Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Once upon a time, the North Pole was a very noisy place... The Winter Riddle by Sam Hooker

"A fantasy realm with despotic rulers, wizards, sarcastic familiars, Norse Gods and Santa! [...] I really enjoyed this novel, mainly for the characterization which is set within a lively moving story line. [...] I really hope we get more tales of the Winter Witch to add some levity to a genre gone mostly romantical." - Koeur, Goodreads


Re-Release Date: November 1st, 2018

When destiny calls on the Winter Witch to save the North Pole, will she pretend she’s not in?

Once upon a time, the North Pole was a very noisy place. A kingdom cowered under the maniacal rule of the White Queen, The Vikings raided and pillaged as they were wont to do, and the Winter Witch avoided talking to any of them.

When her peace and quiet are obliterated by threats of war and Ragnarok, she’ll try anything to get them back. When casting spells to become nearly invisible and dealing with otherworldly powers fail, the Winter Witch needs to forge an alliance with Santa—a retired warrior who’s anything but jolly—to save the North Pole from calamity.

Will the Vikings take up arms against the frost giants? Will an evil necromancer keep the kingdom in the grip of fear? And for the love of Christmas, will everyone who isn’t the Winter Witch please stop meddling with dark forces beyond mortal comprehension for a bit?

Deck the halls and bar the doors! We’re in for a long winter’s night.

Four Drafts to Victory

When asked about my writing process, I usually give a sarcastic answer. “I drink whiskey until I cry myself to sleep. When I wake up, my head is resting on a tear-stained manuscript. I rescued some gnomes from a cat once. I think they’re involved.”

It’s not true, of course. Cats want nothing to do with gnomes. Too gamey.

For me, writing starts with several months of throwing ideas at each other and seeing which ones stick together. Good ideas can’t become great stories on their own. They have to band together, preferably forming little cliques that plot against each other.

Once the story has taken shape, I outline it and start the first draft. It’ll end up full of contradictions, grammatical errors, and jokes that don’t quite work, but that’s fine. It’s often said by writers that the only thing one can’t fix is a blank page. 

During the first draft, I keep a running list of things I know I’ll need to change. Why not just stick to the outline? A writer’s job is to tell the truth, even in fiction. The truth is often “this character wouldn’t do what the outline says.” Good characters surprise their authors, taking stories in unexpected directions. When I realize I need to change a character midway through the first draft, I just write from that point on as though it had always been that way.

The second draft is for major fixes. Armed with my notes, I fix everything that I know about, clean up grammar and spelling, and work on the humor. Some jokes won’t have been as funny as I’d thought the first time around, and will need to be fixed or thrown out. 

I’ll find missed opportunities to throw in a pun. I’m far too tacky to let a pun go unsaid.

There are always fixes to work into the third draft as well, and I’ll further refine the funny bits. Humor doesn’t happen all at once.

By the time I’ve made it to the fourth draft, it’s mostly stylistic adjustments. It’s my last look before it goes off to my editor.

I work through every draft from beginning to end for a few reasons. First, it’s how I make sure I got everything in order. Characters are introduced before they deliver monologues, that sort of thing. 

Then there’s pacing. I may catch a character walking down a staircase in the same amount of time it takes another to prepare a seven course dinner and eat it. Those little adjustments are harder to catch if I’m jumping around in the manuscript.

My editor always catches a few things I missed, reminding me just how much better she is at English than I am during the final review.

My process has changed over time, and will probably continue to change, but this is what works for me now. There’s no right way to write, so do what works for you.

About the author:
Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy. He is an entirely serious person, regardless of what you may have heard. Originally from Texas, he now resides in southern California with his wife, son, and dog.

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Anonymous said...

thanks for hosting

Dan Denman said...

The book cover is great! This sounds like a very unique and interesting story.

CCAM said...

Quite a challenge! I would love to read it!