Day Job to Writing

Today is my last day of work before I get to sit down for five days and work on my epic fantasy. I wanted to use this post as a way to share some neat outlining tricks I’ve recently started trying out. Some of these have made me write constantly for eight to ten hours each day because I have a goal and a determination to meet them. I hope these will help you guys and just remember there is no true way to write a story. I’m just sharing what I’ve found is easier for me.

1. The Timeline

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My timeline has all the chapters and events in them. Right now, I have twenty chapters outlined on the novel, but I have added in back story chapters for a few characters. This has helped me to know and love my characters. Also, don’t be afraid to change your timeline; sometimes spending those first four to five hours outlining you may miss a few key chapters that help the readers understand the journey.

2. Character Notestmp_30300-20150220_083153-755828198

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As you all know, characters are what drive your story. You have protagonists, antagonists, comedic reliefs, etc. All of these characters have a story, so tell it! Put your main characters as your priority, but some sub characters can create a reason for your main characters to continue their quest. I use a black board to draw out my main family trees, while my wall serves as family trees/ characters that are not as important but remain needed in their own way. Keep these close to you cause characters change and you will need this to follow who they are later on.

3. Maps

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Draw a simple map of your world. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I use this to keep track of the journey. It seems unnecessary but believe me maps really do give you the upper hand when you’re trying to plan an epic battle that is taking place in an ocean. Yes, it has occurred to me that names get lost in writing and we create lands over water by accident. Thank you, Sara C. Roethle for reminding of this in your post.

4. Possibly feuds/ Challenges

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Right now only one sheet of paper. I’m writing my feuds as I go because some can span across a whole novel. There are eventually more challenges but just note them as you go. Start with the linear feuds then work your way into smaller ones that occur later on.

5. Schedule/ Goals

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Here is my last suggestion, schedule your writing over the weeks and keep tabs on your work. Like any business, keeping track with time is essential to knowing what progress you’ve made. Yes, writers hate schedules but the reason I make one is because a schedule leads to a goal. Finishing the project!! How great would it feel if you stuck to your writing schedule like you would any full time job. Then finished your novel hopefully in weeks and had it published after editing.  It would be amazing, right? As you can see, I’ve blocked my days with  atleast two chapters written or 10,000 words. Which ever comes first.  Plus, I have my tracker that says what I’ve written for the day and how long it took me to write that much. This has helped me figure out what times I’m more productive whether it be early in the morning, midday, or over night. Keep track of when you write the most and try to write at those times.

There is no true way to write a novel, but if you feel you are spending countless hours reeling back trying to remember if Carl had brown or blond hair, an outline will eliminate that wasted time. I hope this helps with all of your future works. I will eventually post up how I have developed this world I’m working on in the next post.

Sample of YA Fantasy: Eliptica

This is just a short sample of part of my new novel: Eliptica. I hope you guys enjoy and please let me know what you think of the story so far. Thanks again!

The ground was damp and the air was thin as a fog passed through Saldon Forest. A glimmer from the moon’s glow peeked through the tree tops, while the eerie croaks of toads and haunting hoots from owls echoed around Alexandria Roe. She sat on the ground beneath the branches of a tree, staring at her mother’s dirt packed cheeks and bewildered eyes. Her fingers dug into the wet mud, feeling a grainy liquid ooze between her fingers. Tears streamed down her mother’s face and her brunette hair was entangled in a messy bun. Alexandria watched her mother turn away.

“Mama?” her voice cracked as a cloud appeared from her lips from the cold. “Where are you going?” She tightened her brown cloak against her body. Her body trembled from the cold, and she could hear her own teeth chatter uncontrollably.

“Stay, Alaxandria,” her mother answered, glancing over her shoulder. Her gray eyes shined under the moon. “I will return for you soon.”

“But I’m scared!” she cried, but silence was the only answer she received from her mother.

Alexandria pulled herself off the ground and waited patiently for hours in the dark with only the light from the sky showed her the way. Her eyes burned from tears. The churns in her stomach weighed in on her for hours as she left the tree to find her way back home. A chill ran up her spine when she heard the howl of a wolf. Her body shook uncontrollably from fear of the creatures lurking in the trees. A symphony of howls echoed around her until she finally ran away. Every muscle in her body tensed as her feet pressed into the mud. Even her head felt like it was going to burst from the constant howls behind her. She glanced over her shoulder to discover a pack of wolves close behind her. A broken tree limb caught her ankle as she slid across the mud, smacking her back against a tree stump. Her auburn hair was covered in mud and stuck to her clammy face.

She closed her eyes and whispered a prayer to herself. The wolves flanked both sides of her with their incisors dripping with saliva. The leader of the pack approached her with his spine curved and ears pointed. Its yellow eyes gleamed at her as though enticed by the aroma of her flesh. She could hear her heart thumping harder, but her body was frozen with fright.

The wolf swiped its paw at her and cut deep beneath her breast. A piece of her cloak tore, while blood stained the material. She could feel the warm liquid drip down the side of her belly. She quickly squeezed her knees together with her arms and cradled herself against the tree stump.

“Help!” she screamed in terror. “Somebody, please! Mama!”

An explosion erupted behind her as the whiz from a bullet passed by her head. She ducked beneath the tree trunk for safety. The leader of the pack whined as a piece of its leg ripped open and blood spurted across the ground. The wolf limped away behind its pack, crying from the pain of the bullet. Alexandria looked up to find a man holding a rifle over her. His eyes as gray as glass. He dropped the weapon to the ground and knelt next to her. He grabbed her arm, but she instinctively pulled it away.

“Now, c’mon, I can’t be playing these games tonight little girl. Let me see it,” he said, holding out the dirty palms of his hands. “I can help you. I just need to know the extent of your injury.”

Her eyes turn to the ground where a puddle of burgundy red resonates beneath her. She did not realize the injury was critical. He pulled her arm away from her knee and pushed away the cloak from her side.

“I need to examine that at my lodge. My wife can give you food and water, while we prepare to stitch you up,” he said, stroking his black beard.

She could feel the blood caking the inside of her pit. Her cloak would not stop sticking to her body and the wound seemed to burn more every time she pulled away the material.

“Okay,” she answered, reaching for his hand. He pulled her to her feet and slung his rifle over his shoulder.

“Did you need me to carry you?” he asked, watching her step forward and stumble to the ground. “You don’t have to answer that. Come here.” He scooped her up off of her feet and cradled her in his arms. “How old are you anyways?” he asked, looking into the forest.

“Seven,” she answered softly.

He grunted and looked down at her with sympathetic eyes. “Another child left for dead.”

She looked up at him with tears in her eyes. She closed her eyes and pretended to not hear the truth of her mother’s intentions.

“Why would she leave me to die?” she coughed with a steady stream of tears in her eyes.

“Come again?” he asked with a slight huff in his voice from exhaustion.

“Nothing,” she answered, closing her eyes with the realization that she was her mother’s bastard child.

Mirror’s Veil

I’ve been a little perplexed about what to do with this story. I’ve had this in my files for years and I’ve been tempted to trash it, but it is so hard to let it go. Some work went into this about seven years ago, but it still needs a lot of tender loving care before it’ll ever be ready to be put out on the market. Hope you guys ejoy it. If not, please let me know so I can prove to myself to finally let this one go. Thanks!

 

Chapter 1

     The peaks of the mountains cast shadows across the valleys as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. Clouds tumble over the valley like the ragged breath of a starving wolf as the eerie sounds of critters and animals echo off the tree trunks. A dense fog hovers over a secluded lake in the valley, where a cabin rests within the naked strip of land. A lantern screeches on its jay hook above the door as a gust of wind sweeps across the porch. The scent of chicken and vegetables lingers throughout the cabin which is all that remains of the dinner eaten by the owners of the cabin: a husband, a wife, and their daughter, Lucy Dowles.

Seven-year-old Lucy Dowles rests peacefully in the guest bedroom of the cabin, where she grips the comforters firmly in her hands. The warmth of the bed enthralls her body as she sleeps. A ghostly breeze brushes her face and interrupts her slumber. Her eyes wander towards the door as she squints and rubs her eyes with her tiny hands. She shivers as the breeze continues to whisk pass her face. She peaks over the sheets towards the window, but it is closed. She twists and cocoons herself inside of the comforter. The disturbing creak from the door draws her attention instantly, but she remains stone cold in the bed. She looks over the comforter again. Her hazel eyes peer at the door, where it is slightly open. A chill creeps down her spine as her heart rapidly paces in circles.

A little boy’s laughter echoes in the hallway. Lucy’s mind is drunk with curiosity as she drags her feet out of the bed.  She leans forward to look out into the hallway, but it is barely visible from her angle. Lucy cautiously pushes off the bed and walks towards the door. She leans against the door and pokes her head out into the hallway. Nothing is there.

She pulls the door wide open, cautious as to not wake her parents across the hall. Her father rolls in his bed but continues to snore. The boy’s laughter echoes in the kitchen. Lucy looks across the hall into her parents’ room, but her instincts taunt her to continue investigating the sounds in the house.

The brisk air takes her breath away as she enters the kitchen. The wooden floors are cold beneath her bare feet. She hesitates for a moment as she looks at the metallic panel on the refrigerator. She sees the opaque outline of her black hair and tiny body in the reflection. A knock at the window makes her heart skip a beat as she twists around like a top. A cloud forms in the window as though someone is breathing on the opposite side of the glass. Lucy pushes herself back from the counter with a hint of fright swirling in her mind. She continues to stare at the window as letters form within the cloud. The letter, “C” appears as more letters gradually form. A message is finally legible in the window:

 

COME PLAY WITH US

 

Chills writhe throughout Lucy’s body, and she stumbles around the island in the middle of the kitchen. The door to the back porch slams with force as she falls to the floor. The message fades away in the window. She walks towards the back door and hears garbage cans crash around the other side of the porch. The hairs on her neck rise as she twists the doorknob.

The floorboards are slick and wet as the fresh midnight dew lingers in the air. The cold and moist air sticks to Lucy’s skin as the rustling in the trees alert her attention. The lantern continues to swing on its hook as the wind picks up momentum across the porch. She ventures towards a pile of metal trays scattered across the porch, where something knocked them off the table. She walks to the corner of the porch and hears a bloodcurdling hiss as sharp claws dig into her ankle. She pulls her leg away and observes her small wound. Blood trickles down her ankle and wraps around her heel. She looks back at the black cat. Its tail is furrowed and back arched as though ready to attempt to attack Lucy again. The bright red glow from the cat’s eyes mesmerizes Lucy as the cat slowly ducks under the railing and hops into the yard.

Lucy peers out at the darkness of the back yard as the moon peeks through the clouds. The wound burns on her ankle as the legs to her pajamas rub lightly against her skin.

The boy’s laughter erupts from beneath the porch as pine needles stir beneath his footfalls. Lucy leans over the railing, but the boy is already sprinting towards the woods.

“Come out and play, Lucy!” the boy’s laughter makes her petrified to know where he is leading her to, but yet again, her instincts continue to persuade her to continue on her investigation.

The boy finally disappears into the black abyss of the forest, where only his white clothes give off a ghostly aura. She races down the steps of the porch and follows behind him like a sheep in a herd. The cold and wet blades of grass glide beneath her feet, while soaking the bottoms of her pajamas. She watches his golden hair bounce on his head as he avoids fallen trees and low hanging branches.

He disappears in the distance as Lucy slows down to catch her breath. She hears the screeching crickets around her, while the yelping bullfrogs remain hidden in the distance. Her feet sink into the mud. The boy is no longer in sight. A breeze pushes her forward as though forcing her to continue in the direction of the lake as an orange glow sways in the distance. The underbrush cracks beside her, and she quickly turns her head towards the sound. No one is there. The trees narrow as she walks deeper into the forest. A flood of adrenaline rushes throughout her body as anxiety thrashes at her lungs. She sees the pale face and dull eyes of the young boy staring at her. Lucy screams and falls backwards into a pile of wet leaves. Tears swell up under her eyelids as the boy bends down to help her stand up.

“Come play with my new friend, Lucy. He won’t bite,” the boy says with a suspicious tone.

“Who are you? Where is your friend?”

He smiles and points a limp finger towards a tall figure hidden beneath a black coat. The figure stands on the shore with his finger summoning both of them towards him.

“Lucy!” her mother’s scream can be heard in the distance.

“I have to go,” Lucy says, looking back towards the forest.

“No. There is nothing to be afraid of,” a devilish voice says in her subconscious.

“Who are you?” she asks, looking up at the tall figure.

“Come and see,” the sinister voice says as the figure invites her onto his gondola.

Lucy and the boy walk across the cool sand. She feels the pebbles press against the bottom of her feet with their dull edges. The moon outlines the figure as it reaches out for Lucy’s hand. He pulls her towards the cool water.

“Join us, Lucy.”

“I can’t,” Lucy says frightened by the request. “My mother is worried sick. I can’t go. I’m sorry.”

“No worries, Lucy.” The figure waves his hand in the air and the echoes of her mother are silenced. “I have the power to take away all of your worries. Your mother will be fine.”

“But,” she stops. Her mother’s cries can no longer be heard. “What happened?”

“Come with me and I’ll show you.”

The fog lifts slightly as the figure hoists Lucy into the gondola. The boy follows behind her. Lucy feels stomach bile rise in her chest as the gondola drifts out towards the middle of the lake. The figure rows gently until they reach the center. The silence of the lake and the forest forces tears down Lucy’s cheeks. The boy’s hand reaches out for Lucy.

“What’s happening?” Lucy asks, shivering from the cold night.

The figure grabs her neck and twists, until her life is taken away from her.