I’m glad it’s Wednesday because that means it’s Wisdom Wednesday, where I have the honor of hosting guest authors, their books, and favorite writing tips.
Today, we have author Brett Armstrong with us. Thank you for joining us, Brett!
Name: Brett Armstrong
Genre: Historical Fiction
Latest Novel: Destitutio Quod Remissio
Trying to find novel (pun intended) advice is a bit of a challenge. Recently I’ve been very concerned about world-building, as I’m developing a high fantasy series. Making the world come to life and stand as distinct is critical to the experience of high fantasy, historical fiction, Sci-fi, any story where the world is not precisely the normal world around us (even then you can argue some contemporary contexts still take extensive world-building). My tip for world-building? While writing take on some side projects. I’m working on a prequel novella that expands on the history between a pair of characters. That extra focus has given me the chance to explore not only more of the story world, but of the characters themselves. Moments that before had one layer of significance suddenly became multi-layered. Some of the concepts and details that developed in the novella have made their way into the novel in softer form.
Be careful to not just expand the world you’re building, but to deepen what is essential around the story at hand. To do that take time to explore the world yourself in short stories, flash fiction, novellas, and sequels. I view publishing a book as taking readers on a tour through lands you’ve visited as the author. When you pause while blazing the trail to get a view of what surrounds your story, you’ll find things, things you want to show readers on their trip through the world later. In short, look around your story and look close. In the end, you’ll have a more richly detailed world and the start to a view of a broader world as well.
Worldbuilding is one of my favorite things about being a fantasy writer. I love sitting down with my characters in mind and creating the world as they know it. I think you bring up an excellent tip to help keep our focus on the right path when we are world building. You said, “I view publishing a book as taking readers on a tour through lands you’ve visited as the author.” I love this! We can’t take our reader somewhere that we haven’t been ourselves. So good!
Favorite Writing Tip for New Writers:
Be very aware of why you are writing. If you’re doing it for fame and fortune, there’s a good chance you’ll want to brace yourself for impact. Even “good” writers don’t necessarily make it in that way. People can tell you they love your books and they’re incredible, but it doesn’t instantly translate to sales. I’m not saying that things can’t work out in that way, just brace yourself if that’s what you’re after.
If money and notoriety aren’t what you seek, then still brace yourself. People are mean. Sometimes people are harsh and may not even realize it. Sometimes they’re just indifferent. Particularly if you write something that is different from mainstream, don’t expect to be embraced like mainstream writing. Since that isn’t why you’re writing, know what your why is and hold on to that. If you’re a Christian writer, so much the better, because at some level God’s honor and glory are probably behind your writing. That is noble and worthwhile and yields rewards independent of the things typically used as measures of success.
When reviews (good, bad, and ugly) come in, awards come and go, sales fluctuate, and you have creative differences with agents and publishers, through all of that you can weather it. You’ll have that why to fall back to, and keep writing and loving writing.
I think this is a great point that everyone needs to remember, especially new writers. You have to know why you’re writing and what drives you to keep writing. I have to constantly remind myself that not everyone will read and fall in love with my stories, and guess what? That’s normal and perfectly okay! There will be readers that connect with your type of stories and that’s what you are aiming for.
For decades, Roman Senator Marcus Servius labored to become a wealthy and admired patrician man. But now, his world is shattered. After he is exposed as a Christian during a time of intense persecution, his home, wealth, and prestige are stripped from him. The most painful loss of all is that of his beloved wife, Cassandra. Destitute and wary, Marcus prays he will be delivered from his enemies’ hands as he struggles to realize a new path.
In desperate need of help, Marcus disguises himself and embarks on a dangerous journey to find Benjamin Truvias, the leader of a hidden church and the man responsible for Marcus’s conversion. After Benjamin offers aid, Marcus’s life finally finds needed direction. Yet, the more he helps the church through persecutions, the closer he comes to finding who betrayed him. Caught in a maelstrom of intrigue and deception, should Marcus discover the awful truth of who caused his fall, he must choose between vengeance and forgiveness–a decision that will affect the fate of all the believers in Rome.
Brett Armstrong, author of the award-winning novel, Destitutio Quod Remissio, started writing stories at age nine, penning a tale of revenge and ambition set in the last days of the Aztec Empire. Twenty years later, he is still telling stories though admittedly his philosophy has deepened with his Christian faith and a master’s degree in creative writing. His goal with every work is to be like a brush in the Master artist’s hand and his hope is the finished composition always reflects the design God had in mind. He feels writing should be engaging, immersive, entertaining, and always purposeful. Continually busy at work with one or more new novels to come, he
Please take a moment and connect with Brett on social media, and check out his novel, Destitutio Quod Remissio.
Thanks for joining us today, Brett! I enjoyed having you on my blog, and your reminders to know our journey and the reason why we write!
*If you are an author and would like to be a guest on Wisdom Wednesday, please contact me. I have openings available this summer.