Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors 8/24/14: It's creepy when you do that

Welcome to my contribution to the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop! Today I give you an excerpt of my WIP Night Shift that comes pre-packaged in a group of 8 sentences. I was quite pleased to find that this excerpt came to exactly 8 without any condensing. Keep in mind, this is all Draft One. Much of this draft may wind up as backstory but I’m still working on the revised outline. Collected excerpts for this story are here

Devorah slugged Kazimir a few minutes earlier (and nearly knocked him out) and her hand is in some serious pain. He’s just told her that the easiest way for her to join the demons is to vanish from her old life. In shock over that suggestion, Devorah agrees to let him “fix” her hand. 

Kazimir is a fire-aligned demon; fire is the element he’s in tune with. He’s always really warm to the touch and never needs a coat in cold weather ;-)

Gently, he wrapped both hands around mine. That alone warmed my hand but then it got way warmer. He closed his eyes and let his breath out in a quick sigh. A red glow with a pins-and-needles sensation spread over my hand on both sides. The prickling grew sharper and hotter as it sank below the surface. It creeped me out but the pain lessened. Just as I was about to pull my hand free, the prickling, the glow, and the remnants of pain vanished. He released my hand with a smile.  

That’s not something you experience every day. He could make out like a bandit as a doctor! 

Another summer wrapping up (sort-of summer, anyway) and another Erie County Fair has come and gone (175 years!). The older one gets, the faster time seems to fly. I did get to see the Santana/Rod Stewart show when it hit First Niagara Center, John Fogerty at the Fair, and I’ve got a ticket for the Three Dog Night show in late September. So there have been some good times this summer. I hope you’ve had some wonderful times this year, too. Stretch out your fun times by visiting the WeWriWa homepage for links to perfectly exciting excerpts. I appreciate all comments and do my best to return visits. Happy writing, peeps!

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