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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting Deep: How To Write What You Know ~ guest post by paranormal fantasy author Sally Dubats

Today, I'm especially pleased to feature a guest post by paranormal fantasy author Sally Dubats. She's talking about where inspiration to write her fantasy stories comes from--real life. Be sure to check out information about her lastest release,Winter Shock.

Getting Deep: How To Write What You Know
By Sally Dubats

I have always loved stories in every form: books, movies, theatre, MTV. I have expressed myself creatively in many ways, not only as a writer, but as a dancer and artist, and I also come from an acting and directing background. I cherish this background because it has been invaluable to all my forms of creativity, and maybe most so to my writing. How does acting relate to Fantasy writing? Writers are told over and over again the mantra, “Write what you know!” How do you do that when you’re writing Fantasy?! Teachings borrowed from traditional acting practices show us how to do just that! These traditional teachings give us not only a new world to explore and write about -- they give us the universe.

Many actors use the Stanislavsky Method of acting. This method requires that you recall something emotional from your life and use those same emotions for your characters during a performance. Actors are naked and vulnerable because of this raw emotion, at least the great actors are! We pull from our pain, sorrows, laughter, and every bit of juice from our life and put it out on the stage for the world to see. Who can forget the gut-wrenching scene from “Avatar” when Neytiri screams to the heavens because of the senseless and brutal death of her father? My guess is that the actress, Zoe Saldana, couldn’t pull from her life as a Princess on a planet at war who lost her influential Chieftain father, but she did pull from some horrific experience in her own life to make us feel her pain so deeply, and she should have received an Academy Award for her performance -- especially for that raw pain to show through the animation! It was amazing.

Writers can do the very same thing. Take experiences from your own lives, and put them into your fantasy. I’ve found it incredibly effective in my own writing. I use the Stanislavsky Method in my writing to recreate an emotion, just as I did when I was acting, and put that emotion into words. I bring it up, and then narrate it onto the page. I did this with the “make up kiss” passage in “Winter Shock.”

The kiss became everything, our entire journey. It was a kiss of desperation, of hope, of longing, and of love. The kiss was the whisper of all our lies, regrets, and apologies. It was a kiss of acceptance of whatever the future held. We were together. It was the kiss of lovers going through Hades to Tartarus together, and promising to come out the other side. Together.

The circumstances of the kiss I recalled were very different, as in, I wasn’t questing for the survival of the planet on a frozen mountain at the time of my kiss, but my own experience allowed me to write Cassie and Trenton’s kiss, and the kiss I wrote about was definitely theirs, not mine! In other words, I was writing for and about Cassie and Trenton, but those feelings came from a very real place inside of me. Zoe Saldana was in full character, but her tears came from a real place inside of her. Let your writing comes from a place deep within you.

This works for action too! My readers ask how I wrote about the very physical, raw nature of the frozen world of “Winter Shock.” Hey, I grew up in Michigan! We went sledding, dug tunnels in snow drifts for forts, made ice forts out of blocks of frozen snow, and one time I was stuck in snow up to my eyes as a kid, and had to wriggle my way out. That helped when I wrote the avalanche passage. I’ve also snow-shoed in altitude in Colorado, hiked to 13,000 ft summits (in the summer - still lament that I never made it to a 14,000 peak!), and have done plenty of camping. The rest was a lot of research and interviews with experts. As fantasy writers, we can pull from more ordinary events in our life, especially the intense feelings and memories that go along with them, to create the drama and action in our stories.

So the next time you’re writing, write from LIFE! Feel it, go deep, give the gift of your experience to your fantasy characters, and in turn to your readers. Put it on the page.

Good luck!

Title: Winter Shock  
Author: Sally Dubats 
Genre:  Paranormal Fantasy

“Trenton drugged and kidnapped me. I was powerless.”

Cassie’s neighbors have secrets, and she is one of them.

A Witch taken against her will to an isolated, frozen wilderness on an impossible quest, Cassie defends herself against Trenton who has gone over to the dark side. One minute he’s adorable and charming, and the next weird, uncaring, and hostile. And now, Cassie fears for her life.

Winter Solstice draws near, and Cassie performs magical spells to gain clarity. Instead she is shocked by visions and mind jumps into the lives of strangers on the brink of disaster.

Why is she in a hostile, threatening wilderness? What is causing the horrific visions? Cassie discovers there is much more at stake than her own survival. To survive, she must overcome impossible odds.

Book two in "The Grimoire Chronicles" series, “Winter Shock” is a paranormal fantasy novel that you’ll never forget! If you love paranormal romance, urban fantasy, Witches and Wicca, paranormal mystery, paranormal horror, action and survival, “The Grimoire Chronicles” series is definitely for you!

Author Bio
Sally Dubats is a published author of a non-fiction compendium on the practice of witchcraft called Natural Magick: The Essential Witch’s Grimoire. Her current project is an 8-book fantasy series, The Grimoire Chronicles. The first two books are complete, and Veil Between Worlds and Winter Shock have received critical acclaim. She has held editorial positions for green non-profit organizations, and was the editor of a metaphysical newspaper for several years. Sally is Wiccan and continues to practice and research the Craft.

Book Excerpt

I opened my eyes, but I couldn’t move any other part of my body. It was dark. My obnoxious red hair fell across my face. My head and shoulders slumped forward, but I had no strength to sit or move my hair out of the way. I could look with my eyes, but even that was an effort.
My eyes wildly took inventory: a seatbelt across my chest, a steady hum, car door to my right.
Trenton was next to me. We were in a car. Driving.
I couldn’t move or speak.
‘Think, Cassie!’ But there was absolutely nothing I could do. Fear surrounded my heart like a dark tomb. I tried to calm my thoughts, to breathe, to meditate, but nothing had ever prepared me for anything remotely like this.
We were careening down a highway in the black night, chaotic white snow hitting the windshield in the darkness.
I remembered. Trenton had drugged and kidnapped me.
I was powerless.
I tried to put the pieces together, but nothing made sense. Trenton had changed in the space of a few days. One minute, he was the tender, considerate, kind Trenton I knew, and the next he was an intolerable monster. I was mentally beating myself up. I should have known something was wrong. Holly warned me. I didn’t listen. And now I was paying for it.
Was Trenton going to kill me? A wave of fear ripped through my heart.
I had to get control of my mind; it was my only weapon. I didn’t know where we were going, but it couldn’t be good. My thoughts battled to make sense of what was happening. I closed my eyes. The last terrifying days might give me insight to the biggest question racing through my mind: Why?
It started with a vision. The vision of a girl.


Twitter: @sallydubats 

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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED, and Book Three, LOST VOLUMES. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.