Saturday, May 6, 2017

How To Make Characters Jump From Pages

I've been getting some questions about how to flesh out a character in a story. Writing a believable protagonist seems to be difficult for new writers but once you nail some basics, it becomes given. So I decided to write about some of the things that I do and consider when writing a new character.

1. Always introduce them first.


Nothing is worst for the reader than a character who is shoved in the story. Hey, it might work out fine but if you don't properly introduce him into the story, it might get hectic a bit further down the line. Now the way to do this, is to always have a scene that basically shows a bit of his personality and story as well. Start up a rumor upon his arrival, have them challenge the best, or bully the weak (in writing, please don't do this).

For example, let's say we want to introduce a bad ass character named "Flowers" -see the conflict at the very beginning? Bad ass conflicts with Flowers, so this should be a piece of cake (no pun intended... and this has nothing to do with the fact that I'm hungry)! Upon his arrival in the world or the place that the protagonist is, have them cause a stir, no one knows how to deal with this character who simply oozes badassry. Have them wear a top hat, and whenever they say something clever they flick it a bit.

Now, let's say this takes place in a tavern or an inn, and there is a fight. A bandit is bullying an old man, and every one just plays along and is laughing at this, to which Flowers intervenes, he flicks his top hat and says "My, what have we here? A bandit who knows no honor and good manners; what a surprise".

How does the bandit respond? By throwing a fist at our own Mr. Flowers, who quickly dodges, hold his arm and twists it, pushing him to the ground. Mr Flowers smirks and then twists even harder. "Would you like I teach you some?" he says as he glazes into the old man and winks at him.

"Who are you?" The old man asks, stuttering and nervous for some reason.

"Captain Flowers, at your service." he says as he loosened his grip on the bandit, and makes his way towards the exit.

"You're a Pirate? Here? I'm afraid you are in for trouble for assisting me . . . you see this place is ravaged by the likes of him," the old man says, pointing at the bandit.

"I know. I'm counting on it," Flowers says before he disappears.

Now, look at what we achieved with this short little scene that introduced a character that is simply too big to ignore as part of the scenery, we have established that he is the captain of a Pirate Crew, and that although he makes a living off of stealing ships and other... piracy things, he doesn't tolerate bandits -a thing that has apparently pushed him to come to a place where its full of them.

The reader will wonder about the goals of Mr. Flowers, why did he come here, and why the hell is his name so funny.

2. No character speaks the same.


This is a bit obvious, a character must have a unique tone to him, the way he says the letter "R" for example, and contrary to popular belief, dialog needs not to be perfect. "A charcatere, might speak however he desires, and is allowed to make mitsakes -I did that on purpose-" though don't think this is an excuse for bad grammar, it is literally quite the opposite. A Pirate for example would go like "Aye Captain, I be seeing a big and pretty island next to me eyes!" and the Captain could punch him straight in the face "why don't you speak like a normal person?" well, normal is boring.

Think of real individuals that you meet on a daily basis, although they speak the same language, none have the same backstory. Thus, a character must always be driven by a motivation. Something he lacks that he is after... whether that is revenge, power, lust or greed is up to you to decide, but seriously think about the key characteristics that differentiate your best friend from the rest and build it up from there.

3. How about you do an arc for each main character?


Seriously, you can do this as a subplot where they need to go back to the character's roots or home town just to figure out what went wrong/right in their life and try to see things from their perspective. It's a great way to add depth and weight to your book because the more time you spend flushing out the characters, the tougher it is for your readers when you kill them! Um... Sorry, reflexes...

By the time I finish properly introducing my characters, I'll sometimes be at the 40K mark depending on what I'm writing, but in the case of my current WIP, I did a character arc halfway through the book while shrouding her in mystery. Even her damn name changed everything for the protagonist. You can take your time with this really, but if you want to have that human connection to establish, readers have to know someone's why before they understand the how.

I've rambled quite enough, so if you got any questions on this, shoot me an email or find me on Twitter (where I'm most active) @infrangilis or you could just leave a comment here! I promise I'll respond, even if you tweet "The Penguin Overlord is watching you." at me. No but really, don't tweet that please.

Until next time,
Write on.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What I accomplished in 2016 - Yearly




Happy New Year!


Okay, so let's start this with: happy new year everyone! I hope that the next year will bring you more joy than you could ever dream, and may you brim with not only confidence, creativity and focus, but also taste amazingly good food (food is life amirite?)!

So I thought a lot whether I should do a post about new year and at first, I didn't actually want to do it (being that I believe simply wishing new year resolutions is not only a waste of time but its like a comfort pill that we take at the start of every year for the sole purpose of feeling good about ourselves. So in the year 2016, I started around 14 different projects, and completely finished 9 of them, 6 of those are published currently.

Needless to say, I was already planning on making a list of everything I published during 2016, which is a good tracking measurement to be honest if not anything, and so I decided to share this with you! Call this the yearly review of what I have achieved (I'll also post the blurb or synopsis of every story along with the cover and link), but first let's begin with this:

Highlight of the Year:




Well, this kinda deserves its own post to be honest, and I was gonna plan on doing the moment this was done, but unfortunately, sometimes life sails in such a direction that you cannot possi... Okay fine, I'll do it pretty soon.

Anyways, this was seriously a great moment to me personally, I'll be sure to write about it next year (sorry, couldn't resist) but those aspiring authors was seriously the icing on the cake for me. To see such an enthusiasm for writing in such a small country is without a doubt something to be proud of, and I really hope I get to read their stories pretty soon!


Stories Published:


These are the titles that I completely managed to finish and are available for you to read right this moment! I tried to do this based on the order of when each got published, but oh well...


Minds: The Secret Society




In the fictional city of Ganea, a super detective by the name M exists. He is one of the most renowned detectives known for tackling cases that often others shy away from. But unfortunately, not even he, could escape the jaws of love.

Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0173UW9YO


Dragon Tooth




Set foot upon the magical lands where Magic Guilds battle to the top! Dragon Tooth is one of three of the strongest guilds in the known lands. Follow a story of fantasy, principles and mighty battles!

Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GP03GZY



Jack of Scurvy Bay





Jack of Scurvy Bay follows a young man's adventure and rise to power. His thirst for freedom and treasure drives him away from his home town, where they they often neglected any person who grew to have ambition. The authorities manage to catch and execute one of the most elusive pirates currently known in the world, and ironically, that thing is what sets Jack our hero to take on a life of piracy.

Link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/665859



A Duck's Sacrifice




A Short Story intended for children, but then takes a very dark path. This is one of the first stories I ever wrote.

Link:
https://www.wattpad.com/216708795-a-duck%27s-sacrifice



Secret of the Moonlight




A number of unsolved cases demand the attention of a famous detective, known for tackling a lot of mysterious with success. His success rate has garnered him enough reputation that criminals fear. Isabelle is the girlfriend of Calvin Greyson, son of the well-known Jack Grayson, and after he receives a threatening letter, she runs off to the police to seek their help.

Link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/683013


Kind of the Land



A just King has struggled to have an heir to his kingdom, he is persuaded to summon a witch and gaze into the future, and see what happens. But needless to say, he didn't quite like what he saw, but regardless... Sometimes not even a king may alter destiny.

Link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/691532


Other works (along with status):

These are some of the titles/stories that I began writing but either didn't publish yet or decided to cancel them all together. Keep in mind, a lot of these titles have been dissected and pieced in other stories or books that have been published.


New World: Beginning of a New Dawn
Status: 
On hold.

Description:
This is one of my favorite works as well. Back when I was mainly a scriptwriter, I had this idea and wrote the script to an amazing story (I'm biased here a bit...). It revolved around Sophon, an apprentice of a great leader that was recently executed by the Supreme Council and leads an open rebellion against them.


A Guilty Confession

Status:
Discarded.

Description:
This was the initial skeleton of Secret of the Moonlight and Minds, so think of it like it sacrificed itself to bring you two of my favorite stories so far!


Deathworker

Status:
To be started soon.

Description:
More info will be released soon.


A Tale of Horror (Title to be determined later)
Status:
Canceled.

Description:
I always wanted to write a horror flick. I started working on this story back in May, but decided to cancel it for the time being. It was about a girl trying to summon a demon simply to understand their world. Needless to say, things get quite out of hand very quickly.


Luna's Dream
Status:
Completed, will be published in early 2017.

Description:
It is a tale of a child that learns about Lucid Dreaming, and aims to master it in order to meet her late father. Soon though, she learns that her dreams are more than just dreams...


Fortier: Blood & Moon


Status:
Completed, will be published in early 2017.

Description:
Fortier is the story of Alfred Zeidan, a vicious, deadly and renowned vampire that secluded himself away from everyone for hundreds of years, until a message reaches him from his father calling for his return.
Part of him knew that this was about the Bertrams, another family of vampires that are fierce rivals and sworn enemies of the Zeidans, in fact the sole reason why he shunned the world he grew up with was because of the fighting and long standing feud between the two families.

But alas, he returns... for better or worst.


Titans: War for the World



Status:
Main Project, will be published in early 2017.

Description:
A dark epic fantasy that takes place in a world where might is the separator of the brave and the cowardly. Ancient history texts speak of prominent Titans who long controlled the world. It was not until King Magmar the First that their rule came to be challenged.

Needless to say, the Magmar dynasty prides itself in being the sole reason why mankind has flourished for as long as it did, casting away the false rulers for eternity . . . or so they thought.

Achievements Unlocked:

  1. Published my first novel.
  2. Nominated for multiple awards on Wattpad.
  3. Featured on Wattpad.
  4. Participated in Writers of the Future
  5. Met Chaker Khazaal
  6. Try out different sort of writing platforms (Wattpad, Smashwords, Amazon, Channillo -soon I swear-)
Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dear Amazon, I do not live in Narnia

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First of all, before I begin with this week's post, I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I didn't get my gifts so I'm going to assume that Santa wrote me in his naughty list this year...

This is the story of when I tried to purchase a short story I found the other day while going through my Twitter feed and I just felt compelled to read the rest of it (the author had provided a free sample on his website) but unfortunately, the short was only available on Amazon at the time.

You know, Amazon? The website that houses the works of almost every writer on the planet? The one which I used to publish my debut novel and a bunch of short stories as well? Well, apparently I live in Narnia, as I couldn't for the life of me purchase a copy (it was only made available through Kindle).

I wasn't all too happy to be honest, and after doing a ton of research, I figured out the reason why Amazon doesn't allow me to purchase Kindle books on the same platform I use to publish my Kindle books, and no you are not imagining... I do have a little bit of attitude, but what would you do were you in my place? Give Amazon a call? Yep you got that right!

I kept my Snapchat(@infrangilis) updated as the story was happening, and living in a small country, getting a call from Amazon is as exciting to some as the um... just imagine something very interesting alright? Thanks.

I stayed on the phone with Amazon for about two to three hours that day, while they checked their records and tried to help me (I feel I must add that they were extremely professional and just awesome), but my beef isn't with the employees, my beef is with the service itself.

Yes, they did inform me that the sole reason why I feel like am living in Narnia right now is simply due to them not having digital distribution rights in my country, but they did assure me that they are constantly expanding their reach and the middle east is definitely an area that they will not miss, but the thing is... I informed them via email and through conversation that I could expedite things over here.

We have an awesome ministry that takes care of the youth and all initiatives and I am almost positive that if I approach them with this, they'll do everything in their power to help bring the magic of Kindle books to our lovely country. Their response? Not much.

You might be thinking that I'm being a bit tough on Amazon even though they provide authors a lot of assistance and services, but seriously... It's a matter of principle, a person can publish their work through Kindle, but his local audience is basically being cut off by default. That's not okay, and I'm not that crazy about that to be honest.

So what's the point of this blog? Nothing, this is simply me steaming off my frustrations while hoping that it makes for a good story. I do not expect this to change anytime in the near future, but I felt like I needed to share this story.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Support for Indie Authors



So this was long overdue... Indie authors have a lot on their plate, they have to basically learn to do it all themselves whether it's marketing, designing, layout formatting on top of the actual writing itself. That is why you often hear that writing a book is the easiest part. Now, the question why I opted to write this now is very simple: it usually takes me days in order to find a good editor who understands that indie authors do not 'shit' gold. Not all of us are Tywin Lannisters eh?

Now, the thing is I understand how important it is to get your work edited, but do you really have to charge emerging authors ridiculous sums of money? Professional editing is ranged between 600$ and an go to a staggering 2000$+ to get a novel edited, something that realistically new writers cannot cough up as they do not have publishers behind them.

Is it worth it? Absolutely, never underestimate the work that these editors do, I mean seriously, all the power to them right? But since not everyone can afford the luxury of spending thousands of dollars on their manuscripts I thought I would share some of my favorite editors with you (keep in mind, I highly recommend these editors and they don't charge a fortune):

1- Beta Reading & Editing:

The people at 'SimplyBetaReading' offer great packages that you can rely on to improve your craft. They offer a range of services like Beta Reading, as well as some editing packages. Their prices vary depending on your style of writing but rest assured; it definitely won't break the bank!

Website:
http://simplybetareading.com/services.html

2- Manuscript Critique

Victoria Griffyn offers to critique your manuscript for a very low price compared to her expereince as an experienced editor and is in my opinion a bargain. She also has a YouTube channel and offers subscribers a 10% discount.

Website:
http://www.victoriagriffin.net/editing-services.html

YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/ladyace0007

3- Professional E-book Formatting

I was actually surprised to find this service as well, you get best selling authors and editors to edit your work of up to 100K words for a simple fee of 60$ only. If you do a little research only, you'll begin to appreciate just how much a bargain this really is.

Website:
http://www.fictionworks.com/ebook-formatting

That's it for now, let me know if there is something specific that you want me to cover as well and I'll do it. It was really important for me to write this in the hopes that someone will benefit from these great services.

Also, for my countrymen and any writer residing in Bahrain, get in touch with me if you need any of these services! We have a community to support each other locally, and I would love to have you be part of it (we do this thing where every weekend someone sends something they wrote and everyone provides feedback).

That's it for now,

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

To Anyone Who Could Be A Writer

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I've always wanted to write this post, and also forgive the lack of posts but I have a lot of good news coming your way! But for now, I felt that the time was right for me to write a message to anyone who could be a writer.

Writing is a form of art, and it has many categories you see, if you are already doing the work, that means you should definitely consider getting the most out of it. So to all of those who simply dream of becoming great poets or authors I say: wake up, it's time to get to work. The thing about writing is that it's a habit and not something you do every once in a while. In the words of Mr. Chaker Khazaal (the most influential Arab of the world) "writing is like praying, you shouldn't give an excuse as to why you're not doing it".

In my humble journey, I've been blessed to have met a lot of great individuals who have amazing talent, hopes and aspirations... But it's funny that these are the ones who are filled with doubt and consumed by the idea that for some reason they're not good enough. But what are they comparing themselves to? Traditionally published books go through at least a dozen rounds of editing, where every round consists of the following:

  1. Developmental Editing
  2. Copy Editing
  3. Proofreading 
If you believe that your work is sub-par to them, well of course it's going to be, since you are competing and comparing your own style of writing to others, it doesn't work that way. That's why we write the stories we want to read. WE the authors are the ones creating whatever world we want to create. We are the ones researching the materials we want to shed light on, so to compare yourself to another writer or more so your book to another is the worst crime you can commit to yourself. 

Some will love your work, others will not -that is a given, and that's the beauty of sharing your work with others, they're allowed to disagree with you, but you aren't allowed to quit because of it since the more you write the better you get. Think of it this way: every mistake you make, is one that you won't repeat in your future, so grind, write, make mistakes and learn from them!

That's all for now, 

Until next time,
Write on.

Monday, October 24, 2016

When I Met Chaker Khazaal The Most Influential Arab in the World

(Sorry for the low resolution picture, I seriously should've wiped the front camera)

On Wednesday 19th of October 2016, I met someone who I have wanted to meet for quite some time now. Not only an author, a journalist, speaker and champion for human rights and refugees, but also the most influential Arab in the world, Mr. Chaker Khazaal.

I went there, filled with questions, and I didn't hesitate to ask. Immediately, I said "do you feel a certain pressure about your title of being the most influential Arab in the world?" to which he answered "I don't think about it really, it's nice to be get these rewards of course, but that isn't why I do what I do. In the end, you just wake up and go to work."

He was extremely humble, down to earth and just simply amazing. Words cannot describe the feeling and sensation that you get by just being around him, you just feel incredible, invincible even. That maybe, all those voices in your head that fill you with doubt, get quashed by his aura. His story, is one worthy of remembrance.

So what happened then? I pounded him with one question after another, and I felt like he was my big brother, to whom I was just complaining about the hardships of publishing a book in the middle east, and what I got from him was to just keep on trying, and to never be ashamed of my work.

And then, I told him about the doubts that I had in my mind, and how it sometimes feels crazy and hectic. Sometimes, the inner doubts that one can have, are his only demons and obstacles to success... And then, he told to first, sign a copy of my book, and then READ him a part of it. It was an amazing exercise to be honest, and one that definitely helped. In his own words "I hope by doing this, you'll remember what you have done."

So in the end, I'd like to just say to every aspiring author out there, and to anyone who is having doubts about sharing their work... Just power through it! Remember who you are, be okay with making mistakes, learn from them and be the very best that you can be. Because in this day and age, we do not have the luxury of having an excuse why we didn't do something.

If you'd like to check out Chaker's book (which I totally recommend by the way, go over to www.chakerkhazaal.com

And to Chaker, I say: It was an honor meeting you, and I hope that we will meet again soon (and this time, have you sign my copy of 'Confessions of a War Child').

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review: Bishop a Short Story by Ric Santos



A couple of weeks ago, something stumbled across my Twitter feed and compelled me to check it out. That thing was the beautiful cover that you see. Now, being able to actually purchase it though was a completely different story (one, where I had a 2 hour phone conversation with Amazon -story coming soon-).

Something about the cover just compelled me to check it out, and @RicSantos was kind enough to show a couple of pages as a (read before you buy) which I absolutely love when authors do that by the way, and I just read the story.

I felt extremely drawn to it, and long story short, I couldn't purchase it through Amazon because apparently I live in Narnia. So I contacted the author and he kindly provided me another way to purchase the story, and the rest was history.

In the sense that it breaks away from normally found short stories and I found that it executes its concept pretty well (which is a short story to be exact). The story begins after 'The Calling' and the world is pretty much in chaos, laws are abandoned and instead anarchy breeds and lurks in every corner.

The main character, Bishop whom I immediately felt drawn to, is the personification of the word 'total badass' and spends his days hunting for his revenge. After his wife and daughter are brutally killed by a group of criminals, he sets out in an already forsaken world bent on avenging them in the most action oriented way possible: butchering everyone left and right until he gets to the source of the problem.

While I won't spoil how the story shapes, it is definitely a great read, but one that I felt could've used a lot more depth and backstory. A short story, simply does not do the world that Ric created justice, and at the end, I found myself still wondering about what would happen next.

'Bishop', was an absolutely thrilling read, but it was one, where it would leave you wanting more and more. I would absolutely love for a sequel, or even a prequel... or you know, anything!

You can find Bishop on:
- Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666848
- Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GXVK62W

That's all for now,

Until next time,
Write on!





Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

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I had a couple of interesting discussions to say the least with a couple of friends about NaNoWriMo and generally, they were quite pissed off at me at the end. Let me explain...

What is it?

First, if you don't know what it is, NaNoWriMo is basically this ritual during the month of November where writers take a pledge to write and finish an entire novel. Yeah, one month, one novel. It couldn't be better than as if you were ordering food from your favorite restaurant (what? I'm a bit hungry at the moment, don't mind the metaphor).

So, my friends asked me if I was going to "take the pledge" this time seeing as I'm already working on my second book and stuff, and they were next to shocked when I told them "I hate it."

Look, I get it, the whole idea and concept behind this is to motivate writers to simply write and get them practicing and whatever. But the fact of the matter is, a good novel cannot be written in one month! Holy shit, if you could do that why not write a book every single month as opposed to focusing on only one? And don't start with the "that's not the point" bull...

I write about 1.5K words a day (and on a good day I write about 3K), so in theory I should be able to do this quite easily. But my problem with this is, that writers who plan on participating often plan the book ahead. They plot it out extremely well and then it's simply a matter of finishing a draft. Good? Yeah I guess. So if you can plot a book so well as to finish it in one month, why are you not doing it as a standard practice?

Why I hate it?

I think it's really demeaning for other writers when they hear about NaNoWriMo. Shouldn't every month be considered a month of writing? It seriously belittles the amount of research, hard work, re-write and editing that authors do when it comes to writing. It is just not as simple as they make it sound to be. Finishing a novel in one month? Seriously? And the excuses that you get "I would write a book every month if I had the time" - Ah! They lose simply by pleading to that excuse.

In the end, I'm really not against NaNoWriMo or anyone who participates in it, in fact power to them for actually getting a draft completed in such a short time but I just don't see myself putting that much pressure on myself (books... you see are really evil). I just have a problem with the message that they portray to the rest of the world.

These are totally my own opinion, and if you disagree with me, then let me know. Leave a comment, or tweet me. Let's talk about it.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Prologues - Are They Important?

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I've been receiving a lot of messages and questions from family and friends who gazed upon the book that is Dragon Tooth, and the first thing that comes to their mind is: why is there no prologue? Isn't that essential? 




Well, I thought I could discuss it in this week's post (I know I missed a post last week, I'll make it up to you I'm sorry) so here goes.

The short answer is: yes and no. Basically, prologues have developed this sort of reputation that they are used by authors simply to 'info dump' the reader and get them familiarized with the world they're creating, and this couldn't be further from the truth.

First, you have to consider if your story even needs a prologue (I hear you... 'but Mo, how on dear planet Earth am I going to explain my world then?' I'll get to that in a second). The thing is, most books can do without it, and a good question to ask yourself is "if I take the prologue away completely, does it change or alter anything important?" if the answer is no or even a maybe, then yours is not that important.

Second, don't get me wrong, it could be used to drop the reader in the world and have them hooked straight away from that, or completely turn them off by it. The prologue has to add something to the equation, whether it happens way in the past, or way in the future.

One of the techniques I've seen writers often pull, is that they'll have the prologue take the reader through a very important event lore-wise and that without reading it, the true ending would not be unlocked. How? Let me explain with an example:

Let's say, your story revolves around Simon, who is a good old fashioned hero who goes on an adventure to save the princess from the evil dinosaur Bibo (just go with me, right). And the ending would be Simon butchering Bibo and saving the princess, but at the end, the princess notices a scar shaped like an 'S' around his neck and asks him about it, to which he replies "It's an old wound that you don't need to worry about."

Perfect right? Yep, except for the part, that in the prologue, the princess's grandfather summons a witch to predict the future, and the witch says "Your granddaughter will perish at the hands of S".

Now, who was the bad guy? And just who exactly was this... Simon fellow? It offers a lot of perspective to the story, and trust me, while some may not make the connection, others will. Readers are exceptionally smart and will pick up on every little clue you leave them.

So, that's it for this week. If you enjoyed going through this, I'd appreciate it if you could share and spread the word, it really helps.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dragon Tooth Available in Jashenmal - Bahrain!



I am more than happy and excited to announce that Dragon Tooth is available for purchase locally in Jashenmal (City Centre, Seef Mall, and Aali Mall). I couldn't be happier to be honest, and as soon as I got the email, I was on my way to take pictures!

But what good is publishing a book if you can't play around a bit? When I entered the bookstore, my eyes rolled towards the book copy that was on display at the store, and then it hit me. I want to do something crazy, and at the same time motivate myself and so I did this:



So, apart from going there and taking a couple of pictures (more like a dozen) I decided to take a copy and place it next to George R R Martin's brilliant books (A Song of Ice and Fire). This was literally the best I could do without looking like a lunatic (there were people watching going like 'what is wrong with this guy? And why is he placing a random book next to George's books?) but it definitely was worth it!

Then, I got out as quickly as I could, blushing and hoping no one noticed what I did (but come on, anyone would do that!). 

So anyways, you can still order the book through Amazon or CreateSpace directly if you are not in Bahrain (I'm still working on getting it more accessible as 

Finally, I would like to thank Jashenmal for their wonderful cooperation in making this possible.

Until next time, 
Write on.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tips on Character Development

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One of the questions that I get sometimes is how to create complex characters that don't all sound the same, and if you're wondering (but Mo, it's just text! What is this sound you speak of) I hope you had your fun... you freakin legend.

Anyways, in all seriousness, having a number of characters in a story is accompanied by a lot of different factors and risks. For example, think about your friends in real life, and how even when two people sometimes act the same, and even have the same voice tone but they have that one thing that separates them from the rest. 

No two persons can be alike in a story. This can be translated in the way they say their dialog or key personality traits. Let's take Vendel from Titans (You can check it on Wattpad by the way). Even when technically she is the main protagonist, most readers find her extremely annoying and childish. It's the way she approaches problems and the first impression that she gives.

The first scene that we are introduced to Vendel is when she's attending a class, daydreaming about joining the military. What happens next? She almost gets killed for simply not keeping her mouth shut. Now let's pause for a moment and wonder how many people you know, get in trouble for simply not keeping their mouth shut? A bunch, I'm sure.

That is different than say another character who is calculative and is not impulsive at all, and observes the situation and all options (you can even show the reader what he's thinking) while analyzing the best course of action to take from there. For example, lets say you have two characters: Adam, and Eve (I know... just bear with me) and Adam is impulsive and acts solely on instinct while Eve is the calculative one, and they both happen to see a thief.

Adam would stop him, and simply report him to the authority. He would say something along the lines "How dare you steal the work of others! How selfish can you truly be?".

While Eve, would interrupt him and say "Cut it out! Don't you care why he stole in the first place? What if he was stealing this for his family?"

Now, just like this, we are creating a moral dilemma as well as fleshing out the characters. Who is right and who is wrong? Adam technically wasn't wrong in that stealing is bad, but Eve is the sort of person who would notice the thief's stench and torn cloths and make the assumption that he was stealing because he had no other choice.

Consider this a lot, the base trait of every certain character is extremely important and cannot be altered. A weak person cannot be strong just like that. They must be hardened or the opposite. A cold hearted person might be softer if he (for example) sentences someone to death and later on learns that they were innocent (the opposite is true as well).

You can always use character sheets if you struggle with this, but if you keep each character true to their base trait, you should be more than fine.

Until next time,

Write on!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Emerging Authors and Bookstores - Don't fall for their tricks!

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Alright, I feel it's only fair to begin this post with a disclaimer: All the names, examples on this post are a work of fiction... I am a writer and have a very vivid imagination, that is why everything might seem real.

It's been about two months since I released my debut novel Dragon Tooth, and ever since then, I was working on getting it in local bookstores in my country. But before I talk about the progress and what recently happened, I feel like am obliged to give you a little background of where I worked before to establish some sort of credibility.

I have been working as a Business Development Manager at the company that I left back in February in order to focus full time on my writing, and before that I was a Sales Manager for around a year and a half so, I know -what we in the industry call- sales bullshit when I see it.

So! You've successfully published your book! What's next? Oh right, getting the damn thing in stores (sometimes, it might happen magically, but other than that you're going to have to contact them yourself), and this could actually prove a bit challenging.

First thing that you have to understand is that your local bookstore is a business, and sales is what drives businesses nowadays and not good intentions. Pause for a moment, right after you get the shiny email telling you "you need to confirm that you consent to our trading terms before we go ahead any further with this" and just analyze it correctly.

If you have a publisher, DO NOT supply them with copies directly no matter how profitable you think it is. You might think "but what could go wrong?" the answer: everything.

Just hold on, and let me explain. The first thing you have to pay attention to is the credit period and the selling term. If I'm not mistaken, you'll probably see a 90 day credit period (which is totally normal by the way, don't worry), but the most important thing is the selling term. Pay careful attention as emails are considered official and can be upheld in court so don't go around saying "yes" in any way or form.

You see, what most bookstores will often do is slap a contingent on the deal that they will only pay you for copies that were sold, and the ones that weren't will be returned to you. Now, stop and consider this for a second. First there is a 90 day credit period meaning you will only get paid after every 90 days, and then a selling term which dictates that they will only pay you for copies that were sold.

Get the picture yet? Seriously, I don't wanna risk getting sued, but if this helps someone along the way and stops them from getting scammed by these dirty sales tricks, then I'm all for it. As a final note: NEVER directly supply copies of your book. You have a publisher for a reason (even if you are self published using any platform out there, they will take good care of you and won't fall for tricks).

Please pass this along if it helped you or offered insight.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Subplots in Stories

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This week's post, I thought I should talk about subplots and what their role is in books/stories and whatnot.

Now, some writers believe that subplots exist only to prolong the word count or basically act as filler content. Well, one thing is known throughout the entire globe: everyone hates fillers.

Sub-plots are stories within stories that can be used to explore and enriches the current world that your characters live in or add further depth into their development as a whole. For example, you could have your main character go back and interact with his old buddies back in his home village... or whatever.

Personally, I use subplots not only to develop characters or flesh out the world; but to also add a somewhat unique aspect to the main story as well. For example, you introduce the hero and the conflict as your main story right? The subplot could explore the antagonist perceptive and offer the "other side of the coin".

That way, and tied to last week's post you create inner conflict and force the reader to make a decision who to support or root for. I also have a rule where I add up all the events that happen in subplots to the main plot as well. Like essentially, there's always gonna be a point where the two collide.

I know this was a short post, but that's all for now, I'll probably do a top tips post on this for next week too.

Until next time,
Write on.