NaNoWriMo Prep in October – Planning

I’ve been super busy this year producing work under a couple of different pen names, but I always find November’s NaNoWriMo to be a good writing exercise and time to produce something under my real name.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since 2010. Two of the books I completed and self-published under NaNoWriMo were highly praised. The third is currently being looked at by a publisher. We’ll ignore the year my cat and computer both died and I lost half the novel I was writing. I still haven’t quite recovered from that and can’t bring myself to re-write the lost novel.

downloadMy advice? BACK IT UP.

But anyhow, it’s October again and time to start my NaNo prep.

A few months ago I won a pre-made book cover in a giveaway, and I decided to build a story around the cover.

I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do for NaNo 2014, but I pretty soon managed to settle on a character, figure out her goal, throw some obstacles in the way and develop a plot.

I’m a planner. If I don’t know what’s going to happen in the novel I sit there staring at the screen.

Conversely, if I know how the story’s going to end, I normally don’t feel the urge to complete it.

(Which is probably why I have so many unfinished novels.)

I’m planning my new novel using the three act plot structure.

Act 1 ‘Exposition’:

  1. Setup
  2. Inciting incident
  3. First turning point – where the hero accepts their new calling

Act 2 ‘Rising Action’:

  1. Obstacles and progress
  2. Mid-way point – a major setback
  3. More obstacles and higher stakes.
  4. Second turning point – what I call ‘the point of no return’.

Act 3 ‘Resolution’:

  1. Stand up and fight – the final push.
  2. Climax
  3. Resolution

This is the structure I’ll be following in writing my novel. Let’s hope I can stick to it!

Storm of Blood on Amazon and a whole lot of links

Storm of Blood final cover

Storm of Blood is on Amazon.com for 99c. This introductory offer will last for all of May, and then the price will go up.

Also, just a reminder that Storm of Blood can also be downloaded from Smashwords for free using the coupon code EA42K on check out. The coupon expires at the end of May.

The first several chapters are also available to read for free on Goodreads. Check it out if you’re not sure if you want to commit to a purchase. You can also read excerpts on Amazon and Smashwords before purchasing.

Currently Storm Front and The Archive of Lost Dreams are available for free on Smashwords and for 99c on Amazon. I am trying to make them available for free on Amazon as well, but the process and not easy and I beg for your patience in the matter. You can help by visiting their Amazon pages, scrolling down a bit to ‘tell us about a lower price’, and reporting they are available for free on some of the bigger sellers like Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Sony and Diesel. Here, I’ll even make it super easy by providing all the links:

Storm Front:

Amazon – currently 99c.

Free on:

Smashwords
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Diesel
Kobo

The Archive of Lost Dreams:

Amazon – currently 99c.

Free on:

Smashwords
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Sony

As usual, The Edge of Darkness is 99c on Smashwords and Amazon.

My Top 5 Favourite Fantasy Books

Touch of Power by Maria V Snyder

Touch of Power (Healer, #1)

I think my review went something along the lines of: OMG *flail* FANGIRL *flail* some more.

Avry steps into leadership positions when she needs to, kicks ass when she needs to, and comforts and mothers when she needs to. She’s got a great balance of feminine and masculine traits, and she’s neither an uber-warrior nor a damsel in distress. She grows throughout the novel as well. She’s like… my perfect heroine that I never wrote.

Draykon by Charlotte E English

Draykon (Draykon, #1)

My review of Draykon was roughly the same as my review for Touch of Power.

Charlotte has an obvious gift for beautiful prose and many a time I caught myself drooling over her wonderfully constructed sentences.

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined

I’m pretty sure this was more of the same.

Once I opened the book, I was blown away. Just blown away. I did not expect this calibre, wit, and execution. The characters were simply gorgeous. The writing was incredible. And the humour! I have never laughed out loud so many damn times in a novel that wasn’t 1) a comedy or 2) written by a comedian. It’s just… the humour! The fluff! The witty comebacks and fantastic situations!

Fire by Kristen Cashore

Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)

This novel broke my heart.

Fire’s character development was really awesome. I’m so sad that people put this book down half way through. She grows magnificently both in personality, character, and power. She makes her own choices, and even when her choice is taken away from her, she manages to gain control of the situation.

Talyn by Holly Lisle

Talyn (Korre, #1)

Holly Lisle taught me everything I know about writing. Literally.

August is the Book Birthday month for my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, a deep-space cyborg dystopian.
Please go here for your chance to win a paperback copy.
Ends September 30.

My 3 Favourite Literature Trilogies

Please note, all of the following are fantasy novels, but I can’t stand traditional wizards in pointy hats with elves and trolls etc type fantasy. To draw me in, a fantasy trilogy has to offer me something very different, and I feel that the five I have picked, although you can find them in the fantasy section of the library or bookshop, all offer a different take on fantasy, from gothic to heroic to plain out of this world. The imagination involved in building these five different worlds are just phenomenal.

1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

imageNote – Outside the US, The Golden Compass is known as Northern Lights.
I adored this trilogy. I read it when I was sixteen. I reread it every year. Every time I reread it I discover something new. It is the deepest experience of any literature I have ever read. There are so many layers. Simultaneously, it can also be approached as a children’s adventure story. Lyra, and her companion Pantalaimon, face a series of adolescent and not-quite-so-adolescent trials as they set off to save Lyra’s best friend from an evil organisation, and eventually go on to save not just their world, but every world in every universe. It not only asks some big questions, but offers answers as well – and that’s why religious people hate it. Personally, I think it’s an educational tool in the understanding of brainwashing young people into unconditionally accepting religion. It asks people to question the rules that govern society. The Golden Compass was made into a moderately successful movie, but because of the heavy anti-campaigning from the religious right (because the novel suggests people question religion and – so it is claimed – the two heroes in The Subtle Knife kill God, where in fact they do NOT, God is elderly and dies a natural death… sorry to give that away but it pisses me off that people who haven’t even read the book try to campaign against it) The Subtle Knife film is not going ahead.

2. The Old Kingdom by Garth Nix

imageNote – In the US, the trilogy is simply known as The Abhorsen Trilogy.
This is truly a masterpiece, an epic piece of literature by one of Australia’s best fantasy writers. Simultaneously a tale about women’s power and coming of age mixed with horror and a rollickingly good plot, I devoured the first two when recommended by a friend, then had to wait impatiently for several years before Abhorsen was written to complete the trilogy. Originally, Sabriel was written as a stand-alone, and is an original take on the standard hero’s journey, while the other two more concentrate on two people finding their place in a world where they feel like outcasts. The take on how magic works is incredible as well, and it mixes the magic world (the Old Kingdom) with a non-magical world, separated by a wall. I don’t want to give much away about the plot, but I suggest you go and read read read, because Nix is on par with the great fantasy writers like Tolkien and Lewis. It’s an incredible story that is spread over all three books, but can be read as three separate stand-alones; and everything is neatly wrapped up at the end. Only a master storyteller can do this.

3. The Isles of Glory by Glenda Larke

isles of gloryThis is another fantastic trilogy from an Australian author that mixes magic and science together in a fantasy world separated by a strict breeding program. Blaze Halfbreed is a magnificent lead female, and totally one of the coolest warrior women I have ever read about. I really identify with her frustrations on being a 6 feet tall woman. I love the relationship developed between her and Flame, as it is a heterosexual female friendship you don’t see much of in fantasy. Warrior women tend to clash with other females in fantasy. Some kind of competitive thing, I think. Magic is approached in a way that eventually shows the good guys as the manipulators, much like the way I see capitalism.

August is the Book Birthday month for my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, a deep-space cyborg dystopian.
Please go here for your chance to win a paperback copy.
Ends September 30.

And We’re Done! (Again)

So after a month and a half of gruelling editing where I have totally shirked my August Camp NaNoWriMo aspirations, I have finally completed the newest, shiniest draft of Storm of Blood.

It’s going off to some loyal and totally fantastic beta readers ahead of it landing in the lap of my shiny editor in a couple of months.

I am so relieved! This year has been so difficult, what with my grandfather dying (I so cannot deal with grief narratives right now), moving to Australia, finding employment, dealing with said employment (some times I just need to relax!), and planning a wedding. I seem to be the kind of person who puts so much effort into what I do, a perfectionist attitude, that I have no energy for anything else other than what I’m working on at the time. I have no idea how other writers manage to do it. Most of the time I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above the water.

But yay! And also, these characters? Tina and Ten won’t leave me alone. They’re already harassing me for a new book. Jeez, guys! I just finished the last one! Give me some time to relax.