Blog Closed - Please Enjoy The Archives!

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

This blog has been shut down and will no longer be updated with new content. I have decided to leave it here, for you to enjoy the archives as I have collected quite a bit of information that can be useful to many authors out there! I have made some quick links of my favorite posts in the sidebar and you welcome to browse the date archives and labels as well.

Thank you and enjoy!

Query Letters (Fantastic Friday Writers)

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: , ,

For this round of Fantastic Friday Writers, we're talking about query letters. It was my original intention to share my recent query letter, but since I did that for the A to Z challenge in April, I'll just talk about how to write one.

Now, I'm no expert at this by any means. I'll be honest and say I totally suck at it. But, I do know how it's SUPPOSED to go.

Query letters give the agent/publisher/editor a look at your book in a very short amount of time. It needs to draw them in and make them interested enough to read your whole book. Obviously right?

Well just how do you do that? You just wrote a 75,000 word story (or more!) and now you have to talk about all the wonderful things in just a few paragraphs!?

Where to start? Well what I do is write the synopsis first. After all the synopsis is longer than a query but shorter than your novel. But, how to write a synopsis is for another post. Also, I write the synopsis and query soon after I'm done with 'final' edits. Why? Because the story is still fresh in my head.

Some say that you should describe your story in only three paragraphs, others say five is okay. The one thing all my research agrees on is the entire query letter shouldn't be longer than one page - including your signature at the bottom.

To get your huge novel down to three to five paragraphs, start with writing down the major plot poitns in your story. The MAJOR ones mind you. This is the hard part for me. Figureing out the plot points that are the most important. Also, during the preplanning phase here, list a few side plot points or character plot points (used to fill in the gaps).

Also, try to stick to mentioning only one or two characters, three at the most. (Three would cover the hero, heroine/sidekick and the villian.)

So here is what the process looked like when I wrote the query letter for Cleanse Fire

Major Plot Points:

1. The teams Commander tried to kill them
2. The team discovers the Commander is only the beginning.
3. The wizard is trying to kill them all for revenge.

Character Plot Points:

1. Dearc's wife died in a terrible fire and it haunts him
2. The wizard's wife was murdered in front of him
3. Derac is falling in love with Kie.

Character's to Mention

1. Derac
2. Kie
3. The wizard
4. The commander (possible)

So you have your three or four major plot points, two or three character plot points, and two or three characters. Now comes the time to write the information out in complete sentences. You can read my finished query letter here if you like.

Of course, after you write it, I highly recommend getting someone else to read it over for you. It is a good idea to have suggestions come back from both people who have and haven't read the full story yet as they both will have vaulable insite for you.

There are many other things to think about when writing a query letter, like word usage and such, but I think I'll save that for another post on another day! I hope this post at least helps you get started and headed in the right direction!

Hop to the other members of Fantastic Friday Writers and see what they say about Query Letters!

T is for Title

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

All right, so today we are going to talk about titles. How do you decide what to title your book or your chapters for that matter?

I love play-on-words and symbolism in my titles. My book Cleanse Fire doesn't have chapter titles, instead it's just the chapter number (Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc). But in my story Burden of Prophecy I do.

For an example on the symbolism and play-on-words thing I like to do, one chapter in Burden of Prophecy is titled "Fire Drinking". In that chapter, Letarri who is a goody two shoes type of girl get's very drunk and then the tavern burns down. So, you can see how a title like "Fire Drinking" fits well there. Another chapter is titled "Red Envy". The symolism here might be easily missed when reading the chapter - at least part of it. Etharas is jealous because Letarri has turned her affections toward Chakor. (Envy) In the chapter, Chakor gives Letarri one of his red velvet pillows to keep as she continues her journey, because she liked them so much. (Red) Plus it's a little play here as usually the phrase is "Green Envy" instead of "Red". Fun huh?

I do the same play on words and/or symbolism for the titles of my books also. Burden of Prophecy isn't really a play on words as the story obviously is about the heavy burden the characters have to carry because of this prophecy that none of them want to be a part of. But book 2 of the series is titled Tutelage of Mortality. The play here is the book focuses on the faeries time with the elves where they learn to fight and weaponry skills. (Tutelage). The main character in this book is Karina, the youngest of the travelers and she is promised to marry the elf Prince, Shezar. Well, needless to say she is almost killed by Shezar's jealous ex toward the end of the book. (Mortality).

I would tell you how I came up with the title for Cleanse Fire, but I think that would give away too much! And since I'm trying to get it published right now, you'll just have to wait to read it to find out!

What about you? How do you come up with your book and chapter titles?

S is for Support (Fantastic Friday Writers)

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: , ,

I have made numerous posts about my crit partners, but today I think I'll talk about my husband.

I'm very lucky to have a man that supports my writing. He gives me plenty of time to write by letting me stay up late (and then sleeping in) while he cares for our son. He'll even take the little man out of the house for a few hours on his days off so I can work in peace.

I know many people whose spouses don't support their writing at all and it makes me realize just how lucky I really am. Sure, my husband does get a little jealous sometimes as I do get caught up in my work and forget to spend time with him. But he never tells me I can't do it or that I need to stop doing it or that I shouldn't do it. He just reminds me (and sometimes begs in his own way) for me to spend some time with him.

It's great to have that kind of support. Sure, he doesn't crit my work or help me with plot issues really, but it's nice to know he supports my dream in his own way. Like I said, he doesn't crit my stories or anything like that, but he does give the time and space to write the stories in the first place.

And after all, isn't that what every writer needs? Time and space to write?

Do you have any support like this from your spouse or friends or family? For those that don't, how do you keep writing and following the journey?

Hop over to the rest of the Fantastic Friday Writers to see what they say about today's topic.

R is for Romance

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

Romance. Ya know, when I started writing I told myself I'd never write romance. I love to read it but to me all the books I've read sort of blur together. I don't remember most of them that I have read because they all seem to follow the same pattern and have a similar enough style that I don't remember each individual book. Romance writers out there, please don't take offense to this! It's just me and my head, not your writing skills.

I prefer books that have elements of something else going on in the plot, not just straight romance. I don't know why this helps me remember the book or the plot better. Perhaps because of the extra tension added or element of mystery. Who knows really.

Anyway, even with my promise that I never would write romance, everytime I write a book, a romance blooms along side the plot! It happens beyond my control.

So, how do I keep myself from becoming just another romance novel among the masses? Well, since I love books that are more than straight romance, I write my books the same way. The romance element in my books is a sideplot, not the main plot. It's more of a "on top of everything else, the characters realize they love each other" sort of set up.

So - what are some things I've learned about writing fantasy with a romantic element? Well, for one thing, the romance and the plot have to work together. I hate random scenes of kissing or sex. They must make sense to the characters and to the plot. It bothers me when characters kiss at the wrong place and time. I think the only time I've seen a kiss in the middle of a battle scene that didn't irritate me was in Pirates of the Carribean when William and Elizabeth get married. That's an example of a perfectly timed kiss in a not necessarily good situation. And they waited until the third section of the series to do a scene like this so that might be why I was more forgiving. It was more like "About time!"

In the movie Prince of Persia, Dastan kisses the Princess right after she saves him from an Assanssin. But I thought it was so cliche of him to do so. I mean, he had to go stop his uncle and every second counted and he's going to stop to kiss her? And not just a quick peck or anything -- he laid it on her good. (As a note, I really do LOVE this movie!)

So make sure your kisses (and even the full steamy sex scenes) make sense.

Up the tension! Yes. I've said this before in posts. Sexual tension is important. I'm all for love at first site and things like that, but tension is just awesome when reading a story. So even if they do fall in love at first site, throw in some tension to keep them apart for a little while before their love explodes in some scene of passion.

With writing a genre with a hint of romance, this can be hard to do somethimes. You are upping the tension and conflict of the main plot in the first place! Adding sexual tension here needs careful placement. I do it with looks or heated touches. I have one scene in Cleanse Fire where Kie is injured and Derac and putting a bandage on her. But he's thinking about how soft her skin is under his touch as he does so. So, there is abit of tension, but the main plot is still moving forward as now she's injured and unsure how they can continue fighting.

Another thing I consider is the characters. I've said this before also. The romance has to make sense. If your character isn't the type to just jump into bed with a guy - don't let her do it. If your hero is trying to avoid a relationship of any kind, don't let him jump in too soon. And of course, if you hero is like Derac, then he's more thinking of the taboo of him being with Kie. I mean, he is her superior officer!

The fourth and final tip is to remember to wrap up the romance at the end of the book too. Sure, you can have this be a carry over to the next book in the series. But you need to at least find some closure to their romance to end the book. Don't just leave it hanging open and unfinished. Get them together at the end or if they aren't together, make sure to leave it set up that they might be in book 2. Leave the reader satisfied but make them itch for book 2 as well!

Do your books have a romantic element in them? How do you add sexual tension?

Q is for Query Letters

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

So I'm going to take care of two posts in one today Q for Query Letter and the Query Letter blog fest (which technically was yesterday!) and post up my Query Letter for Cleanse Fire. This is actually a full "cover letter" that one of the publishers I'm submitting to asks for, but it's the best query letter so far I think.

Enjoy! And please tell me what you think. (Unedited first draft)

Dear [Agent]:

Captain Derac Vidor would die for his country but before he can defeat a vengeful wizard, he must first open his heart to a love far deeper than he’s willing to explore.

Derac sacrifices everything for the sake of Kinir’s people. Haunted by those he could save, he throws himself into mission after mission. His world shatters when his own Commander tries to kill him and his team.

On the run, Derac and the team try to discover why their Commander betrayed them. Treason is only the beginning. No place is safe as their footsteps are shadowed by something even more sinister.

A wizard out for revenge, plots to kill them all. But he and Derac have more in
common than they realize. Who better than Derac to convince the wizard revenge
will not bring his wife back or each the pain of her loss? If only Derac can
face his own past in time to save the Kinir Elite.

CLEANSE FIRE: THE KINIR ELITE CHRONICLES, a Fantasy Adventure novel, is complete at approximately 75,000 words. It is the first book of a continuing adventure series. I currently have six more books planned, with plenty of room for more.

I plan to market this book on my own website and all three blogs I write for. I will also
be using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. The Kinir
Elite have their own website, where the characters roam free and write their own
blog. I also have plans for a virtual blog tour, a virtual book signing, and a
live book signings in Columbus, Georgia and surrounding areas.

A new author with a growing fan base, I have many large projects in the works. I am
owner of Inkwell University Writing Workshop, a place for writers to gather and
learn from each other online. I’m an avid member of the online writing
community, writing two blogs to support writers and share my experience in this
industry. I also design websites for authors, to help them set up their online

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Anastasia V. Pergakis