Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors 8/17/14: I can fix it--don't want anything in return, really

Well well, it looks like the weekend again! In my case a dreary, non-summer weekend but at least we’re not getting the floods or firestorms that others are. Dreary works, though, because that means it’s good weather for staying in and doing the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop. What’s that? Otherwise known as #8sunday, we pick eight sentences from a work in progress or a published work, sign up on the linky list, then get those 8 on our blogs live by 9 am Eastern time U.S. Pretty simple, huh?

I’m still on the scene I’ve been posting from in my WIP tentatively titled Night Shift. Kazimir has just told Devorah it would be best if she just disappears from her old life. She protests that nobody would believe she disappeared in the synagogue fire and building collapse because there are always remains. Kaz, of course, has an answer for that. 

(Thaumiel is the higher-level demon he fought with and ensnared in the synagogue’s basement. Collected excerpts for this story are here.) 

“But it’s not a normal collapse -- me and Thaumiel made enough noise to be heard. Anybody who got out safely knows something really freaky happened. So if you vanish, it’ll just be another part of the mystery.”  

My jaw dropped. “I can’t do that to my family, Dad died just a couple weeks ago and Mom’s about to lose Joe to the police.”  

“It’s easier in the long run.” He took my hand; despite the light pressure I gasped. “This must be the one you hit me with -- I can fix it.”  

Now he wants to help? Why am I suspicious of his motives? ;-) 

You know, I really enjoy the challenge of picking an impactful excerpt and making it fit into eight sentences. It helps me find things that are unnecessary and helps me decide what I want to focus on in each snippet. It teaches me to look for ways to condense beside simply slapping a bunch of commas in. I’m grateful to the ladies of the dearly departed Six Sentence Sunday for introducing me to the idea. Whatever success we may have, we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sailing the wide sea of possibilities

The plot. Does anybody besides me involuntarily shudder when they think about the plot? If your plots usually come together without much trouble, I salute you. Mine don’t, le sigh. They look coherent, they even might be coherent when I start, but then I inevitably write myself into a corner. Or several corners. “Pantsing” does not work for me.

This is what happened with the story I started for NaNo 2013, a little thing I’m tentatively calling Night Shift. Eventually -- some 35 chapters into the story -- I realized there were too many things I didn’t know, and because I didn’t know them, I had no idea how they might affect other things. And I got sick and tired of Devorah -- the POV character in a first person story -- always asking for help and needing everything explained to her. 

I can’t live with a wishy-washy female main character, and I don’t want my readers to. So I threw a bunch of stuff out of my head and turned certain assumptions upside down, which led to the realization that the story needs to start at a later point. Instead of showing how Devorah met Kazimir and how she joined his group of Crossers, I’m going to start after she’s been part of the group for a while. So she won’t need so much explained to her AND --

-- the best part is that she will be the confident, don’t-screw-with-me character I always envisioned her to be. 

Because the world does not need another helpless female character waiting to be rescued. 

Now I’m on to trying to figure out more of the backstory. One of the problems Draft 1 had was that I decided there were things I didn’t need to know because I didn’t plan to get into them in the story itself. After all, a lot of stories leave some questions unanswered. 

I know, I cringe too just thinking about it ;-) At least I didn’t publish that draft! So now I’m looking at Devorah’s dad -- who really killed him, and why? I hit on what I think is a great reason for why he was killed though the details need to be cleared up. Without spilling all the beans, it involves him having done some work for the angels several years prior. What I don’t know yet is why the angels wouldn’t tell Devorah that when Kazimir first says he wants to recruit her into the Crossers. 

I have a tiny bit of “fudge factor” in that the lower levels of angels (who deal directly with humans) are not above obscuring certain facts if they believe it serves a higher purpose in the long run. So if they believed keeping Devorah ignorant of her father’s past was in her best interest, they would certainly do that. 

(Why is Blogger red-underlining most of my words with apostrophes??)

Still, what does that really mean, in practical terms? How is it in her best interest? Writing is a continual journey of discovery. It’s like ancient mariners sailing an ocean for the first time, or the first astronomers to peer through crude telescopes. Writing a good story is challenging and sometimes pretty hard, but it’s also a damn lot of fun.

Photo credit: Alexander Steinhof via Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors 8/10/14: It's easier if you just disappear

Hey peeps, nice to see you :-) I had a long afternoon fighting with the woodwork around a couple of windows that needed new hardware for curtains 0.0 Old houses, yikes! So if anything in today’s excerpt is crazier than usual, it’s because I’ve been up for 16 hours now and the eyes are not as astute as they were in the morning!

I tweaked this to fit the guidelines but it’s still a first draft excerpt. I took out stuff like saying somebody stood up or did something else, because the focus here is on the dialog and what Devorah is thinking. So if it reads like it’s missing something, it is :-) Collected excerpts for this story are here.

Devorah and Kazimir are still in the wooded area a ways back from the synagogue, which is now on fire. The story began with Kaz urging Devorah to join him in a group of demons that also work for the Light. She’s agreed but hasn’t actually joined yet.

Sirens sounded in the distance from two directions. I couldn't see much through the trees though behind me, there seemed to be light flickering. I wanted to run to the synagogue to find out where everybody was. Logically that might not be a good idea; first responders didn’t need some crazy woman getting in their way. But then again, nobody knew where I was.  “Kaz, I need to find out what’s happening at the synagogue and let them know I’m all right.”  

“No, don’t, it’s important--don’t. We didn’t get into details yet about how or when you’d approach the demons asking to join them. It’ll be easier for you if you just disappear from your old life.”  

Yikes again! Disappear? Really? Could you do that?

He’s promised her that if she joins him in the demon group, she can help him find out who really killed her dad. Things haven’t been that straightforward though, and now she finds out he wants her to leave her old life without even saying goodbye to anybody. He has this irritating habit of not saying important things until the last minute. Does she slug him again? ;-)

Thanks for coming by, and please do hop back to the Weekend Writing Warriors main page for links to some darn good stories. We’ve got authors whose autographs you should be asking for, because when some of these folks break out, they’re gonna hit it big!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors 8/3/14: This Rotten Life

It’s the weekend again, and we’re off! Not to the races but to the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop. Way more fun, if you ask me. Pick up to 8 sentences from a work of yours (published or not), sign our linky list, then make sure your sentences are live on your blog by 9 am Eastern time (U.S.). Use the linky list as your jumping off point to faraway locales, and some not so far, but all engaging.

I have to apologize for not finishing rounds last week. Real life has taken a chunk out of my available internet time. It’s a new week though and a new opportunity to hit some pretty interesting blogs.

Continuing almost from where last week’s excerpt left off, Devorah and Kazimir are sitting in the woods that are well behind the now-burning synagogue. Kaz needs a minute to heal the dagger wound in his leg so Devorah reflects on the bizarreness of the last hour or so. (Collected excerpts for this story are here.)

Getting slugged was his own fault for not explaining sooner about the dagger. The pain in my hand eased though it still hurt like hell.  Did everybody get out of the synagogue? Why couldn’t I hear anything?  

I leaned my head on my knees. My butt was cold, my hand felt like it was broken, people might have lost their lives in the synagogue, the beautiful old building was ruined. And I still wasn’t any closer to finding out who was responsible for my dad’s death. What a rotten life mine was turning into.  

I think she’s allowed a little bit of feeling sorry for herself. After all, that’s a lot of stuff to have dumped on her. But I’m far from done doing that! :D Thanks so much for visiting, and please do visit other blogs on the hop. If you can’t find several stories to get excited about, well, it’s your own fault :D

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors 7/27/14: It sure looked like you destroyed him!

How did it get to be late July already? I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’m quite over last winter :-/ We may have a stormy Sunday morning here in Western New York though that’s great WeWriWa weather :-D Pick some luscious fruit without ever leaving home, because we have some tasty story excerpts right here.

My first-draft story tentatively entitled Night Shift left off HERE with Devorah having belted Kazimir for destroying the demon Thaumiel after Kaz said he wouldn’t. Thaumiel had taunted Devorah with a clue about how her dad died and she wanted him alive so she could find out more. Kaz has returned to human form but he’s weakened, plus he took a dagger in the leg only a few minutes before this part of the scene.

Adrael is the angel liaison Devorah and Kaz have been working with. Collected excerpts for this story are here.
With a loud groan, he rolled away from me then sat up to lean over his thigh, both hands pressed over the dagger wound. “Adrael’s got him,” he wheezed.
“Adrael—what? What do you mean?”
“I didn’t destroy him, angels got him.”
“But the dagger--I saw you!” I dropped to a seat on the cold ground; what game was he trying now?
“Fuck it, I didn’t destroy him, the dagger has to strike his eye to do that.”
“Oh . . .” My cheeks flamed. It sure had looked destructive to me.
Every friendship has misunderstandings ;-) I’m having to re-work the plot so I don’t know how many of these scenes will make it into the next draft, but certainly some will. Thanks so much for your encouragement, it means a lot :-)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors: 7/13/14 I'm no shrinking violet!

Hello all. Because I’ve been getting such great comments on my WIP novel (tentatively entitled Night Shift) I’m continuing immediately from last week’s post. Important to know for this week’s excerpt: The demon Thaumiel said something quite unexpected about Devorah’s father, so Devorah stopped Kazimir from destroying him. But then Kaz drove the dagger into Thaumiel anyway, the building they were in began to collapse, and Kaz (in demon form) grabbed Devorah and flew out of the building. 

She realizes they’ve landed in the woods well behind the building which is now showing flames. Two more important things to know: the collapsed building is the synagogue where Devorah sometimes went with her mom so it means a lot to her; and, Kaz is always weaker in human form because his demon persona uses a lot of energy. Oh and, just before they left the synagogue, Devorah flung herself against Kaz to stop him from destroying Thaumiel and Kaz’s dagger struck his own leg. That’s minor in demon form but in human form, a bit more serious :-) Collected excerpts for this story are here

The only sound was our own breathing; through the trees, a yellow-orange glow silhouetted the crumbled heap of the synagogue. I sat up, gritted my teeth, and threw a punch at Kazimir’s face as hard as I could.

A split second before it connected I realized he’d changed from his demon form back to human, but I couldn’t stop the train. My hand felt like it broke apart and I yelped. Kazimir’s head swung to the side; he collapsed.  

Just as well. I cradled my throbbing hand. I hope you wake up with one motherfucking headache!

Ouch! Our Devorah has a mean streak :-) Thanks so much for coming by! I love and appreciate your comments. For more excerpts from truly talented writers, be sure to visit the Weekend Writing Warriors homepage -- prepare to be amazed, swept away, pulled to the edge of your seat, and engulfed by LOLing … or is that L-ingOL? Acronyms have limitations! I hope your coming week is a happy one.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors: 6/29/14 Where are you taking me??

I don’t know about you guys, but summer’s here with a vengeance for us. Officially we hit a high temperature of 89 Fahrenheit though with the humidity, it felt at least ten degrees hotter. Still, after a winter with two blizzards, I am not complaining ;-) All is well now, because it’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors!

Don’t know what that is? We invite writers—published or not—to sign our linky list and then post 8 sentences from something you’ve written. Then every Sunday we blog hop down the list and across the world. You may have had fun before but I guarantee you’ve never had this kind of  fun! Sci fi, historical murders, love gone wrong and sometimes gone right—it’s a grab bag and any reader’s dream.

So, picking up with my WIP tentatively titled Night Shift, directly from last week. Our heroine Devorah may have just lost her opportunity to find out what really happened when her dad was killed, then she notices the building they’re all in is about to come apart at the seams. Collected excerpts for this story are here. Kaz is still in demon form, wings included. It’s a chilly time of year for these folks, hence the reference to coldness.

Creative punctuation is happening here!
Kazimir slid both arms around me and hauled me off the floor. I kept moving upwards, fast enough to make me light-headed; I squeezed my eyes shut. 

An awful crashing went on below me, then to my left. My feet dangled into nothingness. The swaying was worse than the boat trip I’d taken when we got caught in a storm. Frosty wind raked across me, making it hard to get enough air into my lungs. Kazimir’s constricting grip on me didn’t help; gasping, I pummeled his arms. My whole head burned in the cold. 

We thumped onto the ground, throwing leaves into my face.
She’s out of the collapsing building, but now what? Where are they? As if I’m going to tell you right now, heehee!

Don’t forget to visit other 8sunday-ers. We thrive on hearing from our fellow writers and anybody who wants to leave a helpful comment. I can’t thank you guys enough for continuing to stop in to my blog. I’m overcommitted in Real Life right now and that means my online time has been spotty, but I get lovely comments every week. So thank you. I appreciate every visitor so much J