Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Use Strong Verbs in Your Novel - Not Walk or Run

March 6, 2019

Now that Mardi Gras is over I can re-establish my routine, but not completely because St. Patrick's day is right around the corner. That means we are approaching the deadline for you to enter the giveaway contest to received Jarrod Fasan's novel Trickling Sands.

Use Strong Verbs in Your Novel - Not Walk or Run

When we write action into our scenes, it heightens the intensity of it. That seems like this would be a no brainer for authors. What I have found as the senior editor with Absolute Author Publishing House is that many authors take the easy way out and use weak verbs instead of strong verbs. What I mean by that is when we use a verb such as walk or run, those verbs do nothing for the scene. I am suggesting that you replace all weak verbs with something more exciting and use a strong verb. Look at this sentence:

Melissa walked toward the revolving door and waited for it to empty before entering.

There is nothing wrong with this sentence in structure. However, it is not very exciting. When I replace the weak verbs with stronger verbs, the sentence increases in the intensity. Now read this sentence:

Melissa bolted toward the grey tinted revolving glass door and skid to a stop as her claustrophobia swept through her waiting for several people to exit before she shuffled into it

The sentence is stronger and vibrant once I replaced the weak verbs and added emotion to it as well. Therefore, as an author make it a point to replace your weak verbs for strong ones. To get you started, I recommend these books.

 I want to introduce to you a wonderful author who brings a great deal to the table. Please meet Jeremiah Outlaw and his book Cross Roads: The Monsters Among Us one of many from BTI Novels.

Jeremiah Outlaw


Ø  Author Name: Jeremiah Outlaw

Ø  Name of Book: Cross Roads: The Monsters Among Us

Ø  Year Published: 2019

Ø  Publisher: TBA

1.     Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  We literally moved from area to area around the city, since we had little to no money.  Still, to this day I still live in Pittsburgh.  After I graduated from Langley high school, I studied Multimedia Design at ITT Technical Institute and earned an Associate’s Degree.  It took me years trying to find freelance work in graphic design nothing really panned out, so I decided to focus on writing instead.

At age 14, I started my writing journey doing poetry.  A couple of years later, I graduated to writing short stories.  In my senior year in high school, I had two choices to either do machine work or home economics.  They didn’t really tell me that they had creative writing as an extra curriculum even though he did.  So I was stuck doing machine work, something that I did not really love.  It was on that point that I started doing a lot of writing and storyboarding rather than doing a machine shop. 

On a personal level, I used writing as an outlet to my anger and sadness.  I was told by a lot of people that I would never be a writer or make a living off of it.  Since I was big in stature, they wanted me to work with my hands which were demoralizing.  Even now many people don’t see me as a writer and his label me as another throwaway.

2.     What inspired you to write this book?

What inspired me to write this book or should I say book series is that everybody has a purpose in life.  Nobody’s perfect, and we go about our lives every single day with though decisions, hoping we are doing the right thing.  Many others don’t think so and do live their lives vicariously through their own vices.  Through their personal morality or ignorance.

This book series talks greatly about having great responsibilities with one’s power and how to use such power for the betterment, hindrance or personal gain.  Every action these characters take has long-lasting repercussions, not just to themselves but to others near and far.

If you people inspired me to start writing again.  A longtime member of my fan base who has now supported me through Patreon was one of the few people who helped me through some dark times.  It was that and most of my family members who told me never to give up on my dreams and to pursue a career in writing no matter what.

There were a lot of positive inspirations in my life.  But they were a lot of negative incentives in my life that fueled me to write.  However, I will not give them the light of day of saying their names because they don’t deserve much credit.  Because of them, I wear this scar on my right arm as proof that I will not let anybody or anyone break me or destroy me just like I destroyed myself years ago.  Because of this scar, it reminds me never to give up on my dreams.

3.     Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

I’m usually a fine lover of dark fantasy.  I want to use ominous colors and shades of darkness that surrounds it.  Usually, I go with themes that are both beautiful and dark.  I take comfort in such things that are intimidating yet welcoming.

4.     Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Many influences that shaped me as a writer has been reading all sorts of novels that interested me.  I’m also a huge video gamer, so I gained a lot of influences from that kind of media as well.  I usually go with video games that have a lot of lore and a strong narrative.  I genuinely love video games like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts just to name a couple.  I’m also a huge fan of Anime, especially those with great stories like Full Metal Alchemist, Sailor Moon, Violet Evergarden just to name several.

A visual influence of mine has been JJ Abrams and how he tells a story not only with words but with visuals. I also love music and composers have always been dear to my heart.  If I ever had to pick a top five, it would be these five in no particular order: Bear McCreary, Mick Gordon, James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, Yoko Shimomura.

5.     What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I was always considered a lone Wolf, an outcast and a pariah. Even to this day at age 33, I don’t have that many friends. Only the close-minded fear me and ridicule me.  I suffered through various violent encounters in my life at the hands of others because of my race, color and what I was interested in as a child.  From racial slurs and the verbal threat of violence when I was only six years old to physical abuse from others as I got older.

Over my teen years, I self-medicated using over-the-counter medication and having meaningless sexual encounters with others to numb the pain of loneliness and past trauma that spurned way out of control in my 20s and early 30s.  During this time, I have given up entirely on my writing career in general or a better future.

On my weekly podcast, I am doing now, I usually talk about my mental health and how I’m progressing from every now and then as I too suffer from anxiety and depression. Just recently a couple of years ago, I tried to take my own life. However, it was pure Providence that many others reached out to me that only in person but through social media. Because of them, I stand here today trying to make my dream come true.

Many people would try to bury this kind of information about themselves, but I don’t. Me talking about what happened to me in the past gives me closure as I confronted such transgressions so I can better myself in the future. I’m still a work in progress, yet the same thing that became an outlet to my anger and sadness was the same thing that saved my life, and for that, I’ll always be grateful to the printed page. Moreover, also, to those who have never honestly given up on me.  I want to prove to everyone that you can be whatever you want to be in life.  You just have to work for it.

6.     You are a science fiction writer, how or why are you drawn to this genre?

I’ve always loved the things that were pretty much out of the ordinary and bizarre.  Science fiction and dark fantasy have ever caught my eye.  I’ve always loved how science fiction can take you to places where many other genres are afraid to go.  Many people said that science fiction has always been a wide-open scope with vast amounts of imagination.  Yet, I do feel that the genre itself sometimes fall into the rinse and repeat phase.  As in, too many stories that are similar.  I tried to struggle by being unique only to fail every single time.  That is why I try to do something simple yet something that is my own, regardless of you find similarities.

7.     Tell your readers about your book.

Cross Roads is set to be an urban fantasy/science fiction web novel that consists of the theme of “magical girls.” This is inspired by many anime shows like Sailor Moon. The whole entire trope of the magical girl will not be focused like any other type of cartoon show that consists of them.

However, this is a deconstruction of this particular theme. What makes them accessible and what makes them valuable in their own life. Pretty much, I will not be focusing on the glitz and glamour of a magical girl/superhero, but more behind the scenes and how it affects the people around them.

There will be times where they will face super villains. Even then, those kinds of tropes will be deconstructed. Many magical girl/super-heroine cartoon shows rely on clichés. Cross Roads will be stripped bare of all of them. Cross Roads will be the trade as something as gritty and realistic.

It will be set in the present day with an alternate timeline. Since I’m dealing with the alternate timeline, I have a lot of freedom. Well, of course, I have freedom because as an alternate timeline, that’s what you would probably say.

8.     Tell me about your journal.

I honestly don’t have a writing journal.  But I do have a weekly podcast that I usually talk about topics that I am interested in like video games and sports.  And yes I also talk about my personal life such as my day job and my mental health status.  I get a lot of positive feedback because of it.

9.     Who is your target audience and why?

The Cross Roads Series will be for mature audiences.  It will have adult themes like war and how it will affect us.  Violence scenes that will be blunt and in detail.  It will also contain strong sexual content in both a positive and a negative on how the story plot goes.  However, it will not be gratuitous to the degree that I have to write about it all the time.  I stress this a lot: if it calls for it, I will do it and not shy away from because of my beliefs.

10.  If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

I can think of several, but it would just feel a bit forced.  In fact, I don’t really have a good reason why.  I’ve always been a soft-spoken, open-minded and open-hearted person.  Many people would perceive me as weak because of it.  However, I am far from it.  I have always defended myself and took great pride in my work.  I know for a fact many others will give clichéd answers but giving the reasons why they should make an interest.  But I have worked on this book series more than half of my life.  I dare to say that this is the constant positive thing in my life.  I know I’m a good writer and I know that my stories will inspire you or scare you or even offend you.  But if at that moment I make you think for yourself or feel some genuine emotion, then I’ve done my job as a writer.

11.  What do you consider your greatest success in life?

I’ve worked dead-end jobs all my life.  Finally saying goodbye to retail was one of them.  But I have great successes in life, most of them are small.  I’ve always wanted to be one of those twitch streamers who play video games online, and I’m doing that on a regular basis.  Of course, I am writing novels, and I’ve been writing chapters of different stories for the past two years consistently.

I wanted to do a weekly podcast where I talk about my interests and hobbies, and I’m doing that as well.  I tried to enter one of my novels in a book contest, and I’ve done that.  I can never really tell you what my great success in life is because I haven’t really lived my life as I should have.  I’m still living, and I am still working.  With that being said, I do believe my greatest success in my life has not even been accomplished as I’m always striving for a better life and for more success.

12.  Tell me about any awards you have received.

On Wattpad, I entered in several book contests and some of whom I am already in the running now.  I won first place in a couple of awards.  Most of them were independent, but nothing major.

13.  Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

I’ve always been that good little boy that never got into trouble.  I’ve always been a people pleaser all of my life and got nowhere, being taken advantage of by people and even my own father who has cut all ties with me.  When somebody told me to do something, I did it to be in one’s good graces.  I was completely miserable in my life, having nothing. 

I have learned that people can bring out the worst in you.  I was told many times how ugly I was for multiple reasons.  I was told how stupid I was.  In fact, I started to believe in those lies.  That itself let me do self-destructive things, even landing me in jail for one night.  I felt like my life was over.  It was then that I wanted to make a change, but I didn’t know how.

It’s rather funny that people want you to “be a man” without giving you proper instruction.  Yes, I was smart and intelligent and talented.  And I still am.  But there is a difference between telling somebody that they are and not doing anything about it instead of giving them nothing but high praise; or helping them to succeed by giving them tools to accomplish one’s goals.  I was never given such tools and had to figure things out on my own. 

It was hard, and it’s still hard because I still deal with people who would rather tear me down than to build me up every single day because of what I look like and what I’m interested in.  But thankfully many others who came into my life gave me options, choices, and tools to succeed other than cheap words of encouragement.  I have learned to believe in myself and cut out the people who are negative towards me and who don’t like me for no reason whatsoever.  I chose to use my time and energy on things that are productive and positive.

14.  What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I’m a type of person that never holds anything back.  There are times where I got fired for literally speaking my mind rather than biting my tongue.  My kind of writing style and skills are a bit on the raw.  There are times where I tried to censor myself and don’t talk about other topics that are currently happening right now. 

I want to bring a courageous and unflinching kind of storytelling that is both rewarding for those who would stick with it and doesn’t insult one’s intelligence.  I want to show you a character that you could relate to, no matter who they are.  I’m not going to be kind, and I’m not going to be gentle.  However, I will give you a story that I feel is both satisfying and gratifying to the reader.  As well as keeping entertained and have you stay in touch with one’s emotions.

15.  Tell me about your Kickstarter campaign and how to find it if my readers want to jump in and help.

This Kickstarter campaign is indeed a lifelong journey of ups and downs.  A lot of hard work and dedication.  More importantly, self-discipline.  Sometimes a lost my way only to find it again.  There are times I was broken, and I had to redesign and rebuilt myself only to reclaim what I’ve lost.  Cross Roads is not just a love letter of people like me who went through such discrimination and loss, but a celebration of imagination and not afraid of being who you are as an individual.

16.  What will those who choose to get involved in your campaign receive in return?

I have about things in mind; for example, The first pledge tier is $10 or more I call it “First Gate (Elementarium),” You’ll receive a copy of my novel in the form of an e-book.  The second pledge tier $20 or more called “Second Gate (Secundarium),” you’ll receive an e-book and an autographed Paperback Edition of my work.  The third and final Pledge tier is $50 or more is called “Third Gate (Maioris),” which is just an upgrade from the previous tier award. You’ll receive an e-book and an autographed Hardback Kickstarter Edition of my work.

I even came up with some stretch goals for everyone who will be a backer. If I reach the $2000 mark, I will create an 8' x 10' poster of the cover. If I reach the $3000 mark, I will create a custom-made version of playing cards. If I reached the $5000 mark, well… You are going to be very surprised!

17.  Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

I am forever grateful for those who have hurt me and healed me in the past.  Without such trials and tribulations, I wouldn’t be the author I am today.  I’m not afraid of anyone or anything.  However, I am so scared of failure, as we all are.  I’ve always had a saying in a still use it to this very day: amid one’s chaos, darkness will ever turn into light.  I believe in that wholeheartedly, as I could’ve easily been incarcerated for life or even worse. 

I do believe that there is something out there that is bigger than myself.  I know for a fact I am not destined to be nothing more than a laborer.  I know it can be better than that.  I don’t have to settle for anything less, because people think so.  I have dealt with that my whole life and I took it upon myself to take a stand and make life-changes.  With an open heart and an open mind, I do hope you accept my work.  I’m not a perfect person, nor I tend to be.  I will never be a role model, yet I’ll try to lead by example of a hard-working dedication.  Day by day, I will adapt and overcome and come out of the other side, as I redesign, rebuild and reclaim what I have lost along the way.