Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cleaning House for October NaNo Prep-o

Good day, all!

First of all, let me point out that one up side to being the only human in the house during the day is that I can blog at 2:31 in the afternoon (rather than 4 a.m. in the morning).

I feel all caffeinated and organized.

Secondly, I re-wrote the intro to my weird fiction novel from last year: Blocgarten: Under the Green. The opening FINALLY feels right. If any of you folks wouldn't mind, I'd like to shoot out the first chapter (60 pages) for a proofread and hatchet job.

Before I do, I should point out that this book written to be a mosaic of short stories that ultimately tie together in the final two chapters. The first chapter is something of a 10,000-foot overview of the madness that is going on in the valley under Green Mountain.

Also, you'll notice that the book is written by "Ian Kenneth". This is a couple of names from my background that fit nice and tidy-like into the weird fiction elements of the story. I've even gone so far as to create a blog site by Mr. Kenneth that will eventually blur the lines between the book and his life...


Yah, the Kenneth blog is a work in progress like the book series. I've fleshed the series out to a total of 5 books, should it ever take off.

Thirdly, NANOWRIMO prep month is almost here! Once you are all signed up, I'm Black n Blue Knight out in the Wisconsin Elsewhere group. Let's join forces and make November a win!

OK, off to get more coffee.

Write on!

Friday, September 25, 2015

NaNoWriMo Prep (If you're going for it)!

Just in case anyone wants to go for it...

NaNo Prep season is rolling, which means there are plot bunnies proliferating, light bulbs going off, and baby-name books being perused. As we prepare together to enter "The NaNoWriMo Library" this November, here are a few questions you may be asking:

Where do I create my novel for 2015?
You'll have to wait until the site relaunches to officially create your 2015 NaNo-novel. On Monday, October 5, go to "My Novels" under the "My NaNoWriMo" tab, and you'll see a space just calling out for your 2015 book.

What happens during NaNo Prep season anyway?
So much stuff! Check out the NaNo Prep page for a full schedule, a list of great resources, and a guide to deciding how you'll approach NaNoWriMo (planner or pantser?). What's coming up right away?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 2 PM PST: Authors Rachael Herron, Darynda Jones, and Kelly Loy Gilbert join NaNoWriMo staff to share advice about how to prepare for NaNoWriMo during our #NaNoPrep tweet-chat!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

NaNoWriMo looms...

Hi everybody!

I've been doing some pre-holiday tidying up on my writing projects and there are a few things to pass on to everyone...

First off, National Novel Writer Month (NaNoWriMo) is revving up for the November challenge. The long and short for NaNoWriMo is this: Write 50,000 words in the month of November. It's a free site, you create a log in and a writer-oriented profile, then track your work in November. There are forums and an in-site email where words of wisdom / encouragement abound. There is also a NaNo store to buy swag or to make donations. I've done it for three years and have had 2 successes and 1 failure.

Here is the link: https://nanowrimo.org/sign_in

Second, we had some good discussions about the heart of the story (Act II), but I found my mind wandering into how to make a killer intro. Especially after reading Rose's intro of a phone conversation. Coincidence being what it is resulted in this dropping into my email box from David Farland's site on Tuesday:

Your story begins when you have a character (likeable or not), in a setting (interesting or not), with a problem (and it darned well ought to be a doozy). My mentor Algis Budrys said that as a rule of thumb, if a writer doesn’t have that by page two, then the story most likely isn’t sellable. He’s right.

Farland's site link is this: https://mystorydoctor.com/powerful-openings/

Lastly; from the realm of self-publishing, below is a link to what appears to be a self-publishing site that is growing in popularity...


It is called Wattpad. The idea is that you can write anyplace / anytime on any device and upload it for the vox populace to read. What makes this different from other sites is that it appears to be the 'new hottness' for aspiring authors to gain a following prior to dropping a physical book. What I was thinking about doing was to create some short stories based upon stuff I'm working on right now. I'm going to drop the short stories out on Wattpad to serve as teasers to the (future) physical book.

That's all I've got for now!

Write on.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Getting into the heart of the story...

Good morning all!

Next Monday, how about we talk about the heart and soul of our current projects: Act II. I'm planning on coming at it from the Hero's Journey structure and the literal changes it makes in brain chemistry when the right story 'clicks' within the reader. I did a little research this week, and it boiled down to the following:

A compelling story must do two things:

1. Capture our attention enough to transport us into the character's world.
2. Follow a structure (story arc) that allows us to intuitively feel 'trust' with the story.

A reader's attention has been described by science as something like a flashlight. It will 'illuminate' on a single element until something more compelling comes along. This is why 'good' stories become more compelling as the tale unfolds; our attention span requires metabolic energy, so we give it sparingly. A great hook is what carries readers into Act I of most stories.

However, if we can maintain a readers attention long enough, the 'transport' occurs and the reader becomes emotionally invested. At this stage, the readers 'older brain region' begins to simulate the emotions on the page. A chemical called Oxytocin is produced, allowing humans and other mammals to reach deeper levels of trust, compassion, and empathy (social / group bonding).

The 'transport' is not indefinite. Narrative theorists have found that an established story foundation; the "story arc" / hero's journey is a structure that allows our brains to create relevance to a story. In short, our brains require crisis to be overcome (story resolution / Act III). This is where TV and film has books beat: there is audio and visual stimulation that further draws a person into the story.

However; books have TV / film 'beat' in the narrative voice and deeper complexity allowed by a budget-free medium (word count not withstanding). Books are 'slower' than TV. We can pull a reader in deeper, safely working them through more complex elements... if the 'transport' is maintained.

Enter the elements of the three-act play and the tried / tested / established Arc Structure. At the heart of this structure is Act II. It begins with the hero leaving the 'old world' for something 'new'; it ends when our hero looks back on all that has happened and asks "Why did this happen?"

I've broken down Act II into the basic, fundamental steps. We'll talk about that on Monday. I've got handouts for all!

Also, feel free to bring in a sample chapter for us to dig through and critique!