Monthly Archives: October 2012

Prepping for old school

Standard

Seeing as I’m directly in Hurricane Sandy’s path (huzzah) and will probably be without power for a good week or so, I guess I’m going to have to go old school with Nanowrimo starts on the first.  Can’t say I’m thrilled with that notion.

Yes I get it, lots of famous writers used pen and paper to craft their masterpieces, but it just doesn’t flow as well for me. My hand doesn’t more nearly as quick as my brain and I feel like I’m stuttering to get things down.  It definitely slows me down and interrupts my flow.  Of course then there’s the whole “I have to go back and read my messy handwriting and type it up” bit. More time wasted!

*Sigh* but what’s a girl without power to do? Let myself get that far behind? I could probably catch it up, but I hate being left at the gate while everyone else is flying down the track! My poor lame horse 😦

Good luck to everyone participating and if you’re in the storm path, be safe!

Advertisements

Oooh, Scary Reads!

Standard

I decided, since my favorite holiday is just around the corner (Yay Halloween!!) that I’d share some books and short stories for the season. I love a good creepy story that makes me go to bed with all the lights in the house on and a bat next to my bed! As a kid, I was obsessed–OBSESSED–with Stephen King novels and adult anthologies of horror stories. I remember this crazy short story about a jack-o-lantern and some kid knocking his eye out and another about a guy getting turned inside out. Both freaked me out immensely, but that’s what I was looking for!

I don’t actively seek them out as often anymore, but I can still enjoy a great suspenseful horror story. Here are a few you may enjoy as well! Don’t forget your flashlight and something to protect yourself!

A New Kind of High – MB Mulhall (hey, that’s me!) – Short story – FREE for all platforms over at Smashwords!

Near Death – MB Mulhall (*blush* maybe I shouldn’t be putting myself first?) – YA paranormal novel – on sale for $0.99 ’til the end of October on Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Kobo.

Consumed by Love – Pavarti K Tyler – Short story – $0.99 on Amazon. (Written in classic horror style!)

Paranormal Days Gone Awry – anthology including author Karen Pokras Toczydlowski – $3.99 (free for Prime Members) on Amazon.

A Human Element – Donna Galanti – Paranormal suspense novel – $2.99 on Amazon.

Being Human – Patricia Lynne – Paranormal novel – on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.

Blood Type – Melissa Luznicky Garrett – Paranormal novel – $3.99 (free for Prime Members) on Amazon.

Abandon – Stephanie Dorman – Zombie suspense –  $2.99 on Amazon.

Consequences – Michelle Birbeck –  Short story – $0.99 on Amazon.

Deadly Descent – RG Porter – Zombie horror – $3.99 on Amazon.

Do you have favorite stories that will make people quake in the boots? What are your go to books when you need a good scare?

What Writing Looks Like

Standard

So I noticed last week that my writing buddy Patty was taking part in a blog hop called “What Writing Looks Like.” I thought, “What a great idea!”  I don’t think readers and beginning authors often realize how much goes into the writing process and the kinds of corrections and re-writes we have to do.

The Blog Hop is being hosted by Sarah from The Writer’s Experiment and I’m getting in on it on the last day! All one has to do is take some pictures of the red ink that gets scrawled on the pages of your manuscripts.  Be sure to check out some of the the other blogs that participated!

I decided to use one of my early beta copies of Tears of a Clown. My great friend Kristine did an amazingly thorough job going through it, making corrections, suggestions and funny comments. I kind of love her for it.  Let me show you how much work she made for me! Ha!

See all those little flags?

How about a closer look?

Eep! That’s a lot. Let me tell you, seeing all of those was very overwhelming.

This first page and the lovely little note about how much she enjoyed it helped put me at ease. Yes there was a lot of work to be done, but at least I knew the story was a good one.

Lots of handy little comments and notes.

Final product! A big difference with a shiny new cover and none of those pesky little flags!

Help! My Secondary Characters are Running Amuck!

Standard

Well, not mine at the moment, but I’ve had it happen!  You’re writing this great story and you think everything is coming together beautifully. Then something possesses you to add a secondary character for whatever reason. Maybe your MC (main character) needs a best friend or a scapegoat or maybe just someone to talk to.  That’s all fine and dandy. It helps round out your MC and typically it makes the plot more interesting to have other people involved, right?

So what happens if that secondary/minor character takes on a life of their own, overshadowing the MC and fighting for their position as hero?

If you find this other character speaks more to you, that writing them comes more naturally, then maybe you need to rethink their roles in the story. Maybe they do deserve to be the protagonist. Could this mean a good deal of rewriting? Yes, but it could make the story much better on a whole.

If you’re not willing to switch their roles you may have to scale back on what the secondary character does.  This can be hard if they keep popping up or play a significant role, but your reader will be confused and sometimes angry if the MC is overshadowed by someone else. “I was reading a book about Edward! Why is Jacob suddenly around so much?!”  Okay…probably not the best character reference since that story is a love triangle and the guys do get pretty equal time, but you get what I mean. Jake does get more of a backseat after Bella and Edward get married but…oh God, why am I using this story to illustrate what I mean?

Let’s move on.

If that secondary character really speaks to you, it could mean they deserve a book or short story of their own. It can be a prequel, their backstory and how they come to meet your MC or how they fit into the story you’re currently telling.  It could be a companion novel taking place in the same town with characters from the first book but continuing the story from this other character’s point of view.  I kind of love to see stories like that.  The Wicked Lovely series does a great job with that, fleshing out those secondary characters by making every even numbered book about one of them rather than the main characters. It helps create a more cohesive world and helps the reader understand the main plot better by filling in what’s going on with the other characters.  The main characters still show up to a degree so you get your fix of them but they aren’t the focus.

So if your secondary characters are acting up, you either need to reign them in or promise to tell their own story so they’ll comply with your wishes in your current project.  Don’t let them take the spotlight from your main character. Offer the spin-off and move on so you can let them run wild with their own tale.

Have you ever switched up who the main character in your work was or written a second story to appease a minor character?

People Watching and Eavesdropping

Standard

As any writer knows, there’s more to writing than just putting the words down on paper/into the word processor.  There’s the planning and plotting process, there’s editing, reading, formatting and sharing.  There’s also taking note of the world around you.

When you want your story to come across as realistic and for your characters to be believable, you have to base parts of them on reality, on things you’ve experienced or saw/overheard.  But what happens if you’re kind of a homebody? The shy type who doesn’t get out much or have a whole lot of friends? A lot of writers I know are pretty introverted.  I can certainly be as well.

So how do us shy folks learn about what the party folks and others are doing?  It’s very simple. We people watch and eavesdrop.  I suppose it sounds like an invasion of privacy to some, but hey, if you’re talking loudly in public you’re free game.  It always kind of amazes me the conversations people will have in public places thinking others won’t hear them.  I’ve heard sex talks on the train, party details while at restaurants, extremely detailed one sided phone conversations about your baby’s bowel movements over cubical walls. -Cringe-

It all makes for possible story fodder.  You know this stuff happens in real life so you can write it in. Granted you may often only hear one side of it, but that can prompt you to think about what the other side of the story may be and use that to flesh out your characters and the plot to make it more realistic.

When it comes to the people watching, I like to don a pair of dark sunglasses and sit somewhere that’s heavily populated with pedestrian traffic. Places like the  Seaside boardwalk (yes, yes of Jersey Shore fame) or Penn Station.  You’d be amazed by the amount of different kinds of people who frequent those places on a daily basis.  When I lived on Long Island, I often met friends in the city so we’d plan to meet in Penn and I’d sit on the stairs leading to MSG and the people go by. I was always intrigued most by the unlikely couples. I would make up scenarios in my head about how they met and what drew them to each other.  It made for some interesting stories and aspects have certainly been worked into my writing.

I think most artists have to be observers.  Without the observations and conversations, our art would seem flat and unrealistic, unappealing to our audiences.  I caution you not to look like a lech or butt into conversations, otherwise you might walk away with a fat lip, but if it’s seen or heard in public, I consider it fair game. Use your information wisely.

Do you have a favorite place to people watch? What crazy things have you overheard and put into your novels?