Posts Tagged With: writing a book

MEET THE AUTHOR: A.R. Silverberry is in the house!!!

Meet the Author: A.R. SilverberryA.R. Silverberry

I just finished reading one of the most wonderful fantasy novels that I have ever read! Seriously! It’s called Wyndano’s Cloak and it is written by A.R. Silverberry. My raving 5 star review is here.I enjoyed it so much so that I contacted the author and asked if he wouldn’t mind doing an interview. And he agreed. Yippee! Also, it just so happens that he is on a blog tour for the re-release of his novel. So please help me welcome the author of WYNDANO’S CLOAK, A.R. Silverberry!

Hello Mr. Silverberry, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been a licensed psychologist since 1991. I work mostly with children and teens, but also adults. I love my work, but the job of a psychologist is to help others actualize themselves. This means I have to look elsewhere for a creative outlet. I’ve played piano since I was ten and later played in bands and composed music, including a choral cantata about Paul Robeson, based on a poem by the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. My fingers started feeling the strain of banging the ivories. I had to seek another channel for my creativity, so in 1998 I turned to writing.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I still play piano ten to fifteen minutes, daily if I can squeeze it in. I do a lot of reading. I’ve got a seventy-five minute commute, which I fill with audio books, but I read a lot off my Kindle. I don’t watch TV, other than my favorite show, Iron Chef America, and movies. I love cats, pesto, homemade pasta, marinara sauce (are you seeing an Italian trend here?!), Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jane Eyre, and the Lord of the Rings, not necessarily in that order.

Awesome! When did you finish your first book?

2003. It was the prequel to Wydnano’s Cloak. It’s sitting in my dresser, waiting for revisions. I really would like to get to it, but other stories are demanding to be written first.

Oh my goodness, I can’t wait for that one! So, where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. The more I get away from my desk and out into the world, the more my imagination is stimulated. Julia Cameron, who wrote The Writer’s Way, recommends that writers have artist dates. You go out solo and explore something new and interesting. She compares the wellspring of creativity to a pond where new ideas are the fish. To keep the pond stocked, go out on an artist data. She’s right. Whenever things start to grow stagnant or stop flowing, I get myself pronto into a new environment. It works every time. Even a walk outside will do it.

I’ve always been a big people watcher. I did it all through school, and observing human behavior is my stock-in-trade as a psychologist. But I hone in on different things when I’m watching as a writer. I ask myself, why does that woman wear that color scarf? Why is that child playing with a plastic bat? I keep a notebook in my pocket and I’m constantly recording what I see. I’ve been known to do that when I’m driving, which can be quite hairy!

What a great way to come up with ideas! Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I sent that prequel I mentioned above to five top New York agents. Two asked for the whole manuscript, which is a coup in itself. Both wrote gracious letters back, and one actually provided some concrete feedback, which I paid close attention to. After that, I attended writers’ workshops and classes, and read a number of excellent books on the craft. Armed with a clear idea how to improve my writing, I wrote Wyndano’s Cloak.Wyndano's Cloak Cover

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

A snapshot popped into my head depicting exactly what the heroine would have to do in the story’s climax. The Rose Castle—made from a single piece of translucent stone, where safety or danger can be seen in the flickering and shimmering colors inside it—came straight from my imagination. Most of my settings come from real places that I visited or found photo references for. I love working this way. I get ideas I would never think of. For example, when Jen’s friend, Bit, goes into the Royal Stable, I reference sounds and sites she’s hearing “off camera”:

“The sharp ring of metal roused her from a blanket of melancholy. Outside, Hom the Smith had begun hammering. He had a long shed behind the stable, where, in addition to hot coals and bellows, a flotsam of old wheels, hubs, spokes, discarded wagon cushions, and rusty tools crowded his stall. Fifteen shoes of various sizes were nailed on a beam above his open-air window. A deep, soulful tenor sang from his hammer, and Bit guessed he was beating on number ten, a shoe for a heavy draft horse.”

That level of detail establishes a powerful feeling of place. What’s more, as the scene progressed, the pounding on the shoe, and later, the hissing steam as the red-hot iron is doused in water, mirrors Bit’s growing apprehension at leaving the safety of the Rose Castle and traveling to a strange place with dangers all around her. I never would have gotten that subtext without visiting a stable and carriage house built in the mid-nineteenth century!

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I loved writing Chapter Ten. It poured out pretty much as you see it, with few revisions. It tells the story about the heroine Jen’s life growing up in the Plain World—a gray, dreary, magicless world—before coming to Aerdem and being reunited with her family. What I love about the chapter is how it characterizes Jen, showing she’s an outsider, so different from the children around her. I think it beautifully establishes why Jen doesn’t want to lose her family, now that she’s reunited with them; it establishes why she yearns to rise above her circumstances, yearns to master Wyndano’s Cloak: It may be the only protection she has against the darkness about to descend on their lives.

That was one of my favorite to read as well! How did you come up with the title?

The title was hard to nail down. It refers to a cloak in the story that lends shapeshifting powers to the wearer. It’s vitally important to the plot, the main character, and the book’s theme. It symbolizes the yearning of the human spirit to soar above adversity. Such a symbol can’t be overused, and I didn’t. Think of To Kill a Mockingbird. Said bird is only mentioned a few times in Lee’s classic. Same with For Whom the Bell Tolls. You have to wait for the end to understand what Hemingway is saying. It’s not a book about church bells! So it goes with Wyndano’s Cloak.

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on a dystopian science fiction novel set in the not too distant future. I’m anticipating this one will be a trilogy. In very broad strokes, I know what will happen in books two and three. Book one has been hard to write. Orson Scott Card said that it could take years for a story to ripen. I think that’s what’s happened here. The world building and the backstory are just taking their own sweet time. After three false starts, I decided to skip the set up and started writing the middle. That went well for a few chapters. Then I wasn’t sure which direction to take things so I skipped to the end and wrote that. Now I’m back at the beginning, which is finally going well. I’m still not sure about the middle, but I have faith it will come, even if I have to set the whole thing aside and work on something else! Not to compare myself to them in any way, but I remind myself that Beethoven took nine years to write the overture to Fidelio. Brahms took twenty years for his first symphony, as did Neil Gaiman to complete The Graveyard Book. My philosophy: Give yourself permission to take time; they’re ready when they’re ready.

I’ve also got a completed science fiction fantasy, which will be coming out in the late spring or early summer. I’m not ready to release too much info about it, but will say this: It’s part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey. Set in a unique, highly visual and palpable world, it cuts across several genres and will appeal to teens, adults, and fans of speculative fiction. I’ll keep you posted about it!

Jade, thanks so much for having me today!

It was a pleasure, Mr. Silverberry! Thank you for agreeing to stop here on your tour and good luck with all of your current and future projects!

About Wyndano’s Cloak:

Jen has settled into a peaceful life when a terrifying event awakens old fears—of being homeless and alone, of a danger horrible enough to destroy her family and shatter her world forever.

She is certain that Naryfel, a shadowy figure from her past, has returned and is concentrating the full force of her hate on Jen’s family. But how will she strike? A knife in the dark? An attack from her legions? Or with the dark arts and twisted creatures she commands with sinister cunning.

Wyndano’s Cloak may be Jen’s only hope. If she’s got what it takes to use it . . .

Purchase on Amazon

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Purchase limited edition hardback from A. R. Silverberry

About the Author:

A. R. Silverberry has won a dozen awards, including Gold Medal Winner in the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Awards for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction; Gold Medal Winner in the 2010 Readers Favorite Awards for Preteen Fiction; and Silver Medal Winner 2011 in the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book, Children’s/Young Adult. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. Wyndano’s Cloak is his first novel. Follow him at the links below!

A. R. Silverberry’s Website

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Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Give a warm and bloody welcome to horror author, Mandy White!!!

Image of Mandy WhiteSo glad to have you here today Mandy! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

~ I’m a Canadian horror writer from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I love the outdoors and prefer the wilderness to the city.

What do you do when you are not writing?

~ When I’m not writing I can usually be found outdoors. I live a block from the beach so I spend a lot of time at the lake, fishing, swimming and boating. I also love to garden and spend most of my summer making my yard beautiful.

Most people would KILL to live near the beach (no pun intended. LOL!) Do you have a day job as well?

~ I quit my day job about eight years ago when a disability made me unable to do that job anymore. I looked for alternative ways to earn money. Six years ago I became a freelance writer and since then, writing has been my only job. I made the transition from content writer to novelist three years ago.

So when did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

~ I have enjoyed writing ever since I was a child, and always dreamed of being an author someday. When I reached the age of 40 I realized that ‘someday’ was never going to arrive unless I made it happen. I finished my first book in 2010. It was ‘The Jealousy Game’ – a short self-help book on dysfunctional relationships. It is my only non-fiction book.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

~ I don’t know if I chose it or it chose me. I’ve always been a fan of the macabre and an avid reader of horror books. It seemed natural that I would want to write the type of books I would be interested in reading.

Where do you get your ideas?

~ Ideas are everywhere. Everything I see on a daily basis is a potential story idea. Where most people might see a pretty flower garden, I’m imagining bodies buried underneath. I also get a lot of ideas from dreams. My novelette ‘The Immigrant’ is based on a dream I had almost twenty years ago. My first novel, ‘Avenging Annabelle’ is also based on an idea from a dream.

I hope those ideas let you get some sleep! 😀 Haha. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

~ Never. I have too many ongoing projects to ever get writer’s block. If I get stuck on one story, I put it aside and switch to another. I think the reason a lot of writers get blocked is they try to force something that isn’t there. It’s like trying to remember something that’s at the tip of your tongue but the harder you try, the more elusive it is. When you stop trying to remember and focus on something else, it pops into your head. For me, writing is just like that. Switch focus and the blocks disappear.

That’s great advice! Do you work with an outline, or just write?

~ I’m primarily a pantser. (write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer) I find that most stories develop as I write, so outlining isn’t something I spend much time on. Sometimes I will write a rough outline if I know what’s going to happen in a story, so I don’t forget important details.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

~ Stephen King is one of my favorites. I also read a lot of Dean Koontz. The thing that I like most about Koontz’s work is the way he makes the implausible seem plausible. I think the book that stands out most in my memory from my childhood is ‘A Wrinkle in Time’.

Oooh I love ‘A Wrinkle in Time!’ Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

~ As an independent author, I had to learn as I went and made a few crucial mistakes in the beginning. The first was being too eager to publish and putting out an unpolished work riddled with typos. The second was not hiring an editor to polish that work and eliminate those typos. I fooled myself by thinking I could effectively edit my own work. The third mistake I made was thinking that a book’s cover didn’t matter. The first edition of The Jealousy Game has a hideous generic template cover. Avenging Annabelle’s first cover was a poorly done cover I made myself.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

~ There is one thing I would definitely change if I could: With my first books I focused entirely on publishing the print version rather than the ebook. I didn’t understand the value or importance of ebooks. Like many new authors, I thought that only ‘real’ books counted. As a result, I was very disappointed with my sales. (what sales?) The fact is, ebooks outsell paper books by a huge margin. It is also easy to make corrections in a digital version. Sure, you can correct a paperback edition just as quickly but once those typo-riddled paperbacks are out there, you can never take them back. Now, I always release the ebook first and follow with the paperback only after I am satisfied all the bugs have been worked out.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

~ I don’t devote a lot of time to marketing. I’d rather be writing. I rely mostly on readers finding my books linked together on Amazon. The best marketing tool for a book is another book by the same author. I do a lot of networking through social media, particularly Facebook. I have met a lot of great people on Facebook and I’m incredibly grateful for all they have taught me. That, to me is far more valuable than any sales pitch I could come up with.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

~ I am an indie author and also an independent publisher so this has never been an issue. I have full control over every aspect of my publishing.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

~ My latest book, The Feeder, is a gruesome and bloody novel that straddles the line between thriller and horror. It is about an individual obsessed with avenging a murdered twin sister. It is not for the squeamish, as several readers have observed. There is a monumental twist right in the middle of the story that I guarantee you won’t see coming.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

~ I interweave little details from my own life into almost all of my stories. It’s fun combining reality with imagination to create a realistic tale.

That is definitely a fun way to write! What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

~ I think the chapter I had the most fun writing was ‘Bluie Louie’, the chapter in which my killer’s very first murder takes place. It begins innocently enough, with a visit to a sleazy ex-boyfriend to ask a few questions and ends with Louie dead in a pool of blood with his eyeballs carved out.

Oooooh, definitely gruesome! How did you come up with the title?

~ ‘The Feeder’ is the nickname of the serial killer in the book, named so because of the killer’s habit of feeding victims parts of themselves while they are still alive.

What project are you working on now?

~ Right now I am working on a series of charity anthologies for MS with WPaD, a group I have called Writers, Poets and Deviants. WPaD Publications is also my publishing label. Our next release will be a fantasy collection to be published July 1, 2013.

How fantastic! Will you have a new book coming out soon?

~ Aside from the three charity anthologies WPaD has planned for this year, (fantasy, post-apocalyptic and holiday, in that order) I also intend to resume work on ‘Phobia’, the novel I wrote in rough copy during last November’s NaNoWriMo. Phobia is about a reclusive woman who is afraid to leave her home due to agoraphobia and a host of other fears. When things start to get weird in her home she has to decide which is more frightening, the inside or the outside.

I’m intrigued! Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

~ I would like to do more work with Sammie, the main character of The Feeder. That’s something that will probably happen. I already have an idea for a sequel.

Can’t wait! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

~ The toughest criticism is the stuff that’s true. I learned about ‘show, don’t tell’ the hard way. The best compliment is when readers say they couldn’t put the book down.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Do I ever!

~ If writing is what you want to do, then do it. Just do it. No excuses.

~ Throw away any previous assumptions you might have had about publishing. The rules have changed. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing industry, then you need to learn the new rules.

~ Seek out people who are doing what you want to do, then watch what they are doing and LISTEN to the advice they offer.

~ Be smart. Don’t stumble blindly into publishing. RESEARCH! Failure to do the right research makes you easy prey for the many vulturous vanity presses that pose as ‘publishers’. If someone offers to publish your book, then asks for money, you are being scammed. If you are offered a publishing contract, seek professional advice before signing because not all contracts are alike. Find out what you are signing before you get stars in your eyes.

~ There is nothing wrong with striving for success, but be realistic with your expectations. Understand that royalty checks aren’t just going to start pouring in. Writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme – it is a slow, gradual process. It is quite possible to make a nice living from it but patience is key. The best way to sell a book is to write the next one. And the next.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

~ I guess I’d just like to say thank you for reading. I am grateful to each and every one of you. If you find any of my stories offensive and disturbing, I hope it’s in a good way.

Thanks so much for being here today Mandy, and sharing with us your life as an author!

Go here to Mandy’s Amazon author page to check out all of her books!

And follow Mandy of facebook here.

And Mandy’s twitter handle is @MandyWrite

Readers! Don’t leave quite yet! I’ve just finished reading Mandy White’s new horror/thriller novel, The Feeder and I wrote an amazing 5 star review here. Check it out!

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOW I SELF PUBLISHED WITH AMAZON’S KINDLE AND CREATE SPACE

Many people are turning to self publishing rather than the traditional publishing. I am not here to fight for one side or the other (I respect everyone’s choice to do what they think best), but I am going to explain in steps, how I self published with Amazon’s Kindle and Create Space.

You, like many people, may be trying to make that choice right now, and believe me I spent many sleepless nights tossing and turning over what I should do. And here’s the one and only reason I chose self-publishing over traditional. I’M IMPATIENT. Haha! There it is in a nutshell. There’s no big magical secret or right way or wrong way, it just comes down to time and patience (and of course being a good writer.) After LOTS of research, I came to the conclusion that it can, and in most cases, will take a VERY long time to even get accepted by an agent and then a publisher and it can be years before your book is available to buy. There also may be better financial benefits for self-pubs as opposed to traditional. But I will say it again, I am not here to get into the heated debate that lots of loyal indie authors and trad authors tend to get into.  I have never even submitted my manuscript to a literary agent or publisher (although I spent days upon days compiling lists of recommended ones so I could do just that.) A good site to do this at is Preditors and Editors, here http://pred-ed.com/.

Anyway back to the point. I chose self publishing, and I chose to do that with Kindle Direct Publishing and Amazon’s Create Space. For you newbies out there, Kindle is the digital e-book version that people purchase on their kindle, and CreateSpace is the paperback version people can order and hold in their hands.

Now that brings us to another point. Kindle and CreateSpace are just one in MANY options. There’s Smashwords, which is highly recommend as well, for they distribute to lots of different e-readers and distributors like Barnes and Noble, Nook, Kobo, Sony, IPad,etc. There’s also LULU and Lightning Source which will distribute your hardback or paperback books. The list could go on and on. (Thus, many more sleepless nights trying to decide.)

BUT, alas I had decided, and I will discuss my journey thus far and the steps you need to take to get there.

STEP 1. Have a completed book. YES, it must be all the way finished and edited over and over to a squeaky clean! Do NOT try to edit it by yourself. That is just asking for a disaster. Even editors don’t edit their own books, because your mind becomes fickle, missing your own errors over and over. So make sure your book is at it’s best before you even think about submitting it to be published. Some authors go even as far as having beta readers. They will give you feedback on things that you may overlook in the whole scheme of your story, things that don’t make sense to them, things that may not flow right, missed plot opportunities, what they do and don’t like etc.

STEP 1a. If you are doing a paperback and/or hardback book, don’t forget your book blurb for the back cover, author bio, and author picture. I took a look at some of my favorite author’s blurbs (one’s in my same genre) to help me write my own. Keep it short and sweet (only a couple of paragraphs) but make it irresistible. Why would the reader want to pick up your book and read it? Make sure they really want to without giving away any secrets or the ending of your book. Create suspense. Don’t put too much into your author bio or make it too long to where the reader looses interest. I chose to go a little more fun and quirky with mine, as I’m targeting young adults and teens. You will want your editor to take a look at your blurb as well. Have a nice author pic taken professionally or by a friend that can use as camera. 😀

STEP 2. After editing is completed then you need to get your manuscript formatted into the proper files. There’s .epub for Nook, .mobi for kindle and PDF for paperback. Research where you will have your book published (nook, kindle, kobo, sony etc) and find out which formats you need to do so. For me, hiring a formatter for minimal cost was the best option. Some authors who are technically gifted -or brave, as I like to think they are- use Calibre or other formatting software to format their own. I tried to do it myself, and alas, it was more stress and not worth it for me. That’s your choice.

STEP 3. Cover design. Step 2 & 3 can be done simultaneously (sort of.) Let me explain. If you decide to hire a book cover designer, they can go ahead and start on your ebook cover. An ebook lacks the back cover and binding. Now for your paperback and/or hardback cover, you will need to have your manuscript PDF file completely formatted and finished, because the designer needs to know the exact page count before finishing your paperback cover. The page count WILL change as you change the formatting. The designer will also need to know a few other specs of your choosing, like book size, paper color, white, cream etc. I found these options through Amazon’s Create Space where I had my paperback done. Check these options thoroughly, because some are limited and will not allow you to distribute through libraries, expanded distribution, etc. Choose your options and hand them over to your designer along with the final page count of your paperback/hardback and leave the rest to them. Again, some authors choose to design their own covers and there is also an option on Createspace to design your own. Some of these are pretty general and generic but you may find something you like and may want to keep it simple.

STEP 4. Research pricing. If you price your book at $0.99 or $1.99 (these prices are pretty good for shorter stories) you will only get 35% profit from your sales. If you price your book at $2.99 and above you will get %70. I suggest perusing through Amazon and check out books that are similar to yours. Look at how they are pricing their books. There are many different theories on pricing. Some say that you will sell more at $0.99 but then you have look at what you will be getting. Pennies, really. BUT if you sell A LOT, that can add up rather quickly. Some say it is better to price your book a bit higher between 2.99  and 4.99 because it makes the reader actually think about their purchase. If they have to think about their purchase, your book is probably something they really want to read, therefore the chances of them liking it and leaving a good review or suggesting it to others is higher. If it’s $0.99 they may just buy it because its cheap, and therefore it may not be what they usually read and could end up causing a bad review from the buyer that reflects back onto your book. Some people say you should price higher because you want the quality of your book to be reflected in the price, if it is cheap will the buyer think your book is cheaply written as well?

STEP 5. Almost done! After you get back your formatted files and book cover files, you will submit these to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and Createspace, or Smashwords and any other publisher you wish to go through. I can only speak for KDP and Createspace, as that is as far as I’ve gone thus far. You will have a nice long set-up process, to where you are asked to add your book title, files, contributors (editor, illustrator, etc.), your book description(blurb) and other details. Make sure there are NO errors here, as this will be the info that the consumers will see on Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. After you upload your book files there will be an option for an online preview for kindle. Check this thoroughly to make sure the formatting is correct and everything is in place. There will also be a proof process for Createspace. I highly suggest ordering a proof of your paperback to be sent to your house that way you can make sure everything is how it should be.  You will then need to set up your distribution details, prices, etc. Don’t hit the publish button on the day you you’ve announced your release. Set your release date (for marketing purposes) a few weeks from publishing to make sure everything is ready. Even though I hit the publish button, I did not announce the release for a couple more weeks, as to make sure the paperback and ebook were both available. The paperback takes longer than the ebook. Once you hit the publish button, KDP will tell you it will be about 12-24 hours before your book is available. This is pretty accurate. You will then receive an email saying “Congratulations for publishing with KDP! Your book is now available here!” Yay for you! But wait! What about your paperback? After you hit the dreaded publish button on Createspace, they will tell you it will be about 5-7 days before it goes live. This, again, is pretty accurate. Mine was live in 5 days. But they won’t send you an e-mail. You just need to go to Amazon and search your book title and author name to see when it pops up. And because this is not an exact science and things change, errors are found, and goodness knows what else, that is why I suggest giving yourself an ample amount of time in between hitting the publish button and actually having your release date/book release party.

STEP 6. Write you next book! Yes that is the best piece of advice I can give you. You can market until you’re blue in the face and shout from the top of the walls “BUY MY BOOK!” but this will only give a temporary rise in sales. To keep the longevity of sales and to keep your name in people’s faces you need to keep writing.

Good luck to you in your self-publishing journey! I am still learning myself, and do not know everything, but please feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions or leave a suggestion of something I may have not covered. We, as humans, are continuously learning, and if there’s one thing I’ve gotten from self-publishing, it’s pay it forward. I’ve had many people answering my questions and helping me along the way and I’d love to pass on that knowledge to others.

Categories: Writing Tips | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

THE NEXT BIG THING!

The Next Big Thing …

Welcome to The Next Big Thing. My author buddy, Suzanna Williams, recently tagged me for a ‘chain’ blog entitled ‘The Next Big Thing’.
The deal is: I answer a few questions about my current work-in-progress, then I invite other authors to do the same. A bit like a chain letter, except it is only focused on an author’s work-in-progress.
Suzanna is the author of a young adult sci-fi action adventure titled Shockwaves. You can find her answers about her latest book by clicking here.
Suzanna was tagged previously by Katherine Lowry Logan, the author of The Ruby Brooch, a time travel romance.
Read about her work-in-progress here.
The authors I’ve chosen have been tagged can be found below my answers. So here goes:

What is the working title of your next book?

MER: volume 2. (This is just a working title until I make a decision on what the second book in the series will be called.)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Besides the fact that I love anything fantasy, involving mermaids and magical creatures, it all started with a late-night conversation with my hubby. We were talking about current trends in young adult books and movies and I was like “There are so many vampire, werewolf, and wizard type books…what about merpeople?” And thus, MER was born.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult fantasy with a touch of romance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

This is a very hard question, because I have so many characters in my book, a lot of them being children and teens. BUT I will say that Russel Crow would be a great Lord Emrys, the children’s father.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

MER is a dark and magically gripping tale of the Castlecray children, who are forced on a treacherous journey where bed-time stories come to life right before their eyes.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This was a very hard decision for me at first, but for now I will am self publishing the MER series. If I get a fantastic offer from a big-time publisher, then it may be a different story.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took me nine months to write MER, the first book in the series, and I am shooting for six months for book 2! Wish me luck!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This is also a very hard question, because I believe my book is very different from any other. But if I had to choose I would say J.K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER and George R.R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, which are two very different styles.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My family. My daughter, who is absolutely obsessed with fairy-tales and anything mermaid and my husband, who is my biggest support system!

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

This series is geared towards young adults, but it is great for and loved by many people of all ages. It has a little bit of everything, from knights who fight for honor, a rebellion war and slimy crag trolls, to magical creatures, ancient prophecies, mermaids, and romance. If that doesn’t get you, check out the book trailer here done by Director Jeremy Womac and Monsoon Productions. It is amazing!
The authors I’ve invited to join in the fun are: James Eggebeen, a fantasy writer after my own heart, and Bethany Aan, a steamy erotica/romance and sci-fi writer.
I hope you’ll visit their websites and check out their books. Their answers will be posted on their blogs on Friday, March 1st, along with the names of the authors they’ve tagged. Look for #BlogNextBigThing

Categories: Indie Publishing, Inspirations, Jade | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MER Book Release Extravanganza and Giveaway!

THE TIME HAS COME LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! THE RELEASE OF MER!

LAUNCH DATE: 1/13/13

And in celebration we will be doing some MERtastic giveaways!

GRAND PRIZE CONTEST WILL RUN FROM SUNDAY JAN 13th- THURSDAY JAN 17th!

FACEBOOK GIVEAWAYS WILL BE THURSDAY JAN 17th ONLY!

GRAND PRIZE RAFFLE GIVEAWAY!Online release flyer mer

*GRAND PRIZE

$50 Amazon Giftcard.

*2nd GRAND PRIZE $25 Amazon Giftcard.

*3rd GRAND PRIZE $25 Starbucks Giftcard.

FACEBOOK GIVEAWAYS! (Must LIKE MER on Facebook here and join the Mer Book Release Extravaganza!)

*A chance to have your name (first, middle, or last) be featured as a character in the next book, tome #2 of the MER series+ an autographed copy of MER tome#1!

*We will also be giving away a total of (5) copies of MER, your choice of print or Kindle throughout the day and

*A total of (6) $10 Amazon gift cards will be given away throughout the day.

RULES:

FIVE WAYS TO WIN THE GRAND PRIZES:

1. Comment on this post between Sunday Jan 13th – Thursday Jan 17th (leaving your name and e-mail address) to receive 1 entry for the GRAND PRIZES.

2. Purchase a book between Sunday Jan 13th – Thursday Jan 17th and receive 5 entries for each copy purchased! Go here for kindle or here for a print book to be sent to you, forward the receipt to authorjadephillips@gmail.com with your name and contact info.

3. Go to MER’s Facebook page here between Sunday Jan 13th – Thursday Jan 17th and LIKE it ( if you haven’t already) to receive 1 entry.

4. Watch the MER booktrailer here on YouTube, then comment with your name and email address and like (on youtube) and then share it on Facebook to receive 5 entries! Or just watch it below and comment to earn 1 entry!

5. Tweet to win. If you are on twitter, copy and tweet any of the 5 tweets below between Sunday Jan 13th – Thursday Jan 17th. Each tweet will earn 1 entry. You can only tweet each once per day, so you can tweet 5 times a day and earn up to 5 entries a day. So if you tweet all 5 tweets all 5 days that’s 25 entries! (Make sure to keep the tweets exactly how they are so I can keep track.)

Like Starbucks coffee? WIN $25 GC and many more prizes. Join the MER book release party! Now until the 17th! @JadeMPhillipshttp://wp.me/p2PmSa-26
MER BOOK RELEASE PARTY EXTRAVAGANZA! WIN a $50 AMAZON GC and many other prizes! Now until Thursday 17th! @JadeMPhillips http://wp.me/p2PmSa-26
#FREE $50 & $25 AMAZON GC, $25 Starbucks GC! Join the book release party for MER and WIN! @JadeMPhillips http://wp.me/p2PmSa-26
 Contest going on now! WIN $50 & $25 AMAZON GC’s $25 STARBUCKS GC, and free books! MER release party! @JadeMPhillips http://wp.me/p2PmSa-26
 #WIN #FREE #PRIZES Check out the MER BOOK RELEASE PARTY! $50 Amazon GC $25 GC and many more! @JadeMPhillips http://wp.me/p2PmSa-26

*You will have 5 days to get in your GRAND PRIZE entries. The entries will only be given from Sunday Jan 13th – Thursday Jan 17th. They will not count if done before or after. Now if you haven’t quite got it yet (HaHa!) the contest runs from 1/13/13 through 1/17/13, where it will end with a bang with the Facebook event on the last day!  Winners will be announced on Friday Jan 18th.

Mer book release!

Happy Birthday MER!
Balloons, party hat, and wine glasses not included.

WAYS TO WIN THE ALL DAY FACEBOOK GIVEAWAYS AND MINI PRIZES: You must go to MER’s Facebook page here and LIKE it (which will award you 1 entry towards the GRAND PRIZE if done Jan 13th-17th) and you must join the event MER BOOK RELEASE EXTRAVAGANZA! There will be contests, games and trivia all throughout the day for a chance to win the mini prizes, and even from the comfort of your own laptop, i-pad or smart phone. You do NOT have to be there all day, just check in every so often to join in on the contests. (Rules will be posted on the event page during the mini contests which will be posted randomly throughout the day of Thursday, Jan 17th.) And the winners will be announced the next day (Friday the 18th!)

Thank you so much and good luck! And may the power of MER be with you!!

Categories: Contests, Events, Jade | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

WRITING INSPIRATION FOR THE HOLIDAYS OR ANYTIME

With the holidays right around the corner, and all that comes along with it, like get-togethers, drowning in waves of presents, brightly colored wrapping paper, bows and glitter, you may find it hard to stick go your normal writing regimen. I know I have. And that is why I’m putting together a post about writing inspiration and motivation. We will hear from three very talented authors and their inspirations. Where do you find yours? Is it going off to be alone and listening to music? Taking a walk? Chocolate?
Here are some of my personal faves:

1. Get comfortable and kick off your shoes! I know it may sound silly, but being barefoot helps me to relax and sluff off the hustle and bustle of everyday life, especially during the holidays.(It also doesn’t hurt that I live in the desert where it’s 80-100 degrees most of the year!) So yes, here in the southwest, going barefoot is completely acceptable. So get comfy, and put on your coziest pair of pajama pants, kick off your shoes (or put on your fluffy bunny slippers, for those of you in colder climates) and get to writing!

2. Visualizing to music. I like to put on whatever music suits me at the moment (whether it be the classical Pachelbel’s Canon in D, or the hip-hop hit Let me Love you by Ne-YO.) I close my eyes and let the music take my imagination away, creating scenes of my novel in my head, like the trailer for a hit movie. It really is much cooler in you brain than it sounds! Haha! This is a great way to dream up new possible scenarios for your story. Warning: this can cause a goose bump effect.

3. Get some fresh air! After an all-day writing marathon (or even just a couple of hours), you just have to take a break. Leave your lap-top, pen and paper, and head outdoors or somewhere you can stretch your legs. I like to take a walk (well it’s really more like pacing up and down the street in front of my house where there is a gorgeous view of the mountains.) This is where I come up with some of my best ideas! As I walk, I take deep cleansing breaths-in between arguing plot points to myself. (My neighbors are probably like “there’s the crazy lady again, talking to herself.” LOL!)

And honestly, I feel more inspired to write during the holidays. I think it’s due to that warm fuzzy feeling created by all of the twinkling lights, warm fireplaces, and oh-so-good comfort foods. Unfortunately this is the busiest time of year for most people, and it can get a little hectic; all the more reason to come up with your own writing inspirations to help you get your creative juices flowing!

Now let’s hear from three amazing authors and learn about their writing inspirations and techniques.

_____________________________________________________________________

Mandy White, a horror/thriller novelist.

Mandy, why and when did you start writing?  I have always enjoyed writing, but was shy about showing my work. Five years ago I started working as a freelance content writer and graduated to novel-writing from there.

What are your writing inspirations? And what motivates you?  Any quiet time is good for inspiration, because I can escape into my head where the stories are. I work out a lot of story ideas while I’m walking my dog or driving.

Do you have a unique technique for writing motivation that someone may have never thought of? I do a lot of brainstorming while relaxing in a hot bath. I usually bring a pen and notebook with me and take notes whenever ideas come to me.

Oooh, a hot bath. That’s a great idea! Do you write during the holidays, and if so, how do you find time? I find writing is a good distraction from the stress of the holidays. We don’t have large family get-togethers, so our holiday season is reasonably sane. The best time for writing any time of year is early in the morning while the rest of the house is still asleep.

Quiet mornings are the best! Awesome ideas Mandy!

Her featured novel : Avenging Annabelle –  A Canadian thriller

Avenging Annabelle

A desperate father seeks justice after his daughter is abducted and he is wrongly accused of the crime. Meanwhile, a dangerous predator is still on the loose, already making plans to take his next victim. Annabelle appears in Jim’s dreams, showing him things – things he doesn’t want to see but must if he is to solve the mystery of her disappearance and have his vengeance on the one responsible.

Thank you so much Mandy White! Now, how can we get our hands on your book, Avenging AnnabelleAvenging Annabelle is currently enrolled in Kindle Select, so the e-book is exclusive to Kindle at the moment here. Paperback and hardcover editions can be purchased from Lulu.com here.

______________________________________________________________________

Jolea M. Harrison, an epic/fantasy and science fiction writer.

Why and when did you start writing? At a very young age I decided I had stories to tell. There were these constant images going through my head and so I started writing down what was going on in them. These images, sometimes just a single one, evolve into novels if I let them.

What are your writing inspirations? What gets you in the mood to write?  Music inspires me to write, but I can’t listen to it when I’m writing. It’s too distracting, but if I get stuck in a scene I’ll turn on my iPod and listen to something new or music I haven’t listened to in a while. And movies – There will be times when I’m in a movie theater, watching the latest blockbuster and out of nowhere I’ll see something from the film that triggers my imagination and off I’ll go. The movie is forgotten. This can be extremely annoying…and expensive.

LOL! That can get expensive! Do you have a unique technique for writing motivation that someone may have never thought of? I live near Washington DC and go into town as often as I can and frequent the numerous art galleries there. One of my favorites is the Hirshhorn, as well as the Corcoran Gallery and the National Gallery of Art. These are places where quiet contemplation is encouraged, so I can sit in front of a sweeping masterpiece, I like landscapes, but sometimes portraits as well, and dream of what is happening and why. Nowadays I use my phone to jot down thoughts that come into my head. It’s great because no one looks at me oddly while I’m sitting there staring, when in fact, my mind is on another planet.

Wow! Art is a great idea for inspiration! Do you write during the holidays, and if so, how do you find time? I do some form of writing every day – whether it’s creation or editing or formatting – I’m usually immersed for some period of time in the creative process. Some may not think formatting especially creative, but coming up with the perfect look for your words qualifies in my mind. Writing is built into my daily schedule, so finding time for everything else becomes the problem. I still have to put up my Christmas decorations, and shop! I generally try to get all that done by Christmas Eve, lol.

Good luck on getting that Christmas shopping done, Jolea!

Her featured novel: Chosen – 1st book of the Guardians of the Word fantasy series

Chosen

Chosen is a fantasy adventure – location; Hell, Purgatory, the Demon’s Lair, and Hell is everything it’s cracked up to be. Dynan Telaerin finds himself on a corpse-strewn hillside, charged with saving the soul of his ancestor, desperate to avoid the monsters and minions who want to eat his soul. Chosen is the first book of the series, The Guardians of the Word. The Chronicles are Chosen, Myth, Telepath, Legend, Union, Adept, Seer and King

Thank you so much! Now, where can we get your book, Chosen? You can pick up Chosen – a free digital e-book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble at these links: Amazon – here. Barnes and Noble here.

Thanks for having me on your blog! Your welcome Jolea Harrison!

_______________________________________________________________________

Mathieu Gallant, an open-minded multi-genre author, specializing in Science-Fiction and Apocalyptic and Horror.

Mathieu, why and when did you start writing? I’ve always been a writer at heart, but as chasing the dream of becoming a professional, I started about five years ago when I realized I might be able to finish the first draft of the book that would become Darkness Falls and When the Levee Breaks.

What are your writing inspirations? And what motivates you to write? I find inspiration in a dark, quiet room that allows me to really think deeply without interruptions. I think finding some time for quiet contemplation is a gift in the hustle and bustle of today’s wired world. I think more people should put time aside in their schedules to enjoy a bit of life unplugged.Also, I watch the news on TV, read news online and generally try to remain knowledgeable about the happenings in the world around me. I try to discuss the information I’ve gathered with others to get an idea of what people think about it.

Do you have a unique technique for writing motivation that someone may have never thought of?  I find using a writing journal is an extremely important aspect of my inspirations, for a few reasons. First, writing ideas down means I won’t forget them later on. Second, sometimes the act of brainstorming in a journal can be the catalyst for new ideas. Also, I find writing by hand is a great way to counter that dreaded bout of writer’s block. When using the journal for this purpose, don’t be afraid to write ANYTHING that comes to mind. Jot it all down because you never know when something important will come out. Resist the urge to self-censor and just let it all out. You won’t be sorry.

A writing journal is a fantastic idea! I think I may try that myself. Do you write during the holidays, and if so, how do you find time? I’ll write any time I get the urge, holidays or not. Lately it seems there’s a lot of competition for my attention, so late nights are best for me. I love sitting at the kitchen table with the lights off, staring out my back window at the lights of the city. There’s plenty of inspiration there.

Great stuff from Mathieu Gallant! His featured novel.

Darkness Falls from the Outage series. It’s a mix of sci-fi and apocalyptic. Here’s the blurb, straight from Amazon:

Darkness Falls is a frame novel, a story within a story. Primarily, it tells the story of one man, Robert Hendricks. We first meet him in 2179 onboard an alien star ship approaching Earth. He is the lone human on the ship and it will be the first time he sees his planet in over 150 years. He has been away so long, in fact, that Hendricks has very little in the way of actual memories of his home. The only thing he knows for sure is that his feelings about going back are far from positive. This is a problem for his extra-terrestrial hosts, the Gulran. The Gulran have a growing interest in this sector of the galaxy and Earth is vital to their plan. With Hendricks as an ambassador the Gulrani High Arbitor, Gorak, thinks the mission has a good chance of success. Without the human’s help, he’s not so sure. In order to ensure a positive outcome – but also to help his troubled friend – Gorak hypnotizes Hendricks and, through his recollections, travels back with him to the Earth of 2026. For Hendricks, the end begins with a total blackout of North America. It doesn’t take long for him to learn that the line between order and chaos is as thin as a stream of electrons flowing down a copper wire.

Thank you so much Mathieu! Now, how can we get our hands on your book Darkness Falls?  It can be downloaded at Amazon.com here. It’s also available in a few local bookstores in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The sequel to Darkness Falls, When the Levee Breaks, will be available soon after the new year.

________________________________________________________________________

So now you’ve heard it from three amazing authors with really unique writing inspiration techniques; from relaxing in a hot bath to art gazing and keeping a writing journal. And don’t forget my favorite, kicking off your shoes! Haha!

If you have any other interesting methods of writing motivations and inspirations please leave a comment so others can take away that precious knowledge! Thanks for reading with us today and have a fantastic holiday!!

And may the power of words be with you!!
Continue reading

Categories: Inspirations, Writing Tips | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

CREATING A MAP FOR YOUR FANTASY NOVEL

An ongoing trend for fiction and fantasy novels is having a map for the reader to follow along with, just after the title page in the book. It is also very helpful for the author and the development of their fictional world.

When I first started writing my young adult fantasy novel, MER, I was like “A map seems way too difficult.” But I REALLY wanted one. And despite my inhibitions, I dove in head first. Hell or high-water I was going to have a map for my book, even if it meant handing my two-year-old a paper and crayons, and calling the scribbles my map. (Hey that’s not such a bad idea! Hahaha!)

I’m going to talk a little about my experience with creating my map for MER, soon to be released in late December, along with other methods of either creating or obtaining your map. And don’t worry, you absolutely do not have to be Michelangelo to create a map. I am no artist, believe me! Here is a step-by-step how I created mine.

METHOD #1 HAND-DRAWN MAP (This is always the first step, even in the following methods)

ITEMS NEEDED:

*paper (duh)

*tracing paper or vellum

*pencil and eraser

*Markers, colored pencils, or crayons (I was only half-joking about the crayons. That is actually what I used to color my map.) 🙂

*Reference Maps (Atlas, globe, print-outs of real life maps, your favorite fantasy book with a map.)

How I started was by picking a continent (fantasy novels, for some reason, usually have one super continent as their world to start out.) My inspiration was Greece. Don’t ask me why. I think I just liked the way it looked and it was surrounded on three sides by water and islands (which I needed lots of.) 😀

greece map

Image courtesy of Kevin Anderson, Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

I started out with just a bunch of circles, squiggles, and lines. It looked terrible! (That’s the way it’s supposed to look at first.)

Once you’ve got something that you generally like as your footprint (the outline of the continent and maybe some general towns from you story etc…) then it is time to start adding lakes, castles, towns, villages, rivers, mountains, roads etc. Now this is where the tracing paper or vellum comes in. As you refer back to your story and start transferring landmarks to your map, you will need to make changes (more than likely, A LOT of them, LOL!) Like, “Wait! I need a castle here, and this river needs to move.” And instead if erasing your little heart out, place the tracing paper over your original drawing, copying what you like and changing what you don’t. This is tedious and, in my opinion, the least fun part. But the fun part is, as you do more and more drafts, your map will start to clean itself up and start to look more like a map!

Then after adding what towns, castles, and rivers that are in your story, you will need to start filling in the dead space, otherwise your map might look a little barren. Make a list of names that you might like for your landmarks.

I referred to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire maps, and (not ever copying) took inspiration from his name styles, but putting in my own twist and keeping true to the theme of my story. I came up with some cool names like Castlebridge, Saltstone, Duskenford, Eve’s Port, Dawn’s Port, Fish Eye Lake, Frozen River, etc… Adding these extras is also super beneficial in the development of furthering your story (say you are doing a second book in the series.) You can refer back to your own map to see where your character’s journey might take them, (and not have to break from your writing to come up with the perfect name for that dumb river they have to cross!! Haha!)

Here is a list of Landmarks your map may have.

MAP LANDMARKS

  1. Castles
  2. Towns
  3. Villages
  4. Churches (I use very little religion in mine, so I have no marked churches.)
  5. Ruins
  6. Rivers
  7. Lakes
  8. Swamps
  9. Oceans
  10. Seas
  11. Roads
  12. Forests
  13. Mountains
  14. Bridges
  15. Ports
  16. Islands
  17. Compass

Don’t limit yourself to this list (as I’ve probably forgotten some things LOL!), but reach for the sky! This is your masterpiece, your creation, do with it what you want. There are no limits. This is fiction we are talking about here!

Once you’ve finished matching the map to your story, filling in dead space, and naming all of your landmarks, it’s time to color in your map. If you only want black and white (which will be one-dimensional) you probably won’t want to color it, but if you want color or even grey scale, you will want to, to help differentiate water from land, etc.

Now if you are an artist and feel that you have a masterpiece, by all means, use this as your map. I definitely couldn’t, Haha! You will just need to format it to size, according to your publishers guidelines, or have it formatted for you. There are many low-cost formatters out there on google. The one I used is April Martinez, mail@aprilgem.com. She formatted my book (and map image). Just e-mail an inquiry and she will send you back a list of prices.

METHOD #2 HAVE IT PROFESSIONALLY RENDERED

Now that you have your rough draft, you could always contact a Graphic Artist or Cartographer to have the drawing digitally and professionally rendered for you. This is what I did.

I scanned my wanna-be-map into my computer (if you don’t have a scanner go to Kinkos and get it put on a jump-drive or disk). I then sent it (along with a list of all of my towns, castles, rivers, mountains, etc..and their correct spellings) to my Graphic Designer/Artist friend, Juan, as a rough draft. From there he worked his magic and Wallah! A beautiful map! (Soooo glad I didn’t have to do that part. I’m techie-illiterate. LOL!) Find Juan C. Heinrich here on facebook http://www.facebook.com/jchstudio. There is also a guild of cartographers who use various software to create fictional maps for a commission. You can find them here http://www.cartographersguild.com/

And here it is again! Woo hoo! MER‘s Map of Merenia! I had no idea my book could have such an amazing map!

METHOD #3 DO IT YOURSELF DIGITALLY

Now I’m not going to pretend to know a lot about this, as I said earlier I’m computer illiterate when it comes to stuff like this. BUT I will tell you some software you may use if you would like to try it yourself.

You will still want to do METHOD #1 and create a hand-drawn draft of your map.

A. PHOTOSHOP/ MS PAINT

You can scan your map into Photoshop or Microsoft paint and digitally manipulate it to insert text (landmark names), do a cool watery effect, create mountains, city and castle symbols, etc… Here is a good blog post on doing your map via Photoshop http://www.brodt.dk/peter/maps.html.

B. SPECIALIST MAP-MAKING PROGRAMS

AutoREALM, which is a super cool software created by Fantasy and RPG geeks to create maps. (No offense, I am one of those too. Not the kind of geek that creates software, of course, but the kind that plays Final Fantasy and does ALL of the side quests.) Haha! Download AutoREALM for free here http://autorealm.sourceforge.net/

Now, after that information overload, let’s take a break and look at some well-known authors who used maps in their novels.It all started with the grandfather of fantasy maps/ fictional world development, Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings. This is the Map from The Hobbit, the prelude to the Lord of the Rings.

the map of the book the hobbit

A few other well known’s are…

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (HBO Series A Game of Thrones)

 

Robert Jordan’s A Wheel of Time. (One of my favorite series!)

C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia (LOVE!)

As an author or author-to-be of a fantasy series, you more than likely will have one of these in your home library. If you don’t,which I would find hard to believe :D, I strongly urge you to get one and study it and its usage of maps.

Thank you for reading about map creation with me today! I wish you lots of luck in your writing journeys. And don’t ever, ever give up! It can be overwhelming, especially if you are self-publishing, to put all of the pieces together by yourself. Just take a deep breath and keep on plugging on!

Please leave a comment if you have any other helpful information on map creation for your novel. Or even if you don’t I’d love to hear from you!

Please LIKE my book, MER on facebook here http://www.facebook.com/merbook1  to read cool snippets and get updated info on the book release!

Please follow me on twitter here http://www.twitter.com/JadeMPhillips

Thanks! And may the power of words be with you!

Categories: Writing Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

OUTLINING AND STORYBOARDING YOUR NOVEL

Now that the editing for my novel, MER, is done (Woo hoo!) I have some time to talk about the behind-the-scenes of writing a novel.

Like many of you out there I had always dreamed of writing a book, and made many attempts, to no avail. I kept thinking what is wrong with me? Why can’t I finish this book?

Well, apparently, not all of us are like Stephen King (the brilliant freak-of-nature that he is) and can open our minds and just let the words fall out effortlessly into an amazing bestseller. Some of us need guidelines. And that is how I discovered storyboarding and outlining. But first you want to brainstorm.

BRAINSTORMING

This is going to be the first thing you should do before you start any outlining. Make a list of anything and everything that could possibly happen in your book. Think outside of the box! This is the fun part. You have NO limits! No censorship, no one telling you what or what not you can do. And then for the outlining.

And not everyone is the same and that is why I’ll be discussing different outlining methods separately.

METHOD #1. STICKY NOTE STORYBOARD

This is the method that I used for MER. This style of outlining is great for the “visual type” of person because it displays your entire manuscript out in front of you and allows you to view the flow and chronology of your book. It gives more freedom to the writer (as opposed the “W” storyboard which we will go over later in this post.) Also, with the sticky note method, if later on down the line you aren’t liking the way it’s going or need to make changes you can easily swap chapters or slap on a new sticky note! Kabow! Easy as pie. Mmmm. Pie. (Thanksgiving leftovers on the brain. Haha!)

ITEMS YOU WILL NEED:

*A matte board or poster board (I went to the extreme and bought the biggest one they had and almost hang-glided through the parking lot of Office Max after a gust of wind hit me.Hahaha! That was fun.) Your poster board will need to be big to fit all of your chapters, scenes and sticky notes, but you might not want to get the monster that I got. It’s up to you.

*Sticky/ Post-It notes. I purchased two different rainbow-colored multi packs of the LONG sticky notes.You will need to have a few different colors to keep your categories separate. Examples of these categories can be plot points in the scene, character’s in the scene, location, items to keep track of, etc. The possibilities are endless, so use your own creativity to help you organize. Some authors use one color for each character. I have so many characters in my book that I would just list all of the characters in a specific chapter on one color and then layer the plot points for that same chapter on another color. You just need to summarize what happens in that chapter with no more than a couple of sentences or a few bullet points.

*Black Sharpee Marker. Of course you can use a pen or pencil, but in my opinion the black marker stands out and is easier to read when you stand back to look at your book outline as a whole.

That’s it! All you need is three items to start your post-it note storyboard (and possibly a pot of coffee and some good music.)

METHOD # 2. THE “W” STORYBOARD

This is the method often used by screenwriters, and although it looks more simple than the sticky note storyboard method, it gives you more of a structured guideline for your story. You need to find five of the most important points in your story, we will call these plot points. These 5 plot points will go from the top left of your “W” and so on until the last and fifth plot point at the top right of your “W”, creating a rise and fall motion.

TWO ITEMS YOU WILL NEED:

*Poster or matte board

*Markers

“W” STRUCTURE:

TRIGGERING EVENT: This is what starts your story (the plot point at the top left of your W) so choose your most important event to begin your story. Ex. a death, a secret, a mystery, a dilemma, or any sort of event that will start your story’s journey.

FALL: Then your story “falls” towards the next plot point and is setting up the problem.This is where you create more drama and tension for your story. It is the lowest point and further increases the need to drive the story on further.

FIRST TURNING POINT: Conflict/dilemma. This is where plans change and thing’s often reverse. Events may happen that you don’t expect. Maybe your hero decides to leave home.

RISE: This is where you begin to recover from the problem.

POP MOMENT: Conflict/dilemma. This is where your story explodes, thing’s may be revealed, or a battle may take place.

FALL: Deepening the problem. This is sometimes called the second “Triggering event” which is not as extreme as the first but brings the story back down to a low point.

SECOND TURNING POINT: This is the absolute LOWEST point of the story, where it seems that there is no hope.

RISE: Solving the problem.There is new hope, help comes. There is a change within the character.

EPIPHANY MOMENT or “oh my god point” (This point is used in fiction usually a few chapters before the END. I used this and it is great for fantasy.) It is a last conflict before the few chapters of resolution.

END: Resolution. This does not necessarily have to be a problem fixer, but maybe just seeing something in a new light, or a big change.

You don’t have to follow these exactly. You can have more small ups and downs within your rises and falls.

A good reference for the “W” Storyboard is by Mary Carroll Moore on YouTube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMhLvMJ_r0Y

METHOD #3. WRITING SOFTWARE

I actually started my novel with Y Writer by Spacejock, a free novel-writing software. I ended up combining this method and the sticky note storyboard, using Y Writer for my character list (which is SUPER COOL) and the sticky note method for the plotline. This method is perfect for the techie-at-heart and for novels that are beefed up with lots of information and lots of things to keep track of: locations, characters, items, groups, etc. I love this software not only because it’s FREE (starving artist here), but because it is so in-depth. I actually picked celebrities’ pictures to represent my characters and put them with their descriptions in the character list, so when I was like ‘wait…what was so and so’s eye color?’ (I used Orlando Bloom for one of my characters. Mmmm…Orlando Bloom *drooling*) OK! Back to point. I could just pull up the list with a click and have a full description along with pictures and tags. (I will be writing a future post about character lists.)

ITEMS NEEDED:

*Computer O.o

*Y Writer Download (or any other novel-writing software that tickles your fancy.) Here’s the link to Y Writer’s free download. http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5_Download.html

METHOD #4 TRADITIONAL OUTLINING

This method, which you may remember doing for book reports in elementary school, can come in a number of styles, shapes sizes, and is pretty self explanatory.

ITEMS NEEDED:

*Pen and Paper :0)

There are many outlining and storyboarding techniques, and I just highlighted the few that I think work best for novel writing. So if you are a no-guidelines-needed freak-of-nature and read this post anyways, I hope it was informative and you enjoyed it none the less. And for the rest of you like me, I wish you lots of luck and creativity in your storyboarding and writing ventures!

Please LIKE my MER book page here www.facebook.com/merbook1 Follow me on twitter here https://twitter.com/JadeMPhillips

Thanks for reading! And may the power of words be with you ;0)

Categories: Writing Tips | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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