by

Last year I started a novel (well it was supposed to be a novella, but it got out of control) I’ve given the working title of ‘Skeleton Romance’ (I really need to give it a proper name). It was a joy to write, and – as often happens when in the throes of writing – I chased the muse.

I stuck to my plot outline quite faithfully actually, just I found myself adding in extra stuff. The primary addition was my two antagonists. Now when I look at the story I know it’s all the stronger for their unplanned appearances. The problem though is since I never planned them, I also hadn’t planned how to resolve their conflicts.

Just like bullies in real life, it isn’t so easy to deal with bullies in fiction. I didn’t want to fall back on stereotypes for their motives, nor wrap them up in a way that a real teenager might try to do and then find themselves in deep water. This is why I stopped when I was essentially 3/4 of the way through the novel. I knew I couldn’t proceed without resolutions for both antagonists.

As the year passed and I wrote other things flashes of inspiration came here and there until now, when I have enough to wrap them both up, but am now faced with figuring how to weave the romantic ending and the resolutions of the two antagonists together.

In case any of you out there are writers or just curious This is how I’ve done it.

Step 1: arc outlines on index cards

I wrote out my original plot outline ending from the point I stopped to the end (which I’ll refer to as the romantic conclusion) on index cards, one scene per index card. Then I wrote the major antagonist’s conclusion as I envision it scene by scene onto cards, and the same again for the secondary antagonist.

Now I’ve got 10 cards each with their own scenes on them. When the kids are NOWHERE NEARBY (crucial in case the caps lock isn’t a hint) I spread these out on the rug in front of me.

Step 2: Lay out original arc

First I lay out the romantic conclusion, because it’s already got its flow and order. Then I look at my to antagonist conclusions and look for where they would piece in nicely to the romantic conclusion. For the most enjoyable end I need both of them wrapped up just before the final conclusive romantic scene, but depending on how it all reads, putting both conclusions side by side just in front of the final romantic scene might be awkward from a pacing and timing perspective.

Step 3: Insert other arc’s scenes

I also look to see if some of any of the antagonist conclusion scenes can be merged with any of the romantic scenes. for example, information to defeat on of the bullies might be stumbled across while the characters are actually doing something that propels the romantic arc forward. Now instead of having to write two separate scenes, I merely have to add a little to an already outlined scene.

Ultimately I had a lot of fun with this, figuring out my concluding outline, and I had so much fun finally finishing my extremely unusual romance filled with teen angst, sexual identity, and suicidal thoughts (because what romance doesn’t include considering suicide?)(the story really isn’t a romance anymore ;p more a coming out/coming of age).

Save

by

With a Kickstarter campaign that well over doubled its initial goal and surpassed all its stretch goals, the release of WARRIOR from Ink & Locket Press has been much anticipated. Now at last you can grab your copy — if you weren’t already receiving a copy for backing the campaign ;p

I’m excited to say my story Glass Bones is one of the twelve within these pages.

Glass Bones is about Mizzy, a Lake Maiden’s Champion(and lover), and how far she will go free her brother from the curse of Glass Bones he was born with.

After years of approaching wizards and witches for help only to be disappointed, Mizzy and her brother, Bran, have spent yet more years of traveling the world gathering magic rings. Now they are collected the pair can finally go to the world beyond Gate Eighteen, a place where gossip claims there is a cure for everything. But rumour isn’t always right, and everyone knows there’s consequences with any magic.

Interested in the rest of the anthology?

“I was a hard-boiled soul with a blood-stained dress. I was a warrior, right from the start.”
Unnecessary Risks

A werewolf stalks the streets of London, fighting for her humanity. In Ancient Rome, a gladiator battles monsters for the man he loves. In alien-infested Ontario, a metal-lunged soldier fights for guns and glory—and the girl of her dreams.

In worlds far and unknown, a cursed man fights rumour and raiders to save the children who have no one else. A big, buff, wingless fairy wrestles with a fiery portal to save her Great Tree from demons. At the lost temple of the Red Desert, a human sacrifice fights for her life.

Facing aliens, demons, curses and armies, twelve unstoppable heroes must find the strength to defeat their enemies with wit, weapon and a warrior’s heart.

These short stories all feature heroes who identify within the LGBTQIA spectrum.

Go ahead and buy your copy of Glass Bones in WARRIOR today from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk .

Save

Save

by

I’m a few days late with this post but – feel free to skip this paragraph if you don’t care why ;p – considering Cyclone Debbie hit our area, first blocking the road south to the funeral we were supposed to go to on Friday (we’d already driven halfway there before the roads flooded), then causing the evacuation of the area the funeral was being held, resulting in rescheduling the funeral. So we drove back home to enjoy my birthday and go to my writers group, then drove back down today for the rescheduled event, and all the way back too. You can imagine blogging has been the least of my worries these last few days ;p

So to wrap up March, I:

  • With a new 19,000 words, finished the first draft of ‘Skeleton Romance’. The draft is 64,000 words total – and yet I’m still no closer to a real title, maybe in edits?
  • Got a good start on Light In The Deep, an extra 3,200 words
  • Also wrote 17 writing prompts for Vision (I felt inspired to be inspiring ;p )

All up I wrote 22,000 words in March. I hit all my goals except the coming up with an actual title for ‘Skeleton Romance’, and did some work on my stretch goal too (for the first time in months ;p ), I’m pretty chuffed with those results.

For my April goals I plan to:

  • Help promote the release of the anthology WARRIOR from Ink & Locket Press which contains my latest short story: Glass Bones
  • Use the beta reader feedback on Glass Slippers to revise it
  • Use my critique group’s feedback over the last several months to revise Charming Rivals
  • Begin the first draft of Nothing Charming
  • Finish the first draft of Light In The Deep
  • Do a bunch of research on tension, including reading some good books (fiction and non-fiction) to help me with that

And for my stretch goal:

  • Use the editor’s feedback on Mudgerwokee to complete it and return to her (well before the July deadline)

So lots of revision this month, but still some fresh words for first drafts planned too. I might be being a bit over ambitious, but there’s so much I want to work on NOW that I can’t wait ;p

by

As usual after the monthly Vision Writers group meeting I’ve posted a meeting takeaway post on the Vision Writers website. You can check it out here.

by

Just sharing the writing prompt I put on the Vision Writers website today.

by

This will be a short post since my main goal is big(ish) so there’s only one.

  • Finish the first draft of ‘Skeleton Romance’ (working title)

Stretch Goal:

  • Get a real title for ‘Skeleton Romance’

Extra Stretch goal:

  • Finish ‘Light In The Deep'(working title) novelette

Now, less blogging, more writing ;p

by

Oops, I forgot to do January’s round-up.

So far this year I’ve written a new short story: Mudgerwokee. A horror tale which was initially 9,000 words, then I shaved down to 7,500 to meet the editor’s word count, but now based on the editor’s notes I’ll be bumping up a bit again to flesh out the ending.

I’ve also completed self-edits on the first sequel to Charming, a fun novella called Charming Rivals and getting it out to my critique group for feedback – a longish process since the story after editing has become 18,000 words long and I can only post 5,000 word each month to my group.

February I’ve spent most of focused on Glass Slippers, completing my self-edits on that novella(which includes adding almost 10,000 words) and have now sent it off to beta readers and should get the feedback returned by end of March. I also wrote a (completely unplanned and out of nowhere) an erotic scene between two characters from Glass Slippers. Considering the style of the novella though, I doubt that scene will ever see the light of day ;p

And for the last couple of days I’ve been getting my head back into the voice of Min, my first person perspective protagonist from ‘Skeleton Romance'(working title) as I intend to finish that novel’s first draft this next month. I’ve been rereading the 43,000 odd words I’ve already written to refamiliarise myself with both plot and voice. Yeah, yeah, I know you endlessly hear writing ‘gurus’ telling you to never do that, just push ahead with the draft, but sometimes advice needs to be ignored. I mean if I didn’t do this, how much more rewriting and editing would I need to do later? Is the three days I spent re-reading (note: I was reading, not editing) a bigger waste of time than the time I would spend in rewrites and editing because I wasn’t better prepared? Also, I’m not a newbie who has never finished a novel (I’ve finished several) and the advice feels aimed at newbies who are finding ways (subconsciously or otherwise) to avoid finishing their novel.

I also went to a seminar with Joanna Penn which was awesome and another step toward my ‘keep learning’ goal.

So a lot of editing, and some fresh new words (approximately 26,000 new words). Not a bad start to the year, but I’m going to have to push harder if I want to meet all my goals for the year.

How’s the first two months of 2017 been to you?

by

A slide containing the post-it note listeners to The Creative Penn Podcast should be familiar with and Joanna discussing it.

Yesterday I had the distinct delight to go to a part speech part panel featuring the lovely and clever Joanna Penn.

It’s funny, here in Brisbane we get a bit ignored, we aren’t Sydney (who the rest of the world thinks is Australia’s capital, not merely a capital of one of our states) and we aren’t trendy Melbourne, so we get overlooked fairly regularly by celebrities(though perhaps not so badly as the other capitals ;p ). Thus I honestly never expected an amazing author like Joanna would come here. Naturally the second she mentioned on one of her podcasts she was coming here I was like ‘sign me up for whatever seminar she’s doing’.

And I did sign up. I went into the event thinking I’ve listened to so many of the podcasts (I started listening when Xander was still an infant, I’d do our daily walk with him in the stroller(so he would fall asleep) and my headphones in) that I kind of assumed I wouldn’t actually learn anything much new, maybe just one or two points I’d forgotten over the years. I was there for the sheer excitement of seeing THE Joanna Penn, not just hearing her voice like I do every week. At the end of the seminar I looked at the notebook I’d brought with me and saw I had four pages of notes! Some of it ideas that came from what she said or reminders to myself, but also a lot of fresh info.

One thing that surprised me a lot was how much Brisbane actually played into the early stage of her writing life. i mean you know the basic story from having read her non-fiction books and blog posts and having listened to the podcast, but it was one of those things that didn’t really sink in until I heard her talking about all these familiar things. I knew the suburb where she’d lived, her old house looked like it could have been down the street from any of the places I’ve lived, she did the ‘year of the novel’ course from QWC (which I’m a member of). Isn’t it interesting how these points of commonality make you feel closer to someone (even if you don’t actually know them ;p )

Joanna Penn, me, and Emma Lee Gough

There were plenty of laughs too, both in Joanna’s original presentation and the panel style chat that happened after that. The Q&A that wrapped the session up was informative and they took the time to answer pretty much every hand that went up – and those whose questions involved a more in depth answer they invited to come down and chat with them at the end for more details – and, best of all, at the very end Emma and I got a selfie with Joanna.

I absolutely recommend if you ever have a chance to see her speak you do so.

by

I’ve been forgetting to link these lately – whoops!

For the February writing prompt over on the Vision Writers website I’ve done ‘Role Reversal‘, so check it out.

 

by

I’m a few days late with this because I worked my ‘day job’ (which is a very weird term considering my *real* day job is caring for the kids and writing, more aptly it would be my ‘once or twice a week’ job ;p ) both public holidays, and the moment I came home on the second day we jumped in the car to head off for Xander’s birthday trip. I hope this busy-ness isn’t a sign of the year to come ;p

First, I’ll break down 2016 by the goals I set at the start of the year.

Goal #1 – Finish the edits of Written By The Stars. Gah, I did try a couple of times, but honestly I’m stymied by the same problem as last time, I just don’t know if I’m ‘fixing’ things that are good as they are and leaving things that do need repair. I think I need to just get some beta readers to go over it this year and use their feedback to help instead of boiling my own brain endlessly over it.

Goal #2 – Be the best president I can be of my writers group, Vision Writers. If being voted in again is a good guideline as to success in such a role then: success. 2016 saw a LOT of extra jobs in regards to this fall in my lap, several which I thought would be taken care of by others. Most of them were my own over-ambitious fault though ;p

Goal #3 – Work on my several novellas I published The Troll’s Toll and all the reviews on Amazon are very positive. I’ve got Glass Slippers almost to beta-reading point, and Skeleton Romance turned out to be a novel, not a novella. Quite happy with this one’s result.

Goal #4 – Keep writing and selling short fiction. I wrote 5 new short stories (about 50,600 words worth) and sold Glass Bones (being published very soon in the WARRIOR anthology from Ink and Locket Press), Hanabi to Kitsune, The Beauty of the Dance (published in Myriad Lands from Guardbridge Books) and God’s Chosen in Darkest Depths anthology from Vision Writers. Also published in 2016 (though not exactly ‘sold’ in 2016) were Gaps in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63 and Charming in Leading Edge Magazine #68. I also have had the honor of having an editor approach me and ask me if I’d like to write a story for their next anthology (I’m currently working on the story).

Goal #5 – Finish one of the NaNo novels I started – dismally failed as I didn’t even try it 🙁

Goal #6 – Work with as many editors as I can. This went great. I worked with editors on Gaps, Charming (a whole team on this one 😀 ), Glass Bones, The Beauty of the Dance, and God’s Chosen.

Goal #7 – Find some dedicated beta readers. I didn’t get very far with this one sadly, but again, didn’t work as hard on it as I could have.

Goal #8 – Keep Learning. A good result and fairly easy considering how many editors I got to work with. Additionally I learned how to format an ebook and layout a print book, as well as discovering new story structures such as kishotenketsu. I also listened to a LOT of podcasts, including The Creative Penn, The Self Publishing formula, the Novel Marketing Podcast, and Writing Excuses.

So over all quite a good year. I wrote 134,000 new words and did a sizeable amount of editing and other writing endeavors. I could have done better on the novel side of things though.

As for 2017’s goals:

  • Publish at least three more of my Retailored Fairy Tales
  • Finish first draft, complete edits, and get to beta readers ‘Skeleton Romance’ (also give it a real title ;p )
  • Continue writing and traditionally publishing stories (won’t be hard with three sales already due for release ;p )
  • Continue learning
  • Continue being an awesome president of Vision Writers Group
  • Write at least three more Retailored Fairy Tales
  • Complete a novel (as in to the point I can resume submitting to agents)

So there’s a few very specific ones, and a few looser more general ones but I’ll certainly be kept busy.