Category Archives: fiction writing tips

Never give up – Never surrender!

It’s a line spoken by actor, Tim Allen, from a movie – “Galaxy Quest.”  It’s one of the funniest sci-fi spoofs ever made.  It’s just one of those feel-good movies that you watch again and again, and it has a great message.   It’s so easy to get lost amidst the responsibilities and difficulties of life.  We struggle to find the time to write or create, and sometimes it can be all too confusing and disheartening to keep up the drive.  Many of us are working day jobs and trying to fit in our writing or whatever our passion is, around everything else.  What we need is creative clarity about what we’re creating and why we’re doing it in the first place.   Go back to the ”well” so to speak, and dig deep for your source of inspiration.  Do you have a great story that needs to be expressed, whether it’s as an author or in a painting?  Someone out there needs to hear or see what you have to say and it will profoundly connect with them in a meaningful way, and that is important.  It means continuing to be an artist even when there are setbacks, and a lack of validation.  That clarity will help you to prioritize amidst your busy life, and your amazing creation will materialize and give the world something to think about besides its everyday routine.  To be elevated above the mundane into a place that is intriguing, magical, whimsical or exquisite is what teaches us how to thrive and experience truly being alive!

Never give up – Never Surrender!

Solitaire

Check out my website for upcoming books and fun features.

www.solitaireparke.com

 

 

 

 

The Prequel – Tips on Writing a Great One!

 

Hello Readers!

My newest prequel book to the Dragomeir Series is now in the editing process and will be out later this year.  It will be the 4th book in the prequel series – Daughter of the Dark Lordwhich can all be found on my website –www.solitaireparke.com.

When you finish reading the last book in a series – one that you just couldn’t put down – it would often be amazing to find out the stories behind the story.   What were the circumstances in the past that contributed to, or carved out the personalities of the characters we either fell in love with, hated, or never even knew existed?   Generally, a prequel provides the reader with new or expanded information on a story line that was important to the original series but perhaps only touched upon.

Yes, I know that over and over again, prequels have messed things up – especially when you’re talking about movies.  Prequels can be difficult to write since they have to line-up with already established story lines.  But they can be enormously popular as well.  You just have to adhere to some guidelines in order to keep your stories straight.

First of all, be sure that your prequel story has a strong enough scope to merit telling.  It should be able to stand on its own without relying too heavily on the original story, otherwise it will feel like “more of the same.”

Can you expound on the history of a particular place or answer more in-depth questions about your characters or their families, all without compromising the original story line?  There might be an extensive untold backstory that could be important to the original series, that was only previously touched upon.  Focus on telling your audience something unknown.  In the prequel,  you might find pieces of the story or past events that never got a complete or proper explanation, leaving you with questions.

Since the reader knows the outcome of the story, it can be tricky, and you must be careful not to contradict anything said in the original series.  After writing thousands of pages, and spending countless hours editing and revising, an author can easily lose track of their own story.  The prequel’s job is to fill in gaps and flesh out story lines, answer the unanswered questions, and give some important characters background on their motives for later actions, so a reader going back to the prequel can have that “aha” moment. At the same time, the author has to be careful to keep the essential secrets of the original series.

I would suggest that if you decide to write a prequel, do yourself a favor and scan through the original series before starting and as you go along, to refresh your mind on the world and characters you have created.  It might even be wise to compile a database of information from which you can garner information when needed.

Telling a good prequel story is not easy.  But if you decide to take on the challenge, these tips might help you stay on track and craft a story that your readers will love!

Solitaire

What are your ideas about prequels?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY WRITE A PREQUEL?

A prequel is a work that forms part of a back-story to the preceding work.  Simply stated, it sets the stage for the existing novels and usually comes after the original work was written.

If you have followed my blog or perhaps seen my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or various other sites then you know I have authored a succession of books called the Dragomeir Series, an urban fantasy/sci-fi saga of dragons and their riders, along with some rather unusual creatures and captivating characters.

Some readers might ask, “Why write a prequel?”  I had originally planned to finish this series and then push on to other projects but began having second thoughts as I put a close on the third book in the Dragomeir Series, “Egg of the Amphitere.” One of the main characters known as Queen Mother needed to be expounded upon to give a better understanding and proper closure as to who she was and why.  I realized there was a fascinating back-story to be told, and the prequel was born.  The story, albeit told by Tanis Theatra (one of the dragon riders), was more about the life and times of Katherine Pendragon (Queen Mother) than anything else.

The only way to pursue that was to go back where it essentially started and tell her story as it began on the Provinces.  So, the prequel series, “Daughter of the Dark Lord” was created to give credence to Queen Mother’s life, why she was so passionate about family, and to clarify her dedication to stopping the Dark Lord from invading earth.  Last, but not least, it was to express how she eventually planned to liberate the Denizen people of the Provinces.  While telling her story, it would also give the reader a bird’s eye view into Tanis Theatra’s beginnings, and of course the amazing dragons.  To accomplish this there will also be one more installment to the original Dragomeir Series, entitled “Back from Oblivion.”  This book describes Queen Mother’s ultimate objective which is exclusively detailed in the “Daughter of the Dark Lord” prequel series.  There are two books available in this series now, and a third is currently being written.

All together it should delineate the complete story as first introduced by Tanis Theatra and recanted by me, Solitaire Parke.  Check out my website at

www.solitaireparke.com

to read sample chapters, discover exciting extras and purchase books at multiple locations in a variety of formats. I hope you enjoy!

Here is a question for my readers –  Do you enjoy reading a prequel to a novel?

Have you written a prequel? I’d love to hear about your writing experience.

Solitaire

33 Fiction Writing Tips

Writing fiction can be complex and multifaceted.  There are countless details to consider throughout the process.  There’s the initial brainstorming, the outlining, the countless hours of research, the actual writing, and the inevitable revising.  As if that wasn’t enough, you still have the editing process, a monumental task of its own.  All this to create what you hope will be an amazing work of fiction that readers will fall in love with.  Not much to ask, right?

In doing this research, I’ve gathered an immeasurable amount of ideas concerning fiction writing.  These writing tips, from countless sources, might be helpful to other writers tackling a novel by offering different viewpoints and by providing food for the creative process.

Hopefully, the tips below will help make writing that novel a little easier.

Writing Tips

  1. Read more fiction than you write.
  2. Don’t lock yourself into one genre (in reading or writing). Even if you have a favorite genre, step outside of it occasionally.
  3. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
  4. Dissect and analyze stories you love from books, movies, and television to find out what works in storytelling and what doesn’t.
  5. Don’t write for the market. Tell the story that’s in your heart. You can make an outline before, during, or after you finish your rough draft. It will provide you with a road map, which is a powerful tool to have at your disposal.
  6. Some of the best fiction comes from real life. Jot down stories that interest you whether you hear them from a friend or read them in a news article.
  7. Real life is also a great source of inspiration for characters. Look around at your friends, family, and coworkers. Magnify and mix the strongest aspects of their personalities, and you’re on your way to crafting a cast of believable characters.
  8. Make your characters real through details rather than lengthy head-to-toe physical descriptions.
  9. The most realistic and relatable characters are flawed. Find something good about your villain and something dark in your hero’s past.
  10. Avoid telling readers too much about the characters. Instead, show the characters’ personalities through their actions and interactions.
  11. Give your characters difficult obstacles to overcome. Make them suffer. That way, when they triumph, it will be even more rewarding.
  12. Cultivate a distinct voice. Your narrator should not sound warm and friendly in the first few chapters and then objective and aloof in later chapters. The voice should be consistent, and its tone should complement the content of your book.
  13. Give careful consideration to the narrative point of view. Is the story best told in first person or third person? If you’re not sure, write a few pages in each narrative point of view to see what works best.
  14. Is your story moving too fast for readers or are they yawning through every paragraph? Are the love scenes too short? Are the fight scenes too long? Do you go into three pages of detail as your characters walk from point A to point B and then fly through an action sequence in a couple of short paragraphs? Pay attention to pacing!
  15. Infuse your story with rich themes to give it a humanistic quality. Examples of themes include sacrifice, redemption, rebirth, life and death, faith, destiny, etc. These are the big shadows that hover over your story.
  16. Make sure you understand that every story needs a beginning, middle, and an end.
  17. Use symbols and imagery to create continuity throughout your story. Think about how the White Rabbit kept popping up when Alice was adventuring through Wonderland or how the color red was used in the film American Beauty. These are subtle details that give your story great power.
  18. Every great story includes transformation. The characters change, the world changes, and hopefully, the reader will change too.
  19. Enrich your main plot with subplots. In real life, there’s a lot happening at once.
  20. There is a difference between a sub-plot and a tangent. Don’t go off on too many tangents.
  21. If you write in a genre, don’t be afraid to blur the lines. A horror story can have funny moments and a thriller can have a bit of romance.
  22. Make sure your setting is vivid and realistic even if you made it up.
  23. If you didn’t make up your setting, then do your best to get to the location and see it for yourself before you finish your manuscript. If that’s not possible, get busy researching.
  24. Give the readers room to think. You don’t have to tell your story in minute detail, including each minute of the plot’s timeline or all of the characters’ thoughts. Provide enough dots, and trust that the reader will be able to connect them when your story makes time jumps.
  25. Let the readers use their imaginations with your story’s descriptions as well. Provide a few choice details and let the readers fill in the rest of the canvas with their own colors.
  26. Don’t focus exclusively on storytelling at the expense of compelling language.
  27. Appeal to readers’ senses. Use descriptive words that engage the readers’ senses of taste, touch, sound, sight, and smell.
  28. Apply poetry techniques to breathe life into your prose. Use alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphor, and other literary devices to make your sentences sing and dance.
  29. When rewriting, check for the following: plot holes, character inconsistencies, missing scenes, extraneous scenes, accuracy in research, and of course, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  30. As you revise, ask yourself whether every paragraph, sentence, and word is essential to your story. If it’s not, you know where the delete button is.
  31. Before your final revisions and before you send your manuscript out to any agents or editors, find your beta readers: join a writing group, take a fiction workshop, or hire a pro.
  32. Do not send out your rough draft. Go through the revision process at least three times before handing it out to your beta readers. The stronger it is when you bring in editors, the stronger those editors will be able to make it.
  33. Have fun. If you’re not enjoying writing, then maybe it’s not for you. If you’re not enjoying fiction writing, try something else, like poetry, blogging, or screenwriting. Be willing to experiment and you’ll find your way.

Were these writing tips helpful? Got any tips to add? Leave a comment!

Check on the website for my “Dragomeir Series” (for dragon lovers) and various other genres,

    And updates on my latest series – “Daughter of the Dark Lord.”  Interesting EXTRAS available too!

    Solitaire

    www.solitaireparke.com

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