Category Archives: Bringing a story to life

Bringing a Story to Life: Alien Romance

1920x1080_px_abstract_angel_artwork_demon_fantasy_Art-774620.jpg!d-2Just listening to the playlist I created for the upcoming Dragon Core series and finishing final edits on Analysis:  Book 12 in the Metatron’s Army Series.

I need to remind myself I have upcoming projects as I wind down this series.  It’s been with me so long I occasionally feel a twinge of anxiety about it ending.

As I wind down the series, two elements have taken center stage.

  • Reveals
  • Relationships

Reveals. In coming along on a journey that traversed thirteen installments, readers of the series have put their trust in me.

The nature of the story necessitated this format where each book in the series is like a chapter in the life of the main character, who was born in one universe, raised in another before returning to her home universe to fulfill her destiny.

To end a century’s old war and save a race of energy beings which are not always complimentary objectives.

My focus in these final books is to ensure I share various secrets and individual and collective character motivations that reveal the numerous plots within the plot in a way that honors that trust while not revealing too much at one time.

I need to keep the reader entertained – and guessing.

Relationships.  Relationships between a variety of characters definitely take center stage in these final books for the simple reason I need to answer the question Then what?

Through much of the series, the characters have worked together for a variety of common goals that included

  • training to do the jobs they need to do
  • doing those jobs to the best of their ability while continuing to grow as individuals
  • protecting each other and themselves while keeping their eye on the overall objective.

Having something in common does not equal compatibility though I have created characters who not only respect each other, they generally get along well, even as they often work at cross purposes.

Alien V. Culture. Most of the characters have grown up in a universe where different species are akin to what humans would consider a different culture.

It’s just no big deal to have different physiology or physical characteristics that make you stand out.

That doesn’t mean the different species trust each other, even as they work together for a common purpose.  Focusing on how those relationships evolve and transform throughout the series has been fun and something I only had an overarching understanding of.

I knew the overall goal but not what any specific character(s) would do to fulfill that goal. 

I’ve had the joy of allowing characters to evolve in such a way as to transform from being a minor background character to a main character that contributes significantly to the plot and the saga.

I didn’t plan for these changes, they just happened as the story progressed and I got to know certain characters better.

I also need to deal with interdimensional relationships as I’ve brought people from Earth to the Vetria system.

From Analysis:

“Look, can we file this under the Light Beings don’t understand humans category and move on to the reason you are in my apartment?”

“For the moment.”

Fuck.  He so did not want to get roped into the help the Light Beings understand the subtle nuances of intimate relations.

There is also the necessity of addressing how characters move from one type of a relationship to another.

  • From being team players to individual leaders as their careers transform
  • From reporting to someone to becoming a peer as the roles evolve
  • From colleagues to lovers
  • From culturally different species to lovers

On the path to love. Those last two points have been surprisingly less challenging than the two above.  It’s not only been a joy to take various characters from soldiers to lovers, it’s been relatively easy.

The key has been to think – really think – about the challenges they would face.

  • As an individual
  • A couple
  • A team
  • A community

Individual.  When dealing with different species I needed to take into account individual expectations based on social customs as well as individual likes, dislikes, expectations.

There’s Two.  I had to address the challenges of being a couple.

Emotion isn’t a switch to be turned on so imagine being involved with a species for who emotion was forbidden for centuries, for example.

Team Player.  I had to consider how the characters would view themselves in terms of their professional roles, as well as how their teammates would view any changes in relationships.

How do you go from soldiers who fight side by side to lovers? 

Who’s coming for dinner?!  Imagine bringing someone considered the enemy into a community with the implicit expectation that he would be entering into a romantic relationship with a member of that community.

Assuming the individual would have them to being with.

In this situation the relationship is under a microscope as every member of the community takes note of every move.

Which actually happens with multiple characters who enter into romantic liaisons.  As Christine puts it, the universe is watching.

To facilitate the process, I simply looked at each relationship through those four filters.

But wait!  The challenge has been to pace the development of the relationships relative to upcoming plot developments and the reality that such relationships typically evolve over a period of time.

As Christine says at one point, loving someone isn’t the same as being in love with them.

I have to think ahead to what the characters will be facing and make sure that their feelings and thoughts about the relationship are in line with where they are in the progression of the story.

There’s more!  And of course, there’s the whole physical side to the relationships.  That has been a lot of fun to deal with as I’ve had the challenge of incorporating different cultural and personal views on sexuality.

And stopped to think what would each character be worried or excited about in taking that step with the one they love.

This last was a central focus of multiple characters in Promotion: Book 11 in the series.

Front and Back. As I wrap this article before going back to Analysis, I will add that another facet of relationship development is the need to shift the romance from front and center to back burner out of necessity as characters remain true to their roles.

There’s still a war and they are still soldiers, even if some of them are now “closer.”

It has been fun even as it has been, in spite of the implication of emotion, an intellectual exercise.

Analysis will be available August 1, 2019.

Note:  This article is cross-posted to metatronsarmy.com.

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Bringing a Story to Life: Relationship Turning Point

kosmos-zviozdy-zviozdnoe-nebo-starry-sky-romantika-romanticSo, as I write adult fiction, sex and romance put in an appearance, in one form or another, in my work. My journey along this path has been anything but straight and smooth.

  • The first time I wrote a sex scene – in a wire bound notebook – it was fine.

I viewed it as a plot device and didn’t have any issues with it.

Then someone I knew read it…

  • I went through a period where I had to put on headphones and play music really loud so I didn’t have to think about anyone I knew reading what I was writing.

For the life of my I could not convince them I wasn’t writing from personal experience.*

  • Over time I got back to it being part of the plot/overall story

I told certain people to skip over the sex scenes.

  • I went through a crisis where I thought I would run out of ways to write the scenes, that it would get boring

A friend listened politely, listened, laughed, then pointed out that not only are there as many ways as there are couples, but that with my imagination, I would not have a problem. In other words, believe in myself as a writer. 

  • I went through another round of “Oh my god, people who know me will read this!”

My husband, who not only worked in the same [previous] industry as me but who had worked with me, helped me get pas this challenge. 

  • I took on projects that forced me to really challenge myself about the characters having sex / a romantic relationship

My first implementation of this stage was with Jeremy in The Lover.   

Metatron’s Army.  Dealing with alien species has introduced its own challenges with relationships and sex and due to plot progression, I’ve had to cross that bridge with a number of characters from the Metatron’s Army Series.

As in Books 11, 12, and 13.

I’ve found that though I had an idea where things were headed, I needed to truly think it all through.

I had to really put myself in the various characters’ shoes and ask myself

  • What are they thinking right now?
  • What are they afraid of at this moment?
  • What do they want to get out of this moment?
  • What is their life going to be like individually and as a couple as a result of taking this step/crossing this bridge?
  • How will other characters adapt and respond to this change in circumstance?

It has been quite the journey.  It’s also laid the foundation for bouncing between series and dealing with a variety of characters coming from a number of different backgrounds.  In other words, the experience has given me courage to tackle a number of plot and character twists that will come up in the following projects

Stay tuned!

*I still can’t convince some people I don’t write from personal experience but…

I just can’t care anymore if the people know me or not.

It bleeds too much energy.

Sex is how we got here.  It’s a part of life and I write with life in mind.

Bringing a Story to Life – The Paranormal AS Reality

I’m about to post a vlog that gives a bit of insight into the Port Gallatan series.

 

The FICTITIOUS location for the series.

The West Virginia part of that story has a bit of personal meaning, and is a great illustration of how having the paranormal AS reality in my life has played out.

In a way that went way beyond being a writer.

YEARS AGO, on October 12, I found myself in West Virginia.  Though a series of events that took place over that weekend were of a paranormal nature, it was the weekend itself – and the events that led up to it – that transformed my life.; a situation where the whole was far more than the sum of its parts.

  • I was invited to come down and spend a weekend.

 

  • I would drive down right after work on Friday and arrive very late.

I had had the WEEK FROM HELL so I can’t begin to explain the basket case I was when I arrived, nor how it felt to be swept into a loving embrace, accompanied by an assurance that I was welcome and I could leave it all on the front porch.

  • There were no expectations

The individual who extended the invitation is one of the only truly altruistic people to ever cross my path.

  • The house was over 200 years old.

Spending the night in a place that had been there when my country was birthed from a REVOLUTION FROM TYRANNY – at the hand of COMMONERS who dreamed of being free from the TYRANNY of King George III cannot be described nor manufactured in a factory.  Farmers – not trained soldiers – led by great men – won that war.

  • The smell of cedar touched/connected with something from my Irish great-grandmother

My parents kept the quilts she handmade to keep out drafts from the walls of her home in Ireland in a cedar chest so the moths wouldn’t destroy them.

  •  My host provided acceptance that healed parts of my soul in need of healing

 

  • I was reminded of who I was at a soul level, reminded that corporate (and those in it) did not define me

Though God knows they tried.

  • I was reminded that life is what I make it (No excuses).

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay the individual who invited me – nor fully explain what that weekend and those nights in that house did for me.

If you think those emotions and those experiences don’t make it into my characters and my writing – you don’t understand writers who write from the soul.  NOT EXPERIENCE – THE SOUL!!!!!  BIGGGGGGGG DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So – the paranormal of that weekend.

We ventured to a park where there were a number of ghosts.

Story of my life since LONG before the brain surgery!

I tucked this part of the weekend into my normal “Wow, this is really cool…” space and went with it.

With regards to all the ghosts I saw on my way to the payphone?

I had to call someone to wish them happy birthday!

I believe in Democracy for ghosts.

Who am I to scream at them to go to the light when they are intelligent and capable of telling me off/explaining they are here for a reason?

If they weren’t? – they would have ALREADY gone to the damned light! 

 I’m serious.  They’re watching over loved ones or otherwise completing tasks and make no bones about telling me about it.

Paranormal experience aside, it was a turning point for me.

Did the ghosts play a part in that?  Not as much as staying in that house did.

Going Home.  I drove the PA then OH Turnpike, knowing I wouldn’t get back to MI until well past midnight, needing to report for duty to the corporate black hole early the next morning.

I was a completely changed person though I had no idea at the time just how much.

160826012942-black-hole-breakthrough-lee-pkg-00002217-exlarge-169To give a perspective of the degree of dysfunctionality of our particular sinking ship…

 

  • There was a sandwich board in the 1stfloor hallway that read the difference between us and the Titanic was that at least the Titanic had a band

 

  • There was a Far Side Cartoon with God looking at the animals and contemplating “Hmmm…pretty good – all I need is something to eat you guys…” on my boss’ office door.

With an arrow over God’s head that had the current black hole program name on it.  The animals?  There was an arrow with the name of our “sacrificial” team on it.

My boss was NOT amused.

I was NOT the orchestrator of this chaos!

Hey, at least we had a sense of humor while we were going down…

Scott Adams would have been proud.

YES – I know Scott Adams did not author the Far Side.

Around 11pm Sunday night, close to the OH-MI border, I checked my vmail.  There were a number of messages from someone who was another energy drain on my life.

Prior to the nights spent in that house – talking to the woman whose family had owned it for generations – I was somehow oblivious to the energetic damage being done by this psychic/emotional/psychological vampire.

By the time I was listening to the sixth – or seventh – vmail DEMANDING that I call him and tell him WHERE I WAS – I was rolling my eyes and acknowledging that my life needed some serious work.

Ghost to the Rescue!

Not long after, I had a visit from the ghost of my deceased maternal grandmother, reading me the riot act because my husband was about to come into my life and there was WORK TO BE DONE and there I was screwing around with a vampire!

Rattled by the dream – my maternal grandmother NEVER yelled at me – I nonetheless blew her off.

My mistake.

Immediately after, my life took a turn into a nightmarish if entropic direction.

It was as if someone yanked the tablecloth off the table of my life and every damned glass thing on it fell to the floor where it proceeded to smash to smithereens.

Those were some rough months afterward…

But as I recount in After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens After We Die, my husband DID enter my life a few months later.

The transformation – Cosmically Guided – was set in stone.

 The Paranormal as Reality Revisited…

I was reading an article the other day and considered where I was when this guy was blowing out an amp.

I was living in the Bay Area, seeing my husband-to-be in a vision on my Silicon Valley apartment balcony.  I actually asked him to wait – explaining I wasn’t ready yet.  This was BEFORE being chewed out, mind you.

Cosmic Time.  Upon reading the article, I realized that though it seemed like an eternity at the time – the actual space between when I saw my husband in that vision and when he showed up in my life was relatively short.

My grandmother’s admonition notwithstanding. 

heartThe rapidness with which everything else was swept away once I touched his hand when we finally found each other?  It left me with no doubt that

  • Destiny Exists
  • Love is a powerful force
  • Paranormal IS reality if you’re smart enough to look for it/see it.

On a side note:  Just before we were married, my husband took me to a place where he used to spend time during a difficult part of his life.  It was the exact location I’d seen him sitting in in the vision, though he was there two years – almost to the day – before I was in my apartment.

The speed of desire across time?

Just the information a storyteller loves to draw from.

Bringing a Story to Life – The Paranormal AS Reality

I’m about to post a vlog that gives a bit of insight into the Port Gallatan series.

I’m about to post a vlog that gives a bit of insight into the Port Gallatan series.

The FICTITIOUS location for the series.

The West Virginia part of that story has a bit of personal meaning, and is a great illustration of how having the paranormal AS reality in my life has played out.

In a way that went way beyond being a writer.

YEARS AGO, on October 12, I found myself in West Virginia.  Though a series of events that took place over that weekend were of a paranormal nature, it was the weekend itself – and the events that led up to it – that transformed my life.; a situation where the whole was far more than the sum of its parts.

  • I was invited to come down and spend a weekend.

 

  • I would drive down right after work on Friday and arrive very late.

I had had the WEEK FROM HELL so I can’t begin to explain the basket case I was when I arrived, nor how it felt to be swept into a loving embrace, accompanied by an assurance that I was welcome and I could leave it all on the front porch.

  • There were no expectations

The individual who extended the invitation is one of the only truly altruistic people to ever cross my path.

  • The house was over 200 years old.

Spending the night in a place that had been there when my country was birthed from a REVOLUTION FROM TYRANNY – at the hand of COMMONERS who dreamed of being free from the TYRANNY of King George III cannot be described nor manufactured in a factory.  Farmers – not trained soldiers – led by great men – won that war.

  • The smell of cedar touched/connected with something from my Irish great-grandmother

My parents kept the quilts she handmade to keep out drafts from the walls of her home in Ireland in a cedar chest so the moths wouldn’t destroy them.

  •  My host provided acceptance that healed parts of my soul in need of healing

 

  • I was reminded of who I was at a soul level, reminded that corporate (and those in it) did not define me

Though God knows they tried.

  • I was reminded that life is what I make it (No excuses).

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay the individual who invited me – nor fully explain what that weekend and those nights in that house did for me.

If you think those emotions and those experiences don’t make it into my characters and my writing – you don’t understand writers who write from the soul.  NOT EXPERIENCE – THE SOUL!!!!!  BIGGGGGGGG DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So – the paranormal of that weekend.

We ventured to a park where there were a number of ghosts.

Story of my life since LONG before the brain surgery!

I tucked this part of the weekend into my normal “Wow, this is really cool…” space and went with it.

With regards to all the ghosts I saw on my way to the payphone?

I had to call someone to wish them happy birthday!

I believe in Democracy for ghosts.

Who am I to scream at them to go to the light when they are intelligent and capable of telling me off/explaining they are here for a reason?

If they weren’t? – they would have ALREADY gone to the damned light! 

 I’m serious.  They’re watching over loved ones or otherwise completing tasks and make no bones about telling me about it.

Paranormal experience aside, it was a turning point for me.

Did the ghosts play a part in that?  Not as much as staying in that house did.

Going Home.  I drove the PA then OH Turnpike, knowing I wouldn’t get back to MI until well past midnight, needing to report for duty to the corporate black hole early the next morning.

I was a completely changed person though I had no idea at the time just how much.

160826012942-black-hole-breakthrough-lee-pkg-00002217-exlarge-169To give a perspective of the degree of dysfunctionality of our particular sinking ship…

 

  • There was a sandwich board in the 1stfloor hallway that read the difference between us and the Titanic was that at least the Titanic had a band

 

  • There was a Far Side Cartoon with God looking at the animals and contemplating “Hmmm…pretty good – all I need is something to eat you guys…” on my boss’ office door.

With an arrow over God’s head that had the current black hole program name on it.  The animals?  There was an arrow with the name of our “sacrificial” team on it.

My boss was NOT amused.

I was NOT the orchestrator of this chaos!

Hey, at least we had a sense of humor while we were going down…

Scott Adams would have been proud.

YES – I know Scott Adams did not author the Far Side.

Around 11pm Sunday night, close to the OH-MI border, I checked my vmail.  There were a number of messages from someone who was another energy drain on my life.

Prior to the nights spent in that house – talking to the woman whose family had owned it for generations – I was somehow oblivious to the energetic damage being done by this psychic/emotional/psychological vampire.

By the time I was listening to the sixth – or seventh – vmail DEMANDING that I call him and tell him WHERE I WAS – I was rolling my eyes and acknowledging that my life needed some serious work.

Ghost to the Rescue!

Not long after, I had a visit from the ghost of my deceased maternal grandmother, reading me the riot act because my husband was about to come into my life and there was WORK TO BE DONE and there I was screwing around with a vampire!

Rattled by the dream – my maternal grandmother NEVER yelled at me – I nonetheless blew her off.

My mistake.

Immediately after, my life took a turn into a nightmarish if entropic direction.

It was as if someone yanked the tablecloth off the table of my life and every damned glass thing on it fell to the floor where it proceeded to smash to smithereens.

Those were some rough months afterward…

But as I recount in After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens After We Die, my husband DID enter my life a few months later.

The transformation – Cosmically Guided – was set in stone.

 The Paranormal as Reality Revisited…

I was reading an article the other day and considered where I was when this guy was blowing out an amp.

I was living in the Bay Area, seeing my husband-to-be in a vision on my Silicon Valley apartment balcony.  I actually asked him to wait – explaining I wasn’t ready yet.  This was BEFORE being chewed out, mind you.

Cosmic Time.  Upon reading the article, I realized that though it seemed like an eternity at the time – the actual space between when I saw my husband in that vision and when he showed up in my life was relatively short.

My grandmother’s admonition notwithstanding. 

heartThe rapidness with which everything else was swept away once I touched his hand when we finally found each other?  It left me with no doubt that

  • Destiny Exists
  • Love is a powerful force
  • Paranormal IS reality if you’re smart enough to look for it/see it.

On a side note:  Just before we were married, my husband took me to a place where he used to spend time during a difficult part of his life.  It was the exact location I’d seen him sitting in in the vision, though he was there two years – almost to the day – before I was in my apartment.

The speed of desire across time?

Just the information a storyteller loves to draw from.

Bringing a Story to Life: The Not So Neat Bow

Just listened to Tinnesz and considered which scene I wanted to work on next in Adjudication: Book 13 in the Metatron’s Army series.

The songs are part ofa Verix playlist.  I have two. Each serves a different inspirational purpose.

Whew!  Book 13 is both a relief and a challenge.  Analysis: Book 12 was, by far, the most challenging of the series, for a variety of reasons.  It’s a relief to be past it and yet it’s a challenge because, with Adjudicationthe final book in the series, there’s a lot riding on it, not the least of which is, addressing open issues/questions.

Typing up bows – or not.

Do what works, not what’s popular.  I have never been a fan of formulaic writing.

Something created by a select few– mostly male – at the Big 5 in the 80s.

Happy ever after is one thing.  Tying up in a pretty yet very unrealistic bow – you’ve lost me.

You lost a number of people which is why there was a revolt in and around 2003 by – predominantly female – writers and agents alike.  New to the industry, I sat back and watched, listened, and learned.

Roll Up The Sleeves.  There are a number of outstanding issues and questions to address in the series and yet I can’t just go down a list, checking each one off.

Timing is only one of the considerations.

Best Way?  The techniques used can vary.  For instance, I realized while listening to music from Babelthat a reveal I was going to do by way of a flashback can actually be accomplished by reentering a scene and keeping it in the present.

For this particular reveal, I will adjust timing rather than character participation.

Timing.  I have to be careful.  I can’t just rush through this installment tying up loose ends as I go.

Hurried and unrealistic.

I also don’t want to lose the cadence of the saga by shifting gears at the end.

This consideration applied to the End Game in its entirety which was another reason Book 12 was such a challenge.

Not so fast.  Even though I’m coming up to the finale of the Metatron’s Army series first draft, there’s a lot of work to do.

And the challenge of having my next project in the works.

Stay tuned.

Diagonals:  Book 10 in the series will be available on April 1, 2019.

All in How You Write It

grammatical-errors-1210x423So, turned in final draft for Promotion: Book 11 in the Metatron’s Army series and working on Analysis: Book 12

Promotion is currently available for pre-release.  Officially available June 1, 2019.

I took the schedules of my team into account and decided the sooner I get book 12 ready to go the less stressful it will be for all of us.

Edit, edit, and more edit.  Though I continue to have to deal with past participles more than any other parts of speech*, I was amused to see an example of the nit picking that can happen during “final draft” editing.

Do I really need to “fix” this?**

The phrase in question is “No Light Being ever could have…”

I stared at it and pondered “ever could have” versus “could ever have.”  

Weirdly, it does make a difference. 

In keeping it “ever could have” I am drawing attention to the fact the Light Being in the scene is

Wow – I just caught a typo because I did a direct copy from the manuscript to this article – didn’t capitalize the L and B. 

In keeping the phrase as is, I’m drawing attention to the fact the Light Being in question is unparalleled relative to his peers.

In other words, if he couldn’t do it…***

This is the level of editing that goes on – for me at least – in final draft stage.

For me, final draft is the draft I turn over to the beta reader.  I do one last read through immediately prior to release just for sanity’s sake.  For book 11 that was yesterday.  It was uploaded today and will be live on time.

* I was able to let go of comma issues – issues set in place when my 5thgrade English teacher decided the rule in place back when the abacus was the computer was set in stone.

** Stephen King does a great job of covering the BS involved with nit picking – including commas – in his work On Writing,,which I highly recommend to aspiring writers.  It’s the real.

***For a bit of insight into this passionate character…

Analysis will be available on or before August 1, 2019

Bringing a Story to Life – I’m in the Mood (Not)

wine-by-log-fireAs I sit here staring at the screen I find myself wanting to write, knowing I need to write, but unable to get started.  I’m not in the mood.

Unfortunately, that isn’t a very good excuse.

It isn’t the post-holiday blahs.  It isn’t the environment.  I suppose I could lay the blame at my recent detour back into nonfiction, though even that is stretching it.

I love writing fiction and prefer it.  I also have a desire to make a difference in the world which leads me to periodically release information I believe will help improve the lives of others.

It isn’t that I don’t have ideas.

Quite the contrary, I have a partially completed novel in front of me and other stories in the queue. 

In spite of this, I find myself unable to find the motivation to get to it.

Just put the fingers on the keys, right?

As I sat here, staring sightlessly, I considered a variety of potential stimulants.

I’ve already had a rare second espresso – it didn’t clear the cobwebs.

I considered listening to music but realized it would probably send me in the wrong direction.

I really need to work on the novel in front of me, not the one I’m releasing in March.

As I wrestled with the idea of working on the March release now – just to be working on something – it occurred to me what was wrong.  I’d lost touch with my current novel’s character.

Had I fallen out of love with the plot?

Careful consideration told me that no – it wasn’t the plot that was bothering me, it really was the character.  I’d lost touch with her.  How come?

Damn break!

stock-photo-months-and-dates-shown-on-a-calendar-whilst-turning-the-pages-170786750I had been away for too long.  Even before my work on Calcium: The Old Man Mineral and Its Role in EMF Sensitivity, I had been on a break after releasing two novels close together.

My mistake.

What I learned, even before this pensive episode, was that I’m not cut out to take breaks.

I actually suffer more not writing than I do writing when tired.

I’ve been writing and telling stories since I was three.  To be away from it is painful.

It’s as if I’ve had a part of me ripped out.

 Deciding that I would find a way to work through in the future wasn’t enough to get me back on track at present.  As I started to feel a bit of panic, I asked myself what would.

What’s the problem?  Identifying the problem sets us on the road to a solution.

It also keeps us from wasting energy on something that won’t fix it.

Imagine the scene.  I recalled where I left off.

When last we saw our heroine…

Listen to the director.  I imagined myself an actor on stage.  The director is coaching me.

“Picture your character.  She’s 27 years old.  She’s just flown for over fifteen hours.  She’s been living in the Outback for the last six months.  What’s your mindset?  Are you tired?  Exhilarated?  What’s your state of mind?  What are you looking forward to?  What do you dread?

Back to basics.  What am I trying to accomplish?  Who are the key players?  What is the obstacle facing the character(s)?

Of all of the tools I tapped, listening to the director  was the most helpful.  Perhaps this is because there is a bit of acting required when writing fiction.  As a novelist, you have to get inside the heads and hearts of the people you are writing to life.

Even the bad guys.

You need to strongly identify with the characters in order to write them realistically.  Yes, this takes imagination, but if you put yourself in their shoes, it brings you into the story and sets up so that the character becomes so real it’s as if he or she is telling the story and you are simply taking dictation.

You are simply the medium, your fingers the method by which the story gets down.

When I looked at it like that I found the idea of getting back to the story less daunting.

Time to get to it.

celebrate-311709_960_720

Happy 2018!

Happy reading!

Bringing a Story To Life – Frame by Frame

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Some authors find the first fifty pages of a novel the easiest.

Some veteran writers suggest if you have trouble getting past the first fifty, you need to go back to the drawing board because your plot needs work.

For me, the first fifty pages can be the most challenging.  This is especially true when I’m starting a new series or a single title.

Though somewhat challenging in each Metatron’s Army book, the continuity of the storyline – knowing where it needs to go in any particular book – helps me set up the opening chapters.

When?  Pacing is the most difficult aspect of a new story.  I have a solid idea of what I want to have happen and my mind is tripping over itself in an effort to get it all down.

It isn’t so much being in a hurry as wanting to get introductions out of the way so I can get to the meat of the story.  I’m eager to get things rolling along.

 To help myself slow down I take a frame by frame approach.  This involves stepping back and seeing the character or characters in a single moment, as if capturing them in a photo frame.  It allows me to consider important details such as:

Where?  Not just where are they in the scene but where is my story taking place?  What cultural influences may be present that affect the characters or the props in the scene.

 Props such as food, décor, house/hospital/motel/etc age or style.

Who?  Not just who is in the scene but who may be present – not physically – but in the mind or spirit or heart of the character(s)?  Who might be about to interrupt the scene and how will that change it and/or the characters in it?

What?  Not just what is going on but what is the key mechanism at play in the scene?

  Is it dialogue?  Physical appearance of one or both characters? 

What is supposed to happen?

Is there an action that needs to happen?  If so, what is the best way to achieve it? 

What is the objective of the scene?

To move it along to the next scene or is there a specific achievement that needs to happen, such as having a character transform in thought or feeling or philosophy?

Why?  This isn’t generally a question I need to focus on because for me, the answer is ever present.  Why is fundamental to the plot so if this is a question that needs exploring, it may be time to step back further and consider the overall plot rather than the scene.

I don’t do this with every scene.

The story would never get written if I did.

What is special about this scene that I needed to?

Is it the where, who, when, or what?

In answering these questions, I am able to settle into the pacing of a brand new story. more easily than if I avoided the exercise.

The fifty pages and those that come after proceed normally.

 Further along.  I can use this technique at any point in a story.  Answering any of the above questions provides insight, reminds me where I’m at and where I’m going.  It pulls me out of the story and into the role of observer which is necessary at times in order to effectively write it.

My New Project.  Port in a Storm will be available Fall 2017.

Additional books in the Metatron’s Army series will be forthcoming.

Zwischenzug: Book Three in Metatron’s Army will be available  Sept 15, 2017.