Dawn’s Rising – December Update

I took a few candle light pictures when we had the power out back when hurricane sandy blew through. I guess is how they used to do it, huh. I guess all that is missing is a fountain pen.

I took a few candlelight pictures when we had the power out back when hurricane sandy blew through. I guess this is how they used to do it, huh? All that is missing is a fountain pen.

When I launched this blog at the end of the summer, I had a few ideas in mind:

I was unemployed, I had nothing better to do and I needed to find a strong writing community. I wanted to finish my first “crappy” novel and I wanted to have fun doing it. And I wanted to find other TV lovers out there who felt just as passionate about imaginary characters that I do.

***I found that writing community and have been encouraged by the go-get-’em attitudes that other struggling artists like myself have out there. And I’ve been able to keep up with my favorite TV show – a happy shout out to all my fellow Once Upon a Time fans out there!

But where does this leave me on the progress of my “crappy” novel?

Me being silly!

Me being silly!

I got a new job, (recently) full-time, with mediocre pay, that is more or less at a call center, where I take chats and try to sell things to people online for a company. While the job is easy and the people are friendly, it is definitely something I don’t see myself doing for a long period of time; and while I am struggling with the fact that I am so bored already with this job, it has, inadvertently, put me back on track with the writing of my novel…

Awhile ago, I even created a lovely banner up above^ to help motivate myself and set a deadline, but well, life kicked in; I had to start this new job to pay the bills, and boys distracted me again. (Guys really are a kryptonite when it comes to my writing, gah!) And…I only got about 1/4 of my crappy novel written.

But, never fear! I am back to writing it again. I don’t have a dead-line as of yet. I think the important thing is to push myself to write, even if it is just for my own pure entertainment. And on that note, I wanted to give you guys a preview, even though it is probably too early for a preview, but I wanted to prove that my novel-in-progress Dawn’s Rising does exist and I intend to finish it!

excerpt from Dawn’s Rising – “The Hub”dawns rising cover page

          “The Hub” turned out to be a restaurant. A bar and grill in the middle of nowhere, on a flat, dry rock where everything looked the color gray, even the low building they were walking towards was an ash grey color with a white-capped roof. There was a blue neon sign that said “The Hub,” in cursive lettering, hanging crooked on a single, dark door. It flickered on and off in the darkness, although the stars above them were casting their own light. Angel had never seen so many stars in her lifetime and the sky felt closer to her than she had ever felt it before. She felt like she could suffocate in it, breath in its purple blueness and cough out a super nova.

            Except for the building and a few cacti next to and behind it, The Hub was the only thing…anywhere. That and a gray-purple dirt, that stretched on for miles and miles and what might have been the ridge of low, hard purple mountains in the distance. 

            “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” said Clint, next to her. He must have seen her awe-eyed expression as she walked in the dry, cracked dirt next to him. The boy with the dreads, who had introduced himself as Ian was walking just ahead of them, and Angel could see the faint outline of Neil and Chase several feet in front of him.

            “Where are we?” she breathed.

            She watched Clint’s clean, handsome face as he appeared to think for a bit. He was short and broad-shouldered. “Center of the Universe probably…half-way between this and that,” he said.

            “Were not on earth anymore?”

            “No,” he laughed. “But don’t worry…you’ll be alright.”

            She listened to the sound of their feet kicking up dust in the darkness. She was still in a dream. She must be. “Why are we here?”

            “Boss likes this place because of the people he can find here. It’s…like an information hotspot.”

            “The Hub,” said Angel. “Like the center of Universe?”

            “Something like that,” he said.

            “So…we’re on another planet?”

            “Not exactly. More like a gray rock floating in the middle of nowhere…like a Meteor. At least…that’s what Neil told me one time,” he said.

            “It’s…nice,” she said, because she couldn’t think of anything else to say. Her heart was pounding. How could they breathe? She was trying to understand. “Who are we looking for tonight?” she said, faintly.

            Clint shrugged his wide shoulders. “Dunno. Anyone he can find I would guess.”

            “A demon,” said Niel loudly right in front of them, the small gold ring in his ear glinting in the darkness. Angel and Clint both flinched, slightly. “We’re looking for a demon.” They were so busy talking, that they didn’t realize they were right in front of the building and the three other guys were standing there, waiting.

            “But don’t worry, we won’t let him get you,” said Niel. Chase just winked down at her, laughter crinkling at the corner of his eyes.

Well, what’d ya think? Thoughts below if you got ’em! 😉

Dawn’s Rising – Angel, My Angel

Sometimes you’ll stare at your word processor all day and only a few worthy sentences will come out. Sometimes it’s those sentences that surprise you the most…

In Dawn’s Rising, one of my characters, “Chase” plays guitar. I have a scene where my main protagonist “Angel” is sleeping on the couch and Chase is perched on the end of the couch playing a song on his guitar to her. They don’t know each other very well at this point, but it doesn’t mean the resulting song doesn’t have meaning:

            Angel like a gem

            that glitters when she speaks

            angel, my angel

            stronger than she thinks

            don’t you know you’re angled?

            multifaceted blue

            angel, my angel

            I love you…

I have never written songs before and wish I had the talent to find the music that belongs to these words I wrote last night, but I hear them in my head, and that’s good enough for me.

It’s a slow song, like a lullaby that has a few verses to it and this is just the first one, or the only one that’s he’s written so far. He has a deep voice, but not too deep, with bit of husk to it. The result is a voice that is sexy, rough and smooth at the same time…like the sound of someone’s voice when they first wake up in the morning.

This is a perfect description for Chase, who’s normally put together, but still a bit rough around the edges.  He would not have the perfect tenor’s voice. His voice would be more like the earth: rich, and dark and deep; full of mystery and longing. Full of a thunderstorm, the lightning that crackles just beneath the surface.

I love the poetry behind it, though. Even songs, no, especially songs should taste good on the tongue, too.

Dawn’s Rising – Meet Chase Holden

My craptastic cover for Dawn’s Rising. All I can say is: Isn’t Photoshop just awesome?

Well, worked on Dawn’s Rising a little bit last night and just wanted to write a quick post to say that it still amazes me sometimes the power that some characters can have over the writer.

I’d been having trouble working on the story lately, and then I tweaked a few things and viola! My characters come alive with attitudes and minds of their own.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a name. This novel is teaching me a lot about the importance of names and how the name should match the character in all ways!

I used to firmly believe that it was the name that made the character, and if the name isn’t right, well, that’s that. How foolish I’ve  been!

While the name definitely does have to be right, if you are set on a name, you have to match that character to the vision you have. For me, whenever I let go of my original plans and let the characters form themselves, (go by instinct), I seem to have a better story and more rounded characters.

They show me where they want to go, who they want to be with…etc. I’d been trying so hard to stuff a character in a name, only realizing last night, that the reason the name didn’t fit was because I had created the wrong character. I gave him a different personality, a different body type, a different attitude and then he’s there. He’s real, he’s handsome, he’s stubborn, he’s thoughtful.

So meet…Chase Holden: He’s tall, about six feet. With a musician’s type body, long and lithe, with broad shoulders and strong arms. He’s got tan skin and short, dirty-blond colored hair, with green eyes. (He uses these eyes to his advantage…the clever bastard!) He can be ass sometimes certainly; he’s got his own form of mood swings. Right now, I have him wearing blue jeans and a long-sleeved blue, flannel shirt. On the outside, he lives simple…but don’t let that fool ya, this one is complicated. He does play guitar! He’s got a secret. And only Niel knows it. 

Hmm. What can it be? 😉 Time to focus on writing…Hope everyone has a fantastic day!

Dawn’s Rising – What is in a Name?

Well, I said I was going to post about Dawn’s Rising so here it is…

I have a thing with names, which are very important to me as it says a lot about a character. Some of my character names are just named randomly, or by instinct, or what might sound nice at the time. But most of the time when I am having trouble getting to know a character, it is because of their name, which probably doesn’t fit them quite right.

My crap-tastic cover for Dawn’s Rising. All I can say is: Isn’t Photoshop just awesome?

A lot of my characters are rarely called by their real or full names, either. Everyone always seems to have nicknames and I guess that’s how a lot of names are in real life. I was called “Manderz” for a good portion of my high school years, still am sometimes, actually. (And I won’t date people with certain names, either –this is true!)

The point:  You can learn a lot about a person from their name and a character, of course, tends to be the same way, too.

Here’s a peek at some of the characters in Dawn’s Rising:

Niel Overland: Goes by many names. Mostly “Niel” although he’s been also called “professor” “doctor” and “teacher” in his lifetime, which is rather long and most people (with a few as an exception) don’t know how old he is. To some demons, he is known as “Dark Shadow” and his real name given to him by his mother is “Nicholas.” He appears to be in his forties, with long, black hair, which is slightly graying and often pulled back in some kind of hair tie. He is one of the Immortal Seven, who are meant to find the lost keys.

Jennifer “Dawn” Desoto: Goes by the name of Dawn, which is her middle name, because she does not like the name Jennifer. Possibly because it’s a name given  her by her mother, who made her dress up in beauty contests up until she was a young teen. Her father was MIA most of her life – work and drink. Has a younger brother who was seven or eight when she left at eighteen, she supposes he must be about 13 now. Her family lives in the mid-west. She is tall, curvy and tan, thanks to her father’s Italian relatives. At eighteen, she left home for California to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress.

—In which I want to include the other ‘leading male’ role in the novel, but I am having trouble finding a name that suits him. I don’t want him to be a complete ass, but I also don’t want him to be a big softy and so far have not found a name that is in the middle.

In the book description, I have him as “Grant Holden,” which to me sounds way too stable for the character I have in mind. Well, Mr. Holden has a secret that only Niel knows about, as they are a lot closer than the other people under his employ.

…and that’s it for now! Some more, eventually, on my characters as I develop the story more. But, by typing up a character study, it really does help me feel like I know my characters. And of course, the few sentences up there, is only just a portion of what I know about them!

 

 

The Nitty Gritty

Well, first of all, I’d just like to thank those that have liked any of my posts or that are now following this blog. It is such a great relief to know that someone out there is listening and cares about the same things that I do! You guys are awesome!

So I thought for my NEXT post…I’d do something a little different. I thought I’d share a little bit about my characters and my plans and thoughts from Dawn’s Rising with you.

Mallard duck at Greenfield Lake, NC. FYI…there is a time stamp on each post. Plagiarist’s beware! Grrr…

So, I’m probably going to do something that no writer has done before. I mean, why reveal your characters and part of your story before it’s actually written or finished? Isn’t that like the great taboo of good authors who must horde their creative ideas in the possibility that it might get stolen by others?

That is very likely…but as this is my “warm up” story, my first real-length “crappy” novel, I wanted to do something different for my viewers. All writers have their own writing Gods: J.K. Rowling…Stephen King…Neil Gaiman (who is one of my favorites by the way) who all talk about their first crappy draft or their first attempt at a novel and who admit that it was terrible and are sooo happy that it didn’t get published, etc…and that’s good for them, except I’m left wondering:

HOW did they get to that process? Why was it crappy? And what did they learn from the experience?

Everyone has their own method and way of writing that works for them, but wouldn’t it be great if someone actually shared that process step by step? Every writer has to start somewhere. Even if it’s at the very nitty, gritty beginning.

And that’s a lot of what this blog is about: my own method of learning, my own mistakes…to share with you, other writers, curious observers, avid readers. It’s certainly not a process that’s talked about or shared, because I suppose yes, it is embarrassing looking back and realizing you’ve got writing where “His eyes sparkled” way too much or  her heart “pounded like a race horse’s hooves” or other such cliches…but hey, it’s all good fun!

Gotta reelaax. Pick up your pen, or run those fingers across that keyboard and just write.

Plot Plot Splash!

Had another night where I did everything else but write. Yay. Went to church, went out to lunch and then watched a movie and then sat down to write…well, then the parents came home and someone started watching football and the effort was pretty much gone from there.

Did get some tub-time in though and as my niece’s green squirt-y turtle was floating around the tub, I was able to clear the mind somewhat and get a little story planning in.

I struggle a lot with plot. Hey, I’m a poet and I don’t know it! Durrh.

Seagulls at the beach on a cloudy day in Wilmington, NC.

Anyway, from what I notice, a lot of my writing and story planning has a lot to do with scene. I will picture a particular scene in my head; a location in full detail, the sky, the buildings…and the people in it and then I will build my story around that particular scene.

It’s almost like C.S. Lewis with his dream of the fawn in the red scarf, except my Narnia doesn’t seem to want to develop itself quite as effortlessly. What I’ve noticed a lot about Dawn’s Rising though, is that I’ve let my characters do a lot of the planning for me. I let them go where they want to go and viola! I’ve got a brand new twist and something new to go upon. The trouble with this is that it makes for a more complex world, as people (especially characters!) are never as simple as they appear.

But pshh trouble! Complexity is great…it just makes the plot, which is all twisty and full of cul-de-sacs hard to spot! I remember one time a creative writing teacher said the reason I have trouble with plot, is that I cannot SEE what I’m writing. So I took the story that I wrote and printed it out and arranged it all page by page on my bed and what a difference that makes!

There’s a symmetry to knowing that your words and the actions behind them are following the right path. Perhaps I should try the Castle thing, and hang pages up on a clothes line. If you’re not familiar with Castle it is a TV show on ABC starring the ever brilliant Nathan Fillion, whose character is a writer. I highly recommend it.

ANYWAY, a lot of writing plot I’m finding, is figuring out how to do it and in a way that works for you. I admit, I have yet to do this. For shorter stories I am fine…but for two-hundred plus pages? Ahh! Because there’s got to be a better way to SEE the story line.

I suppose that’s why creative writing teachers tell you to write the crappy novel…get it out-of-the-way and then you learn from the experience!

So, meet: Dawn’s Rising. My first “crappy” novel. Doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining along the way…

New page check it out!!

I just added a new page at the left there in my menu settings, “About this Blog.”  So have a go and find out what The Writer’s Hub is all about! 🙂

<====It’s over there. Just to be obnoxious. And yeah, because sometimes people are blind. And dumb. Or their brains got hijacked by space monkeys. Ever seen a space monkey? Hmm. What an interesting thing to write about…

Rainy Writer’s Block

It is raining here in upstate, New York (thank you, hurricane, Isaac,) and I am having one of those days where the couch, a nice, warm blanket is where I want to spend the rest of my day. Suffice to say, you might think that this might be a nice time to write…NOT.

A view from my front porch; rain dripping off my mother’s hummingbird feeder.

The more I know I need to write, the more I can’t. When writing becomes an obligation, it becomes not fun anymore and then I  get that dreaded writer’s block. (This has been happening more often than not lately, now that I’ve given myself a deadline for this eBook and definitely want to see this one completed! I think I’m going to aim for November. I want a draft and some finalizations for November at the latest.)

I’m reminded of a fantastic article I found on Patricia Briggs’ website. (Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite authors…she writes primarily Urban Fantasy; the Mercy Thompson series…amoung other things.)

Anyway…where was that article again?

Ah, well I couldn’t find the article I wanted…buut, at any rate, the main gist of it was this: to find a way to make writing fun again.

  •  Go out for a walk, take a break from it, phone a friend…etc.
  • Try another project than the current one.
  • Write in a different character’s perspective for a while.
  • Think outside the box…think outside the current chapter you are working on.
  • Start writing in another place.
  • Research.

What I do sometimes: Take a character in your novel or current idea and have that character write a letter to another character. The end result is this: You get to know what your character is feeling, you know their relationship with that other character based on the letter that he or she wrote, and you get a better understanding of the motivation behind why he or she does what he or she does.

I like this technique because it is very personal and because it’s so personal, you can really understand and hear the particular voice that your character has. (I’m not just talking about the voices that writers hear in their heads, although, there is that too.) I’m talking about the voice, the mannerisms of your character; why he or she is the way he or she is.

Anyway, perhaps, I’ll go follow my own advice now…

Because when it comes down to it, only 20% of what you know of your character actually gets on the page; so you better know that character 100%! And who is a grand example of this? Only J.K. Rowling of course!

New Cover Page!

It didn’t take me surprisingly that long to finish this cover page…so here it is! 😀

Later, I will include an excerpt of Dawn’s Rising as I update the page…

The Amazing Adobe Photoshop CS6

So, for anyone who has been reading this blog, you might notice that I’ve had trouble downloading a free trial of Photoshop CS6. Well, I have some good news! I borrowed a friends faster and high-speed internet and I am pleased to say that everything is alive and well in the Photoshop world.

It took me an hour or so to remember how to use it, (it has been about 3 years) but I have about three-fourths of my cover page done for Dawn’s Rising and I am very pleased at how it is looking so far!

So, here I am writing a quick blog to emphasize how amazing Photoshop is for making cover pages. If you know how to use the program and have it on your computer, I would definitely use it for an eBook cover page. (Or, you can always do what I did and download a free 30 day trial.) It is easy using the various filters and effects and it really makes the cover page your own–and also a work of art. I am no Photoshop expert, far from it– but it really makes any effort you put into your page look like its been professionally done.

I am going to continue using it for various photos and cover pages that I might post on here, so look forward to updates. Also, as imagery inspires me, creating the cover page itself has given me ideas for the story and various plot twists. It’s been a very exciting project so far!

I was going to post a preview of the cover page here, but I would rather wait for the big reveal when it’s completely finished.

A quick look: I am now researching how to create a realistic sun-rising effect or sun burst effect…any tips or pointers would be awesome.