Friday, October 29, 2010

Genre Waffles with a side doubt

It's a genre universe in term of what agents to submit to and how a publisher will market your book so all the research says- know your genre! Before submitting to agents

So my worry about Tx3 comes from the fact that it is not a typical fantasy, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance. It is a mosaic novel following a town and therefore while the witches are the main catalysts for everything that happens they have less screen time then the main characters of the typical fantasy/paranormal.

I have been waffling on genre and it's giving me fits because I need to target the right agents! I did find this blog post immensely helpful Thank you! I have narrowed my genre down to paranormal or fantasy but I'm really leaning toward paranormal because fantasy implies a secondary world. So I'm 90% sure I'll go with paranormal.

There is appalling LACK of magic in Tx3 which gives me pause as well. I mean I think I've barely squeaked out of the realm of magical realism. The witch's use magic hardly at all! And then it's either off screen or for some very mundane purpose. I have a scene where Brulee- the eternal optimist finally breaks down and cries in the bathroom of the tea shop and she uses a spell to get rid of her puffy red eyes before going out to talk to Anglaise. And that's it! That's about as good as the magic gets...

There is a third (dark horse) genre I could call Tx3 is contemporary fantasy since it takes place in the relatively real world of a made up town in Maine. There are no unicorns prancing about the town square and no other magical beings other than witches. I VOWED early on not to put in anything else, so despite my deep love for vampires this is not their book (I have Ambriel for that). However type contemporary fantasy into the Amazon search and a potpourri of non-fiction, horror, paranormal romance, and Spectrum illustration volumes pop up. So how much of a true genre can it be?

So when it's ready I guess it's off to the fantasy and paranormal agents.

Fingers crossed.

Tea Times Three the comic book!

Well, as I have talked about for ages Tx3 began as a comic book! I thought maybe a few of my followers out there would like to see the script I based the first couple chapters of the book on.

A lot changed from script to prose but I still open with Geoffry. That MAY be changed in the final draft because I worry that Geoffry isn't the strongest opener. I'm also going to need to go back and add scenes to the novel showing Geoffry's change of attitude toward the witches. He begins suspicious of them but then comes to be very sympathetic toward them as struggling business owners. But Geoffry disappears in the middle of the book... I'm also not sure HOW to show this. But I do have the advantage of having written Tx3 in a strict scene format- and each scene in each chapter is numbered, so going back and adding discreet scenes will be easy.

Tea Times Three
By Ché Gilson

Page 0 – Chapter 1 title page art

Chapter 1

Page 1

Panel 1: Early morning exterior of an idyllic British village.

Panel 2: The only people about are the greengrocer who is unlocking the front door of his shop.

Panel 3: A small truck/van pulls up. The greengrocer waves.

Page 2

Panel 1: A young boy hops out the back of the van. He has a stack of newspapers which he sets on the sidewalk.

Boy: Morning Mr. Callister!

Callister: Morning Jake.

Panel 2: Callister goes over to pick up the newspapers. Jake chats.

Jake: So, who’s re-opening the teashop?

Callister: The teashop? No one is.

Panel 3: Jake points across the street to a quaint teashop – windows papered over. Under the windows are flower boxes with blooming flowers planted in them, over the windows are striped awnings. A sign in the window says: Opening Soon.

Panel 4: Callister looks very surprised and scratches his head.

Callister: That wasn’t there yesterday!

Jake: Teashops don’t just sprout up overnight.

Panel 5: Callister frowns at Jake.

Callister: Not the teashop! The opening soon, and the paper on the windows …
Page 3

Panel 1: Jake climbs back into the news van. Callister still stares at the teashop across the street.

Jake: New owners must’ve done that in the night.

Callister: Yeah. I suppose …

Weird though. No one’s touched the shop since Mrs. Sheeply died two years ago.

Panel 2: The van starts to leave. Jake hollers from the back as he closes one of the doors in the back.

Jake: It’s a right mystery then!

See you tomorrow!

Panel 3: Callister is alone on the street. He looks around to make sure no one is about.

Panel 4: He crosses the street to the tea shop.

Panel 5: He tries the door which doesn’t budge.

Callister: Locked …

Page 4

Panel 1: The town is abuzz with rumors about the teashop and most everyone is gossiping about it in the grocery store. Mr. Callister is behind the register pleased to be the center of attention. Various townsfolk buy small items as an excuse to talk in line and to Mr. Callister. A pretty 20-something girl named Matilda is buying a pack of gum.

Matilda: Rumor has it you noticed the teashop is reopening.

A sign points to Mr. Callister: He spread the rumor.

Callister: Yeah, it was the strangest thing. I was opening up this morning and noticed the “Opening Soon” sign.

Panel 2: A younger handsome man behind Matilda cuts in on the conversation.

Man: I hope it’s a Coffeebuck’s coffee Shop. They make a great Mocha Frappacino.

Panel 3: An old lady behind him smacks him with her purse.

Old Lady: Bite your tongue Hugh! Major Corporations are destroying small town business.

Hugh: Ow!

Panel 4: Callister chimes in.

Callister: I think the sign would say if it was a Coffeebuck’s.

Matilda: He’s right. I heard it’s a retired millionaire from the city.

Panel 5: Hugh looks dubious.

Hugh: Where’d you get that?

Panel 6: Matilda looks very knowing.

Matilda: Mrs. Owens.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What I think about when I write

Nothing. I've been poking about the blogs and some how to write books lately and there is a whole list of thing which apparently should be taken into account when writing.

Things like:

Mid-point reversals
Inciting incidents
Deepening a stories resonance
Back story
Plot Points
Poetic prose
Building suspense

OK, that is a pretty long list of everything that all the blogs and how-to books tell you to consider before tarting your manuscript and probably while you write as well.

If I did that I'd go insane.

You know what I DO think about while I'm writing?

The start of the next sentence, the right words to begin the next paragraph o every paragraph doesn't begin with someones name. I actually worry that a lot! Sometimes I try and make the clever prose, mostly I just want the reader to be able to understand and follow what is taking place. I think about getting to the next scene, transitions, and WHAT THE HELL HAPPENS NEXT?? Because I don't know! Putting words on paper is may main goal. Making them make sense is cake and if they are intersting that is frosting.

I write back story a I go, same with motivation. Voice will hopefully sort itself out. Themes will emerge organically. Foreshadowing is added subconsciously, the rest of it. Hell if I know. Things seems to work out for the most part. What can I say.

I begin a story with an idea and at least one character and the rest just goes along.

Just yesterday I reached a point in Tea Times Three where Reverend Austin is protesting the tea shop and the witches are baking cookies. The cookie smell comes out to the sidewalk and all the protesters stop to smell the awesome cookie smell and Reverend Austin recalls his mother baking for him when the other kids would pick on him. Then in the next paragraph I write that his mother died in a diabetic coma. Did I know this before hand? No. I didn't know it until I wrote it.

I'm also not a poetic writer. I don't use words beautifully or craft polished gems of metaphors and similes. I don't devote myself to the short punchy sentences all in vogue right now. My sentences are as long as they need to be. Sometimes short, sometimes long. I do not fear the word AND or the comma (although I frequently misplace them). I don't try hard to be clever or sarcastic. I try to give my characters human reactions to events. If they are in pain they scream, if they think something is funny they laugh or smile.

Quite possibly I how more than tell. Quite possibly I have a good balance of both.

What I strive for is not artfulness but clarity and readability. Fun and adventure not poetry.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Technical help!

No, I'm not kidding. I do thi LJ too!

I was trying to add a link list to my blog (here) and managed to put one link up to a story on the now defunct Drops of Crimson. BUT I can't seem to add more links. What am I doing wrong?

Oh! And stay tuned for a Contest Reboot! With all thanks going to Emily Cross Chronicles for the suggetions

Prize remains the same but consider old contest DEFUNCT! Sorry! I will reboot soon! Mostly I will just copy and paste her very helpful comment! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Aging up and aging down.

The story behind how Tea Times Three became a novel for adults is a relatively short one. I came up with it first as a comic book. A way to indulge my food fetishes and get published in the bargain. An artist never came through and at this time I was getting tired of comics anyway. The ceaseless and painful slog of trying to find an artist and get published was like crawling through broken glass.

Finally I began pondering the idea of turning some of my languishing comic/manga ideas into books. (Which my mother had been telling me to do for a couple years but who listens to their mother?) The problem with Tea Times Three was that it had young YA age protagonists but alo followed the residents of a town who ran the gamut from other teenagers to senior citizens. And what teenager gives a crap about a 72 year old retired school teacher trying to take care of her younger sister who has severe rheumatoid arthritis? It all clicked when my friend Sunny aid age them up.

Then I had a novel! I started writing in April and have 340 handwritten pages. I'm closing in the climax and my word count goal of 65000+.

But now I'm pondering another comic book idea I have called (temporarily) Ex Libris about a group of war orphans who are raised in a magical library. That one also features a group of teenage protagonists.

Let me pause to explain why everyone in my books are teenage girls. I love shoujo manga- that's girl's comics in Japan. They are overwhelmingly about teen girls, romance, (sweet often very vanilla romance which I like) and high school. Some are more fantasy based with vampires, fantasy world settings, or just a few paranormal elements. BUT I like these books because they are the comics that were NEVER made for me in America. AND they are a large market share of the U.S. graphic novel market because they are comics made for girls. So shoujo is everything I love- strong female leads and art.

I love YA fiction- which is odd because as a teen I never read it. That aside though I did at one time have a gaol to write MG and YA fiction after I had to drop out of art school because my arm hurt too much to do the work. So in a lot of ways I'm trying to get BACK to an early goal, but I also really want to write novels for adults too- mostly fantasy since that is what I love to read.

Now- back to Ex Libris. I've been thinking about reviving it as a book. But I've also been thinking about aging it DOWN to middle grade. A reversal of what I did for T3. There was a romance- a sort of love triangle going that would work well in a shoujo manga but is done to death in YA. Remove the romance and teen girls wouldn't like it as much. So the alternative is focus on the action and adventure, have the tiny inkling of romance, and age everyone down to 12/13 year olds.

I'll let you know if anything comes of this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chapter titles- To name or not to name. It's not a question

So as I have been working away on Tea Times Three I decided from chapter one to name my chapters. An unusual move for an adult book. The naming of chapters dies out around YA or earlier, same with illustrations. I even came across a post on AW in a thread about naming chapters in novels that called chapter titles cliche! I think this is a little harsh.

I am an adult and I like chapter titles. It gives you a sort of overview of the book without giving away the story and I like that. I will also go one step further and say I like illustrations! I think I have an idea why these two things fade out by the time you get to novels.

Chapter titles in middle grade fiction tell you about the chapter to come and keep the reader keep reading, especially if the chapter titles are punny, or particularly interesting. Pictures of course help the young reader visualize the action.

By the time we are all grown up we don't need these things anymore. Chapters only break a book into sections and o no more thought than a number need be put into them. And illustrations are for kids.

But you know what? As an artist I LIKE pictures. I can visualize the action just fine but darn it- I like art. And I like the author willing to title chapters to give us that little tease of what's to come. I like the effort. I like a table contents too so I can see all the chapter titles and refer back to it to see where the book is going.

These things add an element of fun which seems so often absent in adult fiction, because we are all trying to be oh-so-serious novelists.

I thought I'd post all the chapter titles of Tea Times Three that I have thought of so far. Some may be changed but they are OK for now.

Chapter 1- Opening Soon

Chapter 2- Grand Opening

Chapter 3- Phone Tag

Chapter 4- Now Open

Chapter 5- Sunday

Chapter 6- Free Samples

Chapter 7- First Customer

Chapter 8- Around Back

Chapter 9- Plans

Chapter 10- (unnamed so far)

Contest updates! There aren't any! Maybe I didn't explain it very well in the first two posts so here is a further attempt to explain the contest. Apologies for the confusion! I think I have too few followers for this to have actually worked anyway. Serves me right for trying to build a platform without a book, or fans, or an audience, or friends...


1- In order to win you must be a follower of my blog.

2- You must get your friends to sign up to follow my blog and they should post a comment saying "PERSON sent me to your blog" The person who gets the most friends to sign up to follow my blog wins!

I hope this helps.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Be kind to your readers.

At a recent event, a group signing by a lot of authors, there were a couple of things that I found very disappointing.

One of the authors, a YA author I was very keen to meet wasn't at her table. There were a couple books sitting in front of an empty chair. This also happened with another of the authors there. Then, when I spotted the YA author (not at her table) signing a book in the small crowd I got up the nerve to go talk to her. I thought a good opener would be to say "I saw your book on Amazon and it looks interesting." To which she said something along the lines of "Thank you, I hope it sells so I can write more." And then she ran off. I stood there and then moved on to talk to other authors who had the time to speak to me.

I understand that authors are only human, maybe she just wanted to hang out with her friends the whole time. Whatever. But it helps to engage the public! In a friendly way. I felt that not only did he not care to take the time to discuss her book with her, but that she didn't want to be talking to me at all. Now she smiled the entire sentence he spoke to me but it was still off putting. Obviously I wasn't important enough to speak with at length.

I have to say as interested in her book as I was I'm not interested anymore.

On the other side of the table- when you are the important published author it can be hard to remember that for some people- meeting you will be the highlight of their day. Or month! A little kindness, a little regard, can go a long way in cementing the trust your readers and turning readers into fans. Even if you don't remember everyone you talk to at a signing or convention or conference- rest assured THEY will remember YOU. Because you are one of the people they left the house to go see.

Needless to say I won't be buying that particular book. And maybe that sounds petty but that iss 90% how the world works. If you leave a bad impression on potential buyers they won't buy the book.

So please, dear authors- be kind to the humble supplicant's and wannabes that show up to the events you attend. Their money is as green as anyone else's.

And for the love of God it behind your table. I don't what the hell you look like. Although now that I think about it, the fact that she wasn't behind her table says something about how seriously she was taking the event in the first place.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why does everyone hate literature all of a sudden??

Please see this post on YA Highway or you won't get the full effect of my diatribe :)

This post sums up so much of what is wrong with America and books, and the perception of intelligence in the United States that I want to fucking hit someone.

There is an assumption that EVERYTHING smacking of intelligence is elitist and irrelevant. There is an assumption that teenagers can't/won't/and don't appreciate anything not involving tons of ex, drugs, and pop culture references. That some how we should expect LESS from today's teens, because as the post says they ALL have ADD and ADHD and therefore we shouldn't expect them to like anything.

Therefore I posit that all book for the YA audience should be composed solely of the following words so teenagers will actually read something.

The list of approved vocabulary: Boobs, cock, fuck, shit, Paris Hilton, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, sex, orgasm, R. Kelly, tits, oral sex (although this is two words and the kids may lose interest after the first word), zombies, vampire, money, poop, piss, hell, bitch, Nintendo, billionaire, PS3 and luxury car (again two words and that may be expecting too much from their little chestnut brains).

These words can be strung together in any order for the space of 280 pages. Any longer than that and the target teens will lose interest. Plot not required. Extra words like the, it, is, were, to, too, and, that are optional- just be sure not to bog down your manuscript. We want the kids to read something- anything.

I also find that post hypocritical. If one reads anything about the how-to of writing for teens everyone says "Don't talk down to your audience". But isn't this the assumption being made? That literature is irrelevant. Intelligence is passe. And no proper teen would or ever could sit through To Kill a Mockingbird? Or worse yet ENJOY the book. Some where out there MUST be teenagers reading a book written before 2009 and enjoying it.

For the record this is my reply to the post itself on YA Highway. I am the sole voice of dissent as well, which seems to be my chronic state.
Either I am a freak of nature or this post is rather insulting.
I will admit to being old now (36) but when I was a teen I #1)didn't read YA and #2) voluntarily, on my own read Beowulf after reading a small section in class.
I LIKED the Scarlet Letter and infact enjoyed a lot of what we read in English class including Pygmalion and Shakespeare. In college I read Jane Eyre of my own volition and loved it.
I also have to disagree with your analysis of the opening of To Kill A Mockingbird it states that Jem is the narrator's brother.
I actually had a 'wait hold up' moment during the opening of Neil Gaiman's book. What is the hand in the darkness attached to?
Perhaps you meant this post facetiously in which case sorry for coming down on it.
I'm just so tired of really good literature taking a beating when these books ARE SO WORTHWHILE. They have stood the test of time and till offer worthy and valid perspectives even in this modern age. NONE of that can be aid of either of the two contemporary books you quote and portray as being so much more relevant.
Perhaps in 100 years we will see if anyone is still reading Neil Gaiman or 'It's Kind of a Funny Story'.

To avoid embarrassing myself even more I fixed the spelling in my posted reply to the blog here because I could! For the best hilarity read it on YA Highway as I argue for intelligence and spell horrifically! The irony is not lost...

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I would like to add to the below that to win the prize you must ALSO FOLLOW MY BLOG- so if you aren't a follower join and then send me more minions! THEN I will tally up who sent me the most followers on Oct 23 and announce the winner!

AND NO PORN. I'm not gonna draw your character doing anything nasty because I don't feel like it. And because I am only offering to draw a single character.

The contest!Bring me followers! For the next few weeks if you- my followers can get your friends to follow my blog I will draw a character from your book/WIP (or fan art if you choose) and send you a print of the original work!!! How it works- Have you friend follow my blog and have them post a comment saying 'So and So sent me over to follow you' or some such comment. The person who sends me the most followers wins!Contest ends October 23. Ok?Your character will look like anime though! That is the only 'catch' here is a link to my Deviant Art Gallery so you can see what your character will potentially look like me followers!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010


I want to see if this will work!!

First of all a titanic thank you to my now 12 followers :D Not bad for having just started up! (Apparently the key is to post about things I hate LOL!)

But I would like to increase the number of followers I have in the event of finishing my novel and getting an agent and publisher.

So! To build my platform and look good online I am having a CONTEST!

The contest!

Bring me followers! For the next few weeks if you- my followers can get your friends to follow my blog I will draw a character from your book/WIP (or fan art if you choose) and send you a print of the original work!!!

How it works- Have you friend follow my blog and have them post a comment saying 'So and So sent me over to follow you' or some such comment. The person who sends me the most followers wins!

Contest ends October 23. Ok?

Your character will look like anime though! That is the only 'catch' here is a link to my Deviant Art Gallery so you can see what your character will potentially look like

Send me followers!!!