All posts filed under: Writing Tips

ROMAN MASK. 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal winner for Fiction – Action

My book ‘Roman Mask’ has won an award!  Hooray! My novel has won Readers’ Favorite 2016 Gold medal award for Fiction – Action! Reader’s Favorite has become the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies. It was a complete surprise, as I never even considered myself being an award winning novelist.  So how did this come about?  Well, when I released Roman Mask just over a year ago, I decided I needed to get an impartial review from a world recognised body, who are known for complete impartiality and honest reviews.  So despite a lot of nervous trepidation, I submitted Roman Mask to Readers’ Favorite, and was delighted to receive 5 stars! As my …

Ancient Weapons of War!

It is great to have a castle, or large fortress, to set a scene in a historical novel.  The high curtain walls, the gatehouses, the murder holes and cunningly placed arrow slits.  All give the writer great scope in describing formidable bastions that appear all but impossible to penetrate.  However, history teaches us that the appearance of impregnability can be illusory, as ever since people started building walls to protect their buildings, others have been devising ways to get in – by fair means or foul. Ancient siege weapons – the Greek Catapult. When I started writing my first novel on Alexander the Great, I spent plenty of time researching the early catapults that Alexander used in besieging the many cities of Persia, in his conquest of the Persian Empire.  I proudly presented a long chapter to my father (who was helping me edit the novel) which held long explanations of the mechanics of the engines, describing them in great detail.  My father promptly put great red crosses through all the pages and scribbled “Too …

Magical Swords

What is it about magical swords and fantasy fiction?  The concept of such weapons seem perfectly natural in a fantasy realm, and they feature as a centre point to many classics of the genre.  They fill readers’ minds with wistful thoughts of holding such weapons themselves, and being able to smite adversaries with the ease of the heroes (or villains) who wield them in the books.  Despite the regularity of such swords turning up in fantasy novels, the idea never grows tired, as a succession of authors have invented new modifications or types of mythical blades, seamlessly interweaving new flavours of mystery and interest into the forging of their weapons. The list of them all would be endless, so instead I have just a few of my favourites. Excalibur – numerous authors. Where else to start but the mythical blade of King Arthur, King of the Britons, and one true King of its shores.  Also referred to by its Celtic name, Caliburnus, it is interwoven into the legend of King Arthur almost as strongly as the Round Table, …

Heraldry.

A great device to give both historical and fantasy novels depth, are a Coat of Arms.  A family history, or tradition, encompassed into a heraldic emblem, a brightly painted shield and banner, complete with family motto.  This can give characters an intriguing edge, stories from their family’s past hinting at hidden secrets and mystery. In a historical novel, especially those set in the High Middle Ages, they can be used to show authenticity, being such an important aspect of that age.  Whilst in a fantasy novel, they are equally useful giving the authors world credibility and tantalising the reader into what the mythical land holds. Heraldry in a Historical context Some people date the start of heraldry as far back as ancient Egypt, when standards topped with the names of kings and gods, can be seen depicted in their art.  However, the type of heraldry we would recognise as such today, started to appear in the middle ages when large armies, all being equipped with full helmets and faceplates, required some way for individuals to …

A Spanish adventure to write about…

Sometimes starting a new novel can be difficult, not least because the sheer scale of the work involved can be daunting.  Do I really want to commit so much of my time to such an arduous project? Fortunately, it isn’t all hard work, and the pluses always out-way the negatives.  One such example is going away to do the groundwork for a historical novel.  I recently took a holiday to Northern Spain to research the sequel to my novel Roman Mask.  Spain might seem a surprising destination for those who are familiar with Roman Mask, as so much of that story is set in the forests of Germany, and I’m guessing many readers would expect any sequel to also be entwined into that dark mist-shrouded and menacing landscape.  However, without giving too much away, my story involves the brother of Julius Arminius, and takes my main character Cassius to a completely different land and will show how the disaster in the Teutoburg forest had far reaching effects throughout the Roman world. Spain was always an incredibly …

10 books that will teach you to read like a writer. Guest Post by Kory M. Shrum

What are the first steps we take to become writers?  The most important starting point, is to love books ourselves, and to be avid readers.  Kory M. Shrum The successful author of the Jesse Sullivan fantasy series, who has well over 300 Amazon reviews for her  novel Dying for a Living has taken this a step further and explains in this insightful guest post how a writer should read.  She has given strong examples to support her case and shows how much we can learn from other masters of the craft.  So I will pass you over to Kory… Thomas M D Brooke 10 books that will teach you to read like a writer. Before I tell you about the books, let me answer this question: Why SHOULD you read like a writer? It’s important to read like a writer for a couple of reasons.  A reader who is reading like a reader does so for pleasure mostly. Or to be informed about a certain topic or idea. Contrastly, a writer reads to study to the craft. A writer will be …

The Reaper Realm. Guest post by K. A. Lentz.

I am delighted to share a guest post today, from a fantasy author who has created a world, The Reaper realm, where she sets her novel Threads of Compassion. You can read about the novel in a short description below, followed by a intriguing insight into K.A. Lentz’s writing process and the inspiration behind the novel.  What is so interesting about this post was how important the characters became to her, and how she developed them.  It shows how strong the bond becomes between the writer and her characters.  I’ll pass you over to K.A. Lentz now… Thomas M D Brooke The Reaper Realm: Threads of Compassion Dominated by displaced, malevolent beings enjoying their cosmic game of cat and mouse, the realm is home to a host of unconventional elves, inventive creatures, and intriguing characters. Fantastical friends and foes alike join the group or jostle the ride in this colorfully painted world. Join Thistle, Miach, and a host of companions as they embark on a journey of love and war, discovery and loss, hoping to set right …

Somewhere to write…

So far in this blog I’ve written a few articles on the process I use when I write, the aspects of writing that are important to me, and also how I avoid issues such as writers block.  This time I want to discuss WHERE I write.  This may seem strange topic, as everyone’s situation is different, and a where a writer lives should never be a hindrance to writing – after all, most of my writing is done from my South London flat which is hardly exceptional.  However, sometimes London doesn’t provide the necessary inspiration, or the peace and tranquility to write my best work.  It may be because I am approaching a particularly difficult section of a novel, or I just feel flat and not in the correct frame of mind.  In these situations there is just one place for me to go, and that is my family’s cottage in Northumberland.  Far from the nearest city or town, the cottage truly is isolated in the Cheviot Hills, alone on a hilltop miles from the …

The characters of Game of Thrones are what make it..

What makes Game of Thrones such a fascinating and exciting series, in both the books and the TV series, is the vast array of brilliantly conceived characters, with unique backgrounds and complex personalities.  A great lesson, to anyone wishing to write a novel, is to look at the great breadth of characters, and how the story comes alive due to their differing nature and personal values. I couldn’t possibly describe them all, but here are a few. nerdist.com Daenerys. One of the most intriguing characters in Game of Thrones is the exiled queen across the sea, who we follow as she builds support in foreign lands in the hope of one day reclaiming her rightful crown of the Seven Kingdoms.  The reason she is so intriguing is seeing the progression of her character.  She moves from naïve young girl, being advised by Sir Jorah, through a young marriage to a Dothraki Khal, and into a regal and valiant queen capable of both great empathy with her subjects and terrible wrath with those who cross her.  …

Process of building a character #books #writingtips

If you want to write a novel, you will need well rounded and believable characters to pull your readers along with the story.  For readers to care what happens at the end of a book, you will need to forge a connection between them and your characters. Different authors will have a variety of different approaches to constructing characters for their novels.  Some will take a more ad-hoc approach, and develop them along the way.  But for myself, if I am going to create realistic characters, it is important to map out their characteristics at the planning stage of a novel – after all, you wouldn’t start writing a book without knowing what your plot is going to be, so why should the characters be any different?  They are just as vital to your novel so it is worthwhile spending some time on character development before you start writing.   These are the stages I go through when putting my characters together – you can play around with the order, nothing here is set in stone. picture from …