Saturday, November 28, 2009

Find and destroy the problem words.

I have been going through my first draft of the story I want to get published. This edit was to catch and write out the narratives, but I started to do something else that really has been a help. Using the Find function to look for my problem words.

Problem words are ones that cause problems in your writing, pretty simple. But you might not know that use are using them.

Some of the ones that are problems for nearly all writers are:
The -ly words. It is so easy to make an adverb. Just add an ly and you have one. But too many and its a sign of lazy writing. "She sat on the couch quietly watching the news." It tells you what she is doing just fine. But it could be. "She sat on the couch watching the news." We really don't need the word quietly. Think of other ways to describe her interest. "She sat on the couch. Hunched over, eyes riveted to the television. The local news was on."

The -ing words. I didn't realize that words ending in -ing could become a problem. The words are not bad, but they can alert you to a lazy sentence. "He was running." Nothing wrong with that. But if you were in the middle of an action scene. It would seem dull. "He ran down the street." A little more descriptive. But if you want to say "He was driving the car." And the sentence doesn't seem lazy. Keep it.

My problem words.
ONLY. Until I started to edit, I did not see how many "onlys" I used in my writing. "Only it was the wind." or "She only wanted to see what was going on." or "The water tasted good, only for the aftertaste of rust." Almost every paragraph had the word only in it.

There or That. Again not really problems words themselves, but they did point me to some awkward sentences. "There was a sound of glass breaking in the entry way." could be "The sharp tinkling noise of glass breaking was heard in the entry way."

I am sure there are many more. Figuring out what words are problems for me, had helped me speed up my editing. And helped me get rid of awkward passages. So now before I even read the passage I am editing, I run these problem words through the Find function of my word processor. After I get rid of them, or rewrite the sentence, I go through the passage in a line by line edit. I can work on editing other aspects of the writing.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for stopping by...

It's over for another year.

Done with NaNoWriMo.

I finished Wednesday night. This time I had a more of a challenge. A bout of the flu, a work week from hell, and editing another novel at the same time. So in other words, real life.

But it's done.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Teaser Tuesday last one until next year, maybe

Here is the last one for my NaNoWriMo entry for this year. Again, unedited, and ugly. This is one of the action scenes as my monsters are trying to escape. (The year it is set is 1965, might make the first paragraph easier to understand)

This is not what he signed up for, Steopa thought. He wanted to shoot those Asians, not babysit monsters. Steopa scoffed. The solider tried to turn his head to look at Steopa. Steopa forced his head back around.

“Stand down!”

Steopa saw three more soldiers approaching. They were fully armed and making their way carefully down the hallway. Steopa growled. He shoved the frightened solider aside and ran towards the three.

He didn't see what the last one was armed with until he was almost upon them. The last one was kneeling behind a large metal crossbow on a tripod. A large round cylinder sat on top of the shaft. On his back was a large air tank, tubes ran from the tank to the crossbow.

The soldier pressed the trigger. Wooden bolts shot out of the crossbow. Steopa skidded, twisted his body, and crashed through a nearby door. Two of the bolts struck him in the arm, burning his flesh. Steopa pulled the them out, giving them a quick glance. They were made of ash.

“Eb tvoju mat!” Steopa swore. He broke the bolts in his hand.

He heard two of the soldiers move closer to the room. Steopa looked up. He jumped and twisted in the air. He pressed his back against the ceiling. Steopa smiled. He hadn't done this in a long time.

The two soldiers came into the room. One was ahead of the other one. They were sweeping the room with their guns. Steopa waited until they were right underneath them. Then dropped.

He knocked the black haired one over. The other he picked up with his other hand and slit his stomach open. The black haired one stood up and slipped in the guts falling on the floor. As the gutted body fell, Steopa reached back with his other hand and grabbed the black haired solider.

Steopa roared. The black haired soldier fumbled with his rifle. Steopa swatted it out of his hands. The soldier had a crucifix. Steopa tore it off and threw it on the floor.

He picked up the soldier. The smell of urine hit Steopa's nose. Steopa swung the soldier's body around and against the nearest wall. The cinder block's mortar cracked under the impact of the body hitting the wall. The soldiers body flattened when it struck the wall. Bones broke, blood oozed out of the body. It hovered in the air for a moment, then rolled down the wall and on to the floor.

Steopa picked up one of the guns. The last gun he had fired had been a bolt action rifle. All guns were basically the same. He opened the chamber, checked the ammo.

He listened. The one with the large crossbow was talking to the other soldier.

“Draw him out,” one said.

“No way, he took Jim's head off,”

“He is just a bloodsucker, you scared?”

“Screw you.”

“Just get him out here.”

Steopa walked to the door. He lifted the gun to his shoulder and checked the sight. He had been a good marksmen when he was alive, but that had been with a musket. Hitting your target with a musket was more luck than aiming.

He stepped out of the room, aimed and fired. Then spun back into the room. The explosion shook the hallway. Ceiling tiles fell down. Steopa dropped the gun and walked back out into the hallway.

Steopa smiled. The bullet had ripped through the soldier with the crossbow and into the tanks on his back. The air tanks had blown. The one that had been operating the crossbow was blown in half. The other soldier was against the near wall, with debris buried in his chest.

The door way behind the explosion was nothing more than a large hole now. The cinder blocks were busted, the door frame was sagging under the weight of the ceiling, now.

Thanks for Stopping By...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

When the inner editor says DON'T, DO!

On top of NaNoWriMo, I am taking an editing workshop. Among the other things I have learned is this; Don't Hold Back.

Here's where holding back, made my story lackluster.

My MC, Beka, actually goes through a personality change in the course of the novel. At the beginning I wanted her high strung, hard to live with. Well, my little inner editor started to talk to me; You can't have her slap him. Why would she cry for that reason? You want people to like her, don't you?

I listened. Beka came out flat, unemotional, and not interesting. When she reacted to things around it, she was so blaaaah.

I kicked my inner editor.

So for the next rewrite, I will go extreme on her. I am going to exaggerate her reactions, make her very emotional, and hopefully annoying.

Why go the other way?

Because it's easier to tone something down, than to build it up. That is the problem I face now. I would rather make a character unbelievably annoying or evil, then reign them in. Because trying to build up a character from a flat plane is not fun.

I have thought of a few traits, personality ticks that I will add to her on my next edit. But I should have never listened to my inner editor.

I recently had a scene that could have been a rape scene. My inner editor was screaming, DON'T. I walked away for a moment. Would that character actually rape? Possibly. Is it in character? Yes. Is it overkill? No. I thought. I went back and wrote. The rape never happened, but something else did. Something interesting. If I had listened to the editor the scene would have not taken the course it did.

When you write, you have to let the story take you on the journey. If you start to second guess what the story is telling you to write, you end up with a mess.

Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday NaNoWriMo (a little late)

Again I give you, unedited, and ugly teaser of the novel I am writing during NaNoWriMo.
The main characters run into some strange creatures that have very strong mental powers. This is what happens to the vampire, he finds himself in his village...

Steopa jumped down to the next step.

He looked up, he was standing in his old village. His fathers home was at the end of the street. Steopa looked around, he knew he had been somewhere else.

It was a warm spring day, the snow was melting and dripping off the roofs. The puddles in the street had lost all of their ice. Mud was just starting to fill the street, but it was still too cold to make walking on it difficult.

He could smell bread baking, his stomach growled. That was not right, he thought. But the hunger made him walk to his father's home. The large wooden house that also functioned as the village council chambers. Steopa opened the side door.

Ana was at the oven. Her brown hair covered by her head scarf. She turned around. Her face was older than Steopa remembered. She smiled and came to him, hugging him.
“Did it go well at the butchers?” She asked.

Steopa shook his head, was that where he had been? He thought. “I need something to eat.” He said.

Ana smiled at him, her full face turning slight red in the heat from the oven. “Lunch will be soon,” She said. “I will call the children.”

That wasn't right, Steopa thought. But he sat down at the table. He laid his hands in front of him. Ana went to the door and rang a bell. She walked inside, wiping her hands on her apron.

“Nastenka has been seeing Matas.” Ana said, as she walked to the oven. “I think you should talk to that boy.”

“I thought it was Rolan,” Steopa said. He knew that was right Nastenka had married Rolan.

“Rolan?” Ana asked. “There is no boy here named Rolan. Are you sure you weren't drinking with
Pavel again.”

Pavel, the gravedigger, Steopa could see the man's face. He was silently screaming. Steopa shook his head, “No, no, no,” He said.

Ana gave him a knowing look. Two teenagers came into the house. One was Nastenka, she looked so young. Her long black hair was braided and tightly pulled back. The young man, Steopa did not know his name, but he looked like Steopa had when he was younger. Tall and gangly.

“Sit down you two,” Ana said, “Bronius did you see Sofija today?”

The young man nodded. “Her mother thanked you for the cake.”

Steopa looked at his large hands on the table. This was wrong, he thought, I do not remember this. He studied his hands, they were large. He had lost the long, thin fingers he had been born with after he was married. This hand was not right.

A word came to him. Acromegaly. He looked up at Ana, busy at the stove. Then to Nastenka. She should not be here, he thought. Bronius he did not know at all.

Thanks for Stopping by...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inspiration, and watching it go away...

Last week before I came down with the flu, I was thinking at work, about what to write in my blog. I like to plan ahead. As I was walking in the backroom the idea came to me.

It was wonderful. I got excited thinking about the subject. I could not wait to go home and put my fingers on the keyboard and write it out. It was going to be so inspirational to everyone.

What was it?

I can't remember.

That's it. I really can't remember what the subject was. Maybe it was the flu coming on, or maybe it was work stress. But the idea floated out of my brain and into Idea Valhalla. (It's like Idea Heaven, but with pig roasting.)

I do carry a notebook for such moments (that was in my locker.), I have texted my husband with ideas (He has been so sweet not to wonder about them), and I have written them down on post it notes just so I would remember. But not that time.

So nothing else for it, I have to put a video up.

Here is Tenacious D with the song Tribute, very appropriate.

Thanks for stopping by

Monday, November 9, 2009

Teaser Tuesday NaNoWriMo style

Teaser Tuesday Time!

Again this is a recent part of my NaNoWriMo novel, warts and all. To catch you up, the good guys, he he, went through the portal.

The scent drifted passed again. Steopa sniffed the air. It was weak, and would disappear as soon as Steopa smelt it. He pulled the spider leg out.

A snort from a large animal came from Steopa's left side. He turned. Standing just down the slope from them was a group of mounted humanoids.

Their mounts were four legged crosses between a lizards and a praying mantis. Two arms that ended in one long claw rested along the mounts chest. They were about the size of large field horses. One of the mounts raised it's head an made a strange chirping, moaning noise.

The humanoids on the mounts were large. Steopa would have no trouble looking them in the eyes. They had five eyes. Two set of them on top of each other, one white eye above the sets. Their skin was gray and brown, it looked like tanned leather. Six fingers on a massive hand held the bridle to their mounts. They had hair, or what looked like hair, most of them wore it braided and wrapped around their helmets. One raised up the corners of it's mouth. Their teeth were long, sharp, and razor like.

There were eight of them. The one in the front got off his mount. His armor clanged as he hit the ground. He made a noise, it sounded like large cats growl. He pulled out a scythe looking weapon from his side and made the noises again.

Steopa glanced at Navarro. No one had moved. Moriko's hair began to uncurl and spread out behind her head. Jeremiah still had his gun ready, but he had the barrel lowered.

The armored creature looked at all of them. The fifth eye on his forehead glowed.

“What are you doing here?”

Steopa heard the words in Lithuanian, not English. The one that was off his horse looked at them. Steopa felt a pain in his head.

Perun spoke, in Russian. “We were sent here.” He said.

“By who?”

Jeremiah answered, in English, “By my commanding officer.”

Navarro started to shake his head and whimper.

Steopa stepped forward. “Who are you?” he asked.

The one with the glowing eye, raised the corners of his mouth. It could have been a smile, or a sneer. “Pułkownik,”

Steopa shook his head. He knew that term it meant colonel. “That is your rank.”

“Pulkownik,” The creature walked up to Steopa.

Steopa gripped the spider leg. The creature glanced down at the spider leg. He snorted. Steopa waited, it would be no good to attack them now, Steopa had no idea what their strengths or abilities were.

Pulkownik pointed to Runa. He made the growling noise. Runa glanced at the rest of them. “He wants me to go with him.”

“No,” Perun said.

“That would be a bad idea.” Jeremiah said.

Runa shook her head. Amanda had backed up into Navarro, she put her arms around him. Pulkownik glanced at her and pointed. Amanda shook her head.

Moriko stepped forward. “Do you only want weak women?” She asked.

“Moriko,” Steopa said quietly.

“They will not find me as easily scared,” Moriko said. Her hair fanned out behind her head.

Runa walked forward, unsteady on her feet, as if she was being controlled by someone else. Pulkownik shook his head. The other ones on their mounts shook their bridles. Runa began to dance.

“What are you doing?” Perun said harshly.

Runa did not respond. She moved like a belly dancer across the green marble. She moved closer to the creatures on their mounts. Her eyes were misted over as if she had cataracts. Perun grabbed her arm as she passed him. Runa tried to pull away.

“You cannot fight us,”

Steopa growled. Pulkownik turned his head and focused on Steopa.

“You will come with us,”

“Give us a reason why,” Vindar asked.

Pulkownik pointed to Big John, “He will rip you apart.”

Vindar was making the gravel noise. Steopa smirked. “So you cannot fight your own battle?” Steopa asked Pulkownik.

Pulkownik raised his scythe. He pointed it at Steopa. The rest of the creatures shook the bridles. They began to fan out around the group.

Steopa raised the spider leg slightly.

“You came from the Kanonosqi village,” Pulkownik said, “If they do not eat you, you are an ally.”

Steopa shook the spider leg, “Would they just give me their limbs?”

Pulkownik glance at the other creatures. “Not as stupid as we thought.” He said.

Thanks for Stopping by...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thank you Twilight, you have made vampires a joke. - A Rant

Let's get this out of the way. I have read a couple of the Twilight books. I am not interested in reading any of more of them. I will not see the movies, even the new one with Graham Greene in it. And this is not going to be a discussion about how good or bad they are.

I just want to say this: Vampire romance has it's place, but because of Twilight, vampires are now a joke. People who have never read the books, or have seen the movies now associate vampires with sparkles. And teenage angst. Shudder.

I have talked to a few people about my plot ideas for my stories and they immediately make a face and say "Ugh, Vampires." Then there are three responses after that.
1. Are they going to be like the Twilight vampires?
2. They are not going to be like the Twilight vampires, right?
3. Why? They are overdone.

I am writing about my vampires. But now it is an uphill battle. It seems vampires are busting out all over. Vampire romance has taken off. And us poor fans of the monster in the vampires can only whimper.

There is a place for the monster vampires. I want to bring my take on the monster into the world. But too many people have these questions:
Is there romance? In one of my stories, but it's not the main plot.
Are they "nice"? When they want to be.
Do they drink human blood? YES.

No one is asking,
Do they enjoy killing? YES
Would I want to meet them in a dark alley? No, and run away very fast.
Do they dress in velvet? One does when he has to got to the nightclub

Okay I threw that last one in there for fun.

My favorite vampires are the ones that love the power they have. They are the ones that will use humans to get what they want. I love the manipulative, bastard, vampire. There I said it. Sorry all you, nice and sweet vampires, I would not give you the time of night.

A vampire should be a frightening monster. If you want to romance one, go ahead. I'll just get your coffin ready. And you want to have sex with a vampire? Most vampires are corpses. Dead bodies. Glad to know you want to engage in necrophilia.

At their core, vampires cannot be good. Almost every incarnation of them in folklore, they are evil. The one exception I can think of is one from Italy that would protect the village it was raised in. But that was probably due to more of self preservation than just a good heart. Vampires can be human during the day, they can be just formless mists, they can be disembodied heads, but Good? No.

Vampires are a mirror to our fear of death and what is beyond. What if when you die, you aren't allowed to pass on to what ever after life you believe in? What if something comes into your corpse and makes you sentient? Are you still human? A vampire that knows what they are, would never ask that question.

What about the romance? What about the seduction? My theory is that the vampires only do that to get to the best places to feed. Feeding from the neck must get boring after awhile.

So here's to Kain, Dracula, Severn, Spike, Varney, and all the other bastard vampires out there. You will come back, I know you will. Because if there is one thing vampires are good at, it's coming back from the dead.

Thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Thanks to Sarah Scribbles for the passing on the idea of Teaser Tuesday!

This is part of my NaNoWriMo work, unedited, warts and all.

Jeremiah came to Steopa's cell. He held up two blood bags. “Type O and Type A,” Jeremiah said.

“Why should that matter.” Steopa said.

“I thought maybe it was like a wine vintage.” Jeremiah said, grinning.

Steopa shook his head and took the blood bags. It wasn't hunting, but he did get a meal every night.

James' walkie talkie beeped. James answered it. “James, here.” he said.

“We need you at the North Station,” a voice said.

“Can not do,” James said. “We have to feed the ghoul.”

“Negative, Private Reese can proceed without you.”

Jeremiah shook his head. James picked up the walkie talkie. “That is not a good idea.” James said.

“Private Trowbridge report to the North Station.” The voice commanded.

Jeremiah glanced at the Ghoul's door. “I guess I will try.”

“Sorry, man.” James said. He left the cell area.

Steopa raised the blood bag to his mouth then stopped. Jeremiah's face went pale.

“If you are quick, you should be fine.” Steopa said.

“Yeah, I know,” Jeremiah said. “But that thing is fast.”

Steopa bit into the blood bag. A wine glass would be more elegant, but the exposure to the air would make the blood taste rusty. He watch Jeremiah.

Jeremiah picked up the bag that was on the bottom of the tray. He held it in the crook of one arm as he undid the keys on his belt with the other hand. He unlocked the flap on the door.

Steopa could hear the ghoul inside. It was dragging it's claws across the door. Jeremiah flipped open the flap, and threw the bag inside. The ghoul's hand was visible for a second then disappeared in the gloom.

Jeremiah sighed. He reached over to lock the flap. The ghoul reached out and grabbed his arm. Forcing him against the door. Jeremiah screamed.

Steopa swore in Lithuanian. He pounded on the side of his doorway. Perun started to shout. Navarro and Vindar both came to their doors, craning their necks to see what was going on.

“Get your asses in here!” Perun yelled.

Jeremiah's body was tugged. He tried to pull back while he was screaming. The ghoul pulled on him again.

No one was coming. Steopa threw the blood bag to the floor. He balled up his fist and hit his glass door. The door did not break, it turned to powder. He ran to Jeremiah's side and reached into the slot of the ghoul's door.

The ghoul bit his arm. Steopa swore and groped for the ghoul through the slot. Jeremiah wasn't screaming anymore. His mouth was still opened as if he was screaming, but no sound was coming out.

Steopa found the ghoul's head. It was eating Jeremiah's arm. Steopa hit it on the side of the ghoul's head. He heard bones break. Steopa wasn't sure if it was the ghoul's head or Jeremiah's arm. Jeremiah fell backwards.

The ghoul reached through the slot and tried to grab Steopa. Steopa grabbed it's arm and broke it. The ghoul hissed. Steopa slammed the flap shut. The metal buckled under his fist. It got stuck in the slot. The ghoul began to claw at the flap.

Steopa turned around. Jeremiah was curled up in a ball, holding his one arm. The ghoul had eaten most of Jeremiah's hand off. Blood was coursing out of the stump. All Jeremiah could say was “Ah, Ah,”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Original Idea

I read this blog
And got intrigued; Could I write the synopsis to my planned series of books? In under 25 words?

I decided to try it. Here it goes; I do have most of these written in a very rough draft.

(ordered in the way I want to publish them, not in the order I wrote them.)

Book 1
NaNoWriMo entry this year
Supernatural creatures are used in an experiment to explore another dimension, what they find there scares them. (17 words)

Book 2
A werewolf couple wants to integrate into human society. They have to use their powers to protect a young boy. (20 words)

Book 3
A woman finds out about the vampires in town, becomes one and finally can protect her brother the way he was protecting her. (23 words)

Book 4
The werewolf's old pack finds him. He has to protect his new pack from them. (14 words)

Book 5
A vampire meets another with similar ideals, but then has to wrestle with the idea; what makes a killer and what makes a psychopath? (24 words)

Book 6
A vampire has a secret family. When it is found out, they are hunted by other vampires that think that is obscene. (22 words)

Book 7
A trophy hunter goes after the werewolf pack. It someone known to the newest member of the pack. (18 words)

Book 8
Someone is making vampires using technology and magic. And some vampire children are born. (14 words)

And for the series:
Two types of vampires were created. The one that is almost wiped out is the one that is needed in a coming conflict. (23 words)

Those are my book ideas in a nutshell. I know the short descriptions don't grab you, they don't me. But if you are able to condense your plot down that small, you should be able to keep in mind what the story is about.

Thanks for stopping by.