(Cross posted on the WriteClub blog)
It’s the end of November already. Lots of stuff going on at the moment, and I don’t just mean writing-wise. Sometimes Real Life gets in the way as well.
COMING SOON/OUT NOW
Quite a lot to report in this category!
DEATH SCENE is part of a promotional bundle pack organised by MuseItUp, which includes four mysteries by five authors for the bargain price of $1.99. This is a limited-time deal, so get it now. And, of course, DEATH SCENE is available on its own, too.
DEAD COOL, the second Shara Summers book, is out now! Yay!!
I am also pleased to be able to announce that a story of mine is included in the forthcoming anthology THE DARK HEART OF PEEPING TOM, by Exaggerated Press. The anthology features stories that appeared in the 1990s horror fanzine PEEPING TOM, which included early work from a lot of now well-known British horror writers. And me…
The story of mine that features is “Jim Hendrix Eyes” which is now my most-published story – this is its fourth appearance. The anthology will be launched at the British Fantasy Society open night on 5 December. Everyone is welcome at open nights, whether you are a member of the BFS or not. If you happen to be in London that night, do come along.
If you can’t, well you can still buy the book – just click on the link above.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Let’s not go there. Really. My WIP is not co-operating. When I get it behaving itself again, I will report.
My next update will be at the end of 2014 – where has this year gone??
It’s here at last! The long-awaited release day for the second Shara Summers novel, DEAD COOL. And I’m celebrating with an online launch party on Facebook later today. It will be starting around 6:30pm Greenwich Mean Time – when I get home from the day job, basically. If you go to the FB event, it is clever enough to tell you what time it will start in your time zone.
There will be prizes on offer, and chat. I will get the ball rolling here by offering one free copy of DEAD COOL, in whichever e-book format you prefer. Comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning. If you put a comment on the Facebook event page today as well, you’ll get to go in the draw twice! The draw will be made at noon tomorrow.
If you don’t want to wait that long for your copy, you can buy it in all e-book formats direct from MuseItUp. For Kindle owners, the UK link is here and the US link here. And if you’ve got a Kobo or a Nook, I’m even giving you the links to buy it there, too.
As a teaser, here is the back cover blurb:
Actress Shara Summers has settled in London and is “between jobs” when her Canadian ex-boyfriend David sails back into her life, begging to her to fill the backing singer vacancy in the up and coming band he’s about to go on a European tour with. Short on funds and auditions Shara reluctantly agrees, but tragedy strikes at the opening night party when the band’s charismatic front man Dallas Cleary Anderson falls to his death from a hotel window. It soon becomes clear that Dallas did not fall, but was pushed. His arrogant and confrontational manner means there are no shortage of people who wanted him out of the band permanently – but who would resort to murder?
Until I get home from work, the celebrations will be limited to a little virtual champagne. But do stop by the online party later, for some more serious celebrations.
My guest today is fellow mystery writer Joan C Curtis, whose book THE CLOCK STRIKES MIDNIGHT, is released by MuseItUp Publishing tomorrow. Welcome, Joan!
JCC: My guess is I knew I was destined to be a writer when I wrote the short story for Reader’s Digest about the summer after my father’s death. I had been thinking about that story for a long time. When I put it to paper, it felt right. That story won second place in a national competition and was later published. My journey as a writer began in that moment.
SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?
JCC: One of my greatest influences is my mom. She doesn’t consider herself a writer, but she certainly taught me about reading. She never is without a book and she reads everything. Furthermore she has written some wonderful poetry. Influences come in different ways. My mom’s support and her love of books influenced me to pursue a literary career. I’m sure that was not her intention!
SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
JCC: Writing is a craft. It is not something that you can do just because you know how to pick up a pencil or type on a keyboard. My first (practice novel) novel taught me how little I know about the craft of writing fiction. Had I known that ahead of time, I would not have written an entire manuscript to find out. Pursuing a career as a writer means learning the craft, going to classes, listening to feedback, writing and re-writing, exploring new genre, practicing, reading with a writer’s eye, and finally understanding that learning never stops.
SJT: You have said in earlier interviews that you are more a ‘pantser’ than a ‘plotter’. How did the plot for ‘The Clock Strkes Midnight’ develop?
JCC: I wish I could tell you that the plot came to me and poof there it was. Instead it was more of developing characters that acted in certain ways, given their circumstances, and allowing the story to evolve. I put the reins in the hands of the characters. I knew I wanted the story to move forward and there was an end result. If a character got stuck, I’d ask myself what can she do to move the story along? That often brought out a new plot point.
SJT: The story revolves around two sisters, Marlene and Janie, each of which is dealing with her own demons. The rivalry between these two siblings is very effectively written. Do you have siblings of your own from which to take inspiration of sibling rivalry?
JCC: That’s a great question, Sara Jayne. Yes, I have two sisters. I’m the middle child. My older sister basically removed herself from the sib ship. She is my half-sister and I think she always felt separate, even as a very young child. She pushed me away and created her own friends. My younger sister was born when I was 18 months old. As my mom describes it, as soon as she was born, I latched onto her and took care of her. We became inseparable, similar to Marlene and Janie as young children. As teens, we clashed as all young teenagers do. There were big arguments over clothes, boyfriends, and chores. But, the foundation of trust and love was created in our early years, and eventually when the teenage craziness abated, we became close again.
SJT: The sisters both harbour resentment over their mother Eloise, who they both seem to regard as a weak-willed alcoholic. But the second section of the book gives us some insight into Eloise’s early life, and paints a very different picture of her. How did you see Eloise when you started writing about her? Did you see her as a villain, and a bad mother, or someone you felt deserved sympathy?
JCC: I’m afraid I always saw Eloise as a narcissist. Yes, she engenders sympathy, but her core character is not so much a villain as a person who cannot love anyone but herself. You will note that there are two sisters in the Eloise generation as well. Eloise’s older sister, Sarah, plays an important role in the development of Marlene and Janie. She is also a stark contrast to Eloise. I can’t say too much more about Eloise without giving too much away. I would be interested in learning how readers saw her. They may have gotten a very different picture than I did and that would be great.
JCC: This is the question all my friends are asking me! You can buy the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and MuseItUp Publishing. Right now it’s still on pre-order for $2.99. I’d also like to invite your readers to our Facebook Launch Party on 25 November from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. There they can join in the fun and maybe win a free copy of the book along with many other prizes.
SJT: Any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?
JCC: My second mystery will be published by MuseItUp in the Spring, 2015. The title, e-Murderer, is about a serial killer who sends anonymous emails to a young woman working for a psychiatrist. The descriptions of the murders sound ominously similar to the deaths of co-eds in the college town where the story takes place. The e-Murderer is the first in a series starring Jenna Scali.
SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
JCC: My favourite pastime is reading. But that sounds a bit boring. I also love tennis. I played for years and now prefer to watch. Going to the US Open is a special treat. I tend to spend a lot of time exercising. I swim, spin, do Pilates and walk many miles a week. I also love to entertain and travel. Italy is my country of preference.
Joan C Curtis is an award-winning writer who has published 5 books and numerous stories. In her newest mystery/suspense novel, The Clock Strikes Midnight, scheduled for release by MuseItUp Publishing on 25 November 2014.
Joan has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. She reads all kinds of books, including women’s fiction, mysteries, biography, and memoir. Her passion as a reader lies closer to literary writing with a commercial bent. She writes books she would love to read.
“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”
Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.
Today I am pleased to have Cheryl Carpinello as my blog guest. Welcome, Cheryl!
First Person—Why It Works
by Cheryl Carpinello
Choosing the point of view for a story is not an easy choice. All writers wrestle with the decision of which point of view will make their story connect with readers. If you choose the wrong POV, then your story is doomed to failure before it is ever finished. If you choose the correct POV, then your story is flying out of the starting gate before it ever hits the publication stage.
For Sons of the Sphinx, I struggled with POV for nearly a year. I knew the story I wanted to tell, but couldn’t decide how to best bring my story to life. I tried Third Person, but that just didn’t bring across the emotions of the characters the way I wanted. The Omniscient POV kept me the writer in the story too much. So, I went back and looked at my characters again, focusing on their motivations. That’s when I decided on First Person POV.
My story was to be Rosa’s story first and foremost. The stories of the other characters would also be told, but through Rosa’s innocent eyes. In addition, I wanted Rosa’s sarcastic humor to help define her and her struggle with Nana’s gift. The only way to do that was to have Rosa tell the story. Here’s a couple of snippets. Hopefully you’ll agree.
Rosa upon learning that Tut’s father was given an elephant for a gift:
“Your father got elephants for gifts?” I can’t believe what I heard. An elephant, an elephant? All I got for my last birthday was a blue sweater, a couple of books, and some gift cards.
Rosa on her arrival in Egypt:
I pause with each step to breathe in this exotic atmosphere. Here and there small stands of trees—oases really—off to the side provide some relief from the sun. Might be nice to stop. How people live in this oven is beyond me. Even the sweat pouring down my back is hot. So much for the premise that a person’s body perspiring cools them off. I keep wiping the stinging saltwater from my eyes. My feet slide in my soggy shoes making it hard to walk. Be lucky if I don’t have blisters. Never knew a person had this much water in them.
And who better to describe the feeling of a 15-year-old girl being scolded than a 15-year-old girl:
I walk around behind the shrine. “You were one of the richest pharaohs in Egypt.”
He looks at me and frowns. I see something in his eyes, briefly, that mirrors the disappointment in my dad’s eyes the day the cops brought me home. I ditched school after one of those talking ghost episodes. They picked me up at the shopping mall an hour before school was out. An hour! I have all the luck. I cough as my throat tickles in an irritating way.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at the personality of Rosa which only works with First Person POV.
Blurb for SONS OF THE SPHINX
Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3300 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.
I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more through my Quest Books. Please follow me on this adventure. On Carpinello’s Writing Pages, I interview other children/MG/Tween/YA authors. At The Quest Books, I’ve teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of England/France/Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find all of our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.
Learn more about Cheryl and her writing at her Blog, and at the following links:
Other Books by Cheryl Carpinello
Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend – Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0025KUJ36
Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom – MuseItUp Publishing book page: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museityoung/action-adventure/the-king-s-ransom-detail
Tutankhamen Speaks – Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E18KH46
One of my first jobs was in a book shop (1989-1991), and at the time each employee was allocated particular publishers, and part of their job was to see the publishers’ rep when they came to the shop and listen to the pitch for new releases. Sometimes the reps arrived armed with free copies of these new books, and this is how I ended up with a copy of Rose Tremain’s ‘Restoration’, because in 1989 I had the Hamish Hamilton list.
Surprisingly, because I wouldn’t have thought it was my sort of thing, I really enjoyed this book. It revolves around the escapades of one Robert Merivel, favoured physician in James II’s court. He’s not a terribly nice character at the start of the book – a self-centred, womanising rogue – but there’s a charm to him that makes you empathise with him anyway. The King orders Merivel to marry his favourite mistress, the idea being that he can keep her close to hand without rousing the suspicions of his other mistresses, confident in the concept that Merivel is too fond of ladies in general to get attached to just one. When Merivel commits the unpardonable sin of falling in love with his wife, he is banished from court, and the rest of the book is a story of his journey back to respectability. He learns how to put aside his philandering ways and gains respect for women, and also discovers respect for himself.
Perhaps it is Rose Tremain’s writing style that endeared me to this character, but he changes and matures throughout the story in a way that I found engaging. Merivel’s indiscretions include a dalliance with an attractive young woman in a mental hospital, and when she dies giving birth to his baby, he is left with a daughter to take care of and that is one of the key things that makes him re-assess his priorities.
I read this book once, over twenty years ago, but it stayed with me. I was pleased to learn recently that Rose Tremain has written a sequel to ‘Restoration’, set seventeen years on, with Merivel an older (though probably not much wiser) man and his daughter Margaret grown and ready to make her own way in the world. This book is now in my To Be Read pile, and I am looking forward to visiting Robert Merivel again.
It’s Hallowe’en, and it’s Friday! Seems a good time to post some more two sentence horror.
Here is a contribution from Jim King:
It’s always so hard to pick a dress for the party. The blue is so pretty but black hides the blood better.
And here is one from me:
This morning I woke up with the sound of the alarm, like I always do, and began my usual routine. It was a perfectly ordinary day until I looked in my shaving mirror and realised I had no reflection.
Anyone else want to write a scary two-sentence stories for Hallowe’en? Leave yours in the comments, and I’ll put it up on the blog next week!
Today I am pleased to welcome back to the blog fellow MIU author Christopher Mannino, to talk about the inspiration for his novel SCHOOL OF DEATHS.
WHAT INSPIRED ME TO WRITE MY BOOK
By Christopher Mannino
The idea for SCHOOL OF DEATHS emerged when I was finishing my graduate degree at Oxford University. I spent four months abroad, far from everyone I knew. Every week, I traveled somewhere I had never been before. I would climb castle ruins in Wales and visit cathedrals in England. One of my favorite trips was to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. After misjudging the time it’d take to get there, I became stranded. The tourist office was closed, and I couldn’t find a hostel. I walked from pub to pub asking if I could sleep above their bar.
The next morning, having slept none, since I’d found a room over a noisy pub, I crept to Barras Nose before dawn. Barras Nose is a stone peninsula, or rocky outcropping jutting into the Celtic Sea, just north of Tintagel. Tintagel itself is a small island with castle ruins on its cliffs. Some believe it to be the birthplace of King Arthur. When I reached Barras Nose, the winds howled so fiercely that I had to crawl on all fours to keep from being blown into the ocean below. Then dawn broke. No other humans were in sight. I struggled to keep my balance, but watched the sun rise on the ruins of the ancient castle, listening to the thunder of waves pounding the fifty foot cliffs I clung to. Wind battered me with ferocity, and I imagined a character being buffeted by winds, completely alone. I envisioned Suzie, alone in a world of men, buffeted by sexism.
She looked around. They stood in an alley, with gleams of starlight visible above them. Flies buzzed over a trash can, overflowing with pizza boxes. A cool breeze blew candy wrappers across the pavement, to graffiti-covered walls. Behind her, a cement building rose, with barred windows. In front of them, a larger street met the alley, with part of a neon sign glowing around the corner. It smelled like urine.
She heard shouts in Spanish from a dilapidated cement building with iron bars. More shouts and someone pleading. Then a gunshot and the shouts moved away from them.
A young girl staggered into the alley. Suzie was about to speak, but Frank shook his head.
The girl fell onto her face, a pool of blood leaking out from under her. In the distance, Suzie heard another gunshot.
“We have to help her,” said Suzie.
“It’s too late,” said Frank.
The girl lay motionless. Time seemed to stop. Suzie had never witnessed someone’s death. Who was this girl? Who had shot her?
Even as the questions started to form in her mind, the girl sat up and stared at them. Suzie started to move, but Frank grabbed her arm, holding her.
“Where am I?” said the girl.
She was sitting up, but she was also laying face first on the ground. The sitting girl looked at Billy with terrified eyes and struggled to her feet. Suzie realized they were each wearing black robes; even with their training badges, they must look frightening. Billy still held the scythe.
“Is this a joke?” said the girl. “I’m not dead—”
“You are,” said Billy.
The standing girl had no gunshot wound in her chest. Her dress seemed to shine as she moved a step away. She never looked down at her own body, or the blood continuing to run.
“Who are you three?” asked the girl.
“We’re in training,” said Billy. Suzie admired how calm his voice was. He was cool and collected, while she wanted to yell.
The girl took another step back and tripped on something. She tried to get up again but Billy held up a hand.
“Please,” he said. “Allow me.”
He raised the scythe and let it fall. The girl screamed, and Suzie screamed as well.
Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.
Mannino is currently working on a sequel to “School of Deaths” as well as an adult science fiction novel.
Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?
Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.
Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who subjugate a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.
As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn’t an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.
SCHOOL OF DEATHS has an awesome book trailer! Watch it here:
Learn more about Christopher and his books here:
AUTHOR SITE: http://www.christophermannino.com/
(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)
It’s October already. Tthis month is mostly known as being Hallowe’en season. And for me it’s also the month of my birth. I was born a week before Hallowe’en – fairly appropriate for a horror writer.
And it’s time for another update, so here is the news for this month.
COMING SOON/OUT NOW
Death Scene is available at a 60% discount until the end of the month, as part of MuseItUp Publishing’s fourth anniversary celebrations. If you haven’t bought it yet, now might be a good time, before the price goes up.
Dead Cool is released on 25 November, but it can be pre-ordered if you want to get your order in now.
Two guest appearances this month. I was on Jami Gray’s blog talking about the importance of a sense of place, and then on Margaret Fieland’s blog talking about why my characters never get ‘Happy Ever After’ endings.
WORK IN PROGRESS
I have been feeling decidedly under the weather for a good part of this month, struck with the lingering virus that seems to be hitting rather a lot of people at the moment. I end up feeling tired all the time, so getting up early to write has been rather difficult. I’m still working on the horror WIP, though have not made as much progress as I would have liked.
Time seems to be flashing by, and I haven’t done nearly enough writing. But there’s still a bit of time left before the end of the year.
Today I am pleased to have as my guest fellow MuseItUp author Amanda Faith. Welcome, Amanda!
AF: It was in the sixth grade. That was when I entered my first contest. We had to write a short story and design and make the book cover. The name of the story was “Tallahassee.” It was about a small colt who was an orphan and wanting to find a home where someone would love him. Although I didn’t win, I knew then I wanted to write.
SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?
AF: I remember being so excited about the contest. Mrs. Clay, my English teacher in the sixth grade, really encouraged me to write. My grandfather was also a huge influence. He was a music ghostwriter for some really great artists in the Grand Ole Opry and I would sit and listen to his creativity for hours. He always wanted me to follow my dreams.
SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
AF: Read as much as you can in a variety of genres. Granted, you should read what is “hot” now, but also read classics. Read across the board. The more you read, the more you expand your horizons, the more your inner writer generates new ideas. Remember, you should not write about what is hot now. Write what you feel drawn to. That may become the next “hot” item.
SJT: When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?
AF: Probably some of both. It depends on what I am writing. For the academic work, I tend to plan more. There tends to be a lot of research in that. For the creative work, I usually have a general idea of where I am going. My outline is not massively detailed, but I do still use paper and pencil for that. I find that writing down my ideas on paper is my creative venue. Even with that said, sometimes my characters decide they want to go their own way. Sometimes I give in to that to see where it goes. That may be a good thing or a bad thing, but if I don’t let them have their voice, I can’t get anything else done.
SJT: Tell us about your latest release.
AF: Strength of Spirit is centered on Velvet Moon. She never thought she would have an interesting life. It was ok, just not interesting.
Her and her mother had no idea the day Wren Easton came into their shop would change their lives so much, or that he would involve them in his job with the government.
Did I mention he was like a Ghostbuster 007?
As a ghost, she has to solve her murder, protect her mother, and fight against an evil man that wants to rule the world.
Why not? She has nothing better to do.
This book won the 2014 Gold Global eBook Award for Paranormal Mystery. It’s also UP Author Approved 2013.
SJT: You were born in the North and now live in the South. My country is much smaller than yours but we still talk about a ‘North/South’ divide. What would you say are the main differences between these two halves of the US?
AF: I moved South my senior year in high school. It was a major culture shock for me. Granted, all of the US speaks English, but the South has its own “English.” It took me a little bit to get use to the common terminology here, but I love living in South Carolina. It’s friendly and a lot warmer than Ohio. I really don’t miss the snow and ice.
The term ‘Southern Hospitality’ is so true. I find that people are more friendly here than in the North. The lifestyle is more laid back. Here in the South, sweet tea and grits are staple food products and “y’all” really is a word.
I think one of the major differences is the schools. Unfortunately in the South, they tend to be behind the academic growth. I am not sure if it’s because of the slower paced lifestyle here or something else. I wish it were not that way. Our kids suffer because of it.
SJT: Your bio says you’re involved in Dragon Con, which is famous amongst geeks – even British ones – as The Con to attend. If you were to convince a British con-goer to part with her hard-earned cash and fly across the Atlantic to attend Dragon Con, how would you sell it?
AF: It is the geekiest place on earth. I am constantly amazed at the variety of events and panels available to everyone. It’s not your comic book special. There are so many panels to attend, gaming to play, art to see, stars to ogle over, parties to attend, gatherings to join, people to meet…it is a plethora of everything geek. You can make some really great friends. I have been going for years, even before I was on staff. I have yet to meet anyone nasty. There are so many people there of like mind, it’s like having a huge family. Last year, 62,000 attendees descended on downtown Atlanta, Georgia. That is so mind-boggling. It’s for the young and the young-at-heart. Even though I am 50, I have never been sneered at by the younger generation attending the Con. My students love the fact that I attend every year. They tell me they can see the joy on my face talking about it.
SJT: Any works in progress you can tell us about?
AF: I have 2 more books completed, a third more than half done, and another idea I am outlining.
I am trying to finish the edits on the second book in the Velvet Moon series. It is complete. I just need to polish it before I send it out. It has an Alice-in-Wonderland element in it. Velvet definitely has her hands full with this one.
The other I have finished is a science-fiction piece. A young woman discovers her power in art and the control she may have over others for justice to prevail. Again, it’s complete, but I have to do the edits.
I hate editing…lol. I have to get it in gear, though.
SJT: I think we all hate editing, but it has to be done! What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
AF: I’ve had to recently give up scuba diving and motorcycle riding (due to degenerative arthritis). I loved doing those things. I am an amateur radio operator. I go for walks in the woods and on the beach. I love reading and traveling. I have been to several countries. (The UK is on my list. I can’t wait to go). I am one to try new things. Although I love quiet time, I can’t imagine being in a rut.
Amanda Faith was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, but has lived in the South since 1980. Teaching high school English by day, college English by night, writing, and doing paranormal investigations doesn’t slow her down from having a great time with a plethora of hobbies. Her published credits include short stories, poetry, several journal articles, her doctorial dissertation, and her award-winning book Strength of Spirit. She is a staff writer for The Daily Dragon at Dragon Con. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Masters in Education-English, and a Doctorate in Education-Teacher Leadership.
Learn more about Amanda at her website.
See the book trailer for Strength of Spirit below:
Strength of Spirit is available now in all e-book formats from the MuseItUp book store.
Today I am pleased to welcome Charles Bowie to the blog to talk about why the number three is so significant to his writing. Take it away, Charles!
The Power Of The Three
By Charles Bowie
Three. It’s the second prime number, not even the first one. Yet it holds sway over us with a mystical power that cannot be denied. It’s big in religion, just ask The Father or The Son or…you know. It’s big in the corporate world. Every director and manager knows, or think they know their staff can only retain three main facts from any meeting. And it’s massive, when writing.
Earth, wind and fire. Food, clothing and shelter. The Earth, the skies and the heavens. I could go on but, well, I’ve used up my three examples. Suffice it to say, in the human mind, the application of three to develop a concept has been employed through the ages. This is never truer than when telling a story.
Beginning, middle and end. Have I not just described, simply, every story you’ve ever heard, seen or read? (There I go again; sorry.) Let’s say you agree with me. What can you do with this revelation? There are simple and complex applications to this, from a writer’s perspective.
To start, let’s look at the beginning, middle and end aspect of writing. It occurs to me if one was to divide their story into three elements, each one had better hold a special significance. There’s a saying that originated from Western movie writers. ‘What’s the secret to a great duster? Shoot the sheriff in the first five minutes.’ Did you get the viewer’s attention? You bet. You have a beginning. Now take the middle. Is it filler? Is it okay to go straight from the beginning to the climax (end)? No. Not good enough. You have to have massive amounts of goodness in the middle, in the form of character development, exposition, dialogue, atmosphere, not to mention a damn good plot. Fill up the middle with meat, you have my permission. Now for the end. I was chatting with my friend Victor this morning. He’d read a manuscript that contained no climax, and felt robbed. If you’ve taken the reader that far, shouldn’t there be a crisis, perhaps a culmination of the journey being taken? All three elements of the story—any story—have to be respected.
What else can we writers use this numerical phenomenon for? I personally adore working with three distinct storyline arcs, when writing my thrillers. This isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. If you think about the classic love triangle: two guys and a girl; a man, a woman and her career; the power of the three cannot be denied. In classic writing, you have the protagonist, antagonist, and something called nemesis. Nowadays, writers have great success having the protagonist, as well as his or her antagonist, also known as the bad guy. It can be helpful to have someone—the nemesis—arrive on the scene, solely as a catalyst for action. They could be the tech guy who delivers the critical information. They can be the wise mentor, who imparts something to the hero. They can be the comic.
Next time you read a book—hopefully later today—look for the power of the three within it. See how you can exploit this in your writing. I did. I do, and I will.
Chuck Bowie’s latest book Three Wrongs is available right now as an eBook and it comes out this fall in print.
The second novel in the series, AMACAT, drops October 17th.
Chuck Bowie is a Canadian writer who lets his experiences in wine and travel influence his taut, well-written suspense-thrillers. His first two: Three Wrongs and AMACAT have already set the scene for Sean Donovan, a thief for hire. His newest offering, Steal It All promises to keep you wanting more.
Chuck writes for MuseItUp Publishing. You can find him on Twitter as @BowieChuck. His website is http://chuckbowie.ca