Top Five Craft Books by TJ Nichols – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes TJ Nichols who is celebrating the recent release of Greed and Other Dangers, the second book in the Mytho series.

Top 5 craft books

I’m a plotter—I like to know what my main turning points are and who my characters are before I start writing. Depending on the story I plot a little deeper (the Mytho books were more intensively plotted because I had to create the crime and then solve it while progressing the relationship between Edra and Jordan).

Some of my favorite craft books are:

How to Write a Damn Good Thriller by James N Frey

This goes though the ways thrillers keep things pacey as well as some of the genre’s conventions—like ticking clocks and the villain getting the upper hand. It’s an easy read with everything laid out clearly.

Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland

I love because to breaks down the three different types of character arcs into to little steps that the character has to go through. Very useful when figuring out what happens where in the story, or if creating an arc that cover multiple books.

The Virgin’s Promise

While the hero’s journey is all about the external plot, The Virgin’s Promise in the internal journey that a character must take. This internal journey is really important in a romance novel. If a character hasn’t changed by the end, have they learned to let go of the blocks that were stopping them from loving?

The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne

I find this method of analyzing story interesting, and very useful if a story just doesn’t seem to be working. I love the Story Grid round table podcast where the editors analyze a movie—I did film studies at school instead of English Lit.
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The Plot Whisperer book of Writing Prompts by Martha Alderson

Stuck? Don’t know what to write but need to write something? This little book is broken up into three acts and offers writing prompts and exercises to get you going making it very useful to on hand for those days when the hot chocolate has been drunk, the floors have been mopped and really, the procrastination has to stop.

These are just the ones I dip into the most frequently, but like most writers I have a collection of books that I’ve read and worked my way through all to better my understanding of story structure, and what makes a good read.

Dragon shifter Edra has always lived to serve and protect—in ages past, as a knight, and in the modern world as a mytho liaison to the San Francisco PD. Behind the scenes he safeguards the mythos community from scandal—and further human hatred. When the eggs of a rare greater dragon are stolen, Edra must find and return them before the mother razes the city.

Edra’s partner, Jordan, has just been promoted, and he’s on the trail of several stolen mythos artifacts. Together, they track the eggs to a colony of mermaids living in the bay near Alcatraz Island.

But trying to separate a mermaid from her treasure is asking for trouble.

As Edra and Jordan grow closer, they test the bounds of human-mythos relationships. But Jordan isn’t ready to mate for life, and Edra won’t pretend to be human for Jordan’s friends. With the hills on fire and a storm brewing in the bay—and in their bed—something’s got to give.

About the Author: TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer, TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels, it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily. Writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the every day. TJ is the author of the Studies in Demonology series and the Mytho urban fantasy series.

With one cat acting as a supervisor, TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

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