New Book Announcement!!!

Hi Everybody!

I know I haven’t been around in a while and I deeply apologize for it! I just wanted to give a quick update and explanation as to why;

If you didn’t figure it out already from the title, I’ve got a new book coming out!!!

When? Well… we’re still working on that.

I’m currently working on the second draft of my book and will be looking for beta readers/editors if interested.

So what’s the story about? 

Ah, glad you asked! The title of the story is Drakin: The Story of Raiya.

Here are the details:

Setting: Post-Apocalyptic North America.

Characters: Lt. Jagger Bishop, Raiya, Eric Fausten, Dr. Andrea Wagner, and Miranda Foster

I won’t go into too much detail there yet.

The story starts off with a massive meteor crash-landing in Manhattan, destroying the city. Its revealed that the meteor is infact artificial and is actually an escape ship from another world, carrying refugees looking for a home.

Those refugees are rather massive flying lizards. Thats right, you guessed it, Dragons.

The main setting of the story takes place 30 years into the future where humanity is locked in a massive world war against dragons from another part of the galaxy… and humanity is losing, badly.

Raiya is our main character, again, not going into much detail here, but she is essentially… not quite human. Her odd biology grants her certain abilities that give her the key to defeating the dragons and restoring peace on Earth.

I’ll post an official synopsis once I have it.

To my loyal readers, I want to thank so much for waiting it out. To any newcomers, I can’t wait to finish this book and hand it off to all of you. Just please be patient with me for a little while longer!

 

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

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

A Picture or a Thousand Words?

Hey, Jim.

 

I wanted to ask you a rather strange one. I’ve been working on my book for a while and I use a lot of concept images when I write. I like them because they help me better describe my characters. You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words?

Well I’ve been looking at a few of my recent works and thought that they might look good in the book itself. Do you think its a good idea to put these images in?

Thanks,
Nohri


 

Hi Nohri,

I actually do the exact same thing. I like creating visuals for my characters. That way I can really visualize what they are supposed to look like. So kudos on that.

As for putting them into the book itself…

Well I’ve heard two trains of thought on that one and unfortunately they conflict;

On one side, you have people saying that you absolutely shouldn’t do that. These are the same people who will tell you that adding too many visuals to your cover will take something away from the story because the reader will no longer be able to create their own visuals based on the writing. This argument has merit and in many cases, these people are absolutely correction.

That being said, on the other side you have the people who say that readers will form their own opinion and visuals regardless of what’s on the cover or if there are pictures in the pages. In fact many successful stories out there are indeed enhanced by good visuals. (See Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.)

Personally, I like to take the middle of the road, as usual. A few visuals aren’t a bad thing. Leave a lot to the reader’s imagination, but you don’t need to leave everything. I do also feel that the second crowd is correct that the reader will form their own vision regardless.

I for one absolutely love sharing my concept art and have included it in a couple of my stories… if the art is good enough, that is;

cropped-untitled-3.jpg

20170425_114339

So yeah, go ahead and throw some imagery in there, my advice is just not to overdo it. Don’t dictate to your reader what they should or should not be thinking, but feel free to give ‘hints.’

 

Hope this helps!

-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

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Writing Music in Literature.

Hey, Jim.

 

I’m in the middle of writing a novel and I really want to convey the emotion of the scene I’m working on. I noticed you give out writing advice, so I wanted to ask you about this. I want to use songs the people know in my writing and give my characters reaction to the lyrics, but I’m worried about copyrights and what is/is not allowed. Is there a way I can pull this off without getting sued?

Thanks,
Meaghan


Meaghan,

Listen to me very carefully because I am deadly serious about this. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you be writing anything more than a brief quote (one line, TOPS!) into your novel from any copyrighted works, be it a song, a book, or any other written medium without written consent, a contract, or royalty agreement in place.

I can not stress this enough, don’t do it. Its a big no-no and it could land you in a lot of trouble. I personally don’t even quote full lines in my works. At most, I put in the artist’s name and song title. Then I’ll say something like;

“The couple came together as Linkin Park belted out the first line of Castle of Glass, their bodies twisted together as the song picked. When they were as one, unable to pull away from each other as the chorus played around them. Neither wanted the moment to end and as the last line was sung, their lips came together.”

 

You shouldn’t have much trouble conveying the emotions you want to by using this method. Other than that, you may need to choose a different song… I’d recommend writing your own or choosing something that’s in the public domain.

In any case, I hope this helps. My words of caution can’t really be overstated, for your own good I hope you heed them.

Readers, have you seen writing done this way? What advice would you give Meaghan? 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

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Let’s Get Down to the Details

Hey, Jim.

I was wondering if you could give me some writing tips. I have a blog on WordPress where I write stories and poems. I’m not the best when it comes to giving details in stories, so I was wondering if you could help me out with that. I would really appreciate it

MJ


 

Hi MJ,

Great question, I’d be happy to help. Believe it or not, you’re not alone in this venture. Authors have struggled with how to provide detail for the longest time, while keeping the story interesting. There’s a bit of a disconnect between how to keep a story interesting so that your reader stays engaged, but not overloading them on details. Many an otherwise good novel has died on the alter of TOO MUCH FREAKEN DETAIL!

There is also the idea that the reader should be free to draw their own conclusions on what a world looks like based on a limited amount of information provided. It’s a good philosophy, but it’s one that puts extra burden on the writer to determine how much detail is just the right amount. With an audience that has a notoriously shrinking attention span, getting this right is absolutely crucial.

The best way to combat this is by using metaphor and comparison. Let me give you an example…

Here’s a fairly generic description of a scene from a story I was working on a while back:

“The night was cold. It must have been easily less than thirty degrees. The wind blew hard against Mike’s back, causing him to go numb. Not helping matters was how dark it was. The street lamps couldn’t compensate for it, making it hard to see where he was going. The road was long, easily about two miles. He could easily tell that he had a long way to go.” 

Believe it or not, this is actually really good description. It tells you exactly what’s going on, what the weather is like and how our character feels… but it’s not very interesting, is it? It’s almost robotic in its description, like it’s not intended to be interesting in any way. Now imagine a full book being like that…

Those are the types of stories that tend to get used to prop up furniture later on instead of holding a prominent space on ANYONE’s shelf.

So obviously we’re not going to get much out of that, are we? That’s not going to hold anyone’s attention… so let’s try adding comparison and a little metaphorical writing to it…

“The night was so cold that Mike was certain an Eskimo would have felt right at home. The wind felt like a sharp knife against his skin, causing him to go numb as he walked. The fact that it was so dark that he could not see where he was going didn’t help. The night loomed over him like a black veil that was so thick that even the dim yellow glow of the street lamps could barely shine through it. His journey was not going to end any time soon. The road appeared to stretch on forever, as though the path disappeared into the heavens on the horizon.”

Now which story are you more likely to want to continue reading, the first or second one? Chances are the second one held your attention longer, why? Because it let your mind get an idea of how cold it was, it let you feel the character’s pain instead of just throwing information at you. Even if it is a little bit longer than the bare bones description, this will keep a reader engaged a lot easier.

But Jim, how much is too much? 

Well that’s struggle number 2. How much information is too much? Again, it’s in the details. Let’s take a look at a description of something from a story:

“The tapestry was blue, bright blue. John honestly couldn’t decide if it was royal blue or navy blue. There were several different shades of blue that fit into those two categories that it could have been either in the spectrum. It also had gold trim that was shiny and knitted together with little red lace. It must have been hand-sewn because the lace was so delicate, no machine could have done that. John started to wonder what that thread was made of.”

Oh God…

These are stories where you can easily skip over entire paragraphs without missing anything essential to the story and believe it or not, there are enough of these to fill the Library of Congress. So what could we honestly do away with here? Well unless the detailed description of the tapestry were somehow crucial to the story (which it rarely is), we can probably do away with most of that:

“The tapestry was blue, bright blue. John honestly couldn’t decide if it was royal blue or navy blue. There were several different shades of blue that fit into those two categories that it could have been either in the spectrum. It also had gold trim that was shiny and knitted together with little red lace. It must have been hand-sewn because the lace was so delicate, no machine could have done that. John started to wonder what that thread was made of.

Yeah, even that could be considered too much. Simply saying ‘blue tapestries adorned the walls’ would in most cases be sufficient

So MJ, I hope this helps. The use of metaphor and comparison writing will give the reader a lot more to think about than just a bland description.

Readers, what do you think? Do you have other advice you can offer MJ?

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

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

The Right Theme

Hi Jim,

I’m having a horrible time trying to come up with a theme for my story! I’m trying to map everything out before I write. I was wondering if you had any advice? What themes do you like?

Thanks,
Lawrence


Hi Lawrence,

Well I’d honestly say to start writing. If you have ideas, make notes, get them down on paper and then see what themes are covered when you write it. Some people have to plan this kind of thing out beforehand, I personally don’t like to. I write and see where it takes me and then figure out what themes to focus on when I go back to edit and polish the writing up.

What themes do I like? Well I usually write about love. Most of my stories deal with a romance between two unlikely creatures (Elf/Human, Angel/Human, Demon/Angel, Demon/Human, Undead Human/Human, Undead Human/Demon, etc.) and tackle the issues that they would come across in the time periods I set them in.

However a second theme has crept into a lot of my work thus far. I don’t know if there is a name for it, but basically it deals with the end of magic.
In Magnifica, I deal with what would happen in our modern world if suddenly the mystic and mythological became real or it was revealed that they actually were real. At first, things seem to work fine… Elves and dwarves are integrated into human society… but then, those imbued with Magic begin summoning Dragons,, centaurs, and other mythical beasts begin to appear, things become more hectic. In the end, one young human that’s given magical powers sees what’s happening, sees the clash of his world and the mythical and decides to rid the world of magic before things get worse. Essentially, society has evolved beyond the need for magic and it no longer has a place. He becomes the last enchanter and eventually returns to being a normal human.

In the Divinity Series, Adalyn and Xaphan are both angels on opposite sides of a now-ended Celestial War. In both of their stories, they are sent to the human world; Adalyn was banished there while Xaphan was hidden there. They both fight to protect their worlds and both wind up giving up their wings in the end. Adalyn trades hers for a mortal heart while Xaphan gives up hers for the chance of redemption.

It’s a theme I’ve always been fascinated by. We often see in Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, and several others. The modern age is beginning and as such, the ways of old… the old beliefs, the old Gods, and the old powers are quickly explained away by science and practicality. These stories do this in a more literal sense. Instead of the beliefs going away we see these ancient myths and powers literally clash with the real world or elements of it. In the end, magic and mysticism is fighting a losing war to remain relevant.

Lady Galadriel said it best:
“The time of the elves is over. Do we leave Middle Earth to its fate? Do we let them stand alone?”

Anyway, I know I rambled a little, but I hope this gives you some ideas of what to do and where to take your writing from here.

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

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Let’s talk about Hate

“Hi Jim,

You mentioned in a previous post that you explored the topic of prejudice and racism. I’m trying to write a book exploring the topic, but I’ve never really dealt with it in my own life. That is to say, I’ve never been the victim of racism. Do you think someone can write about the topic if they themselves have never experienced it?

Thanks,
Alissa”

Hi Alissa,

Great question. I would refer you to the ‘creative’ work of Neill Blomkamp he seems to tell the story about it over and over again. 🙂

Okay, on a more serious note, let’s face it, we’ve all faced discrimination at some point. Like it or not, it’s true, we all have. Not necessarily racism, but prejudice of some kind. Somewhere out there, someone doesn’t like us because of who we are, where we come from, our religion, the color of our skin, etc. etc. Granted, some people face it a lot more than others. So your best bet would be to go back to a time that you were unfairly treated for reasons beyond your control. Think about a time someone made you stand out for something you couldn’t help or because of who you are. Think about how it made you feel and how it changed your view of the world around you, then write.

For me personally, when I wrote about Lia’na’s experiences, I partially took from my historical studies of the civil rights movement, but then was also able to give a more in-depth view into the emotional aspects when I went back and thought about a time in my life when I had experienced prejudice.

Allow me to provide a little background… I’m Irish Catholic. In certain areas, there has always been and always will be some people who have an extreme bias against people who share that background. Most of them originate from areas known as the ‘Old World,’ more specifically, areas of Europe, perhaps in greater amounts from the UK. Granted these resentments have decreased greatly they still exist. In my particular case, it happened in college. I was dating a girl of Welsh/Scottish descent and she was a first generation American.

I’m not going to go into great detail, but let’s just say her mother took issue with her dating someone of my… background and made no secret of it. Long story short, the whole experience didn’t end well. When I wrote Lia’na’s backstory, I brought out those memories and feelings of resentment and confusion, and was able to use them in my writing.

I know there are a lot of people out there who would say that you can’t write about racism if you haven’t faced it, white people shouldn’t write about it, reverse racism doesn’t exist, etc. To those people I would say that racism and hate doesn’t know a skin color. Look back over history, every group of people from every walk of life has been enslaved, massacred, discriminated against, or mistreated because of who they are and/or where they come from. It is a fact.

Homophobia, bigotry, racism, religious persecution, and gender bias are not owned by any one group or groups of people. I agree that reverse racism doesn’t exist though. Racism is racism regardless of skin color. Unfortunately, in recent months, there has been a lot of examples of racism, not only in things like the shootings of those poor souls in South Carolina, but also the reactions of some simple-minded individuals who have been raised to hate, play the victim, or intellectuals who use race for self promotion.

Like it or not, THIS is just as racist:

As this:

I’m sorry, but it is. You can try to explain it away, you can try to say that one was making a point while the other was showing his true colors, but all partisan beliefs aside, prejudice knows no color and until everyone recognizes that and works towards a better future for all, any thoughts of unity, equality, or harmony are as much a fantasy as the book I write.

Personally, I have a feeling that the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King would be dismayed and ashamed by the state of both sides of isle on this one. Those who cling to traditions that are no longer appropriate in the modern world are not helping their cause anymore than those who continue to promote stereotypes.

Anyway, I hope this helps Alissa. You don’t always have to have experienced something first hand to write about it. You can always do a third person account based on the experiences of someone else, or just look to an above example like I listed. Please feel free to email me if you have any further questions, I’m also going to open this one up to my readers and ask them to offer their two cents.

Thanks Friend and good luck!


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