I’m pretty nervous about putting this out here. It’s the opener for Do I Need to Use a Dragon? (Fantasy Writing Tips) and its’ where I explain myself and the book in general. This is me putting myself in the spotlight instead of a character. More importantly, I know that people seem to miss part of my explanations of things and then I get feedback that I have to counter. So, I’m really concerned that I’m doing my best and people will simply skim this. I wrote it to be a casual, simple style as if you’re talking to somebody about writing instead of me being a lecturer. These are not blog posts from the past, but new ones that go deeper into topics. Well, here we go:
Who Am I?
Hello! Bet you didn’t expect this book to start that way, but I couldn’t think of any other way to start this off. As you can tell from the cover, my name is Charles E. Yallowitz and I am the author behind the series listed on page 3. Legends of Windemere, War of Nytefall, and Ichabod Brooks are all fantasy books, which is my preferred genre. Bedlam is a post-apocalyptic action adventure series, but it might get a mention or two along the way. I’ve been writing fantasy since I was a teenager, so I feel it’s my area of semi-expertise. Still, not every author creates a writing tip book, so one has to wonder what drove me to this point. Well, this is the section for me to explain myself and for you to decide if you will keep reading . . . Not this paragraph, but this overall part of the . . . Let’s just move on.
When I began self-publishing in 2013, I created a blog to promote my books and discuss writing with my audience. Over the years, I’ve made several posts about magic systems, various monsters, hero types, and whatever else crossed my mind as a topic. I had many people tell me that I helped them through a problem within their own story or that I inspired them to try an idea they were unsure of. This always made me smile. One day, a few years ago, a friend told me that I should write a book of fantasy writing tips. I fought it a bit because this is me putting myself in the spotlight without a character to hide behind. To see if I had anything worth saying, I began jotting down notes on fantasy topics and reading parts of other writing advice books. Before I knew it, I had a small notebook that was nearly filled with thoughts that I felt other authors should hear. Be rather silly of me to do all of that research and thinking only to give up due to shyness, so I set out to write what you are hopefully about to read.
There’s that strange way of presenting stuff again as I let my personality out and act like we’re really talking. Well, that’s really the way I wanted to go. As I said, I read some excerpts from other writing tip books and they all struck me as similar. They came off as textbooks with plenty of jargon and the occasionally aggressive declaration. Almost like every tip was written in stone and required a vocabulary list to figure out. From my own experience, I’ve found that this doesn’t work when talking to newer, less experienced authors. The industry words can cause confusion and the idea that this advice is how it HAS to be can turn them towards mistakes for their own story. The truth is that no piece of advice works across the board. A tip that helps one author make a strong story could cause another to sabotage their idea. That’s why I don’t want to write this advice as if I’m preaching from a pulpit. Instead, I’m sitting in a chair by the fire with snacks on a table and hoping you take the empty seat across from me. If even one section helps an author improve then I’ve done my job and stepping out of my comfort zone was worth it.
Sticking with the casual style of delivery, I decided to write these entries as if they were for a blog. This creates a rather laid-back, simple style where I stick right to the points and don’t try to pad things for space. A few tip book sections that I read felt like what they were saying could have been summed up in four paragraphs instead of ten pages, which is something that I want to avoid. You shouldn’t get lost in what I’m talking about here. My job isn’t to entertain or draw you to my writing style. It is to help you become a stronger author, get over any blocks in your path, and hopefully boost your confidence. Blog entries can do that because they typically have to be at just the right length. Too short and you don’t explain yourself. Too long and you lose the audience. I’m aiming for that sweet spot to the best of my ability.
Let’s see what else I had for this. Brief bio? Check. Inspiration for writing this book? Check. Why I’m acting in a way that some may call unprofessional? Check. Oh, I had the odd disclaimers, which can be boiled down to three things:
- As I said before, not every piece of advice will work for every author. We are individuals with our own stories to tell. That means we translate and utilize advice differently, which is how it should be. I am neither right nor wrong here. These ideas are simply my opinions and thoughts on a variety of fantasy topics. In fact, I went fairly general on a few things, so they can even help you if you’re writing another genre. You can tell from ‘The Author’ section alone that I might have some insight into writing as a whole instead of solely fantasy. In other words: Recommend this book to your friends even if they don’t write fantasy.
- Many people who said I should write this book had another suggestion that I couldn’t accept. This makes me think some readers are expecting it as well. Due to legal reasons, I can only use my own books and stories as examples. The legal reason is that I can’t afford either the rights to mention non-public domain works or a lawyer to defend me if I attempt such a thing. Better to stick within the safety of my world. This will come off as me promoting my own books, but if I don’t do it then nobody will.
- I really like making lists.
That covers the biography portion of this journey. You know what you’re getting into if you keep reading. A collection of fun and casual meanderings about being a fantasy author and crafting worlds of magic. Do you even need magic? Well, that’s going to be one of many questions that we delve into. Enjoy.