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DIMENSION NORRAENA: VISION -END OF TRILOGY

Dimension Norraena: Vision is the final book of the trilogy. Once again in the writing process I found that it was not really difficult to let the story just flow out of me. Being a “pancer” and not really knowing where the characters or my mind was going to lead me, I knew it would come. I think that’s because I was so involved with the story myself and especially the characters.

Being that in this trilogy, the stories are not different from one another. I had the task of continuing the enduring suspense romantically and this meant finding a believable way for Skye to ultimately make her decision. Making that decision included a great deal more than just selecting a partner, it meant trusting not only someone else, but herself first and foremost.

Near the end there is a twist, you might see it earlier, you might not, but it lends a whole new possibility to adventures Skye might have from this point on.

I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn even more that I’d like to contribute for other writers. I plan to be much more active now, so I hope you’ll check in more frequently as well. Thank you for being here.

I’ve already begun a new book called, NAME OF THE GAME. That’s the working title and either I’ll have to change the title of this blog eventually or maybe start a new one. In any case it’s not a trilogy and I’ll tell you about it soon.

Getting Serious…

 

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Dimension Norraena: Discovery has been published. It is the second book of the trilogy.  I love how it looks and I’m happy with the over-all improvement in my writing which among other refinements, is shorter as a result of my toning down my verbosity. It’s really easy when you are writing the way you talk, to add a lot of unnecessary words to your sentences. The feedback I’ve had on the first book in the series has not been a complaint about length (or actually anything else) however realization about your prospective readers comes with some surprises.

I gave books to a number of friends and family. I mentioned off hand that if they felt like writing a review or making some comments to please do so on Amazon. People who were close to me I actually asked to write a review. It was my understanding that you need a huge amount of reviews for Amazon to take any note of you at all. I asked one of my brothers and my son if they wanted to read my accomplishment . The first question from both was: “How many pages does it have?” Their responses were less than exciting. When I think of how many books I gave to people who were really positive about my writing and often very encouraging, and how few I think have actually read it, or not bothered to write a review-it’s disappointing.

It takes a lot of effort, energy and time to write a book. If you are not doing it for yourself as well, you may not get the acknowledgment, praise, appreciation or just enjoyment that you hoped for.
On the positive side- good reviews are refreshing and that brings me to my blog at this point on promotion. Ay yi yi…

I’ve heard so many authors talk about hating to promote- just wanting to write. You have to love the idea, I think, to get some mileage on your sales chart. It’s difficult because the product is in essence about selling yourself. You have to get others to believe that what you have to say is either of value to them or of interest. And let’s face it- there’s a world full of other authors saying the same thing about their work. Of course your slant on whatever you are offering is unique. So it is worthy of promoting. It’s still a chore, isn’t it? Which brings me to my long delay in doing it myself.

In the reviews, both written and given to me verbally, I frequently heard, “When will the next one be out?” I gave them a possible time frame, but I was off by three or more. It dawned on me that it was a long time to have to remember what happened before, once the new book was available. I realized that having a closer target date for the last book in the trilogy might be my best time to really start promoting. In fact I immediately began thinking about packaging the three books to promote together at one time. Granted some people don’t buy three books at a time of a book that has sold less than a million copies. ;{) So- I’m ready to get going. I’ve taken a class or two on ways to do this. I’m not just jumping off a bridge into frigid water. Given that writing here a whole lot more often, and figuring out how to get all the widgets working to get more exposure is one of the first things I need to attend to. . . well. . . get ready.
I’m holding myself accountable.

Writing a Trilogy

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The second book in the Dimension Norræna trilogy is in print. Today is the first day that I am starting to put my promotion plans into action. Step 1 involves updating my blog, the website, Facebook pages and starting the Amazon adventure. At the same time I keep writing every morning and adding chapters to the third book.

I thought since I followed the 90 Day Novel outline for the first and mostly for second book that I’d do it that way for the third. Not so easy. Some of the suggestions and advice I have come across in writing the last book bear taking a look at.

  1. Keep your characters traits the same through all three books. Sounds easy, but it’s not difficult to put a character in a scene, behaving a certain way that just isn’t a part of the character’s nature. I haven’t had a problem with that, although my main character, the hero so to speak, is on a learning curve so the arc of the story requires her to develop abilities and skills that she never had to begin with.
  2. Know your ending. That’s a big one for me because I didn’t have a clue about my ending in either of the first two books and now in chapter 27 or so, I finally am glimpsing final possibilities for book 3.
  3. Keeping a bible of your series. I hadn’t heard of this until recently (apparently lots of others have). So as a novice I have blithely proceeded without doing this. But I think it’s a great idea. I might do it now. (Okay a little late in the game) but it’s a good way to learn. A series bible is used to keep track of your characters. Their ages, birthdays, appearances, wants and fears, strengths and weaknesses, habits, favorite food, physical aspects, etc. It’s so time consuming to have to scan pages looking back for some information you can’t remember like what color eyes your character had and now you need that or in my case remember the spelling of a foreign name or place. A much easier way is to fact-check your series bible while doing your copy-edits.
  4. In the first book, which has its own beginning, middle and ending, you are building the start of the total story. Each book after has to build bigger. The final book needs to have something grander, larger, more life changing than what the first story was about. Since I don’t have the ending complete in my mind, I have found it more difficult to be satisfied with the ideas I’ve come up with. Are they big enough? Splashy enough? I’m honing in on what will happen, but it’s definitely not fine-tuned yet.
  5. Although Book 2 is a bridge to the last book, and springs from the first book, it can’t be all set-up and planning for the third book. It needs some power of its own. The hero might have a dark time, some suffering, some points of no return— even if he, himself is unaware that this is what is happening. He has to overcome what’s in his way. This sets up the final book more effectively, prepares the reader to want to know what is yet to come.
  6. Dangling threads: Your whole book might be done and you love it, think you’ve covered all the bases when your editor says: “You need to probably consider answering this thread you have that you did nothing with. You can’t just tease the reader and then not follow through.” Now you have to go back and re-write- maybe change aspects of your plot or find a way to paint yourself out of that pocket or eliminate the thread completely and re-write what you thought was a done deal.
  7. You’re coming to the conclusion of the entire story in the third book. Adding a lot of new characters, or new sub-plots makes the story more complicated. If you have secrets, hopefully they were alluded to—thrown in the first two books so that they lead into the answers in the third and final book. Technically, the word is if you did the first two books right everything is in place to tie up the story in book 3. Then again if you have a twist or more than one, more detail may be required. But the reality is, this is the conclusion and you are wrapping things up, putting the book to bed. Of course— like me— you might have crazy thoughts like what if this becomes a longer series. Ummm—maybe not.

When this is all done and I can make a set out of the three books, I’ll be thrilled. And I plan to celebrate—have a little party, but not without some regrets that it is done—that I have to leave my friends and their world. That will be a little sad. Guess I better start thinking about what I want to write next.

Ahhh…Romance…

Although DIMENSION NORRÆNA is about the potential, eventual reality of teleportation—not to other planets, but to other dimensions, the intrigue between safety and peril, happiness and misery is heightened by—what else—but romance.

A love triangle occurs when Skye develops a promising relationship with her handsome colleague in the Theatre Department at Cuevas College and her inability to refrain from deeper involvement with the scintillating and sensual draw of her striking mentor in Norræna.

After creating ideas and writing about the interaction between Jake, Skye and Zalehr, I thought I would look up some info about romance in novels. Although this book to is not a romance, it is not without some. The below information is interesting and helpful.

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Popular types of Romances

Sexy billionaire-We’ve seen this over and over- even 50 Shades uses it.
Reunited Lovers– war stories, someone missing or who has disappeared.
Friends to Lovers – Becoming more popular, or one desires the other, but not vice-versa
Strong hero – male or female- someone is drawn to power, popularity or nobility
Unavailable love interest– encourages an affair, draws a person to what they cannot have
Funny, Sassy or super Intelligent individual– very appealing on a deeper – more involved level
Love triangle– Of course- sets the stage for intrigue and drama
Second time around love-Definitely happens in real life, provides much opportunity for psychological depth and friction
First Love, great stand-by for young adult- even early teen novels. Nice for soft romance.
Soulmate –for those who believe this is possible- that destiny rules- there is someone special out there waiting
Secret romance- let’s have an affair- the taboo aspect is a strong temptation and fun to read about- while hurtful for characters- good for mysteries and psych dramas.

Some stats I ran across indicated that 84% of romance readers were female, 16% male. Age bracket ran from 30-54- depending on whose reporting. Very popular in the southern states, average income was reported as $55.000 of romance readers.
64% read romance more than once a month and 35% buy more than once a month.

There are sub-genre’s for Romance also and here are some percentages of what people buy in print versions:
Romantic suspense-50%
Contemporary-41%
Historical: 34%
Erotic-33%
New Adult-26%
Paranormal- 19%
Young Adult-18%
Christian-17%

The percentage for e-books fell in the same order though they were lower.
Theses stats came from: Romance Writers of America-2014

Lack of Inertia

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Currently I am working on all three books in the trilogy. It’s not easy. I’m getting ready to actively launch Book 1 while at the same time reviewing Book 2. I’m double checking the coordination from Book 1 and to Book 3, and endlessly proof-reading while it’s at the publisher now. Each morning I try to write the next chapter for Book 3.

Launching the book is all about promotion. I don’t have a huge (far from it) budget so I started by just asking a few friends to read and review the book for Amazon. Wrong- and I know better, too. I will say that I made up a spotty Marketing Plan several months before the book was out. I’m not sure where it is now. Recently I made another, more complete plan. Other information I gathered to add to that plan is in several notebooks, online (in likely more than one folder), on my desk, in paper folders on a table in my office, in a book and in my mind. Not good.

Up until now my focus has been on throwing a kind of meet & greet the author night locally in an intimate, nice place that serves beer and wine and on continuing to give out copies of my book and ask for reviews in exchange. Did you know that even when someone says they will happily do a review – they don’t always ? It’s true. 75 requests, gets you 25 reviews.

This morning I finally googled: How to launch a book. Every site said you need to procure many, many, many reviews and the way to do that varies. That topic requires a whole separate post so I’ll just say I’m embarking on the methods given.

Book 2 is a couple of weeks from my receiving the first interior pages- Pass 1. Even though I had an editor review and proof, and two more academic individuals edit and proof with much success for the first book, I found a tiny typo after the book went to press. One tiny typo suggests there might be others. Of course I have seen them in other books, and it did not mar my enjoyment of the book, but still, I remembered it. So naturally, I’m doing my best to publish a professional book.

Finally the last book. I’ve had more trouble writing this one than either of the prequels. A main contributor to that, I think, is focus— lack of it. I’m all over the map with the first two, and my other work—teaching. For the first time it’s been difficult making myself write in the morning as routine. I desperately want to get back to that ritual minus the invasive thoughts of other obligations that I have. I also am completely unsure where Book 3 is going.

There are multiple websites to help me with what I need to do, but as a fellow writer told me about herself recently…what I absolutely really need to do— is take action. No more self-study, just make time to do it. Posting this entry next. That’s my action.

SERIES CONSIDERATIONS

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Writing a series brought in a whole new set of questions as I began the second book and  they continue with the third. The first thought that came to mind for me was how to provide back story for readers who started with the second book and not bore to death those who read in consecutive order. What’s too little and what’s too much? I knew the second book had to stand alone by itself, but there had to be balance between the two with regard to the back story. Finding ways to accomplish this through the words of characters rather than telling the reader this information is a challenge that had to be observed. Having my critique group read it helped, as their questions for clarity, not always remembering info from the first book, made me re-write sections in the second book.

In the third book — writing now — I find that I’m including characters from the first book, that I didn’t use in the second. My feelings are that it will pull all three books together even more. Then again, I was very tempted to leave the same characters out of the third that I left out in the second, but this was not something that would work for my story line. In my story the antagonist changes. He’s still in book 2, but incapacitated, so a new antagonist joins a weaker one established at the end of the first book. In book 3, well – we’ll see how that develops.

Checking facts: I couldn’t remember everything I researched and used especially cities or names from the other dimension. At times I thought I’d mentioned something previously and hadn’t or did and guessed I didn’t. So checking back to be sure is must. In my case, using a different language for the Norraenders caused me to memorize a number of the words and I found myself using them more in the second book requiring me to add translations indirectly. I added a glossary to both the first and second books which helped to save time when I was stumped on spelling or meaning in the second book.

Timeframe: It’s difficult, I found, to manage the scale of time. How many days does it cover or is it hours? My books encompass a year. I had to make sure the seasons, holidays, weather worked as Skye moved between the dimensions. She had restraints to protect her health imposed on her as well. This meant watching the days and dates closely. Did the action Skye was experiencing match the time frame for the action with the other characters? This also actually added to my story as I was able to use holidays in the plot. But if instead of a trilogy, this became a longer series, I’d have to consider time even more. Maybe time would barely be alluded to. Because this series is a thriller, there is always a need to keep the pace going. Consequently each ending has to spur the reader on in a ticking clock mode to get into the next book. Time is a variable that one needs to keep a watch on. ;{)

Finally there is the promotional question of book covers once the trilogy is completed. One school of thought is to match them – have similar colors, slightly different design or even the same. I think this is the prevailing thought, however my covers are different from one another. About the only similarity is greenery. Maybe when packaged together I’ll opt for redoing the covers. I haven’t looked into branding yet. At some point I’ll likely need to consider a strategy for that, too.

I know there’s a lot more to consider and I’m learning as I go. I’m just getting started on promotion and advertising. As I continue with book 3 my focus on the above and more that I learn will be of paramount importance.

CREATING IDEAS

A question that someone asked me at my first book signing was, “Where do you get your ideas?” In other words, how do you write a whole book and fill it continuously with ideas?

That’s a great question because I’m sure every writer has different answers and not just one. Many of my ideas come from being awake early in the morning, but not having to get up right away, my mind throws out different ideas. Sometimes that happens in the middle of the night (which I don’t like much because it keeps me awake). A lot of times ideas come when I’m taking a shower—sometimes in a dream. I’m guessing my mind is less preoccupied with doing something else and there is a space, and being relaxed, the ideas flow.

Many writers will say ideas are character–driven. Meaning the character you create will think, speak and behave in certain ways consistent with how you imagine him or her. So you conceptualize what that person might say and it creates new pathways in your story. Then again, if you need to move away from predictability, you can imagine that character moving in a way contrary to their character. That gives you the leeway to really play with ideas.

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Researching is a constant source and place to get motivation for new ideas. Perhaps you’re looking for particular culture. A ritual or belief may spark a discovery that one of your characters can utilize for action in his own culture. For example, maybe you conjure up a trip that a character makes or include a new character from another country. One idea can lead to a combination of many others.

If you are sharing your story with someone else as you progress, ask them for an idea. You might not like it, or use it, but it could help you diverge to other new avenues or convince you that your own idea is better for what you’re trying to achieve.

Creativity is something we all have. And inner artist if you will. In fact – pick up a copy of The Artists Way and read it. You’ll be amazed at what’s locked up inside.

Here’s a link to some pretty outrageous ideas that might jar you, but might be just what you need for developing more creativity:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-writing-exercises-that-will-make-you-more-creative/