Rivals by Doug Solter | Blog Tour

12:00 PM

I said stuff was coming, didn't I? *wiggles eyebrows* If you'd like to read excerpts of this book let me know and I will post a part two of this blog tour post. :)

Personally, this sounds like an awesome read just because there is a female car racer. Right? I thought you would agree with me. There's a tour-wide giveaway at the bottom of the post so be sure to check that out!

Rivals by Doug Solter
Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Last season seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton shined as the hottest new racing star of Formula One, but her rise to the top takes a hit when her boss steals her arch-rival Emilio Ronaldo away from Ferrari and makes the sexist jerk her team's number-one driver. This sends Samantha's perfect life into a tail spin that threatens to destroy everything she's worked so hard for.

Besides her six wins last season, the best thing Samantha won was Manny, the cute German boy who saved her from herself. But Manny chafes against the self-absorbed racing star rising above the ashes of the simple girl he fell in love with. Can he save that simple girl from destroying herself again?

While Samantha's performance on the track suffers and her status on the team plummets, Emilio rises within striking distance of another championship. Is this the final wake-up call the girl needs to beat Emilio and win the world championship? Or will the pressure break her. 

Hi, everyone! First I would like to thank Skylar who was nice enough to let me do a guest post on her blog today. I would like to talk about how I take my story ideas and expand them.

If you would indulge me the cliché, story ideas are a dime a dozen. Right now I have at least twenty story ideas I want to explore as possible books. Ideas come from everywhere. Speaking for myself,  it's exposing myself to the arts. Music and movies are especially powerful muses for my brain to create strands of ideas, settings, and concepts that clutter my head and cause me to day-dream. But how does a writer organize and collect all those random idea fragments and make a cohesive story out of them?

That's where the work comes in. I've encountered too many people who have that one “great” story idea that will sell trillions of books on Amazon. And they're willing to offer me 50% of the profit if I write their idea into a book. Wow! What a great deal! You mean, I get to do 98% of the writing work while you do only 2% of the work? I should jump on that. Whatever. An idea is just that. An idea. A fragment of a story. A rock buried in one giant rock garden.

For an idea to become a good novel, play, screenplay, or any piece of creative writing, it needs to be examined, tested, and expanded to see if it meets the needs of whichever project you're creating it for. A story needs roughly three acts. An act is composed of a series of sequences that builds up to the end of each act. Each sequence is composed of two or more scenes that build up to the end of the sequence. This is not counting sub-plot sequences that have their own scenes distributed throughout the story. That's a lot of scenes. How can a single idea fill all those holes?

See what I mean? That's 98% of a writer's work. Filling those holes with meaningful content that keeps people reading all the way to the end. Now, how does one do that?

When I have an idea, the first thing I want to know is...can this idea be expanded into a novel? Is the idea strong enough to warrant a book at all? This is why I love to outline a story first. I take the idea and brainstorm the major sequences. How do I introduce this character and her story in the first act? What tasks can I put the character through in the second act? Are they full of conflict? Do they test the character's resolve? How can I change the main character to provide even more conflict with those tasks? What about a sub-plot? Can I build a strong one that I can use in the second act to help boost the middle of the book? Can I use the resolution of that sub-plot to force a major shift in the main plot? Can I build a strong third act that leads to a impossible situation that the character must somehow over come?

If you challenge yourself with those questions and more ideas fall out to expand the original concept, then this idea could be a prime candidate for a book. But if the idea won't take you past the first act or stall in the middle of the second act, then you need to take a step back and re-examine the main idea because it's not quite strong enough yet.

Ask yourself more questions. What if I changed the setting? What if I changed the genre from a romance to a horror? What if I changed the main character into a man? Or a woman? Or a dog with three legs? What about the time period? What if it took place at the start of the Civil War? Or the turbulent 1960's? Or during the Renaissance in Florence, Italy?

Think of your idea as molded clay. Don't be afraid to rip pieces off, mold those pieces into new shapes, or stick the parts back together. Look at the idea from every possible angle to see if you've missed any potential story seed that could be harvested into a bigger idea or a new variation of an old idea.

Sometimes if one idea isn't strong enough, you can see about combining it with a second idea. I've taken a second idea and used it as a strong sub-plot for another idea that couldn't do all the work by itself. Or you can use one idea on the first half of the book and then a different idea to carry out the rest of the book. I'm not saying it would be easy to do this, but if they could blend together well the possibility is there.

In the movie Psycho (spoiler alert! skip to next paragraph)...the first half of the story is about a woman stealing some money and driving off. But she stops at a hotel run by the strange man Norman Bates. When Norman kills her in the middle of the movie, a second story takes over as the movie shifts to the detective sent to investigate the woman's murder. The character of Norman Bates is the bridge that stitches both story ideas together.

When I first started writing, I would blow out brain cells trying to be as original as possible with my story ideas. I found out later I didn't have to necessarily work that hard. Sometimes you can take an idea from another movie, book, or play and change a major element to come up with something new. For instance, in the recent movie Maleficent the writer took the old story of sleeping beauty and changed one major element in it. The writer gave the villain a new and original back story which they used as a great setup to change this character's core. Instead of being just some villain, the character is now a woman who was betrayed. Her actions in the movie based on a reaction to the wrongs she suffered at the hands of the humans she fights against. It's a nice twist on an old character to gain sympathy and turn them into someone people root for instead of scorn.  The movie is an original idea that came from changing one major element that no one else thought of.

That's all I have to say about story ideas. If your interested to learn more, I suggest two sources to check out. First is screenwriter William Martell's classic CD Ideas and Creativity. It's only $15 to have it shipped and it's a fantastic tool for brainstorming story ideas. Some day I hope Bill will make this into an mp3. The second source is Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott's wordplayer website. Again, this is another screenwriting website, but the writing portions of this old site are well worth digging through.

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Doug began writing screenplays in 1998 and became a 2001 semi-finalist in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. His script Father Figure was one of 129 scripts left from 5,489 entries. Doug made the switch to writing young adult novels in 2008. Skid, a young adult novel set in the world of Formula One, is his first. Doug is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Doug respects cats, loves the mountains, and one time walked the streets of Barcelona with a smile on his face. 

Author Links:

The first book Skid is free in e-book format at Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon CAN, iTunes, Kobo, Nook, Smashwords, and Powell's Books

You can find the book featured in this blog tour (Rivals) at Amazon, Amazon UK, Kobo, and Smashwords

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  1. You are so right Skylar! I love how Samantha is a strong race car driver but she also has so much more about her that really makes her feel real, you know? :)

    1. I love the fact that she's a race car driver and she does seem to have a lot of potential as a character from what I've read of the excerpts :)


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