Thursday, March 31, 2011


It hangs over my head like a dark cloud that is actually full of anticipation and delight.  It hovers above my mind like a sheet floating gracefully on air.  It weighs upon me like the contemplation of life (in a lighter way).

It is the release date.

From Darkness Won comes out tomorrow.  Buckle your belts, snap your suspenders, folks, and dig in the couch for that extra change.  I know I will.

This just in: the description of From Darkness Won is up on the MLP website.  Check it out!


Achan steps into his role as Crown Prince and prepares for war. But war against whom? Could Esek still be alive? Has Lord Nathak taken Esek’s place? Or is the mysterious Hadad the true enemy Achan must confront?

Vrell has her own agenda of serving Prince Oren as a healer, but when she is stormed and lost to the Veil, Achan does all he can to bring her back. His conversations with her are strange, though, as if she has no memory of who he is.

In a land consumed by Darkness, the fate of Er’Rets hangs in the balance as Achan endeavors to take the throne and end the reign of Darkness.


Let's hope we last the night. We have but four hours left.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Upcoming Book & a Giveaway

Hey'a readers, writers, spatulas!  .....spatulas?  *grimace of fear*  Just wait, Frank.  Let me finish the post first.  I can't write posts while weeping and gnashing my teeth.

Anyway, some exciting news coming up.  Firstly, the long anticipated end to the Blood of Kings trilogy (Jill Williamson)--From Darkness Won--is coming out APRIL FIRST.  April Fool's Day, unfortunately, but I'm hoping this isn't a joke. o_O

Check out the epic cover art. :|


I am scrambling for money right now.  I can't wait for, it looks so EPIC.... *stares*  If you haven't read the first books in this series yet, GO AND ORDER THEM RIGHT NOW.  I'm serious.  They are THAT good.  Some of the best writing I've ever read in my reading career: no joke.

Other news, there's a giveaway going on!  It isn't mine, but it is epic nonetheless.  The Director is giving away a whole slew of stuff in celebration of spring break, I believe.  Including the Roman Britain Trilogy (from which was made the movie "The Eagle", I believe).  Which I really really really want to read. :|  So beware--you'll have to fight for it.

Castles, Quills, and Cameras

That's about all. :)  I'll try to pull together something meaningful sometime soon.  Until then, adieu!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tip: Showing...History?

Well, history is a tricky thing.  Why?  Except by means of fiction, history is always told.

Now, for the likes of me, history's not all that bad.  I own Tolkien's the Silmarillion as well as other collections of Tolkien's histories.  I love reading them.  However, even for people like me, there is a limit of how much history you can read before passing out.  O_o  Mainly, this is due to the lack of 1) Showing 2) Actual POV 3) and the general factual nature of the plot.

In fantasy and sci-fi (and to a lesser extent, regular fiction) history is usually coupled with prose, making it more interesting.  We eliminate the lack of a POV in history writing, and we tone down the factual stuff.  However, it's still more dense and hard-to-get-through than, say, a battle scene, or a normal dialogue.  And some writers make the mistake of an information dump, one of the writing fallacies I hold to be very, very deadly.

An information dump is where you introduce characters, places, things, ideas, religions, names, etc. in large amounts, clumped together.  It causes confusion in the reader and annoyance, jolting them out of the story.  This is the telling side of history in fiction.

Not good.

So how in the world do we show history?  It's an oxymoron by itself.  And flashbacks aren't always the way to go.  History, specifically in fantasy, needs to be explained.  Who is this guy?  What's this place?  Where is it located?  What happened to exile this person?

And explaining it tends to be telling.  So we need to find a way to do show and explain history at the same way.

One of the popular ways is to have a person in a novel on whom we can dump information. It's a clueless person who has no idea what's going on, and so things need to be explained to them.  In this way, events and places are explained to the reader in a believable way, without 'telling'.  It is very, very useful.

There are other ways, too.  A very simple (and limited) way to 'tell' where someone is without telling is to just spit it out. My readers have no idea where my characters are, so I write this: "The man, staring out over the dry, desolate landscape of the Sunlands, didn't answer for a few moments."  I just told them that they were in the Sunlands, without telling.  If that makes any sense. ;)

Alluding to things in conversation works well too.  I 'told' my readers that three brothers were attempting to regain their father's throne in the first chapter....through their dialogue.  That, in itself, is almost a whole 'nother post, but revealing history through dialogue--or even the telling of a story from one of the characters--is very good for 'showing' history.

Memory is another way to show history (as well as backstory).  One of my characters was from a certain location, and the other character (whom he was speaking with) recalled some memories he had of that place.

What kinds of showing do you find helpful when revealing history?  Or are you not much of a history person?

Until next time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tip: Beginning a Novel

Yesterday I began another novel.

Don't panic.  Hold your horses.  Yes, I'm still rewriting The Book of Shaldu--no worry there.  I'm not giving up.  I have a stubbornness disorder, remember?

My new novel is called 'Revolution', a highly allegorical tale about three brothers who attempt to spark a revolution to regain their father's throne.  But the allegory is a secret.  See if you can find it.

Now, the plan is this: for every one thousand (1,000) words I write in Revolution, I will rewrite five hundred (500) words in The Book of Shaldu.  I've already started: yesterday I wrote 1,200 words in Revolution, and went on to rewrite 600 words in TBOS.

In this way, I have an incentive to rewrite in TBOS.  Why?  'Cause I am utterly addicted to writing, and I'm not utterly addicted to REwriting.  Haha.   So far, the arrangement has been working in a fantastic manner.  I love writing again.

Now, to business.

What do you want to find in the beginning of a novel?  What do you need to do?  How should you write it?

You've probably heard before that you need to grip your reader for the first page.  I believe someone once said (for the life of me I cannot remember who it was) that you need to "grab your reader by the throat and never let go."

What does this look like?

Obviously, in thrillers and such, you grab them with a line like "Joey McBurphy was about to die--by train."   You want to interest them and make them ask questions.  Like Krawg said (in The Ale Boy's Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet), "Questions are the life of the story."  The more your reader questions, the more they will want to read.  Why was Joey about to die?  How does one even die by train?  Why does he have such a ridiculous name?

However, it is not only the plot that will grab a reader--it's the way you write the plot.  Someone once said (another guy I can't remember) "There are no boring subjects: only boring writers."  There can be books with a terrible plot, so cliche you could choke--and yet, the writing is captivating.  With such writers, you could read whatever you want by them in any subject--with such writers, you read whatever they right just to get another taste of that fantastic writing style.

This, more than a thriller hook, is what I aim for in my novels.  Take a look at the first paragraph of 'Revolution':

"The night sky yawned high above the earth, and the moon hid behind its shadow. The moon was new: there would be no light tonight."

By the way, random note: I've fallen in love with description.  I took an experiment in Revolution and discovered that I love writing creative description.  Haha.

While the writing is mysterious enough to provoke attention, I was taking the 'captivating writing, not captivating plot' approach.  This novel has an interesting and rather unique plot, yes, but instead of writing a thriller hook, I took a chance and wrote a descriptive hook.

Perhaps readers will like this, perhaps they won't.  But I've discovered that I enjoy taking my time to describe and unravel the plot.  This novel will never be a NaNoWriMo novel, for that reason, and I refuse to write it in that fashion.  I write slowly, but surely, in Revolution.

And perhaps they'll be captivated by the way I write.  I hope so.

In celebration of the start of a new novel (which is always a breathtaking experience, a flood, a deluge of new ideas and styles, aye?), I shall share a bit of my first chapter in 'Revolution': Conspiracy in the Dark.

The night sky yawned high above the earth, and the moon hid behind its shadow. The moon was new: there would be no light tonight.

Forest creatures burrowed deep into their various nests and sleeping places, and the owls glided across the dark sky every once in a while, restless. A second or two passed in silence, until the scurry of a mouse rustled the grass.

The stars shone coldly above the wild landscape of firs, oaks, and a motley band of other trees struggling for room. The creatures settled, and silence again covered the trees and the underbrush, free from the stirrings of beast and man. But not everything was silent. The woods spoke to one another beneath the black sky, whispering with their leaves and murmuring amongst themselves. A change, a shift in the sky spoke to them volumes, and the news made their twigs shift in astonishment. They shuddered, and the leaves stirred; whether in excitement or in fear, a mere mortal could not tell.

A loud rustle of leaves erupted from the forest, and the trees froze, as if taking a deep breath. A man's shape was seen, covered in a dark cloak of green, dwarfed by the giants of the forest.

No, it is not one man, but three, moving as one. All are cloaked in the same manner, hoods drawn loosely over their heads. The trees shifted in the wind, moving out of their way.

Up they climbed, atop an expansive hill that towered over the rest of the forest, rising above it like a dark mountain. They vanished into a thicket that stood there, a tangled array of vines and small trees. Weaving through the underbrush as if they had done so a thousand times, the three men halted in the center. There, the thicket opened up slightly and yawned upward, creating a natural chamber that hid the stars' gaze with a tangle of branches.

A glass lamp, holding a cupped, wavering flame, was lit. It shone into the darkness and sent the shadows of the trees dancing at every flicker. The men, hanging the lamp on a nearby tree limb, sat down on the grass and stared at one another for the longest time.

The curious trees bent over the light, and gazed seriously into the faces of the men, but the three were absorbed in silence. An owl lighted upon a nearby branch, and cocked his head.

The features of the three men, startlingly alike, were half-shadowed by the lamplight cast down upon their gathering.

At last, one of them spoke aloud, breaking the silence that was set upon the woodlands. "It has been a long time, my brothers."


(This or any portion from any of my works of writing may NOT be copied or reproduced in any manner.)

Critique it to your heart's delight, readers. I need some feedback. What did you like about it? What did you not like? What should I change?

Tell me what you think.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: The Ale Boy's Feast

The king is missing.

His people are trapped as the woods turn deadly.
Underground, the boy called Rescue has found an escape.

Hopes are failing across The Expanse. The forests, once beautiful, are now haunted and bloodthirsty. House Abascar's persecuted people risk their lives to journey through those predatory trees. They seek a mythic city - Abascar's last, best hope for refuge - where they might find the source of Auralia's colors.

They journey without their king. During a calamitous attempt to rescue some of his subjects from slavery, Cal-raven vanished.

But his helper, the ale boy, falling through a crack in the earth, has discovered a slender thread of hope in the dark. He will dare to lead a desperate company up the secret river.

Meanwhile, with a dragon's help, the wandering mage Scharr ben Fray is uncovering history's biggest lie - a deception that only a miracle can repair.

Time is running out for all those entangled in The Auralia Thread. But hope and miracles flicker wherever Auralia’s colors are found. [From the back cover]

Everything has led up to this point.  The ultimate struggle to establish New Abascar will succeed or it will fail, but not without exacting a heavy price.

And yet, there is something missing.  What of the Keeper?  Cal-raven has lost his inspiration, his vision, and as the real saga of Tammos Raak is unveiled, the faith of the king is ready to fall.

Friends will become enemies.  Enemies will become reconciled.  And when the Ale Boy's feast of New Abascar comes, all is changed, and the world teeters on the edge of destruction...and the ale boy prepares to change history.

The Ale Boy's Feast is a fantastic, heartrending journey across The Expanse, from the depths to the heights.

In The Ale Boy's Feast, Overstreet attempts to show the glory of creation, and the Maker it reflects.  Through The Ale Boy's Feast, I glimpsed the world beyond the Expanse of fantastic colors and threads.

Overstreet's writing, like always, is darkly poetic and colorful, his characters complicated.  He weaves a strong tapestry of fear, hope, and all of the colors of the Expanse in the final installment of the Auralia thread.  Every thread converges into a climactic ending, satisfying, yet leaving you thirsting for more.

Some questions seem like they will never be answered.  But the places they point to are greater than you can imagine.  Like Krawg said, "Questions are the life of the story."

And I have to agree with him there.  Highly recommended.  Rated 9.2 out of 10 stars.

If you wouldn't mind taking a quick second, you can rate my review here.

Go ye therefore, and read this book.

(This book was provided for me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blogoversary & Epic Eloquence

Today my blog is one year old.

One year ago, I created this blog, christened it Teenage Writer, and began to blog.

Things have changed vastly.  Just read my first post; enormously different than what Teenage Writer has become today.  So much has happened.  Writing.  Books.  NaNoWriMo.  The Underground.  Elves.  More writing.  It's crazy.  So much has changed in one year.  I now have friends more inseparable than those in real life; I know writers so much better than what I ever hope to be; I have read amazing books of Christian fantasy; and God has revealed His purpose to me as His wordsmith.

So, in celebration, I shall post a video of one of my favorite characters of all time.  

One thing I admit I value highly (as epicness) in old books is the eloquence of the characters.  Speeches reminiscent of Aragorn and King Theoden.  Quotable quotes.  The stuff you highlight and shout at the sky.

Take a look at this video.  Some of the best eloquence I've seen--I love Cyrano de Bergerac.  If you guys want to read the play, it's available free online (at least on a Kindle app).  [Warning: Cyrano does use the A word once, just so you know.  Otherwise, this is clean.]

"A great nose indicates a great man." ~Cyrano de Bergerac.

This guy is my Facebook profile picture.  Haha.

Happy blogoversary everyone!  What do you guys remember about the crazy journey this blog has taken?  What was the most memorable moment, for you?  When did you start reading this blog?