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Hey, I am only but the young but somewhat old age 15 and have a passion for writing. I thank you in advance for reading my question if that is if you are still reading this. I love to write anything and everything! I have started to write a book, fantasy and romance that is, but am a little stuck. This book will most likely get nowhere but I just want to write for the fun of it. I planed out all my characters and major events, but I don't know how to make it all flow together. Tips Please? Also i have little questions. Would it be okay for me to kill off the main character, though she was never really alive? The story starts in the past. Then at the end I want all the other characters to be at a funeral(or at a bar mourning something like that) thinking about her. Also she falls in love with the main guy, should i kill him off to be merciful or should I leave him there? And with details when is too many? Twist? How do you foreshadow it with out giving it all away? Well that is all. Thank you for reading this far and not just exiting out!
PS Should I get my work looked at or not since I am so young?

Answer
Hi, Sarah!

Sorry for the delay in responding, but there were so many questions I needed to wait to answer until I had sufficient time to answer your questions with the detail they deserved.

First, 15 isn't too young to write. There are plenty of published authors (including bestsellers) who started before you. But starting early has some pitfalls that you have to keep in mind for the *business* of writing. First, you can't sign your own contracts until you're of legal age in the state where you live. That means a parent or guardian will have to sign, so they have to be WILLING to sign.

Next, as far as the book you're working on, you say "fantasy and romance" which is, I think, there reason why you're stuck. Both of those kinds of books have certain . . . preferences to readers. What you're discussing here is probably closer to urban fantasy or gothic than true fantasy (which is fantasical creatures or different worlds/times). I bring in "gothic" because of the heroine's death. What you've got here is sort of a Shakesperian tragedy. The heroine has a great life, falls in love and then dies and loses everything. Because she dies without her "happily ever after" (a happy ending is one fo the preferences/requirements in the romance genre), you're probably looking more at a "love story" like a Nicholas Sparks book. That's not a bad thing, but combining gothic with a love story means it could be a challenging sell to a publisher.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't write it, because it might be the next big thing!

Now, on to your specific questions:

1.  Would it be okay for me to kill off the main character, though she was never really alive?

Sure, but you have to have a good reason for doing so. If you get a reader invested in what happens to a character, then there has to be a reason for their death that will make sense to the reader. Otherwise, they'll get angry and will say bad things about you to other people.

2.  Also she falls in love with the main guy, should i kill him off to be merciful or should I leave him there?

If it's a love story, then it's okay to leave him alive and mourning. Death is a part of life and you can set it up so he remembers her in some tangible way that the reader likes. If you kill him off, then you could get your "happily ever after" sort of ending, but you'll have to have her, as a ghost, sentient and conscious enough to recognize love.

3. And with details when is too many?

Depends on the details. That's a balancing act that we all have to learn and often we don't learn it until an editor tells us to take something out. LOL! But often details come in the form of "back story" which is a short way of saying "things that don't have anything to do with the plot." Even if someone's past is very cool and you've really thought it out, the READER doesn't need to know except as it pertains to the book at hand. If that makes sense.

4.  Twist?

Sure. Again, it depends on what it is. Try to consider the book in terms of sections. At the halfway point, you probably shouldn't be introducing any major subplots or twists that will seem forced to complete by the end of the book. But early on, have at them. A good twist is a "red herring" or a method of tricking the reader into believing one thing by the way you've phrased things. Sort of like in a murder mystery when you, as the reader, think you know whodunnit when it turns out to be wrong.

5.  How do you foreshadow it with out giving it all away?

There's "foreshadowing" and "telegraphing". Telegraphing is when you give it away. Foreshadowing is when you give hints of later things that don't seem important at the time. Like having a character smell coconut when she walks into a room and thinking it's air freshener, when it turns out that the killer was wearing suntan lotion and she just missed him. Foreshadowing turns into telegraphing when you give TOO much, or have the hero or heroine THINK about the "why" of what just happened. Just let them experience the event so the reader doesn't catch on to why it's important later. Then the reader can slap their forehead and say, "Of course! That's why..." LOL!

6.  Should I get my work looked at or not since I am so young?

You might consider seeing if one of your teachers in school would be willing to look at your grammar and composition. Very often, teachers who major in English have a background in fiction or creative writing.

Hope that helps a little. Good luck!

Cathy

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Cathy Clamp

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.

Experience

I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Organizations
Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Publications
Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

Education/Credentials
My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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