Tuesday, January 17, 2023

3T Writing Tidbit - story structure part II

I've been reviewing story structure lately. Despite what the pundits say, there's more than one way to tell a story! You have your 3-17 step hero's journey, your 5 plot-point, your 3 act, your 2 step scene/sequel. Let's start on the far end and work our way in.

Last month we did the hero's journey. Today, let's discuss my favorite, the 5 plot points.

There are changes in a novel. Lots of them, or things get stale. I mean, you could construct a story about a boy named Baldric who had a lovely little sausage, The End. But unless you're Sir Anthony Robinson, it wouldn't be very engaging.

This structure revolves around the major changes that shape a story.

In a nutshell:

  • Catalyst: Change from the status quo
  • Big Event: Protagonist commits to the story's journey
  • Pinch: Horrible choice/lowest point/worst fear
  • Crisis: Protag tries to solve major problem permanently but fails/beyond worst fear.
  • Climax: Final confrontation. Tries to solve major problem permanently and succeeds.

A couple pointers here. This structure works well with the protagonist's internal journey. The crisis makes climax inevitable because protag realizes the main truth/learns the main lesson. The protag wins in the end because she has learned what she needs to.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

2T Repeat Performance -- Sparkling Possibilities

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published November 29, 2011 for Whipped Cream's Stuff Your Stockings Holiday Blogs

Sparkling Possibilities

As a musician I’m gigging from mid-November to December 25, so my favorite holiday is the only one I can stop to enjoy—New Years. 

But there’s more to New Years than that! It’s the cusp of new beginnings, a time when possibilities sparkle. A breath of fresh air, a clean start, clearing away old mistakes and regrets and stepping into new hope. I love beginnings. That’s why my stories feature the first meet. Here’s a short sample from Biting Me Softly with vampire Logan and computer geek Liese.

When I first clapped eyes on Logan, I thought, Hot damn. Look what the Sex Fairy brung me!

It was eight p.m. Sunday night, and I was at work. I do computers for the Meiers Corners Blood Center. The staff is me, the executive director and a part-time nurse named Battle. I was the only one who worked insane hours, but I was new and still trying to prove myself.

I don’t know what made me look up. The cool March air, perhaps. Maybe the aroma wafting in, mystery and magic with overtones of raw sex.

Whatever it was, my eyes lifted and there he was, the most stunning male I’d ever seen. Smack-me-between-the-eyes gorgeous. Bright blond hair rippled to broad, muscular shoulders. Lean strength roped a long, lithe body. Laughter and intelligence sparked gold-flecked hazel eyes. Perfect lips curved in a smile so sensuous it made my innards go bang.

Then he opened his mouth and spoke. Talk about ruining perfection.

“Hello, gorgeous.” His tone was deep and lazy. “I want to speak to the computer man in charge.”

Right. Well that just spoiled everything, didn’t it?

I crossed my arms under my breasts. “You’re looking at him. I’m the head apple. Minus the stem, but those are overrated anyway.”

My sarcasm didn’t even faze the man. He tucked one spectacular ass cheek on my desk and leaned in, so close I could feel his warmth on my face. “You’re L. Schmetterling? How…fruitful. And what, my Red Delicious, does the L stand for? Laurie? Lucy? Lovely?”

All that male beauty and a tight ass on top of it. I’d been burned once by a man with a flabby butt and no hair. This man would incinerate me.

I clutched the reminder of male perfidy on my ring finger and screwed up my most forbidding expression. “It stands for Leave. As in Me Alone.”

“I live to do your bidding, princess,” the man crooned, his lips inches from mine. He had perfect, chiseled lips—the kind designed by Michelangelo for kissing. “But if you’re L. Schmetterling, I can’t leave. I have business with you.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

3T Writing Tidbit - story structure part I

I've been reviewing story structure lately. Despite what the pundits say, there's more than one way to tell a story! You have your 3-17 step hero's journey, your 5 plot-point, your 3 act, your 2 step scene/sequel. Let's start on the far end and work our way in.

The hero's journey was famously started by Joseph Campbell. It's expressed alternately as 17, 12, 4, or 3 stages, and often pictured in a circle as the starting and ending point is exactly the same - the ordinary world. The story is in the journey, the hero's transformation between the start and the end. In other words, the start/end point is the same, it's the hero who's different.

In a nutshell (correlation of steps is mine):

3 step4 step8 step17 step
----The ordinary world--
DepartureSeparationThe call to adventureThe Call to Adventure
----Refusal of the callRefusal of the Call
----Meeting the mentorSupernatural Aid
--DescentCrossing the thresholdCrossing of the First Threshold
----Tests, allies, and enemiesBelly of the Whale
Initiation----The Road of Trials
----Approaching the inner caveMeeting with the Goddess
------Woman as the Temptress
--OrdealThe ordealAtonement with the Father/Abyss
------Apotheosis
----The rewardThe Ultimate Boon
ReturnReturnThe road backRefusal of the Return
------The Magic Flight
------Rescue from Without
----The resurrection/final testCrossing of the Return Threshold
----Return with the elixirMaster of the Two Worlds
------Freedom to Live

You can find explanations for these steps in many places on the web. Wikipedia supplied the 17 steps.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Two books free!!

Smashwords is having their winter sale. My indie books are mostly 50% off. Two, Atlanta's Angel and Hunt Mates, are free! Check them all out here. Be sure to use the code (SW100 or SEY50) at checkout!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

2T Repeat Performance -- Interview

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published July 27, 2012 for EReading on the Cheap


Thanks for having me here today!
 
Tell us a little bit about your book and have you published before?

Black Diamond Jinn is about government witch Amaia Jones, who discovers the world is ending—in four hours. Worse, no one believes her. Except Rafe, the imaginary guardian angel who has comforted Amaia since her parents died. She turns to him for help.

But Rafe is a jinni, one of the most powerful magic users in the world. Jinn take their pound of flesh for magical help. Amaia is strictly warned off jinn by her boss.

Rafe is trying to remember his humanity. Touching Amaia helps him do that. And as they work together to uncover the mystery of who’s trying to end the world, and to stop it from happening, he learns even more about being human. The question is, will it be enough?

There’s explicit sex and T-shirt lines in the novella, like my Biting Love series of red-hot vampire romances for Samhain Publishing.

Will this be the only book in the series?
 
I’d love to explore the universe more fully, so there will be more books. Now I just have to get the plot fairy to cooperate :)

Are you currently working on anything else?
 
Biting Oz, Book Five in the Biting Love series is releasing August 14. I’m in the polishing phase of a witch/werewolf book called Alphas Don’t Wear Bows—Witch princess. Alpha wolf shifter. Meddling magical aunt. What could possibly go wrong? I’m working on the first draft of Beauty Bites, Biting Love Book Six. I’m planning to serialize the contemporary romance Hot Chips and Sand on my website—for free. It’s the first book I wrote, so I’m also planning to feature the reworking I’m doing to bring it into publishable form. Edit choices I make and why. It’s messy guts stuff but I hope that will help new and unpublished authors see what goes into a draft.

Do you have any advice for authors wanting to publish? (Why did you choose to go indie? If this applies - If not why traditional)

Advice: write the story that excites you. Learn to edit your writing. When writing blurbs/ads pretend you don’t already love your book—that you’re a stranger who needs to be sucked in.

Traditional publishing has a lot going for it. Professional covers, and the biggest plus for me—professional editors. Editors are goddesses.

But I have a friend who’s indie published and she’s been pushing me to try it. I did, and I have to say having responsibility for the complete creative process is incredibly scary, incredibly thrilling, and deeply rewarding.

What is your favorite writing snack?


Oh, wow. Everything :) I try to limit myself to the lighter stuff—freeze pops and popcorn. Sometimes yogurt or protein bars. Lots of coffee. Those powdered drinks in a stick just rock.
 
What gets you in the mood to write?

Reading my writing from the day before. Thinking of an exciting plot twist or scene in the shower. Sometimes just sitting my butt in chair and hitting myself with “write or starve” :) Staring out the window. Driving, believe it or not. I tend to think I have to put lots of words on the page, even if I haven’t thought of what I’ll say. Sometimes that works but driving makes me stew about it a bit beforehand. Then the words come pouring out.
 
Who is your favorite character and why?

Right now Sherlock Holmes, from the BBC’s Sherlock, because of Benedict Cumberbatch and Steven Moffat (because the writer is important, even in television). Of my own books, I always love the hero in the book I’m on. My all time favorite is the hero of a book I haven’t even tried publishing; but the Ancient One in the Biting Love books is modeled on him. He’s mega alpha, demanding and commanding, yet protective and deeply caring.
 
Favorite book of all time?

So many. I reread David Eddings’s Belgariad series every few years. Romance—Johanna Lindsey’s Savage Thunder and the Lymond Chronicals because nobody can beat Dorothy Dunnett for writing, period. Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries are rereaders too.
 
I think breakfast says a lot about a person, what is your perfect breakfast?

On vacation, someplace warm with a breeze, sitting on a veranda with two eggs, hashed browns and a side of pancakes dripping butter and syrup.

In reality, a protein bar and coffee. :)
 
Do you have a favorite period of time that you like to write about or would like to live?

Alternate nows. I think we’re living in a very exciting time, and tend to see the magic in reality. Add in a strong hero and stronger heroine and I’m happy.
 
Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book!

Sexy jinni, loose pants barely covering him, riding low on taut hips, nothing at all covering his granite chest, a flawless bare canvas for the flame tattoo licking one pec.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A Quick Time Out

 Dropping in on a non-standard Tuesday to share a random xkcd comic. (There is a mountain lion, but it's reading Facebook...) https://xkcd.com/1947



Tuesday, November 15, 2022

3T Something Different

 Today is where I normally have a 3T Writing Tidbit, but I felt like something different... xkcd!

And this from the FarSide https://www.thefarside.com/2022/10/19/3

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.