Daily Writing Check-in: February 20, 2019

Words/Time: 1 hour finishing character interviews before continuing the outline for “Outcast.”

Talking with 2 of the main characters in “Outcast” accomplished exactly what it was meant to. I am ready to go back to my outline. I now have a new question about how the 2 separate storylines in this book are going to line up, because I think it’s safe to say it won’t work out exactly like it did in the original version. But I’m going to finish the outline for storyline 2, and then use Scrivener to see how the storylines will match up.

I don’t know about others who have conversations with their characters, but this is what mine look like most of the time:

character interview

Different colors for different characters. I’m always purple.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 19, 2019

Words/Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes doing some character interviews before continuing the outline for “Outcast.”

Ever since I discovered how incredibly insightful it can be to bring in a character or two and ask them questions related to where I’m stuck in my planning stage, it has been something I’ve really enjoyed. Today I asked two characters to help me hash out what’s missing from this story. I only knew that it needed to focus more on Remiel and his character. I’ve already realized that I need to further explore the similarity between Remiel and the woman he’s trying to help, how they both have a past they’re not proud of.

Of course, we already got sidetracked from that discussion to help me understand how much Remiel would know about a particular event and person involved, and that’s where we left off. I will continue this interview tomorrow, and expect some really helpful insights to come out of it. I just hope more of a plot does as well.

The Pithea Series

Go here for an explanation for this post.

Pithea

This book introduces the island country of Pithea and its citizens’ dependency on Power, as well as their eternal struggle against the Madness. Our narrator, Drear, tells us about his friend Missy and his brother, Naolin, as they attempt to find their places in society, but are met with the harsh realities of life in a series of unlikely events, menacing villains, and both triumph and tragedy. (For a full synopsis, go here.)

Current status: Available for purchase!

Pithea cover, Kindle

“Outcast”

In this book, Drear introduces us to some people who are important to future events, and shows us how they are connected. Natos Morano is forced to choose between the only family he’s ever known, and his true family that is long gone. Remiel Azrael finds himself caught between family and his own morality as he attempts to help a woman who is in desperate need. (For a full synopsis, go here.)

Current status: Undergoing final revision before publishing

Outcast cover, Kindle

“Pursuit of Power”

Drear introduces us to Alexander Surett, a driven man with a tendency toward obsession if given the right target. In this first book of the trilogy, Alexander’s drive to find out about questionable circumstances surrounding his dad’s death leads him to ignore some of the region’s highest laws, which regulate Power usage. In doing so, he attracts the attention of the leader of the Class of Morano, who wants to recruit him. When he refuses, she takes it personally, and he has to set aside his search for answers about his dad’s death to try to stop this madwoman. The result is all-out war.

Current status: Draft 3 completed, structural changes ahead

Pursuit of Power

“Morano” *

The small island nation of Pithea has been at peace with its neighbors for hundreds of years. However, when a destructive force rises up from within, the rest of the country has to decide whether to choose sides or remain neutral. What follows is a civil war with a high body count. In this book, Drear tells us about some of the men and women who fought in the battle, on both sides, and the effect the battle had on their lives afterward.

Current status: Outline finished, first draft pending

Unexpectedly

“The Seeger Book”

Jonathan has been given an amazing gift in the form of exclusive access to a highly desired instruction manual written by a master blade smith. When it comes to light that someone has been making copies of the priceless book, tensions rise between Jonathan and the friend who owns the book. The mystery deepens with the death of someone involves, and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect. Drear shares this tale of intrigue in which no one is who they seem to be, and years of trust will be shattered.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

The Seeger Book

“Vin”

There was a time when Missy was plagued by mysterious men who seemed to wish her harm. They spoke to her as if they knew her, and seemed to be connected in some way, but she had no idea how. In this culmination of smaller events from previous books, Drear tells us of the shocking events around the revelation of the mystery that these men created around themselves. He shares glimpses into the mind of a dark, twisted, lost soul, and the final outcome won’t be what anyone expected.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

Vin

“Protector” *

Drear takes us outside of Pithea and the union of nations it belongs to for the first time. Altmoor is a country that has never even heard of the Power, and certainly does not use it in any way. Altmoor and its king are entrenched in a centuries-long war with their northern neighbor, but suddenly learn that there is much more to fear than a mere border feud. When a single man wreaks havoc on the entire region with a sorcery that they cannot combat with swords and bows, it draws the attention of powerful people in Pithea who offer to help, but also open their eyes to a whole new world.

Current status: First draft done, at least first half will need rewritten (purpose of story changed by the end of the book)

Protector

“Ophaela”

The king of Altmoor has the daunting task of trying to bring peace to his region while rooting out the rogue faction that has kept the war going for hundreds of years. Even more difficult will be convincing his people–and himself–that their long-time enemy may not be the devils they always thought.

Current status: First draft finished

*All titles are subject to change up to publication, but this is specifically a working title.

A Little Q&A

These questions come from a post on aliasfaithrivens’ blog. I like reading Q&As like this from people I know, and it’s kind of fun answering them too.

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to?
I started writing stories in elementary school. I recently dug up one of my first stories, written when I was 10 years old. I don’t know if the hard copy exists somewhere (I suspect it doesn’t), but I’d typed it into my parents’ old Tandy 1000. This was around 1992.

When I was older—somewhere between twelve and fourteen—I wrote a good start on what I had planned to be the first in a series of books for teenagers. That story I still have in several notebooks tucked away.

But apparently in middle and high school, I left fiction writing behind and turned to poetry. I wrote some good, some bad, some uplifting, some angsty poems. And during a creative writing class in high school, I even went as far as to say (in a reflection paper at the end of the class) that though I’d enjoyed writing the short story required for the class, I didn’t think I’d have a reason to write fiction again in the future.

What genre do you write?
Lately, mostly speculative fiction. My main book series seems to have landed squarely on post-apocalyptic science fiction. I wouldn’t normally consider myself a sci-fi writer, though…just sort of happened that way. Outside of this one series, I write more contemporary fiction, sometimes with a Christian bent.

Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?
It’s actually a weird feeling to not say that my current WIP is “Pithea.” But since that one’s done, it’ll be time to move on soon. I’ll be turning my attention soon to “Pursuit of Power.” This novel is about a young man who becomes suspicious about his dad’s accidental death, starts to dig, and ends up drawing a lot of unwanted attention.

Technically I started working on this in 2009. I wrote most of the first draft during NaNoWriMo that year. Then I re-imagined the story world I’d tried to create and rewrote the story in 2014. The very basics of the original were the same—main characters, their main goals, and a general ending—but it’s a completely different story now.

What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

The NickersonsAs I mentioned above, the first piece I remember writing was when I was 10. It was a story about a couple adopting a 10-year-old girl, along with that girl’s best friend, because the girl they were adopting insisted. It was 186 words long. I started writing a sequel that was supposed to be a bit of a mystery, and though I didn’t finish it, it was already longer than the first story. I still remember what was supposed to happen in that story. Maybe I should finish it.

What’s the best part about writing?
There are so many things about writing that I love. If I had to choose one thing, it would be the discovery. The sudden light bulb when a brand new idea strikes, when a blockage is broken through, or when things suddenly become fun again.

What’s the worst part about writing?
In contrast to the previous answer, I think the worst part of writing is when things just aren’t working out. New ideas aren’t flowing, you can’t break through the block, and you feel downright un-creative.

What’s the name of your favorite character and why?
Though Missy would be the logical choice, as the MC of my first novel and a character who will feature or at least appear in more of the rest of the series than any one character (I’m pretty sure, at least), she is still a second to my favorite. His name is Remiel Azrael, and he is one of the main characters in “Outcast.”  Of everything I have written, “Outcast” remains my favorite piece, which I’m sure is part of the reason he became my favorite. I wrote it as fanfiction 7 years ago, and for the moment, it still only exists as fanfiction. It will eventually take place in the same world as “Pithea,” and in fact Missy is a big character in it too. But I just really love Remiel.

How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?
Ideally, I have 2-3 hours per night after my youngest goes to bed. Sometimes bedtime is later, or I have other things I have to get to first. Weekends are sometimes a chance for extra time, and sometimes we’re so busy I can barely get any time in.

Did you go to college for writing?
No, I didn’t get re-interested in writing fiction until I started writing fanfiction after my oldest son was born.

What bothers you more: speeling errors; punctuation, errors, or errors for grammar?
I’m not sure one is more bothersome to me than another.

What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?
Don’t worry about perfection. I’ve read so many articles and blog posts by writers who make it seem like a manuscript will never be ready. It will always need another draft. While it’s true it will never be perfect, just maybe it doesn’t have to be. If I hadn’t read this advice from two different sources, I’m not sure if I would be ready to submit my first novel, or if I’d still be reading through it, looking for things to fix. Or maybe I’d be proceeding like I am, but paranoid that it’s too soon.

What advice would you give to another writer?
Take any writing tips, rules, and advice with a grain of salt. Writing is an art, and what works for one person doesn’t always work for others. Reading blogs about writing is a good thing. It’s good to find out what works for others, especially when you’re new to writing, because most likely something will resound within you. But if it doesn’t feel right, and you’d have to force yourself to adhere to someone’s suggestions…just don’t do it. (Not referring to grammar rules and such.)

What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?
I don’t have any sites in particular. I tend to do online searches when I have questions.

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?
I don’t actually have a lot of time for hobbies these days. I enjoy reading, but haven’t finished a book in a while. I like to scrapbook, but that’s been on the backburner for a few years. I don’t even play computer games much anymore. I do like game nights with my family once a month and on holidays, playing board games for hours.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
As I mentioned, I haven’t finished a book in a while. I’ve started several, and hope to get back to some of them soon. (I’ve set up a challenge on Goodreads to finish 25 books this year…I should probably get started on that soon.)

What’s the best movie you’ve seen this year?
I actually don’t watch all that many movies. And of those I do watch, including ones I watched at home, I’m not sure I can think back and remember them all (using 2015 for the question, rather than the few days of 2016 so far). I’ll go with Jurassic World.

What is your favorite book or series of all time?
The Oath by Frank Peretti is my favorite book of all time, with Thr3e by Ted Dekker coming in a close second.

The Mandie Books series by Lois Gladys Leppard still holds a special place in my heart, as a series I loved as a kid.

Who is your favorite author?
Frank Peretti

What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?
I’m currently working on submitting my first novel to publishers, and have spent the last week or so getting a novelette self-published. When these two things have settled down some, I play to turn my full attention to the beginning revision stages of “Pursuit of Power.”

Where else can we find you online?
Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads (though I created that account only a few days ago)
Amazon Author Page, Story Blog

I never do these tag posts like normal people though, so I’m not tagging anyone. But feel free to share your own answers to any of these questions.