Tag Archives: Mari

New Places to Follow Me!

Hey everyone! Just a quick status update, I suppose, but I thought this stuff was important.

  • There’s now a Facebook page! That’s right, I’m now on Facebook in a capacity of being easily found. The page will list various status updates on different novels, depending on where they are at in the development stage, and will even occasionally give a head’s up to an e-book being free for a short time. The link is now permanently on the website, just scroll down and you’ll find it.
  • I’m now on Goodreads (as an author, not just a reader)! So if you want to add my e-books to your bookshelf, now you can! Just search for the title, the ASIN, or my name, and they should pop right up.

On more of a writing note, Bandit’s Escape is currently in the revision processes with a professor, and at the same time we’re trying to get Bandit’s Chance off the ground. My professor suggested (and I agreed) with getting all four books written and then trying to market it. Ideally, I should have a rough draft (very rough draft) of the fourth book and semi-finalized drafts of the first three in December 2014, and that will be the point where I start querying it out. It’s a year later than I was planning, but I’ll also be ready to move on to another project that point, I’m sure, so maybe it’s for the best that I wait till I have all four roughly done before I send it off to strange people.

And with those announcements, I leave you all in peace until Thursday, when there will be another review ready for you.


Writing: Theme

After harping on the same series for three blog posts in a row, of course I’m going to pick on theme for a little while.

English professors and teachers really harp on themes with their students. As a writer, I can say any theme anything of mine ever has is about 99.9% of the time pure accident. I can see them if I read the stories as an English major,  but as a writer, they aren’t my focus. So why do teachers emphasis theme so much in their courses?

I think some of the problem is a confusion between what is a theme and what is a message. There are a limited number of themes, mostly because they have to be so general. Common ones (i.e. off the top of my head) are coming of age, handling–or in some cases, not handling–grief, discrimination or prejudice of some sort.. See how vague these are? Many can be applied to almost any story. English people can argue the importance of them all they like. I honestly find them pointless as hell and usually meaningless to a reader. Instead, they’ve become terms for critics and book jacket summary writers to throw around like purple prose. It’s stopped being helpful for finding books we like since every time a book that claims to have one of these themes becomes popular, suddenly everything on the shelf has the exact same theme.

The book (or series) message is a little more complicated and sometimes hard to pin down. Some writers claim their books have no message, meant to be purely entertaining reads. Personally, I find those books boring or that there is a message, the writer just didn’t want to admit to it. A message doesn’t have to be some big, deep monster of a thing that’s meant to change the way people think. It could be something simple, like Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small series. The first book’s message is treating everyone fairly, and standing up to bullies. Each book has a similar message, even with a bunch of themes tacked on.

The difference between a theme and a message is its specifity, at least for me. If it’s some unconcrete thing that is never really mentioned at all in the text, then it’s a theme and pointless. But if it is mentioned in the text, and the writer is far more obviously trying to convey it to their audience, to give them something to take home at the end of the day, then it’s a message. Again, it could be something really simple.

In my own work, I’m currently revising Mari’s first book, Bandit’s Escape, and outlining the second book, Bandit’s Chance. I can see themes of coming of age, discrimination, feminism, and family being applied to these books without my input, plus lord knows what else I didn’t think of. But the overall message of this series is about out-growing a childhood home, and having to forge a path to find a new one, even in the face of adversity and controversy. I’m also joining the movement to prove female heroes can be strong without sacrificing their femininity or resorting to rape plots. The latter are my biggest pet peeve. It’s becoming a little too common for me. I’m not saying I’ll never use them, but I definitely want to avoid them if at all possible.

More than theme, I think the writer’s message should be looked at, both what they intended and what they actually did write. Themes are cookie-cutter and too general of a lense to reflect on writing, not to mention constantly mixing with message. Focusing on message is better for judging the writer’s intent, and what the point of the book is.

Random Update and What’s Ahead

I’m alive, I promise. I’m just swamped in semester tidings and work and yes. I shall update properly in two weeks. (Feel free to whack me if I don’t.)

As some sort of peace offering, I give you all my projects in the order I am working on them. (Provided editors pick them up, of course.) All titles are semi-tentative.

Shadow Day Quartet
Bandit’s Escape
Bandit’s Chance
Bandit’s Doubt
Bandit’s Return

(Somewhere in between quartet books, there might be a non-fiction book about a princess. Just saying.)

Shadow Hawk
(stand alone)

Vows of Courage Trilogy
Forged by Fear
Born by Blood
Proven by Pain

In the Spirit of
(stand alone)

White Hawk Trilogy
Chains of Illusion
Chains of Challenge
Chains of Lineage

Mari is a GO!!!!! (And I’m uber busy o_o)

Currently Working On:
Commission References
Eresith World Building

Okay, I think I’ve gotten school/work/assistantship/homework balanced out at last. Or at least, I HOPE I do. If not, I might be in trouble, but hey, at least stuff is still getting done, right? I may have flaked on getting the blog updated last week in all of the crazy (SO MUCH CRAZY, thank you bookstore), but I did get some serious work done this week. What, you may be asking, did I get done?

I figured out that Mari’s story is a quartet. Yep. It’s official. And I’ve got the main protagonists AND antagonists for all four books figured out, the main sidekicks figured out, and the overarching plot questions for both the series AND each of the books. I even know that it’s set before Sal’s series, because I want to introduce Sal’s mom as a character first and be slightly evil and all that fun stuff.

Yay actually getting some stuff done this week! I also finished the actual WRITING part of the commissions, so now I just need to play around in Photoshop and get about six reference pics done, and I’m all set for when noble opens commissions again. Those will probably happen at least partially tonight (I have D&D with my elven warmage Yun, but it’s the first session so there’s going to be times when I’m not involved). For those who are interested, I’ve half-decided that (if Amazon lets me) I’m going to do a print version of the anthology, with inserts of the cover art for each story, except the prequel that gets no cover art because it’s unique to the anthology anyway. *nodnod* I just want a printed copy to sit on the bookshelf and go, “SEE! SEE! I’m PUBLISHED!”

…..I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT MARI! 😀 You have no idea, guys… Her story is really fresh in my head, so it’s going to be amazing. I’m going to be writing the bulk of the first book next semester for Writing the Novel (if it’s offered) and finishing it over the summer so that this time next year, I’m editing it for publication. It might even be ready for me to be sending out to agents and publishing houses around Christmas, isn’t that exciting? I’m not certain if I want to try and do two series running at the same time though, so I might sit on my vampire-trilogy/quartet (yes, I again am not certain which one it is, though I’m half-certain this one is a trilogy) until I graduate and have more time to plan a vacation to New Orleans, Seattle, and NYC (the locations the books are set in). That means that the second book in Mari’s quartet (which really needs a) a series name and b) titles for the books) will be my graduate project. This might be for the best anyway… I might make the vampire series my, “Okay, I am SICK of Eresith,” series to go to. Though I also have my Shadowhawk story for that, so hmm, we’ll just have to see.