Link It And List It!

There is something I’ve been wanting to bring up about writing. It has nothing to do specifically with writing a manuscript, novel or book. But about how chapter stories are posted on blogs. How does a successful blogger keep readers coming back? I haven’t posted a chapter story on my blog yet, but have been thinking about it. So I’ve done some research, taken a blogging course from WordPress and done some digging through other bloggers’ stories to see what they’ve been doing to keep the readers returning.

I love reading serial and Chapter stories on blogs. There are some out there that have hit it on the nose as far as organization goes. I figure not everyone is aware of some simple tricks that can keep a reader reading and help them navigate your story with as little frustration as possible.(I wasn’t)

The following have been observed on a few blogs I follow and I think they are great ways to keep a story organized for your long-term followers and for new friends that stumble into your blog space.  (These are suggestions, not rules.)

Each Chapter would ideally get their own blog post. You can include a picture or just a standard title all the tricks you need to post and edit blogs can be found here:  http://learn.wordpress.com/

The blue arrow is pointing to the icon to click on to add content or a picture into the body of the post. The purple is what you select to add a featured image or the post’s image(What shows up in the feed or reader)

aa add picture

First, post a chapter or two of your story by creating separate posts.  Now you’re ready to make it easier for a reader to navigate your stories. This is very important if you have other posts in-between or if you don’t post regularly.

So in each chapter, you can do one or two things to make this easy. One add a “Start from the beginning” and link the first chapter or you can link(I will explain how in a moment) this to a Story Chapter Page (I will explain this shortly)

And/or at the end of each chapter, you can put a link to the next chapter of the story(See orange arrows below). This allows for continuous flow through your chapters so the reader doesn’t have to jump around. To add this one you have to wait until the next chapter is posted and physically go back to the previous chapter and add this to the body. (Note this link will appear as a pingback and you need to approve it in your comments)

aa story links.jpg

To Add links to the body of the post:  you can write the text and highlight it or you can create it during the link in the link options(C).

Red A – click this to open the URL-link creator
Red B – This is the URL that will link. This will fill in automatically when you select Red D
Red C – This is the link text. You can fill this in manually or if you highlighted text before clicking ‘link’ that highlighted text will become the clickable link on the page.

AAA ADD LINKS.jpg

To add a page link and not a post link copy and paste the URL into the URL line(Red B)  you can get this by opening the page and copying it from there. I found it easier to open the page in a private window or “incognito window”. Once I’ve added the link(which I would recommend testing) I like to make the link Bold and change the color to make it obvious. Many other bloggers do this to make them stand out. The default is an underline and light blue which doesn’t stand out when posted.  The bold option is shown below by the orange arrow and the option to change the color of the text is indicated by the blue arrow below.

aa colour

Okay so now we can add links to the post. How about creating a “Story Chapter Page”?  This is a page for the story with each chapter listed and links to each(That you can easily add with the link button now) So your reader can now come to this page to continue on where they left off instead of being adrift, lost in a sea of posts.

To add a new page to your blog. This will appear in your blog banner. From your main menu screen click “ADD” beside pages.

aa adding a page

This next example shows that a new page will come up for you to create a new page for your blog.

aa new page

Enter the title of your story and any information you want in the introduction
Then make a chapter list so you can add links to each chapter. This page is the page you will link to at the beginning of the story if you want to have a link to the chapter page as I mentioned above.

1 in yellow shows chapter one with a link (Bolded and color changed)
2 in yellow shows a chapter title highlighted and ready for a link to be added
3 in yellow is a chapter not yet posted. I’ve seen one blogger add “coming soon” to add anticipation for upcoming chapters.

aa chapter links on page.jpg

So now each post has a link to the Story Chapter Page dedicated to the story with a clickable linked list to each chapter. AND each chapter has a clickable link at the end of the chapter to bring the reader to the next chapter automatically(Done after the following post is posted by going back to the previous already posted blog and adding the “next chapter” link)

This isn’t necessary but I find it makes it a whole lot easier when you want to binge read a bloggers story easily without having to fish through their posts to find the next one.

Yes, this is extra work, but a happy reader is a repeat reader.

Here are some examples of Fantastic blogs that have agreed to let me use their pages as examples for how linking stories or chapters in a list on a separate blog page can help a reader. I couldn’t include everyone I love following, some said no and others don’t have the specific page-link formats I’m looking to use as examples. Because chapter stories are best started from the start these bloggers clued in and made it easy to find the start.

CLICK ON THE BOLDED NAME TO SEE THE PAGE EXAMPLE
(Don’t forget to look around they have some fantastic stories)

Lost Property – Serials Super fun stories, both short and long that are deep and captivating.  The link I have here goes to a list of short stories that are easy to navigate. I have been reading these stories and the chapter stories in the daily prompt and have enjoyed them immensely.

Devil Doll Musings – Short chapter, chapter stories that are imaginative and captivating. A little on the naughty side but a wild ride. Poke around on this website to see how fantastically it’s laid out. This link is to Rock Star a whirlwind romance worth reading. The chapters are listed in link form and it’s easy to follow. At the bottom, this blogger uses “continues HERE” to make it easy to keep reading.

WriteMeBad – Romantic and smutty stories that are so beautifully written they captivated me instantly. Each story has their own page and chapter listed from top to bottom. (First to last) I started you off with the link to the first story Jay & Dee that made me an instant fan.

All in all ,I enjoy the effort and creativity that I keep coming across on different pages. If you have a trick or technique you use that you want me to blog about(Relevant to writing advice please) Please either private message me or leave it in the comments below. I hope I didn’t miss anything. This was a fairly long post. (Sorry)

I don’t have a chapter story to try this on, but I did create a page using all the tips above to create a click-able link to every post I’ve posted (Minus award posts). I don’t expect anyone to actually use it but it’s there in case someone does. Oh and I’ll make sure to update it regularly. My Posts From The Start

My advice about creating chapter links in a post and separate Story Chapter Pages.
It’s never too late to go back and add them. Once you get the hang of it (I tested this on a non-published page) It’s actually easy. Tedious? Maybe but is it worth it? I think so. It would definitely be easier if done from the start.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Adrift
Organize

Talking to myself

Every time I sit down to edit/revise/review BiaAtlas I smile. I smile because I know how far it’s come from that crazy filter word filled mess of a first draft. I know how much time and effort I’ve put into making it readable and enjoyable. It is a lot of hard work to polish it up and get it ready to present to the world. Right now, I’m still tackling the word count. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m almost there, almost at the goal number and I hope to surpass it. Once I hit that magic number or beyond I will start querying agents again with gusto.

It isn’t always practical or easy to have someone proof on the spot or at my convenience. While having an outsider’s opinion is the best option it’s not always the available one. There is one thing I do when revising that I do both naturally and because it is recommended. I read aloud.

This is very important. Why? Because my inside voice is full of my intended emotions and voice tones, inflections and it has an understanding of how I wanted it to sound in the first place. This can be disastrously misleading. I wrote the story, I had an idea and tone in my head when I wrote it. So, if I use my inner voice to narrate and act it out, it will use the same tone and I might not see/hear/understand if the narrative or conversation is falling flat, or if it’s hard to understand or if it’s completely out to lunch.

Sometimes I read it aloud and sometimes I whisper. Whispering can take out my imagined emotional aspect. This really does help. If I don’t feel that what I’m reading is quite right I might even read it in a monotone. Sure, I look crazy and it has me “talking” to myself more often outside of revision, but hey, it works.

I know I’m not perfect and I would hesitate to read anything written by someone who claims to be. So I’ll keep learning and keep working hard on my writing and revision.

My advice about reading aloud.
Do it. If you think you don’t need to then you need to more than anyone else. Go on, put on a solo performance, read aloud and then when you’re done you can give yourself a standing ovation too.  😉

-Sheryl

Other posts

Oops! What did I just say?

Accommodate and contain perplexed

Covered up with paint and lies.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Ovation

Turmoil of the innermost kind

Emotions are the essence of who we are. They are easy to write internalized and hard to show. I’ve been showing one at a time and probably will with more. But what happens when someone is in turmoil? When their emotions fly but they can’t express them verbally or externally? I don’t write in first person so this can be tricky to express. For this show and not tell excercise it’s all about what a character does do when they can’t necessarily express their true emotions or thoughts.

Sometimes a person has too much going on and those around them add to the chaos generally unaware. While Sasha is dealing with her own abundance of problems, Amber, her tormentor has to deal with her own.

Amber’s hands shook as she rinsed them in the warm water. She looked at her tired reflection, frowning at the worry around her eyes.  “What are you going to do now?” Blinking back tears, she took several deep breaths before returning to her desk.

“Hey Ambs, feeling better today?” Dale chewed on the end of his pen.
She sat slowly. “Sure.”
“I’m back to myself too, wanna do lunch? Scott has a lunch meeting thing.”
She rubbed her sweaty palms on her skirt. “Yeah sure.” Biting her lip, she turned to her computer. The unfocused screen too bright. There wasn’t anyone to talk to, nobody to confide in. With a sideways glance at Dale chatting away on the phone, she drummed her fingers on the desktop.
A slight smile etched the corner of her mouth. “Maybe it could be a good thing.” She mumbled and closed her eyes. “Yeah right and hell is a tropical vacation.”

Amber opened her eyes to see Rachael approaching with a stern posture. She had made her point and everyone stopped picking on her.

“Hey Amber, you okay?”
Amber opened her mouth to snip and smiled instead. “Sure Rachael. What can I do for you?”
With a raised eyebrow, Rachael held out a glittery pink card. “You’re the only one who hasn’t signed Alice’s congratulations card. If you want to chip in on the gift that would be nice.”

“Gift?” The word echoed in her head as Amber took the adorable card with a cartoon baby on the front.
“I’m picking something up at lunch, we’ll give it to her before she leaves today. What a wonderful thing. Isn’t it exciting?”

“Exciting?” Amber read over a few comments, all well wishes, happy comments and words of joy. It sounded like a good thing and not the end of the world. Smiling she wrote a small meaningful congratulations and swallowed hard as she handed it back. “How much?”

“Um, whatever you can spare is fine.” Rachael tucked the card in the envelope skepticism easy to see.

Amber dug out her wallet. Dale was openly listening now with rapt interest. What if this was her? Would anyone bother with card for her? Amber held her breath and handed her a fifty.

“I’ll get you change.”
“No.” Amber waved her hand. “It’s fine. I could do with some good karma.”
“Thanks.” Rachael turned and left quickly.
“You know that’s not how it works right?” Dale smirked. “You can’t ask for good karma, you earn it.”
“Whatever.” Amber clenched her fists staring at her screen.
“Besides if you want to make up for the crap you pull you’d need to give at least fifty thousand more.”
“Shut up Dale, or you fly solo for lunch.”
“Russo’s?”
She avoided looking at him as her eyes misted and she nodded. Russo’s was fine, the food was good and the atmosphere quiet enough.

Poor mean Amber right? Even the bad guy’s are human. I think it’s important to make even the most disliked people somewhat likable. Even if during her only moment of kindness she was being selfish. An interesting side story is always welcome IMO so I generally include them in my writing.

My advice about inner turmoil.
Be careful with the POV, stick with one and try not to jump in and out of character’s heads. It can get disorienting.

-Sheryl

Other posts

It’s funny you said that…

The FAB pencil

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Echo

Aftermath and consequences

I’ll keep this brief because the chapter is not. The aftermath of drinking is usually a hangover, the aftermath of prying into ones secrets is usually anger. Actions have consequences and it is important to include them. After all if I went to the trouble of including them I had better have a way past it all. This is something that needs to be addressed before the story can move on. In Drunken secrets Cal gave Sasha rum on an empty stomach and tried to get her to talk about her secret. Now she’s sober and it’s time for a little reality before things get crazy again.

Sasha woke with a pounding head. Sugar and alcohol on an empty stomach was a recipe for disaster. Her faded foggy memories came into focus as she showered her still aching body.

“That slimy bastard.” She muttered drying her hair with a towel. “Once a cop always a damned cop.” She pursed her lips and went out to find the coffee she smelled and hopefully some Tylenol.

“Good morning.” Cal chuckled and looked at his watch. “Or near afternoon.”
Sasha sat after filling a mug with coffee from the pot on the desk.
“Sleep well?”
She glared at him.
“So you are mad.” Cal waited and cocked his head to the side. “You know it’s mean to tell a detective a juicy tidbit then drop the subject declaring it off bounds.”
She narrowed her eyes and sipped her coffee, downing the Tylenol he left on the table for her.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pried.”

“You do realize how despicable you are. How could you ply me with booze and question me like that? Did you think talking about it would make it better? News flash detective, it wont, it will make me bitchier and angrier.” She got up, grabbed a Danish from the tray on the table and stormed to her room, once again the door eased closed with a gentle click even though she pushed heavily on it. Tears fell unnoticed and unchecked.

“Why is he so determined to make me talk about it?” She flopped back on the bed remembering that she fell asleep on the couch.She didn’t mind that he put her to bed nor that he put her clothes away. He was undeservedly kind to her.

Sasha was too distracted to focus on work. “This is crap. My idiot boss wants the impossible. I’m meant to fail this. This is how they get rid of people.” She nearly punched her laptop and when Cal knocked on the door, she nearly threw it. “Dammit I’m mad.” She opened the door.

“I ordered lunch. Mad or not, you need to eat.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Stop acting like a child Sasha. One of these days you have to face whatever was done to make you so angry and unhappy.”

She sat at the table. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Her favorite. She picked up her spoon. “I’m not unhappy. Just one week out of the year, sometimes two.”

“But you are angry.”
“Damn right I am. This is really good soup by the way.”
“Why do you let Ben win?” Cal asked taking a bite of sandwich.
“I don’t let any man win.”

“Sooo many pins. Listen, whatever Ben did is done. He, I’m assuming moved on and is happy, therefore you let him win. The thing is Sasha, being alone is sad, not something to be proud of.”

“Listen detective, I’m happy. This crap with Baylor on top of my usual self-pity party week has me off my game. I’m not myself right now. I earned the right to be miserable for two weeks. Drop it.”

Cal lowered his chin. “Nobody earns misery for being betrayed. Even one second of misery means he wins.”

Sasha ate silently. He was right, but she would never admit it out loud. She couldn’t stop her misery, but it only lasted for a little while. Then it faded. Mostly.

“I need a vacation from this fake vacation.” She sighed. “Any word on Baylor?”

“No. Nothing. He’s hurt and hiding. If he has any underground connections he could be treated off record.”

“Great. So why not use me as bait?”

“No way. He’ll up the ante now.”

“Why doesn’t he just give up?”

“Because you got him arrested, hit him with your car and you snubbed him at the bar. Not in that order.”

“Funny you should say that, I didn’t snub him. I… I did. I let him use cheesy lines then said no thank you. Just like with you moments before.”

“I wasn’t cheesy and I didn’t use any lines.”

“You don’t need to. I can tell which you’d use if you had. Happens every time I say no. For some damned reason guys try harder as if I’ll magically change my mind.”

“Why don’t you?” He popped the last bite of grilled cheese in his mouth.

“Drop it.” She held her breath. 

Cal swallowed while shaking his head. “Okay Ben ruined you. Wow, he must have been impressive. So what? He gets to be happy and you miserably hate men for the rest of your life?”

“Ugh. I don’t hate men. I just don’t want a boyfriend. It’s why I snubbed you at the bar.”

He smiled slyly. “Who said I was looking for a girlfriend. You assume too much.”

Her mouth fell open. “You are a pig.”

“Now that one’s doubly funny.” He laughed. She took a moment to realize why and laughed too. “Sasha you can’t tell me you locked your heart and libido away for two full years because of one jerk.”

Her face went red and she frowned. “What is wrong with you?”
“Incurable snoop.” He shrugged and looked up startled as the fire alarm went off.
“What?” She jumped up dropping her spoon to the floor.
“Stop.” Cal grabbed her arm as she moved to look at the escape map.
“We have to get out.”

“No. We don’t.” Cal took out his phone and dialed. “Theo do you see smoke?” He listened. “Okay send Ducky around back and call back-up.”

“What’s going on?”

“Relax Sasha. No smoke no fire.”

“Baylor?”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“We should leave.”

“Yes and get caught up in all the others panicked and running out the pre-determined exits? We’d be separated in seconds. They’ll call me if there’s real smoke or if they see anything suspicious.” They stared at each other a moment, both thinking the same thing. It’s suspicious.

I know that was a long one thanks for sticking it out. Sasha needs one more push I think. Something to get her back up on her feet. The aftermath was dealt with now I can move the story along.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Switch it up, and swap it out.

Desperately procrastinating

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Faded

The world is your tainted oyster

While I’m not a fan of plague scenarios I am completely okay with writing in a little humanity, in the form of illness. A main or support character might need a little cold, flu or stomach bug to change things up.

It’s funny how things like being sick make me think about writing people being sick.

How much I illustrate with illness depends entirely on the outcome I want. Gross or tender moments have equal opportunity here.

Scenarios mild Illness can bring

Develop closeness between characters
Show tender side
Show callous side
Demonstrate weakness or strength
Cause a loss of job
Induce stress/tension in those caring for ill
Worry and anxiety
Personality change from mild to extreme (Some people become totally different when sick)

Examples:

Ann frowned and startled when the doorbell rang. Puzzled she got up and trudged to the door. She peeked out the window, her heart skipped a beat and she opened the door.

“Tony, I told you I was too sick to go on our date.”
“And I told you.” He stepped inside. “That drugs are no substitute for good company and.” He held up an opaque Tupperware container. “Chicken noodle soup.”
She closed the door and led him to the kitchen. “You’re like a weird romance novel character. Too perfect.”

“There’s a compliment in there I just know it.” Tony set the soup on the counter and made her sit. “Soup pot?”

She sneezed loudly into her elbow and pointed at a cupboard sneezing again.
“Bless you.” He opened the cupboard.
“Ugh, I’m a culture of disease. You take care of sick people all day long, why would you want to on your time off?”
He smiled and handed her a glass of orange juice. “Because work is strangers, it’s way better when you like the person you’re caring for.”
He laughed when she rolled her eyes and fat watery tears dripped down her cheeks.

Amber wiped her mouth with toilet paper and flushed. She rinsed her mouth, washed her hands and nearly bumped into her perky redhead roommate coming out of the room.
“Still hungover?” Susie snickered. “Or knocked up?”
Amber narrowed her eyes at her hateful roommate. “Neither, I think I caught a bug.”
“Uh huh. Twenty bucks says that bug will last nine months.” Susie laughed as she left the apartment.
Amber leaned against the wall and slid to the floor. She did the math in her head. How did she not realize? If Susie was right then that meant… Her eyes widened at the potential candidate. “No. Not him.” Just the thought sent her scrambling for the toilet once more.

Dale wiped his brow again as Amber approached. “You look a crappy as I do.”
“Shut up Dale.” Amber snipped and sat in her cubical beside his.
“Seriously I’m shooting dinner out like nobody’s business. Total mudslide every fifteen minutes.”
Amber rubbed her face. “I swear to God Dale, shut the hell up or I’ll barf on you.”
“Huh. Maybe the food we ate at Habanero’s was tainted.” Dale got up and trotted quickly down the hall.
“Maybe.” Amber muttered glancing at her purse with the pharmacy bag in it. “Hopefully.”

Illness is common enough that people know what it is. I don’t need to describe the consistency of Anne’s boogers or colour and smell of Amber’s vomit. I could, but it wasn’t necessary to go for gross factor, it was gross enough IMO. Sometimes too much will turn a reader off or make them leery to keep reading. These were small examples that didn’t really impact the story too much. If I needed someone to lose a job I’d make them sicker longer or have it impact their life drastically.

My advice about mild illness.
It happens often enough in the real world. If your people are too perfect maybe, give them a sniffle or food poisoning. Bring out their sulky or cranky side. When it comes to illness in writing, the world is your bacteria tainted oyster.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Eating emotions

She’s a person not a cake

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Culture

Opaque

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

Drunken secrets

Getting drunk is a common occurrence. Like everything else, it is a uniquely unique thing. Some people can drink for hours and maintain a semblance of control; others can go wild with one drink. Some people pass out some puke. Others get giddy, while some cry. The mood swing of the alcohol ride can also vary. Some start off as happy go luck and end up bawling, while confident careful people end up doing crazy things they would never normally do.

Like with all good interactive situations I keep in mind who will react how. Nobody reacts the same to alcohol in varied amounts and often nobody reacts the same way over and over.  Ones pre-drink emotional state can greatly affect the outcome of the scene. The good thing is, there are no rules. Opportunity for confessions, Drunken secrets to come out, game changing moments, or complete blind sides are up for grabs. If the story is floundering and you know where it needs to go but just can’t quite get it there, how about a bit o booze? Even if the story isn’t floundering it is such a great way to change any dynamic.

Cal set the six mini bottles down on the table, Sasha picked up a rum as he went to get coke and glasses.

“Why didn’t you peg me as a cop when you met me?” Cal handed her a can of Sprite. “Sorry no coke in the fridge.”

“You’re too pretty and too nice. It’s weird until you burst into my house I had no idea. I thought I had good Cop radar.” She took a swig of the pungent rum before adding the rest to the lemon-lime sprite and took a large sip of the mixed drink. “Oooh that’s really yummy.”

When she looked at him sharply for dumping a second shot into her glass, he shrugged.

“It’s either that or Valium.”

“Rum. It tastes better. Thanks. As I said, I’m not normally a basket case. This is even better as a double. I love the taste.”

“I can tell.” He sipped his Sprite sans alcohol. “So before I busted my cover did you at all like me?”

“Fishing are we? I just said you were pretty and nice. That’s all you’re getting, and don’t get your hopes up booze doesn’t loosen my tongue.”

“From what I remember it makes it sharper.” He smirked at her open mouth as if she wanted to say something, but anything said would prove his point.

“Clever little copper aren’t you?” She laughed before he could respond. “It’s your job. I know, I know.”

“Do I know your ex?”

“Ben Huberson.”

Cal thought a moment. “I’m sort of new to this area. It doesn’t ring a bell.”

“He doesn’t ring a lot of things or when he does he can’t stick to it.” She laughed again. “Gonna stick a pin in that? What happened didn’t make it into any papers or news so don’t bother looking it up and if you find him, and you wont, he wouldn’t tell you what he did. If he did I’d be surprised if he told you the truth.”

“That bad huh?” Cal took that as a challenge. He found things and found things out. He was dammed good at it and if she kept up this way he wouldn’t have to search very hard.

She finished her drink and he filled her glass from the cans on the table. She looked at the bottles.

“There’s more rum.” He got up and fished them from the fridge and handed her two.

“I don’t need that much.”

“Do you cry when you drink?”

“No. Silly Detective. I only cry after nearly being killed and running people over with my car. Rum makes me happy.” She giggled at his serious face.

“You’re a strange woman.”

“Says the guy, wait, I had something for that. Damn.”

He laughed at her perplexed expression. “Why did you go out with Val and Anne that night? You didn’t seem to want to be there.”

“Anniversary. Suck-y stupid anniversary.” She was drinking too fast, and knew it so slowed down, not that it mattered she was nearly done the second. “They think I should move on. The think is.” She giggled. “The thing is.” She nodded. “I am happy. I just don’t want to go down that road again. I’m happy alone. Stick a pin in that PoPo.” She snickered into her hand. He watched her amused with her silly behavior. They sat in silence a while Sasha sipped her drink. 

Cal broke the silence first. “What about Ben?”

“Ben can rot in.” She finished the second double drink and set the glass down too hard. “He can go rot in hell. Ben in hell roasting his balls on the flames wouldn’t be punishment enough.”

“You have issues with genitalia.”

She giggled again and couldn’t stop. “Oh I do. I’m so mean. I stab them, kick them and I’ve even punched them. Selfie defense. I mean Selfie… self-defiance. Shelf defense.”

Cal waited patiently for her giggle fit to finish. It took a while and it took concentration not to laugh along with her. Not because groin injuries were funny, but her laugh was contagious.

“Sorry.” Sasha wiped laugh tears from her heavy eyes. She pointed at the empty mini bottles. “One, two… three and four. Why my drunk?”

“Because you barely slept last night, refused to eat supper and drank four shots in.” He looked at his watch. “Less than one hour.”

“So? I kin do that any time.” She blinked slowly. “Maybe not on an empty tum-tum.”

“What happened that day two years ago?”

“Nice try copper-roo. Not gonna get that story. No sir. Not even Val would blabber-blab. It would be funnier if you.” She giggled. “If you were named Bob. I could call you bob the bobby. With your stupid pins. Bobby pin.” She laughed so hard Cal bit his lip to keep from joining. “I’m gonna be pissed when I’m sober ya know.”

“Will you?”

She leaned her heavy head back on the couch. “You bet’cha gadget. I’m gonna be mad tha, that you tried to drink me, drunk, get me to drunk talk.” She looked up at the ceiling. “Was worst day ever and he wants me to talk about it. Can you bel-believe it? The sexy cop wants me to spill the beans.” She giggled again and pointed at him. “Naughty cop. You’re a naughty cop you know that?” She smiled at his amused face. “You should stripper, be a strip dancer thing, guy. You know what I mean. Bet you’re better taking your shirt off than playing cops and robbers.” She closed her eyes and they stayed closed.

“Some days I wonder.” He sighed hoping she wouldn’t remember.

He honestly didn’t mean to pry, he couldn’t help it. She had a huge mystery begging to be solved.  He wondered just how tight-lipped Valery would be. Would Anne? There has to be someone willing to snap her out of her glass box of self-pity. Ben probably cheated, it has to be big for her to be so upset. That it was such a secret meant it might be huge. At least for her anyway. Enough to scare her off men for at least two years.

She started to fall over so Cal picked her up and put her in her bed, tucked her in as she snuggled on her side. He took her unpacked clothes off the bed and put them away in the drawers. The file folder was neatly tucked under her laptop. He saw what was in it, strange pictures that were probably some company’s idea of advertising. The only one that didn’t fit was the hand. Maybe it was a multi-purpose hand moisturizer. He didn’t know and didn’t really care.

“You are interesting.” Cal turned the light out and went to his own bed.

I don’t like reading that someone’s words are slurred or garbled so I’ll write it slurred or garbled. That’s a personal choice. Show don’t tell after all.  Everyone has seen various degrees of drinking to drunk to pass out drunk. I’m not talking about alcoholism or substance abuse, that is a whole other subject.

My advice about getting your characters drunk.
Whether it’s in or out of character it can really work to liven things up, good or bad, drunk is interesting.

-Sheryl

Other posts

The prelude to this one Stick a pin in it!

Bacon, Banter and Coffee

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Pungent

Look out! Danger Ahead

Writing dangerous action scenes can be sooooo much fun. When I write them I tend to type too fast, shift POV about a thousand times and give typo’s a front row to the show. Exciting scenes are my favorite. Once written, I will go over them a few more times to make sure it all makes sense, pluck out the filter words, fix POV and correct the abundant typos. Often I will have someone or more than one someones read the scene to ensure it makes sense.

Action, danger, excitement or fast moving scenes can be anywhere in the story. If it’s early or at the start more descriptions and introductions might be necessary. If it’s after the characters have been established then focus can be more on story and character.

I said before I was going to give Sasha one more kick (The wildcard) before moving on with her story. The kick was received, she’s thoroughly distracted by her boss’s weird assignment and her mother’s interference. Now it’s time to throw Sasha to the wolves and find out what she’s made of.

Sasha pulled her keys from the ignition, saw movement in her side yard and froze. Was it Baylor? Was he back to finish the job?
“If it’s you I need proof.” Locking her car doors with shaking hands, she put the keys back in the ignition leaving the engine off, but headlights on. She fished out her phone and put it on video. The movement came again and she hit record. Was he waiting for her to get out of the car?

The man stepped from the bushes beside her house. Baylor. With flaring nostrils he moved slowly and deliberately toward the car. His lips pulled back in a sneer baring his teeth. Sasha nearly dropped the phone as she turned the engine over. He dashed for the locked door; a flash of silver in his hand. Gun?

Screaming she dropped the phone after a good close up of his face and a car key. She slammed the car into reverse as the lock clicked off. He pulled the door open. She screamed again and backed into the small tree at the edge of the driveway. Her head hit the headrest hard. She shifted to drive, turned toward Baylor and floored it. The jostle of the car driving over his body urged another scream from her. Not looking back she made it to the main road, managed to retrieve her phone from the floor and dialed 911. She ignored the fact that she was breaking a couple of laws.

She saw the oncoming car just in time and swerved back to her side of the road as tears blinded her. She pulled over skidding into the ditch with a thud as the phone picked up. “You have reached…

She cried out in frustration. “You’re kidding me! An automated message!” an operator picked up after several seconds. “Nine one one, what is your emergency?” The car she nearly hit had pulled over and stopped.
“Baylor, He’s at my house.” She yelled. “He had a key, I hit a tree.”
“Are you injured ma’am?”
“No. no he’s at my house again.” She sounded insane, and wasn’t making sense. So much for calm and collected under pressure she thought.
“What is your address ma’am?”
Sasha gave her address as the car behind her opened the door. Was it Baylor? She wiped her tears and locked her doors again. “Like that will help.” She was blinded by tears and the lights of the car behind her. She was ready to try to drive away if necessary.
“Are you in danger?”
“Yes I drove away, he’s there I hit him.”
“You assaulted someone?”
“Car, yes I hit him with my car. He was there he had a key.” She saw the mans face. Cal. “Cal.” She said with too much relief. “Cal!” She said louder and opened her door,  911 operator forgotten. “Cal.”
“What the hell Sasha, you nearly.” He stopped when he saw her wide-eyed makeup streaked face.
“Baylor, Baylor.” She pointed back at her house. “I called 911. I hit him and a tree. He had a car key.”
Cal grabbed her phone. “Get in my car.” He leaned into hers and put her four-way indicator lights on.“Huh, the airbags didn’t go off.” He identified himself to the 911 operator and explained what little he knew. He unclasped his holster and got back in his car. Sasha was shaking and wiping her makeup filled tears on her sleeve. He turned his car around and sped back to her house and stopped on the road.

“Stay here Sasha, do not open the doors and stay out of sight. Take the phone and talk to the operator, tell her what happened in order and as best you can until I get back.”
Sasha nodded, took her phone and crawled into the back of the car as Cal closed his door and moved swiftly, his gun drawn.

It seemed like forever before Cal returned. The operator calmed her down and got her story. The operator told her to stay on the line even though the police cruiser arrived and the officers got out of the car. She stayed out of sight, but they knew she was there from the 911 operator. She jumped at the knock on the window.

Cal looked down at her, she unlocked and opened the door. He took her phone, let the operator know the scene was secure, thanked her and ended the call. “Baylor got away. He’s hurt and bleeding so that’s helpful. Did you hit him on purpose?”
“Yes.” She frowned. It was a horrible thing to do no matter how bad it was. “I knocked him down when I backed up. Then I drove over him.”
“Well that explains what I saw. Forensics is on the way. You’ll need to make another statement, as will I.”
“Am I in trouble?” Sasha looked at her shaking hands.
“For what?”
“Driving while on the phone, crashing… twice and hitting him?”
“I think we can overlook the phone and crashing. You hit him in attempt to escape.” He held his hand out for her and she took it exiting Cal’s car. “This is officer Jenkins, he will take you account and then we’ll go to the station.”

She nodded and answered Jenkins’ questions. When she mentioned the phone footage Cal took her phone out of his pocket and opened the video. After watching he emailed a copy to the Chief and one to himself and his cellphone, in case anything happened to her phone. Jenkins told forensics to take the phone and process it. He gave Jenkins her car keys after retrieving her laptop, file and purse from her car.
“You can’t go home tonight.”
“But.”
“No buts Sasha.” Cal put her belongings in his trunk and got in to drive her to the station. She was in shock and numb for now, that wont last long he thought.
“Bail is stupid.” She said after a long silence.
“Your protection lost you earlier. I was on my way to check on you when you nearly hit me.”
“Sorry. I was acting recklessly.”
“Understandably.” He could still hear her screams from the video. “When we catch him he wont be getting bail ever again.”
“Why were you coming to check on me?”
He had no intention of telling her the full truth. “Your phone was going to voicemail and it’s my job.”
“Oh, my mom was driving me crazy about, never mind I turned the ringer off. How did Baylor get away?”
“He dragged himself bleeding to a car that was parked at your neighbours. I missed him by seconds.”
Sasha bit both lips between her teeth, had she not been a lunatic Cal might have gotten to Baylor sooner.
“Don’t do that Sasha, don’t start questioning your actions. You handled that very well.”
“Oh? I’m a mess, I nearly killed a man then you maybe even myself. I couldn’t string together a coherent sentence and.” She started crying again. “I’m being pathetic.”
“I’m serious Sasha stop it. You had enough wit to get proof he was there, you got away and safely. Nearly doesn’t count. Yes he got away, but so did you.”
She didn’t respond and stayed silent all the way to the station. She gave her statement quickly. Cal suggested to do it now while it was fresh and scorched in her mind. What he meant was to give it before reality set in for real.

Whew, what fun that was to write. It would be silly to have her handle the situation gracefully and with too much logic. People are not perfect and can be erratic when terrified or hurt. People need to have stupid moments to have stupid things happen to them. Lucky for me the writer and the readers, stupid makes for some awesome danger. On the other side of that Sasha is the protagonist, the one that has already been kicked and spat on thanks to some mean writer 😉  So to have her fail miserably and be the complete victim would be ultra boring and annoying to the reader. For now, because she isn’t ready to be the total hero yet, I gave her a mix of bravery, resourcefulness, stupidity and panic-blindness.

My advice about danger.
Normal everyday people are not used to action, violence or real danger. If a character is untrained civilian, let them freak out a bit and don’t forget to let them shine a little too. 

-Sheryl

Other intense posts

It’s a love hate sort of thing

Don’t rush me!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Scorched