NaNoWriMo Coming to Town!

Okay, a show of hands, how many of you are getting ready for NaNoWriMo this year? I’ve wanted to enter forever, but was never in the position with a WIP that I could do it. But can you guess the reason for this blog post? I’m finally taking part in National Novel Writing Month! *is thankful I like writing at night* 🙂

And, yep, I’m going for the 50,000-word goal. Hey, if I’m doing this at all, I might as well do the whole thing.

I will be taking part with my current WIP, One Light Shining, a YA portal fantasy of which I penned the “first” draft this year. I kind of tried to forget about it, but, yeah, books just don’t work that way. 🙂 50,000 words should give me about half or so of the second draft.

So it looks like I’ll be staying up late, getting up early, finishing schoolwork as fast as possible . . .  Fun stuff like that. Nibbling chocolate. Drinking apple cider. Petting the cats when my blood pressure skyrockets . . .

Okay, so I thought I’d show you guys the synopsis of my WIP, in part because NaNoWriMo kicks off shortly, and in part because, by the end of November, that synopsis is going to look a little different. With rewriting always comes changes. Here goes:

Ties of blood are easily broken.

The words Cade spoke the night he killed his brother. Or . . . almost killed. Nothing haunts him more than the reality that he failed all those years ago to end the raging conflict between the nations. So, when two strangers come through the mysterious portal in answer to an ancient prophecy, Cade is ready to see his brother pay in full.

Wrenched from their modern world into a land of swords, bloodthirsty brothers and a nonsensical prophecy, Katrina and her long-time neighbor and nemesis, Andrew, grope for some kind of purpose in this strange world . . . but on opposite sides of a dangerous border. Spurred on by embittered contempt for Andrew, Katrina is more than ready to join Cade if he takes up the sword against the country of Mithunda. Until her own lust for revenge reveals a side of herself she never knew existed.

In a sea of secrets in which both are haunted by inner demons, Katrina and Andrew are forced to give the prophetic words a closer look, to search for what they truly mean. But the prophecy is shrouded in mystery, and all around them, people are proving determined enough to go to great lengths to see it negated.

And there you have it. Keep this storyline in mind, because I’m going to publish the revised synopsis at the end of November/beginning of December.

And I must know . . . have you ever done NaNoWriMo before? How did you survive? Tips you can share? Let’s chat!

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WIPJoy and a Book Update!

We’re doing something just for fun today – and something for all of you waiting on news of my WIP, a YA portal fantasy entitled One Light Shining. You may have heard of WIPJoy, which has traditionally been a month-long social media thing for authors, but Katie Grace recently did this on her blog – thank you! – so here goes. I’ve handpicked some of the thirty-one questions to answer today with my WIP.

YOUR FIRST INSPIRATION FOR THIS WIP

I love answering this question. 🙂 Technically, the biggest sources of inspiration came through Torrent (River of Time Series – awesome!) and Defy (Blades of Acktar Series – epicness!) Bits of both of those stories greatly influenced the development of this plot.

3 BOOKS THAT GO NICELY WITH YOURS

Well, Defy, of course, but also Resistance by Jaye Knight and Lisa Bergren’s Torrent. Each have similar points to their stories, whether time travel or genre or themes of redemption and restoration and, of course, action.

WOULD YOU RATHER: GET TRAPPED IN YOUR STORY FOR A WEEK, OR HAVE YOUR ANTAGONIST ENTER YOUR LIFE FOR A DAY?

Oo, fun! That’s so easy. Get trapped in the story for a week. I mean, if the antagonist showed up here, I’d have to explain an entirely different world and time period. That would be . . . stressful. Besides, I don’t think he’d like my cats, and well, we just couldn’t have that, now could we?

A LINE INVOLVING A DECISION

First draft here, so you may not see this particular line in the final draft, but here ’tis. A couple lines, actually:

No one in their right mind – even half in their right mind – would consider this a valid plan. But she dragged her eyes to meet his anyway and forced her jaw to let a string of muttered words through. “What do you need me to do?”

CHOOSE AN IDEAL READING SPOT, FOOD, DRINK, AND MUSIC TO GO WITH YOUR BOOK

All right-y, reader, pay attention, because you’ll need this info when the book is finally out of my hands and into your hands.

Reading spot: On a front or back porch, I think, especially in the evening.

Food and Drink: Garlic bread and apple cider. What else?

Music: Ooo, Flight of the Silverbird.

WOULD YOU RATHER: HAVE TEA WITH YOUR ANTAGONIST, OR BE STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 3 HOURS WITH YOUR MC?

That’s so easy. Tea with the antagonist. I do not want to be stuck anywhere with my MC from any of my stories, past or future. Let’s just get that straight.

WHY DO YOU YEARN TO SHARE THIS STORY WITH THE WORLD?

Because words can change people. They can lift you up, give you hope, remind you that there truly is one light shining.

The main characters deal with a lot of challenges that I believe many people can relate to, self-worth being one of them. There are strong messages in this story of the consequences of one’s anger and the unconditional power of forgiveness.

This book tackles many day-to-day struggles without masking them. There is pain, and in turn, grace. There is hatred, and in turn, forgiveness. There is danger, and in turn, trust. And perhaps one of the strongest threads of One Light Shining – there are actions which seem beyond any redemption, and in turn, His love beyond all limits.

 

And there you have it! A peak into my WIP, One Light Shining. Book Update: I’ve officially begun the editing and rewriting I have to do this summer/fall, and it’s on track so far, aside from being totally agonizing. 🙂

Anyway, let’s get ready to do some reading, eh? Meantime, why don’t you take #WIPJoy on over to your blog? It’ll be fun!

 

My Take on Time Travel in Fiction

Otherwise known as portal fantasy, time travel in fiction goes back a long ways. If you’re not too familiar with this as a genre, you are likely aware at least of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Today, I’d like to share my take on portal fantasy. Pros, cons and where we authors may be able to cause a literary revival. All this is just my opinion, since I personally despise time travel. That’s why I’m almost finished writing an entire portal fantasy novel. 🙂

Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. Writers have a very unique opportunity to reach audiences with this genre, and that is key to getting your message across. In writing, my personal message is generally one of Christ, of His light, of His love. Yours may be different, but no matter what point you’re trying to get across to a reader, portal fantasy is a bit of a hidden gem, a portal in itself for reaching people, especially teens and young or new adults.

WHAT MAKES PORTAL FANTASY SO DIVERSE?

It speaks to the reader. It causes them to a see a whole new world, the one you have created in your story, or maybe another time period or planet or galaxy! The possibilities are limitless.

A common plot or subplot in fictional time travel is, not surprisingly, romance, as it is in Lisa Bergren’s River of Time Series. That does, of course, make for a bit of a hassle. I mean, main character goes to another time period or, even better, another word and falls in love. How inconvenient.

But no matter what motives or subplots appear in your work of portal fantasy, it is all a web that ensnares the imagination, the unspoken dreams, the creativity of a reader while a crafty spider – you – comes along and whispers the underlying message, the passion burning in your heart that you must share.

WHAT ARE SOME CONS OF PORTAL FANTASY?

Ralph Waldo quote

Even if Emerson wasn’t talking about time travel (which I suppose he could have been) when he said this, I think we’ll insert portal fantasy into it today.

From C.S. Lewis and Narnia right down to the many authors of young adult time travel today, there is a common theme. The character(s) are brought into this new “world” via the calling of an ancient prophecy. And many writers of portal fantasy continue to insert this into their work now.

Now, I’m not saying that’s a terrible thing. How can I when my WIP includes a prophecy? 🙂  What I am saying is that, if portal fantasy is to reach its full potential, those of us writing in this genre should consider all options regarding this common – I did not say cliche – trend.

For example, you may want to consider having a faulty prophecy. One that many people believe and trust, but is actually not fulfilled by the character(s) who show up in their world. Or maybe insert a prophecy that is not fully believed, or that is vague. I say these options only because of this:

Portal fantasy is a very unique and opportune genre/sub-genre. Because of the popularity of using a prophecy as a launch pad, this may, in the long run, weaken the full effect of your story’s message. NOT straight across the board, as you may have a plot that captures the essence of a prophetic fulfillment and utilizes it to its full potential. These are simply things to keep in mind when outlining and planning a portal fantasy novel.

WHY IS IT SO UNIQUE? IT SPEAKS TO THE IMAGINATION.

Portal fantasy speaks to the imagination of your audience, captures their attention and creates a megaphone to reach them through. It can resound. It can inspire. It can bring forth your message in a perfectly subtle and powerful way, because of the genre’s popularity.

In addition, time travel may never exist in real life, but there are many who dream of it. Writers of fantasy must plunge forth in this genre, carry it to new horizons, and with it, scale new heights. Write on, brave wielder of the pen!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? HOW DOES THIS GENRE SPEAK TO YOU? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE WORKS OF PORTAL FANTASY?