Thursday, June 23, 2016

How Authors Create the Stories You Love

Have you ever wondered how a writer came up with an idea, scene, or story? You might be tempted to think their mind just spit it out in the condition that you saw or read it, but don’t be fooled. Good writers plan the scenes and plot those exciting threads. Great writers plan each part out using layers. Let me explain. Every story is supposed to have a few basics:

Layer One
Someone to love
Someone to hate
Friction or bonding between characters
Verification of personalities and choices
Influences from secondary characters, environment, and social situations
A start, middle, and ending of some sort.
Layer Two
Now we’ll add on a layer for the genre of book. Let’s go with horror, so we need:
Moments that produce horror
Moments that lead to producing horror
Horror aftermaths.
We also have to have verification of choices during horror, including, but not limited to:
Weapons and gear
food and water
Shelter and warmth
Medical care
Flight or fight mentality
Layer Three
Now, we’ll go into the light details. To be horror, the mood has to be scary.
Giggling is discouraged.
Grins need to be changed to uneasy stretches of lips.
In horror, weather often plays an important role, so we have to be sure we match the scary mood. Children outside playing happily in water sprinklers will distract the reader/viewer from the scare they are about to get. It bursts the tension that we’ve built.
Our bad guy has to react properly to the characters. He has to be believable as in his motivation and methods
Our good guy has to be believable as in his dialogue and methods. His motivation (fighting the bad guy) should be obvious.

Layer Four
A fourth layer must go on now to keep track of all these threads. For example, if you have a snowstorm one day, you must make sure the cold is mentioned and there is still snow the next day unless it rains or floods or the sun sets directly on your iceberg. Details must be verified. Readers hate it when you screw up and have the same character in two places at one time. (I’m so sorry!) It was a simple name error, but it makes you look like an idiot. I call this layer the ‘make sure I’ve got them all where they should be’ layer.
Layer five
For the fifth layer, we have to be sure we’re giving conclusions. All the above items gave us potential threads to be followed and finished. People hate to be left hanging, unless it is a series, and even then, writers are supposed to tread carefully.  All those small moments that were set up have to be finished. Again, series are different, but even in those, a writer must eventually conclude that thread.
Layer Six
For the sixth layer, we have to explore the main them of the book. We ask ourselves 7 basic questions about the story:
Is there enough action?
Is the dialogue appropriate for the character and situation?
Will the reader understand?
Did the character have a good reason for reacting that way?
Was the scene boring?
Is the setting clear and appropriate for the scene?
Does the scene move the story along or is it just fluff?

Layer Seven
The final layer, for the writers who have the energy left, is to ask, of each and every scene or plot thread:
How can I make it better?
What if I changed, switched…

The Next Step
Now that we have put together the 15-35 page draft using the seven layers above, the author is finally ready to write the stories you love. It can be exhausting, even on shorter works. That’s why it takes so long. The tales don’t spit themselves out in full form. Writers shape them into cohesive, coherent (we hope!) tales that might last forever. Then we sleep.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

What Book Genres Satisfy You?

Some readers are very strict on their material. They pick one or two genres and stick with them. Over the years, I've noticed this more and more. It is very hard to get someone who reads, say thrillers, to consider horror. Same with romance readers. They love them and seem to prefer little else. Fantasy people even fit this, as they generally pick the same settings or basic plot threads. Same with science fiction readers. Try to get one of them to read a romance. Go on, I dare ya. I've also spotted this trend in movies and music. People generally pick a couple of favorites and then close themselves off to the rest. What about you?

What book genres satisfy you?

 free polls

After further observation, I have concluded that people are much more closed-minded than they think they are. I'd love to see a social study covering the differences between inherited biases and biases that come from environmental and social influences. I bet the human race would discover that being biased is inherited. I have little doubt that environmental influences and personal experiences reinforce these traits, but in no way are they the sole product of. People, in general, are biased. They think their way is right, their preferences are right, and refuse to compromise. Would be a very interesting study, though I'm not sure if we can tell the difference yet with our limited technology and understanding of how DNA makes us who we are. We still have a lot to learn, you know?

*I realize this poll went a bit deeper than what I've been putting out there, but I can't tell you how many patterns and connections I see during just one day. I explore the news of other countries as much as my own. I love to study human behavior and after 20+ years of doing that, I've made some ugly conclusions. Occasionally one of them will match up with a poll and land here. Most go into my stories or my personal Fb wall. I believe that information, education, is the key to future peace. If that offends you, please ask yourself why.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Something New for June

Something New
June, 2016
by Angela White

Marc slipped into the trees at the edge of the road, not far from where his vehicle was waiting. He scanned the area and saw dozens of fire engines crawling with yellow clothed men trying to extinguish the fire, but there were no signs of anyone else. Thick smoke blew over the dusty road and he quickly ran toward the street, drawing surprises from the firefighters.
“Hey man!”
“Where did you come from?”
Marc didn’t stop to answer the busy men. They had worked to do and he needed to get out of here.
Marc jogged down the side of the road, darting around wildlife that was still fleeing ahead of the flames. The three walls of fire had merged now to create one long bank of death that was destroying everything in its path. Marc wasn’t even sure he would be able to use this road to get off the mountain.
His worn-out Jeep came into view, causing Marc to increase speed as relief gave him an extra burst of adrenaline. He slid into the driver’s seat, reaching for the keys that he’d left in the ignition.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Marc froze at the sound of a gun being cocked. He didn’t need to scan the tall, thin figure to know who it was. He had recognized the voice.
“Is the boss’s wife still smiling?” Marc taunted.
The nasty punch took him by surprise, even though he had instigated it. Marc slumped in the seat, dazed from the temple shot. Rough hands pushed him over and slid behind the wheel of his jeep.
Marc struggled to come out of the daze, but another fist slammed into his forehead and everything went dark.

The familiar movement of his jeep in unfamiliar hands brought Marc back to alertness. He’d known someone might be waiting, but he’d been in such a hurry to get out that he’d forgotten to check underneath the vehicle. That was a common place for this type of hunter.
Sucking in a breath against his boiling guts, Marc used his elbow and all of his weight to slam into the driver, neatly shoving the man up and out of the vehicle. Open tops were convenient.
The man hit the ground beside the Jeep and skidded down the incline, screaming as his ankle snapped.
Marc didn’t waste any sympathy. These hunters were as ruthless as they came. Thankfully, they weren’t very smart.
Marc pulled the Jeep onto a wider area of the road, and killed the engine. There were still at least half a dozen men tracking him, and he wasn’t about to lead them back to his hotel room. He would never get to sleep.
Marc exited the vehicle and took up a stationary position in the weeds around the warm jeep. He didn’t think it would be long for someone discovered his new location. He was a prize target in a great place to be taken. No longer protected by his team or society, Marc was just another animal alone in the wilderness. Anything could happen out here. To them. He didn’t plan on mercy. Interrupting his vacation had been a huge mistake. The enemy hadn’t given him time to cool off or relax. They’d come for the civilian. They would get the Marine.
This story will be released on 8/11. Here is a link to the page on my blog where all the store links will be added during release day/week.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

June News and Notes from the Wonderful World of Angela White

Happy summer vacation, world! (Sorry, if you don’t get one.)
I hope the first half of your 2016 has gone well. If not, there’s always hope for the rest of it, right? As for me, I’ve been a busy beaver. Here are the June News and Notes for your reading pleasure:
Marc and Angie
Marc and Angie is a Life After War backstory that details the childhoods of the two main characters. It is 610 pages. I hope you enjoy it! Here are the links:
Kobo Books
Barnes & Noble
 Amazon:  USA  Canada  UK  Germany  Australia

New FB page signups
I have a new page on Facebook. It is an official Author page and has features that my personal profile (where we’re already connected) does not.  Because my personal profile has a friends limit (and because I’m tired of censoring my personal posts. You think I overload it now? You honestly have no idea.) and because the new page is much more reader-friendly, I am asking fans to ‘like’ the new page and then remove themselves from my personal profile. I have already made a few posts about this. Here is the link to the new page:
What if you don’t do anything?
By the end of summer, I will have the entire 1800 friends sorted through. Since I have no way of telling who liked the new page, then we will no longer be connected. No, I’m not sending 1800 messages (FB wouldn’t allow it anyway-it is spam) to let you know I’ve gotten to your name. If you want to remain connected-on the new page-then you’ll have to click the buttons. If you do nothing, that’s your choice, but we will no longer be connected. I repeat, by the end of summer, I will have deleted all 1800 people from my personal FB wall.
What if you want to remain on both pages?
Send me a private message-yes, through FB-and I’ll let you know. Sometimes I just need a place where people aren’t going to judge me for the way I feel/think/believe. These stupid social profiles were supposed to be that, but they’ve morphed into ugly battles where freedom of expression has become a myth. So, honestly, I’m not sure I’m keeping anyone except close friends or family and even then, I have to be fussy because not all friends and family are actually good for a person, you know? Sucks to make these choices and I think the fairest thing to do is to remove everyone that I don’t have a true personal relationship with. We’ll see how many people really want to stay. Might not have to deal with it at all. In summary, ‘like’ the new page to keep up-to-date on my books and such. To remain on the personal wall, send me a FB message and we’ll see how it goes.
Last month’s something new
My blog schedule changed in March. Once a month, the ‘something new’ is separate. Here is a link to read these fresh pages (all very recent) from the haunting mind of… who am I today? Wait, we’ll get back to that. Over the next few weeks, I will add a tab to the top of this blog with all these links.
Last month’s book lover poll
Once a month, I also ask those burning questions that drive society, like where do you get your ebooks? Grin. Here is the link to the last one. Let your voice be heard!
Last month’s Informational Article
Once a month I’ve added an informational article on the world of books and reading. Last month’s topic: Why don’t Indie Authors have Editors, was full of details that most readers don’t know about the books they love.
A surprise release!
During the week of July 4, I will have a new release available here and on all the big stores! What is it? Here’s a hint. A few months ago, I asked you wonderful people to vote on which shorter title you wanted next. It was right after LAW book 8 went live and did not include a choice directly from the LAW series. (I can’t plan those. They scream at me when they’re ready, not the other way around.) I used the results from that vote to decide my release plans for the year. Marc and Angie won and it is now live. Stop back after the celebrations of our beloved country to discover which book came in second and get your copy! *If you signed up to be notified when I have a new release (top right of blog and middle of new FB page) you will get 1-2 emails during the release week. Please check your spam folder if you did, but don’t.
And lastly, can you please take few minutes to vote on the reviews for this book? It is doing very well right now (top 1000 in the kindle store for the last 3 months) and a group of asshole writers who can’t take the competition are voting up the bad remarks. As you know, seeing a bunch of bad reviews on a book's sale page will make a reader run the other way. Amazon refuses to stop them, even though they get daily complaints from honest authors. Can you please help me?
Life After War: Books 1-3
Thank you!!!

I hope you ladies and gentlemen have a nice summer. I’ve got my greenhouse garden going this year (coons and foxes destroyed my small patio garden last year) and hope it does better. No bees around isn’t helping.
Tip of the month: bees are dying. 90% of all colonies are now gone, mostly just since 2010. Don’t kill bees or we won’t have anything to eat except Soylent Green.
Waving at you (it’s not my finger. Stop it)

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