Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Introducing a few of my Characters...

Thought I’d share a few snaps to give you an idea of how I envision the characters in my novel. I keep these photos handy when I’m writing dialogue or narrating and need visual inspiration.

Firstly is my heroine, Gaby, who is an assassin for the Dhampyr Council. For those of you who are not sure what a dhampyr is, he or she is the child of a mating between a vampire and a human. They inherit some of the strengths from their vampire father and none of their weaknesses…making them powerful beings. Gaby is highly intelligent and witty, warm-hearted and compassionate with those she loves. However, she is ruthless and fearless when it comes to her job. She pretends to be impetuous and a reckless party girl; however, that is just a façade for what she is really up to…

Secondly is my hero, Lucien, the Vampire Lord in the story world I’m creating. He’s powerful, ambitious and dark. And like most vampires he can be manipulative and has a healthy dose of arrogance. Despite his dark side, he’s fiercely protective of Gaby…

Gaby’s ex, Caleb, is a kind but definitely alpha male shifter who’s honest, family-loving and has a real dislike for vampires. He too is an assassin and that’s how he and Gaby met…

And last but not least, I’ll introduce my villain, Seth, the Demon Lord. This bad boy is the epitome of evil. Sly, manipulative and downright dirty, he has very few redeeming qualities. Poisoned with hatred and thoughts of vengeance, he’s the cause of most discord within the supernatural community…

These are just a few of the characters and there’s lots more. So stay tuned…

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pantser or Plotter?

From what I understand, there are two types of writers. A pantser is the term for those who write by the seat of their pants. They start with a blank page and let their creativity soar.  Spontaneity is their nature and they are completely open to write whatever comes to mind.  A plotter is an author who structures their writing and prefers to work with an outline, plotting everything about the entire novel before writing a word. Both are conceptually powerful approaches to writing and both have advantages and limitations.  They end up with the same result; however, the journey is completely different.

So what type am I? At this point in my journey, this is what I’m struggling to work out.

I admit I like a degree of structure and order in my life. Right now, I have enough of my novel planned that I know it will be a Dark Paranormal series with elements of romance, mythology and urban fantasy. For the most part, the story world is built, plot is outlined, main characters are sketched out and I have a big-picture view of where I would like my dark and dangerous story to go. I feel like my puzzle is put together more or less.  Well, as much as it can be right now. These are characteristics of a plotter.

On the other hand, I know myself enough to say that if I start writing and my characters want me to go another way, I’ll be open to changing things up. It won’t make me lose my mind or focus. I’ll be willing to rework things as needed. I’m also very spontaneous in my life, love being surprised and love it when the unexpected happens. These are characteristics of a pantser.

So now I’m confused. By the way I’m pulling the hair out of my head right now, I don’t feel like I fit into either type. I don’t like to trying to force a square peg in a round hole and that is what I seem to be doing some days. Is this because I’m a pantser but trying to be a plotter? Can I be both? A hybrid, per se?

Or really, am I worrying for nothing? Does approach matter?

My fears in not knowing for certain what type I am are:

~ Will the novel’s structure be weak with too little planning?
~ Will the organic feel of the novel suffer with too much planning?
~ If I’m over-planning and shouldn’t be (i.e. not understanding what type I am), then will this negatively impact my motivation and my writing process?
~ Will I be leaving too much to the editing process?
~ Will my success be impacted by not knowing what type I am?

These are the questions I’m asking myself right now as I think of which approach I should be using. 

So which type are you? Do you always stick to one approach or switch it up and do both? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Story

Writing is a dream of mine that started when I was quite young. I've always had an overactive imagination growing up and my fondness for all things magical made me desperate for something epic to happen. As an example, I was the type of kid that would often go in search of a rainbow's end after a great rain. Partly because I learned of the Irish myth that a leprechaun’s pot of gold was waiting for whoever got there first and how cool would it be to find and talk to a leprechaun, but mainly because my imagination and curiosity compelled me to do it. I thought of all the stories I could write if I found the end and all its rewards. I would drag my sister or cousin kicking and screaming and head out on a quest so I could win my prize. I never did find the end back then; however, I wrote about these experiences and swore I’d catch the next one. I was tenacious that way. 

I grew up in a small town in a house with 11 kids (5 brothers and 5 sisters). True story. My poor mother. The woman deserves a reward in her heaven. We were good kids but there was no way she was having us underfoot all day so staying in and watching TV was not an option for us. She would tell us to go play outside, use our imagination and make up games to keep us busy. I think we were pretty creative and came up with some awesome games that we would take turns to play.  As a side note, I’m surprised how well our democracy worked, how well we got along and how we respected each other’s choice of game to play. Anyway, I digress.

When it was my turn, my game ideas always gravitated towards the supernatural. I would subject my playmates to séances, hypnotisms and exploring suspected haunted houses and such. I think some of them dreaded when it was my turn. However, we did have this democracy thing going on and I had to play their games too which I did without complaint. Even though I wanted to rip my eyeballs out from boredom as there are only so many tea parties and card games a kid like me could stand. Since they weren’t always happy when it was my turn, I'd make up some that were more pleasant for them. Like Private Investigators. I would insist my sisters be the crooks and I was always the PI.  I even had a special name. I was Antonia Linden - a kickass PI who investigated whatever crimes a 10 year old girl could come up with.

My point in all that reminiscing is to explain how, from an early age, I was encouraged to use my imagination as entertainment and still today is very much part of who I am.

When I discovered Anne Rice's writings, I knew I had found home. Absolute and sheer bliss was mine when I delved into one of her novels. I just knew that someday I would create stories like these. Thoroughly enamored with these story worlds she created, I was in grade 7 when I first dressed up as a vampire for Halloween. To my mother's chagrin, I donned a black satin cape lovingly made by my older sister after I explained in explicit detail what I required, greased my hair back with Vaseline, painted my face white and stuffed plastic fangs in my mouth (I still have no idea where they came from) and made my way to school as Dracula. I was happy as could be. I scared the be-jesus out of some classmates and garnered a reputation as being a little “unusual” but nothing could hinder my high spirits. That was until my mother saw what I had done with my hair. I don’t know what in the name of all that was holy and unholy she used to get that Vaseline out of my hair but I had dandruff for a month and never did it again.

As I got older, I discovered romance and suspense novels. The likes of Sidney Sheldon, V.C. Andrews and Jackie Collins were my favorites. These belonged to my older sisters and my mother would not have approved so I would sneak them away and read in secret. Or I would pull the age-old trick of hiding the current read inside of a text book. Whatever it took, I managed to indulge my thirst for this evocative knowledge.

Then life happened and my practical side fostered by my father found its way into my psyche. To back up just a bit, while I was falling in love with what I deemed masterful writings of my favorite authors, I also loved to help my father with his carpentry work. He was mathematically inclined and I learned the beauty of math’s logic from him. I learned fractions and basic trigonometry principles from holding a measuring tape.  I knew a2 + b2 = c2 and how to use that theorem to construct a perfect corner for a bookshelf before I knew my ABC’s. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but you get my meaning.

My father was the smartest person I have ever known (then and still now) and this fact convinced me to switch gears and let that side of my brain become dominant. So my practical side won the battle of what path to take in life.  I chose to study Commerce in university knowing my degree in this field would make me more marketable and allow me to make money sooner to buy stuff. (one of my favorite pastimes) 

Despite the path I chose, my desire to write was never far from mind. I did get the occasional fix with writing business reports and papers in university (and sometimes writing ones to sell to other students. Don’t judge. It was just a way for me to earn extra cash when I was a poor starving student.) However, the desire to write paranormal and romance was never sated.

Now, older and wiser, I’ve decided to give my original life’s dream a go. I’m going to write a novel. It will be paranormal of course as all things supernatural is still very much in my heart and part of me. There will be strong elements of romance (it'll lean more towards erotic romance), suspense and some mythology (sans leprechaun) intertwined as well.

My goal is simply to write and finish this novel and that’s how I’ll measure my success. I have no idea whether it will sell but that’s a secondary goal for me. If it does happen to catch on, I will scream from the rooftops with pride and exuberance. You'll all hear me I'm sure. If it doesn’t, well I will still have achieved a life’s goal. To experience all the ups and downs of an amazing journey is what life is all about, yes?

With this blog, I wish to share my journey with you by posting occasional updates and thoughts on what I discover throughout my writing experience. I feel like I'm still on my quest to find the end of that rainbow I searched for as a kid.  I plan to find it this time and my ‘pot of gold’ at the end will be my finished novel. Wish me luck!