Tag Archives: authors

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksAs we enter the holiday season, I wish you and your family fun, frivolity and joy. If you have a spare moment, I have a list of ten articles that might tickle your fancy. Most are general writing articles, but there are a few odd ones that I hope you’ll appreciate too. The fly over of old London and the article about an selectric typewriter are personal favorites.

HARUKI MURAKAMI: THE MOMENT I BECAME A NOVELIST

The Off-Road Vehicle Mind vs. the Paved Story Plan

10 Blog Writing Tips for Authors

Prize-Winning Animation Lets You Fly Through 17th Century London

Hope and the Artist

Five Ways to Discover Your Unique Voice

Why Are Old Women Often The Face Of Evil In Fairy Tales And Folklore?

4 Delightful Editing Tips to Make Your Words Dazzle and Dance

Kyle’s IBM Selectric Composer – an Heroic tale of desire fulfilled!

Catherine Ryan Hyde on Rejection: Does Your Rejected Work Need a Rewrite?

Book Review: The Mirror of Her Dreams

Book Name: The Mirror of Her Dreams
Author: Stephan R. Donaldson
First Published: 1986

Stephen R. Donaldson was born in 1947. He spent much of his youth in India due to his father’s work as an orthopedic surgeon in that country. He attended the Kodaikanal International School. Later, he would gain a bachelor’s degree from The College of Wooster and a Master’s from Kent State. He currently lives in New Mexico.

Donaldson is best known for his long-running series The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a fantasy about a man who suffered from leprosy and was called to an alternate world to save it. His stories are characterized by a sense of moral bleakness, complex psychological reasoning, and a fondness for arcane vocabulary. Mordant’s Need is a two-part series, a long novel that was broken up into two parts, and features a unique magic system and court intrigue that rivals the “Game of Thrones”.

The author’s stories show a wide range of influences, such as the operas of Richard Wagner, Mervyn Peake, C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien. The largest inspiration for The Mirror of Her Dreams must come from Roger Zelazny’s Amber novels, of which the author is known to be a big fan.

“The story of Terisa and Geraden began very much like a fable. She was a princess in a high tower. He was a hero come to rescue her. She was the only daughter of wealth and power. He was the seventh son of the lord of the seventh Care. She was beautiful from the auburn hair that crowned her head to the tips of her white toes. He was handsome and courageous. She was held prisoner by enchantment. He was a fearless breaker of enchantments. As in all the fables, they were made for each other.”
― Stephen R. Donaldson, The Mirror of Her Dreams

The Mirror of Her Dreams is the story of Terisa Morgan, a young woman that feels as if she is fading from existence and has doubts that she is real. To help her establish her own reality, she lines all the walls of her apartment with mirrors. By seeing her reflection, she assures herself that she is alive.

One night, Terisa has a dream where she is hounded by men on horseback. A young man steps in to protect her. The following night, she has a bout of fear that she is fading from the world. To counter this, she sits in front of one of her many mirrors. That is when the man from her dream crashes through the mirror before her. He is Geraden, a bumbling Apt who has failed to become an “Imager” after ten years of study. He comes from a mystical world called Mordant and is in search of a champion to save it. Geraden is convinced that Terisa is that champion, even though the girl is not quite what he was expecting to find. He pleads with her to come with him through the mirror to Mordant and Castle Orison.

Starting as an ordinary shy girl from New York City, Terisa transforms into the center of palace intrigue. The court of Mordant is divided about her. Some believe she is a powerful “Imager” because she was discovered in a room of mirrors and could see her own reflection without going mad. They view Terisa as a potential ally or threat. In Mordant, magic comes from mirrors. The mirrors show only one place and time and no one sees their reflection in them. The powerful “Imagers” use the magical mirrors to see into the future or parallel worlds. The other half of the court is convinced that she is just another mistake of Geraden’s and do not take her seriously.

Terisa must deal with the puppy-dog earnest Geraden, a senile King and his strong-willed daughters, a mad Adept, Geraden’s well-meaning brothers, and the factions of Imager masters that belong to guild known as the “Congery”. The threads of the story twists and turns and little is what it appears in Orison. There is a plot to depose the King, a rogue Imager sends magical creatures to cause destruction in the kingdom. It all is overwhelming to a doubting Terisa who can hardly make a decision of her own due to her debilitating passivity. Can she overcome her inner fears and become the champion of Mordant as her friend Geraden remains firmly convinced?
The Mirror of Her Dreams Book CoverI first read The Mirror of Her Dreams when it first came out in 1986. I blush to say it, but the striking cover of the girl looking into a mirror and a man gazing back at her from the glass caught my eye and intrigued me. I had read Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant books and was pleased to see that he had branched out into a new world.

What struck me first about the book was the unusual heroine, a girl that had been abused by her parents that she was passive enough that it could endanger her, even in our own world much less that of a fantasy realm. I found myself having sympathy for Terisa Morgan, although there were times when I wanted to shake her and tell her to wake up. Women today may have trouble with the passivity of this heroine for she is not a strong female and does tend to lean on the men around her.

The first half of the book does drag due to the long information dumps about Mordant’s past and world building description. I feel that the author might have found another way to convey this information. However, the court intrigues, the constant danger that Trisa and Geraden find themselves in did keep the story interesting enough for me to finish the book and then go on to its sequel. I also enjoyed the mild romance between these two characters.

Where the book shines is in the details of the Imagers and their guild the Congery. The magic system is rather unique, but has a strong basis in previous fantasies, with hints leaning toward Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland or Zelaney’s Prince Corwin of Amber.

There is much to like about this fantasy novel and its sequel, A Man Rides Through. While the first novel is a bit slow, the second is action packed and a very satisfying read. Be warned, The Mirror of Her Dreams ends in a cliffhanger, which at the time was hard on me since the second book did not come out for a year, but now both books are available. You will not have to wait a year to learn the conclusion of this tale as I did! Mordant’s Need has stayed with me down through the years and I view it as a solid classic of the fantasy genre.

Mordant’s Need

The Mirror of Her Dreams (1986)
A Man Rides Through (1987)

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksToday is the finish line for all you fellow Nanowrimo participants. I hope you have reached your 50K word goal and can get your manuscript verified for the win by midnight.

If you have time for only one article, look at the review of Mike Rohde’s “Sketchnotes”. I’m a zentangle sketch artist, as you might have guessed from my scifaiku illustrations on the blog, Mike’s concept of sketchnotes ties in neatly with the doodles I use in my art journals.

Why An Author Should Try Pinterest

So You Want to Write a Book

15 Outstanding Tips for Blog Writers from Popular Bloggers

Positive Thinking for Writers

Writing Steampunk: Plots, Characters, Settings & More

14 Types of Creative Writing

PODCAST: Use Sketchnotes to Deliberately Capture Meaningful Ideas: Interview with Mike Rohde

How to Make Your Hero’s Self-Sacrifice Even More Heartbreaking

How Your Hero’s Past Pain Will Determine His Character Flaws

Writing And Editing Fiction: 7 Things To Fix In Your First Self-Edit

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksGetting my indy published book into libraries or to the chinese marketplace are two topics that have interested me as an author. I was lucky to find articles on these topics this week. In addition, there is a nice tutorial on how to make a 3D book cover and business related articles about being an authorpreneur. Enjoy the links!

Writing Your Author Bio? Here Are 10 Great Examples

Getting Chinese readers beyond the British Classics and Harry Potter

How to Get Self-Published Books into Stores and Libraries

Business Musings: Talking To Writers

The Demographics of Device Ownership

Library Journal’s 2015 Survey of Library eBook Usage is Friendly to Self-Pub

Why I killed my social media accounts (+ why you may want to too…and what to do instead)

3 Tips for Successful Radio Interivews

Letter to the Spouse of a Writer

How to Proudly Design 3D Book Images for Free

Characters by Guy Pace

characters

You meet characters every day. They bump into you at the local Starbucks, say “Hi” to you on the street, join you on a park bench and start a conversation, help you find the turkey stuffing and olives in the grocery store. These are the characters that help flavor life.

They can also be the characters that help flavor story.

Your main characters—both protagonist and antagonist—go through a lot more to get into the story. Mine get sketched out for the basic personality and character traits, then go through a long, involved interview to fill in the areas the common sketch misses. No, I don’t directly use everything in the sketches and interviews, but they do help to define how the character will respond to events and other characters in the story. That all comes out in the writing.

But, secondary (or tertiary) characters have an impact, too. They are the ones that help trigger behavior from a main character, set a tone for a conversation, challenge a main character to action or decision. Because of this, they need to be more than just cardboard cutouts placed in the scene. They need a backstory of their own, a reason for being where they are in the story.

That person that bumped into you at Starbucks, what was the reason for that bump? Was it accidental or purposeful? Do you still have your wallet? Was this a chance meeting with a casual friend? Or, was that an alien in disguise who planted a tracker in your pocket? Answering these questions help give the secondary character a reason for being in that location and a motive for actions.

Answers those questions help the event becomes something more than just a bump and maybe some spilled coffee. It might be a harbinger of events to come. It might be the beginning of a critical conversation where the main character learns important information that changes his or her day or life.

Depending on your genre, secondary characters set tone and guide events in a story. It is easy—especially in first draft—to blast through an event and just give a character object a name and move on. But on rewrite, think about who that character might be, why they were in that particular place and had a specific impact on the story. Answer a few questions about that person, then color in their event better. Make it impact the main character more and give the story a stronger direction.

Take the scenario where the main character is sitting on a park bench struggling with life issues. Crushing mortgage, pending divorce. Or, maybe he or she just found a small, metallic, round gadget in a hidden place in a room in their old brownstone apartment, and is trying to decide what it is and what to do about it.

The person who comes to sit next to them on the park bench can have any number of reasons for doing so. Is this person a kindly pastor or rabbi who may know your main character and will offer words of comfort or advice? Will that pastor or rabbi challenge their past decisions and help them find the truth in their life?

Is it a street person at the end of their medication and may act unpredictably at certain triggers? The conversation can start innocently enough, but some response by the main character could trigger aggressive or dangerous behavior. Is the street person armed?

Or, it is the park bench visitor a man or woman in black who knows what that gadget is, that your main character has it, and wants to recover it because the fate of the world, solar system, or galaxy hangs in the balance? Will the person in black launch your main character on a star-hopping voyage across the galaxy, or into intergalactic intrigue?

The reader doesn’t need to know all the details about the secondary character, but you do. What you know about that person helps you use the proper words, generate the appropriate dialog, add the correct drama and suspense to move the story along its path. It colors the event. The result is that the reader gets a sense of the secondary characters and sees the reason and motivations that drive the specific events in which they are involved.

All it really takes is answering a few questions.

Author Guy PaceGuy L. Pace, born in Great Falls, MT, spent the bulk of his growing-up years as a nomad. He attended 21 schools throughout the Northwest before graduating from high school. Under pressure from the Vietnam-era draft–ended up joining the US Navy. He served on the USS Newport News (CA-148) from 1970 to 1973, including combat operations in Vietnam in 1972.

He was a Navy journalist, and after the service worked primarily in community newspapers as a reporter, photographer, editor and finally a managing editor. Through all that, he managed to complete his Communications/PR degree. He changed careers, getting into computer support, training, networking and systems, and eventually information security. He retired in 2011 after more than 20 years working in higher education. In 2013 he retired his Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification (CISSP).

He lives with his wife, Connie, in Spokane, where he gets to spend time with children and grandchildren, and ride his Harley-Davidson.

Follow Guy L. Pace on his website at http://www.guypace.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/guy.pace.7
Twitter: @rapier57
Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sudden-Mission-Guy-L-Pace-ebook/dp/B013TJ1GPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442944755&sr=1-1&keywords=Sudden+Mission
Available on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sudden-mission-guy-l-pace/1122511241?ean=9781513700915
Available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sudden-mission/id1029988117?mt=11