Saturday, December 30, 2006
I gave up doing New Year’s Resolutions many, many moons ago. I do like to take a moment and reflect upon my mistakes and successes of the past year and set goals.
Looking back on it, I failed most of my goals this year. Maybe that’s an ominous warning I should heed. Nonetheless, I will make new goals.
The largest mistake I made this last year was losing a friendship. At one time, I had three friendships falter and I managed to mend two of them. One is gone and sadly, I think that one is gone forever. During my 31 years of life, I have lost one friend to argument/disagreement/misunderstanding. I think this one is the result of misunderstanding. I’m still not sure which one of us had the misunderstanding, if it was my fault, her fault or a general breakdown with equal blame on both sides. I’ve spent a great deal of time looking back on my behavior and the accusations thrown at me and, for the sake of my sanity, I still don’t see what I did to cause what happened. I do see where a few times, I may have been a bit self-centered and perhaps what I see as a little thing wasn’t so little on her end.
Either way, I’m done beating myself up for it, officially, come Jan. 1st. I will not let this baggage taint my new year.
The second largest mistake I made the last year is self-evident with my hospital visit. At times I pushed myself too hard, didn’t take care of myself properly, and didn’t get the medical attention I needed. I’m no longer a spring chicken and need to learn that medical problems won’t go away if ignored.
I also think I goofed off a bit too much during the year. There’s nothing wrong with taking breaks, but I think, at times, I slid a little too much into the Type B parts of my personality and squelched the Type A.
I earned three writing contracts in 2006. In 2007, I’d like to see a minimum of six.
Do not lose another friendship.
Take better care of myself.
Work more diligently with a writing career. Now that I know that this is a real option for me, I need to make it work and work to make it.
Take more time for friends and family.
All in all, I think those are good goals. Sure, some of them are vague and perhaps, I should have specified something like “write a minimum of 3k words every day,” but I’m going to go with what I have.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and may 2007 be more productive and prosperous for all of us than 2006!
I’ve been tagged again.
Pick one thing you’d like to do before you die, but most likely won’t.
I’d like to visit Mars. Don’t look at me like that, I mean this. I would love to do some interplanetary travel. I doubt I’ll ever get to do this, because, well…I don’t think science will progress fast enough to enable this kind of affordable tourist traffic before I die. Of course, if I win a big lottery I might be able to talk to Russians into taking me to the moon.
In the meantime, there’s always science fiction. ^_^
So, I’ve found a few publications to try. Please, wish me luck as I dip a pinky toe into this genre.
1) I’m left handed. Hey! No one said these had to be scandalous or anything.
2) In HS, I was a founding member of my school’s FCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I wanted to join the clergy and I went so far as to line up a scholarship and gained acceptance to a religious school. I write m/m erotica now. My how things change.
3) I consider myself a simple mountain girl with a coal miner/electrician for a father and a school teacher for a mother.
4) My first jump into “faghagdom” was when an exboyfriend, Eric, came out to me.
5) I have helped drag queens “tuck and tape.”
Friday, December 29, 2006
OCD. People, in real life, have this. Characters, in fiction, can have this. It's a major pain to write, but I think in Purposed Chaos (no publisher yet) it pulled it off well. I have a character who has developed a problem with 1's, 4's, and 7's. His actions, sitting down with two cups of coffee, washing his hands twice, etc turned out to be easy to handle. His dialog, on the other hand, was painfully difficult. I couldn't let any of his dialog contain 1, 4, or 7 words or any combination of words that would end in 1, 4, or 7. So, no 11's, 14's or 17's. Teens in general were avoided because they start with a 1.
It made the character quirky and it served a purpose in the story, but it was rather difficult. If you have the patience for something like this and the eye to notice when you stray from the OCD, I highly recommend it.
I don't think any way is right or wrong. Whatever works for you and your writing is what you should do.
One thing I particularly like is playing with the speech patterns of characters. I've been told that if you have crafted your characters properly, then you shouldn't need dialog tags. I'm not sure that's true, but I do like it when characters are, indeed, that distinct.
In Full Circle (to be released in a couple of weeks), I created a character with a very distinct dialect. I see you rolling your eyes now. I'm not talking about the kind of writing that only Mark Twain can pull off. I'm talking about the use of idioms and speech rooted in a different time era than the other characters.
In Full Circle all of the characters are children of whatever era they were born in or created in. Some have been able to acclimate themselves to the cultural changes of the centuries and some of them have not. Kendrick is a character who is comfortable and "in place" inside the room, but uncomfortable and "out of place" in time. Byron is a very modern character and I can easily see him walking down the street of today or yesteryear. Phineas, however, is special. His life's circumstances have prevented him from fully comprehending that he isn't where he use to be. Phineas is stuck in the Old West.
This made his dialog very difficult. It became so problematic that by the end of the novel, I told my editor, Tami Parrington, that I was killing him off as soon as I could. She told me it wasn't fair to kill off characters because they are hard.
She might be right, but I'm still gunning for bumping him off.
I like reading characters like this, but they are a major pain to write. Luckily, I live in the Information Age and I have access to the internet. Finding a print resource for speech patterns, idioms and etc of the Old West proved taxing and I found this little gem…
Most of the characters in the story (and the reader too) won't know what Phineas is talking about when he refers to "Company Q" or what he really means when he says, "You done woke up the wrong passenger." Fortunately, Kendrick and Bob are there to translate what he says. I think his presence adds color and depth to the story and I recommend giving it a try. Just don't blame me if you want to kill off the character who is providing that color and depth.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Heavens to Betsy is one that springs to mind. Who is Betsy and why does she deserve all the heavens? AND how did that get turned into a default exclamation? Charles Earl Funk in his book "2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions" is stumped by Betsy too. He thinks this phrase is at least a hundred years old and it breaks geographic boundaries. This one has been relegated to "source unknown" and its roots have been gobbled by history. Some speculate that it has something to do with Betsy Ross, but the usage seems to indicate otherwise.
Ah, Betsy, a woman who knows the power of mystery.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Please, let's all have a moment of silence to think about the lost knowledge, useless as it may have been, that those wondrous clearinghouses put at our fingertips. Tissues are available next to your keyboards.
Everyone ready to continue?
I may not be able to provide the same type of Word of the Post like I did before these resources went to the net graveyard, but I'm still going to try to provide some kind of word trivia.
The first one will be….
Word of the Post
Some editors have a sense of humor. Don't look at me that way. It's true. Oh sure, we all know one or two editors who are actually human and we have to keep reminding ourselves that they are, in fact, editors. However, did you know that the editors of Merriam-Webster have a sense of humor?
Well, in 1934, they did. For those of you who are playing along at home, I'll direct you to page 232 in "One-Night Stands with American History" by Richard Shenkman and Kurt Reiger.
In the scientific community, density is abbreviated as D. or d. With that you have a recipe for humor. Add in one careless assistant. Mix in a helpful assistant. Top with editors who wanted to see if anyone would notice. Fold all the ingredients together and publish at 1934 degrees for several additions and you get the nonexistent word "dord" which was never a noun that meant density.
According to Shenkman and Reiger "dord" stayed in the dictionary for "several additions" and was removed when new editors took over control.
It's amazing to me the things we can get away with when dealing with language. A friend of mine, who I met while attending field school in Guatemala, was working on his PhD in linguistics. He told me if I ever need a word and didn't have one to make up something and put quotes around it. I'll never forget his words, "Put quotes around it and, poof, it becomes a word."
I wonder if "dord" had quotes around it in the 1934 Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Scene of the Post. Mark and James, you're up.
Mark hunched over his desk. Papers, stacked six inches high, flanked his shoulders. The green desk lamp gave off way too much heat for his work-weary eyes. With the adding machine keys perfectly memorized, the steady rhythmic clacking created its own industrial music.
The Pennsylvania calculations needed to be done by the meeting tomorrow and he'd fallen behind due to the extended meeting today. Meetings. At times if felt like the Census Bureau had more meetings than anything else.
With the muscles in his hand humming and vibrating, Mark sat upright in his chair and rolled his wrist. There had to be an easier way of doing this.
Mark turned in his chair and looked up at his friend James. Friend. Just friends. Why did it have to be that way? Mark nodded. "Yes. Pennsylvania's population dord won't find itself."
James hiked an eyebrow. "Dord?"
"Dord." The first time James said the word it sounded like a question. This time Mark couldn't tell if James was confirming the word or trying not to laugh. James shook his head and chuckled at a joke only he heard. "That's not a word."
Mark crossed his arms over his chest. "Oh really?" The office rivalry between the two language swashbucklers had reached legendary status. Offices around the country took pools on which of the two men would stump the other and now, Mark, trailing by 2 to 1 odds, could nearly taste the lead. "Care to put a little wager on that?"
A grin slipped on James's face. A little smile that served as James's poker nemesis. That smirk told Mark when James was bluffing. "What do you want to wager?"
Mark smiled trying not to gloat too much. He suspected he failed to hide his confidence. "I think you know what I want."
"Yes, that again."
"Fine." James turned toward his desk and Mark opened his bottom desk drawer. James returned armed with an Oxford Dictionary.
Mark readied his Merriam-Webster Dictionary and began the countdown. "On three. One, two," This was going to be so very good. "Three."
The two men flipped through their associated reference books. Paper flew through the air at such speed the black ink appeared gray. Streaking nouns, pronouns and verbs marched past their fingers faster than any paper manufacture ever intended.
Finding the appropriate page, Mark's index finger slid past "dorab" and disregarded the "dorbeetle." "Dorcas" received no attention and his heart raced when his finger crested "Dorcopsis." The blood left his face when "dordogne" appeared next. His eyes flicked back and forth trying to pull the word "dord" out of thin air. No, this couldn't be. He saw this word in his dictionary at home last night. The plain paper between the two entries mocked him with its whiteness. Speechless, he looked up at his rival and friend. The word wasn't there and no amount of will would force it to appear.
Sighing, James slammed his dictionary closed. "You're right. It's a word. I stand corrected."
Mark's mouth fell open. "What?"
James smiled and clutched his "defeated" weapon to his chest. "Dinner. My house, right?"
Mark nodded and wished he could ask someone to explain what just happened. "That's the bet."
James smiled again making his eyes twinkle. He leaned toward Mark and whispered, "I plan on a better dessert this time." James's breath washed across Mark's neck making the tiny hairs on his skin stand on end. "Come prepared to leave very satisfied."
Mark watched his friend walk off. Confused and slightly aroused, he wasn't sure if he wanted an explanation anymore. Still, his competitive streak pleaded for clarification. "This does, technically, count as a win for me, right?"
James waved without looking back. "Oh, you're winning all right."
Sunday, December 10, 2006
That's part of the reason I love writing. I can use my latch-on-ness to its full capabilities. My stories tend to be between 20-50K words. Long enough for an e-book, but not so long that the shiney wears off before I'm done writing it.
This does pose a problem for my longer pieces… I have a WIP that's already at Epic Novel size. It's taken me quite a while to get it this far and I've learned that it will have to be broken into smaller books for it to be publishable.
Oh great joy. Who---oopie.
This is bad and good. Good in so far that it breaks it into new shiney bits and I can work with my flakey personality. Bad in regards to the story doesn't make sense unless you get the whole thing.
So, now, my big one sits on my HD about three scenes away from finished while I figure out what the heck to do with it.
Friday, December 08, 2006
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Knowing that the Zlpork wants his slitch means little to us. But if we learn that Zlpork is the hero and slitch is his soulmate, then we can relate to it. Suddenly, we want Zlpork to find his slitch and live happily ever after.
I once referred to the anthropologist's job as holding a mirror up to life and interpreting the reflection for those who can't see it for themselves.
That's the same thing writers do. We look at life, even when it only occurs in our heads, and we tell the people who don't share our mind what's going on. We show off the reflection of our creation.
Why not show off the creation itself? I firmly believe that no piece of writing will be exactly how the author sees it in his or her head. Even if it's as true as true can get and no detail is missed, the reader still interprets it and filters it through their own perspective. Thus, what the reader sees is the mirrors reflection not the object itself.
At least that's how I see it.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Writing is an art and a business. Some people tilt the scales toward art and some tilt it toward business. Some go as far as to intentionally make a show of "being out there" for that must make them feel more artistic. For those people, I hope they have enough money to eat.
I on the other hand must somehow make my words turn into food and or electrical payments. I've been told about this Pay Per Post thing for bloggers. I'm thinking about doing it. Some people may consider that selling out, but I call it being practical.
I've written a piece that seems to be too dark for dark fiction. On one hand I pat myself on the back for being so creative and thinking out of the box. On the other hand, I slap myself for not keeping the business side of writing in mind. I still like the story and I think it's solid. There has to be a way of pulling it in and getting it back within publishable lines.
In the meantime, does anyone know of any erotica publishers who delve into erotic darkness?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I am smart; I do my holiday stuff online. That way when the item is relegated to the shelf or closet of which there is no return, I can know I spent money in the comfort of my own home.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
This is especially troublesome for those of us who write linearly – like me. One thing that I do to get back in to the groove is to close my eyes and type whatever. I talk about the scene. I ask myself what I need to accomplish in the scene and eventually the rhythmic clack of the keys revives my mojo and off I go!
I hope that helps someone else. What do you do when you're writing vibe if off?
Sorry about a lack of Word of the Post or Scene of the Post…I couldn't think of anything.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
A list of 20-gazzillion questions about yourself that you don't want to share with your cat, but you'll answer them for a blog/myspace/lj post and tell 25-gazzillion strangers.
They're compelling. We half groan and half smile when we're tagged. Why? I try to make each one a bit of a joke. For example: my favorite color is actually Hunter Green. A deep rich green that fills me with a sense of earthy warmth. Looking at that green makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated. I can imagine myself standing in the middle of the woods near a small creek watching vines claim an abandoned shed. However, on meme's I always answer clear or transparent. I think that's funny.
Some of these meme's ask about illicit drug use. Honestly, I'm clean. I'm willing to tell that to anyone. I am now and always have been clean, but why would you post something on the net that is essentially a confession to a crime?
Some of them ask about deep dark secrets. Well, if it's that much of a secret, why am I going to tell-all now?
I'm convinced that if legislation were in the form of meme's we'd get more stuff done on Capital Hill. A bill that could help millions of American's is boring and dull, but put it in meme for and presto we're compelled to participate.
Maybe voting could be handled this way too. Hmm….
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I love this time of year. The fall foliage is beautiful both clinging to the trees and crumpled around my ankles. The nip in the air is enough to motivate me for just about anything.
I also take devious pleasure in handing out candy and sending kids home. Regrettably, or maybe fortunately, I don't get trick or treators. However, I'm paranoid that I'll get one and not have candy. So, we buy the good stuff and hope no one shows up—that way we get the candy for ourselves.
Evilness can come in innocuous packages.
Friday, October 20, 2006
At first, I didn't think much about this. Then, I started meeting people (heterosexual women) who were not only pro m/m, but anti-het. They will actually leave a story if there is a het element. Which means, there is an aversion to reading their sexuality.
What does that say about the bedrooms and intimate relationships of these types of readers? The sociologist and anthropologist in me wants to find a problem here, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
I find m/m fiction a lot hotter than most het fiction. That's why I write m/m and not het. I have no problems in my bedroom, so maybe I'm drawing a connection that doesn't exist.
Does one's choices in fiction reflect anything about their real lives? What do you think?
Sunday, October 15, 2006
"Full Circle" was written with a lot of Depeche Mode in my ears and I think it shows. I can't remember the last time I wrote a masturbation scene without listening to "I Touch Myself" and a sex scene without NIN "Closer."
Music helps me set the tone and maintain it, what do you guys do?
Sorry about a lack of Word of the Post or Scene of the Post…I couldn't think of anything.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
My first one was about the Rotary Sander for The Legs. The next one was my moment with the Waxing Kit of Leg Death.
This one is about pancakes.
I have a serious love affair with pancakes. They're quick, easy, cheap and filling. My mother can't stand them for some strange reason, but I love them. A friend gave me a box of pancake mix. I normally use BisQuick, but I decided to give this a try.
You cannot make crappy pancake mix better. I mixed the batter and water as directed and it came out so thin I felt like I was stirring water. After deciding that dumping the entire box of mix without adding more water, didn't make it better, I figured it would thicken while cooking.
These things were so thin light came through them. I'm not exaggerating. These were transparent pancakes.
I headed off to the pantry to figure out what, if anything, I had on hand might salvage these pitiful things. I'm not sure when I bought this can, but I had a can of blueberries. Score! If the pancakes were going to be thin, they at least could be blueberry. I promptly dumped the can into the batter and realized I just added more liquid. Now, my batter was grey—not blue—and even thinner.
Fine! I sprinkled in some flour that proved worthless and decided I was, simply, going to eat my transparent blueberry pancakes and be happy about it. Do you have any idea how hard it is to flip a pancake that's thinner than the spatula? After a few failed attempts and one pancake wearing cat, I finally ended up with a plate of things that looked more like grey-blue crepes than anything else.
I've never made crepes, but it was an idea. I hit the net and found a recipe for the filling of crepes. It had more than three ingredients so I decided to modify it. Easy cooking is the only cooking for me.
After getting back from the grocery store, I mixed cream cheese, cottage cheese, and too little sugar to make a difference in a huge bowl and ate some pancakes turned crepes with a little apple sauce and sour cream.
Oddly it was good. Now, if only I can remember what I did to make this something not to do so I can do it again when I want crepes.
In the mean time, I learned that muffin mix makes for great pancakes!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I’ve been given permission to announce…
“Selling Foxx” was picked up by Lady Aibell Print.
*happy dance over here*
*happy dance over there*
I’m beginning to think I just might cut it as a writer. XD
Today’s Word of the Post comes from Hutchinson’s Dictionary of Difficult Words and is rated M for Mature. Adults only please.
This was the second word I selected to check. It must be a lucky day.
gamic Adj 1) sexual 2) Of or requiring fertilization to reproduce; sexual. 3) requiring fertilization.
I’m pretty sure this word is more scientific than I want it to be, but let’s try a little “artistic license.”
Where were we when we last visited with Mark…
Mark’s chattering and shaking subsided under the unnamed man’s watch. Comfort soaked into the lacerations in his back and heat from the fire penetrated his muscles. He no longer felt the floor or blanket beneath him. His breath effortlessly entered and exited his lungs. He, simply, was. In a state of existence with only one befitting title – being.
The man above him, however, bore proof of more gamic desires. A firm cock pressed between the halves of Mark’s ass. As his punisher turned lover massaged, kissed and tended to him, the state of the man’s arousal became more and more evident.
A soft kiss brushed Mark’s cheek. He needed to know the name his enigma. “May I know the name of my caregiver?”
“You may call me, Sir, until I tell you otherwise.” Sir’s voice deep baritone voice rumbled through Mark’s chest.
“That seems a bit formal, would you not agree?”
Sir shifted back on Mark’s hips lifting his fingers from the injured man’s shoulders.
Mark smirked. “Sir, it is.” The man could be called anything he wanted as long as those fingers didn’t stop. The touch returned and Mark softly moaned. Being tied to the post and vapulated had pulled at his shoulders. Sir’s persistent fingers found and erased all the strain and any lingering ache.
Mark wasn’t one to question a blessing or favor, but one thing niggled at his mind. Why would someone turn from punisher to lover? “Sir, why are you doing this?”
“I knew,” Sir leaned to the side and started draping bandages over Mark’s back, “your reaction come the third lash.”
Mark hiked an eyebrow. That was odd, because Mark didn’t know his reaction until much later.
“There was a look in your eyes that begged me to stop while pleading for me to continue.” Sir teethed Mark’s earlobe and whispered, “A look that I could not disregard.”
“And yet you still…” Mark let his voice trail off. He’d rather be disregarded than have his skin split open.
Sir laughed and it almost felt condescending. “Do you really think you felt the full brunt of my whip?” He draped a cloth over Mark’s back and titled onto the floor. “If it didn’t seem earnest, I would have been replaced.” He ran his fingers through Mark’s hair long dark hair. “Such a thing would be unacceptable.”
Friday, September 29, 2006
Sometimes, I find tidbits of information and make me raise an eyebrow. I've been a long-standing proponent of: Tradition isn't necessarily the best way to do something. It is, merely, the way something has always been done.
I've also always bought into the idea of (please allow me to quote one of my old history professors) "You can be a PhD and a SOB at the same time." Thus experience does not equate to someone being correct.
In the wee hours of this morning I worked on my professional development instead of typing the synopsis for Full Circle. What? You're not accusing me of procrastinating, are you?
"While working on my craft," indignation dripped from her voice, "I discovered a few articles that made me raise an eyebrow."
Here's my disclaimer. These writers might be correct. I might be wrong. Far be it for me to question the words of seasoned, popular and experienced writers. I'm still going to question their words, but I know I shouldn't. (End disclaimer)
This article states:
One of the many virtues of the romance genre is the certainty of a satisfying ending. All problems and difficulties will be resolved by the last page of the book; decency, determination, courage, and love will prevail. The romance novel allows us to feel vicariously in control of a positive outcome. In today's world, the guarantee of a happy ending is no small thing.
This article states:
But with it, we get the happy ending that is essential to a romance, paranormal or not. And even though providing that happy ending is often tricky for the author, it's our responsibility to find a way. If we don't, we're disappointing our readers.
That's it. I'm screwed.
No one told me that romance novels must have happy endings. The only thing that I promise my readers is a good story. A reader once told me, "I like your stories, because you surprise me. You might kill a character, break up the couple or allow the hero to fail. I don't know what to expect with you."
I didn't know that in the world of romance writing all stories had to have a happy ending. What if a happy ending doesn’t fit the story? What is a happy ending anyway? Could someone define that for me?
If a happy ending means every piece of conflict is solved in favor for the hero and the couple stays together to ride off into the sunset. Then, I need to hang up my keyboard now. Sometimes my heroes fail. Sometimes my couples don't stay together or fail to get together. I have one story where I don't think the reader is going to want them to stay together. No, no, I'm not glorifying domestic violence or anything, but it's not a healthy relationship. Or is it?
In Tainted Past, the relationship is normal, healthy, and supportive. The kind of thing we all want and warms our hearts. The triad of men is cute, funny and they do honestly and openly care for each other. Isn't that just so freaking sweet it rots your teeth? Well, I'm writing this so we know there must be more.
The problem is that it's built upon a lie and the person lying doesn't know he's lying. Is the "guaranteed" happy ending the triad staying together even with it being twisted or is the happy ending the deceiver finding out his true nature and leaving everyone heartbroken? If he finds out what happened to him, it's ass-whooping time not hugs and kisses time.
Also, why do we have to promise happy endings? Why does everything have to work out in the end? Why can't the hero fail?
Who fell down on the job and let our hands get tied like this? I've not been writing that long, I know it's not my fault.
Needless to say, at this point, I was getting pretty nervous about my writing career. There's nothing wrong with happy endings per se, but the concept of guaranteeing one is terribly limiting. Could it be that these writers don't write my most recent genre of romance?
With renewed hope that I wasn't screwed, I looked for and found an article about vampires.
This article state:
The main thing to remember in writing about a vampire hero is that he must be sympathetic and romantic. Dark and tortured by what he is, separated from the rest of humanity by a secret he cannot share, he still yearns for love. He craves that one woman who can see past the monster to the man inside.
My vampires in Full Circle break that mold. Yes, they're sympathetic, romantic ( Shush, Tami! They're romantic in their own way.) and sexy. Some are "dark and tortured" and some aren't. The rest of that…well…I'm screwed.
At this point my stubbornness kicked in and I came to a conclusion. I'm going to write my stories the way they want to be written. I'm not going to hammer in a sex scene if it doesn't fit. I'm not going to force a happy ending if it doesn't serve the story. I'm going to use double negatives if I think it makes my point better. (snicker)
I'm not alone. Nearly all the writers I've met break these molds in some way shape or form.
Come, my convention rejecting friends, let us be screwed together.
Today's "Word of the Post" comes from The Phrontistery again.
agraphia -- inability to write
Minutes become hours. The cursor blinked at her teasing her with hidden promises and taunted her by constantly showing her void of productivity.
No words found their way onto the screen. Thoughts slipped through her mental fingers the moment she noticed them. She feared that she'd become
Sorry, writer's block. That's all I have. Agraphia strikes again.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Yeah, "got" is not a word according to Mrs. Ruble Bolling. You wouldn't dare argue with Mrs. Ruble Bolling the greatest first grade teacher in the history of first grade teachers (next to my mother of course), would you?
Well, I would. I didn't at the time, but I do now. "Got" is a word, but it is a weak word. It's a meager way of saying "have" (among other things) and sometimes it feels downright redundant.
"You've got mail."
I'm of the camp that thinks this should be: "You have mail."
In my mind, I would use: "Have milk?" (Although some of the power might be lost.)
When you understand something do you "get" it? Or comprehend it?
I'm trying to think of an example where "got" is used and it couldn't be substituted for a better word. Don't get me wrong, "got" gets into my writing. (Hmm…let's change that. Before we misunderstand each other or I'm thrown into the category of hypocrite, let me state that I have been known to use the word "got" in my writing.)
As writers we carefully manipulate the weight of words to evoke emotions in the reader. I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere someone said, "The shorter the statement the more power it has."
[Paraphrased from memory] A single word has more weight than a phrase. A phrase has more weight than a sentence. A sentence has more weight than a paragraph. A paragraph has more weight than a page.
Or something like that. It feels true, but it might be wrong. I wonder if the same thing holds true for words.
I struggled with a line in "Full Circle". This is probably one of the lines where my editor, Tami Parrington, won't notice my fight. This sentence contains the word "got". It's a dah-dumm-insert-dramatic-music-oh-shit-oh-no moment in the story at least I hope the reader sees it that way.
I'm going to change it (make it vague) for this post. I don't want to spoil anything in the story.
"He just got his [something really bad]."
(I can hear Tami checking the last line in chapter five right now.)
This sentence commits two crimes – just and got. By all means, Mrs. Bolling would like for me to change this sentence to: "He recently received his [something really bad]." I tried rewording this sentence to eliminate "just" and "got", but I felt it lost power with each revision. "Recently received" sounds like getting (there's got again) a pleasant gift. I think the shorter words "just" and "got" add umph to the sentence that "recently" and "received" don't provide.
I'm willing to bet that 95% of the time "got" is used a more powerful word would serve the piece better.
So, do you get "got"? Or has "got" gotten a bad rep from Mrs. Bolling?
Everything in this post aside, I'm pretty sure Tami would appreciate me devoting more thought to my abuse of passive voice as opposed to the word "got."
Warning: The "Word of the Post" is rated M and is for adults only. Reader discretion is advised. It's probably "R" rated, but I want to err on the side of a caution.
For today's "Word of the Post" I'm using Poeminister's Archaic & Poetical Dictionary
Darkling – in the dark; mysterious
Hey Mark, dear, how's your back? (This one is an extension of the previous snippet. I'm not sure how long I'll continue this particular set of characterizations. Let's just relax and have fun with this, shall we?)
Mark hissed as he sank into the tub. The cool water felt particularly cold against his back. With a wad of cloth behind his neck, he relaxed and started to soak. His wrists bore bruises from his punishment and ached, but his mind was the most unsettled.
Why did he like enjoy it? What kind of perverse man was he?
With his predilection toward other men, he was accustomed to society seeing him as some kind of twisted and tainted beast. He hadn't battled confusion in himself over his own desires since he shared his first homosexual kiss.
He enjoyed being whipped. How sick was that? Perhaps demons had possessed him.
The water stung his striped flesh. He'd spent his life thinking pain was pain. The bite in his back now was very different than the heat he felt before. The sensation before did hurt in a way, but it was a different kind of hurt.
Mark groaned and whispered to the crickets, "This makes no sense." He couldn't deny how he felt during the punishment. At one point, it was as if he was beside himself. His mind blurred the sensations from the whip with carnal desires. He felt numb and yet very present.
A fluke -- that's all it was. He closed his eyes and let the water cradle him.
Something slid against his forehead quickly covering his eyes. He jerked up renewing the agony in his back. A firm hand gripped his shoulders. "Sh, I'm not here to hurt you."
Fingers caressed Mark's neck and the blindfold tightened around his head. He didn't know that voice, but the touch was gentle enough. Perhaps this intruder wasn't a threat. As long as he had his hands free he could still defend himself and grant a little leeway for curiosity. "What do you want with me?"
"Let's get you out of the water." The stranger touched Mark's biceps and helped him stand. The night air sent a shiver through his body and chill bumps spread across his skin. "Step out. Careful now."
By the time Mark was guided toward his home, he was shaking too much to stand without the support of the stranger.
"Getting into cold water was the worst thing you could have done."
Mark felt the heat from his hearth against his body. His teeth chattered nearly drowning out all other sounds. A gust of warm air brushed his legs and the stranger spoke again, "I need you on your stomach. On your knees first."
Mark used the stranger's arms to help himself kneel. When he explored the floor, he discovered a blanket. He crawled over the blanket and lay down. Warmth from the fire radiated over his body. "I-I-I can't stop shaking." He winced when he bit his tongue.
"Breathe deeply and try to relax." The stranger straddled Mark's hips.
The skin on skin contact made Mark gasp. "I th-th-think you have me mist—" The stranger hushed him with a kiss against the back of his neck.
"I know your choices. You can't lie to me."
He felt the man on his back shift to the side.
"This might sting, but it will help."
The stranger smeared some kind of salve on one of Mark's cuts. At first it did sting, but the soothing nature of the medicine pushed away any lingering pain. The man tended to Mark's wounds with a mixture of tender touches and gentle kisses. The fire warmed his body, the ointment quieted his pain and the caresses excited him. Mark found himself quite comfortable under the stranger's careful attention. He knitted his brow and wondered: Who was this darkling lover?
The man lifted one of Mark's arms and kissed a bruise. "Lesson number one: only the one who gives the pain can soothe it."
Mark knew now.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
By fluff I don't mean poorly written, chick lit wannabe, decoration only stories. I mean sweet romance full of "aww moments". (I'm not saying all "chick lit" is bad.)
I have come to terms with being an angst writer. I can hear you groaning. I admit sometimes I go a little overboard and there have been times I've wanted to slit my characters' wrists for them. I like to hurt my boys. I like to make the reader cry.
Don't look at me like I'm heartless. I give them time to lick their wounds and I give the reader "aww moments", because I think those things are needed. I think the angst makes the "aww moments" more powerful.
Nearly every character I create has some kind of issue that will never be solved. There are plenty of things that will be solved in the story; however, we all have psychological damage that will haunt us for the rest of our lives and I think fictional characters should mimic that.
As an erotica writer, one particularly devilish thing I like to do is give a character a sexual hang-up. (I also give them fetishes, but that's for another post.) In "Full Circle" there is a character with heavy sexual hang-ups, but he's one of my UST (unresolved sexual tension) characters. "Full Circle" didn't lend itself to making him squirm and I'm not going to hammer something into a story simply because I want to see it there.
My favorite sexual hang-up to write is shame. I love characters whose backgrounds make them fight their natural needs. Then, I pair them with someone they can't resist. I use the sex to help work away from the shame. They'll never become full-blown exhibitionists, but they'll be damn sexy as they squirm.
Forbidden desires are particularly hot to me. Perhaps that's due to my own background. They way I see it is – as long as I write, I don't need a therapist. Snicker.
My question for those of you who write is: do you write fluff or angst and why? Does this match what you prefer to read?
For those of us who don't write, but contribute to the world of literature by being precious readers – which do you prefer to read and why?
Warning: Today's "Post of the Day" is rated M for mature. Reader discretion is advised.
The "Word of the Post" comes from the Grandiloquent Dictionary and should be of particular interest to kink writers *cough*Kay*cough*
vapulate - ( )
To beat with a whip
Oh, Mark, dear….
Mark twisted his wrists and the restraining leather creaked. The crack of the whip sliced his ears. Sting pierced his skin leaving a pulsing heat behind. The crowd gasped both in sympathy and condemnation. Already vapulated until his skin was broken and blood trickled down his sundered back, he knew his punishment wasn't over. He had a few more lashes to go.
He didn't wonder why he was tied to this post in town square. Seducing the lord's son came with a heavy price. The question foremost in Mark's mind was a personal one. Why was this turning him on?
The next lash unleashed something inside him. His mind went blank. A blinding whiteness claimed his vision. His seed spread between his body and his pants. He now had a new question: what was his punisher's name and could they do this in a more private setting?
Monday, September 18, 2006
Aware of some of that interest but not the reason for it, Grif has his own secret. His trust had been violated by his own vampire Master, and since that night, he's refused to let another dominate him. And he'd swore to himself that no one ever would.
Get your copy of The Power of Two at Phaze today!
Today's "Word of the Post" comes from
The Phrontistery: Obscure Words and Vocabulary Resources.
http://phrontistery.info/index.html (main page)
This resource is especially useful for scrabble players, because there is a three-letter word listing. This site lists the words by topic. Even if you don't like cruising dictionaries, you may be able to glean some goodies.
http://phrontistery.info/aster.html (page with this word)
Medicaster -- quack; charlatan
(sounds like a great classification for a fantasy healer mage, doesn't it? Nonetheless, I'll try to use the word correctly.)
Mark and James, you're up!
Mark folded his hands over his coffee cup. "Surgery?" He knew he didn't just hear that out of James's mouth.
"Yeah, that's what the doctor said. He said the pain was due to a fracture of some bone I can't pronounce." He picked up the diagnosis sheet from the doctor's office and pointed at the recommended treatment section. "And he wants me to schedule surgery, because the bone has partially healed."
"They're going to rebreak your toe?" This made no sense. He grabbed the yellow diagnosis sheet and shook his head. "You're getting a second opinion. This doesn't make any sense."
James shrugged. "Maybe surgery isn't really the right word, but I'm going to be doped up and stuff. To me that's surgery. I don't want to be alert when they break my toe."
This was the craziest thing Mark had ever heard. "What kind of medicaster did you go to? You obviously have in ingrown toenail and the guy wants to break your toe?" He stood up from the table and jerked his hands in the air, "No! That guy isn't touching you. I'm calling you a real doctor. One who didn't get through med school on a C-minus."
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I had a flawed understanding of what third person omni was.
She probably read it in my writing and wanted to trample me with one of her miniature horses.
Let's go back to one of the sites I used last time.
The story is told by the author, using the third person, and his knowledge and prerogatives are unlimited. He can interpret the behavior of his characters; he can comment, if he wishes, on the significance of the story he is telling. (emphasis added)
I took that to mean EVERYTHING was fair game – including thoughts and feelings. Essentially, I was taking third person limited and third person omni smushing them together and making a mess of things.
Not a problem when the scene is three paragraphs long like in the "Word of the Post" section. This is a problem when the scene is several pages long.
Third person omni is really a detached view of things. It's like you are sitting in a theatre watching a movie. You can see and hear everything that's going on. You can see the bad guy sneaking up behind the good guy, but you can't know what either of them is thinking or feeling.
(Why it is this way, I'll never understand.)
Sucks to be me doing something I thought was making my writing better when I was actually muddling the works.
This reminds me of the "No Purple Prose" section. (see links on the side). They said…
It becomes headhopping when you switch MORE than once in a scene.
Do you agree or disagree? Do you think one POV switch in a scene is acceptable?
I think that is acceptable. Sometimes the meat of the scene has to be set up with one character, but the zinger is with the other character (like the example in yesterday's "Word of the Post" section.) Is it possible to set up the tenderness of the scene via Mark? I'm not so sure. I think the moment his shirt comes off he'd start being nervous about his scar. I think that would give it away before I want to give it away. I can see the rest of that scene being played out via Mark's POV and not needing to go back to James POV.
Today's "Word of the Post" is a word I discovered yesterday and comes from a common dictionary "Merriam Webster".
Main Entry: chan·cel
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin cancellus lattice, from Latin cancelli; from the latticework enclosing it -- more at CANCEL
: the part of a church containing the altar and seats for the clergy and choir
Instead of using my stock characters Mark and James, I'm going to use two of my boys from "Full Circle" – Josiah and Kendrick.
This is not in the manuscript and takes place before the story begins (and hopefully not written as a bastardization of third person limited and third person omni).
The state of the sanctuary mirrored the condition of the world. Crumbling pews, strewn hymnals and Bibles, and broken glass stood testament to the shattered world around them. However, hope resided in this room as well as in the world. The cross above the chancel, albeit crooked, still clung to the wall. A few panes of stained glass refused to fall as a casualty of war.
Josiah sighed as he walked through the sanctuary.
The largest glimmer of hope resided in Kendrick, but the light was fading fast. The bedraggled vampire was a bastion of faith and perseverance, but Byron's absence was taking a heavy toll. Depression, a vile and evil beast, ate away at its captives slowly devouring them until they were too weak to resist.
Josiah stepped up into chancel and knelt beside Kendrick. Praying always praying. Centuries wasted pleading with a seemingly deaf God. What had those prayers yielded? Nothing. Not a damn thing. He whispered, "You can't fight this much longer, Kendrick."
Kendrick lifted his head from his folded hands. "We're in the same country now. Bob and Phineas think they may have spotted him. I can't stop fighting this close."
Josiah gritted his teeth. "It's been centuries since he left. You don't even know if he remembers you. And you better hope he doesn't, because if he does and he hasn't found you by now, then he's left you for good." He didn't want to be a bearer of bad news, but Kendrick needed to face facts. Byron was gone and he wasn't coming back.
"If he doesn't remember me, he'll feel our connection the moment he sees me. I'm certain of it."
Josiah rolled his eyes. At times Kendrick seemed like a naïve child. What did Kendrick expect? To lock eyes with Byron and – presto – all would be right with the world? It was ludicrous! When Byron's spontaneous epiphany didn't happen where would that leave them? Where would that leave Kendrick? Would Kendrick still fight for a runaway lover? "Damn it, Kendrick, your stubbornness is killing you."
"And your lack of faith pains me."
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Warning: the "Word of the Post" section is for mature readers only. It's not graphic sex, but it is for adults.
I'm fairly new to the world of professional writing. Scratch that. I'm very new. At times I may come across naïve, ignorant and, probably more times than I care to recognize, stupid.
I'm currently involved with several discussions about POV in fiction. As these discussions go on, I get more and more confused. I've recently learned that I am not alone.
Third-person omnipresent (aka unlimited) seems to be experiencing some rejection. I see people referring to what I would consider third person omni as "head hopping" and this is, apparently, a bad thing.
Why is it a bad thing?
Is it really that confusing for the reader? Does it really lack that much power and umph?
I can understand not wanting to write nor read the tedium of every characters' feelings. Unless it is pertinent to the story, I don't think the reader wants to know that the newspaper delivery guy thinks his car is going to break down if the guy who just got his paper is reading a front page story about his own death.
The power of that scene is obviously with the freaked out soon-to-be dead guy.
Sometimes a scene needs one POV to covey its full power. Sometimes one POV for a whole story serves best even if it is written in third person. POV is a powerful tool to build suspense and slowly reveal something to the reader.
Everyone has POV's they don't particularly like. I can't stand reading second person stories and I have a real hard time reading first person stories. I'm not sure why. Every time I read something in first person I keep asking myself, if you don't know how it ended why do you think it is important enough to start telling me? Is this some kind of blog or journal entry?
When I try to write this POV, I keep asking myself WHY is the character telling me this? Am I reading a diary? Is this some letter to Penthouse or something? Oddly enough, I don't have these hang-ups when it is first person present tense only first-person past tense. Yet, present tense third person leaves me with a headache.
Other people must be seeing something that I'm missing. Other people can't stand third person omni and love first person. The first thing I did was brush up on my understanding of POV. This site spells it out pretty clearly.
Here’s the key, I think, to third person omni.
"Used skillfully, it enables the author to achieve simultaneous breadth and depth."
Perhaps, that is where my confusion is. Perhaps, I'm not using it skillfully. Perhaps, the people who don't like this POV and label it "head hopping" are referring to other writers who didn't use it skillfully, but wouldn't mind it written otherwise.
Could this be a response to a lack of skill?
How can we, as writers, help each other foster this skill? Or should third person omni be tossed out like yesterday's newspaper once soon-to-be dead guy feels his fate?
In another site (Oh! This is a blogspot person. Cool!)
This is said about "head hopping".
"HEADHOPPING:Another common mistake in POV is incorrectly writing POV aka headhopping. Headhopping is switching POV several times per scene. Headhopping is not defined by line by line switching as the example below but can go on as long as several paragraphs. It becomes headhopping when you switch MORE than once in a scene."
In today's "Word of the Post" I shall attempt to use third person omni skillfully. Watch and laugh as I fall on my face. Mistakes made in front of world – for the win!
Today's word comes from Luciferous Logolepsy
naevus n. - small mark on skin; birthmark; tumour of small blood vessel. naevoid, n. like this.
(Your guess is a good as mine about what that last bit "like this" is supposed to tell us.)
Stock characters, James and Mark, you're on cue!
James fanned his fingers out against Mark's back. They had way too few moments like this. Moments where the world could fade away and it was just them. Life's little intimate moments were way too sparse. Touching a lover even in an innocent way was a very powerful thing.
There was a fine line between intimacy and sex. Both sides of the line had their purpose and power, but intimacy carried a softer beauty that sex could never understand.
As his thumb slid along Mark's flesh, James noticed a small pink naevus to the left of his lover's spine. Was it a birthmark or a scar of some kind? It was shaped like a melting crescent moon. James tilted his head to the side and studied the pink skin. A curved squash? Whatever it was shaped like, it was getting a kiss.
Mark's eyes popped open. His stomach flipped. Yes, yes, he had a scar. Did they have to acknowledge it? He silently pleaded for James to move and act like it's not there. The longer James kissed the more self-conscious and insecure Mark felt. Tears threatened his eyes as he remembered his mother's screeching and the pain. Oh God the pain. Please, no questions. He'd lie. He'd lie his ass off if only to preserve sweetness of this moment with James.
To me that's third person omni. I'm not sure if it was "skillfully done", "head hopping" or not, but if that scene were only told with what James knew and not what Mark knew something would be lost. On the flip side, IMHO, if we didn't have James's inner thoughts, we'd miss out on a lot of tenderness.
I suspect I'm going to be a lot more confused before I understand this.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Ah, listen to those crickets.
I suppose I should take a moment to introduce myself to … the empty chairs.
I am an erotica writer for Lady Aibell Print (a division of Chippewa Publishing). My debut e-book "Full Circle" will be out… some time.
As a way to encourage myself to update this blog on a regular basis, I will be providing a "Word of the Post". I'm head over heels in love with obscure words. Yes, yes, I know they never get to be used, the poor dears, but I still cherish them. I shall search over some of my e-dictionaries and report on a word. I'll also try to write it into a short scene.
I'm probably being too ambitious here, but let's try.
Today's Word of the Post comes from Grandiloquent Dictionary…
cacestogenous - ( )
Caused by an unfavourable home life
This dictionary doesn't give the type of speech for the word.
James barreled past Mark.
Mark stumbled needing a few steps to regain his footing. He looked up in enough time to have the door slam in his face. Once his long red hair settled back on his shoulders, he rolled his eyes. What had caused this particular conniption fit?
Maybe the towels weren't folded properly. Perhaps the canned vegetables were out of alphabetical order. It could be that the dishes weren't stacked just so. Or could it be that one of the party guests dared to disagree with The Great James?
One might be inclined to suspect James's short temper to be cacestogenous. That would be incorrect. Mark had met James's family and they were wonderful and caring people. James was a self-made control freak and asshole extraordinaire.
Whatever the cause of this particular outburst, Mark had some serious work to do to salvage this party. With a practiced winning smile on his face, he headed for the rec room.