Melanie Nowak

Author of the Venomous Vampire series

ALMOST HUMAN

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Forum Home > Ask the Author > Is the storyline already set in stone?

Dwight
Member
Posts: 5

I think I read somewhere a comment by you that implied that you already have the story and it is a matter of putting the story to paper as you write the book.


The thought occurred to me that if I were an author, I might allow for suggestions that could end up resulting in a better story. Or add ideas i had never considered beforehand.


So my question is twofold:


1. Do you already know the outcome of this series?


2. Or does the series evolve as you apply suggestions and other ideas to the process?


thanks,


Dwight

April 29, 2010 at 3:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Hi Dwight!

Is the story set in stone? Yes... and no, LOL.

I do already have a definite focus and outline for my series. The 2nd trilogy is completely 'written' in my mind, only needing to be put to paper. I have a loose outline for the 3rd & 4th trilogies as well.

 

While I know the plot and story arc of the 2nd trilogy and many definite things that will happen, I also leave myself flexibility to let the story further evolve as I am writing it. Sometimes things change a little along the way. I do know where I want it to go and have a clear vision of how I will get there, but the story can take a few winding turns before returning to the path.

 

While I do enjoy hearing what readers speculate and hope for, I don't expect to 'change' the story. I've had a very clear vision for this series for years! To me, it feels as though this is something that has already happened, and I am just relaying the tale. However, if a new idea feels right, I might stray temporarily from the path ;-)

 

People are welcome to let me know their thoughts, but I don't plan to give things away, and I can't promise to heed the requests of readers. Many people have told me that in the beginning of the 1st trilogy they never would have thought they could be happy with the ending of book 3, yet when they got there - they found that it felt right. Hopefully, you will enjoy the journey I am taking you on, and trust me to choose the destination :-)

 

People seem to want many different things for these characters. I know very surely what I want for them, and I do believe that no matter what readers are hoping for, they will be pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the outcome.

 

--

~ Melanie Nowak

April 29, 2010 at 3:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Dwight
Member
Posts: 5

Thanks Melanie for the thoughtful and informative reply.


The comment you made that the book was already in your head was the point I was referencing in my intial post. And thankyou for the answer.


You are the first and only author who I have exchanged posts with, and I want to compliment you on the interest you have shown in "we" your readers. I have attempted to contact other authors, yet hit a stone wall on every occassion. Because of your loyalty to the readers, I intend to follow these series to their conclusion and if you branch off into another vampire genere story, I'll be there in support.


I'm biding my time with another series right now, (as I read on average four books per week). But I have your new series marked for purchase once it becomes available on Kindle. And for those reading this who have yet to experience the Kindle...you are really missing the boat...


Dwight

April 30, 2010 at 5:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Thank you Dwight - I appreciate the support!

I know that people are busy - but in my opinion, authors who don't take the time to interact with readers at all, are missing out on a very rewarding experience :-)

--

~ Melanie Nowak

April 30, 2010 at 7:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

kparks
Member
Posts: 1

It's good that you already know which direction your story will take. Although it's nice to have reader input, some people like don't like change and want to hold an author to a standard format.  I like a happy ending too, but sometimes the ending is even better when it's unexpected, as in Evolving Ecstasy...go Ben!   Then again is it really the ending when you have so much more for us to look forward too!  You did say that we will all be pleased in the end and I for one am going to enjoy the journey.

May 3, 2010 at 9:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Thank you - that's nice to hear!

In my opinion - it was a happy ending - just not the one most people might have thought it would be ;-)

--

~ Melanie Nowak

May 3, 2010 at 10:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

janeg
Member
Posts: 2

Melanie,

 

I bought and read the 1st trilogy last year, and have been passing it to all my friends ever since. I just ordered the 2nd trilogy and I simply cannot wait until it's here. I absolutely loved the first trilogy and only expect for Born to Bood to further my complete addiction to vampire romance. First of all, thank you for putting your incredible story that is it in your head on paper so we could enjoy this fascinating world you have created too. There do seem to be lots of vampire books out there, but I find there are less REALLY good vampire romance books. Secondly, are you planning to do book signings? My friends and I would be simply thrilled to meet you at a signing. Looking forward to more Almost Human books! :)

Your Cain Loving Fan,

 

Jane G.

June 7, 2010 at 3:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Hi Jane!

Thank you so much for writing! I'm really glad that you enjoy the books - thanks for spreading the addiction ;-)

I appreciate the compliments. I started writing these books back in 2003 - before vampire stories were flooding the market. I wrote the story that I would want to read. I put a lot of research, planning and emotion into it - it came from my heart.

 

I haven't read recent vampire books, because I don't want to influence my own writing. I'm sure there are lots of good ones out there - but I'm also sure there are many authors who just want to 'jump on the bandwagon' and pump out a few vampire books to cash in on a trend. It was never about that for me.

 

Vampires captured my imagination back in the 80's when I first read Anne Rice. Joss Whedon's 'Buffy' was a large influence as well. For me, each character is a cathartic expression of emotions from within myself, and every bit of the story is very personal and important to me. Hopefully that shows through in the writing.

 

That is why back in 2004 when I could not find a publisher willing to read my manuscript - I didn't stop writing. For me - it was never about trying to get published and sell books, I just wanted to tell my story. So I kept writing and published the books myself so I could share them. I haven't got a big $ contract, but I get to share my story, and hearing from readers like you make it so rewarding!

 

I would love to visit you guys in TN, and do a book signing, but I don't know when I'll be able to make it happen. I live in NY. However, if I am ever planning a trip down your way, I'll see what I can set up ;-)

 

Thanks for reading!

--

~ Melanie Nowak

June 8, 2010 at 9:28 AM Flag Quote & Reply

janeg
Member
Posts: 2

Melanie Nowak at June 8, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Hi Jane!

Thank you so much for writing! I'm really glad that you enjoy the books - thanks for spreading the addiction ;-)

I appreciate the compliments. I started writing these books back in 2003 - before vampire stories were flooding the market. I wrote the story that I would want to read. I put a lot of research, planning and emotion into it - it came from my heart.

 

I haven't read recent vampire books, because I don't want to influence my own writing. I'm sure there are lots of good ones out there - but I'm also sure there are many authors who just want to 'jump on the bandwagon' and pump out a few vampire books to cash in on a trend. It was never about that for me.

 

Vampires captured my imagination back in the 80's when I first read Anne Rice. Joss Whedon's 'Buffy' was a large influence as well. For me, each character is a cathartic expression of emotions from within myself, and every bit of the story is very personal and important to me. Hopefully that shows through in the writing.

 

That is why back in 2004 when I could not find a publisher willing to read my manuscript - I didn't stop writing. For me - it was never about trying to get published and sell books, I just wanted to tell my story. So I kept writing and published the books myself so I could share them. I haven't got a big $ contract, but I get to share my story, and hearing from readers like you make it so rewarding!

 

I would love to visit you guys in TN, and do a book signing, but I don't know when I'll be able to make it happen. I live in NY. However, if I am ever planning a trip down your way, I'll see what I can set up ;-)

 

Thanks for reading!

Yipee! My copy of Born to Blood just came in today! I can't wait to get started on it, but before I do, I just wanted to comment on our reply. Thank you by the way! We've chatted on Amazon forums before (I'm LovesAliceCullen).

 

I personally think (and in the last year I have read many vampire/paranormal romance books) your excellent writing, especially character development, which is a biggie for me, is worthy of a great pub. deal. Obviously, I know nothing about the writing/pub. world, but I think it's a testimony of your courage and determination to get your work out there by doing it all yourself. Everytime I meet someone who is a twilight fan, I immediately bring

up your books. Were there times when it seemed to daunting to continue to pursue? Your exposure seems quite good on Amazon, which is where I caught up with you in a forum and learned about your books - you even have promotion skills! :)

 

So now that Born to Blood is finished, I know the earlier posts were about the storyline being set in stone, so to speak, were there things in this book that werea surprise to you while you were writing, or did the book stay pretty much the way it was in your mind to begin with?

Thank you for pursing writing! And yes, I'm still reading, and still turning my vampire-loving friends into Almost Human fans! :)

--Jane 

June 8, 2010 at 6:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Hi Jane -

Sorry I'm a little behind in answering my mail!

Thank you so much for your kind words and for recommending my books to friends - you know I appreciate it greatly.

 

You asked if there were times that publishing my books seemed daunting... yes!  I first began writing for myself, without thought that I would show it to others. When the 1st trilogy was done I let a friend read it, and she urged me to try and publish. I spent over 2 years submitting to publishers, and was rejected over 200 times. That is a lot of rejection - especially when each publisher makes you jump through hoops sending in specific packages. Some want you to rewrite the work as a synopsis in 5 - 10 pages. Some only want the 1st 5 pages, some just want a query letter - and none of them wanted to actually read a manuscript. Not one. They rejected me without reading it.

 

I decided to put the books aside and go back to school for my Masters to be a school librarian. In school I heard that Amazon would accept previously unpublished works for the Kindle. I decided to send in my trilogy so that I could have closure, feeling like I'd done something with it. I wanted to move on and continue writing the next trilogy. I was very pleasantly surprised when 6 months after publishing on Kindle, word-of-mouth started spreading about my books and I began receiving great reviews. Kindle readers convinced me to publish in print, and I'll never regret it!

 

However, before I even had readers, I had already planned out the progression of my series and the growth and experiences I wanted to see for my characters far into the future. I think pretty long term, and before I wrote book 1, in my head I'd already planned out things to book 12. ALMOST HUMAN will be a succession of 4 trilogies, and then I have a spin off series planned after that. I can't say that everything is entirely set in stone, but I know where I'm going. I have strong outlines and some scenes written for not only the 2nd trilogy, but the 3rd & 4th as well. Think of the outline as a road map. I know where I'm going, but it's okay to take a minor detour along the way, as long as I get back on track without too much delay. I really feel strongly about the main outline - it's the backbone of the series and I don't want to stray far from it. 

 

As I'm writing, the characters sometimes tend to "take control". I'll be writing 'in character' and realize that he or she needs to do something I hadn't planned for. I just feel it, and I need to be true to the character's gut reaction. So I write it how I feel the character needs it to be, and then I adjust the rest of the story to fit. So far it hasn't been a problem. Knowing my characters well from the beginning, I think my outline has predicted things taking emotions into account well enough so that they haven't messed up the original story too much, LOL.

 

Born to Blood did follow my outline with a few exceptions. Because I already know the whole trilogy, it gives me room to play around within it a little. I ended up shifting timelines and events a little to accomodate some unexpected things. For example, there was an event I decided needed to wait until the next book, because I didn't think readers were ready for it yet.

 

***Spoilers from Born to Blood from here forward***

The conversation between Ben & Feliity that Allie picks up in a vision at the end of B2B, was actually a scene intended for the next book, but I pushed it up because I didn't like ending the book without Felicity in the last chapter - and I felt it brought things full circle nicely - especially considering Cain's recent decision to return to Felicity in the future. I thought it made a nice lead-in to the next book.

 

The Crimson Coven were brought into play a little earlier than planned. They just didn't want to wait, LOL. It was originally more of a mystery meant to play out over the trilogy, but I decided that it was necessary for readers to meet them in conjunction with discovering Sindy's shape-shifting talent.

 

Drake is also a character I hadn't planned to introduce yet. He wasn't coming into play until later in the series. But while writing the Christmas party scene and knowing I was bringing in Maribeth, it suddenly seemed too delicious an idea to have him stroll in on Mari's arm. I decided to let him in, even though his part of the story probably won't fully develop for a while.

 

There is also another little mystery that gets hinted at - the unrevealed subtle talent unique to vampire's with orange eyes - like Mattie. I had originally planned to reveal that at the end of B2B, but since so many other things were brought in - especially the Crimson Coven, I decided that Mattie's revelation could wait ;-)   I wonder if people re-read B2B looking for it, they can figure out what Mattie's talent is? (Sorry - I won't tell though, LOL) 

 

***End of Spoilers***

 

So  there's a little insight as to how I write. I do have an over-all plan for the entire series, and I have faith in it. I don't plan to change major things, but I will bend it and weave in things along the way if I think it's the right choice. 

 

Thank you so much for writing and for spreading the addiction!

--

~ Melanie Nowak

June 27, 2010 at 11:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sunshine
Member
Posts: 1

I just finished the second trilogy - Born to Blood on the Kindle and WOW! I love it and I am ready for more. Any ideas how long before the next book comes out? I know I need to be patient but I love the characters and the story line.  I am  wishing I had read a bit slower!  :)

August 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Hi Sunshine!

I'm glad you really loved the 1st book of the 2nd trilogy. I'm sorry I don't have an estimate yet as to when Volume 2: Descendant of Darkness will be done. I'm afraid I have to say 2011. I only started writing the book in June after Born to Blood came out.

 

When it's getting close to finished, I'll begin posting sneak-peeks from the book, the way that I did with B2B. If you look on the 2nd Trilogy tab at the top of this page, I've posted the cover for the new book (I just love the way it turned out!). That is where sneak-peeks will be posted too, but it will probably be a while - sorry.

--

~ Melanie Nowak

August 11, 2010 at 11:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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