Monthly Archives: September 2013

Creating Plot Twists: Reversals

 

I am obsessed with reversals. These plot twists appear in books and movies and serve to propel the plot forward. Examples of reversals abound in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy, and Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine.

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 Reversals of Fortune

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone begins with a two-fold reversal of fortune. Harry’s parents have been killed. Secondly, infant Harry must live with his abusive relatives. Harry’s fate does not reverse for the better until his eleventh birthday when Hagrid returns for him and Harry discovers the truth about his legacy.

 Reversals of Expectation

In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen attends the Reaping — the lottery in which one boy and one girl from each district is selected to participate in the fight-to-the-death Hunger Games. Katniss knows her age increases the odds against her. And since she’s had to enter her name extra times in exchange for grain and oil, she has accumulated twenty entries. But she expects her younger sister Prim, with only one entry, to be safe. Katniss’s expectations and fortune are upended when Prim’s name is selected.

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Reversal of Goal

Early in The Hunger Games, Katniss resolves, ”to have as little as possible to do with the baker’s son,” fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark. The boy’s kindness once saved her family from starvation and gave Katniss hope. But in the arena, the rule is kill or be killed, and her gratitude and sense of obligation could be a liability. But when the rules of the game change, her goal reverses and she seeks an alliance with Peeta. Her perception of Peeta also reverses — from a threat to a potential ally.

Reversal of Perception

Reversals of perception can include how one person perceives another, how a person sees himself/herself, or how one perceives a situation or environment.

  •  Harry Potter initially views himself as unlucky, unwanted, and unknown. When Hagrid storms into his life, Harry experiences a complete reversal—he learns he is a famous wizard and a hero in the magical world. He discovers that his mother’s tremendous love for him saved him when the dark lord attacked his family.
  •  Katniss arrives at the Training Center for tributes thinking she is at a disadvantage because she’s undersized and underfed. Her perception changes when she realizes her family’s resourcefulness has given her an edge. She’s thin, but strong. The effort it had taken for her to hunt and forage had resulted in a healthy body.

Blue_Jasmine_posterReversal of Conscience

Reversal of conscience plot twists often occur when a reluctant hero or heroine decides to not walk away, and instead returns to save someone or something. Blue Jasmine flips this ideal. No spoiler alert —just watch the movie and see if you can spot the pivotal Reversal of Conscience. While you are at the theater, see how many other reversals you can identify in Blue Jasmine.

Emotional Reversals and Reader/Viewer Empathy

Emotional reversals—where love, friendship, a relationship, sense of self, or stability is torn from a character— create empathy, and emotionally engage readers in the outcome of the story. Emotional reversals abound in the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games trilogy. We care what happens to Harry and Katniss because of the losses they had suffered before their stories began, and the hardships they’ve had to endure because of those losses. The deeper we wade into their worlds, the more our empathy extends. We come to care about the people and institutions Harry and Katniss care about.

In Blue Jasmine, adopted sisters Jasmine and Ginger suffer separate reversals of fortune that cost them their marriages and much more. Jasmine never fully recovers emotionally, yet many viewers found empathy for her elusive. Unlike Jasmine, Ginger’s emotional reversals began in childhood. By the time she had suffered an adult reversal of fortune, she had already experienced a childhood filled with reversals of expectation, perception, and goals. Ginger’s early emotional reversals, her loyalty, and her apparent forgiveness, made her seem more sympathetic than her once well-to-do sister. In the end Jasmine’s choices, and what they revealed about her character, were too distancing to overcome reversals that should have sparked viewer empathy.

Reversals can be powerful devices in storytelling. Once you become aware of them, you’ll find them everywhere, including embedded in your own writing.

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Expand Your Author Brand – Transmedia with Karen Snyder

Expand Your Author Brand – Transmedia with Karen Snyder

 I was quite comfortable with my writing routine, thank you very much, and entirely uncomfortable with the tech world. Therefore, I found Karen Snyder’s recent course, “The Power of Transmedia” (RWA U) thought provoking and often well beyond my skill level.

Snyder has plunged where no romance writer has gone before — into the deep end of the transmedia pool. An author, director, and transmedia producer, she is currently producing the world’s first transmedia historical romance series, “The Elements Club.”

 Transmedia Defined

When I signed up for the week-long online course, I had only a vague notion of what transmedia entailed or how it could boost sales of my Young Adult series, The Teen Wytche Saga (Spell Check, Book 1, Spell Struck, Book 2, and Spell Fire, to be released in November 2013).

Snyder defines transmedia as:

“…transmedia is a form of storytelling that involves relaying a story across at least three different media platforms with each platform offering unique content rather than repurposed assets.

Transmedia stories exhibit the following four properties:

1.    all platforms (mobile, web, TV, print, etc.) are considered from the inception of the project as valid vehicles to support narrative;

2.    different platforms are used to tell different aspects of a story;

3.    participation and sharing is (sic) encouraged (but not necessary);

4.    while users are encouraged to draw connections between platforms, stories can exist separately from one another in the fictive universe.

In the example of The Elements Club, the story is spread across ebooks, interactive ebooks, casual video games, online episodes, website and social media. Each media offers a deeper level of engagement with the world of the club…”

For Writers – the Heart of Transmedia

Authors can extend their brand, assets, and fan base by creating cross-platform stories. These are not re-purposed works, but rather new, related, and often, interactive content. In other words, the author creates a mix-media franchise. Snyder challenged her students to imagine spin-offs for their books, including video games, Behind-the-Scenes books, graphic novels, music CDS, YouTube videos, and more.

Disney is a master of transmedia. From each hit movie, they’ll spin books, musicals, CDs, clothing, dolls, ice shows, coloring books, and more. Film series such as Star Wars and the Matrix have similarly extended their brands. Popular television shows, including The Walking Dead, Dexter, Breaking Bad, and Nikita, have created interactive video, mobile, and social media games, related talk shows, and other cross media platforms. Snyder used The Walking Dead as a prime example of transmedia success.

http://www.transmedialab.org/en/the-blog-en/case-study-en/the-walking-dead-a-tentacular-transmedia-success/

Transmedia – the Long Game

Mix-media franchises take time to develop. Snyder’s The Elements Club, set in Victorian London, follows the lives and loves of its various club members, with new segments released every six months. According to Snyder,

“A segment is a group of products that focus on the romance of a specific couple in The Elements Club series. Products include epub eBooks, interactive ebooks books, casual video games, online episodes, live events and over time, ancillary products.”

Some of these big-budget, tech-savvy ideas will require financial backing for many mid-list and indie-published authors. But others, like posting related content on social media platforms, are within everyone’s grasp.

For me, with a recent publication (Spell Struck) to promote and a third book (Spell Fire) due to release in November, the thought of adding transmedia is both daunting and intriguing. Now that Karen Snyder has planted the transmedia seed, there is no turning back. The trick will be to expand within my skill set and budget. The ideas are percolating. Game on.

© 2013 Ariella Moon

http://www.AriellaMoon.com

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Forewarning is Free on Amazon Today!

Kate Wyland is in the spotlight today with her novel, Forewarning, A Horses and Healing Mystery.

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FOREWARNING is free on AmazonSept. 19-23!

Book Blurb 

FOREWARNING:

Healing is her life. Will it be her death?

Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.

Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

Excerpt:

Kasey Martin found a badly injured man, used her energetic healing skills to help him and got him to the hospital her late husband practiced at. Now she is waiting to hear the results of the surgery.

Bleary-eyed, Kasey focused on the approaching figure in green scrubs and her heart leapt. Brian! Reality intruded and she realized it was Jim. Then the rest of the night came back to her.

“How is he? Is he going to be okay?”

A slow smile creased Jim’s craggy face as he nodded and answered. “We’re pumping blood and fluids into him, as you would expect. His hand sustained second- and third-degree burns. To my surprise, I didn’t have to remove his spleen.” He scrubbed his hands through his sandy hair, fluffing up the damp strands.

Folding his tall, lean form, he sat on the chair next to her and put his hands on her upper arms to turn her slightly away from him. She tensed when he began massaging her shoulders, then gradually relaxed, giving into the comfort of his touch. Closing her eyes, she let her head drop as he rubbed small circles up and down her neck.

He continued in his slow, folksy drawl. “The assisting surgeon is sorta’ puzzled, though. He can’t figure out how that amount of blood came out of the small seeping wound we found. You did a good job, Rusty. I saw where a larger part had already started to heal.”

A wave of relief swept over her and the tightness in her chest released. “I’ve never tried anything like that before.”

Jim’s voice quickened with excitement and he gave her a harder squeeze. “Damn, that was fascinating. I’ve seen the results of your work from the outside for years. This is the first time I’ve seen it from the inside.”

Kasey twisted her head around. “You didn’t say anything, did you?”

“No, no, the Assisting works for Frank. I didn’t want to start something. He’ll find out about you soon enough.”

The thought of Frank Edwards, her former father-in-law, sent her blood pressure skyrocketing. Kasey wagged her head back and forth. “No. Tonight was an emergency. I can’t do my Integrative Therapy anymore. I don’t know how I managed to do anything at all.”

“But you did, and the guy probably owes you his life. You should feel damn good.”

Actually, she felt scared and exhausted. She’d taken a chance tonight. Against her better judgment, she’d used her abilities for the first time in over a year. And it appeared to have worked out—for the moment. She knew she would pay for her actions. The fatigue that was draining her now was only the beginning.

Engrossed in his own thoughts, Jim continued. “I’ve sent our mystery man up for an MRI, and I’m pretty sure they’ll find brain swelling. Seems he suffered two cranial injuries. The one on the front of his head is typical of a car accident. The other is on the side toward the back and looks like he was hit from above or something fell on him. Apparently happened a while earlier.”

He paused, while still kneading her neck and shoulders, then spoke rapidly. “Given his condition, I don’t want to pump any more drugs into him than I can help. I’d like you to work on him when he comes back.”

Jim, like many younger physicians, often looked to alternative methods to heal his patients. Still, Kasey twisted and stared at him in disbelief, then shook her head.

“No way. I’ve quit.”

“I know you’re scared and hiding out, but you obviously didn’t quit tonight. You need to finish the job.”

“And what about Frank? What would he say to my ‘finishing the job’ in his hospital?”

“He couldn’t say anything. You’d be working under my orders.” Jim leaned toward her. “Think about it.”

“All I want to think about is going home and getting some sleep.” Now that the worry was gone and she’d begun to relax, she was having trouble keeping her eyes open and her body upright in the chair. She hoped she’d be able to make it back to the ranch.

With a defeated sigh, Jim changed the subject. “Take a minute and tell me about tonight. Where did you find our patient?”

Kasey accepted the switch in topic with relief. She’d already told her story—with certain parts left out—to the Sheriff’s officer who had escorted her to the hospital. She’d learned from him they’d found no identification on the man, so they couldn’t notify anyone. They’d have to wait until he regained consciousness.

After she finished telling Jim about her rescue efforts, he nodded. “Tell Star for me she ‘done good’ when she woke you up … and so did you.”

He rose and extended his arms above his head. Glancing down at her, he paused in mid-stretch. He jerked forward and took her face in his hands.

“Jeeze, Kasey, what’s going on? You look like you’re ready to pass out.” One hand went to her wrist as he felt her pulse.

She gave him a groggy smile. “Just tired. Think I’ll take a nap before I head home.”

“You’re not going anywhere.” He scooped her into his arms and started down the hall past a deserted nurse’s station. “I’m putting you to bed. We have a few empty rooms at the end of this hallway where we’ve been remodeling. It’s far enough away from any patients that you shouldn’t be bothered by their energy.”

Kasey pushed against his chest. “Don’t be silly. Put me down. I’ll be all right in a few minutes and then I’ll head back home. The animals will want their breakfast in the morning.”

Jim frowned down at her. “No way. You can’t drive in that downpour. You’ll end up in here alongside your patient.”

From over his shoulder, Kasey could see the rain coming almost horizontally at the glass doors of the emergency room. She had to admit she didn’t look forward to another hour’s drive in that. With a sleepy shrug, she slumped against Jim’s shoulder. After so long alone, it felt good to be held and taken care of.

Author Bio

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Kate Wyland is a life-long horse nut who started riding at three years old. She’s taken part in a great variety of equestrian activities with her greatest loves being dressage and trail riding in the mountains. A few years ago, she exchanged her tech writing “bug” hat for a fiction writing Stetson. Suspense, romance, horses and sometimes the paranormal are the themes she likes to explore in her books. And she delights in sharing her love of animals and country living.

 Contact links

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorKateWyland

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/katewyland
Website : http://katewyland.com/
Bloghttp://katewyland.com/blog/
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Buy Link

Amazonhttp://tinyurl.com/l93s8ml

 Free Sept. 19-23!

Spotlight on Wendy Knight and Feudlings in Flames

Astraea Press has just released Feudlings in Flames by Best Selling author Wendy Knight. Here’s a first look at the sequel to Feudlings:

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Back Cover Blurb

Ari thought being in love with her prophesied nemesis sucked. But being responsible for her best friend’s kidnapping? It sucks worse.

Ari and Shane thought they’d beaten Fate and ended the three-hundred year war plaguing their people. They thought love had won. But they were so, so wrong.

Instead of graduating high school like the normals, they’re in a battle to save Charity – Shane’s cousin, Ari’s best friend, and the seer who might hold the key to ending the war for good. To do that, they’re forced to accept help from a boy they aren’t even sure they can trust. He’s powerful and knows spells even Ari’s never heard of, but he’s also secretive and has a past he’s determined to keep hidden . Add to that the fact that he has his sights set on Ari, and Shane would rather do without his help.

Ari has bigger problems than mysterious boys and their strange powers. The powerful Edren Family is hunting her brother, and she can’t very well save him or Charity while they’re constantly being attacked by her own people. To stop the raids, she has to take the fight to them. But if she starts hunting the family that raised her, what kind of monster will she be?

Fate still waits for the death of one by the hand of the other

Excerpt

            “No no, Hunter, it curves this way.” Ari stood back, watching with a frown, and then jumped back in. “Imagine in your mind what you want the spell to do. Tie your emotions to your spells.”

Shane watched her guide Hunter and tried again on his own. “Close, Shane, but like this,” Ari reached out, holding his hand as she led him through the motion. He felt the flames racing through his blood react to her touch and sparks flew from his fingers, igniting the spell. It hung, burning, in the air, a bright blue curlicue thing. “Perfect,” she whispered, still holding on to his hand.

            “Maybe, but does it work?” Tristan’s voice was flat and uninterested, but Shane could hear the animosity running under the words.

“We don’t have any targets set out. He can’t test it.” Ari shook her head, and still holding Shane’s hand, made a quick swiping motion through the spell, dissipating it.        “Try again.” She let go of his hand and stepped back, watching expectantly.

Shane tried, once, twice, and three times. He couldn’t get it quite right, but neither could Hunter, which made him feel better, and Tristan wasn’t even trying.

“It’s okay if you can’t do it, Shane. There are a lot of other powerful spells she uses that will be much easier for you to master,” Will said.

Ari vehemently shook her head. “No. He can do it. Just give him a minute!”

Shane kept his attention focused on the spell in front of him, but he couldn’t stop his grin.

Ari believed in him.

He burned the spell into the air again, trying to replicate the one Ari had drawn, but it fizzled into a mass of smoke. The spell had to ignite to actually do anything. He groaned in frustration, tipping his head sideways to look at Ari. “What am I doing wrong?”

She bit her lip, studying him for several seconds. “When you did it the first time, what were you thinking?”

Shane paused, dropping his hand that was still poised in the air. “Umm… I was thinking we were gonna die and I had seen you throw that spell so I knew it was possible. It just happened.”

Wendy Knight Photo

Author Bio

Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.

You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

Links:

Twitter: @wjk8099

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorWendyKnight

Blog: www.writethroughthenoise.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7009940.Wendy_Knight

Buy Links:

Astraea Press: http://astraeapress.com/#!/~/product/category=662245&id=27682185

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Feudlings-in-Flames-ebook/dp/B00EY5DALS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1378194244&sr=8-4&keywords=Feudlings+in+Flames

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/feudlings-in-flames-wendy-knight/1116814623?ean=2940148467472

 

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Astraea Press is holding a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway on Facebook today!

But you will have to hustle because the giveaway ends at 8:00 p.m. today.

To enter, just leave a comment mentioning your favorite Astraea Press Author/Book.

Cyber hugs (and a chance to win!) to anyone who posts 

Spell Check or Spell Struck

By Ariella Moon

https://www.facebook.com/astraeapress

Thank you for your support. Good luck! Let me know if you win!

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Harlequin Opportunity to Win A Publishing Contract

Would you like to get your unpublished romance novel in front of the editors at Harlequin and Mills & Boone, a romance publisher with a global readership? Then start polishing your first draft because Harlequin’s writing boot camp and big writing competition is about to begin. I’ve included below a few details from the Harlequin site. For the full story, go to http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com.

Harlequin Writing Contest Details:

Beginning September 23 you can submit the First Chapter (5000 words max) of your romance story plus a 100-Word Pitch to the series you have targeted. The pitch should outline the concept, plot, characters, conflict and setting. You must target one of our 20 eligible series.

All First Chapter submissions will be posted for everyone to read and add comments in the space provided. Last day for submissions is October 9. Don’t delay…submit your chapter right away so more people—including the editors–will see it!

If you’ve written a New Adult novel (college age characters), be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for details about a writing competition specifically for NA authors.

Good luck!

~Ariella Moon

Back to School Magic – The Art of Letting Go

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Back to School is an emotional time for parents and children. Whether you are thrilled at the prospect of free time and a quiet house, or crying in the car after drop-off, you’ll find magical and moral support in, “The Art of Letting Go” at The Monthly Muse.

http://www.ariellamoon.com/monthlymuse.html