A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Check it out!

A New Daily Prompt

Hi Everyone. I have seen a lot of bloggers upset over the loss of daily prompts. I am going to give this a go and see how it works. I will have a page dedicated to this prompt.

The first prompt will appear tomorrow. I will be linking that post to this blog, please spread the word and let’s all have fun and share.

Here is the site’s link. Share, reblog and let anyone missing a daily prompt — hosted in one location consistently — know about it.

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/06/10/hello-fellow-bloggers-who-miss-the-daily-prompt/

 

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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

In the eye of the beholder

Eyes are an obvious method to convey emotion.  However they are limited in possibilities. I bat my lashes as much as the next writer and I know a good glare when I see one. Relying on the eyes is not enough it is only part of the story.

The human body parts works as one, it gives away more emotion and can speak louder than words. Emotion is expressed in gestures, movements, facial expression and even breathing.

Now is not the time to get artistic. I know better than to mix angry actions with kind or shy with boisterous expressions. Keep it real, or the reader might not be able to play along. That’s right play along. I know I’m not alone in this, when I’m reading a scene and the protagonist bites their lip I sometimes to the same. If they hold their breath I might be mimicking the same. But only if the scene has pulled me in by showing me the emotion to the fullest. As I read I want to be in the story what better way than to be able to facially take part? I will attempt to get through the next part of Sasha’s story without a single eye reference, direct or indirect.

Lunch was a disaster. Across from Scott, Sasha rearranged the food on her plate with her fork, as he once again monopolized the conversation. He had cornered her at the office and insisted, she gave in not wanting to make a scene. After forty minutes of Scott flirting and bragging she paid her share and got up to leave.
“Hold on.” Scott called as he caught up to her outside. “What’s the rush?”
“I have a lot of work to get done.” She picked up her pace.
“Ah come on Sasha.” He grabbed her arm forcing her to stop.
Yanking it free she held her breath and pursed her lips.
“What do I have to do?” Scott lowered his chin and stepped closer forcing her back against the wall of the restaurant. “Why are you so afraid of men?”
“Afraid? I’m not afraid of men Scott. I’m just…” She pinched the bridge of her nose and took a deep breath. Upon releasing it she dropped her hand.
“Someone broke your heart huh?” He brushed the back of his hand from her chin along her jaw to her ear. The corners of her mouth fell, she turned her face from his as he moved to kiss her. He snorted, gripped her chin and moved her face and pressed his lips to hers.
Her hands pushed on his chest, but he held her tight. Again it wasn’t horrible, a pleasant warmth filled her chest beneath his tightly gripped hands. His soft lips pressed hard as his fingers pulled her chin to open her mouth. His gentle tongue moved too fast.  The mix of forcefulness and gentleness was wrong and she pulled her head back and shoved him hard.
“Don’t.”
“Why not? Give me one good reason. Not some crap excuse Sasha. I’m a dammed good catch for.” He clamped his mouth shut, her head tilted slightly to the side.
“For what Scott?” She waited for him to say ‘someone like you’.
“I’m a good catch for you, and you for me.” He smiled. “Why don’t we go out for some drinks tonight. Maybe dance and have some fun.”
“Not tonight I need to work on a project. Maybe another night.”
“Right, so you can find a more believable excuse later? Do you know why Amber is so hostile lately? Why the gossip is mostly about you?”
She opened her mouth and nothing came out.
“She wants me, but I want you. You, who wont even kiss me back for more than five seconds. You parade around the office cold and detached, apart from everyone, doing your own thing and upstaging everyone. Show some passion Sasha, for someone or something other than work.”
“I kissed you back isn’t that enough of a start?”
“I’m to be grateful your frozen lips moved, even if nothing else did?”
She walked away fast shaking her head fighting back tears. Scott apologized repeatedly and tried to recant. She didn’t acknowledge his desperate backpedaling. All she could think was ‘why is he backpedaling at all?

That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I know I rely on the eyes too much and am constantly working on alternate expressions. This is where closing my own eyes and envisioning the interaction is key. I wouldn’t cut out the eyes completely, but I’m more aware to rely on them less.

My advice about cutting out the eyes.
Give it a try, not literally of course, that would be gross and scary.

-Sheryl

A couple older posts:

Eyes that carry worlds

Ghosts that write stories

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Rearrange

“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

I’m just me

I wanted to thank all the people that take the time to read my posts and the new visitors that dive into the archives reading the older ones.

Many of you give compliments and praise generously and I appreciate that you find value in what I have to say. I started this blog after a recommendation to improve my platform as a writer.  I’m glad I did, this is fun. I try to keep my posts light, interesting and if I can, funny.

I took a look back over my history, since I started I’ve posted 63 posts, I’ve had 2931 views, 1050 visitors,  2955 views, 1141 likes and 448 comments. I don’t mention this to brag, I’m not sure what constitutes exceptional or lame in regards to blogging. I mention it to say thank you, if only one person visited and found value in what I have to say that would be enough. I appreciate the time and effort you, my fellow bloggers put into your sites and posts and therefore appreciate when you take time to visit mine.

That being said, I see many people comment that they would like to write a book or wish they could write a book. There is so much advice out there and even some that deters aspiring authors such as yourselves to take the leap and write a book. I say go for it. It may work and may not, but if you don’t try you’ll never know. And who’s to say your first attempt has to be the last? Courage, confidence and a whole lot of effort, that’s what you need. Don’t worry about what others say, in fact I didn’t tell anyone about my book until I was comfortable to do so. My husband didn’t see it until I was done the first draft. Months after I finished the first draft is when I found my courage to tell others. My fears were unfounded and everyone is supportive and kind. And so far many have loved my book.

I went to school for fish and wildlife technologies. Not English lit, history, psychology or any of the areas of study that typically lead to professional writing. So no, I’m not a scholar nor do I have a degree or doctorate. I’m just me, happy and writing what’s in my mind and heart. If I can do it, so can you. It’s not easy and since I’m approaching traditional publishing its a long and not so straight road. All my posts are bits and pieces of what I have learned along the way, and will be about what I still have yet to learn. It’s hard work and takes patience, but that makes it all the more worthwhile.

My advice to you today.
Don’t worry about how rough your first draft is, that’s what revision and editing is for. And above all else, be as generous as others are to you. A lovely comment on a well written post may just give someone the boost they need to take the step toward achieving their writing goals, or dreams, or brighten their day.

Thanks again everyone.

-Sheryl

My first three posts:

The “word count” down.

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

No “Filter Word” Parking Here
Generous

Hey! Its’ Interjection

When I’m writing conversation I try to make it flow and express emotion the situation clearly. Conversation is not meant to be filler, nor should it ever be. It must be part of the story, what keeps it moving forward while developing characters and their relationships.

I have learned that a simple statement can be read out of context very easily(I’ve experienced this). The reader isn’t necessarily on the same page as I am, and cant possibly be on the same page if I don’t make my writing and intent clear. This leaves the reader to jump to voicing conclusions and set the tone themselves. This can be influenced by their own mood. You hope that they get it right in their minds voice, that it sounds appropriate. Chances are, if you’re hoping and they’re guessing, it will be wrong. This can lead to a frustrated reader when they find out you meant something different than what they interoperated. Bad writer, now go have a time out!

One word can make all the difference. Without action tags these can still express the feeling or emotion. When I’m trying to dress up a lame statement for a night out on the conversation, I’ll try a few approaches to find the winning outfit.
One simple interjection at the beginning dramatically change the statement.
An interjection in grammar is:

1.    Any member of a class of words expressing emotion, distinguished in most languages by their use in grammatical isolation, as Hey! Oh! Ouch! Ugh!

2.    Any other word or expression so used, as Good grief! Indeed! *source: dictionary.com

I’ll start with this.
“I have so much to learn.”
Yawn… Let’s interject some style.

“Ugh! I have so much to learn.”

“Yay! I have so much to learn.”

“Oh no! I have so much to learn.”

“Damn! I have so much to learn.”

That cleared it up a bit. If I read any one of those I would give it the right tone or expression.

Now changing the tone can be as easy as changing the action tag. Like swapping flats for heels. Or a suit for a tuxedo.

Dressed to under-impress:
“Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha opened the door.
Sweatpants and t-shirt effort. Lame. How did she open the door? What was she doing? What tone did she have in her voice? How can I expect a reader to know what’s in my head? Back to the dressing room we go. Let’s try it with an action tag then with the tag and the added word.

Frustration or impatience
“Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha tilted her head back rolling her eyes to the ceiling as she opened the door.
“Ugh! Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha tilted her head back rolling her eyes to the ceiling as she opened the door.

Excitement
“Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha grinned as she opened the door.
“Yay! Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha grinned as she opened the door.

Urgency
Sasha glanced at her watch. “Come on, it’s time to go.” She opened the door quickly.
Sasha glanced at her watch. “Oh no! Come on, it’s time to go.” She opened the door quickly.

Annoyance
“Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha furrowed her brow as she opened the door.
“Damn! Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha furrowed her brow as she opened the door.

Anger
“Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha stomped her foot as she opened the door.
“Argh! Come on, it’s time to go.” Sasha stomped her foot as she opened the door.

I try to make each sentence or statement count. I may not succeed but if I address most of them I happy.

My advice about Interjections
I generally use them sparingly because they often come with the mighty over used exclamation point. If the situation is intense or needs a strong reaction, try them. Don’t forget  to try an action tag.

-Sheryl

Related posts worth checking out:
Unidentified Fervent Outburst!

Show and tell

Tag! You’re it.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Jump

It’s a love hate sort of thing

I spend a lot of time talking about feelings. How to show them instead of just tell them. That’s because the books I’ve loved the most suck me in and make me feel. However, there are times when showing an emotion can get lost if the context is missing. If I forget to set up or keep up the scenario it can be misread or taken, well a whole other way. Ideally, this would be part of a bigger picture, but what if it’s not?

 Balor put his hand on Sasha’s shoulder as she backed up into the counter.
“You need to leave.” She squeezed her eyes shut. She barely knew him, this can’t be .
His fingers brushed the side of her neck and she whimpered.  “I’ll teach you a thing or two.” Balor’s deep voice made her lips tremble. “Teasing me at the bar.”
“I didn’t mean to.” Sasha had barely looked at this man.
She spent most of the night trying to ditch Valery and Anne. She gasped for air as Balor gripped her Stylish“>stylish pink shirt in his left hand and brought his other hand up to her clammy neck. She moved her trembling fingers behind her reaching for the counter.

The door flew open and Balor let her go.
“What’s going on here!” Cal advanced on Balor fists clenched, he swung hard and fast at Balor, the sickening smack of fist to jaw made her flinch as Balor hit the floor.
“Did you follow me too?” Sasha’s legs wobbled.
“Dammed right I did. I saw this scum follow you out of the bar.” 

That’s not much to go on, so what did you take from it? What emotion was being shown through Sasha? I put in all the correct emotional responses in, I didn’t cheat. Yet it wasn’t clearly showing what I wanted. Still even in that scrap, the reader should know what’s going on.

What was really happening.

Balor put his hand on Sasha’s shoulder as she backed up into the counter.
Screaming was pointless nobody would hear.
“You need to leave.” She squeezed her eyes shut, she barely knew him.

His fingers brushed the side of her neck and she whimpered.  “I’ll teach you a thing or two.” Balor’s deep voice making her lips tremble. “Teasing me at the bar.”
“I didn’t mean to.” She had barely looked at this man, she spent most of the night trying to ditch Valery.
Cal was the one that made her laugh; he made her feel alive again.
She gasped for air as Balor gripped her stylish pink shirt in his left hand and  brought his other hand up to her clammy neck. She moved her trembling fingers behind her reaching for the counter as he raised his fist to strike her. If she could reach the knives, she might survive this.

The door flew open and Balor let her go.
“What’s going on here!” Cal advanced on Balor fists clenched, he swung fast and hard at Balor, the sickening smack of fist to jaw made her flinch as Balor hit the floor.
“Did you follow me too?” Sasha’s legs wobbled.
“Dammed right I did. I saw this scum follow you out of the bar.” Cal pulled out a badge and a pair of handcuffs. “Detective Cal Thorne.”

Taken out of context or not shown properly you might think that the first attempt was a romantic interlude and a jealous lover. However, her emotional responses belonged to Terror. The reason I brought this up was that I was reading a book this summer and set it down. I didn’t get back to it for a while and when I picked it up, what I read didn’t make sense. It was a large block of a chapter missing specific content. Sure, it was there but not right away. I had to go back a couple of pages to get the right feel and read it again.

In the grand picture the creepiness of Balor following her is clear as is his initial and violent contact when she gets home. But what if you had set the book down and couldn’t get back to it for a while and tried to pick up at that point?

My advice about showing feeling without context.
Put it in even if it’s subtle and just a little. For example, love and hate can be similar in select action tags.  You don’t want someone’s intense fevered stare of hate to be read as an intense fevered stare of love just before a fist fight, that might be awkward.

-Sheryl

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Stylish
Survive

Hold your tongue!

I’ve talked about blabbermouths and chatty people in Shut your cakehole. I’ve discussed keeping dialogue out of scenes for logical reasons in Shhh don’t say a word. There are times when I feel dialog needs to be left out to make a point or establish a characters frame of mind.

When it comes to people, there are those that are quieter than others are. They speak less frequently and often only contribute when there is something important or witty to say. These are the characters that impart wisdom and random insights that can stun others, change the direction of the story or even provide a key observation to move the plot forward. There are also those that for extenuating circumstances clam up and have little or nothing to say.

For these people I will write them in a conversation by an appropriate action. Especially if the conversation is contrary to their personality. If the conversation is annoying to them I might have them roll their eyes, then have a chatty chipper person call them out only to respond with a mere shrug.

“I can’t believe that happened!” Valery raised her hand to cover a giggle.
Anne leaned closer to Sasha and Valery. “I know right?”
“Of all people, he flirts with Sash.” Valery grinned at her frowning friend. “You little minx you.”
“For someone dressed for Sunday school you sure are getting a lot of attention tonight.” Anne glanced at the handsome man named Balor the first of two to flirt with Sasha and downed a tequila shot. She and held one out for Sasha who waived it away.
Valery giggled again then leaned into Sasha. “That Cal guy was totally trying to get your attention, and the other one, a smidge weird, but still into you.”
Sasha rolled her eyes and glanced over at Cal. He smiled, she looked back at the shooter Anne held in front of her face and gently pushed it away.
Valery set her drink down hard on the table. “Oh common Sash, lighten up you need to move on already.”
Sasha pursed her lips, narrowed her eyes and stalked off to the restroom.
“Should we go after her?” Anne downed Sasha’s tequila shot.
“Nah.” Valery waved her hand in Sasha’s direction. “She needs a dose of reality.” “Or a good lay.” Anne burst out laughing.

 Not talking doesn’t mean Sasha is always this way, she is in an uncomfortable situation and her friends are being pushy and loud. It is a good way to show her annoyance and impatience, set the tone for her pending character development, and maybe hint at a backstory.

My advice about silence in dialogue.
It can be a very good way to bring depth to a character, or prepare them for their journey of self-discovery or change. Alternatively, it can be a good personality trait. Either way, don’t forget that not everyone has to participate in the conversation.

-Sheryl

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Shut your cake hole

Shhh… Don’t say a word.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Silence