“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
– Jack Kerouac.
Have you ever immersed yourself in the dark world of post apocalyptic, dystopian society? S. Elliot Brandis has – in fact he does so regularly. You see, he is the type of author that spends a great deal of time creating these worlds in his imagination. Thinking about them while he rides on the bus, as he walks down the street and while he works at his day job.
This softly spoken, trendy, young author is hitting the book scene hard and fast, releasing two books in the last 12 months with a third on the way and still working on more. His talent for choosing the right word at the right time, makes his prose crisp with a poetic edge that is a pleasure to read.
For purposes of disclosure, I will add that I know S. Elliot Brandis personally, as we are members of the same writing group. However, I stick by my opinion that he is a talented and up-coming writer that we are sure to see more of in the future.
To find out more about S. Elliot Brandis and his work, visit his blog here
“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
Today’s ‘Spotlight on the Author’ talks about an intelligent, interesting man who is passionate about what he believes in. He also happens to be a friend and a talented author, he is Kenneth Mugi.
I first met Kenneth when he turned up at my writer’s group one Sunday. He walked in with his bag slung over his shoulder, said hello in his mild mannered Canadian accent, then pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose with a single finger (just like Clark Kent) and sat down with the group.
In a way Kenneth is a Super Hero himself. He has the ability to intelligently dissect prose and provide insightful feedback. He has a friendly smile and a laid back attitude, his wit is sharp and his imagination is mind blowing. But what is even more impressive is the fact that he turned up in the first place, because Kenneth suffers from social anxiety.
I am truly honoured to say that Kenneth is my friend. His writing is original and carries the influence of his life experiences. He has worked with at-risk adults, lived in several countries, and always talks about how amazing his wife, Aiko is.
I blogged a few posts ago about my novel being sent out to Beta readers. I am very keen to get their feedback, but while I have been waiting, I decided to take a break from my writing. I’m really not one to sit around doing nothing, I get bored quite quickly. So, the week before last I took my two daughters down to Sydney for a short holiday. I even got them tickets to the EB Games Expo, which they absolutely loved – I’m not sure if their highlight was seeing Bajo & Hex from ‘Good Game’ or the maze promoting ‘The Evil Within’ (If you’re a gamer, you’ll know what I’m taking about). My personal favourite activity was the jet boat across Darling Harbour.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a holiday, so it was a long time coming and well worth the wait. And, now I’m back, I have managed to watch a couple of movies, read some more of the three books I’m currently working through and even taken the time to catch up with my sister and her hubby (great lunch by the way guys, thank you).
As I wait for the feedback to come rolling in, I can’t help but think of ideas for my next book and short stories. I find that I want to start writing again and it’s quite encouraging to know that when I stop, the flood gates open up with new ideas. I think I may just have to put pen to paper and pass the time now. Who knows, I may even enter Nanowrimo this year!
What do you do to pass the time when you are waiting for something?
Hi everyone, you may recall that Donna Marie Hanson recently did a guest post on my blog. Well, this is just a quick post to highlight the fact that Donna’s first book in the Dragon Wine series, Shatterwing, is now available for free on multiple platforms for a limited time only. So get your free copy before it is too late!
“There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.”
Thank you Allan for hosting me today while I talk about world building.
My series Dragon Wine contains of lot of world building, by this I mean the story includes aspects of the world such as landscape, politics, astrophysics, history, culture and economics.
You might wonder why world building is important to a story and why in some cases, say fiction in a contemporary setting needs hardly any, unless there are some differences to the norm that needs to be explained, such as there are aliens, or vampires etc.
When I think back on when I studied history, I needed information, backstory, facts, etc… to understand a historical event. For example, to understand the Russian revolution, I needed to know concepts such as serfdom and have some idea of the economics, the landscape, the politics and the role of the church in society and also how the country was viewed by Europe. These were all factors that shaped what happened.
So world building is important in fiction for setting the context of the story and the boundaries of where the story is taking place and also for understanding the characters and their decisions and motivations. In the Dragon Wine series, what is happening in the world and what has happened in the past are important to the characters’ motivations and their current circumstances. It also explains in some measure why society is fractured and anarchic.
Before I started to write and while I was writing the Dragon Wine series, I thought long and hard about aspects of my work to date. One, I realised I was being too nice to my characters and so you will see a shift in me not being nice to my characters. Two, I thought about what I really loved about other fantasy books that I’d read in the past. For example, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, I loved the backstory, more than the front story so a world deep in history appealed to me. I loved Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, for its sweeping landscape and for the darkness in the hero/anti-hero. So I wanted to make sure that Dragon Wine has aspects like that. Also, note that I started writing the Dragon Wine series ten years ago, so I’ve had time to shape things since then.
I don’t have copious notes about the world written down. Nor is the story, I think bogged down with details. This was because I had a pretty clear concept for the world initially, long before I had the story. I also used the services of Phill Berrie to do a continuity edit and he pretty much flogged me about the physics, much to my relief. Any errors with the moons are totally mine though.
The world building is interwoven into the story, hopefully with some subtlety. My tip for world building is that it is important to a story but you don’t have to include it all in the narrative. I’ve heard it said that what’s in the story is the tip of the iceberg. Give the reader confidence you know what you are talking about and that what is laid out is logical and consistent with the story. It can take time to judge what the right amount is and where to add detail (a beta reader or editor can help here). A simple check is reading the work and if the exposition is holding up the flow of the story then it needs to go or be trimmed back.
Good luck with your writing all,
Thanks for the guest post Donna,
For those of you interested in finding out more of the world Donna has built, here is the blurb for Shatterwing:-
Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.
Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.
The most precious of these resources is dragon wine a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.
There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.
Shatterwing and Skywatcher are available in ebook and print. See the link below for details
If you would like to find out more about Donna and her writing, you can visit her blog: donnamareehanson.wordpress.com
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”