We can’t do this on our own. The world is like a giant brain, a mind, a soul, that is constantly at war with itself. We are trapped inside of ourselves, fighting to get out, but we can’t see a way how.
Why does the world need fiction?
Fiction shows us the way. Fiction shows us that there is a different way.
Fiction inspires us; it reminds us of what we have forgotten.
I think lots of people can view fiction as “the things that will never happen”. Whether it’s an evil plan that is just too evil to be real. Or a magical power that is just too strong to exist. Or a love that is inconceivably intense.
We are tempted to look at fiction and everything it contains–the morals, the values, the innocence, the intensity, the danger, the darkness–and think that none of it’s real.
But it is real.
No, not literally, but the goal, the mission of fiction, is both to bring us back to our roots…and also spread our wings so that we can fly and GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE.
I’m not talking about escapism. I’m talking about hope. I’m talking about showing us that we don’t have to cave in to the evils of the “real” world. It is possible to hold on to some of our innocence. It is possible to be loving and kind. It is possible to be courageous in the midst of despair. It is possible to be faithful in a relationship.
Fiction doesn’t have to blur our vision of reality; fiction can transform it.
Fiction can show us the way.
The real world is dirty, and messed up, and trashy, and full of hatred, lies, arrogance, pain, suffering…
All of this is true.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The world is also full of joy, hope, bravery, loyalty, honesty, virtue, innocence…and love.
Fiction reminds us of this. And it keeps us safe.
Do you write fiction? Yeah, me too.
Go fiction writers.
My fantasy novel, Elithius, is available for purchase here. Just 99 cents for an eBook or $12 for a gorgeous paperback.
I don’t know how many people actually read let alone NOTICE chapter names. When I was younger, I thought J.R.R. Tolkien’s style of writing was the archetype for all fantasy writers (some would say it is), and this extended to his chapter names. I was infatuated with the clever, descriptive, and even “noble” sound of his chapter names.
All of that being said, it’s interesting to note that chapter names are far less common nowadays. Now, I’m no “writer-statistics-specialist”, so you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see people giving their chapters names anymore. I think this can be for a number of reasons (see the “Cons” part of this article). But I believe one important reason is that readers don’t like long chapters anymore (or maybe they never did, and writers finally started making chapters shorter), and so now the average novel has twice as many chapters as a novel would’ve had fifty years ago.
Why does the number of chapters in a book influence whether or not they get names? Well, who wants to waste all that time thinking up names for 25+ chapters? Honestly, naming chapters that are between 6-9 pages long is annoying.
I’ve already started listing some cons, so let’s take a look at some pros.
Pros of Naming Your Chapters
What usually grabs your attention when you pick up a random book at a bookstore? The colors of the cover, obviously the image of the cover…and maybe the name?! Names are great because they have the power to incite certain feelings within the reader. Obviously, the titles of books are able to do this, whether they elicit feelings of curiosity or excitement, but chapter-names have the ability to do this too.
Think about it. Oftentimes, when we begin a new chapter, we are either continuing to write about an event that happened in the previous chapter, or we are opening up a new scene/new setting. Chapter names are able to help us accomplish this; they give the reader an understanding of what’s going on, meaning that we don’t have to waste time explaining it to them.
Suppose you were reading a fantasy novel, and the story was changing from one setting to another. Which arouses that fantasy-magical sort of feel?
Chapter 6: The City in the Treetops
The second title makes you think of what? Really huge trees, so big that they contain buildings? Lots of crazy architecture? Perhaps Elves, or other woodland creatures?
Seriously, names can make images and ideas EXPLODE into your mind.
Chapter-names are also great for setting “the feel” of the entire chapter. Consider these two titles.
Chapter 25: The Final Battle
That first title doesn’t give any description concerning what’s about to happen. That’s fine, if that’s what you want as the author.
But which title do you think makes the reader excited? Which one sets the tone? Which one makes the reader go: Oh my GOSH, this is it!!!
Names have power. They are great for setting the tone and inciting feelings in the reader, feelings that you want them to have.
*Point goes to chapter-names*
The only other (main) reason I think chapter-names are good is because they give your book a sense of orderliness. It’s convenient for readers to know in which chapter they last left off, and it helps them to remember in which chapter so-and-so dies/gets married/eats brussel sprouts/etc.
Cons of Naming Your Chapters
We’ve already determined that people like short chapters nowadays, so it might seem silly to name all 35 of your chapters, when they are each only 8-12 pages long. Sometimes there isn’t enough action in each chapter to merit a name. You don’t want to have chapters that are 3 pages long, and you get stuck naming them things like “No Honor, No Glory, Only Blisters in Unfortunate Places” (ahem, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini).
Also, naming your chapters also runs the risk of being too descriptive. Ever read The Children Of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien? (probably not, because you’re not a nerd like me!)
Well, this book by far has some of the WORST chapter names. Three chapters were named: “The Death of (insert name of important character)”.
Great. Well, we know that (insert name) dies.
If you don’t trust in your ability to name chapters well, don’t name them at all. It’s better than being stuck with a name you don’t like, or a name that gives information away.
Another reason not to name chapters is a matter of taste. If you think chapter names sound too “old”, then don’t have them. If you want your story to be wrapped in mystery, or you have a story full of surprises, maybe chapter-names aren’t for you.
Remember how we decided chapter names give your story order? Well, sometimes they can give your story too much order. Chapters that are long (and long enough to merit a name) can end up becoming a story within a story; each chapter forms its own little short story within the book.
If you strongly dislike this idea, and you prefer your chapters to run together, then maybe you shouldn’t have chapter names. If you have a story where chapters are really only present to give your reader a break, then why waste time naming those chapters?
Elithius (my story) doesn’t have chapters with names, as of now. I simply have too many chapters to name them all. Also, there are plenty of surprises and plot-twists in my book, so I prefer to keep the element of surprise. My story is fast-paced and really runs together; there isn’t time for each chapter to have “a story of its own”. And there’s nothing wrong with that; that’s just how I want to “play my hand”.
When it comes to chapter names, how do you play your hand?
I hope this provided some helpful insight into whether you should name your chapters. As always, I love to hear what you think.
Recently, Kristen Lamb wrote a post on her blog about how attitude effects everything we do as writers. If you want to become a world-famous author, you have to leave behind all of your doubts and develop a winning attitude. A winning attitude means that you’re going to persevere. A winning attitude will help you climb to the top, and not worry about falling; and even better, it will help you pick yourself back up, no matter how many times you face rejection.
Anyone who is trying to make it big time in the self-publishing industry (like yours truly), needs to have this virtue of perseverance. I will openly admit, first and foremost, that I do not have this virtue yet. I’ve given up so many times before; I’ve fostered the idea that no one will ever want to read my books, that becoming popular is too hard.
The truth is, all of your doubts only carry as much truth as you put in to them.
If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you’ve probably recognized that I go through “phases”. Sometimes I will seem like an avid blogger, and then other times I won’t even exist. It’s bad, and it needs to stop. Consistency is everything in blogging, in writing, and just in life. And that’s what I need to work on. I know I’ve said all of this before, but if I don’t say it again, I won’t ever reach that point where I am finally consistent.
Do you also struggle with consistency? Do you have any plans for remaining consistent with your blog/writing?
Cheers to another phase…only may it be a phase that doesn’t end!
So I’ve finally come out of hiding. And guess what? The blog has a new look. I’ve been working on making it more content oriented, and I removed the pictures and background, which didn’t look professional enough. I’m liking the way it looks now. Be sure to check it out!
Okay, so the look of the blog has changed…what else is changing?
How about the NAME OF MY SERIES?! That’s right. “The Golden Lands” is no more.
After a lot of thought and discussion, I decided that “The Golden Lands” isn’t a strong, gripping name. I don’t think it will attack people who are in the mood for a fast-paced fantasy novel. It’s going to be hard to part ways with that title…I still call the series “TGL” every now and then. But part of being a writer is being mature enough to change things. Thus, I’m changing the name of the series to “Elithius”.
Elithius is the name of the my made-up universe. All events of my series take place in Elithius. I decided to name my series “Elithius” because it’s original, it’s exciting, it sounds magnificent…and it sounds like a fantasy novel. And that’s what I’m writing.
So it fits 😉
Other things will be changing too. The covers of my books will be undergoing some serious changes. They need to look more professional and more exciting. No offense to my sister who created my covers, but hey, she was the one who suggested that I upgrade them!
Other things will be changing in regards to the story of my series. I can’t go into too much detail here, for obvious reasons, but the beginning of the story will be changing; it’s going to be more plot related…and I’m talking to the MAIN plot of my series, which no one has ever encountered yet.
Lots of things are in motion now, and I’m really excited to see how it’s all going to turn out!
But most importantly, it’s important that I admit:
I couldn’t do this without you guys! You guys rock! Without your support, I honestly would get depressed and doubt myself, and I would stop writing.
Hey all! Just wanted to let you know I uploaded the first chapter of Volume 1 to my page now entitled “Prologue and First Chapter”.
…What? I know it’s not very original…
ALSO! Here’s the description for Volume 2: Wrath, which will be coming out very soon!
John and Faith now know the plot of the Evil that kidnapped Soror and Frater, John’s little sister and brother; Soror and Frater, along with a host of other humans, are to be sacrificed to the ominous god of death. Meanwhile, Faith is realizing the true, dark nature of John’s desire to hunt the Evil. Can she stop him before his thirst for vengeance consumes him…or will it consume her instead?
Just so you know, my siblings tell me that Volume 2 is waaaaaay better than Volume 1. So it should be a good sequence.
One last thing: my book is officially a paperback book on Amazon. I listed the price as $9.99, the usual price for a manga novel, which my book mildly resembles. However…haha…my mom told my that that’s a little too pricey for my novella, which is only 78 pages. That being said, I’m lowering the price to $5.99. I don’t know when Amazon will upload the new price, but I’m sure it won’t take too long.
Hey all! Just wanted to let you know that formatting has been completed for volume two of The Golden Lands. The way I see it, it probably won’t be much more than a week or two before I upload Volume 2 to Smashwords.
ALSO: I have proofed Volume 1 and I’ve resubmitted it to become a hard copy (which will be available on Amazon).
Haven’t bought Volume 1: Shadows in the Sunlight yet? Click here or here to get your ebook version!
Stay tuned for when I publish the log-line for volume 2 and the first chapter of volume 1!
(What’s The Golden Lands about? Click here to read the prologue and here to read a post about the plot)
“Are you okay?” Elizabeth exclaims as I approach Josh and her. She hurries forward to help steady me. My blood coats my shoulder and runs down my arm and side.
“I’m all right,” I say, removing my weight off of her and standing erect. I notice Josh regarding me, dumbfounded.
“You killed that thing?” he asks, his surprise and awe evident.
“Yes,” I reply, sitting down with my back to a boulder, “he’s dead.”
“Is there anything we can do to help you?” Elizabeth asks, glancing at my shoulder.
“That would be wonderful,” I say, genuinely thankful.
While Elizabeth and Josh bandage my shoulder, I breathe slowly, focused and determined. To them, it would appear as if I’m only trying to stay calm, as if I’m patiently registering my pain. Yet, staring ahead at the ground, my thoughts wander elsewhere. The weight of fate is bearing down heavily on me. Something evil and unearthly is knocking at the door. Everything changed so suddenly; the shift in the air, the shade of the light, the silent and yet bizarrely loud groan and watchfulness of the world around us. The couple senses nothing.
But I do.
This is the part where things get tricky. Where the souls of the Passageway need to come through. When they need to grow. When they need to become who they need to be. Or be killed. And die. And become Evil themselves.
∗ ∗ ∗
We keep on heading through the forest of pointed boulders. The vegetation begins to appear slowly. First, a few clumps of grass, then a few weeds. Then a bush, sparse, dry and bleak. Then a tree, tall and strong, and yet still, like the bush, withered and lacking in life and radiance. Then everything slowly becomes combined. We are nearing the forest. I feel as if I can already hear it hissing, moaning, croaking, creeping. We come to the tip of a slope that declines downwards, granting us a view of what we are approaching.
The forest below immediately changes the otherwise pleasant countenance of this region of the Passageway. Dark, shadowy, bizarre, unearthly, fumes rising from this section, animals croaking from that section—Josh and Elizabeth both shift uneasily. They don’t want to ask, because they fear that they already know the answer; but yes, we are going into the forest. Not just because it’s the only way to reach the end of the Passageway, but because Josh and Elizabeth need to face whatever lies within the trees.
The Passageway is a reflection of reality. Reality is a dark, twisted thing.
We come to a halt at the edge of the forest, the trees thick, knotted and stretching out their boughs like bony hands. The depths of the forest are drenched in shadow, and they seem to twist and turn as you stare at them. “What’s in there?” Josh asks.
“Nothing we can’t handle,” I reply. My words seem to calm them. But I don’t think they understand that I just said, “we”.
We go a little ways into the forest. Initially, the couple clings closely to me. The darkness, combined with the eerie noises, give the forest an intimidating, unearthly impression. But gradually, both Josh and Elizabeth grow more relaxed, and they walk steadily along, following where I lead them. We have to stop eventually, as I grow weary, and I’d prefer to stay closer to the edge of the woods for the night.
We don’t make a fire. Not that we necessarily could. The shadows grow deeper, and the forest silent. I peer into the forest, my eyes flicking back and forth in each direction, waiting and watching. Things won’t remain so calm forever. The light overhead scarcely breaks through the opaque ceiling of tree branches, and what light does fall through is pale, eerie, and possessed of a strange, bluish tint.
Josh and Elizabeth are beginning to grow tired. I see their eye-lids drooping, though they try to stay awake. I wish this didn’t have to happen in the night. But it is. It’s coming. But I’m growing frustrated; they’re being so patient, so careful, I’m tempted to provoke them.
I decide, rather, to see them. I slowly raise my head and turn halfway in the direction that I feel their presence. Though it’s barely perceptible, my eyes burn brighter with charis. And I see them. Right before they attack.