There are several ways to dig into your subject in order to find what you need to polish the little details that bring realism to your writing:
#1. One of my favorites is to read other books! In doing so, make sure you do not get so lost in them that you forget to write your own. This can also be a concern with #2.
#2. The Internet. My Very good friend,
has made it possible for me to tramp through the Amazonian Rainforest, plunge into the depths of the Corycian Cave on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, explore traditional homes of the Joseon period in Korea and creep about the ruins of a mysterious castle in Ireland. I’ve learned about obscure dialects, archaic religions and fantastic prophecies of the future of mankind. All of this has been necessary to create a background of veracity for my writing. Give your reader a tour of Agra, taste exotic foods in a village market, smell the blooms of a distant island. Let them hear the Bells of Notre Dame ring out and feel the sting of an Arctic blizzard! But makes sure the details are correct. (I look those things up, AND have tried some of the recipes!)
#3. Travel. If you can, making a visit to the location(s) where your novel is set can help by allowing the reader to connect to something familiar. We’ve all seen the skyline of New York, and who doesn’t recognize the Great Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower? Giving a clear description of a place setting allows the reader to anchor themselves, and hopefully, overlook the fact that you have a fairy, dragon or witch gallivanting about. No time or money to travel? No problem! See #2!
#4. People Watch. Use little quirks you observe, quaint turns of speech, facial expressions, tics, twitches, unique laughs… there’s no end to it! Characterization is EVERYTHING. Give your readers genuine characters they can love, hate, scold, empathize with — as long as they engage with the people you create, you’re doing it right. If your ancient, teen-aged appearing, shape-shifting alien, mind-reading heroine can make a basic connection in some way that makes her seem more human, you’ve won half the battle. Put her in an authentic setting (or one with authentic nuances), give her relatable emotions and conflict and the result will be a story that allows rationality to take a back seat and disbelief will be forgotten.
All that will be left is your wonderful tale.
I have been fortunate to meet and speak with so many talented author in recent weeks. May of them are publishing independently, which means getting the word out to readers is their sole responsibility. Having just gone through this process myself, I understand how daunting and exhausting a task this can be! I was fortunate enough to have a lot of help with my Book Launch Event, but the job of promoting our work never stops.
In an effort to help other authors and readers to connect, I’ve decided to do an occasional post I’m calling Friday Feature. On these pages, you’ll find information on books just coming into the market, and the authors who have lovingly slaved over them to bring us a GREAT READ! Are there hundreds, maybe thousand of sites that do just this? Yes, so I will only be selecting a few books now and again.
I hope you find your new favorite author on these pages. (Other than myself, of course!)
LRR Smith received her degree in Educational Studies from WGU. She resides in South Carolina and has been married for nearly fourteen years. She enjoys being a mother to three children, two dogs, a cat, and a ball python. In her limited spare time she is up late writing. She is currently co-writing an urban fantasy novel. You can often find her striking a yoga pose, reading, or spending time with her family. Mostly, she’s at home writing up lesson plans and expecting her Hogwarts acceptance letter any day.
Lin is also a book reviewer. You can find her on her website here.
I was lucky enough to meet Lin at the South Carolina India Author Event.Recently, she was kind enough to interview me for her blog. If you want to know my dirty little secrets, you can find them here.
Pandora’s box is an artifact in Greek mythology, taken from the myth of Pandora’s creation in Hesiod’s Works and Days. The “box” was actually a large jar given to Pandora, which contained all the evils of the world. Pandora opened the jar and all the evils flew out, leaving only “Hope” inside once she had closed it again.
Today the phrase “to open Pandora’s box” means to perform an action that may seem small or innocent, but that turns out to have severely detrimental and far-reaching negative consequences. The action cannot be reversed.
The original Greek word was ‘pithos’, which is a large jar, sometimes as large as a small person (Diogenes of Sinope was said to have slept in one). It was used for storage of wine, oil, grain or other provisions, or, ritually, as a container for a human body for burying. In the case of Pandora, this jar may have been made of clay for use as storage as in the usual sense, or of metal, such as bronze, as an unbreakable prison. Remember Marion in the jar in Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark?
The mis-translation of pithos is usually attributed to the 16th century humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam who translated Hesiod’s tale of Pandora into Latin. Erasmus rendered pithos as the Greek pyxis, meaning “box”. The phrase “Pandora’s box” has endured ever since. This misconception was further reinforced by Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting Pandora.
I took the “Jar” concept a little further. You can read about it in the tension-filled climax of Seven Lamps!
Authors and Spotlights and Contests, OH MY!
The Seven Lamps Were Burning Book Launch Event on Facebook is LIVE! We’ve been enjoying author take-overs by the likes of Bettie Williams, Heidi Angell and Mara Reitsma. Book reviewer extraordinaire, Lin Ryals Smith did a stint in the spotlight as well. Several authors are doing give-aways, so be quick to respond! There are so many terrific sounding books being showcased, I know my amazon wallet is going to go bust! There have been some interesting polls as well. It’s always fun to see if you have something in common with other readers 🙂
If you’re on Facebook and want to join the festivities, it’s easy. All you have to do is “Like” the CloudwalkerSeries and receive an invitation. If you’re an author or a reader, you can also request to TAKE OVER MY EVENT for an hour!
So come on down and enjoy the fun, and watch for the announcement that Seven Lamps is available!
*DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!*
Well, now, are y’all as excited as I have been about the cover to Seven Lamps Were Burning? It’s been a crazy and emotionally exhausting process, but I must say I’m truly happy with the results. I even had a little fun creating “extra” covers that won’t be used, well, because I could and it allowed me to use some of the many images I liked but decided against for the final cover choice.
A few of those images were declined because I was unable to get permission to use them. Copyright infringement fines are not on my list of “things I want for Christmas” this year. I’ve tried to be very careful where the official cover is concerned, but I don’t think there will be a problem showing y’all some of the pictures in a non-commercial environment, so I will be posting some of them later — with the proper accreditation included where possible. Check back on the Gallery link in a week or two for some nifty image and tidbits about how they would have fit into Seven Lamps.
They say a good cover is one of the most important factors in choosing a book. I have to agree. While I most often will read the synopsis or blurbs, it’s often the cover that catches my eye in the first place. Is it dark and broody? Bright and cheerful? Hopefully, the cover gives a good idea of what’s inside.
You ready? I know I am. So without further ado, I present to you, THE OFFICIAL COVER FOR SEVEN LAMPS WERE BURNING!
Well, what do you think? Hmmm… Tell you what… Why don’t you vote in the comments (click the link up top). I haven’t uploaded it yet. Who knows, your vote may change my mind!