Congratulations, Amy! That title sounds really fun! Going to check out your site, now. :)
Thank you, Regina!
I just finished The Blue Hours, a long labor of love, that began with a series on Salon.com, called Diary of a Divorce. I have another book in the works, Scheherezhade (hope I'm spelling this correctly, lol)--- b/c it is a story inside of a story, inside of another story, and so on. Location and time are fluid, some of the stories take place in the 1960's in the Midwest, in Germany in the 1940's, in Brooklyn in 2012, in Manhattan, and the year is 2080. The story turns on a mystery, what happened on the night of March 15, 1970? I've been away from it for about six months, as I've worked diligently on getting The Blue Hours ready for publication, but I'm looking forward to getting back, but also a bit intimidated about returning to such a complex world. So...that's what I'm doing. Happy to be here in this group, nice to meet everyone!!
>Scheherezhade (hope I'm spelling this correctly, lol)
Laughing, too! and I have no idea how you spell it. Good luck with Blue Hours (which is a great title)
I am working on writing my first novel, I haven't named my book yet, so far I have only written the first chapter and tonight I have been busy reworking and revising it. But I will share what I have so far:
A village summons Mother Earth (Gaia) to save their village from evil, while performing this ritual the men of the village come out and once the first male foot (which is my main characters older brother Cayden) steps on the ritualistic soil, Gaia appears (except the women can't see her), she kills all the men leaving the women in such desperation they kill themselves. Shay (my main character who right now doesn't have a last name lol) also attempts to kill herself with the rest of the villages women (she feels great guilt because she led the ritual and was the only one in the village who knew how to call Gaia) but she lives. She goes back to her house after the massacre and finds her nephew cowering in the closet... she must raise him herself and protect him from the evil that plagues the village (which later on my readers will find out is the Sandman).
sounds interesting, Carrie! Sort of Margaret Atwood meets fantasy?
After finishing a three year course on Novel Writing I began to draft my first novel. The first paragraph in this synopsis and or plot outline did as I mentioned, begin with a dream. The write up begins with a question one of my friends from She Writes asked me.
Did it take you long to come up with a story line?
When did you first get the idea and how did it develop for you?
Peter. Aka Pip. (His childhood name)
The raindrops sparkled on the shoulders of his black raincoat in the light from the dimmed chandeliers as he came into the theater auditorium from the street.
Alex watched him from the shadows on the unlit stage.
He walks through the auditorium towards the stage, and spots his mother’s old domestics Edna and Dorrie admiring the renovations that are underway. He calls to them. They come to him.
I have to confess this was a scene from a dream. Here I had my two protagonists. Alexandra and Peter.I knew the two domestics were from his childhood in this dream. So what was it like for him during his childhood? What were his parents like? What economic background did he come from? What were his dreams and goals? The same questions were applied to my heroine. How did Alexandra turn up in his life? What role did/does she play? This is a piece I am saving for the end of my novel So therefore I had to start from his childhood and their first meeting. How did that happen? Chapter 1.On The Doorstep. I'm trying to keep present day, but with the story spanning a few decades it is going to be a challenge.
Thankfully during my course with Winghill Writing School I had an insight and directions on how to develop a character. It's fun. In the 90 day too it gives you guidelines on character building.
I choose my antagonists from several sources. One strong insight I gleaned was from the movie Gone Baby Gone. It was set in a New Jersey neighborhood in New York state USA I think. Also my hubby and I have been foster parents over a thirty year period. (Retired in 2005) When we took up the work again in 1992 in Toronto,we had in our care newborns who's mother's had been drug abusers. The darling babies struggling from withdrawal was difficult to see.I certainly had an insight into the seamier side of life. Our home was set up as an adoption home, so when all the court procedures were done, our little ones were adopted and at least the Catch 22 for them was over. the cycle was broken.
To get further insights int the dark side of life I enjoy Elizabeth Georges novels, a good reference. I have picked up several reference books on crime. Another excellent source of info for the bad guys is the London Metropolitan Police web page. They are very good in helping you to keep things straight. Of course it all depends what genre you are writing in. Romance should be romance, I lean towards mystery and thriller. So I have to create conflict along the way. That's difficult for me. I would rather sit by a quiet river and daydream.
As I said before photo prompts will get me thinking very often. People in the street. Material is everywhere.
I am currently working on my first novel, literary fiction. It is set at the time of Emancipation and runs between multiple point of views of four former female slaves residing on two plantations separated only be a river. Its a moving story of a murder, a migration, a secret, and a story.
Currently, Im working my way through my old habits of going backwards to revise and edit, only to end up no longer moving forward. So far, so good. This is the farthest any fictional work of mine has ever moved.
The work is entitled "The Secret of Sweet Tea" though I am thinking after working at this project in several versions over the past few years, that title will change.
That sounds really interesting! Are you by chance a fan of William Faulkner? The story sounds like it's in the same vein as As I Lay Dying or The Sound and the Fury. I'd recommend you check them out if you haven't read them if you have interest in either Southern US culture or shifting points of view. Also, are you writing this in dialect? It's sort of a controversial topic for the time in that some writers do and some don't, and many readers have strong opinions about it (It makes Their Eyes Were Watching God really divisive).
Ive heard lots of talk about the controversy over dialect. There was one point, years ago, where I wrote a lot in the 'old southern' dialect and even had an author I admired read some of my work only to tell me she couldn't get through it because of the heavy dialect. This go round, I am using the 'terminology' but not so much of a heavy dialect. After reading a particularly controversy novel written with the most awful dialect a year ago, I realized how much of a strain it can be on a reader. Im trying to avoid that by keeping it at a minimum.
As for Faulkner's work, no I have not, but I will definitely read them at your suggestion. Do you prefer one over the other?
Faulkner definitely has some dialect, but is readable. He is certainly a great writer.
Although I'm not writing about the South, I want to have a few words in the language my characters are speaking, but know that I should make it fluent for the reader since that is their language (though I may have bits of two others at times). I think the key is to have the hint, but with the words clearly explained by context or sometimes with the translation given at the same time. Also the same 20-30 words will be used through the book, rather than a huge vocabulary. (I am excluding proper names here.)
I think that's the best way to handle dialects. Authors go overboard and will write "I haveta talk to 'em" instead of "I have to talk to them" and say it's all right because it's dialect. However, most people will drop sounds and put others together when they talk, whether they're former slaves in the Southern or rich yuppies in New York. It gets changed to make the story easier. But if the dialect has the characters noticeably breaking grammar rules or using uncommon words then I think the author needs to record, because it's demonstrating a unique facet of the character.
For Faulkner, both of the works are surprisingly different when the issue of comparison arises. As I Lay Dying changes perspective over 50 times, alternating per chapter, usually not lasting more than 5 pages, and often involving characters who do little in the story. The Sound and the Fury only has four chapters, each with a different perspective, and so they're much longer and more involved in the individual's mindset. I think The Sound and the Fury is technically better. The first and second part can be rather difficult to navigate though; the first, in particular, is supposed to occur over a day but the narrator has no conception of time.