Blog Tour

Scrivener: The Essential Writing Tool

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page. Sorry for the hiatus in writing a new post for several weeks but my efforts have been directed elsewhere. I hope to share more posts on this topic in the future.

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Scrivener LogoI was pleased to release my book, The Bow of Destiny, earlier this week. As you can imagine, Scrivener was a big help in self-publishing this fantasy novel. There are so many ways I’ve used the software to get to this point that it’s hard to imagine doing it all without Scrivener. It’s been a long hike – like doing the Appalachian Trail – and Scrivener has been in my pack the whole way. Here are some ways that Scrivener has helped me self-publish over the last year:

1. Newsletters – I used my newsletter template to write each volume this year and email it to mailing list followers. Scrivener has been instrumental in this since I have a project for all my newsletters for this year. I can open the project, write my content and transfer it to mail out easily. If I didn’t use Scrivener, I would have been hunting for all my information in separate files.

Multi-Function Tool - photo licensed via iStockPhoto

Multi-Function Tool – photo licensed via iStockPhoto

2. Editing the Book – The Bow of Destiny was largely completed when I really started using Scrivener so I imported it and completed my editing and development in a novel template. The same is true of the next book, An Arrow Against the Wind. However, with this second book, I still needed to complete the rough draft and do some structural editing. Scrivener was perfect for these tasks after I imported the book since I could use collections to organize my structural editing – see my posts on the topic: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4. However, the third book, The White Arrow, will be entirely developed in Scrivener and I’ll start that process in November with occasional, related posts about how I’m using Scrivener to do the development.

3. Project tracking – Scrivener allows me to do all kinds of project tracking. There are the built-in tools that track a project’s stats. Also, there’s meta-data to mark the status of sections and scenes in projects. However, I also used my Author Platform Manager, a custom project template I developed, to track what I’m doing overall as a writer. I can put anything necessary in it. If I develop an idea in it I can transfer it to an open project with the Scratchpad.

4. Blogging – Part of growing as an author includes blogging. I couldn’t have blogged near as much without Scrivener. It allowed me to put all my blog posts in one project for the year and create an ongoing schedule to follow. Without using Scrivener, I would have been lost and disorganized in the effort. It’s allowed me to often work ahead when I needed to and still keep the busy blogging schedule.

Writing5. Blog Tour Development – I developed a blog tour project template based on my blog template and what a big help Scrivener was there. I was able to work on my tour ideas and posts well in advance as I developed all of my author content. It’s been a major help just to keep all that in one place and work steadily at the release. I’m starting a new one with ideas within the week for the release of An Arrow Against the Wind 4/18/2016. With editing on this upcoming title ongoing, there’s no time like the present to organize the next release.

6. Developing & Writing Short Stories – Part of my release has involved using short fiction. I’ve also written some other short stories this year that are being submitted to magazine markets. Without Scrivener I would have floundered through developing these stories. The good thing is that with Scrivener, I can easily import these into another project to develop an anthology if I want to go that route. I’ve been able to manage and organize my short fiction with ease using Scrivener.

7. Document Templates – This feature in Scrivener has been very important to me all year. I’ve been able to use these templates to create my basic blog structure in my blog project. What a time-saver! I’ve also been able to use this feature to save more time writing my newsletters, short stories and more. By making document templates in my projects, I’m able to do repetitive writing without duplicating the same material repeatedly. If the material for the template needs an update that’s simple enough to change – one time.

Scrivener has been with me all the way during the last year. It’s been indispensable for me as a writer. I would not have done near as much as I have without it. I look forward to continuing my usage and expanding how I use it. As I develop an entire novel from it I expect to use the composition tools more than I have such as the lay-out manger as well as features for word searches and more.

BOD FinalIf you’ve published using Scrivener, how has it helped you get there? If you use it for other writing, how does Scrivener make you more effective as a writer?

I’ll make an appearance on 8/13 in RRBC’s Book & Blog Block Party. Then I’ll be on The Lost Bow Blog Tour from 8/14-20. I’ll post more news about the tour as it becomes available.

And one final tidbit – for those who might have seen it on my Twitter feed, I’ve been contacted by a teacher about including The Bow of Destiny in her curriculum. I don’t know much at this time other than it’s being considered. If it is, I’ll share more information ASAP. It’s interesting news at this point and another great reason to write!

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

Amazon

IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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Fantasy Authors Unplugged: World-Building 101 by Simon Lindley

The Fantasy Authors Unplugged feature has been re-booted lately and here’s another post by a guest author named Simon Lindley sharing about his upcoming book, Mannethorn’s Key and world-building. Take it away, Simon! 

World-Building 101 by Simon Lindley

The Realm, The Land, Middle Earth, Narnia – I presume you have spent some time visiting at least one of them. I know I have. And, if all goes well with the ‘travel brochures’, Drageverden will soon be another fantasy ‘tourist’ destination. However, I expect people will only visit if the place promises immersive adventure!

World-building in fantasy is as critical to a plot as character development. When done well, it can transport the reader so absolutely that they yearn for the place long after finishing the book.

I’ll share with you some of my challenges, and the process I go through in creating a land that I am confident is not only believable but tangible, tactile and immersive for my readers.

One of the difficulties I’ve struggled with at times is purple prose. As writers, we sometimes lean to the flowery – long, buttery descriptives – waxing poetic, sprinkled with a fine, magical dust, like morning dew settling on the vine and… oh, I beg your pardon!
I have learned to 1) be succinct, 2) alternate between long and short/slow and faster-paced sentences, and 3) avoid overuse of adverbs. Purple prose detracts a reader as much as a similar life scenario. We’ve all been in one of those awkward moments when someone has talked for well over twenty minutes about, say, fruit flies because, well, they’re a fruit-fly expert, and we nod, and nod, and nod and mm-hmm — until we nod off.

Another habit I picked up came from kindergarten: Show & Tell. I love to tell people things. He saw a dog. Maggie was angry. The bird was tired. The danger is that by doing so, a writer creates a barrier rather than an invitation. We must ‘walk’ as we write, immersed in the land and noting its effect upon our character/s. I must show, not tell.

Like all trips we take, we discover as we go. I make an effort to step from character interiority back into Drageverden regularly, to generate an interaction between the two. It is easy to blurt out all the details of a place, but that is not how we naturally absorb our surroundings, and it quickly becomes tedious. Our character must shake as she enters the darkness of the spider’s lair, snap her head back at the whisper over her shoulder, brace with teeth clenched as the dust cloud rises from the horde cresting the last knoll – and we must be there with them.

Tolkien carried his readers along – experiencing the ground under a hobbit’s foot, smelling the foul mead and men of the Prancing Pony, and anticipating the Brandywine narrowing near the ferry, still far too distant to escape the Nazgul. He rarely tells. What’s more important is that no matter who you talk to, Middle Earth is different for everyone. Why? Tolkien let the scenes play out as much by emotion as he did geography and although he painted a vivid picture of the land, he left our conviction of and immersion in Middle Earth to fill in the deeper details.

So I haven’t provided you much regarding DrageVerden. Oh, I could talk, believe me – ask anyone who knows me and you’ll soon discover I rarely shut up — but you must ‘walk’ alongside the giants crossing the Arvian Plains to understand the shock of it all, or spend a day with Ka the drakehawk to experience her love for the Swamps of Ierloquetze. Brochures never do a place justice. You have to book the holiday.

Okay, okay! I’ll give you a little foreshadowing prior to your trip: Drage is Danish for dragonVerden means land.

Happy Trails!

Simon Lindley is an author, musician and intrepid explorer in the real world and along the rolling landscapes of his imagination. His book, Mannethorn’s Key, the first in the Key of Life Trilogy, will be released in print and ebook formats January 5, 2018 at fine retailers everywhere. It is also available for pre-order now.

Thanks for stopping by to visit and read about this new book. Please click over to the book page, have a look and see if your interested in a pre-release copy.

An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices

Introduction

The Bow of Destiny begins a long journey for Athson and his companions which leads him to a gut-wrenching ending in that book. An Arrow Against the Wind begins immediately after those twists but with a twist of its own. In that light, Athson’s perspective shifts with realization that what he thought was real wasn’t and he begins to question his decade-long predicament.

Commentary

Within The Bow of Destiny, Athson struggles with grief both old and new as well as his uncertainty from his PTSD-like fits which seem to have resolved in some ways. However, he’s never quite sure of himself and doesn’t always trust his own awareness. He’s equally suspicious and doubtful of the quest. Within all of these difficulties, Athson is stuck in a spiraling struggle with his outlook on the adventure.

But, with the sudden shift of reality, his mood shifts from one of grief to that of a determination to seek answers to his life as well as help those around him. Without sharing any spoilers, Athson needs to find more than the Bow of Hart and isn’t willing to just follow Hastra’s lead in the matter. However, he is seeking to help others and himself though he doesn’t know how to go about it. He just unwilling to follow a course that he doesn’t believe will achieve his goals.

Athson sets out on his own to accomplish his new goals, determined not to remain a grieving victim. Hastra and Gweld slowly turn his attention back to the Bow of Hart as a way of accomplishing his goals. Their reasoning is that the Bow of Hart is the key to the problems that confront Athson who slowly comes around to the idea. However, he still wants to do things his way regardless.

Between the events of The Bow of Destiny and An Arrow Against the Wind, there’s a definite progression for Athson. In the first book, he’s struggling with his own pathos and malady about which he believes himself to be merely a bystander as events happen to him. By the end, he’s willing to take a stand for himself and others, rising out of his inward struggles.

An Arrow Against the Wind shows how Athson begins to grow as he takes action against the forces set against him. His actions are imperfect but he has skills as a ranger that he can use to further his goals. He believes he’s still making good decision, a belief revealed in the opening scene of The Bow of Destiny when he makes a choice while hunting. But as Athson progresses he will be presented with tougher choices and the question remains if he’s truly able to make a difficult decision by parsing out more than what he wants at a moment, but what is best for others as well. His choices lie between his own goals and the needs of others. He wants to help but what is the best way? He’s growing out of the malaise of years and into an active participant in this life because the Bow of Hart and the prophesy surrounding it require him to grow and make tough choices.

Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt where he discusses his options with Limbreth regarding some choices and the Bow of Hart:

Later, they shared time during their watches as they walked a circuit of their camp. Spark trailed them.

“Let’s just leave and go ourselves. They’re slowing us down. They’ll keep me from doing what I have to do.” Athson stared into the silent night, his tone hushed. Time was wasting. Each night the moon phase progressed. His gut clenched. “It’s not their decision.”

“Athson, they mean well and understand your feelings.” She paused, hefting a sword. “But there are the bigger issues of the prophecy. Hastra knew her risks and has for years.”

They paused by the mules, and Athson patted one on its side. “But I can’t abandon my father and mother again.” He turned to Limbreth and grasped her shoulders. “I’ve lived well with the elves while they’ve suffered. I can’t just run off and forget them.”

She leaned forward, her forehead touching his. “I know. It’s not easy. Maybe an answer will present itself.”

His voice rose in challenge, and he stepped back. “Like what? I’m trapped. They are trapped in Corgren’s clutches.”

Limbreth gazed toward their sleeping companions and back to Athson. “Quiet, you’ll wake the others. I don’t know what will happen, and neither do you. But I’ll go through it with you.” She took his hand and came closer. “I’m here now. For you. So are the others.”

Athson shrugged. Was her support just words? She had a suitor waiting for her. Somewhere. “What if the others scout out Corgren? I find the bow while they sneak my father away. Then, then…” Then what? His mother died?

Limbreth lowered her face. “What about your mother?” She sighed. “Tough questions and no answers. Yet.”

Athson paced away and back. “Well, just get some sleep. We push on before the moon.”

A falling star streaked across the sky. Athson remembered a similar sight in his vision at Eagle’s Aerie. The arrow Eloch prepared. He frowned at the sparkling sky. The inheritance lay in his pack. The same words written on the will. He needed an arrow?

“That was beautiful.”

“Yes.” Athson managed. “There’s supposed to be an arrow.”

Still watching the sky, Limbreth frowned. “What arrow?”

“It’s in the prophecy.” He thumbed over his shoulder toward camp. “It’s in that will I got. I don’t know where that is. I remember something. A falling star like a smoking arrow from back at Eagle’s Aerie. But if it’s not with the Bow of Hart I don’t know what to do to find it. But if I did, I’d have something to fight back with. Maybe.”

“Perhaps, but at least we’ll know if it’s there, and maybe we can ask Howart, if he’s there…” She lifted her arms to his shoulders and stepped closer, her eyes still to the sky. “Then we’ll decide. You know we’ll do something based on all that information. There’s an answer, Athson. It’s not hopeless.”

He scowled a moment then realized her tone held encouragement. “Thanks.” He held her a while under the stars as the time slipped past him.

Find out more about the second book of The Bow of Hart Saga, An Arrow Against the Wind, by clicking on one of these retailer badges:

   BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

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About the Author