Archives For Larry Brooks

Starting over …

DebE —  October 10, 2012 — 3 Comments

I have got to say, starting a whole new novel is scary stuff!

Structuring the telling

Structuring the telling (Photo credit: bgblogging)

I’ve learned so much through writing Healer’s Touch that I’d love to think I can apply to this new book earlier on, with the intention of completing and publishing in a shorter time than I have HT. The good ol’ “Easier said than done” comes to mind right about now. When I think about story structure and outlining, I find myself a little bit paralysed. There is no doubt about it, I applied tried-and-true story structure theory I learned from Larry Brooks, and outlining techniques I learned from all over the show (seriously, too many references to even list any … if you search it, you’ll come across many influences I used), to complete HT. But, the simple fact remains, I started out pantsing it. I started with a couple or three characters and a vague idea of where I wanted them to end up. The story grew around them, and they within it. Continue Reading…


The state of play …

DebE —  September 17, 2012 — 5 Comments

I was starting to feel it had been a while since I posted here, but I see it’s only been 5 days. That’s not terrible, is it? I mean, you guys don’t miss me that much when I’m gone, right? You’re allowed to, I guess. I suppose it would be flattering. But it was also be, like, responsibility, or something … urgh. OK, don’t miss me. But do come visit. Let’s make it like we’re old friends – we don’t have to talk everyday, and when we do chat, it’s like we’ve never missed a beat. Yeah … I like that.

Righty. So, you guys know I have been writing a story, now titled “Healer’s Touch”, for several years now. It’s taken that long because over the course of shaping the story itself, I was also learning the craft of writing, through my involvement with ‘sites like WDC, or through reading and trying out the advice offered by Larry Brooks (I honestly believe that applying his story-structure to my story has been close to the single most significant thing I’ve done for it) and Janice Hardy.

So, this is a wee “this is where I’m at” post …

In a recent post I mentioned that I had struck up some back-and-forth with a small publisher. Well, right now I am sitting on a contractual offer … Continue Reading…

[Writing] Plotting’s hard work!

DebE —  September 2, 2012 — 1 Comment

Hello, my peeps!

So, I thought I’d keep you up to date with the goings on … well, somewhat, anyway.

First up, I’m looking forward to finding out the outcome of the Contest I entered at the end of July. In all honesty, I don’t expect to have come anywhere, but the results being out means I can move on with things.

My son and our dog at the park

It’s good to get away from the computer now and then – these guys certainly appreciate it.

It’s been a strangely tough time of late. Of course, first up, I rushed my manuscript finished for that contest. I put it away for a few days and set to work on the next book. But, working on that book got me thinking of things that could do with being tweaked in the first book, so, of course, I couldn’t leave it alone … So, I tweaked, and then I went on to editing.

And then there was this Cover Contest on offer, too. Of course, I figured that since a publishing contract was a very slim possibility from the Manuscript Contest that I may as well enter this so that, if I were lucky enough to win it, I’d have a cover lined up for when I go Indie.

And then there were the AMP Scholarships opening up. I did it last year, but I know that application was a bit wishy-washy. This year I have more of an idea of what I needed and why, so I filled in an application and even submitted it. The closing date was Friday (NZ Time).

It’s an odd feeling to me, to be putting all these things out there … I mean, the most likely outcome is that I’d get nothing from from any of them, and that would be OK. But, because I did enter, there is that small chance that something in my manuscript happens to grab the judge (even if I have since improved it … oops) and I win a critique. That would be cool. That’s the one prize I don’t see interfering with anything else. But, what if he offered publication and I won a free cover? I’d feel bad, when someone else could have won that prize. And, if I win a free cover–a fee which I’ve built into my Scholarship application–would I feel OK if I then got money from that scholarship that I no longer needed Continue Reading…

Novel Factory [Software]

DebE —  July 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

So I’m beginning work on Book #2 of the “Weapons of War Trilogy” (current title … what can I say, I am rather attached to it). I’m trying out the beta version of the upcoming writing software “Novel Factory“. It’s challenging, because I don’t naturally work in such a structured way. And yet it’s very helpful, because that structure is exactly what I need to help me create a quality follow-up to the first book.

Novel Factory Screen Shot

I love the fact that you can link several images with each character

I learned a lot working on that first book. I learned from Larry Brooks about story structure – midpoint reversals and plot points, etc – and Randy Ingermanson about the Snowflake method of developing an idea through to a publishable novel, and I have learned TONS of stuff from Janice Hardy, from various methods of writing strategy through detailed how-to’s when it comes to reducing passive voice and writing dialogue and the like.

The Novel Factory Software combines a lot of those ideas and helps the novice writer (or the semi-experienced with heaps more yet to learn) apply the theory. It still leaves a lot of room for the writer to do their own research, but it even helps a bit with that, with a “Resources” section with links to where you can purchase well-known writing advice books. But it basically guides you through the Snowflake method, while also getting you to think about the major plot points. It even gets you thinking about Scenes and Sequels (Heads and Tails in the software) … It’s really rather cool. The more I look at it, the more I can see it being incredibly helpful.

Another feature I really love – because I thought about doing it for my first novel but didn’t get myself organized enough to do it – is that for each character, it encourages you to write a mini-synopsis for each scene re: what each character is up to. To me, that is a really good idea. As I said, I wanted to do it the first time around, I just got lazy. But this makes it so much easier – I believe it automatically links the scenes a character is in to the character’s profile so you can then go and make notes about what that character is doing at the time.

Novel Factory Screen Shot

Multiple images per character, and scene-links that allow you to really delve into each character every step of the way

I haven’t actually started writing yet, I admit, but that is because I don’t have the story worked out just yet. I have a couple of scene ideas, which are evolving as I think because of other ideas that have cropped up – and changes I made to the end of the First Book, which affect character knowledge at the start of Book Two … probably for the best.

The one thing I have requested is a bit more of a sandbox area. I mean, I love the organizational structure of the software. But I am a partial-pantster. I need a little space to just play. Also, whenever I delete scenes or sections, I always keep them. So I need a place to move them to. We shall see if that shows up in the final edition of the programme. I have played with yWriter and Scrivener previously (Book 1 was greatly developed in yWriter and completed in Scrivener). I made the switch to Scrivener because I liked the flexibility it offered me to design my own work area. Well, actually, the main draw was that I could build my character profiles and link as many photos as I wanted … (Hello, Novel Factory … you do that too, you say? Hmmmm). The total freedom of structure in Scrivener did lead to my files getting rather messy. I actually have three Scrivener projects leading to the final version of my story. Although, that’s not really a reflection of the software – that’s how different some of my versions were … They were so different I had to basically start over.

Anyway, this post is turning into a bit of a ramble, and bedtime is fast approaching. I just wanted to toot the horn for this new piece of writing software. I think it shows a lot of promise.

Still Alive

DebE —  May 8, 2012 — Leave a comment

Yep, in amongst all this music showcasing I am, indeed, still breathing life into my WIP story. Of course, I have a short story I really ought to get to work on, too … but that just seems like too much hard work at the moment.

Today I ran my story through Larry Brooks’ Beat Sheet. One could say I’m procrastinating, but I like to think of it as getting the bigger picture properly nailed down. Today’s exercise has seen me shuffle some scenes around again, making a more concrete plan as far as the sequence of events should go and generally making me feel better about the finished product I plan to ship out to the world. And, I’m enjoying all this planning and then streamlining of scenes, editting and the like. I really like working like this.: Going big, then narrowing down to what happens in a scene and then, finally, choosing the “right” (hopefully!) language for that scene. It’s a real process, and it’s very much like drawing or painting.

So, while I develop this story, I am learning how I like to work, trying out a few techniques and will, hopefully, have some idea of how I’ll do it in the future by the time I finish this. Or at least get it sorted by the end of the next one. Yeah, it’s fun. I am a big-picture kind of person, but I do also love to develop the details (which is why I can’t, despite my efforts, seem to draw in a cartoon/manga-style … they just keep coming up all realistic-like … it’s not actually what I’m trying to do … but, I love shaping and moulding those details).

Anyway, for fun … here are the first few steps of my Snowflaking efforts:

My one-sentence summary: “A girl whose power to heal also brings death fights for her freedom.”

It is recommended to keep the sentence to a maximum of 15 words … but, I have considered expanding it to: “A girl whose power to heal also brings death fights to remain free from those who would use her power to wage war.” I think that might be my “elevator pitch”, should I ever find myself in an elevator with someone who says “Hey, I’m a publisher, what’s your pitch?” and I would stand there dumbfounded for a moment thinking “Do I have ‘writer’ tattooed on my forehead?” before bumbling out my pitch, which I would trip all over the words of, thus ending any chance of picking up a publishing contract the “easy” way …

And then I have my one-paragraph summary Continue Reading…