What I’m writing

Starting to write a new book. Ah. It's almost equivalent to starting to read a new book. Fresh pages. The lure of excitement, of unknown adventures.

Starting to write a new book is easy for one reason

Starting to write a new book. Ah. It's almost equivalent to starting to read a new book. Fresh pages. The lure of excitement, of unknown adventures. Starting to write a new book. Ah. It’s equivalent to starting to read a new book. Fresh pages. The lure of excitement, of unknown adventures.

The courtship between you and the main characters (good or evil). The blush of starting new.

The number one reason to start a new book is the excitement. A writer can do anything. Take the story anywhere. Introduce amazing characters. Kill the bad guy. Break rules. A world of opportunity awaits.

Secondly, we get to finally write “that” book. You know the one. The idea hit us in the shower, or as we woke from a dream, or as we drove to work. The idea that grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go, that kept us up at night, ostracized our families and sent us leaping across the room for pen and paper to write down an amazing plot twist. New books are seductive and impatient. They are sparkly and threaten to leave unless captured.

Don’t believe any writer who drones on about his or her “muse”. There is no such creature. Everything that happens in a book comes solely from the writer’s imagination. Grumpy, fairy godmother-like muses do not sprinkle fairy dust on a laptop and produce a polished manuscript. They don’t cripple the writer’s hands, or stunt his brain. If a writer can’t write, it’s his fault, no one else’s.

Starting to write a new book is hard for one reason

I’ve recently started writing a new book, and it’s sent me into uncharted territory. Brilliant Wreckage lives up to its title. It is outside my usual genre. I write fantasy and paranormal stories. Elves. Fairy godmothers. Witches. Aliens.

Brilliant Wreckage centers around an ordinary woman in an extraordinary time—WWII. She’s caught in its web. Worries about the safety of her fiance fill her days and nights. On the home front, she fights many battles.
On top of everything else, Annie sees visions.
Can she keep her sanity while the world around her crumbles?

Yesterday, I wrote dreck.

Annie got up, had breakfast, went into the garden to plant potatoes. Boring, boring, boring. Where’s the car crashes, the fiery escape from death? I can only keep my faith in the theory that first drafts are shitty, and I’ll find better words when I start to edit.

1st drafts are *#%@. Have faith you'll find better words when you start to edit.Click To Tweet

What my main character is blessed with

Annie Faraday loves, and is loved in return by an amazing man who writes her poetry in his letters home from the Pacific Theater during World War II. He supports her and her dream of becoming a nurse and midwife. He listens to her doubts and fears. Jimmy is her guiding star.

What my main character fears the most

The battle of Iwo Jima plays a prominate part in my starting to write a new book this month.

Annie fears many things. The dissolution of her family as her father slides into alcoholism. The fear her younger brother will persuade their father to sign off on letting him join the Navy. Her future father-in-law, who looks down on her because she pursues a medical career. Oh, and she’s not good enough for his son. But the number one thing Annie fears is the war. Jimmy’s at Iwo Jima, and though he’s not one of the thankless men who stormed its shores, he faces death daily from kamikaze pilots, bombs and anything else that could go wrong.

Will he make it home to her? I know the answer, and it’s not an easy one. I walk a fine line in crafting this story. Annie’s doubts mirror my own. As I said, I’ve never written this type of story before. It’s tricky. I guess I’ll have to borrow some of her faith during the next few weeks.

New book launch announcement next Monday

Please return here next Monday for an important announcement regarding the release of Book #2 in the Enchanted series, Red Riding Hood and the Lone Wolf.
I’ll have an excerpt for you to read and a question you can help me answer.

(Purchase Book #1, Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf here)

Until then,

Blessings to you!


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Preparing to write NaNoWriMo:Plotting Your Novel

Preparing to write NaNoWriMo:Plotting

Prepare for NaNoWriMo:Plotting

Last week, I wrote about using archetypes to create characters in anticipation of NaNoWriMo in November. My project next month is a retelling of Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Wolfe as a romance. I’ve already established a world in Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf (available in January) that I can use.

This week’s self-assignment was to take the strengths and weaknesses of the archetypes I drew from Caroline Myss’ card deck and add them to my plot.

Plotting the Hero

The hero of the book is Mr. Wolfe. Oliver Cox Wolfe (yes, I did think of naming him Oliver Fox, but then the title would be Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Fox). Using his archetypes, I examined their weaknesses and arrived at the following plot points:

The Warrior—Weakness:trades ethical principles for victory at any cost. How used in plot:Uses trickery to preserve his kingdom.

The Shapeshifter—Projects any image that serves his personal agenda at the moment. How used in plot: Takes advantage of his position of power to maintain his position of power. Lets his assumed feelings for the kingdom overshadow his feelings for the heroine, not realizing his motive is a way of coping with self-doubt.

The Child-Wounded—Blames any dysfunctional relationships on childhood wounds. How used in plot: His traumatic childhood darkens his ability to love and stunts his growth as a man.

The Athlete—Has a false sense of invulnerability and entitlement. How used in plot:Uses people around him to get what he thinks he and the kingdom wants.

As you can see, Oliver has a lot of baggage. He’s a broken man at the beginning. He’s inherited a kingdom in disrepair and feels obligated to prove his father’s opinion wrong. To battle these conflicts, Oliver needs a good woman at his side. Let’s examine her weaknesses.

Plotting the Heroine

Roswynn is a baker for the village. She learned most of her skills from her grandmother, with whom she lives. Her recent bout with a strange fever resulted in the shearing of her hair, making her hide what is left under a red hood. Her greatest desire is to perfect her craft.

The Hermit—She withdraws from society out of fear or judgment of others. How used in plot: She runs from a royal decree to make the food that hinders Oliver’s shapeshifting abilities.

The Dilettante—Pretends a much deeper knowledge than she possesses. How used in plot: Convinces Oliver she has the formula when she doesn’t. She says so out of self-preservation, as losing the royal baking contract will ruin her and her family.

The Monk Nun—Negative, judgment of physical world. How used in plot: Negative opinion of Oliver and what he’s doing to preserve his kingdom.

Other factors involved in this plot:

  • The true heir to the kingdom makes a claim.
  • A trusted advisor isn’t so trusted.
  • The things Oliver and Roswynn would never do that circumstances and decisions make them do.
  • The conflicts of Oliver being a werewolf.
  • Oliver’s growing love for Roswynn.
  • Oliver’s resolve to be a better king than his father to prove his father’s opinion of him wrong.

Many, many other details need to be ironed out before November 1st, but I am steadily working on them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at how to put together a novel. I’ll be updating it as I progress.

Blessings to all, especially those who accept the NaNo challenge!







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Warrior archetype

Prepare for NaNoWriMo

Nothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, “prepare for NaNoWriMo” unless it’s actually taking part in NaNo.

What is NaNo? From their website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

50K in one month is daunting. I’ve written that much in the official NaNo month of November; during my writing group’s preferred Winter NaNo-February meeting to March meeting. On my own, I NaNo’ed one May and, most recently, this past July. One of the key elements to a successful writing month is to have an outline. Yes, I know some people like to sit down and let the words flow, but with a daily word count of 1,667, it’s not practical.

My accountability buddy, Kim, and I have challenged each other to complete NaNo next month.

NaNoWriMo, Step One

The first step is deciding what to write. For me, it’s a no-brainer—the next installment in my Enchanted Forest fantasy romance series. The clues I sprinkled about in the first book, Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf (available in January), pointed toward using the Red Riding Hood tale as the foundation. (I’m toying with Red Riding Hood and the Big, Sexy Wolf, or Red Riding Hood in the Big, Very Bad Wolf as titles. What do you think?)

NaNoWriMo, Step Two

The second step is to find my characters. As the fairy tale does this for me, I need to zero in on their personalities. I’ve tried various way of refining personalities, including using the Meyers-Briggs test, but this time, I decided on using mythical archetypes.

I have a seventy-two card deck of Carolyn Myss’ Archetype Cards. Using my spidey/author sense of drawing cards, this is what I picked (or the cards picked me).

For Oliver, the wolf in my story:

The Warrior—strong, skilNothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, "prepare for NaNoWriMo" unless it's actually taking part in NaNo.led, disciplined, toughness of will, hero, self-sacrificing.

The Shapeshifter (He is a wolf after all)—skilled at navigating through different levels of consciousness, projecting any image that serves his personal agenda.

Child wounded—blames all dysfunctional relationships on childhood wounds.

Athlete—dedication to transcending physical limits

For Red (possibly called Rhoswynn or Rosewynn):

Nothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, "prepare for NaNoWriMo" unless it's actually taking part in NaNo.

photo courtesy of arenamontanus/flickr

The Hermit—Seeks solitude to focus intently on her inner life. Serves her personal creativity.

Dilettante—Delights in the arts without having to be a professional.

Monk Nun—Selfless devotion and single-minded dedication to Spirit. Removed from the real world.

How do I take these attributes and mold compelling relatable characters? I’ll explore that question in my next post: Prepare for NaNoWriMo:Plot, as well as introduce the archetypes for the secondary characters.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? What preparations are you making? Please comment below and let me know the details.






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