Imaginarium

I’ve finished getting the new cover for Playing the Hero fixed and it’s now up for sale once again. I’ll be taking copies of it to Imaginarium in Louisville KY too, though, so if you want it signed, come an GET EM! :)

Beyond that, work on the publishing company I’ve started (Moirae Publishing) is proceeding. We’ve got 2 authors signed – aside from myself – and we will have one of those books (Totality: The Militiaman by J. D. Huffman) available at Imaginarium as well. 

I’ve not had the chance to really focus on Shaxia. :( I’m working on getting people to delegate some tasks to in order to free up more time for me to write, but life has been very busy lately and I haven’t even gotten to play on Tumblr much either, so its not like it’s been all fun and games for me.

But I have been working on the webtoon Danger Around Mount Pallin. We have two chapters posted. We will have chapter 3 posted shortly… If you like, subscribe, and share the comic, send me proof and I will mail you a poster! 

Also check out the Patreon for sneak peeks of stuff, like descriptions of aliens, scenes from Shaxia, pics in progress from my slave ARTIST, and more!

What is DAMP?

~Eloi Concencin~

Eloi lived in a small town at the base of Tonjango Mountain. His family wasn’t poor, but they made do. His father was a miner, pulling Etheria crystals from the mountain and Eloi expected to learn the trade as his father’s father passed it down to him. His uncle, however, saw the boy had potential to be a guard and was teaching him how to defend himself when the accident killed Eloi’s father. Shortly afterwards, the mine was purchased by the Bruskur Mining Company and life in town got steadily worse.

Three years later, Eloi accidentally discovers that the cave-in was no accident, and that those who had died were targeted by the owner of the Bruskur Mining Company. Bruskur wanted to purchase the mine and replace all the people who worked in it with his own men. However, since the mine was owned by the town as a collective property, he was faced with opposition, mostly from Eloi’s father, who was head of the town council. 

Swearing he will get justice, the eighteen year old Eloi tries to stop further mining of the mountain through sabotage while he sends letter after letter to the Judiciary of Avlon, requesting an investigation. When a letter is finally answered in the form of a brigade from Avlon’s army, Eloi’s entire town is burnt to the ground. He barely escapes with his best friend, Cammie, and one of his father’s old friends, Bo. 

Swearing revenge, Eloi sets off on a journey to Avlon’s capitol, intending to take this matter to the king, and if the king is behind it, as the rumors suggest, he’ll settle for taking the king’s blood while he’s at it.

His signature look is twin blades and long red scarf.

What is DAMP?

 

 

~Dalziel Lor Avlon~

Dalziel is the crown prince of Avlon. His father, the king, made him the leader of Avlon’s army. During the events of Danger Around Mount Pallin, the heroes kill his father and Dalziel takes over as a warrior-king. His ambition is to take over the whole world. His threat is credible, since he has four generals who are very dangerous in their own right, but adding to their power is the sixth, mostly unseen presence of the Drakna, who seek to plunge the world into the endless chill of death.

Dalziel’s memorable features are his long silver hair and katana.

In Briar’s fanfic, he was released from the spell the Drakna cast on him by Briar and helped the heroes defeat them. In the end, he abdicated and set up a government for the people by the people and founded the Knights of Emelet with Briar Rose.

He didn’t really have a good relationship with his father, given that his father was possessed by the Drakna. His relationship with his son is mostly due to Briar Rose’s influence. She told him to spend time with his son, and that he could teach Fenris things, but give him encouragement from time to time too. “The boy looks up to you, you’re his DAD. Don’t you remember being his age? Don’t you remember thinking your dad was the greatest person in the world?” Dalziel tries hard to give Fenris his full attention when they’re together and not dismiss what his son has to say. But it’s been difficult for the last year since Fenris looks so much like Briar Rose and its just… painful.

Just a reminder

I have a Patreon.

I’ve recently combined it with Clockwork Joker’s in order to produce more consistent and variety of updates. We’ve already got like 5 week’s worth of stuff in the queue. We’ve got a new project going for a web comic on Webtoons! It’s called “Danger Around Mount Pallin.” Set in a world run by magitech clockwork, the land turns its time and seasons like the sweeping hands of a clock, Mount Pallin in the middle, a looming mysterious peak that can be seen from anywhere in the world. 

This story is for the Discovery contest Webtoons is running, so it would be grand if you could support us with likes, shares, and talking about it to your friends. It’s gonna be fun!*

We have some sneak peeks on the Patreon for it, but in short:

  • Art by Clockwork Joker
  • Story by K. E. Ireland
  • Color by Dance of Thorns

 

 

..

*in the only way I know how to have fun, which involves torturing the cinnamon rolls. MWAHAHAHAA 

Show-N-Tell

It’s said often that when writing, you should show instead of tell, but no one really goes into detail on how to do this.

Well, here’s my attempt to explain.

Telling in writing is sort of a way of distancing your reader from the action. Such as, telling the reader “She felt affronted.” Or “He got ready and headed out the door.” These sentences aren’t passive voice exactly, but they’re not really juicy. They don’t give much depth into the character’s thoughts or motivations.

“She felt affronted” could be changed to: “She shifted her shoulders and looked away, refusing to dignify his statement with attention.” This way, you’re given more of an idea of what her “affronted” looks like. That way, next time he says something insensitive, she can grind her teeth, or haul off and punch him in the mouth since she’s had it up to here with his stupid face. Try describing her the way you would expect a cat to react if you laughed at them falling off something ungracefully. 

“He got ready and headed out the door” is a little more difficult as this sentence could work if you’ve already done enough explaining within the scene already. However by itself, its kind of a boring sentence. “He brushed his bangs back from his forehead and settled the bag on his shoulders. Grasping the door handle, he hesitated. Was he really ready? Someone pulled the door open from the other side. He squinted at the early morning sunlight. Well, ready or not, this was happening.”

This is by no means a hard rule to follow, but getting rid of the word “Was” from a sentence goes a long way towards making the action more action-y. “She was battered and bruised all over.” This could better be described as: “A bruise graced the left side of her face; blue and purple mixing with the fresh blood from her split lip. She walked with a limp, gripping her side. Still, her eyes shone with determination.”

If you have the opportunity to let the characters tell the story rather than you, the author, being too involved, then take it. The characters and their actions/reactions to the setting are why you’re writing anyway, right? If they’re not, go write a non-fiction book.

How to get over yourself

Writers have an ego problem. This one is kind of a pots and kettles situation. I know I used to be like this, (still am in some ways) and I apologize to those I inflicted my Writer’s Ego upon.

How to take criticism is easy. And hard.

  1. Don’t take personal offence to your editor doing their job.
  2. If multiple readers tell you the same thing, fix the problem, don’t be part of the problem.

The human mind is wired to discard positive experiences and dwell on the negative. You need to actively fight against that. Even if all your editor has to say is negative stuff, that doesn’t mean there isn’t positive things in your writing.

We (Writers) spend a lot of time, effort, and tears in creating our stories and we want people to love them as much as we do. We have a tendency to be very self-centered, too, and believe that because we’ve spent all this time on something, obviously it’s got to be perfect. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect.

Just to make sure you got that:

NOTHING. IS. PERFECT.

There’s only “good enough for now.”

The sooner you accept that, the easier it will be to take criticism. It’s sort of a “wu wei” situation in which you do what you can to make sure your story is as good as it can be, but then you have to place it into the hands of someone else.

When you hire an editor, you’ve got to divorce yourself from the idea that this is your precious baby cinnamon roll, perfect and pure. It helps if you have some distance between the time of writing and when you submit it to an editor.

When you hire an editor, you are choosing someone to read your work who has spent time honing their skills to pick out what’s wrong with a story and make suggestions on how to fix it. You have to trust them to let you know if what you thought you conveyed is what you actually put on paper. Situations you thought were harmless are actually a big deal to someone else. Otherwise, why did you hire them? To give you a pat on the back? Your mother can do that for a lot less money and energy.

(Thanks to all the “Mothers” – biological or not – who support their artistic babies with unconditional love and support.)

If you’ve handed your story out to multiple readers, and they’re all saying the same thing, such as: “This sequence of events doesn’t make sense” and you take personal affront to that, you need to step back and breathe. The statement is exactly what they said. “This sequence of events doesn’t make sense.” So your problem is either you didn’t describe the events clearly, or the events leading up to the moment that doesn’t make sense aren’t right. So fix that instead of getting your panties in a twist thinking that your friends hate you personally and think your writing is shite.

If they weren’t interested in you, your thoughts, or writing, they wouldn’t have bothered to read the story and give you feedback in the first place. I’ve had plenty of times where I’ve asked someone to read something of mine and they just never got around to it. This is just something that happens. It isn’t that they don’t love me, or aren’t my friend, they have their reasons for not reading what I sent them and it isn’t meant to be a slight towards me. Same goes for you, Hypothetical Reader/Writer person I’m pretending to talk to.

It is one thing if someone who hasn’t read your stuff says something. It is entirely different when you have ASKED someone to read your work and they give you feedback. Trust them. You’re not a terrible writer just because the story isn’t perfect. Nothing is perfect and while you don’t have to take all their suggestions, you do need to listen to the people you have deliberately solicited an opinion from.

Bottom line is that their criticism of your story is not a reflection upon YOU. So CHILL.

The Holy Grail

The one thing all writers should strive for is an original Voice; something that sets them apart from all other books.

Think about how when you listen to the radio, a lot of the songs sound very similar, but if a song comes on that you’ve never heard before, you know by the voice of the singer and the way the music was put together that this song is by Dave Matthews or Nickleback. You can just _tell_ the difference.

That’s what voice is in writing as well.

How to get there, though…

My journey towards that wasn’t a plotted, thought-out adventure, but more of an accident that I stumbled into. I think a good first step is to write.

Write. Write! WRITE!

Participate in Nanowrimo, not just for the sake of having something written, but because it lets you cut down the walls of your inner editor and just be _yourself_ on the page. Tell the story how you want to, rather than how you think someone else wants to read it.

Also keep in mind that unless you want your narrator to be a character in the story as well, you need to be nearly invisible. That’s not entirely possible. Your perceptions and opinions will be present in the book regardless of how much you think you stripped out. There is no way to be entirely unbiased, but that’s also part of your voice. The trick is to be a voice that adds to the story, rather than distracts from it.

Your voice cannot overwhelm the character’s voices. The story, in the end, is theirs, even if you’re technically the one telling it.

Also, do your research. Look at what’s been done before. If you want to write a non-fiction book, you’re not just going to make up stuff, right? You’re going to go out and read all the histories and studies previously done on the subject and come to conclusions of your own, based on the information you’ve gathered. How this applies to writing is that you need to read books in the genre you want to write. You need to look at how many other Fairytale Retellings there are and consider how you will make yours stand out. Why would anyone read your version of Beauty and the Beast over someone else’s when essentially they are the same as the original version. Unless you’re going back further than Disney’s version and starting from the source then recasting it in a modern setting.

This applies even if you’re writing about a completely original world. For example, Epic Fantasy. You need to generally know the tradition the genre comes from (Tolkien), what sets it apart from any other fantasy (a lot of walking), and where it has gone since then (from dragons being evil to dragons being talking friendly mounts like in PERN, and Dwarves having no women to Terry Pratchett’s version in which they just don’t go broadcasting their gender on a normal basis so everyone just assumes all Dwarves are men because they’re all hairy).

Then you need to research how to write. You need to know the rules to know how to properly break them. I’m going to be honest and admit that I never really studied how to sentences. My scores in grade school English classes were abysmal, partially because I didn’t care about school and I was bored, but also because the structure of sentences doesn’t interest me. Sentence structure is important, but should be co-pilot when it comes to getting your ideas across.

I can get away with having a word missing from that sentence in the paragraph above because it’s humorous and also adds to my point. Doing things like that all the time, however, is just going to annoy your readers because they have to work too hard to understand you.

Research how others have written certain types of scenes. Like action sequences, or epic descriptions of scenery that aren’t eye-wateringly boring. Find authors you think did it well and study how they did it. Salvatore does amazing fight-scenes. His secret is short sentences with a tight POV focus on one character. Mercedes Lackey does heart-breaking scenes exceptionally well. She does this by drawing readers into the character by making them relatable first, then following with the angst.

So do your research.

Your voice can also add to the story as the narrator, such as Douglass Adams and Terry Pratchett do, but there’s more to it than just being amusing by yourself. You can be funny in the narration by arguing with in-world gods, but again, don’t overpower your characters. Terry Pratchett for example is humorous, but his characters are _angry_. Legit. Low-key fury simmers beneath every word written on every page of his books, because Terry Pratchett is angry. He’s angry at rampant injustice and angry at stupid people who rule the world with their BS and lies. That’s his Voice. That’s the message he wants you, his audience, to hear.

Douglass Adams is angry about bureaucracy and BS that goes on in government. His characters have a rollicking good time roaming the universe, but you still hear him screaming about the system.

Anne McCaffery was determined to smash empathy and understanding of our fellow human beings into our heads with her words.

Mercedes Lackey believes in equality and that it is achievable without magic.

These attitudes are their Voice. Their way of weaving that into the story itself, behind the scenes, is what gives their work a depth and originality you notice as a reader even if it’s not consciously.

How to Explain Complicated Stuff

Don’t.

To clarify, I’m talking about information that you spent hours and hours on coming up with, researching, and world building, but these things aren’t directly related to the plot. This information isn’t required for the reader to understand the plot of the story, but helps make the world in which its set original.

Explaining this is a tricky situation, though. You don’t want to go too far and rove into Navel Gazing; where the characters sit and stare at the wall, contemplating how society is structured from top down and how they fit in that place. What normal human being honestly does that? Seriously, even introspective types don’t go that far.

Another option is to make use of an audience stand-in. Such as the Village Idiot. Gourry from Slayers is an example, and he’s used for comedy. He gets told things so the audience knows and then called an idiot since he really should have known this to begin with. But he is an idiot, so its ok.

Another common plot device is “From Another World” wherein the stand-in is from another world for real. They are legit confused about the landscape and what’s going on, which gives the author an excuse to explain. But this can easily be abused. Too much detail can kill your story.

That’s the boring way to get information to your readers.

The more fun way to do it is not to!

I get that you did spend hours and hours on world building, but having your characters simply exist in that world and not question the weird things that happen – to me, that’s fascinating. It’s like light switches. Someone from mediaeval times, reading a story set in our era would be mystified by the idea that someone walks into a room and the light comes on, filling the room with brilliance that was not from a candle? That isn’t something we would question because its so normal.

So let a lot of your weird stuff be unexplained. You know the reasons for it to be that way, and as long as its consistent in how it gets treated throughout the story, then your readers will pick up on it from context clues.

For me, I write aliens and their cultures and biology, by definition, are not Human. I can’t take 3 pages to have Vathion explain what Scent Bonding and Widow Syndrome are since he doesn’t have reason to explain that kind of thing to himself. I would need someone from outside the culture to ask questions about it. However, that’s still not a subject that would come up in casual conversation. The only way to get across the information that Widow Syndrome is a death sentence, fraught with dementia, is to just show it happening.

Writing a book is like constructing an iceberg. Only the tip – the story that ends up in the book – is visible, with all this other stuff lurking under the surface that supports it.