Guest Post and Giveaway with M.R. Mathias

M.R. Mathias has written several novels including, The Royal Dragoneers, Oathbreaker and Crimson and Clover. His books look fantastic! I'm very happy to have him here today talking about The Invisible Line. So now I'll turn it over to M.R. Mathias.

I’m not much of a blogger, but here it goes:
The invisible line (Authors Beware)

As a relatively successful indie author I find myself reading more indie than trade pub books these days. I have found that a lot of these works, though well edited, seem mechanical, and forced. There is an invisible line that novel writers need to be aware of.

Before I explain, let me say this. I do not make a plot outline when I write a novel. I sit down with just a general idea of what I am after and start writing. I let the plot, and the characters, form themselves within the context of the novel I want to produce. When I get about 2/3s of the way through I stop and read what I have, and plot out the best way to tie up all the loose ends going into and out of the climax. I have never drafted and re-drafted a novel. I write it and then read and correct one time and then pass it on to an editor.

The editor I use may have me rewrite sentences and passages etc... But the point is I write a novel when I write a novel. I do not build a novel by outlining, drafting, and redrafting. The invisible line this post is referring to appears when a story starts to seem mechanical or contrived. Overly descriptive paragraphs added in the middle of an action sequence, or a portion of back story that saturates the mind; these are just a few examples I can think of at the moment. Things that stop the flow of the tale are what I am getting at.

Think of your novel like a song. In a recording studio you lay it down one track at a time and build the song, but that is not the song that gets played live. That is not the hot sweaty performance that makes the girls scream and the guys go out and buy guitars. That is not the song that was written in a hotel room with a bottle of whisky and an acoustic guitar. The studio version gets perfected with electronics, and retakes, and a whole bunch of painstaking work. It gets all the radio replays and sells the CD’s, while the song that gets played live has all the heart and soul, and all the little things that make it amazing.

Why you’re asking now, wouldn’t I want to produce the perfected version? Well, you may pay $15 bucks for a CD, but you pay $75 buck for that concert ticket. When you brag to your friends, you brag about who you saw at the arena, not who you saw on the record store shelves. (OK... Not the record store these days, but on the iTunes store’s page... lol I feel old now.)

I’m not saying to forget the process you use to write. I am saying be aware of what you may be sacrificing when you write that way. When I am there, in the story and writing, I do not want to stop and worry if the sentence I just put down needs another comma, or if I spelled “site” instead of “sight.” Those concerns take away from the flow of my mind. They distract me from my live performance and no matter what you hear people saying about books, the story is 10 times more important than the edit. Editing is a purchase item, like socks, and cover art. The story is a creation of your heart and soul that comes from deep within. If you have to stop writing and correct as you go, then you will never find a flow full of depth and emotion.

Keep these things in mind as you write. If you cross the line too far one way, your work might be an awesome tale full of grammar errors that can be fixed later with another proofread or an edit. If you cross it too far the other way the story will be dull and lifeless, even though there are no grammar errors in it. It’s a choice writers have to make. Just beware, or better yet, Be Aware of the invisible line.

If you want to find out more about M.R. Mathias check out these sites:!/DahgMahn

Here is a link to a Free novella to the Dragoneers series:

M.R. Mathias has agreed to giveaway an e-copy of The Royal Dragoneers on Smashwords to one lucky winner.

Giveaway Rules:
1. You MUST fill out the form to enter
2. You do not have to be a follower to enter.
3. You must be over 13 years old to enter.
4. Giveaway ends Feb. 3, 2011


  1. I hear what you're saying. When I read about writers painstakingly outlining everything I frown with concern. I've done that with nonfiction projects like how-to guides, but with fiction capturing that flow is what it's about. From time to time I make lists of things to remember and notes about what happens next, but I never have a formal plot outline. I know where I'm headed but sometimes it's like I have bad mapquest directions in a rural county with missing road signs.

  2. Tracy, I absolutely loved book one of Union of Renegades. Now that I have a kindle of my own I am after the rest of your series. Thanks for commenting. :-)


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