Archive for February 5th, 2009

Writing a first novel is like throwing dice; you never know how you’ll be received by the reading public when you’re published. So how can a writer guarantee he or she will get readers? There are several ways of doing that.

I believe you need to have in-depth characterizations of the protagonists. Explain what makes them tick. Secondly, your heroes need to be people your readers can relate to and be pulling for in the midst of your skyestory. Thirdly, stay away from archetypes! If your genre does a certain type of character almost as a cliché, don’t do that. Break the mold and do that person differently. Finally, I base my characters on real-life examples. If you’re a writer, you’re an observer of the human condition. So observe! And put those observations into your heroes and villains.

The next thing you need to make your book sellable is plot. My favorite writers are Jack Higgins and Bernard Cornwell. And both of these authors have the ability to throw curve balls at reader. Sometimes reading their works, I never know what will happen next. And that is what you need to do to make a complex storyline. I personally don’t use an outline when I write my novels. Doing so makes it much more difficult writing sometimes, I admit. But it also leads to this kind of comment by reviewers: “Grayrider was a very good read with lots of twists to the story.” Those twists keep readers turning the pages of your book.

I look at my novels as suspenseful fantasy stories. But my hero is always changed somehow by suffering through the adventure. Those, I believe, are the best tales.

I study successful authors and see how they do their plots and characters. I see myself as a craftsman, a wordsmith if you will. And as such, I want to become better at my trade. I strive to make every book I write better than the last. If you are a fledgling novelist, strive to do the same thing.

A former technical writer, detail is important to Bruce Skye. His research for the Deathsong Chronicles included medieval armor and fortresses, as well as Celtic names and magic. “If you create a world, it must be consistent. And that’s what I strive for Grayrider’s world to be. I’ve built a database of material for each of the Deathsong Chronicles. Those databases aid me in keeping the world the same from book to book.

“When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King. I did not write the book following any sort of outline. I have no more idea than my readers do when I write a novel what will happen in the midst of the story. It makes it more exciting for both the readers and myself.”

You can visit his website at www.bruceskye.com.

About the Book:

Gabriel, the exiled king of Rivalin, comes before King Airell to warn him the Ansgarian army will invade his kingdom before the night is over. Airell tells him he has no one to send. Gabriel wants revenge for the grayridermurder of his family by the Ansgarians. He decides to fight the incursion without help.

As this takes place, Deirdre (Airell’s daughter), flees the kingdom of Cynyr north of Boadhagh. She knows now her mentor, Morrigan, created the Ansgarian army her father has fought for years. She goes south to warn him of her. Because Deirdre does not believe in herself, the young sorceress has difficulty in performing magic.

Once she is reunited with her father, she tells both he and Grayrider about Morrigan. Her power is growing; only Gabriel’s magical sword may yet destroy her. He must go to Cynyr to fight her. He agrees if Deirdre attends him, seeking her counsel. On that journey they fall in love and foil many efforts by Morrigan to kill Gabriel by both armies and sorcerers.

Grayrider fights Morrigan and sees his beloved slain by the sorceress before he is finally able to kill her. He returns to Rivalin brokenhearted. The ending is a complete surprise the reader will not expect at all.

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