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Monday, February 27, 2012
So, you've taken the time to prepare yourself properly, your major homework is done, the skeletons in place and needs dressing - what do you do?
To be honest, that's down to you.
Speaking personally, I used my outline and notes to keep it to theme/concept and also to ensure it was as realistic as possible.
Being an avid reader, I also did my best to remember the methods used by my favorite authors - recalling what I liked about their styles and attitudes - to ensure my story was "likeable".
The reader has to be able to relate to the characters, so, as you make it as realistic as possible, add humor where you can, bitterness, anger, irony, disappointment, regret.
Ensure each character is endowed with a personality, so when they make an entrance the reader can instantly relate to them and think, "Aha, 'So & So' is here, I know what's coming now..."
You can't do this by rushing, and one of my initial problems - (being a bit of a perfectionist) - was having to fight the tendency to do it all at once.
So slow down, take your time. Quality will soon grow into quantity.
As I went along, I'd be completing last minute checks to ensure the story was tight! Eg, if A is in the USA and B is in UK and C is in Australia...what time is it? What is the weather like at that time of year? What factors will influence the way they interact? Would "the sun was shining in through the window".. be correct for all of them? - No!
As I completed each section, I'd skim through it afterwards to see if it flowed.
Then I'd read it slowly, pronouncing each word looking for spelling/grammar errors etc etc.
I'd read it a third time to ensure I'd kept things tight to what had gone before. (a must as your story develops) - believe me, a reader will pick up on the fact if you say your hero is brown haired and blue eyed and 34 years old at the beginning, if you then say he's 33 later on.... and its easier to mess up than you might think.
So check, check, and check again.
Believe it or not, making notes as you go along helps as well, firstly, to develop twists and turns as the story unfolds, but also, keeping your chapter notes will be a great help when it comes to constructing your synopsis.
So there you go - no great secrets, but essential basics!
Take your time - keep to a schedule - take regular breaks - maintain the quality, and check, check, check.
I must admit, at this stage I also spent a bit of time starting to research Literary Agents and Publishers to find out what they expected, and find out if any particular agent or publisher concentrated on my genre.
As this is important, I think I'll write a bit about that next.
Until then, take care.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
So, I had my concept - how was I going to put it all down? I had so much material that there was no way I would fit it into one book. (Or two bigs one's come to that).
Being an avid Sci/fi-Fantasy fan, I was initially delighted - I thought - I have enough for an initial trilogy (With plenty left over to build into a follow-up trilogy) - Fantastic! People love reading a series of three or more books don't they?
Well, yes they do!
But the trouble is, for them to be able to get to read them, you have to get the idea past agents and publishers, and thats harder than you think.
The stone cold answer is costs, schedules and risk.
If you are already established and people are reading your books - presenting your soundly researched and well constructed series will no doubt result in your arms being snapped off by happy agents/publishers and a gleeful rubbing of hands as they prepare their schedules around a "dead cert"!
When you're unknown, you've got to accept the reality of the fact... YOU ARE A RISK!
All sorts of factors intertwine and combine to get your manuscript properly edited, prepared and into print, and if you don't prepare that first book properly, you can be making a huge hurdle for yourself.
So - right from the word go - prepare, prepare and prepare some more, BEFORE you start writing.
Ensure your first book, EVEN if it's part of a series, can come to a proper conclusion "on its own".
In this way, you will make yourself a much more attractive prospect, and the agent/publishers will feel your story is less of a risk, not just financially, but to the schedules they have to prepare ahead for.
So, having prepared, having researched, you want to get it written down
Very few just sit down in front of a computer and begin thrashing out chapter after chapter.
Most are like myself.
I made an outline - or skeleton as I liked to call it - onto which I hung the main organs of the story - the vital plot points and developments that made my story my own and kept it unique.
Over these I put the outer layers, the muscles and sinews, that gave it depth and character. (Things like well researched and grounded scientific, technological and psychic knowledge/understanding/systems. What is our current understanding - how can it be extended to fit my concept and yet remain believable? Who are my characters? Where are they from, what do they look like, what's their history? How do they react under certain conditions and how will their journey help develop my story?)
Guardian Angels details the adventures of a futuristic global Fire & Rescue, Police & EMS Emergency Service. So, for me, part of this layer entailed making contacts in those services, finding out what their standards of practice are, how they react under certain conditions. How could I adapt their current practices into my concept and expand it into the Sci/Fi-Fantasy realm, but keep it realistic without losing the "feel" or futuristic exitement.
Regarding the abilities - what abilities are there? What are their strengths/weaknesses, how would they develop, how would a person be trained to use them, what rank structure would be incorporated into this, etc etc - and these are just a few of the things to consider in this layer.
(Do you see how much preperation is required?)
This allowed me to be much more flexible as I began to put the actual story into writing, (The outer layers), and I found that, as the story began to take shape in print, I was able to think of alternatives and much better plot twists, (some short term/others for later books) that I would not have been able to work into the outline had I not prepared so thoroughly.
Also, I made a schedule and stuck to it.
I know these things may sound ridiculously simple, but so many aspiring authors fall by the wayside because they go exhausting themselves in a hurried panic to get things "in writing", giving up because they see from the word "go" their dream just doesn't gell.
I wanted to be a successful author.
I had a concept that would work.
I had sufficient material to ensure the story contained well developed characters using well grounded special powers based on thoroghly researched science/theoretical science/ and accepted working practices used by experts throughout the world.
I'd also done research on how to write action scenes, fight scenes, normal everyday scenes, how to mix the style a bit to report the story from different angles to keep it fresh and help the reader see it from different perspectives.
And all this before I'd done any writing!
Thankfully - that comes next time.... See you then
Friday, February 24, 2012
There's no easy answer to that.
They say there's a book in everyone and thats probably true. But it's doing something about it that's important. Out of the millions of people who have a story in them, its only a relative few who sit down and do something about it.
And when I say, "Do something about it", I don't mean just sit down in front of a computer one day and starting to write, oh no, I mean doing something about it in a way that achieves results!
For me, I knew I had a good concept, a concept I'd built up over the thirty years I spent in the Military and Police Force. I knew I'd like to apply that concept in an increasingly popular genre, Sci/Fi-Fantasy. But theres a hell of a lot of Sci-Fi & Fantasy out there filling the shelves, and I didnt want my story to just fade into the background.
So - I did my homework. The majority of fantasy today ranges between two common poles, with wizards and witches and schools of magic at one end, and vampires and werewolves at the other.
Don't get me wrong, theres nothing wrong about that, it's extremely popular, and when it's written well it never gets boring. But I wanted something different, something fresh, so I was glad I'd devised a concept that people would be able to relate to, based on real life.
I can't remember the amount of accidents and death I've had to deal with. - even in my own life, and I often used to wonder, what would have happened if we'd got there sooner? What if we had the ability or resources to anticipate tragedy before it happens, or the capacity to respond to it much more quickly when it did happen?
What IF we could undo some of the harm caused?
What would happen if an organisation existed that was able to respond to global emergencies and disasters as they were happening, staffed by exceptional beings with advanced technology?
How would the world react? Would they welcome such ones? View them as a threat? How would they impact on society?
Thus, the "Guardians" concept was born, and I was ready to start putting things on paper.
How did I do that?
Thats for next time! - See you then.
Synopsis of “Guardian Angels”
The unbelievable survival of a small boy at the scene of what should have been a
tragic fatal accident, marks the first of a number of miraculous, near
impossible interventions around the globe that not only save thousands upon
thousands of lives, but also heralds to the world the startling revelation that
“Guardian Angels”, blessed with extraordinary powers and incredible technology,
The euphoria this generates is so potent, that it serves as a catalyst that
actually starts to motivate society to begin uniting behind them, and looking
to the future with a real hope.
However, not everyone is pleased at the discovery of their existence.
There are those in power who believe them to be a hidden threat, and so, many
governments initiate clandestine operations within their borders, with the goal
of acquiring “gifted” individuals of their own to counter the danger they feel
these newcomers represent.
The criminal underworld too is absolutely horrified by their presence, as they feel
it will spell an end, not only to their activities, but their whole way of
life, and none more so than the “Council”, a highly secret and extraordinary
assemblage of gifted psychic criminals, who have carved out a global empire by
the misuse of their abilities over many, many years, and who see the Guardian
Angels as a direct threat to their ambitions, and an anathema to the power and
influence they wield.
Early confrontations ensue, that clearly reveal the Guardian Angels to possess vastly
superior skills and abilities, and because of this, someone with a great deal of reach decides to plan a very public revenge
Will the fairy tale end before it even begins?
“Guardian Angels” is a powerful and compelling story about the catalyst that could at
last, galvanize everyone, everywhere, to put aside their differences and look
towards the future with hope.
Sadly, it also reveals how fragile such a spark of hope could be.
Guardian Angels - dedicated to the real life heroes in our Fire & Rescue, Police &
EMS services who face danger each and every day
Supporting Fallen/Injured Fire Fighter, Police & EMS Charities & Causes - USA
Supporting Dream-A-Way Charity - UK