A Writer’s How-To: Memorable Settings

I find the easiest way to create a memorable setting is to make it unique. If your story is set in the mountains, give the mountains a cool name with some weird creatures living in it. If the story is set in space, make the spaceship feel like home and add some quirks to it. (After all, we all have that ONE FREAKING FLOORBOARD that creeks like some horror story bad guy is coming to kill you in the middle of the night.) If your story is a romance, make the setting cozy by adding in something that means the world to the main character or something that brings up some unfinished memories.

If you give the setting something specific, something unique to itself, some defining character, readers will remember it better. (It’s the same with making memorable characters!)

Three of my favorite settings are, in no particular order: Hogwarts, because of the ghosts and the moving staircase and trick doors; Serenity, because even though it fell apart ALL THE TIME it became a home and sanctuary to the crew; the Arenas in the first and second Hunger Games books, because it seriously messed with the tributes in unique and challenging ways.

Why do I like them most? They all offered something unexpected and added dimensions to the story, as well as pushed the story along. Doing so with your settings will help your readers remember them!

Readers: what are your favorite settings and why?
Writers: what are some ways you make your settings believable?

Happy Friday, and until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Book Giveaway Announcement!

Hello fellow nerds!

Would you like to win a free book? (Of course, you would. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to win a free book? Crazy people, that’s who. Are you crazy? I think not.) Well, my non-crazy fellow nerds, you’re in luck!

I’m hosting a six-book giveaway of Losing Hold over on my author Facebook page! I’m going to sign them, too, so you get to see my pretty scrawl. How do you enter? Simply Like and Comment on this pinned post about who your favorite scifi protagonist is! I did something similar with Finding Hekate and folks really loved it, so I’m hoping my readers like this opportunity, too!

Here are the official specs.

Rules/Eligibility Requirements:
– To Enter: Like and Comment about who your favorite scifi protagonist is
– Giveaway starts on May 16th and ends on May 30th, midnight PST
– US participants only, no international fans (sorry!)
– Adults only (18+)
– SIX winners will be randomly drawn from the entries and announced on May 31st
– No purchase necessary, but feel free to share if you’d like!

About The Book You Could Win:

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In this sequel to Finding Hekate and after escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia Foley and her crew crash on a prison planet and need to deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind once again and knows the transformation into one of his drones isn’t far off. Trapped in her own body, lashing against Donavin each chance she gets, and fearful that she’ll lose it all, Mia has to rely on her crew—on Cassidy—to save her. But she’s not the only one transforming in her little group, and things never go as smoothly as they could out in the black.

So go like and comment today! It’s super easy, and you could win a free book!

I hope you have a lovely Saturday.
Until next time,
Kellie

Join Me For #SciFiCircle!

Hello fellow nerds,

I’ve been wanting to do a Twitter hashtag game for a while now, ever since I found out that it was a thing last year. It’s such a cool idea, bringing fellow creatives together to celebrate something (writing, fandoms, events, etc.) so I decided to start one too!

In honor of my book Losing Hold coming out in April, I’m hosting a #SciFiCircle hashtag game on Twitter, starting tomorrow and going through the entire month!

There will be one question per day, posted from my Twitter account @Kellie_Doherty between 9–10am PST. Folks who want to join in can answer the questions (using the hashtag) and hopefully connect with other science fiction lovers. I’ll be answering the questions, too!

Here’s a little preview of the questions:
What’s your favorite classic science fiction book?
What’s your favorite recent scifi book?
Who’s your favorite scifi character?
Who’s your favorite scifi villain?

I’m excited to start this game and I look forward to connecting with other scifi lovers!

If you’re on Twitter and you enjoy science fiction, you should join in!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Losing Hold Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone! I’ll be hosting a live Facebook Event this Friday to reveal the cover of Losing Hold! I’m pretty psyched about the artwork—spoiler alert: it’s gorgeous—and in order to celebrate I decided to do something a little different and try a live Facebook Event!

What does that mean?
Well, Friday between 7-8pm (PST) I’ll be on my Facebook Event page posting things like what Losing Hold is about and the inspiration for the story, hosting a Q&A session with giveaways (that’s right, free stuff!), and of course, revealing the cover! Basically it’ll be a chance to ask me some questions and be entered to win one of the four giveaways prizes! Speaking of…

What are the Giveaway Prizes?
I’m going to give away two signed copies of Finding Hekate and two 30-page edits from Edit Revise Perfect. I’ll be picking four participants from Q&A at random to win the prizes, so be sure to ask a question to enter!

Here are the specifics one more time!
Friday, February 24th
7-8pm (PST)
On this Cover Reveal Facebook Event Page (be sure to select “Going” to get the notifications!)

I hope to see you there! *waves*
Warm regards,
Kellie

Writing Diagrams

Today I have decided to write about writing diagrams. Now, usually, I write these posts at least a few days in advance but, as this week has been a bit hectic, please forgive my spur-of-the-moment idiosyncrasies. There will be, however, pictures interesting to look at (if you like looking at picture examples is, in fact, interesting, of course) so I hope they make up for my (probably) crazy ramblings.

At a very young age I discovered the plot diagrams. I was searching the web for some interesting games to play and found this website – http://www.fictionpress.net. It was a marvelous discovery which allowed me to write and “publish” anything I wanted, create stories and spread my wings as a young writer. The users of the said website spoke very highly of a shape called the Plot Diagram (which I aptly named “The Hat Diagram” after I saw its basic shape) so I looked it up. Lo and behold this popped up:

It was pretty exciting for me because I’d never seen anything like it. So I used it, obsessively. Every story had to have an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution in exactly that order, regardless of what type of story it was. And, quite frankly, my writing became a tad bit boring because
of it. I had neglected to factor in the unique qualities of individual stories. Not every story has an exposition, sometimes the reader must be thrown into the action and the exposition comes later on, sometimes the reader sees the resolution first and then gets to piece together how it happened, and sometimes there is no climax at all, leaving the reader excited but forced to come up with their own twist. All in all, every story is different, heck, each genre is different. So the Hat Diagram, while useful, doesn’t help in every situation.

Back in my college years (only last year, mind you), I encountered another diagram. This one, or so the professor assured me, would be an important facet in writing short stories. I drew the diagram out and attempted to put it to good use. It was named the Inverted Check-Mark:

This diagram, said the professor, would help those rambling writers rein in their resolution which would, in turn, tighten up their short story. Yet, note how skewed this diagram is – the rising action takes up almost entirely the whole plot, hit the turning point, and poof as a writer and reader you’re pretty much done. It seemed odd to me at the time, but I gave my professor the benefit of the doubt and tried it. And again it helped for a while. But only a while. I, again, got stuck, a helpless turtle on its back unable to do anything except the same rocking motions back and forth, back and forth. I soon realized that short stories, like longer works, can start wherever the writer deems necessary, at the turning point, resolution, or even mid-rising action.

There are a dozen different devices aimed at helping writers develop their plots and, for the most part, I applaud them. They do help. If you ever get stuck, try one out and see what happens.

However, a caution to this tale of mine: In order to be unique one must break away from the usual and try something, well, unusual. Remember that. Don’t depend on diagrams. Don’t depend on anything except your ability to write and your creative muse.

(Except, of course, when your muse disappears, then write questionable stuff for a while until it returns… but that’ll be a different post.)

To sum it up: Diagrams are good. Don’t use them every time or you’ll end up like a turtle. Create something new.

I hope this helps someone out out there…

Warm regards,
Kellie