The Lure of Words by Tara Fox Hall

Tara Fox Hall Guest Blogging at aecurzon.wordpress.com

I am very happy to introduce once more, the delightful Tara Fox Hall, with her thoughts on the possible pitfalls of writing a series. Welcome back Tara and lots of luck with your new book – Taken in the Night.

We authors usually began writing because we love stories. What can compare to losing yourself for a few hours—-or longer!—in a superb novel that makes everyday hassles fade into dust? Readers love to discover new worlds. We writers feel compelled to create them, to make our own alternate reality of good and evil, conflict and compromise, passion and betrayal. Yet there is also a pitfall here lying in wait for authors that readers never have to learn to avoid: the lure of words.

When creating a rough draft of a manuscript, authors usually do their own thing. For me, it’s jotting down all kind of ideas on where the plot should go (or might go), as well as the key events or period of time I want to cover in the book. As I write, I check my notes for ideas on what comes next. This usually results in several ideas not being used in the final draft, as they—for whatever reason—have nothing to do with the central plot of the given work in progress. This is not to say that the ideas aren’t good, only that they aren’t relevant to the ideas the book presents (or don’t work to move events along in a series work). These “N/A ideas” get put aside. Taken for His Own - Book CoverAfter the final draft is complete, I again read through the book several times for content, answering questions left hanging (ex: how did character X get home for the next scene, where did character Y get the gun he’s got in Chapter 4, etc.). This is done to make sure that everything flows evenly and the action moves right long. But there is also a final step I do, which is read through to make sure that every word I’ve used is necessary. As I read, if I begin to skip sections out of boredom, I take a hard look to make sure those sections need to be there. Anything that is superfluous is deleted, like a sentence whose subject is restated from the one previous. Passages of merit that don’t belong are cut out and saved for a possible later use in a future book.

This drive to be concise as possible might seem extreme to some, especially as there is no tight word count on novels as a rule. Writers could also argue that most readers want the books they love to be long, to draw out their reading enjoyment as long as possible. While that’s true, most any reader at some point in their lives read a tome that was verbose and overly long. I see this most often in fantasy, but lately in other works as well, especially series books. There are sections—and sometimes chapters—that could be summarized by a page, a paragraph, or sometimes even be left out…and the book itself still remains whole and complete. Writers who do this have fallen victim to the lure of words. 

Succumbing to the lure of words is a gradual process. The first stories a writer pens usually are short, or at least direct. Few words are wasted in the telling of the tale, and there is likely little elaboration or false clues (in mystery writing circles, this used to be known as a red herring: an informal fallacy that leads the reader to a false conclusion, making the story more exciting than a straightforward plot). But the more books a novelist produces, the harder it becomes to rein in a work, especially in a series. More and more characters come on the scene, each with their own histories. Landscapes evolve (ex: a world which before comprised of two cities and the land between them now adds on a sea, several other cities across the sea, and five most cities inland from the initial two). Some of this happens because the longer a story is, by necessity the more complex it must become to sustain the ongoing action. There is also possibly an unconscious desire by the author not to end the series, especially if it’s popular. So early books which held lots of action and suspense give way to sequels where not much happens, even as the books themselves get longer. This complication of the story along with “plot drag” tends to upset the reader and leave them unsatisfied. In this, a writer must always remember that they are telling a story not only for themselves, but also for their audience.

Resist the lure of words, series writers. Your readers will thank you for it!

Taken in the Night Book CoverBlurb for Taken in the Night: When Theo disappears, Sar is left bereft, the uncertain guardian of Theo’s newly born werecougar daughter, Elle. As months pass, clues emerge about Theo’s disappearance, yet the twisting trail ends repeatedly without answer. In her grief, Sar turns to Danial and hesitantly begins to build a life with him and Elle.

Excerpt: Lying on my pillow was a small box of Godiva Chocolate. I picked up the card beside it.

“To my Love, on our third Christmas, Danial.”

I put the chocolates beside my bed, resisting the urge to eat one. The next thing I knew, it was Christmas afternoon.

Danial was gone when I awoke, the rumpled bed the only testament that he’d come to bed. Worried he was up, I wrapped a robe around me, and went looking for him. Opening the bedroom door, I stepped into flowers.

There were vases everywhere, with roses of all colors: red, white, yellow, blue, pink, and multi-colored. The sweet fresh scent of roses wakened my senses. I took a deep breath.

“Here’s another one,” Terian said with a grin, handing me a bucket filled with water and more roses. “We’ve run out of vases.”

I took it from him, taking a deep breath in the silky petals. “How many did he order?”

“One for each day we have spent together,” said Danial from above me.

I looked up to the loft, meeting Danial’s eyes. “Danial, that is over five hundred flowers!” I said, shocked.

“Five hundred, thirty-three,” he replied with a loving smile. “I’ve been listening for you to get up for hours, hoping you’d delay long enough to get them in position. There are four hundred and eighty here so far, so it was pretty close.”

“I can’t believe you did this,” I said slowly, looking around me in wonder.

“This Christmas called for more than a box of chocolate,” he said, leaning over the railing, his dark hair falling forward. “And I know you like flowers.”

“I love them,” I said, burying my face again in soft fresh petals.

“Here’s another,” Elle said, carrying in an armful. “There are no more containers.”

“I’ll get another bucket,” Terian said, rolling his eyes, and we all broke into laughter.

Buy links for Taken in the Night

amazon.us

amazon.co.uk

Smashwords

Lulu – (Print copies)

Melange Books – (HTML and PDF)

Author Links

Website                                  

tarafoxhallATgmailDOTcom (email)

Tara’s Blog

Tara’s Facebook Page

Twitter

Other Books by Tara Fox Hall 

Promise Me Book Cover

Broken Promise Book Cover

Acclaimed Authors, Jenny Twist and Tara Fox Hall, Release New Anthology

This week I am delighted to welcome back again authors Jenny Twist and Tara Fox Hall telling us a little more about their highly successful writing careers. Welcome back to both of you, and thank you, once more, for being my guests.
Guest Blogger Jenny Twist's image on Amelia Curzon's Blog - Curzon

Tara Fox Hall and Jenny Twist launched their anthology of speculative fiction, Bedtime Shadows, on the 24th September. The book has already received high praise from other authors and is said to rival the short stories of  M. R. James, Philip K Dick and even Stephen King.

The two writers became friends when they both contributed to the highly acclaimed anthology, Spellbound 2011, issued by Melange Books in October last year.

“I was so proud to be in that anthology,” says Jenny, whose own anthology, Take One At Bedtime, was chosen as Editor’s Pick when it came out in April of the same year. “I thought every single one of the stories in it was interesting and well-written and the authors were all such fun to work with.”

“I was excited to make the jump from short horror stories to longer works,” added Tara, whose flash fiction and short Guest Blogger Tara Fox Hall's image on Amelia Curzon's blog - Curzonstories have appeared on-line at Deadman’s Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Ghastly Door, The Halloween Alliance, Black Petals, SNM Horror Magazine, Dark Eclipse, Cemetery Moon, The Copperfield Review, and Microhorror. “I’d just published my first paranormal romance e-novella, and was anxious to be in a print book. Spellbound 2011 introduced me to some wonderful authors, some of whom have become very good friends.”

The two writers could not have come from more different backgrounds. Jenny was born in England and worked at many different jobs including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant before returning to full-time education at the age of 28 and doing 2 history degrees at Manchester and Oxford. Eleven years ago she retired to Spain. “I feel like I’m finally getting on with my real life,” she says. “I always wanted to write and now I’m finally doing it!”

Tara was born in the United States, earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with a double minor in science at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and is currently an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop. In addition to speculative fiction, Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include non-fiction  action-adventure, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. “I love that my stories resonate with people,” she says. “That they can lose themselves in my stories means I’ve done my job.”

Bedtime Shadows by Jenny Twist and Tara Fox Hall - Book cover“We chose Bedtime Shadows as the title,” Jenny says, “to reflect my anthology, Take One At Bedtime and Tara’s Just Shadows. We are very proud to have an introduction by the illustrious horror writer, T. Fox Dunham (no relation to Tara) and we have been very lucky to have some excellent authors give us advance reviews.”

The book is a mixture of horror, speculative fiction and romance – stories of ghosts and vampires, future dystopias, travel through different dimensions, a holiday romance that changes everything, and a new twist on an ancient myth.

Here is what other authors have to say about it.

“I recommend this collection without any reservations” – Herbert Grosshans.

“Together these two authors will strap you to your chair and lock your attention to the magic they weave.” – Su Halfwerk

They know how to write stories that entertain and involve their readers. Someday I think we may identify them with authors like Shirley Jackson, Stephen King and HP Lovecraft.” – John Mecom

“This literary progeny of authors Jenny Twist and Tara Fox Hall was a joy to read for a couple of reasons. There’s a nice variety of stories ranging from dramatic to speculative to downright gruesome.” – Mysti Parker

Daily-living captured and stylistically rendered with a ‘twist’ of macabre lurking behind each provocative tale…BEDTIME SHADOWS delivers a punch — watch out for the unexpected.”
~ Douglas Wickard 

BOOK BLURB

The Man With No Face Jenny Twist

All her life Deborah has been haunted by the memory of a couple locked in a deadly embrace. She thinks the woman may be the mother that abandoned her but she cannot see the man’s face. Who is he?

All That Remains – Tara Fox Hall

This thrilling sequel to The Origin of Fear (Spellbound 2011) takes us back to Latham’s Landing. Will Tina and Sandra survive their encounter with the ghosts that inhabit the haunted isle?

The Children of Hope Jenny Twist

It is 1963 and Ginny is unmarried and pregnant. Her parents consign her to one of the infamous Mother and Baby Homes which  are little more than prisons and workhouses. Will she be able to escape before they come to take her baby away?

 The Bull-Dancer Jenny Twist

The twelve chosen bull-dancers are sailing out of the harbour under a black sail, bound for Crete and the deadly Minotaur, while a mother looks on in anger.

Take the Chance– Tara Fox Hall

A young girl growing up in post-apocalyptic America is determined that she and her sister will survive – whatever it takes!

A Victorian Dolls’ House Jenny Twist

When Violet sees the dolls’ house in the antique shop she has to have it. But the Delacorte House is no ordinary dolls’ house – and it is definitely not a toy!

Heart’s Bells– Tara Fox Hall

Theo and Casey are in love, but so many things stand in their way. They suffer separation and heartbreak but still remain true – until something happens to Theo that changes everything.

Doppelganger Jenny Twist

When Christine wakes up in a sumptuous white room with silken hangings, she assumes she is in heaven. But she soon finds out she is not in heaven. And before too long she begins to wonder if she is even still Christine.

Voices Jenny Twist

Olivia and Aidan are telepathic twins. Olivia is used to hearing Aidan in her head, but she is terrified when she hears a new and sinister voice.

Return to Me – Tara Fox Hall

Determined to find the source of the nightly creaking she alone can hear, Sam Reading discovers Harrison Benning, a ghost who becomes corporeal for one night of the year; the summer solstice. Their warm friendship soon becomes powerful love that lasts through decades, tragedies, and even beyond death.

Catch Me If You Can Jenny Twist

Willy prowls the streets at night, listening to all the sounds of the old town. But does he have a more sinister purpose?

Shades of Grey– Tara Fox Hall

Throughout history there has always been a Seer making sure that the world follows its proper course, keeping the world in balance. Yet when the old Seer prepares to hand over the burden to his apprentice Tim, he realizes too late that Tim has his own ideas of how things should go.

Other books by Tara and Jenny

Just Shadows by Tara Fox Hall - Book cover

Take One at Bedtime by Jenny Twist - Book cover

To find out more about the authors, go to:

Jenny Twist

Website

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads Blog

Amazon Author Page

Tara Fox Hall

Website                                          

Email

Tara’s Blog

Tara’s Facebook Page   

Twitter

For info on my recently published work, Lash, click here:

For info on my recently published work, Just Shadows, click here: