October, 2010

Fun Friday: Cats

>Since I did dogs last week, I couldn’t show any favoritism, so here’s some funny cats.

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Tip Thursday: 3 reasons to Ditch your Novel’s Prologue.

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Here’s a great article I found here about prologues.  We’ve always been told we shouldn’t include them, but time and time again we see them in published books.  So, I asked myself, “What gives?  Why shouldn’t we write prologues, if every one is always doing them?”  Here’s what I found:
The prologue is a legitimate story-telling device, but many readers admit that when they see the word “Prologue,” they skip at once to the page that begins with the words “Chapter One.”
Sometimes a prologue is the ideal way to present information essential to the reader’s understanding of the story.
Mystery writers, for example, often begin with a prologue written from the killer’s point of view, or perhaps that of the killer’s first victim. On the other hand, such a scene can be written as “Chapter One” as Martha Grimes does it in The Dirty Duck.
Writers of historical fiction may wish to provide background information to orient the reader in an unfamiliar period.
Writers of fantasy or sci-fi may write a prologue to equip the reader with unfamiliar assumptions held by the inhabitants of the strange world they’re about to enter.
Too often, however, what some writers call a “prologue” is undigested back story, mere scene-setting, or what should be Chapter One.
Ditch your prologue if…
 
1. …it seems boring even to you and you can hardly wait to get to Chapter One.
2. …it’s a lengthy narrative of back story that could more effectively be doled out in small bits as the 
story progresses.
3. …all it does is create atmosphere without having much to do with the story.

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Writer’s Wednesday: Why I was jealous of my vacuum cleaner.

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So I had no clue what I was going to write today.  In fact, I received a tiny bit of bad news yesterday and was doing my whole overly melodramatic “I suck!  I suck so badly the vacuum cleaner is laughing at me.” thing that I tend to do every once in a while.  (I don’t do it too often because…well who wants to listen to a whiney, insecure person who’s jealous of a vacuum?! )  Well, anyway, I was doing my rant and felt I should probably just give up on writing anything that made sense and went to read.
BIG MISTAKE!! NEVER and I repeat NEVER let your friends read when they’re feeling sorry for themselves!  (It’s like the writer’s equivalent of drinking and driving.  Well, okay, it’s not THAT bad, but…you’ll see what I mean.  It’s a TRAIN WRECK waiting to happen.)  Then you get this:
“Oh, GOD!  Look at this.  This writer is the most awesome of awesome writers everywhere.  Look how she says this in like ONE SENTENCE!  I could NEVER write that in ONE SENTENCE. It would take me like a hundred fajillion sentences for me to pull that off.  And look!  No ADVERBS.  She’s like the GODDESS of writers, because I can see this perfectly without adverbs.  I suck I would need at least 10 adverbs lined up one after the other to make that work.   There’s not a single typo.  Look at my ROUGH DRAFT it freakin’ SUCKS.  I have SOO many typos. And my beta said this doesn’t make sense.  But this totally cool writer has everything that makes sense. “
I’m sure you’ve seen the flaw in my logic.  If you haven’t then you must be where I was yesterday.  I was comparing a ROUGH DRAFT to a FINISHED book that has had more people going over it to make sure it’s perfect, than a movie star at her plastic surgeon’s office.
So, I tossed down the totally, freakin’ cool book that made me feel like the bubble gum I had stuck to my shoe the other day, and decided to get some archery practice in. 
ANOTHER big mistake.  I lost a tip.  Hit the already swollen and bruised arm at least a hundred times (I only shot 6 arrows—see I can count), I missed the bulls-eye EVERY TIME, the list just goes on and on and on. 
Of course, this was just another reminder of my suckitude.  I was certain that instead of Midas’ touch, I had what my husband has dubbed “Jessie’s touch.”  Where everything I touch will break or not go as planned.
I spent the rest of the day sulking.  I refused to do ANYTHING.  I just KNEW that if I did something the whole house would spontaneously implode, killing absolutely everything around me, EXCEPT me who would be standing in the middle of the rubble, completely unscathed, holding a part of the thing that exploded.
Yep.  Wasn’t I a piece of work?! 
I ended the day with going to bed early.
This morning I woke and the birds were singing, the sun was shining.  My WIP was calling to me, and so was this blog post.  And I knew that, today, my vacuum cleaner was going to be jealous of ME.
Happy Wednesday, peeps!

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Teaser Tuesday: REAPING

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This is from Chapter 2, when Emily first enters high school for the first time.  She’s determined she’s just going to observe only (ie not make friends.)  She just wants to get in, find the Soul Stealer, and get back out.

For the blurb and to see what the character’s look like, please visit the story’s page on my website.  I don’t have the character bios up yet for these.  (Please remember that all teasers are rough drafts. Thank you very much.)

Also, don’t forget to check out the Oasis, where I’m talking about Music through the ages.  YOu never know when you’ll need some number one hits from the past.  😀

 ***
High school.  A fate worse than death?  Considering that I’d never attended formal schooling and it meant being surrounded by a bunch of whining sniveling brats five days a week, than yes.  But it was probably better than waiting around for hours, possibly days for someone to die. 
Though as I stood just outside my first period class, tugging the hem of my skirt down, as my heart beat a tattoo in my chest, I thought maybe, just maybe, that had to be better than walking into a class that had already been going for at least fifteen minutes with kids that had known each other for years.
Something furry brushed up against my legs and I glanced down. A large black cat with silver eyes, rubbed her large face against my calf.  She meowed and I sighed.  “I know, I know.  I’ve faced worse than a bunch of sniveling teenagers.  I can do this.”  I can do this, I repeated to myself, straightening my shoulders and with one more glance down when the cat bumped against my leg, pushed the door open.
The teacher, a portly man with thinning hair named Mr. Evans, stopped talking.  He stared at me as if I’d appeared out of thin air instead of walking through the door.  The class whispered as I went to him. 
“Do you see her shoes?” a blond girl in the front row whispered to a redhead next to her.  I ignored her and kept going.
The redhead nodded.  “Yeah, what’s up with the gloves?  It’s a hundred outside.”  She rolled her green eyes and they both snickered.  But when I turned to face them directly, they both stopped and pretended they hadn’t said anything.
Cowards.
“Can I help you?” the teacher asked, drawing my attention back to him.
Instead of responding, I handed him the slip of paper the secretary had given me that morning when I’d registered. 
“You’re the new student?” he asked after reading the paper, but went on before I could answer.  “You’re just in time.  Today we’re doing a half-life simulation!”  He beamed when he said it and it made me wonder why adults always thought if they said something that was really boring like it was really exciting, it would make it that way.
A boy in the back of the class called out, “The video game?”
“That’s quite enough, Mr. Rogers,” Mr. Evan said, and then turned back to me.
I only stared at him until the smile slipped away and he pointed to the back of the classroom, where an empty lab table sat. 
“Take a seat over there.  I’ll be passing out your lab papers soon.” 
When I sat down and shoved my book bag under the table, the two girls in the front started whispering again.  “What is up with her eyes?  They’re so weird,” the blonde said.
“I know.  I can’t tell if they’re just a really light blue or a silver.”
With a roll of those questionably colored orbs, I pulled out a notebook and waited for the teacher to pass around the handouts. 
Without warning, the chair next to me scraped across the floor and a backpack thunked onto the table top.  I looked over to see a bronzed skinned boy with sun-streaked brown hair and muddy brown eyes smiling at me.  The bright white polo shirt was tight against his muscular chest.  “Hi.  I’m Kieran.”
Great, I thought.  Figures I’d get a playboy for a lab partner.  I nodded and turned my attention back to the teacher, who was now passing out little plastic baggies filled with M&Ms. 
“What’s your name?” Kieran asked.
I stared at him, but unlike the others who usually back off at the look, he only smiled back and waited for my answer.  I decided to ignore him, and read the lab instructions.  I had no intention of making friends while I was here, because I didn’t plan on being here long enough to make friends.  And I was definitely not interested in having a boyfriend.  Boys were nothing but a pain in the butt.
The lab seemed easy enough, if not plain stupid.  Basically, I would need to dump the bag of M&Ms in a pizza box so all had the markings face up.  Then shake the box and remove all the ones that had flipped, so only the ones with the markings showing remained.  I was supposed to do that four times and record my findings on graph paper.  What that had to do with half-life, I had no idea.
“You know,” Kieran said, tossing the bag of candy back and forth between his hands, “this assignment would go easier if you talked to me.”
I shrugged and went back to marking up the graph paper I’d been given.  WIth a shake of his head, he ripped open the bag and poured the candy into the box.  We spent several quiet minutes, making sure all the pieces had their M’s facing upward.
When we finished, he picked up the box.  “You want to shake it, or should I?”
I gestured for him to do it and bit back a laugh when he shook it like a maraca.  A few times on either side of his head.  I tucked my tongue into my cheek and shook my head.  I would not give in and laugh no matter how silly he looked   
When he opened the lid, he wrinkled his nose.  “Okay, you take that half,” he pointed to the side closest to me, “and I’ll take this half.  Then we’ll add it up and you can record it.”
When I had, he took the box again and we repeated the steps until we’d filled in the graph.  Unfortunately, because we hadn’t chit-chatted like the rest of the class, we finished ahead of everyone else and had almost a half an hour to do nothing.  I decided to use my time to study the class.
I had just finished my quick glance when Kieran tapped me on the shoulder. With a sigh, I glanced over and couldn’t quite control the laugh the bubbled out of me when I saw him with the M&Ms over his eyes.
“That’s really childish, you know,” I said in the most patronizing tone I could think of.
“She speaks!” he said and feigned shock by covering his mouth with his hand.  The candy dropped off his face and onto the table with three sharp clicks.
“Funny,” I said. 
“She speaks again!  Wow, I’m honored.” 
I shook my head, but smiled at him.  He grinned back, but before he could say anything else, Mr. Evans spoke up from across the room.  “Mr. Locke, this is Chemistry, not sociology.  Practice your flirting skills somewhere besides my classroom.  She doesn’t appear to be interested anyway.”
I snickered along with the rest of the class.  To my amazement, Kieran only grinned, shrugged and then leaned back in his chair with his arms crossed behind his head.
Mr. Evans took that as his cue to start his lecture on our results and I zoned out, trying to clear my head of thoughts of the boy sitting next to me.
<<<<>>>> 

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Music Monday

>Today I’ve got a song that I think is pretty indicative of my characters for EXILED.  Maybe not the video , but the lyrics.  It happens to also be one of my new favorites.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find this song after I wrote the book.  So happy in fact, I wrote a scene in a rewrite to specifically add this song.  😀  I hope it will be bought soon, so that everyone can read why I think this song is perfect.  But until then, here’s the lyrics that make me think of Patrick and Brianna.

What you’ve got boy is hard to find
Think about it all about it all the time
I’m all strung up my heart is fried
I just cant get you off my mind

Because your love, your love, your love, is my drug
Your love your love your love
I said your love, your love, your love, is my drug
Your love your love your love

But, before I get to the video, I’d like for you to take some time and go to the FWA’s silent auction site and check out the critiques that are up for bids.  We’ve got agents, interns, and writers, among a TON of other things.  Won’t you please take a look and see if you can’t make a bid on something.  The auction goes to promote literacy.

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