Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writers Movement Guest Blog Appearance: Shanda Sharlow

Shanda Sharlow began writing short stories from the time she could hold a pencil. Through the years, she's scribbled down thousands of pages of random stories and unfinished novels that were eventually abandoned or forgotten about. In 2005, she set down to finish a full fantasy novel in the form of the Psyonic, which she managed in a few months. For awhile, she shelved the book without any way to get it realistically published. After Amazon Kindle came out, she found the opportunity to release the Psyonic to the public, and is now working on another full novel. Currently, she lives in Vancouver WA with her father and brother, and edits novels for other people when she's not writing.

The original plot of the Psyonic was meant to be a short story. At most I expected it to be two chapters, and thus the story itself is a simple one. Once I wrote it, however, things changed and a short story simply wouldn't do. An entire novel's worth of plot and characters and twists and turns unraveled as I went along, and before I knew it there was an entire novel and a world around that story sitting complete.

The Psyonic is Fantasy, and classic, medieval setting, in fact. It is not, however, a classic Fantasy. It takes bits and pieces of concepts commonly seen in Fantasy and changes and mixes them about. Magic users aren't really 'magic' users at all, and they're reviled rather than loved. Princesses can scheme just as much as the seediest adviser or Queen, and there's nothing glamorous about inter-kingdom politics. And there certainly are no prophecies. The people would drive out a prophet long before he could say anything they'd remember.

The Psyonic took about four months to write, from July to October. It was my first completed novel, and was written when I was fifteen years old. It wasn't the first novel I ever started, but it was certainly the first I finished, which makes me a bit fond of it for that reason. After all, it's something to start a book...but it's a completely different thing to actually finish it.

Sometimes when I write books, I consider what actors and actresses would best fit the characters should they be made into movies. Sometimes they're ridiculous idealistic or impossible choices that could never actually be chosen, even if the books were ever made into movies, sometimes they're choices that I could believe would work even age-adjusted. With The Psyonic...I have no choices picked out. This isn't a lack of faith in the book, but the fact that the images I have of the characters in my head don't seem to line up with any actors or actresses I've come across before.

So, I suppose, if there's ever a casting call, they'll have to pick an entire cast of unknowns.

I listened to one mix-tape sound track over and over again while I was writing the book. Listening to music while writing helps to grease the writing wheels and allows me to actually write at a much quicker speed. Of course...while I was writing The Psyonic, I didn't really have access to much music to listen to, and wasn't all that motivated to look to more, so one long tape is all I listened to. Over and over and over.

It's entirely possible there are parts of the book which, if you knew the songs on the mix tape, you would find they synched up well with it.

Synopsis - Hale lived his entire life in hiding, traveling through slums and nondescript villages, never staying anywhere long enough for the people there to recognize his face. Never staying long enough for anyone to ferret out his secret.

When he comes across a woman who recognizes him, he becomes the confidante of a Princess. Yet the halls of the palace hold far more danger than that of the streets, for within its shadows lurk dark mysteries and murderous intent. Desperate to remain hidden from those who hunt him, Hale must unravel the hidden machinations of the gathered royal families before it's too late, or it will be more than his life that he loses.

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