Update 09/09/17

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New Release

A lot has happened in the month since I last posted an update. Zombie Playlist was released into the wild, and ARC reviews received. It was a successful release day, and I want to thank everyone who downloaded a copy, joined my ARC squad, and posted links via social media. You all helped make Dagger’s first day a special one.

Back to School

I have had a lovely summer spending time with the family. It’s not a good summer if I don’t feel exhausted at the end of it and have an uneven tan, so this year must have been brilliant. The one downside to the school holidays is my lack of writing/ editing time. I had planned to start my edit of EVO Ghost in August, but soon realised that it needed my full attention, and my full attention was elsewhere. I let the manuscript rest for another month. You know what? I didn’t mind it too much. However, by September, I was ready to get back to it.

EVO Ghost

Editing is back in full swing. This first edit is a read through and plot checker. I am only focussing on the plot and character development in this one, ensuring everything progresses how it should, makes sense, and has a solid timeline. I reckon this one may take a little longer yet. My editing notes from when I was writing the first draft are extensive. That’s the pantser life for you. Oh, and I’ve discovered about two (possibly three) unwritten chapters. I’ve left myself a handy note that says ‘something is missing here’. I’ll let you know when I figure out what that something actually is.

Zombie Playlist Paperback

I sorted most of the formatting in August by doing small sections when I had a spare thirty minutes. It wasn’t too painful seeing as the word count is only 25k. The next big step is a full cover. It is in pieces at the moment, but once it has been given the photoshop magic, it shall be raring to go to review. There isn’t a deadline for this project, but the end of September seems realistic.

Blog Guest Posts

Lately, I have only been posting reviews, picture prompts, and monthly updates to my blog. Yes, I have taken a step away to focus on my novel writing and editing, but I felt the blog was getting stale. Adding regular guest posts is the way forward. I have been organising a plethora of talented authors who are ready and willing to offer advice and tips on various writing topics. These posts will be bi-monthly. The first was only yesterday: Dana Fraedrich on World Building. The next is on Sept 22nd with the lovely Faith Rivens who shall be discussing beating procrastination.

Here’s the line up for the next few months:

  • 22nd Sept: Faith Rivens on Beating Procrastination
  • 6th Oct: Katie Masters on Writing Well Rounded Antagonists
  • 20th Oct: Sarina Langer on Bullet Journals
  • 10th Nov: Brianna West on The Importance of a Book Cover

There are plenty more planned into 2018, so watch this space. If you would like to be considered for a guest post in the future, please give me a shout.

Book Award

Thrown to The Blue has been nominated for best fantasy book in Metamorph Publishing’s Summer Indie Book Awards. It is an honour to be nominated, and there is still a short amount of time to vote. If you enjoyed Thrown to The Blue, a vote is much appreciated: Vote Here!


Content Belongs to K.J. Chapman

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Guest Post: Dana Fraedrich on World Building

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I am thrilled to welcome author Dana Fraedrich to Writerly Bookish Stuff to discuss a topic that is a crucial part of any writing process: world building. Grab yourself a coffee or tea and stick around for some handy advice and tips on creating an imaginative and believable world. Over to you, Dana.


Five Rules of World Building

World building, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating things about fiction writing, but it’s also one of the trickiest.  Coming up with a basic concept is easy—a world where cybernetic enhancements are the newest fashion trend…until a major fashion designer ends up dead by her own creations.  Boom!  Done.  When you get into the nitty-gritty details, however, things can get…squiffy.

In my experience, a lot of world building falls down because the authors haven’t worked through some of the foundational details.  “But, Dana, I’m not trying to write a Tolkien-level world history here!  I just want to write a story!”  Yeah, I know, and that’s fine.  You don’t have to get that deep, but you do need a few basic elements hammered out before you introduce your world to ours.

Nail Down the Fundamentals

Whether it takes place in a fictional universe or an alternate version of ours, to create a convincing world, you have to understand the basic functions of your characters’ society:

  • How do people get food? Do they work their farms with basic tools, in cooperation with machines, or do mechanical drones do all the work?
  • What’s the currency like and how is it exchanged? Do people need to carry physical funds on them?  Or maybe there’s some kind of credit system, either electronic or paper.  Maybe money doesn’t exist and the characters barter instead.
  • How do people communicate over long distances? Wireless communication, whether via magic stones or smart phones, completely changes the game.  If your characters rely on a postal or courier system, you’ll need to take that extra delivery time into account.

Why do we care about this?  Two reasons.  First, every decision you make as god of this realm influences the possibilities within it.  Secondly, if you don’t know these things, it’ll show.  At best, the reader will feel a little lost.  At worst, you’ll write a huge inconsistency into your story.  Now, in most cases you won’t have to do more than mention these things in passing, if that.  However, if you do end up having to explain why a character refuses scan the barcode on her wrist whilst on the run from baddies, you’ll be prepared.

Crime and Punishment

What do readers want?  Stakes.  The higher the better.  And conflict comes from characters breaking the rules.  So what will happen if your main character gets caught during the big heist or meeting with that shady so-and-so?  That’s what you need to make crystal clear to your readers.  Otherwise, they won’t fret over the fate of your characters.  Maybe a school headmaster with a grudge has the power to expel students.  Maybe it’s a good high court with bad evidence before a public execution.  No matter the situation, you need to know who’s in power, how they wield it, and what your character stands to lose.

Use the Land

You can’t paint a picture without envisioning the world first.  However, some authors bog down their readers with florid depictions of rolling hills and planetary panoramas.  Descriptions of setting should create atmosphere and further the plot.  Grand vistas and poetic descriptions create calm.  Getting over a literal mountain creates a big challenge for your traveling band of actors.  Does your severely agoraphobic character have to navigate ten NYC blocks?  Okay, use pieces of that environment to show how it affects him.  The towering buildings on either side loom, the people waiting to cross the street press, the reek of garbage bags in the summer heat suffocates.  If the setting doesn’t serve one of these purposes, you can go pretty light with the details.  Do keep your readers informed, though.  At the very least, they need to know where the action is taking place.

Magic Requires Rules

Magic is like physics.  You can’t see it, but the world operates within its laws.  If you create a world with magic in it, you must know magic’s limits, its rules, and its impact on casters.  And you must be consistent!  I cannot stress this enough: magic is not a deus ex machina that comes in and fixes everything…magically.  This steals your hero’s accomplishment.  If you want to break an established rule, write in a precedent for it.

*Super advanced technology falls under this category too because, at a certain point, technology begins to resemble magic.

Don’t Take It Too Far

Like anything in life, moderation is key.  There’s a fine line between immersion and tedium.  As a busy author, you can’t spend all your time figuring out your world’s every minute detail.  If a process or element in your fictional universe matches reality, you probably don’t need to explain it (save for the really esoteric stuff).  For anything that doesn’t match, you’ll need to make a judgment call.  Your editor and beta readers can tell you what needs more or less explanation, but the choice is yours in the end.  Too many details can catch you out in an inconsistency later, so I tend to err on the side of fewer details.  After all, your audience has imaginations of their own.  And remember, seeing something work is always more interesting than being told.

A final note: don’t sweat the small stuff.  Every great story has holes in it.  Take the Harry Potter series.  It’s one of the most beloved universes of all time, but where were cell phones, guns, and the Internet?  Muggleborns must have known about those things.  Granted, magical elements were part of what made those books so enchanting, but it’s true.  And those issues didn’t stop J.K. Rowling from selling a bazillion copies.  Happy writing!


dana auhtor pic for blogAuthor Bio: Dana Fraedrich is an independent author, dog lover, and self-professed geek. Even from a young age, she enjoyed writing down the stories that she imagined in her mind. Born and raised in Virginia, she earned her BFA from Roanoke College and is now carving out her own happily ever after in Nashville, TN with her husband and two dogs. Dana is always writing; more books are on the way!

Find Dana on:

Facebook

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Permission for use of the content featured in this post must be sought from the author, Dana Fraedrich.

Picture Prompt 01/09/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(8)

I wasn’t foolish enough to expect Titan Mount to be deserted. The Hivers are scared of water. Something in their web of minds registers fear of the wet stuff. If the survivors were to stand any chance, it was to hole up on islands. That’s exactly why the mount was heavily populated by the time I arrived.

The problem I didn’t foresee was low tide. The sea recedes, leaving the mount exposed for hours a day. The security procedures are long and extensive. For six hours, twice a day, we have to defend and protect our little, safe slice of the world from the creatures hellbent on eating us. The bodies litter the wet sand, and then the sea returns and washes them away. We sleep, eat, and repeat.

Twelve hours a day – every day – for the rest of my life. No thanks. I’ve been gathering a group of us to head further out to sea. There is an island – Seafarer’s Bay –  about one hundred miles southwest of here. The last anyone heard, they were over-run when the last aid plane landed. If we can keep hundreds of the creatures at bay day in, day out, we can exterminate an island of seven hundred people… Hivers.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Update 29/06/17

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A lot has happened since my last update. I finished Zombie Playlist in the first week of June. Something came over me and I wrote nearly 10k in two days. As soon as the playlist was finalised, everything fell into the place. Zombie Playlist has been put away until July to give it some time to rest. I swore that I wouldn’t touch it again until the first draft of EVO Ghost was finished. I had been toying with the last 10-15k words on EVO Ghost, and it has been hard to sit down and finish. Self-doubt and worry about not doing my characters justice was to blame. I wrote through it and finished that draft at 6am this morning. That’s two finished drafts. Woohoo.

What’s Next?

EVO Ghost needs to rest, so I will start the editing of Zombie Playlist for CampNaNoWrimo in July. I have my betas waiting patiently, and will be doing an ARC reviewer request in the foreseeable future. Don’t ask me dates because I have no idea. It’s a novella, so I’m hoping for a quicker editing process. When I say things like this, my words usually come back to bite my in the butt.

I’m not going to lie, I am going to play around with book two of The Indigo Flame Series, The Red Archer. Playing around will be the extent of it for a while. It’s strange to think that once EVO Ghost and Zombie Playlist are done, The Indigo Flame series is my only series on the table. I don’t roll like that, and I have had an idea bouncing around in my brain for some months now. I can’t think of a better time to crack open a new notebook.

What Have I Been Listening to?

As I have been concentrating on the conclusion of EVO Ghost, I have been listening to a lot of empowering music. The new Little Mix song has that female strength and kickass-ness to it. It’s perfect for my MC, Teddie.

Excerpts:

Sorry, these are getting shorter and shorter. I don’t want to give anything away. Obviously, there will be no more excerpts after today’s post.

Zombie Playlist:

Once I have my old trusty in my hands, I’m back in business. “Not today, Mother Fuckers!”

EVO Ghost:

“Do you see?” I scream through tears. “Do you see me? Do you see who I have to be?”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Blurb Reveal: Zombie Playlist

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Did you catch yesterday’s cover reveal? If not, don’t fret….

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But what you’re really here for is the blurb reveal, right? I shall not withhold it from you for a moment longer…

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I’m excited to finally give you a little insight into Dagger’s story. If this interests you, keep your eyes peeled for my ARC reviewers request post coming in the foreseeable future.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Cover Reveal: Zombie Playlist

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Some of you may know that I have been slogging away over my Zombie novella, Zombie Playlist, since the end of 2016. I am a huge fan of anything zombie, so it was a natural progression for me to write something in the genre. The idea for Zombie Playlist popped into my head when I was making a playlist for my last book, Thrown to The Blue. I wanted to write a book where the playlist was an important part of the narrative, and this idea lent itself well to my Zombie narrative idea.

I have completed the first draft and shall tuck into some editing soon, but first, I wanted to show off the cover. It is a bit quirky, a little funky, a tad pretty awesome, and it sums up the whole tone of the novella…

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Keep your eyes peeled for the blurb reveal tomorrow.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

EVO Ghost Update 01/06/17

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In my last update, I had hoped to have finished the remainder of my EVO Ghost draft by June. I fell a little short, but I’m close- real close. I hadn’t bargained on the read-throughs of EVO Nation and EVO Shift taking as long as they did. The read-throughs were important, and I have notes upon notes to keep in mind when drafting/ editing book three.

Another distraction, but an exciting one, was sorting the paperback version of Thrown to The Blue. The full cover was completed, and I gave the document a final check before submitting it for review. Keep your eyes peeled for the paperback release.

A few days ago, I had a break from all things EVO. My mind was being consumed day and night by Teddie’s story, so I took a day off to concentrate on Zombie Playlist. I easily fell back into Dagger’s mindset, and even sorted at least four definite tracks to add to her playlist. Whoop.

What have I been listening to?

Seeing as I have only written on my Zombie Playlist WIP this last week, I shall include one song from the playlist. This is an exclusive, because I NEVER divulge the playlist songs. I tend to keep them secret because each song is a chapter title and compliments the narrative. Are you ready for a sneak peek…

What’s Next?

There is only one thing on my agenda: Finish the first draft of EVO Ghost. Once that is done and dusted, I can have a break from it for a few weeks, and get the cover and blurb reveals out of the way.

I hope to finish the first draft of Zombie Playlist before I dive into the redraft of EVO Ghost. That way, both WIPs get a rest before I go over them with a fine tooth comb. Although, Zombie Playlist is a novella and may be ready for publication before EVO Ghost.

Excerpts:

These are short and sweet. No spoilers.

EVO Ghost:

“Where’d you get it,” I say, holding my numb lip up with my fingers.

“It was in the pocket of a coat that I claimed from the laundry when I first arrived. It may have been through the washer, but its wrapper is still intact. I shoved it in a drawer and forgot about it. I wouldn’t be putting it anywhere near my mouth if it has been through the wash with people’s smalls.”

Zombie Playlist:

If you haven’t eaten Marshmallow Fluff out of the jar using a Curly Wurly, you haven’t lived. Open packets litter the floor around us, and an empty bourbon bottle rolls around on the uneven floor boards. That was the extent of the alcohol supply, but one bottle of bourbon between two light-weights after months on the dry was more than ample.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

CampNaNoWriMo Update: Week Two

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Another week has gone. “What?” I hear you fellow CampNaNo participants cry. Yes, we are half way through April and I have no idea how that happened. Again, I have been busy with keeping my six year old entertained throughout the Easter holidays, but I have had a productive writing week. At the beginning of the week, I started falling behind on my daily targets, and then I missed 48 hours of writing altogether. The last part of the week was my redemption. Call it a spurt of inspiration, but I got myself back on track in just 2 days. Phew.

Current Wordcount: 10,923/ 25k

What have I been drafting to?

8th:

9th:

10th:

11th:

12th:

13th:

14th:

Excerpt:

“If you haven’t noticed, we’re at war. We’re fighting for our lives and freedom, people are dying, and some are still in those centres that these guys rescued a good percentage of you from. Yet, here you are, whinging and moaning because you can’t wash every day, you’re tired, you’re hungry. Well, guess what? We’re all hungry, and we all stink, and we all want to not be able to smell the latrines, but we’re lucky that we are eating, we are safe, and we have got a hole to crap in. Do me a favour and show some damn respect for the three people who are holding this mess together.”

Are you participating in CampNaNo this month? How has your experience been so far? Feel free to drop me a comment.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

CampNaNoWriMo Update: Week One

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Week one has been and gone, and surprisingly, I haven’t faired too badly. At the beginning of the week, I had a little panic because I was falling short of my daily targets, and with my little one off school for Easter, I wasn’t sure how I’d rectify it. Perseverence was my way forward. I trudged on even when all I wanted to do was browse Pinterest and eat cake.

Word count:  5854 of 25k

I have been posting my daily drafting music to Twitter, and decided that I would recap the list here on my weekly updates. I usually fixate on one song that inspires, motivates, or sets the tone for what I’m writing at that time and will listen to it on repeat.

1st:

2nd:

3rd:

4th:

5th:

6th:

7th:

Now, it’s time for a cheeky excerpt from this week’s writing sessions:

“Chill out. I just mean that she could disappear into the sunset and leave us all to it. What difference does Theyda Leason make to our mission tonight, tomorrow, or whenever? We have four able bodies on babysitting duty, instead of where they’re needed. Why are you so important?”

I hold my hands out. “When you find out, let me know.”

He laughs a little. “See, that’s just it. If the woman herself doesn’t even bloody know—”

I point a finger in his face. “Hey, don’t twist my words. I don’t know what difference Theyda Leason can make, but I’m damn sure that I want to be a part of whatever is about to go down. I don’t want a babysitter any more than you want to babysit, yet here we are.”

Stay tuned for my updates over the course of CampNaNoWriMo. Are you participating this month? Do you have a playlist that gets you through the drafting stage? Feel free to drop me a comment.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(3)

Not a soul had touched the water from the lake in almost a century. The last to plummet into the crystal clear depths suffered the consequences- a cruel, painful death. Only one elder remains who remembers that tragic day, and despite his age, his stories are still as vivid as ever.

The water of the lake is sacred. The stories passed down through the years insist that the lake was blessed by a High Priestess after a dream in which the Almighty Overseer instructed her to act upon his command. After the blessing, anyone who swam or drank from the lake withered like dried bark, screaming all the while until finally giving their last breath. It is believed that the one who survives the lake is the blessed Child of the Almighty Overseer. We shall never know the truth in this, for we are prohibited from going near the lake.

Although it is forbidden, it is a right of passage for a child turning the age of adulthood to jump the waterfall. It is not a large jump, but one shaking foot, or a meek run up would inevitably see them plunging into the water below. It hasn’t happened, yet.

Exhaling to calm my frantic heart beat, and clenching my fists tight, I run toward the waterfall. Harrow and the gang cheer and whoop as my feet thunder toward the jump. They have all made the jump in recent months; I am the youngest of the group and the last of us to prove myself courageous… or stupid.

“Go on, Baby,” Harrow calls, and his voice gees me on.

As my foot lands upon the last rock before the rushing fall of water, I launch myself into the air, keeping my eyes on the rocks on the other side.

Just as a howl of applause echoes around the forest, a gale of wind rips through the trees, extinguishing the camp fire. The impact of the wind is enough to knock the air out of my lungs, and as the force spirals me away from the rocks, I cry out for Harrow.

“Lenna!” he roars, as I tumble toward the water.

Oh, Almighty. This is how I die.

Hitting the water, I flail to the surface, awaiting the inevitable. Harrow and the others look over the edge, crying and screaming my name. How long does this thing take? With a lurch, I’m sucked down into a vortex of current without a shred of air in my lungs. Perhaps drowning is the lesser of two evils. The water feels like hands upon me, forcing me anyway it pleases, and with one forceful gush, I’m propelled from the lake and land heavily on the bank. Harrow is already running toward me after bravely scaling the rock face.

He stops in his tracks, eyes wide, and mouth open. “Your skin,” he gasps.

Every inch of my skin is covered in delicate, black symbols.

Dropping to his knees, Harrow lowers his head in a bow. “Child of the Almighty Overseer.”


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman