Guest posts

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guest post by Keira Michelle Telford - author of a dystopian lesbian romance.

KM Telford headshot.jpgMagistrate 12 ecover.jpgTitle: The Magistrate
Author: Keira Michelle Telford
Genre: Dystopian SF / Lesbian Romance

Poverty is rife in twenty-fourth century London, England. Crime rates are at an all-time high, and living conditions for many are bleak. Capital punishment and public hangings have been reinstated, and Magistrates, in their new role, are tasked with patrolling the streets to enforce arrest warrants and ‘terminate’ any civilians who attempt to evade justice -- which isn’t always a noble pursuit.

The laws are strict, illiberal, and unsympathetic. If you can’t afford to feed and clothe yourself, you’ll be sent to the workhouse. If you fall behind on your rent, you’ll be sent to debtors’ prison. If you’re gay, you’ll be hanged.
For Carmen Wild, the latter becomes a potentially deadly problem when the discovery of a murdered prostitute brings her back into the life of her first love -- the Madam of an East End cathouse -- and the illicit passions between them are swiftly reignited.Michelle Telford is the award winning author of a series of post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction books, The SILVER Series, featuring the character Ella ‘Silver’ Cross, and now also The Prisonworld Trilogy – a dystopian lesbian romance. She’s a British ex-pat, now living in British Columbia, Canada with her husband and 10 guinea pigs.

Yes, 10 guinea pigs :)

Fun fact: Her pet guinea pigs (all adopted from animal rescue shelters) were the inspiration for the monsters in The SILVER Series, the first one of which, SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain), was released in November 2011.
Amazon Author Page:

Outline In Pencil, Eraser To Hand

I never used to outline anything. Quite often, I’d start writing a book and be 20,000 words in before I had even the slightest clue where I was going with it. If I got to 30,000 words without developing some kind of solid idea, I’d start to get a little bit nervous.

When I confided this to someone not that long ago, they looked at me as if I was Frankenstein’s monster. They wondered why it didn’t frighten me to leap into something with no destination in mind, and no clear path to get there, and flat-out couldn’t fathom how I managed to pull a well-paced book together after having drifted aimlessly through the first 20%.

But the thing is, it never feels aimless. I always sort of trust that my brain knows what it’s doing, and I just follow it blindly. I might not consciously have any design, but that doesn’t mean my subconscious isn’t completely in control of what’s going on. (At least, I hope it is. And I’m not necessarily talking a consecutive 20,000 words, either. Sometimes, I might start at the beginning. Other times, I write random scenes that leap into my head and have no relation to one another whatsoever).

I’ve also started writing chapters backwards, which is most odd. Finding myself stuck at the beginning of a chapter, I’ll start at the tail end of it and piece it together in reverse order. That doesn’t feel at all logical, but somehow, it seems to work. I don’t question it. I just let it happen.

The Magistrate was one of the few books I almost plotted out completely, but the book I ended up with scarcely resembles the original plan at all. For example, the relationship between Carmen and Lina—the entire focal point of The Magistrate—wasn’t in my original outline. The first love story arc was completely different, but as soon as I started writing, I knew it didn’t feel right. After I wrote the first scene with Lina, I knew she was the one Carmen was meant to be with. (I also fell a bit in love with her myself, but that’s a confession for another day).

I almost did the same in my current work-in-progress—SILVER: Lex Talionis—as well. I plotted it out from beginning to end (which is very unusual for me, and moderately disconcerting), but I had to rework the entire ending. Again, my love story arc felt inauthentic and forced, and the trajectory I ended up taking was drastically different from the way I’d first imagined it.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that outlining can be a great way to organize the cluttered thoughts inside your head, but if you’re not willing to be flexible and go with the flow as you write, I think the danger is that you’ll end up with something strained and disjointed—you have to do what feels right. I’m not saying all writers should just completely wing it (jumping in with no organization at all can feel like freefalling from a plane without a parachute), but don’t carve write, I think the danger is that you’ll end up with something strained and disjointed—you have to do what feels right. I’m not saying all writers should just completely wing it (jumping in with no organization at all can feel like freefalling from a plane without a parachute), but don’t carve your plots out in stone. Outline in pencil, and always keep an eraser handy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm back....

For a while now I've thought that my writing days were over.  I felt quite heartbroken about that, but my life stage, family demands, a busy career, my mother's death, and getting totally stuck on my Cleah sequel pretty well did me in. I gave myself some thin comfort through the writing I do on my blogs, but I was really living win a hollow place.

Well, yesterday morning, I was driving to work, and without forethought or warning, the entire book for a sequel to the Shay James mysteries downloaded into my brain. I had the plot, the characters, some of their important lines, the was all there as if I had always known it. Very weird. Of course, this came to me at a time when I am overloaded, already getting up at 5 a.m. to get my tasks done for the day, but I can write when a client does a last minute cancel, or if I travel I can write in an airport....the time will open up for me, I know that.

So, now I am energized and I feel quite jubilant. I am also energized to start promoting other writers again so will renew author guest posts next week.

I'm looking forward to being back, to connecting and re-connecting with you all.

Writing is a funny thing, eh.

Have your best day possible.