Guest Post – What’s Wrong with Adverbs? by Renee Scattergood, Author of the Shadow Stalker Series

What’s Wrong with Adverbs?

By Renee Scattergood

When you decide to become a serious writer, one of the things drilled into you from the start is use adverbs sparingly, especially the –ly ones. Yes, I did that on purpose because I find it funny that we’re told not to limit our use of adverbs with the use of an adverb. At first, I was really paranoid about using them. Then one day I realized, I didn’t even know why we’re supposed to avoid them. I started asking people and the most common answers were “they make your work look amateurish” and “that’s how it’s always been done”.

Not good enough.

When I am told not to use something in my writing, I want to know why it’s considered amateurish and why it’s always been done that way. Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, people do it because someone decided one day he or she didn’t like adverbs and forced their view on everyone else around them. From there it became doctrine.

The fact is, language and how we use it changes so often, rules like this need to be questioned once in a while. If people don’t have a good reason for those rules, or don’t even remember why they were established in the first place, maybe it’s a good sign it’s time to change and move on. So that’s what I did.

The dictionary meaning of an adverb is a word or phrase that modifies the meaning of an adjective, verb, or other adverb (and sometimes whole sentences), expressing manner, place, time, or degree. In other words, just like adjectives color the meaning of a noun, adverbs color the meaning of other words within your sentence. They are an essential building block of the story as far as I’m concerned.

I think the biggest advantage to using them is they cut down on the tendency to be too wordy in an attempt to make your words more visual. For instance, you can say your character smiled sweetly, or you can give a long drawn out description so your readers understand the emotion or motivation behind the smile. I think readers, in many cases, appreciate short and to the point descriptions, especially when it’s interrupting good dialogue and/or action.

Now just as with adjectives, you can go overboard with adverbs. If you can remove it without changing the meaning of your sentence, then do so. Or if you can reword your sentence in a way that eliminates the need for the adverb, but doesn’t require an enormous amount of description, go for it! Otherwise, why worry about your –ly count? Chances are most of your readers will never notice, and those who do are probably writers and editors who have been taught you should only use them sparingly.

bratpicRenee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker series, and she has also published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

If you wish to learn more about Renee, you can by visiting her site http://reneescattergood.com

Book Review – Shadow Stalker Turning Tides Ep 9 by Renee Scattergood

Episode 8 300 dpiMakari has finally come to realize Auren is not the delohi-saqu, and his father, Drevin, Emperor of the Galvadi, has been wrong about her all along. He goes to Zain, Auren’s father, for help to heal Auren’s mind after he had wrongfully broken her. Now Makari vows to protect Auren and help her escape, but she refuses to leave without her father.

Auren and Makari’s love for each other grows, and the connection they share deepens. They have to be careful, however. Spending too much time together is causing the other guides to grow suspicious. Makari’s loyalty is tested, and he is forced to do something he swore he’d never do again.

The dramatic and vivid events of Broken have past, Makari has come to the inevitable conclusion of his twisted upbringing and his feelings for Auren has shown him the truth of his world.  The awakening of a character’s misconception to the light of day is a difficult one, too fast and it feels forced, too slow and you lose the reader.  Makari’s awakening through the veil of pain and love is told with good balance and felt right for the character.

As the story unfolds and the weight of their imprisonment, Auren’s psychical and Makari’s mental, leaves the pair little room to progress with escape of Auren’s plan.  Even in the midst of trouble there is a beacon of light, Auren finally gets to meet her father.  This element played out nicely in the story, the realities of a man imprisoned for 18 years, played against the desire to great a climatic meeting wasn’t over dramatic and provided a more realistic felt to the read.

Things come rapidly to a head when the other guards grow suspicious of Makari’s attentions and time with Auren.  It wouldn’t say there is not mad dash to a conclusion once suspicions arise, but more of a drawing of the inevitable as the scales finally tip and time begins to run out.  Turning Tides is a consolidation of the events leading to Auren’s capture and search for her father, with the added bonus a Makari coming to the side of right.

Purchasing links:

Smashwords
Kindle

bratpicRenee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker series, and she has also published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

You can also read a review of Shadow Stalker Ep 8 Broken here.

If you wish to learn more about Renee, you can by visiting her site http://reneescattergood.com as well as read my interview with Renee here.

Ind’spiration Digest Magazine coming this June 2015

Ind’spiration Digest is a magazine geared to indie & small press authors, check out its Facebook page Ind’spiration Digest and keep an eye out for it’s release this June.

This months issue contents an interview with author Trent Jamieson, Author Spotlights with Charles Yallowitz & Ilima Todd, and a special feature with Joshua Roberston, as well as such more.

Cover June 2015

The essence of a character, Discworld’s Vimes

Is there one page, line or paragraph, which solidifies the essence of a character for you?  There is always those catchphrase or scenes which stick in the mind, but what about the restrained and the implied moments?  The unsaid or softly spoken words which are stronger that the overt.

When ever I think of this type of character my first thought is Discworlds’s Vimes and one scene in particular.

The scene has Angua confronting Vimes in his office about his drinking and respect for the job, she has a small black book belonging to Vimes.  Inside the book is a list female names she thinks are all the women Vimes has on the side, with money written beside them totaling a large part of Vimes salary.

Calling Colon and Carrot to the office Angua confront Vimes on the book. Looking to Carrot and Colon from support she sees that they have gone silent and stoic.  Vimes then asks Colon does he know who these people are.  He does, they are all the widows and families of the fallen Watchmen Vimes has served with over the years. As there was no such thing as Widows and orphans fund, Vimes has been giving money to the families without anyone knowing.

This simple concept highlights the character Pratchett created and for me shines a light on who and what they are.  Broken, but still willing to do whats right and needed.

Is there such a character you feel the same about?

Samuel_Vimes

Not a review, more of a comment – 78 Reasons why your book may never be published by Pat Walsh.

78 Reasons why your book may never be published is a must read for any wannabe writers.  Pat Walsh was a founding editor of the publishing company, MacAdam/Cage and he offers his years of experience in the publishing world and how it really works, forewarned is forearmed.

I was given this book by the owner of my local bookshop as a gift.   We have been talking off and on about publishing and writers for a few months, he previously working in the industry for many years.  The topics turned to the success of writers, publishing in general and in a flash of inspiration gifted me the aforementioned book (yes, I one day have delusions of  publishing) as a must read.

Never a man to turn down good advice from someone with real world experience, I gladly accepted and thanked him. I have always known that to be eventually successful or at least successfully happy with what I have written will take equal parts hard work, luck and a dedication to learning the craft of storytelling.  There are no shortcuts, no quick fixes and no easy roads to a possible success of a novel.  In the end, if I am happy with what I have written, published or unpublished I know I have gained from the experience.  Yes, I would love to see what I have written in print, however if I remain unpublished I will not stop writing, even if the only people to read my work end up being friends, family and other misguided web surfers who come across my webpage.

78 reasons is not a mind altering explanation into the mystical and secret world of publishing, it didn’t shake me to the core, mainly because I knew from the get go, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  A long and hard road and one which will be all the sweeter if (big if) I make it to the end.  Even if I don’t make it, the scenery and people I have meet along the way have made the journey all the better.  The book offers common sense information to the realities of the getting your book published, my top being:

  • Do your research and know the audience, publishers and agents you are targeting.  Don’t send your fantasy novel to a publishing house who sell cook books.
  • Be practical and systematic with your approach.  Follow the rules, there are always rules or guidelines set out by the particular publishing house you are petitioning.
  • Be professional with the people you interface with, this is their business and livelihood (they knowith of which they speak).
  • Yes, believe in your work, but be willing to take on advice.  Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the tress or the words from the page.
  • You are the writer, this is your work, it is your child and dream. However, you do not know anything about publishing, so leave it to the professions.  Would you have a bricklayer do brain surgery, no.
  • This one I was kind of a surprise to read as I thought it would be a given. Never send out your manuscript after the first draft, read, edit, re-read, edit, have someone else read it, edit, and then and only then once the sight of its words makes you want to claw your own eyes out put it in a drawer for a week, month, year and after that time reread and edit.  If you haven’t found any further changes you want or need to make, submit it to a publisher or agents.  It is not an editors job to proofread, spell check or search for the toad of truth in the midden of your words.
  • Will we make it, maybe. Will talent alone get you everything you desire, no. Understanding the nature of beast will at least keep you grounded as you move forward and make the low times acceptable.

These are the things I took from this book, the things I felt I had an initial grasp on before reading it.  However, there is so much more useful information in its pages you just need to read.  Did I agree with all of the points, no.  Do I think I know better than someone who works in the industry, no.  I would be a fool not to take advise from someone who knows that of which they speak, and I’m only a fool some of the times.

Read Today – Excerpt Shadow Stalker Broken Ep 8 by Renee Scattergood

E8 ButtonFollow the Tour on Facebook.

Auren finds a way to escape the pain of her torture, but when Makari realizes it’s preventing him from “cleansing” her, he finds ways of randomizing the pain to keep her present. Still, she does not succumb to the torment.

When Makari can’t get through to her, he decides Drevin, the emperor of the Galvadi, is right. Auren is the delohi-saqu. Now Makari is no longer concerned with cleansing her because the delohi-saqu cannot be cleansed. He resorts to more sadistic methods to extract information about the Coalition. If Auren can’t resist, her friends and hundreds of innocent people will die.

Excerpt

“The shadow people are the biggest liars of all,” Makari said, softly.

His tone wasn’t unkind, but I didn’t want to hear anymore. I wanted to dissolve back into my world, so I tried to take my hand back. He held it firmly, caressing my knuckles with his thumb. I felt something stir inside me. My breath quickened, and my desire to kiss him returned. He was doing it on purpose, I realized, attempting to distract me so I would focus solely on him. I was tempted. I wanted nothing more than to bury myself in him and let him be my world.

Stop it, I scolded myself. “No, they know everything. They know my father can save me.”

Makari tucked my hand back under my torso, then lifted my shirt so my back was exposed. “Please, Auren. Try to see reason. Stop fighting this. Let go. That’s the only thing that can save you now.”

He didn’t give me time to respond. He placed the shock wand on my lower back and pain erupted throughout my body. He was using the shorter one, meant for punishment, and I cried out in defeat. What did it matter? I would let go, like he said, and go back into my safe world.

“No, Auren,” he said, entwining his fist in my hair and yanking my head back so he could look into my eyes. “That’s not what I meant by letting go. You need to let go of your former beliefs.”

“They’re all I have,” I said between my screams.

“No. If you let all that go, you will have me. That has to be better than this, Auren. It has to be better than death.”

Was it better? “Yes,” a part of me screamed. Hadn’t my mother told me I was meant for him? If she was wrong then Makari was right about the shadow people, and it would make more sense to do as he asked. But if she spoke the truth, then this was all some cruel joke and either way I lost. My mind rebuked the thought because, even if the shadow people weren’t as they seemed, I refused to believe my own mother would choose this path for me. I had to be missing something. There was more to this. I had to believe it. It was the only way I could survive.

Purchasing links:

Amazon
Smashwords
BarnesandNoble

bratpicRenee Scattergood, author of the high fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

You can also read a review of Shadow Stalker Ep 7 Bound by Fate here and a review of Shadow Stalker Ep 8 Broken here.

If you wish to learn more about Renee, you can by visiting her site http://reneescattergood.com as well as read my interview with Renee here.

11th May Sabreil Day, Cover love and congratulations

I picked up a copy of Sabriel a couple of years ago, it’s one of those books I have always mean to read and when I finally got around to it and it was worth the wait.  Great read and very enjoyable.  I had read about the 11th May Anniversary #SabrielDay on Garth’s social media feed and was thinking to myself, whoa 20 years, nice one!

Just by happenstance I was in a local second hand store this week and came across a copy of Sabriel with the older what I like to think as a renaissance style cover. I knew I already had a copy, I am not one to keep multiples of books, but I loved this artwork so much I just had to buy it in honor of the anniversary.

IMAG2471_1Left, original copy, right new copy.

A hat tip to Garth Nix, congratulations on 20 years!

Book Review – Shadow Stalker Broken Ep 8 by Renee Scattergood

Auren doesn’t succumb to Makari’s torture, so he decides his father was right about her being the delohi-saqu. Now he resorts to more sadistic methods to extract information, which could doom the Coalition if Auren fails to resist.

In the conclusion of Ep7 Auren is now fully in the hands of Makari.  The misery and torture she had previously encountered is now only a fond memory as Broken takes on the darker elements of pain, love, denial and acceptance.

This episode concentrates for the most part on the experiences of Auren as she struggles to survive the vastly increased torments inflicted on her by Makari and his delusions of trying to save her from herself. The actions of Makari while initially consistent with his upbringing, slowly grow to show a man who is seeking to come to terms with questions he has never before needed answered. Searching in Auren’s pain as an escape from his own doubt, fear and connection with his victim.

This darker tone is handled well, part physical part emotional.  The implication of gore and butchery is represented without the need to give a drop by drop detail of each wound and hurt.  Auren’s fear and will are strong with the desire to give in and accept her fate is ever present.  However, her resistance to sacrifice the lives of others, her friends and family keep her enduring.  A strong character isn’t just about strength or accepting pain with a smile, it’s about keeping going even when all you want to do it give in.  Auren is that strong character.

In the end pain can be a release, not just for the the one who suffers.

Purchasing links:

Amazon
Smashwords
BarnesandNoble

Renee Scattergood, author of the high fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

You can also read a review of Shadow Stalker Ep7 Bound by Fate here

If you wish to learn more about Renee, you can by visiting her site http://reneescattergood.com as well as read my interview with Renee here.

Broken Cover

Poem – Home and the Hand

Bosom of Eire, swift sea, long wing and far reach.

I the Hand, skilled pen, sharp and poised,

true verse, fair script, noble word.

Clear intent measure and page,

green and newborn fortuitous proclamation.

Hearts calling, unique and unforeseen,

pregnant, hopeful and fearful longing.

The delusion, a utopian desire.

Homes heart, lands blood and forefathers voice.

coast