Tag Archives: am writing

#MondayBlogs: Writing Tips for a Trilogy or Series

4 Jul

So, you have an idea for a trilogy or series. Awesome! Writing a series can be a lot of fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to spend more time with their characters and worlds? But many aspiring writers aren’t sure where to start, and writing a series is a lot of work. With these three steps, though, it might be a little easier than you think.

1. Determine the arc for the series—and each book

This step is important for your series whether or not your books will be standalones or need to be read in order. Each book should have an arc (and don’t forget that every character in your series should have an arc, too). On top of that, your overall series should have an arc. This means each book is building up to something by itself and working together to build up to something bigger. One easy way to do this is to consider your “sub-genre.” Maybe your first book of your paranormal romance trilogy will be a mystery (Who is the villain?), while your second book will be a thriller (We have to run from the villain!) and your last book will be your adventure (We have to go after the villain!). This method ensures each book brings something new to the series, while also working through an overall arc (in the example’s case, defeating the villain). Again, this is only one method, but you can mix and match to study your series and determine if you are keeping your books fresh and exciting but also unified.

Writing Tips for a Trilogy or Series

Writing Tips for a Trilogy or Series

2.  Keep Notes

Consistency is SO important. You might think you know your characters from top to bottom, but chances are, you don’t. We’re only human. We can only remember so much, and as your cast grows and changes, it gets harder and harder to remember every little detail. That being said, you must remain consistent throughout each book. You wouldn’t want a side character who is allergic to chocolate in book one to eat chocolate ice cream in book five. Same goes for scenes. If you’ve said a door was to the right, it better be to the right in the other books, too. Personally, I keep a file on places and characters, and I create an overall timeline. What’s a timeline? This tracks years before and during the books. This means if I have a character who says she broke her leg at five years old in book one, she says she was five in book three, not nine. Another file I keep is a summary of what was told to each character in previous chapters so I know what my characters know from scene to scene. It seems easy to remember, and it might be for some, but sometimes, we have to go work on something else or step away for a few months, and it can be hard to remember when you return. Keeping notes is never a bad idea.

3. Be Open

Writing a series is hard, even with a plan. But don’t fret! We all know that writers aren’t completely in charge of their characters, worlds, or ideas. Sometimes, the protagonist throws a curve ball, and everything changes. That’s okay! Think of writing a series like a road trip: You know where you’re starting, you probably know where it’s going to end, and you might have places you want to visit in between. But there might be some surprises along the way. Embrace them, and keep going. That’s where the fun is. And don’t give up! Following your dream is worth it, even if you have to rewrite that dream a couple of times along the way.

Original posted September 5, 2013

In this article, I discuss lessons I learned while writing my first two trilogies.

~SAT

A new review came in for November Snow! “Truly, Thompson has done an incredible job here of story weaving. Just wonderful. Don’t underestimate your need for tissues here people, don’t do it. Prepare yourself with tissues and a cuddly stuffed animal.” – Babbling Books (Seriously, listen to her advice. Tissues will come in handy.)

Catelyn's Story on Wattpad

Catelyn’s Story on Wattpad

This week, Catelyn’s Story released on the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad. This is also the first origin story seen from the Southern Flock’s perspective. They formed later than the Northern Flock, so from now on, you’ll see stories flip back and forth between the two flocks. If you ever wondered why the groups of bad bloods are called flocks, this origin story explains why! In Bad Bloods, Catelyn is Serena’s best friend. Here is a preview: The girl was pretty enough for plenty of crimes. Read her story by clicking the link.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#SATurdate: Lore, New Office, Paint Swatches, & Snow White

26 Mar

12718001_1008531982527316_2805994555122682398_nI moved this week to a brand-new office! I’m super excited about it. I have a ridiculous amount of room to spread out, and I’m hoping I can get a bigger desk one of these days. My current one was great for my previous, much smaller office, but now I can spin! I need to be able to roll back and forth for no reason other than dramatics. On a side note, my Sticky Notes did not survive the move. I’m challenging my Maggie Stiefvater and remembering that ideas do not make the author, the author makes the ideas. (Check out her article The Disposability of Ideas.) Plus…I sort of cheated and took pictures of them before they were ruined. I’m not quite at Stiefvater’s level. (But, really, who is? She’s a goddess. [Okay. I’ll stop being an obsessive fangirl now.])

What I’m Writing:

993078_1006450089402172_901225323950707552_nSo Take Me Yesterday was put aside this week. I worked solely on the mysterious manuscript known as “D.” I actually wrote D when I was 19, but numerous elements were missing until recently. Now I’m 18,000 words into the rewrite, which is awesome. I have 62,000 additional words already typed from the original manuscript, so it’s really a matter of cutting and pasting and editing and screaming at my 19-year-old self for not figuring out the missing elements…you know…until I was 24. (*Repeats to myself* It’s not a race, it’s not a race, it’s not a race.) I also shared a bit of “research” I was conducting, via my paint pallets. D is an extremely colorful novel. It’s difficult to explain without giving away the plot, but it’s been a lot of fun flipping through the colors while editing old scenes and adding new ones. On a side note, I also took some time to world-build a brand-new novel I shall call S for now. S is—more or less—something I’m currently writing for fun. Like a reset novel. A novel with no pressure to finish or to pursue publication with. Sometimes working on something brand-new with no deadlines or expectations helps me reset my writer buttons. But the more I work on it, the more I love it. </3 Gah! Decisions…

What I’m Publishing:

This week, I shared the content disclosure for November Snow, so I thought you’d like to know our rankings. If you need a handy guide about what these rankings mean, click here to check out November’s Snow disclosure system:

11987_1007269949320186_6557017595173577508_nFirst off, November Snow was rated YA(m) – Young Adult Mature – which means it’s written for a mature young adult audience.

Romance: 2: The romance picks up in book 2, compared to book 1.

Violence: 5: Also, no surprise here. Bad Bloods is a fairly violent duology, revolving around a political debate eradicating an entire group of people, which mainly consists of homeless children…but I promise you, the violence is not as graphic as the original book? Okay. That’s not saying much. But there is meaning behind it. The violence isn’t gratuitous.

Language: 3: Still cursing a little bit…but I mean, you’re talking about kids trying to NOT be killed all the time, so let’s give them break, yeah?

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking: 0: No drug or alcohol use in the second part of the duology.

The #1lineWed preview was lines from page 23 or 123. This line is from page 23.

He confessed it like secrets were simply to share.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

I’m reading The Young Elites by Marie Lu! I’m almost finished, and I must say, I definitely love Marie Lu. I was also envious of her trip to Tokyo this past week with Amie Kaufman, author of These Broken Stars (which I also loved). I mean, they went to an owl café. An OWL CAFÉ. This is one of my ultimate dreams. I’m dying of owl envy.

What I’m Listening To:

MxdXdQrTLore is my latest podcast obsession. It’s a bit like Myths & Legends, but shorter and creepier. Lore also focuses on overall myths, like vampires/werewolves, while Myths & Legends discusses tales like King Arthur. I highly recommend both of them.

What I’m Watching:

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime—a.k.a. Snow White with the Red Hair—which happens to be one of my favorite mangas. I had no idea it’d been made into an anime, so I binge-watched season one, and I’m enjoying season two now that it’s releasing. Love them! And Louie. I watched that, too.

การ์ตูน-Fairy-Tail-Zero-ภาคพิเศษต้นกำเนิดเรื่องราวกิลด์จอมเวทย์แฟรี่เทล-280x1722

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I learned how to make homemade spaghetti sauce, which was awesome…and very messy when I accidentally dropped some of the tomato puree on the kitchen floor.

What I’m Wearing:

10399523_1009113812469133_5506393239089674635_nShorts one day and coats the next. Seriously. This winter-to-spring weather is a strange mix of sunshine and misery.

What I’m Wanting:

A new desk! Preferably a larger one. One that will allow me to write on notebook paper and type on my computer at the same time…Oh! And hold coffee. I would REALLY like a nice bookshelf, too, since well—and don’t hate me—my books are sitting on the floor. I have yet to move my bookshelves from my second-to-last move. What can I say? I move a lot.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I bought a new cat, and I named it Happy…after my broomstick, also named Happy, because sweeping made me happy? (I don’t know.) But then my friend showed up and also bought a cat, and upon hearing my name for my new cat, she named her new cat Happy…and none of this made me happy at all.

What Else Is Going On:

Death Before Daylight is on sale for $3.99 right now! That’s pretty neat. That means you can read the entire Timely Death Trilogy for only $8.00…which costs less than one of those novelty horse masks. You know. Those ones.

~SAT

To celebrate, the sale of Death Before Daylight, here’s an excerpt!

DBDcoverShe moved again, barely, but she moved. “I can handle myself in a fight.”

“You’re okay in a fight,” I teased, watching the aggravation flicker over her gaze.

She squirmed again, trying to kick my leg with her boot. “Okay?” she repeated. “Just okay? I do better than okay.” She wasn’t lying. “You would be nothing without my help.”

“Oh, low blows,” I sang, forcing her shadows to solidify again. “You are mad.”

“I’m determined,” she corrected.

“I never argued with you,” I pointed out. “You make me who I am. I wouldn’t be anything without you.”

“Aw,” she cooed, smiling at my words, but right when I thought she was enjoying our time together, she swung her leg over and knocked my torso off her. This time, she was the one on top. “I win.”

I winced, stretching my neck to breathe. “You know, most girlfriends would have thought that was romantic.”

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#WriterProblems 11-15

21 Mar

Recently, I spoke with a couple of fellow writers when we began discussing writer problems. I showed them my #WriterProblems series that I did almost a year ago, and then, I realized I never shared 10-15. I also realize many of you may not have seen the cards I made for writers back in the day, so you can read Writers Problems 1-5 and 6-10 by clicking the links. Below, I’m covering 11-15, and I hope you have as much fun with these as I do…even though they are writer problems.😉

Writer Problems #11

Autocorrect. It Thinks It Knows Everything.  11154822_3124201782664_4775317025677171708_o

I have this problem ALL THE TIME, particularly while writing The Tomo Trilogy. One of my characters actually is named Miles, and my laptop—despite my attempts to change the settings—insists on lowercasing his name because it’s a noun (not a proper noun). Don’t even get me started on invented words and names.

Writer Problems #12

Getting Too Attached To Writing Utensils 12829300_3124202422680_364883757868105374_o

Maybe it’s just me, but I treat my pens as a writer the way most readers treat their books. I do not lend them out, because they rarely make their way back to me. (And I buy expensive pens.) I know many writers use laptops nowadays, but I write a lot of my novels by hand before I type them up, so there’s a certain amount of familiarity for me when it comes to pens. I might even get upset when I have to throw one away, because—well—it helped me write chapters 1 through 20 in my latest WIP.

Writer Problems #13

Searching For Character Names
1556489_3124191302402_2841858008150793257_o

Picking the PERFECT name is hard enough. I mean, there is so much to consider. The background, the culture, the time period, the sound, or just the personality. Because of this, I am in love with surfing BabyNames.com. It’s one of my most visited websites. Even when I’m not writing something new, I’m browsing it, because who knows when I’ll need a new list of names to use? This has caused some interesting scenarios, including the one you see in my card. That actually happened while I was attending college. I was browsing BabyNames.com in between classes, and a girl stopped me to tell me congratulations. I gave her the strangest look (and actually replied “For what?”) She walked away like I was the strange one. It took me half a day to realize what transpired.

Writer Problems #14

Trying to Choose a Title 12823365_3124202542683_6786956300042952189_oTitling your work can be a difficult, maddening journey. Even though publishers often change titles, it’s nice to have a working one that feels complete or one that will catch an agent’s attention on a query letter. This issue is especially important for self-published authors, because, well, they literally have to choose it. Cue the madness. This could mean considering trends (like short titles when I made this or the longer, poetic titles now), or it could mean concentrating on symbols throughout your story. I actually wrote an article about this—Titling Your Novel—but the ironic part is that I wrote this article a LONG time ago, when Bad Bloods was called November Snow and when November Snow used to be called It’s Only a Matter of Time. (See? Those titles can get out of control.) I’ll have to rewrite that article soon.

Writer Problems #15

When The Coffee Runs Out wp15

Okay. So this card is a bit of an exaggeration, but…not really. It’s the symbolic version of what ACTUALLY happens in my head. I am a coffee addict, so without it, my writing brain wanders to places and scenarios and characters that have NOTHING to do with what I should be concentrating on. Hence the magical forest.

So how about you? What did these writer problems remind you of? Share your story below. Feel free to share and use these as well! On a side note, I could always continue to make these cards as well. Just let me know if that’s something you’d like!

~SAT

Cover

A little excerpt to start your week off:

“Do you think fate’s possible?” she asked, and I stiffened.

Fate was a reality, but it wasn’t a beautiful or angelic thing. It was a heart-wrenching nightmare. And we’d fallen blindly into it. We had no escape. It was happening, and it was up to me to guarantee our survival of it.

“Yes,” I said. “I think it’s very possible.”

She smiled and pulled me down to kiss me, even though I knew she wouldn’t if she understood the ramifications of it all. Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates, selfishly and without control.

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#SATurdate: Witch, Writer Madness, Fairyland, & Rooftops

5 Mar

This is covering two weeks of life, since last week was all about those Website Wonders, which means it’s a tad longer than usual, but I hope you enjoy all the craziness.

What I’m Writing:

12795183_991891044191410_185453795754929210_oI’ll tell you what. When a character reveals a plot twist you didn’t have planned AT ALL 40,000 words in, it changes things. Like, REALLY changes thing. Sticky Notes must have been made by the writing gods. I’m going to be honest. I’m going writer crazy. I’m working on Take Me Yesterday, but I’m also fine-tuning a novel I’ll refer to as “D.” I’m on D’s fourth draft…and I’m about to try to tackle it a fifth time. My main issue is the beginning—how to tackle that first chapter so it’s both exciting and showcases what readers will see throughout the novel—especially since most of the novel takes place in an entirely different universe/dimension than the first chapter. It’s much harder than it sounds, but I think I’ve FINALLY figured out a missing piece, and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since. That being said, there’s one more book. (I don’t normally write numerous things at once, but I am right now.) This is a completely new novel, too. It’s more or less to help me clear my head by working on something unrelated to publishing. (Not that it doesn’t have future potential, but sometimes a fresh project is a nice step away from the pressure of deadlines.) So there you have it. I’m writing three novels right now. I’m 40,000 words in Take Me Yesterday, playing around with the first 10,000 words of D, and outlining a new one. (So far, I’ve even written the first chapter). Here’s to the unknown! If you’re wondering what D is about, here’s your first clue.

What I’m Publishing:

I received my reviewer packet for Bad Bloods! That means book bloggers should get ready! Reviewers will be chosen soon. Also, I picked out sections for future teasers this week…and falling really far behind on my keywords. But I think I’ll be sharing prequel stories leading up to the release of Bad Bloods via Wattpad, probably starting in April.

One week’s #1lineWed preview theme was nicknames, and here was the favorited tweet.

That being said, this isn’t necessarily a “sneak peek” of Bad Bloods. This is actually a direct quote from an origin story. I wrote about 13 origin stories to get my characters figured out and outlined the other 13. (Bad Bloods has 24 characters in the two flocks of bad bloods alone.) This quote happens between Adam and Daniel during Violet’s origin story. Daniel is a protagonist in Bad Bloods, and Adam is, more or less, his sidekick. (Adam actually rejoices in this term.) Perhaps I’ll share these origin stories before the release date. I might be sending one out in a newsletter. We will see.😉

Another week’s #1lineWed theme was “need.”

This is a direct quote from Bad Bloods, but that’s all I’ll say about that.😉

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

smI read and finished Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, V. 11 and V. 12 by Naoko Takeuchi. You all know I’m a Sailor Moon junkie through and through, but you can read my full reviews here and here. These volumes conclude the manga. 

I also finished The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. You can read my review by clicking here. It’s a great read! It’s honest, it’s fantastical, it’s flowery, and it’s fun.

I also read How To Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish Without a Trace by Frank M. Ahearn (which is exactly how it sounds) and Liar by Rob Roberge, a memoir about addiction and mental health. How To Disappear is hilarious and informative, while Liar is heavy but interesting. I’ve done TERRIBLY at writing book reviews, but I promise to get back on that shortly…but after I obsess over my new Variety Puzzles magazine.

What I’m Listening To:

The sound of my rolling chair in my office as I roll back and forth between my desk and Sticky Notes and my table…and sometimes my bar.😉

What I’m Watching:

MV5BMTY4MTU2NjMyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzUwMDk4NzE@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_I went to the theatre to see The Witch! It takes traditional tales of pilgrims and their relationship with religion, the woods, and folklore, and puts it to the test. To me, it was about the descent of madness and sin, and although I’m not generally into overly intense religious messages, Witch wasn’t too bad. I was SERIOUSLY impressed by Harvey Scrimshaw’s monologue scene. He blew me away. That being said, this movie is most definitely a film. It’s not a horror story or a simple paranormal date night movie to see for fun. It’s an actual story, so expect that rather than The Conjuring. Annnddd, because I heard a lot of people complaining about this, it is in Old English, which can make it hard to understand sometimes. I didn’t have an issue, but I also studied Old English extensively in college. Whether or not that was why, I don’t know, but check it out if you want a twisted story of madness.

I also binge-watched Sword Art Online, because it makes me cry, and I started Fate/Night because the lovely Kathy Lynn Cross suggested it. Check out her novels! She is awesome. And, of course, I watched the Oscars. Way to go, Leo! (But I have to say, I was most happy that Ex Machina and Alicia won an award.)

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I did made an awesome Skinny Mexican Casserole and venison chili. For dessert, I baked a bunch of dark chocolate chip cookies. (I tend to do this also.) I also bought a bento box, so…NOM.

What I’m Wearing:

12794413_993634640683717_8444677203559547088_nChillin’ socks, featuring penguins.

What I’m Wanting:

The Winner’s Kiss and Lady Midnight! We’re so close! I also cannot wait to read The Hate U Give by Angela Thomas.

“The Hate U Give tells the story of 16-year-old Starr, who navigates between the poverty-stricken slum she has grown up in and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is an eyewitness to a police officer shooting her best friend, Khalil, who turns out to have been unarmed during the confrontation – but may or may not have been a drug dealer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.” – Publisher’s Weekly

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So I created a potion to take down aliens? But they looked like people, and they were after my entire family, so I was hiding…in my own house. (My dreams don’t make sense.) This is when an alien general found me. His name was Steve and he wore a suit. I laughed at him and told him that he’d never get credit for catching me, because his leader wanted to catch me, and I was right. When Steve took me outside, everyone pretended not to see, so Steve freaked out, thinking that the leader would kill him just so he could take all of the credit. So, naturally, Steve joined my side to help me escape right as his alien leader pulls up in a GIANT red pickup. (Don’t ask. I’m not sure why either.) We run around the house packing (because I guess we have the time to do this), and at one point, Steve starts drinking all of my aunt’s whiskey, and I yell at him that it isn’t his, to which he points out that my aunt would probably not care under such circumstances. But I still argue, because it’s her favorite limited-edition MAPLE whiskey. (Gross.) And he shrugs and drinks it anyway. I give up, finish packing, and right as his red-pickup-truck-driving leader bursts in, we make a run for the woods and escape…whiskey in hand. And still arguing about him drinking it.

What Else Is Going On:

12802846_991310444249470_6291603099732911419_nWe had REALLY nice weather, so I practically lived on my roof for a few days. (I’m a rooftop writer…which terrifies my neighbors.) It was particularly funny this time around, because they haven’t seen me up on the roof since fall, and the grandson visiting my neighbor started screaming about cats being on the roof. (Because I take my cats up there with me.) Of course the grandfather was like, “That’s impossible—” ::turns around:: “Oh, it’s you again.”

Me ::waves enthusiastically:: “Hi, Jeff.” Don’t worry. Just me being strange.

I also learned a lot watching your lesson on how to kill termites.

~SAT

I want to give a big shout out to Crazy Beautiful Reads for being the sweetest book reviewer there is. Seriously, never hesitate to tweet/message/e-mail me. You all make my day/night/life.

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#WritingTips How to Use Real-Life Stories in Your Novel

24 Feb

This seems simple. Using real-life stories—especially your own real-life stories—should be pretty black and white when you want to implement them into your novels, but it’s not. In fact, it can be very gray and confusing and downright frustrating to pick and choose…and well, remember. So, here I am to help with some writing tips.

First, I wanted to tackle the idea of using someone else’s real-life story in your book. Maybe they are your best friend or maybe they were some random guy at a bar you met. Either way, they shared a FASCINATING story with you about their life, and you loved it so much, you were already picturing where it would be in your current WIP. Stop right there. Personally, I am big on getting permission, especially if the story was deeply personal and unique (which, generally, people’s lives are). Get permission or even ask them what they would like you to change…or ask them permission for what you are already planning on changing. That’s just me though. There are many who would argue with me, and you can read their opinions on their blogs. But I see it as an ethical issue. I am not going to put a personal story about love gone wrong down to the gritty, dirty details in one of my novels when that person put themselves out on a ledge as friend (and human being) to tell me about it. That story is not mine to tell. Now if I get permission…Hell yes, run with it.

Now, moving on.

Why would it be difficult to put your own real-life stories in one of your novels? Well, for one, it can involve other people, which goes back to the point above, but you can also be TOO close to it. You might want to explain every little detail and moment leading up to the short story, and now you have a subplot instead of a little tale to push into your book. Try to focus on WHY. Why is this story so interesting? What about this memory is important? Is it the emotion? Is it the lack of emotion? Depending on the situation, one little section might be the only part worth mentioning.

Now how to choose. I’ve spoken to a lot of writers who are struggling for inspiration. They often tell me their lives aren’t exciting enough to use in novels, but once I start talking to them, I am pointing at them—practically jabbing them with my finger—and screaming, “THAT DETAIL. Use that detail.” Your grandmother who used to love to make liver and onions, even though the rest of the house hated it. Your mother who hairsprayed her hair into beautiful ringlets every morning…only to pin it up with a giant clip. Your father who took you to a golf course one day and you accidentally drew the club back…right into his forehead…and then he got RIDICULOUSLY upset…more so than you’ve ever witnessed before in your seven years…and then he calmed down and told you a story of how he lost a friend in childhood that way. It was the first time you heard your dad speak of death outside of the family or death in childhood or the fact that you just did something by accident that has killed someone before. Sadly, this is a real-life story from yours truly.

A little peek into my real life growing up

A little peek into my real life growing up

Little stories in your life that seem mundane aren’t. Everyone has life lessons, and those life lessons can be used and shaped to give your characters those same life lessons. If you’re struggling to remember which stories to use in your life, I would suggest keeping a notepad in your back pocket. Next time you’re talking to a friend or a family member, you might be surprised by how much you all bring up in everyday conversations. (I actually do this myself! I take notes on my own freakin’ life, and it helps! It allows me to have a file I can go to when I’m writing, rather than trying to conjure up a memory when I’m in the middle of a scene.)

So, study your life. Reflect on your life lessons. Here are some examples from my life.

When did you realize what death was?

My dad had to kill a bunny in front of me when I was four. My new husky had broken its back, and my dad was trying to put it out of its misery with a rake. I still won’t forget the sounds it made. (In my dad’s defense, my mother was trying to get me to go inside, but I was four. Enough said.)

What was your first funeral like?

As a three-year-old, I got ahold of the stage’s microphone and started singing Shania Twain…and got kicked out. I was just trying to cheer everyone up. My great-grandma Juanita took my cousin and I to her house where she let me make him cheese and crackers so I felt like I was helping still. (Because cheese and crackers are SO difficult to make.)

When was the first time your heart broke?

When I lost my first friend when I wasn’t moving. I was used to losing friends. I moved every two years. But when I lost a friend and I still had to go to school with her, I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t fathom how two best friends could just pretend not to know one another anymore. I still miss her.

All of these scenarios I could use in a story. It was my first experience with understanding death, not understanding death, and loss without death. Now those are pretty grim, but I would have to bet you have some interesting life lessons swirling around your mind, and if those don’t work, you can always listen to a friend (and get permission)!

Inspiration is all around you. It might even be in you.

~SAT

My editing services now have example prices. A few of you mentioned confusion on how to calculate the cost, so I left an example for 80,000-word novels. That being said, if you ever want an estimation, they are totally free through shannonathompson@aol.com. (A sample edit is also free, and you’re not obligated to work with me afterward.) I hope these updated listings help everyone out! Ex. Content Editing/Developmental Editing ($3 per 1,000 words) would cost $240.00 for 80,000 words.

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Minutes Before Sunset: book 1: FREE 

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Have you checked out this amazing gift basket Clean Teen Publishing is giving away this month? It has over $130 worth of goodies including a Kindle Fire, several print novels, sweets, swag, and more! Enter to win here.

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Author in a Coffee Shop, Episode 8 starts on Thursday at 7 PM (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is #AuthorinaCoffeeShop? It’s just how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my author thoughts (and talk to you)! See you then!

#WW Writing Help from the World

25 Nov

About a week ago, it began to thunderstorm in the middle of November…and it rained for three days. The storm—insignificant to many—took me back to when I was a preteen and first writing Bad Bloods. I recalled how much I enjoyed the overall storyline but struggled with the simple aspects of the novel, mainly the weather.

It seems silly, doesn’t it? Here I was, able to write a storyline in a made-up world with imagined characters, but I couldn’t figure out something as mundane as the weather patterns. In fact, one of the aspects I had to change in the rewrite was the moon cycle, which ended up being a lot more complicated than I ever predicted. (Mainly because the moon plays a significant role in the book.) But we’ll get to that issue in a minute.

A little background on my yet-to-be-released two-part series: Bad Bloods takes place in November of 2089. So, literally, the entire story happens in 30 days. The original version only happened between November 1 to November 27—because I wasn’t the best at pacing yet—and this created an interesting conundrum when I went back to rewrite it. The two main problems? I wanted the story to happen from November 1 to November 30, and I wanted the full moon to happen on the exact date it will happen in the future year of 2089. The original version was off, but the original version had a lot to tell me. And while I think many writers look at this example as pretty extreme—considering the decade that passed between the original and the rewrite—I think we can look at this lesson of mine as an example of a writer’s first draft going into the initial editing stages. There’s a lot to do. And some of it can be overwhelming. (As an extra, you can check out a map of the calendar to show just how much changed from the first version to the second version. Blue stands for Daniel’s POV and pink stands for Serena’s POV. I even included the new split between November Rain, part one, and November Snow, part two. The new one will now be on the Extras page instead of the old one.)

As an extra, here's a comparison on how the calendar changed. Blue stands for Daniel's POV, Pink is Serena's POV, and I included the new split.

As an extra, here’s a comparison on how the calendar changed. Blue stands for Daniel’s POV, Pink is Serena’s POV, and I included the new split.

When I was eleven and first writing it, I knew I wanted nature to play a significant role, but I didn’t want to be a cliché. I didn’t want it to rain when characters were crying, and I didn’t want it to thunderstorm when something bad was about to happen or when someone was angry. It sounds simple enough, but it’s very tempting to allow the weather to foreshadow the characters when you’re trying to make it important. But I wanted it to be symbolic on its own, like an addition to the antagonist being the city rather than one political leader. The question was how to go about it.

I didn’t have a clue, and I remembered being very frustrated as I tried different things over and over. I even recall talking to my dad about how I couldn’t get the weather to feel natural. And that’s when he pointed something out that is so simple I couldn’t believe it never occurred to me

Why not just use natural weather?

So, I did. (Thanks, Dad.)

That year, when November rolled around, I recorded exactly what happened, and I went through the book and added it in. Amazingly, it worked out perfectly, and nature gave me the perfect symbol without me having to force it. This is also why the full moon was on a different date in the original than it should’ve been. Even though the moon has now been changed in the rewrite, the weather has remained the same.

This wasn’t an easy task in the rewrite—keeping many elements while changing others—but it is a delight to know that my answers were, quite literally, right outside my window.

~SAT

#SATurday: Writing Update: Take Me Yesterday

12 Sep

I’m writing this blog post before I announce I’m working on Take Me Yesterday, book 2 of The Tomo Trilogy, but I’ve probably shown you a teaser by now. (This time warp I live in—two weeks before my life is posted—is still rather strange, but it is especially ironic in this case.)

For those of you who don’t know, my novel, Take Me Tomorrow, book 1 of The Tomo Trilogy, is a young adult dystopian novel about a clairvoyant drug. It released July 17, 2014, but it was taken off of the market less than six months later after that publisher closed. Now that I’m done rewriting November Snow, I’ve returned to The Tomo Trilogy with new insight, and I would like to experiment with that path next.

That being said, I’m basically writing this to ask you a few questions. Was there something you would’ve liked to see in Take Me Tomorrow? For instance, I am considering adding a few one-page chapters from Noah’s perspective, and I would like to hear your opinion on that. Originally, I kept the excerpts out because I thought he either said too much or too little, but so many of you expressed how you would’ve liked to see his voice, so I might add them. (But I warn you, his voice makes no sense, so please keep that in mind.) I’m also considering adding a few more details about the “massacre” that is mentioned, but there was an important reason I didn’t explain it in the first book. (It’s explained in book 2.) But I would love to hear any and all opinions if you have them.

That being said, working on Take Me Yesterday is different than I ever imagined. I’m basically rewriting it, too. The draft I had written is now five years old. FIVE. That shocked me enough. I’ve grown a lot as a writer since then, so I’m writing it with some older eyes, more experienced eyes, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy.

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You see, there’s a reason I didn’t return to Take Me Tomorrow right away. When it first released, I thought maybe it was the wrong decision, that the story was too controversial, that the story might even be too close to home. To this day, Take Me Tomorrow is the closest work I’ve written to my life, and I don’t do that often, but the topics surrounding drugs is important to me. Considering my mother died of a drug overdose when I was eleven, I’ve been affected by drugs my whole life, and after my mother’s death, I did a lot of research regarding how drugs are handled in society, both illegal and legal, and Take Me Tomorrow was the result of all that research. (If you want more information, I wrote an article a while back that gets in-depth about my reasoning, Why I Write About Drugs, Immigration, and Addiction) But, when it comes down to it, Take Me Tomorrow is my expressing a lot of pain I’ve had in regards to drugs. I don’t think it’s black and white. I find drug-related topics to be very gray, and I tried to portray that in the first book.

Perhaps releasing it when I did wasn’t the right time, but it did open my eyes to what I might face. Like, the woman who emailed me and told me I was encouraging kids to fall in love with drug addicts by writing what I did. (True story.) But I think, I’ve come to a point in my writing career where I know, no matter what, that I need to be true to myself…and I think I’m ready to tackle this controversy again. Most of all, I think I’m simply ready to share the rest of Sophia’s story.

I hope you’ll enjoy it too,

~SAT

P.S. For those of you wondering about November Snow, I still plan on releasing that next, and I’m hoping to announce something about it this fall/winter. Right now though, I’m just concentrating on getting The Timely Death Trilogy out before I worry about publication. Thank you for understanding!

Announcement time! And, boy, do I have a lot of announcements. (They’re exciting, I promise!)

Death Before Daylight, book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy, releases in THREE days. Three! Pre-order your eBooks here: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks. (The paperback releases Oct. 19.) If you want to be a part of the release day, you can even sign up for a book blast by clicking here. And, if you haven’t started the trilogy yet, don’t worry. The first book is free everywhere. Here’s some links to get you started in the Dark: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks.

All three!

All three!

Death Before Daylight was even featured on Waiting on Wednesday,  a weekly post about what readers are waiting for. On top of that, we’ve had a lot of fun so far during the Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour, and as usual, you can visit any of these places to enter into a raffle to win great prizes! Here are the latest stops: Black Words-White Pages interview, Crazy Beautiful Reads Review, and Fic Gal Review.

As for events, UK fans, I will be doing an Author Takeover on Happily Ever After Seekers Book Club on Facebook tomorrow at 8 p.m. (UK), which is 3 p.m. (EST).

Another Facebook party is being thrown by Clean Teen Publishing on September 18 from 7-9 p.m. (EST) Come join us at the CTP Death Before Daylight Release Party.

And, finally, (OH! FINALLY!) I’ll be doing a Halloween book signing and paranormal talk at Headrush Roasters in Gladstone, Missouri on October 21 from 6-7:30 p.m. (CDT). Who else can’t wait?

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