Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Creative Writing Tip: Look Inward

As a short-timer to book writing, I'm amazed at how many people I've already met that aspire to write a book, but just haven't started.  The task can be daunting for sure, but the reward of seeing your finished product is well worth it.  One thing I've found, having one published book and one in initial draft, is that it's much easier to get started when you write about something you love.

When I started writing the Bruten & Tommy series, I followed my life experiences. I've always loved to help put on events for kids in my neighborhood, and I'm always one of the guys who jumps in to play games with the kids at gatherings. In fact, my friends and family will tell you that I'm just a big kid at heart (sometimes to a fault).  I like nothing more than taking the kids on an "adventure" to a new place or looking for treasure (geocaching).  It was not hard to make the leap to writing an adventure book series for kids. 

This will probably seem strange, but with both books, I had the same feeling as I wrote the last part of the book.  It was as if I was reading it for the first time, and I really wanted to see how it ended.  On Secret of the Portals, I literally wrote 10,000 words in two days.  On the new, yet to be published book, Guardians of the Scepter, I wrote 9,000 words in one day!  I just had to get to the end... not because I was tired of writing, but because I was excited to see how it would end and where it would lead for the next book.  That feeling of reading the book for the first time can only be explained by the fact that I love what I'm writing about.

When you decide it's time to write your first book follow your life experiences and your passions, and take the time to find something that excites you when you write about it. Find a topic that you can't wait to talk about.  It will make things much easier to go from wanting to write a book to actually writing one.

- Brant

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Creativity Tips: Learning from the Mundane

During the course of a day, you will encounter thousands of different objects that you typically ignore because they are simple and mundane.  Try taking the time to study some of those objects.  Everything, whether man made or natural contains fruits of creativity.  Take loose change for example.  You use it often and probably have some in your car's console in case you need it.  You don't really think about it until you want to spend it on something, but if you study it closely, you will notice that a lot of creativity of thought went into making it.  Someone had to decide who's likeness would appear on the coin and what artwork would go on the back.  In the case of quarters, you'll find many different works of art on the back... one for each state.  And many different artists likely submitted ideas, of which only one was chosen.  Then someone had to decide mix of metals to use for the coin and what size to make it.  And even more amazing, someone had to make a machine that produced the quarters on a massive scale.

You can literally go through this exercise with anything you see, and by doing so, it helps you see applied creativity.  This, in turn, will help you think more creatively about your next work of art, book, term paper, new product... anything.

One last thing to note:  If you have kids, make sure you do this with them often,  As they get older, they will learn to see creativity in the simplest of objects, and quite often, they will ask questions that you might not think of.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Creative Writing Tip: Brainstorming

Never be afraid to share your ideas with those around you. And not just with other writers... anyone who's old enough to understand what you're talking about. Sometimes they will utter one word that sends you down a path to a great idea. In fact, my 12-year-old son just did that today, and now I have a great ending for the 2nd Bruten & Tommy book. 

And never limit brainstorming to a set amount of time.  Often times, good ideas come after a brainstorming session.  That's primarily because your subconscious is still hard at work trying to come up with a solution.  The power of your subconscious mind is not to be underestimated.  "Let's sleep on it" really works!

And one last thought about brainstorming:  Follow all ideas down a path before you rule them out.  Sometimes a seemingly mundane idea can lead you to a fantastic idea.  It's as if you've found one piece of a puzzle, and your mind pulls together the other pieces to see what the true picture will be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Creative Writing Tip - Character Development

When you create a character for a story, be sure to think about their role in the story when you start, but don't get caught up trying to explain everything about them at the beginning of the story. 

Let your reader discover new things about your character as they move through the book. Especially the antagonist. To maintain some suspense, tt's best to drop hints about them as the book unfolds, then reveal them when the time is right.

Unique characters with personality can bring life to your story.  Pretend each character is like a friend you've just met.  The longer you know them, the more you learn about them.  Sometimes it's good.  Sometimes it's not.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Know when it's right

As a new author, I try hard to make sure my written words convey the story in a clear and compelling way.  That can often make the process longer due to rewrite after rewrite, but I've learned from my marketing and graphic design background, that I will know when it's right.  Developing an ability to see/hear/feel when it's right is important for the creation of a great story, a great song, or a great painting... and it allows you to keep your sanity.

The lesson:  Trust your intuition as a writer.  Don't hold yourself back.  You'll know when it's right.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I love the creative process!

Creative ideas come from anywhere. Riding home with my 12yo, he mentions that he has been predicting things correctly lately. Thought it was strange that he kept getting things right.

A great book idea is born. Kid learns he has unique ability and ultimately predicts something that will profoundly change his life... If he lives through it.

I promise to write this one in 2013 after the Bruten & Tommy series. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Origin of Bruten & Tommy

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the beginnings of Bruten & Tommy.  The idea started with a series of bedtime stories I was telling my seven-year old son, Brannen.  He has always had a very active imagination and unique point of view, so I decided to make up stories for him, in lieu of reading him a book.  The story started with a simple idea, two boys were exploring in the woods.  Brannen contributed to the story as we went along, and soon it became the first few chapters of The Secret of The Portals.  I asked Brannen if he thought I should write a book about it, and he liked the idea.  It grew from there.

Having worked in a creative business since I graduated college, I'm always intrigued by the way great ideas take shape.  Sometimes it takes the mind of a child to see past the preconceived notions that we have as adults.  That's why I plan to act like a kid for as long as possible!

I'll close with this... while I plan to continue with a series of Bruten & Tommy adventure books, I've also stored away some other great ideas that came from Brannen's bedtime stories.  I plan to write books about all of them.  I guess I better get back to work. :)

- Brant

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Huntersville Elementary Fall Festival

Just found out that I'll be selling and signing books at the Huntersville Elementary Fall Festival and Book Fair!  Looking forward to my first book signing!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just launched Bruten & Tommy's Adventure page

Bruten & Tommy have a lot of great ideas when it comes to exploring right in your own backyard.  Check out the new Bruten & Tommy Adventure page for ideas.  Plus get some great additional content about their adventures to other worlds in the secret portals.


Hard at work on the 2nd book in the Bruten & Tommy series.  Look for it early next year!

Secret of the Portals Ebook!

The Ebook is available at the following stores:

Kindle Store

Barnes & Noble

iBooks Bookstore

Sony Ebookstore

Diesel Bookstore


Buy a copy today!

Secret of the Portals: New book available on Amazon

My first book, The Secret of the Portals, is available on Amazon.  It's a great adventure book targeted at 9-12 year olds.

Click here to purchase