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#WriteTip: Keeping Track of Your Series

Sam av

Hey, all!

I have always been a planner. And I’m not usually over the top–although I can be–but some amount of planning goes into every one of my stories. It’s usually just a rudimentary outline (see 7-point story structure) and a rough idea of setting, conflict, and characters. Most of the time, that’s enough to keep me on track.

However, as I’ve been diving into Book 2 of my series with ACHILLEA, I’m trying to crack down on a lot of what I know my weaknesses are. Chronology and seasons, how much time does my book actually cover, little hints and breadcrumbs, military details, where I put Rauden’s scars, etc. As my books have evolved, I’ve added a lot of minor characters and I have apparently drifted slightly from where my main characters were. For example, I looked back over my notes on Lyda, Sielle, and Naniha, a group of three friends and Achillea’s first recruits. In my mind now, they’re older than I originally intended. Fun thought experiment, I asked my friends at the Dead Pete Society how old they thought my characters were, and I got a range of reactions:

Kathi said 17-20. Jori said 16-18. Frankie said 20-26. I had them written down as 18-22, and in my mind, they’d become somewhere between 20-24.

Then I asked who they thought was oldest, and who was youngest.

Kathi and Jori agreed Naniha was the oldest, Lyda the youngest. Frankie thought Naniha was the youngest, and Lyda the oldest. Originally, Lyda was the youngest, but now my brain thinks she is the oldest. I find it interesting…Kathi and Jori have a closer handle on where I originally placed my characters, but Frankie seems to share my now-brain.

I clearly had some work to do.

I have character sheets for all of my characters in Scrivener, but as each of my books has its own file, this became a bit of a pain. And yeah, I know I can export/import from one book to another, but even that became a pain as I added and subtracted characters because I had to make sure it was consistent across all of my books.

And since I plan to take the series into at least seven books with a set of spin-offs, I knew I had to be more organized this time. You can’t just race off into the sunset and chase a series without being completely, one hundred percent in control of your setting and your characters. If people fall in love with my series as I hope they will, they’re going to catch on. I need to know this world and these people better than anyone.

So I made another book. A physical one. I have a weakness for office supplies, and that most certainly includes blank journals and notebooks. So I repurposed a journal that my friend got me for Christmas into a character reference. Every character gets a page, even if I only put them in the book to kill them off later. If I need to, I’ll start another journal, but so far this one has everyone in it with about half the pages to spare.

I gave each character the following details:

  • Name, with pronunciation and applicable nicknames
  • Nationality
  • Age at the founding of Vaethrre (my city), including birthday (because I might need that) based on what I think their astrological symbol is. (Okay, look…I don’t REALLY ascribe to this belief…but there are people who read this that might). For example, Lyda sounds like a Virgo, so I put her birthday in that range. This will help me keep their ages straight as the books progress, provided I can keep my damned timeline straight (this is the challenge).
  • The top of each page has their D&D alignment (Lyda is Lawful Good), their Meyers-Briggs personality type indicator (Lyda is an INFP), and who I think would be a good actor/actress for them (right now Lyda is marked as Natalie Dormer…her inability to properly smile because she always smirks is a shoe in, and Natalie looks badass with short hair)
  • Physical appearance, especially important if someone changes theirs later (like Heike does, or when Lyda gets new tattoos).
  • Personality; this is their concrete personality, what is less likely to change. PTSD or character shifts are added in later to the Notes section. Sielle hates apologies and refuses to apologize herself. This won’t change. But her extreme bitterness to the point of potential self-destruction is an added change and will go into the Notes section. That’s something that may eventually be undone. I haven’t decided that yet. For her to suddenly appreciate apologies would be out-of-character, however.
  • Family connections
  • Motivations; What are they trying to achieve? Everyone is motivated by something, even if their ultimate goal is just to be left alone.
  • Conflicts; what adverse forces are working against the character? Lyda takes issue with cruelty, and she steps in when she believes those around her are acting unfair or vindictive.
  • Love interest(s), including whether or not they have an ‘aya’, the equivalent of a True Love in my stories (in ACHILLEA, ‘true love’ is a very real thing. Kind of.).
  • Their opinion of the Warden (more or less ‘God’), if they have one.
  • Secrets; Lyda is a very private person and she keeps a lot of her own desires to herself.
  • Fears; Myen is afraid of heights and horses
  • Dislikes; Heike hates cheese
  • Likes; Kirae has a fondness for conversation and company
  • Skills
  • Weaponry; Heike has 54 different bladed weapons. At some point, I intend to list them all, but I don’t want to accidentally end up with 58 in case anyone is counting.
  • Notes; I left a big blank space here for most of the characters depending on how long I intend to keep them around. Myen and Heike get several pages each, but cameo characters like Carme (who works at the hospital) only get a page.

Then I put a Table of Contents at the front, and voila! I’m good to go! Now I can use this handy dandy notebook for all of my books. And hopefully, I’ll never get lost again!


S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print) and short fantasy A SHINY FOR TRICK (forever free for your entertainment!).

Check out the #WriteTip category for more writing advice and tools from Frankie and Sam!

#FrankieWIP New Shifts, New Routine…All Mucked Up!

Frankie Av

A little update, a little apology and a little explanation…

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WriteTip Character Bio: Kai Burton

Frankie Av

To be able to write a convincing character, you have to know your character inside and out. Not just their appearance or how they speak, but how they think and feel and why they act the way you imagine. You are the creator of this person, to convince others this person is real, you have to know the character and believe in them yourself. Take these two character bios for example:

1)

Name Bob Brown
Reason for being in story Street cleaner. Just a bit character for my main character to interact with

2)

Name Bob Brown-AKA- Can Man
Reason for being in story Can Man imparts advice to main character which will help her in solving the crime.
Interesting points for character and run down 1) Can Man cleans the street with a broom on which is tied a red ribbon.

2) Not paid to clean the streets, just does so every day.

3) Ribbon on broom is from a little girl who gave him the broom to replace the one which was broken the day Bob saved her from being hit by a car.

4) Bob moves stiffly because he broke his leg in the incident.

5) Bob cleans the street for no pay or recognition because his own daughter died when she tripped over a can and fell into oncoming traffic

Obviously this is only for illustration purposes. A bio like this is only relevant for your major characters. There can be bit-characters, background people who do not need a backstory. But having a little backstory for your main characters makes them more believable, makes them come alive in the mind of your readers. A character bio will make your character come alive in your own mind, and allow you to create a well rounded, believable character.

The character I’d like to show today is Kai Burton from my book Malevolence. He is the main protagonist of the story and much of it revolves around him. The person I feel resembles Kai the most is Gerard Butler. Though this isn’t an exact match, it’s near enough for me to base Kai’s character picture on Mr Butler.

 image host

 

Name Kai Burton
Reason for being in story Main Protagonist
Details DOB: 05/06/1973

Body: 6’2” tall. Dark blue eyes, dark shaggy brown hair. Perpetual five o’clock shadow. Well built physique. Small scar above right eyebrow.

Personality: Dependable, loyal, trustworthy and reliable. But also cynical, moody, stubborn and at times intimidating–especially following an event which took place two years prior to Malevolence.
Interesting points for character After almost fifteen years of service in the army, Kai has his fair share of horror stories. He suffers from PTSD and crippling nightmares, though he does not allow this to define him.

A very focussed and intelligent man, Kai is the one in the story who many rely upon for friendship and help.

Run down Kai struggled to find work after leaving the army and answered an advert to join the team at fictional Kali Institute in Edinburgh as a paid research subject. He and his best friend Logan McKenzie both entered the Mentis A-3 trial, and both suffered the consequences.  

Kai became what is referred to as a Mind Adept; an evolved person who developed telekinetic and telepathic powers. But it’s not easy being a Mind Adept; it’s not like it is in comic books or movies at all. In fact, it is extremely punishing for those who evolved into Adepts, especially those who were left with the most powerful effects of the serum. Most of the Adepts struggle daily with their powers, some even withdrew from society after finding it too difficult to live near other people.

Kai is one of the strongest Adepts. His mind is powerful, his abilities far reaching. He is able to hear and sense the thoughts and emotions of those around him and over quite a distance. He is able to project his own thoughts and emotions to others, as well as manipulate objects with his mind. But being this powerful has left him with a mind far more fragile than one might believe.

He has a hard time dealing with his abilities, even though he has been in possession of them for over two years by the time Malevolence begins. Often overpowered by the thoughts of others around him, Kai struggles to maintain equilibrium within his own mind. There are times his abilities overrun and he finds himself inundated with the psychological information from others. This can lead to a very dangerous condition called, Overload–something Kai has experienced on a few occasions.

  Kai has learned to protect himself against Overload and psychic saturation by blocking his powers. This puts him under a lot of psychological and physical stress, something which leaves him utterly exhausted. This is when he is at his most vulnerable and the danger of Overload is at its most high, therefore Kai tends to sleep a lot. This allows his brain to rest and recover from processing such large volumes of psychological information. If he does not rest, his powers get out of control and this can lead to dangerous situations.
  It is because of the danger his powers and mind pose that Kai made the decision to become a full-time tenant living within the Kali Institute. There are a few of the original test group living at the institute after self-contained flats were built in the below-ground levels following the disaster of the MA3 trial.

   Despite all of this,  Kai is actually the most balanced of the Adepts. His regimented and disciplined mind allows him to wield his powers far more skilfully than almost all of the others. He is highly proficient in their use making him the second most powerful of all the Adepts.

   Kai’s belief that the Kali institute had a duty to care for those affected by the MA3 serum, and his convincing advocacy of this belief led to management creating the homes in the below-ground levels of the institute. It also led to the formation of training and counselling programs for those who struggled with their powers.

   Kai is driven to find Louise–creator of MA3–with the hopes of forcing her to reverse the effects, and bring her to account for what she did during the trial.  As a result, he makes himself a target for her hatred and wrath.

And there you have it. The character bio of the lead male character in Malevolence. This is a slightly modified one as spoilers have been removed. But this character sheet allows me to understand Kai and his part in the story. I hope you find this as useful as I do and that this post will help you in your writing! 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

 

 

#FrankieWIP Malevolence Ebook, Print Edition and Better Luck!

Frankie Av

So as promised, I have better news this week! I think I will just forget last week ever happened! Blurb print edition now on sale! Click the image! 😀

 

 

Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WriteTip – Sam’s Writing Process, Part 1: Planning

Sam av

This is a continuation in a series of posts I’ll be doing about my own writing process. If you’re just coming into the conversation, please read this first. I don’t want anyone to feel daunted by my process. As NaNoWriMo forums are fond of describing, there are Planners and Pantsers. By that, they mean there are writers who prefer to write with a plan, and there are writers who prefer to wing it and fly by the seat of their pants.

I am a planner.

If you’re a pantser, planning can be intimidating. That’s why I would prefer if you read my previous #WriteTip post, which seeks to convince you that your own style is superior to mine because it is your style and you’ll get to know it best. I present my own methodology for two reasons:

  1. People sometimes ask about it, and
  2. It might help someone else find their way.

Planners, in General

There are multiple ways a writer can go about planning their work. The first thing you need, obviously, is a kick-ass idea. From there, there are multiple tasks you can do, such as:

  • Drawing maps or sketches of characters, settings, clothes, creatures, etc.
  • Filling out character sheets that add detail and personality to your characters
  • Build a world, like making a character sheet for your setting
  • Browse the internet for images, people, maps, etc. that inspire you relative to this story
  • Outlining/plot mapping
  • Talking with a friend

Any and all ideas are fine. I even change up my method from story to story, but there are similar elements no matter which story I write, so I’ll go into them here.

How I Start: Index!

The very first thing I do is whip up a Google Sheet (Microsoft Excel for Google Drive). I make a skeleton outline for chapter number, chapter name, and chapter description. Sometimes, if I am feeling especially plantastic, I’ll also put a ‘last edit’ date, a timeline marker, estimated percent completion, a section for other notes, and whose perspective I am following if I am writing more than one.

I can do this in Scrivener as well, but I’m still rocking this part of my process old school. In Scrivener, you can make a new page for each chapter, and each chapter has an ‘index card.’ It essentially works the same way, I just don’t love it. I have always been a fan of spreadsheets. They’re simple, easy to use, easy to organize, and easy to modify.

For the chapter description, I just keep it really simple. What am I hoping to accomplish in the chapter? For THE BLOOD OF NERYS (whose master document this is), Chapter one says:

The opening scene is Wex dying of the disease. Berge brings in an ONEG and they bleed him for a transfusion. Wex lives. The donor, who was already close to death, goes into shock and dies, prompting Berge to need to go out and get a new one.

Now see…in the book, ONEGs are called “Primes.” I didn’t want to use modern terminology because I hate that in alternative worlds, so I renamed all of the blood types. For my brain to wrap around it, though, I used the terminology I know best.

From this point, I CAN plan out my entire story. However, that’s not what I do next. I only do the skeleton first…I’m too excited not to plan, but not clear enough on what goes in this document. The next thing I have to do is know my plot.

Plot Scaffold!

I then make a very rough outline of the plot. I use a technique I previously described called The Seven Point Story Structure. Basically, it’s just a physical representation of your beginning, middle, end, and the major events that happen along the way to move the story between them. Very, very simple. Piece of cake really. And it looks like actual, in-depth planning, which feels awesome.

That’s my whole book. A 7-point skeleton and an empty index of chapters. Want to guess what comes next?

Plotting Chapters

I also affectionately refer to this as plot mapping. Frankie likes to use her tables and storyboards. This is basically the same thing but I don’t like to put all the time in to make it pretty. I just slap the words down and go.

I go back to my spreadsheet and I start filling it in. In my mind, I move through the plot quickly as if I am writing the book in less than an hour. My brain sounds a lot like this:

Example story: THE BLOOD OF NERYS

First, Berge carries Wex miles while he’s bleeding all over, dying. Then, he drops Wex on the lab floor, which pisses off Zanje (who’s his hot boss). They get in an argument about why the hell he dropped a dying man in her immaculate laboratory. Wex doesn’t die, but Berge has to go off to regather some supplies, leaving Wex with Zanje. Wex asks for his dog. Zanje hates animals because she thinks they’re dirty. Wex drags his own ass out of bed to go get his dog…

That bit spans about three chapters.

Each section in the outline spreadsheet will get 1-5 sentences maximum with what the chapter is about. It’s just a tiny little bookmark reminder of “Hey, this is what you were going to write here.”

I usually shoot for about 20-40 chapters. My chapters tend to be 1500-5000 words, so that gives me a 30,000-200,000 word range. I would usually aim for about 90,000, which is a moderately sized novel. I don’t limit how long a story will be, but I might try to separate the tale into several books if it grows too big. But word count isn’t a concern yet, so I won’t care until later.

So at this point, I have a plot map, and outline, and a rough sketch of the trajectory of my story.

Characters

At this stage in planning, my characters aren’t much. I know their role and their general personality. I don’t really know them as people yet. To give you an idea, at this point in THE BLOOD OF NERYS, I had this:

  • Wex is similar to my roommate. He talks a lot, loves machines and gadgets, is socially awkward, and has a dog. He starts the book by almost dying, and is saved by Berge. He is employed by Berge and Zanje. Generally thinks that what they’re doing is excusable because more lives are saved than lost. His job is to deliver products.
  • Berge is based on my husband. He’s a nihilistic self-serving scumbag who values nothing he can’t enjoy right now. He works for Zanje because he’s good at it and he occasionally is allowed to sleep with her. He has a pet blind weasel named Ashes who is the only living creature he cares about at all. His job is to acquire blood.
  • Zanje is based on me. She’s a sophisticated, cold-hearted, merciless bitch who wants to watch the world burn. She’s also a religious zealot who disdains humanity. She cares about no one at all except for herself. She has a shifty secret agenda that not even Berge knows about. She’s a brilliant mage and blood scientist, and she is the boss. She also has all the money and all the resources, so she’s definitely the boss.
  • Nerys is unbreakable and pure. She is placed in a horrible situation that she adapts to, turning what most would see as a death sentence into an opportunity to leave a positive impact on society. Her capture is the catalyst for the events of the book.

At this point, I was impatiently waiting for NaNoWriMo to begin and I wanted to write, so I learned a new trick. I wrote a mini-fic for each character. For Wex, I wrote a scene between him and his dad. For Berge, I wrote this tiny fragment of his past when he was just starting to run errands for Zanje. For Zanje, I wrote an inner monologue of how disgusting humankind is to her and how much she hates everybody. They were only 2000-4000 words each, but in doing so I got a good feel for the characters before I put them through the novel. Of course, these tiny ficlets are not included in the novel. They were just practice for me.

I also need a details page for my characters. In the details page I flesh out the following:

  • Height, weight, build
  • Hair/eye color, hairstyle if applicable
  • Typical dress
  • Family connections, friend connections, lover(s)
  • Their ‘role’ in the story (ie, major antagonist, voice of reason, comic relief, antihero)
  • Brief history/background of the before-plot time
  • Personality quirks such as rudeness, being quiet/shy, compulsive liar, paranoia
  • Tics, like chewing a lip or biting nails, fidgeting
  • Likes/dislikes, hobbies
  • Aspirations, goals
  • Fears
  • Secrets they may be keeping (and who from)
  • Lies they may be telling (and to whom)
  • Misconceptions they believe, communication errors, mistakes
  • Motivation: what is their major reason for existing?
  • Thoughts/feelings regarding specific, major plot points like character death or political shift
  • Alignment (ie, Lawful Good, Chaotic Evil)
  • Bloodline/culture/ethnicity, if it applies
  • Species, if it applies

There are plenty of resources for character creation scattered all across the Internet. One thing I will say…you can never have a character that you know too much about. The more real a character becomes, the easier they are to write. You can fling them at any situation and know exactly how they will react.

For example:

Spiders

  • Wex: “Let him be. He’s not hurting anybody.”
  • Berge: *STOMPS*
  • Zanje: *ignores completely*

Additional Planning Tools

Depending on the length and scope of the story I am working on, I might need to be even more prepared and organized. To give you an example, one of the largest fan fiction projects I ever took on was meant to be more than 500,000 words when it was complete. For that story, my cowriter and I had:

  • A map
  • A timeline
  • An outline of war progression and position
  • A character tab
  • A chapter index
  • An index of ‘plot threads,’ which were plot arcs that would carry throughout the novel, and how long they would last.
  • a soundtrack to get inspired
  • fan art to get inspired
  • Several pages of ‘real-time’ conversation between our two characters to cut pieces from for certain scenes

And that’s it!

Planning usually takes me no more than a day or two. I get really excited and just pour it all out. However, I do tweak the plan and add to it as the story becomes clear. The plan changes, sometimes, too. The characters might evolve differently than I intended, or I might come up with something I like better than what I had originally.

The general idea of having a plan is just so I have a better idea of what I expect of the story as a whole without charging forward blindly.

(Actually, I used to be a total pantser. I HATED outlines. The problem with that method is you write yourself up against a wall with no plan to get out. It can be fun…you might solve the problem in new and interesting ways. However, I’ve ultimately rejected that method because it isn’t very productive. I don’t finish anything.)

I also use the plan as a means of tracking details I might otherwise forget. I write down the names of towns and villages I make up on the fly, or all of the tiny nobody characters that walk in and walk out again. I never used to do that…I got frustrated one too many times trying to remember those names, and now I avoid that.

Let me know if you have any questions, or if this was helpful at all. Anything I can do to help, I am absolutely at your service. Who knows…maybe it will end up as another blog post!


S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).

Check out the #WriteTip category for more writing advice and tools from Frankie and Sam!

#FrankieWIP Happy Dragon Emerges!

Frankie Av

Fixed Malevolence PDF for print and Emergence is definitely emerging! 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Stickers, Photoshop and Writing!

Frankie Av

A little update from Frankie Dragon. Between gutting the house for a new heating system, I’ve been writing, plotting and sticking stickers in sticker albums! XD Some people like colouring books to help them relax, I like sticker books XD

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fiMALEVOLENCE

 

#WriteTip Idea Boards!

Frankie Av

Over the past few months I’ve told you about my writing routine. From my writing tools to playlists, bubble and flow charts to character boards. But what do I do with them once I have them ready?

Well, I make an idea board.

Now, I know many authors just write and find things such as I do merely a waste of time or an added unnecessary chore. I can almost hear them shouting “Oh, for crying out loud. Just get on with it!!” But, when you have a memory as bad as mine, combined with the attention span of a toddler, idea boards come in very handy.

While many authors are able to sit and write a book without the need for such a thing, I personally find an idea board invaluable. Writing is not my full-time occupation, and I have a lot of responsibilities in my life–even more so outwith my working hours. You don’t need to know what they are, suffice to say my time is split tenfold in all directions every day. It isn’t easy for me to find hours to sit and write. Therefore, since I often have long periods between writing, I need something to remind me what my goal is and something which can instantly get me back into writing. Yes, I know many authors are not full-time writers, and we all have our responsibilities, but-as with everything in life- we all do things differently. We all have our peculiarities, our rituals and routines. This is part of mine.

A simple cork-board with everything pinned to it helps me when I find my mind wandering or concentration wavering. It helps me when I have forgotten things or have strayed from the original story idea. My idea boards keep everything for my story in one easily accessible place. Once I have the outline complete and any ideas typed up or written down tidily and legibly, I pin them all to my board.  I often use small index cards to highlight main points and pin them to the board. I print out my flow charts and character sheets (printed on draft/economy mode and only once they are ready. I try not to waste paper and ink!) I also pin up my playlist details, chapter list, any photos or items which help me with the story. I only laminate very important pieces as I have accidentally ruined them in the past! I consult my idea board when writing to stay on track and reach targets I’ve set. It helps me remember exactly where I’m going with the story and reminds me of all the important plot points and twists.

I’ve already started the idea board for Emergence, but I need a new cork-board. My old one was damaged in the recent spring clean! No need to worry about spoilers in the photograph, I doubt you could read the print!

It isn’t only just another tool to help me in my writing. I suppose the creation of an idea board is also a sort of ritual to me. It’s similar to how some professional athletes carry out repetitive rituals before heading out to a big match or competition. I feel I need to make one, believe I would be lost without one, so yes, perhaps it is an offshoot of my OCD and has become a ritualistic chore. But, with every item I pin on the board I feel more prepared and ready to write. I feel more confident and believe that by the time the board is finished I am ready to get to work. In other words, it gets me into the zone.

Once the idea board is complete, I am left with a visual representation of the story. Just a glance at it can get me back on track if I lose my way or have been unable to write for a period of time. While I do keep a record of ideas and such in my jotters, I often find myself flicking through pages in search of something I invariably fail to find. I have wasted an entire day just searching for something. I can become quite fixated on one thing and squander  valuable hours looking for it! So I also consider my idea boards time savers!

Like I say, I am already working on the board for Emergence. So far I have my character sheet, story outline, some drafts, writing sprints and ideas. It’s actually nearly finished! I also have my character board set up for Emergence. If you compare the Emergence board with the Malevolence character board, you will see a very obvious difference.

 

They have very different moods to them and this was intentional. The returning characters are different from what they were in the first book. They are a little wiser, more wary than they were in Malevolence. Emergence character board is also black-and-white. This was also deliberate as every time I look at it I want to remember what happened in Malevolence, what the characters went through and how they were at the end of the story. Also, the mix of black-and-white and colour in the Malevolence board bugged me after a while!  The only one who didn’t get a new photograph was Louise. The reason for this is because I don’t remember the woman’s name so therefore can’t source another photo of her. If you know who she is, let me know!

I should also point out that the people I choose for my character boards are people who I believe are most like the way I imagine my characters. I’m a terrible portrait artist otherwise I would create them from my mind onto paper or canvas.

Anyway, I’m getting very excited about writing again and have already started Emergence with approximately seven thousand words already written. It looks like the sequel to Malevolence will be well on it’s way long before NaNoWriMo even begins!

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Idea Explosion for Emergence!

Frankie Av

Just in the past few days I have been inundated with ideas for my new book Emergence. It is the second part of the Malevolence series and with it solidifying in my mind I feel I will be writing it soon! Very exciting times!

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Emergence at the Starting Line!

Frankie Av

I’m afraid I am unable to make a vlog today due to work being done in the house. It’s too noisy and distracting!

Anyway, this week I have been concentrating on plot points for Emergence and gearing up for writing again. As I explained in this blog post, there are a few stages I go through on the run up to writing a story. I appear to be marching into the first stages now!

I might have a writing OST  for the story. As you know, Malevolence was written to Chad Lawson’s: The Chopin Variations. At present, it’s the X-Men: First Class OST which is making me excited and wanting to write. I love orchestral scores, especially movie scores–I own many and listen to them often. I put this one on last week and felt the familiar pull of ideas and the yearning to write kick in. Since then I’ve had the soundtrack playing on repeat and ideas cementing in my mind. It’s now part of a growing playlist which I plan to use  while writing Emergence.

I’ve began to withdraw from social media. This often happens when I wish to concentrate and it isn’t something which I purposely or consciously do. I just seem to drift away from this particular distraction when I wish to write and I noticed how much I’ve been away from the internet a few days ago and recognised the sign.

I’ve been frequently scribbling down ideas. In the past few months my ideas have been pretty poor and I’ve forgotten too many. But in the past week I’ve managed to come up with some good ones which I think might prove interesting. I have them all written in a Google Doc so I don’t forget them and I must say I am excited over a few.

I appear to be getting into the mindset for writing, at last able to imagine the entire Emergence story just in the past few days. It’s a sign that I’m almost ready to get a first draft charted out. I even have ideas for the Emergence character board and hope to create it over the weekend.

The Malevolence Character Board

I’ve pulled out my jotters for making my bubble charts, created folders for chapters and drafts, and a G-doc folder is ready for backing up documents. I’ve grabbed all my pens and pencils, highlighters and blank pads ready for use. I’m getting my laptop and desktop computer tidied up, organizing folders and programs in preparation of writing. I’ve even managed a first draft of the first chapter!

All in all, it looks like Emergence is at the starting line waiting for the green light to shine! By the time the school holidays are over, I’m hoping to be ready to go!

I might pop up a bonus vlog tomorrow if I get five quiet minutes to make one. But if I don’t, I will speak to you next week! 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE