Thinking the Plot is the Easy Part? Think Again…

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I love to write. We all know that.  But anyone can love to write and not everyone does it well. I’m humble enough to say that I’m no bestseller. I could be, no doubt about that… It is still a work in progress. But I’m not alone in my quest, swimming in the sea of literature millions deep and just as many wide.

The plot is essentially the foundation on which your story is built upon. I’m sure there will be those who argue with me. But even transparent characters can be made strong by a great plot. And there is no setting, no matter how fantastical, that can withstand a Swiss cheese plot. It must have a rhythm to it…a build up, a climax, and a resolution or ending. That is the one thing that really doesn’t differ from any fiction book or manuscript out there.

There are ratios out there for the recipe of a good book. There are some that say that only formally educated, with a degree, writers are worth a darn. I disagree with all those rules. The only one I do agree with is the rhythm. Anyone who tells you that you can’t write without a degree is wrong.

So focusing on the plot is so important. But think about yours…Is it twisted or predictable? If it’s predictable, are there elements to distract the reader? Is it slow moving? Is it boring? What elements have you included to make it more interesting? Characters and setting do not count. Get that all out of your head right now. If you think about a birthday cake, the plot should be the actual cake, the setting should be the frosting all over it, and the characters are all the pretty decorations on the frosting.

wedding cake

Generally, the plot starts with an idea. Just one idea. The people you see may not be named yet or have hair color or eye color, but you see them living out this idea and it builds. Things happen, conflict usually ensues, and it comes to an end with loose ties neatly tied up in a pretty little package.

I used to read historical fiction and for years, I would crack a book and want to get lost in this parallel world to my reality. Not trying to slam true, historical fiction, but they are all essentially the same. There is a girl, girl meets boy, girl refuses boy until the very end of the book where they run off into the sunset together and live happily ever after. I stopped reading books because they were all the same…down to the kinds of racy covers they graced the shelves with. I grew bored.

Do you want this to happen to you? I didn’t think so.

What’s the solution to this problem? BE ORIGINAL! You don’t have to be so far out there that people can’t relate to you, but for crying out loud, own the story! Do something different!

Here is my recipe for Noble Courage:

Peasant girl meets boy (love at first sight)->Peasant girl is sold to a ruthless lord and is taken away from where her love at first sight boy is->Ruthless lord’s patience is tested to the limits->Love at first sight boy searches for the peasant girl->Peasant girl develops feelings for the ruthless lord->ruthless lord develops feelings for the peasant girl->Greedy king comes for a visit->Greedy king thinks he can outsmart the ruthless lord and the peasant girl->Peasant girl outsmarts the greedy king->Love at first sight boy outsmarts them all->Ruthless lord must band together with the greedy king to save the peasant girl->There is no happily ever after->Peasant girl, ruthless lord, greedy king, and love at first sight boy find the ways to put their lives back together->Set up the book for the rest of the series.

WHEW! See how different my story is over others?

Now think of your story and compare it to others in a similar genre. Do you copy their formula or have  you stood out on your own?

What about twists and turns? I think they are pretty important. Even my recipe above would be a little boring without the psychotic antagonist, the beatings, the kidnapping, the paternal revelation, the secret wedding, the war, the dungeons, the death, the traitors, and the post traumatic stress of all of the above. Twist it up until your readers feel like they are losing their minds! Make them really think about what is about to happen and be floored when they are wrong! The unpredictability is what makes it all interesting. It makes a reader want to keep reading when they turn that page or end that chapter.

I’m not going to tell you to leave sex out of a story or to force the hero to win or even to allow your heroine to only have sex with one person through the life of the book. That is up to you. But be wary of your target audience and write appropriately. I have sex scenes in my books and the older teenage girls love them, but mine are not a YA category either.

I remember reading “Flowers in the Attic” when I was first in high school. There was sexual content in that book…along with the rest of the series. I wasn’t the only teen who liked V.C. Andrews either. My word of advice: No matter what you write, make it tasteful and make it matter. Don’t riddle your book with scenes that could be very offensive to parts of your audience. Keep it balanced nicely.

You know, even for as many people love my books, there are those who fan themselves and slam the book shut claiming it is too sexual in nature. Well, if this was a common complaint, I could understand them. But when my pie is 90% readers who think it was tastefully done and 10% those who think it was too adult, I will place my bets with the vast majority. If it was the other way around, I might omit a scene or two.

Okay. Enough about sex.

So I am just trying to say: There are no rules in fiction, but bad fiction should never go out there. Your story should always move forward at a pace that relates well to your book.

I’m not a big outline person at all. I hate them, actually. But I have made them to keep track of events and the age of characters. But to merely jot down your own recipe to your plot will help you to know how to fill in the blanks to get from beginning to end. If you find that your book is very “cookie cutter”, change it. Please, for the love of books, change it! There’s enough bland books out there to bore you into oblivion. DON’T fall into that category!

I hope I told you something you might not have thought about. It is sad to me that I stopped reading because of a lack of originality. But I also find it sad that my work is discredited as an “indie” author, so it must suck. I beg to differ. I challenge you to read my books and guess where the story is going to go. No, I DARE you to! Right now, all of my books are available on the Kindle and book one is going through an intensive overhaul to be re-published. I love to hear if I shock your socks off! I will warn you, there are few who guess how it will all end. Muahaha!

Are you up for the challenge…ahem…dare?!?

YOU NEED TO READ THIS…LIKE REALLY…LIKE NOW

This is a promo running for a fellow blogger. Go download it before the price goes up!! Lol

HASTYWORDS

OMG I almost forgot to tell everyone!  My book is available via Kindle for only .99 for a short time.  In fact maybe only for a few short hours because I set it up to start YESTERDAY.  It will be only $1.99 until the beginning of next week if you miss the .99 offer!   Remember you don’t have to OWN a kindle to download and read all you need is Kindle’s free app which is what I have.   I hope lot’s of people buy so I can continue contributing in this fun publishing world.

Click on the picture and it should take you directly to AMAZON!!!  GO before it is really expensive again 🙂

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye! AWARDS TIME!

This has been a great week! Thank you to all who have interacted with me in comments, reblogging, and liking my work! Some posts take a HUGE amount of time and others don’t. But I’m all about giving back and extending my hand of friendship to those around me. The fact that you read my work and talk back to me about it means the world to me! Thank you!

So I want to give out some kudos to those who have been amazing this week. Now I want to do this each week, so you can rise through the ranks the more you visit and comment! I know, I know…I can’t hand out cool presents each week, but there are times I will do a random give-away for those who participate on a regular basis. I’m unpredictable that way.

Take a moment to take a peek at these awesome bloggers! Follow them, talk to them, love them!

Without further ado…Here are my awards for this week!

Royal Subjects: Award for following my blog!

photo attribution: guttenberg.org

photo attribution: guttenberg.org

 

Knights of the Crown: Award for comments on my posts!

Photo Attribution: Unknown

Photo Attribution: Unknown

 

Allies of the Kingdom: Award for reblogging my posts!

photo attribution: wikipedia.org

photo attribution: wikipedia.org

 

King’s Herald: Award for liking my posts!

Photo Attribution: Midsommer Actors via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo Attribution: Midsommer Actors via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Thank you sooo much for your love and support! I couldn’t keep going without you!

If you feel so inclined to read my books, you can find them all HERE! Just know that I appreciate you reading!

$0.99 – Dream Brother: A Novel – Kindle Ebook

Take a moment to download Brian’s book! A few thoughts always help an author, so don’t forget to leave them for him!

Indie Hero

“Meth, memories, and monsters.”

The Amazon Kindle version of Dream Brother is $0.99 until May 1st, 2014. Here are the links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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like it, re-blog it, tweet it, pin it, share it on Facebook, Google plus it,

email it, Digg it, share it on Reddit or Tumblr, stumble it,

or just simply tell someone about it.

Thanks.

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If I was going to compare my action/humor/adventure sci-fi novels to existing works of creativity, which ones would I compare them to?

So my buddy, Arthur over at http://pouringmyartout.wordpress.com did a fun comparison of his series! I kind of thought of his book like Men in Black with a mix of Star Wars in there. Lol. His description is a lot more lively than mine!! Pay him a visit!

Pouring My Art Out

That is a really good question. I would have to say that they are like a love-child of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dr. Who, if you add in a bunch of Monty Python and some Star Wars… and a dash of Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom and a big pinch of South Park. I mean, you know, if I was trying to sell you my books… which are right over there in the sidebar, along with links to where you can get them…

This question was brought to you by my friend, Daisha Korth, over at: https://dkorthbooks.wordpress.com/    She describes her novel series as a cross between Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey. If that doesn’t make you want to read her books, then what possibly could? Oh, and she is also the one responsible for doing that other book over there in my sidebar…

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Downton Abbey Meets Game of Thrones…

I was sitting in the coffee shop a few weeks ago, talking with my editor/publisher/friend at Twisted Willow Press. We were discussing things like merchandise, fun promotional ideas, and the progress of the new and improved “Noble Courage”.  It always helps to bounce thoughts and ideas off of another person and sometimes it can be lonely to be a writer as you have to keep your own secrets. I get tired of talking to myself so my times spent visiting with Jeriann are most important to me.

As we were talking that morning, I came to a realization: The Aspen Series is essentially Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones. 

When I actually said that out loud, Jeriann sat thoughtful a moment before nodding her head and agreeing with me.

What makes me say that, you ask? How could I possibly compare my work to such amazing treasures as these? Well, I don’t claim to be some super amazing author, by any means. But my series incorporates the raw brutality and a mentally insane antagonist of Game of Thrones but also the romance and elegance of Downton Abbey.

But wait! Those aren’t even in the same periods of history! Well, you got me there. They are definitely not at all similar, but they mix very well indeed!

It is said that those who love Downton Abbey also love the Game of Thrones series. So if they are correct in that assumption, I have a super great series for you… Game of Thrones is only a season long, so you will spend the summer totally bored without it! But at the end of this post, I will give you the link that will save you from boredom! And as you read through The Aspen Series, think of it as a television series, watch those characters come to life before your very eyes, and love it for the story that it is.

THIS

This photo is from spultured.com.

This photo is from spultured.com.

PLUS THIS

This photo is from Rob Leigh on mirror.co.uk.

This photo is from Rob Leigh on mirror.co.uk.

EQUALS THIS

Cast Dungeon

You can find the first five books of The Aspen Series HERE, along with the prequel. The last book, The Key of the Kingdom, is in the works now!

 

 

 

Game of Literary Thrones

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Game of Thrones is like this huge and completely mesmerizing series. My hubby and I love it and hang on every minute of it!

There are few authors in this world who are chosen to have their worlds represented on the big screen. To me, that’s a shame. There are so many great stories out there and all Hollywood has to do is choose just about any book out there and they would have blockbusters like crazy!

So what is it that raises those select few authors to their literary thrones? What games are necessary to win the war of popularity?

If I look at popular authors of our day who are fortunate enough to have been recognized, I see many different aspects to their work. There is definitely action, adventure, love and hate, conflict, adversity, and characters that feel like friends.

Who feels they have that very book? Who wonders why you aren’t entitled to the same privileges as other authors? I will admit to having those thoughts. You know, I can’t count the times that readers have told me that they like my books better than Twilight. So of course, I wonder why is still claw my way to the top.

But my desire to see my work on the screen is not for the fame and wealth, but for the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. My characters are very real to me, and to many other readers, for that matter. To see them translate on television would be the ultimate joy.

The sad reality is that many deserving writers will never be recognized for their efforts. So how do you take solace in that fact? How do you handle being the peasant forever, watching others equal to you being knighted or even given the throne?

You must forge on. You must write like no one will read you. You must love what you do and empower those who love your work. You must wear your own crown and be the royalty in your own realm. Be good to yourself and love those around you, good and bad. You can’t bask in the light of the positive if you don’t have the opposing darkness also.

So what does your realm look like? Is your crown plain or is it heavily jeweled? What is your throne like? Does it swallow you up or do you dominate that stool? Is it designed defensively or is it warm and welcoming?

My realm is heavily described in The Aspen Series. It has light places and dark places. My crown is modest on design with just enough flair to be impressive. My throne is comfortable more than beautiful. I’ve sat upon it long enough that it has conformed to my body, not the other way around. I have the power in me to embrace my naysayers or to banish them to the dungeons. I can applaud those who bow to my talents and extend my arms around them to show my love. I can become allies with others who rule their own realms. Together, we make up the literary Middle Earth. Own your piece of it!

If you feel so inclined to explore my work, please visit my website for more information!

Each Day is a New Beginning…

Forks 357

Easter is a very special day for me on many levels.  This last year has held many milestones in my life and it is easy to feel bogged down and overwhelmed with life. As you withdraw from the things you love, it only makes you more sad and detached.

There comes a time for most people when you take time to reflect on how things are, how things have been, and where you want to go. But getting to this point can be slow and painful. This was me. A year full of great joy and equally great sorrow has left me feeling hollow and spent. I had given up on several goals and dreams, and I let others dictate the path I was walking.

Today, that all ends.

This is a day of reflection, at long last. It’s a day where I choose to grow and find my own way in the world. I refuse to allow other people to control the rudder on the ship of my life. I am the captain. I always was, but I let my crew influence how I performed instead of taking charge.

I have discovered what I am best at and what I love…what I am passionate about. This is the year to shine!

So many people feel that New Year’s is about making goals and resolutions. But such a special day as Easter Sunday brings my life into proportion and fills me with a new energy. I don’t strive to be famous or wealthy. I just want to make a difference in someone’s life. Don’t get me wrong, a bestselling novel would be amazing. But I’m content to know that my words and my actions have helped one person in my journey through my life.

So here’s to new beginnings! Here’s to putting together a different strategy for steering my life in the direction I wish to go. I hope you will join me in that journey.

I want to thank a few people for their support, whether they know they were influential or not, I love them all!

My husband is right up there at the top. But those who aren’t close to me physically are Seumas Gallacher, Jeriann Watkins, Cynthia Hepner, Arthur Browne, and several others who graced me with their own thoughts, posts, and books. Take a moment to visit these amazing friends of mine and perhaps they will grace your life as well!

If you feel so inclined, make a quick visit to my Amazon page and my website. I changed my site a little bit and would love observations and suggestions in making it even better! Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

…open invitation to Authors… come show yer wares here… #TBSU…

I’m reblogging these sentiments from an awesome author, an Old Jurassic (his own term for himself), and someone in the literary world that I respect. While I’ve taken some time to evaluate my writing as of late, I still read posts from several great bloggers! But alas, I don’t take the time to share them. I need to and I plan to…

Seumas Gallacher

…yesterday I re-blogged a superb post by my good pal, Susan M. Toy… in it she espoused much of my own sentiments about ‘paying it forward’… giving a leg up to other scribblers, indies or traditional… arguments may rage in other quarters about the supposed ‘battle’ ‘twixt self-publishingand traditional publishing… to me, that discussion matters not one jot… the essential thing is that all we quill-scrapers share a common bond… we write to be read… the emergence of the Great God Amazon Kindle and other ePublishing channels has produced an eruption of wannabe Nobel Literary Prize aspirants… the proliferation of new titles is an awesome readers’ tsunami… the discussion on ‘free books’ versus ‘paid tomes’ online is also a bit of a red herring too… I believe that discerning readers have no reluctance to pay for books… but good books, interesting books, well-written books, entertaining…

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