Quick FUN before I DIVE back IN!

Photo Credit: Johan Joubert

Photo Credit: Johan Joubert (Check out Johan’s art at his website!)

(Story about picture above: For my 25th birthday my boyfriend did such an amazing thing. It was a gift any writer would love to receive! While, I was still in Australia I finished my novel and printed it out for us to read through. Once I left, he had started reading it. I wasn’t aware that he was actually reading as much as he was. I didn’t know for sure if he’d actually read it all. But then, he told me he was doing something exciting for my birthday gift. I was excited, but I was even more excited when I opened it. Inside the box was a three-ring binder with my edited manuscript. He read it and left his edit marks. He also took a bunch of pictures, playing around with his camera. He loves art and photography. Then he created a cover to inspire me. A small box was also a part of the gift. When I took the lid off, I found this. [below])

Photo Credit: Devin Berglund

Photo Credit: Devin Berglund

It was The Mason of Hearts. My very own… lol…

Title of Book?

The Mason of Hearts

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I got my first idea about this book from a dream where these evil people were not happy with how they were created, that they wanted to change everything about themselves. They heard about this beautiful girl who held many powers and secrets. A rumor was that, if she was killed her powers would give them the ability to change who they were into who they wanted to be.

I got the idea earlier this year, while writing the original book, The Created Ones. When I finished that book, I realized that I didn’t really feel like I knew some of the characters well enough. They were dark shadows in the corners of my mind, so I decided I needed to find out more about these characters before going back over my first book. This book, The Mason of Hearts, is book one of the trilogy and The Created Ones will be book two. It’s just funny I wrote book two, before book 1.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely Fantasy Adventure. (It could be placed in either the YA or the NA genres… just haven’t figured that out yet.)

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Since, I have quite a few characters in my book… I will show you three of them. :)

Photo Credit: www.imdb.com

Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com

Dustin – Benjamin Stone

Photo Credit: www.imb

Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com

Sara – Evangeline Lilly (with shoulder length hair)

Photo Credit: Fanshare

Photo Credit: Fanshare

Evangeline – Niomi Watts

What is a short synopsis of your book?

A maleficent witch kills many of the Preventer warriors, throwing the world into a panic. Dustin, one of the last Preventer warriors starts training when the King calls upon him to protect his daughter and unborn grand children. The witch adds hearts to her collection which she stores in her necklace. She uses their gifts and talents as she needs– her necklace The Mason of Hearts, when filled with the most powerful and innocent of hearts would give her unlimited power to manipulate the world. Dustin is captured by a stranger with a dark secret – an affectionate bond forms between the two, and they must enter the witch’s game of hide-n-seek with life and death to protect the king’s grandchildren and to save people’s lives or many will die, including them.

Will your book be self-published, or represented by an agency?

I am shopping for a literary agent to rep me and my book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

The Mason of Hearts took about 9 months to write. I am currently in a rewrite/edit stage.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It would probably be compared to C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia tied with The Hobbit with a touch of Harry Potter.

What else about your book might pique the readers interest?

This book is set in it’s own world, but the extraordinary adventures and situations will be relatable with readers lives. In The Mason of Hearts, My top goal is to  make readers see a little of themselves in my characters. I also want my readers to see how special they, themselves are.

Does it interest you? Would you want to read it? 

A pointy hat + magic wand + flying broom = A Cliche Witch

Halloween is coming upon us soon. I have been writing and searching for jobs lately – so, I haven’t been able to update my blog and actually write something other than the contest updates for the October short story contest here. But today, I want to write about something that has been on my mind a lot lately… During Halloween you see them dressed with pointy hats. They are flying on brooms with their black cat side-kick and are yielding a magic wand. We see them having warts on their faces like the witch in the cartoon Snow White. And others we see with completely green faces like in The Wizard of Oz. 

Thinking back as far as I can to my first few Halloween’s I know I’ve always been fond of the story idea of witches. It makes me think of the many years I dressed up as a witch for Halloween and went door to door on crisp October evenings with my brother, sister and our friends. Ah, what a fun time… wish I could go back to that and relive it.

I don’t believe in ‘real’ witches who are practicing things in the occult. But, I do find something mysterious and lovely about the fantasy stories involving witches (a completely different thing than those in real life.), but only when they are done well.

Witches are over rated usually – just like vampires in the latest vampire hype. (and to tell you the truth… I hate that… I hate that some authors copy the author who came up with the idea and then afterwards you see a bazillion like-twilights or like-harry potters or like-50 shades. Like really, what happened to originality?)  I know there are a few well done examples where writers have actually done extremely good jobs.

I want to be like that – to break the cliche witch that many stories have. And instead bring to life some crazy unique witches that have a spell-binding story in the air that they breathe, causing readers to love, but hate them at the same time.

In my novel The Mason of Hearts, There are  three witches. These three girls are all quite different, but yet are all in it together. Three sisters start out their journey innocently.

One thing I have found tricky while writing my witches to life is dealing with today’s story witches. The magical powers that you find all over fantasy stories from Disney, The Sword in the Stone, and even Harry Potter.

Finding an actual model of this type of witch is hard to do.

Two witches done well – Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter and The White Witch from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. Those are the two witches I think that actually spell-bind their readers in the way that I want to do to my readers. I think they were written wonderfully. Another one that I can think of is the head witch from Roald Dahl’s book The Witches. She frightened me so much as a child.

Photo Credit : Ebay

While writing the witches in my story I want to create something that hasn’t been done before.

I want to make them out side of the box witches unlike any others.

I don’t want their powers to be repeats of the authors before me. I don’t want to use the witch that makes all enemies weapons steaming hot or the witches that melt after water is put on them. I want them to stand out. Just as Bellatrix and The White Witch stuck out to me.

  1. Do any of your stories involve witches? Or magic? And how do you avoid the cliche ‘witch’ or fantasy creature that are all over the publishing world today? 

The Contest

Day 9 – October Writing Contest                                                                                 Photo Credit : http://pinterest.com/pin/190136415488813133/

Join the Fun!

The Haunting October Short Story Extravaganza

All you have to do is:

  1. Use the photo to break through the surface and give you echoes of a story
  2. Write a smashing hauntingly amazing short story.
  3. When you finish the story, send it to Devin at devinberglund (at) live (dot) com.
  4.  And the winners will win something and don’t worry – I think up awesome surprises. :)
  5. Are you ready to join us in this journey??

To see the winners from last year, check out these links.

Emily Kunkel – The Farmhouse 
Abigail Anderson – The Monster Inside of Me

Everyday I will upload a new hauntingly beautiful, slightly creepy, and enchanting photograph to my facebook page for your inspiration. Please check it everyday and see if you are prompted to write a short story that has something to do with the photo you picked. It doesn’t have to be word for word what you see – it just has to be creative and creepy since October is the month of Halloween.

I really enjoyed this last year! Once you have written it you may send it to my email with the Subject Box filled in as “Short Story Extravaganza” You have the whole month of October to do this. Have fun!!

How to get to know your characters, better?

-4th day of Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise-

He sits on a chair in the corner of my mind, in all black. He is looking down at his feet leg resting on his other knee. Arms are crossed as he avoids eye contact with me. My character isn’t speaking. Why?

Have you ever experienced this? Well in the past few days I have come to know this feeling and sometimes this is the horrible excuse that I use to state that I don’t know what to write next. Thing is, that isn’t going to help a person get closer to their characters. This is the conversation I believe I have had with silent characters in the past.

Devin: “Why won’t you talk to me?”

Character: *Sits silently and avoids looking at me. He says nothing.”

Devin: “Fine… If you aren’t going to talk, how can I write about you?” *Devin stomps off in the opposite direction only to realize that her character is still behind her someplace* (Since, it’s in her mind.)

I believe that If writers are not willing to get to know their characters, then how can you write about a shadow? You can’t see any details to their face, you can’t see the scar on his face that he got when he was younger from a wizard. You can’t see her magnificently fierce red hair and lavender eyes. Sometimes you don’t even know their names then.

Since I am a Character Drives your Plot kind of girl, characters are very important to me. Even though I still sometimes hit a roadblock where my characters don’t want to talk. Here are a few things that I have learned help a lot when writing (getting to know your characters) about them.

  1. Character Sketches – By sketches, I don’t mean drawings here. Some people have been known to looking up questions about personality and such, but I have found that I rather just start writing about the character while asking these questions.
    •What does your character want? (This one is a very important question!)
         •What are some ways that you can make sure that your character doesn’t get what they want? Have some conflict to make his or her goal harder to achieve! 
         •Sex? M or F?
         •Name Ideas
         •Role in Story
         •What do they do? (e.g. are they a student? if so where? *Harry Potter a student at Hogwarts)
         •Physical Description
         •Background•Internal and External Conflicts
         •Habbits and Mannerisms 
  2. Search for them – Yes go outside and look for them! haha… okay maybe not. Although going out and watching people really does help with visual characteristics of writing characters into existence. Get on ‘Google’ and search for some faces that look like your character. I will share with you one below. :)

    These two pictures are two that I have in a character study for one of my characters in the current book that I am working on.

    I know this has nothing to do with the character stuff, but I love this dress and how it flows in the wind! hehe

  3. Draw them – This helps a lot, especially when you are in a scene. Draw them out on a sheet of paper. I can hear some people moaning at me, “But, Devin! I am a bad drawer, I can’t draw!” Let me tell you, you can draw. The drawing helps you see your character, even if you are just drawing a stick person… at least you can see them. :)
  4. Act them out – Robert Liparulo gave me this idea. He actually acts out all the scenes in his books with his characters. He gets in his character’s skin. It definitely brings NEW meaning to become your character.
  5. Make them a playlist – I love this… It takes me a while to find certain songs for characters, but it really helps when I do, do it! :)

I hope these tips help you out a little bit when planning out your characters. :)

What about you? Are there some other things that you do when you ‘get to know’ your characters?