‘My Fantasy Tool Kit (5): Let Your Characters Rock’ (2015)

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Faith H. thinks that maybe she would like to be a writer someday, and has asked me for some writing tips.

Tip No. 1: Be good to the people out there who want to read you! Really, I can’t stress this enough. Some writers grow a bit snooty and take their public for granted. Don’t do that! Ever.

And then there’s the fun of creating fictional characters.

My Fantasy Tool Kit (5): Let Your Characters Rock

You’ve got to let your characters be themselves–and they’ll surprise you, especially if you’re writing a series–then they really have a lot of room in which to move around. Writing my Bell Mountain books, I had plenty of surprises provided by characters like Lord Orth, Bassas, Ellayne’s mother, Judge Zerayah, Gallgoid–let your characters do what they’re gonna do, and you can have a lot of fun as a novelist.

Never, never, never write up a character who’s only a thinly-disguised version of yourself, carrying out assorted wish-fulfillments. Readers see through that at once, and most of them don’t like it.

Try to think of your fictional characters as real people with their own lives to lead, their own hopes and dreams and fears; and you, too, might wind up with a Gallgoid or two.

Working on ‘Behold!’

may 31 2019 001

Well, here I am, in kindlier weather than we have today, scribbling away at Bell Mountain No. 14, Behold! Today, in spite of the fog and the threat of rain, I finished Chapter 31. (Don’t worry–it won’t be as long as Oy, Rodney.) Helki the Rod has just had more excitement than is good for him; and I reckon another half-dozen chapters will do it.

I still don’t know just what it is that the characters in the story are going to behold. Lord, I hope you’ll tell me soon. Usually He gives me the book’s climax a lot sooner than this. For instance, I already have the climax for Book 15. Always in hope that I’ll be able to write it.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to come up with cover art for No. 13, The Wind from Heaven, so artist Kirk DouPonce can get to work on it. Ships from very far away have suddenly appeared off Obann’s coast: maybe we could show the first shore party landing. I await the birth of an idea.

I Have to Write Outdoors

Are squirrels using acorns to say thanks to Rossmoor woman?

Some of my readers are surprised to learn that I’ve written all my Bell Mountain novels outdoors, with pen and legal pad. Is it really that unusual? Why do I do this?

I guess it started because we had to give up smoking in the house, and smoking a cigar helps me to concentrate on my writing. But I still write all my non-fiction indoors, without smoking. It’s only the novels that now have to be written outdoors. I just can’t write fiction indoors anymore.

My novels are fantasy novels. That means I have to invent a world, invent characters to live in it, and somehow get the reader to imagine what I imagine: to get these people and places to seem real to the reader. But that can’t happen until first I make the fantasy seem real to me. Please note that I said “seem.” We try to stay sane around here.

Anyway, this is not an easy trick to pull off. It requires intense concentration. And I find that the outdoors itself helps me with that. It helps a lot. Squirrels, sky, grass, trees, birds (and I have even been blessed with visits from a deer, and a fox)–these are all God’s handiwork, they are all what’s real. Certainly a lot realer than one blasted robo-call after another, which is what I’d get if I stayed indoors. But there’s something about the sheer reality of the world I live in, God’s world, which somehow assists me in my work of fantasy. It’s very hard to explain how, but it’s worked for 13 books so far, going on 14.

I love it when a squirrel scurries up practically to my shoe and looks up at me, as if he’s trying to figure out what I’m doing. And once a monarch butterfly landed on my knee. Ah! I can’t go to Lintum Forest, but these tiny little aspects of it, as it were, can come to me.

I think most writers would tell you that inspiration’s where you find it; and I find mine outdoors.

Gotta get out before I can get in, so to speak.

Thanks for the Encouragement

Tips for Protecting Your Home from Heavy Rain

To all of you who wrote in yesterday to tell me that you liked His Mercy Endureth Forever, a great big thank you!

I’m actually back to being eager to work on Bell Mountain No. 14, Behold! I can’t do it today because it’s cold and rainy. Somehow I can no longer write fiction indoors. Maybe it’s from being ceaselessly pelted by nuisance phone calls all day. Bear in mind I’m trying to write about a world that exists only in my mind and trying to make it exist in the reader’s mind, too. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

I’m still waiting to find out what it is that my characters are going to behold. I could always change the title, I suppose; but I like to go with the first thing that comes into my head, in case it came from God. And having a title up there from the get-go gives me something to shoot for.

So when the rain stops I’ll be back out there, trying to finish telling the story before it’s so cold that the ink won’t flow from my pen. Yes, that actually happens. Try it sometime. Besides, when it gets under 50 degrees, that’s a distraction.

Does Anybody Like This Book?

His Mercy Endureth Forever (Bell Mountain Book 12) by [Lee Duigon]

A guy can go to his friends when he needs encouragement–right? And some of you out there really are my friends.

Bell Mountain No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever, is, like, totally bombing. Hardly anyone is buying it. And except for Ina’s review on amazon’s UK page, the few reviews I’ve got are along the lines of “Why don’t you stop writing this stuff already?” Yeesh. Is it really that bad?

Oh, but a writer ought to have more confidence! Yeah? I don’t know about others, but every time I go out there with a new book, it’s like the very first time all over again. You expect to get booed off the stage.

Edgar Rice Burroughs got sick of writing Tarzan, and Agatha Christie got sick of writing Hercule Poirot. But they kept writing those series because the readers kept wanting more. I’m not sick of my series, I’m attached to the characters–but my confidence has been shaken.

So tell me, if you can–does anybody like this book?

 

‘So What’s “Bell Mountain” All About?’ (2012)

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Many new readers have joined up since I last published this.

So What’s ‘Bell Mountain’ All About?

It took me years to learn how to say this: Bell Mountain is about people–in all different countries–re-connecting with God. It’s been translated into Portuguese and Japanese. The series has won two Global E-Book Awards.

And probably a lot of you never heard of it.

Well, that’s easily remedied. Just go to the home page and click “Books,” and you’ll find out all about the whole series. We’ve got cover art, sample chapters, everything.

Breakthrough!

About Lee Duigon

Even as Ellayne and Jack broke through into the cellar beneath the cellar of the Old Temple, to find what had long been lost, yesterday I broke through the fog surrounding my new book, Behold! In fact, I received this breakthrough very shortly after writing a post about still needing one.

Ask and it shall be given. Seek and ye shall find.

I now know something that Ysbott the Snake, the villain in this story, doesn’t know. And it’s a big something, too. Something that will lead me toward the climax of the story (unless it is the climax: we’ll see). Man, it would drive him plumb crazy, if he knew what I now know!

I have always relied on the Lord to give me the story that He wants me to tell; and in 13 books so far He hasn’t let me down.

But the sun is shining–I’ve got to get out there and write!

Progress Report: ‘Behold!’

His Mercy Endureth Forever

I’ve just finished writing another chapter set of Behold!, Book No. 14 of my Bell Mountain series. Meanwhile, No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever, is kind of clunking along and No. 13, The Wind from Heaven, is being edited and needs cover art.

I’ll have to get this chapter set typed up and sent to Susan for editing, and then write fast to get it done before the weather gets too cold. This is hard because I don’t yet know how the story is going to turn out. The Lord hasn’t yet given me that.

There are readers who say “Enough already, put Bell Mountain to bed.” Others say, “Oh, no–keep going!” But it’s not entirely up to me. I can only write what the Lord gives me. And at this point I’ve been writing these books long enough not to know what I’d do without them. I admit it: I would miss them. A lot.

And I hope some of you would, too.

Chugging Along with ‘Behold!’

His Mercy Endureth Forever by Lee Duigon | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes &  Noble®

Well, how about a book update, then? And meanwhile the latest addition to my Bell Mountain series, His Mercy Endureth Forever, doesn’t seem to have quite hit the mark on amazon.com.

Every day it doesn’t rain, I’m outside, writing Behold!, longhand on a legal pad. I got a nice piece of it done this morning.

But if you’re going to ask me, “Behold what?”, I’m afraid I don’t yet know. The title just popped into my head, so I used it. I suppose I could change the title, but I like to write these books according to the guidance I receive from the Lord, day by day. So I still don’t know what anybody in the story is going to behold. I’ve been in this situation many times before, though, and the Lord has never left me hanging.

Sometimes writing a novel is like playing chess. You have all these pieces to move, and if you can steer them into the right configuration, you’ll be in position to deliver checkmate. In the novel you’re moving characters, not chessmen; and for the story to turn out right, each character has to be moved into the right place to deliver the story’s climax.

With this book I feel like something’s got to come together soon because the warm weather won’t last but a month or two longer and I just can’t write fiction indoors. Too many distractions. But if it’s really cold outside, the ink won’t come out of my pen.

I wouldn’t say no to some prayers for this book.

Wow! ‘Bell Mountain’ in Japanese

swanson

Yes, that’s our friend and colleague Joshua Swanson, with his translation of my book, Bell Mountain, into Japanese. Majikayo! (That’s the Japanese equivalent of “Holy dow!” I looked it up.) C’mon–is that cool or what? You can also get the book in Portuguese.

Well, Joshua did this project all by himself, with some editing help from his mother, and I would go outside and do a cartwheel if I thought my knee could stand it.

And if you haven’t read Bell Mountain yet, what are you waiting for–Sanskrit?