Welcome to one of the May 10th stops on the blog tour for Pride of Ashna by Emmanuel M. Arriaga, organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts & interviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
For my writing process, I start with a rough idea (or in many cases a writeup I did from a dream) and I crystalize that into a solid story idea and theme. I then take that and utilize the snowflake method to expand that out into an outline where I clearly define where the novel begins and where the novel ends. That outline grows to fill in all the detail that happens in between. During this phase, I will also typically pull in other ideas or themes from dreams that I think add to the story. Once I have a solid outline, I then take each one of those outline bullets and they get expanded into a chapter. Once I have the first draft done, I then do a full readthrough with improving/tweaking/showing in mind and make notes to myself as I progress on areas that I need to come back to and focus more time on. Once I’ve tackled that list, I typically step away from the manuscript and focus on something else for a while.
This allows my subconscious to work and leads to some spectacular ideas or improvements that get added to my “To-do” for the next draft. After I finish whatever my intentional distraction was (usually a different novel I’m working on) I come back and work on the next draft and first tackle my to-do list before diving into the full read/edit cycle. This cycle continues until I convince myself it’s ready for the publication process and then I hire a professional editor to help me take it to the next level and polish it for publication.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
The biggest one out there is telling vs. showing in your writing. It’s one of those things that clearly distinguishes experienced authors from inexperienced. If you’re new to writing and haven’t ever gone through a professional editor, you will need to educate yourself here. There are a ton of great articles about this and even some writing exercises to help break the habit. I highly recommend focusing on this area early as the sooner you get it down, the better your writing will become.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Honestly, the biggest thing here is simply exhaustion. If I’m too tired because I didn’t get enough sleep the night prior and/or I haven’t been staying active and getting exercise to keep up my energy levels, I will be too exhausted and will break my write every day rule. It’s even easier to fall into the exhaustion trap when you’re a parent. Sleep is exceedingly important. We undervalue it in our society and extended sleep deprivation is literally killing us and causing us to be less productive.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I’m not sure I could authentically write “whatever is hot” at the time to appeal to the current market trends. That’s not how my writing process works and would cause me to fundamentally change my writing pipeline to pay more attention to news and media. I’d rather be original in something that I release and be true to my work. If something I happen to be working on algins with a hot trend, great. If not, that’s fine.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Get the perspective of people different from you for your writing. Specifically, invest in finding people of the opposite sex to read your work and give feedback. It will only make your portrayals of characters more realistic and allow you to truly accomplish some amazing things sooner.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
It’s an experience different from your own and you must respect that. As a male, its easy to fall into the trap of writing how I would envision or want females to act or respond in certain situations. But unless you’ve lived those experiences, it’s a fallacy. I’ve learned a lot from my wife in the eight years we’ve been married. It has honestly improved my writing and understanding of the psychology and behavior of women. I also ask my wife questions during the writing process, getting her opinion on how a woman might respond in a specific situation that I don’t have much experience with. You should always engage your trusted members of the opposite sex for feedback and input into writing characters of different genders. You’re writing will be better because of it. Fun fact, this also applies to members of different ethnicities from your own.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Today, I can knock out a first draft in under a year, subsequent drafts may push me into two years and getting it professionally edited and polished will probably push it to about two and a half years. Of course, that’s if I only worked on that book which isn’t typically how I work. I’d most likely move on and work on a draft of a different novel and then finish that draft before coming back for subsequent drafts of the first novel. This would probably push it realistically to three and a half years to get a book from concept to publication. I’ve almost got my novel pipeline fully in effect which will allow me to essentially publish a book every year (if not twice a year) from now on.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think it’s an excuse we typically use when we refuse to change or adapt a part of the story because it’s not working. It’s easy to fall into wanting to keep something in a story because you invested all this thought and planning into it. But your subconscious is telling you it doesn’t work and the moment you let that go, the “block” disappears, and the creative energies are flowing. This is primarily why I’m willing to deviate from my story outline without a second thought and why I don’t allow myself to accept the writer’s block excuse.
Pride of Ashna
Foundra Book Two
by Emmanuel M. Arriaga
Published 4 May 2021
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Page Count: 548
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
In the Outer Rim, a lawless region of space filled with violence, a young girl vows vengeance against the marauding pirate bands who brutally murdered her family.
After enlisting with the zealous matriarchal Ashna Maidens who attempt to police the Outer Rim, Serah’Elax quickly becomes a powerful weapon.
Meanwhile, a ruthless pirate band has taken over a cruise ship deep within Alliance space. They run into unexpected trouble when they encounter a few members of the highly trained force of military specialists known as the Founder’s Elites, who happened to be vacationing on the vessel. Disturbed by the boldness of the pirates, the Alliance tasks the rest of the Founder’s Elites with dealing a powerful blow to the marauders, who normally operate in the Outer Rim, once and for all. However, they quickly discover that things in the Outer Rim are not as expected.
The young warrior and Founder’s Elites must come together to face an extradimensional threat left over from the Rift War that seeks to turn the last bastion of safety in the Outer Rim into something that could threaten the entire Twin Galaxies. Will the new allies have the cunning necessary to defeat this insidious threat or will it tear the Ashna Maidens apart from the inside?
On sale in kindle ebook format for $2.99 USD for a limited time!
Foundra Book One
by Emmanuel M. Arriaga
Published 30 July 2019
EA Starchilde Company
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Page Count: 562
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
The Huzien Empire has existed for 80 millennia and a powerful invisible force known as the enesmic permeates every aspect of the Twin Galaxy.
Neven is an engineer working for the pinnacle of scientific achievement known as the MinSci on the Huzien homeworld of Thae. His genius draws the attention of one of the immortal Founders and he finds himself drafted into the military as part of an elite group of special forces known as the Founder’s Elites. Not given much time to adjust, his team is called to investigate stories of otherworldly creatures attacking fringe colony worlds.
Soahc is the most powerful wielder of the enesmic in the Twin Galaxy, he’s also incredibly cocky. That is until he senses a powerful shifting in the enesmic that he can’t explain. Terrified that something is horribly wrong, Soahc leaves his comfortable planet and hitches a ride with Neven and the Founder’s Elites as they investigate the carnage on the fringes of the empire. Neven, Soahc and their allies discover something ancient from another plane of existence. Something that exposes the fragility of their galactic empire as they fight to survive annihilation from enesmic beings.
Emmanuel M. Arriaga grew up in the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From a young age, he was obsessed with fantasy and science fiction. Breaking the shackles of a low-income life, Emmanuel developed an interest in science, technology and engineering. He went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University with a Master’s in Information Science.
For almost a decade, Emmanuel has sought to share his vivid imagination with the world, learning the art of story crafting and eventually becoming an award-winning author. With a love for travel, gadgets and volunteering, Emmanuel is enjoying life and helping others.
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