Reflections from an emerging writer as she journeys through the creative process.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Beginnings - Insecure Writer's Support Group

The first Wednesday of the month is for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This is a blog hop and if you'd like to be included, or would like to find other members, click HERE.

I titled this New Beginnings because right now I'm in the process of deciding what I'm going to write about next. After spending the last two years writing about dragons I'd like to switch gears and write about something else. I've been researching a couple of different ideas, but at the moment I don't have the courage to talk about them. The ideas are still too flimsy, like eggs getting ready to hatch. Perhaps I need to see a crack in the egg and the living being pop out as it materializes into a true identity.

To me, this is the hardest part of writing a story. Starting an outline and sketching out the idea. How do you start your story? Do you outline? Or have scraps of papers with notes on them? I take a fresh notebook and start writing ideas down. Scenes as they come to me and parts of dialogue. But some of it I never use if it doesn't fit in the final story.

This next story will have more than one layer to it. I plan on making a secondary plot that won't be revealed until near the end. Perhaps I'll create another race of characters and make up a whole new world for them to live in. So, on with the plot! Same old, same old? A new twist on the same plot? This is hard for me until I get the story down, but it will tie in with the new world and new creatures. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jefferson Smith: The 5 Most Common Writing Mistakes That Break Reader Immersion

Jefferson Smith has an article out about his study on Reader Immersion. He cites the 5 most common writing mistakes that cause readers to lose focus and stop reading. Actually, in the article, he cites many more reasons that he has found while reading an e-book a day for forty minutes. So far, he's read 50 books and will continue his study so he can make another such analysis after reading 100 books.

The first 5 most common errors are:
  1. Weak mechanics: Spelling, grammar, etc.
  2. Implausible character behaviors: When a character does something contrary to his/her established traits or in violation of basic human nature.
  3. Echoing: When words or sentence structure repeat frequently in a way that calls attention to the pattern.
  4. Illogical world features: Aspects of the world building that do not bear scrutiny.
  5. Conspicuous exposition: Presentation of backstory in inappropriate places, or in dense passages, or for insufficient story reasons.
I must include in this small commentary that Mr. Smith did his study while reading only fantasy and science fiction, which are his primary genres as an author. I found his article to be challenging and as a writer with a book recently finished, I will be examining the entire text for mistakes.

If you want to read Jefferson Smith's entire article, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dragon's Fury is Finished!

I'm happy to announce that Dragon's Fury, Book 3, Dragon Stone Trilogy is finally completed and is being edited for the final time. I'm expecting this book to be out the first part of September on Smashwords and Amazon in ebook form.

This particular book was a challenge for me to finish and I had to revise the ending several times. Hopefully, the ending I created will be satisfying to all my readers.

Dragon’s Fury
Darius, the seventh son of the King’s new acolyte, is wanted by the King who has usurped the throne. Escaping arrest, he’s given a dragon stone and a dragon egg to guard. Taking the egg to the desert, where the Zandir place him under their protection, the dragon hatches and becomes a loyal friend and fierce protector. The Great One, Zandir’s voice of the gods, gives them a mission to save the kingdom of Mar and reveals the well-kept secret that there is one left alive of the true King’s line. The Queen of Mar has been in hiding with the Zandir. But the false King refuses to go quietly and is exposed as an evil sorcerer that has been traveling through the timelines, taking what he will. Who will win and who will escape from the growing forces of magic? A mighty battle ensues, with dragon fire breaking the chain of magic and attacking the evil King.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tamora Pierce

For those of you who are not familiar with Tamora Pierce I'd like to introduce you to a staple in young adult literature. Her writings are about the challenges of growing up in different worlds, but can pertain to any young person on the planet. Although I'm not a young person anymore, I've been enjoying her work and find her writing style to be straightforward, magical and heartwarming. She deals with all kinds of situations in her books and doesn't shy away from the difficult areas like death, loss and loneliness.

I've been devouring her books lately and keep finding more in her listing. I've just finished reading Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, two books about a young lady who gets kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in a land ripe with civil unrest. The books share her growth as a person as she finds herself changing from a wayward girl with no goals into a strong young woman leading the civil rebellion. Woven into this is magic, war and a god who is a trickster. It is excellent reading for any age.

I'm currently reading The Circle of Magic, Tris's Book. This is the second in a set of four: Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Daja's Book and Briar's Book. It is about four young people from different backgrounds who find themselves thrown together at Winding Circle Temple, only to discover the different magic hidden inside each one. Since I haven't finished the books I'm not sure of the ending yet. One thing I've discovered about Tamora Pierce's writing is that it isn't predictable. There's always a twist or turn to keep the reader surprised and guessing at what comes next. If you like Young Adult literature, I highly recommend Tamora Pierce to you.

Have you read any good books lately? Are there any you want to recommend?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In the Midst of Summer - IWSG

This is the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers' Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. To visit the website and other members click HERE.

I live in Southern Oregon, a place that usually has fair weather and except for a few days in the summer and winter, I enjoy reasonable weather. That's usually true except for the last few weeks. We've been experiencing a heat wave, with blasting hot heat in the triple digits. In fact, this July has gone on record as the hottest month in the history of Jackson County.

I added this blurb because while I've been sweating it out this summer with the heat, I've also been sweating it out with the last few pages of my novel Dragon's Fury. As the weather starts to cool, I am nearing the end of a story that has lasted through three books.

I want to apologize for not posting here on my blog these last two weeks. I found that as I struggled with my story, I couldn't even write on my blog without whining, so I decided to take a break from senseless writing until I had something to say. So now I'm nearing the end of my book and my thoughts are starting to stir again on something besides dragons and magicians. I have learned that when I tackle a project like a trilogy, the constancy throughout all three stories needs to remain intact. I strayed during my second book but was able to return to the basic story in the final book. This error is a hard lesson but has taught me to plan all three books out first.

I hope that all of you have a wonder August with good weather to add to your enjoyment. Remember, plan ahead. It'll save you a lot of headaches later. :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

To Kill or Not To Kill?

I'm just now finishing the last installment of the Dragon Stone Trilogy, Dragon's Fury and I find myself in a predicament with the antagonist who has been continually causing havoc throughout all three books. It was suggested to me that it would be too easy to just kill him off and I should consider other options for his demise.

One suggestion was to make him a servant to those whom he had caused the most trouble to. But that seemed a little trite and not the most effective way to show his punishment. Would he feel remorse because he had to serve his enemies? I doubt it. He needs to experience fear, which was something he never did feel all through the trilogy. Being arrogant and hateful, he never expected to lose.

Perhaps it will end in a face down with the dragons who are crying out for revenge. They desire that he face the Crown of Mar and stand before the Queen to receive his sentence. But would it be a cop out to have him escape? After three installments, I think everyone is ready to see him get his due.

To find out what happens to the evil sorcerer in Dragon's Fury, you'll have to wait until September 1st when it will be available on Smashwords and Amazon. Be prepared for a twist in his fate and not just a straight execution.

Dragon’s Fury

Somewhere in another timeline, Sebastian escaped from Kai, a magnificent dragon whose lifetime spans longer than most. Now Kai is trapped in the Valley of the Dragons after Sebastian set his magical barrier on top of its mountains. Kai roars fire and thrashes his wings against Sebastian’s devious spell. The seers proclaim that another young dragon and its rider will soon come to break the spell and release Kai from his imprisonment. He will finally be free! But Kai will not rest until Sebastian pays for his treacherous crimes against the entire kingdom. And so he waits until the day of reckoning; the day Sebastian will stand before the Crown of Mar.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today is the first Wednesday of the month which means the Insecure Writer's Support Group convenes. Our host is Alex J. Cavanaugh (along with a few others) and the main web page can be found HERE.

I want to talk about something close to my heart right now. It's remembering to tell those around you that you care about them. Saying those fleeting thoughts of kindness may make all the difference in the world to a person who is feeling down or insecure.

On a personal note, my daughter Heather is in the hospital, in ICU and has been there for six days. Although she is finally getting better, there was a couple of days when she was critical and we didn't know which way she would go. I thought of all those things I wanted to say to her. How her life could be enriched with those words. Would I get the chance? Fortunately, I will. But it took this kind of disaster to make me remember that we must voice our feelings to family and friends.

I hope you are remembering to tell your friends that they are cared about and are special. If you haven't done so today, pick out someone and remember to encourage them.