November 6 2017

The Unexpected Setting…Psychics…The Mind of a Writer…

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I started a new series in the PHOENIX AGENCY KINDLE WORLD by Desiree Holt title THE RAVEN SISTERS. The first book was recently published and this is something a little different than what I normally write and required me to learn about Psychic abilities, a topic that has always interested me.

I thought it would be fun to have 4 sisters, each with a different ability. After reading up on a few different poets, I went with: Precognition, Remote Viewing, Psychic Healing, and Telepathic. I had a basic understand of what each ability entails, but I wanted to stretch things and create my own psychic world inside of the Kindle World Desiree created.

I sat down and watched a full season of CHARMED. I love that show and it got me thinking about the spirit world and good and evil. As a small child I always wanted to be a witch. I would daydream of the day that someone would come to me and tell me who I really was and how to tap into my powers.

I’m still waiting. LOL.

Anyway, I really liked the idea of the Charmed Ones and I wanted to do something similar, but hadn’t come up with anything until I started plotting out the series and which sister had what power. This is the only series I’ve ever written where they should be read in order.

THE LOST SISTER begins in Baltimore. I really LOVE writing about places I’ve been and I just recently moved my daughter to Baltimore and had a chance to explore the area! However, the action took us somewhere else. I hadn’t planned on taking the action to Lake George, and specifically a camp that I attended many years ago, but that is where I ended up.

I had expected the action to take place in Florida, but instead, when my hero, Brett Ratcliff, used his Remote Viewing ability to find the lost sister, he ended up on first lookout on Buck Mountain, behind Camp Chingachgook. Imagine my surprise! I literally stopped writing and went, huh? Now, I’d been recently reconnected with some old friends from camp and we’d been sharing stories, so the area was in the back of my mind.

I haven’t been back to Camp Chingachgook since 1984, so my visual memories are very different than the camp that exists today, I’m sure. But it was fun to visually walk though camp, seeing it they way my younger self did and incorporate it in my book.

The Lost sister

Please enjoy a short excerpt describing camp as I remember it.

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June 2 2017

Developing your writer process…

This is a question I get asked a lot by other writers, readers, and strangers I meet on airplanes: How do go about writing your stories?

My response is always the same: That’s a loaded question.

I’ve learned over the years that readers want to know if I use real people in my stories. They want to know where I get my ideas from. Do I dream about my characters (yes, I do, but it gets really dicy when I dream about other people’s characters). They also LOVE to tell me their idea for a story., which I always find fascinating because I feel as though my brain (and other writers) functions differently than an non writer. So, as I listen to their idea, and they way the present it reminds me how important it is for me understand the people of my story. If I don’t, doesn’t matter how great a plot I have, the story will suck.

Years ago, I attended a workshop with the great Deb Dixon. The workshop was based on her book: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. This is one of those books that made my head explode. At the end of this blog, I give you my ‘must have’ recommended reads for the craft of writing. I know there are tons more, but these are my go to guides.

Anywho, I sat in the workshop and listened to her and scribbled notes (before I had a laptop, it was that long ago) and the world of writing all of a sudden opened up to me. It was as if I’d been alone in the dark when suddenly a door opened, light filtered in along with a half a dozen of my characters.

I struggled with GMC at first and to be honest, it messed with my writing for a bit.

Tip # 1: As you develop your process, it will screw with you mind. Don’t worry about it. You’ll get through it once you figure out how a new step fits in.

Since I write romance with a splash of suspense, I do what I call a GMC chart for my hero, my heroine, and my antagonist. This is a basic chart. I always try to keep this simple. It’s just something I put on my desk to keep me grounded, so I don’t go off on some tangent. I do a more in-depth character outline, but this gives me a start.

So, lets do a GMC for my novella coming for THE OMEGA TEAM: THE LIGHTHOUSE.

Hero: Logan Sarich

Goal: Protect Mia Vanderlin and her family from a death threat.

Motivation: It’s his job.

Conflict: Someone from his and Mia’s past is trying to destroy Mia.

Pretty simple, right?

Heroine: Mia Vanderlin

Goal: Find the person who is destroying her professional reputation.

Motivation: She’s one of the top ethical hackers in the country and she wants to keep it that way.

Conflict: Someone is trying to destroy her career.

Antognist: Not Telling

Goal: Destroy Mia Vanderlin’s career.

Motivation: Blames Mia for all his failures in life.

Conflict: Damn hot ex-military, ex-boyfriend shows up and foils his plan!

The Antagonist’s motivation was the key ingredient to finding this story. Remember, the antagonist is the hero in his/her own story.

But I’m not quite done with GMC. Above is your external GMC. It’s my suspense plot. But what about the romance? I do a GMC chart for that as well.

Hero Internal Goal: Tame his restlessness.

Motivation: Tired of not feeling fulfilled in life.

Conflict: He doesn’t know what is causing it, until he sees Mia again.

Heroine Internal Goal: Change the direction of her life…less on the job and more on finding the right person.

Motivation: Wants someone to share her life with.

Conflict: No one excites her…until Logan walks back into her life.

These are very simple. Nothing to complicated about them. I break it down the smallest fraction. From here, I do  detailed character sheet (actually, still working on this part of the process…each book I do something different). This character sheet details their journey through the book along with documentation of their past.

Tip # 2: Take what you like and make it your own. Every writer will handle GMC differently. I’ve seen authors do pages and pages of GMC for each character. Not everything I do will work for you, or any other writer. If it resonates, try it. If not, move on to the next thing. Don’t be afraid to take someone else’s process and change it to fit your own needs.

Now, pass that butt glue!

Forgot the books….

Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer

How to Write the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Stein on Writing by Soul Stein

PS. Just because I watch this video all the time now because it makes me happy. This little girl is magic!

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