Get The Draft Done! by Charles F. French

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Do you have difficulty finishing a first draft of your book? This problem is extremely common and has a variety of reasons, but there are solutions for this issue. I have become somewhat of an expert on finishing first drafts, and I want to offer help to those who experience the frustration of never completing or taking far too long to finish a draft.

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A question that can be asked is why do I know anything about this situation? How am I qualified to offer any kind of assistance? The answer is my experience as a writer. I am a hybrid author—both a traditionally published writer of French On English: A Guide To Writing Better Essays, and a self-published writer of two novels: Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1, and Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2 and a cookbook based on the characters of the I. P. S. – The Investigative Paranormal Society Cookbook. I have become an expert on creating first drafts in the last eight years of writing. That is when I committed to being a writer as well as a professor of English. In those years, in addition to the books I have mentioned, I have also written my dissertation for my Ph.D. in English Literature, 3 academic papers, two short stories, one other finished novel, and three first drafts of other novels. This is not to say that all I do is write; that is completely on the other end of truth. I teach college, I am a husband and grandfather, and I also enjoy life.

From Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft (12).

What does my book offer to you? I address that question in the “Introduction”:

According to The New York Times, about 81% of Americans dream of writing a book and becoming a published author. Very few writers, less than 3% finish their books, and even fewer receive publishing deals. Many writers find themselves somewhere in this group. While these seem to be daunting odds, it is important to understand though it is not that they are somehow stacked against you to keep you from achieving success; rather, it is that you probably do not have a plan in place to write a first draft and then to do the necessary revisions and compete in the publishing world with an understanding of its difficulties. In order to do those things and have a chance for success, you need to develop the writer’s mindset.

Instead of thinking about doing the first draft with anxiety or fear attached, this book is going to teach you a way that will redefine what it means to get the draft done.

The first draft does not have to be perfect, and it will not be.

The first draft does not need to be a certain length (not for the first draft!)

And it does not need to be thought of as an entire book – it will certainly need major additions and subtractions.

I am going to give you the strategies and tactics I use, every day, to write approximately 150,000 words a year. That is the equivalent of two first drafts! Once you have these techniques in your writer’s toolbox, you will be more prolific, less likely to succumb to writer’s block, and you will have a finished first draft. This completed draft will be the initial and largest step towards becoming a published author.

This book does not cover the act of revision (that is my next book). It also does not deal with getting an agent, a publisher, self-publishing, marketing, or what subjects you should write about.

This book is intended to help you get from the first word to the last word of an initial draft.

This book will help you to get the draft done!

So, let’s get started!

Epstein, Joseph. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/28/opinion/think-you-have-a-book-in-

you-think-again.html

This book is available amazon.com for $9.99 for the paperback.

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

 

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

 

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

 

 

A Post from A Member of the U. L. S. — Robbie Cheadle

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I want to welcome Robbie Cheadle to the U. L. S., The Underground Library Society! This group is an unofficial collection of people who deeply value books. It is based on the idea of The Book People from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Robbie is the newest member of this group of book lovers!

Robbie has excellent blogs: Robbie Cheadle books/poems/reviews and   Robbie’s inspiration. Both are wonderful; please be sure to visit them.

King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

Background

I decided to read King Solomon’s Mines as it is set in South Africa in the late 19th century. I am currently finalizing my first adult novel, A Ghost and His Gold, which is set during the Second Anglo Boer War. I hoped that King Solomon’s Mines would give me insight into life in southern Africa during this period.

Rider Haggard spent time in South Africa after he took a position as the assistant to the secretary to Sir Henry Bulwer, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Natal in 1875. In 1876, he was transferred to the staff of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, Special Commissioner for the Transvaal. It was in this role that Sir Haggard was present in Pretoria, capital of the then Boer Republic of the Transvaal, in April 1877 when it was officially annexed by Britain. Sir Haggard was tasked with the duty of raising the Union flag and reading out much of the proclamation at the annexation event after the official originally entrusted with this duty lost his voice.

I had an interest in Sir Rider Haggard and his books because he lived in Ditchingham, a town close to my mother’s hometown of Bungay in Suffolk, England. When her brother was a young man he was employed by Sir Haggard and Sir Haggard daughter, Lilias Haggard, edited a book entitled The Rabbit Skin Cap which told the story of an old man who was well known to my mother. My mother’s memories of Sir Rider Haggard’s house and his daughter, Lilias, are included in the fictionalized memoir of her life, While the Bombs Fell, which we wrote together.

King Solomon’s Mines literary importance

King Solomon’s Mines is a book that is worth preserving because it is a rollicking good story with lots of action, written along similar lines to the famous Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson. The author has a wonderful gift of descriptive writing and shares the beauty and mystery of Africa in a most appealing and interesting way. The author demonstrates a thorough knowledge of southern Africa and the way of life among the hunters of the time. An example of this glorious language is as follows:

“But just before you come to Durban there is a peculiar richness about the landscape. There are the sheer kloofs cut in the hills by the rushing rains of centuries, down which the rivers sparkle; there is the deepest green of the bush, growing as God planted it, and the other greens of the mealie gardens and the sugar patches, while now and again a white house, smiling out at the placid sea, puts a finish and gives an air of homeliness to the scene.” Although this sentence is long by modern book writing standards, it describes the scene vividly. The language used by the writer is not complex and overwhelmingly ornate like many other books from this same period, but rather is written in a simple and conversational style.

Another wonderful description is of the Kalahari Desert: “On, on we went, till at last the east began to blush like the cheek of the girl. Then there came faint rays of primrose light, that changed presently to golden bars, through which the dawn glided out across the desert. The stars grew pale and paler still, till at last they vanished; the golden moon waxed wan, and her mountain ridges stood out against her sickly face like the bones on the cheek of a dying man.”

I must state that this book is set in Southern Africa in the late 19th century and contains some language that is offensive to modern readers. This book also expresses some of the colonialist thinking of the time, particularly in its descriptions of certain relationships between the Europeans and the Africans. These views and relationship depictions are dated and reprehensible by modern standards, but it is of literary interest that the author was progressive for the time and this was reflected in his work.

Haggard demonstrates respect of the African culture and describes many of the African warriors, including Ignosi, one of the main characters in the book, as brave and heroic. Twala, the existing king of the Kukuana people, when the three European travelers and Ignosi arrive in Kukuanaland, and Gagool, the witch doctor, are described as being cruel and barbaric but this is in line with their roles as the villains of this story. The story also includes a romance between Englishman, Captain Good, and a Kukuana maiden called Foulata, which would have been socially unacceptable at the time.

My review of King Solomon’s Mines

King Solomon’s Mine is a thrilling tale of Allan Quatermaine, a European hunter living in Durban, South Africa, who partners with Sir Henry Curtis, a huge Adonis of a man from a wealthy English family, and his colleague Captain Good, to cross the Kalahari Desert in search of Sir Curtis’ younger brother, Neville and the legendary mines of King Solomon. Being on the wrong side of 50 years old and with his career as an elephant hunter drawing to an end, Mr Quatermaine agrees to accompany the pair on their ambitious journey.

Allan Quatermaine is rather pessimistic by nature and does not believe he will live to return to his home in Durban. His terms of engagement include making provision for his son in the likely event of his death. He does not see himself as a brave man, but his actions demonstrate this he is brave, and clever and levelheaded too.

Sir Henry Curtis is beset with guilt as he believes himself responsible for his brother’s rash action in crossing the desert, a journey very few have survived. He is determined to look for his brother and redeem himself, even if it results in his own death. Sir Curtis is brave and strong, the kind of man admired by many for his physical attributes. He fights alongside Ignosi’s best warriors when a tribal war erupts later in the story. Sir Curtis is kind and compassionate and is not corrupted by greed like many men are, even when he learns of the treasure hidden in King Solomon’s mines.

Captain Good is an ex-navel man and quite precise in his behaviour and beliefs. He is prim and proper and takes great care of his personal appearance, a characteristic that nearly results in his death early in the story but proves to be of great assistance to the adventurers later on.

Ignosi enters the story as an African servant named Umbopa. He is a huge man, strong and clever, who does not fit well into the role of a servant. Despite this, Sir Henry and Quatermaine decide he is perfectly suited to accompany them on their journey. Good has some reservations but these are swept aside by his traveling companions.

The book tells the story of the four men’s journey from Durban to a small African village on the outskirts of the desert. It provides a lot of insight into life at the time and describes travelling by ox wagon, an exciting elephant hunt that ends in tragedy and the life-threatening trek across the desert.

Once the men manage to traverse the desert and the mountain and enter Kukuanaland, the story becomes even more exciting when they encounter the evil Twala, a Shaka Zulu styled tyrant with no respect for human life, and Gagool, a powerful witch doctor with a taste for murdering beautiful young girls.

Readers are treated to a ferocious tribal war, an exciting trip to the mines of King Solomon and an evil trap. This is an exciting and fast paced story which demonstrates the author’s knowledge of southern Africa and the lifestyles and cultures of the time from both the European and African perspective.

Potential readers should be warned that this book was written during the colonialist era and contains some language and ideas that are offensive to modern readers. If you can set this aside as a function of the politics and ideology of the era, it is a fantastic adventure story along the lines of Indiana Jones.

A Ghost and His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle – Cover reveal

A Ghost And His Gold

About Robbie Cheadle and Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Thank you to Robbie Cheadle! Please visit her sites.

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June Self-Promotion Party!

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(Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com)

Hello to all the writers out there and reading this blog!

It is time for a shameless self-promotion party, so please do not be shy about your work.

Let the world know about your book(s)!

Tell us about your book, and leave an image and a link if you can.

In order for as many people to see your work as possible, please Tweet and reblog this post!

Please remember to be proud of your work!

Here is my self-promotion: my latest book can help writers who have issues with finishing first drafts of their books. If that is you, I offer direct, practical advice on how to Get The Draft Done! by Charles F. French.

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Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

 

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

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

 

 

 

Another Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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I want to share a new review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1

5 Stars ! Highly recommend it!

I love a good horror novel, so I was excited to read this one! I had trouble putting it down once I started. I love that the supernatural villain has a human backstory (a really disturbing one) and that the villain’s point-of-view is interspersed throughout. It really adds to the creepiness of the story! Also, I found it unique that the book’s heroes are older (70+) as, in my personal experience, this demographic is underrepresented in literature in that capacity. I found the characters well-developed and likeable, and the story itself is gripping & suspenseful. I’m looking forward to reading about more scary IPS investigations in this series!

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

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

May Self-Promotion Party!

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(Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com)

Hello to all the writers out there and reading this blog!

It is time for a shameless self-promotion party, so please do not be shy about your work.

Let the world know about your book(s)!

Tell us about your book, and leave an image and a link if you can.

In order for as many people to see your work as possible, please Tweet and reblog this post!

Please remember to be proud of your work!

Here is my self-promotion: my latest book can help writers who have issues with finishing first drafts of their books. If that is you, I offer direct, practical advice on how to Get The Draft Done! by Charles F. French.

 

 

Another Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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“After extensive work with this novel, not only reading it but also performing an in-depth literary analysis- annotating French’s work with the literary element of foreshadowing, I can confidently affirm that Maledicus is one of the most thought-provoking and mentally intriguing horror novels I have ever read. French’s work with character development and chapter design allowed for this novel to encapsulate the reader, feeling as though they were a part of the novel themselves. I am not typically a reader who enjoys history, as I find it quite bland and boring but I can confidently attest that the history presented in this novel is NOTHING like any other history work you will ever read. The ability for French to constantly switch between time periods, while simultaneously formulating a conscious narration is truly amazing and something that I have never seen so successfully done in a novel before.

French is able to successfully develop the perfect balance between horror and adventure/fantasy using vivid imagery to attract the reader’s attention. Set in the time period of the early roman empire, the story begins by telling the infamous tale of the creation of Maledicus, an evil demon who is threatening the lives of children and families. After the first chapter, the novel then flips to the present time and discusses the separate tale of three retired gentlemen, all of whom have lost someone close to them to death. Throughout the novel, French further develops each of these characters as individuals, oftentimes devoting a single chapter to track their progression and describe the individuals life and their admiration for their lost loved one. French, however, remembers to switch back, devoting many of his chapters to describe the past time period, as the reader is able to simultaneously track the progression of Maledicus and how he turned into the evil being that he is today. Ultimately, Charles French’s strength as a writer allows him to develop an intriguing story combining the two most powerful entities: fear and love. I would most definitely recommend this novel to any reader, no matter what genre you are typically drawn to, as French does a perfect job of incorporating several genres and melding them together to create a cohesive story.”

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

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

available on Amazon

Two More Reviews of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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“Charles French has written horror so real, I had to put the book down. A few days later, I’d go back. Etc. The paranormal investigators were well-drafted and very interesting. Evil is not my bag but if it is yours, THIS is the book for you.”                                 

                                                                   Trace L. Hentz

 

“This book is excellent. Other than a few typos and moments of confusion, the overall book employs a multitude of themes including suspense, horror, and mystery. Beneath the gothic and dismal themes and storyline, love is what drives the plot and story. The book keeps you ‘wondering’ while also keeping you at the edge of your seat. Highly recommend this read!”

                                                                   Sergio Butron

 

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

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

available on Amazon

April Promote Your Book Party!

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low angle view of pink flowers against blue sky

(Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com)

It is the beginning of a new month, of April, 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

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

available on Amazon

Get The Draft Done! by Charles F French — book release!

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I am happy to announce that my newest book, Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft is now released. The print version is available on Amazon, and the ebook will be ready on 3/17/2020!

This book is intended to help writers who have issues finishing their initial draft of their work, which if it is not done, can bring their efforts to a halt. I offer practical suggestions and guidance.

The print copy is available here: Get The Draft Done!

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.