I am alive, don’t worry!

Hello, dearest Reader, I’m so sorry for going on over a week without contacting you, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I am quite busy with many a matter, particularly exams and planning for my wedding with my star. At the moment I don’t have much to share with you, but if you’re an Amazon.com user and read books on kindle or the kindle app for ipad, I have a proposition, more of a favor to ask, really: Most of my books on amazon.com are priced at 99 cents, but they don’t have to be. I would much rather them be free, but the way amazon.com does their prices is that you are not allowed to actually make the book free, rather, others must report of a better price. What I’m asking is that I’d love you to use the “tell us about a lower price” link and report to amazon the cheaper price of free using my smashwords link. If you do this,thank you. You are supplying the book into more hands and more readers that would love the stories. Now then, let’s me give you an example if you’re up for it. For instance, you would just go to this amazon.com link… And then put in the smashwords.com link… To report the free price! Amazon’s less likely to listen to my requests for a lower price, as I’m the author, and they’d expect shenanigans; but if you were to help me, it’d be much, much easier! Thanks again, dear Reader. I promise I’ll get back to you with more news soon enough. Until then, dream on! Love, Kell
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A kinda hiatus but not really.

Hello, my dearest Reader!

Thought I’d put down an update letting you all know what I’ve been up to. I’ve been writing a good deal (or should I say was) until exams have begun to sneak upon me. I’m not terribly ready, I regret to say, and I have a lot flying at my face at the moment (more than usual, at least) so I thought I’d let you all know that it may be as long as a week and a half before I get back up with you all- expect, though, that I’ll have something lovely, new and cool for you to enjoy.
Love forever,
Kell

What I’ve been up to – Halloween Knight

Good day, dearest Reader!

I’ve been working hard on several projects, including the sequel to Xtreme Force, a guest post for a blog, but also the first segment for a new project: Halloween Knight!

This story revolves around mild-mannered music fan and pseudo-spoiled brat, Clara Stone, and her quest to make Halloween the greatest of Holidays. How? Why? Well maybe you should read some here and find out for yourself:

Enjoy the first four chapters right here!

Um, also here’s some nice music to listen to. Pretty catchy and stuff.

Said and done, enjoy and check back often for updates.

Oh, also, the Channillo thing isn’t working super well. I’m not saying it was a bad idea, because everything you do as a writer is a step to maturity, but I think I’m finding less and less of a need to rely on middle-man distributors to get my book around (Amazon and Smashwords don’t count- I love you guys <3)

And to be honest, I really did feel bad keeping writing back and away from you guys. I much prefer to just give you guys things (and then engage you to naturally buy the rest of my writing *evil laugh*) rather than ask for an entry fee.

That said, the channillo.com idea is good, I love the site and the people who make it happen, however I think across sending stuff to them exclusively, writing things for free for you all, writing standard blog posts, writing guest blog posts (also exclusive) and writing stuff that I actually want to make money off of,it’s become harder and harder to keep it all going consistently.

So yes, I’m thinking of stepping back a little, and focusing more on my personal platforms, which means more free stuff for all of you, (and also more stuff that I’ll charge you for, *evil laugh again*).

All in all I think this will be the better direction, as I don’t think Channillo yet has the audience to make it all work- when I can simply turn around and make the magic on amazon and other such sites that have over 100x the audience. I was charmed by Channillo because I loved the idea of serializing my writing, but truly, I now have the assets and knowledge to sorta do all of that by myself so I’m seriously thinking of cutting that tie. I feel rather silly, but I guess it’s okay because some of the people I touted it to seem to really like it, but I feel it’s less so for me.

Self-loathing done, expect a lot more tasty writing soon. Thank you for your time and attention!

Much platonic love,

Inky

What I’ve been up to: An Aware Person’s Guide

Hello, dear Reader!

As of late I’ve been working on something new- I’m more or less just sitting on Channillo.com, which is working, I am making money, but not much. That said, while I am updating the Channillo.com page, I’m also hard at work at a new pile of delicious fiction, an idea that’s been holding my fascination for awhile, but never quite got down to until recently.

Here’s an excerpt. Perhaps you can take a guess what it’s about:


(Celia grasps her vampire-hunting kit, another Christmas gift from her overbearing fathers four years ago when vampires were still cool. She is about to cover the stake in holy water, but she guesses just in time that it probably wouldn’t hurt something so Christmasy. She’ll have to cover the stake with something… anti-Christmas- but what could be anti-Christmas?! It’s such a deluded holiday, people from most all walks of life celebrate it in The States… but what if another holiday could counteract it?

“Halloween!” she says, hair standing on end, while she runs into her restroom, closes the door, and turns off the lights. “Bloody Mary Bloody Mary Bloody Mary!”

“…Child?” a sick, weak voice comes from the mirror as the room takes on a faint, crimson glow.

“There’s some Christmas spirit guy in my house, he’s going to take my presents away!”

“…You call upon me to protect your possessions?” the voice whispers with hesitance.

Celia nods furiously. “Please, it’s a new mypad flair!”

The dark voice hums. “So be it. I’ll send a man over,” the low, feminine voice says. With that, the hellish glow subsides, and out from the mirror a jack-o-lantern man with a scarecrow hat climbs out as xylophones and strange, unearthly instruments proclaim his arrival.

“Yo, name’s Wick,” he says, rising to his height of six feet as he brushes off his long, shaggy jacket.

“H-hi! Help me kill this Christmas guy.”

Wick’s jack-o-lantern face squints a pumpkin-eye in surprise, and then shrugs. “Alright, let’s get’em,” Wick says, his glowing eyes staring to her bedroom door. The two creep down the stairs, entering the cheery, fireplace-like light produced by Santa’s son. He’s down by the tree, humming a popular yuletide tune.

“Alright, kick his ass!” Celia says to the tall, imposing crow-man next to her.

Wick leaps up from the side of the stairs and raises his hands, charging with spooky, skeletal magic. “I’d heard Santa’s bit the scythe, heard you Christmas folk were pretty shook up with it.  Never thought his son would go ‘round stealing presents though.”

The young man takes a stand, proud and unafraid of Wick. “Yeah? Well I thought a ‘change in managerial policy’ was in order. I always believed in my old man, but now parents buy the toys for kids. He became too soft. Christmas is not celebrated the way it should be. That’s why I’m here. This entitled kid of yours thinks she deserves these presents and has next-to-no appreciation for the hands that give them to her.”

Wick squints a round pumpkin eye, “This true, girl? You think you just deserve things just because you live?”

Celia huffs, “n-no! He’s stealing my gifts that I earned for being a good girl!”

The young Santa laughs, “You kiddin’ me? You don’t deserve this at all. Yo, Wick,”

“Yeah?”

“You… Know each other?” Celia says, squinting at the two. They both nod.

“Did you know what this girl did with Richie Drives?”

Celia jolts and Wick looks to her. “N-nothing! He’s lying!” she says.

“You mean that thing on Halloween? At the brew and view?”

“Yeah, they’re both underaged too,” Santa says with a cruel grin, stuffing her presents into his sack and replacing them with copious amounts of coal.

“I did see that… Damn, that ain’t good at all,” Wick says, his hands diminishing in their glow as he crosses his arms.

Celia begins trembling. “No! My dad still think I’m good. I was a good girl this year!”

“Only because you didn’t tell ‘em, bitch,” Santa says with a crass smile.

Wick clears his throat, “You’ve changed a bit, Ulrich.”

The boy smirks “I’m sick of being polite. I’m here to take toys.”)


Neat stuff, yes? Comments and thoughts welcome. What do you think the story’s about?

Fiction Writing: How to Survive Your First Fight Scene and Beyond

Alright, dear Author, let’s talk about fighting in books:
Fighting in novels is something that can garner any range of reactions from readers, from “I love fight scenes, they’re the most thrilling parts of the book! The emotional highs and lows of combat reflected in the hearts and conflicts of the characters is the highest echelon of drama and excitement!” all the way down to “I skip them- they’re boring.” Pretty large gap of feelings, right? We can chalk this up largely to the fact that fight scenes are among the least studied pieces of fiction writing.
Plenty will authors see articles about how write with imagery, show don’t tell, dialogue, back story, even romance scenes, but when is the last time you’ve run across an article about writing fighting? A while? Great, this is why I wrote this. Now, it’s true there are articles on this topic, but in comparison to the other subjects? Pshaw, this isn’t discussed enough- but enough lazing about in a neutral stance.
We’ll split this post into four primary sections, which are:
-Risk
-Description
-Plotting
-Character Survivability
Draw your sword, pistol, laser rifle, or magic wand, Author- time to fight!

#1- Risk
First on our list is risk. No, not the board game; we’re talking about what the character has to lose or gain from getting into the fight. This is a given for most authors, but this isn’t always the case. There’s always those scenes you find in fiction in which the protagonist has no need to fight, but does.
Is your protagonist a pacifist? Does he prefer not fighting to the death like most human beings? Then please, don’t make him turn around to an angry bartender and shoot him in the face. The risk that they’re going into needs to be tied to their character, and when this is broken, it is a break in character. Know the person you’re writing, and if they generally back away from fights, you’re going to need a damn good reason for why he’s asking to bite the scythe this time. Staying true to the character counts, especially if you want your Reader getting invested into the people you create.
In the Quick: Make sure the reason for fighting or not fighting is good enough and something the character in question would do.

#2- Description

Alright, now your uppity fencer protagonist named… Edward, I guess, has gotten into a scrap with an enemy of his merchant guild who we’ll call… Jacob. Pretty cool, right? Maybe. It depends on how you craft the flow of the scene.
Tell me, Author, which of these techniques would keep the reader engaged and on board with the happenings of the story?
Tech One (T1): Full, technical description
Edward and Jacob draw their rapiers. Edward thrusts forward and so does Jacob. The two push against each other a moment, and then Edward leaps back. He delivers a quick, precise straight jab that Jacob dodges. Jacob delivers a quick, precise straight jab that Edward dodges. Edward goes closer and thrusts with a perfectly-aimed, but slow frontal strike. Jacob counters by holding his sword sideways, pushing the thrust out of his face as he wraps around for his own thrust. Edward leaps back.
Tech Two (T2): Dynamic, flowery description
Edward hops, skips, and bounds at his foe, his fiery eyes hot enough to burn anyone that gets in his way. In the blink of an eye, Jacob smashes the rapier from Edward’s hand, his resolve as solid as volcanic rock. Edward, his training proving true, leaps up and grasps his handle just as he crashes down and makes sparks with Jacob. Their eyes meet, and so do their blades.
Tech Three (T3): A mix
Edward thrusts at Jacob, who dodges by a hair. Jacob jabs forward with steady, slow strikes, each into Edward’s angled guard. They fence  for a few seconds, and then Jacob delivers a shadowed kick to Edward’s side, sending him to the floor with a bony “thump”. On the ground, Edward pushes away just in time to avoid Jacob’s thrust.
The answer? There isn’t one. Sorry, Author, but different people prefer different styles of writing and description, but a mix of the two extremes is usually the most appealing. People want action they can feel in reality, but they don’t want it to drag. People also want action they can feel in the world of the book, but they don’t want it to get so flowery that it becomes hard to understand. A good rule of thumb is to decide what kind of promise the book “promises” and then deliver on that. Is the story over the top? Over the top fights. Is the story lengthy and descriptive? Lengthy fights. Just make sure to keep your fights realistic to the world, unique from each other, and revealing of the character. Remember, any action your characters engage in  can become the dialogue, let them show the reader how they react to a life-threatening situation. On top of all that I’d like to add a quote from a fellow article on fight scenes.
“Think of it this way: violence is dialogue. Make your fights into a conversation spoken with actions in which the real conflict is happening in the hearts of the characters and in which the reader themselves are helping to tell the story.” – Chuck Sambuchino, 5 Essential Tips for Writing Killer Fight Scenes.

A couple more things to consider:
-Play with different lengths for your scenes, let people read them- what do they think?
-Consider giving your main characters different weapons to fight with throughout the book, would their personality in the fight change in any way?
-Maybe have a character wounded, how would they fight differently?

In the quick: Know your reader, know yourself, experiment and practice.


#3- Plotting

Great, so your character’s gotten into a fight or two and they’re on their way to “defeating the villain” or whatever else they’re trying to accomplish- But what will this accomplish?!

Real talk though, did your protagonist just beat down a pack of wolves without injury, and then move on? Let’s get real. Fight scenes that don’t progress the plot of your story are more like… more like… b-bite scenes! Ha! Because they bite, get it?
…Yeah.
But really, fight scenes that don’t develop the story, characters or anything serve next to no story-telling purpose. If someone were badly wounded or killed during the fight, that would be cause for the fight because it develops the drama of the story, but when your mighty knight plows through skeletons like nothing and says not a thing as he walks out of the graveyard, there’s a lot of potential story-crafting wasted.
Of course, this is usually only a problem if your character’s a super good fighter. A problem for many more books however have to do with getting to the end. The fights in a book should naturally escalate, and escalate with the story outside of the fights. Long underline there, so let me unpack that a bit: What do you think would be most enjoyable to the reader amidst your story:
-A quick scuffle training match between two main characters, which escalates gradually into more-and-more deadly and violent fencing matches, leaving the reader on his seat, wondering when one of the fencers will go too far and try to kill the other?
OR
-A huge, no-holds barred fight scene that cripples both fencers before the reader gets the chance to get to know them? They then spend every fight after that poking at each other from their hospital beds.
Now, not saying that a huge opening is always bad (you have to find some way to engage the reader, after all, and action is something people do respond to) but you need to find a way to have the stakes get higher and higher and the accomplishment of the challenge more difficult throughout the story, thus raising tension. You can have huge octane in your opening chapters, but if it’s as high-octane as your ending fight, you can guess that your reader will put down the book thinking “in comparison to the story, the fights towards the end were lame!” you don’t want that. Find a way to make the hair in which the protagonist slips by with thinner and thinner as your story progresses.
Ringing in on this personally, I remember when I was writing “Xtreme Force: Book One” that I had several fights there simply for the sake of having a fight. I thought, “Hmm this is too quiet and the characters are starting to get to know each other, better put in a giant killer spider or something.” What I missed here is that, while it’s perfectly fine to have all these fights, it must be developmental to the characters and story in some way. I’ll do my darnedest to never make the same mistakes again- but the road of the writer is long, arduous, and probably covered in broken glass.
In the quick: Make fights important to the story, not an obstacle the reader wants to get past ASAP.

#4- Character Survivability
Alright, this is usually not a problem, but when it is it is devastating to a story’s immersion and enjoyment values.
Think back, you can probably pick one or two situations out quickly in books, movies, video games, in which you think “That’s not something this character can do.” and then they do it. How does that make you feel?
Chapter twenty: a hero thrown off a cliff, a hundred meters high, he slams into the ground, and he’s okay to walk? No.
Chapter twenty: a spy finally leaving Russia after her long mission gets pulled over by the secret police, she jumps from the car, hits the secret detonator that she actually had the whole book but has been unmentioned up to this point. She then causes her car to explode, propelling her on the burning wreckage all the way to the U.S. Embassy? No.
Chapter twenty: a fake wall weighing two hundred kilos falls into a young lady with pink hair and cat ears that looks suspiciously like the author who has never been to a gym in her life, but this lady receives the emotional strength to magically magically pick it off her? No.
Don’t make your characters posses hysterical amounts of physical stamina, or magic tool boxes, or become surreptitiously strong when they need it most. Of course, if you mentioned this hero has some sort of goddess’ blessing, that’s fine. If this spy is some hyper-reflexive super soldier and her detonator was mentioned from time to time that’s fine. If this young lady has had dangerous environment survival training and works out twice a week at the gym, that’s fine. The problem is this stuff needs to be in the story before it goes live.
Let me throw an idea at you. If you’ve heard of Chekhov’s Gun you will be familiar with this. A big thing about efficient and engaging storytelling is describing only the sorts of things that will progress the story in some way. Your characters are strolling through a park? Describe the park’s features by having the characters interact with or talk about them. Do Not have them walking through a park where there’s a marksmanship competition going on.
Readers are human, and humans love making tactical judgement.
If you describe a gun on a mantelpiece in any kind of detail further than “There’s a rifle on the mantelpiece” most readers will start building the expectation that this gun’s going to go off- and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is when we’re twenty chapters in and someone pulls out a rifle that no one in the mansion knew this angry war-veteran had on him- that breaks the immersion and disappoints the reader. You gotta build things up and make it satisfying, rather than disappointing, that the protagonist gets shot by a wonderful, well-described gun. If you ever want to save your character from dying, you need to have something building upon the reader’s previous knowledge of the character to do it. Perhaps add a friendly character a few chapters back, or have them find a weapon of some sort, any ace in the hole which will be used upon what would be their final moment.
You must, at all costs, avoid “Deus Ex Machine” moments, in which a seemingly-cosmic force of randomness takes pity upon the character in danger, and propels them to victory at hyper-speed. There is little more disappointing to the reader, as it tears away the world they were just, moments ago, believing in. How ever you want the final battle to end, you need it to be real for the reader.
In the quick: Know your character’s limits, and write on them.
Alright, we’re done. I hope this little run around in writing fighting will be of great use to you as you have your peppy sorceress battle everything from an ant to a dying god from the seventh floor of Yag’.
Much love and happy writing,
Kell Inkston