For Starka, an outcast priestess accused of incest, life is simple until a nightmare prophecy of the ascension of the Avatar of Darkness forces her to return to a world of intrigue and treachery. Pushed unwillingly into an epic journey with a priest who despises her, Starka finds allies in a mysterious warrior bent on protecting her, the last surviving members of two feuding nations, and a rebel wizard seeking revenge for his fallen comrades.
Faced with the sweeping onslaught of the Carrion Army led by Zion and his three murderous generals, time is running out. With each battle, the ranks of the carrion swell with freshly-killed recruits. New terrors are constructed from the heights of the Great Watchtower. Ancient enemies must band together, Starka must survive the assassins within her own order, and prophecy must somehow be stopped. The price of failure is absolute destruction.
The Ninth Avatar is coming.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of The Ninth Avatar to one lucky individual.
Writing as Communication
Oddly enough, authors aren’t always great at communication. We’re reclusive, eccentric, and generally a strange bunch of people. There are many possible explanations for this, but I prefer to think it’s because we just don’t communicate in the same manner that most people do. We communicate best through writing; allegory, simile, analogy, plot, and characterization are our methods.
Believe me when I tell you that an author has something to say, it’s just not easy for us to come out and say it. That’s why writing synopses and query letters are so difficult.
A friend of mine claims that a writer must live life to have something to write about. It’s why we can’t live in a cabin somewhere and abstain from all human interaction. Life is our inspiration, and if we’re not out living it our will to write tends to dry up fast because we have nothing to write about. With nothing to reflect on, we live in the loneliest of places: inside our own heads. This is why we hunger for new places, interesting people, exciting experiences, and difficult quandaries.
How we choose to speak our piece can send us down myriad paths, both in length of work and genre of said work. The length and genre we choose somewhat defines the tools we have available to convey our story. I discovered early that I’m wired to write mostly Fantasy, and having thought about it at great length, I’ve decided it’s right for me because of the creative freedom it affords me. While I’m fine with working inside rules and boundaries, not much irks me more than when my creativity is stifled.
Some have said we don’t necessarily choose our genre so much as it chooses us, and perhaps there’s some truth to that. We can find success in other genres, but once we find a comfortable method to communicate we generally stick with it. Much like learning a language, you learn to think in that language, and you can tell when you really know a language when you dream in it. The same is true for genre. It provides a context or framework, like a paint-by-number, except the colors you choose are entirely up to you.
Regardless of the genre or length of a piece, it has a theme. This theme, whether consciously or not, is central to what the author is trying to communicate. With my own writing I’ve noticed a tendency to explore themes of religious confusion and discrimination, and how these things affect a character. These are issues I face myself, and I can explore them much easier by writing about them than by discussing them with friends and peers.
We all see things around us that we don’t understand, or that confound us, and the only danger of being consciously aware of these things is the possibility of bludgeoning your reader over the head with them. The theme should be extrapolated from the story, but the story should be what the reader cares about.
So the next time you finish reading a book, consider what the author was trying to communicate with it. The possibilities might surprise you.
Todd Newton is the author of The Ninth Avatar, an epic fantasy novel published by Trapdoor Books in 2010. He is currently working on completing his third novel. His blog can be found at http://initialdraft.blogspot.com.
Contest Time! Todd has graciously offered to give away a signed hardcover copy of The Ninth Avatar to one lucky winner. All you have to do is answer this question: What’s the most disastrous communication you’ve ever seen – whether in real life or between two characters in a novel?
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any of novel through LE’s Amazon store or through the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.