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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blog: Exposure will Burn

Image acquired from the internet hive mind

Exposure will Burn
Have you ever been asked to do something for free and the person sells it to you as “exposure”? Happens all the time for writers, artists, musicians, and web programmers. And while some exposure is good, having only exposure goes from getting a good tan to receiving third degree burns. Frankly, most creative people are getting tired of being burned by exposure.

The above meme is a recent reaction to exposure burn.

Why the strong reaction from the musicians? Well, I know several amazing singers who are expected to sing at family weddings for free. The bridal couple chooses a song, the singer has to learn the song, practice it either to music or a live musician, present it at the recital wedding, and then finally perform it at the wedding. Basically a total of 10 to 20 hours effort, not including travel time, getting a hotel room if required, etc. All for free. Maybe getting a meal out of it for the wedding reception; the singer rarely gets to attend the recital dinner. Oh, and if they actually attend that reception, half the time they are asked to sing again. Something off the cuff.

And what do they get from this “exposure?” Another family obligation when the next person gets married when they have to do it all for free again.

Make a website for free, other people expect to get the same results. Give massages to your friends; they talk to their friends who also want free massages. Make art, expect to give it away. Edit for friends, and continue to edit for friends. No food on the table, no roof over the head, and no giving up the day job.

That is not to say “exposure” is not part of creative people's advertising plans. For example, a writer rolling out a new book may go on a blog tour providing content to dozens of sites. Words written without pay. But it is “pay”, because it is part of the advertising; instead of renting billboards with money, the writer is spending time to advertise. In other words instead of spending $21 on Facebook to expand a post, they spend three hours (worth $7 per hour) to find bloggers willing to host them, write four posts, send them out, and then respond to any comments. Instead of spending money out-of-pocket, they spend time-off-the-clock. And practically anyone in the modern world will tell you they have even less time than money. Time is expensive.

Exposure is expensive because it is time not spent earning money or being with family and friends. The object for artists is to have exposure make them look good, be useful, like a tan. Which means they need to choose and prepare for that exposure like time at a beach. Does the exposure produce the results they need, or is it just going to produce a burn?

If you know creative people and ask them to do things, think about the cost they are incurring, not just money-wise but time-wise. Don't try to sell it as “exposure.” If at all possible, reimburse their money costs. Accept it if they say “no” the same way you would if you asked for money and they had to turn you down. Sometimes they are “broke” and have nothing to give for the occasion. And realize just what a “yes” means. They are offering is a true gift to you. It is a wedding gift, birthday gift, … a gift from the heart … and treat it as such … because they are giving themselves to you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Writing Exercise: Tools of the Trade

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tools of the Trade

Writers, as all occupations, need to know the tools of the trade and be skilled in their use. For a writer, knowing the language is key. Most people have a fairly solid grasp of noun and verb by finishing primary school levels; a slightly less solid grasp of pronouns, adverbs, and adjectives; and a questionable grasp on punctuation and grammar. Language includes parts of speech, punctuation, structure (like paragraphs and sentences), and more esoteric items like figures of speech.

I'm going to concentrate on figures of speech today. These can also be called rhetorical devices or stylistic devices.

figures of speech
"any expressive use of language, as a metaphor, simile, personification,or antithesis, in which words are used in other than their literal sense,or in other than their ordinary locutions, in order to suggest a picture or image or for other special effect."
(from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/figure+of+speech - copied Feb 26, 2015))

Painting pictures with words is what writers do; becoming skilled with the various figures of speech will hone that skill.

Examples of figures of speech: allegory, allusion, analogy, antithesis, catachreis, euphemism, hyperbole, hypocatastasis, irony, metaphor, oxymoron, paradox, personification, puns, simile, tautology, understatement.

(from http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/writing-stylistics.php#.VO877_nF-2F and http://grammar.about.com/od/rhetoricstyle/a/20figures.htm)

... the most complete list for those wanting to go to the next level is here: http://changingminds.org/techniques/language/figures_speech/figures_speech_alpha.htm

"The four fundamental operations, or categories of change, governing the formation of all figures of speech are:
  • addition (adiectio), also called repetition/expansion/superabundance
  • omission (detractio), also called subtraction/abridgement/lack
  • transposition (transmutatio), also called transferring
  • permutation (immutatio), also called switching/interchange/substitution/transmutation"
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_speech - copied Feb 26, 2015)

WRITING EXERCISE: Ready for this month's challenge? Write a five sentence description of a character from your WIP (work in-progress) without any figures of speech. Then do it again using a least one figure of speech per sentence.


*****

Sheriff Severance was a little less than six foot tall. His wrinkled face had been exposed to lots of sun and had a permanent tan. His clothes were always dusty from the desert, worn and faded. The only thing on his person shiny and well-kept was his gun. Roy had never had to draw it on someone from his town. (words 60)

*****

Tall enough to make most men look up in the 1800s, Sheriff Severance was just shy of six foot. His leathered face was well-tanned from years in the sun, but new wrinkles had been carved deep on a face aged from the badge since the curse had consumed his town. Ill-fitting, worn clothes hung on him; desert dust clinging to the fabric with skeletal fingers sucking shine and color from Roy. Only his gun was in mint-condition, oiled and cleaned daily before he left the jailhouse. He never had drawn it on someone he knew and hoped like hell he never would. (102 words)
1. "Shy" - height cannot be shy
2. "Leathered" "tanned"
3. "carved"
4. "aged from the badge"
5. "curse had consumed"
(ect.)

(first published 3/14/2015; republished in new blog format 9/27/2016)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Flash: There you are


Image Courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“There you are.”

Turning her head from where it was buried in her hands, Rafaela squinted against the sunlight coming through the storm drain opening, barely making out a head turned sideways looking in. The shimmering lock of dyed red head confirmed who had hunted her down. “Jenna.”

“The one and only.” Her friend carefully stepped into the round opening to walk on the curved inside of the pipeline. “So what is it this time?”

Leaning back from here she had been curled against her knees, the Latino-American waited for her friend to join her. Once Jenna reached where Rafaela sat, she braced her feet against one side of the drain and her back against the other. Her dark hands rested against the concrete surface steading her in the semi-awkward position. For a second her eyes closed and she stroked the concrete. After breathing a sigh of relief, she opened her koi-lined eyes and brought her hands to her knees.

“Just thinking about the case.”

“Oh god, you’re taking it? The guy is as guilty as shit.”

The right side of Rafaela’s mouth turned up and she shrugged.

“Don’t give me that lawyer crap of confidentiality.” Jenna waved both her hands. “You forget, coz, you had me touch the evidence.”

“Bagged evidence.”

“Like my psychometry cares when that level of emotions is involved. The money was his, the gun his, my god his emotions from when he shot the officer were so strong. He hated Officer Galuppi’s guts, personally, not just because he was a cop.”

Rafaela winced at the rush of words and the truth behind them. “But the drugs were not.”

“The guy is a drug dealer.”

“Still the drugs were planted by the cops so they didn’t need a warrant to search his car and that is how they found the gun and blood-coated bribe money. Thank you for seeing that.” Rafaela squeezed her left hand into a fist and released it a few times. “I really wish they hadn’t planted evidence.”

“Nunez would have dump the gun before they had a chance to get a judge’s signature. That bastard has killed before.” Jenna leaned forward and whispered. “I think he’s an ejecutor.” Returning to bracing herself against the curved surface, Jenna slapped her hands against her legs. “How can you defend a criminal?”

Contemplating her left hand, Rafaela squeezed it into a fist and released it a couple more times. “Because it protects the innocent.”

“What?”

“Everyone needs their day in court. It’s how our justice system works.”

Jenna’s hands swept wide. “He’s guilty. Justice is going to jail.”

“In this one particular case, maybe, but not if the whole system is going to work.” Rafaela looked into her friend’s dark eyes. “Only by protecting the rights of each individual are we able to protect the rights of all individuals.”

Shaking her head, Jenna soften her voice. “I never realized you were a social activist.”

“Yeah, well.” Rafaela shrugged and looked deeper into the shadows of the dark side of the drain pipe. After nodding at something that wasn’t there, she stood in the pipe. She hunched much lower than Jenna, being just shy of six foot instead of Jenna’s short five foot two height.

Rolling on her hands and knees to stand, Jenna led the way to the lip of the drainpipe. She tossed her hair to look over her shoulder. “Care to give a girl a lift?”

“Not a problem.” Rafaela reached forward, touching Jenna on the shoulder and then closing her eyes against the bright afternoon sun beating its way into the darken pipe to focus on her task.

Once Rafaela muttered “All done,” Jenna bounced outside of the drainpipe and quickly ran up the steep sides of the concrete channel. “God, I love that!” She continued to bounce in a circle at the top, reaching heights of five and six feet while waiting for Rafaela’s more sedate ascent to the top of the drainage system.

Rolling her black eyes, Rafaela made an adjustment to the gravitational field surrounding Jenna and herself, bending the light, making them effectively invisible. Jenna’s whoops continued to echo throughout the city drainage system.

(words 698 – first published 9/23/2016)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Other Cool Blogs: SFWA April 19, 2016

Image Courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Synopsis
I admit it. I've been avoiding posting anything on the subject of Synopsis creation. I think partially from the subconscious avoidance of the subject. But also because I haven't found a good set of instructions I identified with. Sure, taking my outline (since I am a pantser I got outlines galore) and turning it into a couple pages of prose seems straight forward but it really doesn't explain why I am doing it, how I am doing it. It doesn't explain the ART.

For a Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) post, Curtis C. Chen masters the dilemma by comparing the process of paring a novel down to a synopsis to the cooking process of reducing a soup to gravy in "Special Synopsis Sauce". This is exactly what I have been looking for. I actually "get" his explanation.

You can find the full recipe here: http://www.sfwa.org/2016/04/special-synopsis-sauce/

WRITING EXERCISE: For your present WIP, write a three-paragraph synopsis (if a novel) or three-sentence synopsis (if a short story). Remember this is different from an elevator pitch where you are selling your product; this is the synopsis to show an agent or publisher who is already interested in the product. ... Next the hard part, ... show it to someone and ask if it could be shorter or if it needs to be more active.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Author Spotlight: Eve Langlais

Book Cover from Amazon

In November 2015 I had a book-reading binge on Eve Langlais - devouring a dozen of her humorous paranormal erotica-leaning romances. Ms. Langlais voice is funny, her woman are brash and strong, and her man are without-a-doubt alphas. And the romance is hot-hot!

The problem I usually have with reading a lot from the same author did not occur; most of the time the language and characters get repetitive. This is not the case. For example in one book series (Freakin' Shifters), Ms. Langlais managed to have five different primary female characters and eight different male characters between the four stories. In addition, all the sex scenes were as unique as the characters in them - and that had to be hard; the four erotica books had a lot of sex scenes. Pretty awesome skill set to pull that off. In addition all four books have an element of danger in them; never the forefront, that is reserved for the sex and family humor, but a nice undertone often associated with a battle to prove the Alpha males of the story are Alpha.

If you want your romances with a bit of boom-chicka-boom, she is your woman. A prolific writer she has several multi-volume series out. Some involve menage-a-trois (where her ability to create unique character is essential - you never mix up which man is flirting with the woman). The paranormal flavor changes from series to series:
  • Welcome to Hell - where Lucifer plays matchmaker to his demons to keep them happy and hardworking
  • Alien Abduction - alien purple skinned male with a taste for pink earth females
  • Furry United Coalition - Even shapeshifters need governmental agencies. Be prepared to be F.U.C.ed

Twelve series so far with over 80 books released. .... I still have so many to read!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Flash: Team Necro (Version 2)

Image created by Erin Penn

"So what is in the box Caitlynn?" The dainty brunette asked as the larger woman easily hauled the box in from the hall.

Caitlynn smiled, dropping it on the left desk of their small office quietly since Gerald lay on the long sofa with a tattooed arm thrown over his dark eyes, covering the fresh scratches on his face from the previous night. "Advertisements!" she stage-whispered, snapping open the small knife she always carried in her back pocket to cut the packing tape.

The large black man groaned from the sofa.

The leggy blond respond to what for Gerald could be interpreted as a full sentence. "Yep, got everything we looked at."

Dropping his arm, Gerald’s muscles bunched as he leveraged himself into a seating position. "No ties." He bore holes into the more enthusiastic of his two best friends of the female variety.

"Went with the vests instead of the Men-In-Black look." She took one out, snapping it to unfold it, and laying it against her ample breasts. Blood red, the pocket was embroidered with the company name she had chosen.

Jenni frowned. "Still think 'Waking Dead' is going to get some copyright infringements."

"That's what Daddy's lawyers are for, and if things like 'Lawn'n'Order' for a landscaping firm can exist so can we." Caitlynn smiled at her two friends. "Besides Walking Dead hires necromancers. Three of their actors require them."

"Really?" Jenni raised an eyebrow at the claim.

But Caitlynn knows her business. "Yep, two of the dead are really dead and one of the 'living' who will get bit in the next season. Everlasting Staffing requires all their actors to sign a contract allowing them to be raised for up to ten years. Very useful for unexpected deaths. Imagine how much better Zounds or Dark Cloud Mountain would have been if Nowell or Payseur had been able to complete filming. Several movie companies are trying to make it part of the boilerplate but the union is fighting it."

"Throw one here." Gerald stood up. All six foot eight and three foot wide of him. Caitlynn pulled at one of the largest vests and tossed it over. He slid it over his stained and torn t-shirt and button up the front.

Eyeing the red fitting snuggly against Gerald's chest, Jenni nodded. "Some days I really hate you Caitlynn."

The blond sighed, licking her lips. "He looks great in uniform."

"Toss one over here." Jenni walked over from her desk.

Both of the women quickly buttoned up the vests. Caitlynn's hugged her generous curves yet screamed professional like an accountant, while Jenni's straightened her back and took her from dainty doll to something a breath more lethal. Suddenly they went from three recently graduated college kids to a professional firm.

The blond pulled out the door sign for their office to replace the paper printout presently taped to the door. "Waking Dead, Necromantic Consultants"

(word count: 485 - first published 9/18/2016)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Blog: Comment on Team Necro

Ready for tomorrow's flash?

Last month I wrote a flash on Team Necro. When I worked through it, the characters and scene were all tell instead of show. I was describing the situation with scene and character descriptions overshadowing the story - even stuffing in some backstory. Basically parsing out the beginnings of a new world and group of people.

I have tried the story again, this time concentrating on the story instead of world creating. Hope you like the new version. These characters have been popping up the last few months with additional stories they want told. This is still more of a scene then a story, but I think it is much better than the first version. Let me know what you think when you read it tomorrow.

- Erin Penn

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Geeking Science: The Anthropocene

Created with Meme Generator by Erin Penn.

Anthropocene, Man is an Extinction Event
This one isn't a cool, amazing geeking post. It still is SCIENCE - and I think it is science at its best. Not only does science gives us toys, but it helps us understand what we are doing. This is where science is the rubber on the road, supporting the vehicle of mankind.

"Anthropocene," what a mouthful. One of my panels at ConCarolinas back in June of this year was "Welcome to the Anthropocene." The panel happened at 10 pm after a day of panels starting at 10 am. I could barely say my introduction spiel, forget about the title of the panel. I was very grateful James Maxey was the moderator and I had fellow panelist Dr. Ben Davis to bounce things off of.

The topic read

"This year, the International Commission on Stratigraphy is set to decide whether or not the Earth has entered a new geological epoch: The Anthropocene. This is an age when human activity is a geological force writing itself into the very stones of the planet. What is the evidence that a new age has dawned? Do the geological footprints we've already left on the planet give us any guidance on how to move forward in the future? "

Between the three panelists and three audience members we had a far livelier discussion than the combination of topic and hour would indicate.

I think the scariest part of the after-hours discussion is in order to qualify as a new geological age, actions man has taken will need to be recorded into the fossil records for whatever comes millions of years from now. To do that, we, as a species, need to qualify as a mass extinction event. And boy, howdy, do we. A mass extinction event takes out between 30 and 80% of species in less than a million years without corresponding replacement through evolution.

How do we do this?

Through our pets. Domesticated cats have killed over 33 species. [New Research]

Through our farms. Mankind has a few favorite plants which humanity plants exclusively, with little regard for natural habitat. The Anthropocene doesn't have an onset date defined yet, but while many proponents say it started with the Industrial age, I will go with floral agriculture being the moment when our species started mass shaping of the planet and ecology for our purposes, around 11,000 BCE. I think our farms have impacted the planet far more than our cities.

Through our hunts. Every part of the planet USED TO HAVE large animals like rhinos, elephants, and lions. The only continent to still have them in any number is Africa, where the large animals grew up beside us. When we took our hunting techniques "on the road", to Europe, Asia, and the Americas big animals went away. The most telling is the Americas since we arrived (humans in general, not the recent addition of Europeans) pretty much all megafauna (animals over 45 pounds) has been dispatched. [10 Extinct]

We are good at the killing.

Through our travels. To get from here to there we navigate rivers (dredging and changing them), build roads (bisecting habitats), create bridges (moving massive foundations for our purposes), and bring stuff with us. We have introduced more invasive species from one end of the planet to the other that any other mobile fauna, more than even birds - and they are the second closest contender for picking something up and dropping it off in a new location.

Through our housing. Cities create mini-climates with their heat sinks and we put these things EVERYWHERE. We don't care if the living space is below water level - heck will we reclaim an entire country (Holland) from the ocean. Or if it is miles in the air, we will find a way to live there.

I once read an observation, I think in a fiction book, we name housing developments after the animals which used to live there. ... The observation stuck with me.

A recent study says in the past 100 years, extinction of some types of species (we are partial to mammals, so we keep lists of these creatures) is 100 times the normal rate. I love the upbeat aspects of "We're Entering a Sixth Mass Extinction" (see bibliography for links) by limiting things only to the past 100 years and talking about how we have turned back extinction on several species. Only one hundred years ... we have been shaping, killing, and re-purposing our planet and its ecology for 120 times that long. We've only noticed the results of our actions recently.

One of the sad things is the scientists keep referring to the background extinction rate as through the species numbers remain constant. The reality is after each extinction event the fossil records show a steady growth in species until the next planetary reset. Our specialists are measuring us against a fallacy of zero growth. The reality is the numbers should be growing, so we are not only losing the species we are killing but also preventing new species from forming.

But at least we haven't killed ourselves yet. So we got that going for us.


*****

Bibliography
"10 Extinct Giants That Once Roamed North America." Geggel, Laura. August 15, 2015. Downloaded 6/28/2016 from http://www.livescience.com/51793-extinct-ice-age-megafauna.html.

"New Research Suggest Outdoor Cats Kill More Wildlife Than Previously Thought." (updated) Downloaded 6/28/2016 from http://www.wildlifemanagementinstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=610:new-research-suggests-outdoor-cats-kill-more-wildlife-than-thought&catid=34:ONB+Articles&Itemid=54

"We're Entering a Sixth Mass Extinction, and it's Our Fault." Milliken, Grennan. June 24, 2015. Downloaded 6/28/2016 from http://www.popsci.com/were-entering-sixth-mass-extinction-and-its-our-fault.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Editing Rant: Where did the POV go?

Image Courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What happens after the POV leaves? (hint: nothing the reader knows about)

Okay, fearless blog followers, today's lesson is POV (Point of View). Most people write genre fiction from either first person or close third person POV. First person allows for intense feelings to be expressed, opinions to be shared, and a focused story. Third person allows some POV changes, the ability to pull back from the action (example a battle the person is in) etc.

In either case, be aware when your POV character leaves the scene - that is it, done. Nothing else can be known about that scene unless another POV character is used. Omniscient POV would allow the scene to continue, but the present market has trained readers to dislike omniscient POV. Therefore, the scene is ended, dead, buried by the removal of the POV. Move along, nothing more to be seen here.

The lesson takeout is be aware who your point of view is in a scene - be aware that nothing is known (to the reader) until the POV character shows up and nothing is known (to the reader) after the POV leaves. The "camera" does not stay behind.

Yes, I know you want to show the group's reaction to the POV storming off. But a first-person POV doesn't work that way. Writing has rules. ... Yes, rules are made to be broken. But first one needs to know the rules and why they exist before deciding why THIS manuscript should be the exception to the rule. Usually the answer, once the rule is understood, is "well, I just want to be lazy about the rule" or "I wanted the readers to enjoy my Darling scene." (kill the Darlings - more on this another editing rant)

Anyone have examples they want to share of when POV rules were broken? Did it help the story or feel like a cop-out? Why or why not?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Flash: A Kiss

Brick wall pressing her back, Genna’s eyes drifted closed. John’s hand cradled the right side of her face. His lips hovered over hers and she felt the mild breeze of his exhale. He wasn’t crowding her. The only things she felt was the gentle touch of his left hand and the heat radiating from the right arm where it was braced.

And her lips. They tingled and pulsed waiting. Ever so slowly his mouth met hers. His bottom lip brushed her bottom lip once side to side. Her lips parted in unseen invite just as he leaned the last bit forward.

Heat ran down her front; from lips, through throat, branching at the sternum to make both breasts beg for their own soft touch, dancing a moment in her stomach and finally pooling in her womb. An icy rebound started immediately at her knees, making the wall the only reason she remained standing. The cold raced up her back. Her spine shivered, her shoulders tensed, and her head moved forward so the ice could melt. His hot hand understood the need, moving through her hair to cup the back of her head.

John’s lips moved back and Genna’s eyes opened. Her blue eyes looked into his vivid green. As she watched him about to speak, all she could think was “Please don’t make this moment stop.”

(words 226 - originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 12/9/2012 with the visual prompt inspiring it before the site was taken down as well as my blog; could not find photo copyright permissions so did not copy; republished new blog format 9/11/2016)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Other Cool Blogs: Pictures

Image acquired without permission from (multiple) Facebook postings
(but does have iFunny.com in the image) 

Content editor, content editor to book in computer 4, STAT!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review: How to Write Magical Words


Book Cover from Amazon

BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON
How to Write Magical Words: a Writer's Companion is a non-fictional collection of writing advice from the Magical Words blog participants.

A compilation of essays originally published on MagicalWords.net, a popular writing blog with thousands of regular followers. Distilling three years worth of helpful advice into a single, portable volume, it contains nearly 100 essays covering such wide-ranging topics as:

- Getting Started . . . Again
- Creating Characters in Small Spaces
- Storytelling Tropes: Belief
- Binding Character and Narrative: Point of View
- Word Choice and Pacing
- Metaphors, Similes, and Analogies, Oh My . . .
- Writing Action Scenes
- The Beginning of the End
- Developing Your Internal Editor
- Artistic Choices and the Market
- Business Realities for the Writer

Many of these essays are accompanied by comments and questions from the blog's readers, along with the author's response, making this volume unique among how-to books on any subject.

The core members of Magical Words — David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Stuart Jaffe, Misty Massey, C.E. Murphy, and Edmund R. Schubert — have experience writing and editing fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, and more. This group is uniquely qualified to cover the full spectrum of writing-related issues. How To Write Magical Words: A Writer's Companion is a book that belongs in the library of anyone interested in the craft of writing, the business of writing, and the writing life.


MY REVIEW
How to Write Magical Words is a very good how-to writers book. But face it, there are dozen such books out there.

But not from seven different authors, each giving what works and doesn't work for them. A tool that might work for one might not work for you - but with seven different people throwing out examples and hints, at least one set of tools will fit your needs. Faith's metaphoric examples, David's technical knowledge, Misty's beginner's enthusiasm and doubt, Edmund's editor's perspective ... each author brings something unique to the table.

The best part for me was the Self-Editing section. As someone interested in self-publishing and not yet able to pay an editor - this is the true gem of the book. Describing crutches, and the difference between revising and copyediting, and how to revise dialogue. All gems. "BIC and Rewrite Tips" is something I am going to read through every time I complete a flirt from now on. In fact this book as a whole just became a must-read after completing each of my books and before I post it to Amazon.

(BIC means "butt in chair")

The only issue is book covers the first 3 years of the MagicalWords.net blog - 2008 to 2011, and the section on "Business" is getting a little long in the tooth. Vanity press and POD is covered, but not the true self-publishing now available. For that you need to monitor the magicalwords.net blog and attend sci-fi/fantasy writer's conventions such as ConCarolinas and ConDFW. The business has changed so much in the past three years and will continue to change dramatically for the near (and maybe far) future.

(Review originally written on June 24, 2013)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Flash: Something to Throw

Image Courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The premise the intruder in my home office handed to me was brilliant.

“I don’t have anything to throw at you that won’t hurt.” I growled at my supposed friend.

He chuckled from the recliner where he was relaxing … my recliner … in my office … taking another sip of his sweet tea. “It’s a great story idea, admit it.”

“Yes, but not the one I was working on.” My glare did not turn him into cinders. “I had everything set up for a night of typing.”

“This still would be a night of typing.”

“But not the right typing. … The ones I have notes for." I shook papers with my illegible scratching at him. "The story I have been thinking about all day.”

His smug amusement wasn’t helping my frustration. “You are coming up with the dialogue right now, aren’t you?”

“The voices they hurt.” I whimpered for effect.

Reality, I wanted to bash something. Instead I turned to the empty word processing document where I had been about to key in the opening scene I had puzzled out during lunch. The one I had been holding in my fingers for the moment I was home in front of a keyboard.

He was right. I was coming up with dialogue and actions and a dozen different ways the premise could be used. And those people were arguing with the other thought-people I had been playing around with all day. What a mess.

Snapping the recliner down, he left with a jaunty, “Well then, my work here is done.” No doubt he was going to play video games on my X-box before slipping down the hall to his apartment.

For me, my flash for the night is only starting. At least I got two, maybe three new ideas. I was behind on my blog so ideas were helpful.

I took a moment to add “Get something to throw” to my to-do list, and then started typing.

(words 328 - first published 4/4/2013; republished new blog format 9/4/2016)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words May 1, 2012


Image Courtesy of siraphat FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lazy Writing
Another treasure from the Magical Words trove, this time written by Carrie Ryan, a blog entry she entitled" The Difference between faux and real mysteries". What struck me once she defined faux and real mysteries, is faux mysteries are just lazy writing. Basically I, as the lazy writer, don't want to take the time to craft tension and suspense into the plot so I am just going to just not tell the reader the information needed until later.

What do you think? Does Ms. Ryan's definition of a faux mystery hit home to you? It defined something I knew deep down I didn't like, but never put my finger on. An epiphany or a whatever?

WRITING EXERCISE: Write a scene (500 words or less) with a faux mystery as defined by Ms. Ryan. Rewrite the scene this time without the faux mystery; how does the tension change?

READING EXERCISE: Think about a previous Read which had a faux mystery. Did it bother you? Was it necessary for the tension in the book to keep you reading or could the Reveal have happened sooner?


(PS I love the comments where one of the blog readers says she wrote a story where the POV character is deliberately not thinking about something very important and asks the MagicalWords hive mind what they thought. One response, two sentence change later, and the faux mystery goes away. Cool comment exchange from Laura.)