Welcome to the Dragon's Pen, the blog of an aspiring kiwi author ... chatting about reading, writing, querying and publishing

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You think you're Finished ... and then Reality Bites

I had planned to start writing book two today, but some feed back I got at our critique group on Tuesday night got me thinking.

Apparently hints about my villain's motivations weren't stressed enough in the story. Drostan is coming across like an atypical bad guy, too brutal with out any redeeming human qualities.

Sigh and groan and tear at my hair.

No one wants to be accused of creating a one dimensional villain!
My villain isn't really worse than any other medieval warlord out of the pages of our own history - they did monstrous things at times but they also had families, loves and flaws.

I have failed to show the other facets of Drostan's personality. After all the reader can only know of him what I, the writer, chose to reveal!

I might know what makes him tick - what motivates him, what inspires him, what he fears and what he dreams for himself and the people he loves - but that doesn't much help the reader if I don't show any of it.

Sure, he is the conqueror and a murderer, but that's not the sum of who he is. He is more than that. He is a man, with human desires and weaknesses. I need to stress these more ... and I can't wait until the second book to do it.

I don't need the reader to like my villain, but I want them to understand what motivates him ... and maybe even pity him.

So today, instead of beginning work on book two, I've started writing a short series of small chapters that will allow us to spend more time with Drostan, for better or worse.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Writing Withdrawal

I've had a few weeks of rest from writing as a reward for finishing Tremorgan's Gift. I was also hoping that during this interlude my Muse might reveal a little more of book two, giving me a few more clues to how the story should evolve before I begin writing.

I've been awarded a few insights, but not as much of the story I was hoping for. I know the general arch of the story and a few stepping stones along the way, perhaps it is enough...

I've been arguing (silently) with myself about whether or not I should start tapping away at the keys regardless. Maybe I should start with what I've got and trust the rest will come in time. But then, am I going to end up writing a lot of stuff that is simply going to have to be scrapped in the end?

Over the last few days my restlessness has been growing. I can't settle to anything. I start reading, making breakfast, doing dishes or washing and get distracted.

It occurred me today, I have Writing Withdrawal.

I need to write!

It's a compulsion. I have to write. I have to create.

My world isn't spinning along it's correct orbit if I'm not writing.

So, regardless of whether I think I'm ready or not I'm going to start plotting and writing book two this week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Query Breakdown

I've been working on my query letter on and off for quite a few months. It's pretty tight now after lots of feedback and I'm reasonable happy with it. Having said that though I never over look a bit of query advice. Who knows what sort of gems one might glean!

I discovered this post by the author Shawn Klomparens over at Writer Unboxed today. He offers some awesome advice on writing kick ass query letters and breaks down one of his own to show us the process and over advice at each point.

Honestly, if you are querying for going to be in the near future, check this out!

I'll definitely be checking my own against this advice.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blood Lines Launched!

The lovely T K Roxborogh launched her latest YA historical novel Blood Lines this evening at the Dunedin Public Library.

Blood Lines is the second book in a trilogy and carries on the story of Fleance (the son of Banquo, of Shakespearean fame).

Fleance is now the new King of Scotland, the ruler of a divided nation. He must marry a woman from a royal bloodline, but can he forget his first love? Before he can wed, the woman he plans to marry is abducted. His precarious rule becomes even more dangerous and bloody civil war seems inevitable.

The first book in the series, Banquo's Son, came out a year ago and went on to win and be nominated for a number of literary awards.

It was an enjoyable evening with many fans chatting and laughing as they clambered to buy the new book and get it signed by T K (myself among them).

I'm really looking forward to reading this latest installment.

As an added bonus T K has agreed to be my first interviewee at the blog. So, over the next few weeks I'll be posting interview exerts here. I'll be talking to her about her writing, particularly about this trilogy, and her experiences in the world of publishing.

I'm still compling my questions so if you have any questions you'd like me to ask her post them in the comments below. I'm open to your suggestions...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Play Time

Last night a few friends and I had the honour of attending the St Clair Women's Club to watch them stage "Between the Pages of our Childhood," a play written by myself and my good friend Sue.

Earlier this year the group approached me and asked if we would script another play for them since they'd enjoyed the one were wrote late year so much.

We were honoured ... and a little daunted; this years theme was Libraries and Archives! This year the Dunedin Library celebrated the centenary of the Children's library. This is what had inspired their theme and this is what we latched on to.

We brain stormed for a couple of months before we sat down and wrote the play. In "Between the Pages of our Childhood" the Library (an old woman) interacts with a series of characters from some of the best loved literature of our childhoods, such as Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland and Tom Sawyer.

Thankfully they liked it!

They had heaps of fun performing the play and it was enjoyable (though surreal) experience watching them bring the it to life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Five Minutes of Fame ... sort of

Today I'm world famous in Dunedin ... if anyone happens to notice my photo in the local rag.

"The Star" came out today with a small article about the Children's Story writing competition our writer's group held recently, in which I won the trophy for my YA fantasy story. My friend Chris was awarded both the second and third places.

It's weird thing seeing oneself and one's name in a newspaper for the first time. It feels sort of surreal as if it isn't me, but rather the picture of someone else who happens to looks remarkably like me...

Still five minutes of fame in a small time local newspaper in nothing to be sneezed at, eh? :D

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Makeover

The blog has had a make over!

The Dragon's Pen has been around for a wee while now so I thought it might be about time for a change. Something fresh and new, but still very Dragony.

I hope the lighter colours will be a little easier your eyes.

I'm still playing with things here, so this might not be the final look.

What you think? Out of five?
1 being AWFUL and 5 being AWESOME
How do you rate the new look?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Yes, I'm relaxing. I haven't written a word since I finished editing my MS. Instead I've given myself permission to chill and just let book number two brew quietly on the back burner.

I'm enjoying the break and spending time curled up with a good book. The muse is kicking in again and the daydreams have begun. As weird as it may sound, dreams are a really important step in my writing process. Dreaming helps me mold and build the scenes in my head, like mini movies, before I commit them to the computer screen. Dreams are fluid, unsubstantial things and the perfect set scape for the characters of my story to guide and show me their stories.

The feed back I'm getting from my beta readers about Tremorgan's Gift is good thus far. Sure there are things that need to be tweaked, but the story is solid and compelling, apparently. Which is awesome news! One of my beta readers is a 17 year old male and the fact that he loved it, in spite of the MC being a girl, is really, really, really encouraging. So I'm buzzing and can't wait to get the critiques back and make the necessary changes.