Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review-The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

So last night I watched the movie: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" based on the book by the late Stieg Larsson. I have read the book (many months ago now) and its two sequels, just in case anyone wanted to know. And before going on, there ARE spoilers for both the book and movie in the following review.

Personally, I give the movie a B to B+. If you're like me and read the book, then watched the movie you will notice some differences between the two and be disappointed when some key points are missing in the movie.

For instance, Erika Berger is not blond (as far as I can remember). She was NOT described as looking her age at ALL. Furthering Berger and adding Blomkvist, there was absolutely NO mention of them ever being lovers or even knowing each other prior to Millennium. The first conversation she has with Blomkvist after the trial takes place JUST her and him, not with the whole newsroom.

Furthering character interactions, the conversations/thoughts showing that Armansky cares about Lisbeth do not take place at all. Armansky comes off as a boss and a boss only, not the type of person to care about the socially inept Lisbeth. They don't even go into the details of just how smart Lisbeth is or how organized she is about her work. All this comes to play in the sequels since Armansky would not have helped her in Books 2 and 3 if he didn't care about her.

The first scene with Vanger really did not make sense to anyone who had not read the book. Old man receives pressed flower, he starts crying. It doesn't go into why or how many of these pressed flowers he has until much later in the movie. Nor does the movie mention that he has called the chief of police every year a new pressed flower has arrived.

Also when Blomkvist does arrive on the Vanger scene, he's not asked to write the Chronicles of the Vanger family. He is only asked to find out what happened to Harriet. At the end of the book, Blomkvist says to Vanger that he won't write the chronicles and that he had been 'corrupted' (changed) since he cannot in good conscience write the chronicles without hurting Harriet and the Vanger Corporation. This plays a large part in why Blomkvist does what he does in the sequels. Furthermore, it is not mentioned that Lisbeth met Blomkvist prior to the email she sends him, hence why she likes him.

Going along with Lisbeth's development as a character, it is not mentioned that she got a tattoo after Bjurman raped her. Speaking of the rape (and I can understand why it wasn't in gory detail etc), the movie does not go into the fact that Lisbeth researches into why he actually did this to her. The movie does not mention that she takes the spare set of Bjurman's keys, nor does it mention she knows about his offshore accounts. It may not seem important but these facts show a lot of Lisbeth's character: her intelligence, attention to detail and, more importantly, her moral thinking. They also become a huge point in the other two books.

And a few last points, just because I don't want this to be too long and to give too much away:
There was no mention of Harriet gaining a percentage of the Vanger Company. Also, the most important bit: the movie does not go into detail of WHY Lisbeth stopped taking Blomkvist's calls.
Yes, she had fallen in love with him. So much so, that she completely cleaned her apartment (filled with year old pizza boxes, etc - also not shown). She even went out of her way to buy a Christmas present for him, something her character would not do (also not shown). When she went to deliver this present, she spotted Berger and Blomkvist together, trashed the present and decided to never see him again, which was not shown.

That last detail alone should have been important enough to include. Why? Because it becomes an integral piece of the plot (and to Lisbeth's character) in the second and third books. With all the lack of detail concerning Lisbeth's character, you really do not get her development or her actions.

The movie was good. It lacked key character development, but still good. If the viewer had not read the book, they would have rated it much higher. Don't get me wrong though, I understand a lot had to be cut out since the book is lengthy. But to cut out important development of the main female lead is cutting out a bit too much. It was saddening that I had to explain certain aspects of Lisbeth's character to those watching the movie with me who hadn't read the book. She did not come across as the genius 'researcher' that she is at all and that is a bit annoying.

In summery: the movie gets a B to B+ rating (three and a half to four out of five stars). If you haven't read the books, it will be entertaining (though a bit confusing in some places). If you have read the book, be prepared to spot the differences.

And a side note (going back on track to my own book): I'm still waiting on my own reviews. Hopefully I should get some information soon.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Technology - Good or Bad?

It is amazing when you stop and think for a moment about all the technology that surrounds us. Cell phones alone can browse the web, take pictures, store hundreds of numbers, record your voice and act as a miniature computer. Ten years ago, a cell phone on its own was a big thing.

Computers are now less than ten pounds, portable and have enough storage space a person can’t hope to fill it. Not to mention monitors are wide screen with such good quality you can count the stubble on a man’s cheek. Ten years ago, 250GB of memory was unheard of and only the very privileged could afford them.

Even cars are loaded with features a driver never fathomed ten years ago: DVD players, GPS, on-board road assistance and hands free calling. A person can literally get lost in the middle of nowhere and through their cars technology, find their way back home through multiple sources (even more so if they have a fancy new cell phone).

And don’t even get me started on video games. I’m a video game enthusiast and the graphics coming out now both amaze and frighten me. A friend of mine made the remark that while watching TV a few weeks ago, he saw what he thought was a live football game while channel surfing. He stopped and was amazed to find out that it was no real-life game. It was an advertisement for a new football video game.

And let us not forget to mention Project Natal, direct from Microsoft (Xbox). This Holiday season Microsoft will do away with the controller completely. That’s right, no wires nor handheld buttons smashing device. YOU ARE the controller, literally. Check out the Xbox website and search for Project Natal if you haven’t heard about this, it will BLOW your mind.

One has to wonder though, with all this technology, have we really benefited? I mean yes, we can never be lost. We always have a means of communication no matter where we want to go (depending on which service provider you’re with of course). Yes, we are entertained beyond belief. On the flip side, it’s said that this generation of children will NOT outlive their parents because of obesity. This is a direct result of 10+ hours of screen time a day. If it is that bad now, what will happen in another ten years?

If we made such leaps and bounds in just a decade; isn't it even slightly frightening to think about the next decade? Will we all have to be booked for brain surgeries to get a chip implanted in our brains for instant downloads? Will face to face conversation become a thing of the no-so-distant past? Will the new average weight be 20 pounds more because that’s the norm?

Personally, I would not want a chip implanted in my brain. I mean with hackers and viruses that could turn out to be very deadly and frightening (oddly I wrote a short story about this a few years ago, I should post it somewhere). So, where do we draw the line and say: “Okay, that’s enough now. We don’t need any more advancements to anything.” Will we even say that? I mean, how much further can we possibly go?

Only time will tell. I can only consider myself lucky. I’m old enough that I went from an old cassette player for portable music to a CD player and finally to an iPod. My first computer had 2GB of RAM and 150GB of hard-drive and came with Windows ’97. I got to see the advent of the iPod (and other ‘i’ devices) and the advancements in the computer industry.

Sure, it may not be as much of a leap as other people have seen, but considering all the changes of communication in the past decade, I’d consider it a lot. There are people being born today who will never know what a cassette tape (or VHS) is. Personally, I think that is a bit strange and creepy.

So for old time’s sake: break out the VHS player, throw on a cassette and dig out that old cell phone. Someone has to remember it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You know it's time for a new PC when yours sounds like a jet engine taking off and when 'new' PCs are only $399 and have the same features.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Exceptionally tired/lazy today, I've been lying around doing nothing. I think I'm entitled to one of these days once a month, so it's good.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Everything's been mailed out. USA takes 2-3 weeks, international 4-6. Got a new phone with keyboard, browing without a huge PC is great!
Sending out three books for review by three different people as well as the books for the contest winners. Should get response in 2 months.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Looking for more review sites, hopefully ones that are free of charge/low cost to spread the word. If anyone knows any, please hook me up :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm getting a second book review done by Kirkus media, should take about 9 weeks (including me sending the book). Updates coming as needed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Contest Results

So after about a month, the contest comes to a close. Overall I would consider it a success, people won and that's really what matters.

Anyway, with the closure of the contest comes the results. The winners are:
1) C. Ray
2) G. Thomas
3) P. Urbasek
4) M. Witts

And the answers to the questions are:
1) How old are Lysandra and Leopold? Answer: 3,000 years
2) What is the first significant thing the twins do upon entering the city? Answer: Find the warehouse (or shelter). The fact that the killed everyone inside was bonus. ;)

Each winner will receive a signed copy of Book 1 in about 2-6 weeks depending where they live and how quickly I can get to the post office. There are no shipping or handling fees that they have to pay for. I will be emailing each tonight.

In other news, there may be another contest coming up sometime around the holidays so keep your eyes open. Oh, and if you're wondering why I only used first initial last name format; it's for simple privacy sake. ;)

For everyone who entered the contest (or at least checked it out), thank you. And to the winners, you will be seeing your very own copy in the mail in a few weeks.

And one final thought, I will be trying to get back into writing this blog in the coming days/weeks. I hope to include writing tips for those that do write or other such antidotes that happen in my life (which may or may not be interesting, no promises).

Until the next blog, enjoy the summer heat, wherever you are.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The contest is offically closed. Thank you to all of those that entered, I will be posting the results and emailing each of you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The contest for a free signed copy of Book 1 ends in three and a half hours. Check out the blog entitled "CONTEST" to squeeze in an entry!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Remember to enter the contest, it ends this weekend! For more information, check out my blog. Results will be posted next week.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The scroll bar on my mouse kicked the bucket but that's not stopping me from writing. Remember, enter the contest! Details at my blog. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The contest is now up and running! For details on said contest, check out the blog post:


As of right now, the contest is now OPEN and will run until midnight Eastern Standard time on August 8th. The prize of this contest is a FREE SIGNED copy of my first book (no shipping charges either). To enter, you must send along an e-mail with your name and age to with subject line of: "CONTEST".

Along with your name and age, you MUST submit the CORRECT answers to the following:
1) How old are Lysandra and Leopold?
2) What is the first significant thing the twins do upon entering the city?

The answers to BOTH questions can be found on my website ( The winners will be announced via Face book, this blog and on the website on August 14th. Each winner will then be e-mailed personally and books will be shipped once all responses are received from the winners.

Other Rules/disclaimers:

Winners MUST be willing to provide an address, if you do not, you can not receive your prize. Winners must be 18 or older OR if underage, inform their parents about this contest and the need to release their address. Those under 18 MUST receive parental permission before releasing their address.

I will NOT release any personal information about ANY participant in this contest. All information will be deleted once the prizes have been shipped successfully.

The number of winners is dependant on the number of entries, copies of Book 1, and the number of completely correct answers. Any answer openly posted on Face book or as a comment in this blog will mean immediate CLOSURE of the contest.

A second contest may be launched in September dependant on the success of this contest. All those who get a partial answer will also get an e-mail and be asked if they would wish to received a signed Book 1 bookmark and postcard.

Remember, you can comment on things besides the answers to the contest on this blog and on the Face book fan page.

Thank you all for your support thus far and good luck!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Just mailed out some promotional copies of Book One. I'm thinking of holding a contest for a signed copy of Book One. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The one thing I hate about summer is the heat. The trade-off is the beach and the fact that I can go outside. What do you like about summer?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The review is up in the 'notes' section of my Facebook fanpage! And remember, it's 'ask me' week so feel free to ask me something. :)
Just got my first review in this morning, it's good and I'm really excited! More about that review tonight and I'll post it in a few places.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I need a clone...

I really do need a clone. This weekend has been spent researching marketing tactics and attempting to formulate some form of marketing plan. I've read so much, I can probably write my own book about it (assuming the plan I do finally put into action works).

That aside, with all the posting, commenting, changes and other such things I have to do to market, I'm going to need a second me. Between working full time, attempting to write and keeping up to date with everything, I will have very little free time.

Am I worried? A bit, maybe. The more time I spend on marketing, the less time I have to write. BUT, the more time I spend on marketing, the more word will get out which will eventually lead to more time to write.

On the topic of writing, I'm playing with the idea to create a newsletter for different tricks and techniques to write a good novel. If not a newsletter, it will be a series of blogs.

On the topic of marketing, one of the major things I've learned is communication is key. Commenting on other blogs, discussing like subjects, talking to people on various social networking a big part of getting the word out there.

Another thing I learned is that I have more then likely been doing the whole Social Networking Marketing thing wrong. That is, I haven't really had a definitive WAY to market.

I also learned there are a lot of 'get-rich-quick' scams that come across as useful information...before they start telling you spam e-mail and use various different commenting tools to spam comment. Spam is a no-no. People hate spam, me being one of them.

Anyway, changes are on the horizon for this little piece of the web I call my blog...and there will probably be more changes to the website.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


So, I just received my first Quarterly Report from the publishing company. Book One has been out for about two months now and in that time, I have sold two e-books. I'm hoping it's because the book is only available online and not because there is lack of interest in it.

I'm also hoping that in the next four months I can make sales pick-up. I would be happy even selling 100 in four months, then say 200 the next. That's a half-decent goal, I think. But the problem is, major book-stores won't take it unless there is demand. And, I don't have a lot of time to make it so there IS a demand.

A bit discouraging yes, but I'm not going to give up. I didn't come this far to stop at the starting line. I'm going to find myself some really good friends to help push it over the next four months and hopefully that will make the difference.

And if I crash and burn, well at least I can say I tried. It's better to have tried and failed then to have not tried at all. At least, that's how the saying goes anyway.

On the plus side, the bookmarks, business cards and postcards look lovely. Now, once I get a small crew of people together, I can deliver them and hope for the best.
Just got the bookmarks, postcards and business cards in the mail today, they look great! Tonight will be spent planning marketing tactics.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I just got a random bout of inspiration so I'm going to be spending the afternoon and evening writing. It feels good to get back into it. :D

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Computer!

I'm just excited about my new work computer. It has 500GB hard drive, 4GB RAM, the new i7 chip and a bunch of other goodies I can't even remember right now. The unfortunate thing, is that this wonderful system is my work computer.

My own personal laptop is amazing, I doubt I'll even be able to touch the 250GB hard drive in it, even if I have it another 3 years. But, the comparison on screen size and resolution is like night and day.

Work laptop is like HD TV. Personal is like a regular TV. And the work has a larger monitor. I think I'm way too excited to go to work now just to use the darn thing.

But, I do have to say that I still love my own laptop. It's got everything I need for the minimal amount of work I do. This one is basically used for writing and surfing the web. I really don't need much more then I have.

Oddly enough, the set-up of this new laptop got me a little inspired to actually write something. I've been a bit discouraged as of late. Mainly because I can't get any reports on how well Book One is doing (live anyway, I have to wait a few months) and most of the networking I've tried to do isn't quite working as planned.

Mind you, 390 fans isn't too shabby considering I've only had Book One out for about a month now. I just need to study how to network properly and adjust my methods. I'm sure I'll have some free time in the next few weeks to do just that.

Until then I'll just keep plugging along (with a super machine :P) until I can make things work a bit better. Maybe if I can get a few weeks off from

Thank you again to anyone reading this, and don't forget to tell a few friends. ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So in about 30-45 days Book 1 will be in Barnes and Nobles and other such book stores. Providing they actually are interested in stocking it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Freedom of Speech (Part Two)

As a follow up to part one, about the South Park writers getting threatened with death by certain Muslim factions, here is part two.

This part is more author based, that is, speaking more about books that get banned for whatever reason.

Now, don't get me wrong, some of the books that do get banned, I can completely understand. For instance, Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot' being banned in some schools because it was too violent.

I can understand the banning of Hitler's novel (at the time) because of the extremist nature of the novel and such. I can understand why people would not want others to read it and such.

But, in B.C, Harry Potter was banned. Why? Because it promoted witchcraft. Personally I don't think any child (or adult) is going to seriously attempt witchcraft after reading Harry Potter. Dan Brown's 'The DaVinci Code' was also banned in some areas because it was offensive to Christianity.

It's examples like the two above that make me shake my head and wonder where people's minds are when they make that decision. As authors, we are given a certain right to be able to express ourselves in the way we see fit.

Banning a book just because you do not like it's ideals or like what it may or may not teach is wrong. Again, if it's too violent (or too offensive) then yes, ban it. But if not, leave it alone.

Now, there is a difference between Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' and Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'. Brown did not kill thousands of people based of the 'ideals' in his book. Brown did not try to take over parts of the world. Yes, some of the clues he laid out ARE true but that does not mean people are going to stop believing in Christianity because of it.

To summarize, book banning should be looked at more closely. That is, those who wish to ban a book, should take a good hard look at it and really determine if it is going to make someone offended. Most of the books banned, won't do that.

I did end up writing a whole other explanation on book banning and censorship. If you wish to read it, go to my website ( and head off the the F.A.Q.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The bookmarks, postcards and business cards have just arrived! In another two weeks, I'll know how well the e-mail campagin did. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm getting my book reviewed soon! I just have to mail out a copy and wait. The press releases will be sent out this week, so I'll be waiting again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The changed website is up! There are new previews, news updates and a bit easier navigation for the blog and Bookshelf. Take a look!

Freedom of Speech (part one)

For those of you who don't frequently check the news or see the news, South Park creators/writers are being threatened with death by a particular faction of the Muslim Community. Why? Because they had the Prophet Mohammad featured (though covered by a bear mascot suit) in their 201st episode.

This may be old news to some, I found out about it mid-week but never got the chance to make a formal comment about it until now.

Regardless, this brings up an issue of freedom of speech. Now, don't get me wrong, I respect the Muslim community and their wants for wishing their Prophet not be seen. But, a death threat is a bit far. South Park DID cover their prophet, so really I don't see the major issue.

I agree, it can be insulting to have your prophet or God made fun of. But, there was no death threat made by Christians when Jesus was featured various times. There was no threat made by Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise and various other celebrities when they were featured on the show.

Personally, I think the death threat is going just a bit too far. I can understand a request to censor said offensive material and I can understand a formal complaint to various networks regarding the episode. Again, a death threat is a bit much.

I'm not 100% brushed up on my Freedom of Speech laws, but I am fairly certain people have a right to say what they want. I know certain limitations (moral or otherwise) apply, but I am fairly certain that the punishment is NOT death if one does not follow those rules.

Freedom of Speech is important to every writer (television show or otherwise) and its a sorrowful day when a member of the writing community has their life threatened (or book banned) for something they said or did (even if it is South Park).

I will be posting a second part to 'Freedom of Speech' - hence the part one - that pertains more to novel-writing in the future. Until then, watch who you say what to. ;)
Just signed up for Twitter, Myspace and Flickr, so feel free to follow me there as well. The new website will be up later this evening or tomorrow, so keep an eye out!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Writer's block

The bane of every writer's existence. A short period of time when creative juices stop flowing, muses take a leave of absence and nothing sounds right when written.

There is no cure. This inconvenient period of time must run its course without being forced or hurried. The writer must be patient and wait for muses to come back, juices to flow and things to start sounding right again.

Every writer has experienced it at least once. Some, more often then others. Personally, it always comes right when I suddenly have a lot of free time on my hands and can write for hours without being interrupted. Most of the time it only last a few days. Sometimes a week... this is starting to sound like something else entirely, isn't it? ;)

Anyway, I'm experiencing a bit of writer's block now. I tried writing on Sunday but just couldn't get going. I managed only to get four pages done and I know the next time I read those four pages, I'm going to hate them and want to change them.

On the plus side, I have a load of ideas for other stories. I can still plot and plan, I just can't actually write it. It could however, be an issue of me not being interested in the current story I'm writing. Sad to say, I lost interest in Book Three about three weeks ago and moved onto another novel. Now it seems I've lost interest in that because of a very odd idea that's been poking the back of my mind.

I need a few weeks off so I can get my brain straight and just write whatever for a few days. Oddly, I'd probably end up finishing a novel. Or two. Depending how long I was off and how many of those days I actually sat down and wrote.

The strange thing is, I feel like writing, I just don't know what to write. I guess that's why I'm writing this...ha. Hopefully, I'll get out of this funk soon. Not like I particularly need to, no one's going to be reading anything I write now for a while. And that, may be the problem. I may not be in the mood to write because I'm not getting any comments on anything I write.

Well now, this could turn out to be quite troublesome. There's no true way to get comments on Book three or anything else I'm writing unless I post it live somewhere on the Internet. Well, the good news is, I don't have to post the whole thing. I don't think there is bad news, so I might just give it a whirl.

Then again, I could just need a good couple days of sleep. Yes, days. I am exceptionally tired this week and I am unsure as to WHY. Ah well, whatever it is, I'm sure it will clear itself up.

Monday, April 19, 2010

1000 words or less

I have come to realize that I am incapable of writing a short story. That is, a story that is less than 1000 words or less than say six pages, single spaced, size 12 font.

Does this bother me? Not really. Well, a bit. I know I tend to ramble, but I seem to lack that certain something that other authors have enabling them to be vague with descriptions and create an entire story in less than 1000 words. I do have one story that's 1,600 words but I haven't edited it to actually make it 'flow' properly. So, it will probably end up being about 3,000 words when all is said and done. Or more.

Is that a problem? Maybe. I guess it means I can't ever write a book full of short fiction. Well, technically I could, it would just only have maybe 5 stories instead of the regular 10+. But, then again, I'm not a regular type of author who is bound by word limits.

I'll reiterate, this doesn't really bother me per se. There are a few mini-contests and such going on in different writing communities that I would love to participate in. But, the work has to be 1000 words or less. So, I really can't enter any contest. Not that I have time to write work on the side.

With five novels I'm writing consecutively and 23 ideas on the back burner, I really don't have the time to write something 1000 words or less. Actually with the way I write, I probably could. Book One was written in about seven months. Would have been much less had I not been hit with a work rush and writer's block. For curious people, that's about 260 pages. Size 12 font. Single spaced. Turned out to be approximately 430 pages in novel form.

Not bad considering I was only able to write once a week if I was lucky. I can usually pull off 14 pages (single spaced in size 12 font ;) ) a week if I can really put my mind to it. The most I've done in a week is 4 chapters (4 X 14 = 56, for those curious people). It doesn't sound like much, but, I ask that someone try at least once to write 56 pages of work in a week. Well, technically two days.

I am by no means bragging. Other authors have done much more then that. Other have done less. I'm merely stating that no matter what, I can not write under 1000 words. I'm going to make that my goal. Once I get to a point where I have more than one free day a week, I'm going to try and write something that is only 1,000 words.

And, for those curious people, final word count (which doesn't count towards the above goal): 477

Friday, April 16, 2010

To write or not to write...

I was cruising around the forums last night and came upon an interesting topic. The original thread creator in the forum had wrote a poem and kept receiving reviews on formatting it with stanzas. The creator of the thread then asked if other authors were questioned to change their own works.

There were a lot of intriguing posts about it doesn't matter or it does but one poster in particular said that if the reader's want something to be changed, as an author you should change it because you do not write for yourself.

I would have to say I'm in disagreement with that statement - to a point. Yes, I can agree with changing something as simple as stanzas but as authors we are given a creative license to write stories as we wish. That is, if a group of fans say our trilogy should end a certain way, and not the way we originally intended, that we should write it as the fans want it.

Now, I'm not saying fans ideas shouldn't be taken into consideration. But there is a fine line on how much an author should change just for the sake of their fans. For example, in Book Two, there may be a death that not every person reading Book Two will agree with. Am I going to change that death because my fans don't like it? No. That would completely change the story and make Book Three a mote point. How the story is told, is how it was meant to be told.

Authors can't make ALL their readers happy, that would be impossible. Somewhere, someone is going to hate something in the particular story and author is writing and well, that person is just going to have to deal with it. I mean, they all ready bought and read the story in question, so isn't that enough? Even if they hate a certain part of it, the story affected them so much so, that they DID develop this hatred. And, isn't the whole point of writing to have someone express emotion over one's works?

Don't get me wrong, I'll take all sorts of suggestions and criticism for anything I write. I might not necessarily change it, but I will consider the idea and wonder if that idea might fit better. And there has been times when something someone has suggested actually does make it into a story.

I would like to say to all authors: Don't be hesitant to write something a certain way just because readers do not like it. It's your tale, let it be told as it is meant to.

To readers: Don't hate the author because your favorite character dies or something happens that you do not like. They made you FEEL after all and that should be appreciated. If you are going to hate an author, hate them for a generic/overused plot, 2d characters, poor grammar, or lack of creativity.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So many...characters...

After reading through another batch of old stories, I found out something interesting. I have dozens of interesting characters stuck in a story without a plot.

I find it funny how it's very simple for me to make up a new character. I can literally spend an entire day writing character profiles, quotes they might use, their look, their background but do they get in a story? Nope. Well, not all the time.

The old short stories (that at the time I thought were novels...oh how young I was) have introduced an entire new slew of characters, each that would be loved (or hated) by readers. But, no story lines.

Don't get me wrong, the setting descriptions are amazing. But, the plot is so generic it's laughable. I can barely read some of my old work, and not because my handwriting is illegible.

It's just so dull. Hopefully I can breathe life into some of these generic plots or at least steal the characters and put them into something else.

I'm going to finish this off with a few tips for writing a good character:
1) Become your character. There is no better way to describe a person then if you think like them. So, think like the character you want to create. Ask yourself, are they extroverted or introverted? What made them this way? Will they change and how? What are their likes and dislikes? Why don't they like certain things?

2) Stay away from generic looking characters, especially in fantasy. So, you have an amazing personality set out for your new character. Now, you need tell your reader what they look like. Blond hair and blue eyes? Sounds good, but there's so many blond haired, blue eyed people running around. If you do make them look 'average' give them something different. A scar, a tattoo, a certain way of dressing. Don't get me wrong, it's entirely possible to create an average looking character and make them stand out via their personality alone. More difficult, but still doable.

3) Interaction. This kind of ties in with a character's personality. How will this character interact with other characters? How do they speak? Is it very formal or filled with slang? And remember, tie in the way they speak with their personality. A genius character may not use a lot of slang and contractions in their speech pattern. Above all, make them talk as someone with that personality would talk (again, BECOME that character).

4) Be creative. When creating a new character, there are no rules. Who they are is completely up to you. Think of it as walking into a room full of blank wooden dolls and with your writing powers, you have to make them human. Or elf. Or vampire. Or hobbit. Or, whatever it is they are going to be. (Side note: That just gave me the beginnings of an idea).

Now, there may be other things other authors do when writing a character but I find the above works for me. Of course, what works for me, may not work for someone else and the tips are meant to be a general guideline/place to start.

Keep creating. ;)

Monday, April 12, 2010


I absolutely love when a random bout of inspiration hits me. The simple flow of words from my brain to my hands to the keyboard and onto the screen. There is just something so exhilarating about it that it makes me giddy.

I love it even more when a plot line I never even thought about works its way into my mind and gives birth to a slew of new ideas that make the story that much more complex. My muse is fickle. Most of the time I can turn it off and on at will, other times it hides in the corner. But then there are those days when it will not be ignored.

That day was Sunday. The other novel I'm working on was the receiver of this inspirational turn-about. This lucky piece of work got an entirely new plot concept added to it which makes it that much more solid and that much more entertaining for me and the reader.

Mind you, no one's actually going to read it until after this trilogy is complete. Even then I might put something else out first, it depends. But it's just one of those plots twists that got me very excited. I haven't felt that in two weeks and I missed it.

I'm not entirely sure what brings about these random moments of: "Oh, that would be awesome to do with this plot." But I'm not complaining. I often say that I'm never sure exactly what inspires me. Sometimes, it's nothing at all and other times it can be a certain note in a song.

I guess it's just a quirk shared among the writing community and more then likely various other communities as well. I'm certain a lot of people have had this "Eureka!" moment. And that feeling of excitement will never wear thin.

It makes me wonder though, what inspires other writer's to write? Is it different for all writers or is there a common trend? I'm going to assume it would be different for everyone, we are all individuals in personality after all. But it would be an interesting study to see if each community had its own trend of inspiration...

Saturday, April 10, 2010


After touring, I have found out a few things: 1) The navigation and trying to find someone again is a bit hard 2) There are a lot of people out there trying to become a published author 3) The Internet is huge.

I will eventually get used to one. I all ready knew about three but seeing made me realize it all over again. It's two that kind of shocks me. No, shocks isn't the right word. I mean, I know all ready a lot of people try to write a novel at some point in their lives. I just never realized exactly how many people that was.

Considering all the people in the world trying to become a published author and the ratio of successful authors to not-so-successful authors, writing seems to be a difficult career to get into. The writing itself is easy. If one has a decent grasp of spelling and grammar, a wild imagination, a bit of time, a good sense of description, a good sense of creating believable conversation and characters, then they can probably write something wonderful.

But, along with all that, a writer needs to know a bit about marketing. No one will read your work if you cannot get it out there. The Internet comes in handy for this with all its social media aspects and various communities for authors. Also, it comes in handy for seeking out a company that will help publish and market an author's potential best seller.

It's quite the daunting task, to be completely truthful. Daunting and frightening because I'm not completely sure if what I'm doing is actually helping right now. I have no idea if anyone has actually bought a copy of the e-book or the soft and hard cover. I won't know till, actually I'm not 100% sure when I'll know. Which is kind of like flying a plane with just enough gas and wondering if you'll make it to land.

In summation: Writing is hard. Marketing is harder.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The writing community.

In browsing the Internet for different things about writing, I stumbled across an entire enormous community for authors.

The website is amazingly immense. I can barely find my way around but so far it seems like a fairly good resource. A good way to market and to get tips on improving certain aspects of my own work.

I can connect with other authors as well as discuss the works of famous writers. Everyone there seems friendly and very helpful. I think I'll enjoy it there. And the new community has given me a few ideas for writing this blog.

I'll have to delve into it further over the next few days and really start using the forums to get to know my fellow authors better. It should be a fun weekend.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Memory lane...

So I was reading some of my older material today and all I can say is: wow.

Not wow as in:"Wow that was really good." More of a:"What the hell was I thinking?" type of wow. I mean don't get me wrong, a lot of my old stories either had really good description or a really good story line. All of them had really good characters. I just did not make the best of them.

In a way, it's a good thing I never finished any of them because now I can re-write and re-plot without having to ditch an entire novel. There's only one novel that I finished before Book One and that is going to be really hard to re-write.

All the other ones will be easy. Simply a matter of figuring out where the heck I was trying to go with the plot and getting down to it. It's funny, even my oldest works had something to them that just makes you want to read horridly written as they are. Kind of like morbid curiosity.

Stories older than what I found today are completely laughable. I don't think I can salvage anything but the characters and then I have to try to fit them in somewhere or make a story around them.

I'm glad I took an extra few years before trying to publish anything. It made a huge difference in my abilities as a writer and I can only see myself improving even more as time goes on.

Someone once said that the more you read, the better your own writing becomes. Looking back at my old stories and reading my new ones, I can see that difference. I am also eternally happy for that difference.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Waiting is hard

I know it has not been that long since I started marketing Book One but waiting to see the 'fruits of my labour' is very difficult. The Face Book fans keep coming, all the marketing is done and now I'm technically left with nothing to do.

Usually I would have to make corrections to something, or check to see if I got an e-mail or make sure my fan page was being seen. Now, it's simply a matter of updating the blog and the fan page.

I'm quite antsy to be honest. I can't wait for say, four months down the road to see how well Book One does. I mean, it could be a total flop (which would be absolutely horrible by the way). Or, it could do much better than I anticipate (which would be exciting and frightening at the same time).

I mean, this has been a lifelong dream for me. As long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a successful author. The thrill of being able to start that dream has been amazing. It will be a hard fall if in fact, I do fall.

I don't think it will be that bad though, I have a lot of supporters and marketing is doing well thus far. I'm still nervous though and I'm fairly sure that's not doing wonders for my health...haha.

Waiting makes me wonder if it was worth it. My bank account says no right now, but hey, that may change.

Anyway, I hope that in a few months I can look back at this and laugh. And if not, at least I'll know I gave it my best. If you aim for the moon and fail, at least you will land among the stars.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Ah the world wide web. An amazing tool for research, communication and just plain fun.

It has always amazed me how much information the Internet actually holds. Anything you want to know about anything is just a few keystrokes away. It is almost impossible for people to be uneducated about anything. But, I have noticed a trend in the few years I have been an avid Internet user.

People on the Internet, do not actually use it for information, but more for entertainment. Which is fine really, the Internet is a wonderful tool for entertainment as well. But what does bother me is the following: People still ask uneducated questions.

Meaning, that a person will post a topic in an online forum asking how to do certain things, or when certain events in history occurred, or other such topics. Is it that hard to open a new tab, go to Goggle and type in a query? I think people are forgetting just how vast a research tool the Internet actually is.

Without it, I doubt I would have been able to write in some of the finer details of Book One (more so distances between two points). In Book Two, one of the new main characters has the background of someone in ancient history. Without the Internet, I would not have found this information as quickly as needed. And the Internet has been immensely helpful in finding the distances between certain cities that will be featured in Book Three. All those names were found via the web, well the meanings anyway.

Sure, I could have gone to the library but the local library isn't open on a Monday night. Nor is it open after 9PM. It would be almost impossible for me to write properly without proper research. A few novels that I have in the back of my head may be possible without it, but a good deal of them will require some method of research. And the Internet is a wonderful tool for that.

So, when did the line between research tool and entertainment tool blur? And why is it that some people can't seem to understand both concepts? Don't get me wrong, there are a good deal of people that do use the Internet for research. But, the same amount only seem to do it when they are told then ask simply answered questions of the online community. And I'm certain the online community is getting very annoyed with the simplicity of these questions.

Is there a point to this ramble? There are a few:
1) The Internet needs to be recognized for the research tool that it is.
2) My official website will be up in 24-48 hours and I started thinking about how vast the online world actually is.
3) You can make up your own point here. ;)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I just want to make a remark on the editing skills of professional editors.

Through high school, I majored in English. It was one of my highest marks and my teachers always commended me on my impeccable grammar. Now, either I lost that in the few years I was out of High School or my teachers were not as grammatically inclined as I first thought.

When I made the final edits to Book One before sending it to the editors, I felt fairly good about the quality of the grammar in there. I thought there would not be too many changes. Well, apparently I had thought wrong.

The longest I went without a mistake was about two pages in a document that was 256 pages long. There seemed to be something wrong with each sentence I wrote. Was it discouraging to receive it back with all those red marks? Oh very much so. Did I learn from it? Oh yes, I learned a lot.

One thing I learned was that being a professional editor must be a difficult job. That was one of my career picks a few years ago. It's not now. Another thing I learned was that every time a character spoke, it was a new paragraph. In the back of my mind I knew this but I don't write like that. Once I start editing book two, I will have to make a note of it.

Another thing I learned was that I need to re-study grammar. I don't want to make those editors' jobs any more difficult. Especially if it was said that I have very good grammar when it turns out I don't. I can't imagine what they have to edit day to day. Especially since grammar has been removed from what must be taught.

That has always bothered me. Don't get me wrong, I loved English. But, it wasn't about the language so much as it was: "Here, read this book and write an essay on it." I never learned about proper sentence structure, expletives (curse words) and other such finer points. I think we need that back. Especially now with the rise of text talking. Not that anyone is going to actually type out their words in a phone conversation (to those that do - big kudos to you) but at least they will know how to write when the time comes for it.

Good punctuation (and grammar) skills make a difference:
1) "A woman, without her man, is nothing."
2) "A woman: without her, man is nothing."

Friday, April 2, 2010


Hello and welcome to the Dairenna VonRavenstone official Blog!

This is basically going to be my area on the web where I will write about things that pertain to my novel, The Tale of the Twins, Book One: Gathering and Destruction (henceforth referred to as Book One). I hope to write many other works so hopefully, you will be hearing more from me soon.

The novel itself has been out for about a week as an e-book and I have just started promoting. I have a Face Book Fan page so feel free to come check me out there. I will be updating this regularly as well as updating my Face Book fan page.

If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask as a comment. And if you do join my fan page, be sure to read the free preview of Book One.