Guest Blogger: Adrienne Garvin Dellwo

May 8, 2018 at 2:39 am (Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

I”m happy to host a fellow writer who delves into the realm of the superhero story.  She has a few things to share about character development:

Some characters come to life in just a few words while others remain as thin as the paper they’re printed on. What makes the difference?

You can analyze the writing and learn a lot about description, dialogue, etc., but a key element of creating great characters is something you don’t see on the page. It has to do with how well the author knows the character.

In my upcoming superhero novel, The Hero Academy, I had to create a lot of characters and find effective and efficient ways to communicate them to the reader. Going over notes from someone who read an early draft for me, I noticed she kept commenting on a particular character. She loved the way he talked, his mannerisms, his attitude. He wasn’t even one of the primary characters, just a classmate of the protagonist. I knew right away why he seemed so vivid to her—he’s based on my son. I’ve known that guy for 16 years.

That proves a point you hear authors make a lot: you have to know far more about what you’re writing than ends up in the book. Building a world? You may never talk about the economy, the history of a region, or the particular lilt of the local dialect, but if you don’t know those things yourself, the world will be less believable. The reader feels a writer’s lack of knowledge and enjoys the story less because of it.

No matter your approach to creating characters, before the manuscript is anywhere near ready for an audience, you’ve got to know who those people are. Some writers get in-depth with their main characters before they start writing, creating character profiles, building backstory, even creating inspiration boards. I don’t do any of that. It’s not wrong, it’s just not what works for me. I prefer to start out with a rough idea and then let the characters take shape as I write.

My method does lead to more work in the second draft, but it also gives me some flexibility. Some of my best characters start out incidental, such as Misty Michaels, an intern in The Hero Academy. I needed someone for the brilliant neuropsychologist to bounce ideas off of, and at the beginning, I believed the doctor was the important character.

Before long, though, I found Misty more interesting and realized she could play a significant role in the story’s climax. As important as she became, though, she’s still in relatively few scenes and I knew she was underdeveloped.

Then came a call for stories. A group I’m part of, the Pen & Cape Society, was putting out its fourth themed superhero anthology, The Good Fight 4: The Homefront. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted to write Misty’s backstory. I had a vague idea about some deep, dark secret in her past, and I wanted to know more about it and see how it played into who she became later on.

I wrote Misty’s story, “Impulses,” and it made it to publication before the book. Homefront, which explores the day-to-day life of superheroes, came out May 1. (It’s full of great stories—you want to read it!)

After “Impulses,” when I revisited Misty’s scenes in The Hero Academy, I found it easy to add all kinds of new depth to her character because I know her better. I know why she hid her powers. I know why she went into medicine. I know the struggles that shaped her. I even know why she always carries too much stuff, which leads to lots of jostling medical charts and spilling coffee. It’s not all in the book. It’s not all in “Impulses,” either, and it doesn’t need to be. I know her better, so the reader will understand and, I hope, relate to her better.

A full 90 percent of an iceberg is under water, and you don’t need to go scuba diving to appreciate the beauty of what you see above the surface. So when creating characters (or worlds, or whatever), remember that what you put on the page is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Much more is beneath the surface, and that’s the foundation. Without all that down there as support, nothing floats.

Many thanks to Adrienne for sharing her wisdom.  You can find out more about Adrienne and her books at her website.

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March News – Chillers and More

March 19, 2018 at 3:42 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

February was a busy month, and I’ve been tackling some short story and editing deadlines.  Normally I try to offer up something for Women in Horror month, but it got away from me.  I’m hoping to make up for that a little in March – not that things look like they’ll be any less busy.

I’m happy to announce the upcoming release of my horror tale “Territory” in the Engen anthology Chillers from the Rock. The contributing authors hail from Atlantic Canada and the cover showcases some eerie artwork.  It is currently available for pre-order (links posted below) and actually made it to bestselling status in a few categories before release!

I’ll be back at prepping a couple of items for submission (and then I have to work on my taxes) and I have a couple of reviews to write up, but I hope to get at least one more post in before month’s end.

Here are those links:

Canada

Kindle

US

Kindle

Paperback

 

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Staying Motivated

January 9, 2018 at 1:31 am (writing) (, , , , , , )

My January submission blitz is going exceptionally well and I’m meeting my monthly editing goals. Only a week into the month, I had already completed 17 submissions (now 18) out of 31 and completed 8 chapters of editing. The only thing I haven’t met yet are my writing goals for the month.  I can thank a genre writers group for getting this far already and they may have also offered up a writing challenge to serve as a motivator for my writing.

I’m going to try completing the Ray Bradbury 52 stories in 52 weeks challenge.  I’m a week behind because I just found out about it, but I fully intend to make that up at some point in the 52 weeks.  In any week that time might be an issue, I’ll shoot for some micro-fiction.  Since I’ve had successful sales with them in the past, they seem like a worthy endeavour.  If anyone wants to suggest themes, I will add writing the micro-fiction to those themes as part of the challenge.

I should have an anthology announcement for you soon as the editor e-mailed they will be sending along edits for review shortly.  I’m pretty excited about this one and look forward to the anthology’s release.  I’ll let you know more as soon as I can.

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Anthology News

September 27, 2017 at 3:10 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

I’m waiting on a few stories coming out shortly, but I do have a couple of things to note for September.

The first is that The Year’s Best Body Horror 2017 Anthology (pictured left), which contains my short story, “Wrigglers,” is now available for pre-order.

The second item of note is that Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty, containing my short story ,”Better,” is now available in paperback format.

I also have three submitted story “maybe”s awaiting final judgement.  Fingers crossed for me there. I’ve had acceptances with both publishers involved in the past, so there’s hope for me yet.

More to come, very soon…

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June News

June 27, 2017 at 12:39 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

June has been busy for me with new acceptances, contracts, cover reveals and releases. Add into the mix outdoor jugger and gardening and blogging gets reduced to one or two postings a month.

I’m happy to say that the e-book version of Tesseracts 20: Compostela is now available with the print version to follow in September (it contans my short story “Better” – I mentioned the pre-order last post) This one’s a thrill for me, due in part to the fact that Spider Robinson is one of the editors. I grew up reading his books (Night of Power was my favourite as a teen but I’m not sure which I’d give top place now,) and he actually lived in Nova Scotia for a time, so I hold him in high esteem.

Another new release is in Gathering Storm Issue #3. “Counting Crows” is my second appearance in this beautiful venue (their format is formidable and their artwork breathtaking, like the cover artwork here.) I’m submitted something for issue #4, so fingers crossed.

My story “Wrigglers” will make a reprint appearance in Gehenna and Hinnom’s Year’s Best Body Horror 2017 Anthology . You can find the ToC announcement here.

And to top it off, I just receive an acceptance and contract for an all Canadian horror anthology in the works. More news on that later.

I have a couple more things brewing but I can’t include them just yet. I’ll share when I can

As crazy as it may sound, I have decided to do Camp Nanowrimo this July. This will be my first time participating as part of a group (our cabin) but it should help me stay focused. I skipped the last couple of Nanowrimos because I haven’t felt all that motivated when it comes to novel writing (especially when the 20+ novels I already have completed could probably use another round of edits and then maybe a new shopping run.) But I’ve promising my hubby the one I have planned for camp for some time now, so it’s time to buckle down and get started. I just have to get a little research in before July 1 and work my writing in around overtime and family day trips.

See you in July!

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Catch-Up in June

June 2, 2017 at 12:52 am (dark fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

A post has been a long time in coming (sorry), but I have been well and truly busy. I’ve been working at setting a blog up for my pseudonym as well as prepping a couple of between blitz submissions, juggling proofing and marketing requests and participating in the voting process for one of my writer’s associations. It’s also gardening season, jugger season and I’ve been spending a lot of time with my daughter lately. So yeah – I’m busy.

That being said, the last few weeks have been pleasantly rife with story acceptances, payments, cover reveals and ToC announcements – so I have to play catch-up on those (or, at least the ones I’m allowed to talk about now.)

Compostela – Tesseracts 20 – containing my sci-fi short story “Better” is now available for pre-order here . Tesseracts is one of my “writer’s bucket list” achievements, so it’s a big deal for me. I’m sharing pages with some pretty impressive people.

Clockwork Canada, the Exile Editions steampunk anthology containing my short story “The Curlicue Seahorse” is on the ballot for the 2017 Aurora Awards, in the category of Best Related Work.

I have a new free read available too.  My flash fiction, Pure Mime, has been published by Body Parts Magazine.

And you can also find me listed on two ToC announcements. The first is from Digital Fiction Publishing. My short story “Octavia” will be included in their all-female writer horror reprint anthology, “Killing It Softly 2” .

The second can be found on the blog for Mackenzie Publishing . Their “Two Eyes Open” horror anthology will include my period horror short, “Soul Cakes.” I’ve shared the lovely and intriguing cover above.

I’ll have more announcements coming soon as my last submission blitz proved to be quite successful. And I just finished a horror short for a themed anthology invite that I can’t discuss just yet. We’ll see how that goes.

I hope everybody’s year has been as exciting as mine has been so far. Now its off to work on some edits…

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Spring Blitz 2017 – Hanging in There

April 21, 2017 at 2:12 am (Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , )

I completed my 20th submission for April today, despite not keeping up with regular blitz blog posts. I blame mundane tasks that have gotten in the way, like helping with homework, chasing chickens (see the dastardly Pecan here to the left) and doing my taxes, and not so mundane tasks like being eyeball deep in Chuck Wendig’s Zeroes (which I hope to review on Monday.) I’ve been testing new venue waters too which has meant investing more time to broaden my call searches.

I’ve been waiting on a couple of new releases expected shortly. Forest Seclusion (adult content warning) is now available here, and there will be more to follow fairly soon.

I’ve also received a new acceptance – a year and four days in the making.  I was on the brink of retracting that submission when the acceptance came through, but I was pleased to see the wait was worth it.  I try to give a submission plenty of time before retracting, but I usually figure a year is enough.  Sometimes I do let them sit longer though, if I’m not anxious to resubmit.  At the same time I received a quick confirmation that another submission had made it through phase one of a three phase review process.  Fingers crossed. 🙂

And, or course, this month isn’t without its rejections – 5 so far, with two of the submissions clearing the year long mark.  It only pays to be patient some of the time.

I may not post again until Monday.  I have a short story I hope to finish and then it’s back to working on taxes.

But at least gardening’s not that far off … right?

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Spring Blitz 2017 – Plan B

April 4, 2017 at 11:49 pm (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

I recently came across a call for submissions I was hoping to submit to with an existing story I had that matched the theme, but it meant waiting for a rejection from a prior submission. I did get a response back, but not the rejection I had been expecting. So along with a story sale, I was left with now having to resort to Plan B … write a new story. I’m about 1,000 words in, but I have a solid story concept, so I expect I’ll finish it over the next couple of days.

I did submit a couple of reprints since my last post, to a new venue for me.  I haven’t had a lot of luck with reprint submissions, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and my eyes open for other opportunities.

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Spring Blitz 2017 – Where’s the Warm Weather?

April 3, 2017 at 1:29 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

Supposedly, April and May this year are going to be warmer than average. So far, the snow on the ground says “no.”  It also says “no” to playing jugger outside and today marked our last day playing in the gym for the winter season.

So no warm weather for us just yet, although apparently my family in France are enjoying a toasty 27 degrees Celsius this week.

“Sigh”

Trying my best to ignore the snow/freezing rain, I continue with my blitz.  Another story out, this time to a British call for submissions for a horror anthology.

More later…

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December and Dark Corners

December 3, 2016 at 12:28 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

darkcornersI know this has been my first blog post in some time and it’s not because I participated in Nanowrimo this year (I didn’t). Rather, real life had me busy. An issue with my well/running water that had to be resolved before the ground froze for the winter had me (and to a larger extent, my husband) occupied on the home front for over a week.

Meanwhile, having to move offices (for a third time since I started my current job) meant numerous missed breaks and lunch hours and just a general sense of feeling burnt out at the end of the work day – so any blog posts got put on hold for sometime.

December won’t be much better, time wise. Commitments for the holidays, Christmas shopping and trying to fulfill the act from my daily act of kindness advent calendar doesn’t leave much wiggle room for writing or blogging, but I’ll do my best to squeeze some in.

On a happy note, I did keep up with my short fiction writing in November. One of my blitz acceptances (from a rejection the publisher retracted the day after it was sent – a first for me) came with a request for a sequel short, so I completed that. I hope they like it. I added a bit of plot and character complexity that they might appreciate, or it may put them off. I’ll wait and see.

I also worked on a sci-fi story for a selective call for submissions (a call extension by invitation only) with an impending deadline. Writing to a requested theme can be tricky – I have a tendency to skirt the edges of the topic to avoid being boxed in, which doesn’t always work in my favour. The story ended up nice and tight though, so I’m hopeful it has a chance.

And in other news, November saw a new story release. My horror short story, “On the Tip of her Tongue” is now available in the latest Dark Corners anthology, dedicated to the original editor, who sadly passed away before the anthology saw the light. Thanks to his wife and others committed to seeing the anthology’s completion, his efforts won’t go to waste.

I’ll try to get in a few updates in December, but if blog posts are limited, I’ll make up for it in January with my first annual winter submission blitz. I’m aiming for 100 submissions next year. Let’s see if I can make it happen.

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