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I hope everybody has a fun Valentine's Day this year and receives a lot of cards, or otherwise has a special time with their loved ones.
For me romance has always been an important part of my life, and as a result a big influence with the stories I write. Back in high school we had an assignment in the final year for Dutch to pick a theme for six novels that we had to read, and then give a comparison between the novels and how the plots evolved.
I selected 'Romantic stories with a dramatic ending', and read several Dutch classics as well as several modern stories. I really loved the assignment and did a lot more than I was supposed to do. When I finally gave my presentation to the teacher I ended up scoring a 9, which is comparable to an A in American classes. It was the highest grade I ever scored for Dutch, and when I think back of it, I think that my love for writing started with those assignments, even if I didn't realize it back then.
I've only been writing for three years now, but the novels I read back then still have their impact on my writing today. Love and drama go hand-in-hand for a good story, or better said, for a realistic love affair. The typical fairytale romance, though cute, is far from realistic and in real life people often go through various difficult times. The beauty of those difficult times is that it can really strengthen a bond between partners, but at the same time there is the ugly side where it can break their relationship.
Another big inspiration for my romance novels are my grandparents. They were married for almost sixty-one years when my grandmother died, and still very much in love even though they were eighty-nine years old. They were a rare example of how true love lasts and persists, even when my grandmother got Alzheimer and had a lot of trouble to remember things. It was amazing to see how they acted with each other when she was still alive. To give an example, my grandmother would still tug my grandfather into bed every evening, despite her own advanced age.
I know that if I only get half of such a love life that I'll be a very happy man.
To celebrate Valentine's Day and due to the special meaning that romance has for me, I'm giving a 50% discount on my romance novel A Little Help. When you use coupon code EA37G you get the discount immediately. This offer expires on February 16 though.
I hope you all have a great and romantic day!
Last week I started with writing a new story, which I titled 'Stranded' for now. In less than a week's time I wrote 37k words for it (75 pages in Word), but due to sickness and some other reasons I'm taking a small break of it for the coming two weeks.
Still, I love the way the story is already shaping up to be. I really love Cmsix's stories, and in combination with a dream I wrote down several months ago, and one of my editors suggesting that a harem story might be fun, I set out to write an engaging story about a cruise ship that got trapped in a storm. I don't want to reveal anything else yet, but the reactions that I received based on the first two chapters were promising so far. I hope to get chapter 3 ready for my editors soon enough, while the other chapters will require some rewriting.
As you can understand a cruise ship carries a lot of passengers, and right now I'm starting to end up with naming and describing half of the survivors, even though most aren't recurring characters. Finding the fine balance between detailing the story and leaving some things vague is quite a challenge, but I'm thinking of keeping the non-recurring characters anonymous, so that the reader can focus on the characters that do return later in the story and serve an important role. The alternative would be having a list of cast members and where they get introduced, but I never really enjoyed those lists myself when I see them in stories, nor do I have any reason to believe that this particular system would work well in my own story.
I'll reveal more of the story as I get further with writing it.
As an experiment, I'm also having the story featured from 4 different POV's. I have worked a little bit with this structure before in The Maze Experiment, but there I literally ended up following every character. I'm not attempting that anymore, and instead I limit myself to the four characters that have the most impact on the storyline.
It's interesting to see how multiple characters can support a storyline, but if it's not done well it can also really distract from the main story, and you'll end up with four different stories that simply occur at the same time. Feel free to contact me with your own thoughts about the subject. I'm curious to hear what people enjoy reading more, a single POV, or following multiple characters?
Later today the final chapter of Forbidden Love will go live. I had a lot of fun with rewriting the story, although I'm still considering to redo the final chapters one more time sometime in the future.
I'm a bit surprised that it's overall scoring is lower than the original version, but that might still change once the final chapter is live. I expect that more people will vote for the story then. Quality wise I improved the technical aspect of the story a lot (with no small thanks to my editors!), and I did my best to improve the plot where possible as well. I was happy to see those points reflecting back in the TPA scores. With 20 votes for the rewritten version versus 22 votes for the original, I can conclude that the story overall scores better; the original story is in the low 8's, while the rewrite is in the high 8's and its appeal even scores a 9.
When it comes to votes, I think that the biggest difference comes from the fact that I uploaded the rewritten version chapter by chapter, instead of the entire story at once like I did with the original. The people who really loved the original probably read the entire story and voted for it afterwards, while those who didn't like it probably quit early and never voted, so in a way the new votes are more realistic. The original version also contained a spoiler in the form of a preface on top of that, which sort of gave a heads up of what people could expect, while I left that plot spoiler out with the new version. All in all it's interesting to see the differences.
I also want to thank those who mailed me a comment, whether it was positive or negative. I appreciate all the feedback people sent me.
For my next big project I intend to write an urban fantasy series, although that will be under a different pen name. As a result I probably won't be active for a while on SOL, although I do want to continue with TME in the future. I also had some ideas for different erotic stories, and this time have them feature more complex storylines with multiple sub plots, rather than the focus on a single storyline.
As an author I'm still very much developing my skills. I'm involved in a role play community, write short stories on the side when possibly, and full-sized novels whenever I have vacation. In February I'm also publishing an urban fantasy story in an erotic anthology with several other talented writers. I still need to rewrite my story for that, but I like the ideas I have for it so far.
The story is about a young couple who prepare for a tournament in which they can display their ability to fight with magic. The story is set in a modern metropolis, and although a lot of the things work the same as they do in our world, there is also some major differences, giving it a unique twist. The short story actually forms the inspiration for the series I want to write, and I'm considering to write those novels in two versions, a PG-13 version and an Adult version, where the love scenes will be more graphic and the violence in more detail, possibly giving the Adult version a darker tint.
I'll probably write a new blog about that story in one or two weeks though. The coming time I'll be quite busy with the holiday season, family visits, mandatory dinners, etc., but that probably won't stop me from writing some small stories either.
I want to wish everybody a merry Christmas, and a happy new year!
Last month I entered the contest for parenthoodstories.com. The challenge was to write a story between 400 and 4000 words regarding motherhood.
Although my own entry was a fictional story, it was in fact based on real life memories. I didn't win unfortunately, but I did enjoy writing my story a lot, and although I don't have children of my own yet, I do support the mission of this website.
Promoting good parenthood is always a good thing. I value every child as a precious life that deserves to be protected and nurtured. If this website contributes to this then I consider it a big win for all the children worldwide. I may live in a First World country where children are supported in their basic needs, but there are many countries where this is not the case. On top of that, child abuse also happens in my own country, and it breaks my heart to see innocent children abused, twisting their personalities into something ugly, that, in time, will only cause the cycle to repeat itself.
Feel free to give my entry, Learning to let go, and others a read. I'm sure you'll enjoy the published stories!
Last year I published A Little Help on storiesonline.net, a romance novel about the hardships of life, and how finding love changed the protagonist's world.
The novel became immensely popular and within three weeks it was downloaded over 44 thousand times, with an average grade of 7.50 after 1100 votes. It even turned out to be the number one most downloaded story for ten days in a row. I received hundreds of reactions from all over the world, and I was simply amazed with how well the story was received. Earlier this year, I wrote an additional chapter for that story, and in general Ifixed the small mistakes that were still in the novel.
I published A Little Help several months ago, and to celebrate its one year success I've lowered the price of this novel from $ 2.99 to $ 1.99. Specially for the people on storiesonline.net I also created a discount coupon on Smashwords that's valid till the end of this month, which gives an additional 25% discount. Instead of $ 1.99, you only pay $ 1.49. It's a lovely romance story, that would make for an ideal Christmas present.
To check the novel out, please visit this link , the coupon code is WM43C.
Synopsis of A Little Help:
In life we have to make decisions on a daily basis, some of which will drastically alter our lives. Generally we tend to take the safer of two options and stick to the outcome that is most comfortable to us. Afterwards we'll sometimes ask ourselves, what would have happened if I had chosen differently? Did I miss out on a fantastic opportunity? Or did I protect myself from harm?
Tom is no different. He's an ordinary man, with an ordinary life. One day, however, he sees a mother of two young children standing in front him in the supermarket at the checkout. She seems desperate as her bank card isn't accepted by the machine and by the look of things this isn't the first time that has happened to her either.
Like everybody, Tom is now faced with two options; taking the safe route and ignore what's happening, after which he can continue with his usual life, or take a risk and pay for the groceries. Sometimes it's the small decisions that turn out to make the biggest changes in our lives and unknown to Tom, the decision he is about to make will change his life forever.
He chooses to help her and in turn this single act of kindness is the start of a new life for him. However, the real question is, will he keep making the right decisions? Or will he lose everything dear to him?
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