Guest Post–DIES IRAE Author Christine Fonseca on Novella vs Novel Writing

Hi Christine!!!! I’m super stoked about the launch of your REQUIEM series with DIES IRAE (novella) and LACRIMOSA (novel). CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, take it away, Christine.

The Differences Between Writing a Novella and Writing a Novel

Thanks, Laura, for having me today. Laura asked me to talk a little about the process of writing a novella vs a novel—the differences, similarities, and my thoughts on both mediums. My first thought on her request—“um, yea, I’m not sure I can adequately write about this.” My next thought—“Duh, you just did this. Of course you can talk about this.”

So, here you go—my opinions about writing these two different types of stories.

When I first decided to write DIES IRAE as a novella, it was because I wasn’t certain there was a full novel-length story in the prequel. My publisher and I also wanted to be able to offer DIES IRAE at an incredible price. As the story was drafted, I realized that while it could absolutely be a novel, the novella format could meet my needs with a few tweeks.

What did I mean by this? To answer that I must first explain what the novella actually is. Strictly speaking, a novella is longer than a novelette and shorter than a novel. It averages 15-40K in length. The storyline is far more complex than a short story, but far less complex than a novel. There are typically less plotlines and less conflict than in a novel, and the story typically ends at the brink of change. Most of the “novels” we were required to read in school—titles like Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, and The War of the Worlds—are actually novellas. The same is true of some other novels we have come to love—Coraline, A Christmas Carole, and The Metamorphosis.

Now that we have a definition of a novella, how did I go about writing DIES IRAE. Honestly, exactly the same way I write a novel. I stewed on the storyline I wanted to tell, planned out the beats, and started to write. I originally planned on staying with one central plot—the romance between two of the characters. But I failed. Miserably. So, I added back my secondary plot thread as it was THE motivation behind one of the central character’s actions.

As much as the process of drafting and editing a novella was essentially similar to that of a novel, there were some differences that made me work—hard! For one, there was the whole world building, character building piece. There is no room for excess of each, leaving my early drafts a combination of too wordy in some places, and too vague in others. I’m certain it drove my poor beta readers crazy. My edits consisted of pouring over the language over and over and over again, carefully choosing each and every word, each and every scene, each and every cadence. Much like writing poetry, there was no room for lazy language or lazy story telling.

And in truth—there is no room for lazy language or lazy storytelling in ANY form of literature.

All in all, I have discovered a love of both forms of storytelling. And I have no doubt you will be seeing more novelettes, novellas, and novels with this series.

AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to see how the series develops! Thanks so much, Christine, for sharing your thoughts on writing novellas and novels.

Here’s some more information from Christine:

FAQ Sheet about the Requiem Series

About Christine Fonseca

School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

Short Blurb for DIES IRAE

Some sacrifices should never be made—even for love.

Mikayel lives by one rule—obey the orders of the angelic Council at all costs. But when he and his friends, Azza and Demi, are sent to Earth as teenagers, following the rules is more difficult than they expected.

Being human isn’t the only problem facing the three angels. Unbeknownst to the Council, demonic activity is on the rise, threatening to break a tenuous peace that has existed for a millennia.

Caught in a struggle for power with unseen demonic forces, and fighting against his rising emotional, Mikayel must now decide how many rules he is willing to break to save his friends, a decision that could reignite an ancient war and will threaten the only thing that matters to the angels, the survival of humanity.

Author Endorcement(s):

“Dies Irae is the perfect introduction to Christine Fonseca’s Requiem series. The beauty of the words will tempt you, the tragedy of the story will break you, and the love, woven throughout like music through the trees, will haunt you for days afterward. Dies Irae promises a tale unlike any you’ve read before.”

~Ali Cross, Author of BECOME

Availability:

Publisher: COMPASS PRESS

ISBN:

Format: Digital format only – from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers. Links not available at present.

Short Blurb for LACRIMOSA

As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. Nesy is the best of the warrior angels called Sentinals. She never makes mistakes, never hesitates, never gets emotionally involved. Until she meets Aydan.

He is evil incarnate; a fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate. But she can’t, because he’s also the love of her former life as a human girl—a life that ended too soon, tying her to emotions she was never supposed to feel.

Now Nesy must choose between doing her duty—damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell—or saving him, and condemning herself.

Author Endorcement(s):

“LACRIMOSA reaches out, grabs readers by the heart, and takes them on an emotional journey from the first page to the last. The last novel you’ll need to read to understand true sacrifice.”

~Elana Johnson, Author of POSSESSION

Availability:

Publisher: COMPASS PRESS

ISBN: 0984786368 (ISBN 13: 9780984786367)

Hardback and Digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine retailers. Links not currently available.

Additional Titles in the series include LIBERA ME (Nov 2012) and REQUIEM (March 2013). The book trailer can be seen by linking to YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwTQoOFKEZg

For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – http://christinefonseca.com or her blog http://christinefonseca.blogspot.com.

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Throwback Thursday (With a Twist)

Hiya!

I don’t usually post on Thursdays, but I wanted to host a Throwback Thursday. Care to guess how far back I’m throwing ya?

Yesterday.

Yup, yesterday.

Why? (Other than the fact that one day in the blogosphere counts for like a hundred? LOL!)

Because I guest posted over at Roni Loren’s blog, Fiction Groupie, and wanted to share the news with all y’all in case you missed it!

Roni’s debut novel, EXPOSURE THERAPY will be published by Berkley Heat in early 2012.

For a teaser, the post is about using defense mechanisms to delve into our characters’ behaviors. Enjoy!

Guest Post By: Christine Fonseca, Author

****PLEASE NOTE AS OF 10/12/10 AT MIDNIGHT EST, THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. A WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED NEXT WEEK! GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!

Christine Fonseca, author of Emotional Intensity In Gifted Students, has graciously agreed to participate in an interview with yours truly! Thanks, Christine! Congrats on the release of your new book! 🙂

 

 

1. Tell us about yourself.

 

I’m a school psychologist by trade, after having always worked in a million other fields ranging from modeling, to buying for a major retailer, to marketing in the scientific field, to banking and finance. I guess you could say I am eclectic!

 

I also write YA fiction and nonfiction for parents and kids focusing on the needs of gifted kids.

 

When I’m not doing either of those things, I spend my time hanging out with my family and curled up with a great book.

2. What inspired you to write EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS?

 

Having worked with families of gifted children for over ten years, I really found a lack of resources for parents or teachers when it came to understanding the unique social and emotional needs for this population. I developed curricula for my workshops, which eventually turned into this book.

 

My next book, 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS is the kid version, with lots of specific strategies for kids.

3. What do you enjoy about writing non-fiction?

 

I have always enjoyed working with kids and families. Writing the type of nonfiction I write enables me to help on a larger scale. Even if it is just a little piece of advice given when a parent needs it most…nothing is better! Writing my advice books and having them out for the world to read enables me to reach a much broader audience on topics I feel passionate about.

 

4. What do you enjoy about writing fiction?

 

Ah….fiction! I love writing fiction too. Fiction gives me the escape and the creativity I often crave after a long hard day. Like nonfiction, I can reach readers through my stories and deal with human emotions in a way that can help kids. But, unlike nonfiction, I don’t have to approach difficult material head on. I can weave it into a storyline.

 

I also like the challenge of writing fiction. For me, nonfiction is a true extension of my day job, and as such, it is not super-challenging.

 

But fiction – that is a different matter all together. Fiction requires me to learn, learn, learn. And I LOVE that!

5. What is/are your favorite genre(s) and why?

 

In terms of writing, I am a YA junkie…in every genre possible. There is just something about the pacing and topics that I love. Currently, I write contemporary YA and dark gothic romance. A huge difference between the two, requiring really different writing skills – and I LOVE them both.

 

Now, in terms of reading, I do gravitate towards YA. But, honestly, I’ll read anything from mysteries to paranormal to romance to literary books. There is very little I do not read!

6. What’s the next step?

 

Most of my time this month revolves around this launch. I also have events planned most months, just to keep the momentum up in between my two book launches.

 

In May, 101 SUCCESS SECRETS is released, and I am planning a larger summer book tour – hopefully hitting CO, UT, and a few other states.

 

I have a couple of other NF ideas brewing, so I’ll be working on that as well.

 

In fiction-land, I have my dark gothic romance all polished and ready to go. My current WiP is a contemporary piece I am really excited about. Additionally I have a few other ideas brewing.

 

Things in Christine-Land are always busy!

7. Random fun:

 

  • Your favorite movie: Sorry, can’t list just one: Dark Knight, STAR TREK, Batman Begins, The Last Samurai, – there is a theme here, yeah?

 

  • A city you’d love to visit: Anything in Australia or New Zealand; Rome, Italy

 

  • What book you’re reading right now: A couple, actually – PERSONAL DEMONS, the REPLACEMENT, and PRIVATE

 

  • What song is playing on your MP3, iPod, or Pandora channel: I have a quick mix on my Pandora station, playing soundtrack music a la Zimmer, and Evanescence style music. Right now, it’s playing music from the video game Halo.

 

Thanks for having me Laura!

 

Thanks for sharing, Christine!

Okay, gang, Christine has offered to give away a signed copy of her book! Simply leave a comment here and you’ll be entered to win. (PLUS, I’ll give an extra point each for Tweeting and Facebooking a link.) The deadline is one week from today–10/12 at midnight EST.

For more information about Christine and her book, check out these sites!

Website

Blog

Find me on Facebook or Twitter

Order the book.

Want an e-reader version? Order here.

Read the first chapter here.

Females in Fantasy–Guest Post by Cassandra Jade!!

Let’s give a warm welcome to Cassandra! We’ve traded guest posts today, so she’s posting here and I’m posting about my writerly schedule on her blog, Cassandra Jade in the Realm. She’s on a blog tour for the whole month, so be sure to check out her other fantastic posts!!!

Females in Fantasy

Thanks Laura for hosting me today. This is the fifth stop on my blog tour and things are about to get very busy. Today I want to consider the role of females in fantasy fiction and how their role has changed (or not changed) over time. No, this is not going to turn into an angry feminist rant claiming that men are evil and that women are constantly being put down. Mostly because in fantasy fiction, that wouldn’t be true at all.

Looking back to Tolkien, women didn’t get a lot of air time. You have an entire fellowship of questers and not one female amongst them. Arwen gets to stay at home and before becoming ill. Eowyn moons over a guy who has already given his heart to another. Meanwhile, Galadriel, is incredibly wise, but sits strictly in the background, giving Frodo cryptic advice, a brief glimpse of the future and a few pretty trinkets. All of these explanations are overly simplistic but the essential statement is true. These characters didn’t get anywhere near the time and attention the male characters received, and their roles were passive and supporting.

There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with any of these characters. The problem for a long time in fantasy however, was that these were the only roles for women. They were the wife waiting at home, the supportive lover, the healer, the priestess giving advice, the witch consulted for an oracle, etc. While there are definitely exceptions, there was an overwhelming number of females who sat passively to the side of the action in fantasy books.

Then again, a lot of people viewed fantasy as something for male readers. There were epic battle sequences, and strong heroes up against seemingly invincible villains. Even today, despite the large amount of fantasy written nearly exclusively for women, many people see fantasy ‘freaks’ (fans to the rest of us) as the teenage boy in the basement playing dungeons and dragons.

If we skip ahead to the days of post Xena and Buffy, what we see is that females still sit passively to the side of the action in some fantasy books, but now have so many more roles open to them. Yes, some of them are simply the direct opposite. The woman in armour, fighting her way through the hordes, and other than one or two emotional break downs, she may as well have been a male character because her gender is entirely superfluous to the story. But most aren’t. We see women as the leader of the quest, as the comedic support, as the villain, as anything and everything.

Personally, I love fantasy with strong female characters (although a diverse range of characters is kind of helpful). By that, I don’t mean women who hit everything with a sword to solve their problems. By strength I look for characters who determine their own path, who don’t hide behind or rely on others, and while they may have a bit of a break down they can pull themselves back together to overcome all the odds. Jill from Katherine Kerr’s Deverry Series is an excellent example of a strong character (though she actually does fight with a sword). Tori Alexander from Traci Harding’s Ancient Future Trilogy was my favourite when I was in school. Transported back in time, Tori doesn’t let anything stand in her way.

Women have come a long way in fantasy and with a large number of female fantasy readers out there, hopefully this opportunity will continue.

Cassandra Jade is a fantasy writer from Australia. You can visit her blog, Cassandra Jade in the Realm or follow her on Twitter. Her debut fantasy novel, Death’s Daughter, is available from Lyrical Press.