Mmm, and how does that make you feel?

In the writing journey, one thing that resonates with me and I have tried to get better at is conveying emotion from the character to the reader.

Early on, I assumed that the emotion of the main character should be obvious. Their mother is just killed. Assassins are attacking them. Aren’t the emotions obvious? But one thing that I keep reminding myself is that the answer is ‘no’. Not all people think the same way. And even if they did, a reader is in a somewhat lazy mental state when they’re reading. They’re expecting the author to feed them the emotions of the character. It helps build the connection, the empathy, the basis for which the stakes are built. And stakes are critical for a reader to connect with a book. Without connection, the reader cares less. So emotion has to be communicated, one way or another.

Picture a psychiatrist on couch as you read your chapters, leaning forward after each major action, eyes narrowed curiously. He taps a pencil lightly against a lip.

“And how does that make you feel…?”

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I have to admit, the recent weeks of StoneDragon performance has been discouraging.

I haven’t done much marketing, so not saying it’s not my own fault, but despite a couple of five star reviews and no bad comments, the book is starting to fade out of view, with little take up unless I run a free promotion. And even those, from what I can tell, involve people stacking books in their kindle hundreds deep, for some future free read. I didn’t want to admit it, but that is part of the mental drain recently. Oh well. It is what it is. So now, I’m going to finish off my next re-write, and likely place it alongside StoneDragon (it is a different series, YA fantasy rather than adult) and then seriously decide if I want to spend some time doing animation, picture book, or middle grade for a while.

I have to create; it’s in my my personality, but one thing I’ve noticed with other successful writers is that often switching gears–and content–can hit a pocket of interest that doing the same thing may not. I’m starting to feel a bit healthier, and have a bit more mental energy, and this re-write will take at least a few months, but I thought I’d share some of my own ’emotion’. As much as I’d like to be a thick-skinned always-positive soldier of the pen (or keyboard), doing the same thing and expecting something different is also famously described as the keys to the madhouse. 🙂

Thanks!

Just wanted to thank everyone that downloaded StoneDragon! During the time of its promotion, the book cracked the top 100 in one of the Amazon categories and got a five star review from one gracious reader. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

 

top 100 free copy

 

For those who enjoyed it, additional Amazon reviews are very much appreciated!

Thanks again,

Adrian.

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The featured image is an out-take from the black and white chapter headings that adorn StoneDragon. It didn’t make the final cut. But it makes a nice thank you present. 🙂

And… StoneDragon is HERE!

Wow.

This feels a lot like when we had our first child. It happened late at night. It felt like the world changed, in a small way that was deeply fundamental. And with a lot of exhaustion and feeling like it should be celebrated more than with a deep nap–but that a nap would be really good…

StoneDragon is here.

My first book. My writing and creative offerings may get better from here–or this be as good as it gets. 🙂 Regardless, StoneDragon is a world that lives and breathes, with darkness and beauty and magic, and hopefully I did it justice.

So with no more ado, please enjoy…

StoneDragon-Kindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A deadly time-shifting city draws warriors from past and future—and isn’t ready to go quietly into the night…

For the past decade, ex-gunslinger Clay Halloway has survived as a soldier-for-hire in StoneDragon, a time-shifting city where warlords from the past and future battle for power. Where monsters exist and technology doesn’t. Clay wants to leave his life of violence and obsession behind and open StoneDragon’s first detective agency. Unfortunately, his very first client will neglect to mention a couple of important details–like that powerful and angry Earth gods are hunting her and are willing to tear StoneDragon apart stone by stone to get her back. The only thing in their way is one unsuspecting cowboy…

(PS, I’ve set up a free give-away for the next few days, as a thank you to my early blog readers. So please sample and PLEASE leave a review. A new book is like a new plant. It needs some watering…)

You need more than a cool idea…

When I was earlier in my writing habits, I used to keep a folder of cool ideas. Because, I figured, a cool idea is critical for future stories. I just had to write something around it, when I finally had the time. But you know the funny thing? It wasn’t easy. I would stare blankly at the cool idea and think, what the hell am I supposed to do with that? The creative machine sometimes wasn’t even sure what the cool idea meant, much less how to work it into a legible story. But then later, as I learned the value of a strong pitch, I realized that it wasn’t that hard to convert the idea (at the TIME of the idea), into a pitch paragraph. And a pitch paragraph was easily handled in later months or years, even if the original light bulb in my head had turned cold and dark. So now, I keep a list of story pitches. They don’t seem that much harder to jot down, if I put my mind to it, at the time of the idea than the idea itself. Admittedly, there is some kind of overlap, in theme at least. But I look at that list of ideas now and am pretty sure that I could spend the rest of my life fleshing out cool ideas and never hit a drought. Which is a reassuring thought for a writer.

So something worth considering. An idea by itself is one thing. An idea wrapped into a story pitch is something larger, more powerful, and more enduring. And I can’t wait to read what you do with it!

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The image is another chapter heading image from StoneDragon. I’m nearing the end of the art for that book. But of course, even this close to the end, I want the quality of everything to be high. So I finally caved and signed up for Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) instead of using Pixelmator, which does a large number of Photoshop-like things for a tiny fraction of the price. So why switch over? CC lets me turn things into vectors (a line sharp enough to cut yourself). I want things to look uber professional. Anyway, I will now likely spend a few weeks redrawing a few weaker images, cleaning all of them into sharp black and white profiles, and then putting it all together in Vellum. Close to the end now! Can’t wait…

A Digression on StoneDragon Art

I try to talk more about writing than art on the site, although as you can probably tell, I like to make the site pretty and put lots of scraps of drawings and paintings here and there, limited mostly by time. As I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t sure how much time I wanted to put in the art of StoneDragon. I knew I wanted a detailed cover (done, although not yet revealed on this site in all its glory), a map (also now done, also still to be revealed, sorry!), and I knew I wanted some art inside the chapters, although I struggled with how much, as a detailed piece of art per chapter would be a massive time investment and only having a couple of pieces would make the book somewhat lumpy in its art offerings. I was leaning toward the latter anyway, when I came across a compromise that I like: doing some simple black and white images as part of each chapter heading. The software program that I’m using to compile the book (Vellum) makes that an easy thing to do, which I’ve had loads of fun with. So as a bit of a treat, and to celebrate how close it’s starting to get to release day of StoneDragon (I think the latest it will be is December, and very likely earlier), I thought I would share some of this style of drawing. The featured images is one, and there are three more below (completed: 12, ultimate total: 53, yikes!).

These are early drafts and I may or may not polish them up further–or even rotate them out entirely, no promises on final content at all, he he. But I quite like the style in general, and how it looks in the book. Hopefully you will as well!

Best of writing and reading as we creep into the end of the summer. Hopefully it’s been good for you.

PS, the images are pen on paper, and actually intended to appear smaller than they appear here, so they may look a little rougher in this post than in the final book (I couldn’t manage to shrink them further in wordpress, sorry).

 

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