In case some of you were wondering what I’m working on. It’s a fantasy novel tenatively entitled “The Dragon’s Kiss.”
I have had the idea for this work running through my head since I was 16 years old. Names, places and the plot have changed over such a vast period of time; however, the constant has been the nagging to get the story “out.” Over these long years, I have learned to hate the question, “What’s it about?” As this book will be part of a planned trilogy and there are several plots and setups, here’s what I can say with concrete certainty.
In a time of war live the daughters of the Dragon Lord, Ruler of Strakath. Oathbound to protect her land and Soulbound to the dragon she rides, the youngest must make a choice – to save her sisters and those they love or the heir of their sworn enemy, the king of Osenfal, in an attempt to gain peace for all.
This piece of “art” is a hybrid of sorts. Combining contemporary fantasy with high fantasy is my challenge and it’s taking a while to actually make sure all of the plot points aren’t left to die in some great writer’s wilderness somewhere.
I’ve pretty much decided Word is the program I do my best work in; however, Scrivener can be rather helpful as well. My problem with Scrivener is that it is overly cumbersome and I haven’t found a program that I like to help with the outlining, character charts and whatnot. I used to use index cards which were not at all helpful to me. I also keep a notebook where I jot down the who is who and what is what. I found that may actually be more helpful than software because I can take it with me wherever I go and note things as they come to mind.
Now as it’s NaNoWriMo, I must leave you be and carry on with the real task at hand. If you are interested in reading excerpts, let me know and I’ll share with you The Dragon’s Kiss.
“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”
― Stephen King
Stephen King is a prolific writer and gifted storyteller. I have to admit I’m partial to his earlier works. I find when talking about the tools of the trade, Stephen’s quote is essential.
The Thesaurus. Most writers will use one at some point in time in their writing life. I freely admit I will use one as the moon turns blue, but it’s not to search for the “right word.” I use it to break up word echoes within my writing. In writing fantasy, I have a sword – a blade. But within a page how many times do I want to write those two words? I may throw in weapon. I may change it to the type of sword (katana, broadsword, foil, rapier, scimitar…) or I may use the word “brand.
The thesaurus is sometimes used by writers who are not avid readers. I’ve found if you are an avid reader, you absorb the words you read and bolster your vocabulary.
The Dictionary. There is never a reason to use the wrong word. When I am reading a story and find someone has misued a word it dulls the experience and makes me call into question their experience and ability.
This goes beyond the “they’re”-“their”-“there” issue (which should never be an issue with someone who is looking to be a professional.) I am talking about someone who misuses words such as “irregardless.” It’s NOT a word people. You may mean irrespective or regardless. But irregardless is irresponsible. Use a dictionary. Look it up.
Books on Writing. There are good ones. There are bad ones. And I’m not going to give you recommendations (though I have read MANY) because what my needs from one of these types of books are may not be what your needs are.
These are books I do recommend for several reasons:
1) Subject Matter. If you have problems with plot, dialogue, characterization or world-building, there are books to address each of these issues. Advice in these areas aren’t gospel, but helpful if you are trying to figure out how to solve the problem you have.
2) Naming. Books regarding names are essential. Names have meanings and that subtle impact of the “right” name – including surnames makes all the difference in the world.
3) Story Starters. Don’t go nutso with these. However, one or two of these books are most excellent for breaking writer’s block, clearing the mind and finding new ideas.
There are some other considerations for writers – tools that can be helpful.
A small blank notebook. You never know when ideas / inspiration will strike. It’s helpful to be able to jot it down on a moment’s notice. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You just don’t want to have to look for receipts in a purse or use napkins or dollar bills to scribble your ideas on.
A voice recorder works equally as well for many people. Some smart phones these days have this feature. But if you don’t have either available, call yourself and leave a voice message. Don’t lose a good idea because you can’t write it down.
Writing Implement. For all that is good and pure and holy in the universe. I LOVE pens. I’m rather a pen kleptomaniac and have had to learn not to just snag someone’s writing utensil. With that said, a good pen or pencil is vital to any writer. It also corresponds nicely with the aforementioned notebook.
Computer / Software. I prefer to write on a computer using a standard word processing program. I also utilize a writing program for my novel needs. It rather depends on what I’m doing at that moment. There are many different types of software designed for writers and I have several I have used in the past. I’m currently trying out Scrivener. I’m not sure yet if I like it or not. We’ll see.
The publishing world has stepped into the digital age and truly, even if it’s an older computer. I believe that some sort of computer with a word processing program is a tool that cannot be overlooked.
I know much of this sounds like common sense, but sometimes we, the writers, lose our common sense when crafting our work and also forget to eat… which reminds me. I forgot breakfast again.
Words are as air… one cannot survive without them.