Tag Archives: K.M. Weiland

Review: Creating Character Arcs, by K.M. Weiland

Creating Character Arcs, by K.M. WeilandCreating Character Arcs, by K.M. Weiland (PenForASword Publishing, 2016)

Often writing-craft books focus on one element in isolation. Not this time. Creating Character Arcs intertwines character change with story structure and theme.

The author asserts that “the Change Arc is all about the Lie Your Character Believes.” Through the plot, and interactions with other characters, the character will discover and ultimately accept or reject the truth that counters the particular lie. (Except in the flat arc, where he/she has a good grip on the truth in question and instead effects change in those around him or her.)

The book delves into different types of arcs: positive change, flat, and negative change. I appreciate the point-by-point way the author walks through the stages of each arc, with illustrations from well-known books and movies, and then asks specific questions to help writers discern what those points can look like in their current projects.

Later chapters address deciding which type of arc is right for your story, the importance of “impact characters,” how many characters should actually have arcs, and character arcs over the course of a series.

My copy of the book is heavily highlighted. The questions and illustrations helped deepen my understanding of my current work in progress, and I plan to work through the relevant sections for future projects.

K.M. Weiland’s popular website, Helping Writers Become Authors, is a rich resource for writers. She’s also the author of historical and speculative fiction, including the dieselpunk adventure, Storming.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Storming, by K.M. Weiland

Storming, by K.M. WeilandStorming, by K.M. Weiland (PenForASword Publishing, 2015)

In 1920’s Nebraska, Hitch Hitchcock makes his living as a barnstorming pilot – until a woman in a fancy ball gown falls out of the night sky in front of his plane and he gets mixed up with her – and with her enemies.

Hitch doesn’t want anyone depending on him, because he’s let too many people down in the past. He’s back in his hometown for one week only, to compete for a chance to join a flying circus.

His encounter with the mysterious falling woman, Jael, also brings him face to face with family and townsfolk he’s hurt before – and with the man who made him run away. When Jael’s enemies turn their airship’s weaponry against the town, Hitch has to stay and fight when every instinct tells him to run again.

Favourite lines:

Bonney Livingstone could talk a man into picking his own pocket. [Kindle location 1083]

If Earl had thought last night’s story was crazy, this one plumb ran away with the farmer’s daughter. [Kindle location 1347]

The only good parts of this day were the worse things that could’ve happened and hadn’t. [Kindle location 2165]

A blend of historical and dieselpunk, Storming is filled with action, intrigue, flying (surprise!) and great characters. There’s plenty to satisfy the relationship-oriented reader, too: friendship, romance, and long-standing hurt.

This is the second K.M. Weiland novel I’ve read, and it won’t be the last. I love the way she creates characters I can relate to, and drops them into situations beyond their control – where somehow they have to stay and fight, and where losing isn’t an option.

K.M. Weiland knows how to raise the stakes, as well as creating characters we care about and want to see win. In addition to Storming, she has written Behold the Dawn (historical), A Man Called Outlaw (western) and Dreamlander (speculative), as well as short fiction and books on writing.

[Review copy provided by the author, but I liked it so much I ordered a copy to keep.]

Review: Dreamlander, by K.M. Weiland

Dreamlander, by K.M. WeilandDreamlander, by K.M. Weiland (PenForASword, 2012)

Dreams weren’t supposed to be able to kill you. But this one was sure trying its best. [Kindle location 91]

What if… when you fell asleep, your dreams were real in another world?

Chris is a Gifted, one of very few who can cross the boundary between our world and the other. Each Gifted is brought to the other world to help in time of need, although the nature of that help isn’t immediately apparent.

We first meet Chris in present-day Chicago, where he’s a journalist afraid of commitment, avoiding his down-and-out father and basically drifting through life. Lately he’s been having strange dreams, and when he falls asleep and catapults into the Kingdom of Lael, all he wants to do is go home and make the dreams stop.

Princess Allara Katadin of Lael is a Searcher. Her role is to locate a Gifted when he or she crosses over, and to help the Gifted acclimatize and fulfill his or her role as that becomes clear. She was a child when her first Gifted arrived, and that episode of her life was a failure. A second Gifted in the same Searcher’s lifetime is practically unheard-of, and it’s the last thing Allara wants.

Lael is a mediaeval-type kingdom, with horses and swords. They do have guns, powered by hydraulics, and cable-cars which connect distant towns. They’re also under threat from a neighbouring country and from a dissenting faction within their own.

The world has different plant and animal life than Earth, including two other bipedal species and a guardian-angel type of being called the Garowai, a wise, mythic-looking creature who only tells Allara as much as she needs to know.

The world-building is thorough and intriguing, different enough to be fun but not deliberately strange to keep readers off balance. The characters and culture are richly-developed and relatable. This is another of those stories I didn’t want to see end. Happily, it’s a long one.

My favourite line:

Chris’s breath, trapped in the back of his throat, seeped free. [Kindle location 2709]

The narrative slips between Lael, where Chris, who doesn’t believe in second chances, desperately needs a way to right the wrong he does in the beginning – and stop a war – and Chicago, where he’s trying to evade a hit-man. Between the two worlds, Chris may gain the wisdom needed to make his life count.

Dreamlander is a satisfying novel, the sort that leaves me mulling it over for a while before I can open another book. K.M. Weiland has two other novels, Behold the Dawn (historical) and A Man Called Outlaw (western), as well as a collection of resources for writers. She has a page on her website with extras and bonus features for Dreamlander, and her Helping Writers Become Authors site has a wealth of writing resources.

[Review copy from my personal library.]