Call for beta readers

Thought I’d share this here too. Kortan is ready for betas, and actually, anyone who’s NOT read Asylum would be preferred. I’d like to see how the piece stands alone.

In Search of Asylum

As previously mentioned, I’m working on Asylum edits and backstories, and I’m in need of some volunteers. I have a lovely reader for proofreading, but I’m also looking for someone less familiar with the rules and lore of Asylum’s universe. The piece I’m working on plays with some legendary figures, and I’d like a reader who can tell me if I’m taking too much for granted. I know who all these people are, now I just have to make sure the readers will.
Currently, there’s no deadline or set pace, so if you’d like a sneak peak into the next Asylum-verse story,  drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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Writing a book blurb for Rain

Decided to put Rain’s story up on fictionpress.net, because why not. Could be fun, always the chance it draws more interest for Asylum, etc. There’s just one problem.

It doesn’t have a blurb.

Summing up your baby in 380 characters or less is hard. Making it reach out and grab readers from among a list of millions is even harder. I’m no expert (I’ve written like, one blurb. Ever.), but here’s the things I look for as a reader:

  • What/where/when/who/etc, RIGHT out the gate — This is a sales pitch. Give me a sense of what you’re selling right away. Doesn’t have to be super detailed, and a certain amount can be assume by genre, but I wanna know what I’m reading.
  • What’s at stake? — Why do I want to keep reading? Build a sense of suspense, so I can’t not pick it up.
  • Voice — This one is a little trickier to convey, and more important to me in first paragraphs than blurb, but if you can find a way to show me the flavor of what you’re writing, it helps draw me in. I love witty, sarcastic heroes for example, so if I know this is a story about one of those, I’ll always give it a shot, at least.
  • Style — This is a little different from voice, though they do blend. What I mean by style is more the way you write and less the way your hero talks/thinks. Again, it’s harder to finesse into a blurb, but be mindful of it, especially in the final tweaking stage.

Now, mostly this was just to gather my thoughts, so I can apply this logic to Rain’s story. But, in the spirit of “The Experiment” (remember that?), I thought I’d share the process.

First thing’s first, as with all writing: get some words down on paper. Doesn’t have to be good yet. Just get something down so you can play with it. Can’t edit a blank page.

Brooke keeps dreaming about dying. Not her death, but the deaths of those around her. Strangers.

Something is hunting her city, and its getting closer with every kill. Will she solves the mystery before the death she dreams is finally her own?

I couldn’t resist a little drama and suspense, but Rain’s story is based in suspense so it fits. I have 150 more characters to play with, but it’s a fair start. We know who, what, what’s at stake, and I’ve even put some style in there. No voice, but I’ve always kind of hated Rain’s voice, so I’m not surprised I steered away from it. (I really hate writing YA. There’s a reason I only wrote book 1 of three.)

(You might notice that I keep saying Rain even though the blurb says Brooke. Such is the dilemma of having an MC who changes names on you. I’m going with Brooke because that’s how she starts the novel. The Brooke/Rain thing will sort itself out in text.)

Re-reading it, I feel like there’s a real disconnect between the first lines and the latter. Also, I haven’t mentioned Rook or Myles once. I might not. This is Rain’s story. She’s the one we need to forget a connection with. I’m also not sold with the something hunting in her city, but I’ll keep it for now. Time to focus on her dreams, I think.

Brooke keeps dreaming about dying. Not her death, but the deaths of those around her. Strangers. And something dark on silent wings.

Something is hunting her city, and its getting closer with every kill. Will she solves the mystery before the death she dreams is finally her own?

Ok, so a bit cliche, but cliches are so overused for a reason. They work. I don’t have a lot of room to wax poetic, to build feeling slowly and originally. It’s a balance, because that does cost me style points a bit, but if I’m honest with myself, Rain’s story probably leaned pretty heavily on cliches anyways. It was my first novel after all.

So now we have an allusion to Rook, which makes my prologue a little less jarring when I promised a story about “Brooke”. So hey, there’s a new angle. Let’s take a look at the prologue again and see if anything jumps out.

Prologue

Rook sat bolt up in bed. She was awake. He had waited nearly 20 years since he first felt her return to this world, and now, suddenly, she was finally awake.

He wanted to fly from his bed immediately, to take to the skies and search for the beacon that would be her fractured mind, but he settled himself back into the tangle of sheets and bodies and willed himself to be still. She was awake, but she was still just a mortal human girl, and drawing attention to her now would only put her in danger. Still, he was unable to return to sleep, so as he lay back, he let himself imagine all the possibilities of her new form.

In the past, she had been short, tall, dark, fair, blonde, brunette, red-head, all number of combinations, but he’d known her each time just the same. How could he forget what was once a part of his soul?

“Maybe this time I’ll even find her before anyone else,” he mused, smile playing at his lips. Ever the optimist. No wonder he’d been kicked out of The Black Legion.

Right. I brought up pretty much right away that Rain keeps getting reincarnated in this deadly race. Can I do something with that?

Brooke keeps dreaming about dying. Not her death, but the deaths of those around her. Strangers. And something dark on silent wings.

Rook has watched her for centuries, through lifetime after lifetime. It’s always ended in flames.

Something is hunting her city, and its getting closer with every kill. Will she solves the mystery before the death she dreams is finally her own?

Mmk, so I’m more or less at my character limit, but I’m finally telling a more complete story. We have Rain (Brooke), we have Rook, we have conflict. I’m not sold on “ended in flames”, but again, get some words on paper. I want to make an allusion to the fact that he hasn’t be able to save her in those  lifetimes after lifetimes.

So now we have some bones. Again, the who/what/where/when/why is set up sufficiently. We have our MC’s, we know this story is gonna focus pretty heavily on death. We know Brooke is in danger, and potentially has the tools and allies she needs to come out on top for once. So the tweaks to apply now are voice and style, and maybe a little more hook. Death is pretty hooky, but also hokey. Gotta make my story about teeneagers and murders really stand out. But from here, it’s all dressing. Editing. So much easier with words on a page, rather than accursed blinking cursor.

So there ya go. My two cents on blurb writing. Look for the finished product on fictionpress.net (and read the full story under “Finished” work, if you haven’t already). Happy Writing!

Raevenly is Writing: Kortan opening

So I’m slowly coming to admit to myself that the best way to get to know my world is to write and write and write and write and write, then write some more. And that A LOT of what I write will be unusable. Not useless, because it’s teaching me about my world (and my craft, obviously), but unusable, because not every story is tidy. Some things are big rambly messes that never resolve, have no real structure, and don’t interest anyone but me.

I’m working on one of those.

I’ve needed to understand the serpent world of the dead for a long time, and basic differences between ancient and modern serpent culture, how those cultures relate to other cultures, and so on. Fascinating stuff, to me, but probably won’t ever make a good novel.

But novel writing is what I know, so rather than trying to write a faux scholarly piece, or bullet listed notes, or whatever works for other people, I found a hobbit. Not a proper hobbit, but a character to explore the wide world with. Enter Kortan (working name, but I think I like it), a black scaled serpent who spend a few decades (centuries?) wandering the realm of the dead.

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I am an author

So, I did small thing today. Small, but it feels pretty big. I put a ko-fi link.

This seems like nothing, but its a big deal. I started the web page AGES ago, but never did anything with it. I don’t need tips, I told myself. I just want people to read and like my story.

My novel. I’m self publishing a novel. I am an author.

It’s a big deal, and I need to treat it as such. I am self-publishing an online serial. That means writing, and editing, and web page management, and promotional leg work. That means holding myself accountable to an update schedule, making sure I keep a visible internet presence, and making sure I’m my own biggest fan. Making sure I give myself credit where credit is due.

So, a Ko-fi link. A small thing, but it means big things in my head. I don’t necessarily need tips, I’m doing just fine, but I’m putting myself out there. Speaking of putting myself out there, you know what would make my day more than a cup of coffee? Comments. Reviews, votes, ratings, referrals. I would love to know there are readers out there. I would love to find the new readers out there that I haven’t found yet.

Spread the word to your friends. Follow Asylum on Tumblr (here, duh), Facebook , and Twitter (@ravenlywrites). Leave ratings and reviews and votes on the many sites below. And, of course, read and comment on Asylum itself. Drop us a line, let us know what you think about the story, your favorite characters, a scene that made you laugh out loud. We’d love to hear it!

Jukepop

Web Fiction Guide

Fiction Press

Wattpad

And of course, you’re still welcome to Buy Me a Coffee.

Party time!

You guys. Cait and I have been working with Asylum for FOUR YEARS. I can’t even.

In Search of Asylum

It’s Asylum’s Birthday! Help us celebrate by checking out some of these awesome links. Spread the word to your friends. Follow the authors on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. And, of course, the best presents a reader can give an author are comments! Drop us a line, let us know what you think about the story, your favorite characters, a scene that made you laugh out loud. We’d love to hear it!

Jukepop

Read Asylum’s chapters in long form, leave reviews, vote for Asylum!

https://www.jukepop.com/home/read/10122

Web Fiction Guide

Write a review, add it to your shelves, find other cool web lit while you’re there. 🙂

http://webfictionguide.com/modern-supernatural/in-search-of-asylum/

Fiction Press

Read Asylum’s chapters in long form, leave reviews, start an Asylum Message Board! I would LOVE to interact with readers on a message board! 😀

 https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3301678/1/In-Search-of-Asylum

Wattpad

Read Asylum’s chapters in long form, leave reviews, find other awesome content.

https://www.wattpad.com/story/98949433-in-search-of-asylum

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For all my Latinx followers

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zabet/this-is-what-latinx-looks-like?ref=thanks_link

Guys! Check out this Kickstarter! My friend Zabet makes amazing stickers, and now she’s running a KS for Latinx pride stickers! I’m super excited about these, can’t wait to get my set and slap ’em all over my car, laptop, and phone case. Please help get the word out and share some pride!

Just a week left! Please help support and spread the word. This is really important to me.