Posts Tagged ‘fantasy genre’

What is a trunk novel? The Story of The Martlet

So after posting about The War Ender’s Apprentice last week, I got a few questions and specifically the one I am going to answer is What is a trunk novel? (Or more specifically: why the hell did you keep a decent novel in your back pocket in the days of self publishing?)

The definitions of a trunk novel are: 1) a non-publishable novel the author finished early in their writing career (2) a novel they never sold.

The original The Martlet novel was both. It was inspired by a short story I wrote while I was waiting to hear back from publishers about Other Systems back in 2011. I sent it to a literary magazine who rejected it, but gave me a long feedback letter. They loved it, but felt like it was part of a novel. Specifically they loved the idea of the central character: a person who stops wars before they get started and they loved the relationships that I showed. So I sat down and wrote the novel using my drafting process.

Roark

Original Character Sketch of Lord Roark 

I originally thought this was a swashbuckling adventure book with mass market appeal so I sent it out to publishers. The rejections started piling up from big and small publishers–including 48Fourteen who published Other Systems. Only one small publishing company showed any interest, but I hesitated and the opportunity was gone.

I sent The Martlet to beta readers, the overall feedback I got was that everyone loved the characters, but felt the A plot and B plot was overly complicated. Thinking there was something wrong with the beginning, I wrote a new beginning. And I tried to smooth out the A Plot, by adding shorter adventures so the characters could solve things while continuing to work on the big plot which takes years. (Yep, I literally made it even more episodic!)

SIDE NOTE: if The Martlet was my only project I might have come to the conclusion to break up the novel earlier, but during this time, I also finished the third book in Faminelands, the final episodes of Out for Souls and Cookies, I wrote and 48Fourteen published The Light Side of the Moon, I wrote and self-published The Grove, and I spent six months collaborating with Jennifer Brozek on the graphic novel version of her short story The Prince of Artemis V for which we’re shopping for a publisher right now

However, The Martlet kept calling. Between projects, I’d work on it. Try to see if I could clean up the prose or add a chapter here or there. I added a frame story at one point. I sent it to other beta readers.

I couldn’t turn away from the central cast of characters, especially Roark. I wanted to publish it so it would stop haunting me, yet I knew I would regret publishing it too early.

With every project under my belt, I learn another lesson and The Martlet was now screaming at a fever pitch in the back of my mind. So I started fresh. Now I don’t want to give too much away, but I noticed there was no inciting incident which starts Roark on his path, because it happened when he was much younger than he is in the original novel.

These two points are from Roark’s Background:

Age 13 – 19: During Roark’s apprenticeship, he sees his master [Alana] pulled two ways. Her Martlet vows and her War Ender vows. Personally, he is tired of her do-gooding, when she is breaking laws to do it. 

Age 16: Alana rescues Eohan from a slave ship due to “one of her more idiotic” visions.

This is from Eohan’s Background:

Age 18: Alana rescues [Eohan] from a slave ship. Though unsure about Alana’s methods and Roark’s instincts, the young men become friends.

I started asking myself about other things readers would want to know, like why/how were Eohan and Kian enslaved. If slavery exists: what does that mean for the societies in this book? And where do the War Ender’s come in? Why would a society stop wars, but turn a blind eye to the atrocity of slavery?

Now if these pieces were additions to a novel, The Martlet would become another longer work. As an author and artist, I am always trying to challenge myself. If the problem is that it’s episodic, then I should turn it into interconnected episodes!

What might be a good novel might become a series of epic novellas!

The War Ender's Apprentice copyNow that The War Ender’s Apprentice is out, I have a little more to do with The Assassin’s Twisted Path before I send it to the editor in early January.

Long story short: Though I tend to be a “let’s get it done” type author, sometimes just getting it done isn’t the answer. I needed time to explore the work and discover it’s potential. I’m glad I took that time.

If anyone is pushing you to publish a work, you know isn’t ready, don’t listen. Stick it aside, and work on another project.  Or stick it out and figure out what’s wrong.

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Who is the protagonist of The Grove?

 

The Grove Cover_blogsized

I always think its fun to see if I can create a character that the reader loves to hate. They must be sympathetic. They must be interesting. They must also have a need that must be met in the course of the story. But that isn’t necessarily what makes them a protagonist.

So how do you define protagonist.

The most common definition–especially for the lay person–is that the protagonist is the central character of a story.  And professionals agree: According to Literarydevices.com “A protagonist is the central character or leading figure in poetry,  narrative, novel or any other story.” However, then the definition goes on. Seriously its a whole page.

So lets first start with the central characters. For The Grove that’s Dayla Fisher and Jonah Leifson.

panel3a-copy

Jonah wants to save humanity from themselves. He believes waking a few bloodthirsty ancient Gods will do it. And he doesn’t care that he might have to sacrifice a few people to do it.

dayla happy.jpg

The Keeper of The Grove, Dayla will do anything to stop Jonah from waking the Gods.  She suffers over any loss of life though she eventually comes to realize she might have to take life to stop Jonah.

So who is the protagonist?

There are a couple basic elements for a protagonist:

  • The protagonist is driving the action of the story and so the narrative revolves around him/her/them.

By this definition, that means my protagonist would be Jonah as he drives the story towards its conclusion.

  • The protagonist may undergo some change within the course of the story.

Uh Oh, Jonah doesn’t go through much of a transformation, he is a true believer in what he is doing, so that might mean the protagonist is Dayla.

  • The events occurring in a story often viewed from the perspective of the protagonist.

Well that could be both characters. As well as three other people: Dayla’s husband Oliver Hayes, Dayla’s best friend Samantha Miller and her one time rival, now charge, Galeno DeAdams.

  • A well-constructed protagonist allows the audience to relate to themselves and the other characters.

This too could be either character. Do you want to save the world with Jonah? Or stop Jonah from sacrificing people with Dayla?

So who is the protagonist?

The truth is who is the protagonist is questionable. I wrote The Grove as a thriller. So in that sense, Jonah is driving the action, while Dayla is fighting for her life, her husband, her friends and lifestyle. Most people will see Dayla as the protagonist, because she isn’t using her magic to delude people into waking three ancient Gods. She is “the good-guy.”

However ultimately who is the protagonist is up to the reader!

Do you agree or disagree? Do you have a favorite book/series in which you question who is the protagonist?


About The Grove:
The Grove Cover_blogsizedGenre: Contemporary Dark Fantasy
340 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780980145908
Ebook: ISBN:9780980145922

Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver. That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grove-Elizabeth-Guizzetti/dp/0980145902/
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-grove-elizabeth-guizzetti/1124461156?ean=2940156779864
IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grove/id1153788999?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-grove-9

Reviews for The Grove:
“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

Draft #3 of the Grove is finished…but no, its not done.

Draft #3 of The Grove is finished, but all that means is it is ready to be sent to my first reader. This first reader is NOT my publisher. She is a friend of mine who loves fantasy–especially urban fantasy–which is why she is the one who gets to read it. She also has a good sense of humor about reading books before they go on to the next draft and then off to publisher.

When is it coming out? I have no idea. While everyone tells you to get your book out yesterday, if I try to write rushed  I write a bunch of crap. Besides even if my first reader LOVES it, I still have to sell it.

Other Systems took seven drafts before it was sold.

I tried to do less with The Light Side of the Moon, but then it went through a full rewrite. It was accepted for publication, then during editing I was told to change some more things. If I add those in, I did about seven drafts.

This is how I create a novel:

Step 1: My outline.

Now this is a loose story written in a fews day with major scenes and plot points.

Step 2: My first draft which is very rough and fast. I do about a chapter or couple scenes a day. I don’t worry about grammar. I sometimes don’t even add description or do research. There was actually a tag that said: LOOK UP HOW WICCANS CAST A CIRCLE. Another said, DESCRIBE THE SOUND OF THE SEA

Grove Inspiration CapeLookout

Cape Lookout Oregon State Park is inspiration for The Grove

Draft Two is when I do research and  add it into the manuscript. Dialogue becomes crisper. If the characters want to not cooperate with the plot this is where they will change things.

Draft Three is where I make sure the character’s motivation feels real. I also look for TELLING spots such as:Oliver visibly relaxed and change it to something like: Oliver flopped onto his velvet couch and unbottoned his fly, allowing his soft belly to fall over his waistband. (No this is not a real line in the book, but I think its funny.)

The final part of Draft Three is a self copy-edit so the reader isn’t disgusted and confused by mistakes. Now I can give it to a first reader and get some feedback.

Draft Four is where I add the feedback and change the story as needed.

Draft Five is a heavy self copy-edit. This is also where I am going to start sending it out. If I happen to get any more feedback I use it to make the manuscript even better.

And on it goes.

So that’s my process, how many drafts do you go through?

 

Science Fiction Fantasy Afternoon at Federal Way Library!

library Facebook

Pacific Northwest Science Fiction & Fantasy Fans!  I along with authors Zachary Bonelli and Aubry Andersen will be be at Federal Way Library to read from our books and discuss science fiction and fantasy!

2 pm – 3:30

Federal Way Library
34200 1st Way S
Federal Way, Washington 98003
(253) 838-3668
http://www.kcls.org

For more information please check out: http://www.facebook.com/events/643438919054063/

Review of Isaac the Fortunate: The Spring

Here is my review of The Spring which is the next book in the Isaac The Fortunate Series.

19546483I loved The Winter and all I can say is wow for The Spring. AoKA’s engaging characters and beautiful descriptions will transport you to medieval Switzerland where you follow Eostre–the mysterious lady from the Winter who gives the farmer Beltran the Golden Bridle.

After the death of her drunken father, she goes to a nunnery. She begins having visions that leave her confused, lost, and in deep trouble with the other nuns. She sees her best friend another novice alive and then she sees her dead from a plague. Then other nuns are alive and dead.

Eostre begins to doubt her own sanity as she wonders what is real. As the timelines converge, well, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

AoKA has a beautiful style and the poetic descriptions left me hungering for more. She doest they beautiful black and white “woodcut” style illustrations. I look forward to The Summer!

Why does an author end a series….

Cover_ksToday the final page of Faminelands: Book 3 Mareton’s Curse went up on the webcomic. I am proud of what I accomplished with the series and this is a bittersweet moment for me. Though I am not saying I will never go venture to Talamh with pen in hand, I also believe in being honest with the fans. At this time: it is unlikely.

Our reasons are simply practical.

Though I enjoyed the creation of Faminelands Book 3, post production did not go well. Its Kickstarter failed, but I produced the book anyway. We did a minimal run, but a full-color, perfect bound project we were never able to get our costs down. Though there were avid fans of the series for whom I am truly thankful, and we sold out of our first run of The Carp’s Eye, Faminelands #3 did not sell well in 2103, and our sales have dropped to 0 in 2014.

Faminelands has always been a project of love. I knew going into it that some people would hear the words ” mercanary elf” and started running in the other direction. However I have also spent thousands of dollars and hours. I need to pull the plug.

As some of you know Faminelands Vol 1: The Carp’s Eye was not only my first book, but it was how I taught myself how to create comics after years of painting landscapes and baby room murals. This act of creation defined who I wanted to be as an artist and author as well as set up the kind of books I wanted to write. So Faminelands has a special place in my heart. It always will. At the same time, there are other projects that I want to work on. A 100 page graphic novel takes me approximately 800 hours in production, post production. And forever to sell.

Ultimately, my heart is no longer on this project and its bleeding me dry. 

Maria had to scale back the hours, she is able to give to the projects. Though it was a bit dicey for awhile, I think we figured out what is going to work for both of us.

All that being said, if you want to know about Lark and Orin the webcomic is still up (in fact at least for the time being the store still has the Faminelands Banner since I need to send in the ZB Template) And we will keep a small amount of stock if you want to order the books. To be clear, though this series has ended, as a company, Maria and I are not going anywhere. In fact though 2014 is a year to regroup and end a few dangling projects. Out for Souls&Cookies #5 is being released starting March 27, 2015.

At Emerald City Comic Con, we will be having a huge raffle of both Faminelands and Out for Souls&Cookies swag, books, and sketches. 

We have some exciting news about 2015 that I look forward to announcing later this year.

What do I do while waiting to hear back from publishers? I start a new project!

I admit it, right now, I’m feeling vulnerable about the fact that I have a ton of things up in the air…

ECCC is coming. It’s my biggest event of the year. I’m not even going to pretend that doesn’t freak me out.

mug_FluffOut for Souls & Cookies #5 is progressing a page a day just like normal. In fact I should be done by March 1st on my current schedule which will work fine, since that is when Maria will come down to Seattle to take a look at it prior to ECCC. And for everybody else…I hope you come back on March 1st for the cover reveal.

The Martlet is at Angry Robot. No word.

The Light Side of the Moon is at 48Fourteen.

I’ve three short stories out in the ether, I’m waiting to hear back from. One at Flash Fiction Online, another at Lightspeed and another at Analogue.

As always I’m crossing my fingers, but that doesn’t quiet the anxious voices. So what should I do? That’s right, go through the queue and find a new project!

On Monday, I started a new project from this idea:  Is the life of one worth the life of billions?

IMG_1467

Dalya Hayes and her husband Oliver Fisher are locals who run a Museum of Oddities and the Visitor Service Center in the small town of Sitka’s Quay. They watch the summer crowds. Some visitors are just families out for an all-American vacation, but some visitors seek to restore their magic in the grove and lake outside the village.

One day, a visiting sorcerer, Jonah Leifson, comes to town. He believes these old Gods will bring back peace and prosperity to the world. Jonah gathers other sorcerers with the same political motives…..

Now for the rest of the blurb, sorry but you’ll have to wait. I don’t want to give away too much, especially if I change the plot half way through or something. 😉

Finished the outline, and wrote the first two chapters which right now I am calling Sitka’s Quay.

As I said, the protagonists are married…so I began writing. The rough draft of the first few chapters has been written. I started it with them in their museum. The antagonist enters.  They give him a map of the grove but wife senses the danger. 

So I think this book is off to a good start. I’ve researched some ancient Sumerian Gods, ancient ceremonies, running a search party, and small town life.

Note: I think the heat level is still sweet. Way more kissing and sensuality than I wrote for The Light Side of the Moon, but certainly not erotica. I would be embarrassed to write anything much more risqué. Seriously, not only am I known for comics, but my mom reads my stuff.

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