Friday, September 17

Amanda Cherry: Five Things I Learned Writing The Dragon Stone Conspiracy

This book belongs to the Strowlers Shared Cinematic Universe, a collaborative global story that anybody can sign up with.

As World War II rages, unexpected immortal Pepper Elizabeth Jones is on the run from government representatives on both sides of the Atlantic. Concealed in neutral Ireland, she is summoned to meet a mysterious general, The Righ, who jobs her to conserve magic itself from the Nazis. Now, she must race against the clock to stop an evil ritual and avoid the Nazis from acquiring a world-shattering supernatural power.

Inform your story. Change the world.

When the Fäe go to war with a Nazi cult, one female will secure humankinds future.


Making things up is so rewarding. And simple! And amazing!

My very first book was a modern dream embeded in an imaginary city. If I needed a point of fact, I most likely understood it off the top of my head. And if I didnt feel in ones bones? I was complimentary to make it up. Making things up is, as it ends up, one of the chief abilities associated with being a writer. And, I came to discover, I am really quite excellent at making things up. Need an expensive bar? Make it up! Need a traffic signal so the character needs to stop driving and see something? Make it up!

And did I mention easy?

Thankfully, the industry has gifted me the stunning tool which is STET. And kid did I make usage of it.

Composing around your protagonists bias, particularly those borne of the time in which they live, double specifically when theyre your sole POV character is a whole ball of wax. However with the aid of my editors and the support of remarkable good friends with Romani heritage, we made it work.

In order to make this work, I had to ground the adventure in actual historic time and location.

Jim Crow, Eugenics, that time Hitler was Look Magazines Man of the year.

And as though that wasnt a great sufficient line to be walking, I found pretty early on in my composing process that I had actually purchased myself a ticket on the evolution-of-language-train.

If youre the kind of reader who likes to Google what else was taking place on the very specific dates provided for the occasions of a piece of historic fiction, I see you, and you wont be mad about this one.

There is at least as much NOPE in the 1940s as there is fantastic- and figuring out which parts of 1943 to keep and which to toss was an experience I wasnt conscious I was registering for. I wished to stimulate the period with enough delight to keep the reader happy to be there, but likewise with sufficient dread to remind y all that the stakes are serious.

I wished to get * so * defensive. I wanted to shout and scream and stomp my foot and explain in the biggest of detail not only that the individual was incorrect however likewise just how much and how come. Authors throwing mood tantrums in the basic direction of their editors (especially when those editors werent the source of the upseting remarks) is normally frowned upon.

Composing historic city fantasy that [partially] happens in genuine locations is a totally various animal. It is challenging. It is, rather honestly, the reverse of easy. Unless you do not care about accuracy (but, then, why are you composing historic metropolitan dream when you might rather be writing just-regular-fantasy and conserving yourself a lot of trouble: see above re: making things up).

Often history provides you just what you require– you simply need to bother to go and look for it.

Ok. Not all of it. Due to the fact that things were occurring worldwide of my book that are far better left in the past.

Amanda Cherry: Website.

When I remained in second grade, we were doing a phonics exercise wherein we were each assigned a letter of the alphabet and charged with going to the blackboard (yes, Im showing my age here, but whatever) and making a note of a word starting with our letter. I got the letter “T”. I then continued to that chalk board and happily wrote “totalitarianism” for my entire class to read.

When this book might potentially occur was the first issue I had to resolve. I had restrictions on all sides, both in-universe and real-world. Cant be before THIS cant want THAT, and I need to get this guy out of the method.

There we stood: a character who, without malice, would not have understood better and an author who does understand much better but isnt sure how to tackle making this work in a way that neither pulls the reader out of the world of the story nor puts a slur in my book.

One of the important things I learned from my very first book was how dealing with an editor occurs– the processes and power balance and all that jazz. For me, a huge part of discovering to work with an editor was learning when to accept their tip and when to shake my head and say STET. For those of y all not familiar with the term (as I was simply one book ago), thats a word writers utilize when we pick not to accept the editors variation of something and rather desire to leave the words the way we had them in the first place.

Words are my stock and trade, and theyre likewise my hobby. And there are some I apparently like way more than an individual really ought to. I have a particular affinity for oddball words (see above re: snollygoster) and I would not be myself if I didnt utilize my preferred words in my writing. Words are excellent, and we ought to use them!

Among the things that happens when you compose a book is that youre not actually done composing it when you think youre done composing it. Other people get to inform you aspects of what you composed and how you wrote it and then you need to compose more things in your book (or take some things out of your book– ugh.) based on what those other individuals say.

Yeah, no.

With THE DRAGON STONE CONSPIRACY, there were much more fingers in the pie than there were with RITES & & DESIRES (a thing to be expected with a bigger IP, no concerns) and a few of those fingers were over-stretchy and truly long. And one of them just … didnt like the way I compose. Like … not at all.

Going through and reacting to those notes sort of sucked. Ok, no– it didnt kind of suck, it sucked bigtime.

Fedoras. Triumph rolls. Benny Goodman. Yes. Yes. Yes. Provide me the dancing and the music and the clothing and slang words like “Murgatroyd,” and Casablanca on the marquee at the Bijou. All of it.


You understand how, when youre writing a fanfic and you require to insert this really intense conversation between your preferred set into the cut between scenes in the motion picture? It resembled that, just with Nazis.

There are parts of the previous the majority of us discover delightful and nostalgic. Just browse at the Rockabilly motion and youll see what Im speaking about.

Its now battling “snollygoster” for the title of my Very Favorite English word (although its technically Latin, so I expect its really battling “Post hoc ergo Propter hoc” to be my favorite Latin).

I write books, and sometimes other things (like guest article) as my job. All of these things, books and otherwise, are made up of words. Words are the tools of my trade the like wrenches and hammers are the tools of a mechanics trade. And I love words– I always have.


Or perhaps you will, however at least youll understand I did my research.

Yes, I had to do the research, however I likewise had to do the writing. Since even the best-researched books patently refuse to compose themselves.

I have actually now learned to read my own work with an important eye for overuse of words that arent part of daily speech for individuals who are not me.


Since the book is set in 1943 doesnt suggest I have to bring all of 1943s problems into it, just. So much easier said than done … When it came time to introduce a character with Romani heritage, I was a huge mumbling mess of yikes. The only word Pepper would have known to explain this character is considered a slur these days; y all know the “G” word. Im not gon na compose it here anymore than I did in the book.


Unless you do not care about accuracy (however, then, why are you composing historic city dream when you might rather be writing just-regular-fantasy and conserving yourself a lot of difficulty: see above re: making things up).

So, theres research study, and then theres reality, and after that theres viewpoint. And when composing about history, particularly the ugly parts, stabilizing those things can be um … well … difficult.

Since, in the end, its about the readers experience, and since we do not live in 1943, Im not restricted to the vocabulary of the era.

The Dragon Stone Conspiracy: Amazon|Bookshop.

My teacher called my parents.

Those people are called Editors and in my case they do the very brave thing of turning my long rambles of storytelling into something people are prepared to purchase and check out. Its neat!

Putting those old fanfic muscles to great usage, I dove deep into Things I Learned in College and found simply the right historic minute to make use of for my purposes (insert evil laugh here). Go me.

The desire to make the historic reality as precise as possible led me down such research bunny holes as maps of the pre-WWII Berlin train (which I discovered!) & & the cost of recompense from Donegal to Dublin in 1943 (which I did not find). There were days I invested so much time attempting to find out what car to place on a road, how far X was from Y, or whether there would have been streetlights someplace that I hardly got any words on the page at all.

Amanda Cherry is an author/actor who still cant think people will pay her to compose books. In her spare time, Amanda volunteers as an announcer and referee for Flat Track Roller Derby.

I am now allowed only one “hodgepodge” per manuscript. One “slapdash”. And I just get a “snollygoster” every other book.

In getting RITES & & DESIRES revised and ready for primetime I learned everything about my addiction to “that”– which is a thing I continue to deal with. However while resolving modifications on THE DRAGON STONE CONSPIRACY I discovered that isnt my only word problem.

STET is good. As an early-career author, it was kind of empowering to stand up for my writing, my voice, and my options. Self-confidence not really being the biggest thing for many of us writer-types (especially those of us who are brand-new to business), it was uncomfortable, but gratifying, to utilize all caps and demand my words be respected.

Starting with time.

Determining how to be period-immersive while leaving behind hazardous language was a lesson Im grateful I found out, but it didnt come easy.

One of the things that occurs when you write a book is that youre not actually done composing it when you believe youre done composing it. For those of y all unfamiliar with the term (as I was simply one book ago), thats a word authors use when we pick not to accept the editors version of something and rather desire to leave the words the way we had them in the very first place.


It was also way more expert than a few of the other words I may have chosen.

I compose books, and sometimes other things (like guest blog posts) as my job. When I was in second grade, we were doing a phonics exercise in which we were each designated a letter of the alphabet and charged with going to the chalkboard (yes, Im revealing my age here, but whatever) and writing down a word beginning with our letter.

This book is about some fictional magic in a real location. Genuine individuals rub shoulders with imaginary ones, and my adventuring lead character goes back and forth in between actual historic places and the world of the wonderful.

Excessive of a commonplace word is something. However numerous circumstances of a beloved-but-uncommon word is enough to be disruptive. Im informed.


I am a history geek, and I wanted an accurate book! I desired all google-able real-world things to be as genuine as real can be. This was both for my own edification and also to keep the vultures of popular review platforms from screaming awful things in my general instructions.

Great times!

These deep dives into time and location are some of the best procrastination methods I have ever stumbled upon. I mean: copious looking into is a super-easy way to keep from having to do any actual composing while still feeling all, “Whee!

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Learning to parcel out the more peculiar words in my vocabulary has been a beneficial tool as far as making my work more friendly, but I still enjoy my weird darlings and wont be giving them up completely whenever soon.

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