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Two Years of my Writing Journey

 It seems crazy but it’s been a little over two years since  I started this blog.  My first blog was aimed mostly towards using fairy tales as inspiration for stories, but when I started this blog I wanted it to be more about my adventures in writing as a whole – which doesn’t always include fairy tales.

Below are 16 posts sparked by the last two years of my writing journey – pretty much in descending order – during which time, I finished  my children’s book for my little boy and wrote two books of a three-book romance series. ( I hope to be able to officially introduce them soon.)

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana :)

Don’t Take Critiques at Face Value

How to Defeat Writers Block with Lies and Deceit

I forgot to “Save the Cat”

Keeping a Novel Diary

You Know You’re Addicted to Writing When …

Book 1 vs. Book 2: The Tortoise and the Hare

The Second Draft is Country Music

The Third Draft is an Empty Tube of Toothpaste

Concept, Characters, and Then Story. Oh …

When Did You Start Writing?

The Retelling of a Fairy Tale 

Franken-Bio

When One Door Closes

Character & Story Exercises

Frustration: a writers BFF

Free eBook: Ghosts, Mystery, & Fashion

 Jaclyn’s Ghost will be free

April 11, 2014 – April 15, 2014

Jaclyn's Ghost by Dorlana Vann

Jaclyn’s Ghost by Dorlana Vann

Ghosts, Mystery, and Fashion. Can this diva solve her own murder, or will she be stuck in limbo forever?

After recovering from the shock of seeing her own dead body, (still dressed to kill from last night’s party) fashion model, Jaclyn Jade, discovers she’s a ghost with a choice. She can either immediately go back to Hell, do nothing and stay in limbo, or find the reason she fell short of grace and advance to Heaven.

Because she was murdered, Jaclyn hopes that finding her killer will unravel this mystery. With the help of a timid closet-psychic who can speak to the dead, and a handsome, yet arrogant, ghost of a man from the roaring 20s, her search for answers initiates a quirky journey of self-discovery. Personalities, eras, and worlds collide as this mismatched trio race against time to solve the mystery of Jaclyn’s Ghost.

Read Reviews and/or get your free eBook at Amazon.com

Read Review and/or get your free eBook at Amazon.co.uk

Read Reviews and/or add to your TO-READ shelf at GoodReads

Ebook is free worldwide – here are more Amazon Links

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Fairy Tale Inspired Poem

Can you guess the fairy tale?

Destiny
By
Dorlana Vann

A bequeathed curse placed upon a kingdom.
A century of thorns and valiant deaths.
A beautiful rose dreams of love’s freedom.
Without a mere glimpse he pursues his quest.
Fate leads the way and parts the tangled briar.
Gently he walks through a city at rest.
Destiny sleeps deep in a dark tower.
One second to see, one second to yearn.
Love’s sweet ache impels a kiss of power.
When their lips touch the intense passion burns.
The clouds move away to reveal the sun.
Happily ever after, soon they’d learn.
After a hundred years, all has undone.
A bequeathed curse lifted from a kingdom

I Forgot to “Save the Cat”

After getting comments back on my work-in-progress from a critique partner, it was clear that she hated my main character to the core. Of course, I defended my reasons as to why I had given her a Scrooge personality. For one, she is actually the antagonist in the first book so I had to stay true to her character; and two, I thought I had managed a deep character arc.

Then I received comments from a second critique partner. She didn’t show such disdain, but still she’d marked certain places where the character made her feel uncomfortable and where she’d thought she’d gone too far … pretty much saying the character was mean.

I had spent a year with this character (on just this book) and it was hard to think about making drastic changes. But I had no choice but to really pay attention now. So the first thing I did was just add an extra clear “remorse scene,” one where the MC poured her heart out saying how sorry she was for all her wrong-doings.

I was satisfied with that for a little while, but my nagging brain wouldn’t let it be. I knew it wasn’t enough. *Sigh* The character was the heroine, not the antagonist anymore, and even though she was feisty, tough, and determined, I also had to make her likable. So I went through the novel, softening her up where needed and only having her feistiness appear as reactions to situations.

But I still had this feeling that something was missing. Finally, during the rewrite, a writing concept I had forgotten all about popped into my mind: Save the Cat. If you are a writer, you have probably heard the term. It is a concept and the name of screenwriter’s how-to book by Blake Snyder http://www.amazon.com/Save-Last-Book-Screenwriting-Youll/dp/1932907009

Here is the writing rule from the book Save the Cat: “The hero has to do something when we meet him so that we like him and want him to win. A screenwriter must be mindful of getting the audience ‘in sync’ with the plight of the hero from the very start”

Even though this information is in a screenwriter’s book, I think it applies to novels too. It makes sense and it certainly applied to my story. Even though I was fixing the character in later chapters, I needed that initial scene so that the readers would sympathize with her immediately. It didn’t take me long to find the obvious spot for this in my first chapter. (A shout out to my honest and tough critique partners!)

I wrote down the three little words and posted it to my bulletin board with my other two important writing reminders: “Emotion, Thought, Decision” and “A scene is never about what a scene is about.” It will sure save a lot of grief and time if I remember to “Save the Cat” before I start writing my next rough draft.

Love and Laughter,
Dorlana

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