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Prophecy Six Blog

Sharing My Unedited Writing Experiences & Life Experiences.

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The Forest: Tents But No Nudists (Part 4)

-Tents But No Nudists-

So, got across the river fine. Got a freaking rock in my converse and my pants are soaked but couldn’t be worse right?

That there was sarcasm. If you don’t know sarcasm you’re nothing to me. Then again… I’m writing to myself and therefore I know what sarcasm is and therefore I mean something to me… I don’t know I think I have a concussion or something… don’t ask me questions… or me don’t ask me questions!

I haven’t even been out here for a day and I’m already going crazy…

Anyways, walked along this path. I’m guessing that something made this a while back as it appears pretty clear asides from one tree, oh and a big freakin’ hole in the ground. I’m thinking this was one of those sights where they tested nukes back in the day. I wouldn’t know if this place is freaking radiated – I have no geiger counter. Maybe I could gig one up out of pop cans and microchips… I’m sure if I’m desperate enough I could MacGyver anything… although I’m more like a Bear Grylls when it comes to down to it.

bighole

So… yeah… a big hole in the ground too steep for me to climb down unless my goal is to kill myself, which here’s a shocker, it isn’t. I’ll make sure to stay away from that thing unless I need to go down there. Here’s to hoping I don’t need to go there…

Continuing along the path I saw something bright orange in the distance. At first I thought prisoners with the bright neon orange through the trees, then I thought hunters. Turns out is wasn’t either of those. It was a freaking tent. Well not just one… at least four from my counting and behind them were some wooden structures of some sort. I made camp for the night, thinking maybe the owners of the neon tents would return.

tentsandstructures

Nope. Nothing. No one… not even those nudists.

I should stop trying to find them and instead make camp somewhere… maybe near fresh water and a constant food source. If I do that maybe they will find me. Nothing could go wrong with that.

CLICK HERE FOR:
PART 1
PART 2
PART 3

The Real Steps You’ll Go Through When Writing A Story

There are plenty of posts about the steps to writing a story but very few of them tell you what you’ll actually go through/ feel when writing something. These of course are subjective. Not everyone is going to feel all of these or any of these when approaching their story writing, but I just wanted to share these steps just in case one of you are going through the same thing I have.

So, without further delay here are The Real Steps You’ll Go Through When Writing A Story:

OVERWHELMING EXCITEMENT:

You got this amazing idea! No worries we’ve all got one in our heads. You grad the closest 96781-Anna-excited-gif-Imgur-Frozen-j9Hv.gifthing – let it be your phone or a note book – and begin to write furiously. You have characters lined up and a plot. You imagine being on a popular television show being interviewed by the host that found this idea of yours just as amazing.

Don’t worry, you’re not delusional, you’re a writer. ūüôā

When you are done writing down this idea you close the notebook or app on your phone to continue with your day. You will think about the idea, try working out the kinks to your story, and figure out other key factors that you may have not thought about when this idea had taken hold.

REVIEWING THE IDEA:

Now you’re home from the store, work, what-have-you and you sit down in front of your computer or type writers to explore this AMAZING idea further. You pull out your notes and start typing them out on a larger screen. You no longer have that excitement the idea once brought you… actually now that you’re reading this idea it isn’t that AMAZING at all.

You’ll push through, making changes here and there. The ideas flow and you discover this idea is actually growing into something. You are able to write a draft or at least something you believe resembles a first draft. You know the start, are muddy on the middle, but you really like the end. You’ve also started liking one of the characters – it could be something you made them say or do that pulls at your heartstrings but you now vow that nothing will happen to them.

WHAT ARE WERDS?

You are fixing up your draft and hate the middle bit for some reason. It isn’t flowing with the rest of the story… it feels like you were forced to put those scenes together – or worse – you didn’t know what to put in the middle so you just through that part together. That’s fine… the story isn’t published yet… you have time to fix all these growing problems to create the “Perfect Story”. You know perfect is a strong word but you use it anyway because to you, you want this to be perfect.

So, you sit there staring at the screen for a moment reviewing the draft. You change two words, remove one word… but asides that you can’t think how to change it. You get up from your work area and go make something to eat. The second you get to the fridge and are in the middle of working on the sandwich when the curtains rise and you have this idea on how to fix the middle of your book.

Now, you’re in a predicament. You can stop making your sandwich to write down the idea but you don’t know how long this thought train is going to go for. You could write the idea down on the whiteboard you have in the fridge but there wouldn’t be enough space to make this idea clear. You settle on the third idea. Finish making the sandwich and then write the idea down on the computer. That way you are sure to at least one thing that day and you can spend all the time you want writing this idea down without worry of forgetting the half-made sandwich on the counter.

tumblr_ngjzdtpqw41sn03clo2_400You run this idea over and over in your head so you don’t forget. The sandwich is done and you grab a drink from the fridge. Everything is tidy and you go to sit down at the computer. Fingers raised above the keys ready to type the first word and you hesitate. Not for suspense but because the idea has sat so long in your brain that it is stuck in there like quicksand and you can’t figure a way to pull it out. Questions start running through your head like: how are you¬†supposed to start this idea? How do you¬†connect the original with this? Are there other changes in this story you¬†need to make because of this idea?

Soon your mind is so filled with these questions that the idea is now just a faint whisper barely audible to be noticed in this fray your mind is now in. You stare at the screen, watching the flashing black text line beat to the same rate as your heart before your head falls forward to rest on the key board in defeat. The only thought going through your head now is: “Urg this is hard!”

DOUBT & APATHY:

These two are the worst and always come together as a pair. Doubt will creep in first at the darkest moments of your writing. You will sit there staring blankly at the screen or once you have completed everything to your liking and are reviewing the drafts. This is where you will start to think that maybe your idea is terrible. Maybe you are a terrible writer. Maybe this story you’ve written isn’t worth all this hard work. Maybe writing isn’t a job you should look at doing.

When all of these thoughts pull you down and turn you into grey sludge apathy comes in, where you feel like nothing matters. This story doesn’t matter. Your¬†writing is too predictable. Your¬†writing doesn’t matter. No one is going to read this stuff. No one will care about what you’ve written.

You’re a hack! You’re a loser! You’re a failure!mtahhav

These thoughts are normal. Every writer will have them at least once and if not then they aren’t normal… This doubt and apathy only become a problem if you start to believe it. So, instead of filling your head with all these negative thoughts try thinking these instead.

Maybe you are a terrible writer – but your¬†writing improves with everything you write. Maybe this story you’ve written isn’t worth all this hard-work – but it will feel so good when it’s done and at least one person reads it. Maybe writing isn’t a job for you – but it can be a hobby that you enjoy and it helps you escape. This story doesn’t matter – to you but maybe someone out there needs your story. You’re writing is too predictable – because you wrote it! You’re writing doesn’t matter – it lowers your stress and helps you develop ways to mentally coup with outer stress… so yeah… it does matter. No one is going to read this stuff – if you’re too afraid to put it out there. No one will care about what you’ve written – only if you don’t take the chance to see.

If you are strong enough to counter all of your own arguments and work through your doubt demons than you are a writer. It is doubt that kills ideas… so don’t let it kill yours.

COMPLETION… OR SO YOU THINK:

Once you are out of that funk and everything appears to be bright/ shiny again you will realize that the finished product was worth it. That excitement you felt when this idea first came to mind will be back and you’ll want to share it with the world. You will realize all the hard work was worth it. All those nights staring up at the ceiling was worth it.

7drhiqrYou post your story online or whatever form of publication you choose, and you get your first reader. You may not be on a talk-show or a national bestseller (yet) but not giving up on this project was an award all on its own. You sit back in your chair, read a couple of comments, and then poof! Another AMAZING IDEA pops into your head.

Back to work you go!

 

What Will Make Your Story Unique?

Hello world out there world!

What will make your story unique can be a hard question to answer. You have to look at your work and examine it in a way, not as a writer but as a reader. What will make your story stand out? What do you want your story to leave behind?

These are questions I ask myself whenever I’m about to dive into a project. As a writer of YA fantasy, I already know I’m going into a competitive market with more talented people with better stories than myself. With this thought in mind I focus on what makes my story stand out… or at least what I can do to make my story stand out.

What I’ve written below are some ways I’ve tried to make my story unique and have given examples to help you follow along. ūüôā

THEMES:

Themes are a great way to create interest in your books. Most of mine are focused towards current events in the world. My first book – although based in a fantasy world all on its own – focused on loss, being able to adapt, and trying to keep from losing one’s culture when immersed in a new one. These aren’t common themes for YA fantasy that focus mostly on conflict resolution, friendships, and love.

Book two I focused more towards gender identity and self identity. These are two things I remembered struggling with as a young adult and even into becoming a new adult. I talk about labels and trying to put everyone into neat little boxes when in reality no one fits perfectly…

Its the themes I choose that makes my book stand out and why people have told me they love what I’m writing. The questions my characters ask and the problems they overcome aren’t the usual facing characters in a fantasy series.

ENVIRONMENT:

Now, next to creating your characters the next important thing in the world. What makes your world special? In my case, with fantasy I had to try and get away from the traditional but for some reason ended back at where I was trying to get away from. In most fantasy books you’ll find dragons and other mythical beast. You’ll find magic and elves.

My world doesn’t have the elves… but it is starting to get magic. I wanted to create a world similar to how earth was in the dark ages – swords, knights, kings and so on. I achieved that but I needed something more. I knew I wanted mythical creatures like gryphons, dragons, and trolls, but I didn’t want them just there. I wanted them a part of the world, a functioning part of the worlds ecosystem. That’s why I focused on how these creatures and the creatures I created would work with the world, not against it. I settled with making the dragons more dinosaur like. Some have wings but the majority don’t. They work like work horses for the more difficult of terrain, or as war beasts for those desiring to use them as such.

I did the same thing with the gryphons. They were animals at one time tamed and controlled to be used for a task. Just like we tamed horses, elephants, and reindeer.

The led to how I was going to make the physical world unique. We have the two nations warring over one another – like most fantasy books – but I needed more ways of making Gaitan stand out. Come the actual layout of the map.

The South is desert, half of which consists of lava lands that the Southerns call Fire Lands. This leaves very little area for the Southerns to live, forcing them to push the boundaries of their lands more into the West, North, and East. This in turn creates conflict.

The North is very rugged with rocky hills, dense forests, and cliff faces. Perfect for gryphons to thrive but not so easy for people. Instead of going to war to gain the resources the North needed they allied with the West and East where they were provided was they requested. This rugged land fades into ancient Oak over 1000 years old and into a Valley where lush farms thrive. This is the Western Valley that leads up into the Western Mountains which have peaks so high no one has ever been able to fly over, (expect Har… but no one truly believed that story).

These small elements to my world is what makes it unique. It isn’t fantasy because it’s magic. It isn’t fantasy because it has elves or fairies. It’s fantasy because it is a world you can escape into with it’s premise in Tolkin style world development… without the thirteen pages about a sword that doesn’t matter…

 CHARACTERS:

When it comes to fantasy there is a lot of writers that jump to magic and super fighting abilities. This isn’t the reason I read books. I love human interactions and characters that overcome their problems with their own natural skills.

Yes, my main character has God given abilities but she only uses them when she has to or they manifest even when she doesn’t want them to. With my main character with passive abilities like seeing past, present, and future events or healing people with the touch of her hand – those aren’t useful in a conflict. I have her needing to rely on what she’s learnt from her mentors or reflect on her on capabilities. More times than not Liora realizes she’s gotten herself into a situation that is completely above her skill set but she is forced to figure things out using her mind verses her fists.

That of course doesn’t mean Liora can’t fight. She isn’t officially trained like other characters in the book but if she needs to she can scrap. I wanted to make her imperfect, curious, and troublesome to a sense because most teenagers are. Most teenagers get into situations that are out of their control that they need to fix on their own. Most teenagers think they know everything when they clearly don’t. Most teenagers are still finding themselves or realizing what they are truly capable of.

Liora is all these things and more, which is one reason why I think she’s a very unique character.

 

loveislove.jpg

Love is love is love,” he sighed, “and nothing’s wrong with that.”

“Nothing?” he watched his sister sway her feet when she had asked the question.

“Nothing.”

He watched he turn to smile at him, seeing the weight that had been heavy on her shoulders lift.

“Then I’d like you to meet her,” that had been the first time in a long time my sister smiled without it being forced. It wasn’t fake as the corner of her eyes crinkled and her cheeks flushed at soft shade of pink. “You’ll like her.”

Creating A Character In Five Steps

So, I’ve finished and published 1 book and I’m in the process of editing the second book… which means I think I have some knowledge I can share about character creation.e727e12b92b7b30ec7e2799bc3c24309c359d1cd_hq

I will be honest with you… I get super attached to my characters. There are times I will hold conversations with them to work out situations. I will draw them out or talk about them with people as if they were real. I don’t think I’m alone with this… at least I hope I’m not. After all, all writers are a little crazy. ūüôā

Anyways, I’ve been asked a few times and those in my writers group have discussed our ways of building characters… which I guess has led me to posting these steps. Hopefully these will help you or at least start you on the path of creating your characters. ūüôā

Step one: What’s in a name?

django-unchained-quotes-1Although some people may not think about this, naming your character is like bringing forth new life. When you were born your parents gave you a name. Everyone has a name. This name is what makes you, you. Now, when it comes to your character you can spend hours on a name, but here are some things that will cut down time.

What are some main traits you want your character to have?

What themes does your character represent?

What gender is your character?

Now that you have answered those questions, the next big thing is research. That’s right, research.

All names have meanings, and you don’t want your character’s name to represent something that your character might not be. A good website I use to find names for my character is¬†Behind the Name. This site gives you names from different cultures, eras, and their meanings.

Example:

Alex

Some traits Alex has are dependable, protective, and friendly.

He is the hero; a defender/ leader in his group of friends.

Gender – male

When looking up the name¬†Alex, you find the root name¬†Alexander. Clicking on¬†Alexander¬†it brings you to a new page that explains that¬†Alexander¬†means “defender of men” or “to defend/help”.

As you can see, just by choosing the name you get some basics about your character.

Step Two: Likes and dislikes

Simple enough.large

You have things you like, and things you don’t like. I like sushi but I don’t like tuna. I like hiking but I don’t like biking. Your character has these likes and dislikes as well. They may not have a choice when it comes to things they don’t like because they could have allergies. They may be forced into liking something because they have a crush on someone they wish to impress or a friend they don’t want to upset.

Don’t just make a list, but also make reasons to why your character likes and dislikes things.

Example:

Alex likes football because it reminds him of the Sunday mornings his dad would take him to the field to watch the college team practice.

Alex¬†likes grilled cheese because it’s the only food he can make without burning.

Alex¬†dislikes his math teacher Mr. Hamel because no matter how hard he tries the guy just doesn’t give him a break.

Alex¬†dislikes swimming because he drown in a pool when he was six at his friend, Ryan’s, birthday party.

Step Three: Goals

Everyone has goals. Let them be as small as passing a test, or as big as becoming a world famous Pokémon master; these goals will help ground your character.

Example:

goalsAlex wants to ask Heather out.

Alex¬†wants to pass Mr. Hamel’s math class.

Alex wants to become a game developer.

Alex wants to help Ryan get over being dumped.

These goals help your character grow throughout the story, and give you ideas to develop your character’s relationships.

Step Four: Voice

tb2jsbzEveryone has their own way of talking. Some people are loud, others are reserved. Some people dramatize, others are straight to the point. Some are rude, some have accents and some have under developed verbal skills. Your character’s voice is their way of communicating with the reader about what is happening around them, so take some time to think of how your character sees the world.

Example:

Alex¬†chooses his words carefully, and swears when he gets upset. Alex loses track of what he is talking about when in large social situations and can come across as awkward to people he doesn’t know.

Step Five: Mock Conversations

You thought I was going to say appearance, didn’t you? I’ll have you know, appearance isn’t everything.

tumblr_lidu1habn01qakh43o1_400You can change the way your character looks just as much as people change their own hair colour or clothing. So, why did I choose mock conversations? Simple. It’s the conversations that develop your character’s personality and relationships with others.

How do you create mock conversations? Simple. Think of a possible situation your character may get in and write it out. You may never use this in your final work, but then again, maybe you will. It may sit in a file for a few years, or be placed in your story from the start. Just because you wrote it down doesn’t mean it MUST be used.

To give you an idea, I make three word files when creating a story. 1 is the story, 2 is ideas and information about the story, 3 are potential conversations and mock situations. I don’t know how many times I used stuff from file 3, but I’ll tell you this, whenever I have writer’s block creating a mock conversation with my characters helps free my mind 95% of the time.

Plus, it’s fun!

Mock conversations can be based in the world you have created for your characters, or you could place them in a whole new environment and see how they react. Think of Sims. They have traits and environment, but they all act completely independent from each other.

Example:

Alex is a teenage boy in high school, but I can place him in a coffee shop on a university campus. This poses questions like:

How did he get there?

Why is he there?

Is he meeting someone? If so, who?

Does he order anything?

How does he act when approached by the waiter/waitress?

And so on and so forth…

Mock conversations can be as short as a paragraph or as long as several pages. It all depends on your muse and if the situation develops on its own. Don’t over think when you are writing mock conversations. Let your characters speak for themselves and answer the questions your have thought about.

 

 

Today I Went Exploring

The sun was shining and the air was nippy, which in my mind made it a perfect day for exploring. I had pretty much explored the area around my house and new each street with my eyes closed, so I decided to take the bus downtown to see what I could find in the larger part of the city.

It was around 8 AM when I arrived in the city centre. People bustled about to the numerous coffee stops lining Dundas Street to get their morning drinks before heading to work. The streets were packed with cars and bus, while crowds of children going to the international school hurried down the sidewalks hoping they would make it on time for class.

I wasn’t in a rush. I took my time, breathing in the cool morning air while feeling the new sun shine down between the towering glass business buildings that were scattered about the downtown air. I admired the stone architecture on the older buildings and listened to the loud beeping of a construction truck backing up down the road.

Stopping off at a Starbucks, I treat myself to a venti Chai latte and sat close to the wall on a high stool near one of the windows. I browsed my phone, commented on the Book of Faces, and people watched for a good hour. Once finished with my latte I headed out again, this time across the street to meet with my employment councillor to see if she heard of any new jobs I could apply for. To my luck she had one and I wrote down the information before leaving to explore the city further.

My plan was to see what activities I could do in the city to waste the afternoon. The museum wasn’t open when I arrived at its front doors, so instead I went across the street to a park. There was a old wooden bench that looked over the Thames River. A family with young children were feeding Canadian geese and ducks. A part of me wanted to tell them that feeding birds bread wasn’t good for them… but it was too late by the time that thought jumped into my head. The children had thrown their last piece of bread and the geese had completed their territorial death battle for the remains.¬†It quieted down soon after allowing me a moment of peace.

When I headed back to the main road I walked IMG_20160609_104123passed a quaint little house, which to¬†my surprised turned out to be a museum. The First Hussar’s Museum to be exact. This small building with five rooms was filled to the brim with history regarding the Hussar’s victories during WWI, WWII, and current conflicts. I got to learn a lot about Canada’s history and was amazed to hear about the impact our brave soldiers have made throughout the years. I was then told by the young, knowledgeable volunteer that ‘Holy Roller’, the Hussar’s first Sherman Tank, could be found in Victoria Park just a fifteen minute walk down the road.

I was set on my mission to find this tank and see it for myself because… let’s be honest here… tanks are awesome feats of mechanical engineering. So, with pamphlet in hand and a new mission on my mind I headed back to where I got off the bus to go to Victoria Park.

Unfortunately when I arrived it was clear to me that I wouldn’t have the chance to see the tank that afternoon after all, since London Life was having their BBQ in the park and I’m crowd shy. There also must have been over 1000 people in that park and they all were blocking me from getting to the tank. So, the Holy Roller adventure will have to wait another day.

My next adventure is to explore the London Archaeology Museum and see what lovely local history they can inform of about.

Until next time – toodles! :3

Nightmares of Editing

It has to be done but I’m dreading it.General Atmosphere - 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival

Editing.

Ugh… editing.

No, matter how much I love writing there are parts of it that irk me. I’ve done the easy part of writing the damn thing but now I have to go back to make necessary changes. This could be sentence structure, story flow, grammar, punctuation… and if you read my blog posts – which I tell you right now I don’t really edit – I need help in all of those listed.

Sometimes it’s funny when I re-read a section of my book and know exactly how my mood was.

“Ah, yes… chapter 5 and 6 must have been the days I got a proper amount of sleep. 7 to 10… was I writing drunk… I really need to stop that…”

So… yeah… necessary changes are necessary for my final written product.

Editing I understand is important. I was the kid in school told to edit my work all the time and didn’t… which could have meant a grade upgrade from a B average to a A average… but I know kids don’t listen to their teachers. I’ve been a teacher and you can go blue in the face trying to get a kid to listen to you but if they choose not to… well good luck. I would like to call that Karma by the way.

Now, with my focus at the moment on creative writing and self-publishing my work I have to pay attention to the process I dreaded all my life. Editing could change an okay book into a best-seller. Editing shows you’ve put time and effort into making sure your book reads well and flows well for your readers.

It took me 10 years but I appreciate editing even though I still hate it.

I honestly can’t believe this will be the second book I’ve written in less than a year that has entered this process. I actually can’t believe I’m willing to put myself through this torment for a second time…

Editing is pain people. It will all pay off in the end. When I am holding book two in my hands I will forget all the re-writing and re-reading that needed to be done to hold the final product. I’m also excited to think what you all think of the second book…

In truth – and I may be bias – I think the second book is better written and has more action. The characters are developed better and I think there is more suspense compared to book one… actually I know there is more suspense than book one. Liora is going to kick butt this book and gain new friends along her adventure.

Anywho, I have to go back to the dungeon of editing before I can send it off to be reviewed by my editor. Yes, I pre-edit my stuff… if I’m comfortable to send it to him that means it is close to being comfortable enough to get published.

That’s all for now.

Toodles. ūüôā

 

Fake Nail Art – Portal Nail Design

Recently I’ve been trying to find new hobbies and for some reason I started to get into nail art. I don’t know why… it kind of just happened.

I think it started when I wanted to wear fake nails but I didn’t want those pre-designed ones you can buy at the drug store. I wanted to personalize my nails with something I enjoy. That’s when I thought of the companion cube and soon my nail idea grew to incorporate the Portal game.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with Portal, it is a classic puzzle game. You solve each level and get to move onto the next – kind of idea. It comes with a story which is too long to write about but if you’re interested in learning more I’ll link you to where you can read about it HERE.

Anyways, after a couple of days I have finally completed the first nail art designs I have and I thought I’d share with you that image:

portalnails.jpg

I’m proud of my first attempt at this and hopefully I’ll get better the more I make.

I think the next set I’m going to make will be Disney inspired. I’ve been listening to the Rapunzel soundtrack and really got some fun ideas I want to test out on nails. Either that or Little Mermaid, since my hair is now teal I think mermaid designs and sea shells would be fun.¬†We shall see how it goes. ūüôā

Exciting Update!!

For a while I’ve been M.I.A from the blogger-sphere but I have some exciting reasons why.

First is I have completed book two – Children of Sirphan – and it is now entering the first round of editing. At the moment it is 90,000 words – about 12,000 more than the first book. I also believe my writing has improved since the first book, which I always find exciting to see.¬†I believe¬†there is always space to improve even if you have a degree in the subject. ūüėõ

The second exciting news is that I’m currently working on a visual novel for the first book, so expect to see concepts for characters and locations found in the world of Gaitan/ Prophecy Six showing up on here.

Third and final exciting piece of information is that I am working on another project along with all those mentioned above. I’m trying to start a tourism/ local advertising blog for London, Ontario where I write about living and learning about what London has to offer new comers or long time Londoners. This will be local business reviews/ advertising, fun activities/ events going on around the city, and maybe even interview the people living in London to find out why they love this Forest City so much.

It is starting slow… but once I get a few more adventures under my belt I’m certain things will start rolling. We shall have to wait and see.

Wishing all the best with all of you and hopefully I can get back to a more regular schedule with regular content again. ūüôā

Toodles,

Deanna

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