Friday, July 26, 2013

A Short Attention Span

Lately there has been some serious discussions, with some of my writing friends, about creative writing skills and the like. We're talking about expanding our HODRW group to helping some of the new writers that have joined, into becoming successful authors.

I believe in paying it forward, as it were, and that no one (in our group anyway) is too successful, ie: New York Times Best Sellers, to help some of these writers with learning creative writing skills and critiquing. Plus, not to mention, you get to know people better and create new friendships.

One of the subjects that came up between a fellow writer and I, was about people's shorter attention spans these days and what that means when writing books.

I believe this particular subject has been misunderstood. Of course, this is only my opinion, but thinking on it harder, since I do write to a younger audience, it has come to my attention that even author's with years of books under their belts and are on the NYTBL, it has been taken out of context.

What does this mean exactly? I've heard comments such as "This can't be true. Look at the size of some of the most popular books out there."

Truer words have never been spoken! 

Some authors mistakenly think this means no depth to their stories, no character investment, and no longer than 85 thousand words. They write their books with 2-3 page chapters, telling you this happens, then that, and leave you with very little plot. Plus there isn't any character development, (or very little) so it leaves you empty, searching for more. 

Now I have seen this trend in not only the newer writers, but the big time author's as well, and I have to say, this is not what this means.

What I believe it means is ie: no info dump, no telling, (or very little), and write a story people can get lost in. 

There is nothing worse that finding yourself skimming through pages, and being left with a feeling of frustration and wishing you never bought that book. 

If your story sounds hum-drum then you need to rewrite. If the pacing is wrong and there are too many explanations, and redundancies, then you need to rewrite. And if you have an editor marking issues in your manuscript, you need to follow their advice and fix them.

There is nothing wrong with the attention spans of readers today, they just aren't interested in books with these problems. Even if they don't know what is wrong with the book, they know they are skimming and they don't tell their friends to check out your book(s).

So when you sit down to work on your book, think about what it will take to reach these goals and to put out a book that most will enjoy and pass on. Success really is the key to a career in writing.

I am taking next week off from the blog and concentrating on Fated the novella, and Lore, the second book in the series. Plus, it's my wedding anniversary and I will be spending much needed extra time with my husband!
I will be back Tuesday August 5th and I will still pop in Facebook and twitter. 

Take care and have a wonderful weekend! Don't forget to comment, I love hearing form you!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A new excerpt from Fated

I thought I would add a glimpse into the novella, Fated today. I have not had a chance to write another character interview at this point since we have been working diligently on the book. I didn't think you would mind. Besides, excerpts are always fun. 

This one is a Torren scene. It is a longer than I usually post but I hope that you enjoy reading it. Let me know what you think. I always love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Torren entered Tyré alone. His two men had died by Ghorgon’s hand.
In the bustling streets, he attracted scant notice. Little about the place had changed since his boyhood. Near the size of Phraile Highlae, Torren considered Tyré to have a more pleasing aesthetic. White-washed buildings gleamed where the late-day sun struck them. Flowers decorated shop fronts and window boxes of the homes. The contrast of bright colors against monochrome background enhanced the visual vitality of the city.
Torren snuck into an old bell tower on the south side of town. He climbed the long staircase. Settling in, he looked out across the white city and to the vast blue Nibiruin Sea at the city’s edge.
The few small fishing vessels docked in the harbor belied the town’s standing as the heart of trade between the three cities. Large boats were not needed. After the exile of the Jajing following the war, the Gods had forbidden voyages across the sea to their island. In return for such an agreement, the Gods ensured that the earth provided ample sustenance. Other than coastal fishing, clothing, spices, and various goods arrived and left over land.
From Torren’s vantage point, the rays of the fall sun alternately weathered and enhanced the hues. It gave him the impression of an artist’s canvas. Banners hung above bridges and walkways with the Tyré sigil—an Orca emerging from the sea, silhouetted against a blue agate-colored moon, representative of Orteh Huana. The scene brought back fond memories.
Torren had played at soldiers through these streets with his two closest friends, the Guardian’s nephew and niece—Colton and Marise. Although Torren had been born five summers before Colton, he thought of the boy and Marise as his younger siblings. They had, after all, grown up together in the palace. It had been a natural fit. Larrik, as Master Warrior of Tyre , spent a great deal of time with the father of his friends, Kamm. Their two families developed a close friendship. Torren enjoyed the advantages of being thought of as kin to the Guardian’s family—and as an Androne. Imagine.
The hours Torren spent with Colton to teach him sword-play, gave his younger friend an advantage over other males of similar age. Torren prided himself in being the reason his “little brother” had begun warrior training a full two omakas, years, before requirement.
Even after the death of Larrik, Torren remained in the palace. His father had been a hero of the Jajing war and the family had been implored to stay. Torren’s mother consented. Shortly thereafter, Hayden, the Guardian of Tyré, filled his father’s position with Koutal, a decision Torren had questioned.
A brute of a Djen, Koutal was squat in stature, with a bald head, scars from war, and missing an eye. With his other, he leered at Torren’s mother. Koutal did not train the warriors so much as use them for his personal whipping posts. Fear, not respect, was the new Master Warrior’s mainstay, and he cared little for Torren.
Taunts of “washerwoman’s whelp” and “Guardian Pretender” flew from his lips whenever Torren was in earshot. It had been tolerable at first. Colton and Marise stood up for him and threatened to tattle to their Uncle Hayden. The insults transformed into jokes amongst the three youth. Then, everything changed. Colton deserted him to begin his formal training in Phraile Highlae.
Marise, still a child, drifted away from his company. For the first time in his life, Torren became an outsider in the only home he had ever known. He had to choose between remaining and facing the abuse alone or leaving.
Two winters have passed, but it seems a life time ago.
He never looked back. At first, his travels took him south to Phraile Highlae and then beyond to the caves of The Westnoch Mountains. There, he came upon a band of men, led by a great Djen and former Warrior of Phraile Highlae—Dekren.
He trained with the Rebels, rose in the ranks, and became Dekren’s most trusted soldier. The Rebellion became his new family. Together, he and Dekren devised a strategy to control the power of the Ortehs—one that evolved from the idea of saving Djenrye to ruling it.
Now, he hunted down a Guardian wife and child.
Hours ago, Torren had stood above the prone form of that woman’s savior—Ghorgon. The death of Torren’s men stung less with the image of Ghorgon lying grievously wounded at his feet. Before administering the final blow, Torren taunted the fallen warrior, “You have not saved her. I will find Carlynn in Tyré. She will die and the babe will be ours.”
The idea of executing an innocent sickened Torren. But, he had no choice. Bringing the Rebellion’s plans to fruition required the blood of a Guardian. For the sake of the cause, Torren would kill her, but not rip the unborn child from her womb. He would wait for the birth.
He turned away from the overlook. In his mind he ticked off the number of graochomae, blood/moon cycles, since the announcement of Carlynn’s saeni, carrying a child. Over eight…the time must be near.

He eased himself down on the floor and closed his eyes. He convinced himself it was safe to sleep. A bit of rest and he would enter the palace through one of the escape passageways—the one that would lead him straight to Carlynn’s room. The same room in which all honored guests are housed when visiting the palace. Thanks to the excursions with his former playmates, Torren knew the way. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my scene and I hope to hear from you.
Love, Lisa

Friday, July 19, 2013

Are Outlines Necessary?

Several times in the last few days the discussion of whether or not an outline should be used when writing fiction is even necessary, has come up. I say a resounding Yes.

When I first wrote my original rough draft of Fable I didn't write an outline, but I knew the basic story. After working on it for 4 years, several times the story changed here and there, and we discovered an outline became very useful. 

An outline for fiction usually is different than the one you did in school. It certainly isn't a typical one, but one that can be handy when you need to make sure of not only consistencies, but other issues, such as character building.

There are quite a few categories you can put on your outline and you can wait to write it after your rough draft, if you want. I'll list different ones for you to see what it can help with.

1. Pacing
2. Timeline
3. Character aspects
4. Consistencies - such as type and color of car used 
5. Story-line
6. POV characters per chapter
7. Important scenes
8. Magical qualities
9. Descriptions
10.Character development

That's ten I came up with, and I'm sure you could come up with more, or whatever it is you would need it for. We use a graph for ours and list on the left the day, moon, chapter number, and action. On the top we list the names of the characters. Each box we fill in the rest of the information, but however it works for you to keep track, do it that way. There is no right way when it comes to writing fiction. 

Since we are writing a series, we really need our outlines to stay consistent. Even with the outline, after Fable was published, I found two when reading back through the book and we had to fix them. 

So, what you learned in school is helpful, and can be used for different types of jobs, not just writing. Do you use an outline when you write? How is yours set up?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. I've heard people say you don't need one for fiction writing, but that's not what I have found. In fact, Lizzie used to tell me to use one, and I didn't listen at the time. I should have, but I learned my lesson and now apply.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Just FYI, I haven't had the chance to work on another character interview, but I will have one soon. Thanks for everyone's support and I'll see you next week!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Review

It has been a long time since I did a book review on here so I decided to share the book(s) I'm reading now since they're pretty good. The Grimoire Saga series by S.M. Boyce is a great fantasy story. I was recommended them by one of my friends and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

Her heroine, Kara, finds herself in a strange, and dark world, of the Ourea. The story begins when she comes across a strange book called the Grimoire. The next thing she knows is she is a Vagabond and must fulfill the role in order to protect the world she's from. 

She is hunted, tortured, and attacked, but each time she manages to survive with the help of a new friend Braeden, also an enemy of the 4 other kingdoms in this hidden land.

It's full of action, adventure, new races and beasts. There is also conflict between Braeden and Kara since Braeden is falling for her and she's afraid this will only lead to more danger. 

I love the story-line and her actual writing is good too. I'm now reading the second in the series and looking forward to the next book. If your looking for a fun summer read, and you've already read Fable, give these books a try. If you like fantasy, you'll like these.

Not much to report as far as our books go. We are still working on Fated and still plan to have it out sometime this fall. We meet with Mikey this weekend to see how he's progressing on the cover and will continue to move forward. We are about 2/3 of the way through on edits.

The second book in the Lorn Prophecy series, Lore, is also coming along. I have been revising it on the side, in between working on the novella, and have managed to get through the prologue and first three chapters. Hopefully it will be ready to dive right into once we are finished with Fated.

We've been working hard to get these books done and published for all our fans! Don't worry, this won't be like the Game of Thrones series where you have to wait 6 yrs between books. At least that's the goal.

I hope all of you have a great week and I'm hoping to do an interview with our lead character Stevie soon. Maybe Friday, we'll see.

Take care, Lisa

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Guest - Jack Snow, Character from Fable

Please welcome Jack Snow to the blog today. He’s Stevie, and Alyssa’s best friend and sidekick. His plans after high school are to take advantage of his scholarship to University of Denver for a degree in journalism and to write novels eventually. Right now though, he is caught up in this new world they have discovered and would like to visit there one day.
Welcome Jack and thanks for the opportunity to interview you. I know you’re a very busy boy now a days! Oh look…Alyssa is with you! Come in, come in.

Alyssa shakes her head and whispers, “This is Jack’s interview. I’ll be right outside.”
[Jack grabs her hand] “Oh come on Lissy, it’ll be fun.”
[She pulls away] “No, no. I wouldn’t dream of taking away your spot light, Jack.” [She grins]
I don’t think Jack’s the only smart-ass of the group. No worries, Alyssa. I’ll call to schedule your interview.

[I catch the red creeping over her heart-shaped face as she closes the door]
[Jack turns to me] “K - now where were we? Oh ya. Interview. Go on, Doll Face.” [he smiles]

First, I wanted to ask you, how’d you enjoy your trip to British Columbia? The country rocks – I mean literally. It’s pretty tough going. Not for the faint of heart or fat of ass. Can’t say much about the food, though. I’d be happy if I never saw another deer steak or pan fried fish. The first thing I ate when I got back to civilization was a hamburger and fries. Food of the Gods, I tell ya!

It must have been tough being Torren’s captive. How did you survive?  Seriously? With cunning and bravery, of course. [He straightens up in the chair] I knew eventually I would get away from those thugs; it was only a matter of time. I had to act like a helpless wimp to lull them into a sense of over confidence until I had the opportunity to escape.

Wow…that would have taken a brave man. But didn’t you have a hard time learning how to use the weaponry of the Djen? I mean, it’s not every day you get to work with swords and the bow. The only weapons I need are these guns. [At this he rolls up the sleeves on his t-shirt and flexes his biceps] [I roll my eyes] But ya, the über-archaic weapons they used were hard to get used to. I would have much preferred to shoot them between the eyes [He points his index finger in front of him and makes a pow pow sound].

So, Stevie and her friends didn’t save you? [Jack shifts in his chair a little]. Hey, I’m all about giving credit where credit’s due, but I would have gotten away on my own…eventually. They just kinda sped the escape thing along, ya know? [He sits up suddenly] Hey, you got anything to munch on? Oh, and a soda? [I point to my little frig in my office. As he walks over and opens it, I pull out my candy stash] Thanks! I’m starved! You don’t get this physic by accident [again, the muscle flexing].

Do you miss Stevie now that she is with her soul mate and in Djenrye? Wadda you think? She’s my bud. But it was time to make a little space between us. I didn’t want to break her heart, but I had to move on. The call of the wild, sowing wild oats, and all that. [His green eyes twinkle].

I see. Where does Alyssa fit in your oat sowing plans? Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re an item, exactly. But even you have to admit she is hot! And a gymnast - Have you seen how flexible she is? Man…

Okay, okay. What are your future plans now, Jack? Hmm…well, in the now, covering Wood’s butt is taking most of my time. When I’m not saving him, Alyssa and I are hitting it. And, I’d sure like to go to Djenrye and kick some Rebel ass before all the fightin’s done. I gotta throw down a little pay-back on the jerks who tortured me, you know? Just sayin’…

Well, thanks for your time today Jack. I hope you can check in once in a while and answer any comments or questions.
Absolutely! I am here at your pleasure. [He gets up, and makes a sweeping bow toward me. As he heads out of the office, I catch a glimpse of him grabbing Alyssa’s hand. He swings her around, then into a dip. What a ham] Thanks Doll Face! Had a great time. [Just before the door closes Jack buries his face in the young girl’s neck. I can hear her giggle through the door].
I’m sure he did. Loves to talk about himself…

Please leave Jack a comment, so he can bless you with his wit.

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'm Getting Ahead of the Game

My interview with Torren gain quite a few hits, even though there weren't a lot of comments. Sixty to be exact, and I want to thank all of you that joined in. It was really fun to write!

I had planned to have another character interview today, but I was unable to get it done this last weekend. I've been catching up on writing so that we can get the next book out on time. That's my goal anyway.I do plan to get one out this Friday, maybe Jack should be my next interview. He's a fun character and several readers have told me he's one of their favorites. In fact, one of my critique partners loves Jack Snow. 

If you have a favorite and would love to see an interview with that character, drop me a comment and let me know!

In the mean time, back to work for me. I've managed to finish adding any scenes, and or chapters to the novella - Fated, so that we can jump right in and get it done! Toni will be here tonight and we will be back on track.

I also read through the 33 chapters I had written four years ago for - Lore, Book 2 of the Lorn Prophecy - and made the appropriate notes and I'm now going through the manuscript and rewriting. It's still a great story and I think you'll like it!

I have been working on organizing my life, too. Cleaning out all the Fable paperwork and boxing it up and moving on to the new box created for the novella. But I do feel good about getting back to writing. I missed it a lot.

There is so much to publishing a novel, or a series of novels, that sometimes I don't know what to work on next. There's the business aspect to keep up with, the social media, and platforming, and emails, ect... It never ends, but it's well worth it!

My calendar seems to fill up faster now and I try my hardest to stick to it, but I am thinking of a sabbatical from the blog and concentrating on other things for a week. It will probably be the beginning of August when I do this, but I will let you know when I do.

In the mean time I have more character interviews to do, guests, and the old standby, muses. I have also read a few good books lately and might share some of those with you, too. 

Thanks to all of you this has been a wonderful journey for me. There has been a lot of great support from you and I appreciate those who have put up with me through the last two years!

Thanks for everything and I will get you a new interview this Friday and I hope you join in on the fun!

Have a great week, Lisa

Friday, July 5, 2013

Guest Post - Torren, Son of Larrik

Please welcome my guest, the feared leader of the Djenrye Rebellion, Torren, son of Larrik. Although Torren’s race of Androne Elves has never sought powerful positions, Torren has risen to lead the Rebellion and stands to gain the position of Supreme Leader of Djenrye. He boasts the support of Entek, the most ruthless Sorcerer in all of Djenrye, who has tapped into the universal alignment to give Torren abilities that rival the Djens’ power, and that no Androne has ever had.
            Thank you for allowing an inferior human to interview you and for taking the time from your campaign to grace us with your presence, Torren. And now, without further delay, we will start the interview. I know that you’re a busy Elf.

1.      What made you decide that you wanted to be the leader of Djenrye? After careful consideration, and eliminating the competition, I knew it to be my destiny. I have a particular skill set when it comes to motivating the troupes. Praise, combined with fear and humiliation is very effective. I must admit that a touch of dark magic comes in handy now and then. The path to dominating Djenrye has been easier than I anticipated.

2.      Domination? Why do you want to dominate? I mean after all, you’re merely an Elf. [Here, Torren leans uncomfortably close. He lowers his tone and nearly purrs at me] I tell you this for your own welfare. It would behoove you to guard your speech. It is not safe to speak of me as merely an Elf. Men have lost their tongues for lesser offenses. You are only Hundye, human. Your species time on this planet is…What is the term you use for all the beings you have destroyed through your pollution and destruction of nature? …Oh yes, extinction. [He pauses and leans back – letting out a little chuckle] But, I digress. Back to your question. Only a fool would pass on the opportunity to be the leader if it landed in their lap. Look at the current leader. Manem is a coward who desires nothing more than to hide in the shadows and be left alone. Once all Hundyes’ are eliminated, this will show the people of Djenrye what a true leader is capable of.

3.      Why do you want to eliminate the humans? Why not enslave them? Are you truly so naive? You breed more of your ilk and destroy our world while the Djen – who, through the will of the Gods – were chosen to protect it – have let you do whatever you choose. For millennia we have watched and hidden in shadows, all the while attempting to keep nature in balance, despite the Hundye’s best attempts at upsetting it. But no more! The time for the inhabitants of Djenrye to step out of the shadows is at hand.

4.      Well, you do have a point there. So what are your plans? What madness takes you to think I would divulge my plans? I can assure you this much - everything is in complete control. And once I have conquered Djenrye and Terra-hun, the Hundye plane, I will conquer the girl.

5.      So, is that the only way you can “get the girl”? How dare you imply that I am without charms or have no female intimates. I will have this girl! Shylae will soon be taught to love me and bend to my desire. I have already spoken of my skills at motivation, have I not? She will not be able to resist. I am her true mate, not that boy, Colton.

6.      I detect a little jealousy in your tone. I will never be jealous of Colton! There is nothing to be envious of. He is a thorn in my side, an inconvenience to be dealt with. Time shall prove me out. I will gain all that I desire, and more. [At this, Torren rises to an imposing figure; my guess is around six-foot-four]. I take my leave of you, Woman. Dominating two dimensions leaves little time for other distractions. I have men to train and strategies to plot.

Well, thank you for allowing me a glimpse into your secret world, Torren. Will you still honor our agreement to respond to questions from our followers?

Only from those wishing to follow me. I will send a runner with my responses. You [he points to me] may answer queries from mewling, weak Djen supporters.
[He flings the door of my office open and disappears into a portal] 

 I certainly don’t want to get on his bad side, that is, unless Colton’s got my back. Please leave your comments for Torren. I’m sure he will answer when he’s not creating havoc. Have a wonderful day everyone.

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Makes a Nemesis Realistic?

Well, here it is Tuesday again. I hope all of you had a great weekend. I have decided to talk more about characters, specifically the one's in my book(s), and thought I would start out with the "bad guy". Nothing's more fun that writing him/her into your story and I wondered what makes this character believable?

I read all types of genre and a lot of scifi/fantasy and one of the things that struck me is some writers are great at creating their nemesis without sounding like it's a bad "B" rate movie, while other's can't seem to grasp it. 

We all know in real life there are people that fit this role, but when it comes to writing a believable bad guy character, some don't hit the mark.

Toni and I strive to write Torren, our bad guy, as a person who, although wasn't born evil, became that way and answer the question of what makes him tick. The first scene we wrote with him in it, we read it out-loud and it sounded horrible. We worked diligently to make him sound wicked, but real. 

It wasn't easy, Torren is a complex character. This is why we added a little back story about him through the eyes of the one man who had known Torren his whole life, Colton. We wanted to create the dialog as real life as possible and show his weaknesses as well as his strengths.

In the novella, Fated, we see Torren 18 yrs in the past and show him struggle with rejections and pain from some of life's events that cause him to turn to the "dark side".

The last thing I want is to make Torren come across as the evil, black mustached, top-hat wearing character that we tend to associate with as the nemesis. It's corny and typically "B" rate. And I despise "B" rate movies. I want him as realistic as possible.

Although Torren is a character that you can love to hate, I want to see if the reader could also feel sorry for him, even if it's just a hint of pity. After all, not everyone who fits this role was born mean. Things happened to them to create this mind-set and push them to not caring anymore. Do you ever feel sorry for the bad guy?

Also, not to mention, even if your evil, you have weaknesses. Whether it's a love interest, or family member, or maybe even a big ego, something can stop them from reaching their true potential of pure hate.

On Friday I plan to interview Torren and I hope to have fun with it. I also hope that there are those of you that have fun with it, too. You can ask questions and put him on the spot. If you enjoy the post, I will interview several more characters in the hope that you get to know them better. 

It's not everyday that you can really get to know characters written in a book. I'm looking forward to it. So, if you have a favorite one in Fable and want to see their personality's come to life, let me know. I'm more than happy to question them. 

Until Friday, have a great week and don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what's your favorite nemesis and what brought him/her to life for you?

Love, Lisa