Thursday, 28 August 2014

No Title (but a story nevertheless)

So there I was, idly sitting in the parking lot, laid back and listening to my radio whilst I waited for my passenger to return. Got a CD going because the radio wasn't doing it for me. Then ... Lo! A story surfaces. This is normal. It's my muse using the time as an excuse to plot.

Of course, what she uses her time on is up to her. Does she set her powers to that pesky chapter I need for Dark One's Bride? No, no, no. That'd be a productive use of the time. Instead, we'll lay out what's happening for the unnamed story that I wasn't planning on outlining until I'd written DOM, Crimson Night, and Witch of Morthin.

The only named characters so far
And yet, despite me still calling it "the story with the elf in it", the plot is slowly coming closer together. Already, I have the two Main Characters: Lady Adyia (last name pending) and Kaheran.

Adyia had most of her family all sorted out right from the get-go. She has an indulgent father and an older belligerent brother, both of whom will come into play throughout the story. With the vibes I'm getting, I expect some sibling clashes seen from both sides as I think this story may have, at least, four Point of Views.

Whereas Kaheran has given up quite the back story. I'll need him to fill in some gaps as I get down to it, but so far, he was born to slavery, sold off when he was seven due to 'an over-abundance of males' and spent that time working in an orchard (as well as getting into trouble with the other slaves) where he was beaten, starved, mutilated and eventually resold. No, it's not a pretty life but, as he keeps telling me, it's all he's got.

There's also the general worldbuilding going on. I've a feeling I'm going to be influenced by a number of ancient cultures here. Certainly Ancient Rome and their older views on slavery, which I feel is the closest comparison to the vibe I'm getting from Kaheran's story. I already know there are certain norms to this world's culture that Adyia, a sympathiser, refuses to comply with and I'm immensely glad that those norms don't seem too outrageous (in context, anyway).

What I don't yet have is the reason behind the final clash. Her father keeps referencing some sort of war/revolution. The people behind it seem amiable enough to Kaheran, but are also pretty set on killing Adyia. That led me to thinking it's a good ol' elves-against-human shtick, but I feel the conversion Kaheran alludes to is part of a bigger battle ... possibly an invasion, maybe a slave revolt. I get the feeling Adyia's father knows more.




Oh, and the song that sparked all this thinking?

Brave by Sara Bareilles.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Villainous Side

Well ... okay, not my villainous side per se, but my villains.

I'm in a worldbuilding mood at the moment and, amongst others things, that brings me to deciding on an antagonist. It's been a very long time since I saw any of them as cut-and-dry evil and have a strange liking for some ever since William Shakespeare entered my school curriculum.
Yet, when it comes to creating them, I find myself favouring "unhinged" as a part of their general makeup. Honestly, I think my muse finds me doing the whole "figuring out why they are like that" as part of her daily entertainment. That or just enjoy torturing myself.

Either way, there tends to be two main types of villain that I lean towards...


The powerful, but bat-shit-crazy, deity

I've actually got three of these in the same world. Fortunately, they've different levels of crazy and different goals. Still ... not good for the protagonist. Character development-wise, their goals are relatively simple and can be pegged under world-dominating. These guys are the big bads who rely on their lackeys to get things done ... most of the time.
With them being immortal, I found it all too tempting to handwave the reasoning behind why they're bat-shit-crazy, but - surprise, surprise - having reasons gave them more depth. In every case, it's an old reason that also moulded them into what they are now.
To be fair, I've also got a non-bat-shit-crazy version of this agonists. She's less fun.


The vengeful noble out to destroy their enemy, no matter the cost

This just may be my go-to villain as I've quite a number of these (about ... five, I think) and plans for others to crop up in some sequels. I think the logical motivation needed to make a villain like this work is what makes them believable. Yeah, some aren't any less bat-shit-crazy than the deities, but without the all-powerfulness to get things done, that's when things get interesting for me.
On the other hand, I'm not sure why it's practically always a noble (and sometimes set against someone of equally noble birth). It just seems to fall that way.


Of course, there are other types of villains and obstacles along the way (no need to make things too easy for them). But I've nowhere near the same number of them as I do the above types.

So, what types of villains do you find yourself writing? Or even reading?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

You seem to have a hole there, madam plot...

Ah, the dreaded greebly bug has invaded my house, it snatch my daughter, jumped all over my fiancé and is busy wreaking havoc on my system. Joyous winter, how I loathe thee.
The one thing, the only bloody thing, I don't mind about being sick is all the completely legit "do nothing" time I get. Housework? Bugger off, I'm sick. Cooking? You don't want me near your food much less preparing it. No, no. I've been in deep time loafing around for several days now.
My muse, however, doesn't get sick. In fact, every time I do, she hops into overdrive and digs up some entertainment. Unfortunately for me, it's the "drag my butt out of bed and type" sort that she's so found of. That's how I managed Nanowrimo 2013; the greebly bug struck me down.


But plot holes, or rather the lack of a turning point ... that's what I've got going on in Dark One's Bride.
For a while now, I've had twenty chapters plotted. Some are 90% written (And I never thought I'd ever write wedding vows). Others are roughly 70% done (Somehow, I've got three consecutive chapters that could be described as ... steamy).
These points are moot as they all happen after the unplotted chapter. Whilst all the other chapters have an idea, if not words, dear old chapter thirteen just stares blankly back at me. I keep poking it and asking "what happens there?" but all that gets me is a shrug.

The thing is, I need that chapter. It bugs me to no end having it blank. It's like following a planned route only to find the bridge is down and there's no chance of making a U-Turn. All I can do is wait, write the other chapters, and hope the turning point comes to me. 'Cause if it doesn't ... well, not only can the last eight chapters not happen, neither can book three.


And that would be a shame as I'm looking forward to spending some time with Clara in the Ebony Court.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

#IWSG - Good Grief, I Really Need To Hogtie My Muse

Bah! I've barely been online since the last Insecure Writers Support Group. I swear, if I don't have the internet on Thursday, I'm flipping tables...


But enough with my mumblegrumbles! Sign up for IWSG here!

The co-hosts for this month are Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Rhonda Albom, and Lily Eva (and, omg, I almost typed "Evans", sorry Lily. >_< My daughter's HP obsession's must be rubbing off on me.)

------------------------------

Last time, I was saying how I was enjoying a good long break from writing. It was good and, recently, I completely rewrote some chapters. So I'm feeling productive.
Do you have any idea what happens when I feel like that? Overdrive! New story babies ... and doubts.

Let me start explaining by showing a picture. It's pretty new, just a few day's old...
I dub thee, Kaheran & Lady Adyia
Right. Here we have an elf warrior and a human spellcaster. All on board now?
These two have been tromping through my brain for the last few days, teasing me with bits of scenes. Bits! I don't even know what's up with them. There seems to be a battle ... some sort of war/revolution that endangers their lives (hers more than his), I don't have all the details. Either way, it sounds like fun.

But I do feel like someone in the back of my mind is rehashing an altogether different story (beware: old image ahead)...
The MCs of my Witch of Morthin WiP
Lorn and Princess Sarna

Now allow me to break it down to the problem I'm having with this new couple...

  1. She's a magically-gifted noblewoman (so is my princess in Witch of Morthin).
  2. Neither men have magic (again, like Witch of Morthin). One is a bodyguard and the other basically a mercenary-turned-bodyguard (I'll leave it to you to decide who's who, there). So I guess that's double-snap.
  3. Lady Adyia bears the brunt of the chaos in the end. (So does Sarna, albeit for different reasons.)

Seeing those three lined up there, they feel awfully close. I don't know how I'd take to finding I am rehashing my own plotlines.
I mean the characters have different personalities, it's not like I could swap worlds on them and have everything play out the same. I'm not talking about minor details being a problem (an elf in Morthin would be a curiosity), but there's slavery in the other story, my Morthin characters wouldn't let that go on for a second more than it took to stop it. Excrement would pulverise the rapidly-moving blades.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it. I do that far too often.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Paying It Forward

One of my CPs, Loni Townsend, tagged me in the Pay It Forward Bloghop. Now I've seen this doing the rounds and love these things, so of course I said yes. I'm not yet certain who I'll tag and that's been holding me back from posting this, but let us continue anyway...

What WiP shall I talk about? Oh dear ... that's a puzzler, isn't it? There are so many and I really do go on and on about a select few, don't I?
But let's talk about the second book in the Dark One Trilogy, okay? It's the one I keep telling myself I'm meant to be writing as opposed to haphazardly editing book four of a different series...


*ahem*


What am I working on?
Dark One's Bride picks up about five months after Dark One's Mistress with Clara still the sole PoV. It follows her from her arrival at Endlight and carries on through the week leading up to her wedding. In between, she deals with her doubts of becoming the first Great Lady in centuries, on top of being thrust before the court, an assassination attempt and...
Heh, almost revealed the ending. Nope. Not yet.

The blurb goes a little something like this (forgive the badness):

It's been five months since Clarabelle Weaver agreed to marry the infamous Dark Lord. Now, after spending her time in the mighty citadel with only the soulless men for company, she has at last arrived at Endlight where all of the kingdom's nobility have turned up to be part of this historic occasion.

Thrown into the unfamiliar world beyond her village and the quiet citadel, she finds that the man who would become her husband still harbours secrets. And those parts of his past he had no intention of revealing to her are looking to haunt them.

When one of the noblewomen goes into labour, it grants Clara an insight to her future and she finds herself questioning whether she's at all prepared for motherhood. She has only a short time to come to turns with this newfound anxiety, for if she decides she cannot give Lucias the heir he needs, it will mean giving up the man she has come to love
.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm. I've never been able to answer this question. But that was due to there being too much of a muddle and not knowing enough of the current titles to say "this is why it's different".
But in all honesty, I wrote Dark One's Mistress with the intention of sticking to some of the major tropes in the romance genre. It may sound defeatist to say "it doesn't differ", but that's kind of how I feel (the doesn't differ part, not the defeatist bit). To my eyes, it conforms rather than sticks out (well ... maybe not the soul-stealing guy actually being the good one) and I doubt its sequels will veer much off that path.


Why do I write what I write?
With this one? I have no idea why it keeps going. The first novel was done on a whim. The idea of writing a story where the evil sorcerous lord was the lesser of the two evils intrigued me. So did looking at the world solely through Clara's eyes. At the time, I'd only attempted a shorter work (what is now Golden Dawn), with a prologue and epilogue by other characters. I didn't think I could do it then...
Maybe I really want to know if I can weigh a whole trilogy on her shoulders.


How does my writing process work?
Ugh. It's so sporadic right now.

I've tried to work chronologically, but more often than not, I'll have bits (sometimes whole chapters) that I write towards. In fact, of the 19 chapters I've plotted, the ones at the latter end are completely filled out (definitely the wedding scene and the last chapter). It probably helps that I am essentially rewriting to stretch the original timeline and just adding earlier chapters rather than the whole story.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Cover Reveal: Soulless by Crystal Collier

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.



What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer



Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and "friend" (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.



COMING October 13, 2014



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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Doing the literary hokey tokey

I put the chapter in,
I take the chapter out.
I put the chapter back in,
And shake it all about...

Heh.

I swear, I am doing more and more of this the deeper I get into Dark One's Bride. Especially the 'shake it all about' part. The amount of times I've rearranged the silly outline, shuffling chapters about like nobody's business to make the week seem normal ... chock-full, but normal ... is it any wonder my muse took a break?

But she popped back for a few seconds yesterday whilst I lay about being ultra lazy and whispered a few ideas about a scene I thought I was done with. A scene I've chopped bits from to use in other chapters.

This is why I never get rid of anything I've written. Ever.

See, at first it was a rather risqué scene involving a private pool (of the indoor bathing variety) and the barest of modesties. Then, when I thought about it, it felt wrong. He was in character, to the letter. Whereas she just ... wasn't. Where did my confused little bunny go? You know, the who's still slightly nervous and, being seventeen, dealing with teenage hormones.

Yet there are things they should discuss (questions he certainly wants to ask) and finding another time/place for that part of their conversation also feels wrong. So how to make it right? I haven't known for some time. I've ignored the dilemma since splitting the original sequel and rewriting. Fobbing off myself with excuses.

Enter my muse. Sashaying her way in and out like she's want to do.

Clearly, my Main Character's reaction is part of the problem here. Add it with moving the scene along some to a place where he doesn't come off as ... creepy, then I might have just saved myself some extra concern. Now if I could just find some peace to work it out.

Hmm. I admit, that may be a harder task...