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Monthly Archives: August 2011
I’m very excited to announce that I’ve got a book tour starting in September. There will be giveaways, guest posts & excerpts from IMPERIUM. The schedule is below. Enjoy!
9/1 – review @ Books Glorious Books
9/8 – review @ Fameless Ramblings
9/8 – giveaway @ Books Glorious Books
9/12 – guest post @ Jagged Edge Reviews
9/13 – review @ Owl Tell You About It
9/13 – review @ Jagged Edge Reviews
9/14 – giveaway @ Owl Tell You About It
9/15 – review @ Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders
9/17 – review @ The Phantom Paragrapher
9/18 – guest post @ The Phantom Paragrapher
9/19 – review @ It’s All About Books
9/20 – excerpt @ Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders
9/21 – guest post @ It’s All About Books
9/25 – review @ Aobibliosphere
9/28 – giveaway @ Aobibliosphere
9/28 – review @ Sara Is Reading What?
9/30 – excerpt @ Sara Is Reading What?
Scrivener’s References feature makes it easy to organize documents that you want to refer to in a particular scene, or throughout your project. The video below shows this feature in action. Enjoy!
Every writer has his or her own particular rituals or processes that they follow in order to create a story. Today we’re joined by urban fantasy author Rob Cornell, creator of The Lockman Chronicles. Read on to learn what Rob’s process was when he wrote his upcoming novel, Dark Legion.
The subconscious is a crazy beast. The things it can do always boggles my mind. As a writer, I have constant contact with my subconscious. What’s amazing about it is that it does at least half of the writing for me. (Probably more than half, but my conscious mind wants to get equal billing, so I humor him.)
If you ask a writer about his or her process, you’ll get all manner of different answers. There really are no rules when it comes to writing. As long as you end up with a good story, the path there doesn’t matter. But for the sake of argument, I want to talk about two extremes.
In this corner of the ring, we have Mr. Outliner. This guy sometimes weighs in at 200 pages. Every detail of his novel is premeditated right down to the main character’s favorite brand of socks. The actual prose writing comes almost as an afterthought. I know Jeffery Deaver is like this (his outlines are almost as long as his books). Crime writer, Robert Crais, is an outliner. Janet Evanovich outlines, too. If you read her section on plotting in How I Write, you’ll see an example of the sketchy timeline she scrawls out on a whiteboard.
In the other corner, you have Ms. Freebird. She often weighs in at little more than a scribbled note on a napkin. Sometimes, not even that. This writer dives into her narration with nary an idea of where she’s going or how she’ll get there. The most famous example of this kind of writer is Stephen King. In his book, On Writing, he goes into some detail about how this process works for him. He claims not even to jot notes. Others in this group will write notes and ideas, often without any strict organization. But mentioning the word “outline” among these folks is akin to asking a vegetarian if she wants her steak rare or raw.
In the middle, these two camps meet. This is the territory I find myself in. Most of my completed novels started as a list of scenes, often written on index cards, that I placed beside my keyboard when it came time to write. That’s it. No character biographies or descriptions of settings. Most of my scene bullets don’t even indicate a particular setting. This approach gave me the benefit of having a path mapped out like Mr. Outliner, but with plenty of space to roam, like Ms. Freebird.
All of this is a lengthy introduction to a discussion about something I have always experienced, but really struck me while writing my newest novel, Dark Legion (due out August 30th). I call it Storytelling Magic. It’s when the conscious planner punches out for the day and the subconscious takes over for his shift. And it really feels like magic.
I had my scene list for Dark Legion. Then I sat down to write. No one had told me that Conscious Planner had cashed in his vacation days and was letting Subconscious pick up his hours.
Things happened on the page I had no plan for. Characters came out of the dusty cupboards of my subconscious mind, introduced themselves, then stole roles from the characters I’d planned for. I felt like this stuff was coming from nowhere. And every time Subconscious slipped me another juicy morsel, I would cackle at a clever exchange of dialogue, or gasp at a plot twist, or worry about a character’s fate—because that character isn’t supposed to die, dangit.
The best parts of Dark Legion are things I could have never planned for. The magic had kicked in and my subconscious grabbed the wheel and broke the brakes.
If you read Dark Legion, you will learn about a very special car. I had no plan to introduce this car, but fell in love the moment it drove into my story. But what really shocked the hell out of me was that this car would play an integral role later on in the story. Like, there’s no way the story could exist without this car kind of role. I know, right? A flipping car? you ask. Yep. You’ll have to take my word for it until you read the book.
I was so stunned by all the Storytelling Magic zipping around in that novel, I made a rash decision—I am writing my next novel without an outline.
Oh, yeah. You heard right. I’m trusting Storytelling Magic (aka, My Subconscious) to carry me all the way through a book. Crazy? Maybe. But what do I have to lose? It’s not like I write on a typewriter and have to worry about wasting paper. What I have to gain, though? Dude, I can’t even fathom. I had a ripping good time with Dark Legion. Probably the most fun I’ve had writing ever before (and I’ve had me some good times).
I can’t wait to see what the magic conjures up next.
Dark Legion, out August 30th, is the second book in The Lockman Chronicles. For more information about this series or any of my other titles, come visit my website at rob-cornell.com.
It’s Erika’s birthday over at Badass Book Reviews, and to celebrate she’s hosting a bunch of guest posts & giveaways from writers such as Ilona Andrews, Moira Rogers, and more. And I’m in there too! Instead of a guest post, though, I wrote a short Caulborn story for Erika’s birthday. It’s called Party Crasher - head on over and check it out. You can also enter to win a copy of IMPERIUM!
Happy Birthday, Erika!
I’m participating in Six Sentence Sunday again this week. This entry is taken from my urban fantasy novel, IMPERIUM. To give some context, my main character, Vincent, is explaining to his new partner why he’s sometimes called the ‘God of the Dovers.’
“Ever hear of the Dover Demon?” I wasn’t surprised when she shook her head. “Okay, back in the seventies, a handful of teenagers saw this ugly creature with gray skin and luminescent eyes running around Dover, which is about twenty miles west of here. The papers dubbed it the Dover Demon. Now, there are all kinds of wild theories on what the Demon actually was, but in reality it was an Urisk who came to our world from the Bright Side. The Dover Demon nickname stuck, so sometimes you’ll hear people call them Dovers.”.
Okay, so the results of my poll are in, and the next big creature in urban fantasy is… a tie between the Jackalope and the Wendigo. So let’s have a writing prompt featuring these two fine fellows. Write a story that includes a jackalope and a wendigo. Bonus points if you make the jackalope into a wendigo. (If you’ve ever played D&D, just think of the wendigo as a template that you apply to the jackalope). Have fun!
So my previous post on vampires got me thinking about what the next big UF creature should be. The Onion claims it should be Minotaurs. Penny Arcade says it should be mummies. I think we should give a few other critters a chance to shine. So here are a handful of creatures that I haven’t seen in urban fantasy novels. Click on the creature’s name to learn more and then vote for your fave.
- Chupacabra – He’s a four-foot tall reptilian who sucks the blood out of goats.
- Bigfoot/Yeti/Sasquatch – Come on, you all know this guy and he hasn’t had any love since Harry and the Hendersons
- Jackalope - He’s more than just a fixture at the Longhorn Steakhouse.
- Mapinguary – He’s a bipedal giant sloth. What’s not to love?
- Wendigo - A cannibalistic spirit who can possess humans. Don’t worry about him getting cold feet, ladies, because they’ve already frozen & fallen off.
I’m participating in Six Sentence Sunday again this week. This entry is taken from my urban fantasy novel, IMPERIUM, and comes from a coded transmission being sent to my lead antagonist.
As time progressed, more and more of the Urisk worshipped Corinthos. While the Urisk had other gods at one time, the allure of seeing one perform miracles in person converted the majority of the Urisk. It is said that some of them still cling to their old faith, but this is only a small percentage of the population.
With so many Urisk actively worshipping him, his powers increased exponentially. He has stated that while on the Bright Side he can change the physical composition of the landscape, alter the realm’s weather patterns and heal his followers with a touch. He may border on omnipotent, but Corinthos is not omniscient, and is as fallible on the Bright Side as the old Greek and Roman gods were on Earth.
I’ve been thinking a lot about vampires lately. It seems that nearly every urban fantasy novel out there (including my own) has them. Why is that?
Glad you asked.
Well, for starters, I think it’s because vampires blend the best out of the paranormals. Sure, shifters like werewolves can look human, but in order for a shifter to really do anything kickass, they have to use special effects. Take a bar fight, for example. In a bar fight, a vampire can use all of his powers and he still looks human. A shifter might be stronger than a normal human and have keener senses while in human form, but to really rip things up in a bar fight they have to change forms.
The vast array of powers a vampire possesses is also appealing. Let’s do a quick laundry list of vampiric abilities:
- Super strength
- Super speed
- Night vision
- The ability to crawl on walls (which also gives them the opportunity to go as a badass Spider-Man on Halloween)
- The ability to control/become mist
- The ability to hypnotize/dominate humans
- Shapeshift into bats or wolves
- Control swarms of rats or packs of wolves
- Accelerated healing
- And, they’re usually damned stylish with designer clothes and a propensity to be suave and correctly pronounce words in French
What does a shifter get?
- Animal form
- Slightly better senses while in human form
- High clothing bills because they’re always ripping/losing their clothing
- Doggy breath
It’s kind of a win/lose for the shifter on this one. Sure, you’re a force of nature while in animal form, but you also can’t talk and you lose your opposable thumbs. Vamps can feign fancy foreign accents whenever they want and I’m willing to bet that if you looked closely at a vampire’s paws while in animal form, you’d see a tiny, spiteful thumb. Additionally, you never hear about Animal Control being called on a vampire.
There are other, more genuine reasons, though. Vampires were human once. They still remember what their hopes and dreams were, and that makes them relatable. It’s really hard to do that for other paranormal creatures. You could try to write a paranormal romance with Bigfoot or a hard boiled chupacabra detective, but it’d be tough because their minds are too foreign to readers. You can’t do it with other kinds of undead like zombies or liches, because let’s face it, they’re gross and they’ve lost their humanity. Sure, you can do it with a shifter, but see above reasons (FLEAS) on why a vamp might be a more appealing choice.
Even a vampire’s weaknesses are cooler. Vampire – “I can’t meet you for lunch tomorrow because I’d be immolated by the sun.” (Spontaneous combustion = cool). Shifter – “I can’t meet you for lunch tomorrow because I’m having a flea and tick bath.” (Awkward hygiene = not cool)
So until we come up with another paranormal humanoid that can hand out dish after dish of supernatural smackdown and look cool while doing it, I think we’ll be seeing vampires as main characters/antagonists for a long time.
Now you can buy IMPERIUM for the low, low price of just 99 cents from both Amazon and Smashwords. But act now, because at this price, they won’t last long!
Oh, wait. There are infinite copies of e-books, aren’t there. Huh. Well, Badass Book Reviews said that “IMPERIUM was the best 2.99 that you could spend at Amazon” so at 99 cents it must be even better!