Saturday, June 29, 2019

Why is the first paragraph so important? πŸ€“

You know what they say about first impressions? Especially in today's world where everything is fast-paced and people are much too rushed to give much of anything a second try, it's more important than ever to capture a reader quickly...but what does that mean exactly?

The obvious answer is to have an engaging first chapter. This doesn't mean it has to be perfect. It also doesn't mean it has to be over the top or gimmicky. What it means is that you want the reader to get a sense of what they're getting themselves into. What is the theme of this book? What kind of genre does it fall under?

As a writer, the first paragraph is like meeting someone new for the first time. If you want to make a good impression, you'll probably throw on some makeup, hopefully, some clean clothes and put a little extra attention on your hair. With books, it's really about pulling someone in and showing them a glimpse into your character's world.

As an example, in my 11th book, The Devil May Lie, I talk about power in the first paragraph or more specifically, the importance of power in our world. What does it mean? Why do people want it? I talk about how 'it starts when we're children on the playground and ends in our death'. I also say 'we lust after it as if it were the flesh of a lover'. I use specific words that are powerful as well - bold, passion, addictive, crave, roaring fire - these are words that give readers a sense of what is to come. If I were writing something about something with more of a romantic theme, I would probably choose some powerful words like 'passionate' but also gentle words that give the impression of a soft place to fall, such as comfort and warmth, things we associate with love.

Also, another thing I want to note is that I often connect the first paragraph in chapter one with the first paragraph in the final chapter (in my case, chapter 50). So once again, in The Devil May Lie, I talk about power in the last chapter. This is important because we're kind of revisiting the place we started with to see where we are on the same topic. In this last paragraph, I ask the question when do we have enough power? 'When do we cross the line? Who wins when there's nothing left to take?' My hope is that after having read the entire book, this gives you something to ponder.

The first paragraph should give readers an impression of what they can expect. Of course, you have to remember that like any relationship, you must work hard to keep the reader interested throughout the book and to live up to that first impression.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Why my characters aren't shooting as many people 😱

Here's a spoiler alert 🚨- if you haven't already read my books, you should know that there's usually a body count. 😲I'm attempting to get away from having my characters using guns but does that mean my books are becoming less violent and why am I making these changes?

First of all, I'm tired of guns. Between mass shootings, the vast amount of television shows using them (more shows than not, I'm guessing...) and of course video games, I thought maybe we could use a bit of a break from guns.

Does that mean my books are less violent? No. In fact, I'm actually trying to find more creative ways for my characters to either get revenge, attack or hurt their adversaries without using a revolver. This isn't to say the gang in my series has tossed their guns aside, quite the contrary. I feel that they're used so often in movies, television, and books that perhaps it's time to find more interesting methods rather than relying on the easiest, most thoughtless and overused options in fiction.

In many ways, we're desensitized by guns. When a character pulls out a gun in your favorite piece of fiction or Netflix show, we hardly blink an eye because it's the norm. Sadly, it doesn't pack the same punch as it should and in turn, this doesn't keep readers or viewers on high alert. You know what keeps viewers on high alert? A machete. An ax. A chainsaw. One must be creative.

I also believe there is a certain amount of passion when a character attacks his or her victims with a more barbaric weapon. In reality, guns are somewhat lazy, when you think about it.

If you're one of my readers, don't expect things to calm down and you won't suddenly find my books in a Christian book store but you might find a few other surprises. 😏

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Let's talk about the conspiracy theories in my books 😱

My readers know to expect a few conspiracy theories in my books; but how did it get started and why do I do it?

One of my strongest motivations as a writer has always been to make people think. I know other authors are content to entertain, warm hearts and create hope with their readers; so in many ways, I guess I kind of do the complete opposite. Where other books might be a soft place to fall at the end of the day, I prefer to introduce topics that instead make my readers think, wonder and consider.

This is not to say that any conspiracy theories brought up in my books are right or wrong. In most cases, they work well with the story and cause a little more intrigue, leaving the reader some food for thought. I think it adds an element of excitement to the book and also gets the reader more involved in the story. I believe if a reader feels more involved in the story, it helps to make them feel more connected with the characters and really, isn't this what it's all about?

In the end, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind but in a world where we are conditioned to feel and assume certain things about certain topics, I think it's kind of neat to shake things up.