Chaotic Galaxies

Everything you need to know about the Book Series Chaotic Galaxies and more!

Prologue

I’m going to take a few minutes from carefully crafting wonderfully composed sentences into a wonderfully thought out and exciting novel for Camp NaNoWriMo to compose my answer to the WriYe Blogging Circle Question. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this already on my blog but for the heck of it, I’m answering it again! The big question of the month is:

Why did you start writing?

     I’m sure there are plenty of answers to such a big question, but my answer if fairly simple and had nothing to do with writing at all. I started writing because I wanted to sleep.

     When I was about seven I had an awful time falling asleep (still do actually) and one night after whining about how tired I was and how I just couldn’t fall asleep, my mother gave me a little bit of advice which has shaped who I am now. My mother suggested that to fall asleep, that I just lie there and tell myself a story and that I would drift off. Desperate for anything to work, I did just that.

     So there I was, crafting myself more and more elaborate stories in order to get to bed. Certainly the next step after creating a story is to find pen and paper and start writing them down! I’m not really sure when this first started happening as I remember the earliest time as being in grade two when I was encouraged in my Extended Enrichment Program to write my stories down. I started simply enough with little silly stories about the kids in my class, which I was then encouraged to share with them!

   It was from those two things that the floodgates opened and writing became who I was! In Grade Seven, I had an unfortunate problem with making friends in a new school which turned into many a lunch hour in front of the library’s computers working on what had become a series about my former classmates. That ballooned into my first attempt at a novel the following year in my first year in high school. That first novel turned into a three part series (as my novels tend to do), and went from there.

    By the time I hit college I considered myself a writer and sought only to perfect my skills! To think, it all stemmed from not being able to sleep when I was seven…

How has your writing improved since you first started?

     Considering I started writing when I was in grade two, the only answer I can possibly give is “In every way!”. It started from simple changes that turned my small couple page stories into longer and longer stories. Those stories changed into a novel where I started to focus on adding descriptions into my walls of speech. Slowly I started to look at being more careful with point of view and tense, as well as being aware of words I was overusing or using wrong. In every stage of my life my writing has evolved in one way, even now I find myself focusing on perfecting my editing as I shape my novels for publication.

     I really don’t think that an author is ever really done improving their writing. Its a life long search to find that one little detail, that one little thing, that will make your writing just that much better!

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That E word… Editing.

Editing…

If your anything like me, the very idea fills you with dread. I hear there are others that enjoy this craft of tweaking and perfecting, and I like to call those people Unicorns! (I’m looking at you Erin) Editing is the topic of this month’s Wriye Blogging Circle so I may as well jump right into it.

What’s your plan of attack for editing? Is it a chore for you? Do you enjoy it? What’s the hardest thing for you in the editing process?

My plan of attack when it comes to editing is always to break it into smaller, easier to swallow bites. If I sit down with the purpose of ‘editing my novel’ I usually find other things that just HAVE to be done first and escape as quickly as possible. I find it much easier if I break it into Chapters so when I sit down to edit, I only have to get through this one Chapter. Tomorrow I’ll move onto the next Chapter and so on and so on until I’ve completed the novel. There’s something about this method that helps make the task seem manageable.

I find editing a chore. There’s really no way around it, I just do. I would much rather be creating new material than sitting down and slogging through what I’ve already written. Unfortunately, I also know that its completely necessary and as I’ve matured as an author, I’ve learned to ‘suck it up’ and get it done. I would like to note that the more that I do edit, the better my first drafts become. I often start to see patterns of mistakes and when I’ve corrected the same one over and over in a couple novels, I find myself avoiding that problem in the first place on new projects! This makes editing much easier as I go on as I’ve got cleaner first drafts to work with and can concentrate more on the content mistakes rather than grammar and punctuation.

The hardest thing about the editing process for me is just finding the motivation to sit down and do it. I know I don’t like it, I know its boring compared to writing new stuff, but its got to be done. In the end I know I’m going to make the novel a better novel and that I’m likely going to find tidbits that I can use in later novels that I’d forgotten I’d added. I know I’m going to find little character traits that I’d developed in later novels and can now go back and hint at in my previous novels. Really, I just need to sit down and do it!

What’s the best and/or worst editing advice you have ever received?

My best editing advice I’ve been given (which was really something I read online and I can’t even remember where), was to read it aloud. Sometimes my grammar may not be the best, but I find that when I read my novel aloud during the editing process I can find mistakes that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I know that if I trip over a sentence than something must be wrong with it. I may not know exactly WHAT grammar mistake I’ve made, but I know there’s one in there. A lot of my typos get found this way as well, rather than reading over it too fast to notice.

The more I take my time and do the editing the I need to, the better I get at it. The faster I identify the mistakes and fix them. Its a worthwhile task and its slowly getting less and less painful. (Not painless, of course, but less painful)

First Novel of the Year

I have officially finished my first novel of the year! I’m just talking first drafts complete here, unfortunately I still haven’t gotten the editing done that desperately needs my attention. The novel is called “Undefined” and is probably the most unromantic Romance that has ever been written! (I literally wondered at one point if there was too little gore in the novel…)

Its a pretty great milestone to have passed this early in the year and I’m quite proud of the accomplishment! It would be nice if it were a Chaotic Galaxy novel, but its actually a challenge project for Wriye and one that won’t likely ever be more than a fun experiment. But not to worry, I do have two Chaotic Galaxies novel in the works and many more that need to be edited and published!

I hope this novel is the first of many this year. Actually the first of six if you want to get really specific. That’s my goal for the year, complete six novels by the end of December! There is a challenge being thrown around to finish a novel a month but I decided to decline such a huge challenge because it felt like setting myself up for failure. I know me, I can’t write that much that fast, but I figure that I CAN do six in the year. These novels don’t have to be started this year as well, just finished within the year. This works great for me because I have a few, like “Undefined” that I just finished, that are already sitting at half way there!

There is also a challenge to finish a Trilogy which is perfect, as I’ve got the first novel of a trilogy already in the books with another two planned. This gives me a great push to actually finish those two remaining books and strike those projects off my plate!

It turns out, challenges and goals really work for me and I find myself wondering why I never tried this kind of thing before. Its not like it wasn’t obvious that setting goals would probably turn out to be a good thing, because how could it not? I just figured that I’d be no good at goal setting and that even if I had set a ton of wonderful goals, the chances of following through would be slim. I suppose that’s how the challenges fit in, they’re the vehicle for me to use to be successful at those goals. It doesn’t hurt that I set realistic goals that I’m sure I can accomplish. (Nothing like starting out your goal-setting with a horribly unrealistic goal that you can’t possibly succeed at and therefore sour the entire experience!)

No matter what it was that has pushed me to this milestone, its one that I am proud of. I hope that all you writers out where are finding your own success this year!

Genre

January was quite a successful writing month I’m happy to report! After barely writing for an embarrassing year and a half I managed to surpass my humble goal of 20k and wrote 72k! What a way to get back into writing!

I’ve been working on three novels, which is now four as I’m doing the Keeping Warm In February Challenge which turned into a novel a couple years ago. The end of that novel is in sight which will make it my first finished novel of the year! I’m already set up to destroy my February’s goal as I’ve already surpassed that same humble goal of 20k!

So without going into to too much detail, let’s dive into the Wriye Blogging Circle question of the month!

What does genre mean to you? Do you have a “home” genre? Or are you a genre hopper and are comfortable in just about any one?

Genre to me is the smallest summary you can give about your novel. Its giving a general rule that your novel followed to give your reader a generalized sense about what you’ve written. If I say I wrote Sci fi the reader is pretty sure that space and technology will likely be used at some point. These days there is a lot of cross between Genres so its likely giving  you the most prevalent aspect of the novel.

I don’t really have a home genre, as I usually say I write in the “All the cool stuff genre”, which to me encompasses Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and basically anything with a supernatural or magical twist. To me this also includes Distopia, which I’ve yet to write myself but really want to. I find it hard to write much in the way of ‘real world’ fiction as we already live in the real world, I want to see the fantastic!

I can move around the genres within my collection of ‘cool stuff’ fairly easily but I’ve recently been challenged to write outside this collection. I’ve managed to write in a few different genres but I’m not sure if I’d actually use the word comfortable about the experience. I mean, I’m working on a Romance (which I will deem a Supernatural Romance because its got a LOT of supernatural aspects to it, almost to the point of clouding out the Romance), but I definitely wouldn’t say that I’m comfortable in that Genre. I would probably say that I’m enjoying the visit, but I’m looking forward to returning home.

These tests of genre have been very interesting to me, I’ve got to say, as its a real test of my skills. I like to go through the exercise of pushing myself to see if I can do something that I’d never have tried had it not been for the challenge. I’d definitely recommend it to others, its a great creativity exercise!

Do you read the same genre you write? Yes or no? If yes, why? And if no, why not?

Yes, definitely! I write about the fantastic because that’s what I’m most interested in, and I read about it for the same reason! There is just so much creativity in “all the cool stuff” and its amazing to see what other writers come up with, and believe me, I’ve met a LOT of very talented writers lately! Besides, all that drama that ‘real world’ novels are about are in the genres I read, its just surrounded by so much more!

Motivation

Or lack thereof…

    I have been having a wonderful writing month. With the help of the Challenges on the Wriye Forum coupled with the encouragement of so many fine writers, I’ve managed to write 60k already this month. This is an amazing feat given how few words I feel like I’ve been writing for almost a year now. Which makes me consider the fickle thing that is motivation…

    Ever since the end of the year when I realized that I’d somehow managed to capture the fickle thing that is my motivation I have been guarding and babying it like it was a tangible thing. There are certain projects that I SHOULD be working on given my goals of publication this year and then there are projects that I’m just enjoying at the moment. While I know which projects I should be working on, my motivation for said projects is a lot less than say, my zombie novel, Antibodies:Wanted.

    Given the fragile state of my newly found motivation, do I risk losing it by making myself write what I should be writing, or do I follow it where IT wants to go? Do I let it pick which path it wants while I cultivate it into a stronger and stronger motivation? In the back of my mind I can’t help but picture myself guarding this little flame through a wind storm in hopes that I can make it grow large enough that it will sustain me no matter what project I want to work on. When I think of this fragile thing, this motivation which can wane at a moments notice or the appearance of any real life stresses, I can only hope I can grow it into something else. I hope I can grow this tiny thing into ‘habit!’

    Habit feels like a completely different entity all together. It feels like a thing that can weather the storm of pushing through the tough spots on a project I really want to get done. It feels like I don’t have to follow habit’s every whim, working on new projects here and there as long as I keep it fed with what interests it.

    Does anyone else consider their motivation like this? Does anyone in a writing slump sit frowning at their empty document wishing they could capture that motivation, if only for a little while?

First Week in the Books

Another year has started and another Wriye with its wealth of challenges is underway! I must say that I was incredibly excited this year to participate in Wriye as last year was so much fail that its not even worth mentioning. Not only was I looking forward to accomplishing my writing goals, but I was also excited to reconnect with the Wriye girls! Its great motivation to hear their story ideas, their own goals and just general life chatter!

My goal for January, besides my usual 20k word goal, was to get a head start. I know me, I get excited, I write like crazy… and then life happens. It sucks, but its just the way life goes and I know that when life happens my writing motivation escapes, leaving me staring at a blank page with no desire to do anything. So a head start is pretty much a requirement if I’m to reach my goal and a head start I have! I’m only nine days in and I’m passing the 21k mark with more challenges awaiting me!

I’ve got a number of interesting challenges on the go at the moment and they’re great for keeping up my motivation. After I complete each one I can’t help but think to myself ‘what’s next?’ There is an interesting 31 Original Character Challenge which I scaled back to only 15 for fear of how many new novels that it could create. I’m using this challenge to write up all those bios that are in desperate need of some attention for the two novel series I’m primarily working on. So far so good, I’ve written up four bios and no new stories have generated. Mind you, they have definitely enriched the novels that they came from, adding new dimension and a little more mystery. I’ve got a few other bios in mind that I need to work on, so this is a great challenge for getting me doing what I should have already finished by now!

Another interesting challenge is the One, Two… Trilogy Challenge created by the very talented Keri! She knows just as well as I that writers, especially those in the genres that I like to write, are notorious for making our novels into trilogies. (Totally guilty of this myself) While we often succeed in creating that first novel in our trilogies, we don’t always finish the series. So Keri’s challenge is to actually complete our trilogies (or in the case of a couple of crazy Wriyers with word count goals MUCH higher than my own, complete a trilogy of trilogies) within the year. As it so happens I was just in the middle of my own Trilogy so signing up for this challenge was a no brainer.

I’m incredibly happy with my so far and I can only happen that life’s troubles will stay away from my doorstep long enough for me to get a good head start on the year’s writing!

It’s that Time Again!

Hello 2017!

Another year hath gone by and a new year of WriYe has come around. My attempt at WriYe 2016 was dismal to say the least but I’m back in the saddle and stronger than ever!

What’s your Wriye Word Count goal and why did you chose it? What are you going to be focusing on this year? What are you doing differently this year compared to last year?

My word count goal for 2017 is 250,000 words. Its a nice achievable number and I think that if I can write consistently every day, that I can blow this goal out of the water. I really wanted a word count goal that was both high enough to be challenging, but low enough that I can be successful and 250k just felt right for both of those.

I have three things that I want to focus on for this year.

  1. Consistency: Writing every day is a must, even if its just a little bit. I want to get used to writing at the same time each day until it becomes habit to get my words done each morning.
  2. Publication: Of Chaotic Galaxies:Blood, Its been too long since I published my first novel and I’m determined that I WILL get Blood on sale and out there for everyone who’s been waiting for it!
  3. Editing: So much editing to do. I’ve got first drafts for a half dozen Chaotic Galaxies novels just waiting on the shelf to be polished. That doesn’t even include other projects that also need to be dusted off and buffed to a shine!

Its hard to say what I’m going to do differently this year from previous years. I guess the most obvious would be to stick with it. Fight through real life stresses and just take the time to really forget those struggles and concentrate on my writing. I’ve got to learn to make writing a priority and not to be distracted by all the other fun things there are to do.

What are you most excited about for in 2017? Writing wise or not. Let us know!

I’m excited to finally have Chaotic Galaxies: Blood in my hands, and hopefully my Short Story Collection as well. There’s just something about holding your neatly bound, glossy covered, new book smelling novel in your hand with your name neatly printed in the corner. I’m looking forward to that experience again!

I’m also excited about the prospect of having my sister closer to me as she’s possibly moving to a town much closer to mine!!

Here’s hoping I can keep up the excitement for this upcoming writing year that I feel right now. With the help of the WriYe girls on our Chat Group, I’m sure I will. 🙂

Slacker!

I’m afraid that I have been a serious slacker these last few months. My writing stalled out after an epic April Camp NaNoWriMo and I never quite got my motivation back. I’m not quite sure where it went, but wherever it is, I hope it knows that I’m waiting for it!

With the new year comes another fresh WriYe and I’m using it as my kick in the butt to get back into the writing I love so much. While I may not be jumping in with both feet like I did last year (especially not after spending the week in pain due to poor lifting techniques when picking up my little guy resulting in an angry back), I am still undergoing the challenge. I’ve set myself a goal of 250k words written this year and I’m certain that I’ll achieve it this year!

I’m starting off slow this year, just enough to get myself back into the habit. I figure that a couple hundred words a day is certainly better than nothing, even if they’re complete gibberish! I’ve got lots I want to accomplish this year, as long as I’m not side-tracked by too many new products like last year. There are so many cool challenges on the WriYe website that its hard not getting caught up with them and ending up with a whole new novel on your hands! (Or in my case, two full novels, one of which was classified as a supernatural romance!)  Most of all, I want to get Chaotic Galaxies: Blood published this year. It SHOULD have been out last year, but I allowed myself to be distracted by so many new and shiny projects.

With these few goals in mind, I start another year of writing, writing and writing! (And I should probably throw some editing in there too…) So, if any of you see me slacking again… feel free to give me a virtual kick in the butt!

Camp NaNoWriMo

Hello Chaotic Galaxies Fans!

As most of you probably know, April is Camp NaNoWriMo, an event which I look forward to participating in every year. (technically three times a year if you include the Official NaNoWriMo and July’s Camp NaNoWriMo) This April was no exception and I’ve pretty much been having one of the best Camp experiences I’ve had so far. I have surpassed both my official goal of 50k AND my stretch goal of 75K! In fact, I’m nearing the 100k mark which is absolutely amazing. The last, and only other time I hit 100k I was competing with D.P Balding to see who could write the most. (A fact that resulted in the completion of Chaotic Galaxies: The Plagued first Draft)

As much as I love to share my success with everyone, its not really about bragging (maybe a little), we all compete against what we’re capable of. If writing 10k in a month is what  you can push yourself to do, than that accomplishment is just as big and awesome as my 100k! It’s not about comparing your numbers with everyone else, its about coming out of the event feeling like you’ve accomplished something awesome! And really, if you attempted Camp at all, you have accomplished something awesome. The world needs those words, so sit down and write as many of them as you can!

I think one of the most important thing is finding what works for you to get those word counts out. Some people sit down and write huge chunks at a time, while others find having music playing helps them write, or a bunch of short stints which apparently works well for me. Once you find that one thing that motivates you, its all magic from there! Motivation is a tricky thing and sometimes you just have to follow where it leads.

This Camp NaNoWriMo I was all set up to continue writing Chaotic Galaxies: Into the Mist but found that my motivation was leading me towards a zombie novel I’d started a couple years ago but never got past the first Chapter. I had been working on the novel, now titled “Anti-Bodies” for the WriYe Genre Stretch for March and kept telling myself that I was just going to write one more day on it, and then I’d switch back to CG: Into the Mist. Apparently my motivation had other plans and I kept on writing “Anti-Bodies” until about halfway through the month I concluded defeat and changed my novel on the Camp Site to that novel! If you can find your motivation to write a specific novel or story, it can make writing that story so much easier than when you’ve got to fight lack of motivation to write what you want to write.

Unfortunately for those of you who are fans of my short story, you also know my updates have been lacking as my motivation has pushed me to continue “Anti-Bodies” and not work on the short stories that I want to fill my website with. Luckily the novel is only two Chapters away from being finished so hopefully I can get ahead on those short stories that you’re all waiting for. Thanks for being patient with me as always.

As for “Anti-Bodies”, I have no idea if it’ll ever see the light of day again, but it’s certainly been fun to write. Who knows, maybe one day in the future I’ll pull it off the shelf, dust it off and make it shine!

Motivation

“Moby Station”

The conclusion to “Moby Station” is now live on www.chaoticgalaxies.com! This nine part short story depicts Ollie and Curt’s investigation after their home, Moby Station, has a sudden ‘drive-by’ by an Order ship. Everyone on the station is frightened, unsure if there is a reason the Order came so close to their station, or if it was just a coincidence. Curt, one of the few in charge of the station, decides that he can’t leave it to chance, and must investigate. In “Poison” we finally discover the answer to this question, but will it ease their fears, or only grow them?

To those of you who enjoyed Moby Station and the characters the live there, I say, don’t worry, they shall return. This is certainly not the last time that we’ll see Curt, Ollie and Zoey. I wholly intend to continue to write short stories about Moby Station as there are lots of unanswered questions, especially surrounding Curt and his past.

I was a day late updating this blog but those of you who are following the website as well will see that I did actually update on Monday! I’m still working on my consistency and will continue to do so. (But feel free to drop a comment if you see that I haven’t posted my Monday update. Every little push will help me conqueror this deadline thing!)

Another thing that I was less than on-time with finishing was the WriYe Blogging Circle for February! As I don’t want to fall too behind (and there is a March topic already up on the forums), here is my Blogging Circle answers.

What is the main motivation behind your characters? Where do you come up with that motivation? Do you tend to use the same sort of motivation in every novel, or do you tend to mix it up more? What is your favorite example of character motivation?

Each character I create has their own unique motivation, many of which are strong driving forces within the novel. For the most part I design the world/universe that my characters are going to be inhabiting first with my rough idea of the story I wish to tell. When I design my characters I find that each of them represent both a part of me and an emotion. I have certain characters I like to write for when I’m in different moods, and this helps shapes the character.

For example, when I’m in a bad mood I find myself turning towards characters like Ash from my Chaotic Galaxies Series. Ash is an angry character who’s motivations are to find his lost siblings and get revenge for his family. When he gets in conflict he basically sees red and channels his inner rage, especially when slavers are considered. When I’m in a playful mood I’ll turn to characters like Cody and Bek who are simpler, carefree characters. When I think of each character and their motivations I think of the emotion behind them. Hannah is a driven, highly determined character and when I think of her I think of her as a driving force to get what she wants, no matter what. Its this basic emotion of the character that influences her motivation in the Chaotic Galaxies Series of becoming a star. She’ll do almost anything to achieve this goal and no matter what trouble she finds herself in, this is always in the back of her mind, pushing her forward.

I like to think that my motivations for each novel is different as I try to come up with the most unique characters I can for each novel world/universe.  There may be similar emotions behind some of the characters (Like Ash and Raysell from two different universes), but their motivations are always a little different. I like to make their motivations different enough that even if you can’t remember the characters name, you always remember who they are. (For example, Ash is the one who’s trying to find his siblings or Rox is the scorpion chick who’s been exiled from her world)

One of my favorite examples of character motivation is probably from a character that had a very strong revenge motivation. She’s one of my very first characters and her name is Mist. (Also known as BloodMist when she wants to scare others) Mist is a vampire from a unique origin and when her youngest, and weakest, sister is murdered by her family she goes into a fit of rage. With her new found vampire strength she charges after her brother to prove to him that she isn’t as weak as he thought and to have her revenge.

Her brother was a character I intended to keep throughout her short story series as the main villain but her motivation was so strong that when she first confronted her brother over her sisters death she destroyed him.  I found myself writing the first thing that ‘popped into her head’ and when I was done the scene I was surprised that my main villain was already  dead. Of course there was no rewriting the scene, as that would change the character too much. The only way to proceed was to change the entire series itself and put another character into that main villain category. (there were lots to pick from after all)

This is my favorite example of character motivation because it was so strong that it pretty much overwrote my entire plan for the series. Then again, that’s what I’ve always liked best about the Mist character, she’s unpredictable! I find that the first crazy idea that pops into my head for her is often the one I go with, without taking into consideration the consequences to the main story.

Bonus:
Share with us an excerpt from your current or completed novel(s) that demonstrates your favorite example of character motivation.

Since I mentioned Mist above, I thought an except from her short story series would be a good idea for this bonus ‘question’.

            “I will NEVER be yours,” I spoke coldly. “You are diluted!”

            He came at me then, took my wrists in his hands and slammed me against the wall, nearly knocking the wind from my lungs.

            “You ARE mine! I made you, I gave you this life, and I can take it away just as easily,” he shouted into my face, a smug look on his face.

            I think he expected me to back down, to be the feeble girl that I had always been, but I didn’t. My supernatural blood surged in my veins and ignited the rage barely contained below the surface.

            “You are a fool to think I would submit to you. If my life is what you want, then take it!” I challenged.

            He raised his hand to strike me. His smug smile turned to shock him as I pushed back against him with all my might, sending him to the ground. In seconds he was on his back on the floor and I had my fangs deep in his neck. I drank with such speed that I was afraid I would choke myself. He gasped but I did not stop. I drew out his life blood so swiftly that he could not even fight back, all he could do was stare blankly at the ceiling, his mouth moving in words he couldn’t quite find. When his body went limp under me, I tore my fangs from his soft white flesh and pushed myself to my feet.

            Victor looked up at me with wide, frightened eyes. He looked like a shrunken shell of his former self. His skin was whiter than I thought possible and the colour had drained even from his ruby lips. Blood dripped from the wound at his throat as I studied them. I watched in fascination as each drop squeezed out of the wound and slid down his neck, leaving a small stain in their wake. Each drop made such a delicate little noise as it hit the floor that I was captivated by each one. These droplets finally stopped and I stood looking down at him again.

            “I will never be yours Victor,” I told him calmly, coldly.

            I crouched down next to him, watching his eyes as he blinked in shock, as if unable to grasp what had just happened to him. He tried to raise his hand towards me, but it fell uselessly back to the floor. No matter how hard he tried, he could not even get a sound to pass through his lips, not even to curse me.

            “You are not worthy of me, none of you are. That’s okay though, because that will soon be remedied.”

This except is actually from a university project for a creative writing course I took years ago. It was written in a style that I would never have used if it had not been a school project (it was written in a diary style which you can’t really see from this except, thankfully), but I’m actually quite happy with how the story turned out, even if it did not follow what I’d planned for it! I hope you’ve enjoyed it, as horror and fantasy are also genre’s that I love to write.