Heron’s Path arriving April 1st

Heron’s Path arriving April 1st

Alethea Eason’s newest book, The Heron’s Path, has all the grace of the river that flows through its pages. One steps lithely into the world of Katy and her delicate sister Celeste. It is a world where the old and the new mingle, the Old Ones hold a knowing but genteel sway and the country man perhaps shouldn’t be so trusting of his dulled senses. Will Celeste come to know the purpose of her wanderings and dreams? Will Katy and aged Olena be able to keep her from the clutches of the evil we-nei-la? Follow them “north to the true wilderness, dark with ancient trees, where the Nanchuti struggle to keep their sacred songs from vanishing.” Like the current of the river Talum that witnesses all within these pages, you too will be swept along in the adventure, sometimes in reflective pools, sometimes drawn inexorably to the falls… to find the Heron’s Path.   Check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble to find your copy of Heron’s Path. Read a short sample of Heron’s Path right here. To learn more about Alethea visit her website:  Heron’s Path Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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A Game of Tropes

A Game of Tropes

A literary trope is a figurative or symbolic metaphor in its most complicated sense. In its more homogenized definition, a trope is a technique or stereotype that uses commonly established archetypes to help convey meaning.  In all stories, we know that the Hero is special. He’s the Chosen One, who will affect change in his world; this one of the most common tropes in genre fiction. Another example would be the “evil galactic empire” reminiscent of Nazis, Romans, Fascists. They sport gray uniforms, and appear in Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Chronicles of Riddick, and a dozen others. In these pieces the “good guys” are always diverse and colorful—this is a metaphor or trope for an idealized way of life slathered in diversity and personal freedoms. Consider: In Star Wars rebel pilots wear bright orange—their enemy counterparts look like SS soldiers. In Lord of the Rings, the heroes armies gather with brightly colored banners of silver and gold, blue and green. The orcs mass under a variants of a black flag. An interesting use of this trope is Robert Heinlein’s StarShip Troopers. The narrator is, in fact, one of those gray-uniform wearing space-nazis. Though we are sympathetic to this character, there can be no doubt that he is from a less than democratic society—this causes a gut reaction in most Americans. Everyone around me is gearing up for the next season of Game of Thrones. While watching/reading, I see elements from many other very successful authors in variety of genres. One cannot help but wonder is George R. R. Martin a singular fantasy genius or simply a well read nerd? Neither is really a bad thing, but I want to point some of the methods he’s using to bring standard fantasy tropes to life in new ways. I may go so far as to say that nothing in the Game of Thrones series is new or the sole creation of George’s imagination. That’s okay. I once had a writing professor offer the quotation, “Young writers invent, published writers steal.” He was not of course encouraging plagiarism, nor am I suggesting George R.R. Martin is guilty of this most heinous of crimes. I am saying the George R.R. Martin has brilliantly woven in commonly loved cultural elements from a myriad of fiction sources, made them his own and taken us on a great ride. First let’s address some of the standard tropes within the genre of fantasy literature. The one that always gets my goat is the chosen one. How many Chosen One’s can there be? It is important that we understand the necessity of this element, but also that it is as old as the concept of the story...

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Active Voice

Active Voice

  When we write we must consciously decide between active voice and passive voice. The difference between active and passive is roughly the difference between quick and to the point and a meandering missive. e.g. – The dog bites. active – People have been bitten by the dog. passive Which one serves as a better warning to people unfamiliar with the naughty biting dog? A writer with confidence and a clear mind for their craft shudders after falling into the pitfalls of passive voice. Passive voice is a tool to remove authority or responsibility, and it creates a palpable barrier between the writer and the story as well as the story and the reader. In most cases a story in passive voice is two to three times longer than the equivalent active story. It then feels like a story ten times as long for the reader. It’s like a poorly edited movie: only 90 minutes in length but you feel like you wasted your whole evening watching the movie. As a general rule I advise writers to avoid passive voice as much as possible, but often this causes confusion since very few people are familiar with active voice. Active writing is clear and often concise—not to say it can’t be frilly and make literary types swoon. Active voice is when the subject is performing the action. Basically the subject/noun is doing the action/verb. In some ways active voice is—to borrow a page from dime-store psychology—the type-A personality. Say what really happened. e.g. – James drew his gun and shot Randy in the face. active -Randy was shot in the face after James drew his gun to shoot Randy. passive Passive voice is more like the wish-washy type-B personality. Well, this thing it kinda-sorta happened and you get my meaning but you kinda have to put it back together for yourself because I don’t want to be too direct. Passive voice wears readers out—after awhile it feels like hanging out with that annoying friend who always wants to do something but never has any suggestions. The classic, “Oh, I don’t know whatever you’d like.” One of the easiest ways to notice if you’re writing in the passive voice is to look for the tell-tale words: has, was, and were before the verb. Think of it as chaff getting between your noun and your verb. Keeping your subject verb agreement (staying in active voice) in order helps to move even the dullest of material forward. A positive attitude helps you through the worst of weeks; writing in active voice helps getting through the dullest of assignments, like a short article about active voice. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in...

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Book Review: 90-Days To Your Novel

    Can you be a novelist in just 90 days? Many well-known authors write their novels in just weeks according to 90 Days to Your Novel – A Day-to-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book by Sarah Donet.   Can it be you? It all depends on your commitment to your project. 90 Days to Your Novel will require you to push yourself to invest two to three hours per day for the twelve weeks. At the end of the twelve weeks you will have a first draft of your novel but be warned, this book does not guarantee a great end product, only that you will have your draft finished.   Can reading a self-help book really create a bestselling book? Not a chance. What this book will do is breakdown how to create your outline as well as give you different techniques for writing. Do you know the difference between the Note-Card Technique vs. the Signpost technique? If you are new to writing novels, probably not and in the end, it really isn’t that important to know the difference. The most important thing you will take from this book’s Part I is figuring out how you want to start your writing process. What you are comfortable doing. What it’s called really doesn’t matter.   Part II is the “90-Day Writing Challenge”. The book advises you to not start reading the rest of the book until you can commit to the scheduled two to three hours a day for writing. When starting this book, your first three weeks are mixed with assignments that don’t necessarily pertain to your novel on the surface but if you really think about what you are writing, eventually you could incorporate those events, people or places into a scene of your story. An example of this is assignment #1, which is to brainstorm as many memories as you can on people, places and things from earlier moments in your life.   It’s important to remember in your first three weeks you are in the brainstorming, chart making and outline designing time period. If this wasn’t your first novel, you could probably skip over the first three weeks but really if you have already gone through the novel-writing process, you don’t need this book. It isn’t until week four that you start getting into your novel so you will need to have the patience to stick to your schedule.   Do you really need an assignment based, step-by-step guide to write your novel? Maybe, maybe not. It’s all about your commitment to your project. Your success of writing your novel has nothing to do with the how-to book you read. It has...

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Show Don’t Tell!?!?

  Show don’t tell—at once the best and worst piece of advice a writer can hear. The first reaction is “But I’m telling a story!” The next thought in line is “this isn’t a screen play!” A writer must balance their story with visual descriptors to avoid setting their story in a void. If the setting is not intrinsic to the story, then the audience will have a more difficult time sinking into it, melding with it. For example, while taking a writing class in my undergraduate program, I found myself in a discussion with a fellow student, about his work—a highly emotional tale about homosexual lovers in Nazi Germany. But he didn’t know anything about Berlin in 1938. His knowledge of the setting he’d chosen for his opus was based on WWII movies. Most of the story happened in very neutral environments that only happened to have a Swastika or Nazi flag in them. Without the Third Reich, his story could have taken place in New Jersey 1978 or Dubai 2001. It could have happened in space, aboard the starship Velvet. He was failing in his primary task of showing us, the audience, the world his characters lived in. His story happened in a void and made it unsympathetic to everyone. Setting and place is just one aspect of “show don’t tell.” The other piece is engagement of the reader. Look at the following example: A: He drank the whiskey. It burned and he coughed. His eyes watered. He sighed. B: He jerked his head back and choked down the liquid gold. The smoky poison made his throat clench tight. His eyes, suddenly wet from the burning vapors, turned the piss colored lights of the dirty bar into watery snowflakes. As the chemical heat suffused his body, he let out a long breath. Both A and B accomplish the same thing: they tell us that the character had some whiskey. In both A and B we get a sense for the characters comfort level with whiskey. That’s where the similarities stop. B also tells us that the character is in a bar (not a void), more about what the character is experiencing and feeling. The character is more real because we can more easily imagine his discomfort. His eyes are burning; he’s fighting back a knee-jerk cough from a shot of hard liquor. We also get the impression that the character is under stress—but we don’t know how or from what. In fact, while B gives us huge amounts of information, it leaves us with many questions. Not to mention the fact that it tripled the word count. The question now becomes, “How about situations where there’s a...

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Heron’s Path by Alethea Eason: (sample)

Check out this sample from the upcoming young adult fantasy novel Heron’s Path by Alethea Eason: — — — On a hot day in September I found Celeste’s clothes scattered all over the barn, one shoe upside down next to Papa’s forge and the other inside a milking pail. Her yellow dress hung from a ladder like a bird suspended in midair. I pulled the dress down by its hem and three tiny blue feathers, nearly the same shade as my sister’s eyes, drifted down to the dusty floor. I caught one of them in my hand; I stood there puzzling over what might have happened that morning to make her run off again. I felt alone, as though a wind had come up and peeled Celeste from the earth. I told myself that she was playing the same old game she’d scared us with so many other times, but this loneliness—so odd and new—followed me like a ghost as I ran outside and shouted for Papa. I was afraid he wouldn’t come; I’d find our cabin gone, and I’d be without any family at all. Papa searched the woods. I took our dog, Rufus, and ran up and down the river bank. When I found no trace of her I followed Papa into the trees where there were more shadows than seemed right. I didn’t dare go in very far and kept circling the places Celeste and I knew well. I heard Olena’s voice in my head telling me stories. Her words dripping slowly the way honey falls from a spoon. Her stories always made me uneasy. She believed in ghosts, the last traces of the Old Ones, who were a part of the breath and spirit of the rocks and trees, of the river Talum, and the surrounding woods. But the wei-ni-la, the darker ones, were the shadows to really fear. They were ancient too, and lived in the empty spaces of the woods, filling them with whispering. All afternoon Celeste’s name echoed through the trees as Papa and I called for her. Finally, his shouting changed and Rufus started to bark furiously. I was so tired my legs were shaking. I was running on legs that wouldn’t work. When I finally found them, Papa was half way up a steep gully with Celeste draped over his shoulder. Her hair, a skein of golden thread unraveling almost to the ground, was the only thing that covered her. I thought she looked newly born or newly dead. “Is she all right?” I asked. My lips were dry and hurt when I spoke, and my words felt like spittle as they came out of my mouth. All Papa could...

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