Tag Archives: fiction

My Writing Process – Part 2.A, Planning

So a few days ago I started blogging about my writing process, namely to help out a young writer think through the process and give her some encouragement. I realize (as you’ll see below) that in putting together the process, I combined planning, plotting and character building together. They are all really one VERY LARGE step, but for purposes of my blog I’m going to break them down into subsections.

Here are the phases of writing a book, as far as I’m concerned.
1. Inspiration – coming up with an idea
2. Planning, Plotting, Character Building
3. Writing that first draft
4. Editing, First Readers and Cover Design
5. Beta Readers, Revisions and Blurb Writing
6. Wrapping it all up and releasing it to the world

 

So in looking at step 2.A really – planning here are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours as we’ll only grow and get more efficient from learning from one another.

 

Once I have a bit of time on my hands I move from the inspiration phase to the planning phase. I’ll be fair to my muse and let you know that I have about 300 book ideas thanks to her (my) overactive imagination. She usually forces a story on me, so where I’d love to go to my inspiration journal and actually pick an idea, that’s never the case. Usually one idea that I’ve been chewing on from my inspiration journal will just bounce around in my skull until I sigh in defeat and sit down to write it (start to finish).

 

So… with idea in hand and my muse sucking on a coke… let’s talk planning.

 

I’m a mathematician, so this is going to be VERY different for some of you to read, but that’s okay. Might help you out and perhaps not. I plan first by considering the parameters of what I need to get done. I know there’s a side of your brain that needs freedom and I’ll get to that in both plotting and in writing the first draft, but I’ve found that if I set boundaries in the planning phase, then my writing moves from a hobby to a very viable option for sustained income in my future.

 

Plus – rules and structure are the essence of freedom. I set it up and then I can play without concern in the box I’ve built. If I need to go outside the box I simply chop the box down and expand it. Nothing hard and fast set in stone.

 

So for me this is about number of words and pages from the get-go. I set up my book in Scrivener (which I just found and am still learning about) in chapters. How do I know how many chapters I’ll have? I calculate them. Check it out:

 

Romance – 50-60K words in a novel / 2500 words per chapter = 20-24 chapters
YA 85K words in a novel /  3000 words per chapter = roughly 28 chapters

 

I could go on, but the point (for me) is to know how many chapters I have to work with. If I don’t have a target to aim at in the big-picture view, then I’ll ramble and end up with far too many words, or not nearly enough. Having the number of chapters set up and aligned allows me to understand my plot points per chapter. I want my reader to end each chapter at a good point. I’m fine going over the word count per chapter, but I keep in the back of my mind that I have a goal to reach at minimum, and I do it.

 

With my chapters set up and my box created around me, I start to freely move into the stages of plotting and characterization, and I’ll tell you that for me these two next steps are ordered based on the story. Am I focused on telling a tall tale, or is there a character that won’t get out of my skull?

 

I know that’s not much in the way of planning, but it’s only part of that phase to me. Next time we talk about one of my favorite topics: characterization.

 

Until then – write your rear off. The world needs more fiction.

 

L.

 

(Oh! I have 3 books releasing this month. Wish me luck and join my e-mail list if you wanna know more. http://eepurl.com/9Nrc1 )

Howl at the Moon (MG)

HATM Ad

I’m working hard on my debut Middle Grade Novel, Howl at the Moon. I’m so crazy stoked about it because the story was just incredibly fun to write. My editor just returned the first draft with very few edits and I have commissioned an artist to draw the cover, so I’m well on my way to getting it out the door and sharing it with my family, friends and fans.

I’ll be posting updates here of course, but the release could be as early as Christmas or as late as end of January. Either way – ALMOST THERE!!!!!

Short Excerpt:

Darkness pressed in tightly as the wind of early winter swept up and tossed my hair around my head. My eyes were wide with terror as silky white mist moved in front of me. My  breath was trapped in my lungs, screaming for release. The cemetery yawned with delight as the air shifted just so, and the figure of a young woman materialized, her empty eyes moving among those gathered to conjure her from far below the earth. A snort echoed in the air around me as the witch doctor beckoned me to engage the spirit.

            “Speak, boy. She’s now part of your future,” his gravelly voice barked out in my direction.

The burning on my forearm began again and I gasped, looking down, still holding the candle I’d been given in the other hand. The spirit moved closer to hover above me, her lovely pale lip lifted in a devious smirk.

            “Yes, Ben, tell me of the—”

“Benjamin Warren!” Mrs. Lawson shouted. “Are you even awake?”

I snapped my head up as I quickly wiped the drool from my face, my sleeve seemingly already wet. “Uh, yeah. Just closed my eyes so I could think better.”

L.

Blog Tour: RRBC’s own… Harmony Kent

I’m more than happy to welcome a new friend and fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club to my blog today in honor of her being in the bright spotlight and on her blog tour. Harmony – thanks for coming by!!

Harmony Kent

Hi there! This is the eleventh day of my RRBC Spotlight blog tour. You can find details of all my stops here.

There have been times in my life when I have felt utterly bereft. Utterly alone. Interestingly enough, the time of my life-changing injury was not one of those times. I felt scared, yes, but never alone.

The root of the word alone is ‘All One’. I find that fascinating. As it is that very realisation—that we are never truly alone—that has helped me to keep going through all the trials and tribulations of life. The realisation that we are ‘All One’ has some profound and far-reaching effects. At least, it did for me.

I think I knew this as a very young child, but my life experience wasn’t one that re-enforced or supported this knowledge. So, it kind of got squashed along the way, and all too soon my awareness of it disappeared altogether. I may have forgotten it, but it most certainly hadn’t forgotten me.

I remember, vividly, the point at which I first became aware of myself as a separate person. I was five. It was on one of the extremely rare occasions that we went out as a family. We were in some café—the details of the surroundings are vague. Fuzzy. What I remember clearly is that I had just asked one of my (many) ‘Why?’ questions. I was such a curious child—always wanting to know the hows and whys of everything around me.

The adult with me responded harshly, with words to the effect: ‘Shh. You’re always so loud. We can’t take you anywhere.’ The adult’s embarrassment was nothing compared to my mortification and deep shame. I remember looking at the floor and wishing I’d never been born. Five years old. Not too much time passed before I stopped asking at all.

Until that point, I had been operating within a unified universe. There was no sense of a separate ‘self’ from those around me. I look back at that time with sadness, especially when I see that my first experience of myself was one of deep shame, and deep, deep pain.

It took thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist Monk, living under monastic vows, and meditating daily, to undo that rift. To realise the truth of unity once more. I believe I chose the order and the temple I did, because it offered complete equality. I had encountered so much prejudice for being a female, that I was heartily sick of it. In the order I ordained with, both men and women could be ordained fully, and rise up the ranks equally.

Even though I am no longer ordained, I look back on those years with gratitude. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.

I have looked death in the face three times now, and twice—amidst the fear and regret—I experienced that ‘All One’-ness. So, these days, when my inevitable doubts and inadequacies arise, I am able to see that there is more. My sense of self, which remains ever separate, is only a small part of a much bigger picture. Both have reality, and both need to be allowed.

It is this re-found knowledge that has given me the strength to persevere through everything. And, not only that, but to thrive. I have received a number of requests to write a memoir of my experiences, but I’m still not sure . . . perhaps one day. I suppose, if it helps even just one person, then it is worth doing.

As it is, I am very at home writing fiction. And, some of the magic of my life manages to find its way into my novels. How could it possibly not? I believe that art is The Great Inspirer. It is also a tremendous Transformer.

I have a lot of fun during the writing process, but that pales when compared to my joy when I read a review that tells me a reader thoroughly enjoyed one of my books. If even for only a little while, some of that magic has entered their lives too.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my post.

For information on my latest book, please read on.

3D-Book cover Elemental Earth

Elemental Earth (Book 1 of The Mysteries)

Young Adult Fantasy Fiction

“You turned the god of gnomes into a garden ornament?”

Sarah looked closely, but couldn’t tell if her dad was annoyed or amused—perhaps he was both …

Whilst 15 year old Sarah may be struggling to regain her feet, after being ripped from her everyday mundane life and ending up in a whole new dimension, she still knows how to have a bit of fun along the way. The Earth Elemental isn’t the only one whose feathers she manages to ruffle, and it’s only been four days. Meanwhile, her best friend is missing, and big trouble is brewing. She soon has a lot more to worry about than what happened to her phone or iPod, or even how much of an idiot Caleb obviously thinks she is.

Elemental Earth is the first book in The Mysteries series, and is aimed at Young Adults. Even if you’ve already reached an age where the young ones might call you ‘old enough’, if you’re still young at heart then you’re bound to enjoy these books just as much as the next—err—younger adult.

Age aside, perhaps we should be more worried about what further havoc Sarah’s antics might be about to wreak on the universe as we know it? We’d probably all be sleeping a lot more soundly if she’d only stuck to applied maths and the odd pillow fight. But no, sadly the lure of the proverbial rabbit hole proved just a tad too much. And now she’s taken the plunge, there’s no turning back.

Look out for tweets @harmony_kent, and follow my blog: http://harmonykent.co.uk to keep up to date with new book releases, promos, cover reveals and sneak peeks. Feel free to connect—I’d love to hear from you.

Find out more at: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk

Twitter: @harmony_kent

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

4Wills Author Page: http://4willspublishing.wordpress.com/our-authors/author-harmony-kent/

Book Blitz: The Visitors

VisitorsBlitzBanner2

The Visitors by Katy Newton Naas 
Publication date: September 16th 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Sometimes soul mates find each other in unlikely places. But is love worth it if it risks your life?

Seventeen-year-old Noah is startled when he awakes one day to find that dangerous, irrational, self-serving, and destructive visitors called “humans” are coming to visit his beautiful, perfect society. All citizens are ordered to have limited contact and share minimal information with these visitors.

Sixteen-year-old Jady is thrilled to accompany her father and his crew on a trip to a recently-discovered planet, Verdant. The United States’ crew is hopeful that they can learn from this ad-vanced yet similar species.

Despite their greatest efforts to fight it, it doesn’t take long for Jady and Noah to fall in love and begin a secret affair. But when their relationship is revealed, danger is created for everyone involved…

 
Purchase:

KatyAuthor
About Katy:
Katy Newton Naas wears many hats: wife; mother to her young son, Aven, and her four-legged sons, Shakespeare and Poe; teacher of middle school reading and high school English; children’s church teacher; and now – her lifelong dream realized – author. Her debut novel, THE VISITORS, was released September 16, 2014. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a master’s degree in Reading and Language Studies. She resides and teaches in a small town in southern Illinois.

From a young age, Katy was always an avid reader and writer with a big imagination. She spent much of her childhood searching for ghosts and UFOs to no avail – but she hasn’t given up her hunt just yet. Though she continues to grow older, her true literature love is and has always been young adult fiction. She loves creating both futuristic and realistic stories about teenagers, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.

Author links:

Cover Reveal: Lost Blood by Emma Raveling

LostBlood

Lost Blood by Emma Raveling
(Chancer, #1)
Publication date: TBA
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

They are the Strange, those born of magic, myths, and legends. Beings who defy scientific explanation, whose physical and mental abilities far surpass the limitations of the human body.

When they first appeared, the world resisted, frightened by their powers. But after decades of bloodshed, humanity finally accepted that the Strange were here to stay.

A tenuous peace exists. For now.

WELCOME TO BRANNIGAN CITY

Seventeen-year-old Delaney Corbeau is one of the Skilled. As a Chancer, she uses her magic to help humans find everything from misplaced keys and hidden heirlooms to lost pets.

She can find anyone and anything…except the two people she needs the most.

Liam Connelly is an Earth Shifter and son of Brannigan City’s Alpha. When his older brother goes missing, he must turn to his former childhood friend for help. Delaney’s the only person who can locate him.

The problem is they haven’t spoken in four years.

When a reclusive art collector hires Delaney to locate a stolen antique Japanese book, her path crosses with Liam once again. Soon, the simple retrieval job becomes something much more terrifying.

An old evil is stirring and it’s determined to punish every living being in Brannigan City, both Strange and human.

Delaney and Liam will have to work together if they want to survive.

Lost Blood is the first book in Emma Raveling’s new Chancer series, featuring two unlikely allies and a mysterious, thrilling adventure set in a dark world full of monsters and magic.

 
About Emma:
Emma Raveling writes a wide variety of fiction for teens and adults. She is the author of the young adult urban / contemporary fantasy series, the Ondine Quartet, and Lost Blood, the first installment of the forthcoming young adult urban fantasy series, Chancer. She’s also working on the first book in her new Steel Magic series for adults.

An avid traveler hopelessly addicted to diet coke and coffee, she currently resides in Honolulu, Hawaii with her husband and German shepherd.

Author Links:

Must Read! A new spin on an old favorite!

Helen's Book

Review: Relative Strangers (Five Stars)

All Sophie wanted was an entertaining vacation to recover from work and a recent heartbreak and yet she got so much more than she bargained for. Treharne writing creates a solid protagonist that makes you want to befriend her for her humor, her bravery, and her willingness to fight.

The plot is simple and yet contains an added level of complexity in the subplot, causing me to wonder what’s coming next. I very much enjoyed simplistic style in which the story was written, my heart connecting quickly to Sophie’s in her struggle to form some sense of normalcy after tragedy.

Sophie and Mickey – just a fantastic friendship that started from a night at the bar, a shared tragedy and grew into a longing for more. Through the course of the book I found myself huffing at the distance between the two budding lovers, wanting for Sophie what we all want for ourselves – companionship.

I LOVE the additional story lines that run throughout the narrative, giving you a momentary break from the main characters and letting you ponder as to how this new introduction of cast members plays into the story as a whole.

I must say that this was nothing like I expected it to be. I’m quite the vampire junky and to pick up a vampire book is something I’m willing to do any day of the week. The twist is in the way Treharne portrays the creatures, truly giving them the ominous, vicious structure that Bram created in the original Dracula. No shiny creatures here with thoughts of love and happiness.

This is a great book for anyone wanting a solid story and fantastic plausible characterization. I loved it and will be reading it again soon!

L.

Relative Strangers by Helen Treharne is available at Amazon: http://bit.ly/Vu4Ve3  , iBooks http://bit.ly/1mTRyv7 and all major online retailers.

To find out more about the author, visit her at www.helentreharne.wordpress.com or hook up on  Twitter @Tea_Talks https://twitter.com/Tea_Talks