I’ve been writing actively for over half my life now and there are a few staples I’ve developed for effectively crafting my next story from start to finish. I’m a character driven writer first and foremost; my characters dictate their story to me, and I am merely a vessel, so plot stems from them, meaning nothing is more important than getting the characters down first.
I like to start by outlining a little character bio for every major player. Their name, age, height, coloring, nationality, other quirks or details, and often as I’m going, other points of interest crop up, like peeling back the layers of an onion to the next fact underneath.
Sometimes, if I have a concept for a character but not quite their name yet, I head over to babynames.com. It’s fun to play around with the name meaning section, typing in words that reference the character to spark ideas for their name. When I find the right one, it always feels meant to be.
I also enjoy taking a little time to explore physical character designers, usually silly little cartoon creators, but it helps me realize details about a character to envision how they look and what they might dress like in a way I can save and reference back to later. Plus it’s fun and helps the creative juices flow. Another way to go about this is to do the ever-popular exercise of imagining what actors would play your characters in the movie/TV version, though as someone who tends to know a lot of actors by name and face well, this can be time consuming because there are so many options!
Once I’ve gone through this process, I find that certain scenes and specifics about the plot come to me in spurts, and it’s important to jot them all down before I forget them. Sometimes that perfect turn of a phrase, piece of dialogue, or scene idea catches you by surprise, and you can’t wait for it to naturally come up during the chronological process—write it now! At least the finer points to come back to later when that scene actually happens.
If I don’t have pages of notes in the teens by the time I’m writing chapter 1, something has gone wrong. Of course, it can be a pain later to organize all the notes when the ideas come to me out of order, but it gives me time to mull over those details before I commit to them, consider other angles, and rearrange things.
Having someone besides your editor read your work before you move into heavy editing yourself can also be beneficial, as they’ll have a fresh reader take on how things are progressing that you might not have thought of, before having to bore your actual editor with tweaking more complicated issues.
But out of all of my writer tricks, the one that has helped me the most is actually a recent development. It’s the best advice I can give any writer, and I have had several fellow authors tell me it works for them too.
Whenever you come to the end of a scene or chapter, DON’T STOP WRITING. Push yourself to at least start the first couple lines of the next scene, and you’ll be surprised how much you get out. This also helps you when you next come back to writing, as you’ll be in mid inspiration, not at the end of a segment leaving you with catharsis that can be difficult to come out of. Nothing has helped me beat writer’s block more.
Nathan Grier returns from the Veil a changed man. The consequences of his time with Malak, the dark sidhe king, and the deal made to free him may be more than he can bear. The weakening of the Veil and new enemies foretell of a greater battle still ahead. With Nathan’s brother Jim now an Awakened changeling, and Nathan’s role in Malak’s plans finally revealed, Nathan’s love for fae hunter and incubus, Sasha Kelly, may not be enough to save him after all.
The Incubus Saga series is available from:
“Your scope is so small, Nathan.” Malak shook her head in disappointment, a hand snaking down Nathan’s chest. “You think you know something of the bigger picture, but you always count yourself out, or give yourself such a small role to play. Jim is merely an important aspect to the grand scheme. Don’t you understand yet? You’re the prize, not a consolation.”
The pressure increased, making Nathan’s breaths come short and gasping as he grew less and less able to struggle. “What are you talking about? Jim…he’s the one with the powers. He’s the changeling.”
“Ah, yes, the chosen changeling to bring down the Veil,” Malak said mockingly, chuckling to herself. “I couldn’t be certain when the right children would be born, you see, I only knew that one of them would be a changeling. Why do you think we take every changeling into the Veil, Nathan? I had to be certain when I found my prize. But the key to knowing Jim was the one…was you. When I found you, when you made that deal to bring your brother home, you stood out like a beacon and I knew it was finally time.”
A shock jolted through Nathan’s body, but it didn’t make sense. Why did he matter? There was nothing special about him.
“There you go again, Nathan, counting yourself so unworthy,” Malak said like a reprimand, as she allowed her straying hand to touch the bare skin on Nathan’s belly where his shirt had hitched up. “It was always going to be you, Nathan. I was waiting for you. It had to be a worthy match, a worthy pair, for everything to fall into place. How fitting for it to be brothers. I couldn’t have planned it more perfectly.”
Nathan didn’t want to hear this, all this preordained, you did everything just like we wanted bullshit. He was in control of his own life. That’s why he left. “But why? What is it about me that is so damn important? Jim—”
“Jim has the powers,” Malak sighed, “yes. As an Awakened changeling, he can control sidhe and humans alike and is immune to most ways either side might try to kill him. The perfect General to be at our right hand. But not a king. To have true power…you have to choose it for yourself.”
Amanda will be awarding eBook copies of all three books in the series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Amanda Meuwissen is the author of The Incubus Saga and The Collector. Amanda also serves as COO and Managing Editor for BigWorldNetwork.com. She oversees editing and series selection, and is featured as a narrator for several BWN series. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).
Social media and website links:
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http://bigworldnetwork.com/site/series/incubus (Series at BigWorldNetwork)
https://www.facebook.com/TheIncubusSaga (Series Facebook Fan Page)
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaMeuwissen (Author Facebook Fan Page)