Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG & Brenda Drake, Author of Assassin of Truths, on Character Growth

Once again, we arrive at the first Wednesday of the month, where the Insecure Writer Support Group poses a question for us to ponder. Thank you to this month's co-hosts - Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte! This month's questions is: 

What do you love about the genre you write in most often?


PARTICIPANTS
I write in a few genres, but I'll go with writing fantasy-adventure for middle grade. Writing adventure into a story, especially for this age group, gives me a sense that even the unthinkable is possible. I love discovering what new twist my subconscious stirs into an old conflict or life-challenging theme. Add fantasy into that mix, and I find explosions of possible ideas. So much so that often I can't make up my mind which idea to choose. *This may or may not be the reason I haven't finishing The Shifting Hollow - book II in the Motley Education series.*

So writers tell me: Have you ever found yourself with too many ideas for a novel? How did you sift through them and choose? Did you map out more than one tale using these ideas?

FEATURED POST!


GOODREADS
Assassin of Truths (Library Jumpers #3)
By Brenda Drake 

Publication Date:  February 6, 2018
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.

And it’s not your normal bump-in-the- night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.

Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.

The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.


Let's give Brenda and her brand new book baby a warm Alleyway hello!

Brenda has been gracious enough to share a bit of her writerly wisdom with us. I posed this question to her: 

What was your method for 'growing' Gia throughout her search and what are some ways young writers can use to emotionally grow and mature their characters from the beginning of a story to the end?

Gia’s growth in the Library Jumpers series starts with Thief of Lies, continues during Guardian of Secrets, and then finishes with Assassin of Truths. In the first book, Gia, though athletic, feels unstable after being pulled into the Mystik world. By the end of the book, she’s gain some strength. 

The opening of the second book has Gia trying to fit into her new role as a Sentinel (magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books) and searching for the Chiavi (seven keys). She’s dealing with new relationships, a deteriorating relationship, and trying to get herself out of some sticky situations. When we reach the end of the book, she’s ready to take charge and do what she has to save both worlds.

In the third and final book, Gia almost has all the Chiavi and is ready to fight for what’s right. She takes charge and is on more steady ground. She gets beaten down several times but she keeps getting up. She’s a warrior and is ready for the final battle even though she has little chance of winning the fight.

Interesting, the book covers for the series shows Gia’s growth. The first book has Gia’s back to us as if she’s uncertain about things. The cover for the second book has both her and a guy on it. She’s a little more confident, but she needs help still. The guy represents support. With the third book, we find Gia alone on the cover again. She’s facing us and is ready for the battle.

When writing a series, you have to start out with your protagonist facing a problem and uncertain how to solve it. In book two, your protagonist must learn something from book one and grow more confident or stronger, but not steady in her new role yet. Book three should show your protagonist taking control and ready for the change/battle/romance/whatever the problem was in book one. Show your reader the character’s mindset in the beginning, middle, and end. At each point, there should be some growth and the series should end with the character changed for the better. Don’t make your character’s growth too fast. She should change gradually over the entire series. 

Is there a character in a book or series you’ve recently read that you feel had a great character growth? 

Great question & fabulous advice! Readers - any answer for Brenda?

Other Books In The Series

GOODREADS

Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother's animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. With kids of all ages populating Brenda's world, it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical for both younger readers and the young at heart. And because she married her prince charming, there's always a romance warming the pages. Her favorite books are The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Kings Row by Henry Bellamann, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. When she's not writing, she hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. In her free time, Brenda enjoys hanging out with her family, haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or just reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).


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23 comments:

  1. Congrats to Brenda on her new book. I love how she describes what each book in a trilogy must do. I'm still on book 1 in mine, but hopefully her advice will help me when I tackle the other two books in the series.

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    1. I'm really glad she did that, too. I'm almost finished book II of my MG, and I keep telling myself to let the story write itself. But there's this need to plan and map things out, you know?

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  2. I usually have too many ideas for different books, not a single one.

    Congrats to Brenda.

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  3. Congratulations, Brenda!
    Too many ideas? I'm happy to just have one.

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    1. I know this will sound strange, but I wish that applied to me. I have a mind-mapping brain, where it doesn't know when to stop. It can be great, sometimes, but I can get overloaded, too. Like now.

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  4. When it comes to middle-grade, fantasy-adventure is my favorite. It's just so much fun.

    Congratulations, Brenda!

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  5. The endless possibilities can be overwhelming, but I promise them that I can use the ideas in another story. :)

    Congrats to Brenda!

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    1. Yeah, that's what I do. I have too many 'idea' or 'scene' files. LOL

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  6. I definitely had too many ideas for my first story. Being a newbie, I had no idea how many stories were necessary for a full length book, so I made sure to have a whole pile of them before I started. I didn't throw any of them away until I had the plot down tight, and I threw away all the ones that didn't contribute directly to that plot.

    But throwing them out wasn't fun. Sniff.

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    1. I tend to be an over-thinker. That's the problem I'm running into with finishing up book II of my middle grade series, and will probably be the reason there will be a book III. O_o But I never throw anything away. It might come in handy in the future, even if its only purpose is to inspire me to write something new. :) Thank you so much for stopping by. I really appreciate it!

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  7. The next two MG books from DLP are both fantasy - and with a historical aspect, which is a big bonus.

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    1. Ooh, with a historical aspect...sounds intriguing!

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  8. fantasy is awesome! and mg is my favorite writing level, i don't like getting too mushy or gorey...
    happy february!

    Tara Tyler Talks

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    Replies
    1. I know, right! I love writing middle grade. Let's me be more of a kid and explore all those questions I had back then.

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  9. I love it when the subconscious whips up a twist that wows you! Oh, I do know how all those ideas can fight for attention. I go with what flows naturally from scene to scene, and many times that isn't what I was thinking of doing!

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  10. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    I love Brenda's covers. SOOO much! Congrats on the end of the series.

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  11. Congratulations. Great tips and insight to building a trilogy. Enjoyed reading.

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  12. Sheri, I'm with you--so many possibilities. That's why I have a file of 50+ ideas waiting to be written.

    Brenda! The book sounds fabulous. Goodness, you're a long ways from those early days of Pitch Wars. Way to keep on keepin!

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  13. Congratulations, Brenda. Thanks for the advice on writing a series. I've never written one, but who knows? The covers tell the story too. That's neat.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Beverly! Yeah, Brenda's covers are so telling and beautiful.

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  14. The one thing I never lack is ideas for stories. I can come up with those in a second. Fleshing them out into full-fledged stories is a whole other thing.

    Congrats to Brenda :)

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  15. Hi Sheri and Brenda - so interesting to read Brenda's approach to her trilogy series ... and good luck with all your ideas. I probably have way too many too - but I'm not writing a book. Interesting about the covers too - the whole bringing the series together ... clever. Cheers Hilary

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