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

Building chemistry

I have set down books that fail to build proper inter-character chemistry.  Why? Because there is nothing more awkward than reading stiff lifeless interactions that feel forced or unwelcome. They should flow and feel organic to the reader.  I love a story that sucks you in, makes you feel at home and a part of the story. So if conversation or interactions fall flat, chances are I’ll either slog it out or set it down. As a writer that would be the ultimate worst to know someone felt that way. Therefore I spend extra time building the relationships, good or bad.

So what do I do when it comes to interactions? I know that I respond/react/interact differently with different people. This should be true for my characters. If I don’t have a clear set idea of how that is I will make sure to keep notes on it in my character bio’s. I Cant have Amber being friendly with Sasha for no reason. Or Anne talking silly with Tony. These aren’t always super obvious things either, a reader will appreciate the detail even if they don’t outright notice it. In fact, they may appreciate it more if they don’t.

Some things that a person might do with one person but not necessarily another

Joking around
Teasing
Flirting
Show respect
Touching – touch an arm, back or hand
Intent listening undivided attention
Eye rolling or sneering behind back

Chemistry isn’t always about romance or the potential for it, however, it is what people think of when the subject comes up. It is a big factor in story telling. So I will focus on that as well. Building romantic chemistry is a very serious business. A lot has to happen. Physical cues, verbal suggestions, behaviors, actions, and reactions. It’s an elixir of buildup. If I’m writing a sudden ‘romantic’ chemistry the scene will be intense and hold a lot of action tags and cues.  If I can build it up over time I like to sneak in little tidbits. Like touching of hands, blushing and things like seeking out their company over others and maybe doing small favors that have great meaning.  Subtle and flirty.

Since chemistry is an internal thing, for me it is tricky. I don’t use internal or first person POV. So I use a lot of action and description to show the chemistry instead of telling the reader it’s there. I find this is the best way to suck the reader into the romance and build the hope that the couple will get together.

The chemistry between friends should, in my opinion, be about making each other happy or comfortable. Set them at ease and or rev them up for stress releasing fun. An awkward show of friendship in the form of stiff interaction or conversation would be unbelievable to the reader. Real friends chill, tease and care.

Dale leaned his head back on the sofa. Scott handed him a beer and flopped down next to him. After a long draw, Dale sighed heavily. Scott glanced over at Dale’s miserable face, picked up the remote and turned on the game. Distraction was necessary.
Scott decided to go fishing for the right conversation topic. “Amber was weird today.”
Dale nodded. “Sure was.” he lifted the beer bottle to his lips.
Scott smiled slyly. “Rachael tripped today. She did a fantastic face plant into the meeting-room floor.”

The tension left Dale’s shoulders. The non-Amber conversation welcome. “Oh?” He finished the last half of his beer in one chug.
“No blood, but the clients got quite the show.” Scott got up to retrieve Dale another bottle. “Thanks.” Dale took the offered drink, sat back and settled in to watch the game.
“You should have seen it.” Scott began to tell the spiteful story.

Romantic chemistry seems easy to write, but in reality, it can be difficult to stay in POV and show instead of telling. Fluid movements and simple reactions are, in my opinion, the best way to illustrate this.

The stars twinkled in the cloud-free moonless sky. Anne breathed deeply the cool air as they left the restaurant. Immediately Tony slipped his hand in hers lacing their fingers. With a small smile, she glanced at the delighted gleam to his face.
“I’m not used to this.” Her confession needed no explanation. 
“I know.” He squeezed her hand gently and rubbed his thumb over the soft skin.
“How?” She licked her lips. “How do you know?”
“Because.” He lifted their hands and kissed the back of hers. She sighed softly and he smirked. “You react to every little thing I do as if it were some grand romantic gesture.”
“Oh.” She looked away and swallowed several times. It was true, she just didn’t know it was obvious. 
“Don’t act like it’s a bad thing, Anne.” Tony stopped, let go of her hand and made her face him. 
“It’s not?” Anne blinked slowly as his right hand brushed her cheek, cupping her face.
His lips parted and he leaned closer. “No.” His warm breath played across her lips and she shivered. Their eyes locked and she held her breath. “I’d say it’s a good thing.”
It was all she could do to nod her head, speaking was not an option. 

Whether it’s romantic, platonic or rivalry, the interaction between two people should be personal. I do my best to keep it this way because it not only reads better but it elicits emotions from the reader. I really try not to mix styles between characters. Scott and Dale can chill and depend on the other for distraction, I wouldn’t have them behave the same way exactly with other characters. This quiet understanding is strictly for them. Same goes for Anne and Tony, he’s not her first boyfriend, but he’s the only one she gets breathless around.

My advice about building chemistry.
Start from the first moment characters meet. If they have met or already know each other before the story starts, show their comradery or chemistry subtly and often in little ways that will endear the reader to them and their Symbiosis.

-Sheryl

Other romantic posts

Setting the mood

It’s a love hate sort of thing

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Fishing
Symbiosis
Elixir

What exactly did cupid do?

Conversation is necessary, it moves the story along. In one little conversation, I try to expose a little back story, a bit of character/persona show, and some allusion to back story and of course a little foreshadowing. I pack in as much as I can to make it worth writing in the first place.

If the conversation doesn’t have a point the reader will know. It will also drag the story down.  Each conversation should have a purpose, a reason for existing. Stiff conversation usually tells me I’m missing the human factor or emotion people exhibit when talking. If I read it aloud and it sounds like they are sitting stiff like Barbie and Ken then it needs a little smoothing out, relaxing of the sentences if you will. It also means I’m probably using filter words and too many dialog tags.

Let’s take a peek at the rough draft:

“Are you serious?” Val asked shocked and set her cup down.
“I am serious it maddening.” Anne replied sadly, “I like him, he likes me but nothing happens beyond kissing and cuddling.” Anne pouted. “Nothing.” 
“What is wrong with him?” Val asked.
“When I asked him about it do you know what he said to me?”
“What did he say to you?” Val asked and leaned closer. 
“He said he wants me to fall in love with him first because I am worth more than just lusty sex.”
“Aww Anne, that is so romantic.”
“I know,” Anne replied with disgust.
“So?”
“Well, if he walked away or I found out he is married or something, I would be heartbroken.”
“Oh. I understand.”
“Val, I swore I would not fall in love. I like being single and free. But he is just so perfect.”
“Is he too perfect Anne?”
“We do argue. He works too much. He bites his hangnails, slurps soup.”
“So cupid shot you with his arrow. Why can’t Tony see that?”
“I think it is too soon and you know I cannot say I love you to him.”

Blech, gag, and yawn. Oh boy.  SO if that was a first or rough draft of a conversation I would definitely need to soften that up, relax it and take the starch out. Oh and oops I have too much ‘tell’ and not enough ‘show’ going on. This always happens in my first attempt.

Revise time…

“You’re serious?” Val covered her mouth and set down her now empty paper coffee cup.
“Deadly.” Anne shook her head. “Nothing. He’s so sweet and hot and he kisses like nobody I’ve ever kissed before. There is too much chemistry yet…” Anne shrugged. “Nothing.” 
“What’s wrong with him?” Val waved her hands dismissing her question. ” Sorry, I mean…” 
Anne chuckled. “When I posted about it do you know what he said?”
“What?” Val leaned closer. 
Anne mocked Tony’s voice. “I want you to fall in love with me first.” Anne rolled her eyes. “I swear word for word, then he said because you’re worth more than just lusty sex.”
Val stomped her feet and clapped her hands quickly and lightly. “That is stupid kinds of romantic.”
“Ugh, I know.” Anne feigned disgust.
“So?”
Anne looked at her hands. “If only he knew. If he walked away or I found out he’s married or something, I’d be devastated.”
“Oh.” Val patted Anne’s hand. “You’re in deep aren’t you?”
Sighing heavily Anne nodded. “I swore I wouldn’t ever. But he’s just so perfect.”
“Too perfect?” Val grimaced.
“We argue. he’s annoying and works too much. He has the worst habit of biting his hangnails and slurps his soup. Oh and he puts his feet on the coffee table.”
“Yup. So how doesn’t Tony know cupid shot the crap out of you?”
Anne shrugged. “It’s too soon and I can’t say the words, so if that’s what he’s waiting for we’re doomed.”

I may be tooting my own horn, but I think that revision went well and reads better. The moment was experienced, not shoved down the reader’s throat. I think it’s important to really take a look at conversation and make sure it does more than babble. Anne has trouble with the word love and is reluctantly romantic, Val is a full on romantic and Tony is likable and charming.  That was fun to write and then revise.

My advice about cupids actions in writing.
Awww… everyone loves a little love, so long as the scene or conversation allows the reader to feel the jab of the arrow and live the moment not want to skip over it because it missed the target completely.

-Sheryl

Other posts

It’s a love hate sort of thing

KISS your writing

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Maddening

Lust

Squeaky Clean

Writing people is a complicated undertaking. Writing their interactions can be daunting… or oodles of fun if you want it to be. I love conversations that test the limits of a character. That broach the outer regions of their comfort zones. Yes they have to have them. I create each character as completely as I can flaws, quirks, mannerisms and all.

When I read a story and the protagonist and their love interest are too in tune, too perfect and ooy-gooy lovey-dovey constantly it’s gross. Nobody is that perfect, nobody. People have limits to what they will tolerate. Sure when you fall in love those things are often overlooked or tolerated, but they wear off eventually. The little annoying things start to annoy. Conversations should be lively and emotional. Anger, frustration and even dislike need to leak into all relationships.

People argue, they disagree. That doesn’t mean they have to fight outright, but unless they are relinquishing their person in entirety to the other, they should disagree with something at some point. Small or large it doesn’t matter as long as they are individuals in a relationship not a single entity of boring complacency. A strong independent person should not become completely submissive for the love of their partner. A weak and insipid person would not overnight become brazen and forward to please a lover. Change takes time, real change. If they do morph too quickly it’s got to be fake and short lived. The honeymoon wears off, people can’t and don’t change who they basically are for any sudden reason. Sure, they can make one or two modified decisions, but their core must be solid. If they are on a journey of growth and change this should happen slowly.

So every relationship I write I do my very best to make sure someone rubs someone the wrong way. I make sure that they strive to make the other happy, but don’t lose their annoying habits or basic foundation of who they are. A devil simply can’t become an angel overnight, unexplained as if by magic.

Dale spent the morning at his desk thinking and brooding. Lucky for him the workload was light with both Sasha and Clifton missing. The rumors were flying that they had run away together. He had no problem laughing and perpetuating that rumor. It was hilarious to think the glacial Sasha was hitting the creepy useless figurehead idiot boss.

Amber was ignoring him completely, but behaving like her old self otherwise. She ignored all attempts to contact her since the uber incident last night. Every time she laughed or giggled, his mood slipped darker. It took some planning but he knew he could catch her alone. One sneaky email and voila.

Amber tapped her toe waiting for the other staff to show. She glanced down at her watch as the door opened and Dale popped in, turned and closed the door quickly.
“Sit.” He said as she got up to flee the room.
She stopped and remained standing. “Go to hell Dale.”
“Look, you can be mad at me, I deserve it. Just talk to me.”
“Why? So you can call me a slut and suggest everyone other than you.” She stopped and lowered her voiced. “I’ll deal with it, you’re off the hook.”
“What do you mean by deal with it?”
“Not your problem.” She crossed her arms.
“It is half my-” He stopped. “Amber I let Scott put doubt in my mind. I believe you, I’m sorry it’s just a lot to process so quickly.”
She stared at him expressionless.
“What do you mean deal with it?”
She sighed and closed her eyes.
“No, please don’t Amber.”
“Why not? What do you care? Why do you care?”
He stepped closer to her. “I don’t sleep around either.” He put his hand on her arm. “I only have sex with people I like. I hoped you might stop looking at Scott with blinders and see me.”
Her abrupt laugh made him step back and pull his hand away.
“Oh Dale, you’re hilarious. You don’t like me romantically any more than I like you that way. I’ll raise it on my own. I can’t abort you moron. I’m catholic.” She chuckled. “Sort of.”
“Will you let me help? Be the dad I mean?”
She shrugged. “If you want. But if you do, you don’t get to half ass it and quit if you get bored or scared.” She moved past him to the door. “For the record, I only slept with you because Krista and Bria dared me to. They bet me I wouldn’t.”
Dale flinched when the door slammed behind her. She loved her games of betting and daring others. She instigated Scott’s dare to sleep with Sasha. It made sense that she would take a bet or dare from her snotty stuck up no good slutty friends.
“I bet those so called friends dump your ass the second they find out.” Dale spat the words at the closed door. His ego bruised, he did like her, but she only had eyes for Scott. “Fine. Be a bitch.” He opened the door while muttering under his breath. “Two can play that game.”

Stressful moment past, they have had time to adjust. Or so they think. Once the initial shock wore off I needed to have them slip back to their core behaviors. If I’m going to let them change it won’t be overnight. Dale and Amber aren’t nice people, they are bullies by nature. They feel superior, act it, and act on it.

My advice about squeaky-clean interactions.
Nope, nope, nope. People are messy, emotions are messy and people rarely react/act like they are expected to. Perfection is boring, super-duper, bang your head off the wall boring. Make it fun, dirty up the conversation a bit.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Yes… no… maybe?

The jerk-face warrior

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Flee
Clean

Ouch! My feelings!

Sometimes a character gets stuck on repeat. They just can’t get over an idea or past one. They will ask the same questions, do the same things and all because they just cant move forward. There are various reasons for this happening, perhaps it’s distrust or disbelief in another person. They might be confused or at their wit’s end. Perhaps they just don’t have a clue what to do or how to proceed. Whatever the case may be, it can make for fantastic drama and hurt feelings.

It had been a very long day. Tack on four hours of emergency overtime and the worlds most awkward late dinner and Amber was done.
Dale buttoned his coat as they left the restaurant. “I still don’t see why we had to play catch up for Sasha. It’s not our fault she disappeared.”
“You said that already.” Amber shoved her hands in her jacket pockets. “Three times.”
“Sorry. I’m…” Dale looked off to the distance.
“I get that this is weird and horrible and super sucky but you’re acting cold. You’re not a cold person Dale.”
He looked sideways at her, Scott’s words from earlier picking at his brain. “Are you sure, I mean a hundred percent certain it’s mine?”
Amber closed her eyes, exhaustion and frustration frayed her patience. “Why the hell would I lie about something like this?” She stopped walking and looked about. The closest people were far enough away not to hear. “Of all the damned things Dale why would I make this up? Do you think I want it to be you?” She shook her head. “Yeah, I’m a trashy little moron that thinks I can pin a pregnancy on any dupe. It’s not like there’s any magical mystical way to prove paternity.” She waved her hands and rolled her eyes.
“Yeah but are you sure?”
“Yes I’m sure.”
“What if it’s not? How would I know?” His words seethed with contempt.
“I may be a lot of things Dale, but I’m not a liar about serious things and I don’t sleep around. Not for real.”
“But it could be someone else’s. You’ve taken a few guys home in the past few weeks.”
“I haven’t.” Amber frowned at his angry face. “Screw you Dale.”
“Isn’t that what got you in this mess?”
She opened her mouth, shut it with a snap and stormed off.
He sighed and watched her walk away. It would be stupid to lie about this. Jogging after her, he caught up and grabbed her arm. “I’m sorry. It’s just Scott said-“
“Scott?” She turned a furious face to him. Of course Scott. She forgot all about her campaign to make him jealous. It didn’t work, but for some reason she kept doing it. Maybe she got a kick out of it.
“He said he saw you leave with men and get into an Uber taxi.”
“You can just say Uber.” She thought a moment. “I don’t know why I need to prove anything to you. I don’t know why I care at all what you think. Call Scott and ask him if he remembers the colour of the Uber car.”
Dale took out his phone with narrowed eyes. They started walking and Amber stopped in front of a bar. while he called.
“Well?” She asked as he put his phone away.
“White, he said it was weird but you always took a white cab.”
“Okay. My turn.” She took her phone out and sent a text. “Now when the car gets here, act drunk and like you’re going to get lucky.”
“Why?”
“Just do it.” She put her arm around his waist and leaned in. Two minutes later a white car pulled up. Dale started pawing and whispering nothing to her. Giggling she got in and he followed. “Hi Tom.”
“Hey Amber.” The driver scowled at Dale who was nibbling her neck. He pulled away from the bar, drove two blocks, pulled over and got out. Amber pushed Dale away as Tom opened the door on Dales side. “Ride’s over. Get out man, don’t make me pull you out.”
“What?” Dale sounded as confused as he looked.
“Get out, She’s not interested.”
“But?” Dale looked at Amber as she shrugged and smirked.
He got out, watched the white car drive away, took out his phone and sent Amber a text. “WTF?”
She replied. “I never take them home, it was just a show to make Scott jealous.”
“It it Toms?”
“Ass. Tom is my brother
.”

Dale stood there for a few minutes realizing she wasn’t coming back. With pursed lips he sent another text. “Is it Scott’s?
FU Drop Dead.”
He read her response a few times as he walked the short distance home. He glanced at his phone as a text came in. “I H8 U. Not UR problem anymore. UR off the hook, so relax .”
Dale punched his apartment door as he closed it behind him. “Ow, son of a-” He went to the kitchen to get some ice shaking his hand. “No doubt she’s bawling her eyes out.” He sighed and cursed discovering he had no ice. He closed the freezer and leaned his head on it. “Dammit.”

Dammit indeed. When I write characters that are under stress I try to remember to make them act a bit irrational and emotional. Creating tension and unhappiness is one of many options to bring a character down before they can get back up. Sometimes as the writer I feel the need to kick them when their down and see what their made of. I’m not sure where these two will go, neither are nice people.

My advice about hurting feelings.
It’s bound to happen, so go for gold and crush their make-believe hearts. Make em cry, ’cause seriously where else can you be totally malicious and hurt someones feelings with no real consequence? *insert evil laugh* writing is fun.

-Sheryl

Other posts

The FAB pencil

Getting a little touchy feely

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Mystical

The secret’s out

There is always someone who sees through lies and secrets. Someone that pays enough attention to those around them that they can pick apart a mystery, get to the center of it like a school of piranhas on a dead cow.  Right along with those that can see secrets, are those that can and can’t keep them. Those that can keep secrets are able to say no and mean it. Their word is their bond and their honor keeps them tight-lipped. They are not to be confused with liars who will look you in the face and tell you they are not eating sugar as they chew on a candy cane. Of those that can’t keep a secret, they are the blabbermouths the ones that you know will spill the proverbial beans the second someone asks a remotely related question. People that can’t keep a secret to save their lives can also be used, drop a good rumor their way and they do all the work.

A good secret in a story is foreshadowed, set up or at least alluded to at some point before the reveal. Otherwise, the secret is actually just a surprise. It can be fun to have secrets. Sometimes the secret is deep and kept by one. These are usually darker secrets or ones that would bring shame. Secrets between friends can be fun to play with.

They can also be dangerous, feelings can be hurt, people can feel left out or ostracized. They can damage reputations and even bring someone to self-loathing or possibly self-harm.

It’s simple the bigger the secret the bigger the reaction. Small secrets can evolve and grow if they are nurtured properly.  I love secrets; they lend an air of mystery and mischief that can bring out the best and worst in people.

“I swear time is going backwards.” Anne muttered under her breath and narrowed her eyes at her screen. She and Dale had a lot to talk about later and her nerves were shot.
“Bar tonight?” Scott leaned over her shoulder. “I could use a wingman.”
“I’m not a man Scott.” Amber pushed him away.
“Wingwoman, whatever. Forget it. Let’s get drunk and fool around.”
Amber stopped typing and stared at him. “What did Dale tell you earlier?” She glanced at his empty cubicle. He was avoiding her completely since the gift giving earlier.
“That he has no taste in women.”
Amber huffed through her nose. “You are a jerk Scott. I don’t know why I held a torch for so long.”
“Ah you still want me, I’m yours and tonight’s your chance.”
“No I don’t. You’re not mine and no it’s not my chance.” She stood and glared up at him. “You’re playing a game, I’m not an idiot.” She pushed past him and headed for the ladies’ room. He stopped her outside the door, grabbed her arm and pushed her against the wall.

“Now Amber, what secret are you keeping from me? What am I missing?” His nose nearly touched hers. “Where were you for our morning air today?”
“I’m not smoking anymore, I quit.”
His nose touched hers and she pressed against the wall. “No smoking, no bar, and no sex with the man you’ve wanted for years.” He backed up suddenly and she let out her pent-up breath. “Holy shit Dale knocked you up.”  
Amber’s eyes widened. “Shut up Scott, that’s how rumors start you moron. I quit because my favorite aunt was just diagnosed with lung cancer. I have plans tonight and I’m sorry if your ego is bruised, but lately you’ve shown me your true colours. I’m not interested anymore.” She shrugged. Perhaps you’re losing your mojo Scott. Two women turning you down in as many weeks. Maybe hell can freeze over.” She laughed and ducked into the ladies’ room. She didn’t see Rachael and Francine as she sped past them into a stall to get rid of her lunch. The women looked at one another then the closed stall. Both heard Amber and Scott’s conversation just outside the door.

Oops. Well that might not go so well for Amber. Amber is a bully and she shows off for Scott and Dale. Lately she has been stunned by a personal issue that two people she picked on have just found out. Rachael put Dale in his place not so long ago; will she take the chance on some revenge?

My advice about Secrets.
Secrets can be bad in real life, but fantabulous in the world of writing. Secrets have infinite possibilities, play with them, and let them wreak havoc or cause drama.

-Sheryl
It’s a love hate sort of thing

Hey! Its’ Interjection

Other posts

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Missing

Sound and selfish advice

There comes a time when things don’t go the way one expects. I think there are two main types of people in this sort of scenario. One who rolls with it and hopes it goes back to their way, and the other who manipulates and makes things go back to their way. Or so they hope anyway. They are the trouble causer’s. The selfish people who will do what they need to do to get what they want. Whether they realize it or not.

I wouldn’t say I write people this way all the time, but a good antagonist is a bad and selfish person. Or should I say a selfish person makes a good antagonist? Either way when someone spoiled wants the cookie, what wicked words will they weave? What dastardly deeds with they do, to obtain their goal?

Dale stopped outside Scott’s office and poked his head in the door. “Hey their giving Alice the office baby gift and card as soon as we’re all out there.”
“Hey.” Scott beckoned him in with his hand.
Dale stepped into the office. “Sup?”
“You’re work is way off today. You’ve been avoiding me too. What’s going on?”
Dale shook his head and looked out the window. “Nothing, just an off day.”
“It’s going around. Amber’s been weird too.” Scott cocked his head to the side, at the mention of Amber, Dale inhaled sharp and quietly. Dale left the office and Scott followed.

The gathering was cheery. The occaion was one to celebrate. Alice is well liked and will be missed during her year away. Amber stood alone, a strange pained look on her face. Scott watched Dale stand across the room from Amber behind the crowd, and Scott went to his side. Something happened between his two friends. Amber wasn’t flirting with him incessantly and was demure. It was so unusual to not have her mooning over him it was as if a part of his day was missing and it was throwing off his groove.
“Spill it.” Scott spoke quietly with his head closer to Dale as Alice opened the sacred card, sighned by all so it must be witnessed by all.
Amber stood stone-faced staring at the gifts Alice opened. Amber glanced up to see Dale and Scott head-to-head whispering and the colour drained from her face. Scott noticed, after the third jab to get Dales attention Scott pulled him out of the open office down the hall back to his office.

“What the hell happened between you two?” Scott closed the door.
“Nothing.”
“Liar.” Scott stopped and sucked his breath in. “Oh my God you slept together.”
“No.” Dale ran his hands through his hair. “Once. We were drunk.”
“Shit Dale when isn’t she drunk?” Scott rubbed his eyes. Dale was a good-looking man. However having two women in one week choose another man over him was too much. “Really? Amber? Sure she’s got an ass worth worshiping, and man.” He held his hands out mocking breasts. “She’s stacked, but you had to stoop? Man, you are way better than that.”
Dale clenched his fists at his side. “She’s not as bad as you think. And it was a one night stand.”
Scott laughed. “Oh come on Dale she brags constantly about her escapades. Constantly. It’s disgusting.”
“No more or less than we are.”
Scott shrugged. “Were men Dale it’s different.”
Dale scrunched his face in anger. “Are we? She boasts like we do, but it’s all a show.”
“Oh? And how would you know?” Scott sat at his desk and sneered. “Because she told you she’s a good girl? She told you she doesn’t sleep around?” His spiteful laugh made Dale tilt his head and crack his neck.
“Yeah she did.”
Scott recovered from his laughter. “Let me guess, she said she rarely drinks and doesn’t take random men home regularly. I’ve seen her leave the bar with at least ten men in two months Dale. Ten different men. Two just last week.”
“She said-”
Scott held up his hand and cut him off. “Lies Dale. If I told you every morning I make a power smoothie and I put a hundred-dollar bill in it, blended it and drank it, would you believe me?”
“You don’t.”
“Dale you don’t know one way or the other what I do when you’re not around. You don’t have a clue what she really does when she’s not around you.”
Dale glanced at the closed door, in the direction of Amber’s desk. No, he wouldn’t know.

People can do and say almost anything to get what they want, even if they didn’t realize they wanted it in the first place. Scott may not be lying but he sure is saying what will get him his attention back. People do this all the time. Twisting truths or their version of events to best suit their needs. It’s frustrating to read, but for good reasons. Someone is getting in the way of someone else’s potential happiness or just getting in the way. I like to evoke emotions with my writing, I hope I do at least, and get the reader to earnestly dislike someone or feel sorry for someone else. I want the reader to hope for a desirable outcome and then put obstacles in  the way. It’s so fun to torment, isn’t it?

My advice about writing self-serving moments.
Do. Do write them, it is sooo much fun to read people being selfish and ruining things for others. Clean and tidy people are not common; don’t make your characters common.

-Sheryl

Other posts

That sounds right

Getting a little touchy feely

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Sacred

Don’t plague me

I adore reading. I read a lot and enjoy various formats. There is one thing I don’t enjoy reading no matter what or who writes it. Plague. Widespread illness out of control unfurling upon the masses to bring about misery and death. This is totally a personal thing, maybe it’s my inner hypochondriac coming out to play or whatever. I just don’t enjoy reading about pustules, open oozing sores, swollen lymph nodes, the last gabbled breath of the many, over and over… yuck.

I was reading a super awesome book series and they went plague quite a few books in. I haven’t finished it and haven’t moved on in the series either. That was about two years ago. I probably won’t. Everybody has that something, that taboo subject they won’t read or write about. For me, its sex implied or explicit. Some it’s disease, illness or plagues. For others, it’s racial repression. For others, it’s violence against women or children, especially sexual.  It could be how graphically someone writes about the tattered pungent rotting green hued skin, falling off the corpse in chunks as it lands in thick wet plops on the cold hard ground. Like I said, everyone has the one thing they won’t write or read. That’s totally okay, I can’t please everyone. I should, however, be pleasing someone. Boring writing is right up there with plagues for me. If the story is going nowhere for too long I get bored. I don’t want to read a chapter describing the grass in detail either.

I find it’s a fine balance. Toss in a little of everything and keep it interesting. All good recipes require an assortment of ingredients. The more you put in the better it tastes, right? In moderation. If a plague must happen for story development or it is part of that era then fine, but less is more IMO.  I read a book that had the black plague happen smack dab in the middle. Sure the author described the misery and filth, but he did something far more amazing. He showed the good, the silver-lining and what the survivors with vigor were doing to help. He focused on the emotional and surrounding and fascinating factoids that let me get through a subject I’m uncomfortable with. That stuck with me. If it has to be there, and it must be horrifying. Why not temper it with the bright side too?

I don’t have an example of this because I don’t want to. I can be super gross, and write violence and gore. I just don’t like plagues or uncontrollable diseases.

I cannot take credit for the following since I’m not a great joke teller. *Sources unknown.

Two bacteria walk into a bar and the bartender says, “Leave! We don’t serve any bacteria in this bar.”
The two bacteria reply, “Hey, but we work here. We’re staph.”

Why did all the bacteria fail the math test?
They thought division is the same as multiplication.

A parasite walks into Jim’s party. Jim says, “Get out! No parasite are welcome at my party.”
The parasite says, “Well, you’re not a very good host.”

I need to go wash my hands a few times now.

My advice about Plagues.
When you write about something uncomfortable, there will be some who love it, and those that hate it. How you write it will make all the difference.

-Sheryl

Other gross posts

That is disgusting

Blood

Spit it out!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Vigor
Unfurl

The wild card

When I’m writing my story and I’ve got the characters established. Their backstories are hinted at, their interactions are firm and the protagonist is ready for the next stage of their development. The story is moving along and I know it’s now time to shake things up. To introduce a wild card. Something random that may or may not influence the entire story line. At this point, I might introduce something that will expose or foreshadow the main antagonist. The one that will cause major conflict and make the protagonists life hell. It’s time for the wild card.

Sasha sat in her small office reviewing the next client’s requests. Her heart wasn’t in it. Valery grilled her at lunch and suggested some time off. It wasn’t a bad idea so she agreed. A tropical resort sounded much safer than dealing with Baylor and being followed by a police cruiser everywhere. She browsed some last minute vacation ideas until she was paged to the boss’s office. Mr. Clifton had little to do with the day to day. He was a businessman not an artist, he owned the company and spoke only to those well above Sasha’s pay grade. She glanced at the computer. Is it monitored? Would she be fired for slacking on the job?

Checking her hair and make-up she walked quickly to the blue door and knocked. A come in sounded from behind.  Mr. Clifton was bald, very bald. His grey eyebrows and black lashes the only hair on his head. He was an average man. Attractive only because of his expensive suits, money and the power he exuded. Sasha didn’t like or respect him. Aside from the uncomfortable flirting at the office parties and yearly meetings, he usually only grunted at her dismissively.
“Miss Parsons, please sit. Don’t look so frightened, I don’t do the firing around here.” He laughed at his own remark. “Unless you make me very unhappy.”
She licked her lips as he continued.
“I was told you are doing very well lately and that your work has been securing some very large accounts. I asked about you and was assured that you can be discreet.”
She nodded and swallowed hard, the knot in her stomach tightening.
“I have a client that needs some sensitive and confidential work done. I think you are up to the task.”
“Yes sir.”
“Good. Here are the images and message he needs to be contained in the advert. Nothing blatant or obvious.”
“Subliminal.” She frowned. “But that’s…”
“It is not for public, and there is nothing illegal in the message.”
“Okay.” She opened the file.
“I want you to have a proof for me by the end of next week.”
“I can have it ready by then, but there isn’t anything being sold, what is the product?”
“That is not for you to know. The image on the last page is to be hidden.”
She flipped to the last page and bit her lips.
“Your discretion is of the utmost importance. Your career here has been exemplary and I wouldn’t want this to change that.”
A threat. She looked up ready to quit and stopped herself. The look on his face suggested quitting wouldn’t solve her issue with this and she needed this job.
“Wilber is retiring in a few months, his office and title would suit you I think Miss Parsons.”
She nodded. She had no choice. She smiled forcing her lunch down. “I am to understand that if say Valery were to look at this she would see an advert for… say… a security company but if members see it they will get the message?”
“You are smarter than you look.”
She bit her cheek and tasted blood. “Thank you.” It was better than the expletive that she wanted to launch on him.
“My time is important, I will see you next Monday with the final product.”
“But you said…” She would have to drop everything to make this work. If she lost this job, she would lose her house and her dignity along with it. What little she had left.
“I Changed my mind. Is that a problem Miss Parsons?”
“No not at all.” She stood. “I work best under a deadline.”
“Good to know.” He dismissed her by looking at his computer screen.

Sasha walked down the hall holding the file and her stomach. This screamed of illegal and even though it looked innocent, it smelled rotten.
“You look like you chugged car oil.” Valery held Sasha’s purse out.
“Long day. Mr. Clifton just asked me to do a job for him.” Sasha took her purse and they stared walking out to the parking lot.
“The hush hush kind right? What did you do to piss him off?”
“I don’t know, he hinted at Wilber’s position. Why? Has this happened before?”
“Every few months he has someone doing secret projects. They are either fired or quit after a while.”
“Why the hell am I just hearing about this now?”
“There’s no proof and we have a lot of staff that come and go. Barry thinks it’s just coincidence. I try not to let gossip percolate through the office.”
“Well I’ll do what Clifton asks, ask nothing and show no-one.”
“Not even me?”
“He casually hinted I would be fired.”
“Best if you don’t then Sash. It’s probably some weird sex fetish club thing anyway. I’d rather not know my boss’s boss, is into playdoh sex or something.”
“Weird.”
“I bet it’s a thing too. I knew Wilber’s leaving, you’re probably up for promotion, whatever the job, just work your magic.”

Sasha laughed as she got to her car. The idea of a promotion dulled the underlying fear that’s been present all day as she drove. She had a few stops to make before going home. The problem was the cost, was she willing to sell her soul for the position? She knew whatever the message was is illegal. Or would lead to something illegal. The symbol of the left hand palm up in a circle with the thumb crooked oddly up was a sign. It was to be hidden within the image and that was ominous on its own. She didn’t know it, but it wasn’t anything good. She would know about that. Even after visiting with her parents and stopping at the grocery her mind was still stuck on the file and Clifton’s request.
“Maybe it’s just a test, it’s probably nothing.” She muttered as she pulled into her driveway. “After the past few days I’m just being weird.” She looked in the rear-view mirror. “Get a grip Sasha.”

So, I have added an ominous task to distract Sasha. Bad things can happen when someone is distracted (Bwahahahaha). Her mind should be on other things… Right? Adding this unexpected event opens the doors for more, hopefully a lot more. Sometimes these ideas are an innocent distraction and singular, sometimes they are part of a greater plot and the catalyst to start the main story line.

My advice about wild card moments.
Whether you use them as a defibrillator for a dead or dying story or the key to the gates of the actual story, adding something random can revive or open the story.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Silliness and seriousness

The ‘been there, done that’ people

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Percolate

Sweat

When I’m writing I try to remember all the things that make us human, I talked about blood already and how we react to it.  The human body is an amazing thing and it’s movements, functions and physical being are fantastic ways to show emotion, action and even setting in a story.

When I talk about things like blood, I would use is sparingly, but what about sweat? I doubt I would have my characters sweating constantly, that’s gross. However, it can be a really good indicator for many things. Like with pretty much everything else sweating is personally unique. Some people sweat 24/7 some never sweat. Sweat is a tangible and visible que with definite possibilities

Some causes of sweat
Stress
Fear
Exertion -exercise – out of shape
Heat – room – weather – overdressed
Sick
Nervous

These are alternate words from the Thesaurus.com, some of these might earn an eye roll from the reader, since they are not common and frankly, I had no idea what transudation was.

Diaphoresis
Exudation
Transudation
Steam (This has potential)
Excretion (This just sounds gross)
Sudor (um okay…)

 Now I know the following myself words that can be used to describe sweating 

Glow
Perspire
Drip
Glisten
Swelter
Wilt
Seep
Soak
Drenched
Stain

If sweating is going to become a factor in “showing”, I ask myself can the person smell? Can that smell be part of the story? Humor maybe? Embarrassment? Or is it a pleasant smell to the sniffer? What about taste?

Amber paced Valerie’s office poking at the bandage on her forehead that covered a small cut with three stitches. She pulled on the front of her shirt rapidly to fan her sticky chest. She didn’t take the day off since the injury was minor, that and it was getting her a lot of attention.
“Fitting.” Amber grabbed another tissue and dabbed at her glistening face, her makeup was ruined for sure. “The ice queens’ best friend is a heat miser.”
“Actually.”
Amber spun around at Valerie’s voice.
“The thermostat is broken and the repair-person is on the way up.” Valery tilted her head to the side. “I asked you to my office to talk and clearly we need to have one.” Valery gestured curtly at the chair in front of her desk.

Valery slowed her pace rounding the corner to her street. She scratched at her soaked hairline as a drip of sweat tickled her neck. Smiling she began her cool down. Tonight was a personal best, three minutes faster than the night before. 

The salty taste of his neck still stung Valery’s tongue as she flopped back on the over-soft bed.
“Val baby I’m glad you told me.” Jackson smiled and looked over with his near black eyes, his forehead glistened in the dim light.
“That you’re super disgusting?”
His soft laugh filled the warm room. “Relish is not disgusting. But for you, I’ll skip it.”
“Yeah well.” Valery sat up and brushed back the strand of hair stuck to his temple. “Lucky for you you’re super-hot and I’m a sucker.”
He wagged his eyebrows. “You sure are.”
“Stop.” She smacked his chest playfully. He grabbed her wrist and brought it to his lips.

Sasha pulled her hand from the slender clammy one and resisted the temptation to run it on her jeans.
“It’s nice to meet you Andrew.” Sasha flicked her eyes sideways at her mother. Leave it to her to make dropping off a magazine for her father into a meet the new neighbors grown son; who is probably still living in their basement.
“I, um.” Andrew swallowed hard, his protruding Adams-apple bobbing under his glistening skin. The smell of the peach tart her mother schemed to serve wafted from the kitchen.
Sasha hugged her mom and wiped her still damp hand on the back of her mother’s designer blazer. “Next time you plan to ambush me, be cleverer and pre-trap me here for dinner or something.” Sasha kissed her cheek and waved at Andrew. “I have to go I have a lot of work to do and it’s been a less than pleasant day. Maybe next time I can stay longer.”

Sweat is a bodily function that can range from alluring to disgusting depending on the situation. Perception is key and so is how I set it up. What if Valery found sweat disgusting, well chances are two strikes would be too many and Jackson would be out. Tone of the words are important too, clammy wouldn’t fit in so well with at romantic encounter.

My advice about perspiration.
Don’t sweat it, use it to your advantage and keep it natural. A stained t-shirt armpit can be a turn off or a symbol of hard work it all depends on how you write it in and how the characters respond to it.

-Sheryl

Other body-ish posts
Missing body parts
In the eye of the beholder

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Tart