Friday, April 15, 2016

Feeding the Imagination through Research

Research isn't just about fact finding. It’s about discovering the perfect little detail to weave into a novel or some obscure tidbit of information that can add a unique twist to characters, places or plot. Research feeds the imagination, and that’s a good thing no matter what you’re writing.

For better or worse, a lot of my web browsing is on the paranormal: witchcraft, demons, angels, faeries, you get the picture. If someone were to look at my browser history, they’d think I’m working on a way to break through the delicate fabric of the veil to be able to open a door to another realm or that I’m trying to raise the dead. I assure you, I’m not. But my characters are and have.

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I often scour the internet or search through books to find little known nuggets of information that I can add to my novels. Like tricks to seeing faeries or that cinnamon helps with concentration. And did you know the hierarchy of demons is as complex as the one for angels?

Once I know the lore, I add my own unique and intriguing twists. The magic in my paranormal romance/thriller, EMBRACE, has a taste and a feel that those who possess the Powers recognize. The taste of chocolate covered strawberries kiss Madison Riley’s tongue when she draws upon positive emotions to fuel her magic. Whereas she feels as if she sucked on a mouthful of dirty pennies when her powers are fueled with negative emotions. The scent of vanilla and spearmint fill the air when Isaac Addington draws upon hope and courage to cast a spell, and the strong stench of metal saturates the air if he draws upon jealousy or anger.  The witches in the Embrace Series also have to worry about their powers colliding, causing a shock much like static electricity. Not a good thing when you’re new to the Powers and very much wish to get close to your witch boyfriend.

Witchcraft isn’t the only lore I’ve shaped to my needs. The demons in my books are often good and bad. Most have once been human and no matter how many centuries they’ve spent in Hell, the remnants of what it means to be human remains with them. My angels are as loving and understanding as they are fierce and a force to be reckoned with. Both creatures from Heaven and Hell have complicated pasts that lead them to make difficult and often surprising decisions.

That’s the thing about the supernatural—there are so many ways to add your own twists to known myths and lore to come up with original stories. Done right you’ll keep readers turning the page, guessing who to trust, and trying to unravel the mystery right along with your protagonist.  

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For those who are curious about how to see faeries, there are spells a witch can cast to grant you faerie sight. If you’re short a witch, then you’ll need a stone that has a natural hole in it. One hollowed by a river or spring works best. Looking through the center will grant you faerie sight. But beware: faeries can be mischievous, vindictive, and evil.

Do you enjoy research? What fun facts or tiny detail have you found that added to your character or plot?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Out with the old, #IWSG

Hi everyone! 

It's time to share our thoughts, insecurities, and encouraging words. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and our co-hosts for keeping IWSG going. For those who aren't familiar with Insecure Writer's Support Group, just follow the link. It's a wonderful group.

I'm feeling pretty good this month, mostly because at some point in March things clicked. I'm more of a panster than an outliner. Most of the time, an idea will percolate in my head for several months before I start writing. By this time I know the characters and what they'll face, and I've usually mentally plotted out several scenes. I've found being a pantser more challenging now that I'm re-writing my middle grade novel. I think this is because I know the old plot intimately and like many of the scenes. Talk about killing your babies, I took a match and set fire to an entire novel. 

(Give me a moment, sometimes I still can't believe I did it.)

Okay, I'm better. So I tossed out the original plot (a.k.a filed the novel in a safe place on my laptop, because one day I may recycle a scene or two) and I started fresh. After a few false starts, some bumps and bruise, wine, chocolate, hair pulling, and binge-watching Charmed, I'm in a nice flow. I just checked my word-count meter and I'm 80% done with the first draft. This past weekend I mapped out the rest of the book. (I might even be able to call what I have an outline!) I'm hoping to have the first draft completed by the end of April. Wish me luck.   :) 

How's your writing coming? Are you a pantser or outliner? Are you participating in the A-Z Challenge? (I'm not, but I'll still hop around the blog-shere to visit friends.)

Happy April, and thanks for stopping by!