Category Archives: story notes

Coming soon: Resurrection Diaries 10th Anniversary Serialized Edition

As I’m celebrating the 10th anniversary of my first published book this year, I decided I would open it up and take a nostalgic look at it. I almost recoiled in horror at all my editing mistakes. Yikes! I guess you can learn a lot, maybe even become a better writer, in ten years, but I was surprised on how far I think I have come. So, in the spirit of that, I thought I would go back and try to “fix” some things and in a sense create a tenth anniversary edition.
The original book, Resurrection Diaries, is still available in free digital editions for the nook, kindle, and Apple devices. If you wish, go to the appropriate online retailer and download it. Please leave a review if you do. That’s always helpful. But if you’d rather wait for the “new, improved” version, then I will be posting it here as a serial in the days ahead. Now, just so you know, I don’t plan on changing anything within the plot, only fixing editorial mistakes, so no matter which one you read, you will get essentially the same story. That’s the plan anyway. 
A few things about the story before we start, so you’ll have some idea what to expect. First off, the story itself centers around a haunted church and is written in diary style with separate entries for each day. The narrator’s name is Paul (I didn’t have to think too hard about that one) and though the entries vary in length, they are still short enough to provide an ease of reading. Feel free to comment on any aspect of the story as I move along, whether it’s plot, mechanics, or editing. No writer is an island, so all interactions with readers are graciously accepted. 
Well, I hope you will choose to join me in my nostalgic look at my very first long form story. Though it was published in November 2007, some of its ideas and plot date back even years earlier. If anything, maybe this will be a good example of a writer just starting out and trying to find his voice. 
PS another reason I’m taking a turn at blogging something that has already been written is that I want to keep my blog somewhat active as I prepare to be a father again. We are less a month away from bringing our second child into the world. 🙂
Hope you enjoy and see you soon.

Re-introducing Vampire Boys Of Summer

It’s been a good five or six months since I’ve worked on my manga/anime inspired YA paranormal novel, Vampire Boys Of Summer, and I seem to have lost where I was going, lol. But hey, this is a story that is begging to be finished or turned into something bigger, so before I kick back into it blindly I thought I would just read through what I have already and create a new edit in the process. I don’t plan on removing any of the Story arc, plot devices, or characters, but my intention here is to flesh out a few scenes I felt were rushed or to add some minor details that may have gotten left out first time around. But most of what I will be doing is related to story mechanics: working on long sentences that would work better broken up, punctuation errors, and hopefully dropping a ton of adverbs which I tend to overuse.

For those who have already invested time in reading the original twenty some chapters I apologize. Your dedication and time and comments were very invaluable as the story evolved, so please don’t feel in my doing this I am disregarding any loyal readers. In the end, I hope I will end up with a better, tighter version of this story, and I also hope you’ll take the time to check out the new edits and let me know what you think. I have updated the prologue and first 9 chapters so far.

To new readers and visitors, the original chapters will remain on the blog while I’m working on this. You can access them through the vampire boys page which can be found under the menu heading Vampire Boys Of Summer. The new edits will also appear there and will be marked as such. If you like teen vampires, manga, or anime, hopefully you’ll find something interesting in the tale as I throw a few twists into vampire lore, add some manga style outrageousness, and just have fun with my characters.

Thanks for reading and keep writing with boldness of pen and spirit,

Paul D Aronson.

Vampire Boys Of Summer Main Page

So, what’s next?

So, what’s next? Every time I finish up a project, I am usually already thinking ahead to what I’m going to attempt and write next. But this time, I’m sitting here at my trusty iPad in a writing funk. It’s not that I can’t think of anything. In fact, if I look back through my writings there are plenty of half started and abandoned projects I could dive into. In fact, that’s where “Time Of Our Death” came from, and I’m sure there are some more half starts that could be bashed into shape, but I don know what I want to dive into. I do know that I need to work on finishing up “Vampire Boys Of Summer” before my wife kills me for leaving her hanging, but I also want to start something fresh, so I guess in the next couple of days we may see some erratic postings. Beginnings of stories. Pieces of abandoned fiction, as I try to find my groove. If you run across something you like or would like to see more of , please slap a like on it and drop me a comment to let me know you think it sounds somewhat interesting or something. This kind of thing helps me weed out stories that are lacking something, and work on things that people actually want to read. I guess you could say I’m like a performance artist. I’m driven by my readers 🙂
And while I’m on the subject of readers, just let me take a moment to say thank you to all who follow my blog, read my stuff, or otherwise like what I do. I appreciate every single like I get on my blog. Whether your like comes as a friend, a kindred writer, or a casual reader, it means the world to me, and is fuel for my creativity. And to those who leave comments, your interactions are invaluable to my growth as a writer, and make my writing process a personal experience to share with others. For that, I thank you for your time and thoughts that you so willingly give in this busy life many of us lead these days. 
Alrighty then, let’s get ready for more storytelling, shall we? 

NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep Day 4: Cover Design

Wow, it’s really getting closer to writing time in this year’s competition. I’m just about done with all my prep work, so I thought today I would share some images I created as possible “covers” for my NaNoWriMo project. In case you missed my earlier prep posts, my title this year (my first time competing) is “Our Time Of Death” and will be about a group of teenagers in a tragic accident and trying to cope with the fact they are now ghosts. It is set in 1987 and will be told in first person narrative. Tomorrow I will introduce my character names, but today I’m asking if anyone out there knows an artist who wouldn’t mind drawing a few visual character sketches to help me visual my cast. If you know of any in that you think would be a fit for this, please let me know. Thanks.

In the order of graphics, here are a few of the graphic covers I made. 

If have the time, let me know which one you like best. Thanks!

If you’re taking part this year, feel free to add me as a buddy. Just look for me,  Paul D Aronson.

NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep: Day 2

NaNoWriMo Prep Day 2
So here I go, moving into the second day of prep time for the 2016 National Novel Writers Month competition. I’m starting to get pumped. And it’s coming just in time, because tomorrow I will be finishing up posting my first daily serial novel. It was a process that took about a month and a half to post. Hopefully, I can keep up with the same dedication and diligence to writing something from scratch every day for the month of November.
So for most of yesterday afternoon and evening, I dug into doing some research for the time period I’ll be writing in. My project for November is called “Time Of Our Death”, and it will not take place in the here and now, but instead I’ll be returning to 1987 for this one. Even the title is meant to be the flip side of one of the most popular songs of that year, “I’ve had the time of my life.”

I set about reminding myself of the way things were by looking up the popular movies, music, books, fads, and trends. I ended up with several pages of notes in all this. I also started building my writing playlist, as I always use music in the writing process to set me in the right mood, and for inspiration. In my head like a little movie itself, the story should start off with “Let It Rock” by Bon Jovi.
I sat down with my wife last night, going over some of my ideas and characters I’d been sketching out. I know a lot of writers probably keep things to themselves in the process, but my better half is such an integral part of my writing, and she always contributes different insights and angles I may not initially consider. She helped me name some of my characters, as we perused the most popular baby names of 1972. In 1987, my main characters, all teenagers, should be around 15 or 16, so 1972 seems to be a good starting point for naming.
Today, I will spend time working on an outline as prep for this. According to the rules of the competition, you cannot start writing your novel until Nov 1, but you can do prep work like outlines, character sketches, research, and the like. Now I’m not one for making a solid, complete outline when writing. I do, however, like to outline the first few chapters to give me something to start with. The rest usually just falls in place while writing. So, my plan is to make a brief starting outline today. We’ll see how that goes…

Keep writing, my friends!

PS I have added another item to the main menu. Click the link below to have a look at the main page for all my NaNoWriMo posts.  During the month of November you will always find new updates there, so bookmark it if you are interested in following this process.

My NaNoWriMo 2016

Images of “Orchard House”

In addition to writing, one of my interests is photography and digital art, so I thought I would share a few of my creations here in my blog today. They were designed in conjunction with the writing of my daily serial romance, “Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything,” and hopefully will be of interest to my readers, followers, and other visitors.

This house I used as the model for Orchard House. Taken from a photograph I took, I then gave it this pencil sketch effect through one of my digital art apps.

Here I’m trying out an oil painting effect for this photograph I took to help in writing the scenery of the novel. Apple trees in the orchard, with a little church in the distance, and the mountain peaks behind. They all find their way into the novel. For anyone following the story, the place Matthew and Summer hike to called Sharp Top is the smaller jagged peak in the center of the range in the background here. It is a real place 😉

Going for a dark tone in this image of the road cutting through the orchard. Whenever possible I like to do photographic studies for my long form stories, and these are just a few I did for the daily serial romance. Hope you enjoyed. 

Vampire Boys Playlist (so far)

While I’m taking a very short break from the story, I thought I would share with readers my playlist of music that I was listening to while writing this tale. I am an avid music fan, especially when it comes to Japanese rock (J-Rock) and Korean pop (K-Pop). For this story, my main character, Nora, is a big fan of  J-Rock too, so it makes sense to me her playlist would be full of music from that genre. So, to get me in that mood I assembled this playlist. Many of these songs are actually referenced or hinted at in some way through the chapters that have gone before, and for those that weren’t, I just felt like they  fit the mood I was trying to create. I’m not going to post links or anything, but you can probably find most of these, if not all, by doing a YouTube search. Hope you find something here you like. I’ve listed the song title first, followed by the artist, and they are assembled in chronological order on how I feel they would fall into the story.

Loveless – Luna Sea

My Heart Draws A Dream – L’arc En Ciel

Queens Are Trumps – Scandal

Las Vegas – B’z

Feel – Exist Trace

Tears –  X Japan

Sweet Emotion – Nanase Aikawa

Incubus – Acid Black Cherry

Ashioto (Be Strong) – Mr Children

Tears & Rainbows – Olivia

I’ll post part 2 of this playlist once we get further into the story. Thank you for reading, and hopefully I will see you tomorrow with another installment of “Vampire Boys”. See you then…

Orchard House Chapter 4 Writing Notes

When looking at these chapters it has been enlightening to me to see how some elements were intentional and yet others weren’t. I believe every writer experiences that moment when a story begins to write itself. We lay down the characters, what makes them tick, their desires, their hangups, their way of talking and interacting and then we just let them go. Often I am surprised where a story goes once I start writing it. This became evident to me in Chapter 4.

Two scenes here weren’t even intended and yet they flashed into being. One was what I now call the flirting scene, where Summer attempts to get Matthew to dance. Originally I had intended to build a scene around the kitchen radio and once I decided on the song the scene just wrote itself. The only thing I intentionally tried to do was to keep it innocent. Though it may be a little flirtatious, it was about fun not desire. I wanted Summer’s carefree, fun attitude to contrast with Matthew’s ineptitude when it comes to interacting and understanding women. Looking back on this after the fact I didn’t realize I was turning the normal romance novel scenario around. In most novels of the genre I have read it’s usually the guy who is trying to bring the girl out of her shell, but here the female is the protagonist.

The second unplanned scene in this chapter was Matthew’s confession about his ex, Ashley. I had always intended this subject to be broached but not quite this soon. It would need discussion(and still needs it further) eventually, but it wasn’t until the exasperated Summer walks away that suddenly it all came out of my character. By starting the reveal of Matthew’s ill fated romantic back story we can now focus on fleshing it out and see how it has damaged his whole outlook on relationships. When starting this I began with a basic idea that he had been left standing at the altar. As we get further into it in later chapters we’ll see how basic ideas come leaping into being when you don’t try to map them out. This for me is the most exciting part about writing: Watching the unplanned parts of the story unfold.

Once again, music played a big part in the flow of this chapter and when I went into it I had a few songs as my outline and built the events around those tunes. First off there was the REM song “(Don’t go back to) Rockville.” Though it is not specifically mentioned, the reference can be found in the mention of a REM t-shirt Matthew wears. Then as he walks to the convenience store and passes the migrant workers it was the Gypsy Kings Latin version of Hotel California that figured largely in the writing process. I don’t think Matthew would have interacted much with these workers in the course of the story if I hadn’t been for that song which I heard on a Latin playlist on the rhapsody streaming service. The scene here had actually begun being written while listening to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John. It’s notion of giving up city life for the country way appealed to the story, but once I arrived upon the migrant workers I didn’t think it was a song they would have been singing amongst themselves. Finally, musically speaking, I got to the scene in the kitchen with Matthew and Summer in the kitchen. The hint is laid out that the first song playing before she arrives home is “Tiny Dancer” by Tim McGraw, but I felt the Kenny Chesney song “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” fit Summer’s carefree personality better, and it also gave me the words to pepper her dialogue with as she begins to dance. I really like how this scene shifts from a physical scene to one that is about emotion when Matt reveals what had happened  between he and Ashley. Again, this scene seemed to shift on its own and not because I had mapped it out as such. My music references and the way music helped craft the story and its events in my head will become a little clearer with the next chapter hopefully. I personally do love music in a big way, but with chapter five we’ll see how it plays a little into the life of our narrator.

In finishing my notes on this chapter I have to admit this was the chapter in which I realized this would be a dialogue heavy story. I personally believe solid relationships are built on dialogue. In the beginning when i first met my wife we spent hours talking. about our life, the past, things we liked or didn’t like, and so if the old adage that a writer should write about what he knows is correct then I know this to be true: If you want to start a relationship of any kind you have to talk. Here the talk is first fun and flirty, then deep and serious. Not only does dialogue help unravel the story in this way it also allows us a peek into the character’s personalities, desires, and dreams. I hope you’ll join me for chapter five and see just how much there is to know about a person once you get characters interacting.

Orchard House Chapter 3 Notes

If you haven’t done so already, go read Chapter 3 first, as my notes here will be pointless otherwise. But if you have already read it, then we notice this chapter is all about interaction, first in Wal-mart, and later in the farmhouse. After having both the main characters come into our story within the first two chapters we can now step back and watch them interact. We see how they get along, and even how they disagree. We are offered a glimpse at their lives on the surface as well as the emotional side of their characters. In this way we try to subtly (or not so subtly) build both the commonalities and conflict that all dramatic stories share. We see her happy go lucky exterior has a few cracks and we stand by shaking our head at his ineptness with the opposite sex.

Also in this chapter we see slow reveals of the characters’ back story. Back story isn’t always easy as it’s so simple to fall prey to telling people what went on before rather than showing it. I’m not sure if I succeed in that struggle, but we do learn a little about their past this time around and get the impression they both may be running from something, an idea we will build on in later chapters. I like throwing hints into my stories no matter what genre I’m working with. Namedropping and alluding to events that haven’t been previously discussed adds a “come back for more” element that hopefully makes the reader go, “Oh, what is this? Do tell.” In drama the twists and shadows are a little more subdued than say in an action or horror novel,  but as a writer I feel they are not only interesting, but essential to the growth of the story. In fact , often when I throw these hints in there even I don’t know what they mean at the time, but they serve as good tools for me to dive into my characters and find out. In this sense I am a reader too.

Finally, because I felt I may have overused music and song references in the last chapter (I will overuse them again, trust me), I left out that element in this chapter and focused solely on interaction and dialogue. Hopefully it works to draw the reader into the characters more, and less into the music that may shape this story or their lives.

Well that’s my notes for Chapter 3. Hang tight, Chapter 4 is on the way…

Orchard House Ch. 2 Notes

Second chapters always seem to be one of the most difficult to write. In most cases you have established the main character and set up the basic plot or action, so we ask ourselves what’s next. First chapters usually come pretty quickly but second ones can stump us in some cases. So for the second chapter of Orchard House, and if you haven’t read it yet please do so now or this won’t make much sense, there were a few things I wanted to accomplish or establish. First was to establish the female lead character. It’s key to not just introduce her but to show a few things about her. In the scene in which she is first introduced I use a music reference to tell us a little about her. Her singing “Call Me The Breeze” by Lynyrd Skynyrd as she comes into the house lets us know she is free spirited and independent without actually coming out and saying so. The scene is also played lightly and with a touch of humor as the two characters come face to face in an awkward sort of way. I did it this way so we wouldn’t be super serious about things right off the bat. There will be time for emotional drama later but for now to bring likability to the characters I felt it was essential to have their meeting occur in a way which the characters, and the readers, would remember.

Later, as the two decide on their road trip to Wal Mart again I used music references to set the scene, particularly the emotions and character of my two lead players. I realize that the references may seem like too many all crammed together – we find three song references in a very short span of time – but my idea was to help put the forth the idea that at one time Matthew had wanted to be or had been a music critic. So beginning with a reference to an obscure one hit wonder of the late 80’s, early 90’s – “Power Windows” by Billy Falcon – I attempt to let the reader know that Matthew initially sees Summer as a simple, love-is-all-that’s-important kind of girl. If one doesn’t know the song, and I don’t expect many readers to, my hope is maybe they’ll look into it. By the next line it seems Matthew’s assessment is wrong as another song reference comes: “Life Is A Highway” by Tom Cochrane. Again, and this song is more popular so maybe the point will be taken, I try to show the carefree, everyday-is-an-adventure spirit of my female character. I was going to end the references there, but I wanted the scene to reflect that they were clicking thanks to music on the radio and so I added yet one more music reference: “I’m On Fire” by The Dwight Twilley Band. I realize music references can be lost on the reader if they don’t know the song, but here I was writing more for myself to help me get into the fun mindset of these characters together. I could imagine them hanging their heads out the window and shouting the line “You aint, you aint, you aint got no lover” from this early power pop classic. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to use obscure references that the reader may not get, but in this case I’m trying to show the reader that Matthew has extensive music knowledge and it’s obviously something he loves and can relate to. On a personal level I feel we do shape our lives around music we listen to or enjoy, and in this story in particular i wanted to explore that with a character.

Finally, in notating things about this chapter I want to point out that only one character was introduced in this chapter. That was intentional. My idea was to show the importance of this character to the story. In chapter one we met the narrator and two other minor characters, but here it all centers around Summer and her arrival on the scene. This is designed to let the reader know she is possibly the most important character in not only the author’s eye but the narrator as well.

Like I said in my previous notes I don’t know if any of this will be of interest to anyone, but I thought I would share a little about the writing process and what goes inside this writer’s head as he is crafting a story. Hope to see you soon with Chapter three.