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The Retreat (The After Trilogy, #1) by Kelly St. Clare
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Earth is ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.
Romy’s life is simple—for a genetically enhanced space soldier; pick up space junk with her four friends, and stave off the invaders fixated on stealing Planet Earth.
It isn’t much. But it’s temporary—only another 850 years to go, give or take.
When her crew tangles with a gulp-worthy alien mothership, Romy’s return to Earth is brought forwards at hurtling pace.
Strength comes from the unlikeliest of quarters.
As does leadership.
…As does betrayal.
10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
I stand firmly behind the belief that anyone can write a book. Sure, it comes easier to some. But if you have passion and an unshakeable focus to pen your story, then nothing can stop you.
Here are 10 tips for Becoming a Better Writer.
1. Pick one aspect of your writing to improve with each novel.
Be it dialogue, pacing, decreasing use of passive voice, or something as small as leaving your chapter endings on an interesting note.
2. Avoid overuse of these words; just, so, that, very, and really.
Everyone has a word(s) they overuse. Get rid of the above words where possible to enhance the readability of your book.
3. Try to introduce information in dialogue, or action.
Try and spread the information out, so it doesn’t all come at once and slow the story’s pace. You can introduce some aspects of your world with dialogue between characters, and some with action.
4. Write what you enjoy.
If a scene makes you laugh, I bet the reader will laugh, too. If a scene bores you to tears, the reader might put down your book and never pick it up again. If you don’t enjoy watching paint dry, don’t write about it. I write about science fiction and fantasy because I love to read it. I incorporate action scenes, injuries, intense relationships, and steadfast friendships because that is what interests me. Your interest and enjoyment will trickle down into that keyboard without you realizing.
5. Write what you know, and research what you do not.
Have you studied something? Learned the piano? Taught martial arts?
Use your expertise. For everything else—research. Talk to experts in a field, read books (we should be good at this), ask questions, search the internet. You might only add 3-4 lines to your story out of pages of research, but these 3-4 lines assure the reader you know what you’re talking about and that they’re safe in your creative hands. Authenticity draws you one step closer to suspending a reader’s belief for the duration of your novel.
6. Don’t overuse adverbs.
Suddenly is one which always stands out to me. It’s like the word destroys any suddenness that may have followed. If you’ve used a word ending in -ly then re-read the sentence without the adverb present, often the sentence is as strong, if not stronger, without it. Does it mean adverbs have to be 100% eradicated? Not at all.
7. Have a team of beta-readers.
Some authors use ten beta readers. I will use anywhere between four and ten, myself, depending on how sure I feel about a manuscript. Select people you trust to not disperse your work. They must be people who will give actual criticism—not just praise. Beta readers are invaluable.
8. Put the manuscript away in a draw.
I’m going to be a hypocrite and put this in. The truth is, I *sometimes* do this, and sometimes don’t. If I am confident about a manuscript, I skip the “putting it away in a draw” part and continue onto the next draft. However, if you feel the story is missing something, or an aspect of the story confuses you, shoving the manuscript to the back of your mind for a while can really help.
This seems obvious. But if you want to be a better writer, you need to write. Consistently. It doesn’t matter what you write; It could be fiction, non-fiction, an email, a blog, a quirky caption for a photo, or a 500-word short story from a prompt. If you exercise the creative side of your mind, your creativity will become easier to access, and stronger—just like a muscle.
10. Take care of yourself.
Sharing your story with the world is like standing naked in front of a crowd. It can also be physically detrimental, sitting in a chair all day. If you do not manage both of these aspects, then it will affect your enjoyment of writing, and therefore your writing itself. Be nice to yourself, and your Self will be nice in return.
Kelly St. Clare is the Author of the Tainted Accords and the After Trilogy. The Retreat, her new science fiction fantasy novel, released August this year.
About the Author
When Kelly St Clare is not reading or writing, she is lost in her latest reverie. She can, quite literally, drift past a car accident while in the midst of her day dreams, despite the various police sirens and chaos.
Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. One day she decided to start unravelling this mystery and began writing. Her aim: To write stories she would want to read. As it turns out, this failed miserably. Do you know what it is like to read something you've written? Impossible, that's what. Not to mention, the ending is ruined before you've begun. Never-the-less, Kelly loves it and wishes she had more time to squeeze it in between her day job as a physiotherapist.
Fantasy of Frost, the first title in The Tainted Accords, is her debut novel. It's sequel, Fantasy of Flight released May 2015. Fantasy of Fire is now available!
A New Zealander in origin and in heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia with her soon-to-be husband, a great group of friends, and some huntsman spiders who love to come inside when it rains. Their love is not returned.