Writing About An Elf

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Let me get this sales pitch out of the way. The Lost Elf: Reptilian Encounter is the second book in my short story series and it has just gone live on Amazon.com. Click here to buy it now. In case you have been waiting to read it, ever since book 1 Awakening, now you finally have the chance to get your copy for 99 cents in the kindle format. Also, for those of you who may have purchased the paperback version of Awakening, you will now be able to download the kindle book for free. That is a new feature that Amazon had offered to authors and I think it’s a great idea. Basically, you can decide how much of a discount you can give customers who purchase the paperback version. I plan to use that feature for future books that I publish through createspace.com.

Now let me talk a little bit about the experience of writing this series so far. It really started with an idea about separating a full length novel into “episodes” similar to a television show. Part of the idea was to allow me to publish stories faster. I also thought that I could do a better job editing the stories and produce a better product. The original idea was to publish one story every two months or so, but that plan fell through. You can blame my laziness, but I also have been quite busy. A few of my classes were quite challenging and I was struggling to edit Reptilian Encounter. I am finding that I get tired of reading my words on the page over and over again. I think I did about 5 drafts of book 2 and this time I had some help from Steve Barnes, the actor who I’ve hired to produce the audio-book version of The Lost Elf. You can check it out at: The Lost Elf: Awakening. My personal favorite thing about the audio-book is the theme song Steve wrote for it!

I feel more relaxed now and I think the series is improving. Book 2 was very fun to write and is quite different from the harsh desert that the elf wakes up to. The grassland is certainly a cooler climate and the elf gets to relax a little bit. I also made it a light-heated tale. The story has humor and doesn’t feel so rushed. There isn’t the time sensitivity that book 1 had. One of the main themes of the story deals with racism and prejudice. That wasn’t something that I was intending to do, but it came about naturally as the story progresses. The topic of racism is not the main theme of Reptilian Encounter, but I really think it adds a certain depth. It’s included in a teachable moment in the story.

Another addition to this story is the increase in characters that the elf encounters. Of course, there’s Benjamin, the quite little desert fox. There are plenty of human characters and we learn more about the relationship between the human and elf races. The lizardmen is my first non-human like race in the series and I’m very happy with how they turned out. I’m planning to add more interesting races within the world of The Lost Elf. The challenge right now is to add humanoids races that are not common in sci-fi. Elves, gnomes, humans, and dwarfs are common in this genre. I want The Lost Elf to stand out from other fantasy stories, but I also want to use some traditional elements too.

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The Lost Elf: Awakening Book Trailer

 

I wanted to find a unique way to advertise my book. I’ve noticed other authors have book trailers to show off their work and I thought it was a great idea. When I starting brainstorming about what to do, my first thought was to just make a short video of the book. I’d show off the cover and talk briefly about the story. I may still do that. However, when I looked on iPad I remembered that I have the iMovie app. There was an option to make a movie trailer and I looked at the various themes I could use.

Thus, The Lost Elf: Awakening book trailer was born! Now, I realize the video is a bit silly, but I felt it was a fun way to introduce the book. The series isn’t a comedy, but there will be light moments. I always like to add a little humor in my stories. I’m hoping people don’t get the wrong impression about Awakening. There’s a lot of action going on and the story is fairly serious, but I wanted to get your attention with this video. Hopefully I have done that.

Too Much Writing A Bad Thing?

Writing can be a very lengthy process, especially when writing a novel. Your average novel will probably be around 50,000 to 80,000 words give or take. However, that changes when you write fantasy, which can easily go beyond 100,000 words. I believe that you write until the story is finished. Length shouldn’t be something you consider until after the first draft is complete. Then you can usually cut down on length. With my current medieval fantasy series, I know I’m going to go beyond my normal length. I like to stay close to 70,000 words. It’s just more difficult to write an epic story around that length. I wonder what fantasy fans think about this?

Look at the Lord of the Rings films, three long epic films. Now it’s not the same as a novel, but I think fans can appreciated a long story when it comes to fantasy. Don’t forget about Final Fantasy games! They were usually pretty long and in fact some of them can take up to 60 hours to complete! I read about a writer working on a fantasy novel that is around 150,000 words! He’s hard pressed to cut it down, but the agent he submitted to want’s him to cut the novel down to a smaller size. I’m not going to get to that length. However, I don’t see a problem with a long book if it is exciting and a good read.

Understandably, no one wants to read a 100,000 plus novel that drags on and on or doesn’t reach the reader. It’s like reading a textbook. Some are easy reads, because the content is interesting and the author(s) are talented writers. If you have ever read a textbook written by scientists, you may find yourself yawning over and over again. Psychology is a bit different, thankfully, most psychologists are decent writers. Of course, it is a subject that I’m studying in school, so perhaps I am a bit biased!

One of the biggest barriers people have when writing novels is getting enough length. I’ve finished a rough draft only to find that it is much shorter than anticipated. It can also be difficult to sit down every day and write for a few hours. You have to get that novel finished somehow! Thankfully my current project has kept my attention enough that I haven’t hit my usual slump. I think in part it is the genre. I’m writing the novel in parts, seven short stories, which have a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a literary experiment and so far I like it. I’d suggest you try it if you find that writing a novel is too difficult.

I’ve written short stories before and I do like the fact that it is a shorter process. It’s also easier for editing too. You can write a series of short stories that are connected, then when you are finished with the last one, combine them into one novel. It’s an idea I had several months ago and I decided to try it. Once I finish this series, however, I may go back to writing the full novel if I make a sequel instead of the short story series. I find that a lack of hitting a slump might inspire me to write a full length novel instead. I’m also finding that I don’t want to stop after I finish writing each story. I want to continue to the next story, rather than editing the one I just completed. Hopefully that means that I’m writing a story that people will like to read!

I consider the best advice on what to write is to write what you would want to read. After all, there are likely others that share your own tastes (hopefully). You can’t please everyone, so why not at least write something that you are happy with and enjoy. Hopefully it won’t be a 100,000 plus snooze fest!