How to World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series by Charles F French: Part Three

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This section is the third part of my presentation for the Horroraddicts.net Online Writing Conference. I hope some of you find it to be useful.
How To World And Character Build in a Horror Novel Series
by

Charles F. French

Part Three
Themes, Conflicts, and Arcs

Themes:

Another aspect of writing a novel series is the issue of themes. I am not saying that ideas should dominate the work, that somehow a horror series should be written as literary fiction. I am, however, arguing Horror fiction is as strong and important as another other kind or genre of writing. I am proud to write Horror, and I believe it, as a genre, should be taken seriously.

As the author of your series, you should have some idea of the over-arching ideas that permeate your work. For example, in my Investigative Paranormal Society series, several themes exist—Is there life after death?; What responsibility do we have towards each other?; And does love overpower hatred?
You may have noticed that I expressed these ideas as questions. I did this because these are issues that I am exploring as I write the books. I am not trying to teach lessons in the novels but to keep in mind these broad questions as I write. I certainly think character and conflict matter more than thematic concerns, but that does not mean that themes are unimportant.
Sometime, the writer can come to more of an understanding about these questions after having created several drafts of his/her book. I suggest that you read your work and answer these questions in a sentence or two:
• What is it about? This may seem like a very basic question, but can you summarize not the plot but the point of the series?

• Do you have any repeated motifs or symbols that you intend to use?

• Are there any political of social issues that you want to include in the series?

Conflicts:

Understanding the conflicts that characters have, both internally and externally, is important to developing and maintaining your series. Conflict is the key to action, drama, and impact on the reader. Characters might spend time facing an issue within themselves, something that helps or hinders their actions. They might also have lesser conflicts with friends, allies, and families. With enemies, they will probably have the largest conflicts.

• What oppositions or problems are your characters facing?

• What internal conflicts must the characters deal with or try to resolve in order to achieve their goals?

• What are the conflicts driving the plot?

• What are the characters trying to accomplish?

• What are the stakes for the characters?

• What must the characters overcome in order to achieve success or victory against their opponents?

Understanding these questions will be important not only for the creation of the series, but also they can serve to help you write query letters and pitches for your books, if you intend to do so.
That is a matter for another day!

Arcs:

Another important consideration for a horror novel series is that of arcs, those of character and plot.
All novels should have clear character arcs, the movement that a character takes internally as the external events of the story occur. Arcs should occur in each section of the novel. I tend to think of my novels as being set in three overarching acts, but that is not crucial. In my case, many chapters would occur within a given act. You should view the major divisions of your novel as best suits your needs.

Ideally, you should look at each character and decide these points, but you might wish to stick with examining the arcs of the featured characters.
The most important questions for character arcs follow, and please try to answer each question both within each book and the entire series:
• How much and in what ways does the character grow?

• What does the character learn?

• How does the character change?

I suggest that you answer these questions about the character for each “act” of each novel, for each novel of the series, and for the overall series itself. This may seem, on first glance, to be too much analysis for a creative process, but I think that the more we, as writers, understand what we are trying to accomplish, the better the process will be.

Now, if you disagree, then simply do not use this approach.
This is a similar approach that I take with teaching of writing to students in my college classes, when instructing essay writing—that you should try various approaches. Keep what works for you, and put those tools in your writer’s toolbox; eliminate what does not work.

March Promote Your Book Party!

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(https://pixabay.com)

It is the beginning of a new month, of March, so let’s self-promote!  It is time to stand up and shout for your books! Come and join this party, and celebrate your writing. Do not be shy–you must be your own biggest promoter!

So, regardless of the genre, tell about your book.  Include where it can be found, and be proud of your writing! Then, so as many as possible can see this promotion for all, please reblog and tweet this post! Let us all help each other as much as possible!

Proclaim your book to the world!

And remember, always, keep writing!

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

Using Maps and Essays in World Building in a Fiction Series by Charles F. French

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I had a wonderful time participating in the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference 2020. The hosts were friendly and extremely helpful. The information given out by many presenters is useful for writers who are not horror writers as well as those who are. If you have a chance, you can still stop by their excellent site: HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference
Here is part two:
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How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series

by

Charles F. French

Part Two

 

World Building

All fiction writers, no matter the genre, must create the world in which their characters live. Whether writing in literary fiction, romance, horror, science-fiction, or any other of the myriad of possible genres, writers create a world for the readers to observe and in which they can be immersed as they read.

This can be a difficult process to perform for one novel, but in the creating of a series set in a particular fictional world, it presents several problems. Among these issues are: what are the details of the fictional environment? Does the world remain static or change? What elements of the fictional world are the most important? And does the world change throughout the series? I am not suggesting that there are absolute answers to these questions that can fit every series, but I am saying that these questions should be kept in mind and addressed by writers who are building these places.

I have written two novels in a continuing horror series: Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 and Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2. I am currently working on book 3. The books are all set in a fictional Pennsylvania town called Bethberg—set somewhere north of Bethlehem, PA and south of Stroudsburg, PA.

Maps

During the writing of the books, I did not initially try to set down on paper details of the town, which was a mistake. I have since corrected it, and I have made a map, that would never impress map-makers, but serves the function of being a reference if I need it.

I recommend this process as strongly as I can. You do not need to have any artistic ability to create this guide; it need be useful only to you. I certainly, also, do not claim to have been the first writer to make this kind of aid. J. R. R. Tolkien created maps of Middle Earth in The Lord Of The Rings and Sherwood Anderson, in Winesburg, Ohio, also showed a map of the town. These charts help the readers, but I believe they also aided the writers in their craft.

I recommend keeping the map to only one page if you can. I began by drawing the basic street layout of Bethberg, PA. It is an old-fashioned Pennsylvania town with a circle in the center of town and roads going east-west and north-south in an imperfect grid from the circle. Because the town dates from the 1700s, the roads often do not follow any particular layout.

I then began adding key landmarks that appear in my books to the map, including diners, bars, homes, and shops.

As I continue to write this series, I add more to the map. In book two, I realized that a major area occurs in the outskirts of the community, a place call Gallows Hill. When I understood that point, I added it to the map.

One day, I might show the map in a book, but for now, in its present condition, I use it only for my reference.

To Begin:

• What kind of physical world are you building?

• If it is large, I suggest an overall map to begin, including pertinent landmasses and water or other characteristics.

• Is your world that of a small town, a large city, or the country? These are only a few of the possibilities.

• Then draw smaller maps of other areas within the larger world.

• If the world you are creating is small, then make a map of it. You might begin with the most important central feature and expand from there.

• What buildings are there?

• What stores and shops?

• What kind of roads?

Continuing:

As you work on your novels, you will find some changes that you need to make in your world. I suggest continuing to work on your map.

• Expand the map as needed. Add new places, such as streets, buildings, and parks.

• Mark changes that occur—has a building been destroyed in a previous book.

• I suggest keep copies of the maps as they exist for each book.

Using Essays:

Besides the use of maps, it can also be a good idea to write a small piece about the world you are creating. I have done this, and I have tried to give an over accounting of what makes this world operate as well as specific details. For example, is it a place that is driven by the known rules of physics, or does magic operate there? Are you concerned with a very specific place, or is your book set in a sprawling expanse of time and place?

I believe that the more you know and understand about the world your characters inhabit, the easier and more vividly you will be able to create that place in words, and your readers will, therefore, also be able to picture it when they read your work.

The most important consideration to remember is consistency with the world you create. Be certain that you can picture the world and keep the details clear in your mind; that way, the readers will also be able to do the same.

I hope these suggestions help.

 

A Reminder: My Presentation in the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference

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I am pleased to announce that I am presenting a session at the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference, which is being held February 24-29, 2020.

To find the event, which is free, please go to: Horroraddicts.net Online Writers Conference.

To participate, you need only sign up and create a user name and password. Again, this is free!

I am presenting

How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series
by
Charles F. French
In this session I will make suggestions for writers that I hope will be practical and applicable to writing horror novels, or novels in other genres also.
I am also hosting a live Q & A on:

Shout Box Chat 12 noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday February 26

I hope some of you come by for the event!

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

I Am Presenting A Session At The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference!

Standard

lmWdnGUGVBQyDmckQymS

I am pleased to announce that I am presenting a session at the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference, which is being held February 24-29, 2020.

To find the event, which is free, please go to: Horroraddicts.net Online Writers Conference.

To participate, you need only sign up and create a user name and password. Again, this is free!

I am presenting

How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series
by
Charles F. French
In this session I will make suggestions for writers that I hope will be practical and applicable to writing horror novels, or novels in other genres also.
I am also hosting a live Q & A on:

Shout Box Chat 12 noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday February 26

I hope some of you come by for the event!

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

 

February Promote Your Book Party!

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blur book stack books bookshelves

(Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com)

It is the beginning of a new month, of February, so let’s self-promote!  It is time to stand up and shout for your books! Come and join this party, and celebrate your writing. Do not be shy–you must be your own biggest promoter!

So, regardless of the genre, tell about your book.  Include where it can be found, and be proud of your writing! Then, so as many as possible can see this promotion for all, please reblog and tweet this post! Let us all help each other as much as possible!

And remember, always, keep writing!

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

The Joy Of Reading

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book-clouds-873442_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

I have spent the majority of my time on this blog writing about writing, so I thought I would address the most fundamental and most important part of this experience with books: reading.

I have been reading my entire life; in fact, I cannot remember a time when I did not read. And reading has informed my life in many ways, not only in terms of career but also in the joys of life itself.

I read books, I teach them, and I write about them, but mostly, I enjoy them. I remember my mother telling me when I was very little that you can go many places that you might not ever have a chance to visit, real and made up, if you read. And I have visited and continue to journey to real and fantastic lands.

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(https://pixabay.com)

I am not a reading snob. While I teach college English Literature, I read in a very wide range, from adventure and horror to drama and so-called high literature, although I am not so certain that this distinction is accurate. Both Shakespeare and Dickens were considered popular writers in their time. Hemingway straddled the mythical fence of literature and genre writing. Today, I happily read authors in a multitude of genres, including Stephen King and John Connolly, among many others. So, I read whatever I choose, in any area. And I get great pleasure from the reading.

I am currently reading, as I often do, several books: Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres; Death In A Strange Country by Donna Leon; and Pale Hecate’s Team by K. M. Briggs.

I hope that all people can experience this pleasure of reading. I realize not everyone will, but I can keep hoping they do.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Happy Reading!

And a quick question: what is a book you are currently reading?

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon