If you’ve been following for a while, you know that in 2014, before getting a contract for FIRE IN THE WOODS, I completed:
- A first draft of a middle grade contemporary
- A first draft of an adult paranormal murder mystery romance (with aliens)
- A nearly final draft of a YA dystopian
So why are none of these on my radar for 2015? Why am I setting goals to start one or two new series with these projects waiting in the wings?
It was a very hard decision.
A very very hard decision.
Right now I have something every author dreams of, but never really expects to have: a fan base. Granted, it’s not huge… but it’s there. And they are vocal, and I love them to pieces. Every single one of them.
- Will the middle grade contemporary go over well for someone expecting an alien story? Probably not.
- Will the adult alien paranormal be good for this age group? Well, yes, for some, but I will have to publish under another name due to some adult themes… so no… not a good match.
- Will the YA dystopian thrill the paranormal-lovers? Maybe, but this is more of a journey tale… a slow burn before the climax. It will probably do well… someday. But I don’t think the timing is right at the moment.
I believe right now is a very precarious time for me. FIRE IN THE WOODS is an action adventure/romance series. I need to build on “this type” of book to keep the momentum moving. I don’t want to take chances with a risky theme, or something I have not tested the waters with.
There will always be time to dust those beauties off. Hey, sometimes I am just in the mood for editing. Those will be the days I pull those suckers out.
For now, though, I have several really fun thrill ride-type stories plotted out.
- Heavy on the action
- Heroines that are not afraid to stick up for themselves
- And “out of this world” guys that are really easy on the eyes.
Yes, it’s a bit formulaic… but I write the same way I read… for fun.
And to be honest… if I could run through the woods all day with a hot guy and watch stuff explode, I’d be a totally happy camper.
So… Why am I doing this?
Because I want to. Luckily for me, my fan base and I are in agreement.
Have you ever placed a few years’ worth of writing on a back burner?
For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine? You can also click “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar. Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.
At one point in the red-lining of the manuscript, the publisher stopped, and wrote a full page explaining the importance of careful Point of View switching. I’m glad you’re on a computer… It means you’re probably already sitting down. A lot of you might not like this much. I know I didn’t.
The publisher counted nine different POVs in the Gold Mine Manuscript. They said the problem with this is the reader can’t get deep into one character. They realized the author was going to different POVs to give background, but they said that they could not relate to these new characters, because they hadn’t learned enough about them to understand their motives. It makes it very difficult to feel anything for any specific character.
They cautioned against switching to POVs that are not intrinsic to the story just to give background, conflict, or added tension.
The publisher recommended **Gack** editing it to three points of view, one of them being the female character, who had not been a strong POV character in the original.
THAT’S REMOVING 6 POINTS OF VIEW!
Now, I must say that I’ve read a partial revise of the gold mine manuscript. Do not be daunted. I’ve seen that this can be done. If a scene in an “unnecessary POV” has important information in it, you just need to get creative and find a way for the POV characters to be there, or overhear what happened. It’s possible. You just need to broaden the scope of your thinking.
In my next post, I will show you the tool I used to break down my POV characters… and yes, I needed a tool. I was surprised with how many POV’s I had!
The more I fiddle, I think the better I get at this. Yes, I could be writing, but these little suckers are so much fun!
I’ve gotten a great reaction to this particular trailer. I shot off the idea of the full-length David-POV trailer, and cut it down to 15 seconds. Tough, but I think the impact is totally there.
Please let me know what you think!
Looking over this list at the end of the year, part of me wanted to start re-arranging. But I decided not to, because this is how I felt after reading each book. #1 and #2 were really neck and neck for best book, so I am going to give them both the number one slot.
It is funny– I read 21 books this year. That is exactly the same number of books that I read last year. I am half way through reading another J.L.Armentrout book right now, so maybe it is really 21.5 books this year. Not too shabby since I don’t have all that much time to read.
So here it is, my list of Best to not so best books this year. Have you read any?
- Onyx , Jennifer L. Armentrout – Second (maybe third) in the Lux Series. Girl moves into a town and the twins next door are aliens. This story deepens the plotlines of book one. Slow to start, but once it got going I forgot about all that. What an amazing and unexpected last fifty or so pages!
- Rules of Survival, Jus Accardo – Great story about a bounty hunter that shackles himself to a fugitive girl and then finds out there are people trying to kill her. Great action and nice character development. Have to fault the author for an unrealistic sex scene, but loved the rest of it!
- Darkside Sun, Jocelyn Adams—Great Googly Moogly. I loved this book. Paranormal action and suspense at its best. The ending could have had some more action, but an awesome read overall.
- Rescue Me – This is writing of First Person Present at its best. The tone did not jar me, and despite being downright offensive at times, this author kept me turning pages. Granted, I started to roll my eyes after the fortieth sex scene, but this novel really moved.
- Opal, Jennifer L. Armentrout–Yeah, another Lux novel. I really enjoy these. The concepts and characters continue to pull me in. Unfortunately, I had read the blurb on the next book before reading this, so I knew how it would end. Kind of ruined it for me. Great excitement and really awesome writing. This author has not let me down yet.
- Cinder, Marissa Meyer–I liked this book a lot. I just didn’t love it. While everyone is telling me book 2 is even better, I didn’t find myself instantly reaching for the next book, and I’m not sure I ever will. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. It was. I’m not sure why I’m not continuing with the series.
- Midnight Dawn, Jocelyn Adams–Adams is another one of my favorite authors. She rarely disappoints me. Great story and great world and kick butt characters with explosive endings. What’s there not to love?
- Branded, Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki — This was a great fast-paced Dystopian. I had to cringe a few times over the violent images (not my thing) But the authors did manage to surprise me at the end. After hearing mixed reviews, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this.
- Call Me Grimm, Elizabeth Holloway – Really neat story. Great world building, but she lost me in the last sentence. Didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment of the book though.
- Ghosts in the Mirror, Joyce Mangola — Oooo ghosts. This is a unique pass at a ghost story. Ghosts jump into this poor kid and put him in a coma. Lots to love here. I would consider picking up another book in this series if there was one.
- Divergent, Veronica Roth–Okay, I’ll admit this was a DNF for me. I really enjoyed the writing and the flow of it all. But I saw the movie when I still had half the book to go. I just kind of lost interest after that. I will probably read more some day though. I think all the talk about the rest of the books not being good may have turned me off as well. I’ll probably get back to it some day.
- Fire of Stars and Dragons, Melissa Petreshock—Girl has to marry either a dragon, a god, or a vampire king. They all have to woo her to win her love. Interesting premise, but told in first person from each male lead’s POV and the protagonist’s POV. Not crazy about the switching first person, but after a very shaky beginning, this was an enjoyable story overall.
- Damaged, H.M. Ward – Great story. Odd that I enjoyed it because it was contemporary romance. Really had me hooked, but it Didn’t end AT ALL. You need to buy book 2 to find out what happens. I did not buy book two. I felt cheated, and didn’t like not knowing if I’d have to buy book three, four, or more before the story completes. If a book is a serial, it should have a stamp on the cover or something. Instead of loving the book (which I was doing) I ended up ticked off at the end. Not good.
- The Brown House, Christy Sloat — Interesting and very complicated ghost premise (in a good way) This is a ghost story that really is not scary at all. (Like not even a creepy feeling) I got this book because it was based loosely on a real house and the weird things that happened here. It was neat reading another book that took place in New Jersey.
- Sleeping with a Stranger—A crit partner asked me to read this, because this is a writer she wanted to emulate. I was not impressed, but it could be a bad match of reader to book. I can’t relate to gambling or immature, dangerous behavior. I also felt the conflict was forced. (Note – After reading it, my crit partner agreed. She wondered if this was one of the author’s earlier works)
- Tempting the Bodyguard, Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn — Okay, this is my favorite author. Why is this book down here? Yikes! This book was not written for me. I picked it up expecting the same valued writing style that I enjoyed with the Lux books, but with an adult story. Boy, was that NOT what this was. Shame on me for expecting what this was not. There is a reason she changed her names for these books. Not. For. Me.
- The Witches of Glass Castle – DNF. I was bummed, because I could not engage with this story. Stinky, because so many people seemed to like it.
Dragon Eye, Anna Simpson–This is a cute story, great for a short read at the beach or while waiting in a doctor’s office. Just some good clean fun.
Pixified, Sheryl Winters–More good fun. Lots of goofy characters written tongue in cheeck. Read this with a smile on your face.
1. Riveting you Reader with Deep Point Of View – AWESOME
2. Writing Fight Scenes: Almost put it down because the beginning was talking down to a novice, but later parts of the book were helpful. I like how it is divided into different sections for different types of fights.
So there you have it. What was the best book you read in 2014, and why did you love it?
Last week I introduced the idea of the 15 second trailer. (Here’s the link to the post if you missed it)
This week’s mini-trailer is a little comedy bit I built. It started off as this still picture meme…
but out of nowhere I started messing with elements moving around. Before I knew it I was adding music and sound effects.
This was a TON of work, because it is essentially stop-motion photography. Hey, I’m learning. And having fun while I do it!
I really have no idea where I was going with this. FIRE IN THE WOODS is not a comedy… I guess I was just in a quirky mood.
What do you think?
Ah, yes, it’s that magical time of year. Resolutions are everywhere… but rather than resolutions, I like to set goals. That way I can look back on the previous year and say, “Yeah, that was a good year.”
Well, last year ended up getting blown out of the water (in a good way) by getting the multi-book deal. That sort of set all my previous writing goals way way way onto the back burner. And for this year, those old 2014 goals are getting pushed back even further. Maybe even to the point of hanging them on the wall to get them completely out of the way (but still in sight, in case I want to grab one. You know what I mean?)
As usual, I need to look at what I “have to do.” This year, per my contract, I “have to:”
- Edit and sign off on the final version of ASHES IN THE SKY
- Market ASHES IN THE SKY for tentative September 2015 release.
- Finish “Book Three” and submit it to my publisher by March 1
- Complete the outline of optioned “Book Four” and submit to my publisher for approval by June 1.
- Edit and sign off on final “Book three”
- Market “Book Three” for Tentative late 2015 release
That’s a lot to do, but I have some other goals in mind.
Book three is half way done. I need to submit it in March, so that gives me nine whole months to play with something new while I’m not editing. Woohoo!
So here are my remaining goals for 2015:
7. Write a new book in a new world (Complete, polish, and send out to query)
8A. Write first draft of a second new book in a new world, OR
8B. Write the outlined “Book Four” of FIRE IN THE WOODS if my publisher takes up the option.
So, if you’ve been following along my insanity train for the past few years, it’s going to be another fun ride.
What is in store for you this year?
For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine? You can also look under “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar. Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.
Lesson Thirteen talked about making sure we only see what the Point of View character can see. We also have to worry about accidentally getting into the heads of other characters as we describe what the POV character is seeing.
It seems to happen most for me when I describe what another character in the scene is doing.
“Mike studied the sign on the wall.”
Is Mike the POV character? No? Then how does the POV character know that he is studying it? He may just be looking in that direction but thinking of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Right?
Hold up your right hand and say: forever more I will call this…
The publisher red-lined something very similar to this, and said that you need to show what the characters are doing by showing what the POV character sees them doing. You cannot get into their heads, or assume what they are doing.
You might be able to fix something like this with “Mike stood in front of the sign on the wall, and scratched his head.” This would work especially well if there was a little dialog afterwards that made it obvious he looked at it. REMEMBER NOT TO SAY HE LOOKS AT IT. (See my earlier post on “Write without Looking”)
I’ve been spending a lot of time on Instagram. It’s been great talking books with readers. Tons of fun.
But of course, I’m also there to mention my book once in a while. Mostly this is with pictures of my book, or with snappy memes.
But I’ve also started enjoying 15 second or less mini-trailers.
Hey, you thought querying was bad!
This has been a huge challenge, and I have to admit… a little bit of fun.
Think it over… how can you entice a reader to check out your book in 15 seconds or less. It’s flash fiction, with videos!
For the next few weeks I’ll be showing these videos here on Fridays. I hope you enjoy them!
Here’s number one. This was really an experiment to see how it was received. I took for granted most people have at least heard of my book (Because they followed me)
What do you think?
It’s that time of year where everyone is making resolutions. In most cases, I don’t so much make resolutions, as much as I make plans. One of these “plans” though, smacked me in the face.
In 2013, I read 21 books. Oddly enough, without even trying, I also read 21 books in 2014. So when Goodreads popped up and asked me how many books I wanted to read in 2015, I answered with “21”.
But great googly-moogley! Then it showed me what everyone else’s reading goals were. Holy cow! 100 book in a year? SERIOUSLY?
Scrolling through, I realized that my goal was the lowest of anyone’s on my friend’s lists. It left me feeling lacking… but only for a second.
I could have typed in 100 books, but that isn’t realistic. Not for me. I’m not one of those people who can find the time to sit down and finish an entire book on a Saturday afternoon. It’s just not in the cards for me. Reading a book in about ten days is realistic to me. So why didn’t I enter 35 books?
Well, I normally read about 10% of a book in a day, but I don’t always have time to read every day.
I don’t want reading to be a chore, or to end up one of those people grabbing for novellas just so I can add another “finished” to my list. I’d rather read slowly, relax, and enjoy. I don’t ever want reading to be a competition.
What I do want to do this year is read more top-selling, five-star young adult novels. I want to see what the trends are. I want to make sure that I am keeping up with the styles that are making people scream for more.
Here are 10 of the books I have already purchased to read this year. I’ll leave the other ten open for new releases or new books that get buzz going about them.
The 5th Wave
A thousand Pieces of You
White Hot Kiss
Snow Like Ashes
Lifer (Not a best-seller yet, but I hear it’s good)
These Broken Stars
What’s on your bucket list to read this year?
For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine? You can look under “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar. Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.
I used to slip out of my POV all the time, and now I am trying to really get my head inside the POV character so I am very aware of them and their surroundings. I used to write partially omniscient, and I could see through walls and such. Silly me.
This publisher noted that when you are in one character’s POV, make sure the narration does not tell something that the POV character cannot see. For instance, if your character looks out the balcony window, thinks it’s a warm wonderful night, and then goes to bed. Don’t Pre-tell with a three sentence closing scene of velociraptors swarming just on the other side of the trees, quarreling about who will get to eat your main character.
Great dramatic effect? Yes, and they use it in movies all the time, but the POV character can’t see it, so it’s a bit strange and out of place, right?
Now, if they heard something in the bushes, a growl, something unsettling… that would work fine. Then let them go off to nighty-night.
The same goes for a passage like “What Jessica didn’t know, was that someone was stealing her car while she put on her makeup.” If we are in Jessica’s POV, this doesn’t quite work. We need to wait and follow Jessica out the door to find out WITH HER that her car was stolen.