Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Writing Prompts - Author Life

Via Wikipedia
So I'm a part of a small writing group in my area and we all do a bunch of different styles of writing. To start off the new year, we spent our first meeting this year doing some writing prompts and inspiration boards.

And boy, did these writing prompts SPARK something in me.

I may have mentioned before that I'm revamping book II of the Zyearth world a LOT. Kessie, one of my writing partners, suggested I throw Trecheon into the mix of book two (rather than book four) and the whole series is taking a huge turn a a result of it.

Somewhat outdated picture of Trecheon
Book II is now Trecheon's introduction book, and since he's such a prominent character in the world of Zyearth and a great catalyst for many other character's growth, he's popping up all over the place now.

One of the things that inspired this change in his intro book is a story idea Joe and I put together based on Trecheon's past. Originally this would have been somewhat late in the series, at least book eight or nine, but now it's slotted to be book five.

Book five! That's a much better time slot for it... especially since I'm DYING to write this story. And it shows, since I used the basic idea of it for the prompts we did in my group yesterday.

Neil Black by Joe Meenan
The story follows Trecheon's attempt to hunt down a rogue sniper from his days in the army, as a way to avenge a friend, Neil Black, shown above. The story is also a story of trust, as he and Matt are still barely getting to know each other and are thrown into this crazy hunt.

The prompt, however, led to some interesting character development that I didn't quite expect.

The way the prompt works is this. You have a bowl filled with random words and the you pick one of those words out and write for ten minutes based on that word. The word I got was "north star." Here's the results of Prompt Part One.

Matt looked up at the North Star.
"Bright, ain't it?" Trecheon chimed next to him.
"Yeah," Matt said. "Zyearth doesn't have a north star." 
"Really?" Trecheon raised an eyebrow. "Your sailors must have have a hell of a time exploring Zyearth."
Matt chuckled. "I don't know. Maybe they did." He stared up. "Think Rebekka is looking at it too?"
"Considering light is a sniper's best friend at night... probably." Trecheon sighed. "Probably."
"Questioning your objective?"

Aaand that's as far a I got. I could have gone much further... and I probably will. I read the story out loud to my group and they were already hooked by the character development.

Now Part Two comes into play. From those words up there I was supposed to pick four more words and write something NEW based off that. This is where the surprising character development came in.

Being the happy person I am, I picked happy words. Star, Bright, Light, and Chimed. And then I proceeded to make the words not happy. Here's the results of Part Two.

"Star light, star bright," the gray fox muttered. "First target I see tonight. I wish I may," she slotted a round in the sniper rifle, "I wish I might," the scope chimed quietly into place, "take the shot," she aimed down the sights, "I need tonight." 
Rebekka's finger felt heavy on the trigger. The red quilar focused in her scope. Just a little pressure. Just one pull. Just one more target, like all the others.
But something ate at her heart. Her finger refused to cooperate.
Slowly the red quilar faded from view. And Rebekka lowered her rifle. 


Apparently Rebekka, Trecheon's hunt target, can't bring herself to kill HER target, Trecheon. And apparently she likes stars.

She's going to make for a very interesting character.

Try the prompt! It was a super fun exercise to get some character and story development down! I'd love to see your results here!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Resolutions 2015 - Meenanful Life

Yay, New Years Resolutions, 2015!

-dusts off the old blog-

Somehow, I don't think I did a good job sticking to that "three blogs a week" resolution from last year. >> Oh well.

Whelp, another year has come and gone, and here we are teetering on the edge of 2015. What a year it's been! I've learned a lot this year and I've changed a lot too. But 2015 is bound to be full of even MORE changes, so now it's time to work out the wonderful world of 2015 Resolutions.

First though, let's see how I did last year... You can check out my poor attempts in greater detail here.

#1 - Finish The Stolen Defender - and start sending query letters.
Finished, but not sending queries... so... halfway done?

#2 - Redesign some key Zyearth characters.

#3 - Draw and develop the Eight Summons of the Phonar Order of Draso.

#4 - Design and color a promo picture for The Stolen Defender.

#5 - Weredriver
Fail... and abandoned.

#6 - Sell more short stories.

#7 - Reoutline the second Zyearth novel - Drifter
SUCCESS! This one is going to be modified for this years resolutions.

#8 - The Obligatory Lose Weight Resolution (Again)
Err... fail.

#10 - Read 35 books next year.
I read... -counts- 21. Not bad! Buuut still a fail.

#11 - Write more blogs!
Uhhhhh yeah fail. >> 

 Um. Right. 

Okay then, obviously my problem last year was having so many art related goals. XP 

SO! New goals this year! 

#1 - Plan out my day... and stick to that plan.

That's right. I'm gonna be PLANNING. I'm very much a planner when I outline, so why shouldn't I be a planner when I go about my day? 

Basically I'm gonna tackle it like a check list. Rather than write something like "At 9AM I'll do this..." I'm gonna compile a list of tasks and wants and schedule a certain amount of time to each task. This will allow me to work harder on writing and editing and spend LESS time on time wasters like social media. 

Hopefully it works. I'll keep you all posted.

#2 - Get The Stolen Defender out by spring of this year

This one is actually gonna be a super fun goal.

I've been working on this draft pretty much all year. The main thing keeping me from putting it out there yet is the inner debate I had with myself about HOW I wanted to publish

For a very long time, I wanted to publish traditionally. I felt it would make me "legit." But the more research I did into trad publishing, the more I realized that I liked the control of self publishing. I got to decide my book cover, my editor, my means of publication, my marketing, my market, and pretty much everything else. I LIKE being in control of my own book. So self publishing made sense. I've been spending a lot of time developing my craft and learning all the marketing skills I can to make this dream a reality.

Plus, I have just about the best editor ever. The kind of editor that makes you GIDDY while reading edits. I don't think many people get that.

I also recently did some things in my book's universe that made the WHOLE SERIES better, so I'm on FIRE for writing right now. 

#3 - Finish and publish Book Two - Drifter.

Book two, guys... it's gonna be BIG.

Kessie recently gave me a suggestion for book two - what if I throw Trecheon into the mix? 

Trecheon is easily one of my fav characters, and he's one of the best catalysts for my other character's change. Trecheon is a total outsider and, initially, my main character Matt hates his guts.

Concept art from the now extinct book Target of Eons.
Courtesy of K. M. Carroll

Throwing two characters into a mix like this makes for fun writing and great reading. 

Also, butts on fire.

"Rear Conflagration"
Concept art from the now extinct book Target of Eons.
Courtesy of K. M. Carroll.

  Both the scenes here are from Trecheon's original first book, Target of Eons, which would have been book four instead of book two. He'll still get SOME form of these scenes, but they'll be highly modified.

But hey. Butts on fire. XD The problems of a fire fabricator.

#4 - Get a cover for book two as promo art - and pay my cover artist on time.

Sorry about late payments, Omni. XP 

Seriously though, I want some good cover art for book two. Suggestions for what you want to see are appreciated! 

#5 - Keep up with my daily devotions.

This won't be difficult, considering my awesome sister in law got me a brand new devotional. <3

#6 - Read the entire Bible in one year.

Another non-difficult one, since I have a special one year plan. =D YAY!  

#7 - Follow the words God gave me for this year - Light and Strength. 

I still have to learn what God wants me to do with those words... but I'll figure it out and do great things with them. =) 

#8 - The actual, better-do-it, obligatory LOSE WEIGHT resolution. 

This time I'm aiming less for "lose weight" and more for "get healthy" which means I need to be eating better and exercising more. 

#9 - Do more art.

I'm not going to be specific on my art. I need to just DO ART, even if it's small and insignificant art. I need the practice.

And if I'm lucky, I'll be able to take a wonderful life drawing class and really level up my art skills. 

#10 - Read more books.

Again, I'm not going to be specific. I'm going to AIM for at least 20 though. I did it last year, I can do it this year.  

#11 - Do more with my blog and website. 

I really want to aim for more blogs a week. Last year I aimed for three a week, but I found that it was just too much to keep up. I kept running out of ideas. So instead, I'm aiming for two a week. 

Also, I need to do some updating with the website. I wanna add some character profiles and pictures and more fan art.

#12 - Do some promo writing for Zyearth.

In greater detail, I'd like to write some quick short stories that I can put online for free for all to enjoy. =) Ideally, I'd like to have an "intro story" for every novel and eventually I'll put them all in a book.

I really think that's it. Go too far, and I'll fail again like last year! 

What are your new year's resolutions?