Car Thieves: My new book, coming soon! (plus, read the first chapter)

The year 2027. Edinburgh, Scotland. Disease has swept a deadly path through society. A nightlife mogul with a violent past, a sadistic drug dealer, an artist craving companionship, a privileged playboy and a fiercely independent motor mechanic struggle to survive in the chaotic and brutal leftover world of the immune.

Release dates

TanyaSimoneSimpson.com
Read online and download for free
9th February 2018

DeviantArt, Tablo and Wattpad
Read online for free
16th February 2018

Instafreebie
Download free for Instafreebie members
16th February 2018

Pre-launch hype

Throughout January 2018, I’ll be sharing character notes and excerpts from the book right here. Meet Chance on 9th, Evan on 12th, Jac on 16th, Richie on 19th and Sarah on 23rd.

You can see my mood and reference boards for Car Thieves on Pinterest, including this post-apocalyptic aesthetic board.

The first chapter

Ashes and ashes and no place in the ground for those who have fallen. Crematoriums blaze like dying stars encased in stone, their toxic breath and powdered death shipped out to the desolate depths of the ocean and sealed in salt by tired machines.

Perhaps this poison would find a way to return to us, as all our past poisons have done, because there are no safe graves to hold all the lives and matter and potential we have wasted.

There are no chains strong enough to contain the destruction we have released. Some things can never be buried because they came from us and we are bound to bear the burdens of our own creation. Nothing will ever be truly at rest again.

Rest has been consumed by ruin, so we hold our collective breath and shield our eyes and know that we have brought this on ourselves. We have only our own misguided ambitions to blame and in the end we are as lost as we were in the beginning.

Allowing his train of thought to arrive at its natural conclusion, unlike everything else in the world, Rav poured the last of the whiskey into a crystal glass. Finally, finally, the bottle was finished and so was he. He had kept that last drop for so long, preserving it untouched until there was no point in keeping it any longer.

He savoured the warmth of the absurdly expensive liquid sliding down his throat, then set the glass carefully on the antique leather coaster at the edge of the mahogany desk. All status symbols in a world where status no longer meant anything at all, symbolic or otherwise.

He tilted the framed photograph of the only thing that had ever truly meant anything to him, gently and respectfully, until it lay face-down in its final resting place. When Aida and Alison had passed, Rav and Don had felt the unparalleled ache of loss together. When Don’s time had come, a month later, Rav had carried that weight alone.

As leaders of other nations had fallen, there had been remarks about Rav’s luck in surviving. The doctors had counted him among the immune. The preachers had proclaimed him blessed. As he sent first his daughters and then his husband to the crematoriums, he felt no touch of fortune upon him.

With the steady hand of a man who has found the secret of peace within his reach at last, he unlocked and opened the concealed drawer in the desk, allowing himself a calm, quiet moment to appreciate the smoothness of the mechanism, a sure sign of fine craftmanship from a time when furniture was a concept that mattered. It meant nothing now. Not a thing.

He lifted his gun from the drawer, put the cold, greasy barrel in his mouth and settled serenely into the one decision that he knew with every fibre of his being and every atom of the aether of his soul to be right. It was the only decision he would ever make in this office that he would not live to regret.

A bright white explosion of divine emptiness flashed before his eyes in the exquisite instant after he pulled the trigger.

One sharp, solitary crack split the silence as Dr Ravinder Khan-MacKay, First Minister of Scotland, loving husband and devoted father, issued his final apology to what was left of the world in the form of an elegant spray of blood against a window no-one had bothered to clean in the longest time.

Why I’m no longer using Patreon (and how you can support me in other ways)

I posted this letter to my Patrons this morning and I’m sharing it here because it’s part of my writing and publishing journey, so I figured it might be of interest to my blog readers as well as to any other creators who follow me here.

Hello Patrons and friends!

I’ve been using Patreon for a few months now and although it’s been a learning experience and a lot of fun, I’ve found myself more and more trying to fit what I do into Patreon’s structure rather than it being something that worked effectively for me.

My main online focus is my own website, TanyaSimoneSimpson.com, where I will continue to share photographs, blog posts, creative writing and free books for reading online and downloading. I’m also active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and DeviantArt. These are all good places to keep up with my work, see new stuff first and connect with me, and I’d be happy to see you there.

Currently, and for the foreseeable future, free books will also be available for anyone to read online on Tablo and Wattpad. I also plan to continue making my books available for free download through Instafreebie, which requires membership to the site (hence having my work in other places too).

I’m looking at a variety of different publishing options and platforms for my writing at the moment, and am considering offering full-res photos for download for a small direct payment. These are all just considerations at the moment, but future plans and happenings will be shared on TanyaSimoneSimpson.com, which you can follow via WordPress (if you’re a WordPress user) or by email.

Patrons who have supported me will still get my next book a week before it’s released anywhere else and will still be listed in the acknowledgements of that book because to do anything else would feel like breaking a promise.

If you wish to offer further or ongoing financial support, you are very welcome to do so through PayPal, either treating it as an online tip jar or as a way to buy a book or story after you’ve read it.

As of today (7th December 2017) I won’t be using Patreon. If you want more detail, feel free to read on. If you aren’t massively interested in the why and how of it all, that’s cool too. Thanks for your ongoing support 🙂

Much love and gratitude,

Tanya xx

– – – – –

OK, so here are the details if you’re interested…

Patreon’s structure doesn’t fit my structure
Patreon is great. It works really well for some people and I know there are some writers who are using it to great effect. But I’m still at the stage in my writing career where I’m experimenting with and discovering processes which work for me. This means that I might continue to publish two short books a year, or I might not. I might continue to work mainly on novellas, or I might not (I’m thinking of a short story collection for my next project). I might spend some time focusing more on blogging than on writing fiction, or I might not. I just don’t know right now and with continuous support through Patreon, I feel that trial and error, and changes of plan, don’t fit.

Patreon has a Per Creation option (I was using the Per Month option) but again this feels like something I would have to squish and force my creative output into and I just don’t want to do that. Since I made changes to my reward tiers last month, I realised that what I do and how I work doesn’t mesh well with what Patreon does and how it works. This doesn’t mean I’m wrong or Patreon is wrong. It means that Patreon isn’t right for me, but it took actually using it to figure this out.

I mentioned in the main part of this post that people are still welcome to contribute through PayPal if they’d like to drop some money in my online tip jar or pay for a book after they read it. When I build a larger body of work, I may sell some books while still maintaining free content (because that’s important to me) and while I grow to that point and figure things out, I’d rather give people the option to contribute as and when they want to, rather than feeling like, “Oh god, people are paying me money every month and I have to do the thing in the particular way to fit with that”.

I’d rather promote my books and my own website than my Patreon page
Patreon, at the moment (and I assume for the foreseeable future) is not a place to be discovered. It’s a place to direct people to who already know me and my work. Also, Patreon works better for people who have a large audience AND whose creative output structure fits well with the platform.

I’m still very much at the beginning of growing an audience for my work and as that happens, I would much prefer to channel that traffic to my own website and social media places, and most importantly, to my own books, which a clear pay-as-you-can option available. Working to channel traffic to a completely separate platform, while building an audience, while still finding my feet in the actual writing and publishing part of what I do, isn’t the best use of my time and energy when it comes to promoting myself as a writer.

Patreon’s fee structure doesn’t work for me (or you, to be honest)
My Patrons should be receiving an email from Patreon over the next couple of days explaining that they’re introducing a change in fees. If you don’t get that email or you want to know more now, you can find detailed information here.

Since I began using Patreon, my take-home from $48 of monthly pledges has been about $33 (after fees etc). Basically, I haven’t been getting anywhere near the amount of money you’ve been very kindly giving to me. With Patreon’s new fee structure, I’d get slightly more money but you’d be paying more. I totally understand that Patreon need this money to function but honestly, if you want to pay me, then I’d rather you paid me directly than give a large proportion (especially for smaller pledges) to a third party. I assume you’d rather do that too.

Finally
Patreon may change as a platform in future and I’m not saying I’ll never use it again or that it’ll never fit with how I work, but channelling time and energy into something that isn’t a good fit right now doesn’t feel like the best thing for me or for my supporters ❤

Celebrating a NaNoWriMo 2017 win!

Today’s the day! I validated my NaNoWriMo project and officially won. If you’re not fluent in NaNo, validating is when you paste the full text of your project into NaNo’s  word counting thingy, and winning is when you hit or exceed the target of 50,000 words.

Honestly, it doesn’t feel real yet. I can’t believe I have the first draft of 22 Cards living on my computer (and safely backed up in the cloud). After a month of concept and character development, a month of outlining, and almost three weeks of frantic writing, it is a thing that exists. Phew!

There’s so much work still to be done – a first draft is really only a starting point – but I’m going to set it aside for now and concentrate on publishing Car Thieves, hopefully early next year. But first, I’m going to have a bit of a break.

Living and breathing 22 Cards for the last few months has been a pretty intense experience and my head has been filled with even more violent, dark and murdery stuff than usual. Even the music I’ve been listening to has reflected the mood of the book, with lots of “this is terrible and unhealthy but I’m doing it anyway” vibes going on.

I’m going to take some time to have a creative palate cleanser, indulge in some recreational photography and get back in touch with all the online stuff that’s been on the back burner lately. Right now though, I’m binge-watching Mad Men on Netflix, listening to a lot of Walk Off The Earth, cutting back on my caffeine intake and having a much-needed rest 🙂

Yummy changes at my Patreon

EDIT 7th December 2017: I’m no longer using Patreon. You can read about why in this post.

A few days ago, I posted a public post at my Patreon, explaining some changes to my reward tiers. Since I know I have some new followers here who I didn’t have when I set up my Patreon and talked about it loads, I’m sharing the info here too…

I’m still very much at the beginning of my Patreon journey and therefore a lot of what I do involves experimentation, learning and rethinking approaches. When I first started using Patreon earlier this year, I created a set of reward tiers with different rewards because it was what most other people I saw on Patreon seemed to be doing.

BUT.

It felt weird and kind of wrong. I don’t use Patreon to create a hierarchy. I use it to create a way for people to contribute financially to my work as a writer and photographer if they want to do that and can afford to. I also use it as a tool to offer some lovely added extras to my most dedicated cheerleaders, and I started feeling like maybe that shouldn’t be down to the difference between $2 a month and $5 a month.

SO.

I’ve edited my reward tiers so that all rewards are available at even the lowest tier. This means that for $2 a month, you get…

  • Downloadable full-resolution versions of all the photos I take each month for personal use.
  • Your name (real, alias or screen-name) listed on my website, and in any books and collections I publish (if you’re a Patron at the time of publishing).
  • Monthly Q&A sessions here on Patreon where you can pick my brain and ask me awkward questions.
  • Downloadable epub, mobi and pdf copies of new books at least a week before they’re published anywhere else.

All posts before today will remain visible to only the Patrons at the reward tiers for which they were originally intended. This seems like the most fair thing to do. From now on, all posts will be visible to everyone pledging $2 or more a month (and there might be a few more public ones thrown into the mix as well).

You may notice that character profiles and drafts have been removed from the rewards. I thought long and hard about this and realised that as an independent author who is responsible for all promotion of my work, I was preventing myself from sharing content more widely that has the potential to create and sustain interest in my books. Because of this, I would like to be able to share this content on my own website, social media and/or publicly through Patreon rather than only with a comparatively small amount of people based on an arbitrary pledge amount.

Because some people choose to pledge more than $2 per month (I love you, you absolute wonders), I’ve left the $5 and $10 options in place for those who wish to contribute those amounts, but from now on ALL Patrons get the same rewards, regardless of pledge size.

With this in mind, if you currently pledge $5 or $10 a month and would like to drop this to a lower tier, you are 100% welcome to do that. I completely understand and expect absolutely no justification or explanation. If you want to do it, go for it. It’s all good. I’m grateful for your pledge, no matter what.

Because I still feel like I’m experimenting and learning here, I can’t guarantee that everything will always stay the same, but I can guarantee that I will always be open, honest and transparent with the people who support me as a creator.

Endless thanks for all your support and encouragement so far ❤

NaNoWriMo word count target achieved!

So, this happened. I figured if I managed to hit the 50,000 word target for NaNoWriMo it would be mostly down to caffeine and an obsessive nature. That was entirely correct. Here’s the story of how I hit the target half a month early.

How I got to 50,000 words

Once upon a time, I’d written 28,000 words of a story. It’s no secret that I rarely follow linear narrative structure and tend to switch point of view frequently. It was all going well and I was happy. Then, lying in bed one night, my brain was like, “Hey, this would be way better if all the bits you’d written in third person were written in first person instead.” My brain does shit like that to me all the time.

I did some panic Tweeting, lay awake staring at the ceiling for a while, then managed to get to sleep. The next day, I had two choices. First, the sensible one – change to first person for the rest of the book, then make a firm decision once the draft is finished and make it consistent during editing. Second, the fucking ridiculous one that I obviously went for – redraft a second version of all the third person scenes before continuing, because doing that will make it obvious whether first person or third person feels right.

I redrafted and first person definitely feels right (at the moment), so I now have two versions of the first half of the book (I’m actually not 100% sure that I won’t end up going back to third person later) and then got back to continuing the story. And that’s how 50,000 words happened so unexpectedly early. And coffee. And I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

My new goal for November

I wasn’t taking part in NaNoWriMo just to write 50,000 words in a month. I was, am, doing it to have a complete first draft of 22 Cards by the end of November and that’s definitely still the plan. So my new goal is the finish the first draft, regardless of word count. Not going to lie, I feel a little bit more chilled about the whole thing knowing that I’m not chasing that word count target anymore, but I still have a long way to go and I’m still going.

Things I’ve learned so far

My search history is amazing this month! I’ve learned many new and interesting things over the last couple of weeks, such as how different gun holsters look under different styles of coat, how to break someone’s neck with your bare hands, and that the word garrote originally refers to the stick used to tighten the wire and not the wire itself. Not technically a thing I’ve learned, but my favourite line I’ve written so far is, “The difference between us,” I whispered, “is the sound of screaming doesn’t get me hard.” This has all taken a much darker turn than I expected, and I expected it to be dark.

If you’re currently NaNo-ing, I hope it’s going really well for you, that you’re  still deep in love with your story and that you reach whatever goals you set for yourself in the time you want to reach them

Samhain: My plans for the year ahead

As a Pagan, Samhain is when I celebrate the beginning of a new year. Although the calendar new year inspires a natural sense of looking back, Samhain is when I look forward. It’s when I feel the greatest sense of potential and possibility, when I get excited about things to come. Instead of making resolutions, I decided to set some goals for different areas of my life.

I’ve noticed other people talking about setting a focus word for the year, a concept that feeds into all their plans and goals, and a reminder of priorities when setting objectives. After a year of experimentation and discovery, I feel like it’s time to focus. So my focus word for the coming year is FOCUS. Yes, I tried to find an alternative word that meant the same thing because I don’t like repeating words in sentence, but focus pretty much hits the spot 🙂

Writing

My first big writing goal is to take part in NaNoWriMo 2017. It’s my first NaNo and my project, 22 Cards, will be the longest book I’ve written to date. Because NaNo is all very new to me, I’m aiming for the 50,000 word target but my real focus is on enjoying and learning from the experience. My other writing goal is to publish my novella, Car Thieves, in early 2018. I’m going to aim to publish 22 Cards before the end of 2018, but I’m not honestly sure what the editing process will be like for a book of this length, so this is definitely more of a guideline than a strict deadline.

Blogging

I absolutely adore blogging. It’s an outlet for non-fiction writing, a fun way to connect with other creative people, and a great platform for sharing my photography and fiction. I’m trialling a blogging schedule in my bullet journal at the moment and aim to plan my posts more in advance, with space left for spontaneous posting, rather than just posting things as they come to mind as I’ve been doing since I moved in to this site last year.

Social media

My social media goal for the coming year is to prioritise Twitter. I’ve been using Twitter since 2008 but I started to use it a lot more actively over the last few months, taking part in hashtag games and events for writers, and spending more time connecting with the writing community. It’s been so much fun sharing my work there and meeting like-minded creative people, so I’m really looking forward to what the next year will bring.

Wellbeing

My wellbeing goal is more about maintenance than new things. I recently returned to a consciously structured morning routine involving meditation, yoga and beginning the day feeling relaxed and enthusiastic. My goal for the year ahead is to maintain this routine because it has such a positive affect on how I feel for the rest of the day and my ability to be productive and happy.

So those are my goals for the year ahead. Blessed Samhain and a happy new year to all my Pagan and witchy friends

It’s NaNoWriMo time!

Tomorrow is 1st November and you know what that means? NaNoWriMo 2017 is go! That rainbow-coloured thing of beauty up there is my Scrivener project for 22 Cards, my NaNoWriMo novel. The outline is written, research is done, characters are profiled and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be *gulp*

Because it’s not already scary enough trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days (*double gulp*) I’m going to be starting a couple of days late because my husband and I booked a Samhain break back when I was feeling totally cavalier about this whole NaNo thing. We’re leaving today and we’ll be away until 2nd. Also, when I have to go somewhere or do something, I’m usually too wiped out to do anything else that day, so I’m going to be losing one day a week to grocery shopping and probably another couple of days over the month to currently unforeseen thing-doing. And even if my health somehow manages to be super amazing in November, I usually still have at least a few days a month when I’m not able to sit up at the computer. So really it’s 50,000 words in quite a bit fewer than 30 days (*triple gulp*).

I’m not stressing about that but I’ve accepted that there’s a possibility that no matter how hard I try, I might not make it to the 50,000 word target in November. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. I’m as prepared as I can possibly be and I’m going to work my ass off for as many days as I’m able to. If I reach my goal, that’ll be an astounding victory. If I don’t, I’ll still have made serious headway into the longest thing I’ve ever written and had the opportunity to be part of all the NaNoWriMo excitement for the first time ever.

I’ve seen a few things floating around the internet about how if you want something badly enough, you’ll get it. How there are no excuses for not writing if you’re really a writer. But that’s bullshit. Sometimes life throws stuff in your way and you have to deal with it. Not everyone has the option to prioritise their creative projects at the expense of their health, their kids, their job or whatever. That’s life.

So if you’re setting out on your NaNoWriMo journey with an illness or disability that affects your ability to write, work or family commitments that you’re doing your best to fit your writing in around, or anything else that may end up being a legitimate reason for not being able to write as much as you’d like over the next 30 days, I’m right there with you. The important thing is that we’re doing our best and we’ll get there, even if it doesn’t happen during November.

So let’s support each other and cheer each other on. Just committing to try something like this is a huge step and I’m proud of myself for taking it. You should be proud of yourself too.

If you want to follow along with my NaNo progress, I’ll be posting on Twitter as often as I let myself have internet breaks. You can find my NaNo author page here (feel free to add me as a writing buddy) if you’d like to see my word count updates as they happen. I’m not honestly sure how regularly I’ll be blogging during November because NaNo is top priority, but I’ll do my best to post some updates here as well.

If you’re NaNo-ing with me, I wish you inspiration, motivation and all the time and energy you want to dedicate to your novel

5 ways writers can support each other online

With NaNoWriMo looming, I feel like I’m caught up in an electric buzz of collective excitement with my writing communities on social media. Writers on the internet are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever encountered. Maybe it’s because writers are also readers, or maybe it’s because other writers are rarely the competition due to the nature of how our work is consumed, but the encouragement and love I feel from my writer friends is mindblowing, always.

If you’re wondering how you can get more involved in writing communities online and offer encouragement to your fellow creators, especially writers who are publishing independently, I’ve put together a collection of ideas from my own experience for you to try. Enjoy!

Make genuine connections

Social media and blogs are great for discovering other writers. If you see a post you like, don’t just read it and move on. Visit the person’s profile or site, follow them, comment on their posts and get to know them. I don’t mean mass follow everyone who posts in a particular tag or has ‘writer’ listed as their occupation. I mean actually reach out, communicate and let people know you enjoy what they’re doing. If someone is posting about their new project, share in their excitement. If they’re having stressful times, a few words of encouragement can make all the difference. Treat other writers the way you’d like to be treated and get ready to make new friends!

Share what you love

Whether you’re mentioning someone in a #FollowFriday post on Twitter or reblogging their poetry on Tumblr, sharing someone’s work or a link to their profile or website can introduce them to a whole new audience – yours! Telling a friend about the amazing book you’re reading and sending them a link to where they can download or buy it is fantastic too. It’s a lovely feeling when someone likes what you do enough to introduce people they know to your work.

Take part in tags and games

Every week, I look forward to #SatLines and #SlapDashSat on Twitter. Not only are these great opportunities to share a little bit of what I’m working on, they’re also fun ways to discover other writers. You don’t even have to wait for a particular day or game to jump into tags though. Using (and browsing) #amwriting and #writerslife on Twitter will instantly connect you with other writers, any day of the week. If you’re involved with a big project like NaNoWriMo, check the relevant tags. I’ve met so many writers through #NaNoWriMo, #NaNoPrep and #CampNaNoWriMo, and it’s lovely to know that while I’m spending hours putting words to screen, lots of other writers are doing exactly the same thing and we can give each other a much needed boost!

Read and react

Few things warm my heart like someone saying, “I loved your book”. Actually, even just having someone get in touch to say they’ve downloaded my book and are going to read it feels pretty epic. Blog comments, and even Likes, are awesome. Basically, do things to remind other writers that they aren’t just shouting into the void. Let them know you’re reading and appreciating their work. Writing can be an isolated activity a lot of the time, as you know, and hearing from the people who read your words is important, especially if you know they can relate to your experience. On that note, if you’ve read something that genuinely shifted your perspective, touched your heart, made your day better or inspired you in some way, TELL THE WRITER! As a writer yourself, you know how feedback like that can carry you through times of self doubt.

Pay for what you read

At the moment, I give everything I write away for free but people who want to pay, and can afford to, can send a payment through PayPal (like buying a book after they’ve read it). I’m still very much at the beginning of my actually-doing-the-writing-thing journey so knowing that people are willing to put money behind what I do feels incredible (and also helps me to pay for things that I need. On the flipside, I generally can’t afford to buy physical books, but independently published ebooks are so much more affordable and I’m grateful to be in a place where I can spend even a little bit of money supporting other writers. For a long time, I couldn’t afford to do this. Now that I can, it’s important to me that I do. Being on the receiving end of financial support for your creative endeavours is pretty damn good. Being on the giving end of that is equally wonderful.

I hope these ideas help you to make the most of your online life as writer and contribute to your community. There are so many of us out here, waiting to meet you

The value of paying creators

My back is a total mess at the moment. I’ve been in a lot of pain for the last few days and it’s really difficult to move around. I’m shuffling more than walking and I can’t use my walking frame or sticks because I don’t have the strength needed to lean on my arms and hands. Imagine a penguin being tasered in the spine and that’s pretty much how I look when I try to move.

On Sunday morning, the first thing I did when I woke up was cry.

Then I turned my phone on and a PayPal notification popped up. Someone who enjoyed my writing had sent me $50, completely unexpectedly. The goodness of this takes a number of forms.

First of all, it paid for my web hosting for the next year plus part of the cost of software that I use for work. Knowing that those expenses are covered is amazing.

Secondly, it reminded me that what I create is actually worth paying for, which is easy to forget because I have roller coaster self-esteem and am still recovering from a previous job that left me feeling like nothing I did was ever good enough no matter how hard I worked.

Thirdly, it reminded me that people can be kind and wonderful, right at the time when those things are most needed.

The value of paying creators goes so far beyond a Patreon pledge or a PayPal payment (or a book bought or a piece of art commissioned or or or). It means more than covering costs and being compensated for a job done. It says, “What you create is worth something to me” and that matters more than people often realise.

My gratitude for the support and encouragement I receive from people who appreciate what I do is endless. Thank you ❤

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2017

NaNoWriMo begins in three weeks and I’m beyond excited! I’ve been laying the foundations of my project for over a month, getting to know my characters and creating a structure for the book. October is being spent outlining in as much detail as possible and November (NaNo month) will be for all the writing.

50,000 words feels like a lot to write in thirty days. It’s a slightly intimidating number and I’m not completely sure that I’ll manage it (it’ll be the longest thing I’ve ever written), but I’m going to give it my best shot. I felt a similar level of trepidation before starting my Camp NaNoWriMo projects in April and July of this year so it’s a familiar sensation. I completed both of those with plenty of time to spare, but they were less than half the length of this one. It’s a massive challenge but I do like massive challenges.

Although this project has been in my head and on my computer for a while now, it’s still very much a voyage of discovery. I’d like to say that I’m intentionally refining my process, but really I’m still getting to know it. I’ve found that I definitely need a solid outline or I end up changing my mind about things and having to rewrite a lot. I’ve also found that I can’t just sit down and create an outline from nothing because I’m more characters-first than story-first.

What I’ve discovered works for me is to have a firm concept in mind for the project, then spend time with the characters while creating a rough structure. As I get to know the people who live in my head, the story begins to shape itself based on their motives and desires. I create very detailed character profiles and this sparks chunks of dialogue and other vague sketches. These spontaneous bits and pieces may or may not end up in the finished project, but when they appear in my mind I write them down because they always help me to build the story.

I don’t want to say too much about the details of my project because I’m still creating it and so much is subject to change, but I’m happy to share a blurb (very much a work in progress!) and introduce you to the characters, so here goes…

A retired contract killer, a hacker with a poet’s soul, an underworld chauffeur, a musician with a penchant for blood magic and a solider struck by lightning.

Inspired by the concepts and symbolism in tarot’s major arcana, 22 Cards weaves a winding path through five lives connected by the delicate threads of chance and possibility.

Brett
Hacker with a poet’s soul. Night person. Hardcore multi-tasker. Vodka, take-away food, Danish art house cinema. Death before drudgery.

Cain
Musician with a penchant for blood magic. Pills for breakfast. Keeps dead flowers for too long. Wants you to love her, dangerously.

Mercy
More casual chauffeur than get-away driver, but never say never. Woman of few words. Craft beer. Concealed weapons. Shit happens.

Noah
Retired contract killer, reluctant ex-smoker, coffee connoisseur. Stormy seas and expensive coats. Has feelings about not having feelings.

Wolf
Ex-military, current wandering god/fallen angel archetype. Accidental purveyor of prophetic wisdom. Struck by lightning – twice.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, which is pretty much just brain-spew since I haven’t started properly writing, and won’t until November, check out 22 Cards’ page on NaNoWriMo’s website here.