Writing Update, Summer 2018

Hey groupies!

So, I know it’s been awhile and I’m sorry about that. The truth is, I’ve been too busy to keep up a blog, since I’ve been knee deep in a Spanish class that is required for my degree. But more to the point. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last few weeks on where I want to take my writing, and I’ve chosen to start focusing in on short fiction and flash fiction, and maybe a novel here and there.

Obviously, it’s been awhile since I put Kingslayer up on Amazon and other outlets, so I’d say I’m very much behind on getting a second story out to the world. At the moment, I’m working on a short piece that I hope to put into the back of a new edition of my novel, but after that, it’s my goal to get hard at work on two different projects.

The first project is a space fantasy verse novel (yes, you read that correctly), and the second is an anthology of fantasy flash fiction. Given how slow I am as a writer, it will likely be awhile before either of these projects are published. However, I do plan on making some of this work available on my brand new patreon account. It will be awhile before the profile has any posts available, but I’ll make a post about the account when that time comes.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2018

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Limits in Magic Systems

In fantasy, you tend to have magic all over the place. Often times, it is used by elves and wizards, while regular people don’t tend to use it unless there’s some kind of magical object. But in a story, what kind of magic system works best? How do you know the magic isn’t too overwhelming but at the same time know it has a purpose in the fantasy world. Well, today I’d like to answer that.

One of my favorite authors has developed a set of rules for how he makes his magic work. One of these rules is fundamental to my writing, and that is that your magic system should provide the character with some kind of power, but it should have limitations, costs, and weaknesses.

In my novel Kingslayer, the main villain possesses a ring that grants immortality and prevents all injury, with one exception. There is also a magic sword that can cut through any object, including the flesh of immortals. This means that the magic ring has a fatal flaw: the one who owns this sword can still kill them. This is a weakness and a limitation to the magic that works quite well in my opinion (though I’m biased).

Another example of how this works is in Lord of the Rings. The Ring of Power can do all kinds of crazy things, but there’s a terrible cost involved. Eventually, the person who owns the ring goes mad and becomes addicted to the intoxicating power. If that’s not a cost, I don’t know what is.

The bottom line is that, when making a magic system, you have to create some kind of balance or your readers won’t be able to suspend their believe in your fantasy.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Description for Non-Characters

In the real world, we see things. It could be anything: cars, houses, trees, the sun, the moon, birds in the sky, or dogs on the ground. For us writers, it is imperative to find a way to describe those things.

This is different than describing characters, since eye color/hair color and slightly less important features cannot be used to describe the thing. For example, a car is not a person. It has a color to its paint job, which is similar to eye/hair color, but it goes far deeper than that. What is the make and model of the car? What kind of tires are on the car? Are there dents on the frame?

You get what I’m saying? The point is, there are a lot of things to point out if you’re going to do your job properly. The most important thing to remember, however, is that there is a such thing as too much description. The car example may work if it’s from the POV of someone who knows about cars, but that same person may not be as savvy on the various sub-genres of fantasy fiction.

A book lover would know those things like the back of their hand, but a car salesman would go in and see books about magic, knights, wizards, and elves, while a book lover knows there’s a lot more to it than that.

In a nutshell, your POV character (or your narrator) will describe things to the reader as they know things. Always keep that in mind.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Update: Summer 2017

I know I haven’t been making my regular posts, but I assure you I’m not chillin’ with Tolkien, Poe, Twain, and other dead writers. I have, on the other hand, been very busy. I’ve been taking a senior-level playwriting class, after all. And before that, I was visiting my brother and his girlfriend out in the boonies of Angleton, Texas.

Several projects in a row have fallen apart–including the epistolary novel I spoke about on Twitter–but I did manage to get something else done. I managed to fully draft a piece of flash fiction, which will be published as bonus content in the back of Kingslayer with a simple update to my files (perks of self-publishing). This story actually stems from the failed prequel for my novel that never got finished, but I digress. I’m also going to be publishing an appendix in the back of the book to further explain some of the magical items in my created universe.

Something else I’ve been working on is a new cover for Kingslayer. The current one just isn’t working or getting the book noticed, so I figured a change is in order. It’ll be up soon.

Right now, novels just aren’t working for me. I’m starting to think that short fiction and flash fiction are where I need to focus my attention, until I can readjust my attention to novels again. That’s why I’m considering doing a collection of fantasy flash fiction (some of which will be from the world of Kingslayer, while others will be from entirely new worlds).

All in all, I wanted to update everyone on what I am doing so they can get a bigger picture for why I’ve been absent from the blog scene.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

A Review of CreateSpace’s POD Services

As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I received a package in the mail on Thursday that contained 4 copies of my novel, Kingslayer. This post will basically be a review of the printing services offered by the company I used, which is CreateSpace. Before I get to that, however, it is important to view the video of me opening the package. Sorry in advance if I seem a little awkward. I’m not much for cameras.

Assuming you’ve gone an watched the video, let’s just cut to the chase. I’m very pleased with the experience. As I said in the video, I’d say it’s 4 1/2 stars out of 5. In other words, I’m 90% pleased, which is pretty good. At first I said that as a bit of a random number, because it’s not going to be perfect; then I realized there was a bit of glue on the backs of a couple of the books.

So in other words, I’m still 90% impressed, only for a different reason. The binding is good, the matte cover is professional looking. Even the Canva cover I made for the book looks flawless. The bottom line is that if they had managed to print the 4 books, I’d give them a full 100% on this. I’m sure they’ll get it right in the future.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

 

Religion in Fantasy

In one of my previous blogs, I discussed the religious structure of my novel Kingslayer. And the truth is, creating an entire religion–whether based on real religions or not–is a huge undertaking. You have to decide what is ethical in accordance with its teachings, and you have to decide how the religion is organized, and so on and so forth.

The truth is, the hard part is deciding what the people of your world believe, because that will ultimately impact how your characters behave. What do they eat? How do they eat it? What do they wear? These are all questions you’ll have to ask yourself, aside from what goes on in the church (or other holy temple).

It should also be stressed that if your fantasy world has religion, there is likely to be disputes over how the religion ought to be practiced. This is a big part of Kingslayer, as a matter of fact.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Quarterly Writing Update: Spring 2017

For this evening’s blog post, I’ve decided to give you an update on everything I’ve been working on lately. The majority of my work, of course, has been focused on my forthcoming debut Kingslayer. However, as many of you who are on Twitter know, I’ve also begun working on an epistolary novel (a book written in the form of letters).

The work on Kingslayer is coming, though very slowly. I’ve completed typesetting the print version, but there’s been an issue with the cover. While it looks pretty good, it doesn’t work with the spine and back cover. This means that I’ll have to create a new cover. In addition, the eBook is mostly done, but I’m still figuring out the complexities to making the footnotes that are in the novel accessible to readers. All in all, I’m nearly done. I just have to put in a solid day’s work to get everything just right.

The epistolary novel has been started. I have bits here and there completed, including two letters (or chapters). This novel will be a side novel to Kingslayer, though both books can stand entirely on their own. I have less than 1,000 written so far, but the work is coming together a lot better than Kingslayer did. I will reveal the title and plot at a different time.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017