donovanmneal

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on April 9, 2013 at 1:03 am

Because I know music makes your braver. Today’s inspirational song is a piece from the Fringe Element Series by David Edwards.

It starts in a majestic introduction that lifts you up in a spirit of royalty, and or sweeps you into a mood of tragedy where onlookers view vast destruction. Slowly it ramps as the female vocal echos as a ghost in the background. Its continued march to the same melody crescendos until it hits its peak when at the end. The reveal is finally complete.

It’s a sweeping, beautiful epic piece.

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 6: Outlining

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on April 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Three-Act-Structure-Sep-18-2012-9-39-AM

Image attributed to Arvel Chappell III

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it has taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step six: Outline your story.

This step is key.  It’s been said that writers block is merely you not knowing where to go next in the story.  Regardless of if you agree with this not, outlining the structure of your story will go a long ways to helping you understand what you want to tell your reader.

There’s a simple way to do this and more complicated ways.

Three Act Structure

Here are a few pics that visually explain 3-act structure.  Also reference the main pic in the heading of the blog.

Figure

Figure 1

Essentially, there is a beginning, a middle and end.  With you escalating tension, or conflict for your character (the put them through hell phases I call it.) from approximately near the ‘end’ of the beginning until you hit the climax at the end.  Then you drop off quickly with the resolution of the story and fade to black. (Sorry the cinematographer in me is coming out.)

Easy, peezy, lemon squeezee huh?

Well as fine and dandy as that is.  I just didn’t do it that way.

This is what I did to outline my story.

I imagined each ‘scene’ in my head.  Every fight scene, the ending, sometimes I could connect each scene to another and sometimes I could not.  However, in the end I had some scenes in my head.  If your not clear about what I’m saying.  If you have ever played a DVD when you go to the main menu of the movie it will ask you what chapter or what scene do you want to directly skip too.  Well when I write, I see in my head all these various scenes.  EXCEPT they are not laid out in the order of which the story is to be told.

I use Microsoft excel to lay out my outline.  Here’s some screen shots

Ok in this first screen shot, what I do is write out every scene I can think of, then I move them up or down on the spread sheet.  Over time I get a get a scene by scene outline of my story  (Ive changed the font as this is a prelim outline for my next novel)

Figure 2

Figure 2

Notice I created at the bottom tabs.  There is a tab for each chapter.  So each chapter has all the scenes associated with it.

I use the comments ability in Excel to add detail if I need to.

Notice that a green box is next to one of the scenes. (its green because its been written)

You can color code all the scenes for example that deal with a particular characters story arch.  Thus keeping track of where he/she is in the novel if you have multiple characters.

On Fig 2 notice at the top that I have cells to show the chapter title.  The scene, whose point of view is being shown and what happens, and how many pages the scene covers.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Excel (if you’re a lil savvy) is a great way to lay out and outline your book

I hope this tip help!

D

Roll em, roll em, roll em…keep them doggies rolling…!

In On writing on April 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Roll em, roll em, roll em...keep them doggies rolling...!

If you don’t understand this idiom look here.

http://goo.gl/qscCj

It’s resource Monday but on a Thursday!

In Its resource Monday!, On Marketing on April 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm

trumpet-soundingOk each week I am scouring the net for great resources of all kinds.  Primarily for writers but it can be whatever fancies me.

This week I’d like to present…drum roll please…http://www.iobooktours.com/Meet_I.O.html

Let’s give them a hand shall we!

For those unfamiliar with what a blog book tour.  As the author you make the rounds to various blogs talking about your book, and or being interviewed or contributing content to another bloggers site.  It’s a great way to gain exposure of your book.

Per their website…

“Are you an Indy writer, a newer author or and established author just looking for a new way to market your book?

Maybe you are self published? Or you desire to participate more actively in promoting your work?

Enjoy the excitement of readers experiencing your book for the first time while we do the promotion piece for you.

Why Innovative?

We bring our deep enjoyment of books and a passion for the written word to promotion. We appreciate that this world is a melting pot of diverse people with a variety of interests in many genres and styles. We endeavor to accommodate both you and your readers in every way possible. Innovative online blog tours offers you an easy friendly way to promote your book and meet your readers without traveling the country. Not only will we promote your book by getting reviews posted on assorted blogs but we also strongly encourage all of our blogging partners to post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and B&N. Another unique tool we offer is a click-able Link to purchase your book. We offer a variety of packages for you to choose from and are excited partner with you in promoting your book.

You are a writer and just want to write and instead you are left handling a myriad of details. We really want to alleviate that stress for you. Make sure you check back in.. we will continue to expand our offerings and adjust to the changing needs of the publishing world.”

Now how many writers out there would rather work on their writing than on the maketing side of the equation?  Well ladies and gents here ya go.

I still take cash, check and credit card!  J

Enjoy!

D

What’s a book blog tour?

In On Marketing on April 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Need understanding on what a book blog tour is? Read on. This fellow blogger has done a good job of explaining the whole thing.

The Book Publicity Blog

An interesting discussion emerged on Colleen Mondor’s blog Chasing Ray a couple days ago about the blog book tour and in particular who schedules them and how they are set up.  I caught the tail end of the discussion on Twitter.

Blog tours aren’t new — this New York Times article from a couple years back explores one author’s blog tour experience — and sites like Blog Book Tours or this post at The Dabbling Mum contain some excellent information about what exactly a blog tour is.  But beyond that, I thought it might be useful to look at how blog tours are set up and how they differ from online publicity in general.

First, the basics: for those of you who attended the book blogger panel at BEA, you will have heard the blog tour explained as an author going from blog to blog (rather than from store to store…

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Progress Report!

In My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars, Personal on April 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm

ImageOk for those that are wondering where we are at on my first novel.  There are some great things in the works!

I have gone back into the story and added more to help flesh out the characters more, and have added a glossary to the work.

I’ve had some great comments, about the novel ranging from, “…literally made me stop reading and repent for my sins…I’m not kidding.”

To, “I loved it. I had to keep reminding myself that this was inspired and not hard facts! The details in the descriptions you gave really helped me visualize the entire story.”

So after some serious thought, I’ve decided that I’m going to go both routes and seek out an agent but also self-publish.  I just feel more in control with the self publishing route, and I think with the right marketing plan on my part I can do it.

I have managed to find a editor who is very reasonable and hoping to submit my manuscript for review in May/June.  June at the latest.  Obviously I want to make the work the best I can make it so having a professional editor review it for grammar and such will go a long way.  I’m expecting this cost to run about 400-500 dollars.

I have secured where I expect to have the cover produced so it is just about acquiring the funds at this point.  This too shall be about 200-500 dollars

I have made the decision to self-publish, and am spending a lot of time developing a marketing plan.

I am confident that with exposure the book will do well.  It’s that great of a story!

Lastly, because of the expense I am strongly looking at using Kickstarter to raise some funds to get the work off the ground.  So look for a possible blog that explains more about this.

Lastly, I have an awesome new trailer that I plan to debut.  I’m just waiting for the right time.

In the meantime, I am working on the 2nd novel in the series, and contemplating finishing a small nonfiction work that I’ve had on the back burner for a while and turn it into an ebook.  So there’s lots going on and I want to thank all my followers for your support!  I’m seeing that building a platform is more about time and patience than anything else.  But I’m starting to get the hang of it!

Thanks for being early adopters!

Lastly, as some may or may not know I’ve been challenged to find full time work so things have been very difficult to say the least.  But I’m still looking up!  Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that opportunities will open up and I can finally secure full time employment.  In the meantime, I’m working on using what’s in my ‘hand’.  which is my writing gift.  So thanks for the few who’ve supported me.

D

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on April 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

OK today for inspiration Tuesday I want to do something a little different.  The video is the trailer for the video game Mass Effect 3.  The final game in a space trilogy that was released for the Xbox 360 last year.  I’ve played this game and to talk about how immersive an experience it was would be an understatement.  I WAS commander Shepherd and I was saving the freaking galaxy!

For the purposes of our blog today, I want you to take a look at each scene in the video.  Each is actual footage or a rendered scene from the game.  Now imagine these as scenes in your novel.  Listen to the video again, this time without the music.  Does it have the same impact for you?  Probably not.  Because music moves us on a level that images do not.

Take any given scene, and write several paragraphs describing what you see.  Now add one paragraph that takes the story in any direction you want.

Note the variety in all the scenes, there’s love making, death, alien armadas, ground action.  Does your novel contain such scenes.  Listen to the dialogue.  Someone had to write it for the video game.  What dialogue would you change?  What would you add to each snippet of action you see?

It’s inspiration Tuesday ladies and gentlemen, and this is how we roll.

D

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 5: World Creation

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on April 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Image

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step five: create the world.

I personally love this step.  Its very involved but lets start out with how I did it.

Draw a rough map on a blank sheet of paper.  Do your standard north, south, east, and west.

Draw some mountains, rivers; decide where forests are going to be.

It is amazing what you can learn from computer games.  SimCity for example has a world generator.  If you have, the game use it to help make your world.  Then take a screenshot and print it out. Viola!

What languages will be used?  What influences will be there?  Asian, English, African, Old English?  Something totally new?

What are the physical laws that govern your world? Are there magical, religious, or other powers that govern your world? Are there celestial phenomena that occur with regular periods?  Lunar eclipses, comets.  Aliens who visit?

One of the things that George R. R. Martin has used in his novels are seasons.  He has taken winter, summer, and used the idea of simple seasons to great effect in his novels.  Instead of making winter and summer last a couple of months, he made them last for generations.  Creating a world where winter is seriously dreaded.

What types of animals populate your world?  Are there mythical creatures, like dragons and the like?  How are the animals of your world impacted by the planet? (think James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’.)

Are there mammoth mountains, supernatural phenomena, lands where the trees walk?  Again, get creative!

What is the level of technology?  (Here are some links to think about this.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TechnologyLevels

What videogames, movies, and or novels, best represent the world that you are trying to create?

Are all the people the same racial and ethnic makeup?

What are the geo political structures? Who is in allegiance to whom?  Who is hostile to whom?  Why? For how long?

Here is a link to think about government structures in your world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government)

What is the hierarchy of leadership in your main characters culture?  Is there a chieftain,  a mentor and apprentice?  Guilds?

How are women, children and men treated in the culture?

Once you determine the level of technology, that will give you an idea of the economics, and professions within your world.

What cataclysmic events have affected the world?  Does your world have a version of the Atlantis story?  A Mt. Vesuvius, A 911?  What is your world’s creation story?  Are there Gods?

Take the time to make the world, do not rush this step and you will find that your novel will have more color, and depth than you will have ever imagined.