Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Cheat’s Guide to the world of Forsaken

Today, I have my writerly friend and fellow author, Connie Ann Michael, on my blog to talk about her latest book from Anaiah Press, FORSAKEN. If you like action-packed YA with awesome (but relatable) characters, you'll love Forsaken.

And now, Connie is sharing with us...
A Cheat’s Guide to the world of Forsaken:
When I begin a new story I first start by creating a notebook of ideas and scenes. I constantly get ideas for things that will happen in the book but I am not sure where they will go, so I write them in the notebook to use later. I get my best ideas during my commute and use to scribble on napkins, so the notebooks are a step up. I also write down songs that inspire me, newspaper articles and photos, any research I might need to do, as well as scripture verses. As I collect story parts I begin to create what I like to call my scope and sequence.
The book  
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
by Christopher Volger is a great book to use as a resource to build a story.
For the book Forsaken I began researching the oil spills in the United States, primarily the most recent in the Gulf of Mexico. I also began to read examples of how our culture has become caught up with materialism, individualism, and self-advancement. The destruction of values as well the environment are underlying themes through Forsaken. With the idea “the world must begin to listen because time is running out” stated again and again.
Next I begin building my character by what is called the Lost Child Report.
How old are they?
What’s their name?
Describe their appearance.
Anything that distinguishes them from others.
You get the idea.
In Forsaken the ‘hero’ of the story is Oli, and eighteen year old girl who for reasons we aren’t completely sure of, is one of the last light haired, light eyed people in the world.
Next I begin to build the world around her.
The story begins with the creation of an ordinary world. In a sense it’s the building of the backstory. Even though Oli’s world is one which has been destroyed by an illness brought on from the oils spills, it is a safe place for the group of young people living behind a barrier. Due to the fact Forsaken is dystopian, building this alternate world is very important.  The ordinary world is the jumping off point so the reader can see the growth in the characters as they move into a new world of peril and danger.
As I build the world where Oli and her best friend Coi live I introduce the problems pushing their comfort levels and causing their lives to take a turn. This becomes what is called the “Call to Action”. Oli must face a challenge and decide whether she will accept the challenge or turn away. Of course in order for the story to move forward she must embrace it and conquer it in one way or another. In Forsaken I have placed her best friend in the predicament of being infected with the illness and their need to leave the only home they’ve known before he is executed. Coi must be taken away for Oli to realize she can’t control their future, in turn it is her ‘Call to Action’.
The story structure I follow takes the reader on a journey with Oli, where she will meet a mentor to help guide her, while continuing to cross thresholds of challenges. Tests, allies, enemies…all come into play, which is easy in a world where Screamers roam in search of humans for dinner. Ordeals allow my character to grow, eventually leading her to an unexpected place where she will confront a great danger.
Now I can’t give it all away but you can see how the story builds as the hero grows and changes in order to take on the challenges needed to pull her through the story. Friends become enemies, promises get broken, and faith gets tested. I hope you enjoy the adventure of FORSAKEN.

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