- How often do you use the word “very” in your writing? It is often extremely overused and can make your sentences sound weak. So check out this site. It gives you 128 ways to avoid using this word by replacing it with stronger more vibrant ones.
- Need some help with your grammar? Take the following quiz and find out how much you know.
- Book titles, blog headings, or other articles are sometimes difficult to come by. You might need a little help occasionally. Here are 7 tools to provide that help.
- Do you love the television show “Game of Thrones” or the books? Here are 5 lessons to be learned from them.
- Do you know how to research a novel, and when to stop? This article could be helpful.
- Tips for finding those eye-catching images for your books, articles, or blogs.
Which ones are your favorites?
If these were helpful to you, please pass them on!
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I’ve been asked many times how I get the characters that appear in my books. Funny, I’ve always been shy in the admission of their history because many of the characters that show up are people that I know, or am related to in some manner. I’ve always worried what some of the people would say if they knew, consequently, it isn’t generally the first thing I’d choose to reveal. Most people don’t see themselves as others do, and in that knowledge rests my courage to portray them as I see them – good, bad or indifferent. This is not a strict rule of thumb though, as there are exceptions – you will see as you continue to read.
The easy ones to use as examples are the characters that have enviable personas, like Princess Rhylana. She was patterned after my wife and mother to my children. In the book, Rhylana portrays the very essence of what I see in her, and have seen for years. She’s spunky, aggressive, and kind to small children and animals. She’s a fighter, and never gives up.
Queen Mother was given her persona from a very dear lady to me, and companion. She’s aggressive, prone to lead anyone who’ll follow, (you know just to keep them safe) and dedicates her life to promoting the underdog. She’d spit in the eye of a demon, but runs from cockroaches and can’t keep herself from rescuing any and all small mammals.
Tanis, a lead character and spokesman for a series of my books was patterned after me.
Two exceptions are characters that were designed by readers. They signed up for a character contest to have their creations entered into volume one of my Dragomeir Series, “The Emerald Dragon.” Helup Ironfold, a Blacksmith by trade and rider to the dragon Jilocasin Sybaris Cirfis, was created by Jacob Overton and played a significant role in the book. He appears in later books as well. Sergei Rasputin Cosmonov, a Red Immortal Demon and rider to the dragon Volansa Spirandi Bellator, was created by Joe Russomanno and also played a significant role in the book. Sergei too, has a role reprisal in later books.
When it comes to naming my characters, there are a few things that come to mind.
- Some of the names are compilations of people I know or maybe even names of pets. A particular character may bring someone to mind because of their personality or specific traits.
- I Google English names or words to determine what they would be in another language. It’s wise to check origins of names to make sure you have the correct one for the location of your setting.
- Checking the “root” meaning of a name might be important too. It needs to apply to your character to make sense, unless it’s done purposely for comedy or irony.
- Google is a great resource for almost everything. Once a name is picked, I often Google it to make sure it isn’t a real person who might be offended by the usage of their name. If there is a question, then I change it somehow.
- I might use a name from a book I have read or a movie that I particularly liked because it fits the character I have created in some way. I’m careful not to plagiarize someone else’s characters.
- I don’t always use a middle name or initial, depending on the character. It isn’t always necessary unless you need a specific emphasis on a name.
- It’s also good to choose names that fit the era you are writing about, unless an unusual name for that time frame is part of the story.
- I have even used names that I liked from a certain place or map that just sounded right for my character.
How do you name the characters in your stories? It would be fun to know.
Visit me at solitaireparke.com
Tags: Book character names, books, characters, contest, Dragomeir Series, dragon books, fiction, Flight of the Aguiva, Google, indie authors, self publishing, solitaire parke, The Emerald Dragon, urban fantasy, writing
“Father!–to God himself we cannot give a holier name.” – William Wordsworth
To all the Dads out there – have a terrific Father’s Day. Mine are grown now and have children of their own – I have some beautiful grandchildren. Yes, they make you crazy sometimes and can be quite a handful, but they also make you very proud and bring a special joy into your life that compares to nothing else. Your children are the best gift you will ever receive. Love and cherish them as long as you can.
Today I came across some great tips concerning dialogue from a regular contributor to CreateSpace.com, Maria Murnane. (www.mariamurnane.com) She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. So I thought I’d share what I thought were some helpful pointers.
- Look who’s talking.
A common problem is that the characters all sound the same, so the readers have a hard time telling them apart. As a result, the readers get confused, annoyed, distracted, or all of the above – none of which you want to happen. If you want your readers to become invested in your characters, you need to bring those characters to life – and dialogue presents a wonderful opportunity to do just that! So when your characters speak, have them make an impression. Are they sarcastic? Jaded? Bitter? Happy? Sad? Pessimistic? Optimistic? Loyal? Funny? Do they use their hands a lot when they speak? Do they lower their voice when they gossip? Do they chew gum? Do they have a particular gesture or body tic that gives away what they’re feeling? You may have heard the expression “show, don’t tell,” and this is a great example of that. Don’t tell us what the characters are like, let them show us.
- Does your dialogue sound realistic?
When I read a book with dialogue that doesn’t ring true, instead of getting sucked into the story I find myself thinking, “Who talks like that? No one would say that.” You want your readers focused on the story, not on the problems with your writing. A good way to avoid having unrealistic dialogue in your own writing is to read it out loud. This may sound a little crazy, but it works! After awhile you will be writing the way people actually talk and your dialogue will be realistic. You want to create strong, believable characters that your readers will care about, so take the time to give them lines that will allow that to happen. With every conversation you write, ask yourself “Does this sound believable?” That might seem daunting at first, but over time it will get easier. It will be well worth the effort. Your readers – and your characters – will be grateful.
- Turn the beat around.
A “beat” is a description of the physical action a character makes while speaking, and good beats can bring your characters to life and make your dialogue pop right off the page. Beats can also help you show your readers instead of telling them. (Misuse of show, not tell is a common mistake many first-time authors make. Remember that readers don’t like to be told what to think
A) “I told you, I’m not going!” John shouted, furious.
B) John slammed his fist on the table, his nostrils flaring. “I told you, I’m not going!”
John is clearly angry. But in example A, we know this because we are told so.
In example B, we know this because we are shown it.
A) “You’re really not going?” Karen said, incredulous.
B) Karen’s jaw dropped. “You’re really not going?”
We know Karen is incredulous, but why do we know this?
In A, we’re told what to think, and in B, we’re left to decide on our own what to think.
Well-placed beats make your writing richer, fuller, and better. And good writing, like good teaching, engages your readers and lets them draw their own conclusions.
- Use contractions in dialogue.
Well written dialogue draws you into the story and makes you feel like the people speaking are real. So to write good dialogue, use language that sounds the way people actually talk. And in English, that includes contractions. A lot of them. Without contractions, people sound more like robots than real people. (Did not becomes didn’t; Is not becomes isn’t; Do not becomes don’t; I am becomes I’m; He is becomes he’s, etc.) Contractions aren’t often used in formal writing, but they are for informal conversation, especially in the United States. So perhaps you should review your own dialogue to see if it passes the robot test.
- Dialogue doesn’t necessarily impact the plot, but it impacts character development, which is just as important.
Once you have completed your novel, read it over again. You may need to tweak the dialogue a bit, especially in the early chapters. Your characters have probably evolved, and some of the early lines may no longer fit their personalities. Good stories do a wonderful job of creating characters who are like real people to the audience, and that’s what you want to do with your manuscript. So when you’re finished, go back and read that dialogue with fresh eyes. Do you think it rings true throughout for each of your characters? If it doesn’t, change it! That’s the fun thing about being the author – it’s all up to you.
Have any tips that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.
This time on Creature Features let’s take a closer look at the species known as The Sabers. These creatures can be found in Book Two of the Dragomeir Series, “Flight of the Aguiva.” They are one of the older races of non-human, quadrupeds and considerably larger than most. Their leader is an enormous Alpha male named Suyet Suun. Try to imagine a nine foot long, eight hundred pound Bengal Tiger in a yellowish gold color, with tusks coming off the side of his face – ten inch long, large tusks. He was at the very least half again the size of a Bengal. Huge feet below a shear muscled body, and topped off with the most regal of heads. That was Suyet Suun. The females of The Sabers are smaller versions but just as beautiful. The Sabers are mammals and give birth in the same way as the feline species we have on Earth.
These creatures are fully sentient, and thanks to the demons on the Provinces, have been placed on the endangered species list. The demons hunt them for sport, or did until they moved to Mt. Drago. They are peaceful, but become warlike when their young are threatened. Fierce fighters, they unfortunately do not have the numbers to fend off the superior volume of the Hordes of Hell.
Well, we’re almost there. “Flight of the Aguiva” has moved into the second wave of editing and beta reading. From the author’s point of view, that’s like beating it on a rock to see if it’ll break. Once it’s past that, we’re pretty much home free. A big shout out to the beta readers, you guys rock! I truly believe it’s harder to edit a book than it is to write one. Without the editing staff, no one’s book would ever make it to the light of day, so thanks again guys.
I’ll put up the release date just as soon as the editors tell me, so check back often. Thank you for the continued support of the Dragomeir Series.
Solitaire . . .
It’s that time of year again. . . The Holidays! The Christmas tree, THE Christmas tree went up in Commons at Mt. Drago. This one is special, and has been decorated differently for the first time ever. We thought it was time to honor the very creatures that we hold stewardship to. They love everything about Christmas and take part in all of the festivities. This year we asked the kids of Mt. Drago to pick their favorite dragon and create a Christmas ornament for them. At the end of the season all of the ornaments will be gathered up and boxed for next year’s season. Hopefully we’ll do that again in all the years to come. We snapped a photo so you could see this year’s tree as well. We hope you enjoy it!
Tags: bells, christmas tree, Dragomeir Series, dragon riders, dragons, fantasy, fiction, Flight of the Aguiva, holder of things, holidays, indie author, merry christmas, self publishing, solitaire parke, The Emerald Dragon, urban fantasy, writing
Nata was one of the first people Tanis met on his entrance to Mt. Drago. Nata had crash landed outside of Phoenix in the Arizona desert. Near death, he began hearing a voice calling him. Following the voice, Nata eventually found Mt. Drago and the dragon he calls Fellona, or Fe for short. His race is referred to by Tanis as having a tiny stature. Tanis went on to say that Nata’s voice sounded just like the Munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz,” and his body was roughly the same size. He had an enormous head, large black eyes, and the tiniest mouth he had ever seen on a living creature.
Nata’s technology is only surpassed by that of Tanis and his suit. The mountain regularly uses the little alien’s anti-gravity to carry larger objects and even dragons at times. The Lunarians are war- like, and have been space faring and nomadic since their home planet was attacked and stripped of its atmosphere.
Below you can see a portrait of Nata of the Lunarian race.
Nata makes a second appearance in Book Two of the series, “Flight of the Aguiva.”
Tired of hunting for information?
If you want to find out how to do just about anything pertaining to writing, publishing and marketing books, this is one of the most comprehensive websites I have found yet. It is run by Joel Friedlander, and there are links to information you may not even have thought you would need. I have found it to be incredibly helpful in so many areas and thought I would pass it along. Definitely check it out. You’ll be glad you did!
Here is the link –