Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: Writing about Magic by Rayne Hall

Writing About Magic: 
Professional Techniques for Paranormal and Fantasy Fiction 
Writer's Craft Book 

My review: 

 May the magic be with you - but get your terms right!

The good first: I was reminded of certain terminology that continues to be misused and abused frequently – especially on TV – which always bothered me. (Of course it only bothers you once you know the difference, so this book certainly helps to enlighten). I also had fun browsing through chapters of spell-creation in countless areas of the needy. These kept me entertained and showed the writer’s own great imagination, as well as her own extensive research in matters of the arcane.

But from all in the Writer’s Craft Series so far, this Book probably disappointed me the most - but then I didn’t expect much new information and was served right. Having said that, the book covers the basics of a variety of “real” and “known” magical systems and some even in detail. It also – as mentioned already - does it cover wide selection of situations in which magic might play a part (as well as tool, timing, ...) 

So a writer new to magic – or the use of it in novels – may find little kicks that – as even the writer suggests – go and research other places in depth. While the author is without doubt extremely knowledgeable, she can only give an introduction to a huge field - and does it well and in depth. The book can help you get an idea before you go and search for your special magic.

My system is music itself. Therefore besides a touch of “Black and White” I am left with my own devices.
While most of the traditional systems described don’t work for me, I was intrigued by some elements and went “to the beyond” called Google myself to check up on things – which usually brings you to more books – or to reading how others did it.

What bugged me the most in this book though was – and this is just my opinion and might work well for others – are the “blunders to avoid”. While some I can accept others (especially in early chapters) I found a touch presumptuous. After all who knows what is possible in a world we create, or on a planet we discover for our story? Maybe I would have slept easier on those would they have been named “think about it” lol

As my own magical system doesn’t fit in either category and gained little from reading, I believe I will move on the next book in the series and leave this to the not-yet-initiated: 
May the magic be with you! 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: "Writing Vivid Dialogue" by Rayne Hall

Are we talking yet? 


Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors  

I was curious about this book as I had heard before 
that sometimes my characters 
– when actually talking – 
didn’t sound real. Right.
After listening to countless conversations. 
So, ok, get myself a book about dialogue. 
I mean how much can you you write about dialogues?! 

Turns out a lot.

That was the longest book by Rayne Hall I read so far 
– and to be honest: I raced through it in a day (which is something you can only do if you skip the assignments spread throughout as usual. Guilty. I integrate them while actually putting things to the test during my revisions!)

While the author mentions that the book is not targeting novice writers – which I understand by the sheer amount of suggestions and insights – new writers WILL find useful stuff as well: They might never threaten a readers sanity (or the other character waiting to have a go) by lengthy constructions to get to the point. They might – well write those tight, sizzling dialogues with punch-lines from the start instead of boring to death. In my case I assume the character listening in my case had often no clue what the other was talking about – neither did the one talking, 
having lost midway what he meant to say.

But that insight only came after sometimes incredibly easy fixes like framing questions and understanding rituals between a variety of characters to make it work – Rival Alphas was a new one to me but immediately added spice to scenes I had in mind!
There is so much helpful stuff in this book that it’s hard to put it all in a review, it even includes examples of how kids different ages react to a certain question – hilarious!

Rayne Hall doesn’t TELL you how to write dialogues, she presents you with a huge collection of useful tips to take it to the next level and still make them sound natural.
There are examples of how to make characters look more intelligent, how to inform without the dreaded info-dumping, how to talk and react to a boss or how to frame flirty advances. 
Not to forget how to create a great argument.

Most interesting to me – as a bilingual writer - was probably how to work in foreign languages. Here I decided to do it my own way – but that’s exactly what Rayne Hall suggests throughout 
– keep tricks in mind and then follow your gut.

Yes, there are some old-timers we have heard and discussed before like tags, format – but that just rounds it up nicely. And to be honest: The chapters about 
“Talking heads” and “White space” were a great reminder...

Read – keep it as a reference next to you for the time when Beta’s yawn – and give them something to follow open mouthed the next version! 
There's is a bounty of advice in handy format - 
like all of the books in the series so far.
Amazon Review link 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: Rayne Hall "Euphonics For Writers"

Euphonics For Writers: 

Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors

by Rayne Hall 


Ok, this book took me by surprise. I confess I had never heard about Euphonics, but since music plays a huge part in my writing I was curious how specific sounds could improve the message I wanted to deliver by touching the subconscious. 


(I wondered how many times this has been used in speech lol)
The first part is basically a Thesaurus explaining which letters create which feeling if used in a certain way. It was a continuous string of “AHA” experiences and I kept jogging down on index cards while playing and juggling with sounds. 
It was fun and I would recommend the book 
for this alone.

The second part left me a bit breathless 
as it involves more background, insights and generally needs more concentration. 
Here I kept reading out examples and rolled words and phrases over my tongue 
to understand what was going on. 
That took more time which partly may have to do with the fact that I’m bilingual 
and my mind tends to jumble a variety of meanings and syntax if puzzled. 
The Eureka-moment when understanding dawned was rewarding though, 
especially when I realized that gut feeling probably already had me use the techniques at times,
 while at other times the wish to find the best word or phrase took me away from the emotion 
I could have transmitted.
This book is a valuable tool for both new and “Ancient” writers as it forces you to read beyond and play with sounds, words and sentences 
in a new way – it’s like a puzzle to be solved 
and doesn’t give it’s secret right away ;)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Who needs editors?!

Why would anybody need editors.
Oh and by the way:
Happy 1st!
(And don't trust writers today!)