Most of us have heard the saying: Practice makes perfect. In the case of authors, writing does make us better. But what if we are practicing something wrong. Then we carry those bad habits from book to book. How do we improve our craft without relying on our editors to come and save the day?
Luckily there are several different ways.
We can read novels by other authors. This is my favorite option because I love to read. I have read 24 books so far this year. Reading helps us see how other authors structure their stories. Sometimes, I am too caught up in the narration to pause and observe the style. Which is not a bad thing.
You can also attend writer’s conferences or take courses. I have attended a local writer’s conference in the past and hope to take part in one next year when the world returns to normal.
In the meantime, I have been reading a few books on writing. While there is no magic wand, each book I have read has expanded my horizon. You can check out the writing books I have read here.
My most recent book is Characters & Viewpoints. This book is written in an easy-to-read style while imparting a lot of knowledge. I enjoyed the writing samples sprinkled throughout the book that conveyed information more readily.
For my Land of Magadha series, I choose first-person POV because a few fantasies I had read used it. This book discussed all the different POV options and its merits. I might use third-person limited POV for my next series based on what I learned here.
I recommend this book for aspiring writers and current writers.
Robin Hobb’s writing is marvelous. This third book of the Liveship traders trilogy concludes satisfactorily while leaving enough threads for us to meet these characters in a future book.
You can read my review of book one and two in my blog.
I read all three books in the last few months while editing and revising my book. That should tell you how this series captured my imagination. I am inspired to write a fantasy series after I complete the Land of Magadha series.
The author has written many books. What order to read the books is a question I asked myself. My answer is in the order she wrote them. I have read Farseer Trilogy and Liveship Traders Trilogy. I will be reading the Tawny Man trilogy next.
Highly recommend these books to any fantasy lover.
I read this book out of sequence. I read Recipe for Persuasion earlier and enjoyed it. You can read my review here. Before reading her new book, Incense and Sensibility, I decided to read the first book of the Rajes series, Pride, Prejudice and other flavors.
I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and have read her novels many times. I made sure I did not compare the characters in this book to Lizzy and Darcy in my head. Once I decided to enjoy this book as is, I appreciated this novel.
The story of the immigrant families resonated with me. Immigrant families and their high expectations for their kids rings true across cultures. The author has a way of describing her food that is magical. So a warning to readers to not read this book hungry. You will be attacking your fridge.
The alternating POV is effective. The story itself is not new. When Wickham arrives as a character, we know how it is going to end. The surprise is in the author’s treatment of this old tale and giving it a new life with plenty of Indian flavors.
Recommend for romance readers and Jane Austen book lovers.
This is book two in the Liveship Traders fantasy series. You can read my review of book one here.
I hope to one day write like Robin Hobb.
The world-building is mind-blowing.
Set in this world is a rich set of characters, each with their unique voice and arc. From Althea to Wintrow to Malta to Vivacia, this author has masterfully crafted an imaginative and emotionally satisfying story.
Middle books in a trilogy sometimes suffer from a meandering plot. Not the case in this book.
What am I looking forward to in book 3?
Malta’s arc: That child is full of surprises;
Althea and Brashen: Is there a happy ending here?
Wintrow: I want the boy to have peace. Is that too much to ask?
Vivacia: Will I see the ship fly?
Recommend this book to epic fantasy lovers.
I am excited to share the cover of this book with you.
Snow-clad mountains glistened in the morning rays in the distance. Even after all these years, the view filled me with awe.Chapter 1
Guess which kingdom this is? Padi, Saral or Malla?
Spoiler warning (for Heir to Malla): Book blurb and an excerpt can be found here.
This past week, I celebrated a book birthday. I published my debut novel Heir to Malla a year ago. Just two months into the pandemic and new life of masks and lockdowns, I shared the story I had been working on for over five years.
A year later, I have realized how many mistakes I made. I had no marketing plan, no newsletter, and no beta readers. I launched the book into the wild with no clue. Since then, I have joined writing groups on Facebook and learned many things from experienced authors.
I have found a beta reader or two among my avid readers. I will be releasing Prince in Shadow, an Heir to Malla prequel novella, exclusively to my Newsletter subscribers.
For my second book, War of the Three Kings, I have a simple marketing plan, mainly focused on building my newsletter subscription, sales promo for Heir to Malla, and one or two third-party newsletter promotions. I will share more details after the launch.
This journey is a marathon, and I am grateful to my readers for letting me share the stories in my head.
Readers want original content. They want something new, unique, and never before told story.
As writers, one might feel like there is nothing new under the sun. Fantasy and Science Fiction genres offer some room for novel ideas. A story set in a galaxy far, far away captures our imagination. Or a complex magical system piques our senses.
What shall a historical fiction author do? Conflict of the heart is what I like to explore. In this society, plenty of ways to put my characters in situations where they have to choose between love and duty, the eternal conflict.
I use distinct metaphors to set the stage for the period (a pumpkin flower that wilted on its stalk). My female characters dress in vivid color saris (ripe mango).
Like your favorite bowl of comfort food, familiarity is also soothing. A romance reader craves a happily ever after ending. My books offer hope amidst the chaos.
A good book touches the human heart, and if mine stirred yours, I have achieved my goal.
I recently finished my first set of revisions and sent the book to my editor. I hope to publish this book this summer and share the story that has been with me for years.
This tale flowed more easily from my head to my hand. Meera is back as one of our two protagonists. She is a decade older and finding her heart tugged in two different directions. Our other protagonist, who will remain nameless, finds his whole identity called into question.
Flavors, colors, and smells of medieval India seep through the pages.
Writing from the perspective of two characters allowed me to depict battles, dances, voyages, and more.
The women in those times resembled the moon. They had no power of their own and derived their authority from the men around them. How they wield this influence is a theme I explore.
For the men of my tale, danger lurks in every corner. From the kiss of a sword to the kiss of a lady, their heart is in peril.
I will be sharing the first chapter with my Newsletter subscribers soon. Please sign up here.
I normally love to read Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries. This book did not engage my heart as others have in the past.
The ingredients were all present: familiar PTSD, thrown into work, drive to solve the puzzle, and a good murder mystery. But the end result did not taste the same as the other Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries.
This story felt like a memory rather than the real thing. The mystery is still good and keeps you engaged. But the man, Ian Rutledge, lacks his usual presence. He is a mere shadow in the tale.
I want to see him change and experience life, but he is a mere observer in this book. That left me frustrated as a reader.
If you like mysteries, I highly recommend the series. This book, though, is not on par with the others.