How to Create Your Own Fake Town

So one of the things I’m a fan of in novels is the “fake town.”  Also known as the “fictional city,” the “imaginary inlet,” or the “hypothetical hot spot.”  Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks of them like that?  Ahem.  Okay, moving on.

So what’s the point of crafting your own town to set the story in, versus using an established city.   I think the main benefit is the ease with which you can write.  If you use an established city, then you’re expected to do more research.  But if you create your own town, you can just make it all up as you go.  Now there are pros and cons to this.ptaerial

The pros are obvious:  you can build up the town however you like, and whatever’s going to make your job easier.  It has whatever history you want it to have.  Who cares if there’s not an island west of Seattle, or there’s already a town called New Paltz where you were planning to locate your story.  Or maybe the town in your head is just like this town you drove through in Delaware, but your novel’s supposed to take place in Western PA.  These are all things that can be fixed by creating your own location.

Continue reading

Locked Inside of Me….So Deep

So many things going on lately.  It’s been pretty crazy.

The roommate moved out and got her own place with a friend of hers.  So that means I’m all alone in my apartment.  Which is, I’m not going to lie, pretty nice.  But the financial aspect of it is still making me nervous.  I probably shouldn’t be, though, because I’ve been shouldering most of the bills for the past two months anyway.  And I’ve always managed to cover all the bills when other things got in the way.  So I should be able to do it now, too.  Right?

So on the housing front, I’ve been cleaning like a mad person for the last month.  Serious OCD type cleaning.  It’s a stress thing – when I get stressed out, I get the rest of my life in order.  So I’ve been making major headway into scrubbing the walls, the cupboards, and the floors.  It’s about fifty percent to where I want it, so once I get that all done I think a lot of THAT stress will be off my plate.

In the work stuff, one of the managers was on vacation last week, so not only did I work a full 40 hours, but I was also THERE for an additional….20 or so?  I was pretty much there every day, but because we don’t do overtime, I was basically hanging out for free and helping make sure everything went smoothly.  The plus side is that with the new GM, I get to do a lot more, but since I don’t want to go into actual management (they’d move me to another store in the company, and i KNOW about all those stores, so that’s not going to happen), I’m still not making super insane comfortable money.

I’ve been forcing myself to drink more water on a daily basis, and cut out a lot of the sugared drinks I’m used to.  So of course, this week I’ve been hit with a major crash and been totally listless.  Enter energy drinks, which completely defeats the purpose of drinking the water.  Maybe once I start catching up on sleep I’ll be in a better place.

Nothing to report on the writing front.  I think I’m scrapping the stuff I’ve got for SOULED so far, and starting fresh.  Maybe it’s the place I start the story from that’s the problem.  Start off with some sort of catalyst or action that pushes the events of the story forward.  The more I think I’ve figured out the story, the further behind it I really get.  Maybe it’s not done percolating in my mind, huh?

Which is terrible, though, because I’ve totally fallen apart on the writing front this year.  I finished WITCH EYES in January, and focused the next few months on querying.  So now that I’m not doing ANYTHING, I’m really not doing anything.  I need to make some major headway on something so I can at least feel a little productive.


Because I’m never satisfied with just one or two ideas.  Well, technically three (if we consider the sequel to WE as an option at this point).  I just want something to work on.  Still pondering issues with Souled – a few of the nuggets I’ve uncovered would make for interesting plot points.  I think I’ve got the main points for the A storyline, but it’s that B storyline that’s getting to me.  I’m just wondering if there’s going to be too much if I have Claire’s story in there too.  

My other thought, that I’ve been toying around with involves Shadows of Evil.  Well, it was called The Crone’s Shadow at the end, but SoE was the original title.  Basically, it was WE-lite – just a story to prove I could finish a novel, and smacked of watching too much Buffy.

But I’ve been thinking about it in different terms lately.  Remove most of the magic out of the story, and go back to the roots of the story.  A group of outsiders, in a lot of ways, who DON’T have that awesome magical ability.  And the way they handle getting involved into a supernatural world.  Less Buffy, and more…Supernatural, I guess.  Just not with the hot boys fighting demons on a weekly basis.

It would definitely be a one shot novel, not a series or anything like that.  And it kinda interests me to take that story, and pull back on the urban fantasy elements and turn it into something more like a thriller or horror novel.  Not traditional horror, but more like….John Saul or Dean Koontz?  That building tension kinda stuff.

Basically, that would require rewriting the whole thing.  Sure, there may be sections of the text I could keep, but a lot of the story gets bogged down into something that’s not all that interesting.  I realized, WELL after the submission process, that my MC Dylan didn’t grow an inch during the entire course of the story.  If anything, he was completely static the whole time.  I think that’s a BIG reason for why things didn’t work out with that novel – it’s one of the things I knew going into Witch Eyes I had to work on.

Plus, I could finally kill off Kate the way I meant to in the beginning.  It always bugged me that she managed to live in the end.  I might play around with some ideas, and see where the first couple chapters take me. 

It would be a project I could just play around with a little at a time, while I’m working on a first draft for SOULED.  It might be fun. 🙂

It’s Your World…Do With It What You Want

I’ve been finding myself with the ‘itch’ the last few days.  Every time I’m on a “break” from writing, just before I start up again I get that restless feeling for a few days before the actual mood strikes me.  Then I start writing like a crazy person.  I think I know what I’m going to be working on, but we’ll see.

There’s no news on the submission front, so I’m trying to stay busy and not think about it a million times a day.  I’m doing pretty good so far – I haven’t been drowning my agent with emails asking for daily updates.  I actually waited almost three weeks.  Go me!  Or something.

I started doing the laundry and the not so enviable task of cleaning my room.  Seriously, you don’t even understand how much my room needs it right now. 😉  Well, maybe Leah does, but that’s about it on my friends list.

All in all, this is a pretty boring update, neh?


So yesterday, my horoscope said I had big things to work on that would help me in the future.  But I had to put my nose to the grindstone and get it done, otherwise my world would suffer epic fail.

Okay, that’s cool.  Pressure, but cool.

Today, my horoscope says “hey, you’ve got a deadline for an important project.  But go ahead and tread water for a few days, nothing bad could happen!”

Uhm….seriously?  You just contradicted yourself from yesterday.  What the hell, horrorscope?  Why must you mess with my head? 

I didn’t get the third outline done last night like I wanted to originally, but I had some good conversation with the roomie that lead to tightening down my focus a little.  Helped me go back and figure out where I was getting all “crazy” and boil it down to the important stuff.  I answered a couple of those dangling questions I wasn’t sure about, and figured out which direction everything was heading (South, Southwest).

I’ve got inventory in the morning, then I’m off again the rest of tomorrow.  And I might be off Thursday – I can’t remember.  But at the absolute latest, I should be completely done and proofed and revised and sent out by Thursday morning/early afternoon.  I’m shooting for tomorrow afternoon, if I can buckle down and knock most of it out tonight.

So yeah, the last two days have been me obsessing about Springfield, and what’s going to happen.  To the point that I woke up this morning, and tried interpreting my dream to see if there was any secret nuggets hidden in there that would give me answers.

Sadly, no.

Don’t You Turn Around

On the outlining front, I went back and fleshed out the climax of book two, and actually ended up with something different than I started with.  It’s funny though, because it actually has a LOT of similarities with the original ending of Witch Eyes, the one that I scrapped when I got to go back and figure out what I was missing with the Lost Day.  I know there was a lot of quips and lines in there that really sucked to cut out of the first book, so I’m going to have to go back through it when I get to that point and see if any of it is salvagable.  But it’s funny, because I wrote the whole thing, and then I realized after I was done how similar it was.  There was one character less in the mix, but the rest of it was nearly the same. 

I’ve got my notes for the third book already started – just a matter of turning them into outline form.  Short night at work tonight, so I’ve still got another hour to work on it now, and then tonight, and tomorrow afternoon and evening.  The goal is to have both of them done by Monday night, and then spend Tuesday going back through to make sure they’re both clear, concise, of an appropriate length (no more than two inches above the knee, if you were wondering), and make sense.

Oh, and that they’re badass.  That is the most important part. 🙂


Just something I’ve been tinkering with the last couple of days.  It’s from an untitled story that I only know a few fragments about so far.  I really like the idea of a psychic that gets addicted to soap operas for some reason.  A world where a number of teenagers and kids in persistent vegetative states react to a new medication that not only awakens them, but leaves their bodies fundamentally changed with new abilities and gifts.

Or something like that. 🙂


“That’s my best friend,” Cody looked towards me, then nodded across the street at a girl about our age, strolling out of a clothing store.  Cody’s bangs swept into her face, the hairspray of hours ago having long since fled the premises.

            I pulled my baseball cap down over my eyes.  “No she’s not.  Jez is friends with my sister.”

            Cody’s earnest eyes met mine, even shaded as they were.  “Of course she isn’t now. But if I went and talked to her, we would be.  Eventually.”

            “So why don’t you?”  Cody’s visions of the future freaked me out, to be completely honest.  We had an unspoken rule. 

            She shrugged.  “It all turns to heartbreak in the end,” she sighed with melodrama.  Since our Awakening, Cody had fallen in love with soap operas.  I think she felt some sympathy for them.  People on the television, tossed and tumbled around with one upheaval after another.  They never saw it coming, even if the viewers all did.

            “What, she falls in love with you?”  I rolled my eyes.  “Or maybe her evil twin comes to town?”

            “Nothing like that,” Cody murmured.  She stepped in front of me, off the curb and into the street.  “She’d fall in love with him.  And they’d leave.  I’d be all alone.”  Cody’s faith in True Love was almost as strange as her obsession with daytime television.

            “You’d still have me,” I argued.  I followed her off the sidewalk and into the paved road. 

            Cody kept silent a moment too long, before she brightly announced “Pothole!” as my foot sunk into the morning’s rainwater.  Three inches of it.  A gap in the blacktop that must have broken open sometime in the winter.

            “Could have warned me sooner.”  I shook my foot, the squelching sound deafening to my ears.

            We kept walking, accompanied by the squelching of my right sneaker.

            “You’re a good friend, Jake.”

            The solemn tone to her voice stuck with me all the way to Group.


These Images Burning My Eyes

If this were a Friends episode, it would be called ‘The One Where Scott Worked 24 of the last 48 hours”.  What a weekend.  It was like going to the movies.  There was the slow buildup, the inevitable drama, the heartache, the edge of your seat excitement.  And the denoument, which was really not as interesting as it should have been.

I’ve been in this weird ‘turning things over in my mind’ phase for a few days now.  Like I can almost feel the novel ideas gelling themselves together, and deciding amongst themselves which one is going to finish first.

I’m kinda partial to to the superhero novel right now, but I might continue to work on Souled in the meantime.  At least until I get a better sense of where the story is supposed to start.

Reread a couple of old books in my rare offtime this week, and got reminded again that sometimes the writing can be subpar but if the story is amazing then it really doesn’t matter.  Rereading them with what I know now, I can spot a lot of troubled areas (like the overabundance of adverbs in YA books – sometimes), but the story still sweeps me away and I don’t even notice.

Also, I’m in the process of downloading a wiki onto the laptop to start taking notes on.  What a fun idea!  I saw it on S.E. Ward’s blog (she’s a fellow Colleen client), and followed the link.  My need for obsessive note taking in an easy to manage program!  Who could ask for more??

It Feels Like You’re Taking….

I’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern this week, on a lot of fronts.  Makes me wonder if there’s some major astrological conjunction I’m aware of that’s putting everything into hiatus.

Work stuff reared up again, and hopefully died down again.  Who knows on that front.  The living situation is still tentative, and a lot of bigger decisions revolve on us figuring that particular one under control.  Waiting on revision notes from my agent, so I can dive back into Witch Eyes and see what I can do to polish it up to a shiny, shiny sparkle.

Since writing out some concept notes for Souled, I’ve pretty much taken a step back.  A couple more different ideas have reared their heads, and I’m not sure what I’m wanting to work on.  I just want something that I can dive into, just to keep myself busy and get that creative urge out and onto paper.  I’m growing kinda partial to this superheroes idea that keeps fleshing itself out in my head.  That, or work some more on Souled – which I keep feeling is like some sort of major archaeological dig.  Every time I think I’ve “got it” then I brush off another corner and reveal another facet to the story I didn’t see.

Clearly, it’s not ready for me to sit down and write just yet.  Maybe soon. 

In other news, my three legged chair and broken down desk really aren’t working for me anymore.  What I’d give to go out and buy a brand new desk and computer chair.  Seriously – it’s the thing swoons were made of. 

Heaven’s a Lie

Made some progress on Souled last night/this morning.  My attention span at the moment is pretty limited, so I haven’t started working as seriously as I probably should be.  I really need to get my work schedule under control so I can start writing again, and do so seriously.

I hit the basics of Claire’s story – three pages of the family history, as it relates to the Lost Gods.  I still don’t like that title for them, but I’m waiting for something different to strike me.  Old Ones has been used over and over again.  Pretty much all the main ideas I’d have used for the name have been used elsewhere, and none of them strike me as ‘right’ anyway.

I don’t know that the story, at least the way I wrote it out, will come up anywhere in the actual story.  If it does, it definitely won’t come up early (at least, I don’t think so).  It’s fairly spoilery.  And as far as Jesse’s story goes, you’re supposed to wonder about what’s really going on.  That’s the point of the curse.

A few more ideas sprang up for Demon Eyes, and I’ve made a point of noting them so I’ve got the records of it.  But I haven’t written anything more on that either.  I really need to get back into the habit of writing every day.  Sitting on my bed, on my laptop, is not the most comfortable place to start writing though.  So until I start moving back to the desk, I don’t anticipate getting a lot of words.