Thursday, June 25, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

Briar Queen Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads giveaway for Briar Queen! I'm giving away 5 signed copies and a bonus with each!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Briar Queen by Katherine Harbour

Briar Queen

by Katherine Harbour

Giveaway ends July 20, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Template for a Fantasy Story

This is a template I use to outline and begin a story, and I don't always adhere to it, but it's like a ritual now, and it really helps get me going. If you don't care to read the entire post, you can skim the WORDS IN CAPITALS. (Okay, I just put the words in capitals to punch up this post a little.)

CHARACTERS: This is where most of my stories begin, with characters in situations they'd like to escape or improve. I write a 2-page bio for the main characters, including history, memories, physical descriptions, quirks, personalities, hobbies, SECRETS. I'm big on secrets. I also sometimes pick a color or an animal or a song to shape the character's personality.

THEME: This is the protagonist's journey, THE EMOTIONAL CORE, the common thread she/he shares with the human race--love, grief, family, escape, etc;--even if the protagonist isn't human. They need to want something.
P.S. Baddies need this as well, and it might tie into the theme.

STORY/PLOT: When I outline, I follow the 3-PART ARC, which makes outlining easy. (But I don't always stick to it!)
                         Act 1: Setting up the characters and the world, and ending with a turning point. Be careful of information dumps.
                         Act 2: Conflicts and suspense, ending with the darkest moment, the protagonist's failure. Story middles tend to wander. This is often where I have to re-structure and cut. A lot.
                         Act 3: Climax and final confrontation. I usually have several different endings in mind and write them to see which will work best.

THE WORLD: I try to go all-out in inventing the world. This is where I do most of my research. Even if I'm creating a fictional world, I usually base it on something actual. For instance, if I have a story that takes place on an island city with a Victorian era atmosphere, I'll do RESEARCH on the Victorian age, ocean life, and port cities.

THE DETAILS: Again, this is part of world building/atmosphere. I try not to go overboard, but making the reader feel as if they're in the same place as my characters is important to me. I want it to haunt them. I try to add dashes of detail (sounds, colors, scents), identify objects by names (cars-Chevy, tree-black alder, a piece of music-Smashing Pumpkins' 'Ava Adore'). UNUSUAL OR AUTHENTIC DETAILS also make your world stand out from every other fantasy place out there.

OUTLINE: This is the skeleton of the story, the structure upon which the fun stuff is built. This is how I get from POINT A TO POINT B, without retracing my steps and wasting time.

IDEA JOURNAL: This is the fun part, like Pinterest, only a pretty journal pasted with magazine photos, filled with sketches, notes, lists, and favorite words from the book I'm writing. It's FREE-FORM WRITING to keep the story from going stale.