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My evolution in outlining…

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Because I am not the most methodical of creatures, I often struggle with organization when writing a novel. I’ve used outlines, pictographs, spreadsheets, and mind maps. None of these has been completely satisfactory to me. So, I thought I would offer up to anyone interested in writing, some of the ways I’ve combined the usage of a few of these methods.
First off, I like an outline. It helps me understand the order of things including where they are and where they should be. Here is an example of my first outline for “Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire”

WV Outline Ver 5 0 (2)

Obviously this is a Word document and as such has its limitations, particularly when the structure of the story changes to any degree. When I started to write “Sherlock Holmes and the Body Snatchers” I decided I needed something a bit more dynamic, and so I attempted to use a spreadsheet form of outline

SprdshtOutline

But this two was overly cumbersome when scenes or chapters needed to be rearranged. Then I discovered an inexpensive program that helps deal with these details. Again, I have to thank Jane Friedman for introducing me to it. It’s called Scribner, and here is a screen shot of it that shows some of the features.

Scribner

What I like best about it is that I can take entire scenes or chapters and move them around at will. Also, if you are using it to actually write your work, its intended use, you can capture references, web sites, pictures, other files, etc., and have instant access to them from within the program. This is a colossal time saver, especially in the beginning when you are doing a lot of research.
So, across three novels, I’ve gone from a Word outline document, to an excel file outline to a specialized software application, all because my mind is less organized than a bowl of soup. I’m not promoting any of these methods, but each does have its advantages and disadvantages. I expect in my next novel, I will adapt the way I use these today into something different for the next book. Someday, perhaps, I’ll hit upon the perfect solution. I wonder if I’ll share it with the world, or keep it to myself. Hmmmmm…

Paths to Publishing…

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When I decided to re-boot this blog, one of the things I wanted to accomplish is to bring together some of the articles and blogs that I’ve found especially useful. But I didn’t want to just post other bloggers’ stuff. Even though I would naturally give credit where credit was due, I felt that would be plagiarizing, so I’ve decided that if I use another blogger’s graphics or articles, I would request permission to do so as well as link to the original article in their blog. I feel in doing this I’m being as ethical as I can possibly be.
And I’m thrilled that this first graphic is from a blogger I have the utmost respect for, Jane Friedman. I’ve been a fan of Jane’s blog since I started down this road and one of the most interesting graphics I’ve seen was one Jane developed that shows where on the publishing continuum a writer exists. I was actually surprised to find that I was to the left, graphically speaking, of the self-published authors.

Jane graciously has granted me permission to reprint her graphic, showing the Key Book Publishing Paths, in my blog. You can find the original article on Jane’s blog, here. I had planned to have the graphic only, but it apparently is not of high enough resolution to read as a jpeg, so I’ve decided to show the low-res graphic and provide the PDF of the graphic. I found it to be very interesting.

The Key Book Publishing Paths by Jane Friedman

 KeyPathsPublishing

Also, you may find Jane’s book, Publishing 101, an interesting read. I know I did.

 Next week I plan to post the first chapter of “SHERLOCK HOLMES and the WHITECHAPEL VAMPIRE” with commentary. Don’t miss it!! Tell your friends!!! Buy the book!!!!

Story Structure video

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Here is a very informative video on story structure and plot points I found. Even though it concerns screenplays, the concepts are applicable to novels as well.

More can be found at http://www.scriptlab.com/

Brand new book cover…

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Here is a look at the cover for my new novel, SHERLOCK HOLMES and the RETURN of the WHITECHAPEL VAMPIRE, to be published by MX Publishing October 26, 2015.
SH&RTNofWV Front cover

and this is the full cover…

SH&RTNofWV Full cover

This is the third and final work in the Whitechapel Vampire trilogy, and this one has more twists and turns than the first two.

 

Short Story to be published in Grievous Angel Webzine…

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King-Carousel-solo-WEB

I’ve just learned that a piece of Flash Fiction of mine has been accepted for publication in GRIEVOUS ANGEL WEBZINE. The name of the piece is The Prize and though it will be a couple months before it surfaces, I thought I’d announce it now.

New Novel First Draft Complete…

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Since “Sherlock Holmes and the Body Snatchers” came out last March, I’ve been diligently working on the last installment of the Whitechapel Vampire Trilogy, as yet unnamed, and have at last completed a rough first draft.

A few editorial notes about the trilogy. The first book, “Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire” was written entirely in third person point of view (POV) and I took my fair share of criticism for that as it was not in the Watson first person POV of most of the canon. That didn’t bother, though, as the original concept for the book wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes story, but was conceived as ‘what if Jack the Ripper were really a vampire’. Because of the time period involved, I worked Sherlock Holmes into the story, at first as an ancillary character. But I enjoyed writing the Holmes parts so much, I beefed up his role, which caused me to consider first person, but thought I’d wait.

The second book, ‘Body Snatchers’ was written in first person POV, but from varying characters. I thought it served the story and I was hesitant to attempt a full pastiche by having Watson’s POV be the only one in the book.

But now, in the third and final installment I’ve decided to go all out and write it as Doyle might have. The final book of the trilogy follows Watson throughout and will, I hope, give the reader more than a few surprises along the way. This final book takes place many years after the first two, which took place in 1888, first in London, and then New York. The action in the third takes place again in New York but in the year 1913, long after Holmes has retired to beekeeping in Sussex.

So, this trilogy has several arcs for the reader to follow. The story arc spans some twenty-five years, from 1888 to 1913, and each character in the story, I think, has his or her own arc of change. Finally, the writing itself has an arc from third person POV to multiple first person POV and finally to the first person POV used most often by Doyle, that of Watson. My hope is that aficionados of writing and of Sherlock Holmes will take note and enjoy the varied styles and mostly will enjoy the story from beginning to end.

Pictures from Warwick signing…

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Here are the pictures from the terrific signing at the world famous Warwick’s Books…

My Sign…..Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

 

The Almighty Signing Table

 

A happy fan

Aspiring writers…

 

Applying pen to paper…

 

Happy Author!

 

 

Thanks to everyone who made this signing such a fantastic success!!!