10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge – Day 4

10-day-write-blog-challenge-daily4Profile 3 to 5 top writing craft books

Most writers have a few writing craft books they keep as reference or part of their tool kit. Books like Stephen King’s On Writing, or Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel, Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird regularly make many writer’s top lists. But there are many more now, and good resources being published everyday. What are your absolute favourites?

Plot & StructureI do have some favourites – two in fact.

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

This wonderful book was recommended to me by a couple of friends, and I always pick it up now and again and flick through it.  It tells how a plot influences the story structure and differences that plots require for different literature.  He gives you ideas on how to create plots, brainstorming plots, and methods with diagrams and charts.

 

Everything guideThe Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel by Christie Craig and Faye Hughes.

I first discovered this book while checking out “how to write a romance” and came across a website which was pretty much based on this book.  I got so much from the site, I decided I wanted the book for myself, and I love it.  It has so many useful tips and hints on how to write specifically Romance, what is expected in a romance, how to create strong Hero’s and Heroine’s, creating sexual tension (as opposed to sex) and a whole lot more.

 

Write Your OwnWrite Your Own… by Compass Point Books

I discovered these through Scholastic Book Club and purchased one.  I enjoyed it so much, I purchased several others in the series.  It is aimed at early writers, but it has some really simple easy exercises and ideas on how to research information, brainstorm ideas, bring things together and write the story.  I have Fantasy, Mystery, Poetry, Historical, Adventure and Action.  Some of the books are repetitive when it comes to writing dialogue and reaching your audience, but it is relevant to each of the different genres.

 

I would like to say that I read lots of these books, but I don’t.  These are the ones that I have and I have purchased them for a reason.  There are lots of other good books out there too, so check out Amazon or your favourite book store for more.

 

 

 

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Affinity – LaVerne Clark

Hey there guys, a lovely friend of mine, LaVerne Clark has just had her second book released and she is having a party over at her blog – check it out, here TODAY!

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Its a romance story about a woman who has an unnatural ability – here are some details:

In the wrong hands, Jenna Thomas’s legacy could be a curse—in her mind it already is.

As a child, a routine x-ray awakened an abnormality in Jenna’s DNA, giving her the ability to “call” creatures and take on their attributes. Labeled a freak since then, Jenna’s learned to keep everyone at a distance. But all that changes the day she saves a young boy from drowning and the story goes viral.

Nick Hawke, an off-duty policeman, witnesses part of the drama. Captivated by Jenna’s exotic beauty, he decides to investigate, not sure what to believe. Jenna puts his cynicism to the test—even as the attraction between them grows.

As word of her extraordinary rescue spreads, a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to control Jenna’s abilities draws near. With her feelings for Nick putting him in danger too, can Jenna risk everything to protect them both?

You can purchase LaVerne’s Affinity over at her blog – http://www.laverneclark.blogspot.co.nz/

In the Beginning…

This week is SpecFic Blogging Week, and I thought what am I going to blog about.  So I decided to write about my writing beginnings.

When I first started writing, it was to escape reality.  I loved to lose myself in books, find myself wrapped up in another world and discover new places.  I distinctly remember reading a science fiction book while on holiday down the Marlborough Sounds.  I also remember catching the biggest snapper ever also, but most of my memory is this book about sponges that sucked the life out of people until they were just these strange dehydrated shells.

My first speculative fiction story was about a piece of rope that was kidnapped off a boat and used to hang one of the Maungatapu murderers – that was in Std 4 or year 5 or 6… one of them (see my interest in this story goes WAAAAAY back to primary school!)  I got a Principal’s stamp for that story, and the teachers gave it a 1 (which was the highest score back in the dark ages!)

The next story I remember writing was at intermediate and *cringe* was about Simon Le Bon.  I won’t go into details, because it truly is cringeworthy.  It went on and on and on and on – it was a never ending story.

At college, I wrote Chrystias of Amasedon, and novella for my 6th form English class, and it got high marks.  It was one of my proudest moments, and I have since revised it to be a 100k epic fantasy novel.  It still needs lots of work.

I have always written on and off, generally in exercise books.  One story in particular took over three books, but for the life of me I can’t recall what it was about.  But there have been a murder mystery, a kidnapping drama involving a rockstar and one other… still can’t remember what it was!!!

Four years ago I discovered KiwiWriters and that was when I was revising Chrystias.  I used SoCNoC to write a portion of it.   Since then I have written during June and SoCNoC three other novels – a fantasy romance, a mythical story and this year I wrote a Science Fiction story.

My love affair with the written word has been a rough road, but it is one that I love and will not forget for as long as I live.  If I never get published I will still be happy, because it gives me pleasure just to write the words and create the story.

New Zealand’s Speculative Fiction Blogging Week – 13th to 19th September

Yip, big title, I know, but you will get over it.

So, you think you’re a blogger worth your salt.  Then here is a challenge for you.

September 13th to 19th is Speculative Fiction Blogging Week, brought to you by SpecFicNZ.  Here’s your challenge –

Blog about Speculative Fiction for an entire week.  Yes, that is right, 7 entire days of blogs about nothing but fantasy, horror, steampunk, zombie nations, vampires (Ok, a little overdone now perhaps), science fiction,poetry, short stories, writing, ideas, visions, pictures anything that is out there and not the normal (what is normal these days anyway???)

Do you think you can handle that?  Want to know more details?  Check it out at SpecFicNZ.org.

So, you up for it?  Huh, huh?  I can’t hear you…

Calling all Fantasy readers…!

Its official!  I am two thirds of the way through editing my soon-to-be-ex-trilogy! 

I looked at it last night after I had formatted it and saw that there were 205 pages to go, I was daunted by that.  Until I realised this morning that I have already edited close to 400 pages of the story. Which means I am 2/3 of the way through the final edit!  Now that is exciting.

I am much happier with the story now, I have taken out excessive uses of words, double explanations and really worked on making sure there are no gaps in the story.  What I have noticed though, is that my memory of the story and the interactions between the characters has not diminished, even though I wrote the story nearly two years ago.  When I make an edit, I tend t find I put words in there to describe something, only to read a couple of sentences on and realise that I used exactly the same words.  Not necessarily in a better way, but at least my memory of that part of the story hasn’t changed!

Once I get this finished, I will be looking for readers to make sure I have dotted all my i’s and crossed all the t’s, and that the story has a good flow.  Must I must caution you, it is about 150k long, nearly 600 pages.  A big job, but hopefully you will enjoy the story, so if you like Fantasy, read on:

Tycelon, leader of the Godena Tribe loves Delonia, the tribal Herbal, but Delonia wants to find her family before committing to a life long commitment.  When she is taken by the Warlock, Sephron, Tycelon, Zorek the giant and the tribe must head to Amasedon to find the Queen, whom Delonia has said will help.

Along the way, they meet Ubek, a mysterious man who is extremely interested in the taking of the girl.  Tycelon and Ubek immediately clash, but Tycelon is relieved when they leave the following morning, leaving Ubek behind.

In Amasedon, Tycelon discovers that the Queen, Gallandra, and Delonia’s sister are one and the same, and discovers there is more to the abduction than he first thought.  It appears that Delonia is a Chrystias holder, a stone which is part of a crystal called the Balance of Power.  Sephron, the Warlock, is after the stone.

Ubek, a spy for the Queen and her family, insinuates himself into the group that is being set up to recover Delonia, much to Tycelon’s disgust.  He hates the man and when suspicious things start to happen, wonders whether the man might not be in league with the Warlock.

But that is the furtherest from the truth.  Ubek is in fact the Last Wiseman’s Aide, an elite group of scholars that Sephron disbanded when he discovered, and lost, the third prophesy, the prophesy that brings together twins, a sword, a dagger and the keystone to create the Balance of Power.

Sephron discovers Ubek’s identity and with great satisfaction imprisons him, Tycelon, Gallandra and Zorek in the Prison City of Bleknon where they are assisted in their escape.  They have to travel through the Dragonlands back to the other travellers and regroup before assaulting the castle and releasing Delonia, all without letting Sephron get his hands on the Balance of Power, but no one seems to know how the stones will all come together.  Their entire journey seems to have been orchestrated from beginning to end by Sephron.  What is he up to and can they eventually break the hold he has over them?

I won’t give away the ending, but it has been left open for another story, and I have had some very interesting ideas.  So if you are keen to critique it, let me know, and I will  make up a list – I will probably also go through Critters (not sure if I am prepared for the savaging, but willing to try!) as well. Hoping to get the finished product out mid April.

Cheers

Genre – Hot Topic

My friend Cassie recently did a post on Genre, and how she was feeling trapped into writing the same genre every time she wrote a story.  Which made me think about my own writing.

While I don’t like writing chick lit, or murder mystery or anything more mainstream, I can’t say that I am stuck in any particular genre either.  The first two (four if you count each separate story in the soon to be non existent trilogy) stories I wrote were fantasy, because that was what the characters insisted on.  But the next one I want to write is more historical – it is still fantasy, but it is also based on mythical fact from ancient Greece, so a bit of research had to go into the story.  The one after that, well who knows, it all depends on who will pop up next I suppose.

What I suppose I am trying to say is that I am not driven to write any particular genre, I am driven by my characters.  Tycelon and Delonia were definitely Fantasy, as are Fabyan and Danya – although their story is more of a romance than action as in Chrystias.  My characters invade my life for the duration of writing.  I lived with Tycelon for close to 6 months, and now while I am editing the story, I can hear him in the background, not as forceful as he used to be (Boy was he forceful!). 

Currently, I have Medusa fussing around in my brain, trying to make me see her as a real person, which she no doubt was at one stage in history, all myths started with a base in reality!  While I haven’t concentrated on bringing her into the light of day yet, I can hear her giving me little snippets of information about her character, her mannerisms, her personality that will be reflected in the story, and hopefully I will be able to do her justice.

So I don’t feel trapped by any particular genre, I suppose it depends on the setting the characters give me, and if one should turn up who wants to be chick lit, then I guess I will have to write it – it had better be a good story though!

Speculative Fiction – What does it mean to me?

Avatar CatherineI have been writing now, steadily for over a year.  Before that, it was spasmodic to say the least.  Most of what I have written has not fallen within the realm of mainstream genre.  As I have said before, I use writing as escapism, it is a chance for me to get out of the mundane life.  As a result, writing has opened up a whole new world of excitement.  I can’t wait every morning to get up and start typing.  Which is all well and good if I have a new project on the go.  Otherwise I am editing, which is something I would happily forgo.  I am not generally known as a finisher, but for once in my life, I am determined to get something completed.  I am currently editing my first book, a fantasy trilogy, to as close to a perfect state before moving onto my next project (unfortunately that too is editing a novel I finished this year…)

But that doesn’t really tell you what Speculative Fiction means to me – other than my motivation for getting out of bed most mornings… which makes me sound extremely sad individual who has to escape to another world in order to cope with life.  If that is what you think of me, fine.  You are entitled to your opinion.  Those who know me, know me well, those who don’t can go to hell!

Writing Speculative Fiction gives me an opportunity to explore other worlds, other cultures, magic and how it works.  Writing also gives me the ability to break down any unresolved conflict I have had in my life.  It has been useful for helping me to see where I have gone wrong, or to even explain someone elses behaviour and explain dysfunctional relationships.

Speculative Fiction gives me a chance to be descriptive, I love wordy descriptive pieces that explain the smell of the dew on the grass, the coolness of the forest floor, the light of the sunrise on a coastal beach, the colours, the sights, the sounds, the smell, the taste, the looks, everything there is to know about somewhere that has been untouched by human.

I have notebooks full of ideas, including a NZ steampunk novel, a vampyre novel, and a whole new type of creature of my own invention… watch this space.

OK, now I am starting to ramble, but I think you are starting to appreciate the passion that I have for my craft.  I am a writer, of Speculative Fiction, and one day I want to be published in NZ and have a large NZ (and possibly overseas) readership.

The first step?  Blogging about my passion.