Category Archives: writing

How to begin writing a novel

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the local Writers Club again. One of our new members wants to start a book but doesn’t know where to begin. When I  myself decided to write, I just started. The first scene I wrote happened in the middle of the story (which I only discovered later), but this doesn’t work for everyone (and I wouldn’t suggest it either). Fortunately, I recently read about the snowflake method and could recommend it.

The Snowflake Method of Writing

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With this method, you start with one sentence which depicts the core of your story. In the next step, you expand that one sentence into a paragraph, outlining what happens in your story. Setup, major disasters, resolution. Next, you do this for each of your characters. If you don’t have a development for your characters during your story, your readers will find your characters flat and can’t connect with them which you don’t want. It also will give you more to write about as the direction of development for each character won’t always go along the same line, pace, direction. The fourth step is to expand each sentence into a whole paragraph. Next, you will be expanding what you’ve got even further. Once you’ve got the basic storyline, make a chart of the scenes. Each scene will have to depict a development. If there is no development in a scene (good turns bad, ideas change, emotions change), delete it as it is just page filler. You now put in more and more details, until you have a full story. An article in which it is explained in more detail can be found here.

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This is how I sort of began my third book, Killing A Vampire. I know the characters in it, I know what is going to happen, and how it’s going to end (I must admit this took me a while to figure out), but I didn’t know what was going to happen in between the major plot twists. I used Scrivener’s corkboard and note cards to layout the chapters/scenes.

I actually used the word count as a basis. Both my other books are about 72K words, so I wanted my third book to be at least this size. They both have about 60 chapters, so I created 60 note cards. It also meant that each chapter/note card needed to be about 1200 words. Then I started filling in on each card what would happen in that chapter. Sometimes I write more words, sometimes I write less. The good thing about Scrivener is that you can move the cards around as you please. Overal I want to stick to the 1200 words, so readers can read the short chapters while they have a little time to read and not have to cut off their reading while something major is happening.

It’s perhaps not as creative as some ‘on the fly’ writers write, but I’ve been thinking for a long time about this story and, even though I know in advance where the story is going, the how is still created only once I sit down and write. I just don’t have to think about the why and where anymore, which I feel is like a weight off my shoulders.

If you have a different way of starting a novel, let me know. I’m all ears 🙂

PS: Talking about ears, my hearing aids are working fine again after the swimming pool disaster last Monday!

 

Everything You Expect From A Vampire Book!

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I just found out I have another review for Raising A Vampire! This time the reviewer is from closer to home (Aberdeenshire). Boris must have seen my add on a local Facebook page 🙂 . Here’s what he said:

4.0 out of 5 stars Bloodsucking, romance and betrayal

“Set a few years after the first book, Kate and Charlie’s daughter Sue is now 8 years old but looks twice that age. Sue’s true nature is revealed when she defends her mother from an attack. Soon they find themselves held prisoner in a facility especially designed for suckers. There’s bloodsucking, romance and betrayal: in short everything you would expect from a vampire book.”

Glad you enjoyed it, Boris, and thank you so much for the review!

Writing Update – 14 days

I promised to give you updates on my writing of Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy, but I find it hard to find the time. Even though I’ve begun writing Book 3 a fortnight ago, I’ve only written a full four days. In that time, I’ve gotten halfway to Chapter 9. I’ve set myself a goal of 1200 words per chapter (as this is the average in the other two books), and I’m well above this with 10,399 words so far. I’m happy with that.

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So far, Charlie has gone missing and Kate just found out who’s behind it. She’s met the DI in charge, Grayson (see images above), and there is a spark between him and her sister, Julie. I had so far kept Julie’s love interest rather vague as I didn’t know what to do with it. She ran an all-girls pack during Black October, but never got involved with one of the girls. Duncan was interested in her, and she strung him along, but she never got involved with him. There had to be a love interest for Kate in this book and I thought for a moment it was going to be Grayson. It didn’t feel right, rather awkward actually. And when Julie and Grayson met, the puzzle pieces fitted. Julie falls for older men!

Don’t worry, I have already found that love interest for Kate. Yes, she still loves Charlie, and I’m not saying she’s making the same mistake as she did with Caleb. She learned her lesson. So what’s going to happen is going to be a surprise 🙂 .

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So, which is your favorite Grayson image? His characteristics are the gray hair at the temples and being an ‘older’ man (keeping in mind that Julie is in her mid-thirties). I actually think No.2 and No.3 are the same man at different ages. I have no idea who they are. I could have put George Clooney in there as well, but I didn’t want to be that cheesy. If you have any other suggestions, let me know!

Trent Erwin

It’s official! Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy is being written!

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This morning I turned my social media off and opened Scrivener to begin writing the last installment of the Suckers Trilogy. Two hours later, chapter one is written.

It is such relief. I have waited so long to do this. The main story line exists in my head, but I can’t wait to flesh it out ‘on paper’ and find out where my characters are taking me this time. I may have the ending plotted, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get there. Kate may take a completely different route. Who knows?

I’ll try and keep you up to date (without any spoilers) of my trials and tribulations on this final epic journey of Kate and her family.

If you haven’t had the chance yet to get acquainted with Kate, now is your chance. Book 1 of the Trilogy is on SALE, but only until the 16th of September. You can get your copy on Amazon or KOBO.

Book 1 of the Suckers Trilogy Now On SALE

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Header image by Aris Sfakianakis

Killing A Vampire – Playlist

The Music I’ll be listening to when writing Book 3

I’m on the brink of writing Killing A Vampire and I’ve made a playlist to get me in the mood. I’ve written Book 1 and 2 with music from the albums Just Great Songs 2014 and 2015. I was amazed how many of those songs fit my stories.

Killing A Vampire is going to be a lot darker than the previous installments as it is the final of the Suckers Trilogy, hence the music is a lot darker too. My favorite is Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier at the moment (I play it so often until I will come to hate it 🙂 ). Drink the Water by Justin Cross is coming in at a good second place. The song has nothing to do with the story. I just like the tone it sets. The songs are not in a particular order, they don’t ‘tell the story.’ Let me know if you know any of the songs and what your favorite is.

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Header image by Diego Sulivan

Raising A Vampire Review

A Monster of All Emotional Rollercoasters!

I just saw the review I received from Sandra Vattimo, a person I don’t know but who apparently read Book 1 and now Book 2. It appears she liked it, so I must be doing something right 🙂 .

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Here’s what she wrote:

“Book two of the Suckers Trilogy was filled with just as much excitement as the first, but was laced with more emotional turmoil. The cause of the turmoil is a huge spoiler so I’ll try my best to share my anxiety carefully.

**If you haven’t read book one, the following will be considered SPOILERS**

I hope you all paid attention to the end of the first book because this one begins 10 years later. The world was provided with vaccinations against the virus which had caused all the problems to begin with. It doesn’t take too much imagination to realize not everyone has been located for vaccinating. It also doesn’t take further imagination to understand it won’t work on everyone.

But what about the babies?? Early on in this story we learn the answer to that question. Baby Sue is now a 10-year-old young lady. A series of awful events lead to the heart of the story. I spent most of the read on the monster of all emotional rollercoasters. I was angry, then hopeful. Frustrated beyond belief, then confused and hopeful again. Throw in some heartbreak and a bit of relief.

I loved reading this book. The ending was a mix of happy and sad. Sue’s future looks … Kate and Charlie appear to be … I was sad when “he” died. I was happy when the other “he” died. I will continue to mourn until the final book in this trilogy comes out.”

Thank you so much for your review, Sandra! It made my day and all my sweat, grit, and love worth it! 🙂

Raising A Vampire is available on Amazon

Fantastic Song As Powerful As A Novel

Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier

As I’ve just finished Book 2 of the Suckers Trilogy, I’ve already been looking out for songs to play while writing Book 3. As it’s going to be the grand finale of the trilogy, it’s going to be a lot darker than the first two books. Hence, the music is going to be dark as well.

I hadn’t heard of Hozier until his song Take Me To Church, which always reminds me of the Amazon series Preacher. I don’t know how I came upon the song Arsonist’s Lullaby, probably a follow-up on the YouTube list of Brothers Bright. It just sang out to me.

The song starts with two verses, followed by the chorus, and alternating a verse and chorus twice thereafter. If you follow the structure of a novel, this is comparable with the beginning, the middle, and the end. However, the beginning has two verses instead of one. That’s the hook. The story told in those two verses draw you in. What happens next? You want to hear the next verse.

Each verse can be seen as a chapter and has a character arch. Next to this, the verses tell the story of a man as he grows up. ‘When I was a child…’ is the start of the first and second verse. ‘When I was sixteen…’ is the opening line of the second verse, and the final verse starts with ‘When I was a man…’ Chronological story telling, working toward the climax of the present. What is he now, if not a man?

The chorus is the bit that intrigues me the most.

All you have is your fire
And the place you need to reach
Don’t you ever tame your demons
But always keep them on a leash

The first sentence speaks of a very deep loneliness, the second of a need that helps to fill that loneliness. Why is he lonely? What is that place he needs to reach? The third and fourth sentence tell you about the darkness that surrounds this man. Why is he in this dark place? Why doesn’t he want to kill his demons?

The music begins with the acapella humming of a choir, quickly replaced by a powerful beat that stays steady throughout the whole song. It’s the backbone and gives the song its strength. When the chorus starts the first time, only angelic singing is added in the background, giving it an ominous feel. At the start of the third verse, maniacal piano tunes replace the choir and as the singer talks about the birth of an arsonist, it gives the song a destructive edge. Last verse is intensified by the voice of the singer, but ever so slightly, and the addition of cymbals. The drama of the song ends in the simplicity of only the voice of the singer and the beat, back where it began but with a history that is tangible.

You like Hozier’s voice or you don’t. I think it is perfect for this song as there is a lament to it that not everyone has. It adds drama and depth.

All in all awesome!

If only I could write a book as good as this song.

Kudos to VeritasProductions who edited her video (season 2 of Daredevil) to the beat. Her timing is perfect. I’m definitely going to watch the episodes now  🙂 .

 

Another Great Review!

Check out the review Luna Rugova wrote about Book 2 on Luna’s website!

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Get your copy here!

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Write On

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As I am preparing for my first ever book launch and realizing how little I know and how unprepared I am for this process, articles like the one below give me hope.

By the way, I still post articles to my Flipboard magazines. The article is from my Writer’s Corner, but check out the new articles in Pretty Pictures, Sci-Non-Fi, Heath Herald, and Focus on Filming.

Writing Insights Part One: Becoming A Writer by The Wayfinder

Image: A Divine Humour (Creative Commons)

Header Image: Thought Catalog