What I’ve been up to.

What I'm Up To Update

Hi everyone. Life has gotten busy again! Thank goodness summer is here and now I can shift the type of busy to summer fun-busy.

I recently joined Twitter and have been figuring that out. (Yes I know I’m behind the times) If you write books and are not on twitter, get on twitter. While I have been building a following of fellow writers and literary agents, I have stumbled across Twitter contests called PitMad and SFFpit. I found PitMad one hour before it ended and SFFPit a couple weeks in advance. I hadn’t had any time to write a post about them or twitter… I wrote another book. (between reading other books while exiled from technology for hours a day.)

Good excuse right? This one’s a romance, straight up. It’s third in line for editing and revision now… I’ve never written a romance before. I tend to lean on Urban fantasy, science fiction, and magical realism. it needs a bit of descriptive beefing-up and there’s a hole in the plot that I knew would be there and needs to be fixed. I also have another story brewing that I might not be able to keep on the backburner for much longer. So far it feels like a Paranormal Romance – Urban Fantasy. I’m still fleshing out the details.

On top of that I started the “Your Daily Word Prompt” and reading and catching up on posts, I know I’ve been missing and possibly neglecting some. Sorry about that. So far so good, people seem to be enjoying the prompt, the more the merrier, people can participate via pingback or comment in the day’s’ post. I’m open to suggestions for words if you want to send me a message through the “contact me”. I’ve had a couple comments on the layout that I will address in July so feel free to let me know if you think a color or style isn’t working for you and I will take it into consideration. I’ve kept the daily word prompt separate from my regular blog so the prompt posts don’t get mixed into my regular and personal posts. They will remain scheduled and my attempt or hope is that each prompt word is new and fun.

I’m in the thick of querying agents for Prophecy Ink (Sort of on hold at the moment while I do some more research.)  I was super excited to get a request for materials today from a SFFPit pitch. I hope once I get into a groove and things in my personal life settle down I’ll get everything running smoother than it has been as far as reading posts and posting them.

Thanks for sticking it out and being awesome blog-friends.

Keep writing and creating from the heart.

-Sheryl

Don’t forget to check out, share and follow the new daily prompt I host. Today’s Prompt is: Adulation
DAILY POST PARTICPIATE

What a view I have!

Point of View. This is a topic of great conversation. I have brushed on it multiple times in many blogs, but have not dived into it just yet. The point of view is the view or voice that the story’s narration is written.

When I write, I work hard to either stay in one POV or edit it back to one POV. BiaAtlas actually has two character POV. It started with three, but that was too much so I made it two. Honestly I’m happy with that and I still had a small sample of a third POV that I couldn’t quite get out completely. This is okay because I kept them separate from the others.

There are four types of POV writing, first, second, third – limited and third-omniscient. I will explain each but to give them proper attention and not have a mile long post, I’ll tackle one at a time.

Let’s talk about first person. First person writing is identified by the use of the pronouns I, My and Me.  (I see often when people mix first person and third, it’s a bit hard to digest.) From what I’ve seen first person is a go to for romance and erotica, likely because they involve a lot of feelings, characters inner thoughts and emotions. There are a lot of books written in first that are young adult and quite popular, they follow one character only and from their point of view they experience it all. Nothing can ever happen away from the main character when this is the View choice.

There was one horribly popular/famous “romance/erotica” series that I really wanted to like but couldn’t because of the lack of… a lot. Because of the limited POV anything exciting or interesting that happened had to be witnessed by the character. Nothing too interesting did, it was a lot of people telling the main character stories about what happened. Ugh… doooo something main character, be interesting.

Anyway I digress. First person writing can be liberating without having to worry about the show not tell rule when writing… um no, wait that still applies. It is tempting when writing in first to constantly tell. Now my writing is not in first person, but I’ll adapt a bit for this example.

I sat there in the dark counting my inhales and exhales. To say it was all I could do would be accurate. There was no light, no sound and nothing more than smooth cold floors and unforgiving walls. Well there was a door. The damned door with no handle, window or anything tangible. I left fear behind hours ago, well it seemed like hours ago. It could be minutes or even days for all I know. Go on the blind date they said, it will be fun they said. Sure if being locked in a light free room is fun. I suppose that counts. 

When the door opened I closed my eyes, resisting the instinct to look. I opened them slowly to adjust to the blaring beam of light.
“Get up.” Marko the abductor commanded. 
Gladly I thought. What Marko the asshole doesn’t know, might actually kill him. I shuffled to my feet looking as unimposing as possible. My shoulders taught and jaw clenched. He’d drugged me to get me here, it would be the only way. I was going home, unless he has a gun. I looked. No gun.
“Let’s go Brenda, I have a surprise for you.”
Oh I bet you do. I shuffled toward the door. The second I got close enough I reeled my right arm back, and slammed his head into the wall as hard as my five three frame would allow. It was enough. Marko slid to the floor after the sickening thud of his head on the door frame.
“Right.” I looked down at him.”Moron I’m special forces.” I pulled him into the room and closed the door behind me. Now to find a phone and call the police. 

Oh. That perspective is fun to write. I’ve never written in first, other than my blog posts. I feel like there is a possibility here to discover. I think I may have to give it some serious contemplation for my new book series I’ve been brainstorming about. In first person I have access to emotions, thoughts and the protagonist’s perspective. It was kind of like writing my thoughts, how I would think, behave, feel and act in a situation. Huh.

My advice about first person writing. 
If you do this, be consistent. Stay in the perspective of your main and if you divide between two, separate them by chapters to keep the readers from getting confused.  Oh and don’t forget to still show emotions.

-Sheryl

Other posts I’ve written that other’s like;

Time to flip the switch

Shhh… Don’t say a word.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Discover

Misunderstanding miscommunication

People are separate beings. They think and act independently. Often communication can be misinterpreted and it can cause some issues. I love this human flaw. When a person thinks and says one thing that is misunderstood by someone else thinking their own thing. 

They got their wires crossed.  I try to include things that make people more human. So why not misunderstanding miscommunication?  In a tense or heated moment it is easy for someone to say something that can be taken the wrong way by another. That’s what makes it fun.  I am however careful to make sure that the misunderstood communication is relevant to both sides. Side A must have a clear reason for saying what they do and why and side B must have a clear reason for understanding it the way they do and a solid reason for doing so.  It can’t be random and must be valid for both sides of the situation. These are scenes I often spend a little extra time on to make sure both are right and both are wrong. 

The outcome of such misunderstandings can be small or great. It can impact the story not at all or be the tipping point for a serious fall out or drama. From misinterpreting a simple direction that may cause catastrophic results to having one’s feelings hurt from a poorly placed comment, the options are endless and bountiful.

Tony and Anne left Starches without saying a word or looking at each other. Ann zipped up her coat in time for Tony to pull her out to the street. The second the cool air hit them he spoke. “How could you?” Tony shot the words at her like bullets.

Anne kept up with his fast pace, she didn’t have a choice as he dragged her by the upper arm. Instead of answering, she looked away. Neil wasn’t entirely wrong about her and now Tony knew.
“I asked you a question.” He said as they rounded the corner. Her apartment was just up the quiet street.
“I don’t know.” She didn’t, not the answer he wanted nor what he was really asking. He didn’t ask again as they walked in tormented silence.
He stopped outside her apartment. “You’re not an insipid woman Anne, you just stood there and let him say…” Tony let her arm go, looked up to the dark cloudy sky and then back to her. “How could you?”
Anne opened her mouth to answer then closed it. Blinking rapidly she dug her keys out and unlocked the door. If he followed or not she didn’t know as she jogged up the four flights of stairs. She opened her apartment door, threw her keys and coat on the floor, kicked off her shoes and ran to her bedroom.

Tony picked up her coat and hung it, and his, in the closet before taking his shoes off and following her. Her response was extreme, too extreme. She was face down on her bed sobbing, her entire body shaking. He climbed on the bed beside her and rubbed her back.
“Why are you still here?” Her face in the comforter muffled her words.
“Because I’m confused.”
She shifted and looked at his honestly calm and confused face. She sat up wiping her face with the palms of her hand. Her makeup nicely smeared.
“I don’t understand. Some loser calls you names, you stand there letting him and instead of defending yourself you explained your actions to him.”
She chewed her lip as he spoke.
“How could you?”
Her eyes widened. “Oh, you meant how could I let him insult me?”
Tony’s head tilted to the side.
Anne covered her mouth with her hand. “I thought you were mad because I ah…”
“Had a one night stand?” Tony chuckled. “Maybe fifty years ago I would be. Who hasn’t? So?”
She looked at her make-up smeared hands and he got off the bed to get a damp cloth. She was chewing her lips again. “Thanks.” She took the cloth and started wiping her face.
“Anne, I feel like I’m on repeat tonight. So?”
“Oh. Right.” She averted her eyes avoiding his. “Um I was embarrassed and…” She scrunched her face. “I was for the first time ashamed of myself.”
“Here, you’re missing it all.” He took the cloth and started wiping her face for her. “Go on.”
“I’ve never.” She swallowed hard. “Cared before.”
“Cared?” He finished and set the cloth on the nightstand.
“Of what others think of me. I do what I want, when and how I want. I don’t live by anyone’s rules but my own.” Anne sniffled and wiped a tear away.
“Why now?”
“You.” She looked at his face. His days beard growth dark and shadowing his jaw. “I cared what you thought.”
His grin made her furrow her brow. “Oh you care do you?” He shifted toward her forcing her to fall back on her hands. He moved over her smiling down at her scrubbed face. “So all this upset was because you cared what I thought? You were worried I would reject you?”
She nodded as he put his hand on her cheek and made her lay back.
“For having lovers before me?”
She nodded again. “I’ve never kept a guy around long.” She pressed her face into his palm. “I’ve never wanted to.” She swallowed hard again. “Before.”
“Well.” Tony lowered his face closer to hers. “That makes me feel special.” His lips found hers parted and responsive. His hand lowered from her cheek to the back of her head and neck. He would not rush this with her.

Anne stared into Tony’s steel-blue eyes mere inches from hers as her lips parted her breath shallow and warm.
“That’s how I know.” He brushed his thumb over her rapid pulse and smiled.
Anne swallowed and whispered. “Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.” Tony’s soft smile reflected hers. “From the first moment I touched your ankle you’ve responded to me like no other has. I knew I didn’t want to just be another guy you dated.”
“You didn’t?”
“Oh no Anne, I wanted to be the last guy you dated.” He gently lowered his lips over hers as their eyes closed.

Aww, sometimes a misunderstanding can have wonderful results. Tony and Anne have very little strife in their relationship, it’s also very new. They don’t know each other too well so it’s bound to happen that their communication doesn’t always connect. 

My advice about having misunderstandings.
They are awesome to include, just take the time to set them up right, and make sure both sides have reasoning. 

-Sheryl

Other posts I wrote

But I hate that

I swear! Or do I?

The FAB pencil

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Calm

Isn’t it romantic?

Similar to tender moments, building chemistry between characters romance can just as easily enter the realm of mushy cornball-skip to the end of the chapter – unreadable crap.

Who doesn’t love a little romance? I know I do. In fact many books and stories I read have a little or a lot. People like romance, the thrill of seeing love and the potential of sex. The genre of the story will often determine how much or how little romance will be in a story. It is however, ultimately up to the writer. I personally enjoy a little lead up, flirting and tender moments that bring two people closer. Romance should be personal. It is in real life.

I thought I’d try something different. For a few different couples I’d turn this simple three-line romantic conversation into something moving and individual for each couple. The rule, I can only use these three lines for dialogue.

“That’s how I know.”
“Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.”

Okay I’ll start with Dale and Amber, an atypical relationship, but one with potential.

Amber pursed her lips, lowered her chin and glared at Dale. His chuckle and glittering eyes made hers narrow at him. His apologies and persistence only made her blood boil. He was being an ass and wouldn’t stop asking her to dinner so they could talk.
He gestured at her overly defensive posture and pouty lips. “That’s how I know.”
“Know what?” Amber furrowed her brow at him and crossed her arms.
He chuckled and tapped her protruding bottom lip with his index. “That you’re worth the effort.” He walked away leaving her to stare after him, her lips parted and jaw slacked.

Hmm who’s next?  How about…  Valery and Jackson. Neither are romantic people, but perhaps they could have a moment.

Their schedules rarely coincided. Valery had almost given up seeing Jackson this week it was such an effort just to get time with him. His text earlier said he was swarmed with demanding clients and as in his style, he canceled his plans and showed up anyway. She was worried sick over Sasha being hidden away by some hot detective and her idiot boss was now MIA and she had to fill in. She needed some company badly.
And there he was, tall dark and ever so handsome. He tilted his head and gave her his best apology pout while holding out a bottle of her favorite Tintern Pinot Noir.  
Valery returned his smile with a sly one of her own. “That’s how I know.” She took the bottle and he followed her in. 
He took his coat and shoes off.”Know what?” 
“That you’re worth the effort.” She winked, grabbed his collar and kissed him deeply.

Last but not least, Tony and Anne

Tony’s hand lowered from her cheek to the back of her head and neck. He would not rush this with her. Anne stared into Tony’s steel-blue eyes mere inches from hers as her lips parted, her breath shallow and warm.
“That’s how I know.” He brushed his thumb over her rapid pulse and smiled.

Anne swallowed and whispered. “Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.” His eyes closed as hers did and he gently lowered his lips over hers.

Romance is worth the effort, at least it is for me. I plan and plot and scrutinize how to play it out. Subtle and tantalizingly stretched out or quick and passionate. Whatever I decide for those moody moments I know it has to be personal to the couple otherwise it’s like cut and past romance writing that just seems somehow wrong.

My advice about writing romance.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, keep it personal to the couple, watch the POV and show the reader, invite them in don’t just say “that’s romantic”.

Want to play? Give the three lines a try, and post a comment below with what you come up with for: (You can only use this dialogue.)
“That’s how I know.”
“Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.”

-Sheryl

The Ole Switcheroo

But I hate that

Desperately procrastinating

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Moody
Swarm

Tenderizing moments

Tenderizing moments. It’s not as easy as people think. I know if I’m not careful it can fall flat or cause serious eye rolling. Over the top smoochy rose petal laden sappy drippy drivel can quickly turn a good story into a giant cheese ball of corny.  I’m not talking about a romantic encounter or a well planned romantic rendezvous, I’m talking about a small moment of tenderness that shows the reader the extent of the love two people feel.  Show not tell. That is most important. Its super easy to say; “She felt warm and loved.” Or “her heart beat faster at the sight of him.” or even “Her heart swelled with love.” I prefer not to use the word love or any of it’s synonyms, I’d rather show it. Whether it’s romance or the love of friendship, family or siblings. A sweet moment should be simple and unique to the couple in it.

Adding flowery verses and overly proper dialogue can water-down the sentiment, because the reader is too busy trying to sort through the excess. Descriptions should match the emotions without too much clutter.

Tony turned the television off and looked at Anne’s peaceful face. Her lashes flickered in her sleep.  He reached over and brushed his thumb over her cheek. Her eyes fluttered and she opened them slowly, a soft smile curling her lips.
“I fell asleep.” She near whispered.
He kissed her forehead. “I have to go.” His warm voice fell over her like the fuzzy blanket she held close. 
“I wish you could stay.” She blinked slowly at him. 
A wish he himself had. Anne was warmth and comfort, he was about to head out to the opposite of that. “Would that I could Anne.” He brushed his lips over hers and pressed gently. Her warm exhale the invitation to continue. She had a generous kindness that he suspected stemmed from someone or someones being truly unkind to her in the past. Her delicate lips opened to his and he lost a moment in her welcome. He smiled as she opened her eyes again. 
“Goodnight. I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow.” She nodded as he went to put his jacket and shoes on. 

Valery picked at the rim of her paper coffee cup. The crease in her brow matched the pout of her lips. 
“Hey you.” Anne sat beside her friend at the booth. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m worried about Sash.” Valery nudged the half empty cup away.
Anne nodded. “Yeah it can’t be coincidence she disappears and that Crowen creep makes headlines.”
Valery leaned her head on Anne’s shoulder. “The police finally said she’s in protective custody or whatever they called it and she’s safe.”
Anne put her arm around Valery as she sighed. “I doubt they realize the folly of their ways by saying protective custody just makes us worry more.”
“Right?” Valery sat up. “Saying it means she’s in definite danger.”
Anne closed her eyes a moment. “And we can’t do a thing to help her.”
Valery put her hands over Anne’s. “No we can’t.”

The warm and fuzzies, a moment of love and understanding. I try not to dwell on them or make them too long simply to preserve the believability. Moments like these are best read aloud to ensure they are real and touching.

My advice about writing tender moments.
Keep it simple and avoid filter words that tell the moment instead of showing. Strong and passionate emotions should be felt by the reader not understood.

-Sheryl

Other posts

The world is your tainted oyster

Ow! That hurt!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
 Folly
Blanket

Conversing is easy…not!

There are some things in writing that irk me. I do my best not to do these things and try very hard not to let them minimize my writing.  There are some well-known authors out there that dabble in the ostentatious style of writing. Whether it’s a little or a lot, it can be tedious and frustrating to read.

I don’t enjoy when a scene is dressed up unrealistically or conversation is flowery and overdone. Writing can be extravagant without browbeating the reader into a puddle of eye rolling. I’ve talked about establishing the scene in Setting the mood and keeping it simple in KISS you’re writing. What about conversation?

Conversing is easy… not! Well it is in the real world. If I don’t write the way I talk and the way others actually respond then it can quickly become garish or even mundane if the conversation is unnecessary or could be easily replaced by a summary like I talked about in What happened yeserday?.

There are words I find in writing, even current books that are used outside narrative and within dialog that, honestly just don’t belong. Words that would never cross a real person’s lips. Sure I love to use “old fashioned” words and I adore the unusual, but too much is garish. It’s all about moderation.

For example:

The comfortable small lounge bar wasn’t crowded since it was a weeknight and not very late in the evening. “Scott, I do really enjoy our time out together. Thank you ever so much for treating me to a drink. After the overly busy and stress filled day I’ve had it is an extraordinarily kind gesture.”

Amber set her empty glass down on the round table, sat back on the soft cushioned couch and gingerly touched her bandaged forehead. It was so very small a cut, but bled so much it seemed a whole lot worse.

“You’re most welcome Amber, it is my utmost pleasure to cheer up your desolate mood. I too had a day that was hard and stressful. It would seem Dale is determined to the utmost to continuously point out that I was defeated by a woman so impervious and unobtainable.”

Scott waived at a server for refills and smiled at his friend. She was very attractive and extremely willing. That was however the entirety of the problem. He wanted a challenge, he wanted ever so much to conquer and win over a woman of moral fortitude. Amber was definitely a woman lacking discriminate taste when the matters of choosing potential suitor.

“Yes indeed, you can say that again Scott. Dale was gloating ever so much today. It seemed it was all he was capable of doing. Normally I would acquiesce and join in such banter, but Sasha is quite possibly the most elusive heartless stick in the mud I’ve ever acquainted with.”

First of all that was uber awkward and so over the top I gagged a couple times writing it. This is an extreme example but I read a lot and I’ve read some super awkward conversations that realistically would never happen. Or at least not in any situation I can think of. Maybe I’m wrong but if it’s awkward to read then it would be super awkward for people to actually say.

Let me tidy it up and modernize it a bit.

The small uncrowded lounge bar was perfect for an early evening drink. Amber downed the last of her martini. “What a super stressful crap-tacular day. I can’t thank you enough for treating me to a drink Scott.” Amber set her empty glass down on the round table, sat back on the soft cushioned couch and gingerly touched her bandaged forehead. The small attention-causing cut had bled profusely, but didn’t hurt then or now.

“No problem Stitches McGee” He teased. “I needed one as much as you. Dale was a dick all day, gloating about winning the bet. I should have known Sasha was a total unobtainable ice bitch.” He shrugged. “But my ego got in the way.”

Scott waved at a server for refills and smiled at his attractive and willing friend. He wanted a challenge, to conquer and win over a decent woman, which was not Amber. Amber was more fly by night, go where the bed sheets are open, not the kind of girl to bring home to mom and dad.

“You can say that again, I got sick of Dales crowing myself. Normally I would join in, but you didn’t deserve to be snubbed so coldly by princess frostbite.”

It is possible to have a character of wealth or education speak properly or with class, without them sounding like a pompous windbag throwback from an 1800’s romance novel. (Well unless it is a story set in the 1800’s then by all means have at it.) I have a character that speaks properly and never contracts words unnecessarily. He still uses jargon and I don’t overdo the filter words and unnecessary additives. The people he converses with speak normally, and are sometimes more flippant around him for contrast.

People speak differently, they have different lingual quirks and in a story, it’s painful to read dialogue that is the same across the board for each character. It makes for stiff conversation that I personally start skipping over or I’ll just put the book down.

My advice about ostentatious conversation.
Um don’t. Make sure each characters voice is as unique as they are. Give them catch phrases or lingual mannerisms that are theirs alone. Sure, you can have someone pick up a slang term from another and make fun with it, but really, just keep it realistic.

-Sheryl

Posts related and mentioned in this one

KISS your writing

Setting the mood

Missing body parts

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Ostentatious
Conquer