pexels-notebook-make-it-happen

3 Ways to Keep Track of Your Stories

I’m currently tying up loose ends in my two novels before I continue writing the third novel in the Shadow Knight Series. After being away from my second WIP – Mischief and Mayhem to tighten up the premise of the first novel – Secrets and Shadows, I’ve come across a problem.

I’m struggling to remember tiny details about the different realms. And as the series develops not only is the world-building expanding, but changes continuously evolve.

This is also true for my characters. Remembering eye and hair colour is easy enough. And I’m confident in remembering my MC traits and personality types. The trouble lies with minor characters. Plus changes in hairstyles and costumes in particular scenes are starting to become problematic.


So today I’m considering different methods to store all the relevant details for your stories.

pexels- ideas, pin-board, character files, novels, writing

  1. My good friend and creative writing tutor Judith Barrow is an advocate for the Pin-board Method. Above her desk, directly in line of sight, Judith uses notes and images to mind map her novels. A quick glance forward and all the information is to hand. Dates, Places and characters… whatever information deemed necessary.

book pen artist writer author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance novel YA

  1. Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have a cosy desk. So, for the more technological-minded writers they can use apps compatible with their computer or tablet. Similar to the Pin-board Method, except all the information can be stored in one easy accessible space. Great if you’re a writer on the go, maybe you write in a cafe or at your work during your lunch break. Carrying notebooks and files everywhere is impractical and a nuisance. Why not try one of the following?

OneNote – Notepad Classic – Code Writer – Sticky Notes – Evernote Touch

maps-desk-notes writing novel ideas

3. My current method, The File System. Many authors love printable lists or a one page character summary. Where they can jot down character attributes, personality traits, fears, goals and flaws.

And they’re great to get the ball rolling, but I needed something a little more intricate. So I’ve been compiling information about individual characters. Copying descriptions and quirks from my novels and pasting them onto a document. These are then printed off and filed. So the next time I need to jog my memory about a setting or character, Instead of trawling through my novels using the find feature, I can flip open the relevant section of my folder and have instant access.

I’ve also discovered that by having bullet-point sections listing the descriptions, I can maintain continuity and eliminate plot holes.


Which of the three methods do you prefer? Or do you have another method? If so, why don’t you share it with me? You know I love to hear from you.

Until next time, Much Love my people.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Pinterest    Instagram    Twitter    Facebook

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

How to Hook an Agent

This year I’m jumping a massive fear hurdle. In April I’m heading down to London to an event by Writers & Artists at Bloomsbury. I’ll join four literary agents who’ll enlighten me on How to Hook an Agent. The talks will include; how to know when your novel is ready, advice on how to pitch your novel, and the agents will tell us what submissions have appealed to them, with examples. This is followed by the opportunity for networking, and I’ll have my first one-to-one pitch session. Eek!

I can’t tell you how excited I am. Thanks to Ari Meghlen for her fantastic critiquing, and thanks to Judith Barrow for her Creative Writing workshops and her unwavering belief in my work. I’m finally ready to charm the pants off of the unsuspecting agents by revealing my first novel in the Shadow Knight Series. (Gulp)

All bravado aside, I’m dreading this verbal pitch. I’ve tweaked my original pitch to an unrecognisable mush of words. I could always wait for the event and see what the professionals have to say, but we all know I need to walk in there prepared.

 

Conquer fear Author Lorraine Ambers

Instead, I’ve turned to my fellow bloggers for advice which I’m happy to share with you.

A pitch should address five specific elements.

  • What is the title, genre, and word count?
  • What is the setting?
  • Who is the protagonist?
  • What is his conflict?
  • What does she have to do to overcome this conflict?

An important question to consider is what makes your book different from similar books within your genre. In business terms what is its USP – Unique Selling Point. Identify that and you’re on to a winner.

Remember that a one-to-one pitch is a two-way conversation, therefore it’s likely that you’ll be asked questions. They could be:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What else are you working on?
  • Why do you write?
  • Where did this story come from?
  • How does your book fit into the market
  • What authors do you compare to?
  • Who are your favourite authors?

At conferences and events, there’ll be the chance to ask them questions too. They might be:

  • About the industry
  • The process of the transition from writer to published writer
  • Their style as an agent
  • About the craft

The most important piece of advice that I’ve found is that practice makes perfect. Pitch aloud, in the mirror, and to anyone willing to listen. Until the pitch sounds natural, not stunted. Until the words flow without thought or hesitation.

Remember, agents are normal people. Relax, smile and enjoy the event. Even if all you’re doing is learning from your mistakes for future success. We’re only human after all.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Have any of my fellow writers pitched to agents? If so, do you have any additional advice to share? I’d love to hear from you, don’t be shy and comment below. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
water sunset beach fantasy writer Lorraine Ambers

Look how far you’ve come

 

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Four months ago I finished my first novel and submitted my book baby to a select few literary agencies. It’s equally exciting and nerve wrecking. Patience is proving not to be my strong suit, especially when I’m awaiting a reply from an agent who has blogged that it will take her a lot longer if she’s torn on a MS.

While part of me pats my shoulder for at least hooking an agent, the other half is wondering if my submission ever made it to her slush pile. As I’m not planning on embarrassing myself by asking for confirmation, I’ll have to hang tight.

During these months I’ve busied my obsessional brain by starting book two of the Shadow Knight Series. I’ve almost finished! I know how I’m going to tie up the two remaining subplots to conclude this novel, but my writings floundering. I’m dragging out scenes and adding pointless interactions with characters. I know why, fear, I never planned on finishing the novel so fast.

Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

I heard a great mantra today, ‘Look how far you’ve come and not how far you have to go.’ It put my author career into perspective. Three years ago I joined a creative writing class to discover my sense of self. Six months later I discovered my niche and started a rough draft of my first novel.

During the past two years I’ve designed my brand, built my platform and as of a year ago launched my blog. Thank you to my 400 followers; you’ve been a constant source of encouragement and kindness.

Most of us writers have family and work commitments that need to be juggled. Looking at the bigger picture, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come in a short amount of time.

So take a look at your own journey and congratulate yourself on your hard work and dedication. You deserve it.

Drop me a message; tell me about your progress. We’re all on this journey together and I love hearing from you.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23138441@N00/9473071730″>tinkerbell/mermaid.</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
elfine_2_by_lamuserie-Fantasy-Writer-Lorraine-Ambers

Excerpt Knights of Shadows and Lies

My debut novel has been in submission since spring time. It’s still early days. So while I fly through the first draft of Empress of Mischief and Mayhem, here’s a little teaser of the first book in my Shadow Knight Series. Enjoy!   

With a desperate urge to be far away from Aeverlon, Sander pulled Alysia into his arms, wishing her closeness would dampen the rising turmoil. Instead desire swirled with dread, a lethal conncoction that fired through his veins.

‘Hold on,’ he said in a gruff tone that he didn’t recognise.

He cursed his wicked wants as they sunk their claws into his blood. Alysia’s eyes mirrored his own carnal inclinations. She nibbled on her plump lower lip. He wasn’t thinking clearly. Maybe he needed to cool off before facing Theo. Get some distance between him and Alysia before he misunderstood the signs, again. His fingers clenched her hips with more force than he intended, as frustration welled up, adding pressure to the intoxicating moment.

valkyrie_3_by_lamuserie-Fantasy-Writer-Lorraine-Ambers
Artwork attributed to LaMuserie http://www.lamuserie.net

He flashed them, catching remnants of her gasp as they exited the realm and entered the outskirts of the Vale.

Sander released her and crouched down behind a boulder. He pretended to keep a watch over the rugged, barren landscape. ‘Get down, we can’t be seen here.’ He ordered.

Thick tension crackled between them. It wasn’t her fault and yet a lifetime of rejection bubbled under his skin. The ground crunched and settled, signalling Alysia had obeyed his order. The silence stretched on, becoming an obstacle to overcome. Sander blew his hair from his eyes and glanced at Alysia. Her back rested against the rock with her chin resting upon her knees.

Fae-by_lamuserie-Fantasy-Writer-Lorraine-Ambers
Artwork attributed to LaMuserie

He knew he was acting like an idiot. There were too many variables and reasons behind his behaviour. The lies and confusion pooled into an insurmountable mass. Sander twisted and dropped beside her, stretching his legs out over the patchy terrain.

‘What was Theo like before?’ Alysia asked.

Sander offered her a puzzled expression.

She waved her hand theatrically. ‘Before all this mess and destruction?’

‘Different but the same—it’s hard to explain.’ He picked a stone up and began rubbing it between his thumb and fore finger.

‘We have the time.’

It crossed his mind that time was the last thing they had. He’d forgotten what it was like to be understood by someone better than you knew yourself. He’d forgotten that it was more than a physical, chemical reaction with her. His soul felt whole. The festering chasm in the centre of his rib cage eased off and closed. She was giving him the chance to breathe. To calm down and gain control. So, he took it.

A massive thank you to Antoine R for allowing me to use their visual masterpieces. If you’re a fan of fantasy artwork check their pages out. 🙂

All the artwork is copyrighted to digital artist LaMuserie

www.facebook.com/Lamuserienet/

Antoine R – Artist| Digital Art www.lamuserie.net

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016