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Showing posts from February, 2014

Rachel from Dungeon

I have been looking for pictures for some of my characters.  Today I was looking for Rachel pictures.  I didn't exactly find a current picture for her, but here is a picture of Rachel about 10 years before the story starts.

Send In Your Questions

As you will see below, several of my characters from Dungeon have agreed to be questioned.  Feel free to email questions to me or post them in the comments below.

The Princess:
When I asked her, she was standing by the window, tossing crumbs to her birds.  She was quiet for a moment as she pondered my request.  Then she spoke.  "It's my duty, isn't it?" she said, softly.  "To be there for them when they need me, to let them know me as I now wish to know them.  I will be glad to answer the questions of your friends."

The Villain:
He was not happy to see me coming.  From the distance, I could see shards of anger and resentment flickering across his face. 
When I reached him, his face was calm and he bowed with the courtesy of a nobleman, but I know him too well to fall for his polite pretenses.  I stated my request, looking straight into those cold, calculating eyes and watching him weigh his response before he spoke. 
"It's not in my job descripti…

Excerpt from BB

Deep in the hills of the eastern border of Lerata nestled the tiny village of Dorf. It was a self-contained little village, accustomed to having its own way in everything. It’s remoteness shielded it from the influence of kings, whether good or bad, and so Dorf felt very much like its own tiny world. At least, that is the way it seemed to Ronald Leen. He was one of the two waresmen that ever visited Dorf.  As he walked down the quaint main street, leading his pack mule, he felt that the rest of Lerata could not be farther away.

     “Woe, Elroy,” Ronald called to his mule. The mule stopped patiently in front of the town’s main store. Ronald looped the lead rope over the hitching post and strode into the store, his bowed legs stamping out each step like a marching band.      “You look mighty fresh for a man that’s come from out-of-town,” commented Tatum, owner of the general store, peering over the counter at the newcomer.

Ronald grinned. “Why, yes. Yes, I do. I set up camp last night …

Anne-girl's Blog: Must Heroes Be Heroic?

Must Heroes Be Heroic?
     Hello!  I was reading Anne-girl's blog last week, and she posted a series of questions for her followers to answer.  I answered them on my own but decided not to post any of my answers except my answer to Question #10.

Question #10. And lastly what do you think are three most important elements to being a hero?

     To my delight and surprise, my answer to question #10 sparked its own post as Anne-girl responded to it. 
     Essentially, she and I had two different definitions of the word "hero". 
     I considered a hero to be someone who did something heroic, someone who saved the day.  The boy who defeats the evil tyrant and the boy who overcomes his own fear of heights to save a trapped victim are both heroes.  The man of integrity and good morals who stands up for the oppressed and the worthless gang member who repents and makes the ultimate sacrifice for someone are both heroes.  The nice old man who walked out the door, planted a littl…

A Book Cover is On Its Way!

I am having a custom book cover made for Dungeon by Anne-girl.  It will be a "for fun" cover as she will just be borrowing pictures from the internet (i.e. I won't actually have my book printed with this cover).  I am so excited.  Stay tuned for results!
     Let the artist begin her work!

P.S. You can see the announcement for the three book cover recipients here.

Bits of BB

Here are some little bits from my current project: Ronald grinned and rubbed his hands together. “I like to look fresh when I come in to sell my wares,” he explained. ***
There was rarely any animosity in the glances, only a curiosity that never let her actually belong -- no matter how many years she lived here. ***
A man’s form, shrouded in cape and mask, peered from a window. He waved Grimm away from the ivy. “Leave it,” he ordered, adding dully, “It will help the place appear uninhabited.” ***
Grimm fought his way through the weeds to his master’s side. The man sat still in the coach, looking distantly at nothing in particular. It gave Grimm a queer feeling to be so near a man who was so far away. He didn’t like it at all. ***
“You’ll soon get used to it, miss,” a cheery voice greeted her. She looked up to see a manservant emerging from one of the rooms. “And it is not nearly so bad as it looks at first. You’ll see,” he said, encouragingly. ***
“Another blunder like that and you will be …

Out of the Ordinary

I love getting snowed in.  I love power outages.  I love things that are out of the ordinary.  It breaks up our dependence on technology and forces us to slow down.  It puts people closer together.  Perfect strangers help each other dig their cars out of snowbanks; they part, wishing each other the best of safe travels.  Family sit around in the dark with candles, telling stories or playing acoustic instruments.  For a moment, time stands still and you have to think about everything that you do on a daily basis.  Ordinary is even better when interrupted occasionally.  I like it.

Finding Your Purpose

      We all have purposes -- things we believe in and things we want to change.  We all have things that we want to tell the world.  But maybe you haven't thought about it before.  Maybe you don't know what your purpose is.  If so, how do you find it?

Developed Like a Character      Purpose is developed much like a character is.  I develop my characters by studying them.  I ask them questions.  I put them in scenarios.  I watch how they act in their scenes in the book.  This is how I make them into real people, and I can then carry those "real people" through the rest of the book.
     You can do that same thing with yourself.  Ask yourself questions.  What matters to you?  What do you want to say?  What do you believe in?  What is wrong with the world (or a community or a person)?  What would you change?  Look at how you write; learn from what have you already written.  Look at your life.  What moves you to action?  These are ways to find purposes for your…

Book Review: Ransomed

Other blogs have frequently done book reviews, and I have not.  But I think I may make an exception for authors like Elizabeth Ender, Rachel Heffington, and Katy Pistole.
     I recently ordered Elizabeth Ender's book "Ransomed."  There were a few things that interested me when I saw it online.  For one thing the little teaser description caught my eye:

THIS IS MY CHOICE. This dilema was rather fascinating to me, and from the description I could not immediately discern which was the correct way to go.  Was the "good guy" the one who told her to stay or who told her to go?  The fact that I could not tell put me very much in the same position as the main character, and the fact that E. Ender had done that with six-sentence description i…

Scribblers' Conference Giveaway

Hi, everybody!
     As I announced earlier, Anne-girl is hosting the 2014 Scribblers' Conference on her blog.  Part of that is a giveaway.  If you are interested, check out this blog post:
Scribbler's Conference 2014 Giveaway      Anne-girl, as part of her giveaway, challenged us to blog about our first book that we wrote.  I think the first book I decided to write was about an amazing black horse with such wondrous speed that he made all real horses look like hobbyhorses.  This amazing horse loved me and me alone, but he and I went on to win astounding fame and glory.  Etc, etc, etc.
     There were a few problems with this book, the largest of which was probably that I had no real horse experience.  But I was 7 years old, and I am proud of myself for trying.  Up until that point, I loved reading and hated writing.  I think I hated writing because my pencil could not keep up with my brain, and I found it frustrating.  But when I was seven, I was beginning to change my mind and…

Purpose: The Backbone of a Story

Purpose is the backbone of the story, and it deserves as much attention from the author as the characters or the plot.  Without a good purpose, a book lacks the strength that it could have had, and the author's efforts have been (no offense and, yes, pun intended) pointless.
     I once read a quote from a famous author on the value of purpose in writing.  He said something to the effect that any strong purpose, whether it be a good one or not, is necessary for what we call "greatness" in a manuscript.  That, I feel, is not the proper approach -- as I place high value on works of a good purpose and scorn books of bad purpose -- however, I do agree with him that a strong purpose makes a difference in the story.
     Sometimes a book's purpose is obvious; other times it is very subtle.  Each can be worked for the message that the author wants to get across.  Oftentimes the best method is to have some place, tucked inside the story, where the author communicates c…

Something I Love

We interrupt our regular programming with a random post not related to writing...


By the way, I have decided that shoveling and such tasks are just a grownup's way to play in the snow.  :)  I had so much fun this week.

Rachel Heffington's Debut

Dear Friends,
     Today is the day.  I have been hinting at it for some time, but today is the day that Rachel Heffington releases her book Fly Away Home to the public.  She is an author I have been following for some time now (on her blog), and I am very excited to see her published.  Hurray for Rachel!
      You can read her own announcement at the link below.  She is also hosting a giveaway - try it out!
The Inkpen Authoress Fly Away Home debut       Congratulations, Rachel!

Social Circles

In my last three projects, I have made circles of my characters.  At the beginning of the book, there are individual circles of interaction.  Then somebody steps out of their circle and begins to weave them all together.
For example, in Dungeon, I had a three major circles.  There was the circle of the upper floors of the castle.  This included the royal family and those that served them closely.  There was a circle of the servants at the bottom.  This includes Molly and the large, red-faced cook and others.  And there was a dungeon circle of guards and inmates.  The princess ends up being my thread that weaves through all three social circles.
In BB (my newest project), there is the village circle, the abandoned mansion circle, and the royal court circle.  We have yet to see how they will weave together...
How do you organize your characters?

10,000 Hours

I had a rather inspiring conversation with a friend yesterday.  She said that she once heard that one must spend 10,000 hours to become good at something.

10, 000 hours
I ran some calculations.  If I worked 8 hours a day (no weekends or holidays or any other breaks) on my craft, then I could become good in about 3 and 1/2 years.

Three and a half years

Or let us suppose that I only worked 8 hours a day for 5 days a week for 50 weeks out of the year.  Then I could be good in 5 years.

Five years
Perhaps I do not write that much.  Perhaps I write 2 hours a day for 4 days a week for 50 weeks out of the year.  In that case, I could be good in 25 years.

Twenty-five years
Yikes.  How is this inspiring?  Believe it or not, I think it is.  I like to have goals in mind.  I like to know that if I keep working, I will eventually become good.  And the older you get (and the more you realize how many years your schooling requires), the shorter these times seem.  So these time frames, instead of jumping o…

February Chatterbox - Criticism

The princess felt a twinge of excitement that temporarily erased her discomfort.Here was an inmate of the rumored dungeon.Here was one of the things she came to see.Emboldened by her purpose, the princess tried another question. "Why are you here? What have you done?"
The young man did not move or make any response.
The heavy footsteps and the light were even closer now.
The princess could not believe that this prisoner was not even speaking at her request.“Answer me, young man,” she ordered.
“What for?” came an old man’s voice out of the dimness.
The princess spun to look for this new voice.Her eyes could barely distinguish more cells across the hall.One of them held an old man with long, white hair.
The old man shrugged under her stare.“What else can you do to him?” he asked pointedly, waving his hand at the despair around him.
The princess felt that all the wind had been knocked out of her.Slowly, she backed away.Thoughts were swarming through her head – too fast to process.She …

A Bit of Backstory

I wrote a scene to go along with my new project.  It's a bit of backstory that I needed to establish.  I don't know how to include it in the book -- maybe a flashback? or a prologue?  But I am sure I will figure that out as I go.  In the meantime, enjoy this clip:

     Her parents nodded with eager smiles and discrete winks at one another when he offered to walk her to her suite. He knew she saw their looks as well, but she did not hesitate to accept his offer. She never did.
     Outside, it was almost as bright as day. Moonlight danced across the rippling waves and gave a bluish glow to the beach. The warm sand poured over his sandals as he trudged along by her side.      "I love your summer retreat," she said, fondly, breaking the silence. "It's such a welcome relief from the pressures of court."      "Some pressures follow us, even here," he countered. He didn't mind really. He had been born to reign someday, and the pressures o…

Another Idea

On February 4th, I was suddenly gifted with an idea for another story.  Now this is nothing new.  I never seem to be at a loss of story ideas, as you probably know.  I am going to play with this one for a little while and see if it has the potential to go anywhere.
     I am planning and writing simultaneously.  Someone was using the computer when I wanted to start writing so I sat down with a piece of paper and wrote an outline of plot and characters.  Those lists are incomplete.  So even though I am writing now, I occasionally take breaks and work more on character development on the side.
     Multiple characters have been introduced into the story so far.  But there are four that I am rather intrigued by. 
     One is a beautiful girl who lives with her papa.  I need to know more about her.  What is she like?  What are her strengths?
     One is a boy named Curt Hanson.  He is an athletically gifted young man and undisputably the handsomest boy in his village.  He is current…

Fuller Characters and Less Redundancy

These are two of the things I want to improve for my second draft of Dungeon: characters and wordiness.
     My characters are full in my own head, but I am not sure they made it fully onto paper.  Hatach, especially, needs a little more attention.  I hadn't given him much attention early in the book because my princess doesn't give him much attention, but I may need to let the readers know more about him.
     I also tend to explain things too much, I think.  Part of it is the fact that I am frequently interrupted when I write.  Part of it is my own desire to be very clear.  But, somehow there is a way to be very clear without treating your readers like simpletons.

Dungeon pictures

Here is a picture I found on Pinterest.  It is possibly one of the king's rooms on the highest floor of the castle.  It could also, I suppose, be one of the suites in the Halls of the Honorable Guests.

     I found this castle on Pinterest.  I liked it because you could see that there were many floors in this castle (consistent with my story) and also a few towers.  I also like the fact that it looks bright and elegant -- you wouldn't, at first glance, think of a deep, dark dungeon under its walls.

via Pinterest
via Pinterest
via Pinterest
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via Pinterest
via Pinterest
via Pinterest

These were all pictures that might have been things that the princess saw on her search through the castle, before she found the Dungeon.  There are different styles, I know, and she probably didn't see all of these in her castle, but you get the idea.

Q & Q: Chapter Four

Chapter Four
The next day, Linda went to sit in the closet with Quillbur.He was sleeping inside his shoebox.So Linda lay down on the floor next to him.Somehow she hoped that, by being close to him, she could help him get better.
Suddenly, the front door slammed open and Walter ran into the room without even knocking.
“Linda!” he shouted.“It’s okay!Quillbur doesn’t have phinaly pharpis!!!”
Linda sat up quickly.“He doesn’t?” she asked, surprised and excited.
Walter flopped down on his knees next to Linda and held up the quill he had taken.“No, he doesn’t,” Walter affirmed.His face was glowing.
“What does he have?” Linda wanted to know.A tiny bit of worry crept back into her mind.Maybe he had something worse.
“Baby hedgehogs shed their quills between 8 and 12 weeks of age,” Walter told her.“It’s like losing your baby teeth.Hedgehogs lose their baby quills and get grownup ones.”
“How do you know it’s not phinaly pharpis?” Linda asked.
“If Quillbur had p…