Friday, September 4, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 92

It was a surprisingly busy week for me, so my time to write dwindled to only a few minutes here and there. I understand life gets in the way of writing sometimes, but I look at the calendar and all I can see are rapidly approaching (self-imposed) deadlines.  I've already given up hope that I might actually make them and have moved on to just-how-badly-am-I-going-to-miss-them mode.

And as if I don't have enough on my plate, I find myself actually considering entering the Insecure Writer's Support Group Anthology Competition.  I've never written a short story before, and I haven't finished either of my regular length novels yet, so I can only assume I'm going insane.

Or maybe writing is slowly sapping away all my wisdom points.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links

ChemistKen


Opinion: What’s the point of an author website?

How I Hit #1 on Wattpad If you're at all interested in finding out how Wattpad might be useful to you, check out this link

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Distribution Plan? Part One

How to Typeset a Novel in Microsoft Word

Your Book-Signing Cheat Sheet (or: How To Stay Sane While Everyone Seems To Ignore You)

Reviewing a Friend’s Book on Amazon?

When Should You Release a New Book?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Insecure Writer and Character Troubles



Today is September's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.


Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because of my characters.


Some writers need to know their characters inside and out before they begin writing, but that's not how it works for me. I’m a plot-first kind of guy, which means I’d rather tailor my characters to fit the plot then tailor the plot to fit the characters. So my characters start out as blank slates, their personalities and traits slowly coming to me over the course of the story as I learn which attributes would best accentuate the plot.

But even when I have my characters all figured out, I apparently have a problem portraying them. I received feedback from one of my critique partners this past week, and the thing that surprised me most was how much he disliked one of my main characters. Even though I was trying to portray the character as whimsical and funny, my CP thought the character was mean and a little creepy. Yikes!

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time one of my readers has come back with a perception of my character that was completely opposite of what I intended, and it's beginning to worry me. Part of the problem may be that I don't add enough internal thoughts to help guide the reader. Maybe it has to do with my whimsical writing style. Perhaps I just have no clue what I'm doing.

The very first time a CP didn't like my character (many years ago), I was able to fix the problem by changing only a single word. These days, I think it's going to take more work than that.

Has anyone ever misunderstood one of your characters?

ChemistKen

Friday, August 28, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 91


The family and I flew down to Missouri this week to visit my mom, and we stopped in St. Louis to take the tram up to the top of the Arch.  It's a pretty amazing view up there, but what really gets me is how thin and narrow the arch feels when you're at the top looking down.  You get the feeling any sort of strong breeze might be enough to tip it over.  Shudders.

Hope you all had an exciting week too.  Enjoy the links.

ChemistKen



Fueling the Muse—How to Mentally Prepare for “The Novel”

How Writers Can Seek and Destroy Banal and Obvious Dialog

Cheap Villain Killin’

Kill Your Darlings—Unless You Can Give Them Goals

Book Covers – Speaking the Language of Color

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter: An Etiquette Lesson

How to Use Twitter to Find and Engage Book Reviewers



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review of The Legacy Human

To celebrate the release of The Duality Bridge by Susan Kaye Quinn, I'm reviewing The Legacy Human, the first book in the Singularity Series.  Information for both books is given after the review, along with a Rafflecopter giveaway.

 First, let's take a look at the book blurb:

What would you give to live forever?


Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to be become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.






            The Review        My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Seventeen-year-old Eli is a Legacy human, the descendants of people who chose not to have their minds transferred into the vastly superior manufactured bodies of the Ascenders nearly a hundred years ago. While the Ascenders live the good life, Legacies are left to scratch out meager existences.  Eli desperately wants to become an Ascender, in part because it will mean his dying mother will be healed of her deadly disease, but the only way he can ascend is if he wins the creative Olympics using his talent of painting.

Unfortunately for Eli, winning the Olympics is the easy part.  There are powerful forces at work of which he knows nothing, and he'll need to navigate them correctly if he wants to survive.

I found the book to be a great read.  The story moves quickly, with few slow spots.  Susan does a great job of keeping us in Eli's head and letting us know exactly what he's feeling at all times.

Author Dave Farland says that one of the most important things a reader needs to see in a story is what he calls "competency," the feeling that the reader is in the hands of a writer who knows what they're doing, and Susan has that quality in spades.  I've read quite a few of her books and every time, I'm struck by the feeling she's been writing stories her entire life.

Well done, Susan.

Oh, did I mention I’m already reading the sequel?


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Singularity 2




Legacy Human Cover
The Legacy Human by Susan Kay Quinn What would you give to live forever? Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

The Legacy Human is the first in Susan Kaye Quinn’s new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.

Praise for The Legacy Human “This book is Hunger Games (without the violence or controversy) meets Divergent.” “This story is so intense I felt I couldn’t get a proper breath.” “Science fiction with philosophical depth!”


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Duality Bridge
The Duality Bridge What does it mean to be human? Elijah Brighton is the face of the Human Resistance Movement. He’s the Olympic-level painter who refused an offer of immortality from the ascenders—the human/machine hybrids who run the world—in solidarity with the legacy humans who will never get a chance to live forever. Too bad it’s all a complicated web of lies. Worse, Eli’s not even entirely human. Few know about the ascenders’ genetic experiments that left him… different. Fewer know about the unearthly fugue state that creates his transcendent art—as well as a bridge that lets him speak to the dead. But the Resistance is the one place he can hide from the ascender who knows everything the fugue can do. Because if Marcus finds him, he’ll either use Eli for his own nefarious purposes… or destroy him once and for all. The Duality Bridge is the second book in the Singularity series and the sequel to The Legacy Human. This thrilling new young adult science fiction series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world.


Susan  Author Susan Kay Quinn Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the Singularity Series, the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, and the Debt Collector serial, as well as other speculative fiction novels and short stories. Her work has appeared in the Synchronic anthology, the Telepath Chronicles, the AI Chronicles, and has been optioned for Virtual Reality by Immersive Entertainment. Former rocket scientist, now she invents mind powers, dabbles in steampunk, and dreams of the Singularity. Mostly she sits around in her PJs in awe that she gets to write full time.










legacy human



$25 Blog Tour giveaway    $25 Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon eGift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/6/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com eGift Card or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.

Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why "The Legacy Human" Reminds Me Of Writing

I’m currently reading The Legacy Human, by Susan Kaye Quinn. It’s a gripping story about a young man who plans to use his artistic ability to win a competition, a competition where the winner will have his consciousness inserted into a synthetic body that will allow him to join the other Ascenders and live forever. The trouble is, his best paintings only occur when he’s in a fugue state, a sort of out-of-body experience that brings out the best of his abilities, and he can’t control when the fugue comes and goes. As I said, an excellent story you might want to check out. If you’re interested, I’ll be posting a review of it next week.

But Susan’s story got me to thinking. Even though the fugue state in the book was associated with painting, it seems to me it’s a perfect analogy for writing. Most of the time, we writers sit in front of the computer (or pad of paper) and force ourselves to write, regardless of whether the muse is willing or not, hoping against hope we will slip into the writer’s version of the fictive dream where everything just seems to come together.

I slipped into one of those states this morning while sitting in bed, still half asleep*. I wasn’t trying to do this; it just happened on its own. Suddenly I found my mind sliding back to one of the earlier chapters in my story and running through it as if I were watching a movie. The dialogue, the internal thoughts, the descriptions—they just appeared in my head as if someone was reading them to me. Someone who knew what they were doing. Needless to say, I rushed to the computer and began typing everything down before the feeling evaporated.

It’s a wondrous feeling when you’re experiencing it, and incredibly exasperating when you’re not. Considering all the people in the world who want to be writers, if someone were to ever invent a way to trigger that mental state on command, I suspect they’d make a fortune.

 I’d buy it in a second.


How about you? Have you found the secret to entering the fictive writer’s dream?


*I know my kids are dreading the return of school, and I feel for them, but the sooner school starts, the sooner they’ll go to bed earlier, which means the earlier I can get to bed too. I’m definitely not a morning person, even if it is the time when the fictive dreams come to me most often.

ChemistKen


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