PsyCorps Academy – Story and Proof-of-Concept

July 15, 2014

Hello,

I don’t talk with many other authors about their process for writing. It usually feels like prying. I’ve read lots of great books about the craft of writing and lot of blogs telling people how to write or how not to write.

I’ve learned that everyone does something different. I know that Stephen King normally writes his books in chronological order, while Neil Gaiman writes scenes and then ties them together. Some people plot out every scene and others don’t. Some type some use a pen or pencil.

One thing that I do that I’ve never heard anyone else doing was writing a proof-of-concept. I’ve done it for each of my novels so far and I find it extremely useful in find the right tone and feel. I find it extremely useful.

This post was a proof-of-concept for Parasomnia, and if you ever get the chance to read the novel you’ll realize that they’re completely different. What I learned from it was that I enjoyed the tone and the mirroring of dreams.

The following is a proof-of-concept for a novel I’m thinking of writing that’s set in the far future where 1 in a billion people is a Psionic. Each kind of Psionic is separated into a guild and that guild is like their family and decides what they do as a living. Precogs are the pilots and body guards, Telekinetic are the soldiers for hire, etc.

But at the core of the story I want it to be about a girl who has three of the eight possible powers and how she deals with training in the PsyCorps Academy. It should be a riff on the Boarding School stories, like Harry Potter, but in the future, with Psychic powers. I’d like it to have the feel of the Tamora Pierce Tortall novels (The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small books), with a hint of Star Trek and Babylon 5.

After writing this I think it didn’t have the tone of awe or sci-fi that I wanted. I think the character acts too young for her age and I think I need to go to third person to better describe the effects.

I am still extremely interested in writing this novel and it most likely will be my 2015 writing project.

Read the Proof-Of-Concept after the break.

Let me know what you think. Please!

*Warning: There is some violence and an attempted sexual assault*

Read the rest of this entry »

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Gaming and Writing

July 8, 2014

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

I may have way too many things on my mind right now. It has nothing to do with being busy and everything to do with my mind working in overtime. I blame running oneshots and preparing to run a new campaign.

Gaming

After nearly four months of not running or playing in any games (pen and paper games like D&D) I ran a oneshot two weeks ago and another yesterday. Oneshots are short adventures that take an evening to start and finish.

I’ve learned some valuable lessons with both games. The first being that rules light games are harder for people to grasp as a first gaming experience. Second is that I’m very rusty with the D&D 3.5 rules. It took me forever to make characters.

I also got the Emerald Spire Superdungeon in the mail from Paizo. It’s the special Kickstarter, leather bound edition. It’s beautiful and exciting. I can’t wait to run my group through it on Thursday.

Hobbies

I’ve noticed most authors I know have another creative outlet. It varies from person to person, there’s gardening, sculpting, drawing, painting, music, acting, web videos etc.

I think it’s important to have an outlet that lets you do something other than writing. I’m still not an official author but I’ve noticed that writing sort of steels a section of my brain. I’m constantly thinking of scenes, stories, novels, characters and other things for what I’m writing or want to write. It’s exhausting and sometimes builds into stress.

If I don’t do something else with my mind, I often feel guilty for not writing. Writing is a combination urge, craving, and need.

The closest thing I have to another creative outlet is gaming. It allows me to use the same parts of my brain that create stories for another purpose. A good gaming session, or preparation session feels like I’ve rebooted or defragmented my brain. It’s great.

I’ve also greatly enjoyed working on my own gaming system called Four Attribute Duel Dodecahedron System or FADDS for short. I’ve talked about it before but I’ll be doing some playtest at the end of August for the game.

I’m toying with the idea of filming a playtest oneshot to see how well it plays.

fadds

Parasomnia

On the note of writing, I’m hard at work on chapter 20 of Parasomnia. It started out as a Supernatural Suspense but I think I’ll have to re-classify it as a Drama Fantasy. I also started writing it for Adults but I’m fairly sure it’s better suited for Young Adults, or that odd new category called New Adults.

The book should have roughly 23-25 chapters and I’m going to do something with it that I’ve never needed to do before and that’s edit the crap out of it before my Weditor (Also known as my Wife) looks at it.

Unlike the Elizabeth Investigates series, I find this book needs a lot more cleanup. It might be that I have 5 POV characters instead of 2 or maybe the others need it and I didn’t notice. Either way once I’m done I’ll have a few weeks’ worth of work before I send it to the Weditor.

An author I know, and respect, sends her beta readers her new books one at a time. So she’s already edited what the first one says before she sends it to the second one. I think this is a brilliant way to get a book edited and that’s what I’ll do with this one when it’s done.

It’s been a hard book to write. Each of the five main characters is fundamentally broken. I don’t mean a fatal flaw but a mental problem that hampers their development and their ability to deal with the world. It’s hard to include those things and try to make them realistic without caricaturizing them.

There’s still a strong dose of action and adventure throughout but this book has more character introspection than I’ve ever attempted.

I’m very proud of it so far and I hope it will be well received.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow with more random topics.

Éric


Shame, Biking, and Sadness

June 10, 2014

Reading Shame

So the other day I read an article from a successful author, saying that it’s ok to read young adult literature but that you should still be ashamed of it. I raged and sputtered and beat my chest like some sort of primal monkey man and howled my anger. (It was just in my head but I was on the bus at the time.)

I had planned to give my usual rant at people being classist etc. but S.M. Carrière beat me to it and probably said it with more tact and finesse than I would have. Go read her response.

One quote that S.M. didn’t go into that had me frothing at the mouth late that night was this:

“Let’s set aside the transparently trashy stuff like Divergent and Twilight, which no one defends as serious literature. I’m talking about the genre the publishing industry calls ‘realistic fiction.’”

True I haven’t read Divergent and I loathe Twillight but to automatically dismiss two of the best selling novels in YA and then say that they are “Transparently Trashy” is not only harsh but sort of hint that she thinks all Speculative Fiction in the YA Genre isn’t serious literature. GAH!!!!

I might not be the best person to say this (seeing as I primarily write YA, Fantasy, and Scifi) but Spec-Fic and YA are great genres that exist to challenge our perception of the world. To say that they aren’t real literature is ignorant, classist, bullshit.

YA is a beautiful and clean pallet that allows an author to ignore and mix common story structures that wouldn’t be allowed in adult literature.

Writing

I restarted writing Parasomnia yesterday. I had taken May off of writing and I feel it was a good decision. I needed to remember why I love writing. As I get older I’m having a harder time adjusting to new things and moving/ buying a house threw off my groove. (The two horrible colds back to back didn’t help either.)

I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to get back into writing this novel but when I started yesterday the words just flowed out of me. It was a great feeling and one that has calmed me down.

It’s been 4 months since I last heard from the publishing company that said they’d get back to me soon. I emailed them last week but I’ve decided I’ll email their generic email at the end of this month and If I haven’t heard anything by my birthday (17th of July) I’ll contact the various editors that I’ve spoken too.

It’s frustrating because I’ve heard great things from this company and I really liked them in person but I’m a little sick of waiting and I feel like I’m being jerked around. I realise I’m about as important as a slug to them but… sigh.

If you’ve noticed I did something that I’ve never done before. I wrote a sequel to a “word of the day” story. Several people were very upset about not getting more story so I decided I’ll make it a random serial. Expect more from Felix in the future. Start here to read the story.

Biking

Another thing that went on the back burner while I was sick was biking. I had always told myself that if I lived in an area that connected to Ottawa’s awesome bike trails, I’d bike to work. Well I managed to bike in once and bike home once. It was HARD. Google maps said it would take 45 minutes but it took me close to an hour and a half and I was sticky, hot, and wobbly the rest of the day.

Almost immediately after I started the back of my knee started to hurt. So between the plague and my knee pain I haven’t done it again. I’m frankly terrified of it and that makes me sad.

I’m a big guy and I always have been. Even at my healthiest when I the hint of abs, I was 40 pounds heavier than what doctors say I should be. Since then I’ve gained more than I’d like, biking was supposed to be the fun and happy activity that would help me slim down and be happier.

I haven’t given up. I’ll talk to my doctor about the knee and if he gives his permission I’ll try to do it at least once a week.

Breaking Down is ok

A lot of people I know have issues with depression in early or late winter. I’m different; I struggle with it in spring and summer. I think it has something to do with my severe seasonal allergies and my hate of heat. It’s not normally that bad but the other day I broke down.

I mean a full breakdown, getting angry at my wife for an innocent comment, crying on the bus, deep-feeling of complete failure type of depression.

It was a bad day. The biking, the weight, the lack of success in writing (combined with the utter slowness of the industry) all made me want to curl up into a ball and make ugly sobbing noises.

The next day I felt better. Nothing much has changed since the breakdown but I feel hopeful.

Sometimes it’s important to let yourself feel the sadness in order to get over it. It’s healthy. I think.

It’s important to remember that you can’t be happy all the time. Sometimes you have to be sad and that’s ok.

 

That’s more than enough from me today. How do you deal with sadness?

Éric


Update for May 6th, 2014… No witty title… sorry

May 6, 2014

Hello,

The time has come, the time for us to part. No. Not you and I, my imaginary friend. It’s the time for a character to die. Eons ago I put up this poll asking for your help on whom to kill. This week I’m midway into the chapter that will kill the character. Out of 15 people who voted 5 of you voted for Adelaide.

Now because this novel deals with dreams and alternate worlds, I was sorely tempted to kill off one of the two versions of the character. I’ve decided that would be cheap. My plan is to have the death motivate the characters to stop reacting to the supernatural aspects and start actively trying to save themselves.

I’m not promising that this is the only death. There might be more. Mhuhahahahaha!

ed9

IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!!

Bundoran Press, an awesome publisher from Ottawa, is running an Indigogo campaign to fund a new anthology about what happens when aliens visit earth. They want to pay their contributors at professional levels and have a kickass cover.

For$25 you can get the Ebook and hardcover of the anthology.

If you’re an Aspiring Author like me you might want to get the $100 level that gets you the Ebook, Hardcover, a ton of Ebooks, and editing advice on one story by Hayden Trenholm. He’s the owner of Bundoran Press, an excellent award winning author, and an extremely nice guy.

What are you waiting for go check out their page.

Capture

Second Contacts Indigogo

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/second-contacts

(I might submit a story… Not sure.)

Have a great day,

Éric


Allergies, Life, and Writing.

April 29, 2014

pollen_count06

Allergies

Some people get the blues in January, from the lack of sun, and outdoor air. I get it at this time of year. I have severe allergies to nature. Ok maybe not all nature but most trees, grass, ragweed, flowers, mold, fungus, etc.

On top of all that I have one of the most annoying and one of the rarest symptoms from allergies; Weakness. When I have a bad allergy day it feels like all my energy has been sapped from my body and I have trouble moving. I also get migraines, trouble breathing etc.

Before I started on the allergy shots I had days where getting out of bed was such a chore that I’d hurt myself trying. I once burst several blood vessels in my eyes from the strain of sitting up. I had bloodied eyes for a week after.

The funniest was when my wife and I decided to start walking in the mornings. About a week into the walks I developed what I call “Demon Eyes” where the white from my eyes turned bright red.

When I was a kid I thought I was a wimp because I couldn’t touch wet grass without getting a red burn like rash on my hands.

There’s a nice break in mid to late July where I’m not allergic to anything blooming and I feel good. Other than that I feel best in winter when it’s -10 and everything is frozen.

Point

I have a point. I’m not just complaining. I swear.

I’m not a particularly People loving person. I believe the Human Race is wonderful and filled with potential and I love my friends and family. But people in general annoy me.

So if you see me, or talk to me, or interact in some way and I’m not my usual talkative self… It’s not you, it’s allergies.

I try my best to be nice and get excited about hanging out with people and once I’m doing it, if the crowd isn’t too big, I love it but beforehand I dread every moment.

Writing

Writing is going well, Parasomnia is well into Chapter 15 which is somewhere between 60% and 70% done the first draft. Once I’m done, my Weditor/Alpha reader will go through it and help me tighten the story. After a quick and dirty edit and re-write I’ll pass it to my Beta Readers who are small in group but awesome. I’ve hopefully acquired a new one who will be able to offer an author’s point of view.

After I get it back from the Beta’s I will then do another re-write and decide whether I think it’s good enough to start pitching to publishers, agents, and contests.

Right now, I need to concentrate on writing one word in front of the other, inevitably moving towards an ending.

Thanks for reading,

Éric


Discombobulated

April 8, 2014

Hello,

Parasomnia

There are three points in a novel where an author has trouble, the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Ok, all jokes aside this novel is kicking my ass. For one thing, it’s much longer than my previous novels making me think that I should start into the third act instead of still being early in the second. For another thing, I’m starting to move my characters farther in their development than I expected. And for a last thing, I’m worried because it’s so different from everything I’ve written before.

It’s just the middle of the book blues. I’m done with the exciting set up and introduction and now I have to fulfil stuff and twist the knife on my poor sad characters. (Speaking of which if you haven’t voted in the “Who’s going to die” poll or want to vote a second time. Now would be the time.)

New House

It’s seriously impressive how a big life change can throw me through a loop. My wife and I bought a house (I might have mentioned once or twice) and I’m having a hard time adjusting. The air is different, the steps between places are different, the feel of the carpet, etc. It’s all so new. I love the new place, the library is bigger and better but just as calming, and we have a BBQ.

Elizabeth Investigates

Still waiting on one of the publishing companies about “A Study in Aether” I suppose that means it’s good enough that they didn’t dismiss it offhand but it’s not so fraking awesome that they grabbed it right away. If I don’t hear by the end of May I’ll contact them and see if I fell through the cracks.

Websites, RPGs, and Webshows

In January, we hadn’t planned on moving, let alone buying a new house. That’s slowed my plans down for setting up a new website and for updating FADDS. I’m still working on the two of them but slower than I would have liked. As for the Webshow… Well it’s on hold until the house is more put together.

Hopefully by the end of summer we’ll have everything up.

Coffee

Taken from Tumblr, if you know the creator please let me know so I can credit

Have a great day!

Éric


Character Death

February 26, 2014

expendability

Dear Imaginary friends,

I made you a promise a few months ago that I would kill off a character in my next story. I jumped straight into a novel. So I need your help to decide what character to kill. There are 6 main characters and 2 secondary characters that you can choose from. I’ll describe them and you vote in the poll below. If you can’t see the poll vote in the comments, or message me on facebook.

Primary Characters

Adelaide

Female. Of Scottish descent, 24, average height orange/red hair green eyes. She’s the floor counselor for the patients at the institute. She has a master’s degree and a secret. She has lived her whole life with an imaginary friend. This fuels her need to understand psychological disorders.

Ashley

Female. Of Hispanic descent, 19, average height brown hair, green eyes. She’s an uber geek who has been hospitalized for violent night terrors. She is the only patient in her group who was court ordered to go to the institute, after she violently attacked her boyfriend in her sleep on prom night.

Kathrine (Kitty)

Female. Adelaide’s imaginary friend that is part tiger part human. She has a penchant for being a little wild and enjoying making sexual innuendoes. She’s playful and has a strange ability to know things that Adelaide doesn’t.

Kiri

Female. Of Maori descent, 16, short with very short black hair and reddish brown eyes. Suffering from a near fatal case of Anorexia and of sleep eating, she’s been at the institute for almost two years. She wrestles with what she knows is true and what she believes is true. She blames her mother, who is more interested in social status and what’s lady like, for most of her issues.

Paul

Male. White, 25, tall blond with blue eyes. After an extremely traumatic event Paul left the police force. In his dreams he smells fire and wakes up coughing ash. He checks into the institute after he starts setting fires while he sleeps.

Terrance

Transgendered (Physically male). White, 16, tall and broad with light brown hair and eyes. Terrance is a sleepwalker. He openly repeats his hyper-conservative family’s views on homosexuality, despite not understand it. He is the smallest and the most passive of four brothers and has been picked on his whole life. It has caused him to close himself off and not admit, even to himself, that his is transgendered.

Secondary Characters

Doctor Campbell

Male. White, 56 tall grey brown hair with grey eyes. The world’s specialist in Parasomnia related disorders and the head of the Aux-Anges Institute. He hides a secret. *Spoiler spoiler spoiler* is his *Spoiler*

Michael

Maile. African-Canadian, 25 average height short dark brown hair and light brown eyes. He is a nurse at the hospital. He’s a lucid dreamer and all around nice guy. He’s the patient’s favorite nurse. Will possibly be upgraded to main character if one of them dies.

So who dies?

Thank you for your help,

Éric