Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Prep: Story Building by Tracey Clark

Story Building

Howdy, I’m Tracey Clark, the author of Shocking Finds: A Finder’s Keepers Novel. I love starting a new story, like the first blush of a new relationship. There are many ways to create your story and NaNoWriMo is a wonderful part of that process for a lot of people. NaNoWriMo has inspiration, support, and a much needed push from fellow writers. Not mention the friends and contact you will make. But before you can benefit from all that you need somewhere to start. A basic idea of where you’d like to take your story.

Take the world around you, the world you know inside and out, and then let it grow into something more, something wonderful. You want your reader to feel as if they can feel the breeze, see the trees, and taste the honeysuckle. An easy way to start this process ... Facts, fun facts, and alluring descriptions. Once I have that, I usually start to see things that my characters can do, explore, as well as places they can get into trouble.

Finding a way to make your descriptions alluring is problematic because everyone has different tastes when it comes to the type of stories they enjoy. It is best to just play with your sentences and write what you find interesting. If you don't want to read your story then no one else will either. Make sure that you find the genre that speaks to you the most, and then start building. Each genre holds a different feel, which will help you to decide where focus your descriptive powers. As well as the area your story takes place in (especially Earth-side). For example: for me Kentucky means honeysuckle and caves, whereas Texas means cowboys and wide open spaces. But that’s just me.

I like to find facts, fun facts, when I am building a new world. I write paranormal romance, which leaves a lot of room for my worlds to grow, but I like to take a few basic fun facts and build from there. For my first novel, Shocking Finds: A Finder’s Keepers Novel, I merely mention the fact that Kentucky has the largest number of cave systems in the US. This will become a large part of my Finder's Keepers series in future novels.

Finding Fun Facts

Fun facts can be large or small, and they can end up being nothing more than a passing bit of information (something to be overlooked) or maybe you'll find that it is integral to your new world. I never know which facts will become important pieces of the puzzle when I first include them. I merely learn more about the world around me and I add the pieces that I find most interesting.

When I first learned that Kentucky had the largest number of cave systems in the US I didn't understand how important it would become. Then my characters told me (OK, they demanded) that the caves would be more.

Always listen to the voices. Allow your imagination to run free. Make your world and your characters as real to your readers as they are to you.

Memorable characters require a different set of facts but the reasoning is the same. You still want your readers to be able to see through your eyes. You want them to feel the emotions plaguing your characters, to cry and laugh as they consume your words. You want them to feel as if they can reach out and take your character’s hand. This is my goal, and I hope to get better and more knowledgeable in this area as I continue to write.

The Emotion Thesaurus has helped me with showing instead of telling. You want your reader to feel the pain (both emotional and physical) instead of just reading that the character is hurting. Describe your characters' actions, feelings, and their most striking characteristics in fun and memorable ways.

One of my characters has a small Chinese pug that they always carry around in their arms. A lot of people know what a pug looks like, and I could stop at just mentioning the breed of the dog. But that isn't enough to make the reader feel the annoyance at the number of dog hairs that need to be cleaned up after one of the small animals walks through a room, or the sound of snoring that you need to put up with when they fall asleep. Not to mention the snot, the snorting and the sneezing that goes along with their wheezing and poor breathing due to a very flat face. I love their attitude, and wrinkled bodies and curly tails but my main character takes issue with a lot of their other characteristics.

While describing everything in your world, remember to avoid information dumps.

Don't merely spend a few chapters describing each person involved in your story, a few more for the scenery. Instead spread out the descriptions in a more natural way, one that flows with the story instead of causing the reader to stop and feel as if they are suddenly immersed in a textbook. With fiction, my ultimate goal is to create a world to escape into, not to compose a fact filled volume.

Everyone has different ways in which to create their worlds. The most important thing to know is to edit after your rough draft is complete, not before, and to have fun. If a chapter is boring you to tears, chances are good that your readers will either stop reading or skip ahead to something more interesting, possibly missing out on important information.


Once you have a world and a set of characters that you can practically see standing in front of you, it is time to brainstorm. For me, brainstorming is key when it comes to finding the direction that feels right for my story. Brainstorming can happen as you plot out your story line and when you hit a bump in the road, or even if you have a full on case of writer's block.

You can brainstorm alone, but doing so with a partner or in a group can be even better. Especially when you’re up against writer's block. You should do this when you need help and when someone else is having issues.

Some people feel as if brainstorming for someone else’s story gives away their best ideas. But the writers' community is about give and take; we support each other. Besides, the theory that you're giving away your best ideas is false.

One idea given to a dozen authors has the ability to create a dozen different stories. Some things may be similar, but we all write differently. We think in different patterns and we will explore different aspects of the same idea, differently and more thoroughly.

The more you brainstorm with others, the stronger you will become at coming up with ideas when no one else is around to run through the exercise with you. Like any other skill, the more you use your brainstorming ability, the stronger it will become. There are a lot of times that I come up with ideas that I simply do not have time to explore.

Personally I love to brainstorm. When I sit down for a few hours to go through a brainstorming exercise with someone else, it resets my thinking and sometimes allows me to see things in my own story that I would have otherwise missed.

With solid and complete worlds and characters, and the willingness to brainstorm, you will have the ability to create an endless number of stories. As many stories as the ocean has waves.

Always remember to have fun with your writing, and happy wordage everyone.

About the Author

I am a country-twang gal from the bluegrass state. Kentucky is a hot bed of horses, cave systems, and whiskey. And I love all three. With my pugs and bossy kitty cat, I spend my days writing and working social media. I write with the help of the voices pushing me to create worlds for them to live in. Fantasy Romance, Contemporary Romance, and eventually some cowboys (because cowboys live in a group all there own, yummmm) are the genres that I love best.

In 2005, a serious case of Multiple Sclerosis ended my higher education as I strived to finish my mathematics degree, wiping away all my beautiful numbers and a large portion of artistic talents that I had taken for granted most of my life. After a few years, my beautiful words started to come back to me. Filling my days and nights with imagined worlds helped me to cope with my newfound reality. I am currently working with Mary (my publisher) at Each day I find that getting sick has helped me to find my passion.

Fun fact: My granny had enough Irish to embody the term ‘fiery’ and my papaw had enough Cherokee to suggest they move their family to a reservation … This did not turn out well for him, not when gran opposed the idea, butttt that is a story for another time. So palest of pale, and red all year round … what did I get from that genetic pool??? Ha. I turned out to be pale skinned, but I don’t burn in the sun the way granny would have. And no matter how much color I seem to gain during the day, I wake the next morning back at square one, whereas my papaw had wonderfully tanned skin even in the midst of the darkest winters. boo… lol… now at 34, I don’t even try. (not to mention that my MS detests being out in the sun)

What I did get from these wonderful people??? A love and a need to create. She could design a quilt, bake up wonders, paint and draw with ease, and surround the home in masterpiece gardens. Okay, my thumb is more black than green, but have enjoyed accomplishing all the rest. Though my favorite lies in oil paints. As for papaw, he loved to sing, filled notebook after notebook with his poetry, and had a tendency to create personalized rhymes for strangers and friends alike (sometimes against their will, while others asked for the right). My entire life, he called me his songbird. And would asked me (shy little me) to preform. Poetry is fun, and something that my mother taught me how to do early on, but I truly believe that a piece of my soul would die without my voice to sing the melodies in my heart. (just please let me do it at home and not in front of strangers :P)

Book Info

An act of rebellion, Marin doesn’t think that running into the new store in town will hurt anything. Her aunt will never know… right? One car wreck later, her aunt is hospitalized, Marin is forced to spend her twenty-first birthday fighting for her life, and magic – the very thing her aunt has always sworn to be for fools – is real. And so is the irresistible Fae dedicated to Marin’s protection.

Kyland has searched Earth-side and all the other realms, looking for a missing Fae child. A child his Queen prophesied would be able to one day save the Fae people from the Danshue, as the evil Fae threat tries to overwhelm the entire Supernatural Community. A child that would know nothing of her blocked gifts, or her Fae heritage waiting to be claimed. A child that has grown into a curvy, delicious morsel he would love to taste.

Together Marin and Kyland will fight Fae assassins, overcome betrayals, and if they’re lucky … they will find the Danshue responsible for their plight. That’s if Marin doesn’t shock him to death with her erratic new gift, and her out of control emotions.

1 comment:

tracey clark said...

thanks for including me in nano prep... it was great...