Friday, July 18, 2014

"Smorgasbord" by Jagjiwan Sohal

by Jagjiwan Sohal

Smorgasbord is currently on tour with GMTA Publishing. The tour stops here today for a guest post from the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

When Anna Lopez’s zombie attack video goes viral, no one could believe that the high school cheerleader had taken a bite out of the undead monster – and liked it! Now nothing will ever be the same for supernatural beings … because humans have discovered they taste freakin’ DELICIOUS!
And when a zombie boy gets in the crosshairs of a gang of hungry-human hunters, Julie, a young vampire loner, jumps in for the rescue. But now Julie’s got more than she bargained because taking care of a rambunctious undead creature who only knows one word ("brains") is NOT easy. And when Julie and her zombie pal stumble upon on a crazed soccer mom, they find themselves on the run from a trigger-happy family who want nothing more than to grill them up for a neighborhood barbecue bash!

Featured Review
Smorgasbord is fun and lighthearted; a witty twist on the theme of persecuted supernatural creatures. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, demons, and highly armed, slightly crazy humans with nothing taken too seriously. The storyline follows a few days in the life of a vegetarian vampire and the unlikely friends she collects along the way. The tone and pace remind me a little of the Accidental Series by Dakota Cassidy. This is a complete stand-alone story with space for a follow-on novel.

Guest Post by the Author
How To Write By The Seat Of Your Pants: Outline Or No?
I REALLY wish I was a writer who could write by the seat of my pants. That’s because for me, writing an outline is (occasionally) MONTHS of work. For a long-form project like a screenplay or a novel, my process usually goes like this: I come up with the idea, ruminate on it for a few weeks or months in my head (working out key scenes, what I think is dynamic dialogue, etc.), spend some time crafting a good outline and then spend the next little while building the drive, enthusiasm and even courage to tackle the project. Of course, if I’m inspired enough, I’ll just plow through and have whipped up something in a relatively short while but for the most part, I’ve found that writing with the aid of an outline has helped me more than just sitting down in front of a Word document and cranking out stuff.
I have tried writing a big project without an outline on a few occasions. Sometimes, if I feel the idea is strong enough, I’ve just gone for it and have been confident enough in my editing skills that I can go back and fix things up. But for the most part, I find that when I do things in such a rapid way, there’s something lacking in the final product. That time obsessing over the story and characters when doing the outline can really help a writer invest in what they’re trying to accomplish and assists in building an emotional connection to the idea. For example, if I wrote a short story, sans outline, over the course of a day, I’m not sure I would really care so much about the central character’s journey. I’d crank it out and then be looking towards my next project. Yet if I carefully craft a thorough outline, I feel the story arc being fleshed out, which increases my excitement to go ahead and tackle the novel, screenplay or whatever.
That being said, I do really wish I could be an effective, non-outline author. I think if I did that, my writing output would increase exponentially. Sometimes I think I spend more time on outlines than the actual writing! But I’m really not confident enough in my first drafts to write without an outline. Some writers are blessed with the ability to see the holes in their stories when they start their revision phase (or even while they’re writing). I don’t think I’m terrible at spotting these blemishes but for the most part, if something’s not in my outline, it probably doesn’t make it into the story.
At the same time, when I work on smaller projects, like a proposal for a kids animated series, I don’t use much of an outline at all. Sure, I’ll have some notes but when I’m actually writing up character or episode descriptions, I have a general idea in my head and just flesh everything out from there. But if I was writing up a script for one of the episodes, I would definitely use an outline. In fact, some producers might ask to see the outline before I start writing it!
So to outline or not to outline is a question really best left to the author themselves. It kind of reminds me of being in school and how I would hear of some students writing up an essay the night before while others (like me) would take their time with it. Maybe it’s a pressure thing. Maybe authors who write without outlines enjoy not having a crutch like an outline while they do their work. Perhaps they just like letting the ideas flow. Good for them if they can do so but it really isn’t my style. I’m an outline guy all the way…that is, until I finally figure out how not to use one when writing! Heck, I’m actually quite proud I was able to write THIS blog post without an outline! SCORE!

About the Author
Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, Jagjiwan Sohal works in the Canadian film and TV industry as an up-and-coming screenwriter and producer. His short stories have been published by The Horror Zine, Scribal Tales, and Hello Horror. Smorgasbord is his first novel.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Smorgasbord by Jagjiwan Sohal.