Sunday, January 30, 2011

When life gives you lemons, create a character

Not really feeling the sample Sunday love today. Thought maybe I'd veer from that this week. Sure I have a little bit I could put up. It's not a scene from Being Human, not even a cut chapter. It's a little scene I wrote in my head that would introduce Rissa, Dan's wife. But as I said, I'm not feeling the sample love so I'll skip in favor of something that's been on my mind all weekend.

I recently read my buddy Chris's story. It was one I've been dying to read, wanting to know what happens after reading HIS samples on his blog, curious about the characters. He sent it to me and I devoured it in one night. I did stop a few times to make suggestions or corrections. One chapter was full of them because I felt it went too fast. I'm happy to say I loved the story and irritated the sequel hasn't been finished. (I've been threatening to kidnap him and lock him in my closet until he's done!)

And out of his characters, who have done a great job of burying themselves in my mind, a character came to me. I think I was dreaming, not quite sure. I saw a boy, he was seventeen, almost eighteen. Tall and well built from lifting weights with his friends. He was a cutie, definitely able to turn girls' heads. His hands were in his pockets like he didn't have a care in the world. He sighed and said to me, "I'm not like other boys you know. I'm gay."

At that point I was skeptic, "Um, no. I know a few."

But he insisted, telling me his story. How terrifying it was to figure it out at fourteen, how for a long time he tried to be 'normal'. It was a bit heartbreaking but he perked me up, saying he accepted his differences. Even if he had yet to tell a soul.

I woke up with JJ stuck in my head and wrote 5000 words that day. Characters emerged, JJ's one friend, Mason, shocking me with how caring and understanding he was. A vampire appeared at one point to stay because obviously any story I write can't be done without a supernatural element. (I swear it's not my fault, it's how the stories all come to me!) I had the beginning mapped out and the end. The middle was a little blurry, but I'm getting through it.

It's been my current obsession, a lot of waking moments spent thinking about JJ, Cage (the vampire) and his friends and how JJ will face world. As I lay in bed, thinking I should have stayed up to keep writing in fear of forgetting the words flowing in my head, I realized something. It was a strange something, but it was true and I knew it's why I was able to write JJ's story out so well.

When I was in seventh grade, the whole class went to a camp for three days at the end of the year. It was the highlight of seventh grade. The start was fine, we quickly discovered the cabin my friends and I bunked in were freezing! But it was better than school. Then disaster hit. Someone, and to this day I have no idea who, spread a rumor that I kissed another girl in my cabin.

As adults we roll our eyes, knowing rumors are silly and while there's still debate over homosexuality, I have nothing against it.

But I was thirteen! In middle school! You remember what that was like. Everyone broke off into cliques and anyone left out was fresh meat to be ripped apart. If you had asked any kid if being okay was gay they probably would have said yes, but actually being gay? No kid wanted that because it meant they were different, left out and vulnerable.

I remember feeling like that, knowing everyone was looking at me and laughing. I had another girl try to get me and the other girl that was victim of the rumor to fight, someone vandalized our cabin, writing insults on the mirrors and walls, people I thought were my friends refused to acknowledge me. What was suppose to be a fun three day vacation turned into a nightmare. I don't think I ever told my parents either. When camp was over I remember being terrified of going back to school. What if my older sister heard the rumor?

By the next school year, everyone had forgotten. Everyone but me (and probably the other girl. We never talked much after.) And I'll never forget. I'll never forget the shame and humiliation. I also never forget my friends, the real ones that didn't care and stood by my side. That weekend I discovered who they were and that was the only way I got through it.

So what does this have to do with JJ and his story? I empathize with JJ. I know what he's scared of going through because I've been through a form of it. I'm tapping on those fears of seventh grade camp, remembering how it felt and using it to find the right words. Life gave me a lemon all those years ago and I've been carrying it since. Now I'm ready to make some lemonade. Want a glass?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reality of a dream

by Patricia Lynne
This is the fourth chapter in the Daisy Lemmas Riff Blog Chain.

The noise is thunderous as she locks the door, a roar of voices, horns and bells. She takes a moment to steel herself, then turns. People fill the streets, rushing to and from. Not one gives her a glance, in fact, any that look her way are quick to turn away. It tears at her soul, knowing the turn her life took.

What did It want from her?

The question felt selfish, but necessary.

The diner she seeks isn't far, but far enough. Inside is packed, people leaning over their coffees. She pushes her way to the counter.

"Good morning! Your usual?" The young boy was always so cheerful.

She nodded without a word and he didn't press her. By now he knew she wouldn't talk, his earlier attempts in vain. The coffee presented burned her lips as she sipped, but the pain didn't matter. Pain was a sign she was awake, away from the horrible void in her dreams. God, how she wanted to escape but unable to wake!

What did It want?

Desperate to escape back to the dingy motel, she turns, freezing. No! It can't be here! Not in the real world! Blackness swirled in the doorway blocking her. Panic gripped her chest, a scream rising. It ripped from her throat screeching against her ears and she fell.


Check out chapters here.
Chapter One: Welcome to the Void
Chapter Two: Waking up.
Chapter Three: Eternity
Chapter Four: Eternity 2
Chapter Five: Me!
Chapter Six: Fragments
Chapter Seven: Dream or Not, "It Spoke to Me"
Chapter Eight: Bronze Elephants
Chapter Nine: Lot More Riff
Chapter Ten: Elephant Graveyard
Chapter Eleven: Abyss
Chapter Twelve: Time Loop
Chapter Thirteen: Warfront
Chapter Fourteen: Anna's Obsession
Chapter Fifteen: India
Chapter Sixteen: The Revisitation
Chapter Seventeen: The Raven

Want to join in? Want to write chapter four? Blog Chain info on FB and ask.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A novel of secret obsession and a contest

It's time to announce the winner. Diane Amy, come on down! Please email me your snail mail address to kurro07(@)gmail.com

At the beginning of December I was sitting at one of my craft shows, bored out of my skull! The customers were trickling in and no one really buying anything - at least not from me. I passed a little time by knitting, seeing how I was and still am quite low on hats to sell. Over all it was starting to feel like a waste of time and money. Then the vendor next to me got there.

She had a small suitcase and small table she decorated modestly, displaying her items for sale. The items were books and that meant I had to look closer. We talked a little, she asked if I liked to read and I shyly admitted I was trying to publish a story. I asked how she published her books and her answer was, "I self published." Bells and whistles went off in my head at that. I had to ask her questions, find out more! If not for myself but for my blog. Self publishing was something I was hearing about more and more and I wanted to find information on that as well as traditional publishing. I went back to my table, grabbed my notebook and jotted a few questions. I told her I wanted to feature her on my blog and would she please answer the questions. She said yes and went to writing, stopping frequently to talk to people who bought her book. (By the end of the craft show her suitcase was nearly bare - you would have thought she was a best selling NY Times author by the way people snatched the books up.) My plan was to post the interview and contest around Christmas.

Which didn't happen. Shortly after my boyfriend and I learned we were moving and her book I bought to offer as a prize got packed away. Now we're moved into our new apartment and I found the book I've been wanting to blog about for weeks. So here it is, the book: Rapunzel's Window by Cheryl Lanning.

I hope you enjoy Cheryl's journey and as incentive to comment I will be giving away a signed copy of Rapunzel's Window, a couple of bookmarks with character list and a yummy recipe for chocolate cake! Contest open until Jan 31st.

Patrica Lynne: When did you start writing?
Cheryl: I began to want to express myself in words when I was six. I wrote a play, The Christmas Spirit. I misspelled spirit as spirt.

PL: What made you decide/inspired you to write Rapunzel's Window?
Cheryl: I always wanted to write a novel and had a vague idea. As I wrote it, it became plain. A man who was a journalist was my main character because I believe you should write about something you know. I taught journalism for 23 years.

PL: What challenges did you face when deciding to self-publish"
Cheryl: Finding out how publishing works! When you finish the writing, you have to market your book and for this you need the advice of a professional. Every idea must come from you and a professional editor.

PL: Any advice or resourses?
Cheryl: Take apart the books you had. How does the author present chracters - as they really are and as they talk, setting - where and when, the plot - what happens when and in what order?

She also told me to make my characters real, give them history and favorite pastimes or pet peeves. A piece of advice I have seen a lot and use myself. She also recommended Googling Writer's Market a tool she had found helpful. She was a wonderful lady to talk to, full of encouragement and hope. Not a bad writer either, I peeked in Rapunzel's Window and read the first chapter and the images her words put in my head were clear as day, I could see the scene play out before me. I wanted to continue but the book is a prize, the winner earning the right to crack the spine.

For more information on Cheryl and her books (Rapunzel's Window is the first in a trilogy,) check out her website Potagannssing Bay Publishing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This Sunday meet Fallen

It's Sunday! Are you excited? Do you know what this means? Church, yeah. Resting, yup. But more importantly it means #SampleSunday on Twitter and for me it means time to introduce another character from Being Human! Please hold your appluase.

This Sunday's character is named Fallen. Not her real name. After all vampires fear real names so when Tommy stumbles upon her and some friends one night she makes up a few on the fly. This scene is after Tommy's figured out she his friend and you discover that not only do humans think vampires are unnatural, but vampires believe it as well. Enjoy. (Also, for a certain someone, HA! I got the last laugh in!)


“How often do you kill? It can't be every night... Can it?”

I gave Fallen a sideways look. I had apologized to her. For accusing her of lying, threatening to kill her and not showing up the next night. I didn't tell her the reason why. I had been injured, in need of blood and would have killed her. My brother may have been safe from me, but she definitely wasn't. I would have heard her heartbeat, thought about the blood fueling her heart and attacked.

The thought crossed my mind though – an easy meal for sure.

Nor did I tell her I thought apologizing was pointless. I did it only because I knew my brother would tell me to. He said I needed to stop being so insensitive. I thought I was being honest.

“No, I only hunt when I need to.”

“Need, you've used that before. What does it mean exactly?”

I rolled my eyes. Comments like that was what made me doubt her intelligence. “It means what it implies. When I need to feed, I hunt. When you get hungry you eat, correct? You need to eat. I need to hunt.”

“So it's hunger, but aren't vampires hungry all the time?” Fallen asked.

“Where are you taking me?” I asked instead.

We were on the far side of campus, away from the dorms. I hadn't been to this area much, there was no need. Unfamiliarity wasn't a problem, but the amount of light was. The area was well lit, with lights at each door, along the sidewalks and spaced out among the parking lot. At least at the dorms, there were plenty of dark spots to hide in. Here I felt exposed.

“Hmm?” Fallen blinked rapidly, glancing around. “I dunno, I was just walking, not paying attention.”

“That's how a vampire could get you.” I noted.

Fallen shrugged. “If one does I can only pray it's painless or I wake back up.”

“Why would you want to wake back up? You'd be a vampire then. That's stupid.”

You woke back up. You're a vampire.”

“I never said I wanted to be one.” I looked at her, scowling. “It's not a choice any of us have. Instead of dying we wake back up and forget being human. It's not right. Humans aren't meant to be vampires.”

“How can you say that?” Fallen demanded.

I kept my gaze steady on her, actually wishing she'd flinch. “Why else would we forget being human and change so much? I forgot everything human about me, when I see pictures of myself as a human, I don't recognize that human as me.”

“If you forget how do you know you didn't want to be one? Maybe it was a secret wish.” Fallen insisted.

“Because when I woke back up I had denial. I thought not me again and again. Then I went home and murdered my parents.”

“But not your brother? Your twin.” Fallen smiled at me.

“No, I saw him and stopped.”

“Why?”

“I don't know, it was a feeling. I looked at him and knew we were the same. Or had been the same.” I explained.

“Twin bond. There's no proof but a lot of twins say they feel connected. If one dies the other knows and feels the loss.” Fallen nodded thoughtfully.

“Yes.” I replied, awed she understood something my brother was certain other humans never understood. My eyes snapped away from her. “Someone's coming!” I disappeared up the side of a building before Fallen can respond.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Follow Friday

It's a little late, only an hour left to Friday but I have an excuse. I got caught up reading a book. (I also forgot my H&R Block appointment for my taxes. Oops.) Anyways, thought I'd take part in Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee and answer a question: Who do you cheer for?

Great question! Let me think.............. thinking............ still thinking......... I don't really follow any sports, but I'll always cheer for Grand Valley State University, the college I attended. Maybe Lake State Superior University, the college my boyfriend attended. GVSU over LSSU definitely.

Don't forget to click the picture below and browse through the blogs, or drop me a comment if you found me through the list.




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Life, seriously, knock it off

Life, you and I need to have a little chat. You're getting in my way! I know you think you're important and truth be told, you are, but seriously, stop it. I'm getting to the end of my rope and I don't think I can wait until Saturday when my boyfriend and I move into our new apartment, furnish it or I get a job that puts money into my bank account. I just want to write and life, you're not helping.

It's frustrating, the words not flowing or when they do flow it's only a quick burst. Even when I lay in bed trying to sleep the words are stopped up and that's my best time to have ideas come to me. It's not from lack of trying either. I've stared and stared at one story, then another, write a sentence or two then stop. Nothing comes. No amazing descriptions, catchy dialogue, intense action. There's nothing there, in my head. Turning off distractions isn't helping either. I'm still sitting here, struggling for the right words to say, hoping that typing all this out will unleash the floodgates. Only now it's silent.

I'm at a loss for what to do, how to work past this road block. Because life shouldn't stop my writing. It may cut in quite often, but flat out stopping my writing? No, I don't want that. I want to be able to let the words flow whenever I open a blank document or open a notebook. I want writing to be part of my life, in sync with it, dancing together. I want to write.

For life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why don't he comment?

"Why don't he write?" It was my mom's favorite line from Dances With Wolves. She used it every chance she got. That line is one of the two things I remember from the movie. "Why don't he write?" and when the horse gets killed. (I was really into horses when I was little so anytime a movie had a horse that died I was in tears. To this day I refuse to watch The NeverEnding Story.) Today though, the line brought up a good question, one I had seen a few other blogs muse about.

Why doesn't someone comment?

I want readers to comment, tell me their thoughts on my post or ask a question of their own. It's all any author of a blog asks. Still, a lot of times readers pass over commenting. Why I ask. Is my post not interesting to warrant a comment? Is all you can think of commenting a simple, "Nice post."? Are you even reading my blog? Am I not giving any incentive to comment? What is it?

I really do want to know. What keeps you, the reader, from posting a comment? Post it in the comments section! I made this blog for motivation and to connect. I want to connect with my readers. I want to see those simple "I enjoyed this post." comments. Hell, I'll even go for a "Wow, I really didn't dig that Sunday Sample." Please, let's talk. Isn't that what blogs are about?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sample Sunday: Danny

It's Sunday again and that means #SampleSunday on Twitter! I thought about what I wanted to post, what a good sample would be and came up with a great idea. I'd introduce you to the characters of Being Human. A different one each Sunday until I ran out of characters. Since you've already met Tommy, it seemed natural the next person would be his twin brother, Danny. The scene I picked is the night after Tommy's turning. He catches Danny's scent on the wind and follows to a cabin they spent summers at and they have a little back and forth and you learn what their relationship as brothers is. 

So ,please, meet Danny.

A porch stretched across the length of the front of the cabin, made of the same wood as sides of the cabin. The steps leading up were uneven. Nothing adorned the porch, no chairs, benches or mats. That felt odd to me. I felt something should be on the porch, something that gave signs of life.

“I knew you'd remember this.”

I turned, easily finding my brother. He stood on the edge of the lake. His shoes were off, pants rolled up as the water lapped at his toes. I wandered over to him, staring. Across the lake were more cabins, a few with lights. If I listened closely I could just make out the rhythms beating inside.

“I don't.”

“What?”

“I don't remember. I only caught scent of you and followed.” I replied.

“Oh.” My brother's shoulders slumped. He perked up a little. “You still came.”

“I didn't want another to find you.”

“Another what?”

“Vampire.”

“Oh.” My brother's voice sounded sad again.

“I don't want any others to find you because if one's going to kill you, it should be me.” I said.

My brother stared at me. His eyes widened, mouth open in shock. He seemed unable to find his voice. The only word he managed came out a croak. “Oh...”

I looked at him, seeing the fear in him as well as smelling it. “I wouldn't do that though.”

“Oh.” My brother repeated.

“I don't want you dead.” I continued.

“Oh?” This time his voice held a question.

“No,” I confirmed and paused, considering my next words. “You're my brother. I don't remember being your brother, but I feel it. It's why I stopped when you touched me. I saw you and knew who you were.” I looked at him, catching his gaze. “I won't let anyone hurt you. If they do I'll kill them.”

My brother's adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed loudly. “You don't have to do that.”

I tilted my head to the side. “Why not?”

Another bob of his adam's apple accompanied by a step back. “You look creepy when you do that.”

“Do what?”

“Tilt your head. It looks like you're thinking about eating me.”

I untilted my head. “It's crossed my mind.”

“But you said you didn't want me dead.” His voice was slow and uncertain.

“I don't.” I assured him. “I can bite and not kill. I choose not to.”

My brother was quiet for a long moment. As I watched him, emotions flashed across his face. Confusion replaced the fear, then anger, then fear again, but now the fear wasn't as strong. His words were carefully chosen when he spoke. “You choose not to... So you don't have to, but you do because you want to?”

Before I could answer, he turned away from me, heading back to the cabin. I followed wondering why he didn't want to hear my answer. Should I have lied to him? Is that what he wanted? There was no reason to lie to him. Lying was pointless.

I watched my brother tug his shoes on, unroll his pants and lay down on the grass. He spread his arms above his head, eyes staring above. I lay next to him, looking up. Thousands of stars sparkled above us, a partial moon glowing. There was a peacefulness to the scene, a serenity that lacked down here on the ground. I wondered what it'd be like to be up there, surrounded by peace.

“Are you mad at me?”

My brother looked at me and I realized the question came from me.

“No.” He said. “I'm trying to understand you. It's unnerving seeing you like this. So emotionless and void. You say everything in a matter-of-fact tone, like it's the truth and there's nothing I can do about it.”

“I feel emotions.”

“You don't sound like it.”

I sat up, looking at my brother. He stared back up at me, waiting. I smiled and still he stared.

“Well?” I finally asked.

“What?”

“I smiled.”

“I didn't see you smile.”

“Oh.”

“Your lips just twitched.” My brother pointed out. “Were you smiling again?”

“I was frowning.” I corrected and lay back down.

“Guess you do it too fast for me to see.” My brother sighed.

“Guess...” I replied.

We lay silent for a long moment. The stars twinkled and shined above us. The only sounds were the water lapping at the ground and my brother's breathing and heartbeat. All three were steady and soothing noises. I felt like the world around us didn't matter. Right now it was only me and him.

I didn't want it to end.

“T...”

In a flash, I sat up, silencing my brother. I stared at him, a feeling of unease welling in me. “Don't,” I whispered. “Ever say my name. Don't say mine and I won't say yours. Understand?”

“Okay,” my brother said. He raised an eyebrow at me. “Guess it's true what they say. Vampires fear names.”

“Names have power. Power to make you see what you don't want to see.”

“What don't you want to see?”

I leaned closer and my brother shifted uncomfortably. He kept his eyes on mine, trying not to let his fear overpower him. Was that human instinct? To naturally fear vampires? Had I? It made sense. Vampires hunted humans, humans were my prey and my brother should be my prey. But he wasn't, he was more than just blood to me. He was my brother and that was so important it trumped every vampire instinct in me.

My voice was whisper soft, just loud enough for him to hear. “We don't want to see you.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Five things you didn't know about vampires

by Tommy

First off, I'd like to state this is pointless. I don't get it. Both why I have to do it or why Patty insists on the blog in the first place. She assures me it's needed - although not to survive, which is why I'm skeptic. Then my brother, Dan jumped in, stating if I wanted my story told then yes I needed to do it. Readers have only been listening to Patty's ramblings and if I wanted them to understand not only vampires but me, I needed do it. Give a little insight to the vampires of the world I live in. My niece also added and I quote, "It will be sooooo much fun, Uncle! You'll love it! Let's make you a Facebook profile next!" My reply, naturally, "What is a face book?"

Then they tried to bribe me. Then threatened me with my name. Then they said my name and I had no choice. Now I have to do this pointless blog. It's really hard for vampires to resist the pull of our names. Guess that can be fact one.

Vampires will listen when you use their name. It's almost compulsive, like a command or order. While it can be resisted, its easier to listen. Not listening when someone uses my names puts a knot of anxiety in me. Then I get snappy and bite things.

Welcoming a vampire is the only way a vampire can enter a home. I've never been sure why vampires have to be invited into homes. I assume so we don't wipe out the humans and destroy our food source. Although animals have blood too, but I don't know... The idea of fur in my mouth isn't appealing. Maybe if my survival was at risk. Anyways, energy is what keeps us out. It hums and buzzes when we get close, throwing us back if it's strong enough. I've forced my way through a few times and the results aren't pretty. Dan says I looked like I danced with a cheese grater.

Vampires will NOT go into a frenzy at the smell or sight of blood. That myth is plain ridiculous, okay? Do you know how clumsy humans are? They are constantly bleeding. I can not go anywhere without smelling a hint of blood. If vampires went crazy at the smell of blood I'd fall into desire whenever I approached a hospital. There wouldn't be a place on earth vampires could go to escape the smell. We deal with blood the same way a human deals with food when they aren't hungry, we ignore it... Mostly.

Natural death is a waste of blood. A human dies and what happens to the blood? Nothing, it gets wasted. If you're a human and you're dying around me, I will kill you. It's nothing personal, I'd rather drink the blood then let it go waste. It's not like dying by vampire is a bad way to go. At least if it's me. I'll knock you unconscious first.

Vampires aren't solitary. When we are first turned, yes, we get antsy and try to kill each other but if there's a bit of distance (ten or fifteen feet,) we just snarl and growl until we become comfortable with each other's presence. The older the vampire, the less hostile the vampire will be around others. Even a vampire needs company.

Can I be done now? I think I've said enough and I'm getting hungry. As soon as I woke tonight I was dragged to the computer. I wasn't even all the way up the stairs! I need to go hunt and then I want to see Sunlight.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The choice before me: One story or four?

As you may know, Being Human is written. I have gone through four drafts of editing and cutting and other than waiting for Erin to read through it again, I am generally happy with it. So now what? Send out my query? Snag that agent? Get it turned into a real book? (Look mom! I'm a real book!) A few days ago I thought about querying, sent my query to Erin and Aislin Keeley, both gave me prompt feedback for me to ponder. Aislin, especially. She commented on the length, saying for a young adult novel, the word count was high. When I was writing, I fretted over it being short, then I started looking around and found out I have nothing to fear.

Actually, I do have something to fear.

Being Human is at risk of getting passed over for being long! Can you believe that? Agents and editors are wary of long novels. Especially if the novel is from someone like me. By someone like me I mean I have no writing experience, no credentials. I'm an unknown. One day I had a dream of a story, wrote it down and kept writing until I got to Being Human and felt that was the story I want to share.

What does that mean? Do I still try to sell Being Human in it's current length? Do I edit more? I'm not afraid of trying to sell it with how it is, but editing it down? I'm really not liking the idea. I've cut enough and anymore and I risk loosing what I'm trying to tell. So what to do? There is another option, one I have dabbled with before. An option that is quite doable.

I cut it up.

Being Human has chapters but it also has parts and there are five. (Four if I take the fifth part that is super short and recombine it with part four.) I take those parts and make them their own books. To do that, I need to add a few chapters to develop characters more and strengthen up the conflicts. Then I do more editing. (Oh boy!) Once that's all done, then I can go back to querying and sending part one (also known as Brothers) to agents as the first part in a four part series.

Easy right? Mmmm, not really but there are my options. What do I do? The easy path would send Being Human out as it is and cross my fingers that the length won't scare agents away. The harder path is cutting it up and figuring out how to make each part strong enough to stand on its own.

What do you think I should do?

PS: There is also the option of saying screw it all and self publishing too!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Music to my writing

My mp3 player has an unusual assortment of music. A lot of rock, some heavy metal, punk, oldies, soundtrack scores, dance, R&B, country, Latin, video game music and a song by a Romanian band (Numa Numa anyone?) I played it every day at work, often raising a few eyebrows from new co-workers. I put what I liked on it and that's all that matters. I love listening to it, music is fun, mirroring my mood often. 

Which is strange because I don't often listen to music when I write. I don't crank the tunes while I'm typing away. Usually the TV is on and a movie I barely pay attention to playing. Still, music is important to my writing. There have been times I'm at work or driving down the road, music blaring, and a scene pops in my head. It's crystal clear, the words formed perfectly and as soon as the music is done, the scene fades away. Other times I hear songs and realize the song is a perfect theme song for my characters, describing their journey as if it was a music video. Every time I hear those songs I can see the characters, see the scene unfold.

So what songs have inspired me? Laid a scene out so perfectly or described a relationship spot on?

There's Jackson and Ebony in Forever Ebony. Their song is Love Story by Taylor Swift. Which is amusing because if you recall from another post, Ebony is goth and Jackson was a teen in the sixties before he became a vampire. Both wouldn't be Taylor Swift's biggest fans. Jackson could tolerate it but Ebony would flat out refuse to listen. But the song fits them almost perfectly, fated lovers waiting to be united. Or in their case reunited again and again.

Being Human had a lot of songs inspire me too. Two songs in particular helped me envision two scenes perfectly. My Love by Sia is a good representation of Tommy and Jamie's relationship. Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie was another. It's a long song but when I listened to it I could perfectly picture a scene between Tommy and Jamie. It played out like a movie and I would love to see it that way. My Bloody Valentine by Good Charlotte was another song that,while I didn't see a particular scene, it did fit Tommy and his story. 

There's more songs but I think you get my point. Music can be a valuable tool for writing. The lyrics and melody can bring images and visuals to your mind, help you see what you want to write. Or draw. Or design. It's not only limited to writing, music is a muse for all.

What does music inspire you to do?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The voices in my head

Last night a fellow writer on Twitter was talking about his characters and how they had commandeered a scene. He wanted it one way, but the characters wanted it another. For someone who doesn't write that may sound weird. You're arguing with characters in a story you're writing? Where's your straight jacket?

Trust me, it's not that crazy.

Part of a writer's job is not only to write an amazing story, but to make characters that are real. Characters that you can see yourself interacting with, loving or hating. It's another piece of advice I have gotten over and over, If the character is real to you, he/she is real to the reader.

So are my characters real to me? Oh yeah, they are very real in my mind, always talking, eager to tell their story. Sometimes what they say isn't even in the story I'm writing but I still have to listen. I listen and learn who my characters are, what they like and dislike and everything else that gives a person (real or fictional) personality.

And sometimes how I think a character will act isn't how the character acts.

I  recently took a break from Being Human, starting on what would be considered the sequel. In this one, we meet Drew. I knew what sort of person he'd be and how he'll evolved before I started writing. That was a no brainer. What I didn't know was who Mackie was. Mackie is Drew's foster parent in a way, he runs a home for very troubled teens. At first I thought he'd be a horrible man, cruel and uncaring about his charges. Then I started writing and Mackie showed me who he really was. And he's not mean or cruel. He's a really sweet guy that cares deeply about the kids he takes in, about Drew. I couldn't get him to shut up! Mackie was peeved I wanted to portray him as a jerk and he made sure I knew the kind of person he really was. No arguments.

There is a downside to this. While I couldn't get Mackie to shut up, Drew was very silent. I struggled to write because Drew just wasn't talking to me. He wasn't talking because right now he's shy. He's shy and uncertain and wishes he was invisible. Even now, I can see him, face tipped down, occasionally glancing up at me, worried he'll say something stupid.

(Later in the story, he will open up, unafraid to talk. I just have to get to that point, struggling to get him to tell me what's going through his mind, his views, his story. All the while, telling Mackie to shut the heck up!)

See what I mean now? From that little bit wouldn't you think I was talking about two people? Two real people? That's what I have to do. With each character, even the minor ones. When they are real to me, they are real to you.

Are they real yet?

Also, curious about my friend at the beginning? Check out his blog or Twitter.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The miracles of Twitter hashtags

I have to admit, I've become addicted to Twitter hashtags. You know those string of words with a number sign before that when you click on it, you find other tweets similar. I like to add # to any number of words and see what I get. It's fun and amusing. It's more than fun and games though, you can find some really good info and people on Twitter via hashtags. For me, the ones I use a lot are #amwriting, #amblogging, #writing and on occasion #mtdew (it's the elixir of life!)

Today I discovered a new one, a hashtag of epic proportions. #SampleSunday. It goes along the lines of #FF and #MentionMondays, but it's for samples you want to show. Samples of anything I image, but for me it's great because I can easily show people samples of my writing. What I'm working on, what I've finished, I can show it all to people and find out if I'm on the right track. Is my writing intriguing people? Will they want to read more after reading my samples? Even if all someone does is give advice or critiques my sample that's great. People are seeing and reacting to it.

So here is my sample, a little opening to Being Human that I'm not 100% sure will make it in the story. My friend, Erin, and I were discussing prologues and the possibility of having one. This is what I came up with. It's Tommy's turning from the attacking vampire's POV.

Not me.

The two words were frantic and terrified. It wasn't surprising, most humans reacted in fear of him. What was surprising was the amount of terror. He hadn't expected that of the boy. Ones like this boy tended to know, understand that deep down this wasn't the end. He looked back into the terror-filled eyes, hearing more.
This can't be happening! Not to me! Why didn't I just back down? Admit defeat? It doesn't matter what Justin or any of them think! Dan would have told me that, but he wasn't the one that always got picked on, taunted and called a freak. He was popular and I was just his weird twin that tagged along. Stupid me! Trying to prove that I could be cool. Now all I'll be is dead! I don't want to die!

He pulled from the boy's thoughts, tilting his head. The boy trembled, so certain of his death. He leaned closer, fangs sliding out in response to the thundering heart. Hunger and need gripped him, strangling his words.

“This is not your end.” He managed and buried his fangs in the boy's tender neck as the boy screamed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions. Not for me.

I wasn't going to blog about the new year. Not at first. Everyone else is posting blogs today, so if I go against the grain and skip it, will it be missed? Doubtful. But then someone pointed out the date in numbers and I gotta admit, I was O.O. Literally, my eyes widened and I had an OMGBBQ luk @ teh date nao!!!1!!1!1!!!! it being awwsum! moment. (That's LOL cat speak for those of you who don't know. Look up i can has cheezburger and you will understand and instantly be addicted.)

What can I say, I love dates like that. They amused me. Easily. So here I am, blogging about the date.... well, pointlessly rambling is more accurate. Maybe I should make this worth something.

Resolutions! I... don't do them. Never have, never will. Mostly because I don't think about them, not even as new years day approaches. Why make a resolution when I know I'll forget and never keep it? Doesn't make sense. This year is no different. There are no resolutions, only a promise.

I promise to get Being Human published. I know it can be done and I can get it done this year. I'm on draft four, the last few kinks that didn't sit right with me gone and a few more read throughs to fix grammar and minor errors and I can call it done. Well, as done as it can get. Will it ever be completely done? Probably not. I've heard a lot of authors say their works are never done, there's always more that can be done but at one point they felt it was good enough to stop nitpicking. I will come to that same point too. Feeling there's nothing more to do even though I could do more if I wanted. Then I'll release my story into the world, to readers to tear into and tear apart with their opinions.

That's all I'm promising this year. The closest to a resolution I've ever had. All I want to achieve. Wish me luck!