Tag Archive: inspiration


Follow the Breadcrumbs…


 Recently I went through another bout of Writer’s Block.

Actually, I hit this particular wall some months ago.  It was while I was still working on the original 1st draft of “The Door” when I encountered the block and it was a doozy.  No matter what direction I tried to take the novel in, things just seemed to get more complicated and confusing.  Too many characters, too many plot points and subplots going.

In the end I wound up working on “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” story.  I had a pretty clear vision of where I wanted to go with that one so I worked on it instead.  I did this partly in the hopes of having a breakthrough with where I’d left off with “The Door”, but in the end I never got past it.

Even when I completed the first draft for “The Vampyre Blogs” I wasn’t any closer to getting past my block with “The Door”.  Now anyone who’s dealt with a severe case of Writer’s Block will tell you that it can be a real pain in the butt.  Especially when you can’t seem to find a way around the bugger.  No matter which way you turn, forward, left, or right, you can’t seem to get past it.

Well, I finally decided to go back the way I came and see if I could find another method by going over my old tracks (or in this case my previous novels).

This actually worked for me because “The Door” was directly connected to my two previous novels “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  Most of the same characters were involved so I had something to work with.  While going over the previous books I started to notice little details I had just thrown in here and there for flavor or setting.  And it was there I found that I had inadvertently left  a trail of breadcrumbs that I could follow, which I did.  Soon I saw a whole new direction that I could take “The Door” in that I had never even considered before.  What made it even better was the fact that it was a path that was very clear, at least from a writer’s point of view.  I could plan out little twists and turns to take the reader on, while at the same time still see exactly where things should land up.

Again these details seemed minor when I first put them into the previous novels, but now they were giving new life to the story and it was exhilarating.  Who might have known who? Was one of the breadcrumbs I’d left behind in the first story.  The audience knew a relationship had existed between these two characters, but the ‘leads’ in my story were totally unaware of the connection.  Upon realizing this I got an idea of how that information could be learned, prompting whole new scenes and plots for “The Door”.

Another little crumb came from yet another 1st draft that I plan on getting back to next year.  A portrait that hangs in one room was to play a part in that story.  But then it occurred to me that the portrait could be used now in a way no one would’ve expected.  An alteration was made to it that will become a huge revelation for my heroes in “The Door”.

So right there, an unfinished subplot along with an innocuous piece of setting suddenly provided me with the means to start racing along with the story once more.  I still have a ways to go, but at least I feel more on course with the book.

Now this does not necessarily work with all cases of Writer’s Block, but you can add it to your writer’s toolbox.  And it doesn’t necessarily have to involve other works you’ve got going.  There might be a piece of scenery or a character quirk inside the story you’re working on.  Look around see what you’ve done, you never know when you’ll find you accidentally left a trail of breadcrumbs in your wake that might lead to a breakthrough in your story.

So until next time, take care and keep writing.

Inspiration From History…


Roanoke The Lost Colony

 

CROATOAN

A lone word carved on a pillar of a fort that had once housed a colony of 90 people from 1587 until 1588 or ’89 perhaps?  Who can say, because in 1590, there was no trace of the colonists who had made the isle of Roanoake their new home.  No sign of a struggle or battle could be found, and the local native Americans on the island proclaimed no white men had ever settled there.
Roanoake, or “The Lost Colony” as it has come to be called, is an actual mystery right out of early American history.  Many ideas and theories have been put forward to explain the disappearance of the nearly 100 settlers, but no hard evidence has been discovered to say exactly which theory if any is the correct one.  As for the word carved in the lone pillar “Croatoan”, what did that have to do with anything?  Well according to those who’d come to check on the settlers in 1590, a plan had been set in place where that word would be left in plain sight if the settlers decided to pull up stakes and flee to another nearby island.  The name of that island was Croatoan (today it is called Hatteras).
But again, there has been no solid evidence found to prove the settlers did indeed go that island.  They might have been lost at sea, or changed their minds and dispersed elsewhere.  No one knows.  Again, it remains a mystery.
So what does this have to do with writing.  Two words “inspiration” and “ideas”.  With an unsolved mystery like this, a writer can have a lot of leeway to build an entire story around what might have happened.  Now I was first introduced to the story of Roanoke when I was in grade school.  Naturally I was immediately fascinated by the story and kept wondering what might have happened.  Of course, being so young I never really did anything with it.  But the idea of coming up with an explanation, even a fictional one always stayed with me.
Today, as I’ve gotten about 3/4’s of the way through my second novel, I’ve finally found a use for this historical mystery.  The story does not focus around the mystery or Roanoke, but does utilize it in a very effective manner.  Without giving too much away, I’m using a fictional scene of what happened to help demonstrate the power and age of the ‘Big Baddy’ in my novel.  Something that has lasted for over 400 years and is still creating new terror in modern day.
But one does not have to simply rely on unsolved mysteries from history to get ideas.  Oh no.  History is chock full of events you can focus on or have play a part in your story.  Disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York 1911, is another example.  According to the records the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, LOCKED and BLOCKED all emergency exits, effectively locking in their workers to make sure they got a full day’s work out of them.  The conditions inside the factory were attrocious and extremely unsafe.  Literally a disaster waiting to happen.  And in 1911 it did.  A fire broke out and raced throughout the building.  And of course with the doors all locked, no one could get out.  Many jumped to their deaths from the upper story windows rather than burn.
Now there is no mystery to what happened in that factory, just simple facts.  But a writer can build a story around the circumstances leading up to and including such a disaster.  It doesn’t have to be Triangle Factory fire.  A fictional factory or place under similar conditions can be created along with reasons for the disaster.  What if it had been done on purpose?  Lives sacrificed, but for what reason?
History gives us a lot to work with.  You only have to look into a subject that is of interest to you.  Maybe it was a rumor or event you read about when you were a kid that always stuck with you.  Or perhaps just curiosity or a fascination with a subject you have.  Explore that subject through history and see if you get some ideas.  There’s plenty for us to work with folks.
Until next time, take care and keep writing.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a “Hobbit Birthday”, it is one where the birthday person gives presents to those who come to celebrate with him/her.  And that’s what I’m doing here with my birthday, which is march 30th.  I’m giving you all a chance to get a free e-copy of my novel “THE BRIDGE”.

Just go the link below which will take you to Smashwords and use this coupon code: XS86Y to get a free e-book copy.  Smashwords will give you selection of different versions of the book to choose from MOBI (Kindle), Nook, Apple, EPUB, and PDF.

****NOTE: the coupon is only good from now through midnight April 1st, so make sure you get yours as soon as possible****

And what does this birthday boy ask for in return?  Simply this, leave a review on Smashwords and/or Amazon if you don’t mind.nd if you enjoyed the book, please help spread the word about it through your networks.  The biggest battle any new author faces is getting the word out about their books, so this would be a huge help.

SO LET THE PARTY BEGIN.  Here’s the Smashwords Link:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/272613

The Bridge Book Cover 2.75


I got the idea for “Sample Sunday” from one of my fellow authors, namely Scarlet Black.  She is the author of “Wisdom Of Evil”, “Salem Moon” 1 and 2, “The Last Gift” and most recently “E-Vamp” which is taking the European market by storm.   I strongly recommend checking her out on Amazon folks, you won’t be disappointed.

Anyway, today I decided to give you all a brief glimpse into a scene in “THE BRIDGE”.  I thought it might be nice to show you some of what goes on during one of my lead characters psychic visions.  Once you’ve read it, remember the book is available for all e-readers and in print.   You can find all these versions  at my new webpage: http://allankrummenacker.wix.com/allan-krummenacker.  Just click on the one you want and the link will take you to where you need to go for it.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this snippet:

Alex, blissfully unaware of all that had taken place, boarded a train at Grand Central station, eager to go home.  He had been in the city all day and was glad to be leaving.  He had met with clients, visited contractors, and then checked on a couple of jobs his office was overseeing.   Then he’d met up with his sister and her husband for lunch.

And as usual Sharon was in top form, going on about how tired he looked and that he needed to spend more time back on Long Island.  Maybe go to the beach.  Of course he could bring Veronica, but she’d heard that too much sun was bad for older skin, and so on and so forth.

Now, he was comfortably settled in a seat on the train and allowed himself to lean back and relaxed.  The gentle swaying and clicking sound of the wheels were soothing, almost hypnotic.  His eyes slowly lowered and he fell asleep…

 

… and once again found himself in the strange hallway with the four doors waiting for him.  How had he gotten up here?

Up here?  Yes, this was an upper story that was rarely used anymore.  A thin layer of dust covering the carpet was testimony to that fact. No one had been up here in some time.

Brushing aside a cobweb he went over to the nearest door and tried the handle, it was unlocked.  Suddenly it swung inwards, revealing a bedroom furnished in Colonial style. Though he was no expert, he was sure the furnishings were originals, not modern copies.  And unlike the hallway, everything in here was immaculately clean and well cared for.  There was some clothing laid out on the bed which indicated this room belonged to a woman.

Instinct told him not to enter, so he decided to make his way towards the next room. As soon as he turned away, the door behind him slammed shut.  Then the unmistakable sound of keys in a lock could be heard.  Looking back, he saw the door was now bolted shut and thought he heard movement inside.  Looking down at the lighted crack at the bottom of the door, he spotted the shadow of feet pacing back and forth from the other side of the barrier.  He quickly went over to the other doors and saw no light or shadows coming from them.

Coming back to the locked door he found wooden slats now covered the portal.  At first he felt panic for the owner of those shadowy footsteps, but then he realized the room was now empty.  He could sense no one within.

From behind him came the sound of creaking.  Turning he saw the door opposite this one slowly opening.

He took one final look at the barred doorway and found it was now bricked up.  And half of the brickwork was already covered by dark paneling that matched the rest of the corridor.

There was nothing more he could do here.  And the room behind him waited patiently.  Taking a deep breath, he turned and headed over to the room across the hallway.  He didn’t bother looking back, knowing that any sign a room had been there would be gone.

 

On the old stone bridge over the stream, a woman stood silent and motionless.  In her arms she cradled what appeared to be a small bundle.  Her eyes were fixed on the line of tall trees surrounding the rear half of the great mansion.  Their many branches practically obscured the entire third floor.

Nearby, at the foot of the bridge a man wearing a white wolf skin knelt.  His head was bowed as he chanted in a tongue not heard in centuries…

“THE BRIDGE” is coming….


Just got the word today from Createspace, I have finally formatted the interior of the book, the cover art, the back cover, the spine, etc. to their specifications and it’s is now PRINTABLE!  I know there’s a lot of stuff I just mentioned that some of you may not be familiar with, but you can find out more about it in detail on my other blog:

“Musings Of A Creative Mind” at:  http://allankrummenacker.blogspot.com/

That blog is all about the process of writing.  Now I will be adding things to take into consideration while making your own e-books.

But here, I want to wax a little philosophically.   It hit me after I saw the e-mail saying the book was ready for my final review proof that a lot of my life experiences are coming together in this venture.  I’ve been an artist ever since I was in junior high school, and now those talents came into play in creating this book.

I’m also going to have to start marketing and getting my novel and myself known by going to Libraries, bookstores, contacting local radio stations, and newspapers as well to get the word out as well.  A lot of those same skills I used back in my days of being a Realtor/Mortgage Loan Officer.

But it doesn’t stop there.  I’m going to be considered self-employed by Uncle Sam and anything I make off this book the US Government and the IRS are going to want a piece of come next year.  So now I’ll be tracking all my expenses in relation to selling my book.  Now automatically, Createspace is going to keep 30% of whatever I make off each sale and set it aside for me for tax purposes next year.  But what about my ordering physical copies so I can mail signed copies to those who want ones like that?  What about going to conventions or giving talks?  Heck, even the gas I use going to the post office and back are expenses I need to keep track of in order to claim them on my tax return.  Again, I did all of that before when I was in real estate.

My years of being part of the sci-fi fan community is also coming into play.  I’m going to be offering myself as a speaker at those conventions and trying to sell some copies in person as well.  I have a large network of friends in that community and this book is going to be right up their alley too.  And I know a number of them will be only too willing to help me spread the word and find other venues to spread my work around.

In all it feels like so many aspects of my life are suddenly coming together in this writing venture, and it give me hope.  I can’t help wondering if somehow all I’ve done in the past has been leading up to this career.  And maybe I’m just full it and have just got a head full of  “WOW I’m being published…” and everything seems rosy and I need to take some glasses off.  Who knows?  Time will tell.  But as long as I’m ready to fight and work to make this pay off and spread the word, I’ll hope for the first part to be the truth.

Anyway, thanks for your time and I’ll be posting again soon.  Hopefully with news that the book is ready for sale.  In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of other work to do still.  Like setting up the Createspace store that automatically comes with signing up and publishing with them.  I’m planning on some other items besides having just the novel available.  Some T-shirts and mugs with quotes and images will be available there too.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping.  Stay tuned everyone and thanks for following me.  This journey is FAR from over, it’s only just beginning a new stage…


I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor because my cell phone will only allow me to e-mail videos only once and I accidentally lost all of them on my laptop. So I just sent all the vids to YouTube and edited the puppy here (http://www.youtube.com/editor).

Anyway, this is the finale about my setting changing. I know you all have been supportive and maybe wondering a little bit about why I chose to do this series. Well here’s the answer, setting affects people. Especially it affects your characters. Their drives, dreams, motivations, how they feel (excitement, boredom, anger, resentment, etc.) And changing settings can have a huge impact on them and what choices they make with their lives and how they react to it. You’ve seen me go through a range of emotions and seen some parts about me I’ve never revealed to you before (like saying goodbye to a place and thanking it for all it had done for us). Can a place be sentient or aware? I like to think so. But you would’ve never known about it until this video. So give more thought about the settings in your writing and how it affects your characters and their world views. And make sure there is some interaction between them and their setting you can wind up with some powerful ideas you never thought about before. Thanks for watching.

My next video will be about my new setting and the joys of unpacking. And trying to find where some of our stuff landed up when we need it. Take care and thanks again.

 


Here is the 3rd installment of my 4 part video story about me and my wife moving away from Santa Cruz to the Monterey Bay Area.


And here is part 2 of “My Setting Is Changing”. This time we’re starting to say farewell to some very close friends…


Just uploaded a new video on my Vlog/YouTube channel about “Setting”. This is the first of a few installments about how a person’s setting can affect them, whether they are a character in a story or an author in real life. Please check it out and leave a comment either here or on my YouTube channel underneath the video. Thank you.

New Entry On My Vlog…


Hey everyone, here’s a link to the latest entry on my Vlog.  I hope to do a proper entry for this blog tomorrow or Sunday so keep an eye on here as well.  I’ll be posting a brand new section to novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  In the meantime, here’s the YouTube link to my Vlog.  I hope you enjoy it and find some good advice in it.

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