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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Not so short story

A few weeks back a friend of mine posted that her company was having a writing contest. It was free to enter at that time and if I won, my short fiction could be put into an anthology of theirs to be published in the future. Here is the problem I faced; I do not have any readily available short stories to submit. So, I set myself a goal: write as short story to submit. Okay, meet problem #2: I had three days to write a 10,000 word or less story that was stand alone and good enough to be considered. Needless to say, I did not meet my goal. I sort of knew it was a long shot, but I had never tried that before so I thought it would be fun.

Fear not my avid readers, my writing did not die at that. I began a short story idea for a simple fantasy story and got nearly to 10,000 words and realized I wasn't even halfway done with the idea. I learned about myself in this venture. I learned that I need to read and study short fiction before I try that, my idea was too broad and I spent too much time in character development for a short story. I learned that I can force myself to sit down and write even when I don't believe I am ready. And I learned that I can nearly go nuts trying to complete ludicrous goals and not to set them unwisely.

What I also learned was that my idea wasn't without merit. The story I began was kind of fun and could be written. So, I began to work on it and just go with it to see where it ended. It is simple, not epic fantasy dripping with deep thought and drama. It is a fun little story of adventure that should appeal to a younger audience than I have written to before. I tore into it and rewrote segments so that they would support a larger story. Now, I am ready to work on it.

''What is this story?'', you may have asked. (even if you didn't I am going to tell you anyways.)

A picture of a dragon statue I found online
Markus is a farmers son who is nearing his sixteenth birthday. All children in Gallenor have an option to leave a month before they turn sixteen and find a school to get an education. Few in the valley have taken to this practice in many years, but it is an opportunity for Markus. He already knows a few spells and wants to expand his knowledge of magic at the College of Wizardry. But, he needs something important, he needs a letter of recommendation from a full fledged wizard before he can even approach the school. Knowing this, he goes off to find Tolen the Wise, the only known wizard in the valley. Once he finally locates this Tolen, he discovers the ancient wizard is on the verge of death. Tolen bestows upon Markus something much greater  than a letter, he gives him a powerful wand. He also gives Markus a mission, to find the legendary Dragonwand and return it to the statue of the last dragon at Thendor, the capital of Gallenor. Unfortunately for Markus, it seems that there is much against him completing this mission, for all wizards in Gallenor have been rounded up and imprisoned. Barely a few days into his journey, Markus comes upon a village of Rakki, a dog people who live in the woods around Gallenor. There he meets a girl who is just like him, she too has magical talent. Only, she has lost both her parents to the Royal guards who are taking in all wizards. It has been four years since they were taken from her and she is beginning to lose hope of ever seeing them again. With the appearance of a powerful wand and a young man just like her she begins have hope. Crystal sets out with Markus to help him, in the hopes that his journey will bring about her parents freedom. Together, with the help of her adopted parents, Markus and Crystal must journey to the ominous Dragon Citadel and locate the Dragonwand while evading the Royal scouts, and return the wand to the statue before all is lost.

At least that is what I have so far. Thank you Kim for inspiring me to write this, lets see if I actually complete it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The best Christmas gift to an Author

I have blogged about this before, but I thought I might say it again. Reviews matter. You may not think it matters, you might even consider it a waste of your time, but it is vital to my industry. When you enjoy something, please say so, let the author/artist know it so that they feel better about what they have done. I have heard some people tell me that it seems like an ego trip for artist to have people fawn over their work. That is simply not the case, it is the knowledge that what we (the artist) do is actually appreciated. You spend, hours, days, weeks, even months and years working on something and then you put it out there and hope dearly that your audience likes what you have done. When that audience stays silent, it starts to seem like you are not doing anything right.

When a singer/actor performs, the audience shows immediate reaction of applause, cheers, or in some cases boos. But, it is instant. They know what they did was enjoyed or not. But, for the author it is a dead silence from the moment it goes into publication until the point that someone decides to tell you that they enjoyed your work. If you enjoy something an author wrote and do not tell them, then they are left to wonder if what they put their life into was actually read and liked.

It isn't much to do to put a review on their work, really just a few moments. You do not need to write an article, or a book report for school, just enough to be sincere about your feelings on the work. Hint: Write it the same way you tell your friend to read the book, since other readers will look at it and decide whether or not to read the book.

That being said, I am able to happily report that people have been telling me what they think, and it has been considerably positive.

Had a wonderful surprise waiting for me this morning. I went onto the Amazon pages for my books and found that I had three new reviews, two for The Crystal Needle, and one for The Crystal Needle: A Christmas to Remember. All three were 5 star reviews. Take a look: Here is one of the three.

Check out the others for The Crystal Needle and for The Crystal Needle: A Christmas to Remember

If you haven't read the books yet, shame on you. Grab a copy of the first book today and have fun. Also, remember that books are gifts that can be opened over and over again, so you can purchase the books either as an ebook or a print book as Christmas gifts for that fantasy fan in the family. And, do not forget to tell those authors you like that you did enjoy their work. Trust me, it is a Christmas gift to them to see a happy reader. Have a Merry Christmas.