Category Archives: The Six Elemental

12 Hours | House Blog

On Wednesday at 1pm, I sat down in front of my computer, opened up the latest draft of the novel I’m working on*, and got to work. Other than getting up to refill my water glass, grab a snack, etc, I only took one actual break – around 8pm I took a half-hour to go get Taiyaki.

When I was finished, it was 1am. Over the past 12 hours, I had gone through the entire novel – almost 60,000 words.

Continue reading 12 Hours | House Blog

Ali House, author of The Six Elemental, to write for ‘Chillers from the Rock’

The Six Elemental, cover, Ali HouseAli House, whose first novel The Six Elemental started Engen’s spectacular tenth year anniversary in October 2016, is returning to the From the Rock collection series in Chillers from the Rock with two all-new short stories, “The Taste of Copper” and “The Deal.”

Ali’s 2016 collection entry, “Twenty-One” was heralded as one of the gems of the collection and led to a novel based on the concept and characters later that same year.

Her 2017 book of short fiction, Unexpected Stories (coauthored with Amanda Labonté), is available for free with signup to the Fantasy Files newsletter.

“Some good Young Adult fiction is set up here, with something that pulls at my personal heartstrings. [The Six Elemental] is another book I must pick up when it comes out.” — Sam Bauer, author of ‘The Locket.’

A native Newfoundlander, Ali is a graduate of the Fine Arts program at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (MUN), and past recipient of the Golden Crescent Wrench Award. She is the author of The Six Elemental, and has had short stories published in Sci-Fi From the RockFantasy from the Rock and Bluenose Paradox. She currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she works in arts administration and spends more time than a person should in and around theaters.

Six Elemental Ali House


Ten other authors will be joining Dale Jarvis, Teresita E. Dziadura, Paul Carberry, Anastacia Hopkins, Jon Dobbin, Bronwynn Erskine, Peter Foote, Chelsea Bee, Sam Bauer, and Ali House for the 2018 Chillers on the Rock collection, to be launched March 28 2018! Who will join them? Stay tuned and Never Look Back!


For exclusive content and FREE books, be sure and check out the Engen Books Patreon.

“Where do you get your ideas?” | House Blog

For me, the simplest answer is:

My Brain. 

My brain is a very strange little thing, and it comes up with weird ideas all the time.  Some ideas are half-formed and need to be thought about before they become something I can actually work with.  Some are fully-formed scenes that merely need a story.  Some are just an object or one sentence.

I don’t think there’s a wrong way to come up with ideas.  There are probably a vast many different ways that a person can be inspired – and what inspires me might not inspire someone else.

However…

If you’re looking for a longer answer, let’s get into detail:

Where do my ideas come from? Continue reading “Where do you get your ideas?” | House Blog

NaNoWriMo Round 6!

Over the past 7+ years, I’ve NaNo’d 6 times. Some times I’ve been successful, some times I haven’t, and one time I failed so spectacularly that I’m almost proud.

Below are some observations I’ve made & lessons I’ve learned:

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Year 1 – 2010

Project Type: New Novel

Project Info: A werewolf-type story

Final Word Count: 52,000

For this one, I started a brand new story on November 1. I think I did a rough outline beforehand, but mostly just character sketches and a very loose plot. After 2 weeks I hit the wall hard, but a few days later I managed to push past it. I ended up reaching a conclusion around the 40,000 mark and thought I was going to fail this task, but then I thought of a way to make the story longer and managed to get over 50,000 words. I also wrote a really cool back-story scene that I’m super happy with.

This was my first year, and I consider it my most successful so far. I was working 2 jobs and rehearsing 2 plays, so I have no idea how I managed to do it. (Actually, that’s a lie – I’m editing that story now and there’s a lot of nonsensical rambling that needs to be cut down – but there’s also some great stuff that I got from the aforementioned rambling. Swings and roundabouts, my friends.)

Aside from being super determined to rock my first year, I learned how to push myself and that I could actually finish a story. It taught me that I could write a full-length novel in less than 3 years. As someone who had trouble focusing on one single project, it was a great confidence boost. Continue reading NaNoWriMo Round 6!

FREE eBook – Unexpected Stories by Labonté & House!

Five amazing short stories from the talented minds of both Amanda Labonté and Ali House, featuring daring new YA fantasy fiction, links to The Segment Delta Archives, and the enchanting world of Call of the Sea!

 

Unexpected Stories
Amanda Labonté & Ali House

acceptance

Purchase (eBook):
ePub
PDF
Mobi

 

Title Information:

Release Date: October 2017
Status: Available
Book Type: EBook
Cover Price: FREE with Mailing List Signup!
Page Count: 31

Related Titles

Call of the Sea, Amanda Labonte, cover The Six Elemental, cover, Ali House Fantasy from the Rock, cover

Reviews

How I “Outline”

(Spoiler Alert: not very well)

A writer I know recently shared the outline for her last book and I was amazed at how elegant and organized it was.  The whole format was really simple and clear – Chapter 1: this happens, Chapter 2: this happens, etc.  I wondered if this was something that could work for me.

Then I realized that I don’t actually do outlines.  When I’m writing a story, I generally have a bunch of vague ideas and scenes floating around in my head.  They usually don’t get put on paper until I’m actually writing the scene, or if I’m “thinking with my pen”*.  There are no charts, no graphs, not even a list**.  It’s kind-of a mess. Continue reading How I “Outline”

The End is Near! Sort-Of…

At one of the panels for Avalon Expo, someone asked “How do you know when to end a story?”

I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I’ve had time to think about it and I thought I’d share some of my current musings. This is especially relevant since the big project I’m working on has spun so far out of control that I have no idea how it’s going to end…  Or if

Honestly, this advice is for me as much as you.

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So, how do I know when to end a story?

Short answer: Mostly intuition.

Long answer: There are a few ways…

  1. I’ve written the ending first.

Usually I know the end before I even start writing. Most of my short stories start out with that final moment, and then I just have to figure out what happens to bring me to that point.  It happened with The Gemini ProjectThe Invisible Boy; and the two horror stories I’m currently working on.

There were a few times where, when I got to the end of a longer story, I realized that the original idea no longer fit and it was going towards a new ending. But that’s not a bad thing – stories change, it happens. Sometimes you plan on killing all of your characters but a few of them end up surviving somehow. But then you write the final line (for the new ending) and you think to yourself “Yeah, that’s a fantastic ending line”. And all is right with the world again.

  1. I’ve written a really good end-line.

I love a good ending line as much as I love a good opening line. In fact, if I write a so-so ending line it bothers me to no end, because I know it can be better. It’s like looking at a row of pencils that aren’t quite perfectly in line….

Some examples are: Virginia Wolfe’s To the Lighthouse: “Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.” And George Orwell’s 1984:He loved Big Brother.” There’s something about those lines that are so final and yet mean so much more.

  1. The story I wanted to tell is over.

Once I wanted a project to have 25 chapters (for symbolic purposes), but when I reached the end of chapter 22 I realized that I was done. My character’s journey had ended. I’d said all I wanted to say about this particular story, and to write any more would do a disservice to the fantastic ending scene I’d just written. Yes, I wanted to continue with these characters, but I knew that it would be best to start a new plot, with new themes and ideas, instead of dragging this one out.

The Hobbit ends when Bilbo returns home; The Fellowship of the Rings ends with the breaking of the fellowship; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ends when Harry’s school term ends.  Even though their stories continue, their current task has ended and it’s time to take a breather before the next adventure.

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Typically, when I plan my ending, I try to resolve matters – either for better or worse. I don’t like leaving huge plot holes or dangling plot threads. It’s fun to have hints and intrigue and something to look forward to, but I’m not happy when the ending to a book is more like the ending to a chapter (yes, there’s a difference – As Fierce As Steel left me wanting more, while Mindspeak made me regret the time I’d spent reading it).

When in doubt, I think of who’s journey this is. Then I try to find a way to bring them to the end point – to let the character finally achieve their goal, or fail horribly, or realize that they need to change their way of thinking.

Originally, I had no idea how to end The Six Elemental. I tried to resolve what I could, while leaving certain things unsaid, but the end just didn’t feel end-y enough.  Finally I thought about Kit’s journey and how she had changed over the course of the story.  I thought about what I was trying to say with this story and made that the ending, so when people close the book that’s the impression they’re left with.

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And with that, I return once more into the void from which I came…