Blood and Other Matter is LIVE!

Blood and Other Matter

Red Moon Rising

Derrick Hernandez and Tess D’Ovidio have been best friends forever. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for one another. But their childhood bond is put to the test when Tess shows up on Derrick’s porch covered in blood…

Tess has no memory of what happened. She’d gone to a bush party with one of the football players. She remembers the bonfire…and then, nothing. Working backward, Tess and Derrick learn that she and seven other players were the only ones to make it back from the party alive.

During the next few weeks, each of the survivors is plagued with nightmares that reveal fragments of memories from the horrific night. But when the young men start dying under mysterious circumstances, Derrick can’t figure out if Tess is next—or if she’s somehow responsible. All he knows is that he has to save his best friend—or die trying…

Blood and Other Matter is live now. Order it Today!, and check out a free sample here.

 

 

 

Blood and Other Matter is Available for Pre-Order!

Blood and Other Matter

Red Moon Rising

Derrick Hernandez and Tess D’Ovidio have been best friends forever. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for one another. But their childhood bond is put to the test when Tess shows up on Derrick’s porch covered in blood…

Tess has no memory of what happened. She’d gone to a bush party with one of the football players. She remembers the bonfire…and then, nothing. Working backward, Tess and Derrick learn that she and seven other players were the only ones to make it back from the party alive.

During the next few weeks, each of the survivors is plagued with nightmares that reveal fragments of memories from the horrific night. But when the young men start dying under mysterious circumstances, Derrick can’t figure out if Tess is next—or if she’s somehow responsible. All he knows is that he has to save his best friend—or die trying…

Blood and Other Matter releases on April 17th. Pre-Order today, and check out a free sample here.

 

 

 

The Performance Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editThis is a short and sweet genre that focuses around a big performance. A play, a big game, a race. The subgenres must be strong in this one, because that big event has to really matter to the character in order for the reader to interact with it. Rocky is a good example of a performance genre piece.

Next week, we will be moving out of external genres and into internal content genres, which focus more on what’s happening inside the character as opposed to the outside forces working within the plot. Can’t wait!

 

FAQ Friday: How will SPOILER impact Persephone in the long run.

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

Super spoilerific post for anyone who has not yet read Iron Queen. Fair warning…

A reader who just finished Iron Queen emailed the following. “This can’t be where Persephone’s story ends! The pantheon hinted that Zeus killing his parents might have been part of what drove Zeus crazy. Plus she’s a triple realm-ruler now, and she lost her mother, and Hades seemed to be a bit unhinged at the end. So what’s in store for her in the future? Are we ever going to see that?”

Short answer:

Yes.

Longer answer:

The sanity thing was just Athena speculating. Zeus was unhinged from birth. Something about his father attempting to kill him, his mother hiding him by tying him upside down to a tree for years, and spending his early years training him to kill his father. The whole slicing his dad open and rescuing his siblings thing only to find himself at once their savior and an outsider to their very tight inner circle, formed by years of being all they had in The Before was also fairly hard on his psyche.

As for the weight of ruling three realms, losing her mother? That gets explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy. Persephone’s adapting to her new role as queen of the Pantheon and her grief/trauma from everything that happens in Iron Queen. She gets a few POV chapters in Venus Rising to really emphasize that arc, but the Pantheon as a whole has to do a lot of adjusting throughout the trilogy. In the Persephone trilogy, the gods of the Pantheon were separate entities. They were used to working around each other, but they hadn’t truly worked with each other in centuries until the end of Iron Queen. Now they’re realizing they can’t just ignore each other until a big epic battle. That’s the very mentality that left them vulnerable to Zeus. There’s a lot of growing and adjusting that needs to happen.

As for Hades…this is lightly addressed in Aphrodite, and addressed more in depth here, but broad strokes, he’s not unhinged. He’s just mildly traumatized. He went through a lot in Iron Queen. Dealing with Zeus brought up a lot of horrible memories for pretty much everyone in the Pantheon. He also felt every second of Persephone’s torture, and he had to rip her arm off, and she’s waking up from nightmares where Zeus wore his face. That’s a lot to deal with even without the fact that he’s dealing with the fact that Zeus, Demeter, and Apollo are dead. They don’t think of each other as siblings, but that is millennia of history, good and bad. Then there’s the fact that he just kind of destroyed Zeus’s soul, and there’s some emotional baggage with that. And he also witnessed one of his worst fears (that his past will hurt the people he loves), come true for Poseidon.

It’s a lot. And I included that final scene to show that what happened with Zeus didn’t just happen to Persephone. She and Aphrodite weren’t his only victims, and they aren’t the only ones who need to come to terms with the events of Iron Queen. If Hades, the guy with millennia of experience getting over horrible things and a library full of self-help books, is rattled, you can bet every other god in the entire mythology is. And that will be explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy.

 

 

The Society Genre

The Story Grid, genre chart, #amwriting, #amediting

Society Genre stories tend to be idea stories, and there’s a lot of interplay between them and dystopian stories. They’re often used to present an argument for or against a political argument, they tend to be of the “let’s follow your logic to its conclusion” slippery-slope thought process.

These tend to focus on multiple POV’s to get a better look at how the issue impacts others, but that’s not a requirement. Some of the most famous examples only follow one character.

These absolutely require a sub-genra, so the specific beats are going to be dependent on which sub-genre you go with. The Handmaid’s Tale is absolutely an idea story and a society story and a woman vs. society story and a horror story and so on.

Some sub-genres within this sub-genre include, Domestic Society.  This focuses on the family dynamic. The core value tends to be the well being of the individual vs. the family unit. The core event tends to be a showdown where what’s good for one clashes with what’s good for all.

Women’s Society tends to concern the struggle of the individual woman versus the patriarchy. The core event of the story is the rebellion or submission of the female protagonist (think Handmaid’s Tale).

Political Society (I would argue all of these are to some degree political, especially women’s society) deals with the struggle for power. The core value is power vs. impotency, and the core event tends to be a revolution. This Les’ Mis, though that also falls squarely under…

Historical Society where any one of the above approaches is used but in a hind-sight being 20/20 kind of way. For this genre to be successful, it needs to be applicable to the modern day. Like how The Crucible, a story about the Salem Witch Trials, was also about McCarthyism. Coyne goes on to say that “using historical details enables the writer to comment on a particular taboo or highly charged moment in contemporary life through the prism of the past.”

Coyne also lists biographical stories within this genre, but I think biographies are something unto themselves. It just depends on how the person telling the story decides to frame it.

The War Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to edit The War Genre tends to be pretty straightforward. There’s a war, people fight in it. Pro-War Stories focus on Good VS. Evil, like Wonder Woman. There might be a nod toward the fact that fighting is bad, but at the end of the day, one side is fighting for the betterment of mankind, the other is evil. The war was necessary, in other words. It was right.

Anti-War stories like Once Upon a Forest focus on the shades of gray and how both side are good and evil and war sucks for all involved.

Neither of these are wrong or right, just different approaches to the same type of event.

The core emotion in a war story is either excitement, fear, or intrigue. The core event is a big battle.

Shawn Coyne identified a subplot within war stories called the brotherhood variation. It has a core value of honor vs. disgrace, and the subplot focuses on friendships and relationships among those affected by the war. Love stories are another oft-used subplot within war stories. These two technically follow the same beats, it’s just what the focus is centered on that makes the difference.

War Stories have definitely been used in YA books as sub-genres, particularly in dystopian stories. Even I dabbled in this sub-plot in my novel, Venus Rising.

What are your favorite war stories?

The Love Genre

Romance Arc, Kate Carlisle, #amwriting

Also known as romance, the love genre has a core value of love vs. hate, and the core event in the love genre is proof of love for one character to another. I go over the romance plot structure in quite a bit more detail here, but in The Story Grid Shawn Coyne does introduce a few subplots within romance.

Courtship: Two people meet and either commit to one another or not. In addition to love vs. hate there tends to be some focus on independence/dependence, communication and misunderstanding, morality/immorality, togetherness/loneliness, and the fan favorite, societal approval/disapproval.

Marriage: Not simply a matter of ending with wedding bells, these stories go deeper into already committed relationships. These stories tend to deal in fidelity vs infidelity, truth and lies, betrayal, and valuing of the self over the family. Friday Night Lights does a great marriage subplot.

Obsession: Obsession stories tend to stray into horror. They go beyond courtship and tend to focus on desire, fear, and survival.

Further subgenera include ….

Erotica, which I’ve heard best described as a matter of lighting (i.e some romances fade to black, spicier romances may describe feelings and such but the “camera” (reader perspective) is mostly pointed at the face, and erotica is fully lit descriptions.

Gothic Romances, which also tend to delve into horror. Riverdale played with this subplot a good bit.

Regency, suspense, western, crime, thriller, horror, you name it.

Romance is a stand alone genre and it can pull any major genre in as a sub genre (like J.D Robb’s In Death series), but it is also the go-to sub plot. It’s difficult, incredibly difficult, to find a story that doesn’t feature a romance in some way, shape, or form.

 

 

The thriller genre

8bc792d8-2e75-41bb-8a92-fc3f2c745a67The thriller genre is a mashup of horror, action, and crime. Writing Excuses described the difference between a mystery and a thriller as whether or not the reader knows who the bad guy is and what they’re up to. In a mystery the driving force to turn the page is curiosity. In a thriller, it’s dread. You know what’s coming, the protagonist doesn’t. Like horror, thrillers often go beyond life and death to fates worse than. But a thriller also tends to be a bit more grounded than horror. The villains a bit less like Voldemort and more like Umbridge. He’s out of this world horrifying, she’s the evil you know. Thrillers tend to be more character driven than an action novel because when the stakes are personal (i.e not a bus full of screaming children) and worse than death, you have to care whether the protagonist lives or dies.

The protagonist of a thriller tends to be the heroic type who would throw themselves down in front of that bus of screaming children to slow it down as opposed to the everyman protagonist of most horror novels. The protagonist also tends to be deeply sympathetic, often because they are a victim of some kind.

There’s as many different flavors of thriller as crime, action, or horror. It’s the tone, the stakes, the characterization, and the reader’s knowledge that differ. You can plug in all the windows dressing of a espionage adventure and make it into a thriller. But next week, I’ll discuss a few of the old standbys.

 

The Western Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editAccording to the Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, the core value in a westerns concern the following: the individual within and out of society, strong vs. weak, and civilization vs. wilderness. The core piece of a western is the showdown between the hero and the villain. There are a few different kinds of westerns.

The Classic Western- A stranger comes to town that no one quite trusts, but it turns out they’ve got some sort of unique ability or skill set that makes them the perfect person to save the town from a big bad. In the end, the town sees the value in the stranger and welcomes them to stay, but alas, the stranger must move on. Besides all the classic westerns that fall into this genre, this arc pops up as a sub genre all over the place. Vampire Hunter D used it, so did Full Metal Alchemist.

Vengeance- is mine, sayeth the Lord. Sorry, knee-jerk quote finishing. Anyway, this time the stranger isn’t just passing through, s/he is there to right a specific wrong. This is more the overall arc of Firefly.

Transition- The hero starts in a society and ends outside society. You see a lot of echoes of this sub-genre in dystopian fiction.

Professional- This is really more of a cross-genre to the professional sub-genre in crime. The hero isn’t trying to save society, they’re just making their living outside the law.

Westerns have very successfully resurged through genre blending with science fiction. Firefly is possibly the most overt Western-Sci-Fi blend, but if you think about it, pretty much any story set on the outskirts of society in space, exploring and pushing further out of the comfortable bounds and dealing with the clash between the existing society and the encroaching society fits into the western story arcs. Ditto for post-apocolyptic or dystopian stories where the protagonists leave society or attempt to piece together one in a wild, lawless land. It’s really interesting seeing how the elements of what looked like a dead and dying genre came back to life.

The Crime Genre

  1. Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editLast week we talked about the biggest percentage of the crime genre. Murder mysteries. This week I’d like to go over some of the other types of crime genre you might see, as broken down by The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

Organized Crime- This is crime from the point of view of the criminal. Think Breaking Bad, Dexter, or The Godfather. The hook that keeps you reading is wondering whether or not the criminal will get caught. There are two offshoots within this genre. The Caper genre. That’s when your criminals are specifically thieves or master criminals doing something really awesome, like Oceans 11, or Mistborn. And the Prison genre, which is when your POV characters are prisoners trying to figure out who set them up or solve happenings around the prison.

Professional Crime- These are all so much alike, I’m combining them into one sub-genre. This is the crime from a professional that has to deal with the fall out’s POV. This includes the subgenera of Police Procedurals, like CSI;  the Courtroom Sub Genre, like 12 Angry Men or The Witness; the Newsroom Sub Genre, like I Love Trouble; or the Espionage Genre featuring spies like 007.