Have you ever wondered how a writer came up with an idea, scene or story? You might be tempted to think their mind just spit it out in the condition that you read it, but don’t be fooled. Good writers plan the scenes and plot those exciting threads. Great writers plan each part out using layers.
Let me explain. Every story is supposed to have a few basics:
Now we’ll add on a layer for the genre of book. Let’s go with horror, so we need:
We also have to have verification of choices during horror, including, but not limited to:
Now, we’ll go into the light details. To be horror, the mood has to be scary.
A fourth layer must go on now to keep track of all these threads. For example, if you have a snowstorm one day, you must make sure the cold is mentioned and there is still snow the next day unless it rains or floods or the sun sets directly on your iceberg. Details must be verified. Readers hate it when you screw up and have the same character in two places at one time. (I’m so sorry!) It was a simple name error, but it makes you look like an idiot. I call this layer the ‘make sure I’ve got it all where it should be’ layer.
For the fifth layer, we have to be sure we’re giving conclusions. All the above items gave us potential threads to be followed and finished. People hate to be left hanging, unless it is a series, and even then, writers are supposed to tread carefully. All those small moments that were set up have to be finished. Again, series are different, but even in those, a writer must eventually conclude that thread.
For the sixth layer, we have to explore the main them of the book. We ask ourselves 7 basic questions about the story:
The final layer, for the writers who have the energy left, is to ask, of each and every scene or plot thread:
How can I make it better?
What if I changed, switched…
The Next Step
Now that we have put together the 15-35 page draft using the seven layers above, the author can finally start to write the stories you love. It can be exhausting, even on short works. That’s why it takes so long. The tales don’t spit themselves out in full form. Writers shape them into cohesive, coherent (we hope!) tales that might last forever.
Then we sleep.
From the Author
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My Other Works
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Angela White News, Notes and Something New
New Life After War Book!
Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday season is warm and filled with peace, no matter how you spend it. Below, you’ll find the news, notes, and something new. Happy reading!
Miss you all,
New Life After War Book!
Title: Last Call, Life After War #9
Length: 807 Pages
From the Author: Late December 2017
Stores and retailers: Late January 2018
You can preorder it now for the usual discount. It will be full price when it goes live on stores. Here is that link:
Law Collection Set
All current books in the Life After War season are included in this huge box set. It is the updated version of all titles. This link will take you to my website page for details and links to stores.
Book 8 in Print
Dearly Departed is now available in print! Betas will receive their signed copies in 4-6 weeks. Here is the link to that page.
I now offer MOBI format on my website for all titles. Because those files are larger, please be patient while they download.
The final book in the Bachelor Battles series is still being worked on. It is written and undergoing another editing process to fix all the things I’ve changed over the last few months. I will get it out to you just as soon as I can. If you want a refund for a preorder, just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life After War #9
The kids were thrilled to be outside again. The snow was still coming down a bit heavier now and the guards had already moved the perimeter inward for better visibility.
While waiting in line at one of the four small bathroom tents, the children scooped up handfuls of the fluff that had accumulated and chased each other around the adults. It should have been a wonderful moment for all of them, but the oppressive darkness that surrounded their tiny bunker made that impossible.
As the last group of children entered the tents and the adults began to herd the ones who were finished back toward their shelter, the wind dropped into an eerie silence that brought goosebumps to Angela's cold arms.
An instant later, the remaining descendant children were running toward her. At first, everyone thought it was for their protection.
Angela held still as the kids surrounded her, tiny bodies alive with tension and anger. She waited with inpatient concern for the danger to present itself. At this point, she was much too exhausted to look ahead. Almost everyone was.
Nancy stayed back, a little creeped out by the way the kids were so willing to give their lives for an alpha.
Shawn came forward to add his body to the layer of protection. After the months of caring for Missy, the magic no longer freaked him out. He considered it an important tool. Descendants were an early warning system.
Jennifer stayed where she was, waiting for the last kids come out of the bathroom. She had left Autumn sleeping next to Pam, who hadn't needed to use the bathroom. She glanced toward the house, also not sure what direction the danger was coming from. Like Angela, she'd been using her energy continuously since they left the mountain and the small amount of sleep she’d gotten overnight without Kyle next to her hadn't allowed for much of a recharge.
Robbie was standing directly in front of Angela. He rotated toward her in concern as snowflakes landed on his cold face. "She knows you're here."
Angela couldn't help the shudder. "Who?"
"Nature." Robbie's eyes were dazed as he picked up the vision. "She knows she can reach you now."
As if released from the spell, all of the kids relaxed and the wind began to blow again.
“She’s hitting someone else this time.” Robbie stared at Angela as the other children went back to playing. “Don’t leave camp. We can’t protect you out there."
Angela didn’t tell the boy she wasn’t safe anywhere. She didn’t want him to keep worrying. That was her job.
Angela wanted to enjoy the great vibes in the next house, aware that the Christmas tree here was up and decorated in items that surprised her. From a wallet, to a comb, it appeared as though the adults had found presents for the children in the house with them. "I'm running short on time and people. I need you for guard duty. You can listen to the meeting from outside, but don't get distracted."
Brandon didn't mind. He was still high on being out of the mountain. "I got great sleep today during the ride. I could pull a double if you need it or cover somewhere else after the shift is over."
Angela pointed toward the house she had just left, where Kyle had given the signal to the guards outside to let them know that the trap had been set. "They may need assistance in a bit. We move dark, we move silent."
Brandon chuckled, copying the code. It meant not to make any noise and blend in with the colors of the surroundings.
Angela led him outside, not caring the man didn’t have his coat on. When he shut the door, the real boss came through in her tone. “Why did he make you hide?”
Brandon smiled uneasily, hand going into his pocket. He assumed she’d brought him out here so the Eagles could handle him away from the kids. “I’m glad you asked.” He slowly handed her a note.
Frowning, Angela read it.
He’s a Mitchel.
If not for Adrian’s handwriting, she wouldn’t have believed it possible. She groaned in shock and dismay.
“Yeah, he said you’d react that way.” Brandon shoved hands into his pockets as the wind whipped small drifts around their feet. “I’m sorry.”
“How did you hide it from everyone?” Angela shoved the note into her pocket to burn later. Brandon looked nothing like his… Angela concentrated. His cousin. The brown eyes and hair had allowed him to blend in without suspicion, but he had to have a strong gift to be able to keep a secret like this.
“We don’t use last names in Safe Haven. We’re Jack the level four or Jack the level two, you know?”
It was such an obvious loophole that Angela immediately began drafting plans to close it. “And?”
“I’m a shield. It’s about all I can do so far.”
“Must be a strong shield.”
“It is, but only because of you.”
“When you and Zack were fighting, my shield just seemed like the coldness you were getting from all of his team, but when you bonded with him, it became harder. I had to keep it up all the time. It made it stronger.”
Angela could see how that would work, but it was disconcerting to learn she’d missed it for so long. She wouldn’t even know now unless Adrian wanted her to. “Why did he free you at all?”
“He gave me two reasons. He said I deserved to enjoy the bonding with my own kind, that I’d earned it. He also said you need me.”
“Does Marc know yet?”
“I don’t think so. I don’t have bruises and I’m still allowed around you.”
His hopeful tone told Angel he feared being held responsible for Adrian’s actions just because of who he was. Connor had the same fear. “You’ve been loyal here. Now I find out you’ve lied the entire time. Why should I hide your secret?”
“You shouldn’t. I’m just asking for a fair trial.”
Angela grunted. “This wouldn’t get a trial. If the Eagles find out, they’ll dump your body somewhere and say you ran off, like Mitchel’s always do.”
Brandon flushed. “Yeah.”
“Damn him. He’s always throwing a wrench in my works.”
Last Call. Life After War, Book 9.
Available for preorder on the author’s website.
Shtf fiction, armageddon, nuclear war, post apocalyptic survival, dystopian military fiction, end of the world, science fiction series