K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic, the historical/dieselpunk adventure Storming, the portal fantasy Dreamlander, the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, and the western A Man Called Outlaw. When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors. She makes her home in western Nebraska.
Why I write: Stories are like breathing. Life without a story in my head is one-dimensional, stagnant, vapid. I love the life God has given me, but I think I love it better because I’m able to live out so many other lives on the page. I’m more content to be who I am because I’m not trapped in that identity. When I sit down at my computer and put my fingers on the keys, I can be anyone or anything, at any time in history. I write because it’s freedom.
Writing routine: I set aside two hours, five days a week, to write, usually in the morning. I’m a firm believer in Peter de Vries claim: “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” I spend the first half-hour reviewing character sketches and research notes and proofreading what I wrote the day before. Then I pick a soundtrack, say a prayer for guidance, and dive in.
Process: It takes years sometimes for my ideas to find their way onto the page. After the first kernel of inspiration takes root, I play with it and play with it, discovering characters and scenes and plot twists. Finally, when I think it’s ready, I dig out a notebook and start sketching ideas and outlines. Depending on the subject matter, I spend a few months researching, then take a deep breath and pray that all the work will pay off in a way that will glorify God.
Inspiration: Most of my story ideas begin with a character and a place. An outlaw in the Wyoming Territory. A mercenary knight in the Crusades. A man who visits the parallel world of his dreams. A barnstormer in early 20th-century Kansas. A boy with superpowers in Regency England. After that, who knows? Inspiration is a gift from God: bits and pieces, tiny ideas that bloom into unexpected treasures.
Advice: Writing is both a gift and an art. As a gift, it must be approached with humility: the writer is only the vessel through which inspiration flows. As an art, it must be approached with passion and discipline: a gift that’s never developed wasn’t worth the giving.
Use this workbook companion to Creating Character Arcs to plot out your own characters’ arcs in real time.
A common lad apprenticed to a blacksmith, Will Hardy’s chances of seeking adventures, making a fortune, and winning the hand of Lady Isabella Barbary aren’t looking very good. But when the unthinkable happens, and the irresponsible Will discovers he has the ability to run faster than any human being and leap tall buildings, he reaches legendary status overnight.
But being a legend isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After unwittingly rescuing a young street urchin named Rose, he finds himself trapped in a pit of deceit and danger that goes deeper than he could have dreamed. Cast adrift in the rigid class system of Regency England, he must choose between the adventures he’s always dreamed of and a responsibility he didn’t ask for.
Hailed as a hero by a people he has no intention of saving, he sets out do battle against an enemy even more gifted than he is. Towing the impish Rose along and intent on winning the heart of Lady Isabella and becoming a gentleman once and for all, he little dreams he might become… the Wayfarer.
Genre: Historical Fantasy
As the veil between our world and the world of dreams begins to rupture, the former “Gifted” Chris Redston, now shorn of his abilities, must struggle back to his lost love, the fierce and conflicted Queen Allara, and help her overcome dangerous international intrigue and discover the impossible truth about their still intertwined destinies—before a mysterious heretic can commit the ultimate abomination of permanently fusing the worlds. (Sequel to Dreamlander.)
Genre: Portal Fantasy
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