IWSG 36: Caves Around British Columbia

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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What is the weirdest/coolest thing I ever had to research for a story?

My answer: The caves in BC.

I did quite a bit of research for a little piece called: Mirrors of Ash.

The world building:

There wasn’t too much world building. The majority of the setting was either underground or following a road that leaves my hometown and loops back after several miles. I took the liberty of creating a mountainside called Swallow’s Cliff that could be seen from that loopy road.

Underground:

I’ve never been underground. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve been in a basement, the SkyTrain when it traveled into downtown Vancouver, the lower floors of a store or mall. But I’d never gone into a mine, or followed a cave into a mountain.

Luna Farris, my hero, not only goes deep underground, she goes back to her old childhood playground–the caves of Swallow’s Cliff. However this round she goes deeper than ever before to face a family nemisis.

Since I’ve never felt the need or curiosity to do this, I had some research to do. I found YouTube posts on the local caves around my neck of the woods. I’d watch one in the dark to get into the right state of mind.

Skaha Caves/Fissure in Pentiction.

Cody Caves Provincial Park

Not for me

I actually felt claustrophobic as my character worked her way through the gaps; and not being as thin as she was, I knew I wasn’t as physically fit either.

Luna used earbuds and listened to music as she move within mountain but I listened sounds of a cave. It bumped up my imagination as Luna squeezed into places that I wouldn’t dare go.

Sounds of a Cave

Other tidbits of research

  • I looked up some detail about shotguns
  • That the name Faris meant Knight (I was torn between Faris and St George.)
  • Swallow banks (Just because they looked cool and I wanted labyrinth of sorts that my hero needed to work through to find her prey.

FYI:

Still like listening to the sounds of caves as I work. It helps me focus on the story and not be distracted by all the going-ons within the house. Lucky discovery that.

Checking out all the posts

I’m looking forward to the other posts this month. So curious on what all of you discovered. No doubt, I’ll be taking notes are more than one subject. Thanks in advance.

The Mystery Genre and Why I Love It

This is the one I like to read and write. Adult or kid stories—its all the same to me.

The mystery is fiction where a crime must be solved.

It started with Edgar Allen Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Author Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Series and Agatha Christie’s sleuths—Poirot and Marple.

Some subgenres are: the cozy, whodunit, comic, forensic, police procedural, locked room, historical and private detective. These are but a few of them.

Depending on the sub-genre there usually is a small cast of suspects and each suspect has a creditable motive, means and opportunity to commit the crime. The trick is to figure out who did it and why before the hero does.

One of the things I love about writing mysteries is they can pretty much merge with any other genre. I’ve done fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, romance, contemporary for adult and middle grade and it all works. Think the Harry Potter series for example, most of them ended with a grand reveal of who was behind everything.

Some readers believe it is about the puzzle and the puzzle is a huge part of it. But it also reflects the writer’s need for justice and to right a wrong.

Do you have a favorite mystery?

Gleaned from:

The Thriller Genre and Why I Love It

The thriller is known for provoking suspense, excitement, surprise and anticipation and anxiety (this not so much). The villain driven plot that drives the hero forward often jeopardizing their sanity and their life.

I do love the feeling of excitement as the story unfolds. But I’m not a thrill seeker in my day to day living. I love thrillers so I can have the rush without jeopardizing anything.

Here the underdog takes on saving the world while sip cocoa and enjoying as they succeed against impossible odds. After the story is over, I’ll bask in hope. For if an underdog can succeed, I surely can too.

No wonder I love them so.

In the movie industry, Hitchcock was one of the best. I still remember watching The Rear Window, Vertigo and Strangers on a Train. I could barely breath never mind look away.

The Firm, and The Client, by John Grisham. He reeled me in like a silly old fish on a line and couldn’t get free to save my life. Truth be told, I didn’t try that hard to get away.

What about you, do you have a favorite thriller?

Gleaned from:

The Horror Genre and Why I Love It

Horror covers all fiction that is designed to startle, frighten, and/or disgust (I don’t care for that one) the reader, provoking terror and creating an eerie atmosphere.

It began with Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley and we still read them today. Heck, we even make movies about their monsters.

I don’t write horror. But when I’m looking for horror, I’m looking for exactly that feeling. The feeling of eeriness that carries on long after the story is done.

What scares me most:

Insane people acting normal. My first taste of that was a movie called The Eyes of Laura Mars. I jumped at every unexpected sound for weeks.

Evil entities: I think the first time I was really, really scared was when I read ‘Salem’s Lot. I stayed up to all hours and was convince that reading one more chapter would calm me down. It didn’t happen. Night had a new meaning to me for quite a while.

“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”

Stephen King

I watched the American Werewolf in London. I was at a drive-in (remember them) and ran all the way to the bathroom and back. When I was heading back to the car the scene with the man being chased in the underground was playing. I couldn’t move my behind fast enough.

I love to be scared, but after years of watching and reading horror it takes a heck of a lot to scare me.

What scares you?

Gleaned from:

Guest Post: Editing for Children by Stephanie Faris

I’ve always known that writing for children was a lot harder than writing for adults. The author has to get it just right or their young minds wander and then they are done.

Today I have a children’s author willing to share the secrets of her editing process. pull up a chair and welcome Stephanie Farris.

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I feel like I’ve been edited in almost every genre imaginable. I started my career as an aspiring romance novelist and although I was never published, I had plenty of revision requests to teach me what romance editing was like. I also wrote for confessions magazines like True Story and went through multiple drafts, although those edits were mostly self-inflicted!

As a professional freelance writer, I deal with daily edits on the nonfiction pieces I write. In fact, I spent part of today editing an article on business marketing. At its very foundation, editing is editing is editing. However, children’s writing can be different from any other type of writing you’ll ever do, and the editing process is definitely different!

Editing for Voice

Voice is critical when writing for children. My chapter books have a completely different tone and sentence structure than my middle grade novels. Not only do my editors have to look for typos and grammatical errors, but they have to make sure I’m capturing the voice for the age group with every sentence I write. When we decided to age Piper up to seven from her Junie B. Jones-inspired age of FIVE, that meant a great deal of rewriting. But once we got the voice down for the first book, I could carry it forward to the books that followed.

Editing for Age Appropriateness

If you write for anyone under the age of sixteen or so, you always have to keep in mind that you’re writing for impressionable young people. This is especially true of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade fiction. Even with my middle grade books, I find some parents get upset if the characters have crushes or (God forbid!) kiss. Since the books are recommended for children between the ages of nine and thirteen or so, my editor keeps those things in mind, as well. Some of my edits have simply been to keep the books age appropriate.

Editing for Continuity

Piper Morgan is a series, and sometimes months pass between writing the next book. That means I need to go back and refresh my memory every time! Fortunately, if I miss something, my editor is always there to catch it, like a fairy godmother. But I suspect this type of editing isn’t limited to children’s writing. It’s something you take on if you decide to do a series.

Children’s fiction is challenging and fun, whether you’re plotting, writing, or revising your latest manuscript. I’ve been very lucky to have extremely talented editors who catch things I miss during the revision process. Without them, I can honestly say my books wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are!

 

 

Piper Morgan Makes a Splash

By Stephanie Faris

 
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About the Book:

Piper Morgan tries her hand at acting in the fourth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.

Piper’s mom is helping out at a local pool shop, and the owner wants to shoot a commercial for his store. Piper thinks it’s the PERFECT opportunity to get in front of the camera and experience a little bit of showbiz. But will Piper’s contribution to the TV commercial make a splash—or will it go belly-up?

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

About Stephanie:

 

Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. An accomplished freelance writer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Pacific Standard, Mental Floss, and The Week, among many others.

Contact Links:

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