The Beverage-Writing Cycle

wine coffee teaCoffee, wine, or tea? They each play a part when I’m writing.

Coffee is my motivator. It gets me started when I’m writing in the morning or late at night. The aroma alone is motivating. I live in Washington, which is the birthplace of Starbucks and the coffee capital of the world. I might be bias on that, but Washington is known for its coffee, right after being known for its rain.

Wine is my encourager. Should I put this in the story? Of course! Should my character say that? Definitely! Should there be purple ninja teddy bears? Wait…too much wine. Honestly, wine helps me keep writing no matter how silly the idea gets. The point is to get it all down on paper and edit later.

Tea is my voice of reason. It is what I drink when I’m reflecting and editing. This is where I generally throw out half of what I have written. Maybe not that much, but it feels like it. It is during this time that I realize something I wrote doesn’t work and changes need to be made.

This is my beverage-writing cycle. Right now, I’m in the coffee-wine part of the cycle. It doesn’t look like I’ll be drinking tea until the Fall.

purpleninjateddybear1And, just for clarity…there will be no purple ninja teddy bears in my story.

Get Lost in a Book and Read

ReadingI grew up with a love of reading. A large part of my childhood was being lost in a book. Of course, I have continued reading into adulthood and I just can’t imagine a world without books. I have always made time to read since it helps feed my imagination, and it’s my imagination that keeps me going.

I am currently reading Prey by Michael Crichton. He is one of my favorite authors because he makes his knowledge of science into intriguing stories. In Prey, he brings us into a world of nanotechnology, adding a twist that can be catastrophic to humankind. I’m halfway through this story and I can’t wait to see how it resolves.

MCrichtonPreyIn the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles–micro-robots–has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive. It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour. Every attempt to destroy it has failed. And we are the prey.

~goodreads.com

For the most part, I moved on from reading YA novels; however, I enjoy the storyline that Cassandra Clare has developed with The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. Therefore, I feel compelled to continue with The Dark Artifices series and read the first two books that are already published, Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. The last book in the series, The Queen of Air and Darkness is expected to be published in 2019. CClareDarkArtificesThe basic premise of this series involve a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons. It’s right up my alley in the book that I’m writing so naturally, I would be drawn to them. I’m looking forward to reading these books after finishing Prey.

 

Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series recently caught my attention. I heard her speak about her books and writing at Norwescon, which is a science fiction and fantasy convention held in the Pacific Northwest (SeaTac, Washington) every year. I am fascinated by the paranormal elements she has woven into her books. This most likely will be the next series I read when I’m done with Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows.

KRichardsonGreywalkerFollowing a savage, near-fatal attack, private detective Harper Blaine discovers that she has become a Greywalker, and now has the ability to move between the ordinary world and a mysterious, cross-over zone populated by monsters.

~goodreads.com

It looks like I have my reading list taken care of for the rest of the year…maybe into the beginning of next year. There are so many good books out there that I hope one day my book will be one of them.

 

Making Geeky & Nerdy References

geekyandnerdyBecause I enjoy many geeky and nerdy things, they have found their way into my book. I think it works well, considering the content. It just makes sense to reference Dungeons & Dragons, Supernatural, The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Legend of Zelda, and even Star Wars since my story has elements from these fandoms. It adds comic relief and many readers can identify with most of the references I use. I know when I’m reading a book and my favorite fandoms are identified, the story becomes more interesting and it brings me closer to the characters. Isn’t that the goal? You want readers to engage and be able to relate to the characters. I believe this is a fun way to do that.

Dungeons & Dragons

Alexander picked up a book off Marie’s bookshelf. It was the D&D Monster Manual.

“You might want to acquaint yourself with this book.”

“D&D monsters are real?”

“Where do you think these ideas came from?”

“Great. It’s bad enough these monsters get me in the game. Now, I may be dealing with them for real.”

Supernatural

Marie grabbed some salt and threw it at the creature, which appeared to anger it more. Vincent gave her a strange look.

“What? It works on Supernatural!”

The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings

“You know, he can easily pass as Stryder from Lord of the Rings,” Katherine remarked.

“Just tell everyone you are hunting orcs and you should fit in.”

Nathaniel grumbled, “Let’s keep moving.”

“See…he is already in character.”

I even make references to fun scientific facts that people don’t generally know, but I don’t pull a Jules Verne on the reader. For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m referring to, read Mysterious Island or Journey to the Center of the Earth. Really, any Jules Verne book. Am I right? I understand back in the day this was how people learned about things, but we now live in the land of Google. I’m not an encyclopedia, but I do know a lot of information that probably earns me the title, Encyclopedia BriTanyaca. After all, I do have five degrees. More than anything, I want to put things in my story that are fun, entertaining, and relatable to readers. The geeky and nerdy stuff works, but if it doesn’t…then, I edit.

Character Creation

CreationThe characters I create are conglomerates of people I know, have known, or would like to know. This makes the characters real to me and I can interact with them in the inner musings of my mind. When people see me deep in thought or laughing about something out of the blue, most likely I’m entertaining character dialogue. I virtually write when I’m unable to physically write.

Marie is the main character in my book and it’s no surprise she is a representation of myself. Being one of the characters makes it easy to interact with the other characters with genuine feelings. In the story Marie operates much like I would, delving into my mood and mannerisms. She has a lot of my ambitions, particularly in helping others resolve conflict. I have a Master of Arts in conflict resolution and since I’m not currently using my degree, I figure someone should, even if it is a fictional character. Because Marie is helping to reconcile fallen angels back to God, being a conflict resolution specialist only makes sense. My intention was not to go through an entire master degree program just so a character of mine could benefit, but at least my education isn’t going to waste, right?

Most of the characters in my book are angels or fallen angels, aside from Marie’s best friend, Katherine and her husband, Joe. They ultimately are the only ones who know about Marie’s mission and are there offering her continual support. There is also one other character, Jon and he is Marie’s once-upon-a-time boyfriend who just made his way back into town after retiring from the Marine Corps. Jon doesn’t know about Marie’s new life as God’s mediator for the fallen angels. Marie finds that keeping her secret is challenging as Jon tries to rekindle their relationship that was lost years ago.

 

What Inspired My Book

angel lightWhat truly inspired me to write my book came from reading the Bible and wanting to know more about angels. I realized that there was very little written about them in the Bible. Although there is plenty written about them elsewhere, I wanted facts and not speculation. For over 20 years I have researched angels and have found some fascinating revelations about them, especially in how they are seen.

In the 4th century, angels were depicted in art with wings and halos. Before this time, they were shown without wings or halos on carved objects, specifically on sarcophagi reflecting the biblical accounts of angels who appeared to Abraham (Gen 18:2) or those appeared to the women at the tomb of Jesus (Mark 16:5.) There is no mention in the Bible that these angels had wings. In fact, angels were mentioned appearing as men in white gowns or robes (Matt 28:3 and Mark 16:5.) Where did wings and halos come from? Come to find out, wings and halos were taken from pagan culture, influenced by images of the goddess Nike and the god Eros. The halo was an artistic device taken from pagan culture to show the gloriousness of a god. It further went on that angels were shown with wings and halos in art to differentiate between men from angels.

Angels were portrayed predominately feminine. Renaissance artists looked to classical Greek sources for their inspiration as they did to the Bible. Therefore, the men who visited Abraham had to compete in the artists imagination with the feminine figures of Nike. Feminization of angels largely was seen in the 19th century and was strongly associated with the Romantic movement. Angels became elements in a romantic vision that was now loosely attached to Christian tradition. Angels were not regarded as intellectually respectable as they once were. Therefore, they were taken less seriously and commanded less cultural respect, so men portrayed them as female.

According to my research from the Bible and other biblical resources, such as the Book of Enoch, there is no indication that there are female angels. Also, I have found that angels are not both male and female, which has been suggested. Angels are clearly male since they came down from Heaven and took women as their wives, bearing children with them (Gen 6.) Furthermore, all accounts in the Bible about angels have referenced them as being male.

Although I can go on and on about angels here, I plan to share more about them in my book. Ultimately, my research on angels has inspired me to create a story that I believe will represent them accurately.

 

Discover Scrivener

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I recently discovered Scrivener, which is a software program by Literature and Latte that offers a complete writing studio at your fingertips. With Scrivener, outlining and structuring my book has been extremely helpful. I can organize and manage information pertaining to characters, setting, dialogue, chapters, etc.

The corkboard in Scrivener is one of my favorite features. Instead of having a wall full of post-it notes or a pile of notecards, I’m able to pin pictures or ideas on the corkboard for reference. It’s a handy visual resource.

This software program has everything to help you write and even self-publish! That is something that stood out to me since I plan to self-publish my book and submit it as an eBook.

Scrivener is a useful tool for any written endeavor. Learn more and purchase from Literature and Latte.

Literature and Latte – Scrivener

Rituals of Writing / Writing Process

Pen & PaperIn writing, there are certain things that get the creative juices flowing; rituals of writing that help the writing process. It is different for everyone and to find what works for you can take time. Some people can hang out in coffee shops and write to no end. That is not me. I need solitude; no people. I listen to music for inspiration, practicing lyrical dance or yoga to get my mind thinking. Having a glass of wine helps, too. Picking a day or time of day to write is essential. A writer must write and write often. I write weekly, usually in the evenings on most days. Establish your own rituals of writing and then begin the writing process.

Writing can be challenging. To avoid staring at a blank sheet of paper, I create an outline to help me organize my thoughts. I first make a skeleton outline that consist of a few words or phrases. Then, I go back to add more description. Next, I am ready to start writing. I don’t write at the beginning of a story and continue to the end. I don’t even write from the middle or start at the end and work my way back to the beginning. I write in parts; scenes. I also write all my dialogue first and then go from scene to scene adding narration. Finally, I piece it all together with transitional writing so my story flows. Somehow, this works for me and quite honestly, I get a lot more written this way.

An important thing to keep in mind while you are writing is to write without stopping. In the past, I found myself stopping and proofreading. That was the editor in me. However, editing should be reserved to the very end. Period. If you continually stop and proofread, you will never finish. Remember that all writers rewrite. It’s a given. So, get out there and write!