Tag Archives: Metatron’s Legacy

Bringing a Story to Life: In the Flesh

mirror_capgrasDowntime between novels but I’m far from idle.

Laying the groundwork for upcoming projects.

One of the projects brought to mind a rather interesting coincidence – finding my characters in the flesh.

Which has happened more than once.

The first time, I was at the Sandbar  in Scottsdale, AZ.  It was a working lunch so I was sitting in a booth in the bar. The bartender came over to take my order and when I looked up my eyes widened.

Big time!

The guy was a double for Parmeet Sarin, the romantic lead in The Seer, the final in the [Okracoke] Awakening Series.

He was such an exact match, he could have been Parmeet.

Knowing my expression was likely freaking him out, I quickly explained he was the perfect model for a main character in my upcoming novel.

He was amused.  Especially when I told him the guy was the romantic lead.  He said he couldn’t wait to tell his wife and mom.

It was really a shock to see my character  – down to every detail of appearance – in the flesh.

Fast forward a few years and it happened again.

With a different character in a different book.

This time I was having a casual lunch over the summer and looked up to see the main character – the protagonist – in the upcoming Metatron’s Legacy.

Not certain of a release date at this time.  Likely autumn 2019.

The young woman who was summer help was an exact match, including height, build,  hair color and style.

Not to mention, the attitude.  She carried herself with the same jaded but not too jaded air, as if daring anyone to criticize her.

She was the right age, too.

Though I didn’t mention it to her, I couldn’t help but be a bit in awe of that type of coincidence – not once but twice.

 Just another in a long list of interesting events that cross my path.

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Bringing a Story to Life – The Role of FreeCell – er – Meditation

screenshot_ios_667With Pawn Storm: Metatron’s Army Book 6 ready for pre-order and full release June 15, I have a bit of free time.  Rather than taking a break, I am working on Dark Bishop: Book 7 in th series.

Set for a September 15, 2018 release.

Keep Going.  I’ve learned that it’s best for me to go right into the next book rather than weave between the series and other material.

Because I just finished the final edit for Book 6, the story – where our heroine left off – is fresh in my mind.  It is because of this that when I went back to work on Book 7 I realized I wasn’t particularly satisfied with the opening scene.

Oh, it would grab the reader.  I just think it misrepresents the situation.

I have a pretty good idea how I’ll fix the issue but I’ve got to iron out the details, come to a place of satisfaction.  I’m finding it more difficult than anticipated, in spite of the fact I’m keeping everything, just swapping a few paragraphs around.

FreeCell to the Rescue!  I don’t want to lose momentum and if I step away and hope the solution will present itself, I will.  To avoid this, I engaged in an activity which will almost guarantee* a quick solution, FreeCell induced meditation.

*So far, it’s worked every time.

Setup.  There are actually two parts to the process.  The first is to select music to listen to.

I generally listen to the play lists that I’ve created for the series.  This gets me in touch with the characters and the scenes/environments in which these characters live and act.

 The next step is to launch FreeCell.  As I sit playing round after round of a game that requires little concentration – as if it’s just a background process – I find myself falling into a meditative state.

Doing a repetitive activity that doesn’t take much in the way of intellectual cycles is relaxing.

With my mind freed of the normal chatter the creative juices begin to flow and soon I’m writing scenes and dialogue, rapid fire.

Challenge One:  Guilt. I  feel squirmish when someone walks by and sees me playing FreeCell.

It’s silly because I don’t have to explain myself to anyone but there it is.

It’s worse if I’m in public.  I find myself wanting to prove I’m working.

Then I think, “Who the hell cares?”  Weird.

Challenge Two:  Write It Down.  This one isn’t really a challenge for me.  I generally begin writing within minutes of finishing the session.

Even if I have to wait, the scene is a movie in my head and very familiar, so I don’t have difficulty.

Think Session.  Many creatives have a time and/or place set aside for generating ideas.  For instance, many, including myself, find the shower conducive to the flow of creativity.

One author keeps a waterproof pen and pad handy for such an occasion.

Walking is another activity during which creative ideas flow, though for me, it’s better for solving non-writer related problems.

Quiet but not Creative.  I live in a relatively quiet area, which would seem the ideal getaway for some think time, but it isn’t.

My mind stays totally in beta and focuses on problems ranging from the mundane (I need to throw the sheets in the dryer or they’ll smell) to the serious (How can I better monitor the effect of new foods on electrolyte balance?).

Writing is pushed to the back burner, until the next FreeCell – er – meditation session.

Play On to Create!

For this article I listened to Harry Nilsson – Nilsson, Schmilsson, which is part of the Metatron’s Legacy Soundtrack.

Bringing a Story to Life – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

film-cutting-7202477Due to production timing, I’ve gone back to finish Metatron’s Legacy.

It was in 1stdraft.

 

50-50 Work.  When revising, it’s part edit, part continue the story.  It’s the chance to add scenes and enhance characters, polish dialogue, and transform the story from the basics to the finished product. It’s also the time to determine what, if anything, should, be cut.

There is a philosophy among certain editors that it is more difficult for a new/aspiring writer to add than cut so it’s best to avoid those who fall short or barely make minimum word count in their proposals.

As Stephen King points out in his On Writing, this, as well as the improper use of commas, can be viewed as an excuse.

Deciding what to cut is not as straight forward as it might seem.

Easy.  For me, the obvious scene to cut is one that takes the character out of character. If I write a scene wherein any character, including secondary/ supporting characters suddenly behave in a way that is inconsistent with who they are supposed to be or what they are supposed to be accomplishing or preventing, it ends up being cut later.

It doesn’t take long to realize it needs to go.  Usually, some part of me knows immediately and generally, while drifting off to sleep I give myself the directive to revisit the scene in the morning.

Not So Easy.  There are times when the scene is good and appropriate to the character – in a given context.

In Metatron’s Legacy, there is a scene that wouldn’t normally make sense.  However, given the situation the main character finds herself in, it’s conceivable she would do what she is doing.

Considerations.  If it isn’t clear whether or not a scene should be cut, I put myself in the reader’s shoes.

Will the reader be able to empathize with the character/understand why the character is/is not doing something specific?

I put myself in the author’s shoes.

What is it I think I’m going to accomplish by keeping the scene versus what I would lose if I pull it?

Decorations.  If I decide that it’s worth keeping the scene – as I’ve done in this particular instance – I may edit it and/or partially rewrite it so that it works.

In doing so, I cater to the reader and their need to empathize with the character and why that character is/is not doing something.

I may add dialogue or a supporting scene later to elaborate further on character motivation/thinking and though it may appear that if such is necessary, that’s a good reason to cut the scene, it comes down to a simple question:

  • What do I gain by leaving it in?
  • What do I lose by taking it out?

Hesitations.  I can think of one instance when it isn’t a good idea to add/keep a scene, word count.

This is the equivalent of using the a and but and that unnecessarily and screams novice.

Readers are smart. They know when a scene is a desperate act.

Like keeping up small talk to be polite when you’re both probably better off just going off to do something else.

Bringing a Story to Life – Time Loop

two-clocks-and-tunnel-in-fibers-ring-time-travel-concept-background-loop-4k_ribjb0wb__F0005.pngI just finished the first draft of Metatron’s Legacy, a single title follow on to the last book in the Metatron’s Army series.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book as it was a return to my writing roots in a way.

Metatron’s Army

 The Idea:  As I’ve written previously, this story was inspired by what I saw and experienced during a Near Death Experience.  The story developed over a period of some thirty-five years.

The Method:  In all honesty, I hadn’t planned on publishing the story I’d been weaving.  I was “inspired” to do so in 2013, though I had several other projects to complete before starting.

Inspired is polite-speak for something nagged at me to go for it.

 Getting the story down was a monumental task.  The primary challenge was making sense of the images and sensations.

I was ten at the time.  I easily accepted everything I’d seen and experienced.  It was only when a number of adults began asking me to explain what I saw and felt/experienced that I began to have issues.  There was no common frame of reference, so getting them to understand was difficult.

 Fortunately, by the time I put fingers to keyboard, I’d had plenty of education and life experience to help me understand – or at least articulate – the concepts.

As I’ve written, math and science did far more to explain it all though it would be misleading to say there was no paranormal [read celestial] component. 

I decided that, given the enormity of the information to be disseminated, the story would best be served as a saga, and as such, would span several books.

Each book would be a chapter in the main character’s life.

Whenever possible, I integrated actual events though I integrated them in a meaningful way.

i.e. Spirit School became Energy School.

I changed celestial/energy beings/characters as appropriate for the story and edited out anything that didn’t move the story along.

An entire fight scene I mentally “wrote” in 1989, while stuck in traffic near the Pontiac Silverdome, was tossed.

I initially wrote each book from beginning to end, taking breaks between, but discovered that it was better for me to just keep going.

Unlike a regular series, each book in this series is part of the story itself.

I have most of the story in first draft format.

I am writing the climax/endgame first drafts and hope to have them done within the next few months, even as I continue to publish the previous works on a regular schedule.

Metatron’s Legacy

The Idea:  I had no intention of writing a follow on story to Metatron’s Army.  

I was dealing with the climax of the series and, given the intensity of it all, was looking forward to getting back to “regular” paranormal fiction.

The furnace needed servicing and I was down chatting with the awesome guy doing the diagnosing. Suddenly, sparks started shooting out.

He didn’t even bat an eye, was as cool as a cucumber.  The guy is just awesome.

He found the source of the problem – a wire was frayed – and given it was in a metal environment – was arc’ing.  I’d seen arc’ing years before when a repair guy was diagnosing an issue and – oops – hadn’t turned off the circuit breaker.

Watching electricity arc across the bedroom ceiling is interesting. I have to admit, he was calm about it, though I was concerned – about him/his ability.  I asked if he knew what he was doing and suggested my very handy EE husband might be a good consultant to tap.  Turns out the fixture was wired incorrectly but the lightning spark show was from his not having turned off the breaker before starting the job.  Fun.

The furnace guy took care of the problem.

Convenient to have heat in the winter.

I lay in bed that night thinking of Metatron’s Army and how I have Arcs.

The Iconoclast’s army of bad dudes.

Given how electricity, magnetics, and energy in general play such a key role in the story, I couldn’t help thinking how cool it would be to use arc’ing in some unique way.

So, thanks to a broken furnace, I got a great plot device.

The Method:  Port in a Storm** was the last single title I’d written and though I’d done series work before, Metatron’s Army is unique in that each book is part of the overall story instead of being a single title within the series.

Even though I had characters crossed over from the MA series, I was delighted to take brand new characters with their own story and write something unique and stand alone.

Though if someone has not read the series – there are several spoilers in Metatron’s Legacy.

I am thrilled with and proud of both projects but it really was special to have a stand alone with a unique, if tangent story.

And a blast to work with old characters in a totally new way.

Now, it’s time to get back to the first draft of Pin, Book 8 in Metatron’s Army.

Pawn Storm, Book 6 will be available June, 2018.

 

What I learned

  • Inspiration can come from unexpected places – go with it
  • Ignoring inspiration is not a good idea and will likely cost you sleep, if not peace of mind
  • Develop a work routine that works for the project

I wrote Metatron’s Legacy in 9 days.  That is a first as it is close to 90,000 words.  The story would not let me rest but now it’s done and I feel ahhhhhhh. 

  • Working backward (in a time loop) can be really helpful

Metatron’s Legacy takes place 19 years after Metatron’s Army. Telling of events that already happened before I’ve written them – in Metatron’s Army – from the point of view of characters in both series provided insight into what I need to do in these last books. It was as if I was getting advice from characters who had gone through events I hadn’t yet written – a “make sure you do this/talk about this/convey this character’s feelings about the event.” 

As time/dimension travel is a key plot element, I had to also acknowledge that characters who appear in different times are different because in one dimension, they have not yet been changed by the experiences they go through, while in the other dimension, they’ve been changed by events that are often traumatic and definitely life-changing.  This provided incredible depth to the characters.  It was a great opportunity and one I hadn’t planned in advance.  It just grew out of the situation and became a learning opportunity for me as a writer.

  • Don’t force yourself to take breaks

Because the books in the series are so closely linked together – the next one picking up where the previous left off – I discovered I do much better moving on to the next book right after getting the current one published.  Taking a break caused a tremendous amount of stress as I tried to pick up the emotional thread of the work after days if not weeks off.

  • Celebrate the magic in the process

More than once when I found myself wondering if there was a point to it all, some synchronistic event would happen that let me know I wasn’t alone and that I was on the right path.

  • Tap into the creative force

Watching movies, talking to other creatives, and creating music play lists for each book has been incredibly helpful.  Music, in particular, has fed my soul while I poured my heart into my work.

  • Write what you love

Figuring that out can take longer than you might think so if you want to be a writer – start!

  • Celebrate completion

I admit, I totally suck at this.  Finish one, on to the next.  But I AM enjoying the process – I LOVE writing!  This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was 3 years old.  Everything I worked at in life – my career choices – was with this in mind. 

**I have more adventures for the tiny town of Port Gallatan scheduled for future release, so stay tuned.