Rules rule the rules

Rules. They are meant to be made, followed, broken and even disregarded completely. There are those that abide them to the letter and those that avoid the responsibility of even knowing them. So it would stand to reason that I would write such personalities into my characters.

The struggle to abide by rules is real, its tangible because most people have encountered a moment in life where the rules simply cannot apply.  There are self inflicted rules, rules imposed by others and rules imposed for safety or the law.

Almost everything is governed by rules:
How to write, how not to write
How to edit, revise and review writing
What to wear and how to wear it
Who to socialize with and when
What to eat and drink, when to eat and drink
How to do a job or task
How to drive
Basically how to live. The rules are never ending some serious and some ridiculous.

As a writer rules are everywhere, some I abide by, some I take with a grain of salt. A lot of rules “made up” are just that, made up. Somones over inflated ego passing off opinion as fact. However when it comes to writing about rules or implementing life rules in my writing, I am in charge, I choose who follows what and when. More importantly I control who breaks them and causes trouble.

I like to have someone straight laced be forced to break a rule or forced by circumstance to decide to break a steadfast rule they hold true to normally. It can be equally fun to have a rebellious persona find need to follow one too. The inner turmoil this might dredge up can be fascinating to both write and read.  All I do is think about how I personally feel when faced with a rule that is either holding me back or keeping me safe. I apply my state, emotions and reactions to my writing.  Not all rules are good some can be restraining, cause problems and even tension.

Scott stood outside Clifton’s office and glanced down at the article on his cellphone. He had the code to get in, in fact he had all Clifton’s security codes. It was easy to get the overly cautious boss’s codes from his overly snoopy spy program. Only because it was installed wrong and Clifton had no clue about anything. This would mean termination if he was found or caught, but he had to know.

With a heavy sigh he wiped his sweaty palms on his pants that bespoke his nervous state. He glanced up and down the hall then punched the three digit code into the pad and the door opened. Slipping in and easing the door closed behind him he let out his pent up breath. The computer was already on and not logged out.

“Idiot.” Scott whispered to the bright sunlight office as he sat and began his search.  “First things first.” He took out his cellphone with the picture of Baylor Crowen from he news. He thought he recalled seeing this guy before come in for a meeting. He showed up early, went into Clifton office and disappeared before Clifton even showed up. The boss was weird so nobody questioned it.
“Holy sh…” Scott leaned closer to the security footage of the day Baylor attacked Sasha. It was him, no doubt. Heart racing and palms sweating Scott glanced at the door as someone walked by. He could lose his job for this.

“No.” Amber shook her head and looked away from Scott.
“Ah come on Amb’s I need your help.”
“Oh like hell you do. You just want me to take the heat for your snooping like usual. I told you to let it go. I told you not to go into Clifton’s office.”
“Since when do you care about the rules?” Scott smiled sweetly. “I’d love it if you did this for me.” 
She narrowed her eyes. He was too attractive. Why Sasha didn’t jump at the chance to be with him she would never understand. She pushed Scott to pursue Sasha hoping he would realize she was as warm as a tundra stone in mid winter. 
“No. I can’t.”
“Can’t?” Scott tilted his head seductively. “Or won’t”
“Both. If you want to break into Valerie s personal email and the companies HR files you’re on your own.”
“But just think of all the juicy ammo you could get.”
She sighed. “Three days ago I’d be all over that offer. I can’t Scott. I hate that I even know. And for what? Sasha? She doesn’t like you. It’s pathetic that you moon over her, that you chase her shamelessly.”
Scott laughed loudly. “Oh hello kettle.” He wiped his eyes. “So rich coming from you!”
Clenching her jaw she threw the binder at him and stormed out of his office.
She couldn’t help her feelings. As she approached her desk she watched Dale work, engrossed in an edit he didn’t see her approach. Dale did love his work and he was exceptionally good at it. Did she help the wrong guy get the promotion? She looked back down the hall toward Scott’s office who laughed at her constantly then back at Dale who helped and encouraged her consistently. The sudden burning in her stomach made her turn toward the washrooms instead of her desk.

Breaking rules can be so much fun and can take a story in so many different directions. The options are endless and I’ll often think out a few different scenarios before committing to one.

My advice about Rules.
The same rules that apply in live, apply for writing life. Rules exist, they can be ignored and broken, followed and worshiped. It’s totally up to you how you want your characters to respond to rules and the potential of breaking them. 

-Sheryl

Other posts

Eating emotions

Spell check doesn’t catch them all.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Bespoke

+ Tears

I have a lot of fun watching people, their reactions and comparing them to my own. It is fascinating to realize that people respond in such a wide variety of ways to simple things.

Since I’ve talked about blood and sweat it’s fitting that I take a poke at tears. Tears are wrapped tightly around emotions and pain and a huge part of life. They can easily be over used in writing and are often the go to for anyone wanting to brashly show emotion. The temptation to turn to tears is easy because they are the visible product of emotions that come from the windows to the soul.

I like to get overly creative with tears and or crying if I can(or remember to). Mostly because if I’m careful they can express an emotion without internalizing the POV. The trick is to stay away from melodrama and understand that crying isn’t always why we tear up. Also not everyone cries and some cry at the drop of a dime.

Reasons for tears
Sadness

Anger
Embarrassment
Desperation
Joy/happiness
Something in the eye
Cold or illness
Wind
Flash of bright light
Pain
Manipulation (this one can be fun to give an antagonist to use.)
Acting

It is easy to go right to crying when writing but it actually can take a lot before a person is emotionally there. This is where paying attention to real people and how they deal with emotions can help.

Some ways to describe or elude to tears
Welling up

Mist/misty/misted
Drops/drips
Streaming
Glistening
Wet/wetted
Damp
Moist (A lot of people dislike this word, use with caution)
Watering
Rapid blinking
Wiping eyes (With anything really, tissue, fingers, sleeves…)

Now that I have an idea how to cause and describe tears. What other things happen when tears are imminent, occurring or when they are over.

Signs tears are about to happen/are happening or have happened
Red nose
Blotchy skin
Sniffles/runny nose/blowing nose/dripping nose
Red eyes
Puffiness
Streaking makeup
Wet skin/drips on clothes/Tear stains (On clothes or if face is dirty tears leave streaks)
Stuttered breathing
Hiccups
Difficulty talking
Down cast eyes
If from sadness a closed off posture, rubbing hands or arms. Looking down at hands or lap People often feel shame after crying (I try to remember to show the shame and not tell it)

For example:

Amber listened to Valery list off her so-called offenses against Sasha and a few others in the office. Most of it was here say and not actual proof or had little fact to it. This is personal, it had to be. Blinking rapidly Amber let big globs build up in her eyes until her vision blurred and then blinked the fat drops down her rosy cheeks.
Valery handed her a tissue. “What do you have to say?”
“Thanks.” Amber sniffled and dabbed the corners of her eyes. “It’s all out of context, I’m being targeted. Jealousy I think.” Amber blinked up through her false lashes at Valery. “It happens all the time.” She fidgeted with the tissue in her hands. “It’s not my fault if that’s how people are going to be. I’m awfully sorry if my sense of humor caused heartache. I’m just the bystander caught in whatever is going on. I get sucked into the gossip too easily, it’s my weakness.”
Valery consoled the desolate Amber and sent her on her way once she calmed down and promised to be nicer and more careful about gossiping.
Amber sniffled as the door closed behind her, a sly smile eased across her lips. “Works every time.”

Cal closed his eyes a moment and took a deep breath as he closed the door behind him. He swallowed and cleared his throat. The woman was a shattered mess of her former self.
“Bastard.” Cal murmured and pressed his forefinger and thumb to his burning eyes.
Detective Miller clapped his hand on Cal’s shoulder. “She’s lucky to be alive Cal, bring her justice, catch the guy.”
Cal shook his head. “That woman’s life is forever changed and that filthy no good piece of…” Cal sighed again, rubbed his face and eyes. “The scum that did that to her Miller, he’s on the loose again.”
The reality was Cal shouldn’t be on the Baylor Crowen case at all. If it wasn’t for a lucky break or two he would have been pulled for being too close to this case. His cell rang and held it to his ear. “Thorn.” Listening his grim face fell further. “What do you mean the officer lost her?” Cal took a slow deep breath in. “I’ll go myself.”
“The protection lose Miss Parsons?”
“Yeah, traffic separated them, she didn’t go where they anticipated and she’s not answering her cell. They’re going to do a drive by her house to see if she’s there.”
Miller cocked his head to the side. “Just a drive by?”
“Yup and a lot of good it will do her if he’s already there. Shit.” Cal turned and Detective Miller followed. “I should have insisted on better protection.”
“Some on the force think Baylor Crowen isn’t Dr.Demolish.”
Cal was nearly running as he got to the parking lot. “Tacky Miller and I bet my life savings that he is.”

 Not all tears need to be shed, some can be close and then disappear. They don’t have to be streaming down in torrents to be useful. Just enough to elude to something greater such as Cal’s reason for hunting down Baylor Crowen and even switching departments to follow him. I pay close attention to how I want a particular character to present tears and keep this info in their Bio’s. A person that cries at sad commercials might not cry in front of others. A man who cries might need to be pushed to his brink before it happens.

My advice about tears.
Tears are not always something to cry about. If you’re going to give someone a reason make it a good one that furthers the story in some fantastic way. Don’t forget to show and not tell, but don’t make everyone crybabies or stoic-feel-nothings find a balance and mix up the degrees of teary moments.
-Sheryl

The other two related posts

Blood

Sweat

That is disgusting

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Filthy

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