Tag Archives: Stephanie Flint

Infinitas Publishing Status Report

It’s that time again–time for a status report! I’ve been busy writing and revising, and in October I’ll be doing a pre-writing workshop with the local Community Arts Center. If you’re interested and you’re located in the Upper Peninsula, there’s still a few spots open, so you can still sign up if you call them by this Saturday (September 30th). Click here for more info.  We’ll develop a premise for your novel, focus on character creation, develop the plot, then do outline critique, focusing on each subject during one of the four classes. 🙂

Now… on to the progress!

DH Divider

Glitch: Our beta-reader confirmed that Glitch may work as a three-part serial, with a few tweaks. I’m in the process of finalizing those tweaks, and another beta-reader is currently taking a look at the first part of the story to make sure everything now reads smoothly where Isaac and I changed a few plot points. I’ve also been working on a blurb for part one, and I’ve got cover proofs created for all three parts.

Once all that is complete, I’ll need to read through the manuscript aloud to catch errors and strange sounding sentences, then format and proofread it. Hopefully I’ll be able to announce a release date soon!

Fractured Skies: Not much new progress on this one, except that I now have an idea of what needs to be done to fix the manuscript. That will be one of my next major projects after I finish the current tweaks to Glitch.

Distant Horizon: After checking the current cover with a group of Facebook authors, I determined that, while the cover for Distant Horizon conveys YA Sci-Fi or Dystopian, it isn’t as clear as it could be and not as “grabby” as might be necessary to catch reader’s interest. So, once I pick up the stock images for the Glitch covers, there’s a good chance I’ll be rebranding this series. I’ve got proofs created (for all planned books in this series), so all I need to do is finalize the covers. Look for more information on that coming soon!

The Multiverse Chronicles: Officially, on hold. Unofficially… I made the first round of edits on three of the episodes. It’s still a ways off from continuing the release of new episodes, but it hasn’t been forgotten.

Book Three of The Wishing Blade Series: After writing and polishing the rough draft, I realized that it needs to be split into two books in order to give a couple major plot points time to develop. (Plot points I originally intended to have in the second book… but that’s epic fantasy for you). As it stands, the first part of this book sits around 75,000 words, and I’m around 22,000 words into the next book.

Still not sure about the nametitles, and I need to do some more tightening to book three before I hand it over to Isaac for a developmental read. I’ve begun outlining book four to make sure it will be feasible as it’s own book. More information on this once I’ve worked out some of the wrinkles.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Working on a book cover… work as usual.

Game Development: Currently on hold. Since Isaac is the main developer, and he’s currently working on his PhD, game development will likely be in spurts, rather than continuous progress. However, we’ve been able to go to the local game/coffee shop’s game nights, and that’s given us a chance to play all sorts of tabletop games, which should help us when developing our own games (and provides us with a chance to socialize).

That’s all for the moment. I’ve got to get back to working on Glitch. 🙂

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Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

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 I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Writing a Rough Draft, One Character at a Time

I recently finished the main draft for book three of The Wishing Blade series (the main draft, in this case, being a little bit more polished than a rough draft, but not quite ready for beta-readers). The process I took for writing this one was a bit different than some of my other books, so I thought I would take a moment to discuss the process.

Normally,  when I write, I write semi-chronologically… for the whole plot. I may skip around at times to write scenes that I feel particularly enthused about, or to bypass scenes that are giving me difficulty until the rest of the rough draft has been written, but I write in plot order.

This time, however, I focused on writing one point of view at a time. The third book (currently untitled) has four points of view, compared to the two in Magic’s Stealing (Toranih, with a few short scenes from Shevanlagiy), the three in The Shadow War (Daernan, Toranih, a few scenes with Shevanlagiy… and technically there’s four POVs because there’s a single scene with Siklana). Distant Horizon and Glitch each have only one point of view (Jenna and Tim, respectively). There’s also Little One, which has three primary points of view and several brief scenes with a bunch of other characters, but I was jumping all over the place when writing that one.

General consensus?

The process for writing each book is going to be different.

That’s okay. Some books are harder, some are easier.

But let’s take a closer look at my most recent experiment… writing one point of view at a time. While I haven’t sent book three out to beta-readers yet, and there may be other advantages and pitfalls that I’ve missed, I have already noticed a few key aspects of the process.

Advantages:

  1. Character goals and motivations are easier to keep track of.
    • Since you’re writing one point of view all at once, you aren’t distracted by the other characters’ motivations. You’re focusing entirely on one character and what that one character wants. Thus…
  2. Character arcs are smoother.
    • Their emotions are easier to follow. You can see when their emotions are shifting, and they aren’t reacting to what the previous point of view character was feeling. It’s easier to isolate them, thus…
  3. This allows you to clearly see what major players are doing.
    • Each character feels more fleshed out because he has his own wants and needs, and is acting with an individual character arc.

However, this particular character-oriented process comes with a few pitfalls.

Disadvantages:

  1. Occasional lapses in timeline.
    • When you’re writing these different characters, you may find that something that needs to happen in the morning happens in the afternoon, or days before or after an event should occur. Having a general outline that shows what each character should be doing, and when, can help alleviate this issue, as can leaving some time frames in which the events’ timing is not solidified to one point on the plot. I was pleasantly surprised at how all four POVs managed to come together for book three… and that was probably because I had a rough outline, which I wrote after one character’s POV was already completely written.
  2. Story flow may not be as smooth.
    • When writing the plot in a linear fashion, it may be easier to see the ups and downs for the reader, not just the character. You may run into problems where the scenes are jarring, with one character coming out of an extremely tense situation into a scene where other characters are in absolute calm. To counter this phenomenon, you may want to look for moments of irony. If one character believes one thing and the opposite is true, this may work in your favor. You can also play with parallels, in which we see how events are lining up between characters more than they know. You can place alternating POVs in such a way as to create moments of tension, in which one of the characters has discovered a great danger to another character (or is the great danger), and we know that the character’s POV that we just shifted into is under a threat they don’t suspect.
  3. Story plot might be forgotten.
    • When focusing on the character, rather than the plot, you may find that the characters have decided to go an entirely different direction than you had planned. This can be good… it provides twists the reader might not expect, but it can also be bad… (On hearing my plans for the plot of book three, my husband asked, “But where’s the Shadow War?” Needless to say, I’ve made a few notes which will need to be addressed in the next round of revisions). You may find that the external plot has shifted away from what your reader expects to read. This can sometimes be prevented by having an outline, or it can be adjusted scene-by-scene once you have the rough draft written.
  4. Your story might get bogged down with subplots.
    • You may find that writing all of the scenes from a single point of view means that you place more importance on a character than you necessarily should. These subplots decide to take over the story and run away like the horses of a wagon in a gold heist… (sorry… my mind is stuck on “frontier” and “mining” at the moment). Once you place them in the story with the other characters’ POVs, you might quickly realize which scenes are bogging down the plot and which ones need to be moved. Beta-readers may also be helpful here, if you’re having a hard time picking out the problem spots.

Overall, though, I found doing each character arc individually to be an effective method for writing multiple points of views when each of the points of views were largely separate from the other. The characters are contributing to the main plot, but what they do doesn’t directly affect the others… yet. Still, readers can see that a larger scheme is unfolding, and what each of the characters are learning should create tension for the other characters, especially as the web of the plot slowly weaves them back together.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you ever tried writing a story from each individual point of view before placing everything together into one, mostly-cohesive draft?

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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for a status report! Now that the move to Michigan is mostly complete (and I’ve finally gotten my car back after a run-in with the local wildlife), we’re slowly getting back into the groove of things. Still got a few things to take care of before we’re all settled in, but things are finally getting back to normal. 🙂

DH Divider

Glitch: I’ve completed the major edits, handed the manuscript to Isaac to check over, and have been working on his changes. Due to the structure of the story, we’re actually considering breaking it into three individual stories, each around 35,000 to 45,000 words long. They’ll rely heavily on being read in order, but should each have their own beginning, middle, and end. I’ve sent the first part to a beta-reader to see what she thinks. If we do split the story into three parts, we’ll most likely release each part around two-three weeks apart, so readers won’t have to wait long to read each book. With luck, we’ll be moving forward with this project sooner rather than later.

Fractured Skies: I’ve made the second round of major edits based on Isaac’s feedback from a year or two ago, and now I’ve handed it back to him to look through. It needs a bit of work in order to match it to the style and tone of Distant Horizon. But this one is certainly in progress.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Book 3 of The Wishing Blade Series: Working on plotting. Once Fractured Skies is out to beta-readers, I plan to start editing what I already have written of this manuscript, then write the other half of the book.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Finished one formatting project, now working on book covers. Not much new here.

Game Development: Trying to work out the kinks in a fantasy-based civilization building game. We have a few ideas, but we’ll need to test-play them.

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Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

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 I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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Behind the Scenes – Hunter in the Darkness

A cover for Melange Books. We wanted the cover to resemble the other books in the series, Night of the Hunter, and Demon Hunter. Per usual, we used the same model, but a different pose of the head, and a different body, so as to vary the general look. We kept the stormy background from the previous cover, and I changed the lighting so that it would look more consistent across the cover as a whole. The font and placement of text remained the same.

This is the result:

SBibb - Hunter in the Darkness - Book Cover

Stock images from DepositPhotos and Dreamstime:

http://depositphotos.com/11103958/stock-photo-chichen-itza-mayan-pyramid.html – pyramid

http://depositphotos.com/19515051/stock-photo-man-holding-gun.html – man

http://depositphotos.com/39715889/stock-photo-couple-with-bows-and-historical.html – head

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-businessman-gun-white-image47821012 – eyes

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-smoke-moves-black-background-image48826804 – fog

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Behind the Scenes – Demon Hunter

A cover for Melange Books. We wanted to match the cover to the first book in the series, Night of the Hunter. We used the same cover model, but a different pose, and similar lighting techniques. However, we switched the background to have more of a setting-based focus, and gave it that stormy lighting to convey mood. We also kept the typography the same and in relatively the same position so that the series was evident.

SBibb - Demon Hunter - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-dark-ominous-rain-clouds-lightning-image18357018 – sky

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-new-orleans-lafayette-cemetery-above-ground-tombs-image60673899 – cemetery

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-smoke-moves-black-background-image48826804 – fog

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-business-man-holding-gun-monochromatic-background-image48451524 – man

http://depositphotos.com/39716167/stock-photo-couple-with-sword-and-historical.html – head

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Thoughts on Writing – Using Music for Plotting (The Wishing Blade series)

When writing and plotting stories, I like listening to music. (Not so much when editing… then I prefer to see how the story is speaking for itself). Listening to music helps me set the tone of the scene, and it provides inspiration while I’m plotting, whether I’m stuck in a scene, or just want something to help convey the tone. Another benefit I’ve found is that if I listen to music while plotting, then listen to the same song again later when writing, I can reintroduce that feeling, that mood I was in when I originally crafted the story. (For this, playlists are extremely helpful).

For example, I’ve used music constantly while writing and plotting The Wishing Blade series. There are certain songs I listen to when I want to be reminded of specific characters and their motives. For example, “The Other Side” by Blackmore’s Night is one I’ve recently found useful when I want to think of Shevanlagiy’s character arc (since there’s a particular character she’s trying to keep from dying again that drives her motives).

As for influences on the world of the story in general, “Shadows” by Gordon Lightfoot, and “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie (I must admit that I’m not a fan of the original recording; I heard a different version of it when I was taking singing lessons that I became a fan of), both influenced the world. “Shadows” inspired some of the longing of Daernan’s character in The Shadow War, who sees that the world is no longer what it appeared, and it influenced how he sees the war affecting Toranih. “Rainbow Connection” pushed me toward the original idea of the Wishing Blade and more importantly toward the idea of there being some unnatural call (in this case, Magic’s Lure) pulling characters in directions they hadn’t expected (though the call in the story is a bit more sinister than that of the song).

But not all of the songs that influence the story and character arcs are ones I listened to in the early stages of writing. Aside from “The Other Side,” which was a fairly recent discovery, I enjoy several versions of “Luna’s Future” that fans have covered from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV series. When I listen to the song, I enjoy picturing it as a dialogue between Madiya and Shevanlagiy (minus the names of the ponies involved, since neither characters would wish to be caught in a musical, or as their equine counterparts…). I also enjoy “Elf Glade” by Meg Davis, which I picture as a dialogue between young Lord Menchtoteale and Shevanlagiy… despite the fact that there are no elves in the story, and that I can’t go into too much detail about why I see this song with those characters without giving potential spoilers.

If you listen to music while plotting, consider the reasons for it. Does it inspire a certain mood for you? Help you picture scenarios between characters you hadn’t pictured before? If you’re stuck on a certain plot point, try putting together a list of songs that have influenced your story, or look for new ones in a similar vein to help inspire you. (Just don’t do like I do and discover that a couple hours have passed with nothing written, but with a host of new songs added to the playlist).

Another joy of plotting while listening to music is misinterpreting lyrics. The first time I heard “The Skye Boat Song,” I heard “Carry the lad that’s born to be king, over the sea to die” rather than “over the sea to Skye.” Though the plot arc that resulted hasn’t appeared in the current version of The Wishing Blade series, it led to a concept that played in the original draft, where a young boy who was stillborn was brought back to life by the high god so that he would later become king. There was no sea involved in the plot, but the character played a large role in the original story. (And who knows… he may later play a role in the world of Cirena, even if he doesn’t appear in The Wishing Blade series). Likewise, “Kingsword” by Heather Dale also makes me think of that particular story arc.

Have you found any songs to have given you story ideas because you didn’t quite hear what was being said? Or because there are variations on the song?

There were certainly other songs that influenced the world of The Wishing Blade and helped shape it into what it is today. Most of the stories I write have been influenced in one way or another by the songs I listen to (and the songs I listen to have been influenced by what I write).

If anyone’s interested, I’m considering looking at how music has influenced the other stories I’ve written and that I’m working on. But, for now, do you listen to music while you plot, and have you found any songs to be helpful in writing a particular story? 🙂

 

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Behind the Scenes – Song of the Sword

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted to keep with the theme of the previous books: Dragon SwordSword of DoomSword of the Quest, and Star Sword. Again, I piece-parted images of the model to get the dramatic pose we wanted, and per usual, I added specific lighting to the background and foreground using overlay and softlight blending layers, in order to make the image look cohesive. Adding a bit of “fog” at the base of the image allowed the title to stand out better while blending out the legs of the model where the stock image was cut away.

SBibb - Song of the Sword - Book Cover

Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club (Site no longer functional):
two images of the model

Stock from Dreamstime:
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-dark-ominous-rain-clouds-lightning-image18357018 – sky
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-castle-kreuzenstein-leobendorf-near-vienna-austria-image45372240 – castle
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-roche-rock-ancient-ruined-chapel-perched-top-rocky-granite-outcrop-known-as-located-mid-cornwall-dedicated-to-st-image32326080 – rocks

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