Guest Post: Evolution of a Story by Cheryl Headford

Inspiration for stories come from all kinds of places, and sometimes it takes me on some strange journeys. My chains of thought are often…interesting, and it was certainly the case with Project X.

It all started with a train journey to work. On the train, I was pondering a conversation two boys were having about computer hacking and wondered if there was a story in there somewhere. I didn’t think it would be up my street, so I put it on the back burner.

Once off the train, I had to walk through town to get to the office. I was wandering along, window shopping, when I came across a mannequin in a shop window. I don’t often get excited by mannequins, but this one got me. It caught my attention because it was so lifelike. There were three mannequins altogether, two girls and a boy. It was the boy that gripped me.

The mannequin was sitting with one knee up resting its chin on its hand. Behind him was a poster of a boy wearing the same clothes. Both the boy and the mannequin had such sad and distant expressions! I stood and looked at them both for a while, captivated. I can’t even say now what it was that hooked me so much. Whatever it was, it stayed with me as I walked on.

I wondered what might have happened to the boy to make him look so sad and distant. Just about then, I walked past a really old police station and the conversation about hacking came back. As often happens with me, a conversation started inside my head between a boy, who was in trouble for hacking an important computer, and his best friend.

Then the conversation changed to the hacker not being at the police station, but warning his friend that he’d found something on a computer and they were both in danger. By the time I got to work, I had a sketch in my head of two college guys. One was a computer expert and the other wasn’t. The non-hacker got a call from his friend to say he’d hacked into a computer at an institution he was working at and had found a terrible secret. He went on the run, and his friend had to get to him and sort the situation out.

At that point, I had no idea what had been found and no idea what could be done to resolve it.

The next day, I was sitting on the train and heard a group of youngsters talking about someone at their school who was a stuck-up, arrogant bastard. He thought he was something special just because his father was rich. Right there, Morgan Bentley was born.

When I got to work, I opened the computer and typed “Morgan Bentley was a bastard.” That was and is the first line of Project X.

At that point, I had no idea who Morgan Bentley was and how he fit into the picture. I started writing, exploring who Morgan Bentley was through the eyes of someone who hated him. I still had the hacker story in mind, but I didn’t know how Morgan fit into it because he wasn’t the sort of person who would be into hacking.

Morgan and his hater, Matthew, turned out to be law students, which was a bit of a surprise, and Morgan underwent a transformation.

When I was at law school, I was fascinated by a boy who was in a lot of my classes. He had long black hair and more of a rock than a goth vibe. He’d come from Cambridge University, which is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. There were all kinds of rumours as to who he was and how he’d ended up in Pontypridd. Unlike Morgan, he was rather anti-social. I never did get to know much about him.

So, Morgan became an enigmatic, hot, sexy goth guy–exactly my type, and Matthew, was a pretty “normal” college guy who is covering up the fact he’s jealous of–and in love with–Morgan. Neither of them was right for a hacker.

By then, Cory had appeared, and he was perfect. When he got the internship with Morgan’s father’s company, it was a perfect opportunity for hacking. But what could he find?

Cory’s loves were computers and biology, so it would have to be something that combined those. The true meaning of Project X was as much a surprise to me as I hope it will be to my readers.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Evolution of a Story by Cheryl Headford”

This Is How to Transform Info Dumps Into Exciting Plot Reveals – Helping Writers Become Authors

Mysteries, clues, and plot twists are great for hooking readers–as long as they aren’t powered by info dumps. Here are 5 principles for creating exciting plot reveals…

Source: This Is How to Transform Info Dumps Into Exciting Plot Reveals – Helping Writers Become Authors

How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

Want readers to love your book so much they’ll re-read it? If so, you can start by learning how to evoke reader emotions that both surprise and satisfy.

Source: How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

Want readers to love your book so much they’ll re-read it? If so, you can start by learning how to evoke reader emotions that both surprise and satisfy.

Source: How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness” – Helping Writers Become Authors

Learn 5 Types of Character Arc at a Glance: The 3 Negative Arcs (Part 2 of 2) – Helping Writers Become Authors

Writing a tragedy or dark story? Here’s a beat-by-beat look at the three Negative Arcs–the Disillusionment Arc, the Fall Arc, and the Corruption Arc.

Source: Learn 5 Types of Character Arc at a Glance: The 3 Negative Arcs (Part 2 of 2) – Helping Writers Become Authors

How to Make Your Plot a Powerful Thematic Metaphor – Helping Writers Become Authors

 

To discover what thematic metaphor your plot is offering from amid its characters’ entertaining adventures, all you have to do is ask the right questions.

Source: How to Make Your Plot a Powerful Thematic Metaphor – Helping Writers Become Authors

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Chapter • Writer’s Edit

Recently, we delved into what makes a great opener for a novel, covering the key elements to include in your first chapter. But just as there are important elements you should aim to include, there are also elements you should strive to avoid. As we discussed previously, your first chapter has the power to make or break your […]

Source: 7 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Chapter • Writer’s Edit

7 Key Elements To Include In Your First Chapter • Writer’s Edit

The importance of your novel’s first chapter cannot be overestimated. It’s the chapter that introduces your book to the world – the chapter that needs to hook readers, agents and publishers alike. (No pressure or anything!) Unfortunately, there’s no predetermined formula for a perfect first chapter. Every story is different, and so is every opening […]

Source: 7 Key Elements To Include In Your First Chapter • Writer’s Edit

6 Requirements for Writing Better Character Goals – Helping Writers Become Authors


Check out six qualities you’ll need if you’re going to write character goals intense enough to power a blah plot into a compellingly dimensional story.

Source: 6 Requirements for Writing Better Character Goals – Helping Writers Become Authors

Featured Guest: Seelie Kay, Author of CULT (Feisty Lawyers Book 3)

Release Date: May 17, 2019
Publisher: Extasy Books
Romantic Suspense, three flames

An Interview with Seelie Kay:

Q. Why do you write romance?

Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Q. Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I also love strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Q. Why did you write Cult?

For two reasons. First, I have done extensive research on a religious cult a family member was involved in many years ago. There is specific type of personality that succeeds as a cult leader. They offer something others aren’t finding in their real life or through mainstream religion. Their grip on others is daunting. In many instances, however, a cult leader is nothing more than a con man with a great sales pitch. I wanted to explore that. Second, when I was in college, I had friends who got involved in cults. They gave up all of their worldly goods and submitted blindly to one man. And once in, they couldn’t get out. Fortunately, some did finally escape, but they were forever changed.

As I was doing my research, I realized that many cults treat their members as slaves, a form of human trafficking. Their free will has been taken away. Someone else does their thinking for them. As long as they submit and obey, they receive the basics—food and shelter. However, the consequences of nonconformance can be dire–physical abuse, incarceration, even death. It was not a story I could ignore.

Q. How does your former profession as a lawyer impact your writing?

My friends say I am obsessed with justice, and I guess that’s true. After 30 years, the law and the legal world are so firmly embedded in my brain that I can’t flush them out. That has become the lens through which I view the world, and that naturally guides my characters and plots. Injustice infuriates me, but it also leads me to great stories!

Blurb:
It’s supposed to be a simple assignment. A quick trip to a South American country for an “in and out” fact-finding mission. Unfortunately, the cult has other ideas.

When college students begin disappearing from American campuses, a notorious cult, God’s Delight, is the primary suspect. God’s Delight has been hosting shows featuring sex, drugs, and rock and roll around the country, and young people are flocking to them.

Among the missing is the President’s goddaughter, and he wants answers. When he asks Agent Cade Matthews, a member of a secret covert organization, to find her, the mission appears fairly straightforward. Find the God’s Delight compound, determine whether a welfare check on American cult members is warranted, and get out. Simple. Clean. Easy.

Cade sends newly-married Agents Dianna Murphy and Anders Mark to the University of Wisconsin to follow the trail to God’s Delight, but when they wind up in Bolivia, things go sideways. Suddenly, what appeared to be nothing more than a simple in-and-out could cost Dianna her life. When an Agency extraction is ordered, chaos erupts, and the question becomes, will anyone survive?

Excerpt:
“But everyone can leave when they want, right?”

Tillie cocked her eyebrow, clearly amused. “Of course. But why would they? This is paradise.”

“It is indeed, darling Miranda,” drawled a deep sultry voice. A tall, well-built man dressed in a white cossack, a thick wooden cross draped around his neck, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek. His loose, long blonde hair framed a tan, handsome face with a strong nose and a wicked, full-lipped grin. He turned his piercing blue eyes toward Dianna and smiled. “Hello,” he said.

The man studied her, his expression predatory.

Dianna shifted uncomfortably. So, Tillie is using another name. Meaning she’s undercover. Noted. Dianna stuck out her hand and said. “Hi, I’m Bennie. I’m one of the students from Wisconsin working over at the orphanage. You were kind enough to allow us to stay here.”

The man took her hand and stroked it, his expression suddenly thoughtful. “Tell me, Bennie from Wisconsin, what do you think of my paradise?” His hand moved to her lower arm.

Dianna flushed. My paradise? Is this Reverend John? “It’s beautiful. Peaceful. But hot. And humid. Really humid.” She gazed up into the man’s eyes, somewhat stunned at the lust she found there. My God, he looks like he wants to devour me. Dianna quickly looked away.

The man chuckled. “You get used to it. But we keep the air-conditioning on in the dormitories for the newbies and limit their time in the sun. And of course, we all take a siesta during the hottest part of the day if we need one.” He released her arm. “We worship at day’s end when the air begins to cool. Otherwise, things get a little…sweaty.” He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek, gently tugging her hair. Then he walked away. Dianna’s gaze did not leave him as children followed him, playfully competing for his attention. Just like Jesus.

Buy links:

Publisher: http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2538-8-cult/
Coming soon to all other major booksellers!

About Seelie Kay:

Seelie Kay is a nom-de-plume for a writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen! In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of multiple works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, and The President’s Daughter.

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Author links:

Website: http://www.seeliekay.com
Blog: http://www.seeliekay.blogspot.com
Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/

Prior Books:

http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs/
http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-too/
http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-thrice/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1734-5-kinky-briefs-quatro/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2023-9-kinky-briefs-cinque/
http://www.extasybooks.com/the-garage-dweller/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1504-4-a-touchdown-to-remember/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1795-6-the-presidents-wife/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2263-9-snatching-diana/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2032-1-the-presidents-daughter
https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2291-2-infamy/
https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2349-0-seizing-hope/

Coming soon:

Hope (Part Four, Feisty Lawyers): TBD