Tag Archives: Dragon Core

Bringing a Story to Life: When Life Meets You Halfway

knight-horse-jousting-vector-cartoon-clip-art-illustration-armored-scary-black-red-eyes-charging-lance-111436248“It is seeking me as I am seeking it

                  – Thomas Pauley

 

This morning as I was pulling the car in near the coffee shop where I get my double shot a song came on the radio.  Initially, I rolled my eyes as it was a cheesy 80s love ballad.

I prefer heavy metal – big time.

I was about to turn it – and the car – off – when the lyrics caught my attention.  A smile spread across my face and I decided the doppio could wait a little longer.  You see, the song solved a writing problem.

This isn’t the first time.

The Problem.  Last night I began working out a scene in Cauldron of the Gods.

An urban fantasy I’m working on.   

I’m 43000 plus words into the story and this scene takes place much later in the novel.

The scene is a bit of a challenge as there are elements that are in conflict with earlier ones.  I tried resolving the conflict off and on before bed to no avail.

For once it didn’t keep me awake.

To my surprise and delight – yes, author word – the lyrics of the song provided the answer I needed.

I rarely IF EVER (can’t think of one instance) say I’m delighted – too dated a term.

Not a One Off.  This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this phenomenonBeginning some eight months ago, while driving, I would notice a song on the radio that solved a writing issue.

I say notice because most of the time songs are just background music. 

Time is Immaterial. The song doesn’t have to be a current release.

 The keyword is notice.

At times, it’s a song I’ve never heard before.  Other times it’s an older song I’m hearing in a new way.

Lyrics.

Words V Tunes.  It’s typically lyrics that resolve a problem.

Not necessarily the whole song, either; sometimes just a stanza. 

Rarely is it the rhythm.

Though it can be. Especially in the case of percussion led songs.

Let Me Count the Ways.  It’s not always the same issue that’s resolved.

Character.  The following are some of the songs that have helped with character related issues  

  • ET – Katy Perry
  • I Am Machine – Three Days Grace
  • Wicked Game – Ursine Vulpine Remake
  • Ever It Hurts – Sam Tinnesz

Setting.  The following songs have helped with setting related issues

  • Circadian Rhythm – Silversun Pickups
  • Love Walks In – Van Hagar
  • Sunrise – Blackwater Holylight
  • Windswept – Bryan Ferry

Scene.  The following songs have helped with scene related issues

  •  Story of Love – Peter Cetera
  • When Legends Rise – Godsmack
  • Angels Fall – Breaking Benjamin
  • Prologue/Twilight – Electric Light Orchestra

Ask and Ye Shall Receive.  What stands out the most is how the problem is being solved.

  • I mentally consider that I’m feeling frustrated.

But other than considering the various ways I can approach the issue I don’t spend time on it.

  • I analyze whatever part of the writing process is the challenge 

Character, scene, plot, other.

  • I go about my life

Though the issue rattles around in the background

The point is I don’t pray/meditate for resolution or otherwise actively try to solve the issue

It honestly doesn’t occur to me to do more than say to myself, “Yeah, I am frustrated.”

Kismet.  In spite of the lack of effort toward resolution, an answer presents itself – in the form of a song – within a very short time of acknowledging the problem.

As Pauley said…it (the answer) is seeking me as I am seeking it.

As I approach my dreams, Life is meeting me halfway.

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Bringing a Story to Life: The Rhythm of Writing

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This morning called for a second double shot espresso.

I’m ripping apart a paragraph in Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core adventure for the fourth time.

Dragon Core is part of the Metatron’s Universe project.

It’s amazing how many different ways you can arrange a sentence and get the same meaning even as some just sound better than others.

And how many times you can change your mind about what sounds better.

It was while working on this novel that I came to see there is a rhythm to my writing.

It’s been some time since I’ve worked on something totally new.  The Metatron’s Army installments follow one to the next so in many respects it’s like one long novel.

Which is why it’s an Epic.

Soothsayer is connected to Port in a Storm and even though Blue Skye, the next Paranormal Journeys story is separate with new characters, all these novels and others in the queue fall under the P J umbrella.  Cauldron of the Gods– Dragon Core – I’m starting from scratch for the first time in years.

The Ingredients. The concept for Dragon Core, an urban fantasy, took root last fall as I was in the midst of the Metatron’s Army series and pondering what to do with Soothsayer. 

Actually, I was pondering what to do with my writing career.

Intrigued by the concept for this new series I set up a folder and began taking notes and doing research.

As the story has roots in real incidents that took place centuries ago, I quickly saw that research would not only be a big part of the up-front work, it would be a time-consuming part. I needed to factor that in when working out release dates for various projects in the queue.

By the New Year I had all the pieces in place

  • iTunes playlist for the project
  • Photographic images that represent the hero of the story
  • Files containing links to relevant historical data
  • Sample of academic work on relevant subject
  • Solid feel for the story arc that would carry not only Cauldron of the Gods but the follow-on stories in the Dragon Core series

Content I’d done everything I could given I had other priorities – aka other novels to finish and release – I set Cauldron aside and returned to finishing MA and Soothsayer

I trusted that in the ensuing months, as is typical, I would give time to the story while sitting outside observing nature, playing Free Cell and listening to music, or lying awake in the middle of the night.

The Sauce.  I’ve come to see that every book I write has its own pace and style of development.

It had been awhile since I’d worked on something completely new.

Cauldron is spaghetti sauce style.

This means I start at page one and write straight through, getting the main story arc in place, before going back and adding spice – intrigues and subplots – as appropriate.

I coined the spaghetti sauce descriptor  to describe this style of writing early in my career though not every story follows this pattern.

Only the first in the MA series – Advantage– fit that writing style profile.

This style of writing is the most energy intensive because it’s a slower paced style and requires intense focus that can be and often is cyclical.

I alternate rapid free-flowing sessions wherein I’ll get 3 – 6K words in one sitting with methodical and more time-consuming sessions which may yield 2K if I’m lucky.

Another characteristic of this style is the need to go back and reread what I’ve written in the previous session to regain momentum before continuing on.

This style is also cognitively draining relative to the rapid free-flow style that carried most of the Metatron’s Army works.

Free flow is a style where I’m simply the physical go-between for the muse, my fingers typing before I even think what it is I want/need to write.  It’s like being in a trance state, what some refer to as being “in the Zone.”

Understanding the rhythm (or not) has big time repercussions because the variability of the pacing can result in frustration.

It’s been years since I’ve dealt with a spaghetti sauce novel.  I’ve had to repeatedly remind my runaway train of a writing brain to slow down and relax – that it will all come out [right] in the end.

I have no idea at this point when Cauldron of the Gods will be ready for release but I’m enjoying the interesting path it’s taking to get there.

 

Book Excerpt: Soothsayer

9-hands-on-crystal-ball-and-cryptocurrency-allan-swart.jpgBelow is an excerpt from Soothsayer, the upcoming Paranormal Journeys release.

Available Summer 2019.

I am hard at work on a number of projects.

Stay Tuned

BOOK EXCERPT:

Fountain Hills, Arizona

Seven-year-old Fiona Gladstone knew one thing for certain.  Sneaking out to meet her older brother was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do.  Why he wanted to go hiking before the sun was up was a mystery, but he was adamant.  By the time they reached the bottom of the Arizona canyon, the sun was rising over the Four Peaks and her chest was heaving.

“Here.”

She took a long drink then looked around, handed back the water bottle.  “What -?”

Puzzled, Connor glanced at his sister.  Fiona talked more than anyone he knew so he was curious why she shut up before finishing her question.  “You see them,” the third-grader said quietly, “don’t you?”

“Who are they?”

“Apache Indians.”

“What are they doing?”

“Living,” he replied simply.

“What is that?” she asked, pointing at a curtain of shimmering air.

In response, Connor reached out.  His hand and arm, all the way up to his elbow, disappeared.

Fiona screamed.

 

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.

Projects Old and New

New_and_old

I’ve been hard at work on several projects, old and new.

 

  • Updates to elizabethmaxim.com

Ongoing as I put in place the framework for various new projects alongside current projects.

  • New merchandise available at the store

Fun t-shirts for the various projects, including Ghost Games, Dragon Core, and a curious cat waiting for a cool story.

I am finishing Adjudication, the final book in the series.

  • Just returned from a research trip that was not only productive, it was validating.

I will be updating emfconductor.com in the near future.

  • Created several new videos.

They will post soon.

I look forward to sharing additional information on the projects – current and upcoming – in the days ahead.

Stay tuned.