As promised (though late) here’s a little sneak peek into how my romance stories come to life using the first book in my next series, Shadow Dragon. This came out is a little shorter than I expected, and I’ll have to chalk that up to being terrible at writing out my own chaotic writing style. Still, I hope you enjoy this little sneak peek! Feel free to leave a comment on what you liked and didn’t like and I’ll be sure to improve the next Look Inside post!
Now then, on to the fun! There are four parts to this little glimpse into my writing:
- The Idea, or How I Come Up With the Sentence
- Shit Hits the Fan
- The Expansion, or Stuff Happens
- Happily Open Ending (or not)
Each one pulls the story along, building it up from a simple idea or dream and creating the novels that you guys see on the retailers! Now let’s get started!
In the Beginning there was the The Idea. A lot of my stories start out with a dream, or a one sentence idea. I’m lucky that Shadow Dragon has both, obviously with the dream coming first. For me that one descriptive sentence is the linchpin in the entire series, a kind of emotional anchor on which the entire series is built. That focus keeps me grounded in where I want the series to go (though sometimes the stories have other ideas). Here’s the first, ground-breaking idea:
A young woman learns that she’s from another world, and that someone special is waiting for her on the other side.
Seems simple, right? The most complicated tasks often do start out simple and get bigger the longer you tweak them (like playing with a burning stick and finding you’ve suddenly started a campfire). For me, I use this sentence to expand the outline of the story into actual scenes, which become chapters and then whole stories.
Opening Scene: the audience is introduced to the young woman and her lot in life, including her friends and possible romances. After a tense scene with her boyfriend tragedy strikes, but through tragedy she inadvertently finds herself on a destiny she could never have imagined. A new world awaits her, with new friends and new enemies who try to use her for their own gain. Through mishaps and adventures she finds love again, and in the process finds herself.
Now that’s starting to sound like a series! Still a little sketchy, but I rarely write out more than one book at a time. Sometimes this leads to trouble plot-wise where I find myself written into a corner, or other times I wish I could go back to make the adventure more grand. Fortunately, both of these are learning experiences help to enhance future books and series, allowing me to create even better worlds for you, dear reader, to enjoy!
Next is the part I like to call “Shit Hits the Fan.” I generally like to have this happen in the first chapter of every story, but sometimes, like in the case of Claimed By the Shadow Dragon, the Shit happens in the second chapter. It’s when the first pivotal moment in the main character’s life occurs (don’t worry, there’s always more of these in the stories. It keeps things interesting). That could be where they meet their sexy hero, they’re dropped off in a whole other world, or where they meet the antagonist.
These Shits need to occur often, and many writers have described it as a form of character abuse. Writers are essentially putting their characters through hell and back (or not) for the sake of character growth and plot progression (it’s how we get our kicks).
The Expansion, or Stuff Happens section is the largest part of my stories, and where our intrepid hero and heroine go through shared hardships. They live and learn, mostly about each other but if the world is new to the heroine then she goes through a few ‘fish-out-of-water’ scenes. Here the heroine acts as a representative for the reader, asking questions about the people and relationships of her new world and learning the rules, such as:
It’s polite to compliment a witch’s wart, but not the hairy mole on the cheek of the mayor of the capital city.
The last piece de resistance is the Happily Open Ending, or How I Learned to Fear My Closing Scenes. In the case of the last book in a series, this would be the Wrap Up, or Mummify All the Loose Ends.
For me, this is by far the hardest part of the book to write. All the loose ends of the plot have to be tied neatly together in a delicate bow of coherent and convincing last chapters. Anything missed is a missed opportunity to create a compelling plot for the next book (or sometimes it’s a great way to steal an idea I should have used and give it to the next book. I can rob the grave of a finished book if I want to).
And that’s it! The close of a book and the opening of a new one! Now for those who have made it this far in the post, I have a special surprise! Due to so many requests, I’ve decided to post all the chapters of the first book of my upcoming series, Shadow Dragon, on my website. They’re going to be the rough drafts (let’s face it, my editor doesn’t have time to go through them as fast as I’ll upload them), so there will be even more errors than usual and scenes may be added later that won’t be reflected in these posts. I’ll be sending out a newsletter post with the first two chapters, but the rest of the chapters will be posted to my site without the newsletter so I don’t spam everyone’s boxes every two or three days.
This sounds great, so you might be thinking there’s a catch. The catch is that the chapters will be up for only two days from the time of posting. After that, you’ll have to wait for the book to come out to read it again.
Keep your eyes peeled for that initial newsletter, and I hope you enjoy the coming chapter installments as much as I enjoy writing them!