Social Icons

twitterfacebookgoogle plus

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Write Starting Point

I'm always interested in learning the idiosyncrasies of writers. Some of the things we do make people scratch their heads in confusion or shrug their shoulders......even look at us like we're crazy. That's my favorite reaction, makes me giggle.

Some writers need to have everything set up just right before they can begin writing; we like complete silence or, in some cases, music playing to inspire and/or relax us; some who write longhand have to use a specific pen/pencil when writing. (I fall under this category.) The list goes on and on...

What's the point to all of this rambling? This, writers operate and think in ways that don't necessarily fall under what would be considered "normal" behavior. (Who wants to be normal? Boring!) One of our odd little quirks is where we begin writing our stories. Not all novels are written in order: beginning, middle, end. Let's have a look at the possibilities.

--The Beginning--

The beginning is where a large majority of writers start their work. It seems the most logical place to do so, right? Sure it does. You get a good flow with your story when you start at the beginning. An event occurs, which has a snowball effect and causes more problems, until everything culminates in the final battle/resolution/whatever.
Reading a book and writing a book are two separate, yet similar, paths on the same journey. Granted, as a writer you know more about your characters than any reader ever will. However, you are experiencing the entire journey for the first time when you, at the beginning. After the introduction of the MC(s) and the conflict(s), there will then follow a sequence of events that take us through to the end. By then we will have, hopefully, fallen in love with the characters, both good and bad. Yes, even the bad guys.
People read books this way, unless they're really weird--or talented--so, it only makes sense for a story to be written this way.

--The Middle--

Next, you have writers that start in the middle of the book, where the plot's really picking up steam. New twists and turns are being revealed and characters are trying to find the right paths to take them to the end. Whether the finished product will be good or bad is yet to be seen. No matter the tale, the middle is where we get to the meat of the story.
At this point, I have a pretty good idea of who I like/don't like; I know what I hope will happen and what I think will happen; I'm involved in the story and probably won't be putting it down until I've completed the journey. (I admit to tossing a book or two after only partially reading them because they were becoming increasingly ridiculous.)
Here's the million dollar question: If you start writing at this place and time in the story, do you have that same sense of familiarity with the MC and their surroundings as with a story started from the very beginning? No...but, you also don't have preconceived notions about what will happen later, based on what you've witnessed along the way.

Writing from the middle of the book can be preferable, to a lot of writers. I've done it myself a time or two and will most likely do it again in the future.

--The End--

Writers have been known to think of the ending of a story before they know how it begins. The last leg of the journey. Who is alive, injured, or dead. Happy ending¹ or no, the writer sees the resolution of the problem before they see the problem itself. (¹I prefer "not happy" or "happy for now" type endings myself, none of that Happily Ever After crap.)
Not many people in the world have this kind of talent but, there are writers out there who can create a story from finish to start. I must also point out that readers have their own form of this behavior. These people cheat--erm, peek at the end of the book to see how it all turns out. I could never do that; it would ruin the whole experience for me.

A writer who begins at the end (so hard not to quote HP's snitch message in this part of the post. SO! HARD!), obviously looks at things a little differently than the rest of us. (More confirmation that writers are a unique breed.) Is it even possible for a book to make sense if you read it backwards? Writing one from ending to beginning is a different story, but still comes with its own complications. Also, even though a writer may begin at the end, it doesn't mean they don't have an idea of how the character(s) and/or story should begin. (I really hope that makes sense to someone other than me.)

Starting at the end of a book is a challenge, but it can work, and be well worth it in the long-run. Perhaps it's a good idea to start a story at this point of the journey because it gives the writer a different view of everything.

I open at the close--J.K. Rowling (-- Sorry, but I couldn't resist.)

                --Anywhere and Everywhere--

Finally, we have those oddballs--those writing freaks of nature (and I say that in such a loving way)--who have no method to their madness. They are a breed within a breed, creating beauty out of chaos in ways even the oddest of us don't understand.
These writers go from one random path to another during their journey. They go in no particular order that makes sense to anyone but them, and still manage to finish their journey the same as the rest of us. How anyone could make sense out of writing a story this way is beyond me; I really wish I could understand.

The biggest obstacle, I would think, is ensuring accuracy within the journey. A writer using this method could, and probably does, jot down notes to keep a timeline of sorts handy. Maybe, maybe not. Without notes, I imagine there would be some discrepancies, but I could be wrong.

Out of the disorganization, these wonderfully wacky writers tell a tale which, perhaps, wouldn't have been so coherent otherwise. They are one of the most intriguing groups in the writing breed.

No matter where an author begins writing their story, at least the story is being told. That's the important thing. Whether or not it's a good story is debatable, but that's another post for another day. (Really, it's already started in my Drafts.) It's no matter to us if the story we write is good or bad. Plain and simple, we love what we do, and wouldn't change it for anything. We wouldn't put ourselves through rejection after rejection if we didn't enjoy this madness.

I love writers. We are a diverse and eclectic group of people that those outside our circle may never truly understand. Writers come complete with superpowers oddities we embrace wholeheartedly and without shame. Maybe more people in the world should be like us......

Nah, it would surely be a sign of the apocalypse if that were to happen. The world would never survive.

Enlighten me fellow freaks, because I want to know, where is your write start point?


See what I did up there in the title? Hehehe, I'm funny.

Ok, so not really.

Lately I've been thinking about Point of View (POV) when writing a novel. Normally, I write my novels in some form of third-person POV, usually omniscient or limited. Recently though, I've been on this first-person present/first-person past POV kick. (I'm not sure which one I like better yet.) The biggest perk for me in using FPPOV is that I get to keep my main focus on just one person, rather than jumping around with everyone else like I have in the past. Somehow, it just feels...cleaner to me. Yeah, cleaner is the right word for that.

I have this short story I want to submit for AW's Erotica Anthology. I've been working on it off and on for, I think, five or six years now. I know, I know. It's only a short story, so it shouldn't be taking me this long. (In my defense I'm even pickier about my Erotica writing than I am about everything else, and it's not quite right for me yet.) Point is, I want to submit this story, 'cus there's a tiny chance it will be picked for the Anthology. (That would be awesome!) Right now though, it's in TPPOV. Definitely needs to change to FPPOV. So, I start changing it. Wow...just wow. It's so much better now. Except for--

My dilemma: man or woman's POV?


As my thoughts are journeying down the POV roads, I start wondering, why do I like first-person more now? That's easy enough to answer. I feel closer to my MC--which, I think, all writers should be striving for--and I get to know him/her better this way. I'm channeling my MC. I am the Oracle; they are the speakers. You see where I'm going with the cheesy cliche's, right? To me, it's the most fantastic feeling. Why didn't I ever write in FPPOV before now? (I checked. There's not even one story in FPPOV!) It's like, I was stuck in this TPPOV bubble, and I didn't even realize it until now. I felt the need to know what was going on all over the place in every story I wrote. Yes, stories written this way have their appeal. I can't see Lord of the Rings being as good in FPPOV. (Naysayers, shut it. I already know, if it's written well it can be done.) Point is, I've popped the bubble. I'm expanding my horizons.

We must, on our journey, make a stop at second-person POV. It's a lost and lonely highway, practically abandoned. It's not something you see often. I'm not sure I've ever read a story in second; I'll have to think about that for a bit...Anyway, it's a rarity. I wish I had the guts to try writing a story in second. I don't think I'd ever be able to pull it off though. It would be fun, and a challenge, to write a good story with a bunch of you's and your's. Note to self: look for some SPPOV novels.

Now we hit the most traveled road...well, for me. It is well-worn, this road. It has been traveled on for many years, with all manner of people and beings beside me. There are limitations with any point of view you choose, but there are also advantages. With first, I get to delve deep into my MC's head and with third, I get to dip into everyone's head. The limitations with third though--I'm beginning to dislike them more and more as time goes by. Yes, I can stay in just my MC's head in TPLPOV, but it's not my MC's voice you're hearing, it's mine. I've always assumed I was close to these people I write about. That I was getting their words out and not my own. I feel a whole lot closer to them now, trying to rewrite some of their stories in first.

I won't be changing all of my stories. As I said before, there are advantages to TPPOV. I do think some of them will benefit from the POV change though. That's the most important thing. The story must be able to draw someone in. If I can't be drawn in enough, what makes me think anyone else will?

Organizing A Disorganized Mind

Here's something every writer deals with: How do you keep your work organized? I was thinking about this recently, and thinking about all the answers I've gotten to this question from writers in the past. It's interesting to see just how much people vary in the ways they keep their work/notes organized. So, I thought I'd share mine with you!

1) Laptop - The first and obvious (for me, anyway) choice of where to keep my current WIP and any ideas I have for future work is on the computer (and backed up on a USB and Google Drive). Though I have been burned in the past, (seriously, complete computer crash with zero hopes of having it fixed for various reasons and nothing backed up anywhere), I'm much better about backing my work up now. I sometimes like to write longhand (see below), but not always. Obviously, writing is much faster using the laptop, so if I need to get a large chunk of the story out, then I prefer the computer. Now you must understand this requires a sort of sub-categories section:
Document file w/ current WIP
Document file w/ notes on world
Document file w/ notes on characters
Document file(s) w/ new story ideas/dialogue (Sometimes I hear a line in my head that begs for attention. I actually wrote one of my Fantasy novels on the basis of a line I couldn't stop thinking about.)
2) Notebook/Paper - A journal of sorts I suppose you could say. I always have one on me somewhere. Whether it's just a small one in my purse or a larger one I carry in one of my extra bags I always seem to have, I always make sure there's one with me. If I don't have my laptop with me, I can at least still get the ideas down. Some people will ask why I don't just use the Notepad app on my phone. I'll tell you, because I don't like to. Texting/messaging is one thing, but I refuse to keep notes on my phone for my writing. Ugh, imagine how long it would take me to write out part of a story using only my thumbs?! (I text pretty fast, but I have no desire to write even part of my story this way. I'm just weird like that.) If I'm going to take the long way around, I might as well just use a pen and paper. That's just how I feel about it anyway. I do use Google Drive on my phone to read over certain parts of a WIP or check out my notes document(s) if I need to reference something. It's a very handy tool. Also I have scrap pieces of paper; old receipts, parts torn off an envelope or larger piece of paper, that I jot notes down on if I don't feel like digging through my runaway bag purse for my notebook.

3) My Brain - Odd place to keep things, I know. Sometimes I do get lucky and don't have to write some of the ideas I have down. Sometimes, they just stick with me and refuse to be forgotten. Thank goodness for that! Although, my memory is getting pretty bad year after year. It's kind of annoying really. I once had an idea in my head, for The Occult Collection this was, that I didn't write down. It kept nagging at me like you wouldn't believe. Every time I tried to think about something else, this idea would intrude in some way. Finally, I relented. I typed out everything I had in my head. It took a little while for everything to go away. I do believe I was typing for about three hours that day before it was all out on the page (screen, whatever).

So, that's my little bit of info on how I keep my ideas, at least somewhat, organized. Some of the document files don't look nearly as organized as they should, but at least the WIP's don't look too shabby. They have a rather generic manuscript format to them; double-spaced, 12 pt. Courier font, 1" margins, cover page, header, etc. Maybe one of these days I'll stop writing notes down on random scraps of paper and just keep it all in one place, but I wouldn't count on that happening anytime soon.

So tell me, how do you keep your ideas organized?

February 2014 AW Blog Chain

This month's prompt:
Characters Writing About Authors
ETA: I'd like to apologize to everyone before you read the post. She has a tendency to swear too much and I promised her I wouldn't change anything, just put a little warning at the beginning. So you're warned, foul language ahead. ♥ Me

Oh look, here we go. She's finally opened the laptop today, that's a good sign....
She's opening up the documents file...
SCORE! She opened me today!! It's about damn time. Let's see if something comes of it this time...
By the way, my name is Arryn...well hang on, I have to double-check...ok, yep it's still Arryn. I suppose that may change, because with this bitch, you never know.  She tries it again and I will be forced to set some of her shit on fire or maybe give her a grotesque head for a few days. I have just the spell for, anyway. Where was I? Ah--yes-- our names. I do believe my twin brother has had three or four names since she first brought us to life. It's ridiculous. If she would've asked me, I woulda told her dumb ass his name is Aidan. Then she wouldn't have wasted all that time.  Oh well, can't change it now.
I don't want to sound like an ungrateful douche or anything, because don't get me wrong, I love this woman as much as she loves me; without her, I wouldn't be here. Only, I have this tiny problem I'm having with her lately. I'm so tired of sitting on my ass while she either ignores me or, even worse, writes about me and then deletes it all. Like I'm some random story to her or something. Um HELLO, this is my FUCKING LIFE we're talking about. I have feelings you know. I don't like being ignored!
Just look at her right now. I can practically see the steam coming off her head she's concentrating so hard. The page is mostly blank...still. Sometimes I know what she's thinking. Sometimes we even talk to each other. But there are times when I have no clue what the hell is going on in her head. For two weeks she had me in the weirdest position ever. Seriously, I was in the middle of a fight, frozen solid mid-move, and for what? Who the fuck knows?
She shoulda pulled her head out of her ass and realized that, oh hey, this particular fight is rather pointless and does nothing but distract me from the bigger problem. This isn't the time for a fight, but what the hell do I know? I'm just the puppet on the strings. She's lucky I have no control over her outside of the writing. I wanna make her slap the shit out of herself sometimes.
In truth, she really shouldn't be trying to write my story herself. All she ever does is fuck it up when she does. Dumb as hell. She screws things up, then eventually allows me to take over when she realizes how idiotic she's being. Proof that once in a while she tries to learn! My only hope is that I don't get sent over to the Dark Room. You know where I'm talking about? The place where the old stories go that just don't interest her anymore...or as she likes to put it, the ones that "don't speak to her anymore". What a load of shit. I think they still speak to her, she just forgot how to listen. Actually, I hope she tries that shit with me. I welcome the chance to set the bitch straight.
When she gets in one of her "moods", (incidentally I can see douchebag written all over her face right now), she has a tendency to, shall we say, swear like a sailor. And she calls me a foul-mouthed miscreant? (Seriously, I heard her say it to someone one day while she was working on me. The nerve of this bitch!) Right, I wonder where I get it from? Pot, kettle. We're so much alike in so many ways and I don't think she understands that sometimes. Though, how the hell she can miss it is beyond me. Not very observant, this one.
I've spoken to some of the others about her. What else is there to do when she has four or five of us open, yet does nothing but sit there waffling on EVERY. DAMN. WORD. she writes? Anywho, about our Beloved Oracle, (that's what we call her), we have different views. Yes, she drives me nuts sometimes, but I do love her. Previous insults aside, she is my maker. For that alone I will always love her...even if I do end up in the Dark Room.
There are those that don't care for her at all. They've called her every name in the book....except one, that I can't even put in here 'cus I don't want her to see it. (See? Told you I love her.) These others have their reasons. One of them thinks that our Beloved Oracle is not listening to her, that she's just writing the story on her own. Let's see, there are some that are pissed because she's put them in the Dark Room. They don't always come out of there.
I can't forget about the ones that won't talk to me. In my oh so humble opinion, they're just pissed because she doesn't focus on them like she used to. They're petty and jealous. A cranky douche at times I may be, but I go out of my way to get to know the others and make them feel comfortable. My favorite is one of her Erotica characters. Jezelle and I go way back. She's cool as hell. Anyway, as I was saying, we're all in this least we're supposed to be. You know what I say to those asshats? Fuck off and get over it! If she wants to tell your story, she will. For all any of us know, I'll be in the Dark Room next.
OH! Gotta go, she's ready for me!

February 2014 Participants:
orion_mk3 - (link to post)
Sneaky Devil ('Tis me) - (link to post)
Anarchic Q - (link to post)
ishtar'sgate - (link to post)
Sixpence - (link to post)
pyrosama - (link to post)
Angyl78 - (link to post)
meowzbark - (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes - (link to post)
SamanthaLehane - (link to post)

The Temple: Part Two

The Temple

Part Two

Inside the Temple of Beor, High Priest Danul kneeled at the altar and waited for Samuel to either kill him or ask for his help. He hoped it would be the latter, but there was always a chance Samuel would believe what Edgar said. After all, it was the truth.

Danul closed his eyes, cleared his mind of all other thoughts, and concentrated only on Samuel.

"He comes," he whispered.

Samuel ran through the open doors and was halfway to the altar when Edgar entered at a sprint.

"Damnit, Samuel listen to me!" he yelled.

High Priest Danul stood and turned toward the men. Samuel skidded to a stop and faced Edgar.

"Don't listen to him Samuel," Danul said. His voiced carried the length of the temple.

Samuel shook his head as if to clear it. So many conflicting thoughts and images ran through his mind, he didn't know what to think, or who to listen to. He turned toward Danul.

Danul stretched his hand to Samuel as a bright aura began to surround him. "Come with me, I'll protect you."

Samuel looked to Edgar again, "I trusted you," then turned and took Danul's hand.

Edgar watched the aura brighten and tighten around Samuel and Danul before they disappeared within.

When Samuel opened his eyes, he couldn't believe what he saw. In that instant, he understood everything. He should have trusted Edgar after all. Now, it was too late to do anything about it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Run For Your Lives, It's The Romance Genre!

Hmmmmmm, I feel another book review in the works. Not in this post, but definitely upcoming, and soon, because I have had my eyes opened today ladies and gentlemen. I read, for possibly the first time in my 30+ years if memory serves, a Romance novel......from start to finish. That's not too shocking I suppose because I do love to read and don't like to give up on any book I start without giving it what I deem a fair shot. The fact that I actually liked it is what shocks me beyond belief.

I generally don't go for all that wishy-washy romance stuff in my books. I mean, there's not even one action scene in the whole thing (the nerve!), so I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it. I wasn't even sure I was going to read the whole thing. I got it on my Kindle in yet another of my "I'm broke and want to download tons of free books I've never read" moods. (I do that a lot since I don't sleep well.) I was even surprised that I chose that book as one, but hey, why not? There's nothing wrong with expanding our horizons once in a while, ya know?

So I get the book, along with five others (all of the rest in the Fantasy genre). Read three of them in a few hours because they're kind of short, then turn my eyes to the fourth and don't even get past the first page. Just not feelin' the vibe on that one right now, perhaps another day. Great, now I can't even put off reading the dreaded Romance novel anymore. I get like that sometimes, where I HAVE TO read new books rather than the old standby's, and since I don't have local access to my storage unit, all my paperbacks/hardcovers are not an option at the moment. I can hardly go to the library at 10 o'clock at night and browse for some books.

Here we go, might as well get it over with. I will say up front that when I read the blurb on it seemed not as "bodice ripping" as I would normally come across. I'm sure that's at least part of the reason why I snatched it up. I don't do those kinds of novels, period. There's something that repels me from reading about a helpless female being entranced by a man wearing a kilt, and sex scenes every five minutes (and no, I'm not talking Erotica here, these were Romance novels) with every euphemism for male and female genitalia that a writer can think of tossed into one paragraph. OK,  OK,  I know they're not all like that, but they're just not my thing. I try to keep an open mind when it comes to my reading, but we all have our likes and dislikes. To each their own and more power to you if like those kids of books. Read a few for me, won't ya? ;-)

As is turns out, Double Trouble written by Deborah Cooke, isn't all that bad. I rather enjoyed it to be honest. Now I crave to read more about these Coxwells. They are an intriguing bunch to be sure. Partly because they are so out of the league of my "norm", partly because of the narrator's voice. I'm not sure it's just one thing, it never is for me, but a lot of things all rolled in together that made me appreciate the book. Thankfully there are more books on the Coxwells, this actually being the second book in the series. Alas, I didn't have to read the first one to understand the second one.

That's another first for me. Not only have I skulked into a new genre, I've gone against every belief I have about reading a set of series books, I didn't read the first book first. For shame! I'll just cover my head while you throw things at me and quietly explain that 1) I didn't realize this was the second book until after I'd already downloaded it, and 2) it was made very clear to me that I didn't have to read the first book of the series before the story even started. Score points for the author on that one! I enjoyed reading a "series" book that I wasn't required to start somewhere else. Like I said, I'm expanding my horizons here people.
I'll get more in-depth on the book itself during my review, but this post is more to help me understand my shock factor. Seriously, what's happening to me as I grow older? I've never been interested in reading this genre before. Don't get me wrong, there is an element of romance in a lot of the books I've read in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, in the M/T/S genre, etc., but mostly it's about world crisis and saving someone or other, things of that nature. This is the first time I've ever stepped into the flowery world (or so I like to see it) of the Romance genre, willingly, and enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, wanted more of it. What the- ?!?! Thankfully this book was devoid of what I mostly think of the genre to be filled with and perhaps that went a long way in my feeling for the book/genre in general. As I've said, I've had my eyes opened today, but in a good way. Is it so wrong that I want to read a Romance novel that's not about some head-over-heels-in-love scenario? Where it's automatically love at first sight and these two people just HAVE to be together? That I want to read a book where, although there may not be physical fight scenes with vampires and were-creatures and witches or dragons, but actual real world problems that middle-class girls like me can perhaps relate to...on some level? Oh hey, look what I found. A book that has just that...

Here's the clincher for me. In my past (and admittedly limited) experience with the Romance genre, I've mostly read, as stated above, the tragic inconvenience that somebody couldn't be with who they wanted to be with, sprinkle in those euphemisms and all those "hot spots", and it's the same old thing over and over again for a few hundred pages. I can't even get past the first few chapters without wanting to rip my hair out. I understand that a lot of these kinds of books are character driven, (almost have to be really because what's the point in a Romance novel if there's no romance right?), and I love character driven stories. But give me some meat (no pun intended), give me something to sink my teeth into as it were. I want a reason why I should care that these people are struggling to be with their "soul mate" or whatever frilly term you want to put on your can't-live-without-you-other-half. (And by the way, I have one of those myself. He is the other half of my circle, and without him I fall over and don't roll properly. So, I'm not adverse to being wishy-washy all of the time. I'm quite sure in fact that I annoy him sometimes with my massive amounts of cheesiness  but I just can't seem to help myself around him.) Give me something to work with here, ya know? That's all I'm saying. That can be said for any genre though. We have to care about these people who's lives we are delving into, and we have to have a reason to care about them. You can't just tell me to and expect me to go, "OK, as you wish, no questions asked, I care immensely about why this poor woman/man can't be without the most wonderful man/woman on the planet."

Yeah right, like that's going to happen. Point being, I need some kind of substance to pull me in and something to hold me there. Much to my surprise, I have found it in the Romance genre. Perhaps it takes a special kind of author or book to do this for me. Perhaps I'm getting mushier as I get older. I'm not really sure. I'm inclined to explore this a little further though and see how it turns out. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll even start putting Romance novels on my bookshelf with those monsters and future technologies I covet so much. After all, anything is possible when it comes to love.

And yes, I really did just say that :-P

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Temple: Part One - Excerpt Of My Attempt At A Short Story

Please keep in mind that: a) this is only a small part of a short story, b) I don't self-edit well, c) nobody has critiqued or done a beta on the story, and d) I'm still attempting to work on my writing style/technique...which has many flaws. All that being said, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The breeze cooled the sweat on his body. Goosebumps popped out on his skin as a chill descended his spine. He was bent over, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath and keep down his meager dinner. A twig snapped to his right.

"Great, here we go again," he moaned.

"Samuel, wait! I just want to talk to you for a minute," Edgar yelled.

Samuel was so tired of running. Seemed to him that's all he'd been doing for the past few years. Running from one thing or another. And now this. Betrayal by someone he'd known since they were babies. Best friends, training partners, practically brothers. How Edgar could have done this, Samuel still didn't understand. He had no intention of waiting around to find out though. He gathered his strength and pressed on towards his destination. The only salvation he had left to him.

As Edgar ran through the small group of trees and bushes at the edge of the forest, he saw Samuel run across the field toward the temple. He swore under his breath. He had to explain, but Samuel wouldn't give him the chance. It wasn't betrayal that he'd committed, but an act of kindness, a necessary evil. Obviously, Samuel didn't agree. And now he was headed for the one place he should have avoided at all costs.

"You will have to listen eventually. There's more to the story than what you know," Edgar sent out telepathically.
Samuel hesitated in his stride at the thought in his head, but only for a brief moment. It didn't matter what the murderous monster said anymore. He had to get to the Temple of Beor where he would be safe.

I will post more...eventually. Please feel free to leave any comments/critiques. And don't worry about hurting my feelings if you think it's horrible. I have tough skin and I welcome any and all criticism, particularly harsh criticism.