Tag Archive: story


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.


Hello everyone, today I want to give you all a little insight into how things are going with my latest novel.

Some of you may know that I had started working on “The Door” some time back, but then set it aside to work on “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  I did this originally, because I’d hoped to get the vampyre book out last October, but of course that didn’t happen.  My classes at CSU Monterey Bay got crazy with the workload so I couldn’t finish in time.

Now, the vampyre book is set around October so I wanted to keep with the whole Halloween timing, so after finishing the 1st draft I’ve set it aside and gone back to “The Door”.  This is actually beneficial since “The Door” will temporarily wrap things up for the heroes of my first two novels “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  So by going back to “The Door” I can have a sort of trilogy to put out as a box set come Christmastime.

With this in mind I dove back into my first draft of “The Door” which was about 2/3’s done.  And below you’ll see how I felt about this at first…

But then something happened.  I’d forgotten where I started that book out and who was where when I completed my second novel “The Ship”.  Originally I just had Alex and Veronica in the scene at the end of “The Bridge”, but at the end of my second novel “The Ship” I had my other two major characters Julie and Cassandra showing up on the scene seconds later.

Now, I figured adding Cassie and Julie would be easy and I wouldn’t have to change too much of the scene I’d written for “The Door”.  Oh there might be a few details here and there, but nothing too major, right?  That’s what I kept telling myself two weeks ago…

This is how I feel now…

I swear it feels like I’m rewriting just about every sentence, every word, even the commas and periods!  Why?  Because I wanted to have my four main characters back together right away and so did my audience.  In doing this, I changed the entire dynamics and course of events that followed.  The main story is following close to the original plan, but the dialogue and actions changed dramatically.

Furthermore, I’ve also had to remove other characters and events I had planned from later parts of the book as well, because they don’t fit anymore.  Yet, I’m not disappointed or sorry to see them go.  The story I has had it going originally was becoming too complicated.  I needed to simplify things a bit.  Plus, thanks to “The Ship” I was able to introduce certain new characters there who would be appearing in this third installment, thus simplifying some of the upcoming scenes.

There’s still plenty of intrigue and mystery in store for my readers with “The Door”.  But it’s taking a slightly different form than what I’d originally envisioned, which in my opinion is for the better.  There’s still a long haul ahead, but sometimes you need to walk away from a book you’re working on in order to get new ideas and a fresh perspective.

But if you do this, be prepared to be flexible and ready to jettison parts or even entire ideas, chapters, or characters from the story.  DO NOT DELETE them though.  Save those fragments and put them in  special file on your computer.  Just because they’re no longer useful for this story, you might find they have a life of their own that may give birth to a whole new idea down the road.

Rewriting may not always be fun, in fact it can be downright infuriating at times.  However, it can be a very effective tool to help you create a much better product for your audience.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Nanowrimo Is Coming….


Well, one third of October is gone already and Halloween is coming.  But so is something more terrifying, at least for those who brave the challenge.  November is Nanowrimo Month and I’ve signed up for it.  For anyone unfamiliar with Nanowrimo, it’s quite simple.  Starting on November 1st you have until the November 30th to write 50,000 words of a brand new novel.  That’s right.  You start a brand new novel from scratch at the beginning of the month and try to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days.  It doesn’t mean the novel has to be completed, you just have to have written that amount of words for your novel.

Now to some this sounds easy, to others it sounds daunting.  The object here is not to create finished product, but a first draft and have those 50,000 words of it done by the end of the month.  It has been calculated that a person would need to do 1666 words per day, without missing a single day to make this goal.  Easy right?  Wrong!  In my case, I will have to fight perfectionist tendencies and resist the temptation to go back and redo certain sections I’ve already written.  This happens to me all the time while writing.  So this will be one of the major challenges of the exercise.  I have to remind myself that fixing areas and rewriting scenes is what 2nd, 3rd and 4th drafts are for.  The purpose here is to get that 1st draft done period.

I’m hoping this experience will help me overcome that problem, which is one of the reasons why my 2nd novel has been taking so long.  I keep going back and fixing areas or changing things which affect the rest of the 1st draft so I wind up doing more fixes elsewhere instead of just getting the damn story finished so I can go back and make changes.  An unfinished story is an unfinished story, period.  We’re not meant to have a perfect 1st draft, just a full story.

Oddly enough, I didn’t have this problem with my 1st novel “The Bridge”.  It was more like a Nanowrimo story.  I got the 1st draft done and then spent weeks cleaning it up.  I need to get back to that mindset.  Why did I change my habits?  I think because I’m more aware of how rough the 1st draft of “The Bridge” was and I’m afraid of wincing over and over again at what I’ve done and trying to fix it.  Getting a cleaner 1st draft seems to be what I’m trying for with “The Ship”, but it’s hampering my attempt to get to the final big climactic scene.  I have to remind myself that those errors will be caught LATER!  I dont’ have to work on them now.

As for what I’ve got planned for Nanowrimo?  Well, it will involve vampires with the typical weaknesses of legend, yet there will be a twist that makes it fit in my Para-Earth Universe.    That’s all I’ll say.  I’m creating a bit of an outline and getting my characters lined up and getting to know who they are before I begin on November 1st.  All of this is permitted in the rules.  You just can’t start writing the actual story until November 1st.

So here’s to Nanowrimo.  If you want to take a crack at it yourself, here’s the link to sign up:

http://nanowrimo.org/

I’ll be talking more about Nanowrimo in the coming weeks so stay tuned.  I’ll try not to bore you all with it, but just share some of what I’m going through as it happens.  I promise to still post about different parts of the writing process and giving tips.  So until next time, good luck and keep writing.

PS: Here’s a sneak peak at what the cover for my Nanowrimo project may be.  It’s not the final product, more of a work in progress.  I want to do some more tweaking to the image, but I think this is close to what the final image may wind up being.

Apple MacBook Pro laptop


THE SHIP - COVER Final

Due to the painful situation my family is facing (my father-in-law is dying of cancer), I’ve decided to push back the release of my second novel “The Ship” until December of this year.

 

Originally, I planned on releasing it in October.  And I will be making sure the book is available in Trade Paperback as well as all e-book formats such as Kindle, Nook, Apple, Sony, etc. at that time.  I want everyone who wants a copy to be able to get one in the format they need.

 

I will also be taking great care to make sure the book is properly formatted and professionally edited.  Most of my readers did not mind, but I want to make sure I’m delivering a great product as well as a really good story.

 

I apologize to any fans who are waiting to get their hands on this new book, which follows the events of my first paranormal/mystery “The Bridge”.  I will release samples from the second book in the Para-Earth Series to help tide you all over.

 

Thanks for your patience and support.  Take care and keep writing.

 


For those of you who haven’t heard yet, my father-in-law has been fighting cancer for the last year.  Unfortunately, he’s fought the good fight but due to masses of blood clots in his head, they cannot finish the job.  So he is now in hospice care at home.  As you can imagine my wife, myself, and our family are devastated and are trying to spend as much time with him as we can.    So I won’t be posting as much, but I don’t want my readers to be left without much new here.

 

So I’m offering you all the chance to post articles about writing here on my blog.  Feel free to push a book or books of yours, but please offer some tidbits or story about an aspect of writing and how it affected that particular book(s).   I’m looking for insights into plot, editing, characters, development, rewrites, cover art, publishing, agents, self-publishing, etc.  Again, all I ask is that if your pushing  book, make sure the article connects to it.

 

I look forward to hearing back from those who are interested.  And by the way, if you have an old entry from your own blog that fits what I’m looking for and would like to update it or just reproduce it for the audience here, that would be okay as well.  Just let me know.

 

Thanks and take care of yourselves everyone.  I’ll be posting and keeping you all updated on what’s happening with my father-in-law and the family.


I’ve been on a roll recently with novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  I mean I got some serious wordage down, like over 10,000 words in a couple of days, which I thought was impressive.  But then it happened…  I hit a wall.  Not literally of course, just figuratively.  My story suddenly ground to a halt and I had no idea how to get out of the corner I’d put myself in.

 

Sometimes, writing can be like going through a maze.  You go straight, come to a junction turn right, go a ways, make a left, straight, another left, etc. and you really feel like you’re making progress.  In fact, you’ll be out of this thing in no time… then you come to a dead end and you have no idea what went wrong.  Sometimes, you can pull out a hammer and chisel, or a huge drill like Wile E Coyote in the old Roadrunner cartoons and make your own way out.

 

At first I pulled out the ACME Super-Atomic Laser Drill to get out of my current dilemma and get the story moving again.  Unfortunately this led to a new problem.   My efforts did not FLOW with the rest of the story.  In fact it felt forced and was throwing the book out of whack.  And it was going to be very obvious to the reader.

 

So, I chose another route.  I took a few steps back and retraced my path to see how I got into this mess in the first place.  I wound up losing a lot of the word count I had been so proud of, but it was necessary in order to find the problem.  It turned out I was adding in too many characters into the story.  I already had a fair number of people who were already more than adequate and able to fulfill the same function as these newcomers I’d created.  Now I had a choice to make.  Should I be using the new people just to give them a cameo and then have them disappear from this story, in order to use them in a bigger role in another book?  For this had been the plan.  The problem was where I was inserting them.  The timing was all wrong, I was putting them in a the wrong spot.  Furthermore, I had to ask myself, were they really needed at all?

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you may want a character(s) for a cameo in your current work because you plan to bring them back in another work where they will play a more major role.  But you have to place them just right, especially if their role is not critical to your current story.  This is what happened to me.  Where I was placing them in my story, would have logically necessitated their continuing appearance and involvement in the story.  It wouldn’t have made sense to just bring them on and then dump them afterwards, especially when they’re the parents of one of your two main characters.

 

So, I looked over the scene where I brought them in and asked myself, how can I simplify things?  Do I have characters available (including my current batch of supporting ones) who can fulfill the same function without causing a major disruption?  The answer was yes.  In fact, the ones I chose actually made the transition to the next scene much easier.  So that’s the route I chose.

 

Now, I know that in real life we meet a number of different people every day, who may or may not play a major part in our day.  But that’s different from a book.  In a book, your audience is already trying to keep track of a number of characters you’ve already created.  It’s not always a good idea to overload the reader and expect them to be able to juggle who’s who and where they came in.  So little cameos that serve no real purpose can be a problem.

 

However, if you’re laying down a hint of something major to come later in your current story or a future one,, that’s different.  But even then, the timing of the cameo must be just right to make that character’s cameo memorable.  Plus you may seriously want to give the reader a major hint there is more to this person and we we will be meeting them again one day.  I did this with one of my two villains in “THE SHIP”.  He showed up a couple of times in “THE BRIDGE”, and the way I did it left my readers fully aware that this was the start of a series and he’d be back.  I got a number of e-mails asking about him after people had read “THE BRIDGE”, which let me know I had done a good job.

 

So sometimes we need to keep things simple, not just for the readers but for ourselves as well.  Make your story enjoyable and easy to follow.  And if you are writing a series, it’s good to leave your readers with hints or mysteries that more is to come.  But don’t overwhelm them by leaving too many mysteries unanswered at once.  You may wind up confusing or disappointing your readers when you don’t follow up on the one they wanted you to explore.  It’s important to play fair, remember without loyal readers and fans, you may wind up without an audience.

 

So be careful about how you load up your story.  Keep it simple enough to follow, without losing the complexities and twists that keep your readers coming back for more.

 

Until next time, take car and keep writing.


Starting today, I’m running a 4th of July special. From now until midnight Sunday July 7th, you can get the Kindle version of my paranormal/mystery “THE BRIDGE” for just $0.99 cents.

Ghosts, psychics, police, and a centuries old mystery await you within the pages of book one in the Para-Earth Series which has garnered 4 and 5 star reviews. Get your Kindle copy at Amazon by clicking the link below.

And if you’ve already gotten a copy, share the link and the special with others so they can take advantage of this limited time offer. Happy 4th of July all everyone, and stay safe!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B86DR9Gthebridge_allankrummenacker

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.

ATTENTION ALL KINDLE READERS!

My paranormal mystery novel “THE BRIDGE” is now on sale for $1.49 on Amazon. Grab your copy while it’s at this new low price, because I don’t know how long it will last. There are reviews here as well as a chance to sample the book. So take advantage while you can.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B86DR9G

thebridge_allankrummenacker


Okay I haven’t said anything about “The Ship” lately so I thought I’d bring you all up to date on what’s happening on that front.  The news is that there’s been a lot of writing and rewriting of scenes as I try to get the first draft done.  As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, I find writing the 2nd book more slow at times, but the quality of what I’m creating is better overall.  Because I know some of what to watch out for.  Are the characters behaving like themselves?  Am I making the motivations for their actions clear?  Is this believable? Are things easy to follow and not confusing for the reader?  Am I doing a good job introducing and re-introducing the main characters for both previous readers and those who are new to the series?

Usually, a lot of this would be caught in the second and third drafts.  But from my perspective, a lot of this has make sense to ME before I can expect my readers to follow it.  And if what I’ve done isn’t working for me, there’s a problem.  I’m one of those author’s who says, “Hey, this part does not jibe with what I’ve got going on over here.  This has to be fixed now!”    As you can tell I’m one those people who can’t leave it as is and just redo it later.   I sometimes feel like I’m the character Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory”.  Which would probably explain why whenever I complete a really good scene I yell “BAZINGA!”

Luckily, I’m not on a tight schedule.  I don’t plan on releasing “The Ship” until the end of September or beginning of October later this year.   However, in spite of this, I still want to really get a lot of  this story done right the first time.  And I’m taking extra measures to make sure the final product surpasses the original in quality.  I’m adding a few more Beta-Readers, and grammar editors for a start.  From there, I’ll be getting some professional editing done as well.  I’ve already got the book cover ready and you can see down below this post.  This saves some time down the road and is one of the perks of being an artist as well as an author.

Another added benefit to this plan is that I’ll have some down time between waiting to hear back from beta-readers and grammar checkers.  During that period, I’ll working on book number three, “The Door”.  I’ll also focus on “The Vampyre Blogs” as well.  Hopefully this will mean a shorter wait time for my readers between future releases.  At least that’s what  I’m hoping for.

That’s all for now.  See you all again real soon.  Take care and have a great week everyone.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,484 other followers

%d bloggers like this: