Good vs Evil #amwriting

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I love a good villain… I know its strange, but they have always appealed to me. My favourite ever was Captain Hook. There is so much to this character. In a way I think you can do more with villains. There has to be a reason they went bad, no one is really born that way. The reasons for their actions are what gives your villain strength, personality and in a way likability. Yes your villain can be likable. They don’t need to be, but this makes them engaging.

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I am currently creating the villain for my super hero series. I already have my super team, but they need someone and arch nemesis to go up against. A Dr who has gone loopy and wants to control the world. World domination is always a good theme, so may ways you could try to achieve that. This character needs to be scary, dangerous, smart and just a little bit zany. It is a kids book after all and my super heroes are kids. It’s a working process, but one that is very enjoyable.

Princess Seea and Super Stitch

When I create villains I start with the motive. The monster in Ghostnapped was driven by local environmental factors. The Homework Goblin, well he just wanted to make sure Jason deserved his grade. So this one, well I’m still working on that. This blog has given me some ideas. So while I write-up my profile why don’t you have a go as well! Remember the key to all character development… have fun!

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Creating characters #childrensbooks

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I am lucky in that I live with four wonderful creative beings who help me create characters. My girls and my dogs are a never-ending source of material. They each have personality traits that are fantastic. I even keep note books to jot things down. To create a complete character you need lots of different traits.

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For example Chewie is new to our family. He is developing his own little character, but I see elements of Obi and Stitch in him. I like to find similarities between characters. This might be why they get along or in the case of a sibling relationship why they fight. Differences in personality are sometimes more important. If you have two characters in mind you can list and compare. That’s an interesting exercise.

Characters can be developed from the setting or the story can evolve from a character. I like to create characters no matter what story I have in mind. That way a new adventure can grow or this character can change one of your other stories. My advice is keep everything. You never know when you will use it. Write every little detail even if it seems insignificant. These little factors will be what sets your character apart from the others. For example Obi (my old lab) was a special character himself. What set him apart from other dogs was his amazing self-confidence. He honestly, but never arrogantly believe all was right in the world as long as he was around. There certainly is a big hole now he is gone. Still his memories live on and the world is a better place for having had him in it! When I write Obi’s stories I always focus on his self belief. He was also set apart because unlike other dog characters who do human things he did dog things, but I guess for human reasons. It’s a small distinction, but one that I think really makes my Obi series!

So go ahead, create a cool character and see where they take you! As always have fun!

Planning the story #amwriting

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Alright I have an idea… A couple of characters and a bit of a setting burning in my brain. Now I need to get started on the story. Sometimes it just comes to me and I write, but that often leads to me getting stuck or deciding to change ideas. When I have a really good idea forming I do some research in this planning stage.

It might be location research. When I wrote Ghostnapped I was on a camping trip. I took Obi and my camera. We went exploring. Obi used to be my planning buddy for sure. We went on lots of walks and always took the camera (I love digital cameras!!!!)

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This just means I can come back to the photos later and see if there is something I have missed. Photos can also be used later on for illustrations. I often find my characters evolve more if there is a location. Certainly the unique monster in Ghostnapped came completely from the local environment. That made it even cooler, it gave the monster form and motive.

At the moment I am planning a pirate story. So the beach is part of that. I can imagine a pirate ship sitting on the horizon. Captain Walt Sharkchum standing a the helm… more about that later.

During this stage I get out a note-book and start recording. Characters, plot ideas, settings, anything that comes to mind.

Then I will work out what type of story this will be. A chapter book (usually for me) or something longer? Then you can plot out short chapter outlines. I never write more than a sentence. It’s just a guide at this stage. So I don’t forget things and also to see if there is a full plot. Sometimes this activity raises questions. Either about characters or plots. So then the research can begin. This is actually one of the best parts (more about research soon!). While I am doing this I will actually write bits of the story too. It might be a character entrance (another prompt from Start the year off write), or just a cool thing I absolutely have to have in the story.

I don’t always take this approach. However as I become more serious about writing and publishing books I have found doing this actually increases my chance of finishing the first draft. I don’t look at it when I am writing, but it is there if I get stuck. Generally I look at it once the draft is done and see if I missed anything. A bit of a guideline.

How do you plan your stories??? Writing this blog has given me more ideas, better get them down! Until next time – have fun!

Story Ideas #amwriting #starttheyearoffwrite

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I thought this month I would blog about how I go about writing. It’s not rocket science, but it is something that I have been developing for a while. Today I will start with the very first step.

Getting ideas…

I am lucky I work with dogs and kids… yep a little crazy too. So what does that mean? Well aside from having a car full of hair and often not quite enough room for my kids it means getting lots of writing material. My dogs have always been clowns. It all started with Obi. That boy had personality to burn. He was so funny and so confident in himself. It was hilarious to watch him with the students. I even had one ten week block where he completely ignored the existence of the child at the end of his lead. Only Obi could do that. Anyway that’s another story. Obi was incredible at making people laugh. Then there is Stitch. The polar opposite in some ways. What he lacks in confidence he makes up for in sheer desire to work. That boy can go, go and go all day. He also has a lot of personality. Now we will be introducing Chewie. This boy is super confident and has mustered personality from somewhere. He is going to write my stories for me!!!!

I also have two daughters with highly active imaginations. That all helps with material and story ideas about dogs and kids. What if I want to write about something else???? Well the dogs help there too…

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Pirate Stitch is actually the inspiration for a pirate story I am working on. No he is not a dog in the story. However some of his personality traits may be in there. That’s the beauty of writing. I can use whatever I want and make it into a character of my choice (more about characters later).

There you have it an idea from a photo
The dreaded pirate Captain Walt Sharkchum! Will stop at nothing to find his missing treasure and rule the world. However sisters Aurora and Kate Cutty have different ideas.

Moving on to planning the story… that will be my next blog – fortunately it was also part of the first prompt for the Start the Year Write challenge! I’m off to do challenge two now. Until next time – have fun!

Looking back and moving forward #newyear

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2013 is almost over, just a few more hours and possibly lots of shouting. It is that time to take a quick look back and then jump to the future. What did 2013 bring to me?

1. The Homework Goblin – my third book was released
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I even had a book launch this time – that was a first.

2. I became a member of the Chapter book challenge – which not only lead me to finish the draft of Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh (to be released 2014), but also to become involved in three anthologies.
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3. I developed some new characters and two new series of books which will hopefully be release in 2014, but are definitely going to be lots of fun writing!
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4. I edited another longer book that is going to be a bit different.

5. I started my Stitch Says blog for author interviews and reviews. Which is a lot of fun and a great way that I can support other authors.

There was of course the horrible moment when we found out that Obi was on limited time. He lasted as long as he good, but eventually we had to say goodbye.
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He was such a big part of our lives that it was really difficult. Obi would not have wanted us to sook though! He will be forever remembered in his books. I have a lifetime of material to write about this special boy!!!!

Recently we took a fantastic holiday to the Gold Coast – which was great to get away and refocus for the new year. I met some really cool new characters too!
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Of course we also introduced Chewie to our family. He’s such a sweety that it’s almost like he has always been here!
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It has been a great year for me as an author, one I am really proud of. There are so many new ideas, characters and stories that I am looking forward to getting to know in 2014. I will also be updating my website and making it more interactive so watch out for that. I am actually really excited. I have a few personal goals and some things I need to do aswell, but all that will come. I feel as if I am starting 2014 with a fresh outlook and am ready for any challenge thrown at me!

I would like to thank all the wonderful people who support me here, on Facebook and twitter. It’s great to read your comments and get to share things with you all. I hope everyone has a fantastic and safe New Year’s Eve and looks forward to achieving your dreams in 2014 I know I am! Until next year – have fun!!!!

Research trip #zoodays

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I love the zoo – so do my superhero kids. We go fairly often and it never gets boring. There is always something new that makes life interesting. Today however we also had a mission. I am setting up my chapter book for March. Yep getting in early. I may even be writing the sequel by March – that would be awesome. Not going to get ahead of myself lots can happen between now and then. Anyway it is the first in my super hero series. Book one of The Lighting Lilly and Princess Seea Chronicles. Tentatively called The Great Zoo Heist. So today we were doing some research about which animals may appear.

The Meerkats always get a look in – they are so cheeky. Pretty sure there can be some fun between these little guys and Super Stitch.

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This goat just made me laugh…. May well get a gig somewhere. Sure there is room for a fat goat…

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Otters need to be in the story. They are my favourite and I have also already written a chapter about them for the SuperHERo Tales.

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Pretty sure there is room for a giraffe or two – they make pretty good lookouts for my two super heroes.

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I may need to do another zoo story at some stage… What animals would you like to see???

Love these days so much fun. The best bit was my girls when they came home they put on their superhero capes and rescued all the zoo animals. Lots of material there, solid gold stuff. Need to get my notebook out! Until next time – have fun!

Super Start #amwriting #ChaBooCha1

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I decided to put the editing aside for a moment because the writing bug has hit me again. A while ago I wrote a super hero story for SuperHERos which is due out soon. I spent time with my little super heroes and developed Lightning Lilly, Princess Seea, Captain Obi and Super Stitch. The crime fighting team of the century. These characters also had a Christmas adventure for the Jingle Bells anthology. Still I love these characters so much that they have their own series in my head. I was going to leave adventure one until the Chapter Book Challenge in March. Yet last night I just had to write.
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Princess Seea and Super Stitch
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My girls did an awesome job developing these characters and they have given me too many ideas for their adventures. I could fill up all of next year so I am sure I will have a chapter book to write come March. In the meantime it's good to take a break from editing. Although I still promise to get two of the three manuscripts editing by the end if the year.
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So excited I think I’ll get back to it now – more about these characters later! Until then have fun!

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