So excited for Christmas this year! Shopping done. Cards sent. Presents wrapped...mostly. I don't even have to cook! We're going to have family on Christmas Day and that always means lots of love and hugs so color me happy! Just thought I'd share a couple of fun things for you to peruse during your sleepy holiday vacation. The first is the always entertaining, Age of Steam blog. Where they have crazy pictures and videos of a favorite Victorian Holiday pastime...bed races! So fun! The second is a heads up for anyone interested in getting free review books. The publisher of my Romantic Suspense and Gothic Romance books, Pelican Book Group, has a new program called Book Lovers and it looks awesome. There are a bunch of other review memberships out there for those who enjoy Inspirational Fiction. Check them out! However you decide to spend your time off I hope it brings you much joy and well deserved restoration. +Raquel Byrnes
So it is two weeks post NaNoWriMo and I am still reeling from the whole thing. I had my students participate and am floored at how many met and exceeded their writing goals. A couple hit 50K without breaking a sweat. My hat is off to them!
We're now entering the editing phase and one of the things I'm finding is that in the daze and craze of writing as much as you can...some things fall through the cracks. Its evident in my students' work and also in my own. The two biggest deficits are world building and character development... So the kids and I all wrote either fantasy or science fiction so world building is paramount with this type of genre just to get the reader up to speed with the environment. What I'm finding is that a lot of the descriptions are either piled on too thick in huge chunks to get it out of the way or not added at all. I feel like I'm sort of in a "stock post-apocalyptic" urban scene and that takes away from what I feel are great stories. I asked them to take out the huge paragraphs and thread them through the scene in dialogue and action beats. That seems to be working for them. I'll keep you posted. As for character development...well it really is a lack of emotional response to the situation, I'm finding is the problem. I think so much sweat and blood was spent this past month just getting the scenes out or the plot moving that we all forgot to anchor the character, and by extension the reader, to the moment with emotion. We are all working on writing the character more present emotionally and to incorporate emotion and internal thoughts like doubt or worry or arrogance into the storytelling mid action sequence. I hope this helps to cement otherwise frenetic sequences. I will try this with my own fantasy and let you know how it goes. What about you? What challenges are you facing now that "just getting it on paper" is crossed off your list? Are you doing massive rewrites...patches...or are you satisfied with your after-NaNo product? By +Raquel Byrnes
After a brutal nuclear war, the
United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded
together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new
nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained
by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group
in a yearly ritual.
This year, it is my turn.
My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s
son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.
But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel,
heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in
this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am
the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…
About the Author Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids. Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at http://amyengel.net/ or @aengelwrites.