First Draft of The Matriarch III is Complete! #amwriting

TheMatriarch3WorkingTitleLogoSmall58,800 words written in 48 days completes the first draft of this third book (out of a planned four-book series). Now it’s time for a well-earned step away, letting the words settle on the page for a bit before trading “good enough for now” up to “as near to perfect as any mere mortal can hope to be.”

Like the first two novels, I have strived to infuse as many human elements as possible into this vampire story. There are plenty of individual elements, but to infuse life into the adventure, the risks and the rewards, you must also show love, hate, fear, surprise, betrayal, jealousy, and all the rest. Plot is what happens to our characters; story is how it affects them.

Coming soon: the official title, the actual cover, chapter teasers, and the publication date! As always, there is plenty more information and other goodies at Cedarcrest Sanctum.

I cannot wait to show you what I’ve been working on!

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Much Ado About Vampires: Writing The Matriarch III

Whether you love or hate the Bard…or vampires.

TheMatriarch3WorkingTitleLogoSmallWhen I expanded my stand-alone vampire novel into a book series, it required me to re-envision the first novel as “part one” to create a story progression (don’t you hate when a great story falls apart at the end?) I tried to think of The Matriarch as a trilogy, but it was going to take four books to get to the ending I wanted and wrap everything up with a bow.

This meant each self-contained novel – intended to be enjoyable unto itself – had to seed the entire arc to show the main character progression, especially in her capabilities and the challenges she would have to overcome. Those knowing the story line of my current work in progress, the untitled third, have dubbed it “Shakespearean” in reference to characters withholding critical information that escalates the situation. The Matriarch: Guardians did this, too, but to a much smaller degree.

It’s a classic and flexible trope: if Boy-X would have just told Girl-Y about Suitor-3, Villain-Z wouldn’t have tried to kill Girl-Y over the perceived slight from Boy-X. Then there’s my favorite: the character who knows everybody’s secrets but keeps them to manipulate others and/or just enjoy the show. If we would all just learn to talk to one another, we wouldn’t have to go around threatening to kill everyone…I know, I know: where’s the fun in that?

The first draft of The Matriarch III is nearly complete! I credit Linda S. Cowden with the title of this post; I love my wife!

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Novel Writing – My Process: Motivation

TheMatriarch3WorkingTitleLogoSmallNovelist Tim Waggoner was asked by one of his creative writing students for tips on “how to stay motivated to write.” I offered this suggestion:

On the subject of motivation in writing (when you can’t seem to get it done), I try to boost stimuli: read, walk, travel, explore, and above all TAKE NOTES. Being a writer means you’re always thinking about how to describe something, do something, or how things happen. And when you’re neck-deep in a project, you never know what little tidbit will solve that problem you’re working through. Don’t be afraid to step away from the pencil or keyboard and let your imagination be inspired.

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Novel Writing – My Process: Plotting

BookhouseIn a discussion of Stephen King’s book On Writing, he claims he doesn’t see the value in plotting. This is what I had to say on the subject on the eve of the 2014 NaNoWriMo:

Whenever I write a short story, I often envision it as a single scene or chapter with a single point of view. When I scaled that up to writing a novel, I treat each scene/chapter as a separate short story, giving it a beginning, a middle, and an end. To find those scenes, I usually start at the end, then work my way backwards to figure out what scenes I need to get to that conclusion; my first scene is often the hardest to decide upon: what is the perfect spot to jump into the story? I also imagine specific scenes – money shots – to act as way points to work toward while filling in all of the missing pieces.

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