That is disgusting

I know this is a post from a long while ago. Since I’m on vacation, I decided to sail through today and share one of my old favourites.  Don’t worry I’ll get back to new and fun posts shortly.

That is disgusting

People can be gross, I mean really gross. They do things that make me cringe.

When a character does something disgusting and it’s shown and not told, I will be disgusted too. And that is the entire point of reading a book. I want to be in the story. I want to feel it.

For example:

Billy sat in the back corner of the coffee shop. In one hand, he held his book. With the other, he carefully dislodged a decent clump of moist mucus from his nose. After examining his generous prize, he rolled it between his thumb and forefinger as he continued to read. Without a thought, he flicked the carefully constructed ball. He happened to see it plunk into the cup of coffee on the table next to his.

He glanced around quickly, nobody was looking. Nobody witnessed the once in a lifetime accidental shot. Feigning interest in his book, the devil in his head urged him to silence. He watched the snotty woman in a pale green sweater sip her coffee-surprise. Had she not been so incredibly rude to him earlier he might have spoken up. Then again, he might not have.

When the woman finished her present, Billy got up to leave, pausing at her table.

“Good coffee?”

She looked up from her tablet, her face morphed into a sneer and she tutted. “It’s a latte, and I’m still not interested in someone,” she looked him up and down, “like you.” She dismissed him completely giving her tablet her attention.

Billy walked away, a slow satisfied smile creeping to his lips.

I loved writing this because Billy the bad-guy is as much a victim as the woman who is horrible in her own way.

Billy has a habit. He likes to pick his nose. It’s called rhinotillexis. If he eats it, it’s called Mucophagy. Does the reader need to know the specific detail of what the act is called? Maybe. If it’s relevant to the story. Otherwise, leave it as a quirk or bad habit.

Cringe worthy things happen all the time. Like when someone hands you money that was carefully tucked away in her sweaty cleavage. What bothers you might not bother someone else.

My advice about grossing out your readers.

If it gives you the heebie-jeebies or turns your stomach, it’s safe to use. My example was a very long way to say, – He picked his nose, flicked it into the shrew’s drink and watched as she drank it. – Blech.

-Sheryl

Other related posts.

My Posts From The Start

Tag! You’re it.

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Sail

“Make it blue.” – “No. It stays green.”

Nothing spices up a good character interaction like a little disagreement. Conflict in the obvious can be instrumental. For example, the first sentence I wrote was a disagreement. “No Joe, I don’t believe in superheroes.”  In one sentence, I established a contrast in opinion between two people. The conversation goes on and is the introduction to the story and the speaker’s journey.

A well-done argument is not always easy to do. Especially if the subject matter is a personal point to be proven by the writer. To be convincing they will have to be able to see the other side of the argument. To be able to portray the conflict evenly. Perhaps they come to agreement, perhaps not. Realistically people are not as bending as you might think. The stodgy set in their ways true believer is not going to come around in one conversation. When I create a disagreement, it is like a mini story in its own. Whether it is resolved within the conversation or throughout the story doesn’t matter. It needs to have a reason and resolution. That doesn’t mean one side is vindicated, it could mean it results in a divide between friends or allies. It could lead to them becoming enemies or better friends. For every great conflict, one side is right and one side is wrong in the eyes of the beholder. It’s all about perspective.

Debating is a great way to get a good grasp on how to see things from the other side. If I want to pick a fight or argue intelligently, I take the time to research what I’m opposed to. I prepare to fight for what I’m against. It is interesting and fun.

Silly or serious. Good or bad, disagreements give characters depth, a glimpse into their personality.

There are subjects I don’t touch such as real politics (including war), religion and the judicial system. They are in the hot topic category and unless that is what my book is about, I don’t like to make them a point of heated contention between characters. This can alienate a reader if I’m one sided, if I can’t be objective I leave it be. I’m writing to entertain not bludgeon my readers with my opinions or beliefs.

I’ll start by listing the pros and cons of the subject matter so I can give both sides proper ammunition. I’m careful not to make it about personal tastes and more about beliefs.  Fighting over cream in coffee is petty and unless it is key to the story or character development, it’s not interesting.

Sasha tilted her head and cracked her neck. She worked for hours on this layout and green was the best option. It suited the product, the point and looked awesome. “I’m not changing it.”
“It should be blue.” Valery crossed her arms. “The soap is yellow; green just makes it look ill.”
Sasha put her hands on her hips met Valery’s eyes. “Soap can’t look ill.”
“Make it blue. I like blue better.”
“No. I like green it’s staying green.”
Valery tilted her head. “Do both, let the client decide.”
“No” Sasha shook her head. “It stays green end of story.”
“Fine, you’re on your own with this one Sasha. Good luck.” Valery stormed out of the office attempting to slam the door. It eased closed. The boss installed the hydraulic door closers after he got tired of the hot tempers of his staff. Sasha looked at the screen after her friend was gone. It looked fine in green.

That was a generic argument with little substance, reason or resolution. They are bickering like children who just want it their way. How about a little backup for Valery and a reason for Sasha.

Sasha tilted her head and cracked her neck. She worked for hours on this layout and green was the best option and she loved green. It’s what the client wanted, it suited the product, the point and looked awesome. “I’m not changing it.”
“The background should be blue.” Valery crossed her arms. “The soap is yellow, green just makes it look ill.”
Sasha put her hands on her hips met Valery’s eyes. “Soap cant look ill.”
“Blue is a contrasting colour. It will draw the focus to the product first then the words.”
“No. I like green. It’s staying green.” Sasha looked at the screen. The words were the first thing you noticed, that was what she intended.
“Sasha, I love the style, layout and the font is perfect, but the attention is the soap, not the slogan. One change, just the colour.” Valery tilted her head. “Do both, let the client decide.”
“No, it’s staying green end of story.”
“It will be the end of the account fi you can’t be flexible. Do both.”
“I like the green, I like that the slogan comes first. That was the point they are rebranding not selling the same thing over again.”
“They are selling the same old thing. Your job is to make it more noticeable, fresh and new even though it’s not. Green is what they did before, that is just a darker shade of the same thing that didn’t work.”
It was a risk to use blue, the client asked for green; Sasha was giving them what they wanted. “It stays green.”
“Fine have it your way. You’re on your own with this one Sasha. Good luck.” Valery stormed out of the office attempting to slam the door. It eased closed. The boss installed the hydraulic door closers after he got tired of the hot tempers of his staff.
Sasha looked at the screen after her friend was gone and reached for the mouse. “What would it look like in blue?”

The point of this conflict was to open Sasha’s eyes to being flexible and taking chances. Her character development grows fast from here. By taking a risk and going against the grain, she finds her flair and confidence for thinking outside the box. Her friend Valery always saw Sasha’s potential so pushed her.

Conflict doesn’t have to be controversial or in your face yelling. It can be subtle too.

Cal clenched his jaw as he watched Gael count the cash and tuck it into the little black folder.
Gael stood grabbed his jacket and turned to Cal. “You’re turn next week.”
“Next week.” Cal shook Gaels hand and smiled as he walked away. Turning back to the table he slipped ten dollars into the folder to cover the tip. “Cheap bastard.” Cal nuttered as he left.

This could be left as is, or it could come up later as crappy karma for Gael or even good karma for Cal. They might end up in a heated argument and Cal might toss this thrifty selfishness as ammunition for something greater. Bottom line Gael is cheap and thoughtless for the server who worked hard. Cal being the too honest detective, couldn’t just leave it be. Subtle tension or conflict of interest is my favorite way of building up to a fall out or fight.

My advice about conflict
Subtle or explosive it should have an impact and a point to the story or characters.

-Sheryl

Oops! What did I just say?

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Disagree
Yellow

What to do?

I love a good dilemma. The moment in a story when a character must choose between two impossible choices. It is in that when I really dig in. I have my own opinion formed because the writer has brought me to this point along with the character. What will they do? I must know.

This is what every author wants from a reader. Sitting on the edge of their seat, holding their breath as their eyes skim the words and tensing from anticipation. Because when this happens, magic happens. The reader is invested they have become part of the story and the story part of them. They may cheer because the character chose wisely or cry out “No!” because they went against the readers idea. Either way it works, it makes them read on, it solidifies the moment in their memory because it was charged up. Now they are going to go tell their friends. “You have to read this.” At least this is what happens when I read a book.

Sasha sat facing her boss. Mr. Clifton. A beady-eyed man who had never spoken more than twenty words to her in six years. A man who fired people on a whim all because he can. He was the owner and he liked to strike terror into his staff. He owned an advertising and design company and had no clue which end of a paintbrush to use. For Sasha it was an insult.

“Miss Parsons.” He picked up a small folder from his desktop. “I was told you caused quite a stir yesterday changing out the ad layout last minute.”

“I did sir. I felt it was.” She stopped at his swiftly raised hand.

“No need. That little stunt gained us their full account. Instead of one layout they want five on all media platforms.”

Sasha swallowed hard. That was unheard of. All that over her idea?

“Take this.” He held the folder out to her. “I want you to do a private project for me. One that you cannot share or talk to anyone about. No one.”

Her stomach jumped. The folder. The preverbal pink-slip. Every time someone worked on a hush hush project for Clifton, they disappeared. It was the big office rumor and scary story. The mystery that made them all walk on eggshells. This didn’t make sense. She was a dammed good artist. She worked hard and has made this company a lot of money.  She took it with her shaking hand and opened it. Six pages. All simple images, all but one were common items.

“They are numbered, they must all be used in order and the last is to be subliminal.”

She looked up suddenly. “But that’s restricted border line illigal we can’t do that.”

“Cant? That’s not for you to decide young lady. I need someone talented to pull this off. I think you are the one. So here are your choices. Do this project in secret and make sure it is good.” He leaned forward. “And I might consider you for Wilber Marks position. Corner office, name on the door and your own department to run. Refuse and well.” He shrugged. “Go on, go work your magic.” He dismissed her with a waive of his hand.

She got up and walked out numbly, folder in hand. Wilber was retiring and she desperately wanted his job. She wasn’t the only one. She looked at the pictures again. The message being conveyed was clearly something illegal and the method questionable. That it was to be secret made her conscience bang around in her head. “But Wilber’s office…” She walked back to her small windowless office and closed the door. “Six years is a lot to throw away.” Sasha frowned at the pictures. “Do something illegal, get a promotion and a fat raise or quit.” She sat back and chewed her lip. She couldn’t afford to quit her job, it took forever to get this one and nobody is hiring that she knew of. Competition is fierce.

She stared at the images. This was a decision she had to make on her own or she would lose the option to decide. She wouldn’t risk Valery’s input lest he fire her too.

“What do I do?” She rubbed her temples. “Sell my soul and move into the corner office or foreclose on my mortgage and move into my parents basement?”

What she decides isn’t what you think. It took me a bit to decide what to do(The writers dilemma) and it ends up being a huge turn in the plot. I sat there and thought about what would happen with each choice. Then I thought what would the reader expect a good honest person, but in a tight financial situation to do? I chose to do what is unexpected not what the reader expects. This is the point where her life is about to be completely turned on its head. The dilemma acts as a catalyst for everything that happens to her from this point on. FYI This isn’t from BiaAtlas. This story started with a blog post. It has since turned into a side project.

My advice about dilemmas.
Take advantage of an opportunity to make characters decide their fate. Decisions like these happen for real and are relatable. Who doesn’t love a good tense moment of “What to do?”

-Sheryl

Other posts:

Oops! What did I just say?

Bam! Pow! Kaboom!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Dilemma

The blurry lines of opinion and advice

When I write I’m inconsistent. I use filter words, incorrect grammar, typos, dialog and action tags, wordiness and contractions. These things and more, are all over the map. It causes flow issues for the reader. That’s okay, well not the flow issue, but the mistakes or “lazy” writing are there. If I spent every second I’m writing worrying about every technical aspect of writing I’d never get anything done. I would stress out, get anxious, panic and most likely stop enjoying writing altogether.

I’m not interested in gumming up my creative process with rules etc. etc. etc., blah, blah, blah.  That’s not to say they aren’t there, and that I don’t employ them while writing, I just don’t care.

I say this because I used to stress out before I wrote the book. I can’t write as real authors, I don’t know what to do to make it perfect. I didn’t, it was true. Then I didn’t care, I don’t need to do it their way. I wrote and wrote and when I was done, I revised and edited, learned and edited again.

One teensy little question sent me on a whirlwind research tour. Contractions. To use them or not? Well the answer to that was not simple at first. Everyone everywhere seemed to have an opinion and it was all divided. This, believe it or not, I found to be a hot topic with serious emotional/opinionated response in writers. No serious writer would ever use them, no modern self-respecting writer would not. And back and forth and back and forth, until I still had no idea.

There comes a time when the line between an opinion and advice becomes blurred. It’s called peer pressure, when someone passes off their opinion as a rule.

So, I asked an expert, an author and ex literary agent. He would know and he did.
“It doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent and it reads well.”
I wasn’t sure. “But what if the literary agent is anti-contractions?”
“Then they will still read the value of your work and if they want to represent you, they will suggest you take them out. You still don’t have to. It’s your book.”

Talk about a load off my back. It’s not as set in stone as I thought. As long as I’m flexible and not super attached it’s all good. Here is what I learned from my epic journey in the wonderful research world of, to contract or not to contract.

  1. Be consistent in your usage.
  2. Consistent doesn’t mean always or every time. It means consistent to your voice and how you write or want a character to speak.
  3. As long as the voice of your writing is good (Almost)nobody will notice
  4. Write how you want not how others tell you to
  5. If you don’t use contractions ever, because you are a die-hard anti, or took a die-hard’s advice, be consistent
  6. If you use them only in dialogue and never out, never use a contraction out of dialogue
  7. If you write how you talk and how most of the world is comfortable and contract within and out of dialog, be consistent to your voice. Whether you use: Do not do that or don’t do that. It will depend on how you want the sentence to sound, be read and or how the character talks.
  8. Don’t sacrifice your style or voice for word count.

There I think that’s it. BTW a lot of books I read use contractions when it works for their style.

My advice about contractions.
When someone gives you a version of their golden rule, don’t jump on board immediately. Take the time to find out the other side of that set in stone opinion.  Follow your instinct. It’s your writing not theirs.

-Sheryl

Related Posts

Spell check doesn’t catch them all.

Tag! You’re it.

Roller-coaster Conversations

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Panic
Blur

Unidentified Fervent Outburst!

When I wrote my first draft, everyone that raised their voice or yelled had one of these beauties ending their sentence ! The exclamation point. I must confess, I used punctuation incorrectly. I probably still do from time to time, especially the over used exclamation point.

Exclaim means to shout out, blurt or say with force. The exclamation point is used to emphasise such an outburst of vocal emotion.

So why is it over used? Some older writings popularized it by replacing emotional reactions with ! instead of showing the emotional reaction.  Now with social media, it is used as often as a vowel. When we write an email, post, text or whatever when emotionally charged the exclamations multiply like Mogwai in water.

!!! The triple threat !!! Sometimes these triplets drag along a few more if someone is screaming or whatever. I don’t do this ever. One is more than enough and even then, is it necessary? I already knew about the three punctuation in a row rule from work. !!! ??? is spam material, and a horrible way to express feeling in writing. Emails containing them can be flagged by spam filters and firewalls. Also to never ever use them on a resume or technical report.

Mixology 101.  Mixing the punctuation. Nope, nope and nope. Never !?!  ?!?  Again, one punctuation is enough!

Inappropriate tone. “I didn’t know!” – What tone of voice is that?
Angry? Snotty? Confused? Desperate? Sad? Remorseful?
I find these all the time in my rough drafts.
Unidentified fervent outbursts.
What do I do about them? Dress them up and show the emotion behind the exclamation point. It’s not always about yelling.

Sasha slammed her fist on the desktop. “I didn’t know!”

“I didn’t know!” Sasha hid her face with her hands.

Sasha covered her mouth with her hand. “I didn’t know!” She couldn’t look away.

The tears fell unchecked as Sasha sat hard on the couch. “I didn’t know!”

Rhetorically speaking.  Ending rhetorical questions with and exclamation point is tempting and common. Also unnecessary. Rhetorical questions can be ended in periods, exclamation points or question marks. It’s not a real question and I’m not yelling or blurting it and it’s usually obvious enough that the exclamation point is redundant.

My conversations were littered with them. So when do I use them or leave them? Only when it’s important. I use the search/find feature and take a good hard look. Here are some examples of okay use.

Excitement – “Wow that’s amazing!”
Urgent – “You have to go, now!”
Astonished – “I can’t believe you just said that!”
Vehemence – “I hate this!”
Shock – “You didn’t!”
Warning – “Look out!”

And so on. It’s not rocket science.  I personally don’t enjoy seeing them in abundance in my writing if they can be avoided I take them out.I was told once that the reader isn’t likely an idiot and if you write well they will know the person is yelling without !!! or saying ‘he yelled’.  It is my job to bring the reader in and settle them into the story and let them experience it. Tossing “!” in every time someone talks is annoying. Imagine if we actually spoke that way, we’d be yelling and blurting things constantly and over dramatizing a simple conversation.

Joe slogged down the hall his feet thumping loudly on the floor, but he couldn’t feel them. “I hate this!”
“I can’t believe you drank that much!” Sasha giggled holding him up.
“I know right!” Joe said. “I never do. What will mother think!”
“Oh no! You had better not go home tonight! Crash at my place I’ll send her a text.”
“I’m gonna puke!!!” Joe said doubling over and vomiting the beer and pizza on the floor.

I feel anxious just reading that and not because it’s tense, I’m not so sure it should be. NOt to mention how awkward that was. Let me try again.

With numb feet, Joe slogged down the hall. “I hate this!”
“I can’t believe you chugged five beers.” Sasha shook her head, giggled at his slurred speech. She held him steady, moving toward the exit quickly.
“I know right! What will my mother think?”
Sasha’s eyes widened at the prospect of dropping him at home. “Crash at my place, I’ll text her to let her know.”
Joe burped and gagged. “I’m gonna puke.”
“Oh no.” Sasha pulled him along faster, outside would be better.
The fresh air did little to help him as he gave his pizza and beer to the sidewalk.

Much better, less ! made for a better conversation. In my opinion.

My advice about exclaiming everything with exclamation marks.
Don’t!

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Slog
Sidewalk
Slur

Accommodate and contain perplexed

When I’m looking for a word to substitute for another, I turn to a thesaurus. There are many kinds out there and my recent trip to the bookstore left me perplexed. The sales guy gave me the world’s longest elitist spiel about which is the “only” Thesaurus to use if you are a writer. (And shame on you for thinking of any other). The Roget’s thesaurus. I get that it’s super and laid out in the best way, and I adore Roget. However I was just looking to see if they had something smaller and themed similar to the Emotional Thesaurus. (apparently that offended him given the utter look of disgust on his face.) I looked at the shelf when he walked away (Actually we were interrupted by another customer and he just bailed) *eye roll.

That shelf had hundreds of dictionaries and Thesaurus’s sort of organized. I looked at a handful including a few Roget’s but in the end I walked away. Not because I didn’t need or want to buy one, but because I couldn’t decide which worked best for me and I didn’t want to carry a massive brick of a book all day. (The bookstore was my first stop.)

The internet has a handy-dandy one or two that I tend to use when I’m feeling too lazy to flip actual pages.

Substituting a word with a thesaurus is a great way to stop repetitive words. However not all words are created equal or actually mean what you think. I always check the meaning of a word before using it when I substitute.

For example.

Dale was told to accommodate the others so he moved over to accommodate them.

The thesaurus first choice under the meaning “To make room or lodging”.

Dale was told to accommodate the others so he moved over to contain them.

Sure the thesaurus’s first choice said it means the same thing but that clearly didn’t work, so what about the first choice for “make, become suitable for something”

Dale was told to accommodate the others so he moved over to adapt them.

Obviously, I can’t just plunk in whatever word is listed, I need to think about it. Read the list and find a good substitute.

Dale was told to accommodate the others so he moved over to welcome them.

There that worked. I often find myself repeating a word when I write, it’s okay it’s just the rough draft. When I go over it, I don’t like reading repetitive words, they need to go.

I thought I would try a little experiment. If I looked up a word like say, Perplexed, what would its substitute be? Then what would that words substitute be and would they be even close in meaning? I selected the first word on the list and then the first word for that word. Here is what it looked like.

Perplexed

Bewildered

Astonished

Amaze

Affect

Alter

Adjust

Accommodate

Contain

Accommodate

Contain

Eventually it started cycling between contain and accommodate. I thought that was interesting. And contain has noting to do with the word perplexed whatsoever. Nerdy I know.

My advice about using a thesaurus.
Check the words meaning so the sentence still makes sense. You don’t want to leave the reader perplexed. It’s time to go toast marshmallows over the combustion abyss.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Perplexed
Massive

Solicited advice.

Twinkle – The word prompt of the day.

There are all kinds of things associated with the word twinkle. It’s a word that conjures the image of light and joy. Twinkle toes, the twinkle of tinsel on a Christmas tree, the moonlight twinkling on the midnight water, a child’s lullaby about stars. For me today the idea of publishing my book has put a twinkle in my eye.

I’m not a fool, I know when I’ve reached my limit and need to solicit professional advice. So I did. Yesterday I had a very motivating consultation. I was told that I am off to a good start and with a little polishing and a lot of work there is potential for my book to be published. I intend to put in whatever effort is necessary to accomplish this task.

My query.  It needs work. I was glad to hear this, because not only did I find out what was wrong, but what to do to fix it. It really was dismal and now it’s showing real promise.

My synopsis. Believe it or not, had a lot of tell, not show. Oops. Well that’s fixable. I also shied away from putting it all out there, laying the full story on the line ending and all. That will be corrected. It is harder to spill the beans when your story contains mystery that was carefully worked in. Keeping it in two pages 12pt double spaced is not an easy task.

My first 50 pages. This is what set me up on cloud nine. While not perfect, I was told my writing is clean, suspenseful and it has good flow, action and dialog. This matches up with what a few others have said, and I can’t tell you how amazing it is to know that it’s not problematic.

My overall word count is still high. I will do what I can to address that. I’m sure if I go over the manuscript carefully I can clean up some sentences.

So armed with the information I need to proceed, the path to publishing is not indirect as it used to be. I am much closer to querying agents in earnest and that is very exciting.

My advice about getting professional help.
Research the professional. What do they have to offer and how professional are they about it? Check many reviews and critiques. Take the time to make sure, if you are paying for a service, that you are getting your value from it. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice out. If you want others to take you and your writing seriously, then do so yourself.

-Sheryl

PS I’ve been playing with new logo designs. What do you think of the one I used for this post?

Other posts related directly to this one.

The not-so-direct path to publishing.

The first 50 pages.

Query letter “creativity drought”.

The prickly process of writing a Synopsis.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 

Twinkle

Over used and oft abused.

Ah, the word shiver. Over used and oft abused. This is on my personal list of filter words. One that is injected into a sentence to replace showing an emotion. I find it in plethora among the words of a romance, horror or mystery. Or just dumped in to lazy writing, like I’m guilty of. 😉

At first I used this word freely, it’s a great way to express an obvious feeling right? Well yes and no. People shiver for different reasons, it’s those reasons that suggest this blanket word can be stretched out or removed altogether.

Example 1.

Billy’s fingers gently brushed the back of her arm sending pleasant shivers across her body. (15)

Not a bad sentence really. A few unnecessary words. If I’m also worried about (word count) I would remove gently and pleasant, they are implied anyway. Three words doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up quickly.

Her skin tingled as Billy’s fingers brushed the back of her arm. (12)

Example 2.

Elouise shivered suddenly for no reason whatsoever. “Someone must have walked across my grave.” She muttered to herself. (18)

Meh, it could use a little trimming and rewording.

Elouise frowned and rubbed her arms. “Someone must have walked across my grave.” (13)

Example 3. (I still write like this.)

Tod had never felt so bone achingly cold in his life. He was shivering so hard his teeth chattered loudly. (20)

Now I know enough to rewrite it to this. FYI the word felt is a super filter word.

Tod wrapped his arms around his aching body, unable to stop his chattering teeth. (14)

Do I never use the word shiver? No, it’s a fun word that evokes a personal response. I do use it sparingly or try to anyway. Sometimes a plain ole shiver is just what the story needs, especially if there is no established reason for it.

My advice about overuse.
Overuse can happen with any word, shiver is just an example. Make a list of ‘important’ words you see too often in your writing and then see how often you actually use them. Then see if you can switch it up or swap it out, but don’t jeopardize the story or the flow if you can’t think of a way to change it.

-Sheryl

 

Other related Posts.

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Show and tell

Tag! You’re it.

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Shiver

Obvious

Jeopardize

Bam! Pow! Kaboom!

There is a part of my writing that makes me actually sit up and enter typo land as their unchallenged champion.

Violence and action. I LOVE a good action scene in a book, especially when it’s fun, interesting and Fierce. When I’m preparing to write my own, I sit and envision the scene over and over. Each persons’ actions and reactions and what’s going on around them. It’s a lot to take in let alone get out into written word.

My first action fight scene is a long one, several chapters in fact. It had to be, a lot happens. The entire story is pulled in, the whole point of it all is laid out and the villains for the next book are introduced and humanized.

That isn’t the first violent action scene in the book, but the first one I wrote. After I finished the first draft it was evident something was missing. So I wrote an intriguing and dangerous introduction for a character who is basically the reason the whole story takes place. I honed and revised that chapter so many times until I knew it flowed well and was pleasing to the imagination.

Writing violence is fun, but risky. The temptation to become melodramatic, cheesy or start telling vs showing is strong. I had oodles of tag lines, filter words and typos in the action scenes. Some of the reactions were over the top and they needed to be toned down to more realistic responses. Sure the science fiction allows for a certain amount of embellishment in the action department, but even fantastic it needed to be believable within the parameters I set throughout the story.

My advice about action and violence.
Get it out of your mind and onto paper or the screen. Once there, whip it into shape and draw the reader in by showing not telling the events. Action is exciting and violence is thrilling, it’s a great way to jolt a timid story or give a character reason to progress, regress or become someone altogether different.

-Sheryl

 

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Show and tell

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The ‘been there, done that’ people

I have no illusions to the fact that I need sometimes need an expert’s advice and help.  Why? Because I am not a professional writer nor editor and there are always going to be someone that knows more or has more experience than I do. I would be a fool to pass it up for ego’s sake.

That advice and information that I’ve found has been instrumental to me getting where I am today with my book. I have seen some people shun the advice of experts for a few reasons. Ego, laziness, and even fear. Yes fear. Taking advice from someone ‘better’ than I am, can be intimidating. What if they say my work is crap? But, what if they don’t? Even if they did, I would hope that they would advise me on what is needed to un-crappify it.

Without advice I would never have turned this:

The seats were all full at the coffee shop. Abigale liked routine and needed to sit. Even though the other occupant at the table was that annoying guy she approached him.
“May I sit here?” She asked.
“I don’t think so.” He replied and put his foot on the chair.
“Jerk.” She said and walked away.

Into this:

The café was unusually busy with the patrons from the busker’s carnival outside. Abigale needed her routine, sit, drink her coffee and read blogs before work. There was only one seat at a small table; and that unpleasant lowlife was seated at it.

She hastily glanced around and swallowed her pride. “Excuse me. May I sit?”
Billy looked up from his book. “I don’t think so.” He put his sneaker-clad foot on the vacant seat.
Her mouth fell open and she furrowed her brow with a hard exhale.

A young couple nearby surveyed the area and made eye contact with Billy.
He smiled at them. “I’m done here if you two want these seats.”
“Oh thank you so much.” The young woman sat when Billy moved his foot and stood.
“You’re a first class jerk.” Abigale lowered her chin with a sneer.
Billy dunked his finger in her coffee. “You have no idea.” He stuck his finger in his mouth and left her staring after him in shock.

With some simple rules from those that have ‘been there and done that’, I was able to learn to turn a simple encounter into an annoying one.

My advice about experts.
Seek them out, take what advice you need and learn from them. You don’t have to do every single thing they say, but be open minded. Don’t forget some ‘experts’ are merely know-it-all’s with nothing constructive to say. I don’t pay them much attention.

-Sheryl

 

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Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

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Copyediting. Why I didn’t pay someone to destroy my fragile confidence.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 

Expert