Sunday, March 25, 2018

Drew Duncan: A character study


            In TornAway, readers are introduced to Drew Duncan, a man who an entire town believes got away with murder. At the beginning of his senior year of high school, he and his girlfriend Molly Winters got into a public fight at a dance. After having his face slapped, Drew stalked off while Molly remained. By the end of the night, Drew was found unconscious in a parking lot, nearly dead from an overdose, and Molly had disappeared. He was arrested and held for months for a trial that would never come, released only when there was a new chief of police of Ember Falls who put pressure on the new DA.
            Drew and his sisters were victims of horrific abuse at the hands of their alcoholic father. It affected each of them in different ways. For Kelli, the sister whose murder brings Drew back to Ember Falls, she married a man who was even worse than their father and only escaped with her son weeks before her untimely death. Ashley has kept everyone at arm’s length, refusing to believe that anyone could ever truly love her.
            For Drew, his entire self-worth was tied into his ability to protect his sisters. Once he was exiled from them, he channeled that protective instinct for others. After his time in the marines, Drew joined McAlister Security and was point man on dozens of cases where he put himself in harm’s way, always without hesitation. Yet the moment he arrives back in Ember Falls, he nearly goes into a panic attack. Something in that town terrifies him.
            Drew’s top priority is his nephew Cole. A young boy who is trembles every time Drew comes near him, Drew must find a way to connect, and to earn Cole’s trust. Drew understands how difficult that is because he’s been in Cole’s shoes before. Yet he gets Cole.
            To protect Cole, and his sister Ashley, Drew ends up working with Officer Ollie Miller, who as a kid Drew bullied. He never took kindly to Ollie hanging around his sister, but he’ll do anything to keep his family safe.
            Torn Away in the first book in a three part series. There are hints of just how dark Drew’s past is, because as bad is it is, the reader will get to see in book 2 that it’s worse. But Drew’s story is one that I had to tell. A man so consumed by guilt for things he could never control. It’s a hallmark of adults who have gone through abuse as a child. Whatever goes wrong, it’s their fault. In the end, that’s Drew’s biggest challenge. To forgive himself.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Writing Advice: Let it suck.


Practical Advice for Beginning Fiction

Best advice ever. Let it suck.
That may sound like really bad advice, but it’s not. Trust me.
When you’re writing your story, you will inevitably come to a point where you get stuck. You may know what the scene needs to do, or where you need to go with the character, but you feel like every word you’re putting on the page is just horrendous. The temptation is to stop, rethink and wait for inspiration to hit you. Don’t do that. Finish the scene, put it on the page and move on. Remember, when you get to that part where you type those infamous words, ‘The End’ it’s not really the end. You’re not even at the half way mark. You need to read it from start to finish, review, revise, edit, cut, and polish it until it shines.
In my first published book, Visionof Shadows, I had a scene that was important.
The main character a 17 year old psychic named Bristol Blackburn sits down with the Grandfather she’s only recently met to get a family history lesson. A lot of the information in the scene was important, but I felt like it was coming out rather dry with two characters sitting on the back porch talking. It was needed, but it just wasn’t great.
Instead of stopping, thinking, and waiting for some divine inspiration to strike, I wrote it. I put on the page what was needed, and then I moved on. As I continued to write the book, I realized another issue was I needed to have some more interaction between Bristol and Jay, a character that was a member of the dearly departed club. During the revision phase, I realized this was the perfect opportunity. Add Jay in where only she could see him, Grandpa couldn’t. He could provide commentary, comic relief and even a sweet moment. Suddenly, the scene came alive.
The point is, you can’t fix a blank page. Get your story done, then go back. Fix it. Make it shine. Remember, the end is just the beginning.
Oh, and adding a ghost may not help with each and every scene, but it's great when they do.

Ladders and Chutes

Ladders and Chutes Recently, I made the decision to start taking online classes to earn my bachelor’s degree. I had never been a gre...