The Author who is also a Book

Universal Pen

Ever wonder where I (or any writer for that matter) get my fiction ideas from? I’d say it is a combination of things. First life experience comes into play. The combined collection of memories accumulated from my day-to-day events. Both good and bad.

I have pain. We all do. That’s what makes us human. I take my pain and use it in my stories to give humanity to my characters. Look at Tullus or Celestra from my Leopard King Saga series. Or Liberty Rise from Mindcop Dossiers.  I’d be selling them short by making them omnipotent. Who wants to read about characters like that?

It’s cliche, but troubled characters work best when drawn-upon from personal experience. That doesn’t mean you put yourself in the story. In that case you’re better off writing non-fiction (Which I read a lot, by the way.)

Fiction is a compass that points towards life. No matter how make-believe a story is, or if its genre is pure fantasy. People read to learn more about human nature and find meaning in their lives and the world around them.

What do you think?

What should you write about?

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In this age of self-publishing, every day tons of new books are published online. Each catering to different reader tastes. It’s enough to make one dizzy.

For the first-time novelist it can be daunting, deciding what to write about. Sure, you want to write what the muse inspires you to write, but your ego will pull you towards writing something that will “sell” and make you “famous.” Two things you should never expect when embarking on a writing career. Face it, very few authors make it big, and if that’s your main reason for writing then I’m afraid you’re in for a shock.

So what should you write about? Easy. What do you like? Do you like Space Operas with talking Robots? Or prefer a clever spy novel with exotic locales. Or maybe you’re a history buff who wants to take your reader on an adventure back in time. The choices are endless.

Stick with a plan, what I mean is focus on getting your best ideas down. And by all means, outline your book before you sit down to write it. Trust me, an outline is a great way to map out your novel. And the best thing about outlining is you can always change things around as the story evolves. Isn’t that great? Of course it is!

But in the end dear writer, your writing must satisfy yourself. Write the type of book you would ultimately want to read yourself. And be proud of it. Whether it hits seven-figure sales numbers or not, it’s a unique creation penned by you, the writer. Besides, isn’t that what the writing journey is all about?

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com and https://twitter.com/LeopardKingSaga, where he blogs regularly about writing and self-improvement. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. If you do this he will dance on his hands.

Give your outlines the royal treatment

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Ok. So you’ve decided you want to write a book. Just like many other hopefuls. Or maybe you’re a seasoned pro and you feel the need to get more organized so your story flows even better. Well I applaud you, and hope this post will help you.

It’s about outlines.

Outlines are Royal. Not that they sit on thrones and wear Crowns and Tiaras, but they keep both new and experienced writers on track.

Some folks don’t use outlines, they want flexibility, feel their creative juices stymied by all those headings and subheadings. Ok. Well I respect people who don’t use outlines, since everyone has their own way of doing things.

But your creative juices don’t have to be restricted with an outline. Now here’s the kicker: outlines are made to be flexible. Just cause your character Johnny B. is going to buy a singing toucan in chapter five, doesn’t mean he can’t buy two singing toucans in chapter seven. Or add a tap-dancing pigeon for good measure in chapter eight.

As your story evolves and takes on its own identity, so will your outline. I know because this has happened to me countless times, as I’ve found my Johnnys stocking up on different types of avians.

You can have your cake and eat it too. For all those super-organized people you get your outline, and for all you “I don’t believe in outline” folks you get your flexibility.

Experiment. Play around with different strategies, in the end you’ll find an outlining system that works best for you. In the end you’ll be sitting on your outlining throne, feeling pretty damn royal about your organized self.

Purchasing toucans are optional.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs regularly about writing and self-improvement. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. If you do this he will dance on his hands.

Crown image by Albertito M. Graphic used for blogging purposes only.

How can life experience help writing?

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Let’s face it, writing is a daunting job, no guarantee for success for all the hard work you put in, and, like most endeavors it takes a lot of luck to make it big.

But it doesn’t always have to be an uphill struggle. Each writer has within themselves the potential to take their writing to a whole new level. How? Read on.

Life experience. That’s right. Life. Experience.

While having friends in the publishing industry helps, if your book is riddled with forgettable characters and paper-thin plots, it won’t go far and will languish on the clearance tables at your local bookstore.

So this is what you do: Take a page out of your own life story. Experience. And incorporate that into your writing. Maybe it’s memories of the high school bully, or the first date with that special someone that comes to mind. Find a place to put that piece of yourself into your story and watch its authenticity soar.

Most of the best writers out there do this, and the more you do it the easier it becomes.

So the next time you’re hung up on writing that next scene, think about something from your past and ease it into your story.

You’ll be doing both yourself and your reader a great service.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and novellas. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing, self-publishing, and sales & marketing, or just plain nonsense. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will be grateful and dance on his hands if you do.

The secret of books and the human heart

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Even though it’s not Valentine’s Day I thought I’d dedicate a post to all those people out there who want some depth in their reading. So why not start with the essence of humanity…the heart.

When we talk of books it’s usually about bestsellers and genres. Or book clubs and book blogs, but don’t you think we should stop, and connect the dots between books and the human heart?

Seriously. The main purpose of reading is to be entertained, but also to form a connection with the characters in the story and the obstacles they face. We seek an emotional return when we invest in a book, or books. Why do you think romance is the biggest selling genre. It’s not a coincidence.

Without the positive high of love, there really isn’t much to live for, so people try and seek it in any way possible. Some drugs or alcohol, others sex, but for book lovers like you and me it’s books that give us that all-important connection with our inner-selves, that gateway to literary bliss. It doesn’t matter if you read romance or Urban fantasy, the connection between the stories we read and our hearts will always be there.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you and get some feedback on this topic. Whether you agree with me or not.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs 4-5 times a week about writing, self-publishing, and sales & marketing. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will dance on his hands if you do.

Special interview on T.A. Uner to be posted tomorrow on LeopardKingSaga.com

Many of you have asked for more information on who I am, beyond the brief Author Bio section on the LeopardKingSaga.com site. I am more than happy to give you a detailed look at the man behind the Leopard King Saga and other literary works.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a detailed interview that I was happy to be a part of.

Stay Tuned. 

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs 4-5 times a week about writing, self-publishing and sales & marketing. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox.

 

What is the Universal Pen Writing System?

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People have written to me and asked: “What is this Universal Pen Writing system you’re always talking about?”

Simple. If you’re a writer and you want to excite your reader(who doesn’t?), it’s to your advantage to consider using the Universal Pen writing system.

In a nutshell, this is what the Universal Writing Pen System is:

Seamlessly combining five or more genres into one storyline to provide maximum reading entertainment.

“How do I pull this off?” you ask. Simple. It takes time, and lots of work. But in order to seamlessly incorporate a wide variety of genres, and not risk alienating your readers, you have to read a wide range of fiction from, you guessed it, different authors. I don’t imply that once you do this you’ll be selling millions of books per year, but I do think your writing will be at a higher level.

The truth is, there are a few writers out there who are already using the Universal Pen writing system. But chances are, they’re not aware of the term ‘Universal Pen.’

In order for a style or movement to take shape, it needs a name. I’m not suggesting that Universal Pen will revolutionize the way writers write today. That would be egocentric on my part.

What I am suggesting, is that, if you wish to experiment with your writing and push your boundaries, you cannot afford not to try practicing Universal Pen.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing and life. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. Spam not included.

Good Fiction versus Bad Fiction

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We often hear about how some poorly-written book hits the big time and sells millions of copies. How do these writers manage to pull it off?

Well some degree of luck is involved, after all, writing, like any art medium is highly-subjective. Success is usually out of a writer’s control. But we can still do our best to provide the public with well-written stories, and leave its reception to the masses.

Most of the information contained here is common sense. Still, it never hurts to review and make sure you’re on the right track. Let’s begin:

GOOD FICTION:Shows the reader through descriptive measures, and allows them to come to their own conclusion. That’s what writing is, isn’t it? It’s about the reader experience, and a good book will appeal to different people in different ways. Get the most out of your storytelling.

BAD FICTION:Second guesses the reader and explains everything. Instead of writing out the scene, the novice writer will feel the need to explain everything in the scene, taking the reading experience away from the reader. This is one sure way to alienate your readers, and cheating them of an excellent literary experience.

Of course, this advice is also subjective and it doesn’t guarantee a bestseller. Certain books, for whatever reason, defy the ground rules of storytelling and still make it big in the literary marketplace.

But why risk it? If you do write, make it your goal to pen your tale as unobtrusively as possible.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing, self-publishing and sales & marketing. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He’ll dance on his hands if you do.

Secrets of Best-Selling Books: Part II

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In my last blog post we left off with building life-like characters that readers will relate with. So, what makes a character real?

So many things. You have to start with someone who has both an inner and an exterior struggle. Readers relate with normal people with real problems. If you make your hero/heroine perfect, then you’ll be cheating your reader of a realistic experience. And also a chance at seeing a fictional character’s growth as a human.

Realistic experience? Growth? But isn’t this fiction?

True. But readers want to connect with a real person. How can they connect with someone who’s perfect? Give your protagonists & antagonists real problems: insecurity, physical weakness, etc. and watch how they gain legitimacy in your fiction and in your reader’s mind. But make sure you don’t go overboard. No reader wants to read about a total wimp.

The best way to build realistic characters is through your past experiences. I look back and have a wealth of experiences, good and bad. And trust me you’ll get a lot of good material from the bad experiences, why? Because life itself is a struggle. And the bad experiences reinforce that universal truth.

The last thing to remember about building special characters is to make them likeable. In all my stories I try and make both the protagonists and antagonists likeable. How? Easy. Give them goals and have them fight like hell to accomplish them. No reader wants to invest their time reading about cardboard-cutout people who are as exciting as pond scum.

So there you have it. Characters that people will love to read about. If you focus on this aspect of fiction, sooner or later you’ll be writing books that are not only sellable, but profitable.

What are some fictional characters that stand out in your mind? What made them so special? And why do you think you remember them still?

What draws you to a book?

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Is it the cover? Author? Do you prefer a catchy blurb or detailed synopsis? Do you tend to give chances to newbie authors? What type of format do you like? eBook or paperback? Kindle, Kobo, Nook or Sony ereader?

I’d like to hear from you bibliophiles out there.