Listen to my Short Story "The Forest Trail"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson | Book Review

I've put off writing this review for a while, and I'm not sure why. Maybe after reading the ending of the final book in a trilogy I just needed time to let it all settle. In short, I loved it! The Hero of Ages was an awesome book. It blew me away and has become my favorite fantasy trilogy. I had no idea how Brandon was going to wrap it all up. The ending surprised me quite a bit. That's all I will say about it because I don't want this review to contain spoilers, but I'll just say I did not expect the ending to be anything like it was. One reason I think I loved it so much was that to me the ending was very satisfying. All the crazy stuff was wrapped up pretty neatly, and the questions that have been racking my brain as I read through these fat epic fantasy novels, some I've been wondering about since the first book, were finally answered. There are still a few mysteries about the story world, but that is good. It makes me want to read the next book in the world called The Allow of Law. It takes place 300 years later and appears to be a bit steampunk.

Another reason I liked it - it was a story with such a dire set up, the world is ending, and yet I found myself laughing a ton from all the witty dialog coming from characters I loved. Character's I've come to know for three long books. Being that invested in a character and knowing them so well made me really enjoy their quirks and the funny ways they reacted to things. I love it when you get a scene where all the steaks are on the line and the characters, while terrified, can still do something or say something that makes you laugh. I don't read much horror, and I think it's because I'm not the biggest fan of that intense feeling of desperation. This book put the characters in very desperate situations, but they still held onto hope if barely. I certainly felt many times like it was all going to end poorly for the characters I loved, but I never had that dark dreary feeling that turns me off in some books. An absolute feeling of hopelessness is only good, in my opinion, when used for that one darkest moment right before you kick into Act III. I better stop before I accidentally get into spoiler territory, so I'll just try and sum up my last few thoughts.

The magic system was developed even more in this book just when you thought you knew it all. It was really cool to see it unfold in new ways. Huge questions were finally answered, unlike the TV series LOST where I still have loads of questions. The characters continued to grow and change as they faced the impossible. It was a very enjoyable read, probably my favorite out of the three books in the trilogy, and a very satisfying story. I think that's what we expect with any story, but epic fantasy especially. When you've turned what feels like a million pages, or have listened to a million hours of audio - you want to be satisfied when it's all said and done. I went on the epic journey with Brandon's characters, and as the trilogy went on I loved it more and more. When the dust settled at the end I was almost in tears. It was a beautiful ending. 

Have you read any of the Mistborn books? What about other novels by Brandon Sanderson? Do you like the way he ended The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan? Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm an Audiobook Narrator!

Once again my blog has been silent for a time. That's because I've recently taken on a huge project that I'm really excited about! I joined ACX, audiobook creation exchange, a few weeks ago. I uploaded some samples of me narrating fiction and non fiction. I tried out for one fairly short non-fiction book about teaching. I was going to become a teacher before I changed my mind and went into the arts so it's something I'm interested in. Then I started receiving messages from a gentleman with questions about how it all worked to get his novel made into an audio book. I quickly and professionally answered all of his questions. Quite a few messages were exchanged and then he sent me a message stating that he'd like me to narrate his novel. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought it would take much longer to land a gig narrating someone's novel. I'm still waiting to hear from the non-fiction author. It's always been a dream of mine to narrate audio books. He said his wife liked my voice and thought it would fit his book well. Thank goodness for his wife! :) I'm so excited! This project is going to take every last second of my time to get done under deadline, but I'm really enjoying it. Once the project is finished I'll be sure to give you guys all the details of where to find it on Audible and Amazon. I added a progress meter to the right. Once that thing fills with blue I'll be done and I can go back to cranking out the first draft of my current novel "Zombie Super Powers." Wish me luck! So far I'm very pleased with how it's turning out. This will be a long steady race, not like recording one of my short stories. I was a distance runner in high school though, and writing novels is a similar long slow process, so I think I'll be okay :) Thanks for stopping by.

The isolation box I built for my microphone in my closet to record

Friday, March 15, 2013

Writing My First Draft

Chapter Outline - Click to View Larger
It's been quiet around here because I've been writing, and taking care of sick kids with my amazing wife. I initially wrote 9K+ words. Then I stopped and studied story structure for a month. Then I came up with a new outline. Then I started rewriting and now I'm back up to 11,357 words as I write this blog post. I've revised much of the first few chapters I had written so they follow my new outline. I started with trying to get every single chapter of my book onto one line of paper. Check out my results to the right. I think I'll do this with every book from now on. It took me a few days because I had to brain storm to fill in some of the gaps. I knew the major plot points, so I wrote those in but then there were still a lot of gaps. Filling in the chapters between was tough, and that was just getting one sentence down. Once I had this chapter outline done I could see the entire book on one page. This is awesome! I can see that everything is in the right place according to the story structure I've been studying. I knew I wanted my book to be short, about 60,000 words. I also knew I wanted each chapter to be short at around 2,500 words. So that gave me 24 chapters. From there I know that the 25% mark of my novel where I move from Act I to Act II is at the end of chapter 6. Right now I'm fleshing out chapters 5 and 6 to get there because in my outline I made it too easy for them to escape from the underground research facility. This was like putting together a puzzle, and while it took a lot of brain storming it was really fun and I'd much rather figure this story stuff out now rather than while writing the story. They say to try all different kinds of writing, outlining, no outline, but I've come to discover I'm definitely an outliner. I enjoy writing so much more when I know where I'm going. It shouldn't be a surprise - that's what I'm like with everything else in life. I like to have everything planned out in advance before making the first move. What about you writers out there? Are you an outliner or a seat of your pants kind of writer? Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Zombie Novel Is Officially Under Way

The novel I had the amazing opportunity to workshop on The Roundtable Podcast is officially under way. It was under way quite a while ago, and I wrote over 9K words, but then I stopped to really study story structure. After I studied story structure I used it to help me write a more thorough outline. I originally named it "The Truth About Zombies," but the story has changed a lot. Now I'm calling it "Zombie Super Powers." We'll see if it sticks, I'm not sure but it works for now. I now have a brand new beginning, and have revised the first chapter quite a bit. You can listen to the original first chapter, complete with music and sound effects. A lot of it has stayed in or been moved into the next chapter, but after that the next 6,500 words I wrote that no one saw are being scrapped for the most part. Some of the scenes from these later chapters will stay too, but the events leading to them are much different and they're getting pushed further back as well. I'm hoping to really get this train moving down the tracks now. If you'd like to be an Alpha Reader and follow along as the story gets written than you can do that on Wattpad. I think this will be the first novel I write that I can publish. The last three novels taught me a lot, and I may rewrite them someday, but I think this is the one. We'll see. I thought that about the last one until it went into the hands of Beta Readers :) But on this book I had three other guys help me with better story ideas when I went on The Roundtable Podcast, and I've studied story structure and applied it to my outline. I'm really excited and I can't wait to get this thing done so I can publish and podcast it. I've been wanting to be a Podiobooks author for five years now, ever since I found out about the amazing free audio book website. I've also wanted to publish a full length novel for years now, not just short stories. Hopefully this will be my year! Thanks for stopping by.