Monday, August 31, 2015

Wherein I Still Have My Nose and Ears

     I decided to take the plunge.  I was going to chop a plot thread out of AAM so the story would fit in the contest word length restrictions.  I saved my old version and set up a copy for me to modify.

     Stories are like woven cloth.  Each plot thread is woven into the entire story.  So if I decide to cut a character or a side-theme, I have to go through the whole book, chopping out the references to it.  This leaves gaping holes and sometimes it looks like the whole story is going to unravel.  Everywhere I chop, I have to readjust the whole scene to keep the flow.  It's a rather ticklish procedure.

     Over the dinner table, I mentioned that I was chopping a sub-plot.  My younger sister protested loudly (she hasn't read it, but I previously told her the general idea).  Then my mom (who also hasn't read it) offered to read it and tell me what she thought could and couldn't be chopped.  I thought this was a silly idea -- I had already read it myself and chosen what seemed to be the best option.  Having her read the old version just before I changed everything was a waste of time.

      But I shrugged and said she could read it if she wanted.  She promptly sat down at the computer and told me I could wash dishes while she read it.

     Fair enough.

     I washed a few dishes and then peeked in the next room to check on her.  Then I washed a few more.  I don't know if any of the rest of you do this, but I have a hard time not pacing the floor when somebody is reading my story.  Sometimes I will go to the other end of the house where I can pace without disturbing them.  I pretend to be quite calm and nonchalant -- sure, you can read my story -- but my fidgets say otherwise.

      There weren't many dishes to do, and I was all done long before she was.  I poked my head into the room.  She looked so serious and intent.  Was it that bad?  I stepped closer, looking over her shoulder.  If she stopped now, she will have stopped before the major plot changes occur.  Then maybe I can convince her to just wait until I am done.  And I'll give her a chance to get out of reading the whole thing if she's not enjoying it.

     But when I offered, she got rid of me in a hurry.  It seems that she was deeply involved in the story, couldn't wait to see what happened next, and didn't want to be disturbed.

     I went from worried to elated.  Word restrictions aside, this was a good sign indeed.  If my mom is interested, there is a good chance you guys will enjoy it, too.  And if there is anything an author likes to hear, it is that, when she wrote something she liked, then other people liked it, too.

     But I still couldn't stop pacing.  So I went outside for a while.

     When I came in, she had finished.  And she told me that I could not chop the plot thread that I intended to.  Absolutely not.  I need to find something else.

     So we did.  I didn't think it was possible, but we found a way to shrink the story without losing any major plot pieces.  Which means: if AAM ends up in next year's collection and you like it, then you have my mom to thank for all the included plot threads.  ;)

     [The title of this post references a previous post of mine, which you can go back and read to figure out what I'm talking about.]

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Mental Ward - Emery Cries (4)

     The child was dressed in a white tunic.  From her arms hung chains that were broken.  Emery could see chains dangling from the wall, where the child used to be restrained.
      The people rushing into the room wore gas masks.  Emery coughed as the gas drifted out into the hallway.  The child on the floor fluttered her eyelids and murmured, rocking her head slightly, like a child talking in her sleep.  Hands reached down, lifting the semi-conscious girl up.  This was the creature they called Beastly?
       Emery lifted her hand to her mouth and her eyes watered -- from more causes than gas alone.  She hated it, hated this place, hated whatever had put that child here.
      "This is your fault," Pansy said again.
      Emery turned and ran.

      Away from Beastly and past the office room, the hall turned to the right.  And near the end of that was a lobby of sorts.  Two red overstuffed chairs, a green couch, and a big clock on the wall.  Emery flung herself into one of the lobby chairs and cried.  They were hot, angry tears.
       "I don't want to be here.  Oh, God, show me what to do!  Please!  You have to have a job somewhere else for me!  How can people work here?  How can they lock children up like this?"
      When Emery had spent all her tears, she sat up, feeling somewhat calmer.  A glance at clock told her it was time to go home.  She wiped her eyes and blew an exhausted breath through semi-closed lips.  She could still hear commotion at the other end of the hall.  
       Two doors up the hall from the lobby was the door to the stairs.  Emery paused with her hand on the handle of the stairway door.  An awful thought struck her.  What if the Asylum fired her for her behavior this evening?
     As much as Emery wanted to find a different job, getting fired from this one was no good.  Who would hire her after that?
     Tomorrow may be too late to win back their favor.  She should talk to them tonight.  
     For one second longer, her fingers lingered on the handle.  At home would be her mother and affectionate siblings.  At home would be a hot meal and a warm bed.
      Then, with a sigh, she turned away from the door.  From the far end of the hallway, the sounds were only growing worse.  A sound like the laugh from an evil monkey ricocheted against the walls.  Emery retreated to the lobby.  She would wait for Pansy to come.
       Emery was halfway into the lobby when she vaguely noticed the fogginess creeping into her brain.  She could hardly hear any commotion anymore.  How tired she felt!  It was as if...
      Emery furrowed her brow.  As if...  Oh, she couldn't remember what exactly.  But it didn't really matter, did it?  There was a nice couch in front of her.  She could just lay down for a little while and...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Snippet: Hunting

"We’ll be hunting the princess today.”  Matthias smacked Detlef’s shoulder and turned away.  “Funny thing…my heart’s not in it anymore.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Show and Tell for 5MS

Hi, if you are writing a retelling for this year's Rooglewood contest, head over to Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog and read the details about her upcoming Show and Tell event.  It's going to be so cool to see the stories represented!!!

The Mental Ward - Children (3)

     The children were the saddest of all.  Emery's heart ached for them.  Rows and rows of sad, empty little faces sat in the cots every night.  Some rocked constantly, talking to themselves.  Some beat their heads against the walls.  Some made strange noises.
      But they were children.
      And nothing that Pansy said could change that.
      One night, after Emery walked down the middle aisle of one room, making sure each child was in the right bed -- the bed with their chart on the end of it -- she couldn't help but stop and look back at them.
      And then she began to sing.
      "Jesus love you, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong.  They are weak, but He is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves you.  Yes, Jesus loves you.  Yes, Jesus loves you.  For the Bible..."
       From the end of the hall came the sound of ferocious banging.  It beat against the walls and echoed in Emery's ears.  Then feet scuffled outside her door.  People were running toward the end of the hall.
      The door snatched open and Pansy's livid face appeared.  "Was that you, singing like that?  Now look what you've done!!!  You've set HER off."  Pansy jerked her chin toward the end of the hall.  "It will be the devil of a time getting her calmed down again."
      Emery gulped.  She didn't know what was happening, but it must be bad.  She turned back to the rows of children, keeping her voice low and calm.  "It's alright, little ones.  Go to sleep now."  Then she hurried out of the room.
      People still hurried about in the hallway.  Two people knelt in front of Beastly's door.  There was a small cap, about the size of a bottle cap, on the door.  They unscrewed this and then hooked a hose to the opening.  A tank was then connected to the hose.
     "What are they doing?"  Emery felt a strange fluttery fear, but whether it was for herself or for the creature they called "Beastly" she did not know.
     Pansy appeared by elbow, scowling.  "Sleeping gas.  Flooding her room with it.  Won't be able to go into there without it when she's in this state.  This is your fault, Emery.  Stick with doing what you are told to do."
      A series of animal-like cries erupted from the sealed room, getting weaker and weaker.  Finally, they were silent.
       "Open the door," somebody ordered.
       Pansy nodded and hurried away.  Emery followed her down the hall into an office-like room.  Pansy sat down in a chair in front of a large box, covered in knobs and switches.  It looked like a soundman's board.
       Pansy ha-rumphed when she caught sight of Emery.  But she didn't run her off.  Instead, she started explaining.  "All the major doors are controlled by this panel.  It's battery powered so that we can take it with us in an emergency and still control the doors from the outside.  It works the doors separating each ward, it works the elevators, it works all the doors connecting to the outside, and, of course, it controls the inner lock on her door."  Pansy turned a knob and flipped a switch.  "That should do it."
     By the time, Pansy and Emery returned to the hallway, Beastly's door was open and several people had entered.  Emery crept closer until she could see the figure lying on the floor in the corner of the room.
     It was a child.

[P.S. If you want to read the other posts, click on the label "MentalWard" and it will group all of them for you from last to first.]

Monday, August 24, 2015

We'll Just Trim A Little -- Maybe Your Ears and Nose and a Couple Fingers

     Some stories are too short.  Shortness has its own struggles, of which I am well aware.  But we'll save that for another post, because, right now, I am going through the agonies of a story that is too long.

      How do we fit a big story into a smaller package?

     First we read through to see if there are any big scenes that can be cut.  But we're rather attached to everything so we move on.

     Then we go through, trimming unnecessary words.  For example, I changed "found out" to "discovered."  Yay, that's one word less!  This is like cutting your fingernails...and maybe all your hair.

     This can trim your word count as well as make your narrative more streamlined.  Unfortunately, for the sake of our example, it doesn't take off enough words this time.

     Now comes the hard part.  Which fingers do you suppose you need the least?  And if we cut off your ears...and maybe the tip of your nose...everything is still mostly functional, right?  We are just cutting beauty -- the trickling brooks and stunning sunsets -- and small supportative scenes.  It will be okay, right?

      Moment later, we stand back and view our mutilated story, only to we find that we were much too conservative with our scissors.  There remains 500 words too many.

     It's time to chop off an arm or leg.  We'll still be able to eat and breath.  Our hearts will go on beating.  Who needs two arms anyway?

     Is is worth it?

     Some other day, I will write an inspiring post about how much better a story is after you edit away the extraneous parts.  But today, I merely sob and use self-destructive analogies because I really don't want to lose any of my beautiful story.


(This post was written on 8/20/15.  Hopefully by the time this is published, four days from now, the author will be editing like a good girl.  However, you are still welcome to leave your condolences and pep talks in the comments below.  Also, please do not follow the steps outlined in this post as this is [obviously] NOT the way to edit your story.)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Mental Ward - Beastly Sounds (2)

       Pansy was not the figure that Emery had imagined from the name.  The woman was short and heavyset with a sour expression.
      "Kinda small, ain't ye?"  Her words were so accusatory that Emery almost felt as if it were her fault for not growing better.
       "Quiet, too, I see."  Pansy ha-rumphed and waddled past Emery.
       Emery caught her breath.  Was she going to be fired before she could even start?  She hurried after the short woman.  "If you please, ma'am, I am a good worker.  I have 5 younger siblings so I'm used to children."  Her voice wavered.  "My father's away and my mother is ill and -- oh, please!  You have to give me a chance!"
      "Quit yer sniveling.  I've no time for it.  There are 400 inmates in this asylum, and the work is never done."  She stopped short and squinted her eyes at Emery, as if increasing their laser-like properties.  "And, regardless of their age, they AIN'T children.  They are patients.  You must never see them as children or you won't last here five minutes."
      A horrible scream broke out, followed by a roar, and then hideous laughter.  Emery felt her heart quake within her.  "What was that?"
      Pansy snorted.  "Beastly."  She eyed Emery with the look of a duck watching a cat shy away from the water.  "You'll get used to that sort of thing here, from all of them.  But Beastly is the worst -- that's why she's in the room with the extra locks."
      Emery shuddered.  If she didn't have 6 hungry mouths waiting at home, she would leave this instant.  But she had promised to take care of them, and that's what she was going to do.
      After all, Beastly was always locked away.  She could get used to the noises.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rooglewood Updates

     Most of you who are entered in the Rooglewood contest this year are already following Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog.  Did you see her post earlier this week?

     First of all, she said that submission forms are trickling in.  I haven't sent mine in yet, because I am not certain of my title.  But I'll probably send my form in the next 4 weeks.
     Which means I'll have to decide how many stories I am sending in.  I'm still tempted to send all three.
     Secondly, since she said things are quiet and she only mentioned submission forms, I take it that no one has sent her their actual stories yet.  Which makes sense since it is only August.  I always try to strike a balance.  If you send it too early, you waste the time that you could have spent editing and polishing.  If you send it too late, you are being discourteous to all the judges who have to read so many stories before their deadline.  Which means mine will probably try to fly the coop around October or November.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  <crickets chirp>  We'll see.

     Things HAVE gotten quiet on the contest front.  I'm thinking there is a couple reasons for that.
     One is that people are now deeply immersed in creating their stories.  Have you ever sat down to a really delicious meal and realized that no one is talking because they are too busy eating?  It's like that.  We are too busy writing and thinking to talk about writing and thinking.  It's not the preliminaries anymore -- this is the real deal.
     The other possibility is that the initial excitement has worn off.  It's one thing to think of the most amazing premise ever.  It's another to turn that amazing premise into the book that you want it to be.  It's easy to get discouraged at this point -- but don't!  Getting a story from your imagination onto paper can be a ticklish procedure and sometimes it looks worse before it looks better.  Keep writing.  Keep working on it.  Especially when you are a new writer, you don't realize that what you are holding is a diamond in the rough.  It may even be hard to believe that there is a diamond in there.  But there is.  You just can't give up on it.

     Anne has an idea to create a little more noise on the contest.  Did you hear it?  She's asking if anyone is interested in doing a show-and-tell of our Sleeping Beauty stories.  If we are (you can comment on her blog to say, yes, you are interested), then she'll launch it.  Basically, we get to share our working titles and a 2-5 sentence summary of our stories.  I think it's a great idea.  It builds community, lets us practice pitching our stories, and does a little marketing for next year's book.
     Plus, I am so excited to see a little bit of what everybody else is working on.  Our stories are all so different -- and so fun!!!  Here and there, when somebody tells me a little bit of their premise, it nearly blows my mind with the awesome creativity you guys have.  I can't wait to see what everybody comes up with!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Snippet: Cocky

Emil lifted one eyebrow cockily.  “You want to be invited to my wedding?”

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Mental Ward - Emery Gets a Job (1)

     Emery's heart beat fast as she tied the white apron over her frock and tucked her hair into the little white cap.  It would seem that in a matter of minutes she had gone from penniless and unemployed to the proud owner of a paying job -- if only she could stay in the favor of her new employer.
     "Fresh linens daily.  The floors must be mopped every afternoon...and more often if needed."  The ward matron paused, looking down the rows of white cots with disgust.  The expression brought up pictures of vile excrement spewed across the gray linoleum, though they shone spotlessly at the moment.  Emery felt her heart quaver, but she did not let it show.  She had younger siblings at home -- this wouldn't be her first time cleaning messes.  And this job came with a salary.  Oh, how she needed it.
     The matron snapped back to attention, turning on her heel military style, and led on to the next room.  "You will take your orders from Pansy.  She will see that you do your work to our satisfaction."  The matron looked very stern.
      Emery nodded.
      "There is one more thing of absolute importance."  The matron took her to a door at the end of the hall.  All of the doors on the hall had locks and bars.  But this one had far more than all the rest.  The matron rested her hand against the cool steel of the door.  "You must never...under any this door.  Do you understand me, Emery Clayton?"  Her eyes were wide and severe, staring into Emery's, punctuating her words.
      Emery trembled.  Whatever was in that room must be horrible indeed.
     "Good."  The matron seemed satisfied.  "Now I will take you to meet Pansy."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Schedule

     I am trying to organize my next few months to be more predictable.  So here are my plans:

  • On Thursdays, I will share snippets from one of my Sleeping Beauty retellings.  I've picked out enough quotes to carry us into November, so we should be good there!

  • On Wednesday and Saturday, I'm going to share a story, which I am writing as I go -- completely pantsing, which is a little scary to do in public.  We'll see where it goes and how long I can keep sharing installments.  But, unlike snippets, there isn't anything left out.  You are reading it like a series in a magazine.

  • And I'll leave Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays for other things, if I have them.  (Things like my comments on writing or on the upcoming Rooglewood contest, Beautiful People and other link-ups, and so forth.)

How does that sound?  We'll try it for a bit and see how it works.  :D

Rooglewood Writing: Part Two

Think about a story you would like to read.  A story that grabs you up and makes you not want to put it down.  A story that you end feeling glad that you read it.  

Now write it.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Snippet: Prince-worthy Behavior

     Ilona pulled her arm away from Emil’s grasp.  “He’s a prince in HER eyes.” Her tone was sober and reflective, replaying the scene in her head.
     “It’s only your eyes that I care about.” Emil ducked to see her face.  


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Four in a Line

     They have four of us.  We stand in a line under their scrutinizing eyes like four ordinary citizens...except we aren't.  All four of us are secretly members of the French Resistance.
     You see the oldest on the right.  His name is Reymundo.  A more pious man you will not meet, and as stubborn as a French mule.  Once he believes himself to be right, there is no shaking him.  It makes him a difficult man in an argument at the dinner table, and sometimes he gets on my nerves.  But I owe him more than a little respect for the strength in which he stands against the German Nazis.
      The man to his left is Barrie.  He's been with us for 6 months...sort of.  His wife and two little girls do not know that he has joined our ranks.  At first, I thought he was not as committed to our cause as the rest of us.  He is quiet.  He comes, prints our newspaper, and goes home.  There's no fire in his eyes, no anger, no vengence.  It's not until recently that I've come to recognize the calm commitment in the very core of his being.  It's the same sort of commitment that makes a man go to work every day to provide for his wife and family.  It doesn't take an emotional passion to be strong.  Steadiness is part of the fiber of his being.  I know now, as I stand here in a line with him, that he will let that Nazi prod him without one flash of rebellion firing through his eyes, but he will never tell them what they want to know.  Ever.
      To Barrie's left is Montgomery.  Young kid.  He ought not be here.  Too soft.  Too sensitive.  He hates cruelty -- that's what drove him to join us to stop the Nazis.  But today is the day we find out which he hates more: cruelty to all of France or cruelty to himself.  Will he fold under Nazi interrogation to save his own skin?  Or will he prove he has the metal of a true member of the Resistance?  Today may be his day to make that choice.
      And then there is me.  You see me on the left.  A Nazi soldier walks down the line.  I stare straight ahead, refusing to meet his eyes.  He would read too much in mine.  Because if I'm going down, I'm taking the German invaders down with me.  There's a power swelling up inside of me, so strong that it drives all fear out.  I'm not the one who should be afraid.  It's the Nazis who are going to lose.  All the might derived from their egocentric purposes cannot touch the determination inside of me, inside of every Resistance fighter.  From those printing our newspapers to those running sabotage on German communication lines to those smuggling Allied soldiers to safety, our lifeblood won't be suppressed forever.  We will win.
     "Sturmbannfuhrer!" The Nazi soldier's eyes meet mine.  "This one is trouble."
      I stumble forward as a gun prods me from behind, but a smile flickers through my eyes.  The soldier's words barely scratch the surface.  They have no idea exactly how much trouble I am going to make for them.
     Today is the day that I teach them.
      And tomorrow that class will be continued by every Resistance fighter in France.  Every Reymundo and Barrie and, yes, even every Montgomery -- for, looking back as the Nazis shove me into a truck, I see the way the kid has squared his shoulders -- they will make the Germans regret that they ever came.
     We.  Will.  Win.

[This short story was written for the historical fiction link-up hosted by Emily Putzke.  Click here for more details.]

Monday, August 10, 2015

7-7-7 Challenge from Emily

Hello, lovely people!

     Emily at Taking Dictation nominated me for the 7-7-7 Challenge.  It involves me turning to page 7 in one of my stories, sharing the first seven lines in a blog post, and then tagging 7 other people to do the same.

     I accept the challenge.

     I will be sharing the first seven lines from page 7 in AAM.  Here it goes:

      “Rather a disturbing story for the heroine, isn’t it?” Detlef’s voice broke into her imagination, and Ilona blinked her eyes open to see the stone in-laid path and the overhanging branches once more.

      “Not really.  Cordula always ends with my papa’s decree that no one with a spindle be allowed near the castle, and the fact that I lived happily ever after.  I was never overly frightened.  My papa has always been big and strong in my eyes.”  She smiled childishly.  “He could protect me.”

       “I would have equal confidence in your Derwald people.”

        Ilona laughed merrily.

     There you have it.  I hereby tag: Kiri Liz, Katherine, Jessy Jones, Emileigh, Jake, Elisabeth Grace FoleyAnne-girl, and one wild card (i.e., whoever else wants to participate).  Have fun!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wherein I Get a Tiny Thrill

I realize that my tiny thrill will seem tame to non-writer people.

You are expecting that I jumped on a zip line or petted a shark or something.

But, for me, it was reading (on Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog) the line, "After all, one of YOU might be a featured author this time next year."

Believe it or not, I don't think about this much.  My focus is on my stories.  I write.  I edit.  I edit again.  Then I submit, and I wait to find out whether I earn the right to do even more editing.  I don't think about thrill you feel when you check the announcements page and find out you won.

Maybe it's because I'm not sure I will win.  Or maybe it's because I'm trying to pace myself for the long haul -- a lifetime of writing and editing and submiting.  Who knows.

But then I read the "After all...YOU."  And, zing! Adrenaline rush!

The thought that Emily
                        or Skye
                           or Jack
                              or Ana
                                or Emileigh
                                    or Janie
                                        or KS
                                            or Rachel
                                                or Mary
                                                     or Kiri
                                                         or any of you
                                                               or me
                              could be featured in next year's collection sends my heart skipping.

Does it do the same for you?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Snippet: In Gold and White

     She felt the blood drain from her face.  It couldn’t be.  She read the summons again.  But there it was -- in gold and white.

    With one piece of paper, her life was proclaimed to be over.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beautiful People: August

Azelle, Mikaya, and Pritna

1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
      They have been inseparable for almost as long as they can remember.
2. What's their earliest memory of being best friends?
     I'll let each girl answer this.
     Azelle: Pritna was following me around on the first day of school -- so that was a given.  Then I saw this regal red-head sitting by herself.  I marched over and told her her shirt was hideous.  She said 'okay' and we've been friends ever since.
     Mikaya: I was having a bad day so, in the cafeteria, I found a seat by myself.  Azelle and Pritna -- two girls from my class -- came and sat with me.  It was then I knew that we were best friends.
     Pritna: I just remember being really happy around them.  I don't know when it started.  They have always been my best friends.
3. Do they fight?  How long do they typically fight for?
      Hmmm...Mikaya?  Do you want to answer this one?
     Mikaya: Azelle and I fight sometimes.  We can both be very stubborn and opinionated.  But the fights don't last long.  Azelle is quick to forget and move on.  I'm slower to forget, but I care more about keeping the peace so I keep my mouth shut.
     Pritna never fights.  And she does her best to stop Azelle and I when we do.  Sweet Pritna.
4. Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
      They compliment.  Azelle values speaking her mind without worrying about what people think.  Pritna is the happy, optimistic one.  She likes to live in the joys of the moment -- of which there are many.  It takes a disaster to burst her bubbles.  And Mikaya, while stubbornly sticking with what she knows is right on the inside, is slow to act or speak because she has to think out the repercussions.
5. Who is the leader of their friendship?
     Azelle is typically the leader, although Mikaya occasionally challenges her for the role.  Pritna is happy to follow whomever.
6. Do they have any secrets from each other?
     Yes.  They know each other pretty well, but some things just aren't discussed.
7. How well do they know each other's quirks and habits?
     Haha.  Very well.
8. What kind of things do they like to do together?
     Trips to spa and beauty parlor.  Swimming.  Rock climbing.  Movies.  Shopping.  Playing in the simulators.
9. Describe each character's fashion style.  How are their styles different/similar?
     The typical outfit for girls on G-planet consists of a G cuspik (essentially a short dress), leggings, and either short or tall "boots".  Colors and styles of the G cuspiks are varied.
     Azelle likes the bold and the new.  Pritna prefers soft and colorful.  Mikaya leans toward the classic, durable, black.
10. How would their lives be different without each other?
      This one is a hard one to answer.  I think I'm going to just hope that they don't have to.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rooglewood Writing: part 1

     It has now been 9 weeks since this year's Rooglewood contest was announced.  And, for anyone who is interested, we have a little over 21 weeks before our stories must be in Rooglewood's inbox.  Can you tell I am excited?  It's hard to believe that we are over a quarter of the way into this.

     For those of you who have not started, do not despair.  I know multiple people who didn't start their stories until late.  I think one of the winners, the first year, started quite late.  And I myself was still brainstorming when August rolled around last year.

     This year, however, I have some very rough first drafts to my name.  And I'm tinkering away on them, trying to pull an acceptable story out of the collections of words.

     Sometimes when you start writing, you uncover more elements to brainstorm.  For example, in AAM, I realized I need to finalize the setting in my mind.  What does her castle look like?  What is the fashion for nobility?  It's a little vague in my imagination, so it is a little vague on paper.  And, while I don't want descriptions to take over the story, I do want readers to feel like they are "there."

     How about you?  Have you started writing your story yet?  Have you finished a first draft?  Have you uncovered more elements to brainstorm?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

New Idea

I got a new idea for a story tonight.

Some of you will be excited, and others will say, "oh, no! It's a plot bunny! Run, Esther, run!!!"

I understand.

But you have to see that it's important to me. Like SPINDLE, this one springs from something hard in my own life, something that even I don't fully know the answers to. But, like Ellie Sweet, I want to pour some of my own real life pain into it, and then figure it out in my imaginary world. Especially since I'm not the only one who faces stuff like this.

And that's part of what writing books is about.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Snippet: Why Don't You Take A Walk?


      Ilona wrinkled her face reluctantly and glanced out the window.  But as she caught sight of a tall dark-haired young man strolling into the shrubbery, she found herself saying, “Thank you, Cordula.  I think I shall.”