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The bone structure of a novel … for me.

May 25, 2015

I woke up feeling slightly rudderless this morning. This happens pretty reliably when I’m not deep in a story, when I’m just scratching around the edges of an idea but I haven’t found the hook into the plot. If I entertain it, this feeling can easily lead to fretting over the time it takes me to bring a novel to market, and then being daunted by the sheer amount of words between me and a completed first draft.

So I usually beat it back by blaring music through headphones – a specific playlist for each novel – and digging into character bios and building settings.

Fast forward six hours later, and I’ve written twelve hundred words of the final confrontation and know exactly were the novel is going … as well as the twists that get the characters there.

I love that.

This cracks Oracle 2 wide open for me. I’ll play around with the guts for a couple more days, sorting through scenes, turning points, and putting everything in its place. Then I get to dig deep into the first draft, inciting incident to the denouement.

I thought you might find it interesting to see what a story looks like to me in this stage, so I snapped a picture of my paradigm before I filled out too many spoilers. Please ignore the spelling errors.

Oracle 2 paradim

This paradigm – or skeleton – of the plot is heavily influenced by Syd Field‘s structure of a screenplay, which I used to follow rather religiously when I wrote the first draft of a screenplay and saw no reason to drop when I transitioned to novels. I add my own bits, most likely cribbed from other sources, such as Save the Cat! and the like, but really it’s just an amalgamation of how story functions for me.

This will be a novel in approx. 70K more words.

One word, sentence, and paragraph at a time.

A breath, a look, and a sigh.

A kiss, a touch, and a smile.

The brave, family, and blood. Always blood and tears. Courage and fear.

Destiny.

Rochelle and Beau, beyond the skeleton of an idea and the smear of a pen.

Rochelle and Beau, beyond luck.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

I See Me: Author-Read-Along: Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen

May 23, 2015

*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*

 I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 14 CHAPTER FOURTEEN – important beats:

  • BELIEVING (and colour). “I believed everything laid out before me in black and white. No color anywhere on the page. No color to confuse or beguile my senses. No color to soften the message, or soothe the pain.”
  • CHOICES (right or wrong, choices must be made). “I was never handing over something precious to another person for safe keeping. No matter how trustworthy they seemed, or should be. Never, ever again.”
  • FATE/DESTINY. “I reminded myself that I didn’t believe in fate.” and “Causality, fate, and destiny were just too much to think about, ever.”
  • Blackwell texting – LOL

Favourite Quotes

Beau had found me in that diner. He bought me a piece of apple pie and rescued me from the living hell of my broken brain. I’d believed I was broken. For Beau, I’d act like I was whole. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 14

I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 15 CHAPTER FIFTEEN – important beats:

  • Rochelle and Blackwell make a deal. Though – other than his obsession with Jade – it’s not completely clear what Blackwell is hoping Rochelle will see, what future he is hoping to thwart? Perhaps simply any future he doesn’t like the look of.
  • Too many realizations to sort through … “I didn’t have an unknown psychotic disorder.”
  • Questions about magic? If it’s real, then what? “Was magic energy? The energy I felt when I touched Beau, Jade, and Blackwell? Energy from where? And why me? What purpose did the visions have?”

Favourite Quotes

 ” … it’s a treat to be so near something of Jade’s creation without being stabbed by it.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Fifteen.

I See Me (Oracle 1) read-a-long

Chapter One
Chapter Two & Three
Chapter Four  & Five
Chapter Six & Seven
Chapter Eight & Nine
Chapter Ten & Eleven
Chapter Twelve & Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen & Fifteen (above)
Chapter Sixteen

What were your thoughts, comments, and/or questions on Chapter Fourteen and Fifteen?

I See Me: Author-Read-Along: Chapters Sixteen

May 22, 2015

*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*

Last but certainly not least when it comes to the plot of Oracle 1. Here are my thoughts on the final chapter. Feel free to ask any questions or share any thoughts about I See Me (Oracle 1) here. Anyone reading this far shouldn’t accidentally happen upon any spoilers.

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN – important beats:

  • CHI WEN, the far seer!!!
  • Rochelle’s parents get names!
  • “An oracle by birth.” Important wording here. :D
  • “As you will see mine.” – this practically innocuous observation of Chi Wen’s is a HUGE hint to how he sees Rochelle’s role (specifically within the Dowser Series). But you’re going to have to wait for Dowser 5 and 6 to really know what he’s talking about :P
  • Fate/Destiny/Luck – Chi Wen weighs in on the possibility of changing the future. “Magic moves where it will, not where we wish it.” This is an important hook into Oracle 2.
  • Rochelle seeing herself in the rearview mirror – “I didn’t recognize myself.”
  • Beau, Rochelle, and the Brave. Both have made ‘deals’ to save/protect the other.

Favourite Quotes

And wait, dragons were real now? Like fire-breathing, treasure-hording dragons with wings and scales and wickedly long claws? – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 16

Beau lifted my left hand and pressed a kiss to the black butterfly on my inner wrist. “I’ll follow your luck anywhere. Then I’ll fight and survive at your side if it runs out.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 16

“Me and you, beyond luck.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 16

I See Me (Oracle 1) read-a-long

Chapter One

Chapter Two & Three

Chapter Four  & Five

Chapter Six & Seven

Chapter Eight & Nine

Chapter Ten & Eleven

Chapter Twelve & Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen & Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen (above)

What were your thoughts, comments, and/or questions on Chapter Sixteen?

I See Me: Author-Read-Along: Chapters Twelve and Thirteen

May 22, 2015

*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*

I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Twelve

CHAPTER TWELVE – important beats:

  • Beau’s abandonment issues: “Don’t leave me,” he whispered fiercely. The idea was utterly preposterous. I laughed.”
  • The Dowser!! And Kandy :)
  • Getting to hear how the cupcakes taste from Rochelle’s POV. Love, love, loved it.
  • The alchemist fixes Rochelle’s necklace.
  • TENSION between Desmond and Jade.
  • All hell breaks loose. :D

Favourite Quotes

I had a split second to mourn Beau. I was terribly sure that if I ever gained consciousness again, it would be without him. And what good would waking up be if I had to wake up without Beau? – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 12

“It’s broken,”I said. “It’s broken like I’m broken.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 12

I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Thirteen

CHAPTER THIRTEEN – important beats:

  • Rumble in the house!
  • First hallucination with the drugs out of her system and her mother’s necklace attuned to her magic.
  • More B/G of how the Pack functions – “sharing magic,” etc

Favourite Quotes

 “If we can’t have Paris,” Desmond said. “At least we’ll always have Blackwell.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Thirteen.

I was within the vision. I breathed in the white light. I consumed it. It was me. It had always been me. This was me. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Thirteen.

My hallucinations up to this point certainly hadn’t been filled with fluffy bunnies. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Thirteen

She flinched. All that power, all that electric magic I could feel rolling off her, and I made her flinch. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Thirteen

“I don’t believe in fate or destiny.” Jade laughed. It wasn’t a happy sound. “It believes in you.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Thirteen

Then, propelled by a force I couldn’t deny any longer – that I couldn’t hope to control – I sat on the bed to draw. Right now, that was all I could do. But later, I was going to thwart destiny. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Thirteen

I See Me (Oracle 1) read-a-long

Chapter One

Chapter Two & Three

Chapter Four  & Five

Chapter Six & Seven

Chapter Eight & Nine

Chapter Ten & Eleven

Chapter Twelve & Thirteen (above)

What were your thoughts, comments, and/or questions on Chapter Twelve and Thirteen?

I See Me: Author-Read-Along: Chapters Ten and Eleven

May 21, 2015

*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*

 I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Ten

CHAPTER TEN – important beats:

  • Going to the Pack for save haven … and “ignoring the most important thing [Beau’s mother] ever taught” him.
  • Lara!! From a different POV (not Jade’s). “I’ll gladly dance naked on his bloody, well-gnawed bones.”

Favourite Quotes

Don’t play nice, Rochelle. I want you, not the fake you who’s just pretending.” “What if the fake me is all I have now?” “Look deeper.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 10

Beau reached around me to grab my seat belt, but I slapped his hand away. “I’m crazy, not a moron” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 10

“Yeah, I knew how to deal with predators. Don’t be prey.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 10

I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Eleven
CHAPTER ELEVEN – important beats:

  • Audrey! Learning to be a good beta, and failing at it.
  • Desmond! Everyone who thinks the Alpha is ‘handsome’ needs to reread Rochelle’s reaction/description of him. Also some intriguing displays of the Alpha power/magic that hasn’t been explored much in the Dowser Series.
  • Texting with Kandy – I love this scene.
  • Are cupcakes a possibility? LOL
  • Rochelle’s bravery is so compelling and even heart wrenching through these few chapters. She is totally lost, and yet willing to do anything for Beau. Even defending him against the Pack.

Favourite Quotes

“What magic to you wield, witch?” Desmond asked me. I raised my chin. “I’m not a witch.” “What are you then?” I thought about this for a second, then answered, “Crazy. Though psychotic might be a better word choice.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Eleven.

“Rochelle doesn’t eat meat,” Beau blurted, as if he was confessing some terrible sin. The three other shapeshifters turned to stare at me, completely aghast. Like I was condemning their religion or something. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Eleven.

I See Me (Oracle 1) read-a-long

Chapter One

Chapter Two & Three

Chapter Four  & Five

Chapter Six & Seven

Chapter Eight & Nine

Chapter Ten & Eleven (above)

Chapter Twelve & Thirteen

What were your thoughts, comments, and/or questions on Chapter Ten and Eleven?

I See Me: Author-Read-Along: Chapters Eight and Nine

May 20, 2015

*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*

 IMG_0344

CHAPTER EIGHT – important beats:

  • The bike – Beau gifting Rochelle with freedom
  • BLACKWELL!!! “A dark-haired, dark-suited man walked through the entrance with not a drop of rain on him.”
  • And what does Blackwell want?
  • Heartbreak … if Beau can see and ‘interact’ with Blackwell, then Beau is just an elaborate hallucination. Which Rochelle allows herself to believe because why else would someone like him be with her? If not for the fact that he wasn’t real?

Favourite Quotes

Jesus, my mind was wicked. Brilliant but wicked. To have conjured someone so complex, as compelling and terrifying as him … Blackwell. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Eight

But … the hot apple juice was a lie. A lie of love whispered in my ear by my evil, broken brain. – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter 8

I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Nine

CHAPTER NINE – important beats:

Beau, Beau, Beau – beautiful Beau knows when he is over his head, when he perhaps hasn’t handled a situation properly and he’s not afraid to go for help/back-up.

More BG on Beau here. Hints of a nasty childhood … is it better to be an orphan like Rochelle or have parents like Beau? I pick neither :(

Rochelle thinks everything … the necklace, the Brave, and even Beau are all part of some massive hallucination. One she is unwilling to wake up from now that she ‘conjured’ Beau.

Favourite Quotes

“And you love me.” Beau was crying now as well, shaking with it. “You love me, without question. Like no one has ever loved me. Not because of how I look, or what you think you can get me to do for you. And you think it’s a lie. You think it’s a lie.” – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Nine.

“It can’t be true,” I whispered. “That would be even crazier than I already am.”  – I See Me, Oracle 1, Chapter Nine.

I See Me (Oracle 1) read-a-long

Chapter One

Chapter Two & Three

Chapter Four  & Five

Chapter Six & Seven

Chapter Eight & Nine (above)

Chapter Ten & Eleven

What were your thoughts, comments, and/or questions on Chapter Eight and Nine?

Writer Wednesday: C.A. Newsome and her Perfect Chocolate

May 20, 2015

Perfect Chocolate by C.A. Newsome

The main character of my Dog Park Mysteries is a starving artist. Lia’s idea of economy is to practice the best nutrition she can to stay healthy, something I’ve pursued most of my life. Her/my culinary endeavours frequently appear in the books.

I love this chocolate because it is so easy to make. It’s great brain and mood food, and much more satisfying than store bought. If you make the darker version, I find that one one of these is enough to satisfy. – Carol Ann Newsome

Perfect Chocolate

½ Cup Coconut Oil, melted

½ Cup Raw, Local Honey

¼ Tsp Sea Salt (Celtic or other unrefined salt, to taste)

2 Cups Raw Cacao Powder

30 Mini Paper Baking Cups

Optional: nuts and dried fruit of choice. This version contains dry-roasted, salted almonds and dried cherries.

  1. If your kitchen is chilly, set your coconut oil on a trivet over the pilot light on your stove until it turns liquid, then measure out ½ cup into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Use the same cup to measure out your honey, and add it to the oil along with the salt. (The oil residue keeps the honey from sticking.)
  3. Stir in the cacao powder, ¼ cup at a time. You should end up with a big ball of chocolate that clings to itself and has the consistency of dense frosting.
  4. Take a fork (I like to use a shrimp fork) and place a glob into each of the mini baking cups
  5. Optional: Press nuts and dried fruit into the top of each candy if desired.
  6. Place the cups in the refrigerator until they harden. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to eat them. You can set them on a cookie sheet for this step, then place in a plastic container after they set. Or you can do what I do and save those 6 ounce clamshells they pack berries in at the grocery store. Those are perfect for storing these.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Variation: for a darker chocolate, cut the honey to ¼ cup. You may have to “force” the cacao in. This chocolate will be stiffer.

Um, where is my coconut oil? I desperately need to be making this right now!! – MCD

Sneak Thief  Book Cover

Synopsis: Starving artist Lia Anderson makes a new friend at her seasonal job scoring academic proficiency tests. Desiree is a sassy, fun, pocket-sized sex-pot and owner of a larcenous beagle named Julia. Desiree also has a secret admirer who leaves her tiny figurines sculpted from twisted aluminum foil.

The friendship falls afoul when the pair discovers a secret connection in their past, a secret Lia’s detective boyfriend, Peter Dourson, kept from her.

When Desiree is murdered, Lia not only winds up with the woman’s kleptomaniac beagle, she also inherits her stalker. On the outs with her beau and with the police on the wrong track, Lia will have to rely on her wits and her friends if she wants to stay alive.

MCD note: Sneak Thief is the fourth book in the Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries. You can find all the books on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Kobo. Note for the Amazon links: simply change the .com to .ca or .co.uk to get redirected.

authorphotoAuthor Bio C.A. “Carol Ann” Newsome is an author and painter living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her two rescues, a lab/chow mix and a mini schnauzer. They can be found every morning at the Mount Airy Dog Park, home of the Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries. Connect with Carol Ann on her website.

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