Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Monthly Round-Up: March 2017

I realise I missed February's round-up, which is a bit remiss of me. I lost quite a lot of March to a lingering virus that turned into a sinus infection. Happily, after over two weeks of feeling terrible, I am feeling good again.

No further news on the third Shara Summers book, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, which is meant to be out this year. However, if you have not yet met Shara Summers, you can pick up the first book, DEATH SCENE (in all e-book formats) directly from MuseItUp Publishing's online store.

I'm running another Goodreads giveaway for THE WHISPERING DEATH. If you are in the UK and like horror, you can enter now to win a free copy of the paperback. Contest closes on 15 April.

This weekend I'm heading off to the SF Weekender in Wales for a few days of sci fi geekery. And I'm doing a couple of panels for the writers' track as well.

The virus left my brain feeling too mushy to write and I lost a couple of weeks of writing time. However, I'm back on track now and work on the new horror novel continues apace.

That's all to report for now. Catch you next time!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Where'd I Put That Darn Idea?

Dime image courtesy of
Ideas. A "dime a dozen," as some people would say. Not copyrightable unless presented in some tangible form: treatment, synopsis, novel, screenplay, etc. (But I'm not going to get into legalities here. I'm not qualified.)

What I am qualified for is being someone who often struggles to come up with ideas for stories. Or, I do come up with one, and upon further examination, realize it's the dumbest thing ever. Back to the proverbial drawing board. (On those days, I think maybe I should trade in my keyboard for my Wacom pen and pursue an art career. But then I look at my artwork and reason pats me on the head.) Don't worry, I'm not giving up on writing. I don't really know how to do anything else.

I've been needing to write a new feature-length screenplay. Winning first place with a short and a feature is great, but an author doesn't live by two winning screenplays alone. And, since there's a writing challenge coming up next month, I need to find a new idea for a novel. (This while revising an older one.) While I do have a one-page synopsis for one, and I do want to write it, part of me wants to write another one based on a documentary series I've been watching. I'll probably write the former one, since the latter, a historical mystery, will require research.

But didn't I say I needed to find ideas for stories? How could I say I had a couple of ideas then? (To be honest, the synopsis was written a while ago.) I guess, for me, ideas come organically from my experiences. Like the documentary, which reminded me how much I loved the subject and inspired the current plot idea.

Ideas have also come to me in song lyrics and in paintings. There's no consistency, and what worked before may not work again.  Ideas are mercurial like that.

What about the screenplay? That was a bit harder, since I knew what I wanted to write about, but didn't have enough information about the organization to write a plausible scenario. But then I got the idea of how to work around that while doing some of the exercises in Viki King's How to Write a Movie in 21 Days. I'd bought the book when I was first learning how to write a screenplay, but had never used it. This time, I thought it might be the jumping off point I needed. And it seems to have worked. I don't know if I'll do every exercise in the book, and I'll probably write the script in less than 21 days, as soon as I get my characters developed.

And did I mention how difficult it can be to create a well-rounded character? But that's a post for another time. :-)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Character Occupations

One great thing about being a writer is being able to create characters with different occupations, including some I would've loved to pursue, had I the opportunity.

Like many authors, I've held several jobs: telemarketer, receptionist, secretary, bartender, artist model, security guard, substitute teacher, server, and probably a couple more I don't remember. But I wanted to be an author since I was in middle school, when I bought a blue notebook and penned my first novella.

I also wanted to be a private investigator growing up, as well as a doctor and pharmacist. My mother was a nurse's aid and I read her medical books. Sadly, chemistry proved my bete noire. I suppose I would do better now, given my life situation is less stressful than in the past. Suffice it to say, though, we all have our educational strengths. Mine is English, while my husband's is science and math. Our daughter took after him. It all balances out.

Over the recent years, I've sometimes wished I'd gone into forensic science, either forensic pathology or computer forensics. That, or become a homicide detective. The reason? To help solve murders and other crimes. Crime scene investigation has fascinated me for years, as my bookshelf can attest.

I've written a couple of homicide detective characters. Been playing around with creating a private investigator and writing a series of tongue-in-cheek novellas. Other characters I've been working on are NTSB investigators, a US Postal Inspector, and a former Secret Service agent. Not an exhaustive list, to be sure. And yes, there are a couple of characters who work as doctors.

Like actors can play various roles, so too can authors live vicariously through their characters. Even better if the author has similar experiences for real world comparison, but for those who don't, creating a fictional world is one alternative.