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Crimson Romance

Crimson Romance
For the best in romance, from sweet to naughty!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Post: Charles O'Keefe, The Newfoundland Vampire Series

 Writing Tip: The Importance of an Outline (Two even!)

It is one of those simple things you learn in school early on (at least I did), the importance of an outline for a story. The funny part is that for all my time in high school and university (I have a Masters) I never bothered to do an outline. It was only the past few years when I started novels that I finally saw the benefit of it. When you have an idea for a novel/short story/blog post/whatever you just want to go with it, get it down as fast as possible. What I have discovered though is that once you get the first few chapters done you need to come up with a plan, you need to know where you’re going and as the writing continues, where you’ve been.

At first I was content just have an outline which contained four things, chapter titles, dates when the story happened, a brief description of the chapter and of course the chapter order. I found that by always at least having ideas for two or three chapters ahead I had an idea where the story was going and it always gave me something to think about in terms of scenes, characters and the storyline in general. What I’ve discovered though, with the help of my most excellent editor at Penumbra (Pat), is that it helps a great deal also to have a detailed outline. A detailed outline contains all of the above details but also describes briefly every event, small or big, that happens in each chapter. Why go to this level of detail you ask? Consistency, logical flow and evenness of the storyline and characters in your story is something that may be hard to keep straight otherwise. 
Two examples from my own experiences: when I wrote my first novel “The Newfoundland Vampire” (available now) I just had a basic outline. It gave me an idea of what happened in each chapter but with editing and changes I lost track of a couple of things. The sequence of days, while it may not sound important, if you’re going to have your characters follow the regular week that it has to be correct, otherwise readers will become frustrated and taken out the story. Another thing I missed was the time of day that the sun would set, for a vampire novel that’s important. Without a detailed outline I had the sun setting at the wrong time for September and it needed to be changed to October. When I wrote my second novel “Killer on the Road” (also available) I spent a few hours and did an outline for the entire novel. I had an idea now of where the story will go and a plan. As I completed each chapter I added to the more detailed outline discussed above. As a result when it came to edit book 2 I ended up doing just 7 drafts instead of 16 and almost all the details flowed smoothly.

While writing is a creative process, I have found it invaluable to be organized when it comes to writing anything beyond a short story. If you are going to create your own world it needs to make sense and outlines (at least one) make sense to me.

Title: Killer On The Road

Series: The Newfoundland Vampire

Author: Charles O’Keefe

Genre: Horror / Paranormal / Romance / Vampire

Formats Available In: All eBook formats and Print

Release Date: January, 2011

Blurb: Joseph O’Reily is still adjusting to the lifestyle and the dangers that come with being a new vampire. He and Cassandra recently fought to the death with Cassandra’s estranged husband John Snow, and now Joseph has experienced his first ménage a trios, as only a vampire can. As if all of this was not complicated enough, he and Cassandra have been tasked with hunting down and killing a rogue vampire, Donald Rathmore.

Another of John Snow’s creations, Donald is an evil misogynistic killer in his own right. Donald has no interest in avenging his creator’s death, but killing Cassandra is at the top of his list.

While Donald continues his murderous spree, Joseph and Cassandra always seem to be one step behind him. The chase is further complicated as they encounter other vampires and learn more about the mysterious nature of the Vampire Council and the coming war between good and evil.

Joseph is only now beginning to trust Cassandra, and this trust will be shaken when he discovers she has even more secrets than he imagined. Her idea of justice and morality is at complete odds with his own. Despite all his powers and growing skill, Joseph is tested physically as a vampire and emotionally by Cassandra. This time the answers and challenges may be too much for the young vampire to handle.

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