Tag Archives: writing

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!

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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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 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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Blog Tour – “Kissed By Literature” by Jordan Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Jordan Elizabeth’s latest book, Kissed by Literature! 🙂

Read on…

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KISSED BY LITERATURE

A Collection of Short Stories

Kissed by Literature by Jordan Elizabeth - Blog Tour Book Cover

(Cover art by Rue Volley.)

Enter worlds of steampunk and terror, where you’ll meet ghosts that will raise the hairs along your arms. Among the tales, you’ll encounter a serial killer stalking a country road and a vacation destination riddled with evil. This collection of short stories explores the different writing styles and genres of Amazon bestselling author Jordan Elizabeth.

KISSED BY LITERATURE is on Amazon from CHBB.  Get it for 99 cents for a limited time.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Check out the start of the short story “Evil that Walks Tweed Road”:

I slid the manila folder into the cardboard box, careful to keep them alphabetized.  My brother might tease me to death over my organization habits, but not once had I fumbled during my presentations.  Each photograph, newspaper article, and information sheet had a home.

“Excuse me.  Annie?  I’m Patrick.”

I glanced up, the final folder in hand.  A man with gray eyes stood in front of the table.  I’d studied those gray eyes during my lecture while he sat in the back row of the library’s meeting room.

“Yes?”  I double-checked the words on the folder before placing it into the box.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Tweed Road.  I grew up near there, and as kids we always wanted to see the ghosts.  Swear we saw a couple of them.”

I nodded, my ponytail sliding over my shoulder.  “I’ve heard plenty of those ghost stories, but I don’t really believe in ghosts.  If a serial killer gets you, do you really want to hang around for all eternity?”

He chuckled.  His teeth had to have been professionally straightened and whitened to gleam like that.  “What got you into giving talks on Tweed Road?”

He couldn’t be flirting with me… but maybe he was.  “Well, I got my Masters in history and then I got a job as a professor here.  I started looking up local history, and this area is famous for the Tweed Road killings.   It was mostly all legends and kids daring each other to walk along the road at night, so I wanted to tell everyone about the truth.”  I smiled.  I sucked at flirting, but I could sure smile, even if my teeth didn’t look half as nice as his.

“Do you think telling everyone about this will help them finally catch the killer?”

“Life is never that simple.”

Patrick leaned toward me and lowered his voice.  “I know who the serial killer was.”

I lifted my eyebrows.  At every library or historical society where I gave my presentation, someone always had a theory.  My favorite suggestion had been Jack the Ripper.  “Who are you thinking of?”

“My grandfather.”

That was similar to “my ex-husband,” which I heard a lot from elderly women.  “Why do you say that?”

“He confessed to me before he died and he showed me the spot where he did the killings.”

The bodies had all been found dumped in the swamp, but no one had ever discovered where their hearts and livers had been gouged out.  I frowned.  “Who have you told?”

“I, um…just you.”  The young man wiped his hand across his face.  “I don’t know if I should go to the cops.  They might just laugh.  Do they even care about the case anymore?  It’s all more of a legend now.”

“A lot of families would have peace of mind.”

Patrick closed his eyes and sighed.  “Can I show you the spot?  I think I’d feel better going to the cops if you went with me.  You know all the facts about the killings and I just know what my grandfather told me.”

I shifted my stance.  “Don’t let me put words in your mouth.”  I had studied the Tweed Road serial killer for three years and it had all been paper, nothing I could walk on.

“Will you go with me?  I’ll drive.  It’s about fifteen minutes out of town.”

It might become my stupidest decision, but…  “Let me just put my box in the car so we don’t hold up the library from closing at nine.”  If the spot was fifteen minutes away, they wouldn’t make it back by then.

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Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.


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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for another status report! Also, Isaac and I have a bit of news–we’re moving to Michigan! Not the lower part of Michigan, either: the Upper Peninsula. Long story short, Isaac got accepted into a PhD program. 🙂

So… if there are periods of time where things are a bit slow for Infinitas Publishing, it’s probably because we’re in the middle of the long, slow process of packing. We expect to be moving in mid-to-late June.

However, that doesn’t mean you won’t still see new projects and updates. 🙂

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Glitch: I finally finished the latest round of edits meant to put Glitch in continuity with Distant Horizon, and now I’ve got to go back and insert chapter breaks, fix minor errors, tighten the story (I already cut one character’s appearance), and make sure each scene is pulling its weight. Still a little ways to go before it’s complete, but progress has been made.

The Wishing Blade series Book 3 (Title To Be Determined): On hold until Glitch is complete. Parts of it have been written, but I have a big chunk of Shevanlagiy’s point of view to write, along with Siklana’s point of view. Yes… Siklana is intended to be a major character in this one. 🙂

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. The problem with having two writers telling a story–especially a serialized story where you might not catch issues until later–is that both writers may have different ideas of how they want to tell that story, and what story they want to tell. It’s a learning point that we’ve discovered in the process of writing The Multiverse Chronicles. However, we’ve gotten a better sense of what we want this story to be (and where we should compromise on plot points), but we may need to do some revamping of the first part of the story to really make everything cohesive so The Multiverse Chronicles can be the best story it can be. We’ll likely need to review the story and make adjustments from beginning to end before we release any new episodes.

Webb City Library Summer Reading Kick-Off: Isaac and I went to the Webb City Public Library (Missouri) to help with their summer reading program kick-off. We set up a table with our books and games, as well as a lot of the “in progress” pieces to show how we go about making them. I had an early proof copy of Distant Horizon on display, and we had sketch art and concept pieces from all the games. We enjoyed talking about the process, and even sold a couple of books (Distant Horizon and The Shadow War), which was a bonus, since we weren’t specifically trying to sell anything. 🙂

Isaac at the Webb City Public Library Summer Reading Kick-Off

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: I now offer formatting services in addition to book cover design. And I’ve finally gotten the FacebookDeviantArt, and Flickr pages updated with the book covers I’ve posted on this blog. 🙂

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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 – Speaking on Panels

In my previous blog post I mentioned that I was going to be on a few panels at ConQuest, and I had a blast! It was a lot of fun getting to speak on panels, connecting with other authors, and sharing writing tips and knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to moderate a panel on creating languages (because creating languages is a lot of fun), and I hope to do so again in the future. Of course, I still have a lot to work on in order to be a better panelist and moderator, but I felt like this was a good start. (I’ve done a couple smaller panels before, but this was the first one focused solely on writing that was pre-planned).

If you haven’t spoken on a panel before and are looking for advice, I highly recommend listening to Writing Excuses’ podcast, Season 10: Episode 37. It had excellent tips on how to be a good panelist and moderator. Those tips helped me feel a lot more prepared–and thus more comfortable, on the panels.

Number one tip from the podcast: Allow panels to be conversations (build on what other authors have said rather than “waiting to speak,” and don’t hog all the talking time).

The second tip was preparation. For each panel I was on, I went through and read the description, then made a list of notes that I thought might be interesting to bring up or ask questions about, as well as relevant information. In a couple cases, I had to go do a short bit of research so I could remember the exact details. Having a few of the processes and rules written down made it easier for me to look back during the panel and make an exact quote, rather than stumble over something I suddenly can’t remember. And even though I really didn’t reference the notes often during the panel, it was a great refresher to read through before the panel started.

This was especially helpful for being a moderator, since I was able to form a list of questions that I could use if there was a dead beat… and also to segue conversations and go deeper into a topic once a panelist brought it up in the natural course of things.

Plus, I now have a whole set of notes of things I want to write blog posts about, and how I’d like to connect them back to my own writings (since using examples makes it a lot easier to understand).

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun both being on panels and listening to them. But now that the convention is over, it’s time to get back to writing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you had any experience being on panels, and if so, do you have any tips for authors who want to be panelists?

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Thoughts on Writing – A Use for Prologues

Writers often hear that they shouldn’t include a prologue in their novel. That, if necessary at all, the prologue should become the first chapter.

I’ll admit, though I’ve often attempted to write a prologue into my stories, I’ve usually turned back around and taken them out later at the suggestion of beta readers. Prologues are often a breeding ground for unnecessary info dumps that really would be better interwoven into the actual story. (Or in my case, prologues were excuses to bring in confusing characters that weren’t ready to be revealed until a bit more foreshadowing has been dropped into the story).

However, there are exceptions to every rule, and most writing rules are really more like guidelines that, if you know their purpose, can be broken.

For example, I’ve become a fan of the writing podcast, Writing Excuses, which is an excellent resource for writers who want to hone their craft. The podcasters of Writing Excuses cover many different topics, and one topic they covered was the effectiveness (and lack of effectiveness) of prologues. An example they gave of a useful prologue was the intro for A Song of Ice and Fire, in which the readers see an example of the monsters in the introduction long before monsters are shown again in the main story. (Note: I haven’t read A Song of Ice and Fire, so I may be misinterpreting their explanation.) The point of this prologue was to set up reader expectations and promises, to say that even though you aren’t going to see these monsters again for a while, they do exist in this world and the reader will see it again.

This is exactly what we see happen in Marvel’s Doctor Strange movie. The introduction begins with a dark ritual and an exciting, mind-bending fight between the antagonist and the Ancient One, and shows that there is a whole magical side to this universe that the viewer should expect to see later. The movie then launches into the beginning of the story for Doctor Strange, which has absolutely no magic, focuses heavily on a medical-science focus, and shows a rather self-absorbed protagonist. If the movie had not started with the prologue to show the magic that would come in later on, the viewer who simply started with Doctor Strange’s part of the story would be in for a bit of a surprise once the mystical stuff shows up (landing quite a punch for both the main character and the viewer). In the meantime, those viewers who wanted exciting action and magical sequences might have gotten bored and decided to skip out on the rest of the movie. Because of the promises made at the beginning of the movie, the viewer knows that if they wait around long enough, their patience will be rewarded.

A different use of prologues is to help set up foreshadowing that readers won’t see otherwise, at least, not until far too late into the story. (The trick here, it seems, is to make sure it is interesting and still drives the plot, despite a difference in time or perspective). One of my favorite prologues is from Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, which is a fast-paced sequence that introduces the concept of “epics” (those who use superpowers tend to go evil in that universe) and sets up the weakness of the antagonist, though it doesn’t explain what the antagonist’s particular weakness is until much later. It does a good job of setting up that this is going to be a novel where the main character is set on vengeance, and setting up promises and expectations for the reader. Another thing I enjoyed about the prologue in Steelheart is that the whole sequence is explained later by starting with the character’s explanation of the events, but cutting before everything is explained and going to the next chapter, allowing the reader assume that the story the protagonist tells is the same one from the prologue. Arguably, this scene could have been shown at that point in the story. But then it would have slowed down the main plot and the reader would have lost knowledge about the driving force behind the main character’s actions, something that helps the reader sympathize with the protagonist (whose original goal is more or less to uncover the weaknesses of various epics so he can assassinate them).

Thus far I have not yet used prologues in any of my published works, but that may change in the future if the right story comes along. What are your thoughts on prologues? Have you used prologues in your fiction? Do you have any favorite prologues?

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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for another status report! 😀

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Stealth Con: Isaac and I had our books and games at this year’s Stealth Con, a two day event at UCM. We had a vendor’s booth upstairs in the vending room, and we had our games available to play downstairs. This is the first time we had Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel available to sell, as well as its expansion. Though we didn’t sell much of our inventory (3 Magic’s Stealing, 2 Shadow War, 1 “Stone and String,” 1 Distant Horizon, 1 Cloth Phalanx Board, and 2 specialty dice), having the vendor booth did allow us to point interested visitors toward the gaming area. Plus, we got a chance to meet other authors who were at the convention, and visit with the people who had come to look around.

Infinitas Publishing - Stealth Con 2017

Vendor Room Setup for Infinitas Publishing – Stealth Con 2017

We switched up the organization of the table on the second day, to allow different products to shine (put Battle Decks and Phalanx on the ends of the table, and the books in the center).

We also debuted our upcoming game, The Legends of Cirena. For those of you who tried out our games in the gaming area, thank you!

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End of the Day in the Gaming area on Saturday – Stealth Con 2017

The Shadow War: The Shadow War is now available! It’s the second book in the series, available in both ebook and print. It took a month longer than I planned before release, but I’m much happier with the outcome. Soon I’ll be working on the third book of The Wishing Blade series, and I’ve already got quite a bit outlined,.Parts of Toranih’s POV have also been written.

The Legends of Cirena: This game is still in beta, but Isaac has been hard at work developing what will be game-changing expansions and making sure everything in the game works well together. It’s a role-play/adventure board game where you create the map from a deck of cards you draw as you explore… encountering adventures and collecting treasures! It’s also loosely based on the world of The Wishing Blade series.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Still on the back burner, but not forgotten.

Glitch: This is a spin-off of Distant Horizon, and it’s my current writing project. I’m about halfway through the initial reading to see what needs revision, and I have another round of edits I make before I hand this over to Isaac. After that, I expect that there will be substantial revisions, because that’s how this process usually works. But I’m looking forward to getting this one out there, because it delves more into the Camaraderie’s side of things. 😉

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Life as usual, except that I’m going to be making my formatting services available soon.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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