1. Q is for Quidnunc

    Q is for Quidnunc #atozchallenge #atoz #a2z

    Q
    quidnunc /kwidˈnungk/
    noun
    An inquisitive, gossiping person

    I’m not much of a gossip. Of course, you’d never know that from the way my characters spill their acquaintances’ secrets like a spring shower: freely and in great quantity.

    A character is never safe from being overheard. A brief moment with a trusted relation, revealing their darkest fears and regrets, and surely within the day, a great…

    View On WordPress

     

  2. P is for Psychology

    P is for Psychology #atozchallenge

    P

    Cracking open the head of a character is one of the most rewarding parts of the writing experience. I grew up in a house full of psychiatrists and metaphysical discussions, so for me, analyzing a character’s agency, thought processes, and darker tendencies is cathartic and helps me push my worlds into more believable territory. If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I profess to write “primarily…

    View On WordPress

     

  3. There’s something really satisfying about a book that ties up all of its loose ends. A book that has threads going in forty different directions, but somehow they all meet up again, just in time for a denouement (you remember denouement from “J is for Jargon”, I hope!), leaves me with such a feeling of contentment that I’m practically cuddling the book by the end (The False Prince comes to mind, just from this year).

    Of course, those threads (which I’ll be going into later, in an upcoming A-Z post) are really hard to fully manage, especially when you start getting into the overly involved worlds of genre fiction. Copious notes are required, and several eyes that don’t remember the whole story like you do. Even experienced writers have to be careful… just look at these plots notes taken by James Southall Wilson of the Virginia Quarterly Review and J K Rowling, of Harry Potter (which need not be mentioned, I know, but I like my sentences to be balanced, okay?)

    I feel more like Wilson than Rowling. Despite my best attempts to make something organized, the moment there is space on the page, or it seems to flow too well, my brain decides to add another layer, another theme, because it doesn’t seem ‘complicated’ enough for a fantasy epic. I think this is compounded by the fact that I have been developing and ‘playing’ around with these characters casually for almost four years, and am only now translating their story to paper. In some cases, the characters in my casual universe are already dead, and I’m having to go back to the beginning. My brain rebels quite a bit to that.

    And then there’s the time paradoxes that result from altering even that tiniest thing in their past, but I won’t get into that today, haha.

    How do you keep track of all of your odds and ends? I use Scrivener and a binder that is thoroughly color-coordinated. Highlighters and colored pens also are important.

    Tomorrow: P is for Psychology!

    O is for Odds & Ends #atozchallenge There’s something really satisfying about a book that ties up all of its loose ends. A book that has threads going in forty different directions, but somehow they all meet up again, just in time for a denouement (you remember denouement from “J is for Jargon”, I hope!), leaves me with such a feeling of contentment that I’m practically cuddling the book by the end (
     
  4. slushpilehell:

    We received this award a couple days ago from Writer’s Digest magazine. So apparently we don’t suck as much as we thought.

    Woohoo!!! Congrats!

     

  5. I’m one of those people that really enjoy naming characters. A lot of names that I use were chosen for their sound, more than their meaning (which means that a lot of my names are actually gibberish).

    akashiforweb

    “Akashiseizaborou”

    I think the longest name I have ever used for a character is “Akashiseizaborou”. At the time, I was specifically looking for the longest Japanese name I could find for a serious, frowny-pants archangel. Something that also happened a lot with my characters that were created in my teens is the use of Japanese names (see above, and several names below).

    SIDE NOTE: Until writing this post, I was sort of hesitant to post any of the character artwork I have to accompany this post, because I’m not really drawing in this style anymore, and so on, but it seems silly to reject a part of my authorial growth that was so profoundly influential to the development of my visual execution. So, most of the images here are drawn in the anime style of Japanese cartoons, though keep in mind they are all near a decade old. Mainly, I wanted there to be something personal and visual in every post, so here they are.

    As I was saying, a lot of my characters from this period had names of words that I was trying to learn at the time. For instance, I have a set of triplets that students of nihongo might get a kick out of. Their names were Migi, Chushin, and Hidari. These names literally mean right, center, and left, respectively. I also had elementally locked characters named Zetsumei and Owari. (“Death” and “End”.)

    In any case, had to stop doing that eventually, because 1) I branched out to different regions in my writing besides those that were inspired by Asia, and 2) I realized a lot of the names I was growing attached to wouldn’t work very well if I attempted to publish.

    "Guillotine"

    “Guillotine”

    My penchant for naming people after regular, every day words didn’t really go away, as I now have a bunch of characters named things like Guillotine, Pussywillow, Slate, Otter, Holly, Fable, Narcissus, and Peony, among others.

    When a name doesn’t automatically present itself as a word, I next try fun alliterations or syllable duos, like Yendi, Arcus, Jana, Ergon, Ryldur, and so on.

    Of course, sometimes even that fails, and I take myself to the net, where I scour down names for regionally similar places to the ones I am writing (using a lot of Hindu and Turkish names right now). The problem with that is that sometimes I end up with a great name––but something far too similar to it is already in use for a bestseller.

    For instance, in my current WIP, I am in love with the name “Katerine” (Kat-er-EEN). However, I also just went and watched The Hunger Games, and d’oh, can’t use it anymore! Back to the drawing board…

    How do you name your characters? Have you ever fell in love with a name you can’t use anymore, for whatever reason?

    Heliosforweb

    “Helios”, a character from my current WIP

    Tomorrow: O is for Odds & Ends!

    N is for Naming Characters #atozchallenge I’m one of those people that really enjoy naming characters. A lot of names that I use were chosen for their sound, more than their meaning (which means that a lot of my names are actually gibberish).
     

  6. M is for Magic Systems

    M is for Magic Systems #atozchallenge

    M

    Magic. If you’re reading a fantasy, it’s more than likely got it. And it’s a science, not necessarily dictated by chemical balances (unless said magic system is alchemy), but most certainly limited by the reality imposed by the universe it is a part of.

    There are a lot of fantasy books out there, and each one tries to set itself apart by employing a new take on the way magic works. Some are more…

    View On WordPress

     

  7. Few things please me more than an elegantly-rendered book interior. A feast for the eyes, with fonts that add their own leaning to the mood on the page, the interior of a book (printed or digital) is actually one of things that can sway my final purchase decision.

    I’ve been so interested by interiors that I casually started learning how to create them back in college, for creative writing assignments, like the one below. The essay could have been about anything more tangible, but my professor at the time allowed me to be creative, so I wrote a pretend “missing chapter” from The Tale of Genji. I had a lot of fun with the project, even though I’m usually against appropriating another author’s universe for fan-fiction personally (though I did, in my teens, read quite a bit of it for TV shows).

    I enjoyed creating that layout so much that I ended up creating another layout for my Japanese notes. Yeah, I am seriously that OCD. This project wasn’t for anyone else… I just wanted to play around in Adobe InDesign.

    I also had the opportunity to help N J’s kyudõ club with one of their newsletters. This layout was really different for me, but I enjoyed how it turned out.

    Recently, I’ve gotten really interested in book interiors, so I’ve been playing around in InDesign and Word again. There are a couple of projects I volunteer my time for, and I’ve been given the task of formatting the interiors for the print and ebook editions. I’m stoked! Here are some samples of what I came up with for both (coincidentally, I also designed covers for both, but I can’t share them as they aren’t in their final form yet).

    If you like my style (I tend to lean more towards classic/elegant styles) and would like to commission me, I have my own design website now, at countrymousedesign.com. There aren’t any samples up on the website yet, because nothing I’ve formatted professionally has been published yet.

    What do you like about book layouts? What things don’t you like?

    Tomorrow: M is for Magic Systems!

    L is for Layout #atozachallenge Few things please me more than an elegantly-rendered book interior. A feast for the eyes, with fonts that add their own leaning to the mood on the page, the interior of a book (printed or digital) is actually one of things that can sway my final purchase decision.
     
  8. K is for Kill Your Darlings #atozchallenge

    "Kill your darlings" is one of the most universally recognized quotes in the writing community. For so few words, it has resonated deeply with thousands of writers, who quote it often when their peers lament the process.

     

  9. J is for Jargon

    J is for Jargon #atozchallenge

    J

    jargonred

    Are you ready to speak like a pro? The publishing world is full of jargon, and sometimes it’s hard to tell your slug from your synopsis! Today’s post is all about the wonderful (and terrible) jargon we use in this crazy industry. Kept short and sweet (and a bit satirical) for your enjoyment. Real definitions found in the links.

    advance– (n) an increasingly rare artifact; a most preposterous…

    View On WordPress

     

  10. IllustriousFULL_FEATUREDIMAGE

    If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably already know what I’m about to talk about, but if you’re a newcomer, today I’m going to talk about one of my ongoing interview series that I feature on this website.

    When I first started getting serious about writing, I noticed that a lot of authors on the boards I frequented always had trouble locating new cover artists for their books, and short of going to 99 Designs, or some other cover-mill website, they really didn’t know where to begin in regards to finding high-quality illustrators for their projects.

    Well, I decided to try and help people find professional artists more easily, and that’s how Illustrious came to be. To quote the blurb I put on every interview:

    Illustrious is an ongoing interview series designed to connect indie and self-published authors with exceptional artists for their cover and illustration needs. […] Alex Hurst also interviews graphic artists (for book covers), editors, agents, and small or indie presses.

    I have other interview series that haven’t quite taken off yet (Imprints for presses and Typelicious for typographers), so I figure now is a good time to plug them, since I’ll have more traffic this month.

    Are you looking for a book cover artist? Are you a book cover artist yourself? Do you know a book cover artist who would like some more exposure? I’d love to interview them!

    If you are an illustrator (science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk, contemporary, young adult, children’s book, comic, non-erotic LGBT) and would like to be considered for an interview, please feel free to contact me at info@alex-hurst.com, or by using the contact form at Contact. Artists featured on my page are also promoted on Facebook, Pinterest, and deviantArt (should they have an account).

    *I am not interviewing artists who focus solely on romance or erotica art at this time.

    Click any of the images below to be taken to the artists’ respective interview, or follow this link to read every interview in the series.

    -Illustrious So Far-

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Tomorrow: J is for Jargon!

    I is for Illustrious If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably already know what I’m about to talk about, but if you’re a newcomer, today I’m going to talk about one of my ongoing interview series that I feature on this website.