Visualizing Actors as Characters

If you’ve read some of the earlier posts on here, you know that I like using images in my mind of actors who my characters might look like. I realize that we all conjure up ideas in our minds based on the written descriptions ourselves, but this is a technique that several authors I know have used or are using to keep them tuned into the vividness of physical and sometimes behavioral presentation as they create their characters.

So I’ve mentioned Skye, Zalehr, and Eddington, but not Jake. I tried Liam Hemsworth (wouldn’t it be wild to see he and Chris vying for the same woman)? But I think he’s too young looking. I considered several others, including some models, but no one seemed right. Then I started spotting this actor in commercials and I didn’t know his name. Every once in a while there would be a different commercial and there he was again. Suddenly he appeared in Game of Thrones, but I finally got his name from the website for Age of AdalineMichiel Huisman. Haven’t heard his name yet? He’s been acting for awhile, but it won’t be long before his fame spreads, I’m sure.

Anyway, he’s my choice.

DIMENSION NORRÆNA: Breakthrough, the first book of the series, is about to be printed. I anticipate that I should have a copy within a week or two and the e-book I believe will follow shortly after.
My efforts now will be divided between marketing and the re-write of the second book, which I’m very happy with, and teaching my classes. I hope to get it to publishing within another 30-45 days. I’d like it to be available to readers as soon as possible after the first book.

Wrapping up Book One of the Trilogy

Today I finished my first read through and re-write of Book 2 in this trilogy. I’m excited to be at this point because the 2nd pass of the cover happens tomorrow from the publisher of the first book, DIMENSION NORRAENA: Breakthrough. Next week I get the 2nd Pass of the interior pages. To me this means that if there are no further corrections to be made (and I truly hope that is the case) the book should go into printing right after that.

Getting to this point feels really good, but having the book in your hands and on your tablet is an entirely different and thrilling experience. There is a sense of accomplishment in seeing and feeling the fruits of your labor and I can’t wait. Well- I have to wait anyway, but I’m still excited.

Something I did with this first book and will also do now with the second is to make two different charts. One follows the methodology of Al Watt—dividing the writing of the book into three acts with sub categories in each of them. My chart will have laid out on the back of a large desk calendar or butcher paper, each of the acts and categories within them with space below. Then I’ll go to each chapter and see if I have written material that meets the aim of each category. After that I will take another piece of paper and draw a big circle and divide it up into 12 pie pieces. I will use Vogler’s 12 Essential Elements of a novel as headings for these sections and do the same thing, using what and where I have met the requirements.

I do this as a guide, a check list of sorts to make sure I have not missed some important aspect of making my novel not only complete, but stronger. It doesn’t guarantee that my book will be good, but it makes me feel more confident that what I am delivering to readers is coherent and keeps people interested in the story. More on this tomorrow!

WHEN LIFE INTERFERES…

During the last month and a half my wonderful mother began her decline and we lost her on March 14, just before the Ides of March, which she always worried about. Travelling back and forth between her state and mine, numerous phone calls with siblings and a primary focus on being with her and then celebrating her life eventually, took precedent over most of the rest of my thoughts.

Like you, dear reader (and I call you that because you are taking your time to read my blog) life experiences get in the way of our endeavors. They also add to our ability to savor life and all that we observe. If you are a writer or aspiring to become an author, tragedy, unexpected events, accidents, loss and negativity can be just as wonderful in shaping your writing as all the happy, positive times. I’m sure you know this, but for me, it takes a place in my story.

Even before my personal journey through this stage of life, I wrote about death in Dimension Norræna. And in the second book of this trilogy, Skye Winter, my lead character, must deal with the emotions involved with loss as well. Having your own encounters with a wide array of emotional circumstances will only enhance more fully the characters you write about.

That said, I am ready to climb back on my horse and begin to contribute ideas and knowledge that I have and am gaining daily about being a writer. I’m so glad that you are joining me and hope you will comment or ask questions on these posts, as I’d love to give back what I can.

I just received the First Pass Interior pages and the cover design, so it’s getting really exciting and I can’t wait to be able to show it to you.

The Nitty-Gritty of Getting the Book Out…

Another thing about self-publishing is that you need to do a certain amount (like all of it pretty much) yourself. Create Space, I think offers a lot if you have enough technological skill, which I don’t. I went to the Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine and chose a company that was in the top group. He divided the companies into, Outstanding, Pretty Good, Okay and Avoid.

Like many of the publishers, Dog Ear offers a variety of packages. They range in how much Dog Ear does or offers, and they price the packages accordingly. I used the professional package when I published my non-fiction book. It included a whole bunch of stuff that was useful to me for a professional book. I bought the Basic package this time. I had to supply the synopsis that I wrote about last time here on the blog, for the back of the book, and a short bio and photo. I also submitted, the title page, disclaimers, dedication page, Acknowledment page and a glossary of Norraender terms (some of which I made up and some of which I borrowed from Iceland).

Dog Ear takes care of the Cover Design in conjunction with what you have in mind. ISBN number, the Library of Congress registration, and registation with all the major book dealers  (Ingram etc.). They provide you with an account manager and that is who you exchange e-mails with and talk to through the entire process. As you go up in price they offer a  webpage, marketing, editing services and the list goes on. I did that last time. I also am adding the conversion to e-books, which with this publisher includes Amazon, B & N and Google. Their website offers a lot of assistance to new authors as well.

I found that I didn’t remember all that is involved, from the last time, so using their website, and just going through the process again is a big help. Outside of writing a longer bio for the Dog Ear website itself, I balance my time between teaching my online courses for college classes, planning the marketing for Book 1 and writing Book 2. I try to research and read for pleasure and  I’m  working on my social media side more, as well.  Besides my personal life, it ends up being a pretty busy time. I’m enjoying it.

Progressing as a Writer…Writing a synopsis

Working on elements of the first book, now at the publishers, like the book decription, the acknowledgment page, glossary, dedication, etc., I stopped. This was not as easy as doing it for my non-fiction book. That was geared for readers seeking that information. This is a whole different ball of wax. Feeling like I needed to reseach more than I have so far, I found the following information on JaneFriedman.com when writing a synopis for a book.

General principles

  • Tell what happens in an energetic, compelling way
  • Use active voice, not passive
  • Use third person, present tense
  • Clarity, clarity, clarity
  • Less is more—a good thing for you!

4 things you must accomplish, no exceptions

  1. Give a clear idea of your book’s core conflict
  2. Show what characters we’ll care about, including the ones we’ll hate
  3. Demonstrate what’s at stake for the main character(s)
  4. Show how the conflict is resolved

Whoa! I dug out the description I had already written and began to work on it based on the above suggestions. I’m much happier with the results and will send that on. Also on her site are links to other aspects of writing, that I know I’ll take a look at.

I’m also working on Book 2. I like writing early in the morning-,after a light, but healty breakfast, and I have 50 chapters done. I’m not sure if I will use all of them or if I need to move some of them around.I was stalled with holidays, a class I’m teaching, an accident that injured someone in my family, all of which set me to analyzing life again and wondering why I write. I felt a little overwhelmed reading about a six-month program offered me that covers virtually every aspect of making writing your career and producing a best-seller every time. I’ve already had several careers. Sure who wouldn’t love to have a best-seller? But why do I really write? I have to give that some in depth thinking before I blog about that.

Ready for Publishing

Book 1 of this trilogy, Dimension Norraena is going to the publisher, Dog Ear Publishing, tomorrow. The book was professionally edited, then edited by other professionals twice more. It’s been read by a total of five people other than myself. The last few days I read it all the way through again for about umpty dozen times total. As I mentioned before, it’s really hard to let it go. I keep thinking- did I miss something? Should I read it again?

I am going to go through it again today to check it against the last outline that I made. Even yesterday I moved one part of the story to a different chapter- it seemed out of order and if I thought so, I’m guessing the reader might, too.

Once I send the manuscript, then it’s go to work on the cover, back cover and spine. After that I need to write up the opening pages, disclaimer, dedication, introduction ( maybe) and glossary. I need the glossary because I have some words and phrases used in the other dimension utilizing another language that I thiink most readers would appreciate understanding accurately.

I have in my mind how I would like the cover to look. I am somewhat settled on it, however not 100% The idea for the cover for my first book is nothing like the cover that emerged. The artist I will work with at the publishing company might have better ideas. The illustration above is one I used for early promotion, however I knew it was too dark to effectively depict what the book was about.The cover is so important.

I learned from Mission Marketing Mentors that a buyer looks at the cover of a book for about seven seconds. That’s right: 7 seconds. Then they turn it over to look at the back. If what you write there does not interest them, they put the book back on the shelf or move to something else on their tablets. If they like it, they might acually open the book, look for chapters or an intro or even read the first couple of pages. So your opening lines are crucial, too.

The whole process is exciting. I feel really fortunate to enjoy doing this as much as I do.

New Characters, Norraena and Zalehr

As I wrote the beginning chapters, I juxtaposed the chapters betwen Skye- teling the story from her perspective, to writing in third person about the antagonist, Ryan Eddington. At first I used both his first and last names as I wrote, but a critique group member suggested that doing that would be confusing to the reader and to pick one way or the other. At first I resisted that idea, but ultimately, as I began to introduce more characters, I could see where it would be beneficial to do that. So most of the time, unless in dialog, I called him Eddington.

I introduced the villian’s henchmen. His right hand man is a dishonest  deputy sheriff named Marc Reynolds.  He makes contact with Skye early on. His cousin, Gus Westies, is a dufus cohort, who blunders his way through the events. These men and a few others make up a loose band of criminals all looking to score big on making money illegally. While Eddington leads them, he answers to Dirk Abrams, the owner of the The Great Gatsby Casino in Las Vegas. His own goal is to take Abrams’ place and achieve a higher standing with the cartel overseeing this endeavor with telportation and the slave business.

Once that is revealed and the creative science behind the possibilites of teleporting in 2019 without a vehicle to travel in, I was ready to send Skye to a second place in the other dimension–Norraena. Norraena- mens Nordic. This location was much more utopian and brought with it gorgeous man (called a unit) Number two: Zalehr Gullkron.Skye was about to get acquainted with someone whose influence would have far-reaching effects.

I pictured him like Chris Hemsworth, who became famous playing the motion picture role of Thor. I realize the readers may picture him their way, but this image guided me.

HOLIDAYS & WRITING…or NOT

WOW! Hi all! I found the last thee weeks to be really tough to write through. Having family here, shopping for gifts, wrapping presents, meeting others for dinners, standing in line at the post office to send packages, preparing food, finishing up college classes, preparing a new class for the Winter Inter-session- Holy Moly.

No kidding, I think I was only able to write twice and that was it. Thinking back to last year when I was active in Book 1 of this trilogy, it was likely the same. But enough whining.

I looked at my last blog entry near the end of 2014, so I’ll pick up from there.

Once I started writing about the antagonist, Ryan Eddington, the concept of what the struggle was going to be came into view. I looked through the news and sought out those areas of criminality that bothered me a great deal more than others. Sex-trafficking , human slavery, and kidnapped children repulsed me and became a central focus in what my heroine had to fight against. Skye didn’t fit the profile as a candidate to be captured, so how would that happen? There had to be a story behind a story. That became easy once the reader began to speculate on what was happening with Skye.

The stage was set to begin to weave elements of the plot in and around the main story lines and add new characters into the mix.

Adjusting from Non-fiction to a Novel

I began another blog here on WordPress under the name Rica Gold. The reason for that was that when I started it, I had just published my first book , which was in the non-fiction genre. Since my next book was a novel, I decided to use my name differently. I actually like the formatting of that blog much better than this one, but the choices when I began here were more limited it seemed. Maybe I just didn’t read it well. Anyway- perhaps I will write on both of them.

I am writing about the progression of writing as a first time novelist here. What I found, of course, was that writing the nonfiction book was far easier than attempting fiction. Adultery is Universal, But I’m Getting Married Anyway was both an experimental foray into the world of writing in addition to a desire to point out an issue that was omnipresent in our every day world and a resource book for both students in communication and psychology classes as well as professionals in the healing arts field. It was a little like writing a thesis for an advanced degree, something I already had done. I tried to make it more interesting for the reader by creating scenarios to illustrate various points (my first fiction attempt)  and readers reported liking that. An enormous amount of research had to be done to acquire a variety of statistics. The statistics validated my discussion and opened eyes, both mine and the reader’s, I surmise.

From time to time I’m asked why I wrote that book and my answer pretty much comes up the same all the time. We’re told to write what we know. As a Marriage, Family Therapist, an instructor on Family Communication and formerly in private practice as a counselor for twenty years, it was certainly something I knew about. It made sense. After a two-year program online with Mission Marketing Mentors, which helped me in all areas of marketing, I selected the title with the aim of attracting attention.

I started the book in 2010. I was ready to publish at the end of 2011. We used a 2012 publishing date. The book is still in use in classes today (December 2014), but people serious about the topic academically will want to update some of the stats.

Writing fiction however, has been a much longer process for me. I realize I began this book in late 2012 and I will submit it to the publisher next month (January, 2015). It’s actually ready now, but I still want to read it one more time, something I’m told authors have a knack for getting stuck doing endlessly. That won’t be me. I am too busy with the second book in the trilogy.

I hope you’ll bop in here from time to time  to see what I learned along the way. Thanks for reading.

Skye’s Enemy: Ryan Eddington

Ryan Eddington is a smooth talker, but a brutal adversary. Once he learns that Skye is to be kidnapped because of her ability to teleport, and sold to the renegades in Mohrkhavn, he’s excited about the challenge. His choice of assistants leaves something to be desired. While all are cruel amd self-serving, none of them is particularly bright.

Ryan does not trust any of them, even his main right-hand man, Deputy Reynolds.  Reynold’s burly cousin Gus makes mistake after mistake trying to prove his worth which adds both humor and levity to the grim scenes. Nevertheless, Eddington is not amused as he himself aspires to move up the criminal ladder and achieve greater power.

Of course every vilian has, if not redeeming characteristics, at least some softer, more human traits and Eddington is not without them. Especially when he takes to wooing someone who can get him closer to Skye. Ultimately he shows his hand though, which leads to a frightening confrontation.

Ryan is handsome, debonair, sophisticated when he needs to be, shrewd, clever, calculating, romantic, generous, and deceptive. If I had to picture his looks it would be something like Pierce Brosnan today.

What happens to Eddington? This is Book One of the trilogy, so we’ll see.