead and publish it. Without actually seeing your book, or knowing your grandfather’s specific history, I can’t tell you either way.

There is a difference between telling a story and glorifying a certain group of people. The problem is that where that line is drawn is constantly being skewed. So where does the line fall? Where should it fall? Well… that’s extremely arbitrary.

One school of thought says that glorification is painting a person or event in any positive light, or even just making said subject sympathetic.

Another school of thought is that glorification is as simple as making a person or event the central focus of your story, regardless of whether they’re portrayed positively or objectively.

The final school is probably the most obvious one… where said person or event is blatantly heralded as a hero and portrayed as the moral ‘right’ in the story.

Honestly, IMO the line should be drawn somewhere between that first and third schools of thought. The people who fall into the third category would just assume that these people never be written about at all… which is the antithesis of everything the subjects of history and literature should be.

If you just want to tell the story of what your grandfather did/saw that shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not saying you won’t get blowback, you might. So you’ll want to be ready for that.

Personally… I don’t think it should be a problem though. The commander of the Afrika Korps was Irwin Rommel and they were never accused of war crimes (At least not based on any of the research I’ve done. If there have been new developments, please let me know). The people who would likely read your book would be able to put that into context.

I hope this advice helps in some way. The best thing to do in this case is do a little soul searching and ask yourself a couple of questions;

  1. Who was my grandfather?
  2. Do I know everything I can possibly know about where he was and what he did?
  3. Why do I want to publish this book about him? What is my goal here?

Regardless of your answer, legally (At least in the U.S.) no one can stop you from publishing it if you want to. However, there is also the line between legal and ethical.

So I apologize if this is all over the place, but I’m really struggling to give the best answer I can on this one. I guess in summation, all I can tell you is that as long as you’ve documented everything as historically accurate as possible, and are putting it out there for the right reasons, then I would go ahead and publish it. There’s always going to be detractors and people who are looking for controversy where none exists. That’s just how it goes.

Please let me know when it’s published. I’d love to look into it a little and definitley shoot me an email as I’d love to get your insight into your grandfather’s experiences from the other side.

Readers… this was a fairly touchy subject. What do you all think? Should stories be out there where the central focus or “Hero” is a German Soldier from WW2 or should that be left for the history textbooks? As always, I’m very interested in your thoughts, let me know in the comments.



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Bringing out Humanity in Non-Human Characters #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I’m currently writing a sci-fi fantasy novel. Right now, I’m in the process of coming up with characters and want to add a non-humanoid to the cast. Admittedly, I’m having trouble making him relatable. I really love this character and want people to enjoy him. This isn’t going to come out right, but how do I make him more human… without making him a humanoid?
Thanks,
Ned

 Hi Ned,

 

 

I think I understand what you’re trying to say. If I’m wrong, email me again and we can talk behind the scenes. My advice to you is to give that character a description early on in the story, and then leave it at that. Mention his physical attributes only when necessary. Let that character work with the rest of your group as though he’s no different.

I’m currently working with a similar issue in my newest book where one of the main characters is a dragon. The way I’ve written that character, I often forget that it’s not human and have to go back and rewrite certain aspects to suit a dragon as opposed to a human. I think that’s the best way to go about it. Write your character in a way that almost makes your audience forget what that character is so that they can focus on who that character is, because that’s what’s really important in the long haul.

This is a huge difference I’ve alluded to in other posts… when you focus on the skin deep attributes of a character, you’re going to write a superficial character. This is the difference between writing a dynamic -relatable- character, and writing an archetype or stereotype. Unless it’s for a specific narrative, usually the latter is never the way you want to go.

So I hope this helps, but I’m going to turn it over to my readers and see if they have any advice for you as well.

Thanks all,

Jim



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Finding Time in No Time. #Writing #Author #Advice

 

Hi Jim,

I was hoping you could give me some advice on actually finding time to write. I work full time and have a family. I literally have no time to write at all. I saw on your bio that you also have kids. Do you also have another job or are you a full time writer?

Thanks,
David


Hi David,

I may not be the best person to ask here. Honestly, I’m usually in the same boat you are. I have another job and two (soon to be three) kids. So when to I find time to write? The answer is simply ‘whenever I can.’
That’s literally the only answer I can give you. I keep a copy of whatever I’m working on open on my computer and bang out a chapter during lunch or during some downtime and then do the bulk of my writing for an hour or so after everyone in my house goes to sleep. The ONLY reason this works for me is because I’ve trained myself to type at an accelerated pace. At my best, I can bang out 5-10K words in a couple of hours.

The problem with this is that it takes a toll on you. For this reason, after my next Drakin Novel, I may take some time off writing… maybe. I say that a lot, but honestly, it takes so much out of you to do what I do… by the time I’m done, I’m usually exhausted and about 10lbs heavier than I was.

It can get bad sometimes, but I love writing that much.

The only recommendation I can give you is to try to write whenever you can. Even if you’re just scribbling something down on paper the old fashioned way. Figure out what works for you and then go from there.

Whatever you do, please don’t put your health at risk. Again, I’m not the best role model here, but I know what it’s like to want to continue writing even when your eyes are trying to force themselves shut. When your body tells you that enough is enough, stop.

Readers, do any of you suffer from this problem? How do you find time to write? Share it with David and let him know!

Thanks,

Jim



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim