Category Archives: WordPress

The author’s voice

Brunhild_(Postkarte),_G._Bussiere,_1897All authors have a voice, although many can’t sing. I have 8 good notes and I’m not afraid to use them in singing the odd song now and again. Tad Williams can sing, and has the cd to prove it.

But what do I really mean when I speak of an author’s voice?

We become attached to certain authors because when we read their works, we hear their “voice.” We hear them speaking to us.

Each author writes with a certain style, or in other words, the words he or she habitually uses that makes his or her writing unique. “Voice” conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character.

You have all heard me say that having a manuscript properly edited before publishing it is crucial for the indie author’s credibility. You may ask, “what is this process, and how do I retain my voice, and control of my work when someone else is intent on hijacking it?”

First of all, a good editor will never try to hijack your work. Writers intentionally use symbolism and thematic consistency. We sometimes intentionally repeat certain words for emphasis. These things are significant to us, and a good editor will recognize that.

So what does an editor look for in a manuscript?

Indies are looking for an editor who “helps a writer develop a book from idea or outline or initial draft. Makes sure the book will meet the needs of the publisher and its readers. Will work with the author through any number of drafts. Often works with writers of non-fiction. Guides the writer in topics to be covered in or omitted from the book.” quoted from the Editors Blog.

In other words indies want a structural editor.  What will this editor do for them?

The professional freelance editor will read your manuscript, looking for the rough spots and inconsistencies that work their way into every final draft. They will suggest you correct certain grammatical errors and habits that interfere with the flow of your work, and give you an idea of how those corrections could be made. They will also point out things that are unnecessary background–info-dumps that have slipped through, and suggest you remove them.

Also a structural editor may suggest that a section be moved to a different, more appropriate place in the manuscript. This editor will devote a month or more of their time to your manuscript. This is a hefty commitment on their part, and is one that is not lightly made.

Raymond chandler quote split infinitivesA good editor will not try to take over your manuscript and erase your voice.

You, as the author, have the final say on your manuscript–it is after all your intellectual property. If you don’t want to change something you feel is intrinsic to what you are trying to express, you don’t have to.

Sometimes editors don’t see the forest for the trees–and a good conversation with the author will straighten those areas out. If your editor does not respond to your emails, or indicate in some way that they have heard your concerns, you should not work with them.  

The best part of being an indie is having the control of your work. A good relationship with your editor is crucial to turning out a good product.

7 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Blogger, blogging, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Self Publishing, WordPress, writer, writing

What I’m reading

The_Girl_with_All_the_Gifts m.r. careyI just finished reading a great book, The Girl With All the Gifts, by UK author M.R. Carey (Mike Carey, of X-Men Legacy fame). I loved it as much as I did The Martian, by Andy Weir. At first glance the two novels have nothing in common other than they are both considered speculative fiction, but they do have one common feature–they both really rang my bells.

My friend, who also does not normally read dystopian fiction, directed me to it. The action is intense, and it is at times gory, but what makes this book so significant is not the fact it is about Zombies and the war against the undead (which is a theme I don’t usually gravitate to.) The truly powerful character of Melanie, the ten-year-old girl is the real driving force behind this novel.

I really get into character-driven works. That’s why I enjoy such a wide variety of genres in my eternal search for a good read.

The main character in this tale is Melanie, a girl who loves school and her favorite teacher is Miss Justineau.  Melanie is multi-layered and despite the horrible truth of what she is, she is innocent and trusting.

BraveNewWorld_FirstEditionSo what is dystopian fiction? The core plot of dystopian fiction revolves around the premise that society has crumbled for one reason or another, and details the struggle to survive and raise humanity from the ashes. According to Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge:

Dystopia is defined as a society characterized by a focus on negative societies such as mass poverty, public mistrust, police state, squalor, suffering, or oppression, that society has most often brought upon itself. Most authors of dystopian fiction explore at least one reason why things are that way, often as an analogy for similar issues in the real world. In the words of Keith M. Booker, dystopian literature is used to “provide fresh perspectives on problematic social and political practices that might otherwise be taken for granted or considered natural and inevitable.”

FellowshipOfTheRingNo matter the genre, stories are all driven by one of two elements, plot or character. A plot driven story is one where the plot defines who a character is. Take J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Even if you remove Frodo, who is the main protagonist and replace him with another hobbit, the event, which is the battle for middle earth still takes place, the call to action still exists. He is an awesome character who leaps off the page, yes–but this is a plot-driven tale.

But in  The Girl With All the Gifts, the plot is completely driven by Melanie. Her emotions, her love for her teacher and the innocent faith she has in both Miss Justineau, who sees her as a child, albeit a dangerous one, and Sergeant Eddie Parks, who sees her as a monster, but who nonetheless does the right thing–take these away and you just have a book about humanity dealing with zombies and the collapse of society.

In all of the books I have lately read, several that were character driven really stand out. Characters who are not flat, who leap off the page and grab you–characters who strike some chord within you and who stay with you long after the last page. When I close the book after the final paragraphs, if those characters are still with me, that book is a winner.

2 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Blogger, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, WordPress, writer, writing

The other side of the coin

Water_for_elephantsWriting is about so much more than merely laying words down on a page.   Most people can do that, and can even whack out a creditable paragraph or two. But sustaining the momentum and carrying that vision through an entire novel is quite another thing.

I’ve read several disparaging blogposts where the authors have expressed their scorn and disdain of Nation Novel Writing Month, and that is fine, if it makes them feel noble and slightly more pure than the rest of us mundane hacks. But they are overlooking one important notion, and that is that to write a novel one must start a novel. If it takes a special month of writing and a group frenzy to get some people fired up about an idea they’ve had rolling around in their heads, who am I to complain?  I am a reader as much as I am an author, and I say the more the merrier!

Take a look at some of the most well-known NaNo Novels of all time:

the night circus by erin morgensternWater for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. On the best-seller lists for over a year, turned into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, started as a NaNo novel.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. What eventually became The Night Circus began life in 2004, seven years before it was finally published, started as a NaNo novel.

Wool, by Hugh Howey. Howey’s dystopian sci-fi novel is one of those credited with putting self-publishing on the map, started as a NaNo novel.

So don’t give me any of your “poo-poo on the contest” crap. Whatever gets a writer fired up and writing is fine by me!

I think the notion that anyone with an idea can sit down and write a book in 30 days bothers some authors, as they feel rather threatened by the number of books being published post NaNoWriMo.  Fear and Loathing, we call that in the industry. It’s irrational, but then no one ever accused authors of being rational!

WoolMost people who begin a novel in November do not reach their goal of 50,000 words. They do not have the discipline to sit down every day and dedicate a portion of their time to this project. And some people just are not good writers. But so what? The cream always rises to the top, my grandma used to say.

Because of NaNoWriMo, thousands of people are now embarking on learning a craft, committing their time and resources to educating themselves about how to write a novel that others will want to read. Several years  down the road, who knows what wonderful works of fiction will have emerged from this year’s madness?

I only know that I am always looking for a good book, and so I will be first in line, hoping to be blown away by a fresh, new work of art.

2 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Blogger, blogging, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, news of the world, Publishing, Self Publishing, WordPress, writer, writing

NaNoWriMo: The Final Push

edgar allen poe quoteI’ve been talking a lot about NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. My friends are curious and ask if it’s a contest.

The answer is yes, in a way, but no.

It is a contest in the sense that if you write 50,000 words and have them validated through the national website you ‘win.’ But it is not a contest in the sense that it is a month that is solely dedicated to the act of writing a novel.

Now lets face it–a novel that is only 50,000 words long is not a very long novel. That falls more into the line of a long novella and is only half a novel, in my opinion. But a dedicated author can get the basic structure and story-line of a novel down in those thirty days simply by sitting down for an hour or two each day and writing a minimum of 1667 words per day.

That is not a lot. Most authors, when they are in the zone, double or triple that.

And again, we must face an ugly fact: Just because you can sit in front of a computer and spew words does not mean you can write anything that others want to read. Over the next few months there will be many books emerging that will testify to this fundamental truth.

But also, over the next few months many people will realize they enjoy writing; that for them this month of madness was not about getting a certain number of words written by a certain date. This was about writing and completing a novel they had wanted to write for years, something that had been in the back of their minds for the longest time. These people will join writing groups and begin the long journey of learning the craft of writing.

neil gaiman quote 2They are the real winners.

These authors will take the time and make the effort to learn writing conventions, they will attend seminars, they will develop the skills needed to take a story and make it a novel with a proper beginning, a great middle and an incredible end.

They will properly polish and edit their work and run it past critique groups before they publish it.

These are books I will want to read.

It’s not easy. Sometimes what we hear back from our readers and editors is not what we wanted to hear. The smart authors haul themselves to a corner, lick their wounds, and rewrite the damned thing so it’s more readable. They will be successful, for a variety of reasons, all of them revolving around dedication and perseverance.

But when we write something that a reader loves–that is a feeling that can’t be described.

Success as an author these days can’t be measured in cash. It can only be measured in what satisfaction you as an author get out of your work. Traditionally published authors see less of their royalties than indies, but they sell more books. It is a conundrum, and one many new authors will be considering in the new year.

But if you don’t write that book, you aren’t an author, and you won’t have to worry about it. NaNoWriMo will jump-start many discussions about this very issue. At this writing there are 3 days counting today left for many writers to get their 50,000 words and earn that certificate. Some of us have completed our first draft, and some of us still have a ways to go.

Winner-2014-Twitter-ProfileMy book has a beginning, a middle and an end, but will not become a novel for two or more years..  It is, instead, a rough draft sitting in the pile of other rough drafts, waiting to be rewritten when that flash of inspiration takes me over and I am driven to make it real. Huw the Bard began life in NaNoWriMo 2011, under the working title, The Bard’s Tale. He was published in 2014, and his story makes a darned good novel, if I do say so myself. (Shameless, I know.)

But although he was written in 30 days, he was then rewritten over the course of the following year, and edited over the course of the year after that. The life of a book from concept to publishing is a process. Some are quicker at negotiating this process than others, but having once rushed to publish with unhappy results,  I now take a more leisurely path.

 

Comments Off on NaNoWriMo: The Final Push

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Blogger, blogging, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, news of the world, Publishing, Self Publishing, Vegan, WordPress, writer, writing

Hunted Heart, by Alison Deluca

Most avid readers of the fantasy genre are fans of the old fairytales as told by the Brothers Grimm and I am no exception. In fact it was my love of fairytales that inspired me to write in the first place. I am always interested in reading other authors’ takes on these fairy tales. It is amazing how differently two authors will tell what began as the same story.

Today my good friend, Alison DeLuca, author of  the steampunk Crown Phoenix Series, has consented to answer a few questions for us, and allow me to share the wonderful cover of her new book, Hunted Heart. It is a standalone book, and is a true fairytale, the premise of which had really intrigued me.

CJJ: Alison, tell us a little of early life and how you began writing:

AD: I always loved reading. My early favorites were Alice in Wonderland, the Odyssey, Arabian Nights, and fairytales of all kinds.

CJJ: Tell us about your most recent book.

AD: Hunted Heart is an adult version of Snow White. Prince Kas is the one threatened by the wicked queen, and the huntress, Tali, is given the job of taking him to the forest to cut out his heart. They end up falling for each other, but not without a great deal of adventure along the way. Yes, there is a wicked queen and my version of a poisoned apple. And we mustn’t forget True Love’s Kiss…

CJJ: How did you come to write this novel?

AD: Someone I met online prompted me and begged me to write the story – she is the J.R. in my dedication. I loved her idea of making the hunter a strong female and ran with it.

CJJ: Do you have a specific ‘Creative Process’ that you follow, such as outlining or do you ‘wing it’?

AD: This book was an exercise in winging! The Snow White structure supported my story, and I was able to take off from there. Writing a fairytale redux is completely addictive – I might have to do a few others.

CJJ: How does your work differ from others of its genre?

AD: It is genderbent, and I’ve set the story in a mythical Norse country. I couldn’t resist including Freja, Iduna, and a few others from Norse tales. It’s also quite adult, with violence and some sexy scenes, and a charity project: Tali, my main character, suffers from some terrible abuse as a child, and so 100% of the royalties go to HelptheChildren.org.

CJJ: Why do you write what you do?

AD: Honestly, because I can’t help it. When I get an idea it needles me until I pin it down on paper. It’s like giving birth, to be honest.

CJJ: I so know that feeling! I know why I chose the indie route for my work, but I’m curious as to why you’ve chosen this path.

AD: I love the freedom indie publishing gives me. I’m able to write what I like and donate the proceedings when I do a charity project like this.

CJJ: What advice would you offer an author trying to decide whether to go indie or take the traditional path?

AD: Both have their merits and challenges. Being an indie does give you freedom but also relies on individual marketing. Traditional publishing gives more support but gives the author little choice on things like covers and presentation. Both are good in their way – each author must decide for herself how she would like to proceed!

 CJJ: Alison–I love the answers you gave my stock questions!  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to get the word out about your charity, HelptheChildren.org.

AD: Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Connie. This was a lot of fun!

And without further discussion, here is that amazing, most intriguing book cover:

HuntedHeart cover final

 

I confess I am blown away by this one, and I have become quite a fan of Alison’s graphic designer.

Alison DeLuca HeadshotAlison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

You can find Alison here:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/alison.deluca.author

OR http://on.fb.me/TNWEfb

Twitter – http://twitter.com/ – !/AlisonDeLuca

Google + http://bit.ly/ADGoogle

Author Central: http://amzn.to/ADeLucaAuthorCentral

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/alisondeluca/

I have long been a fan of all of Alison’s work and have been fortunate enough to have some of my own work  included included along side of hers in a charitable anthology, Christmas O’Clock,  a book of wonderful short stories for children that is available in both paperback and for the kindle. (All proceeds for Christmas O’Clock go to Water Is Life to help children and families in an international effort.)

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, blogging, Books, charity, Fairies, Fantasy, Humor, mythology, Romance, Self Publishing, Steampunk, WordPress, writer, writing

Death Valley

Extreme-Heat-Death-ValleyEvery artist who has successfully created works other people enjoyed is a slave to the creative muse. Each artist endures those horrible moments when they question their choice of career–they have a series of bad days and inspiration is far from their grasp. Every note they play, every word they write, every picture painted is dead and dull. Forcing it doesn’t help, and indeed drives it further away.  These are the moments when we are walking in the Death Valley of creativity.

I have no magic bullet, no super-human powers of creativity to bestow upon you.  For me, the joy of creativity in music, art, and writing is the rebellious feeling of stealing the time to do it. I make music, I do graphics, and I write, doing each whenever the muse strikes me.

In the old days I would come home from work with a small notebook full of ideas and after I had fed the masses, everything else would fall by the way while I put those ideas to paper. Even when you must earn a living, creativity must be allowed to flow when you feel it, because it is a finite commodity.

But I will tell you this: You Are Not Alone. Margaret Mitchell only published one book: Gone With The Wind.

gone with the wind 2Quoted from the fount of all knowledge,  WikipediaMargaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American author and journalist. One novel by Mitchell was published during her lifetime, the American Civil War-era novel, Gone with the Wind, for which she won the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel of 1936[1] and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937. In more recent years, a collection of Mitchell’s girlhood writings and a novella she wrote as a teenager, Lost Laysen, have been published. A collection of articles written by Mitchell for The Atlanta Journal was republished in book form.

And did you know that Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde each only wrote one novel in their careers?  I am assuming this was because they suffered from long periods of having nothing they thought was worthy to show the world.

Poe understood the value of writing the short story. While he is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre, his body of work consisted of–wait–how many short stories did he write? “Almost eighty” it says on page 373 of the official volume of the Big Read. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore says the number is sixty-nine – counting “both short fiction and novels.” This appears to be the most widely published number.
So how many short stories did Edgar Allan write? By all reports he was a troubled man, and it’s possible that not even he knew for sure.

Poe is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. Are we surprised? I don’t think so.

narrative of arthur gordon pym edgar allen poeBut though he is considered by many to be the most famous of our American authors, he only published one novel: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) is the only complete novel written by our famous man, Edgar Allan Poe. The work relates the tale of the young Arthur Gordon Pym, who stows away aboard a whaling ship called the Grampus. Various adventures and misadventures befall the protagonist, Pym, including shipwreck, mutiny, and cannibalism, before he is rescued by the crew of the Jane Guy.

Indie author Mary W. Walters has written a wonderful blogpost on the subject of turning writers block into building blocks, available here.

So even if you feel the stream of creativity has run dry, it’s frustrating, yes–but nothing to get to worried about. At some point, when it is least convenient, that muse will strike again. You will once again feel that divine energy, that spark of madness that is the breath of life for a poem, a song, a novel or a painting. When you feel it, go with it.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Blogger, blogging, Books, Fantasy, History, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, WordPress, writer, writing

Resurrection, Reconstruction, and the Great Reckoning

cocacola_08

Coca-Cola HD Wallpapers

I have been writing like a crazy person for the last two weeks.  Well, I am a crazy person, but–I have been spewing the basic rough draft of a novel in the most unlinear way possible.  I have my plot outline and I am following it, sort of.  With that as my guide, even when I am jumping around in the manuscript like a mini-van full of toddlers hopped up on jelly-beans and coca-cola, I am still within the actual framework of the story that was originally outlined.

But what if, as occasionally happens, you suddenly realize that four chapters previously you shot the villain and buried him when he should actually have been struck by lightning? He was always going to die, that was a given, because he must be the undead villain, hell-bent on revenge.

330px-Zombie_haiti_ill_artlibre_jnlThe good thing about being an author is that once you realize there was a mistake, you can always un-shoot them. Then you can strike them with lightning as they should have been in the first place, send them to Hell and and have some minor devil trying to work his way up the management chain in the underworld resurrect them as your creepy, decaying, undead villain.

And if you are in the middle of NaNoWriMo, every time you rewrite the the scene with a slightly different outcome, it counts toward your word count.

Just sayin’.

So, here there I was, happily writing along, when suddenly I realized I had to change a rather large plot-hole, and knew I had to do it while I was thinking about it. First I did a global search for the name of the character that has taken the wrong turn. I changed the font color to red in that section, and began rewriting the scene the way it SHOULD have been written in the first place, using the usual black font.

Now, during normal writing sessions, I would simply cut the offending scene out of the ms, and paste it into a separate document which I then save to my ‘Background File’ in the same folder as my main manuscript. By doing that, I don’t lose information I may need later.

virtually golden medallion of mayhem copyBut this is National Novel Writing Month, and every word in that manuscript  counts toward my region’s total wordcount! We are the Olympia Washington USA region and we have a Word War on with Salem Oregon USA: the Capital Smackdown! On November 30, the day of the Great Reckoning,  The Virtually Golden Medallion of Mayhem is up for grabs!

We have never won this awesome…thing-a-ma-bob….

But we want it.

And in the per-writer stats Salem is slightly ahead of us in this battle. OH! the misery!

So if that means I have a multicolored manuscript for a few weeks, so be it!

Besides, if I don’t begin to make those changes when first I realize they need to be done, I might forget until a beta reader points it out. Thus, I find myself up at all hours of the night ironing out plots points, trying to keep an unmanageable group of characters in line and trying desperately to keep that all-important word-count up!

2 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Blogger, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, WordPress, writer, writing

How I came to fall off the Earth (and why I don’t care)

The Arc of the StoryWow–what a wild week this has been–28k words written on my NaNoWriMo manuscript, and a dip into a culture that is nothing short of amazing.  What a challenge–to write a great story well enough that people will want to read it, and to do justice to a whole culture.

We should have challenges in our work–if it comes too easy it’s fluff. A lot of people are happy with fluff, but not me, and I suspect, not you!

As you all know, I have written some very difficult scenes in the past, not for the gratuitous effect, but because those situations made my character who they were. They were life altering moments where the path suddenly changed, and everything that followed was driven by that incident.

A friend recently asked me how I handle writing such scenes.

When it’s a tough scene, I write as much as I can when I first know what has to be written. Then I set it aside and come back to it later to expand on it and shape to my intent. For me, a scene has to be done in stages so that it flows naturally. At the end of my my last journey though a manuscript, I will have a seamless narrative that flows from one scene to the next, always building toward the final denouement and the conclusion.

a medieval keggerBut right now I have five bodies to get rid of, so I need to get back to writing. Hero set down his mug of mead and picked up the shovel. He looked first at pile of corpses and then at the sky. They didn’t usually fall from the sky and he wondered what Author was up to now, that he should suddenly have to dispose of so many. However, Author was inscrutable and Her mind mysterious. One could only go with the flow, and dispose of the corpses as they fell.

OH the endless agony–but for a little hilarity amidst the eternal darkness of November take a look at Stephen Swartz’s blog post this week:

How NaNoWriMo is like being in Interstellar

 

5 Comments

Filed under Blogger, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, mythology, Uncategorized, WordPress, writer, writing

Plug in to The Matrix

 

the Matrix PosterNovels have layers. Theme is what the story is about on a deeper level than the plot details. It’s the big meaning, and often it’s a moral meaning. Love, honor, family, and revenge are all some common, underlying themes.

I think of the scenes in my books as if they were scenes in a movie. Each conversation is a scene.

Sometimes, we find ourselves in Outer Mongolia as we wrangle our words. Our mind is off chasing squirrels, and our fingers are madly keying dialogue. It happens, and then we find ourselves writing paragraphs of discussion regarding the vase on the kitchen table. Why are we discussing this vase?  If there is a reason that will emerge later, keep it. If it is just idle fluff, lose it.

I actually have a scene in one of my forthcoming books where the characters do just that. They are discussing a vase that was made by a child, but the conversation is not important for the sake of the vase, nor is it really about that object. It is there to expose how important an absent person is to one of the speakers, and the brief interaction between the two speakers endears to the reader one of the characters who will later meet a sad end. The underlying themes of this book are brotherhood, family, romantic love, honor, duty. The obvious theme is the successful resolution of a quest. The core plot device around which the story evolves is an ongoing War of the Gods, and the world in which the tale is set in is their battleground, offering all sorts of opportunities for mayhem.

Consider the first scene of one of my favorite movies of all time, The Matrix. This movie has a lot of action, but it has a lot of dialogue also, and that dialogue advances the plot and never loses the theme of the story.

Quotes from the matrix

The conversation concerns a drug deal, but the underlying theme is never lost. The key words are in the first line, written on the computer, The Matrix has you, the third line, follow the white rabbit, and in that very last line, telling Neo to unplug. The Matrix is all about waking up, about what reality is, and about Neo as the potential savior of the world, which has been enslaved by a virtual reality program. It is about escaping that program. The conversations that happen in the course of the film all advance that theme, even the minor interactions, from the first conversation to the last.

The Arc of the StoryWe must approach conversations in our novels as if they were scenes in a movie. In a good movie, we don’t notice it, but there is an arc. In a story arc, a character undergoes substantial growth or change. It ends with the denouement in the last third or quarter of a story. The end of a narrative arc is the denouement, the final resolution. It shows what happens as a result of all the conflict that the characters have gone through.

If we don’t keep the arc of the story moving with each scene, we will lose our reader, and to that end, each conversation must reflect the underlying themes of the story without beating the reader over the head with it. As in real life, some of the people know more than others, and to advance the plot and the theme, small clues must come out over the course of each scene, each scene building to the finale.

I876MilanoDuomo‘ve said this before, but we must build the overall arc of the story from scenes, each of which is a small arc, in the same way a gothic cathedral is constructed of many arches that all build toward the top.  The underlying arches strengthen the overall construction. Without arches, the cathedral wouldn’t remain standing for very long. The novel is a cathedral and your scenes are the arches that hold it up. The conversations that form those scenes are miniature arches, each with a beginning, a high point, and a resolution.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, blogging, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, mythology, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, WordPress, writer, writing

Mmmm…chocolate…

halloween kisses

Kisses of Death by artist Andrew Bell

I’ve always thought that if you really wanted to do something creepy for Halloween, you should hand out little mini-packs of chocolate covered ants, or something. I  just feel there is nothing scary about a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and to do the most sinister night of the year justice, we should serve evil treats.

Halloween is the most important day of the year for many reasons–not the least of which is the annual midnight write in at Shari’s Restaurant for those intrepid heroes who can’t wait a minute longer to start their November Novel!

HTB New Front Cover with gold frameI wrote Huw the Bard in 2011 as my NaNoWriMo Novel–it had a different working title. In 2014 it was published, and the changes it went through in those two years was amazing. Fortunately I have a supportive husband who  regularly allows me to neglect him.

This year I am writing a novel that begins in the old west of northern New Mexico, where a journey to take a holy relic to be melted down at the smelters in Durango takes a terrifying turn into a world between the worlds. The first plan I had for this story was to co-write it with indie author Aura Burrows, but that didn’t pan out as various commitments made it impossible for us to get together on it, and she is unable to do it. But I fell in love with my main character, William Two Cats, and I am going to tell his story.

I have a working title, I have designed a placeholder book cover, I know who and what I am writing about, and tonight at midnight I am off to the races. On the National Novel Writing Month website I am Dragon_Fangirl, and you can see my book page and follow my progress here.

William Two Cats is a man of two worlds, the white-man’s world and the world of the A’shiwi–the people we call the Zuni Pueblo Indians,and yet he is a man of neither. His white mother insisted he be educated him in both cultures, and his Zuni father agreed. The tribal elders know he is destined to be firmly centered between the two worlds, and ensure he takes the path of the shaman. When we meet William, he has left the pueblo.

I can’t wait to get started on this new novel, counting down the hours to midnight…counting…counting….

Oh, look! We still have chocolate covered ants left! Yum!

What? They’re not vegan?

Curses….

ants

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Blogger, blogging, Books, Food, Humor, Publishing, Self Publishing, Vegan, WordPress