Tag Archives: Bringing a story to life

Analysis: Book 12

nle5mm_and_07_00_ball-end-andirons.jpgA quick update/  Lots of andirons in the fire as usual.

Funny, my beta reader for a previous novel didn’t know what andirons were.  Author word!  Makes me really good at Scrabble – heh heh!

 

I am releasing Analysis:  Book 12 in the Metatron’s Army series August 1.

The trailer and synopsis were posted today.

Adjudication: Book 13 is in post production.

Release date October 1, 2019

Projects in the queue.

  • Videos
  • Paranormal Journeys
  • Ghost Games
  • Dragon Core
  • Metatron’s Universe Single Titles

Metatron’s Legacy, a Metatron’s Universe Single Title:  Release Date TBD

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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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.

Promotion and More

Just put finishing touches on the book description for Promotion: Book 11 in the Metatron’s Army series.

I spent the last half hour swapping out words and rearranging sentence order

The book trailer is in production and will be available soon.

The book will be available for purchase on or before June 1, 2019.

I’m hard at work on a number of upcoming projects:

  • Analysis: Book 12 in the series.

Slated for release on or before August 1, 2019.

  • Soothsayer

Slated for release Summer 2019.

  • Dragon Core

Still working on location scouting.

  • Ghost Games

In development.

Stay tuned.

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.