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?!?

Meet the Cast of the Aspen Series (Part 4)

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King Rothan is that person in your life who is very centered on themselves and truly believes that they serve others. He is respected by most because his title demands it. Most fear him and loathe him for his temper and his arrogance. When he sets his eye on a prize, there are very few things that can stop him.

I once dated a man, many years older than I, and he had a very jolly personality, loved life most of the time and knew what he wanted in life. He loved my boys and taught them things that I could not. I AM a girl, you know. In fact, I had never before ripped a worm in two and put them on hooks for fishing. Never until I met him and he spent that time with my sons. While I know he cared deeply for them, I feel that he did a lot of things to impress me. To make me think he was a different person than he was. You see, he loved his alcohol. That was his downfall and that ultimately led to me moving on with my life.

I did care about him, but he cared more for his drink than he did for me. When he yelled at me one night because I begged him to leave the beers alone, that was when I saw this very selfish side. He wanted his “trophy”, but he also wanted his life to go uninterrupted. I lost that battle to Budweiser.

Why do I tell you my sob story? Because that was how Rothan came to be. This man’s actions paved the way for this king who found his false happiness within himself. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. When you are so sufficient in comforting yourself, no matter how bad you want something, you can’t bring yourself to swallow that pride and reciprocate what others are giving you. For example, a man lived alone for ten years and kept the same routine each day. A stray puppy happens upon his stoop and he feels a pang of compassion so he lets the little guy in. The puppy gives him love and attention, wagging his tail when the man would come home and licking his face with adoration. The man merely shouts at the puppy and shuts him outside so he can continue to enjoy his peaceful evenings. He thought he would enjoy petting the animal and talking to him, but it was too much effort. One day, the puppy digs his way out of the backyard and disappears forever. The man shrugs his shoulders and tells himself that he is better off without the puppy anyway, that he doesn’t need anyone.

This is Rothan.

I was the only son of my parents, so I had no choice in what I would do as I grew older. This great city was not always called Farrin, mind you. I changed the name of the city when I married my beautiful bride. I named it for her.

But marrying Farrin was somewhat of a challenge for there were many who sought to become bound into a position of power and my father decided upon Farrin. I did love her. I think back to the years we had together and a warmth comes over me. Yes, I loved her.

The day she was taken from me was the day my life ended. I cared not for anyone or anything…even my own sons. I pushed them away from me emotionally because it hurt so much to feel anything. I sent my sons away to study and be educated with the most learned monks of our time. It was then that I learned to look at things differently. I was utterly alone in the world and I just did not care.

Farrin CasleIt felt like a lifetime passed, a certain gloom having settled about my great city,  and although I entertained those of noble blood, there were many around me who held such contempt for me! I took offense to their antics and my fist came down hard on the peasants that lined my pockets with their gold. I found that I could stretch my limitations with them and they would beg me for mercy, cowering before me like children and I loved it. I found myself often goading them just to see them squirming in desperation.

Everything lost its luster. My days felt bleak. I missed my Farrin.

And then it was on a pilgrimage that I happened to meet one soul who pulled my thoughts from the depths of Hell and showed me there was more out there. There was that light that could make you chase after it. I did chase. I ran and I ran until I was angry! That opportunity was taken from me by the most greedy, most obstinate lord of a southern village in MY territory. And like a fool, they lost the light. Snagged from right beneath his nose.

I felt something then. It was akin to the feeling I had when Farrin passed away. The despair and the panic gripped me and I did the only thing I could do; I banded with the very lord I despised. He was the only way we could be victorious. This man was not a fighter, he was not much of a leader either. He raped his own peasants because his title gave him a right to use any means necessary to govern his village. Most ruthless, I must say.

Ah, but alas, I found myself in quite the predicament and took up my sword to fight beside him. I will admit, I came to care for the bastard, I really did. However, he held something that belonged to me and I had to retrieve it. I began to put my plan, my very witty plan, into motion as we camped on the ground and ate off the land. For months, my mind turned, my eyes seeing the reward when it all came about.

War divides people. Where I was confident that I had allies, I had none. So, again, I was forced to do only what I could and that was to stand with the men that supported me and followed my orders. Everyone else, I cursed to Hell.

I remember seeing that gift before me…my hand outstretched with the sun on my rings nearly blinding me with its brilliance…That was the moment my heart began beating again and blood flowed through my veins at long last. My world became infused with color where before it had been void. Tears were falling and others around me wailed in sorrow, but I couldn’t stop until I secured what I had been after for so many years! I would not stop until my fingers closed around her, this one whom I played like a stringed marionette.

Rothan

I am not so sure what else to say on this man’s behalf. Rothan stands for all those people living lonely, shallow lives that don’t know how to care for others. They live in the moment, but always seek out those things which they desire. Look out! You might be the next conquest for another. There are more Rothans in this world than we could fathom. We see it on the news daily and we work with these kinds of people. We trust in them blindly and often get hurt by them. Guard your heart and don’t be too quick to fall into their trap!

Who do you picture as Rothan on the big screen? My pick is the very ingenious Oliver Platt. He won me over in The Three Musketeers many years ago and if he just had lighter hair and blue eyes, he would be perfect. I think Mr. Platt had that ability to exercise an air of arrogance with a little smugness and serve it all up with a side of being the master in charge. He has such a commanding way about him. Love him. However, I do feel that the man who posed for my photo shoot did a great job in capturing the essence of the king. He appears so…kingly and holds that look in his eye. The one to make you shiver a little in trepidation.

Looking for something new to read? Here are some links to help you out:

The Aspen Series (All five books on one page for download)

All books are eCopies unless stated otherwise…

Noble Courage: Book One of the Aspen Series  (paperback rights are about to expire.)

The Price of Power: Book Two of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tears of Penance: Book Three of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Salvation of the Forgotten: Book Four of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

The Benevolent Light: Book Five of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tales of Elgolan: Prequel to The Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

September 17th, 2013! Release Date!

So after much hard work and beating myself up for not making my May deadline (that was the deadline in my mind), I am finally ready to set a date in stone.

September 17th, 2013, The Benevolent Light will be available via Kindle or paperback. I can authorgraph your digital copies or send you signed editions of the paperback!

For those of you interested that may not be caught up with the Aspen Series to date, my birthday is June 18th. Yes, that is Tuesday and I will put my books on sale through Amazon Kindle for the day. So not just “happy birthday to me”, you can score as well! Keep watching for freebie information and pass it along!

As the date gets closer, there will be some fun activities to participate in and possibly learn even more about me in the process.

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Darkness shrouds the Darktowers as the press forward, the familiar cliffs in the forefront of their minds as their journey comes close to the end.
Rothan sits over his mound of gold, the devil in command of his army with his evil eyes seeing each shadow, every corner, any opportunity with which to gain power, to flaunt the tree upon his palm and take what he covets most.
And through the storm that brews, the light fades until the blackness chokes all in its path. A battle of wills dictates which path will be taken and when the torment ends, Aspen finds one brilliant shaft of light. A benevolent light. The most beautiful beam of light one has ever seen.

Have a peek at the trailer:

Can I sum it up?

So there was another blogger that challenged authors to be able to wrap the entire book into one sentence. How’s this?

Noble Courage is a medieval tale of love, greed, and power in which Aspen Tiller finds her way to become an angel for a lost and downtrodden people, wherein she finds out the difference between love at first sight and a deep, true love but must fight with all her might to hang onto everything she holds dear. ~ Daisha Marie Korth

Download Noble Courage for .99 from Kindle or the prequel, Tales of Elgolan for free until 10/1/12!

 

Tales of Elgolan is now LIVE!

So after I finished Noble Courage, I really struggled with the next book. My initial plan was to begin the book many years in the future and my fans made it clear that was NOT what they wanted.

So as I floundered for about eight months on the first few paragraphs of the book, I was getting emails about when people could expect the next book. I was seriously frustrated. With working more than 40 hours a week, there was no way I could pump out a whole novel in four months. (did I mention I had a house of five boys at the time?) There was just no time.

And so it happened, I quit my job. I stayed home for one month between jobs and in that time, I wrote this little prequel that translates into about 150 pages. It was first started as a series of short stories for the Amazon Shorts program. I had part one done and part two started. But after I had published the first two with them, they dissolved the program. I was at a loss.

I kept writing those little stories and eventually, I put out the collection of them that defines the way life was before Noble Courage began. The number one question I was asked after people read Noble Courage was how did Vatric end up the way he was. I wanted to give some background to my characters because every story has to have a beginning!

I think the story is very cool. Believe me, it was difficult to get times, events, and ages to all match up in hind sight. But if you read Noble Courage first, it is fun to see the puzzle all come together.

So yesterday, I put the book on Amazon Kindle. It has NEVER been made into an ebook before so this will be great fun! It does run for free downloads until Monday so go pick it up! I thank you so much for reading, you will never know how much it means to me that you take the time to escape to my world!

If you would share this post or RT on Twitter, you will be my hero!

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Elgolan-Aspen-Series-ebook/dp/B009IT1X0A/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348930019&sr=1-2&keywords=daisha+marie+korth

Noble Courage is now LIVE!!

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Brand new cover for the new version of Noble Courage’s eBook!

Okay! Noble Courage is now LIVE! And, starting tomorrow, it will be free for 3 days! This is your chance to take a chance on an author trying to break into the industry and it won’t cost you a thing. Even better, you are able to lend this to others you know who have a Kindle. So help me spread the word, please!
What?? You don’t have a Kindle? That is okay, there are free apps for your devices that will allow for the download too.
I’m thanking you all for your support right now! 🙂

Computer App- http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_ln_ar?docId=1000426311

Android App- http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_and_ln_ar?docId=165849822

iPhone/iPad App- http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_iph_ln_ar?docId=1000301301

Make a Miracle Happen…

“These people here believe in you to help them and I believe in you to spin miracles for them.” ~ Thorne Darktower, Noble Courage Chapter 6

 

Every day you are a witness to miracles. Love is a very special miracle, as are children, nature, life, and the family unit. Each of us holds the power to make miracles happen for the people we come in contact with on a daily basis. Holding the door for a stranger, a smile at a sad child, a bottle of water for a homeless vet. We all think so much about ourselves and how much we have to do in the day and forget to go out of our way to make a little magic for someone else. 

One of the best miracles to bless my life was my little niece. She was born with Down’s Syndrome and she is one of the happiest people in the world. She is now nearing a year and a half in her young life and she lives all the way across the country from me, but one photo of her smile makes me smile. She makes miracles happen for me when I see her, when I think of her, when I remember holding her during a visit. She will never know how special she is to me, she could never understand. 

Just like my little niece, we may never understand what one moment of kindness means to someone else. And even knowing that, we should strive to go out of our way to be less self absorbed and more involved in who we see before us, calling silently for help. One small gesture on your part could give that person hope.

I am not an overly religious person and it is not my intention to preach to anyone. It is just my observations in making miracles happen each day that makes me think that the world would be a better place if we all tried just a little harder to care, to have some compassion. Our world suffers greatly from a shortage of love and happiness.