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Strong-willed Perpugilliam Atwood, a witch living among Muggles in 19th-Century London, goes to work at the Ministry of Magic as though it were any other day. But she’s thrust into a mission to Egypt to help break the curses surrounding the ruins of an ancient city, and remove any magical artifact before the Muggles find them. In a team with Aurors, a curse breaker, and a man from the Department of Mysteries, Perpugilliam must keep her wits about her as they encounter political upheaval, fantastic beasts, and the attention of a dashing wizard archaeologist who threatens to whisk her off her feet. But their arrival at the ancient city reveals a mystery that could spell doom for them all.

The Wand and The Scepter is a Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling fan fiction novel. It will be released on Wattpad.com before long.

Read it now here!

The Wand and The Scepter is Available!

Come one and all to Wattpad to read my new novel, The Wand and The Scepter. It’s a fun novel about a witch who goes on an adventure to Egypt in the 1860’s to search for a lost city and gets more than she bargained for. The book has action, mystery, suspense, romance, and enough Harry Potter-ish wonder to make anyone happy.

Find it Here

The Wand and The Scepter

Get an Account and Use Website or App

You need to have an account on Wattpad to read the book, but it’s free and easy to do. Just go to http://wattpad.com and create an account. Then, you can either search for me, Brad Younie, or for The Wand and The Scepter and start reading.

If you are unfamiliar with Wattpad, you can either read books using the website or get the app for your phone or tablet.

It’s a Serial!

As is normal on Wattpad, the book is being added in serial format, with one chapter being added each week. I will post every Friday afternoon, without fail.

Follow, Library, and Vote

You can follow the book to get notifications when new chapters are added and when existing chapters are updated.

Add the book to your Library to have easy access to it.

And, of course, Vote for each chapter. Voting is just a toggle, so it’s the same as Liking. If you like the chapter, then vote on it to let me know.

Enjoy!

Most of all, have fun with the book. I had a blast writing it, and I hope you have a blast reading.

Editing, Editing, and More Editing

Because I’m attention span challenged, I am always working on more than one writing project at a time. I try to keep the number of projects limited to a reasonable number, and not start anything new until one of my in-progress novels is complete. This worked, I believed for a long time, because sometimes I would be in the mood to edit, while other times I’d be in the mood to write.

Well, I’ve come to a realization: when given the choice between writing and editing, I choose writing 100% of the time. As a result, I have four novels that are first draft complete and waiting to be edited. Of those, I’m editing one. I recently came up with a wonderful setting concept for a new novel, and I’m anxious to get to work on it. But I’ve decided enough is enough. I’ll take down notes on it, and do some thinking about it, but I refuse to write a single word of prose until all my works-in-progress are complete.

So, I will be in editing mode for the foreseeable future. But it’s all good because, in the end, I’ll have four books ready to get published!

I’m currently on the final pass of my Wizarding World fan-fiction novel The Wand and The Scepter. Once that is complete and being posted on Wattpad, I’ll move to my Urban Fantasy novel, Bad Luck.

The Wand and The Scepter has a cover

And here’s the cover of the new novel, The Wand and The Scepter. The book is planned for a release on Wattpad. I’m still editing, but I hope to start publishing in a month or so.

The process for getting the cover done was smooth, and Gordon Napier was a great artist. The finished product is fantastic, as you can see, but I was very impressed with his professionalism and the regular updates he gave me, each time asking for my thoughts and concerns.

The cover represents a scene from the novel. For spoiler prevention, I will not go into detail about the scene, but I will say a few things about the cover.

This is pretty much what I envisioned Perri to look like. She’s the protagonist of the novel and is a Wizarding world witch in the 1800’s. So, she’s sporting a Victorian style dress underneath her red wizard’s robe. I never had a clear image of her face, save for the brown hair and brown eyes, but Gordon’s representation is spot on.

The background looks fantastic, and both exciting and eerie at the same time. Of course, in the novel, the creepy-crawlies do not climb on the walls, but it looks great in the image.

“The Wand and The Scepter” novel status: cover, illustrations, and editing

I’m in what I believe to be the home stretch in my preparations for posting my Wizarding World fan fiction novel on Wattpad.com. This phase has three parts to it: the cover art, chapter illustrations, and editing.

The cover art itself is done! My thanks to the fantastic Gordon Napier (http://dashinvaine.co.uk/) for painting a scene that’s far better than I could have pictured in my mind. He was professional and easy to work with. I now have the fun of working out the title and author text, which is coming along nicely.

Thanks to the excellent Kelly Bennett for contributing an illustration for each chapter heading. She has delivered art for the first two chapters and is working on the next. They are amazing!

Finally, I’m working on an editing pass of the novel. For this pass, I’m making use of AutoCrit, which I’m pretty impressed with. It’s moving along but is taking longer than I expected. Still, it’s worthwhile, and there’s no need to rush the project.

Rereading the classic novel, “Deryni Rising”

I first read Deryni Rising back in the 70’s when I was in Junior High. It became one of my favorite fantasy novels, and I have looked back fondly at it ever since. I remember wanting to be Kelson Haldane. Well, maybe not King Kelson, but a Deryni like him. I remember how Katherine Kurtz managed to bring the complex, yet colorful setting alive and pull me into the story, where I felt like I was wandering the halls of Rhemuth Castle alongside Morgan, Duncan, Kelson, and the other many characters in the book.

Lately, I have stepped up my game as a writer. I’m now in a writer’s group, and I have written—an am writing—several novels. I’m immersed in editing most of them at this point. I’m in a frame of mind where I look at the books I read from an editor’s perspective, letting me see the stories in a way I’ve never seen them before.

I reread Deryni Rising recently, and I discovered something both fascinating and wonderful. I figured out how the esteemed Katherine Kurtz let the reader look inside each character’s head without it becoming confused or chaotic.

In one scene, I was in the head of Alaric Morgan, one of the books main characters, and I was fully aware of the stress he was under and the urgency of his work. Then, Queen Jehana stormed into the room and began shouting at him. As it happened, I was inside Morgan’s head and experienced the argument through his perspective.

Then Jehana turned on her heel and left the room…

And I followed.

With the ending of the argument and the physical change of the Queen leaving the room, I had switched perspective and was now marching down the castle hallway, trying to keep up with Jehana as her mind seethed over the dispute. I heard what she was thinking and I understood her point of view—even though I didn’t agree with it. She went through a doorway and had a heated conversation with Prince Nigel—she was always angry throughout the novel.

And when she left Nigel, she left me as well. I stayed behind in Nigel’s room and head.

This technique was brilliant because it not only accomplished the necessary task of keeping the reader abreast of what was going on, and what everyone was thinking, but it actually pulled me into the story, where I felt like I was there walking beside them. When they had inner dialog, it was as though they were talking to me.

I think it was this subtle means of perspective shifting that helped make the book so magical for me—beyond the intriguing characters, fantastic yet realistic setting, and suspenseful plot.

Deryni Rising was not one of the first fantasy novels I ever read, but it has stood the test of time to remain always one of my favorites. And now, it has taught me how to handle stories that involve a large ensemble cast—something I was hesitant to attempt, but am now looking forward to.

Writing for Wattpad

I have several books that I’ve been working on that I plan to get published the traditional way: query, query, query for an agent. Hopefully get published. One is already immersed in that process. But two things happened that expanded my horizon: I decided to write a fan fiction novel, and I discovered Wattpad.

Now, how did these two things open up opportunities for me? I mean, after all, the books you post on that site are given away for free. And you generally can’t publish fan fiction for money.

Well, I’ve been hearing good things about Wattpad and thought it might be a good platform for getting some of my work out there for people to read. In fact, I’ve heard it can be a very useful site to help kickstart an author’s career. But I haven’t posted anything on Wattpad yet, and my gut tells me my first attempt might be fraught with mistakes that can hurt its ability to succeed. I kept thinking the first novel I post should be a test, so that if I don’t get all the Wattpaddy things right, I can learn from it and not feel bad for having wasted a perfectly good novel.

But I can’t write a novel I don’t love. I want everything I write to succeed. So, I needed to write something I love that I can’t get published for some reason. But what?

Then I saw the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and I got inspired. I saw how JK Rowling’s Wizarding World is so much larger than Harry Potter and Hogwarts and ideas suddenly came to me. I wanted to write a novel in that world.

So, now I have a wonderful novel whose story and characters are completely my own, even though they live in someone else’s world. It’s fantastic, and I want the world to read it and enjoy it. And yet I can’t publish it for sale.

I can, however, publish it on Wattpad.

It’s like the two were meant for each other, and I’m embracing that relationship wholeheartedly. I’ve contracted an artist to do the cover art. I’m editing the book to make it as perfect as possible. I’m researching everything I can about how to make your novel successful on Wattpad, so that the readers can enjoy the book without any frustrations. Although this book is never likely to get picked up by a publisher, I still want it to be as successful as it can.

I can’t wait! I’ll still plug away trying to get some of my novels published the traditional way, but I now plan to embrace Wattpad as one of my valid publishing options.

A Pantser or a Plotter?

A question I’m sometimes asked when I tell people I write novels is whether I write “by the seat of my pants” or plot everything out in detail. Both are valid ways of writing a book, and which one to use depends on the writer. Some people prefer to write the book as it comes to them, having no clear idea of how they’ll get to the end of the story–or even how the story ends. Others are more comfortable planning everything out, creating either an outline or storyboard that describes each scene in the book.

My answer to this question is… both!

When I get an idea for a story, it almost always comes with an initial scene–usually what becomes the opening scene of the book. And ideas never come gently to me. They always strike me with an intense passion that makes me want to act on it right away.

So, I start by writing that first scene that came into my head. Often that first scene transitions to a second scene, then a third, and so on, until I have a few chapters written. These scenes come easily and flow one after the other in succession.

Writing that first scene right away is important to me because it gives me the chance to create the voice I want to use for the story, and to see if I enjoy writing it. There’s nothing worse than taking the time to storyboard an entire novel only to find your heart isn’t into it when you get down to writing.

But at some point, the next scene doesn’t come easily, and I find myself lost. The story went on the right path to get to where I was, but I now have no idea where the story will go.

That’s when the index cards come out. I would pull out a deck of blank index cards (or nowadays, I go to the Corkboard view in Scrivener) and start building a storyboard for the rest of book. At that point, I storyboard everything, right up to the end, creating a new card for each and every scene in the novel. I don’t bother to storyboard what I’ve already written. I just start where I left off.

But I’ve found I often don’t follow the storyboard too closely. At some point, I get back into the flow of things, and I’m writing by the seat of my pants again, following a path that perhaps runs parallel to the one I storyboarded, but is distinctly different.

Now, I haven’t always written this way, but it is the technique that has enabled me to finish a first draft. Nothing else has worked for me.

I have a process for creating my storyboards, which I’ll detail in an upcoming blog post. So until then, keep writing!

On a sunny Saturday morning, David went for a walk.

indexcardboxI started writing when I was in fifth grade. One day, my teacher, Mr. Chris, put an open box of index cards on the corner of his desk. He told us to come up, one by one, and take a card. On each card was a single sentence, like “On a sunny Saturday morning, David went for a walk.”

We were all confused about our cards until Mr. Chris explained.

“The index card you hold in your hand contains the first sentence of a short story you will write. It’s due on Friday.” He gave some rules on what can and cannot be in them, then lectured about story writing. I was still scared about the project when I left the class that day, but once I sat down to write, a story just popped into my head, and the words flowed from my pencil. I had the first draft written the same day.

The next morning, I showed it to my old second grade teacher, all excited. She took out Old Red and marked it up. You see, my story had our hero run into trouble with some street punks, who tried to rough him up. To be believable, they had to talk badly (“You ain’t getting’ outta here now”). She didn’t get it, and assumed that I just didn’t know my grammar. I stubbornly copied it over to a clean sheet of paper and submitted it to Mr. Chris, “ain’ts” and all. I got an A+.

You’re never too young to start writing. As soon as you get an idea in your head, write it down. It could be a whole story, or even just a retelling of something that happened to you. What you write about doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you write. Keeping a diary or journal is a good start.

PS: The “bad language” I used wasn’t profane. It was just bad grammar, and it was only in dialogue. The bad guys in the story spoke like they never went to school in their lives, but the narrator and Our Hero spoke quite nicely indeed.