Saturday, June 15, 2019

Blog Tour + Top Ten + Giveaway - Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

Find the tour schedule here.

Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: June 11th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.

 Book Links:

Top Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

10. Take care of yourself.

There’s an ugly myth out there that suffering leads to creativity. While many creative types have drawn upon past suffering to make art, it’s not a requirement by any means. Not to mention, health issues (whether of the physical or mental sort) can hinder your ability to be productive. After all, how are you supposed to write if you can barely make it out of bed? 

9. Do things. Meet people. Yes, online counts.

The wider your range of experiences, the more you can draw upon for writing. Sometimes, they tie together in unexpected ways – I once drew upon my car troubles to add tension to a space chase scene. Of course, time and resources may present challenges. Many may disagree with me, but I say that online experiences count – especially when it comes to human interactions. Communicating with different people and personalities can inspire new ideas for characters, plot points, etc. in ways you can’t predict.

8. Let “good enough” be enough.

Especially in the first draft. No one’s first draft is good. Some of mine have been eye-clawing-ly awful. The one I’m currently working on required a complete rewrite because the voice was all wrong (which I didn’t figure out until after I’d written the whole thing, sent it to my critique group, and then reread it with fresh eyes a few weeks later). A first draft’s job is simply to exist. This is where you let your ideas gush out, where let yourself experiment. Not everything will work. Maybe none of it will work. But at least you’ll know.

And even when dealing with later drafts (or even the close-to-final proof), there might still be things that don’t feel 100% perfect. That’s okay – chances are, the reader won’t even notice. No piece of writing is ever completely, totally, unassailably good. 

7. Remember there’s no such thing as wasted words.

Trashing large quantities of writings – entire drafts, even – is hard. Sometimes, all you can think about is the number of hours and the sheer toil of getting all those words down. So the idea of throwing it away (or “trunking” it) seems like a waste.

But, to borrow an old cliché, it’s the journey that counts. Really. Because all writing is practice, whether you end up using the words or not. And writing is a skill, just like every other skill. Consider the dancers who spend hours in a studio perfecting a 3-minute piece for a single showcase. Were all those hours of dancing with no audience a waste? Of course not. Performance art is ephemeral, and so it’s easy to accept that a lot of labor will be put into practicing without an audience. Writing is more permanent – you’re creating something that could last for ages – so it can feel like not using the words produced is a waste. But really, it’s the experience that counts.

So don’t be afraid to slash, burn, and destroy in the revisions process.

6. Be efficient with your words – in your own way.

One thing I notice a lot when working with newer writers is how many unnecessary filler words they’ll have in there – that they don’t even realize they’re doing. For instance: She lifted her head up and down with eagerness and then said, “I agree.” Really, all you need to write there is: She nodded eagerly. “I agree.”

The more draconian purveyors of writing advice will put down rules like “delete all your adverbs” or “no dialogue tags, ever.” I disagree. Everyone has their own writing style – and their own inefficient habits (I, for one, tend to over describe and become repetitive in the process). It’s okay to write inefficiently during the first draft (my first drafts often get bloated to such an extend, I cut out 10% of the words on the first pass revision). But keep an eye out for ways to reduce the number of words you’re using to get to a particular point – without sacrificing the voice, of course.

5. Bring out your story’s sensory and emotional experiences.

Writing isn’t just about what happens – it’s also about how it makes the reader feel. It’s not just sunny outside – the rays are warming your skin and glinting off the water. Whether through the lens of your protagonist (when writing in first person or close third) or from a more distant POV, the more you can evoke the feeling of being someplace or doing something, rather than just stating the facts, the more your reader can feel like they’re part of the story, experiencing it from the inside.

4. Don’t feel beholden to someone else’s method.

A lot of people write posts about how their method, which works amazingly for them, is THE method. For some, it’s write every day, come hell or high water. For others, it’s build an extensive outline before you get started. Whatever the case, they’re all wrong – there is no single method for writing. While it’s worth trying on someone else’s method in case it works for you, there’s nothing wrong with saying “forget that” and doing things your own way. I, for one, have changed methods between books. Once, I was an avowed outliner, with pages and pages of notes before I started writing (one outline was 10,000 words long). Meanwhile, for Stronger than a Bronze Dragon, I basically made it up as I went.

3. Read. Read a lot. Read widely.

A lot of writing habits are absorbed, not just developed. Rather like speech – while taking lessons and memorizing rules does shape the way we communicate, what ultimately comes out is what feels natural to each of us. And that’s how we develop our own unique voices, both in speech and writing. When it comes to the latter, reading more can open you to new possibilities on how to use language and help you cultivate an ear for writing styles that could help you improve your own.

2. Take breaks.

The world is full of writers who claim to sit down at 6am and write nonstop until 6pm, with maybe a bathroom break and a quick run to the kitchen to grab a sandwich or something. Or the ones who say they write every single day no matter what. Good for them. For a lot of people, though, that kind of expectation just isn’t realistic. I, for one, am a “feast or famine” writer. Either I’m pumping out thousands upon thousands of words in a single sitting (my record is 10,000 in one evening after work, though I stayed up till 3am for that) or I’m doing absolutely nothing (sometimes for weeks). It’s easy to feel guilty during those “famine” times, especially when social media is crawling with productivity posts by other writers (good for you, Person-Who-Wrote-A-Novel-In-3-Weeks! I’ve spent the past 3 weeks binge-watching pointless shows on Netflix!). But ultimately, breaks are part of the process (for many of us). It’s a chance for our creative brains to recharge and reset and come back stronger. And hey, studies have shown that creative solutions come when your mind is wandering, not when you’re focusing on the task and trying to force it out.

1. Just keep writing.

You know that old cliché – the only way to fail is to quit? Well, it’s true. And by “quit,” I mean “stop writing forever and with no intention of ever trying again.” As mentioned above, breaks are fine, whether they’re for days, weeks, months, or even years (hey, it’s been 8 years since George RR Martin put out a Song of Ice and Fire book, and you know he hasn’t been actively writing that manuscript this whole time – he’s been up to other things). But anyway, the important thing is that whatever happens with your publishing journey, just keep writing as long as it’s something you enjoy.

About the Author

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

 Author Links:

 Tour-wide giveaway

US only

No comments :

Post a Comment