Book Review: The Fallen Hero

WARNING! Spoilers for Book 1 Ahead! If you haven’t read book one, you want to do that first. You have been warned! Katie Zhao is a great storyteller, but in the beginning of this novel, I felt very strong echoes from the beginning of the first book. Faryn is living with people that resent her. She is called on a quest. She has to go with the person who hates her the most. Exactly like book one. I was a bit disappointed by that. BUT …if you loved book one and want more of the same, then awesome, this is the book for you! She delivers on that! I can’t help but wonder if she created this echo for a reason which we might understand in book 3.

Archetypes Part 2.5 of 2: The Archetypes

I didn’t anticipate I’d have so much to say about each archetype, so now I give you… Part 2.5 of 2 The Archetypes Continued Warrior/ Hero As you might imagine the warrior is a person who is good at battle and fighting. Prime examples of this in LOTR are Gimli, Legolas, Boramir, and more. They are expert fighters, (and if you watch the movies…beyond reason when fighting the Warg). Eowyn, “I am no man!” But if you think outside the normal boring box, you might also consider characters like Eowyn. She fought in the end and defeated the Witch-King of Angmar, speaking the best line ever written!

Part 2 of 2: The Archetypes

There is a blurry line between archetype and stock characters which is why some say there are 14 archetypes and others say 99 or 133. I would say the difference is how common this type of character is in stories. For example the Jester can be the Protagonist or the Antagonist or even a side character so you can find some form of a jester in almost every story. On the other hand, not all stories have a gentle giant character. Let’s begin: The Leader This is often the protagonist, but they might not start that way. If you are familiar with the Hero’s Journey, then you know that often the protagonist starts in the status quo. They are living a life that’s probably kind of dull. They frequently long for something better. Or maybe they are happy with their life and something comes along and takes that away. Read more...

Using Archetypes Effectively in Your Writing

First, the definition of Archetype: a very typical example of a certain person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) It derives from the Greek prefix, arcke, which means primitive and the root, topos, which means a model. So ‘a primitive model.’ So it is like the rough sketch of a character. Archetype sounds a lot like stereotype and I think the two words often get confused, so many think an archetype is a bad thing. The stereotype definition is: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) The definitions are very similar, but the difference is the oversimplification and generalization. Plus, stereotypes are often offensive or demeaning in nature. For example, all boys love sports and girls love dolls. Today people love to stereotype millennials as spoiled, whiny, entitled brats. The good news is that it seems many writers love to turn stereotypes on their heads and push people out of those preconceived notions. As writers, we have immense power to influence how people think and what to highlight about our society. “With great power comes great responsibility” (Uncle Ben, Spiderman) So choose wisely what and how you write. Done right, an archetype is a good starting place. The problem comes when a writer doesn’t add layers. Those layers of personality add depth and prevent the oversimplification of the character. Read more...

9 Fiction Writing Brainstorm Techniques

Do you ever fear that you will run out of ideas? I am not one who has a million ideas jostling for paper time. I have a number of unfinished short stories that could use my attention. But I'm not busting at the seams full of ideas... yet when it comes time to write, I don't usually have too much trouble coming up with a story. You might be like me, or you might be the kind of writer brimming full of ideas. Both are okay. Both come with their own set of problems. Often people full of ideas have trouble focusing on one story. They will often have stacks and stacks of unfinished stories. We'll talk about that another day. Today I want to focus on idea generation and brainstorming. Often my best ideas don't come while I'm at my desk; they come in the shower or in the car. If you are curious about why, check out this article. In pre-pandemic days I used to drive to work for 40 minutes with traffic, which gave me a lot of time to think. Exercise is a good idea generator, unless like me, you are allergic to exercise.

Setting–Planning Your Story and Editing Your Scenes

What is a setting? Your elementary school English teacher probably said it’s the where and when of a story. True. But as a writer, we know that the setting is more than just the where and when. The weather and social climate can also be part of the setting. It can be to mood and emotions that the characters can’t express. It can be pure beauty, when a great writer and reader are paired up. The setting can speak to our souls as much as any character. It can make the reader long to live in that little cottage in the woods surrounded by fairies or in the bustling 1920’s city of Chicago. The setting can be so alive that it feels like a character in and of itself.

Linking an eBook Series Using KDP

Today I have a guest author for this post. Maggie Foster is a member of my writing group and a dear friend! I interviewed her for my book, From Rough Draft to Published. She mentored me through publishing process. She writes mysteries and currently has four books out. Linking an eBook Series Using KDP CONGRATULATIONS! You have a book (or two, or three) in a series, published through Kindle Direct Publishing and available on Amazon, and you know your readers will want an easy way to find the rest of them, no matter what book they pick up first. The keyword in that sentence is, “easy.” Now that Indie Publishing has taken off, some experts estimate there are more than two million new books published every year. That’s a lot of books for a reader to wade through to find yours. Luckily, KDP anticipated the need and has developed a Series Page for authors to use to link books in a series. What’s more, it’s automatic. You don’t even have to set it up yourself.

Jess Redman Interview!

I was able to get an ARC of Quintessence through NetGalley a month or so ago. I read this book and it is one of my new favorite books! I reviewed it a couple weeks ago here. Are you more of an outliner, discovery writer, or in between the two? I’m an in-betweener. I used to be more of a discovery writer, but now that I’m often writing on a deadline, I can’t be quite as footloose and fancy free. Usually, I think for a long time before I write anything. I just turn over ideas and grow the plot and get to know characters in my head. Then I do some experimental writing to search for the tone of the story, which is very important to me. I usually write third-person, but each story has its own voice and feel. After that, I’m ready to outline. I leave lots of room for the characters and plot to breathe, and I’m not afraid to change the trajectory of the story. My outline helps me see where I’m heading, but I like to blaze the trails as I go. How long ago did you start writing seriously to get published?

The Book of Dragons Book Review & 5 Qualities of a Good Short Story?

I saw this anthology on Netgalley and hello…dragons…so I was all in! The release date on this book is July 7th 2020. As I read this book, I thought a lot about what I like and don’t like about short stories. This book contained a few that I didn’t care for and several that I loved. All were well written of course, but some stood out above the others. So I analyzed them and came up with 5 things I believe make a good short story. I’m sure these are not all the qualities of a good story though. You might like short stories for another reason. If so, let me know!