As a writer, I am always looking for great mentors who will inspire me to work smarter and harder. Having a natural way with words, of course, the number one quality I look for in a writing mentor, but there are other traits that I find just as important.
Not all extroverts are great writers, but the ability to engage an audience while weaving a story is mind-blowing. A person’s innate talent to know their audience is astounding to watch.
Knowledge of Subject Matter
A great teacher is an expert in their subject matter. They have mastered the topic and fought against its boundaries.
Lastly, a hunger for more knowledge, to share what they know, to read more, to write more. It’s not just a subject, but a way of life.
This post has relevance as an author, but I have touched on the topic once before. My latest book series, (after)life lessons is about a girl who goes to a school where the teachers are famous and deceased. I played a fun game that brings back the most brilliant minds through out history and let’s them teach high school as a spirit.
If you had the ability to see spirits, who would you choose as your English teacher?
For months, I have been planning to post my book on Kindle Scout and run a campaign, in the hopes that Amazon would publish the book. Two weeks ago, I posted my book.
I haven’t sat around with my fingers crossed, hoping that people would vote for me. I emailed everyone I knew. I posted the link on all my social media sites, and I came up with a blog marketing campaign. Here’s a sneak peak:
The plan was twofold.
First, to give readers what they want – a glimpse into the world of another writer and self-publisher. I wrote tidbits about my experience.
Second, to invite readers into my next novel, The Light of Supremazia.
Have I been successful?
Yes and no. My Kindle Scout campaign had 6 days trending as “hot,” and I received feedback on my blog. However, I have more content to post and more readers to reach.
Hopefully, the following blurbs from my novel invite you in:
To make a contemporary novel timeless, an author needs to balance the use of outdated technology and the most recent fads and trends.
As a reader, you never noticed the lack of computers in Harry Potter, no matter when you read it.
However, the book series and TV show Pretty Little Liars would never have succeeded without the inclusion of cell phones.
Technology is constantly improving and here to stay. I think it is best to include as long as the technology isn’t a short-term craze.
Since my latest book is a young-adult fantasy novel, I recognized my core audience uses technology all the time, so I decided to invent an app.
The Light of Supremazia is about a girl who can see spirits. PhantomFollow is an app that tracks spirits, and its gone viral at Vita Post Mortem Academy. The more famous or rare the spirit, the more points the player gets. See the app in the app store above. 🙂
Authenticity is important. I believe you should learn the mechanics of writing, soak up the knowledge, practice the method, and then make it your own.
When you are learning how to paint, they teach you realism, abstract, and cubism. However, your masterpiece will never be recognized if it is a copy of someone else’s work.
It is hard. It is confusing. It is scary, but it will be genuine if you write in your own voice.
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” — Marilyn Monroe
In my latest novel, The Light of Supremazia, about a girl who can see spirits and attends a school run by deceased celebrities, Marilyn Monroe is one of the teachers. I chose her because she has flair and a knack for drama, but also because she was not afraid to be herself.
Real locations are my favorite to write about. For my first book series, Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program, Pandora High School had many similarities to the high school I attended. Write what you know, right?
Sometimes, I scour Pinterest for inspiration. Check out the page for my next series (after)life lessons.
Every once in awhile, I type a chapter, read it back, and realize I’ve taken another book’s setting! My editor pointed this out when she read the chapter about Vita Post Mortem Academy’s cafeteria called The Dreadfort. It had an eerie similarity to Hogwart’s Great Hall.
To avoid accidental plagiarizing, I made the tables round instead of long, removed all candles from the chandeliers and replaced them with electricity, set up a high-tech video screen, and made large windows in the back for viewing the cemetery. Ok, still sounds similar, but you can’t mess with perfection!
Picking traits for the characters in your novel can be difficult. Is the person argumentative and always causing a scene? Is your character reserved and likes to hide in the back of a pack? Is the person loud and dramatic? Are they optimistic and happy?
As an author, you need to consider why the character acts the way they do. Are they competitive? Have they lived in the shadow of an older, more impressive brother? Are they happy because they work at the job of their dreams? Are they lonely in a new town?
Teachers at Vita Post Mortem Academy
While I was writing my latest novel, The Light of Supremazia, I had to pick famous deceased people to teach at Vita Post Mortem Academy as spirits. The characters had to stand out on their own, but also make sense as part of the school’s faculty.
How great are the inventive words used to describe a new thing, event, or action in fiction? There are tons of examples. Here are a few of my favorites:
An animagus is a person who can morph into an animal – from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Similarly, a warg is a person who can enter the minds of animals – from George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones series.
The reaping is an event when a boy and a girl are chosen from each district to participate in the Hunger Games – from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series.
Buggers are insect-like aliens – from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series
A mudblood is a magical person born to non-magical parents – from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
A half-blood is a person born from one parent who is a mythological god and one who is not – from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series.
Quidditch is a professional sport in the wizarding world – from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
How do you invent a new term?
For my new series, (after)life lessons, I tried to be thoughtful about new terms. You can’t rename everything or your reader will get lost. However, it is fun to imagine your new term catching on and being used in casual conversation!
My series is based on the premise that spirits exist in our world and certain people have the ability to see them. Simply put, some people are spirit-seers and called visumaries, while others who can not see spirits are ableptic.
Why do you choose the terms?
Sometimes authors choose the word because of the phonetic appeal – it sounds similar to another word that conveys a certain meaning. Other authors perform deep research on Latin roots or Greek mythology.
I felt the word visumary sounded similar to visionary, like they have the ability to see things others can’t.
Ableptic has a harsher sound – “bleh.” It is less musical, similar to J.K. Rowling’s choice of squib for a person born into a magical family, but has no magical abilities. Also, in English, “ablepsia” means lack of sight or blindness.
Kindle Scout Campaign Update
The Light of Supremazia Kindle Scout campaign has been trending *HOT* for 41 hours and has 692 page views!