Elf Mastery Blog
Just realize I never posted on the Interior Health newsletter I was in. I have been volunteering at the hospital over a year now running Virtual Reality for patients with my Vive. Even got a shout out from the CEO earlier this week at a volunteer event. Here's the little article from the internal newsletter (I never actually got my own copy, as I don't work for the hospital, so a friend sent it to me).
During my research for my final paper, I came across a study titled Differential engagement of brain regions within a 'core' network during scene construction. (Found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850391/). Though admittedly I don't understand all the technical details of the study, I thought the conclusion perhaps provided an interesting tip for creating scenes in a book. The authors of the study provided phrases and instructed subjects to form an image in their mind using the descriptive phrases. They found that "three elements [descriptive phrases] were sufficient to make a coherent and vivid scene, and once this was achieved, the addition of further elements seemed to involve only maintenance or small changes to that established scene."
I think we have all read books with blocks of description, through which we skim and don't pay much attention. I wonder if part of this is because we have visualized the scene early on and the remaining descriptive phrases are simply clutter as they no longer assist our brain in visualization. This means scene description can be fairly brief, and still be as effective as one that is carefully mapped out.
Not that I think it is entirely that simple. The study itself goes into a lot more detail than I will here, but it seems there is certainly a more effective order to introduce descriptive phrases in a scene (As an example, as the first descriptive scene is introduced without a context, a general description of the setting/background, such as a verdant forest or dark room, may provide a context to which further description can be added.
And I don't think descriptive phrases need to be limited by three, only that three is the optimal amount for visualization. Other sensory descriptions (such as smell) may still add depth to the scene without being discarded as clutter.
Let's try an example, using three descriptive phrases: 'Verdant forest', 'blossoming pink peonies', 'small thatched cottage', Even without placing these into narrative form, I have a clear visual of a scene of a quaint, well-kept cottage surrounded by flowers in the middle of a beautiful forest. Now, I might want to add some auditory and olfactory description, such as the buzzing of bees and the smell of bread wafting through the window. Now the forest has come to life, and the cottage is surely inhabited as can be told by someone baking. Minimal description for maximal effect.
Anyway this is a strategy I plan to implement in my writing. And if anyone understands neuroscience better than I do, any further insight into the results of this study would be appreciated!
It's been awhile so I thought I'd check in! I am nearing the end of my Master's program so hopefully this will lead to more writing time. I am currently working on completion of the first third of Book 3 (Elf Righteous), which I think is going very well. It takes place 5 years after Elf Doubt and follows Kyla as she helps a small rebellion against the Empress Aethelwyne. I won't go into too many details here, but many people may wonder why the five-year gap, especially after the cliffhanger ending of Elf Doubt. Truth to tell the storyline between the two books felt too episodic to work into a novel. It occurred to me that, as I had originally conceived Elf Mastery as a TV show, the years between would be well-suited for a series. So though I am trying to complete the books as a complete story, I feel there is room to pitch it as a show again after the books are done without ruining any continuity. And in case that never happens (and I have limited optimism that it will work out), the books work fine without it.
Just had an interview posted on Polish and Pitch: here is the link!
Do you want to buy an Elf Mastery T-Shirt? Well, now you can! Not only am I an author, but I've recently become a fashion baron. Here is the link to my Elf Mastery shirt. If you are in the US you can order it here:
In Canada, you can order it from Zazzle:
I have a bunch of other designs as well. Check them out! The more you buy, the richer I become!
I have 5 days/wuarter with KDP select to give away free ebooks as promotions, though I have not yet taken much effort into advertising these days. I have just posted a promotion for August 5 for free copies of the ebook version of Elf Mastery, if anyone is interested! The link to the book is on a button on the right side of the page.
I just learned about a new tool to analyze reviews!
So, lately I've been trying to market both Elf Doubt and my new Amazon merch page and have been trying to understand how to do this more effectively. I am determined, however, to be as honest as possible in my approach (ie. not using fake reviews, etc).
I just learned about a web site where you can input a url to an item's page on Amazon and it will analyze the quality of the reviews. It then grades the product relative to the quality of the reviews. Well, it turns out despite my small number of reviews on Amazon for Elf Mastery, I got an A! Which means my score on Amazon, however humble might be my number of reviews, is based on honest comments. (link to my analysis is here: https://www.fakespot.com/product/elf-mastery)
I was disappointed to find that other authors seem to cheat a lot. I ran another author's book through and was disappointed that she got an F, with many of her reviews perceived as being from bots or too exaggerated on the positive. I'm not going to name names, but as I am confident she has decent sales, and I still struggle, it begs the question as whether honesty is worth it in sales.
I'm not debating or lamenting my determination to keep my advertising honest, but it is a bitter pill to work hard and do your best to be honest, only to see yourself passed along the road by those willing to cheat.
I guess, at the end of the day, I am still proud of myself and my books, despite being left in the dust.
Piers Anthony once again agreed to read my book! Here is what he had to say:
I read Elf Doubt by Bryant Reil. I read the author's first novel in this series, Elf Mastery, in 2016. My aging memory is not what it once was, and the details of the first book have faded, but I remember liking Kyla, the perky and sometimes headstrong tree-dwelling elf girl. In this sequel Kyla quickly gets on a new mission and into serious trouble. It is a restless time, politically, with threats against the existing order, and she discovers that it's hard to trust anyone else, including the queen herself. Details are complicated, with many intertwining threads, and violence and death strike all around her. She seems to have been selected for some special purpose, but she doesn't know what it might be, and her friends may not really be her friends. By the end the king and queen have been dispatched, and Kyla is chief of one group and queen of another, without much notion what she should be doing or whether she is likely to survive long enough to find out. In fact the story becomes grim, and it is not yet done, as this book ends in the middle of the action. So this is no sweet gentle innocent girl story. I suspect that much anguish remains before it ends.
Amazon.ca has the ebook but not the paperback. If you live in Canada and would like to order the paperback, I have listed Elf Doubt on Blurb.ca
The Paperback version of Elf Doubt is now ready at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1987624890/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1529254840&sr=8-2&keywords=elf+doubt.
I recently finished several years of employment with the Canadian government to pursue a Master's degree. My secret goal is to become a self-sustaining author. This blog is dedicated to the first book I have ever put on the market.