The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part IV

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, April 28, the second part followed. The third part was published May 26, 2022. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]


Now, let’s find out what ‘the perfect location’ means, and where it’s supposed to be?

One of the main rules of writing says: “Write what you know.”

Besides that being the most misunderstood advice when it comes to writing, it still holds a little piece of good meaning, when it comes to ‘location’. ( Nathan Englander, the critically acclaimed author of ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank’ says, that authencitiy in fiction means thinly veiled autobiography. If you’re a drunken, bralwing adventurer like Hemingway, no problem, but Englander says, growing up he watched TV, played videogames and dreamt about being a writer. Was he supposed to write about the Atari 2600? Englander says, ‘Write what you know’ isn’t about events, it’s about emotions. Have you experienced love, jealousy, longing, or loss? According to Englander, it doesn’t matter where the story takes place, your front yard, or another galaxy, if you’re writing what you know, the reader will believe you. (Source: Bigthink.com).

And here, I admit, my opinion is divided. Part of me wants to agree with Nathan Englander, the other part doesn’t. And that’s mainly, because ‘The Council of Twelve’ series mentions places on Earth, where, in many cases, I have been before, but also, Heaven and Hell, where you normally don’t go, at least not, until you face the Grim Reaper.

 

Picture courtesy of Google.com

How can I write about locations nobody alive has ever set foot in? And that’s the fantasy writer in me, who wants to agree with Englander. You’re right… it doesn’t matter where the location is. I can make it up, I write fantasy… I can create locations that serve my story, that are as horrible, or as beautiful, as I need them to be…

The other half of me, working on a crime story, wants to scream: STOP! Of course, it matters, where the story takes place! How can I write about a murder that is happening in a dirty back alley in Shanghai? I have never been in that city. (Except at the airport, but that’s a different story, and not for now)… What’s wrong with the murder in Tuscon, Arizona, where the writer lives, or in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or in Keystone, South Dakota, if the writer grew up there and knows every building like the back of their hand?

To me, writing my crime story, meant I picked the location I knew, and that’s where I lived at the time. I was busy enough with creating a crime, a plot, keeping my characters straight, inventing, writing, changing, adjusting, trying to feel like an evil individual and being impatient because it took longer than expected… I didn’t have time to make up locations I have never seen before.

I read a series of books I love very much, Don Massenzio’s Frank Rozzani Books. Don Massenzio’s main protagonist, Frank Rozzani was born, where the author was born, and he lives, where the author lives, in Jacksonville, Florida. I doubt very much that is a coincidence. Don Massenzio, I’m sure, will answer our questions hereof.

As for my preferences: I enjoyed both, mentioning places, where I’ve been, where I lived at the time, what I saw, and show them in my books… but also I immensely thrive in the process of creating locations that don’t exist.

When you’re a writer, what do you enjoy? Have you experienced both in your career? What do you enjoy most? When you’re a reader, and you read in a book about a location you have seen, do you judge the story according to the accuracy of the places? Let us know in the comments, we are curious.

Soul Taker Secrets – The Council Of Twelve Is Fantasy!

I was asked a short while ago: “The Council Of Twelve” series is a series of religious books, right?” I almost laughed. However, I kept my cool and smiled. “No, it’s not. I’m writing a YA fantasy series!” And it is important to me that my readers take it as such!

The Council of Twelve series is a work of fiction, it won’t proclaim truth or even faith.

The Catholic Bible mentions seven Archangels, some of them named, and some are not. According to old scriptures, four Archangels’ names are known: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. I ‘borrowed’ these names and added eight more Archangels to form the ‘Council of Twelve’. (Also, who tells me, these names are correct? We know them, yes. But I doubt very much anyone on Earth can remember, that our Lord God named four of his Archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel). Still, through history, these names, in connection with a strong, powerful creature called an ‘Archangel’, represent the ‘ultimate’ Good.

In my series, I wanted the ‘ultimate Good’. I wanted the fight ‘Good vs. Evil’… And angels and demons are the ones fighting that war. The characters of Archangels, angels, demons, and their respective hierarchies give me freedom any fantasy writer can only dream of!

Now, while Michael has on occasion been called the ‘Angel of Death’, others called him the ‘Archangel of War and Conflict’, on further websites and in articles he was the ‘Archangel of Peace and Safety’… who is right? Nobody knows for sure. And that’s why Archangel Michael in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, is exactly, what I made him; the strongest, most powerful individual in existence, except his creator, of course, the oldest existing Archangel, and the leader of the Council.

Who said, Raphael was ‘the Healer’? In other essays, he’s described as ‘the Guardian’, and nobody can tell for sure, what and who he is, right? I made him both; the protector and keeper of the Healers and the Guardians…

It seems different sources are clear about Gabriel being ‘The Messenger’… and I kept it that way. The bible is clear about Gabriel being the Archangel sent to inform Virgin Mary about her being the mother of God’s son. Gabriel was also the Archangel who announced the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem.

As for Uriel, nobody is sure about his sources and roots. He’s described as ‘the Fire of God’, in other articles he’s been called the ‘balance of the world’, and other sources claim him to be ‘the Angel of Death’. It is said in certain books, that Uriel was the Archangel who killed the firstborn sons of Egypt when the Pharao didn’t let Moses’ people leave the country. The bible only talks about the ‘Angel of Perdition’, no name was mentioned there. But since it was talked about a powerful angel with a ‘fire sword’, it was assumed that Uriel was the one fulfilling God’s orders in that case. But again, nobody can tell for sure. In ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, Uriel is God’s beloved son, made out of fire and ashes, with flames in his wings. My Uriel is an Archangel existing in my fantasy… he’s caring, loving, and protecting, and he looks fabulous.

I purposely refrained from using any further Archangel names as they were mentioned in additional articles, books, or the ‘lost books of the bible’, the Apocrypha. I made up eight Archangels, born in my imagination and fantasy, each one strong, powerful, unique, and with his own set of skills. Each of these Archangels brings his own personality, talents, and voice into the ‘Council of Twelve’ and completes his brothers. Each of the Archangels is good to the core, fights the evil side, and protects his troops. They all fight, discuss, plan, protect… sometimes they joke, they laugh, they support each other, and they fall in love.

I have been writing about doing ‘research’ for ‘The Council of Twelve’ series. We are talking about the list of demons of the Ars Goetia, which helped me get my ‘Evil’ side organized and set up. The Good side needs an antagonist, and Lucifer doesn’t fight all alone. Again, we aren’t talking about a fact list… We’re talking about a lot of fantasy being involved in getting ‘The Council of Twelve’ series created. Of course, I didn’t take every demon’s name and transferred the creature into my book. I made some of them up, I gave them a voice, a look, a truly hateable creature. But all this is rooted in my fantasy and imagination.

If an author takes fantastic creatures and magic and transfers both into our existing world, in combination with falling in love and kissing, the genre is called ‘Paranormal Romance’. The Council of Twelve series is taking place in Heaven, on Earth, and in Hell, two of the three places are unknown to living organisms, which made me consider ‘my genre’ as ‘Fantasy’. There are too many unknown factors to call it ‘Paranormal Romance’.

Now, we know what the genre is called, but I downright refuse to consider ‘The Council of Twelve’ series ‘Christian or Religious Fantasy’. There’s too much fantasy in these books to truly consider them religious. It is an undeniable fact that the author of these books is a believer in God. It’s clearly readable that the Creator of the World has my highest respect. I never describe Him in detail. When He shows up within the stories, only His voice is mentioned. Heaven and Hell are formed and described after my imagination.

I’m not going into religious discussions, I don’t use bible quotes, and I am not going to argue with anyone about whether my fantasy is the ‘real’ Heaven, Hell, or story. The Good side is, what’s close to my heart, and you won’t find anything better to fight for the ‘Good side’ than a dozen Archangels with their love interests. Not to talk about the fact that I added a bit of humor to the stories, and I expect my readers to laugh, enjoy the stories and fall in love with the characters, just like other authors do. I’d like my readers to be entertained, and not to think too intensely about religious beliefs when reading ‘The Council of Twelve’ series. Read, be entertained, and enjoy.

Find ‘The Council of Twelve’ books here below:

Soul Taker: https://books2read.com/u/m2roOj

Sundance: https://books2read.com/u/mgGGeX

Demon Tracker: https://books2read.com/u/3yEx6l

Bounty Hunter: https://books2read.com/u/mgzd5X

Book 5 – to follow soon!

Read the books and enjoy the read! And don’t forget, I’m a writer, I’d be enthusiastic about your good review.

How Not To Start A New Book

As many of you already know, my writing process is a bit unorthodox. With the books so far written in my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I generally worked as follows:

1. Preparation (develop characters and update character sheets)

2. Draft plot and take notes

3. Start writing the first draft of the book by hand

4. Read the first draft, make necessary corrections in red

5. Type the corrected draft into the computer

6. Personal editing I

7. Personal editing II

9. Send book to the editor

10. Additional steps after the book is returned to me, fully proofread, edited, and formatted…


‘The Council of Twelve’ series is published with four books, and books 5 and 6 are written and prepared to be published. I have an additional book connected to the series currently with my editor. Book 7 is in my personal editing; books 8 and 9 are written and need to be typed into the computer. Since I got ‘The Council of Twelve’ series so very well prepared, I permitted myself to write a different story; one that has been in my head for quite some time already.

I have my ‘The Council of Twelve’ plot and character sheets updated and carry them with me constantly in the form of ‘Microsoft OneNotes’, which is a wonderful writer’s tool, at least to me… It allows me to take notes and write down ideas at any given time, on either my phone, my computer, or my tablet, and I have nothing else to do than to sync the program to have access to the latest version on any of my devices. Additionally, after nine books in the series, I know my characters quite well and rarely need to peek at my notes.

Now, I sit here, working on my new book. It’s a remarkable story and wonderful to work on. As soon as my pen touches the paper, it writes. I’m writing, drafting, plotting, writing again… And today I realized that, except a few notes on tiny paper sheets at the beginning and a hand-drafted family tree, I hadn’t done much preparation. In my excitement to start the book, I forgot to prepare correctly.

And now, in my handwritten draft, I’m paying for my omission. I forgot how often I have to flip to the pages to check on descriptions, characters, colors, and names. I discovered two ‘Davids’ and two ‘Peters,’ which angers me to no end.

I’m a very reliable person, and I don’t generally neglect my duties, not even those I have set up for myself, except in the preparation of this particular book. I decided to write a book outside the YA Fantasy genre, where I feel ‘home’ with my series. I should have known that careful preparation to write that book was necessary. But here I stand and could kick myself for not doing what should have been done quite some time ago.

I would therefore strongly recommend to new writers, like myself, to carefully prepare what needs to be prepared before starting the new book. Otherwise, they will find themselves in the same situation I am now, with a few mixed ideas, two very similar conversations, and two Peters and Davids. At least, I find myself discovering my mistake now. I can still work on fixing the problem. But I know I shouldn’t have let it go that far. At least next time, I know what I have to do. Go back to the well-prepared, reliable writer I am.

What kind of advice would you give your fellow writers? What mistake have you been making that you had to correct? What problem were you facing that needed to be fixed? Let us know in the comments.

The Why and How of Choosing a Genre – Written By Jenny Hansen

on Writers in the Storm:

Over the last few years, I’ve thought a lot about genre. The differences between them and why and how we choose our preferred genre to write in. Some writers are solidly in a certain genre camp and others straddle two or more genres.

Examples of popular “straddlers” – The Hunger Games series, the Outlander series, books by J.D. Robb.

I believe one of the reasons many authors have moved to genres like young adult (YA) or women’s fiction (WF) is that the definitions of those two transcend traditional genres. For example, in addition to the other straddling achieved by the Hunger Games series, it is also classified as YA because of the age of the main character. (YA protags are usually in the 14-21 range.)

Continue reading HERE

A Word Count Guide for 18 Book Genres, Including Novels and Non-Fiction – Written By Blake Atwood

Thank you, Blake Atwood, for your guide to work counts for our work. I wrote a similar post, but I admit, my article only contained Short Story, Novelette, Novella and Novel… yours is far more detailed. We appreciate your information.


on The Write Life:

“My memoir is 270,000 words long.”

I heard these words during a breakout session I led at a local writers conference.

An editor friend of mine, Shayla Eaton with Curiouser Editing, was sitting in on the breakout. We gave each other knowing glances, and because I didn’t want to break this poor memoirist’s literary heart, I nodded at Shayla to take the lead.

As nicely but as directly as she could, she explained to the memoirist that a 270,000-word memoir was excessive. Even if she self-publishes, the cost per copy would be high, and few readers would slog through such a tome — particularly for someone who’s not famous.

And no agents or publishers would even look past that number.

The prose could be as fleet-footed as Fitzgerald’s. The life story could be as compelling as Lincoln’s. The platform could be as broad as Oprah’s. But no agent would get to know that because they’d see “Memoir: 270,000 words” and hit delete before reading any further.

So, how long should a memoir be?

For that matter, how long should any book be? How long is a novel? What’s the ideal book word count?

If you’re writing your first novel or any book, you’re probably asking these questions.

The short answer is: long enough to tell the story but short enough to consistently hold the reader’s interest.

The long answer is, well, longer.

Continue reading HERE

May & June 2019 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests] – Written By Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli provides us with the May/June 2019 writing contests. Thank you very much for all your efforts to keep us updated, Rachel.


Here is the updated list for May & June 2019 writing submissions. I try to find submissions and contests with no fee (or on the cheaper side at least), which is surprisingly hard. As always, if you know any places that run contests and accept general submissions that are not on my list, please let me know and I’ll check it out to add it.

May 2019

Genre: Fiction, Poetry (list of categories are on website)
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: May 6, 2019 (early-bird deadline)
Entry Fee: $20 for Poetry, $30 for manuscript
Prize: Grand – $5,000

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Forgiveness
Website: Chicken Soup
Deadline: May 30, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

June 2019

Genre: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: June 3, 2019
Entry Fee: $25 for Poetry, $35 for Manuscript
Prize: Grand – $5,000

Read the entire blog post here

 

Trying To Write In Another Genre

A good friend of mine reminded me of something that happened a while ago.

He told me that life had given him some challenges currently and sometimes his head is full of thoughts about how to accomplish his tasks. At the moment he does have difficulties to write. He sits down, waiting for creativity to kick in and nothing happens.

Is this writer’s block? I don’t know, and since I’m not a too experienced writer, I would never presume to ‘diagnose’ such an excellent and gifted writer as he is. Much smarter heads and experienced writers have dealt with writer’s block before. I even published a post about it in February 2015 “Kiss Your Muse Hello.”

But what he said reminded me of something that happened a while back and made me laugh. And yes, I told him about it.

A while back when I realized my fantasy ran dry, I tried to tickle it by writing something I normally do not write.

As many of you know, I’m a writer of Paranormal Romance and Fantasy. But at this moment I decided, I would try to write a hot, steamy, and romantic, erotic scene. Occasionally I do read a sexy novel, and I was curious how I would do.

When I had finished the scene, I was quite proud of myself. I found it turned out to describe what I just saw going on in my head.

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

I set the few pages aside and went on to ‘daily business,’ whatever that was at this time.
I have to mention here: my idea did work. Writing in this unknown genre, in fact, awakened my ideas and fantasy, and I was able to continue with my new story.

I had nearly forgotten about my short trip into the erotic genre until I one day got the few papers in my hand while searching for some documents.

Sitting down and leaning back I re-read them…

… and started laughing so hard, I nearly choked. I screamed and howled with laughter. Earlier in this post, I said, after writing it, I was proud, I had considered I exactly described as the scene was in my head, right?

Re-reading these pages now showed me that I was completely wrong.

In my head, the scenery and what happened was perfect, yes. Including the smells, the sounds, the whispers… but on the paper, the entire erotic, sexy, steamy scene was about as erotic as the mating of gummy bears.

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

I figured, and I still do, that there must be a reason, why I picked ‘Paranormal Romance’ and ‘Fantasy’ my genres. Apparently ‘steamy hot’ is not for me to describe. I deeply admire every writer who can do it.

Now there are two questions at this point: Are the current stories I write that far off from my imagination as well? This would suck; even though my editor said no (which calms me a little bit).

And the second question: Have you ever tried to write in another genre, and how did this work for you? Thanks for sharing your experiences.

 

Bashing People for What They Read

I honestly think Steven Capps makes a point with his blog post. Thanks for this.

Bard & Books

Hey guys, sorry about the lack of post last week. I have been teaching summer school over in Atlanta and have been super busy. This isn’t really an excuse, but I feel like its always good to keep you in the loop. In other news, I got a contract for a super small part in an audiobook, so I will make sure to let you know once the story is published. Enough pretense, here is this week’s post.

Bashing People for What They Read

boxing-ring-boxers-fight-70567

So this is going to be a bit of a rant. I want to discuss a few extremely popular books such as Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, and Harry Potter. If you regularly frequent the literary blogosphere, you might have an idea about what this is going to be about, but I am NOT going to write an entire rant disbarging the quality of writing in the…

View original post 996 more words

How to SELL Your Book—First, What IS It?

One of my favorite writers, bloggers, teachers and amazing human being, Kristen Lamb, has published a blog post on “How to sell your book” – and how to find out what it is.

Additionally, don’t miss: W.A.N.A. offers a new class “How to Maximize Your Earning Potential as a Full-Time Author Learn from Hollywood Producer Joel Eisenberg”

Isn’t this phenomenal? Check it out. Thank you so much, Kristen!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-10-10-00-am

Before we get started, a quick announcement. I want to let you know that I begged, pleaded and bartered for Hollywood Producer Joel Eisenberg to offer a Master’s Series and being the AWESOME human being he is, he is doing How to Maximize Your Earning Potential as a Full-Time Writer just for us. This is three two-hour classes learning from a big name in Hollywood in your own home and it is recorded if you can’t make it live. He normally runs this series for $399, but he is super helpful and generous and giving it to us for $199.

The film industry is BOOMING and filmmakers need writers who can create excellent content. Joel is going to teach you how to tap into that massive emerging market.

Valentines Day gift. *wink wink* Just sayin’.

Okay, let’s sally forth…

One of the reasons I love blogging is I get an…

View original post 1,697 more words