Recap: Tips for Writing Different Scenes in your Novel

Recently, I spent a few hours making a spreadsheet of all the writing/publishing topics I have written about on my blog. Well, I have a long running list since I started in 2012 but this time I grouped each by category in an attempt to see what areas are in need of some additional advice. But while I analyze my list, I thought I would fall back on doing a recap of some of my other blog posts.

So here are some of the posts discussing various scenes in your novel…

Deciding how to begin a scene in your novel 

The goal of the beginning of a scene is to draw the reader in. It must make the reader want to read more. A few months ago, I wrote about writing the opening scene of your novel. That crucial scene is often where readers decide if they like your book or not. (Read more here)

Writing the opening scene of your novel

(Excerpt from my short story The Search) And thus begins my short story, The Search. I started with an action scene to draw the reader in. And that is the point of the beginning of your story. You want the reader to be hooked and want to keep reading. (Read more here)

Finding the perfect ending to your scene 

cliff hangerEvery scene has a beginning, middle and end. The ending moments complete the scene and should leave the reader wanting more. It should make them eager to begin the next scene. (Read more here)

Romance and sex in your non-romance novel

As a writer of fantasy novels, romance is not in the forefront of my plots. So when it comes to writing a bit of romance into the story, I begin to wonder how much to include and what exactly to do with the sex scenes if any come about. (Read more here)

Creating Fight Scenes

Since I write fantasy, I guess it is expected that at some point there will be a sword fight or other battle taking place. With each additional book in my trilogy, there seem to be more battles.  One of my reviews for Summoned said that I wrote, “awesome fight scenes.” I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do have a few tricks that I use when developing a fight scene. These hold true whether it is someone using a knife, a sword or their fists. (Read more here)

Writing a night or low lighting scene

So I was recently writing a scene that took place in a darkened street. A battle ensues and a chase. There is a lot of hiding out and sneaking down alleys. The fact that this takes place in a world without street lamps only makes the writing more difficult as I focus on what my characters would be able to see. (Read more here)

The importance of tension in your novel

Tension is the element of a novel that evokes worry, anxiety, fear or stress for both the reader and the characters.

One way to think about it is you are raising the stakes for your character, so he or she has to work to get what he or she wants. And this shouldn’t be easy. Basically, you want to keep saying no to your characters so that the conflict appears unsolvable. The more at stake for your character, the more emotions he feels about situations and events. (Read more here)

Not too fast…not too slow – it is all about the pace

Pace is the speed in which events happen in your novel. You need to balance the pace of your writing. If your scenes drag on and on (slow pace) then you lose or bore readers. If it is too fast, you will leave your readers unsettled and it won’t be a comfortable read.

The trick is to get the balance just right. And there is no one out there that can tell you what that balance should be. (Read more here)

Creating a fantasy novel recap – part 2

As I begin working on my next novel – and I have taken off WAY TOO MUCH TIME since my last novel – I thought I would take the time to recount some of my posts on writing a fantasy novel. For some of the basics of fantasy writing, check out my first fantasy recap from 2013.

Since then, I have written numerous other posts to help you build your fantasy world. If you missed any of these, or just want to re-read them, click on the “read more” link to see the original post.

Realistic Food in your Fantasy Novel

campfireOne way to pull your reader out of your fantasy world is to write something so strange or unbelievable that they pause to wonder how that can be. And one place that typically happens in a fantasy novel is when food is mentioned.

Yes, this is another world and food choices and eating habits may be different there. But everyone is familiar with food so you should at least have the food choices make sense. Writers of fantasy novels too often ask us to believe that a roadside meal is cooked in the time it takes to water the horses or set up camp or that fresh fruit is available at all times – even the winter. (Read More…)

How fast can your hero travel? 

Two weeks ago, I wrote about food in the fantasy novel. Today I want to discuss travel. If this is modern-day fantasy that takes place on Earth, then this discussion will probably not pertain to you. I am mainly thinking about those of us who have created a world where modern conveniences such as cars and planes don’t exist. Your hero or heroine is walking, riding a horse or riding in a wagon or carriage. Once again, you need to do your research and make the distance traveled in one day or even a month believable. (Read More…)

Know your weapons and armor 

swordI have written numerous times about creating realism in your fantasy novel – the most recent about food and travel. Armor and weapons are certainly ones you need to write about with some accuracy, or you will have your reader saying, “what?” You need to research your weapon so you know it well enough to write competently about it.

Now I am not going to go into every type of weapon or armor but list a few guidelines. This is by no means a comprehensive list but one to get you thinking about the weapons you write about. (Read More…)

Creating stories and myths within your fantasy novel

“And as for this book,” said Hermione, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard…I’ve never even heard of them!”

“You’ve never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?” said Ron incredulously. “You’re kidding right?…All the old kids’ stories are supposed to be Beedles’, aren’t they? ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’…’The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’…’Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’…”

Just as Harry and Hermione are mystified by these titles, Ron is equally mystified by the stories (‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ and ‘Cinderella’) his friends grew up hearing. (Read More…)

12 questions to help you develop Gods/religion in your fantasy novel

ritualWhen I wrote my The Elemental trilogy, I decided right off that I didn’t want to deal with religion. So there is no mention of gods, and there is no church in my story, and it works fine.  However, in many fantasy novels, religion is an integral part of the plot.

Adding religion to your novel can be a source of tension between characters. A war can be because of religious differences. The reason your protagonist or antagonist does something can be based in their religious beliefs. Even prophecies can come from religious writings. (Read More…)

Gods and magic in the fantasy novel

Last week, I wrote about incorporating gods and religion into the fantasy novel. Since many works of fantasy also include magic, I wanted to address magic and gods.

As I have said before, all magic needs established rules to be believable. How do the gods play into these rules? Are they the ones who established them? Are their powers also limited to these rules? (Read More…)

Fantasy without Cliche 

Fantasy stories are often filled with clichéd ideas – the farm boy who saves the world, the girl destined to become the ruler, and so many more that I could fill up my whole post with overused plot or characters from fantasy stories.

The hard thing is when you think of fantasy – you typically think of fantasy characters such as fairies, goblins, dwarves and elves. All these are overused. (Read More…)

These seven posts – along with the original nine from the first recap – can help you create your fantasy world and begin writing your fantasy novel. As I work on my latest fantasy novel, I will look for other topics that can help fantasy writers build their realistic fantasy world.




Publishing your novel recap – Number 3

I was on vacation last week. That is my excuse for doing another recap post.

This is obviously my third recap of publishing your novel posts. You can read the first one from June 2013 here or the last one from September 2014 here. I like to think they contain some good information.

So you want to self-publish your novel? There is a lot to learn and it is an ever-changing world. Here are my posts on publishing posted in the past year. Listed are the title of the post and the first few lines and then a link if you want to read the post.

Formatting your self-published novel – DIY or hire someone? – You have written your novel and now are ready to publish it as an e-book. But your file needs to be submitted in the proper format as required by the publisher. So do you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you?(To read more, click here.)

CIMG0524Revisiting the all-important book blurb – The book blurb is one of the most important promotional tools you will write for your novel. This short piece of prose can entice someone to buy your novel – or pass it up. Because it is so important, you should spend a lot of time perfecting your novel’s blurb. (To continue reading, click here.)

Choosing the front matter for your self-published book – You have worked hard on your novel and are now ready to publish it. But the first thing readers will see when they begin reading your e-book won’t be your story. Everything that goes before your story is called the Front Matter and introduces your book to the reader. (To read more, click here.)

Deciding on back matter for your e-book – Last week, I covered front matter (all the pages BEFORE your story) in your book. Today, I want to talk about back or matter – which as you guessed is all the pages AFTER your story. (To continue reading, click here.)

preorder amazonPre-Orders: Are they worth it? – When I published my first three novels, setting up a pre-order was not available to self-published authors. Since then, both Amazon and Smashwords have begun offering pre-orders. (To read more, click here.)

Do you need to copyright your self-published novel? – This is often a question that new self-published authors ask. And the quick answer is no. As soon the words leave your mind and you put them on paper (or type them into your computer file), it is already protected under U.S. copyright law. (To read more, click here.)

Preparing for an e-book release – So you have written an awesome story, edited it until it shines and formatted it for publication as an e-book. The cover has been designed and the engaging book blurb has been written. You are ready to release your book to the world. So what do you do now? How do you let everyone know about your masterpiece? (To find out, click here.)

If you are self-published, you might be considering using Kindle Direct Publishing’s Select program. To find out my most recent stint with KDP Select, check out these two posts. The first one goes over the program and author concerns with using it. The second is my results from using it from January to April of this year.

Considering KDP Select again

KDP Select free book promo results

If you have any ideas for further posts about self-publishing a novel, please feel free to suggest them.


A to Z Challenge Wrap Up

AIn April, I participated in the A to Z challenge where each day (except Sundays) you post a blog on a new topic following the letters of the alphabet. So April 1 was A, April 2 was B and so on.

This was my second year doing the challenge. Last year, I didn’t have a theme. This year I had a theme for the days I don’t typically blog (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday). On the other days, I stuck with my normal topics – parenting on Monday, quotes on Wednesday, and writing/publishing on Thursday. Friday is my Featured Author spot, so I actually did two posts – the typical author interview or excerpt and then also a short blog that fit the challenge letter. (Any authors interested in being on my Friday Feature, contact me through the About Me section.)

So my theme for non-regular blogging days was TV Shows. I picked out shows that I either currently watch or have watched in the past.

Now part of the challenge is to visit other blogs. (You never know when you will find a new favorite blogger.) I noticed that many people couldn’t seem to keep up with the amount of blogging. It is a lot to do to blog six days a week.

Tip: Write your posts in advance. I typically do that for my blog anyway. I am always two weeks to a month ahead of schedule. If I had to rely on posting 4 times a week without advance planning, not much would make it on my blog either.

For any of you who have missed out on my blogs from the A to Z challenge, here is a recap of what I covered.

A is for Abraham Lincoln (Quote) and Swedish Apple Pie (Recipe)

B is for Developing Character Back Story (Novel Writing)

C is for Criminal Minds (TV Show)

D is for The Dukes of Hazard (TV Show)

E is for Making Education a Priority (Parenting)

F is for Firefly (TV Show)

G is for Mahatma Gandhi (Quote)

H is for Humor in Writing (Novel Writing)

I is for It Takes a Thief (TV Show)

J is for Joss Whedon (his other TV shows besides Firefly)

K is for Keeping your Cool as a Parent (Parenting)

L is for Law & Order (TV show)

M is for Malcom X (Quote)

N is for What it takes to write a Novel (Novel Writing)

O is for Once Upon a Time (TV Show)

P is for Penny from The Big Bang Theory (TV Show)

Q is for Questions, Questions, Questions (Parenting)

R is for Ringer (TV Show)

S is for Dr. Seuss (Quote)

T is for The importance of Tension in your Novel (Novel Writing)

U is for The Universe (TV Show)

V is for Voltron: Defenders of the Universe (TV Show)

W is for Parenting Websites to check out (Parenting)

X is for  The X-Files (TV Show)

Y is for Yoda (Quote)

Z is for ZZZZ…Don’t let your reader fall asleep (Novel Writing)

A to Z challenge wrap up

For the past 30 days, I have been partaking in the A to Z challenge where each day (except Sundays) you post a blog on a new topic following the letters of the alphabet. So April 1 was A, April 2 was B and so on.

This was my first year doing the challenge. The organizers of the challenge suggest you pick a theme for your writing, but I elected to stick to my normal topics – parenting on Monday, quotes on Wednesday, and writing/publishing on Thursday. Friday is my Featured Author spot, so I actually did two posts – the typical author interview or excerpt and then also a short blog that fit the challenge letter. (Any authors interested in being on my Friday Feature, contact me through the About Me section.)

I began picking my topics and writing in February and finally by the end of March, I had all my posts written. It was nice not to have to write any blogs in April. I noted that many other challenge entrants did not do this and fell to the wayside by letter H or so or missed some of the days. Even a few decided not to participate.

I enjoyed the challenge and look forward to doing it again next year. I might even decide to do a theme. I saw so many creative ones out there. (Part of the challenge includes visiting other blogs, which introduced me to many new blogs – some interesting and some not so much.)

For any of you who have missed out on my blogs from the A to Z challenge, here is a recap of what I covered.

A is for Alexandria (excerpt from my work in progress)

B is for Book (Quote) and Basting Sauce (recipe)

C is for Creating your own fictitious town, island or world 

D is for Destiny (excerpt from Book 3 of my trilogy)

E is for Excel (using it to organize my writing)

F is for Friends (Teaching your child to be a good one)

G is for Gift Giving

H is for Happiness (Quote)

I is for Italics (how to use in your writing)

J is for Juggling Jobs

K is for Kite Flying

L is for Loose Teeth

M is for Main Character

N is for Novel (Quote)

O is for Online Marketing of your Book 

P is for Poison 

Q is for Quietus (Book 2 of my trilogy)

R is for Recess

S is for Summoned (Book 1 of my trilogy)

T is for Thankful (Quote)

U is for Unicorns (and other mythical creatures)

V is for Vacation (Disney World!)

W is for Writing Challenges

X is for the Letter X (teaching it to kids)

Y is for Yelling

Z is for Zig Zagler (Quote)