Iron & Glass, the author’s journey (part 13)

My book is out! You can buy it here and then review it on Goodreads here. It will be available on Amazon soon too. Anyone who buys the books gets a digital cookie. Anyone who reviews it gets a digital hug.

Whoopee!

Anyways. Is it bad I officially begged for people to buy it on the 13 post of this series . . .?

Remember when I said Iron & Glass had over 800 songs on its “soundtrack”? Well, I thought I’d post some of the songs I believe truly epitomize the book—which is now out (go buy it!)

I’m also sick . . . so I think any writing “advice” I’d give out today would end up sounding something between a drunk money or high elephant.

Without furthur ado . . .( in no particular order)

“Near Death Experience Experience” – Andrew Bird

“Uprooted”- The Antlers

“Safe & Sound” – Electric President

“Like Lavender” – Horse Feathers

“Promise” – Ben Howard

“Wonder Woman, Wonder Me” – Kishi Bashi

“The Violet Hour” – Civil Wars

“Ring of Magic” – Gary Stadler

“I Remember” – Whitley

“Watch for Out Lights” – Young Magic

“What if the Storm Ends” – Snow Patrol

“Fin (full version)” – Anberlin

Iron & Glass, the author’s journey (part 12)

Finish it!

That’s right!! Since Iron & Glass comes out next week this blog series is almost over (oh no!). I will, of course, have a few more (maybe five? probably less) directly related to the book (in theory) after it is out. Also, I will answer any questions anyone has about the book once it comes out. But I won’t give spoilers away.

Anyways, now is not the time to talk about the finale our fabulous journey together, not yet. And don’t worry too much; I’ll keep posting about other things. If anyone ever has a question about the “writer’s journey” or whatever just let me know

Back to business.

I almost wanted to save this theme for the last blog in the series, but that seemed cliché. So, what are we talking about today? Endings! I’m pretty sure I’ve covered beginnings (maybe I’ll do middles? that kind of falls under moving the plot forward . . . ).

So, how do you end a story? Bowtie? Bittersweet? Totally depressing? Cliffhanger? So many options (more than I just listed here)! But which one do you pick for your story?

Personally, I think it depends on three things:

1: The tone

2: The genre

3: Your personal taste

Tone and genre play into this but you’re the author. If you want a bowtie fantasy (Eragon?) go for it. Now bowtie dystopian may be stretching it. But, technically, you can end it with rampaging elephants farting rainbows that poison the air and kill everyone—not that I recommend it. Remember that you can end it however you want but if you want people to read it you might want to consider tone and genre (do remember you can play with expectation here too).

Your book (should) has a genre and tone that probably fits the genre. A comedy could take a sad turn and end on a bittersweet note; a fantasy usually ends with something/one defeated—at a steep price, obviously— and hope for the future; YA ends on cliffhangers (usually) unless it’s the last book and then who knows with all the subgenres it has.

Anyways, sadder stories should have sadder endings and so on. It wouldn’t make sense for a lighthearted Chick Lit to end with the protagonist’s sister dying while her lover leaves to fight in a war or something. Ending on a 180 turn from the tone will confuse the reader. “Savvy” readers will expect a certain ending within genres (who wants a fantasy to end all happy-dappy with roses and true love and victory without much cost? Not me!)

(remember you can play with expectations!)

Readers will also pick up on your story’s tone and start to expect a certain ending. Imagine The Hunger Games ending with Katniss deciding the future looks awesome and skipping through a field of flowers with Gale on one arm and Peeta on the other (a bit of an exaggeration, but do you get the point?)? Think about Harry Potter ending with Voldemort’s victory?

We can agree the overall tone should have an appropriate ending (please remember that doesn’t mean your story’s tone can’t change or evolve, just don’t’ “evolve” the tone in the last three pages . . .).

Don’t forget the “you” part. If you like a particular ending—and if it isn’t too far-fetched from the rest of the story—go ahead and end it that way. I personally like bittersweet ending; characters have gained something through loss and can look forward (isn’t life like that?). I don’t do long conclusions (usually a short (5 pages or less) chapter). I want my characters to have gained something but never without a price. And I always want to conclude that chapter of their lives and the stories main conflict.

Let me explain.

The ending should resolve the story’s major plot points. If you want to write a sequel, leave it open ended, but the novel should conclude something. I’m not saying you have too, some authors don’t. If nothing gets wrapped up, I personally feel cheated, like I wasted my time. I hate (dislike?) “happily ever afters ” where everything is supposed to be roses from now on. I think possibilities should always be left open. Life doesn’t stop (unless you kill everyone/protagonist). A part of someone’s life can end, but that doesn’t they end.

Does that make sense?

There are plenty of ending types I didn’t discuses. I could do an entire series on endings. This is just some general device.

I’m obviously not going to tell you how I ended Iron & Glass, but, if you read it, I’ll answer any questions you have about it.

Lastly, I’ll be having a party of Twitter on Thursday (the 11th , people) at 8:45 pm EST (with the rest of the Miss Millennia Magazine team (my publishers) so come join us! I’d love to chat with some of you guys. It will be a free-range-ask-me-whatever-the-hell-you-want! Fun, right?

Of course . . . you can always do that on the blog . . . but then this will be live!

Mmmmk.

おやすみなさい

(Oyasuminasai)

(good night)

(yea! my basic Japanese skills!)

 

 

Iron & Glass, the author’s journey (part 11)

Setting the Mood (doesn’t that sound sexy?)

(Sorry I’m late. Life is kicking my butt right now. But I finally got part 11 up! I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but if anyone has a topic they want me to cover to just let me know.)

Everything thing has (or should have) a “mood”. People behave differently at the beach, work, the mall, church, and so on. Having an appropriate atmosphere helps people decide the expected behavior in each setting. Sandy beaches help people to relax and wear underwear without shame (okay, that’s a bit of a joke. But, really, swimwear is an acceptable form of mild nudity. Kind of interesting if you think about it, but I’m getting off topic). An white-walled office with a desk, computer, and chair makes people focus and social correct and polite.

Surprise, surprise, writing follows the same concept.

When you’re writing your story, set the “mood” around you to fit the story you’re writing. Some writers have a room they decorate to fit the genre of book they usually write. Some—like George R. R. Martin—have a separate house for writing. Now, most of us want-to-be authors can’t afford that, but there are still ways we can creating a writing space for ourselves and a “mood” for our stories.

First: find a writing place. Try to write in the same place every time and try not to do anything else in that space. That will train your brain that this is where you write, where you creative juices flow.

I like to write in my bedroom, legs crossed, and in the middle of my bed. I can see out the window and into the little woods behind my house. My room is also the most private place I have access to. I can lock the door or tape up a little sign that says: “writing: please don’t disturb”. Or something. Anyways, it creates a calm environment where I easily slip into “writing mode”. Ideally, I would write outside. However, it rains too much, and the weather changes would prevent me from writing 6 months a year . I will, however, often plot and develop characters and worlds outside.

For your own personal writing place, I  suggest a room with decorations that might help inspire your story (my room looks like a combination of a forest, an Elvish palace, with a bit of Native American flare, or like I’m a world traveler (which, sadly, isn’t true), which works well since I usually write fantasy). If you don’t have an appropriate room, a) find a room where you can find peace and quiet to write for long periods of interrupted time or b) find a room with virtually no decorations. Why? Because if it isn’t going to help set the mood, don’t let it become a detriment to it either.

For example, when I lived in Michigan (Go Lions!) my brother had a crazy bedroom. He had one bright red and two bright blue walls accompanied with one checker-patterned wall. As a little boy, he loved it. He also went to public school while I was homeschooled, which meant he gone while I was home. I shared a room with my homeschooled sister, so his room was often empty and mine wasn’t. I could have written in his room, but the decorations would have been a destructive to my story’s mood.

So, find a non-detrimental, quiet place to write. Or, if you have the room (and money), create one with an atmosphere to make your story(its).

Part two (I guess?): setting the stories mood.

Another simple, easy way to set the story’s mood is music. Please, please, please create a playlist for your story. Listen to music the people in your story might like, or what might get played in your story’s soundtrack if it ever became a movie. You’d be surprised how much this helps you.

What if you don’t have the music?

Well, Youtube is your best friend. Create a playlist there. Or use a website like Pandora and tailor it to your stories mood.

What is your stories mood? Well, that’s an entirely different idea. I won’t go into that here.

As always, I’m happy to answer questions.

Once again, you can pre-order Iron & Glass now!

Oh, yeah, Iron & Glass has a playlist. It’s 838 songs! (crazy, right?) I might go ahead and post some of it on here later. Let me know if that would interest anyone.