Preparing for 2019

I never used to create new year resolutions for myself.  Somehow, it always seemed nonsensical. However as I get older, juggle my life as a mom, a wife and a small business owner (oh yes! Creating fantastical characters and incredible words for readers is a serious business. Just ask J. K. Rowling. It made her the richest woman in the UK in 2017!), I realize it’s essential to come up with a plan.

Continue reading “Preparing for 2019”

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#writinglessons Using parallels in storytelling

I’m sure a more sophisticated writer has a fancy definition for what I’m about to expound upon, but I enjoy a good box of wine so … yeah.

Parallels are where a particular story theme is repeated in more than one character’s story arc. In my book, The Paladin (book 2 of The Nome Chronicles series), my two main characters experienced a sense of betrayal from the ‘fathers’ in their life. In the case of Neith, she learned her father took a gamble that put her life at risk. Invier was equally betrayed by Karax, who revealed he was using Invier for his devious designs.

I was reminded of the importance of parallels as a storytelling technique when I watched Season 3 of the Showtime series, Billions.

Billions TV show on Showtime: season 3 ratings (cancel renew season 4?)

This show is a favorite of mine. Its an interesting look into the minds of the super rich and their quest to maintain their dominion over others.

One recurring theme in Season 3 was the conflict between father and son. A main character, Chuck, is at odds with his father for most of the season. He even goes as far as to take a stance simply to change the power dynamic in their relationship. Similarly, Axe and Taylor constantly butt heads in an effort to steer the firm.

From left: Condola Rashad as Kate Sacker, Toby Leonard Moore as Bryan Connerty and Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades in season one of the TV series "Billions." The television show premieres Sunday, Jan. 17, at 10 p.m. EST.  Jeff Neumann/Showtime via AP

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Another theme is ‘parricide’, that is the act of a child murdering his/her parent. In Billions, Chuck gets hammered by not one but two of his proverbial children. That plot point is mirrored in Axe’s story-line when Taylor makes a significant move against him.

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Now, why is any of this important?

Parallel stories allow for a richer reveal of a character’s flaws and needs. It’s a way of making a story more complex and thereby interesting. By examining the parallels in two character’s lives, the author also highlights the similarities between two distinct individuals. It can give your reader an aha moment of sorts when they recognize a particular failing or issue in the life of a character as one in their own life. Or that of someone they know.

That’s what author’s do – shine a light on the human condition by using their characters to  to tell readers a great story. Using parallel narratives is a great way to do that and it’s something I hope to use to good effect.

Got an example of parallel storytelling in a book of yours or someone else’s? Feel free to share in the comments. I’d like to know.

 

Till next time includes LM

#writinglessons Game of Thrones Season 7

I’m re-watching season 7 of Game of thrones and it’s been interesting to analyze the story as a writer instead of as the average consumer enjoying some great content.

Warning, if you are yet right watch this particular season, please don’t let me spoil it for you. Come back and read this once you’ve indulged. Continue reading “#writinglessons Game of Thrones Season 7”

#writinglessons What To Do When You Don’t Know How Your Story Ends

I’m working on two books at the moment but one of them has been giving me a hard time. ISSUE: I have no clue how the book will end! Continue reading “#writinglessons What To Do When You Don’t Know How Your Story Ends”

#writinglessons Serve the Tea

I watch a good amount of reality television when I have the time and I’m a big fan of some of the fabricated drama. Yes, I know it’s all created for the show and it isn’t as ‘real’ as the producers want me to believe. And yet, I curl up on my couch ready to be sucked into it all each season.

Why?

It’s all about the ‘tea’, if you ask me!

Continue reading “#writinglessons Serve the Tea”

Improve a scene: Urban Fantasy story

I’m currently reading an urban fantasy tale. It’s all part of developing a stronger understanding of the expected Tropes in that genre so I can write stronger stories.

Anyway, the book is super fast-paced. WOW! As in if a story is supposed to have peaks and valleys, this one is all peaks. There’s very little time to breathe. I know authors are told to pace their stories and the action in their stories but something tells me breakneck tales are beloved by a large number of readers.
giphy2 Continue reading “Improve a scene: Urban Fantasy story”

Struggling with the sin of Passive Voice

Yup, that image describes me to a T right now. Well, not really because my hair is in a bun but you know what I mean.

I’m currently fighting against the sin of passive voice. Some instances escaped the last few edits and so here I am trying to eliminate them one by one.

Passive voice occurs in writing when the subject of the sentence is acted on by the verb. It’s the opposite of active voice where the subject of the sentence performs the action or the verb. Continue reading “Struggling with the sin of Passive Voice”

#Editingtip: Kill Your Echoes

No matter how many words you know in the English language, you’re bound to use a handful over and over again. I’ve never been so aware of this as the hours tick down to the release of my first book, The Pursual. These words can become echoes in your story – words that jump off the page to the reader. And not in a good way. Some words will always disappear when a reader sees them. Think of he, she, says, said, a etc. Those words are used so often in the English language that they aren’t special anymore. We don’t notice them in a sentence most times.

Echoes are words that haven’t achieved that ‘disappearing’ status and thus stand out when you read them. When they stand out, they pull the reader from being in the story, making her blink and say to herself, “Didn’t he just use that word a few paragraphs ago?”

Image result for CONFUSED GIF Continue reading “#Editingtip: Kill Your Echoes”

The Pursual: A Book Cover

I noted in an earlier post that my Book 1 of the Nome Chronicles – The Pursual – has a cover. It’s lovely, if I may say so myself. The people over at Deranged Doctor Design (DDD) were extremely patient with me as I knew what I wanted but couldn’t always explain it adequately.

That cover was the culmination of me spending months agonizing over what it should look like. Late nights spent poring over covers in my genre – YA SFF – and studying everything I could get my hands on about cover art at Kboards and elsewhere.

So, what does my cover look like? Continue reading “The Pursual: A Book Cover”

#Writinglessons: Emotion Amplifiers

As I noted in a previous post, I’m doing less writing and more reading nowadays.

I’ve got to say, I love it! It took a while for me to accept that this was to be a period of learning and not one of creation. Still, I’m enjoying the focus on craft and have pinned several relevant writing tips at my Writing Tips board on Pinterest as well as shared several links to important writing advice on Twitter.

In my quest to become a better writer, I downloaded Emotion Amplifiers from Amazon when it was available for free. Written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, the book provides writers with tips on how to strengthen the emotional tone of a scene. The authors highlight that doing so can enhance a reader’s emotional investment in the story and it’s characters, as well as assist with the pace of the story.

Image result for emotion amplifiers

As a writer whose editor kindly noted a need for such in my WIP, I definitely found Emotion Amplifiers to be useful and recommend it to any writers who need it.One of my goals as a writer is to keep my readers engaged from beginning to end. I want 1o eliminate any skipped pages or paragraphs and encourage my readers to love (or hate) my characters enough to want to see what happens to them. I think this book will help me achieve my objective.

If you don’t have the Emotion Amplifiers book, get your copy at the following online outlets

KOBO

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Kindle

As of 10/12/16, the ebook is free on Amazon!

What books have you read recently that you find useful, be it for writing or something else? Do share! I’m currently reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (pen name for 2 dope science fiction creators) and will soon read Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran to learn more about the self-publishing business.