Thursday, March 28, 2013

Virtual Book Tour - Russian Dolls by Cristelle Comby

Welcome to my stop on Cristelle Comby’s Virtual Book Tour for Russian Dolls.  Please leave a comment or question for Cristelle below to let her know you stopped by.  My review of Russian Dolls will post tomorrow. 


Guest Post - My 7 steps to build a story by Cristelle Comby

I always go through the same process to craft a story. The geneses of Russian Dolls followed that path too.

Can’t emphasis this enough: it’s my method, it works for me. It may not work for everyone.

I always start with the characters. Some people are more focused on events, or specific plot points that they want to see happen, but, for me, it’s always the characters first. Who are they, where are they (psychologically, in their personal life) and where are they going (still talking on an emotional level here)?

For each main character, I define an emotional goal (point A/point B style)
            i.e. At the start of the story, a kid (lets name him Johnny) is scared of going into the basement. At the end of the story, Johnny isn’t scared anymore.

Craft the path your characters will have to take to get from point A to point B.
            i.e. Johnny will have to enter the cave, he has to find the incentive to do it, the courage to do it, and only when he has entered the cave will he understand that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Make the path a real path. Throw some rocks to trip over, some trees to contour, some indicators to follow.
            i.e. Johnny’s friend Melissa drops by, she cuts her finger with a knife while both kids bake a pie. It’s Sunday, all the shops are closed; the doctor’s out of town at a seminar; oh and the story takes place on a desolate island so the closest human being lives some 50miles away. Johnny’s mum told him one day that there’s a first-aid kit in the basement. Johnny’s older brother has told him many stories about the monster that lives in the basement.

Congratulations, you now have the backbone of your story. Time to add some muscles above those bones, if you want your story to be able to walk.
            i.e. Johnny’s got a thing for Melissa. He doesn’t really understand it, but there are butterflies dancing in his bellies when he looks at her. The pie will be an apple pie, because it’s Melissa’s favourite. Melissa likes Johnny too, but she thinks he’s not mature enough for her. Johnny always tries to impress her, he wants to be her hero. They decide to put cinnamon on the apple pie because that tastes better. If Johnny fixes Melissa’s finger, she will think highly of him and she might decide to give him a peck on the cheek, and maybe hold his hand. Johnny’s older brother is a douche. There’s no monster in the basement.

Time to flesh it out. It’s time for you to write. Take your ideas and strung them together with some nouns, some verbs, some adjectives (to use sparsely) and some adverbs (even more sparsely).

It’s alive!!!! It stands, it walks, it dances the conga. Okay, you might still need to give it a good shave, trim its hair a little, cut its nails, brush its teeth and put some clothes on its back though. (Just imagine how scary Frankenstein’s creature dancing the conga would look like). In other words, edit, edit, edit, edit some more, and then craft a nice cover.

You’re book’s all grown up now, time for it to leave the nest and enter the real world. Get a handkerchief to dab at that tear falling from the corner of your eye, and start getting busy on the next one.

I sincerely hope this can help you. I’m not the best to explain stuff. The process is clear in my head, but getting it out in words, is difficult. But I guess, what it boils down to for me, is this: characters and emotions. Invent likeable characters (they don’t need to be perfect -- if they’re humans, they’re bound to have flaws) and make them feel (make them fall in love, make them ache, make them happy, make them sad). If your characters are compelling enough, people will feel what they feel. They will experience the emotions along with your characters and they will thank you for it.

Russian Dolls
By Cristelle Comby
New Adult - Mystery&Detective
Date Published:3/13/2013

Alexandra Neve is a student at University College London whose world suddenly falls apart. When her best friend jumps from the university’s rooftop, she can’t stop herself from asking, ‘Why?’ The police rule her friend’s death a suicide and for them the case is closed — so whom can she turn to for help?
Sometimes the person you need the most is the one you least expect to find, and in this case it’s none other than Ashford Egan, a blind middle-aged history professor, who’s more willing than most to listen to what she has to say. 
Neve and Egan are as different as they come. She’s restless, careless at times, and fearless when the need arises, while he’s almost the complete opposite: a deep thinker with an analytical mind, a highly rational and collected individual.
As they enter the violent world of the Russian mafia, they must overcome their differences and learn to work together. It’s their only chance if they want to survive.


‘Hello,’ comes a light baritone, after three rings. Relief washes over me.
‘Hi,’ I say, still sounding raspy. ‘Alexandra Neve.’

There’s silence on the line and I imagine him frowning, trying to place the name.
‘You interviewed me about three weeks ago, about the case of Irina Anderson, and then you gave me your card.’

‘Yes, I remember you now,’ he says. ‘Is everything all right?’

Peachy, I’m tempted to say. ‘My flat’s on fire, Sergeant,’ I say, instead. ‘It just exploded and not because I left the kettle on.’

‘What?’ he stammers, surprised. ‘Are you all right?’

‘I’m fine,’ I reply. ‘Look, this wasn’t an accident. I’ve been investigating what happened to Irina.’

‘You what?’ I can hear him moving about and then the unmistakable jingle of keys. ‘Give me your address and stay where you are.’

‘Queen’s Drive, Hackney. It’s the building with the dozen fire-fighters in front,’ I tell him, before hanging up.

I stand up and shoulder my bags. The flames are finally dying and only two small ones remain; smoke is still escaping through the bedroom window. 

I don’t have time to dwell on it right now. There are more urgent matters at hand. I cast my eyes around, taking in the people massed around the scene. At the front of the crowd, I recognise most of my neighbours. I don’t know them all by name but their faces are familiar. 

A little farther up the road are curious neighbours who have been attracted by the commotion and bright lights. I don’t know them, but most of their faces are familiar. Men I’ve seen walking their dogs, women I’ve seen taking their kids to school. There are a few faces I don’t know, lurking in the background. I take a few steps toward the bystanders and look intently. I see two men in deep conversation with each other. One’s wearing clothes but he’s barefoot; the other is in pyjamas. Normal

I cast my eyes a little further to the left and find a man dressed in dark denim and a leather jacket. Unlike everyone else, he doesn’t look like someone who’s just got out of bed or left his home in a hurry. I look at his face and note he’s neither horrified nor amazed by the burning building. He looks blank. Suspicious

I reach for my phone again and raise it to take a picture of this strange man. When I look up, he’s disappeared. I run to where he was but he’s gone. Pushing through the crowd with difficulty, it takes me a little while to get to the place where the man had been standing. When I do, I catch a glimpse of a single red tail light dancing away in the distance. It’s a bike, driving away at full speed.


Cristelle Comby

Author Bio:

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, somewhere between Geneva and Lausanne, where she still resides.Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.Russian Dolls is her first new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the series.

Tour Schedule

March 13 - - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
March 14 - Waiting on Sunday to Drown - Review/guest Post
March 15 - The Life and Lies of an Inanimate Object - Review/Interview
March 17 - Must Read Faster - Review/Guest Post
March 18 - Fictional Reality - Review/Guest Post
March 20 - Author Ever Leigh - Review
March 22 - My Reading Addiction - Review
March 25 - Book Referees - Review/Guest Post
March 28 - Queen of All She Reads - Guest Post 
March 28 - My Devotional Thoughts - Review
March 29 - Queen of All She Reads- Review 
March 29 - Just a Booklover - Review
April 1 - The Adventures Within - Review/Interview
April 4 - Cozie Corner - Review
April 6 - Books and Needlepoint - Review
April 7 - The Self Taught Cook - Review
April 10 - RABT Review - Review

1 comment:

  1. This was a very interesting post! Love seeing your thought process for how to write the story. Definitely not a pantser.