Planning a Novel – I’m trying out something new!

The development of my previous five books all followed a similar format – first came the initial idea, then the fabrication of the world and the characters within it, and then a basic outline of the story’s journey. This usually took the form of my thoughts combined with the plot outline on my iPhone notes; which seems ridiculous looking back!

With a new book currently in development, I wanted to try something a little different in preparing myself to write it.

Time and patience is the key to writing an effective novel. The initial planning and development of a story is more important than the writing itself.

My novel latest novel, DECEPTION: A Love of Lies, relied heavily on the characterisation and plot of the story. This is what drove the story. The initial idea was very different to how DECEPTION is now, but the time spent on researching and developing the plot is what made it the big hit it is today.

So, how am I changing my novel planning process?

I’m still embracing my mental plotting, but I’m taking the approach of jotting it down on paper, which is why I’ve got my own book planning notebook now!

Novel Planning Notebook T. J. Blake

As dull as the image is above, this little notebook of mine has book titles, plots, quotes, character profiles and backstories inside it. I’ve separated the various elements of the novel up. The notebook currently contains a book title page, character profile page, character background page, key events page, quotes page, writing inspo page and genre theme page.

With the divided pages, I’m able to jot down my ideas in basic note form. All the ideas I note down aren’t guaranteed to feature in the book when I come to write it, but it allows me to plaster my ideas and let me review it over time when the time arrives for me to start writing and put the plot together.

My character profile and background pages were looking very full to begin with, mostly because the protagonist in this novel was the key to the story; it all started with her (there’s an exclusive for you all!).

What’s your planning process?

I’d love to know what your novel planning process is. If you’ve tried many ways to plan your books and have both terrible and great experiences, I’d love to hear them!

Advertisements

My 2016 year review and what’s to come! 

Although 2016 has been a terrible year in many ways, it has also been a great year for many. 

Brexit, Trump, celebrity deaths – we all have our reasons for hating 2016, but there are also reasons for people to look back with pride. But the amount of celebrity deaths has been shocking for this year! 

Whether your year has been made by personal achievement, a heartwarming story in the news, or from something as simple as the release of a film, TV show or song, embrace it. 

For me personally, I’ve had a year full of ups and downs, mostly ups, and in terms of my writing it’s been very satisfying. 

Deception: A Love of Lies Goodreads T. J. Blake

My psychological thriller, Deception, has not disappointed. It has received nothing but praise, and has an average rating higher than my other books across Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble ; which I’m extremely proud of. 

There was also the release of my short dark fantasy story, Alive, which I’m very happy with because just like Deception, it’s a genre I’m not used to. 

For you reading this right now, try something new for next year. If you want to try something new and it’s out your comfort zone, just do it, you have nothing to lose. And who knows, it may pay off! 

Dark Fantasy Alive Book Cover T. J. Blake
Roll on 2017 I say, and roll on the final book of my book series, The Endurance Series, coming in the New Year! 

Happy New Year everyone!

Find out how to create your first Kindle book with Success Entrepreneur

I came across this post online – it’s a great post, explaining the process of creating your first ever Kindle book through Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). In 4 easy (ish) steps, you could be on your way to becoming a self-published author. But once you complete these steps, that is when the hard work begins. 

It’s a long post, but it’s definitely worth a read, especially if you’re truly passionate about writing and want to begin your self-publishing career. 


This post has got all the details that first time self-publishers and more experienced indie authors can utilise. The process of first time self-publishing can be intimidating, and a detailed guide has definitely been needed; now finally created. 

As I have said previously, you cannot do everything by yourself, especially when it comes to self-publishing – and I think that this blog shows that. With the support of this guide, you can create a very good paperback and eBook.

Read the post now – Create your first Kindle book in 4 steps with Success Entrepreneur 

You can see my journey as a self-published author so far by reading my latest post, How can you start a career in writing? – here you can see what becoming a self-published author has done for me. 

Also, if you’re currently looking for a new read, then I highly recommend my new psychological thriller, Deception: A Love of Lies

T. J. Blake Releases New Psychological Thriller, Deception: A Love of Lies (Press Release)

About T. J. Blake

Books by T. J. Blake

My holiday readings in Cyprus

I have recently just come back from a two week break from Cyrpus – which was lovely – and now I’m back, finishing the last few things for Deception.  

From the image below, you can see the clear waters and bright blue sky of Cyprus; which was stunning to experience and look at on a daily basis. Not only that, it allowed us to travel around and experience various days out. They’re also handy for clearing your mind and thinking about new story ideas – pleased to say I planned out a new book idea whilst away.  

The pic below is me thinking of new book ideas – candid shot of course, and completely natural…  


On holiday I began with a Linwood Barclay novel called ‘Far From True’. It was a good story with enticing reading to keep up with all the branching stories in the book. I felt though that there was a lot of focus on ‘The Twenty-Three’ killer in Promise Falls, but there was no reason for as much focus; especially as there was no conclusion to this. I think I was acting or thinking a bit like a spoilt child though, wanting to know who the killer was, but I’ll definitely be reading the third book of his book series. That’s another thing to mention, it is part of the ‘Promise Falls Trilogy’ but is still a good standalone book, as I haven’t read the previous novel. 

I rate Linwood Barclay’s book a 3.5/5

My second read was Stephen King’s new book, ‘End of Watch’. Please note, this is the finale of the Bill Hodges Trilogy. 

The book is ok, I felt like it was a bit far fetched and predictable for me, and it took a while for me to accept all there was to accept about the ‘Zappits’ (without giving anything away). Other reviews have suggested that it is important to read the two previous books before this one – which may have improved my opinion on this book.

I rate it 3/5

My third read was Peter James’s ‘You Are Dead’. 

This was certainly a typical British detective and mystery type of novel set in Brighton, following main protagonist Grace. Again, this book is part of a series, but stood well on its own. It started really well, having you fear for the life of Logan Somervile. Only negative point about this book was that I felt it was a little repetitive; asking/suggesting the same questions to the reader. I did guess some of the story, but there were still some clever surprises for the reader – which was refreshing, and a good last scene with the showdown with the brander and another side story. 

I rate this one 4/5

I then started reading Stephen King’s ‘Dreamcatcher’, which seems to make me laugh quite a lot, which is quite refreshing 🙂 

Anyway, these were my holiday readings. Hope you enjoyed this post, if you’ve read these books and would like to comment, feel free!

To finish, here’s me swimming in the chilly but beautiful Adonis Baths and Waterfall in Cyprus. 

DECEPTION front cover complete

We’re nearing the release of my next thriller novel, DECEPTION – a love of lies. We’re so close now that I can smell the brand new 480 page paperback and eBook by me, T. J. Blake.

I’ve been working on DECEPTION for one year and seven months now – I’m currently going through another edit of the book, and have been working on the book cover of DECEPTION for the past week. After my photography session last week, I captured some good images for the cover. Now after a week of work with these images, I’ve finally created a cover for DECEPTION. 

Being the suspenseful author I am, I will only be showing you a tiny section of the cover today. Keep an eye out for the official reveal of DECEPTION’s front cover though – it could be at any time! 


The story of DECEPTION so far:

DECEPTION – a love of lies synopsis

DECEPTION Preview

Photography and book design for DECEPTION

Six hours of writing (DECEPTION)


Photography and book design for DECEPTION

For most of the morning and early afternoon, my partner and I were trudging through my childhood woodlands; capturing pictures for the cover of my new book, DECEPTION. It was good fun, and a great opportunity to explore the woods once again after all these years. Not only that, the book is based in those exact woodlands, so it was good to see the iconic scenes from DECEPTION.

Who’s that weirdo in the woods?

We got some great shots, and it’s looking very likely that one of the photos we took will be making the book cover for DECEPTION. I have to thank my wonderful models April and her cute springer spaniel Bella – they looked the part and took my (bossy) instructions very well; even when they were forced to walk back and forth numerous times. 

Hard at work, setting the scene – this photo makes me realise I need a haircut

I spent most the afternoon editing the photos we snapped today, and there is great potential for many of the photos to make the cover. 

As well as the book cover, there’s a lot of work to do yet before DECEPTION is released. The book itself is coming along nicely – I’m well into the second edit with my editor and have to say, it sounds great; I really have high hopes for this book. 


Find out more about me and my books by browsing through my blog

Alive – coming to Amazon on Kindle

Here’s the official front cover for my new dark fantasy short story, Alive.

Alive ebook cover

Alive will be available to download on Amazon for eBook and Kindle soon.

For nearly a year now I have been living a lie. My husband and two daughters believe that I am dead. No one can know our secret.”

Short story ‘Alive’ – coming soon

I am happy to announce that I will be releasing my short story, ‘Alive’, exclusively to Amazon on eBook format very, very soon. Keep an eye out for its release – it could be within the next few days!

‘For nearly a year now I have been living a lie. My husband and two daughters believe that I am dead. No one can know our secret.’

New dark fantasy short story ‘Alive’, coming soon!

DECEPTION Preview!

I completed a first edit of my brand new thriller novel, DECEPTION, and I’m really enjoying the potential of this story. Now that me and my editor are both working on it, it’s great to see the book adapting and becoming an even better read for you all.
Read the DECEPTION preview now!

Sorry it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, I’ve had a mental few weeks. I got a new job – which didn’t turn out to be what I expected it to be (at all!) – I was without a job for a couple of weeks, and now I’m back at my previous employer; happy once again. Oh how we all love a happy ending.

Back to the point of this post now – I completed a first edit of my brand new thriller novel, DECEPTION, and I’m really enjoying the potential of this story. Now that me and my editor are both working on it, it’s great to see the book adapting and becoming an even better read for you all.

img_0801-3

Although this is only a preview, it’s hopefully still enough for you to get your teeth into.

I present to you a very small slither of my next novel, DECEPTION.

DECEPTION by T. J. Blake (Preview)

‘Through the stark and leafless trees I see her; she’s walking her Springer, ‘Bussy’. She has a slight bounce to her stride as she lets Bussy gallop around the lower woodlands.
She has that horse rider look; tight fitted riding trousers and boots, a black woollen jumper and a white shirt.
Her brown hair is woven into a plait and dangles over her right shoulder.

I see her most mornings. I remember the first day I saw her; an instant attraction. I think she’s beautiful. She has such pensive blue eyes; they remind me of a blue sky right before the sun descends. From different angles I catch the glint from her eyes, similar to the sparkle of a star in the night. Her skin is pale but in this cold she has rosy red cheeks that match her deep red lipstick.
Every time I see her I want to talk to her, I want to get to know her, and I want to be her friend.’

Copyright © 2016 T. J. Blake
All rights reserved. 

Coming in the summer of 2016!

Catching up with T. J. Blake – latest articles and creative pieces

Sorry that I’ve been a neglectful blogger recently, but I’ve had a busy few weeks. After bagging myself a new job (which I start on Monday – woop!), I’ve been finishing up with my then current (now former) employer, editing my next thriller DECEPTION, and of course, been preparing for Monday.

Anyway, to the point of this speedy post, I thought I would just give you the titles and links to my latest articles and creative pieces; which I’ve added to my blog T. J. Blake #Author the past few months.

So, below are my latest blog posts, articles and general writing material.

About me

Why did I choose to self-publish?

Articles

How has technology affected the relation between speech and writing?

Overuse of the exclamation mark: You’re having a laugh!!!! A little strict?!!

Creative Writing

Flash Fiction

Poem Attempts

Short Story Nightmare

Illusory Waters

 

Please have a read of my latest material. Feel free to comment with your opinion, and please do share 🙂