Tidy Up Time

Tidy Up Time

While I edit and revise my new book, I’ve been taking small breaks to write my next one(I’m very excited about this) and to tidy up my Blogsite. I’ve changed the look and layout and I’m happy with the outcome. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than the elementary one I had before. 

Lately, I found that I was receiving a lot of vague spam comments and emails. I just spent the last two hours cleaning up and managing my subscriptions to blogs. I had to unfollow and follow a few as there were double follow links for some odd reason. 

I’ve been trying to catch up with some of the serial stories, articles and poems being written by some fabulous bloggers, and I know I’m missing a few. (Which is why I tidied up my subscriptions) All of this takes time, and my brain is bogged down so it’s taking longer than I would like.

I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed with my blog posts, at the moment the ‘what I’ve learned’ posts will be once a week. I’ll be checking in with a more personal post(such as this one) to say hi and update on progress, randomly.

I do have exciting news, I’m looking into a professional Editor/copyeditor to review my first 50 pages, my query letter and synopsis for Prophecy Ink. After a 100% rejection for BiaAtlas, I figured I would take a step back and revisit some ideas about editing. This is and will be an investment for Prophecy Ink which is a smaller more action-packed book than BiaAtlas which is more in-depth and character driven. 

I’m curious to see what they will say and do to my work. All of which I will share for those interested. I’m letting BiaAtlas sit(Much to my fan’s chagrins) for a little while before I pick it up and revise it again. I feel that the fault is in the query and synopsis. Hopefully, when I get Prophecy Ink done, I’ll have a more clear Idea where to take BiaAtlas. 

If you’re wondering why not get a professional edit on BiaAtlas, the person investing the cost to edit, likes Prophecy Ink more. I’m not complaining, both books are good. That’s not to say I won’t be thinking about it in the future for BiaAtlas. 

This all stems down to live and learn, the query is the most important part of the road to publishing. They are the toll-gate, the barrier through which you can only pass if you get it right. Perfectly right. In every way. As frustrating as that may be, I get it, with hundreds and thousands of people querying their books it’s tough competition. The agents can say nay a lot easier if there are blaring or simple errors. If it’s not catchy or perfect, they can move on to someone else’s query. Just like job interviews, if you don’t nail it, there are hundreds of others lining up for a shot. The market of queries is not in the writer’s favour. Sounds super negative, it’s not. They demand perfection(despite what some might say), and they get it. The trick is to be that writer giving perfection. 

It’s hard to please and easy to get a no. There is something called a slush pile, the imaginary place where all rejections go. Since submissions are digital, that delete button is super duper easy to press. 

So here I go again, preparing for the query battleground. I have some experience, more knowledge(Thanks to some lovely books and articles) and I’m going to tackle it again. This time I’ll go slower, and I’ll share my advice, mistakes and efforts along the way.

-Sheryl

PS, my thanks to a good blogging friend for helping me learn how to create nicer looking links. My next project will be to make my blogs easier to navigate.

 MPFTS.png

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Vague

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The Editing Dead End

The Editing Dead EndWell I know I’ve been MIA for a bit, life is unexpected and full of… well life. I have been editing my new book Prophecy Ink, and I have to say it’s fun and frustrating all at the same time. I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and New Year.

I have taken the editing for Prophecy as far as I can on my own and with Microsoft word’s ‘help’ (that’s a loose term it’s limited)

I feel as if I hit a dead end. I know there is work needed to it so what to do?  I started looking at editing programs as a live human one is still way outside my budget. After months of research and thinking it over I decided on Grammarly. Now I’m not being paid to talk about it, and this is not a product review in any ‘professional’ sense.

It is the program I’ve decided to use and therefore I will show some of its features, benefits and cool things I’ve encountered so far. It is a big program. I will focus on one or two things at a time. For now, I’ll explain what it is.

Grammarly is a live program that you download to your computer. It can run in windows, which will check online documents like blog posts and emails. It can also be run in word documents or on the Grammarly site itself.  In a word document, it appears as a tab when you click “enable Grammarly.”

The free version is a bit limited but still extraordinarily helpful for blogs, emails and word documents.  It offers the following:  Contextual spelling, Grammar and Punctuation.

I hesitated and tried out the “free” version for months before paying for the full version. It is pricey.  With the full or “premium” version you have access to all things shown in the tab below.

grammerly what it does

As you edit, those little red numbers drop. If while writing you make a mistake it lets you know by highlighting. This far, I have found the program to be easy to navigate and user-friendly.

I’m excited to use this program to polish my manuscript further and will break it down and show just how much it goes beyond what is built into the usual “word processing” program such as Microsoft office.

My advice about The Editing Dead End.
If you feel stuck and know it’s not perfect yet, search for programs that might suit you. Or if your budget allows, find an editor or copy editor to take a crack at your work. Turn that dead end into another fruitful path to take. 

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

Identical

Something To Write About

I’ve been taking some family time off this summer and posting a little less frequently.  My newest book is taking almost all my free time and it’s amazing how much fun I’m having writing it.

When I look back over my year since I started blogging I have to admit I’ve learned a lot. Things that I didn’t know and might never have discovered if it wasn’t for starting a blog.

Grammar is something that can always be improved upon (IMO) since I know I’m not a grammar genius I take all the advice I can get. I have also done a lot of research to find out the little things I had no idea about.

I’ve blogged about dashes, commas, tenses, filter words (A huge issue for me), Interjection, dangling modifiers, exposition, hyperboles, clauses, fragment sentences and so much more.

I’ve also learned that inspiration can come from anywhere. Honestly anywhere!  My new book was inspired by an insignificant everyday thing. I’ve blogged about people watching, seeing the world and not just what’s in front of me, I’ve talked about sources of inspiration such as vacations, the beach, amusement parks, the bar, barbeques, and anything that involves people, places, and things. Being more aware and seeing the world around me has become a great source of inspiration.

I’ve met a great number of writers since I started this journey, both online and off. Each and every one of them a unique talent that brought my attention to various styles of writing. I’ve since dabbled in first person perspective writing and it’s a lot of fun.  I’ve also found that reading others works’ and appreciating

I’ve also found that reading others works’ and appreciating their style is a wonderful way to understand my own. Whether it is books, poems, short stories or songs everyone has a voice. I may absolutely love how someone else writes, and they may influence me but I have my own voice and copying someone else’s style or voice is a waste of time. It won’t read as well as my own.

Distractions and writer’s block are a writer’s worst enemy. Through other bloggers and writers and research, I’ve learned what can be done to minimize both issues. Breaks and living life are necessary for both getting the creative juices flowing and for keeping the mind active and able to focus.

Story structure or the arc of a story is important and I have spent a good amount of time researching the various styles and methods used to write a story. Some people plan it all out before they start writing. While others go with the flow. Myself I’ve discovered I’m a little of both. I think and think and plan it out but I go with the flow and if things change along the way then so be it. I do know having an end in mind is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, the story becomes either too long or pointless.

Keeping the reader engaged and delivering an entertaining story is the most important part of writing. I know if I like what I write, then others will too.  Therefore I don’t worry about what others think and I never let it influence my writing. I write for me and then I share it.

I’ll continue to touch on these key aspects of writing and since I’ve learned so much and still have plenty more to learn I’ll be revisiting some of them with more information.

I don’t think anyone can know everything about writing and there is always room for improvement and expansion.

My advice about writing 
Never be afraid to try something new, or visit something old. Looking back momentarily is a great way to move forward monumentally.

-Sheryl

My Posts From The Start

Independent Clauses depend on nobody.

Influential Words

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Delivery

ONE YEAR BLOGGING ANNIVERSARY

Hello, It was one year ago today that I posted my very first blog The “Word Count” Down, post.

Happy one year anniversary to myself!

I have come a long way since that first post. It was so short and sweet and the beginning of a lot of progressively better posts.

The “word count” down.

Exactly one year from the day I started:

I have posted 247 posts, not including re-blogs and blogging awards which would make it 256.

I have 763 WordPress followers and 118 followers on other platforms totaling 881.

Since day one I’ve had the honor of 16299 views, 7457 visitors, 6972 likes from awesome visitors and 2236 comments from those who deemed me worthy of a shout out or even criticism, all of which were welcomed and appreciated.

I have had visitors from 117 different countries around the world. This is amazing and fascinating to receive comments from such a variety of people from amazing places.

I don’t mention all this to brag, but to show how one year of hard work can be broken down to statistics. I have learned so much from my year of blogging and I know I have so much more to go. With every post, I write and read I become stronger and more confident as a writer.

I started this blog to strengthen my writer’s platform and in addition, I have strengthened myself in many respects. I know what it means to be rejected repeatedly. I have received praise, congratulations, along with scorn, criticism, and negativity. All of it is a resource to learn from. Nobody is perfect and I shouldn’t expect to be.

When I began this journey, I was in the process of editing and revising BiaAtlas, the very first book that I wrote. I’ve toiled and revisited this book many times and the funny thing is I’m at the same stage all over again one year later. I’m working to bring the word count down even further to make it more appealing to literary agents and in the process, I’m employing all the tips, rules and tricks I’ve learned throughout the year of blogging.

I’m not upset that I’m back at the start because I’m not all the way back at the start. I made fantastic progress to the point I was happy with what I had accomplished. Now I’m back at it and making it even better.

I’ve shared my journey thus far with anyone interested in reading. I am excited for the next 365 days that will hold more information, updates and even some rewrites of old (now substandard blogs) that need updating badly.  I hope to share more of my personal journey and the range of emotions I go through as I struggle and persevere.

I plan to try yet again to get BiaAtlas in the hands of an eager Literary agent all the while I will begin the process of revising my new book that is not yet titled. This is all so very exciting for me and I hope to have some fantastic things to report on throughout this next year of my journey.

I have toyed with the idea of writing a short story and posting chapters regularly as I have seen other bloggers do, but I’m not quite ready for that just yet. I did sort of attempt it previously but they were based on my blog character examples and I had to set that aside as it developed too quickly to a novel.

I’m not sure what this next year of blogging holds for me, but I hope you stick around to see how it goes. As always I’m open to comments and constructive criticism and will give an honest consideration to any legitimate suggestions or post subject requests.

Thank you to everyone that reads and follows, to those that comment and care. You make blogging an experience, not a chore.

My advice about blogging.
Write what means something to you and write for yourself. If you like it others are bound to enjoy it as well. Stay strong and never give up on your dreams.

-Sheryl

Here is a list of all my posts from the start My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

ONE YEAR BLOGGING ANNIVERSARY new

Substandard

233 Is A Lot

Someone asked me the other day why I’m back to working on a rewrite of my book. “I thought you said it was done. Why aren’t you published yet?”

It was and it wasn’t done, and traditional publishing takes time, commitment and a lot of work.

I’m not perfect and I’ll admit that openly. This whole journey has been a process of learning and discovery. A crazy wild ride of ups and downs and insanity in between. There have been times when I’m certain I’ve lost my marbles for doing this. Then I think, hey, marbles… how can I write them into my story.

I looked back at all my posts and I have at this point and there is 233 of them. 233 is a lot for someone that never thought she’d ever write a blog post. That means over 200 things I’ve learned, researched, discovered and reflected on. All about this journey to become published. That’s a lot.

My Posts From The Start   

When I started writing BiaAtlas I had no idea my life would take this path. I had no idea it would be a life-altering accomplishment. I had no idea it would spark a passion inside me to write and create stories that I never thought possible.

As far as publishing goes, I’m not there yet and I have a long way to go.  All I can do is keep moving forward and never stop trying.

Re-writing my book wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I realized it needed to be done. It was the first novel I wrote, it was bound to have problems and mistakes. After writing so many blogs and working on other exciting projects I was able to look at my first attempt and see what I could do to make it better.

I survived the onslaught of rejections and even the nay-sayers telling me to quit or if I’m rejected that much my work is crap. (Even if they’ve never read it they say it.) Why should I listen to that? The rejections were an indication something needed to be fixed. I’m betting on word count and the first three chapters. So that is what I fixed. Now I’m revising and finding a lot of slack that needs to be fixed.

I’m happy I’ve taken the time to write about my experiences and what I’ve learned. Partially for myself and for others that might be struggling with some of the same obstacles I myself faced and will face.

My advice about writing and creating.
There is more to it than just typing out words. And the more you put into it the more value it will have for yourself and for the world. Keep writing and creating and let no one bring you down.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Commit

Link It And List It!

There is something I’ve been wanting to bring up about writing. It has nothing to do specifically with writing a manuscript, novel or book. But about how chapter stories are posted on blogs. How does a successful blogger keep readers coming back? I haven’t posted a chapter story on my blog yet, but have been thinking about it. So I’ve done some research, taken a blogging course from WordPress and done some digging through other bloggers’ stories to see what they’ve been doing to keep the readers returning.

I love reading serial and Chapter stories on blogs. There are some out there that have hit it on the nose as far as organization goes. I figure not everyone is aware of some simple tricks that can keep a reader reading and help them navigate your story with as little frustration as possible.(I wasn’t)

The following have been observed on a few blogs I follow and I think they are great ways to keep a story organized for your long-term followers and for new friends that stumble into your blog space.  (These are suggestions, not rules.)

Each Chapter would ideally get their own blog post. You can include a picture or just a standard title all the tricks you need to post and edit blogs can be found here:  http://learn.wordpress.com/

The blue arrow is pointing to the icon to click on to add content or a picture into the body of the post. The purple is what you select to add a featured image or the post’s image(What shows up in the feed or reader)

aa add picture

First, post a chapter or two of your story by creating separate posts.  Now you’re ready to make it easier for a reader to navigate your stories. This is very important if you have other posts in-between or if you don’t post regularly.

So in each chapter, you can do one or two things to make this easy. One add a “Start from the beginning” and link the first chapter or you can link(I will explain how in a moment) this to a Story Chapter Page (I will explain this shortly)

And/or at the end of each chapter, you can put a link to the next chapter of the story(See orange arrows below). This allows for continuous flow through your chapters so the reader doesn’t have to jump around. To add this one you have to wait until the next chapter is posted and physically go back to the previous chapter and add this to the body. (Note this link will appear as a pingback and you need to approve it in your comments)

aa story links.jpg

To Add links to the body of the post:  you can write the text and highlight it or you can create it during the link in the link options(C).

Red A – click this to open the URL-link creator
Red B – This is the URL that will link. This will fill in automatically when you select Red D
Red C – This is the link text. You can fill this in manually or if you highlighted text before clicking ‘link’ that highlighted text will become the clickable link on the page.

AAA ADD LINKS.jpg

To add a page link and not a post link copy and paste the URL into the URL line(Red B)  you can get this by opening the page and copying it from there. I found it easier to open the page in a private window or “incognito window”. Once I’ve added the link(which I would recommend testing) I like to make the link Bold and change the color to make it obvious. Many other bloggers do this to make them stand out. The default is an underline and light blue which doesn’t stand out when posted.  The bold option is shown below by the orange arrow and the option to change the color of the text is indicated by the blue arrow below.

aa colour

Okay so now we can add links to the post. How about creating a “Story Chapter Page”?  This is a page for the story with each chapter listed and links to each(That you can easily add with the link button now) So your reader can now come to this page to continue on where they left off instead of being adrift, lost in a sea of posts.

To add a new page to your blog. This will appear in your blog banner. From your main menu screen click “ADD” beside pages.

aa adding a page

This next example shows that a new page will come up for you to create a new page for your blog.

aa new page

Enter the title of your story and any information you want in the introduction
Then make a chapter list so you can add links to each chapter. This page is the page you will link to at the beginning of the story if you want to have a link to the chapter page as I mentioned above.

1 in yellow shows chapter one with a link (Bolded and color changed)
2 in yellow shows a chapter title highlighted and ready for a link to be added
3 in yellow is a chapter not yet posted. I’ve seen one blogger add “coming soon” to add anticipation for upcoming chapters.

aa chapter links on page.jpg

So now each post has a link to the Story Chapter Page dedicated to the story with a clickable linked list to each chapter. AND each chapter has a clickable link at the end of the chapter to bring the reader to the next chapter automatically(Done after the following post is posted by going back to the previous already posted blog and adding the “next chapter” link)

This isn’t necessary but I find it makes it a whole lot easier when you want to binge read a bloggers story easily without having to fish through their posts to find the next one.

Yes, this is extra work, but a happy reader is a repeat reader.

Here are some examples of Fantastic blogs that have agreed to let me use their pages as examples for how linking stories or chapters in a list on a separate blog page can help a reader. I couldn’t include everyone I love following, some said no and others don’t have the specific page-link formats I’m looking to use as examples. Because chapter stories are best started from the start these bloggers clued in and made it easy to find the start.

CLICK ON THE BOLDED NAME TO SEE THE PAGE EXAMPLE
(Don’t forget to look around they have some fantastic stories)

Lost Property – Serials Super fun stories, both short and long that are deep and captivating.  The link I have here goes to a list of short stories that are easy to navigate. I have been reading these stories and the chapter stories in the daily prompt and have enjoyed them immensely.

Devil Doll Musings – Short chapter, chapter stories that are imaginative and captivating. A little on the naughty side but a wild ride. Poke around on this website to see how fantastically it’s laid out. This link is to Rock Star a whirlwind romance worth reading. The chapters are listed in link form and it’s easy to follow. At the bottom, this blogger uses “continues HERE” to make it easy to keep reading.

WriteMeBad – Romantic and smutty stories that are so beautifully written they captivated me instantly. Each story has their own page and chapter listed from top to bottom. (First to last) I started you off with the link to the first story Jay & Dee that made me an instant fan.

All in all ,I enjoy the effort and creativity that I keep coming across on different pages. If you have a trick or technique you use that you want me to blog about(Relevant to writing advice please) Please either private message me or leave it in the comments below. I hope I didn’t miss anything. This was a fairly long post. (Sorry)

I don’t have a chapter story to try this on, but I did create a page using all the tips above to create a click-able link to every post I’ve posted (Minus award posts). I don’t expect anyone to actually use it but it’s there in case someone does. Oh and I’ll make sure to update it regularly. My Posts From The Start

My advice about creating chapter links in a post and separate Story Chapter Pages.
It’s never too late to go back and add them. Once you get the hang of it (I tested this on a non-published page) It’s actually easy. Tedious? Maybe but is it worth it? I think so. It would definitely be easier if done from the start.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Adrift
Organize

There is so much more

Writing is definitely something that consumes me. I love it, every aspect of it. For me putting words to pager (or screen) is exciting, fun and I can’t get enough.

There is so much more to writing than just putting words down. There is plot, characters, story arcs, scenes, grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, chapter structure and more to consider. There are the nuances to story telling such as how to describe even ordinary things or people, how to move the story along, bring in characters and show the reader their stories.

It can be overwhelming if you look at it all at once. There is so much to do, to think about and consider. I say bah! Just write. Use what tools and rules work best for you. I do. Then I go back and apply the rest. Such as: show don’t tell, filter word removal and more. I don’t look at the editing or revising as work, it’s a part of it. A chance for me to fine tune and perfect what I’ve written. I never make the mistake of fooling myself in believing what I wrote is perfect. There is always room for improvement.

I started this blog as a means to share what I’ve learned. In writing, editing, querying and the pursuit of being published. I also started this blog to strengthen my platform. Along the way I have met amazing and talented people who not only support my efforts, but put out amazing blog’s of their own. I am continuously learning and enjoy sharing. More importantly, I appreciate all my readers and the comments that are left for me.

I have learned to stretch my writing muscles and be open to ideas and methods I’ve never tried before. To attempt stories in different perspectives and view points. I have fun writing my blog examples and accidentally got a book out of it. It’s very important that I keep reading other people’s work published or not. For me it’s a way to see and understand how other people think. What they like and want.

My imagination is only limited by myself. One thing I’ve learned to do is to see and ‘feel out’ alternate options to a story arc. Be it major or minor. The options are endless and sometimes, the unexpected one boosts the story.

I have learned to never give up. To look forward and dare to dream. That hard work and persistance will get you to the next step.

So thank you to all that read my blog, thank you to all that leave comments and to all that write fantastic blogs for me to visit and enjoy.

My advice about writing.
Write what makes you happy. Don’t strive to write what other people are writing. Write for yourself and most importantly, write how you want to. If you like it, someone else is bound to. 

-Sheryl

Some of my favourite posts I’ve written.

That is disgusting

Isn’t it romantic?

Roller-coaster Conversations

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Ordinary

Look out! Danger Ahead

Writing dangerous action scenes can be sooooo much fun. When I write them I tend to type too fast, shift POV about a thousand times and give typo’s a front row to the show. Exciting scenes are my favorite. Once written, I will go over them a few more times to make sure it all makes sense, pluck out the filter words, fix POV and correct the abundant typos. Often I will have someone or more than one someones read the scene to ensure it makes sense.

Action, danger, excitement or fast moving scenes can be anywhere in the story. If it’s early or at the start more descriptions and introductions might be necessary. If it’s after the characters have been established then focus can be more on story and character.

I said before I was going to give Sasha one more kick (The wildcard) before moving on with her story. The kick was received, she’s thoroughly distracted by her boss’s weird assignment and her mother’s interference. Now it’s time to throw Sasha to the wolves and find out what she’s made of.

Sasha pulled her keys from the ignition, saw movement in her side yard and froze. Was it Baylor? Was he back to finish the job?
“If it’s you I need proof.” Locking her car doors with shaking hands, she put the keys back in the ignition leaving the engine off, but headlights on. She fished out her phone and put it on video. The movement came again and she hit record. Was he waiting for her to get out of the car?

The man stepped from the bushes beside her house. Baylor. With flaring nostrils he moved slowly and deliberately toward the car. His lips pulled back in a sneer baring his teeth. Sasha nearly dropped the phone as she turned the engine over. He dashed for the locked door; a flash of silver in his hand. Gun?

Screaming she dropped the phone after a good close up of his face and a car key. She slammed the car into reverse as the lock clicked off. He pulled the door open. She screamed again and backed into the small tree at the edge of the driveway. Her head hit the headrest hard. She shifted to drive, turned toward Baylor and floored it. The jostle of the car driving over his body urged another scream from her. Not looking back she made it to the main road, managed to retrieve her phone from the floor and dialed 911. She ignored the fact that she was breaking a couple of laws.

She saw the oncoming car just in time and swerved back to her side of the road as tears blinded her. She pulled over skidding into the ditch with a thud as the phone picked up. “You have reached…

She cried out in frustration. “You’re kidding me! An automated message!” an operator picked up after several seconds. “Nine one one, what is your emergency?” The car she nearly hit had pulled over and stopped.
“Baylor, He’s at my house.” She yelled. “He had a key, I hit a tree.”
“Are you injured ma’am?”
“No. no he’s at my house again.” She sounded insane, and wasn’t making sense. So much for calm and collected under pressure she thought.
“What is your address ma’am?”
Sasha gave her address as the car behind her opened the door. Was it Baylor? She wiped her tears and locked her doors again. “Like that will help.” She was blinded by tears and the lights of the car behind her. She was ready to try to drive away if necessary.
“Are you in danger?”
“Yes I drove away, he’s there I hit him.”
“You assaulted someone?”
“Car, yes I hit him with my car. He was there he had a key.” She saw the mans face. Cal. “Cal.” She said with too much relief. “Cal!” She said louder and opened her door,  911 operator forgotten. “Cal.”
“What the hell Sasha, you nearly.” He stopped when he saw her wide-eyed makeup streaked face.
“Baylor, Baylor.” She pointed back at her house. “I called 911. I hit him and a tree. He had a car key.”
Cal grabbed her phone. “Get in my car.” He leaned into hers and put her four-way indicator lights on.“Huh, the airbags didn’t go off.” He identified himself to the 911 operator and explained what little he knew. He unclasped his holster and got back in his car. Sasha was shaking and wiping her makeup filled tears on her sleeve. He turned his car around and sped back to her house and stopped on the road.

“Stay here Sasha, do not open the doors and stay out of sight. Take the phone and talk to the operator, tell her what happened in order and as best you can until I get back.”
Sasha nodded, took her phone and crawled into the back of the car as Cal closed his door and moved swiftly, his gun drawn.

It seemed like forever before Cal returned. The operator calmed her down and got her story. The operator told her to stay on the line even though the police cruiser arrived and the officers got out of the car. She stayed out of sight, but they knew she was there from the 911 operator. She jumped at the knock on the window.

Cal looked down at her, she unlocked and opened the door. He took her phone, let the operator know the scene was secure, thanked her and ended the call. “Baylor got away. He’s hurt and bleeding so that’s helpful. Did you hit him on purpose?”
“Yes.” She frowned. It was a horrible thing to do no matter how bad it was. “I knocked him down when I backed up. Then I drove over him.”
“Well that explains what I saw. Forensics is on the way. You’ll need to make another statement, as will I.”
“Am I in trouble?” Sasha looked at her shaking hands.
“For what?”
“Driving while on the phone, crashing… twice and hitting him?”
“I think we can overlook the phone and crashing. You hit him in attempt to escape.” He held his hand out for her and she took it exiting Cal’s car. “This is officer Jenkins, he will take you account and then we’ll go to the station.”

She nodded and answered Jenkins’ questions. When she mentioned the phone footage Cal took her phone out of his pocket and opened the video. After watching he emailed a copy to the Chief and one to himself and his cellphone, in case anything happened to her phone. Jenkins told forensics to take the phone and process it. He gave Jenkins her car keys after retrieving her laptop, file and purse from her car.
“You can’t go home tonight.”
“But.”
“No buts Sasha.” Cal put her belongings in his trunk and got in to drive her to the station. She was in shock and numb for now, that wont last long he thought.
“Bail is stupid.” She said after a long silence.
“Your protection lost you earlier. I was on my way to check on you when you nearly hit me.”
“Sorry. I was acting recklessly.”
“Understandably.” He could still hear her screams from the video. “When we catch him he wont be getting bail ever again.”
“Why were you coming to check on me?”
He had no intention of telling her the full truth. “Your phone was going to voicemail and it’s my job.”
“Oh, my mom was driving me crazy about, never mind I turned the ringer off. How did Baylor get away?”
“He dragged himself bleeding to a car that was parked at your neighbours. I missed him by seconds.”
Sasha bit both lips between her teeth, had she not been a lunatic Cal might have gotten to Baylor sooner.
“Don’t do that Sasha, don’t start questioning your actions. You handled that very well.”
“Oh? I’m a mess, I nearly killed a man then you maybe even myself. I couldn’t string together a coherent sentence and.” She started crying again. “I’m being pathetic.”
“I’m serious Sasha stop it. You had enough wit to get proof he was there, you got away and safely. Nearly doesn’t count. Yes he got away, but so did you.”
She didn’t respond and stayed silent all the way to the station. She gave her statement quickly. Cal suggested to do it now while it was fresh and scorched in her mind. What he meant was to give it before reality set in for real.

Whew, what fun that was to write. It would be silly to have her handle the situation gracefully and with too much logic. People are not perfect and can be erratic when terrified or hurt. People need to have stupid moments to have stupid things happen to them. Lucky for me the writer and the readers, stupid makes for some awesome danger. On the other side of that Sasha is the protagonist, the one that has already been kicked and spat on thanks to some mean writer 😉  So to have her fail miserably and be the complete victim would be ultra boring and annoying to the reader. For now, because she isn’t ready to be the total hero yet, I gave her a mix of bravery, resourcefulness, stupidity and panic-blindness.

My advice about danger.
Normal everyday people are not used to action, violence or real danger. If a character is untrained civilian, let them freak out a bit and don’t forget to let them shine a little too. 

-Sheryl

Other intense posts

It’s a love hate sort of thing

Don’t rush me!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Scorched

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer

That. Holy moly is that a filter word or what? Yes, by gum that it is.

That is a word that shows up for no apparent reason other than that it litters our daily dialogue. That is a word that many others say that needs to be addressed. That’s the whole truth, that I know to be true. I did that search that out of curiosity. Surely that’s not a word that I over use right?  1239 incidences of that. That cant possibly be used that inappropriately can it? Or as filler? Nah. One day down and I removed 187 useless that’s and an additional 287 words that tagged along for fun. Huh. That’s insane that is.

In a document of 123820 words that 1239 isn’t so bad.  Well that is bad when I’m burning the candle at both ends, trying to get that word count down below that mark of 120000. And generally that is a filter word, so if that’s not necessary, it should go.  Sometimes I find that it’s easier for me to determine how necessary that word is by reading that sentence out loud to myself.

For example:

“I don’t think that this is a good idea.”(9)
“I don’t think this is a good idea.”(8)

“I thought that I would need a match to light that candle.”(12)
“I thought I would need a match to light the candle.”(11)

Girls love that about him.(5)
Girls love about him.(4)  – No that ‘that’ needs to stay see not all of them are clutter.

Sasha said earlier that day that Cal was a jerk. (10)
Sasha said earlier that Cal was a jerk.(8) – Better and this would work
Earlier Sasha said Cal’s a jerk.(6) – Much better, I would go with this.

They were told that they would be tested.(8)
They were told they would be tested. (7)

I get that writing is a reflection of yourself and that your voice is your own. I’ve heard others say that by taking out words that they use regularly or normally that their writing style is being compromised by that. I have learned that how I write is how I write. I learned that when I write better, that it’s still me, only better. That’s simple right? (67) (10 that’s)

FYI this is how I would fix that one (Not that I’d put that many that’s in that to start with). Oooh that is kinda fun to do that on purpose. Anyway… back to removing that and the useless words that that brings.

I understand writing is a reflection of yourself and your voice is your own. I’ve heard others say by taking out words they use regularly or normally, their writing style is being compromised. I have learned that how I write is how I write. When I write better, that it’s still me, only better. Simple right? (56) (2 that’s)

Okay so I would probably trim that up more but for this purpose that made my point. I didn’t take all of the ‘that’ out either.

I have used 87 incidences of ‘that’ in this post of 642 words (not including the title or feature image). See how easy that that is to interject a that or two? I know you noticed because I pointed that out from the beginning.

My advice about that.
Take a second look, you might not need that that after all.

-Sheryl

For fun, I looked at my blogs and here are the eight that had ‘that’ in the title. I’m not going to link them all, WP doesn’t like that, I’ll link the first three.

What happened to that guy?

That sounds complicated

Ghosts that write stories

It’s funny you said that…

That is disgusting

The ‘been there done that’ people

Did you smell that?

That sounds right

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Candle
Filter

Details, details, details

A book or story is full of details. A persons description, their back story, their habits and their environment. I’m talking about environment or setting if you prefer.

Now I could go into a long spiel about describing objects or the area around the characters, the in’s and outs of under and over describing things. Or how to make an object important like in the Fab pencil.  That’s not what this is about.

I like details, the little things that make the reader comfortable whether they are aware or not. My book takes place primarily in one location. This location is set up in a very specific way for a very important reason. Function. In future stories this facility is revisited and I can’t have it changing unexpectedly.

So I carefully mapped it out. Just like a world map of a made up place like middle earth, but instead it’s a map of the building. It’s detailed right down to maintenance rooms and off limit areas. The placement of rooms and areas is important to the interaction of the characters and for situations that happen in future books. They are not major events per say, but they are purposeful.

I’ll be honest, I made a simple mock-up using Lego to start. It was perfect for scale and to get a real feel for the actual space. (Lego rocks.) I then used a basic publishing program to draw it out in overhead 2D or a blueprint if you want to get technical. It was a long process but it helped me get a solid feel for the building layout. It also allowed me to give my readers a very clear image for their imagination.

This was important for me. At first I wrote from memory, what I imagined it to look like. Then I revised and found them walking through a door that would lead them into the showers not the cafeteria. Oops. While it might not be noticeable it might register as odd and ruin the mental imagery for the reader.

Every environment or setting gets a map of some sort. Not to necessarily be published with the book, but for me to make sure that the window in the living room stays on an outside wall and not opening to the bathroom by oversight. I have to be careful, nobody wants to see Joe go pee while watching the price is right.

My advice about using maps.
I highly recommend them, even if its a rough hand drawn sketch of Sasha’s house, if a scene takes place there and I want to go back later I’d rather refer to the map instead of flipping back chapters to find where the refrigerator is and if it opens left handed or right.

-Sheryl

Related posts

She’s a person not a cake

Where did it go?

Switch it up, and swap it out.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Careful